The next Hogsmeade weekend passed without as much fanfare as previous weekends. The student body had grown accustom to not only Remus and Sirius's relationship, but also to James and Lily's. The four of them went out most Hogsmeades together now. Peter tagged along just because he had nowhere better to be, but even Peter had the good sense to get lost for a while. He'd left the four lovebirds at the Three Broomsticks, claiming he had some friends to meet. Of course, the Marauders all knew that must be a lie; Peter hadn't any other friends.

Anyone who saw Peter slipping into the Hog's Head with Regulus Black might have disagreed, but no one paid much attention to Peter Pettigrew.

Sunday night, once tored Hogwarts students had worn themselves out at Hogsmeade weekend and taken to their bunks, ithe four Marauders sat in the abandoned common room to recount their Hogsmeade victories. Sirius had a new bottle of firewhiskey and some top-of-the-line dungbombs. Remus had more sugarquills, ice mice, and a new quill. James had his own stash of candy and dungbombs, though his primary victory was the smile on Lily's face when he'd bought her a kneazle. She could keep it at Hogwarts for the time being, and James had offered to take care of it over breaks until they had their own place. At last, they all turned to Peter to see what he had bought.

"I got a sneakoscope at Zonko's," Peter answered, "But I think it's broken. Look, it keeps going off." He handed the offending object to Sirius as the four boys sat around the fireplace in Gryffindor tower. Sirius passed Peter his bottle of firewhiskey, and Peter took a deep sip.

The sneakoscope in Sirius's palm hollered its alarm. "It senses that I want to kill you for drinking too much of my whiskey," Sirius scoffed, passing it back.

"Yeah," James nodded, "It's probably broken. If those things worked half as well as advertised, we wouldn't need Defense class." Once James said it, it held the weight of truth, and Peter tucked it away and settled back with some more of Sirius's firewhiskey.


That fall went quickly, and even the Marauders were distracted from their hijinks by the impending N.E.W.T.s. It was simply impossible not to worry about them; too much rested on them. Remus, for his part, had no ideas regarding future employment, so it would have been easy for him to claim that nothing rested on his N.E.W.T.s, but even he knew that wasn't the case. If he ever did seek employment in the wizarding world, he would need to have N.E.W.T. scores far exceeding the usual candidates. He couldn't skim by with anything 'average', as wizarding law required anyone with an infectious disease such as lycanthropy or vampirism to disclose their medical status to potential employers. Wizarding law did not, of course, protect Remus from prejudice based on his medical status. It made Remus angry if he thought about it too hard- it always had- so he made a practice of not thinking about it much at all. Fighting generations of fear against his kind (and not all of it unjustified) would be more futile than fighting the waxing of the Moon.

Though Remus didn't like staying at Hogwarts over Christmas, he wondered if it might be for the best so that he could study for the all-important exam. Remus adored his family and their traditions, and the cold silence of the castle during holidays was the complete opposite of the warmth and joy of Christmas at home. All of Remus's friends were going home, so his time at the castle really would be lonely. For several weeks leading up to the Christmas holidays, Remus debated between staying in the castle and studying, or studying at home.

Remus grudgingly decided that he would head home and try to bring some books to revise over Christmas. He had wanted to spend the holiday with Sirius, but though Remus wasn't even sure what Sirius was doing for the holiday, Sirius had already declared that he wasn't staying in the castle. Remus couldn't help being disappointed, though he wasn't likely to get many revisions done with Sirius around either. Remus hadn't asked Sirius what his plans were. Since it didn't involve him, he felt he was better off not knowing. In the past, Sirius would surely have been with the Potters for the holidays, but this Christmas would be the first since their untimely deaths.

Now, though, Hogwarts and Remus's relationship with Sirius both were imbued with a sense of deadline, a terminator closing in on their school days- and perhaps not only on their school days. Remus loved Sirius with an inevitable permanence, and knew those feelings were returned, but neither had spoken of what would happen once they graduated from Hogwarts. They were, in a very real and magical sense, married, so it stood to reason they would be living together. Remus, however, had to remind himself of this fact more and more frequently as graduation loomed. Sirius had never spoken about life after Hogwarts, and Remus refused to. After all, Remus could not offer anything: he couldn't pay even a dime of rent without an income, and he doubted he could secure an income. Perhaps the fragility of their future together was why Remus mourned the lost time of Christmas hols so badly.

Remus's lonely Christmas plans came crumbling down just a week before the Christmas holiday. James was proudly bragging about the fact that he was spending Christmas at Lily's house, though her parents were insisting on separate rooms. "Never fear, though, mates," James said animatedly, "You know no Muggle lock can keep me from my love." He winked at Sirius.

Sirius suddenly radiated an intense pride. His chest seemed to visibly puff with the sensation. "Must be pretty rotten not being married," he said with a touch of humor. "While you spend all Christmas trying to break into Lily's bedroom under the nose of her snotty sister, Moony and I will be shagging on every available surface."

Remus's response left his mouth almost before he felt the confusion. "We will?" he asked.

Sirius turned to him, eyebrows furled. Remus could feel his own confusion echoed in Sirius's emotions. "I mean," Remus stuttered, "I told my parents I was coming home for Christmas."

Disappointment roiled off of Sirius, and Remus was quick to reply to the unspoken sentiment. "I would rather stay with you! I just didn't know I was invited."

Sirius rolled his eyes, and even James and Peter seemed a bit shocked by this. "Moony," James said, "You practically lived with Sirius over summer holiday. Why would you not be invited now? You prat."

Remus blushed. "I better owl my parents," he mused quietly.

"Yeah, you better," Sirius answered, and he threw a quill and parchment towards Remus's bed. Remus didn't have to be invited twice. He set straight away to writing.


It was Christmas day, but for once Sirius was not eager to open his presents, not when his very best present of all was already here with him. The bed was large enough for them both, and not by coincidence; Sirius had bought it to share. Even so, they didn't take up the whole thing. Sirius curled around Remus's warm back. They were both starkers and the flat was cold, but layers of warm blankets kept the bed cozy. Even though Remus hadn't stirred or said a word, Sirius knew he was awake. He would have known even if they had been apart. If you asked him just how he knew, the explanation defied him. That was true of much of their relationship now; it was subconscious and inexplicable. "Happy Christmas," Sirius mumbled into Remus's soft brown hair.

At first, Remus did not respond. Then he mumbled over his shoulder "'M asleep."

"Like hell you are," Sirius laughed. His roving fingers found Remus's sides and danced there, hoping to tickle. Unfortunately, Remus's scarred skin was not as ticklish as most people's, and Remus quickly flipped and moved his own fingers on Sirius's side. Sirius was soon in stitches, curled in a ball and yelling "Uncle!"

"Don't start what you can't finish," Remus said with a straight face, though Sirius could feel his light humour dancing underneath that smooth surface.

Sirius, in response, swung a leg over Remus until he was sitting astride the other boy. His cock was morning-hard and ready to go. "Oh, I can finish," Sirius assured Remus.

Sirius could tell that Remus was as aroused as he was. If his mind hadn't told him so, the hard cock under his arse would have anyway. It wasn't the wrestling that had done it, not really, at least not for Sirius. It was simply being able to wake up in the same bed as Remus, to have their time and space all to themselves. It had been too long.

Sirius's statement had clearly had an effect on Remus as well, who sat up underneath Sirius. When Remus spoke, Sirius thought he might come from the words alone. "Then give me your arse, you cockwhore." A shiver of humor lay under the words, and Sirius laughed aloud as he flung himself back down onto the bed, arse held high in the air, blankets a crumpled mess at the foot of the bed by now.

Remus wasted little time, and for that Sirius was nothing if not grateful. Remus fumbled towards the nightstand where the little jar of oil hid. Sirius could hear Remus struggle with the small cork; the bottle was greasy from much use. Finally, he felt the cool oil dripping down his arse-crack. Remus spread the oil with two winter-cold fingers. When one of those fingers detoured to enter him, Sirius's breath and hips both hitched. "Sorry," Remus muttered.

"Don't be," Sirius answered firmly. "It feels brilliant."

Sirius heard the little glass jar of oil hit the hardwood floor and roll before a second finger joined the first inside of him. He groaned and pushed back into the building pressure. Remus moved his hand, and Sirius's body moved in counterpoint. Soon, it was Remus's cock pushing against Sirius's entrance, and Sirius pushed back into Remus, opening himself mentally and physically to Remus's presence. Remus groaned as he slipped inside, and it didn't take long for the two of them to set up a steady rhythm. Sirius was in the habit of grunting with each thrust, whereas Remus was his usual quiet self. Remus's right hand was not quiet, though; the slap of flesh as it gripped Sirius's cock was just audible over Sirius's own grunts.

Sirius came quickly with a long groan, his head arching up as if he were preparing to howl at the Moon. Remus came a moment later with a soft gasp. They moved together for a second longer until Remus had completely spent himself into Sirius, and then they stilled. Remus slipped out of Sirius, and Sirius collapsed to the sheets, already laughing. "Merry Christmas to me," Sirius said as he grinned up at Remus.

Remus laughed self-consciously in response and flopped down on the bed next to Sirius. He spared no time in pulling the blankets back up over them as the cold air surrounded them. Sirius was happy for the warmth and burrowed under the blankets until only the trip of his nose showed over the blanket. In moments, Remus and Sirius were both sound asleep. Christmas morning could wait.


Christmas Day itself was less exciting than Christmas morning had been. Sirius and Remus had already decided not to exchange gifts. Sirius did wake up to make them breakfast, though his cooking skills and spells were not exactly up to par. Remus, though, was genuinely grateful. Sirius was glad that he could tell as much.

After breakfast, the couple dressed and began the rounds of Floo calls: Remus's parents, and James and Lily at Lily's parents' place.

Lily, eyes concerned, broke in over James's shoulder. "Are you sure you don't want to come here for dinner? My parents wouldn't mind," she assured them.

Remus and Sirius both politely excused themselves from Christmas dinner, though. They had other plans. Namely, they had a plan to have no plans at all.

A light snow dusted the world outside of Sirius's flat. The heat was a bit lower than either of them would have liked so they camped next to a radiator with a blanket. Sirius left once to get take-away Chinese. If they had been younger- the excited youths of previous Christmas's- it would have been interminably boring. Perhaps it was a sign of how much they had grown that doing nothing together had become the perfect Christmas.