A/N First Sirius/Remus one-shot ^^ I might do more in the future, we'll see. Anyways, I'm quite happy with this piece- hopefully, you'll enjoy it as well!

Rated T for mild violence and kissing

Disclaimer I don't own Harry Potter or any associated characters, events, etc.


INEXPLICABLE

Remus Lupin and Sirius Black were best friends. Everyone knew it. Thought they weren't as often seen as a pair as James and Sirius, they could often be found together, just the two of them, walking, talking, laughing. They clearly delighted in each other's company. There was nothing odd or awkward about this, nothing at all. It was just how it was. Or, rather, how it appeared to be.

Because things went on in Remus's mind that the rest of the school didn't know about. He had never been particularly confident about himself, or really confident about himself at all, but things had been changing lately. When had they first started, the slinking doubts? Third year? Fourth? They had always been there, he supposed, but not fully materialized, just whispers, echoes, bits of mist that crept around the shadowy corners of his intelligent mind, snickering and murmuring horrible, haunting words to him. They weren't doubts particular to a wizard, exactly. He wasn't concerned about his blood status or his House or his skill with a wand—those were all adequate, at a minimum. No. The thoughts that came to Remus could have plagued any boy of his age, any boy who was really still forming himself.

He'd had lots of crushes on girls. Nothing too intense, but he'd dated, he'd kissed, he'd daydreamed. The average sort of thing a handsome pubescent boy might venture forth to do. But, through it all, there was an undercurrent to the fluttery passion and childish excitement. Something sweet and dark and thick, something fierce and bright and sharp, something that flowed like cool silk and raged with the heat and power of a summer hurricane. Something unidentifiable, at first. Was it an emotion? Possibly. But not a simple one. It helped to sort feelings, put them into categories. It worked easier in Remus's organized mind. There were the basic, elemental emotions: happiness, sadness, and anger. Then the ones a step up, which borrowed from the aforementioned like the secondary colors from the primary, mixing and blending bits and pieces into something new. These were ones such as greed, jealousy, excitement. And then, yet more advanced, were the tertiary: confusion, anticipation, concern, and the like. But this—this was on a different level entirely. This was a complex emotion built from several others, gracefully twisted together and formed into a perfect, delicate crystal formation, something that couldn't possibly be duplicated.

But, delicate as it was, it endured through the years, only solidifying and growing in strength, until Remus could nearly name it. Names were powerful, potent things, as he had learned during his years at Hogwarts, and this one was elusive, teasing his tongue and prickling his throat. It was strange, to actually not know something, and to not have a way to access that knowledge. He couldn't walk up to a Professor and ask casually, "Excuse me, but do you know what this feeling I get is? No, I can't explain it. Well…I suppose that it crops up most often when I'm around my friends. No, definitely not just happiness. Something else. Someone specific? I guess that it's strongest around…around Sirius Black."

That had been a big turning point, when he realized this feeling had something to do with Sirius. From then on, there was really nothing to it. The name came to him easily, danced through his waking mind when he saw the dark-haired boy laugh, or watched him try and fail to sit down and study, fidgeting, or listened to him whining about how James seemed more devoted to Lily Evans than their circle of friends, the Marauders, or watched the smooth transformation from good-looking boy to beautiful, ink-black dog before his mind was overtaken by the monster he became every full moon. It haunted him when he lay in his four-poster bed at night with the curtains drawn to hide the confused tears that would sometimes assault him unexpectedly. The name. Though he defied it with every bit of his strength, though he ignored it and pushed it aside and shoved it so deep down that he hoped it would never come back…it did. Always, it would return to him like a faithful dog—even the metaphor, when it came to his mind, jolted his stomach.

Love.

So this was love. The thing that the oh-so-literate boy had never been able to capture with words, whether in his mind on the beautiful scratchiness of parchment. It wasn't how he had expected it to be, not really. It was so much… stronger. So much more insistent. It wasn't like some stupid pink butterfly that floated around in his chest. It was much more deeply grounded, something made of swirling silver and gold, light and dark, something huge and powerful and unavoidable. Something that captured every shade of the spectrum, every note on the scale, every degree of emotion that he sorted into his neat little levels. Happiness, when he thought of Sirius. Sadness, when he realized that there was no way he could ever have him. Anger and jealousy, when he saw some fluff-headed girl flirt with the long-haired Animagus boy. Greed when the second-youngest Black would strip to his boxers for a dip in the giant squid's lake. Excitement when the two of them would lean just a little closer together, sitting on a couch or perhaps huddled with the other two Marauders on one of their beds, plotting. Confusion when someone referred to the two of them as 'friends' and he realized he'd been imagining something more. Anticipation when Padfoot said he wanted to talk to him privately. Concern when he looked at himself, at how pathetic he had become in the face of it all. And a thousand more things, too, which he couldn't tack a name on.

It was so bizarre, to have something, an area of existence, that he simply wasn't proficient in. What had happened to his constant readiness to answer any question, his ability to complete any task perfectly, if given enough time? He had all the time in the world to work on fixing this. But he couldn't.

Realizing that he simply couldn't fix it, that it didn't even have to be fixed, was another breakthrough for Remus. This—this feeling, this emotion, this…passion that was now his was a living thing, something that must have some purpose, since it managed itself and so stubbornly refused to leave him. He knew all the characteristics of life. Had them memorized. Exchanges gases, needs water, needs energy, made of cells, produces waste… the list went on. The thing he had labeled as love did none of these things, though the fact that it was alive was unquestionable. It simply had a more efficient method of existence. It was practically a deity.

Remus never felt any concerns about being gay. Sirius's gender seemed practically irrelevant. It wasn't like the attraction was purely physical—though, yes, everything about Sirius was inarguably gorgeous and smoldering and sexy. No, it went deeper. A lot of it broke off at the level of personality, dwelling in his braveness, heroism, his casual mischief and playfulness, the unwavering loyalty that stood firmer than an ancient boulder beneath its slick coverings of carelessness. But something plunged yet beyond personality, went to something else—the pure Sirius Orion Black, the flaming Sirius-ness of him. If he had had a twin brother who looked and acted exactly like him, he wouldn't have been the one Remus fell for, simply because he wouldn't be Sirius…

So it had been there for a long time. Love. But it had never been interfering, exactly. Intrusive? Sure. Distracting? Absolutely. But not interfering. Not until that one time…it had started normally, just like a thousand other similar incidents had in the last six years. James and Sirius pestering a Slytherin in their year, Severus Snape. Teasing and mocking him, hexing him, throwing him back and forth to one another like two cats with a mouse.

And yet something had been different this time. There had been a determined, steely hardness in Snape's cold, dark eyes. Something that had never been there before. And it was in full awareness of his actions, with complete deliberation, that he pointed his wand and that the snaky, ugly incantation slithered out from between his bared, crooked teeth.

"Sectumsempra."

Everything seemed to go into slow motion, and Remus felt his eyes widen in something beyond terror, beyond horror, beyond pure agony, as the rip appeared in Sirius's robes, digging deeper, into his flesh, so that a huge gash mirroring the movement of Snape's wand materialized there, awful crimson blood, so dense it looked black, splattering across his robes, across the springy green grass that he fell back in, eyes rolling up in his head.

Snape was hit with three jets of red light—Remus hadn't even realized that he'd screamed "Stupefy!" along with James and Peter. The greasy Slytherin boy fell back heavily, but Remus didn't even keep his eyes on him long enough to see him hit the ground—all he could see was Sirius, Sirius, now lying sprawled on the ground, unconscious, blood ceaselessly streaming from that nightmarishly huge cut in his chest. Everything seemed so bright, and yet the screams of girls and boys alike around the courtyard were faint, practically nonexistent. He couldn't reach Sirius fast enough, and when he did, he realized that he didn't know the spell to heal him, and it was torture, to know that he could answer any stupid, worthless question in the classroom, and yet was unable to draw upon his knowledge when it really mattered.

When Professor Dumbledore arrived to carry Sirius to the Hospital Wing, Remus refused to lift his hands from the limp body, instead walking alongside them all the way, fingers gripping Sirius's dangling wrist like it was some sort of rope that could pull him to safety, pull him out of this unreal hell…

The word came, in the Hospital Wing, that though the curse Snape had used was unknown and therefore fixing Sirius would be difficult, it could still be done, most certainly could be done. Remus cried when he heard it. Cried shamelessly, refusing to leave Sirius's side to go to the bathroom and wash away his tears. He was told by various teachers, over the next few hours, to leave, let the still-unconscious Sirius get some rest. But he refused. No, he did more than simply refuse. He turned his amber gaze on them with the force of the werewolf that he truly was, with a sort of calmly restrained fury, deadly anger, and they hurriedly turned away, occasionally with a glance or two of over their shoulders. Dumbledore was the only one who did otherwise—he simply nodded, met Remus's eyes for the space of a few seconds, and left.

Now it was late at night, midnight at least, and though James and Peter had come tearing into the Wing as soon as classes were over, they had left now, with great reluctance. Remus was alone with the sleeping Sirius. He sat next to him, watching his empty face with its slightly open mouth and long, dense eyelashes and ebony dark hair spilling over pale skin. He tenderly, gently tucked the latter aside, knowing that the waking Sirius wouldn't have wanted it in his eyes.

Remus couldn't say exactly what point at which Sirius first began to stir, but when it happened, something leaped inside him so suddenly and violently that he thought he might be sick. His grip on the metal bedframe tightened until his knuckles shone white, and he watched with complete concentration as Sirius's mouth twisted, as his shoulder moved slightly and his eyes groggily half-opened. He looked hazy but aware, and as the light, misty gray of his irises found the burning, intent amber of Remus's, he grinned weakly.

"Hey, Moony," he murmured, his voice hoarse and cracked.

There was another fierce, sharp twist in Remus's stomach, a quick, strong ache in his chest, and then, before he even knew what he was doing, both of his hands were gripping Sirius's shoulders, and he was leaning over him, gentle and rough at the same time.

"Sirius," he gasped simply, the name coming out of his mouth in a garbled rush, and then, all logic, for once in his life, thrown aside, he tilted his head and pressed his lips insistently to the other boy's, forcing their faces together, getting as close as he possibly could without inflicting further injury on Sirius's damaged torso. After a hesitation, the dark-haired boy responded with his characteristic swaggering enthusiasm, pushing back so that their lips were doing a kind of sweet, powerful dance, with tongue darting in and out, and lifting his hands to twist them into Remus's hair and try to pull him in closer, though it was a wasted effort, as there was no space between them left to fill. So he relaxed his fingers, just letting them weave through the light brown softness.

It lasted until Sirius gave a small, involuntary yelp of pain—Remus had accidentally elbowed him in the chest. Face burning with excitement and shame in equal parts, the light-haired boy drew back, stumbling into the neighboring hospital bed and landing heavily on it as his shivering knees gave way. He lifted a shaking hand to his forehead and covered his eyes, not wanting to see the probably disgusted expression on his friend's face.

A firm grasp tugged it away, and the werewolf looked up miserably to see that Sirius was sitting up in his bed, watching him with something bright and unrestrained in his storm cloud-colored eyes. "Remus," he breathed.

"Lie down again," Remus mumbled. "You'll aggravate that injury."

"What, this? S'nothing," Sirius protested, and, in a single movement, he ripped the bandages off his chest with an audible hiss of pain that he quickly tried to cover up with a harsh sort of cough. The gash had healed itself, mostly, though there was still an awful-looking scar stretching across his otherwise smooth skin. "Don't worry 'bout it, really. I'm going to kill that Snivellus, though," he added as an afterthought when his face contracted in a spasm of pain.

It took a moment for Remus to find his voice, and when he did, it was, to his shock, almost giggly. "Well…Prongs and Wormtail and I practically took care of that already." He jerked his head towards the other side of the infirmary, where the curtains were drawn around another bed.

Sirius's eyes widened incredulously. "What did you do to him?" he asked in wonder. "You didn't—he's not actually dead?" His voice sounded suspiciously hopeful.

Remus wanted to laugh, but resorted to a wry grin. "Three Stunners. And, sorry, but I'm fairly confident he's alive."

"Wow…and damn. That close, eh?"

A roll of the eyes. "We would have been expelled for sure if we'd done real damage. I think we might be anyway…" This was odd, how their little conversation was going. Toonormal, after what had just happened. Was Sirius just going to pretend that nothing had occurred between them? He didn't think he could handle it if that happened. So close…

"No, you can't be expelled! C'mon, they've got to let you off. For Merlin's sake, look at what Snivellus did to me! There's no way you can be kicked out for fair retaliation!" Sirius indicated the scar stretched across his chest.

This time, Remus did laugh, but it wasn't a happy laugh. Not in the least. "I'd hardly call it fair…" But he did think it was fair, actually. More than fair. Anyone who'd do this to his Sirius…no, not his Sirius. Just Sirius. He had no possession over him, no claim.

"Huh. As if. Say, Moony, you don't look very happy," the dark-haired boy ventured, looking concerned.

"I—" He was prepared to present some fabricated story, but then realized that there was no use. You just kissed him, Remus. How much more outright can you get, really? "You seem so casual," he said carefully, as he wasn't used to stating his honest feelings. "After…what I just did."

The expression on Sirius's face became pained, and Remus knew it wasn't from his cut. "Aw, come on. Who didn't see it coming, really?"

"Huh?"

A snort. "Did you just say huh? Wow, the great Remus Lupin, sounding genuinely stumped." He snickered. "Okay, here—are you really so oblivious? It's been kind of obvious to everyone for a really—long—time that you had a crush on me, Moony."

"What—really?" Remus asked disbelievingly, flushing deeply. "But…I…for…since when?"

"Hm…let's say…maybe halfway through second year? And then—"

"But that's before I even knew!"

"Well, there you are," Sirius smirked, looking a bit annoyed at being interrupted. "But as I was saying: and then it was only a short path from there until I started to realize that I returned your feelings." The last phrase was singsong, almost sarcastic, but had a deep core of truth to it.

"What?" Remus gasped out. "But…"

"But—you say that too much, Moony—I was much better at covering it up," he pointed out superiorly.

"I can't believe this," Remus muttered, staring at his still-trembling hands. "I mean…you have girls all over you!"

"Yeah. So? They're fun."

They were interrupted by a rustle from the office at the end of the ward. Sirius froze, eyes wide, and then made a hurried gesture for Remus to leave.

"But—"

"Don't sweat it, I'm fine. See you tomorrow. And be happy…" A devilish grin made an appearance, and his eyes glinted evilly. "You have my coming-out to look forward to. Can you imagine the look on Petey's face?"