Hiya! This is part one of my bigass monster rs_games fic. For those who don't know, the games work like this: there are two teams - Team Canon and Team AU. We write fics from a chosen prompt and the readers score 1 - 9 on how much they enjoyed the fic, which was true to their prompt, and to their team. I was on Team AU... and we won! By a very slim margin, but still... The fics were brilliant on both sides and it was a fantastic month of so of puppy loving!
There will be four parts to this and they'll be posted over the next few days. This was written in a 'bodice ripper' romance novel style for the prompt Love/Sexuality. I hope you enjoy it! :)
A Safe Place
Remus Lupin sighed and slid his fingers under his wire-rimmed glasses, rubbing at his aching eyes. The application for an amendment to the Dark Creature Registration and Control legislation had taken much longer to draft than he'd anticipated and it was now well after midnight. The Ministry of Magic halls were quiet and dimly lit, Remus' co-workers having left him to it long ago to retire to their homes and families. Remus sighed heavily once more, trying to ignore the annoying pang in his chest that reminded him that all that waited for him was an empty fridge and a cold bed.
'The life of a workaholic werewolf is a lonely one,' he muttered, wearily pushing himself to his feet.
He didn't bother pulling on his long-discarded robes, the temperature in the building was moderate and, frankly, re-dressing would take more energy than Remus had to give. The full moon had fallen only two days previous and his body still throbbed from the bone-breaking transformation. In a perfect world, he would still be in bed recovering, but his position at the Ministry was a precarious one and Remus knew that many of his fellow Department Heads would be thrilled to have an excuse to be rid of him.
Community thinking was gradually starting to turn away from the prejudice that had haunted Remus' upbringing, and having a high profile, wealthy werewolf in charge of Magical Creatures had captured the imagination of a slowly evolving magical public. But Remus knew that while the Ministry publicly supported his appointment, more than a few of his colleagues still saw him as nothing more than an animal promoted to a position he didn't deserve; a publicity stunt to get the Minister re-elected.
Remus knew it was his family's well known name and money that had initially bought him this position, but he'd poured his heart and soul into making the job his own and now, one year later, no one could argue that he hadn't earned the grudging respect he had garnered from his department co-workers and from Minister Bagnold.
He grabbed his dragon hide briefcase and tugged his robes off the back of his chair, slinging them over his shoulder before he flicked his wand, extinguishing the lamps in the room. Home may be cold and lonely, but there was a comfortable bed there and all Remus wanted to do right now was sleep.
Yawning, he made his way down the hall towards the elevator, his footsteps echoing in the empty corridor. He pressed the button for the Atrium so he could Floo home then frowned when he heard the sound of fast foot falls behind him. He turned in surprise – he thought he had been alone on the floor – but before he could see who was there, he felt the unmistakable crackle of magic then an explosive pain in his head. The last thing he heard before everything went dark was the ping of the elevator arriving.
Sirius Black cursed as the elevator slowed on the third floor in response to a pushed button. He was surprised that anyone else was left in the darkened Ministry, then recalled that the cleaners would still be working for another hour or so yet. He should know their schedule; he often left when they did, preferring the silence of the deserted Auror office by night to complete his paperwork.
'It's not like there's anything waiting for me at home,' he'd told his worried partner and best friend, James Potter, when the other man queried his long hours.
James didn't get it – he had a wife who had lost none of her fire in the five years they'd been married, and a son who was the apple of his eye. He didn't understand or approve of Sirius' lifestyle: late nights at the office on work days, even later nights at the clubs on weekends. To be honest, Sirius wasn't sure that he liked the way he lived at the moment either, but slowing down gave him time to think, and thinking about what was missing from his life just led to confusion and doubts that twisted him up inside. So he worked, and he drank, and he shagged when the opportunity presented itself, and tried not to notice the gaping holes that no amount of work and booze and women could fill.
The one bright spot in Sirius' life was his job as an Auror and, low paid as it was, he thrived on the adrenaline that pumped through his body when he and James were called out on a job. Today, though, had been a trying day filled with pencil pushing and no action, and Sirius was looking forward to getting home to a warming shot of Firewhiskey and the comforting embrace of his bed.
'If this damn elevator would just move,' he mumbled irritably just as the doors slid open to reveal a bloodied figure slumped on the floor.
Remus blinked as a bright light shining in his eyes blinded him. 'Fuck's sake...' he muttered, raising a hand to block the beam.
'Mr Lupin,' said an impatient female voice he recognised immediately as Minister Bagnold's. 'Please refrain from moving and allow Mr Black to finish examining you.'
Remus frowned then the light disappeared and he was staring up at a stern-faced woman wearing what was obviously hastily thrown on robes. 'What...?' he said groggily.
Then, realising he was lying down, he tried to sit up. The world tilted on its axis as a firm hand on his chest tried to push him back into a prone position.
'Oh, shit,' he mumbled as his stomach lurched. 'I'm going to...'
A basin quickly appeared beside him, just in time to receive the remnants of the chicken sandwich he had wolfed down several hours ago. Remus raised a shaking hand to his forehead when the retching stopped, surprised when it came away damp with pink-tinged sweat.
'What the hell happened to me?' he asked, voice rough from vomiting.
'That's what we'd like to know,' said a man's voice and Remus carefully raised his head to stare into concerned grey eyes.
'Who...?' he croaked, trying once again to sit up and this time, the dark-haired man helped.
'Take it easy,' he said with a frown. 'You must have one hell of a headache. We should take him to St. Mungos, Minister...'
Remus blinked at him, recognising his face now as one of the Ministry's Aurors, but unsure of his name. 'I'm fine...' he began, but Millicent Bagnold stepped in.
'Mr Black found you passed out and bleeding in the corridor here, Mr Lupin,' she said in her no-nonsense way. 'Do you recall what happened?'
Remus bit his lip. He'd been working late again and was about to leave...
'Footsteps,' he murmured, rubbing at his aching forehead as he thought. 'I heard footsteps but I didn't see who it was before...' He gestured to his head then looked at the man called Black. 'You found me? Did you see...?'
'There was no one near you,' Black told him. 'I admit I was more concerned about stopping your brain from bleeding out all over the floor than I was about searching each room, although that's being done now.'
Both he and Remus looked up as a flustered man dressed in scarlet Auror robes appeared as if on cue.
'I think you'd better come and see this, Minister,' the scruffy-haired man said to Millicent who frowned and turned on her heel, following him down the hall.
Remus struggled to get to his feet, the dark-haired man offering a token protest then assisting him when Remus determinedly pushed himself up. Once on his feet, the room began to spin and he felt strong arms encircle him.
'You really should be at the hospital,' Black murmured close to his ear and Remus suppressed a shiver as the tenor slid sensuously along his spine, sparking off a reaction in all his nerve endings.
Fuck. I'm concussed and still manage to get a hard on. I really need to get laid.
As if the other man had heard Remus' desire, the arms were withdrawn. 'Can walk by yourself?' Black said a little sharply, Remus surprised by the tone. He glanced at Black, who immediately looked away, refusing to meet Remus' eye.
'Yes, I can,' Remus snapped, irritated by the man's hot and cold attitude, before he stumbled over his own feet. He heard the Auror swear and fingers closed around his bicep.
'Merlin,' Black muttered and Remus frowned.
'I don't need help,' he insisted, but the man left his steadying hand on Remus' arm anyway and, after a few wobbly steps revealed just how unstable he was, Remus was grateful for the assistance.
He gasped when he saw the mess inside his office then his breathing faltered as he saw the scrawled message on the wall.
"I won't fail next time."
'You must be joking!'
'I assure you, Mr Black, I am very serious.'
'But I'm an Auror, not a bloody babysitter...'
'You are an Auror who has taken an oath to protect the Wizarding world and right now, Mr Lupin is a wizard who needs protecting.'
'You have your assignment, Mr Black. Now I suggest you get Mr Lupin home and into bed before he collapses.'
Fighting back a disrespectful scowl, Sirius mumbled, 'Yes, Minister.'
Sirius watched the woman disappear around the corner and let out an exasperated breath. 'Why me?' he muttered resentfully, glaring at the oblivious Lupin who was sitting behind his desk giving a statement to James Potter.
Logically, he could understand the Minister's concerns and knew that the threat scrawled across Lupin's office wall was no idle one, but the part of him that just wanted to crawl into bed and sleep for a year objected loudly to having to now become a glorified babysitter for the Ministry's token walking minority.
Sirius rolled his tight shoulders and circled his head a few times, trying to work out some of the tension that had gathered there over the last hour. He'd been shocked when he stumbled out of the elevator and discovered Lupin lying unconscious and bleeding on the floor, but his training had kicked in quickly. Basic Healing was something every Auror learned and he soon had the head wound closed and had sent a Patronus to both the Minister and James to let them know what had transpired within Ministry walls. Sirius wondered if it was an indication of the Minister's regard for the werewolf, or a sign of how powerful the Lupin name still was, that Millicent Bagnold had stepped out of the elevator not five minutes after his Patronus had disappeared from sight.
He heaved a loud, put upon sigh as he watched Lupin run a hand through his hair then gesticulate sharply as he answered one of James' questions. Of course he knew of the only werewolf in Ministry employ, though he'd never come face to face with him before. Sirius felt a shot of dislike as his eyes ran over the understated but expensive suit the other man wore, unable to help but notice how well it fitted – unlike his own baggy jeans and sloppy t-shirt. His Department Head, Alastor Moody, spoke highly of Lupin's efficiency and level head, but Sirius had never felt anything but a simmering contempt for the other man. Not, like so many of his co-workers, because he was a werewolf – Lupin couldn't help that, for Godric's sake; nor was it because he was a flaming queer despite Sirius' discomfort with the man's sexuality.
No, it wasn't either of those reasons that made him regard the man with disdain. It was the fact that, born with a silver - Sirius snorted ironically - spoon in his mouth, Remus Lupin had relied on his family name and coffers to gain such an influential position in the Ministry, while Sirius had had to work his arse off for every single advancement he'd made, fighting his family's bad reputation every step of the way. His family had once been as wealthy and well regarded as the Lupin family, but his father's horrific decision to delve into the Dark Arts had cost their family every last cent and had turned the Black name into something to be ashamed of.
Every time he looked at Lupin, Sirius saw what he had lost, and what he wished he could have.
And he was bitter.
'Lupin,' he snapped, watching the man's head turn quickly towards him. 'We should get you home.'
Remus stood up slowly, hands on his desk to steady himself. 'I can make it myself, thank you,' he said softly and Sirius shook his head grimly.
'Ministerial Orders, Lupin,' he said stiffly, shooting a disgruntled glance at James. 'I'm to be your... personal bodyguard... until we can figure out who it is that wants to harm you.'
He bit back a curse when he saw James smirk and looked at Lupin, who didn't look any happier with the arrangement than Sirius did.
'I don't need a babysitter,' he said indignantly and Sirius scowled.
'I'm not exactly thrilled with the prospect of having to follow you around either, Lupin,' he snarled. 'But I've been given a direct order and I'll be buggered if I'm going to lose my job because you've pissed someone off enough for them to want to bash you about the head. Now, I'm tired; you're tired. Can we just go and try to get a few hours sleep and we'll argue the technicalities in the morning?' He sighed once again when he caught sight of the time. 'I mean, later this morning.'
Lupin's jaw tightened, but after a moment of hesitation, he nodded. 'Certainly,' he murmured, picking up his robes and briefcase. 'Shall we go?'
Sirius nodded, standing aside and letting Remus leave the room first then smacked James Potter on the arm as the chuckling man passed him.
'Have fun tonight,' James whispered, a broad grin on his face and Sirius groaned.
Gods, this is a fucking nightmare.
Remus stumbled as he exited the Floo and would have fallen if Black hadn't grasped him firmly about the waist.
'You really should see a Healer,' Black muttered, frowning as Remus brushed his hands away.
'I'm fine,' Remus said through gritted teeth for what felt like the hundredth time, trying to ignore the thumping headache that was blurring his vision slightly.
He put his robes and briefcase on the couch in the living area, not caring that he was spreading Floo powder about, and made a half-hearted effort at brushing the soot off his clothing.
'Nice place,' Black mumbled and Remus glanced over at him. The Auror didn't sound too pleased that Remus lived in a nice, comfortable house instead of a cave and he sighed inaudibly.
Fantastic. Not only do I have a stranger in my home, but he's a prejudiced stranger who I'm relying on to keep me safe. Perfect.
'So, is it the werewolf thing, or the 'buggers blokes' thing that offends you the most?' Remus asked mildly, moving towards the living room door. 'I can assure you that you aren't my type, so if you're concerned I won't be able to control myself around you...'
'I don't give a damn who you fuck, Lupin,' Black snapped, and Remus nodded.
'So it's the fact I'm a werewolf,' he decided. 'You realise the full moon has only just passed and I'm probably less dangerous than the average Kneazle right now...'
'I am aware of the moon's cycle,' Black said coolly and Remus frowned in confusion.
'Don't tell me you've managed to find something else about me to disapprove of?' he said, trying to keep his voice light. 'Haven't I provided you with enough ammunition?'
'Whether I approve of you or not, Lupin,' Black ground out, 'is neither here nor there. I am here to ensure you survive the night and that's what I intend to do. Now, should I kip here on the couch...?'
'No,' Remus said, his head giving a particularly violent thump. He turned his back on Black, putting the other man's coldness to the back of his throbbing head. 'I have a spare room that you should find comfortable enough. I'm sure I should be safe enough in my own home though...'
'And you thought you would be safe inside the Ministry as well,' Black said bluntly and Remus conceded that he had a point.
'Follow me,' he said, suddenly feeling bone weary. The night's events had finally begun to hit home and Remus' legs shook as he walked slowly up the stairs.
He showed Black the bathroom and the spare bedroom, indicating which of the closed doors was his own bedroom.
'Do you mind...?' Black asked, then pushed Remus' bedroom door open before he could respond.
Remus walked in behind him, sinking down onto his emerald green covered mattress as he watched the other man poke about the room, peering into the closet and checking the locks and wards on the windows. Remus toed off his shoes and socks then stood on wobbly legs as he began to undress. He no longer cared how he came across to the Auror; he was too damn tired to care if the man thought he was about to jump his bones.
He stripped his blood-stained shirt off fast, letting it drop to the floor – the uncharacteristic untidiness a sign of his exhaustion – then his hands moved to swiftly unbuckle his belt.
'What sort of wards...?' Black began then Remus heard a strangled cough and looked up as his trousers pooled around his ankles, leaving him clad only in his boxers.
'Pardon?' he asked, his voice sounding as if it were coming from miles away.
'Er...' Black stammered, staring at Remus' scarred chest until the werewolf crossed his arms over it self-consciously. He looked up; face colouring slightly as he repeated, 'Wards?'
'Standard Ministry wards,' Remus answered, choosing to ignore the other man's odd behaviour and instead turning to fold the bedclothes down. 'With an added signature detector and alarm system. They were installed by my friend, Peter, and they are solid.'
He ran a hand through his hair – a nervous habit – and grimaced when he felt the blood-hardened clumps. He reached for his wand and cast a Scourgify spell over himself before he crawled under the covers. 'Look, I'm sorry but I can barely stand...'
'Oh, of course,' Black said hastily, almost running for the door. 'I'll sort myself out.' He paused in the doorway then said quietly, 'Night, Lupin.'
'Night, Black,' Remus mumbled into his pillow, his eyes closing as his mind began to shut down.
Sirius made fast use of the bathroom, forgoing a shower for a quick wash using the basin, to sink gratefully into the soft, fresh smelling sheets in Lupin's spare bed. He lay in the dark for several minutes, staring up at the ceiling as he tried to calm his whirling mind.
Who would want to hurt Lupin? One of the anti-Dark Creature groups? Anti-gay groups? Spurned lover?
He frowned as he recalled the sight of Lupin's thin, but surprisingly well-defined body earlier then shook his head to try and halt the images of that body entwined with another man's that swamped his mind.
He's a bloke! For fuck's sake, Sirius...
But his body didn't seem to care about Lupin's gender; his cock hardening against his brain's firm commands not to. He frowned and reached down to adjust himself, refusing to have one off the cuff in Lupin's bed whilst he was picturing the other man naked with a faceless ex-lover.
It's nothing. It's been a while since I last got laid...a good looking fucking goblin could just as easily make me hard.
It wasn't the first time a good looking man had caught his attention, but Sirius dismissed his occasional lapse and ignored his feelings; putting it down to his libido going haywire. He was straight, definitely straight, which meant that no matter how attractive Remus Lupin was, he and his nicely formed arms had no business lingering in Sirius' thoughts. Rolling over, Sirius studiously ignored his traitorous cock and fell into a restless sleep.
Breakfast was... awkward. Remus wasn't used to having someone else in his house, particularly not someone who so clearly disapproved of him. Black drank his coffee fast, refused all offers of food and ensured he didn't get too close to Remus when they Flooed to the office.
'Thank you for your help last night,' Remus murmured quietly as Black stepped out of the Atrium Floo after him. 'I appreciate it, but I'll talk to the Minister today and ensure you get back to your regular duties.'
Black's lips tightened. 'I'm not sure it's going to be that easy,' he said grimly. 'But... thanks.' He nodded stiffly then gestured towards the elevator. 'I may as well finish the job and see you safely to your office.'
Remus opened his mouth to argue then realised by the stubborn set of the other man's jaw that it would be fruitless. It was a silent trip the three floors to the Department of Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures and as they walked down the hall towards his office, Remus could feel Sirius' tension begin to dissipate.
Gods, he really does not like me.
They stopped at Remus' closed door. 'Well, thanks again,' Remus said, reaching for his door handle.
'No problem,' Black shrugged then turned to go.
Remus watched his departing arse for a few seconds then pushed open his office door. He had only taken one step inside when he realised something was horribly wrong.
Sirius got all the way to the elevator before he felt that prickle on the back of his neck that suggested something was not right. He frowned as he considered ignoring his instincts, but the feeling was too strong. With a sigh, he turned and walked back to Lupin's office, swearing loudly when he saw the werewolf convulsing on the floor just inside the door.
Auror training kicked in and instead of rushing to the man to help, he waved his wand, casting revealing spells.
'Godric,' he muttered as the wards protecting the office glowed a dark, poisonous blood-red. He cast some strong counter spells as he kept half an eye on the still-struggling Lupin, who was turning an alarming shade of blue.
'Come on!' he ground out, panic beginning to rise inside him as Lupin's previously frantic movements quietened. 'Damn it, Lupin! Don't you dare die on my shift.'
He finally saw a rip appear in the wards and he tore at it, making it big enough to pull Lupin through. The other man was now still and, when Sirius checked his vital signs, not breathing. Sirius uttered a loud curse before hastily sending a Patronus to the Aurors' office.
Muggle methods might be looked down upon by other pure bloods, but some of them were markedly superior to Wizarding techniques. Reviving a person who wasn't breathing was one such instance. Sirius bent over Lupin, tilted his head back and, with just a moment of hesitation, pressed his open mouth over the unconscious man's lips.
It took only five breaths before Lupin coughed weakly and Sirius sat back on his haunches, pushing his hair out of his eyes. He rechecked Lupin's respiration and could feel his chest rising shallowly, his heart beating erratically under his splayed hand. Sirius slapped the prone man's cheek lightly at first then with a little more force when there was no response. Sirius swore again at Lupin's refusal to regain consciousness naturally so, as James Potter and Alastor Moody burst from the elevator, Sirius picked up his wand and said firmly, 'Reenervate!'
Immediately, Remus sucked in a loud, stuttering breath then started to cough uncontrollably. Sirius rolled him over onto his side as James fell down beside him.
'What happened?' he asked, frowning in concern as Lupin desperately tried to suck in lungfuls of oxygen.
'The wards on the office...' Sirius said distractedly, not realising he was taking deep, regular breaths as if encouraging Lupin to breathepleasekeepbreathing.
He was barely aware of James moving away and paid no attention to the rumble of voices as James and Moody examined the wards. His attention was focused on the thin man on the floor whose coughing had eased and was now drawing ragged breaths.
'Lupin,' he said softly, giving him a tiny shake. 'Come on, open your eyes.'
Long dark eyelashes fluttered for a moment and Sirius bit his lip as Lupin finally obeyed. His eyes focused, blue catching and holding grey, and Sirius' stomach clenched tightly as he let out a breath of relief.
'You're nothing but trouble, Lupin,' he muttered, resisting his urge to touch the man's chest to reassure himself that his heart was indeed still beating. 'You've really managed to piss someone off.'
Lupin didn't respond, just blinking slowly then closing his eyes again.
When Remus awoke, he smelled the sharp scent of potions and felt harsh, spell-cleaned sheets rubbing against his skin, and guessed he was in St Mungos, although he couldn't for the life of him remember why. After taking a second to ensure all body parts were still intact – aching, but intact – he became aware of low voices nearby. After a moment of arguing with his more ethical side, he kept his eyes shut to listen, suspecting he may just learn more about what was going on this way than if he made his wakefulness known.
'... those kinds of spells? This isn't someone with an ordinary, everyday grudge, Alastor,' said the voice Remus recognised as Black's. 'You saw those wards... they were supposed to kill him.'
'Whoever it is knows their stuff,' came another masculine voice, one Remus thought belonged to the Auror who had taken his statement last night. 'They were nasty Dark spells that were interwoven seamlessly into the Ministry wards – you need an extensive knowledge of Dark Arts and a complete lack of conscience to cast them. Sirius is right. Someone wants Lupin dead pretty badly.'
Remus tried not to frown. He didn't recall a lot about what happened after Black left him at his office, but surely this was an exaggeration? He couldn't think of anyone who could possibly hate him that much.
'He's not the most popular bloke at the Ministry,' growled a third male that Remus knew was Alastor Moody. 'Being a werewolf and an unashamed shirt lifter guarantees he won't be winning employee of the month any time soon, but he's a decent bloke – not a nasty bone in him. His family are good, solid citizens as well, so I doubt these attempts on his life come from his personal interactions...'
'He could have a long line of spurned lovers for all you know, Alastor,' the man whose name Remus couldn't recall said. 'I don't think we should leave his personal life unexplored...'
'If it was personal, they'd be going after him at home or when he goes out,' Black interrupted, sounding irritated. 'None of these supposed lovers would have unlimited access to the Ministry at all hours of the night and day.'
'Maybe Lupin's scorned lover is a Ministry worker?' the unnamed Auror suggested. Remus was startled by Black's vehement reaction.
'Who the hell would he be seeing at the Ministry?' he asked. There was a moment of awkward silence.
'You don't seriously think he's the only poof in the Ministry's employ?' Moody said incredulously then he snorted. 'Gods, Black. You are bloody naive sometimes. When he wakes up get him to start that list.'
Remus heard the shuffle of feet, the closing of a door, then a snigger. 'What?' Black snapped and the snigger turned into a quiet laugh. 'Spit it out, Potter.'
'You really do have your head buried in the sand sometimes, Sirius,' the man called Potter said. 'Did you really not realise that Lupin could hardly be the only bloke in the Ministry who likes cock instead of...?'
'I just don't know any others,' Sirius hissed. 'And I still think that this isn't personal. I doubt Lupin would associate with someone who knew such spells...'
'He slept with you last night, didn't he?'
This time, the silence was thick and swirling with suppressed anger and Remus heard a sigh. 'Sorry, mate,' Potter said quietly. 'I didn't mean anything... just that... well, you do know those spells...'
'I didn't sleep with him,' Sirius interrupted abruptly. 'I'm not a bloody bufftie, for Merlin's sake! You and Lily are always bitching at me about how many women I sleep with...'
Remus cracked his eyelids open in surprise. Black sounded almost panicked as he defended his heterosexuality and Remus was curious. The only men he'd heard deny their sexuality so aggressively were often the same men who later begged Remus to shove his cock in their arse. He peered at the brunette who seemed paler than usual and was staring at his colleague with wide, frantic eyes.
'I know, Sirius,' Potter said, holding up his hands in a placating gesture. 'Merlin, I suggest you know Dark Arts and the slight on your preferences is what you focus on? You are so fucking sensitive about sex.'
'I'm not...' Sirius stopped and Remus realised that he'd caught sight of Remus' half opened eyes. He quickly yawned and stretched lightly as if he'd just awoken then looked over at the two men.
'I'm assuming whoever wrote on my wall last night attempted to keep his promise,' he said, his voice a little rough and Potter moved closer to the bed.
'You're lucky it was Sirius with you and that he has a freaky intuition,' he said with a smile. 'And I doubt anyone else could have got you out as fast... except me, of course.'
He grinned mischievously and Remus couldn't help smiling back. Sirius stepped forward, clearing his throat pointedly.
'We need to find out who's trying to do you in, Lupin,' he said gruffly with an annoyed glance at Potter, 'before he succeeds. Moody has decided that I should remain as your babysit... er... guard for the time being.' His eyes flickered to Remus' as if seeing how he was taking the news. '... and we need to start to make a list of anyone who might be holding a grudge against you. Co-workers, someone who objected to some of your new werewolf legislation or... um...'
'Anti-gay activists?' Remus finished, raising his eyebrows when Black flushed.
'Yeah,' he mumbled, ignoring the curious look from Potter and Remus' own considering gaze. 'Or your ex-partners. Have you tossed over any psychopaths lately?'
Remus pushed himself up, rubbing at his sore muscles and grimacing. 'They usually toss me over, to be honest,' he admitted regretfully then glanced up at Black. 'They aren't any keener on the werewolf thing than most of my colleagues although they are far more understanding about the whole poofter situation. In fact, they quite enjoy that particular quirk.'
He watched Black's face carefully and had to hide a smile when he saw the light pink shade darken noticeably.
Perhaps having regular attempts on my life is worth it to be able to tease him. He's so obviously uncomfortable – but about my sexuality or his own?
'Ugh,' broke in Potter, screwing up his face. 'Listen, Lupin. I don't really care that you're a werewolf – I've read the brief; I know how it happened...'
Remus' eye twitched. He hated knowing the whole sordid tale of his turning had been made public by the Ministry in order to try and garner public sympathy and support for his appointment. Nothing screamed 'poor me' like the story of a small boy bitten by the big bad wolf.
'... and I don't really give a Hippogriff's backside who you shag, but while we are all forced to spend time together, please do not ever go into detail about said shagging whilst in my earshot.'
Remus chuckled and pushed the sheets off his lap before swinging his legs over the edge of the bed. 'As long as you two promise to do the same in regards to your unsavoury heterosexual escapades,' he retorted good naturedly then teased, 'Honestly, how a man can do that with a woman...'
James looked stunned for a moment then burst into gales of noisy laughter. 'You're not bad, Lupin,' he decided, clapping Remus on the shoulder. 'I might start hoping you live through this after all.'
Remus smiled and glanced at Black who was staring at him contemplatively. He looked away when he realised Remus had seen him and groped in the inside pocket of his robe. He pulled out Quick Quotes Quill and parchment and slapped it down on the bed side table.
'We need that list, Lupin,' he murmured, looking at his feet.
Remus waited until he looked up again before saying, 'If we're going to be forced to spend time together, I think you should call me Remus.'
Sirius, apparently a little taken aback, opened his mouth then closed it before he offered a grudging, 'Sirius.'
Remus held out his hand and, after a slight hesitation, Sirius took it. The same tingle that had tickled his skin last night ran straight up his arm and Remus quickly let go, a little flustered by the sensation.
He turned to Potter, who formally introduced himself as James, and missed the expression of alarm that streaked across Sirius' face.
'So, can I go back to work now?' Remus asked, glancing at Sirius who shook his head.
'You aren't going back to work,' he told him, watching the dismay spread across the other man's face. 'There have been two attempts on your life...'
'I've got a draft of some new legislation I need to finish,' Remus said determinedly, sliding off the bed. 'And some reports that won't wait. If I don't get it all finished this week I'll miss the cut off for application and my amendments won't get voted on until the next meeting of the Wizengamot. That's six months away...'
'Remus, you aren't going back,' Sirius said firmly and the werewolf's eyes flashed with anger.
'Do you realise how many Magical Creatures could be hunted and killed in those six months?' he snapped furiously. 'Or how many werewolves and vampires will get a silver bullet or staked because of something they have no control over? You have no idea, do you?'
'No, I don't,' retorted Sirius. 'And I don't much care. My job right now is to keep one werewolf safe and that's what I intend to do.'
'My job is to keep entire packs of creatures safe,' Remus exclaimed, raising his voice. 'I hardly think someone trying to... make a point by singling me out should be taken more seriously than the hundreds of hunters who kill for sport!'
'I'm not assigned to those creatures...' Sirius began, but Remus spoke over him.
'Well, I am! And I won't let them down.'
'Remus,' James broke in, putting a hand on each angry man's shoulder. 'You are no good to them dead, are you?'
Remus snorted and turned away, looking for his shoes and socks. 'I think you are overreacting,' he scoffed, finding his polished black shoes and hastily putting them on. 'I can't think of anyone who would do this...'
'Then start thinking harder,' Sirius snapped, grey eyes turning mercurial in his fury and Remus lost his breath for a moment.
Gods, the man was glorious pissed off.
Sirius jabbed a finger at him. 'For the foreseeable future, you are under my guard and you will do exactly what I tell you to do because I hate paperwork and if you drop dead, I'm going to have a shit load of it. Now, write a list of what you need from your office – James will collect it – then you will get your arse home. Until we catch the person who is doing this, you are effectively under house arrest.'
And with that, he turned on his heel and stalked out of the room, leaving Remus with his boiling anger and a throbbing hard on.
Sirius stepped out of the Floo and into Remus' living room. Last night, he had only had enough time to note how tidy and comfortable the house seemed but now, knowing he was going to be spending more time here, he looked around more thoroughly.
The bedroom he'd spent the night in was decorated in shades of blue with silver accents and was soft and welcoming. The living room walls were cream but shots of colour burst all around the room in the form of art and knick knacks which Sirius suspected were worth more than the entire contents of his shabby flat. It was understated elegance, but every item in the room was obviously of the highest quality.
A clutter of photographs above the fireplace caught his eye and he shifted closer, looking at the familiar faces of people he had never met.
'My parents,' Remus said softly, and Sirius jumped. The other man was closer than he'd realised.
'I know,' Sirius mumbled, staring at the couple who were laughing. He'd seen their photographs in the society section of the Daily Prophet many times and the Lupins had also attended several parties at his parents' home...
Before Sirius' father ruined everything.
Remus picked up a framed photo and smiled at the waving young woman. 'My sister,' he said affectionately before putting the photo back. 'Various relatives... I am fortunate to have a close, open-minded family.'
Sirius pointed to a photograph of Remus with a blonde man, arms wrapped around each other as they pulled faces at the camera. 'Boyfriend?' he asked as he took the photograph in hand, trying to make the question sound as casual as possible because he really wasn't particularly interested in Remus' sex life.
'Best friend,' Remus corrected, eyes flicking from the photograph to Sirius'. 'Peter Pettigrew. He is the one who set up the wards for me. I'm hopeless at those kinds of spells.'
Sirius frowned and noted the name to check out later. Anyone in Remus' world who had experience with warding was worth checking out. He put the framed picture back then started when Remus put his hand on the mantle and leaned in a little, making Sirius suddenly feel like a mouse trapped by a snake.
'I don't have photos of boyfriends,' he said softly in his melodious voice and an unexpected – and unwelcome – tremor shook Sirius. 'There's never been anyone important enough to immortalise on film.'
His eyes held Sirius' and Sirius felt his skin heating up under the werewolf's gaze. He unconsciously licked his lips and saw Remus' eyes drop to his mouth. The loss of eye contact broke whatever spell Remus had managed to cast over him and Sirius stepped back, disconcerted by his reactions.
'So,' said Remus, straightening and moving towards the hall, not looking anywhere near as ruffled as Sirius felt. 'Are you hungry? I make a mean chicken and cashew stir fry.'
Sirius nodded automatically and Remus headed for the kitchen. When he was gone, Sirius sank down onto the couch and rubbed his eyes wearily.
He knows how to push my bloody buttons.
Remus still wasn't taking the attempts on his life very seriously and it infuriated Sirius – as did his irrational pull to the man. He had shaken Sirius' set-in-stone opinion about him by arguing so passionately for the creatures he defended; but Sirius wasn't ready to believe that the other man might not be the spoilt, indulged rich kid that he had assumed he was.
Moody liked Remus – his comments in the hospital had been as cordial as Sirius had ever heard come out of Alastor's mouth - and he wasn't an easy nut to crack. James seemed to like him and he was a good judge of character. Sirius looked around the room, his gaze landing on a bookshelf. Several of the titles were the same as those on his own book case at home, although these weren't the battered paperbacks Sirius picked up from second-hand shops. These were leather bound and, he saw when he opened one, first editions. Sirius ran his finger reverently down the spine of 'David Copperfield' and scowled.
Ostentatious display of his wealth. He's every bit the rich brat I thought he was.
The Floo made a rattling noise and Sirius spun around, lifting his wand as James Potter stepped out. He grinned at Sirius then, brushing the soot of his clothes, he whistled softly.
'Nice place,' he said, impressed.
'Bought with Daddy's money, no doubt,' Sirius hissed bitterly, shoving the book he was still holding back onto the shelf. 'You got his very important files?'
James raised an eyebrow at the acerbic tone and handed Sirius a shrunken stack of parchment. 'Took me ages to sort through all the folders on his desk,' he said lightly as he looked around. 'However Remus got that position, I reckon he's bloody earned it. You should read some of the legislation he's drafting and the number of cases he's looking after...'
'What the hell are you; Lupin's cheerleader?' Sirius snapped, throwing the papers onto the coffee table.
James inspected the photographs on the mantle then turned back to Sirius. 'No,' he said calmly. 'I just think that, given you're going to be spending a fair bit of your time with Remus, you should try and put your preconceived opinions aside.'
'Yes,' James interrupted. 'You've already judged him before you know anything about him, Sirius. You hate it when people do that to you – assuming you're involved with Dark Arts just because your father dabbled – so I'm just saying that you should withhold judgement for the time being.'
He hated it when James was right. 'Fine,' he said, unable to stop the sulky tone coming through. 'I'll be good.'
James chuckled and clapped him on the shoulder. 'He seems a decent bloke, Sirius,' he said. 'Give him a chance.'
Remus walked through the door then and greeted James, thanking him for delivering the files before enlarging the folders and flicking through them as he walked back to the kitchen.
Sirius saw James to the door, waving him off when he reiterated, 'Be nice', then he poked his head into the kitchen and mumbled something to Remus about a shower before taking off up the stairs.
I will not think of him naked in the shower. I will not imagine Sirius Black wet.
But as Remus threw a bowlful of vegetables into the steaming pan, it was a dripping, naked brunette he was picturing in his mind and his body screamed at him to run up that staircase and claim the man who was setting off all kinds of reactions in him.
'Fucking confused straight boys,' Remus mumbled under his breath, stirring the meat and vegetables a little more vigorously than required. 'Does he even know the kind of mixed signals he's sending?'
Remus suspected that Sirius didn't realise the 'come hither' signals he was throwing out and it was only that fact that kept him from dragging the other man close and snogging him stupid. It had been a while since Remus' last boyfriend walked out the door and the presence of an attractive, wavering-about-his-sexuality man in his house had Remus' body sparking uncontrollably.
Off limits. So very off limits...
Remus looked over his shoulder and the flip fell from his suddenly boneless fingers.
'I forgot to call into my place and get some clothes,' Sirius said, nervously adjusting the towel around his waist. 'I don't suppose I could borrow...'
'Sure,' Remus said quickly, removing the finished meal from the burner. 'Um, the food is ready so I'll...' He waved his hand in the direction of the second floor then hurried up the stairs, careful to avoid touching Sirius or his bare chest in any way. Gods, but he was fit...
'He is not making this easy,' he grumbled, shifting his half-hard cock to a more comfortable position in his pants before rooting through his cupboard for something that might fit the slightly bulkier Auror.
'Pardon?' Sirius said from the doorway and Remus jumped, bumping his head on the bottom of a shelf.
'Fuck!' he exclaimed and before he could turn around, Sirius was next to him.
'Are you alright?' he asked, putting his hand on Remus' shoulder as he emerged from the cupboard.
'I'm fine,' Remus said, a little breathless. From the head injury, not Sirius' touch. 'I didn't realise you... uh... Here.' He shoved a pair of sweatpants and a long sleeved tee-shirt at Sirius who took them with a brisk nod.
'Thanks,' he said, backing up fast. 'I'll be down in a minute. Downstairs... for dinner...' He shook his head then left hastily, leaving Remus to fall back against the door with a little moan.
This is going to be harder than I thought.
Dinner wasn't as awkward as Remus had imagined it might be, though. They stuck to talking about neutral topics as they ate then Sirius offered to clean up. He refused to take no for an answer and cited the 'you cook, I clean' habit he'd fallen into with James Potter as his motivation. Remus, for the first time discomfited in his own home, retreated to the living room, sitting on the couch and summoning some files to work on. He was distracted by the sound of clinking china and closing cupboard doors, the file concerning the latest lycanthropy infection figures lying open and forgotten on his lap.
He hadn't lied to Sirius last night; despite the fact he was one of the most attractive men he'd ever met, the brunette really wasn't his usual type so Remus wasn't sure why it seemed he couldn't get the man out of his head.
Proximity. And the fact he's saved your arse twice in twenty-four hours.
Yes, that was it. Some sort of misguided saviour worship or something.
Remus let out a relieved breath and reached for his glasses. This wasn't a real attraction – it was just gratitude to the man for being there when Remus needed him.
And with that thought, he bent his head over his folder and immersed himself in werewolf statistics.
Sirius paused in the doorway of the living room, watching Remus warily. He'd lingered as long as he could in the kitchen, feeling off balance in this unfamiliar environment. He was acutely aware of Remus' presence, his body thrumming with heat as they sat side by side at the small kitchen table, knees bumping every so often, making colour spread rather attractively across the werewolf's cheeks.
Godric, did I just think that Lupin blushing is attractive?
Sirius swallowed hard as his eyes wandered over Remus' face, taking in the straight nose, the nicely shaped lips, the firm, and now slightly rough, jaw and those eyes...those deep blue eyes that, even hidden behind those lenses, wreaked havoc on Sirius' nervous system.
He frowned when he realised the direction his thoughts were taking. A straight man could acknowledge that another man was good looking, right? That wasn't gay or anything...?
Perhaps not, but the physical reaction he was having to those thoughts was decidedly not heterosexual and Sirius shoved his hands into the pockets of Remus' sweatpants. Oh, fuck. He should not have reminded himself that he was currently in the werewolf's pants...
'Shit,' he mumbled and Remus looked up.
'Sorry?' he asked and Sirius shook his head, stepping into the room.
'Just talking to myself,' he said, unsuccessfully willing away the heat he could feel rising to his cheeks. He sat down on an armchair opposite Remus and watched him work for a moment. The man had barely taken his nose out of a file all evening and it annoyed Sirius that perhaps James had been right about him.
Which meant that Sirius had been wrong – and he hated being wrong.
'Have you given any more consideration to the person that might be doing this to you?' he asked, trying to focus on something he knew, something he was good at.
Remus sighed heavily and closed the file on his lap. 'I still refuse to believe that someone I see outside of work could be responsible for trying to... hurt me...'
'Kill you,' Sirius said, crossing his arms over his chest. 'You really need to start taking this more seriously, Remus. When I pulled you out of your office, you weren't breathing. That curse that was embedded in your office wards was no Tickling Charm. It was meant to kill you.'
He watched the other man closely and saw him pale as the extent of the situation finally began to sink in.
At last. He's beginning to understand the reality of all this.
Sirius leaned forward. 'So I need information,' he told him. 'Any kind of resentment or dislike or dissension, no matter how small you think it might be, could hold the key to finding this person.'
Remus stared at him then tore a strip of parchment from a pile of blank sheets and picked up a quill. 'Fine,' he said in defeat. 'I'll see what I can do.'
Ten minutes later, Sirius held a list of fifteen people in his hands. 'This is it?' Sirius asked, already beginning to plan how he was going to begin the investigations.
Remus cocked his head and gazed at Sirius thoughtfully. 'Well, you should add yourself to that list,' he said softly. 'I don't think you approve of me.'
Sirius frowned, unable to meet those blue eyes. 'I don't have feelings about you one way or another, Remus...'
'Don't lie to me,' Remus said, his voice still quiet. 'You don't need to like me to save me, but I have to trust you to put my life in your hands. So please, don't lie to me. Let's just get whatever is bothering you about me out in the open.'
Sirius hesitated. Last night he told Remus his standoffishness was nothing to do with his condition or his sexuality... tonight, that was not longer true. Remus' sexuality was bothering Sirius in ways he didn't want to think about.
But there was no way I'm telling Remus that. It might give him the wrong impression, might make him think I'm interested in him...
He ignored the little voice in his head that kept muttering that being 'interested' in Remus would explain why he'd been eyeing off the other man's arse as he bent over into the cupboard earlier, and opened his mouth.
But Remus beat him to it.
'Are you sure you're not uncomfortable with the fact that I fuck men?' he asked and Sirius almost blacked out as a wave of heat so strong it'd knock a dragon on its knees washed over him. The loose sweatpants – with no underwear beneath - hid nothing and he crossed his legs, harder than he could ever remember being.
'It's not... that has nothing...' Sirius stuttered, finding it difficult to finish a thought when all of his blood was currently rushing away from his brain.
'Are you sure?' Remus pushed, taking off his glasses and leaning forward. 'Because there is something and I was wondering if you were...'
'It's this!' Sirius interrupted, waving his hand at the room. 'It's just...' He took a deep breath to steady himself. Out of all the secrets he was hiding right now, this was the one he could afford to reveal.
'I... I worked damn hard to get where I am in the Ministry and I suppose I'm a little resentful that you got a position handed to you because of who you are, because of what you are.'
Remus' mouth fell open slightly and he stared at Sirius with obvious disbelief. 'Are you insane?' he asked, anger now laced in his words. 'You think I had it easy? Do you have any idea how much shit I had to wade through to prove that I wasn't going to spontaneously transform and fucking eat my colleagues?' He threw his glasses down on the timber coffee table and stood up.
'I'm not denying that I happened to be exactly the right shape to fit the hole Minister Bagnold needed to fill, and I'm not saying that without my family name and reputation, I would be in the same position,' Remus spat, glaring furiously at Sirius, his hands fisting at his side. 'But I have worked my arse off this last year to earn my appointment, and I've done a damn fine job of leading what was a completely prejudiced and backward department. We've managed to help a hell of a lot of people and magical creatures that might normally be suffering indignities a spoilt brat like you who grew up without a single problem has no clue about.'
Sirius frowned and, arousal now effectively dampened, rose to his feet also. 'Now, hang on,' he said loudly, holding up a hand. 'Don't bring my family into this...'
'Why not?' Remus retorted childishly. 'You did when you started this. Isn't that why you're so resentful, Sirius? Because my family has the respect that your father lost by dipping his toes in the Dark Arts?'
Sirius' shock must have shown on his face because Remus smiled grimly, working the nerve he'd exposed. 'I'm a Dark Creature by no choice of my own, Sirius, and people understood that. Your family willingly opened their door to the Dark...'
'Shut up!' Sirius snapped, taking several steps back, putting some space between them before he killed Lupin himself. 'You have no bloody clue what you're talking about. My father... I'm not my bloody father!'
He hated the way his voice cracked with emotion and with a muttered curse, he stomped off towards the door. He'd nearly made it when Remus grabbed his arm in a vice-like grip and spun him around.
'Fuck off, Lupin!'
'Sirius... I...' Sirius saw regret flash across Remus' face and his own anger cooled.
'I'm sorry,' Remus said, visibly trying to rein in his anger. 'I get very defensive... I shouldn't have said anything about your family. That was a low blow.'
He looked genuinely contrite and Sirius let out a long, calming breath. 'Well, I'm sorry as well, I suppose,' he mumbled haltingly. 'I... I made an assumption about you and...' He shook his head. 'I can see you care about your job. You asked what the problem was...'
A finger touched his chin and Sirius looked up, panic flooding him as just that simple touch on what had to be one of his most un-erotic body parts made his cock swell.
'Is that the only reason you are uncomfortable around me?' Remus asked quietly, his blue eyes flashing with a fiery intensity. 'Because I thought you...'
Sirius hastily pulled away and stepped back, putting some space between them. 'That... that is the only reason,' he said, walking backwards in the direction of the door.
Remus watched as he ran into the wall then edged his way over to the doorway. 'Are you sure?' Remus asked once more.
'Yes,' Sirius said, relieved that he was nearly free. 'I'm just tired. I think I'll check the wards and head up to bed. Night, Remus.'
He fled but heard Remus' muttered 'Goodnight' and something odd about a river in Egypt.
The next day passed excruciatingly slow as Sirius alternatively sat and scribbled notes frantically on a piece of parchment and restlessly prowled the house. Remus tried to concentrate on the files he'd brought home, but it wasn't easy, watching the fit figure stalk from room to room in Remus' own clothes.
Remus had been surprised by the reason Sirius had given last night for his dislike of him, but was sure there was more to the other man's ongoing discomfiture. He was nearly choking on the sexual energy in the room and every time Remus moved, Sirius tensed. Several times, he'd caught Sirius watching him and smiled at the brunette. Sirius started as though he'd been caught wanking by his mother and, after flashing a crooked smile, quickly left the room. The signals were completely confusing and Remus was exhausted from swinging between frustration and arousal.
By dinner, Remus had enough of the brunette dodging him. He laid down his paperwork and made a stack of toasted sandwiches, catching Sirius in one of his checks of the wards.
'Come and eat,' he said, his tone brooking no refusal and Sirius cautiously entered the kitchen.
'Thanks,' he said, sitting and taking a sandwich.
They ate in silence for a few minutes then Sirius asked, 'What have you been working on?'
Remus blinked in surprise. 'Er, an amendment to some werewolf legislation,' he said cautiously, startled by Sirius' interest. 'It's to give werewolves that have attacked during the full moon a trial instead of immediate execution.'
Sirius frowned, chewing and swallowing before he commented. 'Weren't you...?'
'Yes,' Remus interrupted, putting his sandwich down. 'There are some rogue werewolves like the one the bit me, but generally we do all we can to ensure we never infect someone else. Most of us hate the thought of being responsible for cursing another person's life and if it does happen, we deserve to try and explain any extenuating circumstances before...' His forehead creased and he reached for his bottle of butterbeer. 'We shouldn't just be killed without a chance to defend ourselves.'
Sirius fiddled with the crust on his sandwich then sighed. 'I want to apologise for my comments last night,' he said, with a contrite little smile. 'I made an assumption and...'
'Made an arse of yourself?' Remus suggested and Sirius couldn't help his laugh.
'Yeah,' he agreed.
'Don't worry about it,' Remus told him. 'We both said some hurtful things.'
Sirius nodded then picked up his sandwich again. 'Why don't your boyfriends stick around?' he asked before taking a bite.
Remus made a startled squeaking noise and half his sandwich fell from his grasp. 'Um, I'm probably the wrong person to ask,' he said lightly, putting down what was left of his sandwich and picking up his butterbeer again. 'I don't always get a reason; just 'It's not working...'. I've always assumed it was the werewolf thing...'
'But they must know you're a werewolf before they get involved with you,' Sirius argued and Remus smiled a little lasciviously.
'Yes, but some of them find that a turn on at first,' he confided, leaning closer, his knee pressing into Sirius' thigh. 'But I guess, once the novelty wears off, they can't handle the reality. Putting up with my work hours plus the stigma of the lycanthropy...' He shrugged, smile grim now, and sat back in his chair. 'I suppose it's just too much to ask of someone.'
Sirius frowned and picked up his own drink. 'It's not,' he said softly. 'Maybe you're just dating the wrong people.'
Remus snorted. 'Finding a bloke with the same... inclinations as me is hard enough, but one who'll also put up with my furry little problem...'
Sirius spat his mouthful of butterbeer across the table, the foamy liquid splattering all over Remus' shirt. 'Oh, I'm sorry,' he said in between coughs. 'I... you... I've never heard lycanthropy described like that...'
Remus laughed. 'I had to develop a sense of humour about my condition,' he explained, swiftly undoing the buttons of his wet shirt. 'My mother used to call it that...'
'What are you doing?' Sirius interrupted abruptly and Remus looked up, shrugging his shirt off.
'It's wet,' Remus said, using the dry part of the fabric to wipe his damp chest. 'People generally change when their clothes are wet.'
Sirius opened his mouth then shut it, looking down at his sandwich. 'That reminds me. I should call around to my place and pick up some clothes,' he mumbled.
'We can do that now if you like,' Remus said cheerfully, standing up. He didn't like being stuck inside and the thought of leaving the house, even for a few minutes...
'You can't come with me,' Sirius told him, glancing up at Remus. 'I'll call James and he can come by...'
'You don't think someone will be lying in wait for me at your place, do you?' Remus laughed, balling up his soiled shirt. 'It's not like you're my boyfriend or something. There's no reason for them to link us.'
A flushed Sirius stood and looked ready to argue before Remus stretched his arms above his head. Sirius' eyes dropped to the dipping waistband of his pants and Remus had to fight hard to stop the bubble of laughter that threatened to escape.
Straight, my arse.
'I'll come with you,' Remus said firmly, lowering his arms. 'You've seen my place. Now I get to see yours.'
So when Remus is half-naked, my brain stops working. Good to know.
Sirius emerged from his Floo, irritably shaking off the soot as he looked around frantically. 'Fuck,' he muttered, quickly Banishing a pile of dirty clothes to his bathroom. The place was a mess and Remus, against Sirius' better judgement, was about to step out into the middle of it.
He managed to Vanish the pizza boxes and the overflowing bin, and cursed before doing the same to the pile of dirty dishes in the sink. 'Have to buy new bloody dishes,' he mumbled, wondering why he even cared what Remus thought of his flat.
All day, he'd felt on edge, unable to sit still while in the same room as Remus. Every time the other man looked at him, his skin prickled and his blood ran faster, butterflies swarmed inside him, and his temperature shot up. When Remus had removed his shirt earlier, it had taken everything Sirius had not to reach out and touch one of those raised scars that littered the pale skin. If Remus had been female, Sirius would have called this attraction, but he wasn't a woman.
He is very much a man.
And it scared Sirius more than he could put into words that his body didn't seem to be getting the 'cease and desist' messages from his brain... or that his brain, usually reliable, seemed just as easily swayed by Remus' expressive eyes and nicely defined abdomen.
'Fucking hell,' Sirius spat quietly, rubbing a hand across his face.
'What?' Remus said as he emerged from the Floo.
Sirius sighed and moved off in the direction of his bedroom. 'Wait here,' he ordered, not looking at Remus for fear the man would see his confusion on his face. 'Don't touch anything.'
'Yes, sir,' Remus snapped out playfully and Sirius stifled a groan as his cock twitched, leaving the room before he could do something he'd regret.
When he returned, Remus was in front of his bookshelf. 'We have the same taste,' he said and Sirius frowned.
Remus waved towards the bookcase. 'Classics with a secret passion for cheap murder mysteries,' Remus elaborated, smiling as he turned from the tomes. He raised his chin towards Sirius' photos. 'Your family?'
'Yes. For what they're worth,' Sirius said, jaw tight as he walked to the fireplace. 'Are you ready?'
'Did you need to contact anyone?' Remus asked and Sirius looked quizzically over his shoulder at him. 'You know... family, girlfriend... Let them know you're not home?'
'No,' Sirius snapped, grabbing a handful of Floo powder. 'There's no one. Only James and he knows where I am. Now, are you finished prying into my life?'
It was a moment before he heard Remus' soft, 'Yes,' and felt the heat of the man's body behind him. Sirius took a deep breath and threw a handful of Floo powder into the flames before he stepped into the gentle warmth.