Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, however much I dream about it. It belongs solely to JKR, Queen of the Potterheads!
My first attempt at writing a Harry Potter fic, though why it's taken me so long I will never know.
Also my first attempt at something resembling slash, because these two are just too cute!
Remus Lupin started from his place in his threadbare armchair, turning towards the door on the other side of the room with a frantic look his heart pounding behind his ribs as if it wanted to escape from the bony confines of his chest.
There were only two groups of people who would call on him at this God-forsaken hour and neither were welcome over his threshold this night.
Slowly he laid the steaming mug of hot chocolate on the cluttered side table, replacing it with his wand as he lifted himself from the faded cushions and took careful steps forwards.
With each step the knocking became harder and louder until it finally stopped as his hand fell to the door handle wand lifted in a defensive stance.
For a moment Remus stood frozen his ear pressed against the faded wood in an attempt to distinguish the person who waited behind but his extra-sensitive ears only made out the heavy sound of breathing.
He pressed his nose against the wood this time trying to sift through the strong odour of oak, varnish and many years of paint to find the scent of the man underneath. He drew in a long breath.
And there it was fresh in his nostrils and vibrant on his tongue, a scent he knew better than his own and one he could recognise in an instant even under the copious amounts of dirt and grime; the smell of sandalwood, lemon and earth after rainfall.
Remus threw the door open, light spilling out into the darkness and grabbed his visitor by the front of their robes tugging him into his small living room and slamming the door behind them with a resounding thump.
He turned on the fellow as soon as he was certain they were safe his forehead creased with anger and eyes narrowed to slits.
"Sirius! What in Merlin's name…?"
The filthy man gazed back at him from beneath a mess of matted hair; he raised his bony hand in a gesture of surrender something Remus had never witnessed before.
"I know. I know. I'm sorry Moony. I promise I'll leave as soon as the Sun rises."
There was a desperate glint in his eyes as he spoke and he swayed as if he were about to collapse, Remus stepped forward automatically his hand briefly resting on Sirius's elbow in an attempt to steady him.
"Come and sit down," Remus said gently motioning to the grey, moth-eaten sofa behind them.
In less time that it took to blink the escaped convict had flopped down onto the faded cushions his head resting back and muddied legs stretched out on the ancient carpet. Sirius sighed contentedly and Remus guessed that his old couch must had felt like heaven compared to the stone floor of Azkaban.
Remus sighed too perching straight-backed next to his old friend with his eyes fixed dead ahead at the blank wall opposite.
It had been a long while since anyone had called him by that name, it was recalling a time he had tried to forget since that fateful night in 1981 and Sirius's subsequent arrest and at the sound his entire body stiffened.
"My name's Remus," he told his friend coldly, "We're not teenagers anymore Sirius."
"Yeah of course," the other man mumbled following it with a struggled, "Remus."
"What are you doing here?" the werewolf asked again having never received an answer the first time he had tried to question Sirius on his motives for this unexpected visit, he ran a hand through his greying locks, "This is the first place they'll come looking."
Suddenly Sirius shot forward so they were sitting level, those pale blue eyes holding his amber ones with untold intensity.
"I just had to see you Moon..Remus," he paused, mouth open but seemingly unable to find the words he wanted, "To know that we were OK before I go back on the run," Remus's mouth fell open a fraction but Sirius was too quick, "I know we can never go back to the way we were…"
Images of warm summer evening filled his mind, the heady smell of pollen floating on the gentle breeze that rolled from the mountains and Sirius's barking laugh.
He shook his head dispelling the memory as Sirius finished.
"…But I want us to be… all right."
Remus softened at the pleading tone in Sirius's voice helped by the recent onslaught of memories.
A single hand rose from his lap and skimmed the other's grimy cheek, his finger catching the edge of his sharp cheekbone more prominent than ever after the years he'd spent half-starved in prison.
Remus's eyes were mild as they gazed at those all too familiar features, a hint of sadness edged its way into his voice.
"What did they do to you Pads?"
Sirius twitched at the use of his old nickname.
"Well," he finally answered with an awkward shrug, "having your best friends die and being locked up in a living hell for twelve years for their murder changes a man."
"Yeah," Remus agreed meekly: old Sirius would have thrown a witty comment or some inappropriate joke in there but this new Sirius had a very different outlook on life which was making Remus feel rather uncomfortable; he couldn't imagine the man sat before him being any more different from the boy he had met on the Hogwarts Express nineteen years previously.
"You've changed too Moony. You're greyer," Sirius fingered his hair and then one of the deep creases that ran around his mouth, "and older."
"We're both older Sirius," he tried to keep the resentment in his voice hidden but it came out stronger than he had meant, those skeletal fingers instantly withdrawing as if their owner had been burnt.
"But only you look it."
Remus looked up to find a smirk spread across the other man's face and for a second he could see the Sirius he remembered. His heart thumped painfully as more memories slipped through the safety net.
A little chuckle left his lips.
"Azkaban didn't destroy your arrogance I see," Remus teased affectionately, "It always was one of your less attractive qualities."
"Don't lie," Sirius smiled again as he responded, "You loved it."
The werewolf watched as the face opposite darkened, those thin lips twisting and jaw clenching like he wanted to pull those words back as soon as they had left his mouth; his eyes were even more revealing and Remus thought a part of him shattered as they screamed 'like you used to love me.'
A throat was cleared and Remus was drawn back from the depths of those blue pools, he gasped as if he had just been saved from drowning.
"So you're a professor?"
Do you really want to talk about this! Remus screamed inwardly; there was so much more they could be discussing and there he was asking about his job.
But any aggravation felt was swallowed up as he answered the question with as much enthusiasm as he could muster,
"Not really. Only that one time at Hogwarts; Dumbledore offered me the post and I couldn't refuse it was the first job I'd been given in months."
"Times are still tough?"
Remus hid his discomfort under a throaty chuckle.
"When haven't they been."
"I don't know," Sirius shrugged his thin shoulders, he was no longer looking at Remus instead fixating his eyes on any object of note in the room rather than look in his direction, "Hogwarts was a pretty good stint."
A smile crept over Remus's face a warm feeling accompanying it, it crept up his back and down his legs until his whole body tingled; the sensation was akin to the initial feeling of moonlight dancing on his skin at the beginning of his transformation but far more pleasant because he knew that the unimaginable pain of the change wasn't going to follow.
Slowly he nodded.
"Yeah, it was wasn't it."
Another silence followed, this one stretched on for longer only disturbed by the steady sounds of their breathing and Remus was again transported back in time to cold nights curled up in bed when he had been lulled to sleep by that very noise.
"Are you seeing anybody?"
Remus turned to stare hard at Sirius's expressionless profile shocked at the new direction the conversation was taking and not quite sure that he wanted to talk about that subject.
"Sirius," he added a touch of warning to his voice, "this hardly seems to be the time to be discussing my love life."
But Sirius was having none of it, he spun around scowling and there was something frightening and frantic in his expression, something that reminded Remus that the man before him was indeed a Black and therefore possessed the infamous Black rage.
"I want to hear everything that's happened to you since I left and we've only got," he cast a rapid glance at the clock on the mantle,"three hours! There's a good a place to start as any."
"Sirius…" a trace of the wolf's growl entered his voice.
"Ok!" Sirius began suddenly in a booming voice, "I'll start! For the past twelve years I've been sat in a cell trying to maintain what little sanity my genes have left me with, thinking about how to get that traitor," Black stopped his voice thick, "and of Harry, James, Lily...and you."
A breath caught in Remus's throat and he tried his hardest not to splutter, but Sirius failed to notice instead casting a demanding expression his way.
Remus shrugged tiredly: how could he deny him this tiny morsel of knowledge after such a long time without human contact? Anyway when had he ever been able to deny Sirius anything!
"Trying to survive; moving whenever someone came close to discovering my secret, the usual," he was surprised at how tired he sounded even to himself.
Sirius either didn't notice again or didn't care, pressing for Remus to answer the original question, eyes shining wildly.
Sighing the werewolf pressed his finergs against his eyes wishing that Sirius would just forget the whole matter.
"I've seen a few people," he tried to sound as casual as possible, not wanting to cause his friend any additional pain, "Never for long. No-one currently."
The air around them had turned spine-chillingly cold and Remus's lips snapped shut as a look of pain ghosted over Sirius's face making him shudder; had he really believed that he wouldn't try and move on with his life?
"You've done better than me," Sirius was clearly trying to lighten the mood but his voice was too broken for it to work; it only made Remus's chest contract more, "Azkaban's not the best place for dating. The only kiss you're likely to get there is one from a dementor."
Remus's stomach lurched; the last thing he wanted to think about was one of those hideous black figures floating towards Sirius's crumpled form, one scabbed hand reaching out to grasp his chin, holding his face still while it lowered its hooded face and…Remus bit back the cry that had formed subconsciously on the tip of his tongue, his fingers drifting to Sirius's chest where they lingered assuring himself that the man sat beside him was real.
"Sirius," his voice cracked, "Please…"
But Black had already decided he'd heard enough on this topic, his mouth was moving and a despairing look etched itself into the dirt streaked lines of his face those blue orbs darkening almost to black.
"D-did you really think I'd done it Moony?" Remus had to strain to hear him even with his wolf-heightened senses, "Betrayed James and Lily?"
"I tried not to. For months I refused to believe it but all the evidence was against you and…" his voice trailed off into nothingness, the syllables fading into the frosty air. Under that piercing gaze Remus felt all his old reasons fall into oblivion, regret and self-hatred filling every pore.
None of it mattered because Sirius was innocent and he, the one person who had vowed to stand at his side no-matter-what had abandoned him as soon as things had looked bad.
Next to him Sirius nodded dejectedly,
"I understand," but Remus did not want him to understand; the last thing he deserved was clemency, "That rat persuaded me to suspect you too."
"We underestimated him. I always knew we did."
Another silence settled, this one brimming with undirected venom and pain.
Sirius broke it again, he seemed determined to never let the quiet lie for more than a few minutes and Remus wondered if the suffocating blanket reminded him of prison.
"You didn't come to the trial."
That statement hit Remus like a stunning spell and for a moment he was speechless.
He swallowed the vile ball of phlegm that had climbed up his throat and was making him feel sick.
He could see it, Sirius waiting for him in that courtroom, eyes bright with hope that any second he would walk through the door.
Then the cloying sense of guilt faded, burned away by the hot, sizzling feeling of rage.
The man sat next to him had no idea how hard it had been to be the one left beind!
Sirius had no concept of how the events of that year had destroyed his entire life, leaving him to rebuild some scrambled form of reality from the crumbling pieces.
Sirius may have been locked away but he had been left alone in a world that despised his very existence.
The wolf howeled furiously in his head as the self-control Remus so prided himself on snapped.
"How could I Sirius!" he screamed, leaping up from his seat not wanting to be anywhere near the man.
Every bitter feeling was spilling out and he couldn't stop them, he didn't want to stop them.
"Did you really expect me to sit there and watch them charge the man…" he paused, the words lodged behind his teeth, "..the man I loved…" he finally said voice unnervingly calm, "..with betraying our best friends to their deaths?"
A dry sob ripped itself from his throat, searing its way through him leaving his whole body quivering with emotions he could no longer name.
Arms appeared from nowhere wrapping themselves about his torso in an embrace so familiar he could not deny it.
"I'm sorry Moony," Sirius breath was cool against his ear, his croaky voice overflowing with a desperate need for forgiveness made Remus's leg wobble, "Sorry for everything."
And as always Remus couldn't deny Sirius.
His lips were on Black's before he knew what he was doing and all those awful thoughts from earlier vanished coimpletely replaced by the deeper emotions that he had tried to bury under all his pain and resentment.
"It's not your fault Pads. It's not."
Sirius kissed back with bruising strength; he tasted just the same as he recalled and when he said those words, the same ones he'd said the last time theyon'd seen him the day he'd been arrested, Remus felt like he was fifteen all over again.
"I love you Rem."
There was a warm bubbling deep in his stomach and his hands gripped Sirius's pointed shoulder blades as letting go would mean an instantaneous and agonising death. When he spoke his voice was dear and honest,
"I never stopped Pads, not for a moment."
And then they were lying back on the sofa, Sirius on top of him and it was just like it had been all those years before, except Sirius was much lighter and Remus's back ached.
The minutes drifted past full of breathless kissing and fumbling fingers as garments were thrown to the floor and damp skin touched, and then everything stilled and Sirius was curled between Remus and the back of the couch his hands clinging to Remus's chest in a deathgrip face pressed tightly into his neck as he sobbed and Remuse did the only thing he could, he held him tighter then ever before whispering sweet nothings into his tangle of hair.
Slowly Sirius's breathing steadied, the shaking of his limbs ceased and only then, when he was certain the other man was sound asleep, did Remus allow himself to succumb to exhaustion.
Sunlight was spilling through the soiled net curtains when Remus jerked awake the next morning.
One hand drifted to the spot beside him but it was stone cold.
Sirius was gone just as he'd promised.
Slowly the werwolf stretched out his cramped limbs, sniffing the still air where Sirius's scent still hung faintly before lifting himself onto his feet.
He was collecting his mug from the last night, the cold, dark remnants of his favourite drink still slopping about in the bottom, when caught sight of the small scrap of paper that had been slipped under the cup.
He unfolded it in his hand, smiling at the spiderish scrawl decorating the white space.
I stayed until sunrise just like I said. I'll be back once the heat dies down here.
Until then take care of yourself.
Remus continued to stare at the note long after he'd finished reading, savouring the loving undercurrents that lay within it even more because he knew that Sirius had never been especially good at expressing his finer feelings on paper.
When he had finished his devoted anaylsis he refolded it and slipped it into the pocket of his trousers.
He knew he should incinerate it, that if anyone saw it and recoginsed either the nickname or the handwriting they'd have him in for questioning in less time that it took to curse a tortoise.
But at that moment none of it mattered because Sirius was free ad he would be back soon and when he was they would have much longer than until sunrise.
Any thoughts? Good? Bad? Indifferent? They all count!
I know it's not likely to be too good, after all it's my first Slash and my first HP fic so any feedback would be much appreciated.
And now I will leave you wonderful people to cry over my dying childhood and dream about Pottermore. THANKS FOR READING!