Five times Remus Lupin loved Sirius Black (and one time he told him)
1. Remus loves Sirius Black the first moment he meets him.
It's enough that he gets to go to Hogwarts in the first place. He has a bag full of new books on the seat beside him, the promise of a castle and ghosts and lessons and more magic than he's ever seen, and the lump in his pocket of half a bar of chocolate, presented to him by his mother with utmost solemnity on the platform. He never expected friends.
He stares out of the window of his empty carriage, watching the houses become fewer and far between until outside is mostly a blur of green fields. When he gets bored of that, he gets out Hogwarts, A History. This book, he's owned for years; when he was eight, back when he thought there was no chance he'd ever even see Hogwarts, he saved up his pocket money for weeks and read it under the covers every night. His mother found it under his mattress when she was cleaning but said nothing, just handed it back to him, pressed her lips together hard, and walked out of the room. Late that night, when he went downstairs for a glass of water, he found her and his father sitting at the kitchen table, slumped silently into one another. It was the first time he ever wished that he had never existed, that they had had another, normal child and been happy. The book stayed under his mattress for a long time after that. Even now, when he knows it almost by heart, it still carries with it a vague sense of guilt. But that guilt is almost completely buried by the fact that for the first time he knows that he's actually going to see the things on the page. He stares down at his favourite illustration: the first Sorting in 991. The tiny, engraved figures move stiffly towards the stool in front of the staff table in single file. Remus does something he's never allowed himself to do before and places himself among them. For some reason- a mistake by the artist, the innumerable times he's got chocolate on this page, whatever- one of the figures wavers slightly as it wobbles up to where the Sorting Hat awaits. That's me, thinks Remus. He watches his tiny self sit down on the stool. The robed figure place the hat on his head.
'Mind if we sit here? Some girls threw us out of our carriage.'
His head snaps up. The boy grinning down at him exudes confidence from every pore. His black hair is thick and glossy and he brushes it out of his eyes with the heel of his palm. Everything about him, from his stance to the set of his jaw to his slanted, thick-lashed grey eyes, screams aristocracy. Looking at him, Remus feels suddenly scarred and imperfect and insignificant. He doesn't wait for Remus to answer but plops down in the seat next to him, propping up his feet on the seat opposite. The two boys behind him- one with unrealistically untidy hair and round glasses, the other plump, pink-faced and blonde- sit down opposite. The boy next to Remus sticks out a hand and says 'Sirius Black'.
Well, thinks Remus. That explains it. For some reason he feels disappointed, which is stupid because he never thought they could be friends. He doesn't expect friends. 'Remus Lupin', he says, his voice almost completely steady. He doesn't ask about his surname, but his reaction obviously showed, because Sirius says, in an oddly flat voice, 'Yes, that kind of Black. No autographs, please.'
There is a pause, broken when the other two boys introduce themselves as James Potter and Peter Pettigrew. Remus nods and smiles his way through it and then says to Sirius, 'Sorry, they threw you out of the carriage?'
Sirius smirks, conspiratorially. 'Misunderstandings were had. Unsavoury language was used. Hexes were mentioned. We thought it best to retire.'
'It was brilliant', blurts Peter. 'Sirius said he was psychic 'cos he's a Black and then he tried to guess what colour knickers-'
Remus chokes. Sirius thumps him on the back.
'Don't get yours in a twist. I'm seeing… frilly, with little Snitches-'
'I wasn't- I don't- I don't wear-'
Sirius cackles, hugely and insanely. Remus stares for far too long, and then Sirius run his hand through his hair and glances up at Remus from under the thickest eyelashes Remus has ever seen, the corners of his eyes still crinkled. He ruffles Remus' hair, sharp nails digging into his scalp. 'Merlin, he's like a maiden aunt. Not my maiden aunt, mind. I think I shall keep him as a pet.' Something like nerves shoots through Remus' stomach, because this boy, who is beautiful and rich and unscarred and everything Remus can never be, he wants to talk to him. Hogwarts, A History sits forgotten in his lap.
2. Remus loves Sirius for not running away.
It becomes an unspoken tradition that in the early hours of the morning after a full moon, Remus will be woken by Sirius climbing in next to him. He's pretty sure Sirius at least tries to be stealthy enough not to wake him, but he's never been a heavy sleeper, much less so when he's bruised and aching from head to toe, and although Sirius possesses many admirable (and a good few less so) qualities, a natural aptitude for not drawing attention to himself is not among them. Besides, the beds in the hospital wing just aren't designed for more than one person, especially when one of those people has abnormally cold feet and toenails like razor blades. He usually pretends to be asleep until Sirius actually is asleep (which never takes long, Sirius possessing the mystifying ability to fall asleep in under eight seconds almost regardless of location). It's nearly impossible to get comfortable with Sirius and his entourage of limbs occupying most of the bed, but something about his presence helps Remus begin to feel like a person again. It's more than worth a few cricked necks.
The first time, though, is the one he'd always remember. Because Sirius knows, and he still wants to touch him. He knows what he is, and yet he trusts him enough to lie fast asleep, in the same bed as him, whole healthy lungs breathing the same breaths as something like him. How can he trust him enough to close his eyes? Remus gazes at the face opposite his on the pillow. At this distance, he can see each eyelash, each pore, every detail from the stray hair moving in time with each drawn-out breath to the crinkled skin at the corner of his eyes that makes him look like he's laughing even in his sleep. Sirius mutters something unintelligible and slides his arm over the covers until it's draped over Remus' shoulder. Remus' breath catches and he shifts towards Sirius until their foreheads are almost touching, so that they really are breathing the same breaths. The creature of a few hours ago, that would have ripped Sirius limb from limb if it could get at him, drifts further away with each breath.
3. Remus loves Sirius for keeping his promises.
Remus sits, bewildered, on the edge of his bed. James, Peter and Sirius are all looming over him, grinning in a way that just screams 'someone thinks they've had a brilliant idea and you are going to be the one who has to mop it up'.
'Sirius, come on, what's going-'
Sirius presses a finger to his lips. 'Shush now, Moony my love! All shall be revealed.' He takes a breath. 'You know how I always said I'd find a way to make it better for you?'
Oh, no, thinks Remus. Sirius looks so happy, and so proud, and Remus doesn't have the heart to tell him that whatever it is, it won't work. 'Sirius', he starts, as gently as he can, 'you know there's noth-'
'No!' yelps Sirius, now almost apoplectic with glee. 'Shut up, no, just, just look, OK? Promise, Moony? Promise you'll look?'
Remus sighs. Sirius does that look, the one that's halfway between puppy-in-the-rain begging and I know you're going to give in let's get to the fun part huh huh can we? He gives in. 'Fine.'
Sirius looks to James, then to Peter. 'Right, lads. On three. One… two….'
This isn't going to end well, this is not going to end well…
And then they're gone, and there's a stag and the biggest, blackest dog he's ever seen standing where James and Sirius used to be, and Peter seems to have vanished entirely. Remus yells in fright and propels himself backwards, clawing his way up the bed with his elbows. A rat, hooray, that helps my blood pressure, appears as if from nowhere, running up the stag's back and perching between its antlers. It stares at Remus. 'Sirius', he says, remarkably calmly, he feels, given the circumstances, 'where the bloody hell are you and why is there wildlife in the dormitory and please, someone start explaining things before I begin to panic.'
Sirius is back again, followed a second later by James and Peter. 'Start, hnnnnn, start explaining, please, Sirius, I don't, and I may, and I don't-'
'Don't you get it yet?' says Sirius, beside himself with smugness. 'James, Jamesy James, he doesn't get it, ooh, this is brilliant-'
'Sirius', says Remus in his very best warning voice. Sirius presses his lips together as though trying to hold something in and then bursts out 'I said, I said I'd find something! And then we found out, the wolf, it only kills humans, and animals might distract it from, you know, killing itself, and so on, and we tried for years and we did it, Remus, we fucking did it, we're fucking Animagi.'
Remus takes a very deep breath. 'No, you can't be, Sirius, don't be stupid, that kind of magic- there's no way-'
'We've been trying since third year' says Peter. 'And there were mishaps and some pretty disastrous side effects and all, but-'
'But we're fucking brilliant', finishes Sirius. He grabs Remus' shoulders, grins right into his face. 'I promised, didn't I, Moony? I always said. I said I'd make it better for you.' With no warning at all, Remus is crying. He buries his face in Sirius' shoulder and shakes, and Sirius squats down awkwardly to be at his level and pulls him into a bone-crushing hug. 'I promised, OK?', he mutters. 'I don't care if it took years or the urges to dig holes and chase my own arse or any of it. It's going to be better now.' Remus hiccups, splotchily.
'Excuse me', says James, indignant, 'what are me and Peter here for, the provision of mood music?' Remus wobbles unsteadily to his feet and yanks James and Peter into the hug. They stand in the middle of the dormitory in this all-boy melee for some time, and then James says, 'Right, enough of that, I think I can feel my womanly flower start to blossom' and pulls away. Remus holds on to Sirius for just a little bit longer. Sirius beams at him, grey eyes sparkling.
4. Remus loves Sirius for being completely fucking insane.
Remus hates being drunk. He tends to panic when he realises that he can't remember the first line of the Iliad or how to do his Transfiguration homework or what happened to his shoes, become convinced his brain is deteriorating and spend the rest of the night sitting perfectly still so as not to damage it and attempting to recite bits of The Raven from memory to prove he hasn't suddenly become a moron (he always gets stuck on 'quoth'). It doesn't help that, thanks to Sirius, he is wearing nothing but a bedsheet wrapped around him like a nappy, a small pair of wings that he can't remember how to detach from his shoulder blades, and a cardboard harp that started out singing 'Bella Notte' and has somehow ended up singing 'A Wizard's Staff Has A Knob On The End' in an increasingly tinny vibrato. He feels wildly self-conscious, something that the alcohol, for whatever reason, has made worse rather than better, he feels like a walking cliché, and he wants more than anything to go to bed but he can't get the damn wings off.
Sirius loves being drunk. He's in his element, Normal Sirius on five hundred percent or so. Remus shakes his head to rid it of the random bits of Poe floating round and round ('entreating entrance', which sounds increasingly pornographic each time) and watches Sirius fall over furniture and stick his hands up female clothing and be slapped in the face. He barely seems to register the slaps, bouncing at the next girl like a persistent, drunken bouncy ball. His face is red from both slaps and lipstick, which seems like something of a mixed message. Remus notes with resigned dread that most of his Dracula costume seems to have disappeared- somehow, his frilly shirt has vanished but his high-collared cape has not, so that you sometimes can't tell he hasn't got a shirt on until he leaps at you, cape spread wide, like the Flasher of the Night. He topples into the middle of a group of squealing girls and is lost to view for a worryingly long time until most of the girls dissipate and he re-emerges wrapped around a round-faced blonde girl wearing a unicorn horn and the shortest, fluffiest white negligee he's ever seen. He appears to be trying to bite her neck.
It's at this point Remus decides he's had enough. He pushes his way through the crowd to the staircase and stumbles up the stairs into the dormitory, collapsing gratefully onto his bed. He tries to lie down but the bloody wings are still there, poking him in the shoulder blades, so he sits up again, staring down at his hands. It's an odd and boring thing, being drunk in a dark room on your own. Drunkeness is obvious when you're moving around, or attempting anything involving hand-eye co-ordination; even when watching other people, at least there's something to react to. Sitting still, though, he just feels heavy and dead. He wiggles his fingers half-heartedly, but he isn't drunk enough for so small a gesture to appear any differently than normal. 'Fuck', he says, for no particular reason, and then, because it seems like the sort of thing drunk people ought to say, 'Donkeys. Fuck donkeys.' He feels it would be easy to go mad, sitting alone and drunk with the sounds of the party distant and vague. But is that what he really thinks or does he only think that because he's drunk? That's another thing he hates about being drunk; the sense that nothing he says is to be taken seriously, even by himself, everything can be dismissed. So what's the point of saying anything? Forget it, stop thinking about it. It's driving me mad.
What feels like an eternity later, when he's pretty sure he's lost at least half of his mind, there is a series of loud crashing noises and Sirius stumbles into the room. He's lost his cape now, as well as one of his fangs. He yanks the remaining one out and tosses it onto Peter's bed.
'Moonyyyyyy. It's boring downstairs without you, why did you go?'
'Sirius, I was literally just sitting there. Like a, a twat with wings, a winged twat. And you were way over the other side of the room sticking your face down people's dresses, you didn't even notice-'
Sirius bounds over to him and sticks his face very close to Remus'. There is a general smell of Firewhiskey, which both of them are probably at least partially responsible for, and also one of perfume, which is probably just Sirius. He's kneeling in front of Remus, gazing up at him with his face practically in Remus' lap, and Remus is momentarily grateful that nothing said or thought while drunk counts. 'I did notice', says Sirius. The way he says it, it sounds like he's conveying some deep hidden meaning, but either Remus is too drunk to figure it out, or Sirius is drunk enough that he thinks things are deep and important when they aren't. Remus pushes him gently away. 'Go have fun, Sirius. Go forth and stick your face down more dresses. Three Galleons says you can't fit your whole sodding head down there.'
'Moony, Moony, Moony, I don't wanna have fun. I wanna have fun with you. I want to stick my head down your dress.'
'Sirius', says Remus with as much sense as he can muster. 'I am not wearing a dress. Thanks to you, I am wearing nothing but this bedsheet. You do not want to stick your head down the bedsheet.'
There is a silence while Sirius stares fixedly at the bedsheet. Remus starts to feel panicky and vaguely like he might want to throw up. 'Sirius, go back to the party. This is not-'
'I do, though', mutters Sirius. Remus feels suddenly angry; angry at Sirius for torturing him like this even by accident, angry at himself for letting himself be affected by the stupid things Sirius says, angry at the world for giving him this problem on top of everything. He turns away.
'Leave me alone, Sirius.'
'I mean it.'
'No, you don't', snaps Remus. 'I realise this is all part of the great Sirius Black Variety Hour, but you are drunk and you don't mean anything you say and I am sick and bloody tired of reminding myself of that.'
Sirius scrambles to his feet so that he's standing over Remus, hands on his shoulders. Remus stands up, too, backed against his bedpost, wings poking him in the back. 'Moony, listen, I do mean it, I do. I mean, not the bedsheet, but I- I bloody mean it, OK? I want- to have- fun- with you.'
'You're drunk, Sirius, you know you are, there's about a thousand girls downstairs who would be infinitely more amused by this than I am. Go bother them.'
'I mean it', says Sirius, slowly and with force, 'all the time. All bloody day, alright? I can't stop bloody looking at you, and your stupid face, and your stupid bloody scars. I didn't want to admit it, so I went round tonight being a twat and attacking all those poor girls, who really didn't deserve to be so slobbered on, but the fact is it was boring and I didn't want to and that, you arse, is why I'm here. Talking in circles and making an arse of myself. For you.'
There is a long, thick silence. Sirius' hands are still digging into his shoulders; his face is far, far too close. All he can hear is the harsh, ragged sound of their breath and the stuttering thud of two heartbeats in the dark, creating their own vacuum, drowning out all background noise. Remus swallows hard. 'Sirius, I-'
'Shut up.' says Sirius. And kisses him.
Sirius' lips are slick and searching and his mouth tastes of Firewhiskey. Remus finds himself pressed against his bedpost, the carved wood digging into his bare back, but Sirius' chest is brushing against his and there's a burning heat pooling in his abdomen and all his blood seems to have rushed to his groin. Sirius' hands twist hard into his hair; he registers the pain dimly through a haze of alcohol and adrenaline but it doesn't seem to matter. He kisses back, their lips sliding against one another until he's breathless, Sirius' tongue hot and wet and foreign in his mouth, and then he has to gasp for air and he stumbles and they're on the bed, Sirius pressing into him. They lie there for a second, panting hard. Sirius hangs over him in the sliver of light from the door, lips shining and swollen, the light catching the edges of his muscles, delineating his chest, his waist. He is painfully, achingly hard beneath the folds of the bedsheet. 'Fuck', says Sirius. 'I- fuck.'
This time, it is Remus who kisses him, pulling him down on top of him by the back of his head and rolling them over so that he's pinning Sirius down by the wrists. He kisses him hard, then down his neck, licking stripes down the taut muscles, lapping up the taste of salt and alcohol and sweat. Sirius whimpers, hips grinding against Remus' own, and he can feel him, rock-hard, against his own erection. He catches Sirius' nipple between his teeth, dragging them over the raised skin, and Sirius moans and bucks and tugs with shaking hands at Remus' bedsheet, which unravels until it's just loosely tangled around Remus' knees. Remus kicks it away and turns his attention to Sirius' trousers. His fingers slip and slide on the sweaty black leather and he growls, fumbling for the zip, yanking them down over Sirius' legs. They stick to him with sweat, refusing to go past his calves, and Remus curses vampires and their insistence on wearing such bloody impractical clothing. Sirius finally reaches down, yanks them over his ankles and throws them over the edge of the bed.
Their boxers come off far more easily, and then their bodies meet again and Sirius' cock, long and hard and slick with pre-come, is pressed against his stomach. Sirius' mouth is on his collarbone, sucking hard, his tongue flicking against the scars there. He rolls Remus over and runs his tongue over Remus' chest, down over his stomach, grazing his teeth over his hipbone, and then his mouth sinks over Remus' cock and oh, God, the heat is overwhelming and it's all too much but so good he thinks he might die. Sirius' tongue runs up his shaft and Remus digs his nails into the mattress to keep from bucking into Sirius' mouth. His toes curl and then lights burst in front of his eyes and his brain whites out completely and he's coming harder than he ever has in his life, shaking all over and chanting 'Sirius, Sirius, Sirius'.
Sirius kisses him sloppily, and there's a new taste mingling with the Firewhiskey, salty and earthy and sticking at the back of his throat. That's what I taste like. It should be disgusting, but somehow it isn't. Sirius is still hard against him, rolling his hips against Remus', and he reaches down and wraps his hand around Sirius' cock. It takes barely two strokes before Sirius hisses 'Fuck- Remus' and his hips snap forward and hot, sticky warmth streaks Remus' stomach.
There are several seconds where they lie still, breathing hard, sticky with sweat and come. Then Sirius runs his hand over the mess that is Remus' stomach and snorts loudly. 'Jesus. Uurgh.'
Remus feels himself go red, which seems somewhat belated. He scrabbles for his bedsheet and dabs at himself. 'What about you?' he asks. 'You…well, you know-'
'Say it, Moony, come on', chants Sirius into his ear. 'Come, come come come. You can't, can you? Even after that, you're still so bloody proper.' He flicks his tongue into Remus' ear, making him squirm in surprise. 'Semen, how about that? Sperrrrrmmm. C'moooon, say it, Moony. SPERRRRRRMMMM.'
'Stop- Sirius, for fuck's sake- alright, fine, SPERM. Bloody SPERM. I never want you anywhere near me ever again, you're barking bloody mad, and I hope you're happy.'
Sirius grins manically at him. 'You're lying, Moony. You know you want to do that again.'
5. Remus loves Sirius for how much he trusts him.
Remus has his eyes closed as he eases into Sirius, as slowly as he can even though he feels as though he might collapse because it's all so much. Sirius lets out a long hiss between his teeth and Remus' eyes snap open.
'Are you- is this-'
Sirius takes a shaky breath. 'No, it's- Oh. Keep…keep going.'
Remus will never forget how Sirius looks in that moment, eyes wide, mouth fallen slightly open. Somehow, he is more naked than Remus has ever seen him. He has one hand in Remus' hair, fingers entwined in the curls at the nape of his neck, and he runs his thumb over the skin between Remus' curls, making him shiver. Remus thrusts experimentally and Sirius moans and arches underneath him, tightening his grip on the back of his neck and drawing their faces closer together. Remus' arms are shaking but it's worth it for this closeness, with their foreheads almost touching and Sirius' legs around his waist. Sirius' hand slides around to grip his arse, pushing Remus further into him, and they both let out a breath. They have become one creature, bound together now by sweat and limbs as well as years, breathing together, moving together. Sirius' hand on his arse is insistent, pressing him on. He thrusts again and Sirius lets out a string of expletives mixed with his name, 'Moony, Moony,' over and over.
He could say it now, and Sirius could say it back, or not. It could stay in this moment, or it could still be there the next day, and the next. He could attribute it to the heat of the moment. There has never been a better time to say it.
He doesn't say it. It doesn't matter.
+1. Remus wishes he didn't still love Sirius. More than anything.
The clutter of his apartment walls him in. Stacks of dirty dishes, books, paper, they all teeter inwards like prison walls. Remus sits at his kitchen table, quill in one hand, blank parchment in front of him, trying not to look around him, while his head sings prison walls, prison walls, prison walls. His hands are icy cold.
For prisoners like the one he is writing to, there are no visitors, no mail, no contact with the world outside Azkaban. Even if there were, he could never bring himself to send it.
Regardless, his hand moves across the page as though beyond his control.
I don't know how you did it, how you fooled us for so long, and so beautifully. But that's because I never knew you.
That doesn't change the fact that I still love you. Even if the person I love never existed.