Title: Tabula Rasa
Summary: Sirius Black has always been a bit of a cocky bastard. It's just in his nature. However, his overconfidence and not thinking before he acts gets him into trouble when he finds himself stranded alone on an unknown planet.
Disclaimer: Characters and world belong to J.K Rowling and not me. I'm just borrowing them.
Warnings: Non-magic AU, non-chronological timeline.
Sirius jabbed repeatedly at the button of his communicator. It crackled annoyingly. There was no signal. Something on the damn planet was interfering with their communications. He had been lucky enough to bring down the shuttle without causing himself serious damage. Well, maybe not luck, rather skill. After all, Sirius was not the best pilot in the fleet for nothing. Unfortunately, the shuttle had not fared as well as he had. Along with the electronics being shot, one of the wings had been damaged beyond repair. By which, he meant there had been a sort of collision with a tree that had attacked him out of nowhere and somewhere in the dense forest strange creatures were probably making it their new home.
"I'll kill you when I get back up there!" Sirius shouted to the sky. Verbal abuse of his best friend and captain was clearly not going to happen via the device nestled in his ear. "It'll be a piece of piss, Pads, " he mumbled adopting a poor imitation of James' voice, "just land and see if the water supply is as good as the sensors make out."
Exploring the galaxy was not nearly as interesting as Sirius had hoped it would be. All of those old movies and television shows had made it look like there were aliens and adventures around every corner. What a lie that was. So far, they had flown. Flown some more. Then, just for good measure, they had flown so far that their water supply had needed to be replenished. This was the first planet that had boasted anything near a decent water supply and James had decided Sirius should check it out. James had offered the use of a team to go with him, but Sirius had insisted that he was a big boy, and going to have a quick look on a planet with no life forms was something he could more than handle on his own. Not that Sirius trusted that there were no life forms any more. After all, the sensors had told them that he should have been landing in a field and not a freaking rainforest. By the time it had become clear what Sirius was heading towards, it was too late to go back, the shuttle had been dragged inexplicably to the ground. If he had had the use of anything of note, he would have investigated what it was that made him crash.
With a sigh, Sirius grabbed the first aid kit and patched up the laceration on his arm. The cream required just one application to fix nearly any cut; it melded the edges of skin together as if by magic. No need for stitches or anything as primitive as that. Sirius gently prodded the bump that was rising on his forehead and winced slightly. He'd had worse, but he popped a couple of pills in a pre-emptive attempt to hold any headache that might start at bay.
Resigning himself to the fact he was unlikely to receive aid any time soon, Sirius decided to investigate and see how accurate their scans had been. After all, if he was going to be spending time here, he would need the water, and preferably some food.
"Good morning," Remus purred as he crawled his way up Sirius' body and devoured his mouth.
"Mmm, good morning indeed," Sirius smiled when Remus pulled back. He loved tasting himself on Remus' lips. "What did I do to deserve such a wake up?"
"Well you just looked so edible I couldn't help myself."
On his bedside table, Sirius' communication device blinked red. Groaning in frustration, he popped the bud into his ear and pressed the button that allowed him to be heard.
"Sirius, I need you up on the bridge."
"How many times do we have to go through this, mate? You may be a captain, you may be called James, but you are not Captain Kirk. I'll be in the control room in five. Just need to get dressed."
"When your captain says jump, you're supposed to say 'how high'? Not say 'hang on whilst I finish my beauty routine'. Get your arse in gear and out of bed. Five minutes." The signal cut out.
"Well, someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning," Sirius grumbled and rolled his eyes.
James was taking this position of leadership far too seriously. Just because he had been top of their class and his daddy had been captain before him, made James think he was better than Sirius. Mind you, Sirius was not really interested in the position of power. They frowned upon you risking your neck in dog fights, if you were captain, not that there had been any recently. Have to go down with the ship and all that crap. Not get in the thick of the action where the fun was.
James had been his best friend before he had even known what a best friend was. It had taken some getting used to, him being in charge of Sirius, but they were working around it. Mainly by Sirius not listening to what James had to say unless it was important, and James treating him how he always did as long as they were alone. Not that there was much time for that. James always felt he needed to watch everything. He rarely took time off unless forced to by the ship's doctor, who happened to be his wife, so there was double guilt involved if he did not listen to her.
With a huff of annoyance, Sirius rolled out of bed, pulled on his uniform and sped through his morning routine.
"I'll see you later," he said dropping a quick kiss on Remus' lips. "Is it too much to ask that you'll still be naked in bed when I get back?" Remus rolled his eyes, but there was a smile on his face.
"I have work too, you know? Now get going before the captain has your arse."
"Good point, I'd much rather it was you having my arse." Sirius said with a wink as he sauntered from the room.
A short trip down the corridor and Sirius arrived at the transporter.
"Mornin' gorgeous," he winked at Commander McKinnon as he entered. She blushed, as always. It was so fun to make her flustered. Both knew it meant nothing, but it broke up the monotony of the day. They made idle chit-chat as they waited to get to the control room. Whatever James had to say, it had better be good. Not much was worth being torn away from a naked Remus. No matter what, Sirius planned to berate James for it later when there were no other people around.
"What was it you wanted me for, sir?" Sirius asked as he entered the room. Standing straight-backed and trying not to smirk as his best friend glared at him. The days where he could wind James up were getting fewer and farther in between.
James indicated for Sirius to come closer and he complied.
"We're running lower on water than I'd like," James murmured, although given how empty the room was the secrecy seemed unnecessary. "Our scanners have picked up something on a nearby planet. It looks to have a decent water supply; the only problem is the scanners are having a bit more difficulty than we'd like ascertaining if there's enough for our needs."
"You want me to go check it out?" Sirius could see Marlene watching them out of the corner of his eye. She was clearly interested in why Sirius had been summoned so early. He assumed she knew the situation, being James' second-in-command and all.
James nodded. "It'll be a piece of piss, Pads. The scanners aren't picking up any life forms, it should just be a quick mission to go down and check if everything is as good as it looks. I'd send a small team down with you, but I'd rather keep this as quiet as I can."
"Don't worry about the team; I can do it on my own. You want this done quickly?" James nodded. "Then it'll just waste time getting everyone together. I could be back before they've even made it to the shuttle bay."
"You're sure you want to go alone?" Sirius could tell James was hesitant. Torn between sending him alone or alerting more people to the fact that their water supply would certainly not be lasting forever.
"I'll be fine, Captain. You don't have to worry about me."
With that, Sirius turned on his heel and headed to the shuttle bay. The quicker he left, the sooner he could get back to his very naked, very sexy boyfriend.
Being on a ship had made Sirius unused to such an environment. He trampled through the undergrowth, stumbling on unsteady feet that were far too used to walking on flat metallic surfaces. It had been an hour and a half of traipsing through the bushes and grass intent on tangling around his ankles, yet Sirius felt like he had got nowhere. Wiping a hand across his sweaty brow, he stopped in the middle of a small clearing and attempted to get his bearings. If he listened carefully enough, he was certain he could hear the sound of running water. At least he hoped it was the sound of running water because all of this activity in the sweltering heat was making him thirsty and what little he had brought with him was long gone. Occasionally, a load squawk would go up from one of the trees and, in a flurry of movement, bright wings would flap and a bird, at least he thought it was a bird, would take flight. Sirius was uncertain if it was his presence that disturbed them. There did not seem to be anything else around that would have though.
Sunlight streamed through gaps in the sprawling canopy above him. Its fingers made soft patterns on the ground, chasing away the shadows. Taking a deep breath, Sirius tried to clear his head of thought. He attempted to listen and work out if it was water he could hear. There was a slight rustle of the leaves above him in the breeze. The sound of his own breathing and the thumping tattoo of his heart seemed louder than ever before. However, just underneath it all, was the steady sound of moving water.
About to move, he lifted his foot and heard the distinct snap of a twig behind him. He spun. A blur came at him. Sirius ducked. Just in time. Or slightly late, he supposed. Whatever had leapt at him had caught him with something sharp, claws or teeth, as it had sailed overhead.
His hand fumbled at his hip for his gun. Yet, with a swoosh of its tail, the animal turned to face him once more. It was large. Like the fabled big cats all of the museums talked about back on Earth. The animals that humans had stolen land from and hunted until they became extinct. Sirius was pretty sure the ones in the museums weren't that big though. That Sirius was now aware of it seemed to anger his attacker. It hesitated for a second before charging once more. However, not for long enough. Sirius swung the gun around and as he was about to pull the trigger the cat pounced. Its front paws collided with his chest and with so much force Sirius was knocked to the ground. The gun flew from his hands; skittered across the ground too far away to reach easily even if he had not been pinned to the floor.
This was it. It was over. He was going to get killed by an overgrown pet on some stupid planet that wasn't even his own. The breath of the beast wafted hot and putrid over his face as it leant, seemingly in slow motion, towards him. There was no flash of life before his eyes. Only the regret he had not had the chance to kick James' arse one last time.
A shot. A howl of pain. A wetness splattered on his face. The weight on his chest increased dramatically.
Sirius yanked himself free, gasped for breath and looked to where the shot had come from. He may have escaped the tiger-esque thing, but having your own gun pointed at you was hardly an improvement.
Sirius couldn't actually say when it had first happened. He knew that it had never happened before though. It was rather unnerving. Living with another person. Granted, living on a ship did not really give anyone any privacy. Everyone was always in each other's business and the space they had was not particularly large. This was different though. Remus actually lived with him. He slept in Sirius' room, came there after his shift ended and, Sirius was pretty certain, Remus had moved his clothes in.
It was surprisingly comforting. Sirius never thought he would have admitted to it; that being with one person for a significant part of the foreseeable future could make him happy. Yet it did. Living with someone was better than James had always harped on about. At least it was when it was Remus.
They hadn't really talked about it, other than Remus asking if it was alright for him to spend the night every once in a while. It had eventually progressed to him not even bothering to ask because it was so common place. Sirius never asked. Never hinted that he wanted Remus to stay. Of course he did desire it, but to let Remus actually know? It was not going to happen. So Sirius had let Remus do all the asking. There was something to being needed that Sirius liked. It wasn't exactly something he was used to.
His family were bastards. Sirius was more than willing to say it, and much worse truth be told, but he had distanced himself from them as soon as he had been able. James' family had been more than willing to take him in at sixteen when he turned up on their doorstep with only his most important of possessions. Living with James was certainly nothing like living with Remus.
Remus was already in bed when Sirius got home. Curled up in the covers, leaning against the headboard whilst he flicked casually through his electronic book collection clearly trying to decide what to read next.
"Don't you ever get tired of reading?" Sirius leant against the door, watching in amusement as Remus started at his sudden appearance.
"No. Never," he said with a smile and went to place the device down next to the bed.
"It's okay, you can keep reading." Sirius stripped down and snuggled up in the bed next to Remus, his head resting on Remus' shoulder. "Have a good day?"
"Yeah, not too bad." Remus shifted, wrapping his arm around Sirius' shoulders so that he was more comfortable. "Did some translations, had some lunch, then there was more translating. You?"
"Same old, same old. James complained some and I was a good little puppy and did what he asked of me. I should get a treat really." He sighed contentedly and nuzzled against Remus' neck, nipping lightly at the soft skin causing Remus to moan under his breath and Sirius to turn his attention to licking and sucking instead. When Remus tried to put his reading material down once more, Sirius stopped and pulled back. "Keep reading; I'll keep myself amused. I've come to accept that you love the books more than me."
Both men froze.
Slowly. Very slowly. Remus moved. Sirius was certain that Remus was going to get up. To leave the bed and go back to his own cabin and abandon Sirius in what now seemed like an overly large bed alone. He didn't. Instead of moving off the bed, Remus just placed the device on the bedside table and turned to look at Sirius.
"Actually, I've been thinking that maybe I love you more... I do love you more."
"You don't mean that. You can't mean that." Sirius' stomach clenched in a way that was not entirely unpleasant. His heart did a funny little jump that he considered asking Lily about the next day, because he was pretty sure it was not meant to do that. "You can't love me." No one ever truly loved him. Well, with the exception of James of course, but it was entirely different.
"Don't tell me what I can and can't do you ungrateful mutt!" Remus gave Sirius a playful shove. "If I say I love you, then I do, alright?"
"Maybe, maybe I do too. You know. That thing."
"What thing?" Remus asked with a small laugh, before kissing Sirius chastely on the lips. "I don't think I know what you mean."
"You know," Sirius groaned and resisted the urge to bury his head in his hands to avoid looking at Remus in his discomfort.
"Fine. It's fine. You don't feel the same. You don't have to lie."
"No, I do. It's just I haven't even felt it before, let alone said it."
"Never. Not before, but I do now. With you. I love you, okay? Just... I love you."
The man moved to stand over him, still pointing Sirius' gun at his head. He said something Sirius did not understand and made a jerking motion with the weapon that Sirius took to mean that he should stand. Sirius did not hesitate. Scrambling to his feet, Sirius raised his hands and hoped that it was understood that he meant no harm.
Sirius put up no protest when he was grabbed by the arm and pushed forwards to keep walking.
"I don't suppose you speak English?" When he was prodded in the back for bothering to ask, Sirius gathered that was a 'no' and kept his mouth shut. He really wished Remus was with him. Probably would know exactly what to say to get him out of this. Clever bastard.
As they moved out of the forest and onto the flat ground that lay beyond, Sirius saw the river and by it a group of people all looking as angry as the man who currently held the gun to his back.
At least Sirius had been right about the location of the river.
A rapid fire conversation flew through the air. Unfamiliar words and sounds rattled around his brain as the group conversed with one another. The looks that were thrown in his direction made him feel uncomfortable. Sirius was not used to being scrutinised with such looks of distaste. Other than his family, only one person had never liked him, a greasy haired git from school that had taken a dislike to him and James. Granted they had been obnoxious as teens, but everyone went through that stage, right? Now, he just hated the suspicious glances. He wanted to explain why he was there and that he had not meant to crash his shuttle, but even if he could have communicated with them he doubted they would have listened to him.
After a few minutes, in which his head had started to throb painfully from trying to understand what was going on, a fraction of the group split away from them and headed into the forest. Sirius assumed they were going to see whether or not he had had a companion who was now hidden in the jungle, or possibly just to investigate the crash site. Either way it meant that he was prodded into moving again. Not wishing to anger anyone further he made sure to keep up with his captors. Escape was just not an option when he had absolutely nowhere to go.
It had always been a fear of Sirius', well less of a fear and more of a daunting realisation that when humans made first contact with beings from another planet they were likely to kill them or try to force their own morals on them. Essentially, at least at first, they were doomed to fuck it all up, because the human race was far too concerned with their own feelings of right and wrong to ever consider that there were alternative options. Only a brief look into the far too bloody events in the history of how humans had once treated each other was more than enough to suggest it would inevitably happen again. Even now, in a time when people had supposedly risen above such horrors, there was always an underground fraction willing to support their twisted beliefs. Unfortunately, Sirius' family were not a long stretch from that. What Sirius had not expected, was for the other side to fight back so fiercely; that they would defend themselves to the point of mounting an attack on Earth.
The silence of space stretched out before him. In the distance Sirius could see the bright blazes of their weapons firing in defence of their home. There were a lot of them. The race they should have befriended instead of alienating. Fortunately, for the human race, they were prepared. Something all nations actually agreed on was the defence of the planet. Normal squabbles were pushed aside and the resources pooled to give them a large aerial force to be reckoned with.
A flash of silver movement swam past him like a minnow in a stream, quick and darting.
A brief crackle sounded in his ear.
"Come on, Padfoot! Why so slow? We'll never see any action this way!"
Sirius chuckled to himself as he watched James press ahead to get to the action.
"You're far too eager, Prongs. They'll still be there when we get there." Yet despite his protests, Sirius sped up anyway, adrenaline pumped viciously through his system. The rest of their fleet were not far behind.
"Erm guys, we're going to be fine, right? Nothing to it?"
"Wormtail, relax." James laughed in their ears. "Of course, we'll be just fine. As you say, there's nothing to it. Let's just take the bastards out and then we can all go back to mine and make Lily feed us."
"Prongs, mate. It's that sort of thing that made her resist your advances for so long. I still have no idea what you did to convince her you aren't a total git. It had to be magic, some sort of possession maybe."
"Haha! Oh, do you remember that time when-"
The silence made the explosion all the more terrible. Sirius could only watch in horror as fragments of Peter's ship flew past him. He drew in a ragged breath and let it out shakily. A group of the enemy had peeled away from the main fleet and come around to target them instead. Their attack coming in from the side had been noticed.
There was no time to think, only to act.
Sirius fired on the enemy.
They fired back.
He was more than agile enough to dodge the incoming attack. There was a wild buzzing of voices in his ear and Sirius was sure that it was their captain issuing orders and the others responding, but Sirius couldn't bring himself to care. All that mattered was getting revenge.
A few well aimed shots took out the front attackers. Whether it had been by his weapons or not, Sirius did not actually care. All that mattered was that they were gone.
One ship was coming up on them far too fast. James was flanking him on the right and the enemy ship was flying straight at him. Sirius could not lose James. Would not lose James. He put on an extra burst of speed and manoeuvred into position to get between James and the other ship. He knew James could handle himself. More than look after his own skin, but he refused to acknowledge it right now.
Closer and closer. Sirius kept firing and firing and firing until-
He awoke, breathing heavily. His heart was pounding in his chest. Sirius sat bolt upright, his body shaking with effort as he tried to calm his breathing.
Sirius nearly jumped out of the bed when a hand settled on his shoulder.
"Shh, you're fine," Remus hushed him. The hand rubbed soothingly down his back as Sirius struggled to pull in air. "It was just a dream."
"Not a dream." Sirius managed to get out after a few minutes of Remus trying to calm him down. "Memory. Few years back. I'll be fine."
"Do you want a drink? To tell me about it?"
Sirius shook his head. "Just give me a minute and I'll be fine." He laid his head on Remus' shoulder and Remus took to threading his fingers through Sirius' sleep tangled hair. "I'll be fine." He repeated as though trying to convince himself of that fact. His heart still raced.
"Of course you will be."
"I could have lost James that night. I wouldn't have been fine if I had. He's my family."
"I know he is Sirius. You don't have to worry though. You didn't lose him."
"Didn't. That's what matters. He's here, you're here, all good."
"We lost a good friend that night."
"I know, James told me."
Sirius raised his head to look Remus in the eye.
"He did?" Remus nodded in affirmation. "We don't talk about it. We knew him before we even signed up. Nearly all of our lives together and then it was over. Just like that."
"James wanted me to know that if you didn't want to be my friend straightaway, it was just that you were worried of getting close to people and losing them. That it was because of Peter and was nothing personal when you were giving me such mixed signals."
"Sorry. I didn't mean to."
"I know. It doesn't matter. We're friends now, right?"
"I thought we were a bit more than friends."
Sirius was not sure entirely sure what he had been expecting from the people who had taken him hostage. At first he had envisioned them inferior to their level of technology and civilisation, but he was wrong. Granted they did not seem to have progressed as far as humans with the likes of space travel, but their city was something of a marvel; all sharp lines and muted colours. He certainly did not approve of their dress sense though: robes. Who wore robes? Each to their own he guessed.
He was led into one of the buildings and taken into a room where they stripped him of everything but his clothes. Two of them remained and proceeded to angrily ask questions. None of which he understood at all. At some point they seemed to switch to a routine where the woman angrily demanded things from him and the man seemed to play nice, either way it did not help Sirius with his understanding.
"I don't know. I don't understand. I'm sorry," he mumbled for what he was certain was the millionth time. They had provided him with food that he had been apprehensive to touch at first until hunger had got the better of him, and then they'd brought some water after a few hours of questioning. They seemed as exasperated as he was that they were making no progress.
Shadows lengthened on the walls as the dying light came through the small window and the two came to the decision to leave him for the night.
The door was closed and Sirius clambered gratefully onto the small cot positioned in the corner of the room. For once in his life he was appreciative of the silence. At least he understood that. There was nothing it wanted from him that he could not give. It was just there. He curled up on his side and drifted into an uneasy sleep where James and Remus spoke to him in riddles and got annoyed when he did not understand.
James was right. Sirius hated him for it. Remus was not boring, or plain or scrawny. He was intelligent and funny and endearing. Not only did Sirius find himself wanting to sleep with Remus, he had a reputation to uphold after all, but he actually wanted to spend time with the other man.
They had taken to having lunch together whenever the opportunity arose and would chat rather aimlessly about their likes and dislikes without getting too deep into their lives because that was something Sirius was not really willing to share with anyone. James knew through living it, but to impart the knowledge to another person, no, he was not ready for that. Even if said person was so easy to be around. Yet as comforting as Remus' presence was, Sirius was startled by how easily he got to this stage with Remus.
They were hanging out in James' much larger room, damn him and his privileges, after work one night when Sirius decided he should probably bring up what was worrying him, after all James was the one who had cause the infiltration of his every waking thought with Remus. If James had only just kept his mouth shut for once then they would not have to be having this conversation now.
"So, I think I may like the translator guy. You were right that he may be just on the right side of my type. You win."
"Oh, tell me I'm right again. I love it when you say that. What do you mean 'just'?"
"Fine. More than just. I actually could see myself really liking him, maybe."
James took a sip of his drink and looked at Sirius for a good long moment before replying.
"So you like him and you're spending the evening with me instead?"
"Isn't that a bit messed up? Go have him shag your brains out and get out of my hair!" James grinned and rolled his eyes.
"Oh, is that why it's always such a mess?" Sirius darted out of the way when James tried to hit him in retaliation. "Fine, I'll go. I didn't know hanging out with me was such a bad thing."
Grabbing another beer and ignoring James' one fingered salute at his thievery, Sirius headed over to Remus' quarters and knocked on the door. When Remus opened it, looking completely and utterly adorable in an oversized jumper and jogging bottoms, Sirius couldn't help but want to see Remus like that all the time.
"Erm sorry, I wasn't really expecting company." Remus ruffled his hair with his hand and looked rather abashed.
"Don't worry about it. I was wondering if I could interest you in a beer?" Sirius held the bottle out to Remus. He didn't take it.
"Not really. You're just using it as a reason to get into my pants."
"And you aren't interested in that?" Sirius was actually rather hurt. He had never had anyone reject him before and now he was thinking that maybe he could have something for more than one night and that person didn't want him? Not good, not good at all. Sirius stood there for a second, his arm dropped to his side and he turned to leave. He took a few steps before spinning back to face Remus in irritation. "No, I don't accept that. How could you not want me? I'm bloody gorgeous!"
"I didn't say I wasn't interested in you. That's just not how I like to start things." Remus smirked and stepped closer to Sirius. He hooked a hand around the back of Sirius' neck and pulled Sirius towards him. "However, I wouldn't say no to a goodnight kiss." As he spoke, Sirius felt Remus' lips brush gently against his own. It was the briefest of contact, and yet Sirius' knees trembled. When Remus pressed his mouth more firmly to Sirius', Sirius felt a surge of heat spread through him, radiating outwards from where their mouths met. Remus' tongue flicked out playfully, wetting Sirius' lips as he moved back. "Pick me up after you get off duty tomorrow and we'll see how things go."
To Sirius' immense relief it had not taken too long before verbal questioning had been abandoned in the favour of other methods of communication. The woman who had been so angry the first day seemed to have no patience with this method and had left Sirius alone with the man. They got on much better without her around and after a little while Sirius seemed to have managed to get his point across that he had not meant to land on their planet in the manner that he had and that they just wanted some water and to leave. Unfortunately something had caused his shuttle to crash and all of his electronic devices to malfunction, and it was difficult to get that across.
They had finally settled on a mixture of hand gestures and drawing to understand each other. When the man had brought in paper for them to draw on Sirius could not help but want to laugh that it had come to that.
"At least this should be better than bloody charades." Sirius grinned and even the man seemed to understand that and laughed along with him.
A mixture of hand signals and squiggling drawings later Sirius thought he had a vague idea of what exactly was going on. Words still sounded like a garbled jumble in his ears and despite picking out a few key words he struggled to get anywhere with verbal communication. Yet, what he had taken from it all, was that there was some sort of barrier that was preventing signals getting through to him. Sirius was no scientist, but he was thinking it was similar to that electromagnetic stuff that was used back home. At least it explained why everything electronic he had on the planet was refusing to work. The interference it created was getting in the way.
From what he could gather about why it had brought his shuttle down, it was to do with their defences. They didn't want people there. So they employed measures to keep it them away. Projections of the planet, that sensors detected, made it appear to have no life forms and should hopefully prevent too many people from getting too close. However, if one or two strayed too near, as Sirius had, they were pulled down to the ground. Ideally, anyone left wanting to explore the planet would then give up, considering the planet too dangerous to bother with.
Sirius wondered how exactly he was going to explain to them that there was no way James would abandon him down here. James was going to come and find him. Danger to himself or not, there was no way they would ever abandon each other. Even if James feared him dead, he would not leave without at least coming to see if it was true.
"So, you're the translator then?" Sirius asked. He leant casually on the desk that had been assigned the other man. Remus was it? Something strange and exotic like that anyway.
It had been a week since they had set off on their mission to discover the secrets of the galaxy. Sirius had no plans on letting James win and actually tell him what to do no questions asked, but he could talk to the guy, right? Once he ascertained that Remus was in fact as boring as Sirius had originally thought, he could go back to not being fascinated with the man. Simple.
"Yes, I am. And you're Sirius right? Or should I say Lt. Commander Black?"
"You can call me anything you want. I mean, Sirius, Sirius would be just fine. I'm not one for formality." Must not flirt. Must not flirt. James could not win. There was a sly smile on Remus' face that made Sirius think he knew exactly what was going through Sirius' head.
"I think I'll go with Sirius then. May I help you with anything?"
Now that was a loaded question. There were lots of things he wouldn't mind Remus helping him with.
"Not really, just thought I'd pop by and see how you were doing. That the captain isn't killing you with too much work or anything like that. Would be a shame for you to be overworked."
"Can you keep a secret?"
"This book," Remus gestured to a sheaf of darkened pages clutched in his hand that looked nothing like a book to Sirius, "murder mystery novel."
Sirius barked out a laugh. "And James gave you that to translate?"
"Well, yeah. But he didn't know what it was. Just found a bunch of stuff that had been located on previous missions and wanted me to start getting to grips with some of the languages we may encounter."
Sirius moved around the desk, his hands resting on the back of the chair, either side of Remus' shoulders so he could see the parchment for himself.
"So, what you're saying is you're skiving off and reading instead of doing your work properly?"
"Not exactly, it's certainly helping me understand the sentence structure, verb conjugation and-"
"Okay, that's just boring. What I really want to know is, are there any gruesome murders?"
Remus would like these people, Sirius thought as he borrowed another piece of paper to scrawl out ideas on. They may have wonderfully shiny technology all over the place, but they still had a preference for putting pen to paper, so to speak, rather than doing everything digitally. Sirius knew the only reason why Remus didn't bother having paper versions of books was the astronomical prices they cost and the fact that he possibly could not carry as many as he wanted to take with him.
Sirius completed a series of drawings depicting what he wanted to tell them, just as the man he had been dealing with entered the room. They greeted one another as Sirius had come to understand was customary and then they sat together as Sirius attempted his explanation of what he required.
Sirius wanted off the planet. He wanted to go home to the ship, to Remus and James. To hopefully never step foot on the planet again and get as far away as possible and leave the people to their own devices. They just wanted to be left alone and Sirius understood that desire. After what had happened with Earth's first contact, Sirius could not blame anyone for being cautious about meeting people from other planets. The only problem was, would they agree to let Sirius go and for his crew to collect the water they needed in exchange for the promise that Sirius' ship would never come back and never tell anyone what existed here? Sirius hoped so.
The other man took a while looking over the plan, Sirius wishing that he had any sort of art skills at all because he was pretty sure nothing looked like it was supposed to. Eventually, it seemed Sirius was understood. His companion nodded his head, something he had picked up from Sirius, and signalled that he was going to go and talk to someone about it.
Now all Sirius had to do was wait.
A few hours later, a group came back to see Sirius. They spoke rapidly and Sirius had trouble following, but the smile on his friend's face was all Sirius needed to see. He knew he was going home.
His communication device was returned to him and Sirius understood that it could now be used again. At least for long enough to contact his ship.
"James? Mate? You there?"
"Sirius! Where have you been you bloody wanker? I thought you were dead! Never do that to me again! Are you alright? What's going on?" James babbled in his ear and relief rushed through Sirius to hear him. That James had been worried about him and had dropped all pretence of superiority made Sirius just want to laugh.
"I'm good. Don't worry. It's a long story and I'll tell you when I get back, but can you please send someone down to come and get me? The shuttle was totalled. Can you pick up on my co-ordinates?"
There was a moment or two of silence that was almost too long for Sirius to handle.
"Yeah, yeah, we can see you. We can see you just fine. There'll be someone with you soon. Can't wait to see you, Pads. Don't even think of doing this to me again!"
"I won't. Believe me."
Sirius sighed in relief and buried his head in hands and let out a short sharp laugh. He was going home. He could see Remus again. He could torture James for the fun of it.
"They let me hire Lily, you know?"
"No? Really Prongs? I may just have missed that vital piece of information the first three hundred times you mentioned it. You might want to repeat it once more to be certain I've got it." Sirius joked and bumped shoulders with James.
"There'll be no more calling me Prongs you know. I'm going to be your superior Pads, and you have to actually do what I say for once."
"What's the point in that? Way more fun doing the opposite of what you tell me. More trouble. More adventure. Certainly more sex."
"Just because I think you should settle down and be with one person, does not mean that you'd have less sex."
"Right. I'm sure I'll get it whenever I want, just like now?"
"Probably get more if you found a person who actually wants to keep your arse around."
"I love you too, mate."
"I must love you, keep you around, don't I?"
"I suppose. Although, you do seem to be trying to destroy my sex life. There's not an unattached guy among the crew I haven't already slept with."
"What about the translator guy I brought on? You haven't even met him."
"Why would I want to? I still don't get why you decided we needed one. The translator device does all the work, doesn't it?"
"Because it only works on the written word you idiot. I don't know about you, but if we happen to run into an alien race out there, I'd rather have someone who can possibly talk to them instead of passing fricking notes!"
"Written, spoken, it's all the same thing. Just a waste of money if you ask me. It'll just be some swot with his head always buried in books, or I don't know, pieces of stone with scratches on. He hardly sounds like my type, does he?"
"He may surprise you."
"The day you're right about something like that, is the day I actually listen to you and do what you say."
"I'm looking forward to it." James nodded at something over Sirius' shoulder, and he turned to see what James wanted him to see. "See the guy over there?"
"Yeah, what of him?" He wasn't bad looking, average height and a bit on the scrawny side for Sirius' taste, but hardly a looker.
"That's the translator."
"Remus?" James called and the other man looked up to reveal the brightest smile and the most startling blue eyes Sirius had ever seen. Okay, so maybe James wasn't a complete loss to him. The guy wasn't terrible. Maybe if he got bored and didn't fancy revisiting someone he'd already had. "There's someone I want you to meet; this is Sirius. Sirius, Remus."
Remus offered his hand and Sirius took it. The smile was now aimed solely at Sirius and he certainly felt a stirring of desire.
"Nice to meet you."
Surely they should let each other's hands go now, right? Remus held on an instant longer before being the one to let go. Sirius felt a loss at the removal of contact, but shrugged it off. Like hell he was going to let James, of all people, be right.
He stood by silently as James chatted with Remus about his living arrangements on board the ship, before the other man left them once more.
"I give you two weeks maximum before you're going to have to listen to me for once."
The still, cool air of the ship seemed to seep into his very pores as he stepped out into the hanger bay. A slightly breeze from the air conditioning ruffled his hair and he smiled gratefully at being back where there were no insects biting him and the heat could actually be controlled.
"You finally made it back then?"
"Yeah, no thanks to you."
"I told you to take a team, didn't I?"
"You also said that there was water on the other side of the hill that didn't exist. Hardly a good argument: you told me to do something."
Sirius strode forwards, pulled out a piece of crumpled paper out of his pocket.
"Just so you know. The lake you sent me to look at was actually a river." He pointed to two squiggly lines. "Not too far from where a bunch of really nice people decided to take me hostage." Sirius indicated to a circle and stick men some distance from the river. "Finally Jamie-boy, this is where a sabre-tooth tiger wannabe attacked me after I crashed. Just in case you wanted to update the scans on this thing to have an accurate picture of what it's like down there."
"You want me to include the stick men and mouse too?"
James pointed to what was clearly the sabre-tooth tiger; the blind bat!
"Tiger thing. Not mouse."
"Fine, I'll add everything. How was the water?"
"Well I've been drinking it for about a week. Do I look dead?
"No, but you look like you're on the run from the police. Ever hear of a razor?"
"Yes, I have. Wasn't really given the opportunity though. However, water we can have as long as we give them something in return. Pretty sure they wouldn't say no to having Evans."
"In your dreams Padfoot. I know you want to get rid of my wife to get to me, but you missed your chance."
"Why would I want you? I've got Remus waiting for me. You may want to give both of us a few days off, so he can nurse me back to health and what not."
"Well, since I'm really guessing he isn't going to be doing anything to heal you, I'm not going to offer Lily's services to you for that. Take a few days then, if you need to."
"Thanks mate," Sirius said with a grin before pulling James into a fierce hug. "They were actually really nice when they realised I wasn't there to kill them or anything. Pretty sure getting my irritating arse off their planet is payment enough for the water. Let's just leave them in peace, okay?"
"It's a good job Remus and I put up with you then." James squeezed him back and Sirius knew it was James' way of saying he had missed him and was glad he was home. Putting it into words would not happen. After a few more seconds they separated. James schooled his features to look as though he wasn't relieved to see his friend standing safe and sound in front of him, but there was a smile in his eyes Sirius recognised well enough.
"I doubt he stayed where I left him?"
"If you mean your bed, no, he did not. He was trying to find a way to help your sorry arse off the planet. Got rather worried when we lost all contact with you."
"Shame about not still being in bed," Sirius said with a sad smile. "You see, when I left him he was-"
"Stop! I don't want to hear it! Just go and do it instead of telling me."
Sirius grinned and patted James on the back before leaving at a sprint. A few people stared at him as he ran past, some tried to engage him in conversation, but there was only one person he wanted to see. He even ignored Lily shouting at him and insisting he come and get himself checked over for good measure when he had the time. She threatened to come and find him if he didn't, and despite knowing that she most certainly would, he continued anyway.
Figuring that it was early enough in the day for Remus to still be doing work, Remus' office was where Sirius went first and he arrived there a few minutes later. He could see Remus sitting at his desk a small frown marring his forehead as he looked intently down at his work. Dark circles lined his eyes and Sirius was sure there was at least a couple of days' stubble covering his chin.
"I thought you were going to meet me in my bed?"
Remus jumped at the sudden noise as Sirius spoke. The worry that had marred his features only moments before melted away and he leapt out of his seat, scattering papers to the floor, as he strode across the room to embrace Sirius.
"Never do that to me again you bastard," Remus breathed into Sirius' ear as Sirius gathered Remus up in his arms too. "I was so worried about you. I bet you had the time of your life down there, didn't you?"
"Hardly." Sirius considered lying for a moment, making light of what had happened, but Remus wasn't James and even contemplating messing with him in that way just felt wrong. He wanted Remus to know the truth. "I had a couple of narrow escapes, and I now know I never want to go anywhere without someone who has a better grasp of languages than I have. Bloody difficult those things!"
Remus let out a small laugh before he released his grip on Sirius enough to kiss him. His hands roamed fervently over Sirius' body as though mapping every line and angle to make sure it was the same. When seemingly satisfied his hands eventually stilled and came to rest on the small of Sirius' back. They broke apart from their kiss.
"I'll just have to make sure I come with you then."
It was good to be home.