A/N – I'm posting a second update as a (belated) thank you to Miss Heather for being so incredibly encouraging with all of my stories. Been several months but hopefully you're still following this one!
Gentlemen, Part 3
The game of Wizards' Billiards that inevitably followed could not, of course, wait until morning.
The small hand on the mantelpiece clock lay precisely between the three and the four – only a few hours left until sunrise.
Naturally, the late hour was entirely inconsequential to the two men. It might as well have been midday for all they cared.
While it had taken several minutes for them to escape the study – and the company of the other gentlemen in the house – neither man felt the slightest inclination to return to bed. The billiards room to which they had retreated was twice the size of the Pettigrews' study and held all the necessary components to create a supremely masculine environment. The furnishings, while perhaps not what one might consider inviting, were surprisingly comfortable. It certainly did not take long for the two men to settle in.
"I should warn you, Black," Lupin announced, grinning at him from the other side of the room. "I have been told that I am a rather formidable opponent."
Sirius let out a small huff of disbelief.
"Indeed? Well, while I was truly moved by your performance in the ballroom earlier, Lupin," he answered. "This, unlike dancing, is not a game for the fairer sex."
The other man's deep laugh filled the space between them.
Although Sirius was not normally affected by alcohol – even in larger doses – he felt sure that the warmth that filled him at the sound must be due to the four glasses of firewhiskey he'd had not twenty minutes earlier.
Still, Sirius did not usually feel at ease in the presence of anyone but James.
At the thought, he glanced over at the other man.
So the alcohol was not only calming his nerves now but it was affecting his ability to focus as well. The sight of Lupin removing his evening coat would not have been quite so absorbing otherwise.
Sirius watched as surreptitiously as he could as Lupin loosened his cuffs and began rolling up his sleeves. The man's handsome features were open and relaxed – traces of a smile still lingering on his lips. Sirius doggedly ignored the voice in the back of his head telling him that he should have left Lupin alone back in the study.
It was too late now anyway.
When the man finally stood ready, he glanced over at Sirius, raising an eyebrow at the attention he was receiving.
"Oh, dear," Lupin said, indicating Sirius' proper state of dress, an expression of mock disappointment making its way onto his handsome face. "Just when I start to think you aren't as pretentious as they say…"
Narrowing his eyes at the other man, Sirius reached up to remove his own coat.
What a damn –
He tugged at his cravat.
He pulled hard until it came loose.
Bugger of a –
Sirius raised an eyebrow at the other man.
"Yes?" he asked as haughtily as he could manage.
Biting his tongue, Sirius quickly undid his cuffs and rolled up his sleeves. The golden eyes danced with mirth as he stalked across the room towards the billiard table.
Snatching up the two finest cues, Sirius tossed one in Lupin's general direction without warning.
It was caught deftly in one strong hand.
Sirius smirked at Lupin's raised eyebrows and gestured toward the table at the center of the room.
"After you," he murmured with a bow.
With a small shake of his head, Lupin turned his attention to the table and carefully approached the humming billiard balls.
The man's concentrated gaze carefully took in the arrangement of the balls with deliberate thoroughness. Much to Sirius' surprise, it was several moments before the man even stepped close enough to rest his cue against the edge of the table. The sudden image of Lupin poring over books about how to excel at Wizards' billiards sprang to mind.
He nearly snorted at the thought.
Surely Lupin knew that it was near impossible to secure a win in this game by planning one's next move? Even the most amateur player knows that the billiard balls are enchanted to act unpredictably.
With a small smile, Sirius allowed his attention to wander to the man's stance. There were a dozen ways his form indicated that, despite any words to the contrary, Lupin was actually a rather inexperienced player.
Sirius did not dwell on this discovery for long.
More intriguing to him right then was the way the man's golden eyes were narrowed in concentration.
What was it about the man that made him so different from everyone else?
Admittedly, Lupin exuded a warmth and sincerity that held one's attention fully… but it was more than that.
Clearly there was some, as of yet, unidentifiable feature that drew people to the other man. Whatever that feature was, it was becoming more difficult for Sirius to ignore his attraction to it. Every moment he spent in the other man's company, he felt simultaneously unnerved and more at ease. He could not recall ever developing such a fascination for another human being.
Sirius watched intently as Lupin's careful grip tightened on his cue.
Merlin, was it really friendship that he sought? He could not remember looking at James in such a way…
He swallowed tightly.
That bloody whiskey.
Although it was not the first time his gaze had been caught by the sight of the man's strong hands, it was, unfortunately, the first time he had become fully aware of his own inability to look away.
He felt suddenly and inexplicably provoked.
"For Merlin's sake, Lupin," he said roughly. "Pick up your bloody skirts and take the damn shot."
Lupin, for his part, remained unperturbed by Sirius' outburst.
"Hmm," he murmured distractedly. "Patience."
As Sirius waited an intolerably long length of time for the man to take his shot, his eyes were inexplicably drawn – not to where the man's cue would inevitably strike – but rather helplessly to the sight of Lupin's strong arm flexing as he drew back.
Sirius' entire person jolted when the cue suddenly ceased its hovering to slam forward with no small amount of strength.
He barely took notice of the balls moving out of the way of Lupin's shot of their own accord. The ivory ball he'd struck hit another one further along – causing it to bounce off one side of the table and hover on the edge of one of the pockets. The ball made a low, disgruntled noise and tiny little spikes extended on every side as it pulled itself back to safer ground.
Lupin sighed and the black-haired man only just managed to turn his gaze as the man straightened and turned to face him.
Lupin's lips had quirked up yet again.
"Hm," he said thoughtfully. "Well, it appears I am a little out of practice."
Sirius blinked and tried to shake his thoughts – at least momentarily.
When he finally focused and observed the state of the table, he only just managed to suppress an inelegant snort.
The balls were scattered around it – they buzzed and vibrated with impatience. Not a single one had landed in one of the pockets along the sides.
"Sweet Merlin," he said, unable to contain his genuine amusement. "You really should have asked your father for time off from the dancing lessons to improve your performance in more important arenas."
He looked the other man straight in the eye. "You are terrible at this, Lupin."
The man took the censure with good humor still present in both his expression and manner.
"Come now," Lupin replied. "That was only the first shot."
Sirius stepped closer to get a better view of the jumbled display on the table.
"Yes, but surely you could have hit at least one of them?" he queried. "I'm loath to think what your shooting skills are like."
"Take your turn, Black."
Shaking his head in disbelief, Sirius stepped up to the table, practiced arrogance infused in his every move.
"'Decent'," he scoffed softly to himself.
Unlike Lupin, it took Sirius only seconds to bend over the table, aim and take his shot.
Two of the noisy, vibrating balls rolled (one after the other) into a pocket at the far end. Their rather weak grappling proved futile.
Sirius sent an arrogant grin over his shoulder as he stepped around to the other side to take another shot. He felt a small thrill shoot through him when the other man grinned back.
"Impressive," Lupin murmured.
Although he forced himself to look away, Sirius imagined he could feel the other man's gaze fixed on the back of his neck.
The two men remained silent during the course of Sirius' next three shots.
When he finally stepped back (the little ball hovering over the edge of the furthest pocket) his smile was even smugger than before.
"You know, Lupin," he remarked casually. "I rarely get this much satisfaction from trouncing an opponent. I rather think it's an even sweeter victory than those against James – and he actually is a half-decent player."
"Yes, well," Lupin laughed softly. "We are not finished yet. I may still be victorious."
Sirius raised an eyebrow. "Do you really think so?"
Lupin feigned deafness to the last and stepped forward to study the layout.
"Didn't we discover that analyzing one's next move is a rather ineffective strategy, Lupin?"
Even as he spoke the jibe in a careless manner, Sirius' eyes drank in the sight of the other man's intent expression.
Sirius' own moves were so effortless that he had never needed to concentrate in such a way – to scrutinize his next move so carefully. Like most things, Sirius' skill at billiards came naturally to him. He had never realized how absorbing it could be to watch someone who was so genuinely determined to perform well…
How could he not be entranced by such a sight?
The view led him to speculate on whether Lupin was just as focused and determined in every pursuit. What, Sirius wondered, did the other man look like when he was laying with a woman? Did he forget himself (and his manners) and lose control? Did he become consumed by passion – his golden eyes flashing with lust and desire?
What he would he give to know…
Still bent over the table across from where Sirius stood, Lupin's eyes snapped up to meet his at the thought.
Good lord. Surely Lupin didn't know what he had been thinking…?
"You better not be jinxing my cue, Black," Lupin said testily.
Sirius' jaw clenched.
Any remaining symptoms of mild intoxication had left him so quickly and completely that he might as well have been tossed into the Pettigrews' icy pond.
What was happening to him? Merlin, if the man knew where his thoughts had been heading…The stirrings of desire that had begun spreading through his body only seconds before…
Sirius held the other man's gaze until his face burned with shame.
From the corner of his eye, Sirius saw Lupin straighten and take a small step towards him out of concern.
Sirius' first impulse was to try and alleviate the other man's worry – to shake his head and deliver some small quip that would allow them to return to the game…but the realization of where his thoughts had been leading had been vastly sobering. He could not quell his own fear at the longing he felt right then – never mind consoling Lupin.
"Black?" the man murmured worriedly. Lupin set down his cue and walked around the table completely, his gaze watchful and intent.
Sirius barely registered taking a step back in retreat.
He could think of nothing to say right then…nothing that might begin to explain his odd behavior.
He took a deep, steadying breath and, in the end, decided that reinforcing his argument from the first night in the study was the most sensible thing to do. Lupin needed to know what kind of man he was.
"I am no different from anyone else here," Sirius said quietly.
At his words, Lupin's face adopted a look of genuine surprise. It disappeared quickly as the man took another step closer to Sirius.
"Yes," Lupin insisted softly. "You are." The words were spoken so easily and with such assurance of their own truth that Sirius nearly felt staggered.
More than anything, though, he suddenly felt angry.
No one else ever dared to disagree with him.
What possible motive could Lupin have for suggesting he was not who he said he was – who everyone else knew and expected him to be?
Sirius was not fool enough to believe that Lupin's kindness was not genuine but, not for the first time, he wondered why Lupin had come to the Pettigrews' estate at all.
Did the man really associate with the likes of men like Peter Pettigrew on a regular basis? He must – or how else would he have obtained an invitation to the exclusive gathering in the first place?
Did Lupin tell Peter, too, that he had faith in his good nature? Did he look him in the eye and assure him that he was not like every other pure-blooded wizard in England's capital?
The thought caused a sharp pang of jealousy to shoot through Sirius.
Without thinking, he felt his fist tighten.
The idea that Lupin had not voiced those assurances exclusively for him was maddening.
No witch or wizard had ever had such an effect on him before.
Taunting him with that damn mouth….
Sirius' fist burned at his side. Filled with an emotion that he did not recognize or understand, he raised his fist and took a swing at the handsome man in front of him.
The relief he felt when his hand did not make contact was immeasurable.
Nevertheless, he stared at his wrist, now caught in Lupin's strong grasp, with a narrowed gaze. He looked into Lupin's eyes and saw the other man's pupils dilate at the contact.
Though intent, the man did not look angry.
"How could you possibly know anything about me?" Sirius growled.
"Instinct," Lupin said instantly, his deep voice a rumble.
"Instinct?" Sirius balked, his grey gaze dropping to watch the other man's lips.
Damn the man's mouth.
He looked up into Lupin's eyes once more.
The golden orbs positively blazed.
Sirius surged forward before he could stop himself.
As their mouths crashed together, his hands flew to grasp the other man's hair and hold his head in place. He felt Lupin's arms encircle him; the strong hands pressing firmly against his back.
The touch reminded him keenly of where those same hands had rested earlier on the space above the Delhem girl's waist. He growled into Lupin's mouth and shoved hard until the man's back met the wall near the fireplace.
Lupin groaned softly, his hands leaving Sirius' back to tug at the front of his shirt instead. He continued to pull roughly until the fabric came free.
Sirius released his hold on the man's hair – and lips – so they could pull the material off entirely.
Remus threw the shirt aside with little care as to where it landed. His eyes roamed across the expanse of Sirius' broad chest with a growing hunger in them.
After a moment, Remus reached up to remove his own shirt and Sirius felt his already hard arousal swell further at the sight.
He surged forward.
His hands, without thought, fell to Remus' hips…then reached around to grasp firmly at the man's backside.
He felt Remus' deep laughter against his lips.
In the next moment, he was turned and his back was shoved up against the wall where Remus' had been just seconds before.
The man pulled back to grin at him.
In the ensuing heated moments the two men, matched in both height and stature, battled for dominance. Their growing arousals bumped together; their urgent lips strayed to new territory before returning to linger in a thorough kiss.
Such actions might have continued for hours had Remus not decided to push him down onto the chaise in the corner of the room. As the man settled determinedly on top of him, they both groaned at the first prolonged contact of their shafts. Suddenly, it did not feel as if they could continue such movements without the inevitable occurring.
Nevertheless, the two men remained in that position, thrusting against one another without thought, until they were both mere moments from completion.
It might all have come to a very pleasurable end, right there on the chaise, had the realization of Sirius' own impending orgasm not suddenly struck something inside of him.
He did not want it to end this way.
He wanted more of the other man.
Instantly, Sirius' hands rose and began to tighten on Remus' hips – continuing to do so until he stopped the movement altogether.
He sensed Remus' frustration – and felt sure it must match his own. Indeed, it was quickly becoming difficult to rationalize why he had forced Remus to stop.
Impatient, Remus leaned down and nipped sharply at his bottom lip – causing Sirius' hips to thrust upward of their own accord.
Where had the calm, composed gentleman from the ballroom gone?
Hewatched as Lupin's strong hands tried to pull at his tight grip. The man managed to loosen Sirius' hold enough to thrust down once more – hard.
Sirius groaned but tightened his hands once again.
"For Merlin's sake," he swore huskily. "Hold still."
Against his better judgment, he glanced up.
Remus' jaw was clenched, the muscles in his neck and chest taut from restraint. The sight of the man's face, no longer relaxed or amused, caused Sirius to release a very shaky breath.
"Remus," he murmured lowly, his voice unsteady. He had meant to voice it as a question but it had come out as more of a plea…a whisper.
He had never felt such desire for another person.
One hand still holding tightly to the man's hips, Sirius reached up with the other to trail his fingers over the exposed skin. He continued, fascinated, until he thought he might explode without any other stimulation to his swollen shaft. The other man did not appear to have heard him.
Sirius needed to reverse their positions…but he wanted the other man's permission first.
"Remus," he said again, trying once more to regain the man's attention. Although it was spoken in much the same tone as before, this time Sirius waited until the golden eyes opened and the man was looking down at him once more.
"Remus," he said huskily, pushing lightly on the man's chest, the question in his eyes. "Please."
At the tone, the other man's gaze intensified. Sirius knew that if the other man did not consent then more precious time would be spent battling for the upper hand. He was not sure he was ready to relinquish control entirely.
To his credit, Lupin realized almost instantly what Sirius was asking. Although he did not attempt to mask his initial hesitation, it quickly became clear that he did not wish to stop and discuss what position they each wished to fill that night.
Right then, desire outweighed reluctance.
With a small but sure nod, Remus relented and allowed Sirius to keep hold of his hips as he rolled them over and reclaimed his position of control.
Sirius settled his hips firmly against Remus' in appreciation. They both groaned once more at the contact.
Burying his nose in Remus' neck, one hand working its way between them, Sirius did not hesitate to release his own arousal – impossibly hard – before doing the same for Remus.
He swore into Remus' neck as he stroked his hand roughly over Remus' hard length.
"Merlin," he whispered.
Surely this could not really be happening?
The reigns of his control were quickly slipping from his grasp.
With quite a lot of impatient fumbling, they both managed to kick themselves free of all their remaining clothing.
Sirius continued to kiss and lick at Remus' neck, reveling in the small groans he was pulling from the handsome man.
They both let out harsh sighs when their naked arousals ground together for the first time. Sirius quickly shifted his hips until his hard length settled against the place he sought on the other man.
Instinctively, he pushed his hips forward.
While he was familiar with his position atop another warm body, the sudden desire to possess, to take and claim, was entirely foreign to him. He felt mildly intoxicated again but he knew this time that it very likely had little to do with the alcohol.
As he continued to press forward, he felt the other man exhale sharply and shift at the pressure.
He stopped his forward movement.
Clearly Lupin had never allowed himself to be in such a vulnerable position either.
The realization did nothing but propel Sirius forward – closer to the edge.
Without lifting his head from where it rested on Remus' shoulder, he reached up to the side table nearest them and blindly grappled at its contents.
Naturally, it held nothing that could be of use to him.
"Damn it all!" Sirius swore roughly – it took no small amount of effort to break the contact between his hardness and Remus' opening.
Remus jerked slightly at the loss of contact and one hand flew up to hold firmly to his lower back in an attempt to haul him close again.
Sirius gritted his teeth but managed to pull himself away a little more.
While he had found himself in many unexpected situations in his life, he had never before felt the slightest inclination to bed another wizard. Fortunately for Remus, he was worldly enough to know that it was not the same as bedding a woman. He knew that they needed to…prepare…but Good Sweet Merlin, he was positively desperate to be inside the other man.
Was there really nothing they could use?
Reaching over the edge of the chaise, he felt around in the vicinity of their clothing for his wand.
When he finally came up victorious, he cast the only spell he could think of that might be of use.
A clear liquid poured out into his hand and, too far gone to be embarrassed, Sirius stroked himself a few times – shuddering when Remus' watchful gaze darkened further at the sight.
Without another word, he settled back against the other man.
This time, when his hard shaft nudged Remus, the head of his prick pushed in with less resistance than before. He could tell that it was still not entirely free of pain but Remus did not utter a word or sound that might discourage him from continuing. In fact, one of the man's hands was holding tightly to his hip – as if Remus was suspicious that he might try to pull away again.
"Not if Merlin himself burst in on us," he said harshly into Remus' neck.
Remus answering laugh was strained.
Sirius continued to push his length in slowly.
The tightness was nearly making him delirious.
No woman had ever felt this good.
A voice in the back of his mind suggested that perhaps that had more to do with the type of woman he usually associated with. However, the thought was not nearly enough to distract him from the pure pleasure he felt as he continued to inch forward until his entire length was buried inside the other man.
His breathing remained uneven and he tightened his fingers in the fabric below them to prevent himself from thrusting mindlessly into the other man.
He felt Remus shift beneath him.
"Black," the man muttered thickly. "Merlin. Hell. Move."
Sirius tried to communicate his utter relief through a series of brief, rough kisses to the man's neck.
There was one more moment's hesitation before he began pulling out from the sweet, tight heat and slamming back in.
"Fuck," he said softly.
It was going to be quick. There was nothing for it.
Perhaps he should not have insisted on more than a quick rub up against one another. It was not as if he was in any more control of his body's reaction now than when he had rested beneath the other man.
He pulled out and thrust back in twice more – one hand reaching down instinctively to grasp Remus' own hard length. He released an uneven breath that did not go unnoticed by Remus.
Although he did not actually say aloud how close he was, he still heard the other man's murmur of agreement before he felt his release overtake him.
He buried himself deep in the other man and groaned as he watched the tense expression ease from Remus' face – only to be replaced by a thoroughly arousing expression of satiation.
Though he'd already finished, Sirius thrust his hips once more against his will.
After a few more moments passed, he opened his eyes to stare up at Sirius.
Something flared between them – a recognition of sorts. Powerful but indefinable. As they stared at one another in silence, Lupin's hand once again came to rest on his back. Sirius thought he felt it tighten ever so slightly. He leaned down closer to the other man in response.
There might have been more but Remus blinked and shifted his gaze to Sirius' bare chest. One corner of his mouth rose in amusement.
"Merlin, Black," he said quietly. "All I did was tell you not to jinx my cue."
Sirius shifted but did not laugh; he could not have laughed if he'd wanted to. His mind was preoccupied with thoughts of a much more serious nature – most significantly of which was the fact that he was still buried to the hilt inside the other man.
More unsettling than anything, though, was the sudden comprehension that it would not take long for his body to be prepared to repeat what they had just done.
He swallowed tightly.
He knew they could not. A house elf might appear at anytime and the Pettigrews' servants were not known for their discretion.
He reluctantly pulled out and felt a strange ache fill him – as if it had been Lupin who had pulled away from him.
What did it mean?
Feeling both restless and exposed, a strange sense of urgency flooded through him.
He needed to know if he would feel such pure, unadulterated pleasure again.
Swallowing thickly, he stared down at the other man, aware that his eyes must still be lit by the strength of his desire.
"Remus," he said seriously.
The other man raised an eyebrow.
His jaw clenched for a moment but he could not stop himself from uttering the next words.
"The guests will all be leaving in a few days," he murmured.
He leaned down and buried his nose in the man's neck. He did not say anything for several seconds – reveling in the warmth of the other man. He had never been this close to someone who was so inherently good. He felt a strange fear of pulling away. Of losing the feeling.
He felt his desperation rise and he tightened his grip on the other man.
Around them, the air buzzed.
"Remus," he breathed urgently into the man's ear. "Leave here with me."