A/N: Originally written for the May rs_500 on LiveJournal. Thanks to Ginge for the beta. The original challenge, for brighty18 --Keywords: safe, loved, home. Dialogue: "I'm here."

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The Lie of Omission

They'd been sharing a bed on a nightly basis for just two weeks, and already Remus was finding it difficult to sleep alone. The feeling of loneliness was completely ridiculous -- Sirius was not ten feet away, lying in his own bed in the same room. It was like being back in the dorm they'd left only a month ago. It was horrible. If his restless shifting was any indication, Sirius agreed.

"Sirius?" Through the dark of the room, he could see the faint outline of Sirius turning to face him. "Are you all right?"

"I'm fine." But there was a thickness to his voice that told otherwise.

"What's wrong?"

"Nothing."

"Sirius, you're thinking so loud that the sound of those little wheels spinning in your head is going to keep me up all night. You've got something on your mind. I can tell."

Sirius was quiet for a moment and then there was the creaking of bedsprings as he got out of his bed and slipped under the covers with Remus, stretching his body out beside him, running his hand over Remus's hip the way he did when they were in bed at home.

"I'm sorry."

"What have you done?" Remus teased as he draped an arm over Sirius's bare chest.

"I meant to tell them today," Sirius said softly. "It just never seemed like the right time."

Remus pressed his face to Sirius's neck and breathed in. "You don't have to apologise to me," he said, the teasing tone gone. "It's not important to me whether you tell the Potters about us or not."

"You don't think I should tell them?"

"I didn't say that." Remus pulled away enough to see Sirius's face -- as well as he could in the dim light. "I think you should tell them because it's important to you."

Sirius had no answer for that. He stared up at the dark ceiling as Remus settled back in against Sirius's chest.

"I almost told my parents I was gay," he said finally.

Remus started to pull away again, but Sirius looped his arms around Remus's waist and held him in place.

"Almost?'

Remus felt Sirius nod. "When I was leaving. I almost thought -- I thought I'd just tell them everything. I told them what I thought of their pure-blood crap and their Dark magic. And I almost told them ... but I didn't."

"No?"

"No. Because if I had told them, they would have kicked me out." Sirius's arms tightened around Remus. "I wanted to leave on my own terms."

It didn't take long for Remus to figure out where Sirius's mind was going. "That's why you waited until we had our own flat..." He sighed and ran his hand over Sirius's chest. "The Potters would never kick you out."

"You're not pure-blood. You wouldn't understand."

Remus sighed and pushed himself up on his elbow. "Don't give me that pure-blood crap. I can't understand if you won't tell me. What wouldn't I understand? "

"The ... expectations," he said hesitantly. "Pure-bloods aren't gay."

Remus snorted. "All evidence to the contrary... After all, we are having this conversation. And what about Alphard?"

Sirius just shook his head. "He kept his head down and stayed quiet about it practically until he died. That's what good pure-blood sons do. They don't go to their families and announce that they're gay. They live lies."

"Sirius..." But Sirius gently pressed his fingers to Remus's lips to quiet him and went on.

"The Potters... I can't even explain what they've done for me. This was the first place I ever had a home. It was the first place I ever felt safe. But what if this is too much?"

"Sirius..." Remus whispered. He brushed Sirius's hair back from his face and let his fingers linger on Sirius's cheek. "They took you in when you ran away. And it drives Mrs Potter mad that you insist on tattooing every inch of your body, and I'm sure Mr Potter wanted to strangle you every time he got an owl from Dumbledore about some new mischief you and James had gotten into. But you're like another son to them."

"It's just..." Sirius gave a frustrated sigh. "There has to be some limit, doesn't there? What if this is it?"

"Love doesn't have limits, Padfoot. The Potters love you." Remus brushed his lips over Sirius's cheek and curled up tightly against Sirius's body. "This was your idea. There must be a reason you want to tell them."

Sirius closed his eyes, ran his hand absently up and down Remus's back, and when his hand started to still, Remus almost though he'd fallen asleep, but then he spoke. "It's like I'm lying to them. After everything they've done for me, there's still this part of myself I'm hiding.

"Sirius--" Remus hesitated, but maybe this was what Sirius needed to hear -- the doubt and that small bit of fear in Remus's voice as well. "I can't know how they'll react. I can't promise you that if you tell them, it won't go badly." He took a breath and went on, his voice steadier. "But I know the Potters. I can't imagine they would ever punish you for being honest with them."

"But you can't know."

"No," Remus said. "There's no way to know unless you decide to tell them."

"And if it goes badly?" Sirius asked softly.

"Then ... you'll still have me. No matter what happens, I'm here with you."

"And if they hate me?"

"They won't. But even if they do, I'm here."

Sirius's voice was thick now and just barely a whisper. "If I never find the courage to tell them?"

Remus cupped his hand to Sirius's cheek, wiping away the dampness there. "I'm here."

fin