What's this? Yet another Harry Potter collab between acherona and trulywicked? Why yes, yes it is. Ash has been posting our first HP collab, Blood Quill Consequences, on her account but tis not fair to have her post all of our works on hers so, as it's coming up V-Day and I always post SOMETHING round this time of year, I have decided to post time we've left the ages alone and it's the end of his fifth year so Harry's still fifteen but obviously that will change as will other things. Now, for those of you who don't like it M-preg will be a big part of this fic. We like it. Here it's an accepted 'normal' thing for strong wizards to get pregnant, common knowledge, and is made possible through their magic. it will enter into the story around the 9th chapter so you have more than fair warning.

This fic has two main pairings, Remus/Sirius and Regulus/Harry. We have a few other homosexual side pairings and there will also be heterosexual side pairings. I'm only gonna say this once, and bold it for emphasis, No flaming of, or complaining about the pairings and please do not try and convince either myself (trulywicked) or acherona to change the pairings within the story because that would require WAAAAAAAY more work than either of us want to fiddle with.

Why you may ask?

Because this story is actually already completely written up and only being posted as I go through an editing process, checking for typos and whatnot. So yeah, not keen on re-writing 31 chapters of fic.

WARNING: Violence, shocking revelations, brotherly reunion, smart-ass comments.

Disclaimer: We have no claim on Harry Potter nor any characters or locations thereof. We gain only amusement from writing this.

It was chaos, pure and utter chaos. Hexes and spells flew in the air, and you had to be very careful not to hit your own allies. Not that there were many of them, the Death Eaters had the upper hand at the moment. Remus caught a glimpse of Sirius' long cloak and of Harry's green, green eyes before he had to dodge another hex coming his way.

It hadn't taken them long to come to the Department of Mysteries when they'd heard that Harry and his friends had been tricked into coming here but Remus hadn't expected it to be this bad. The children, because that was what they were in Remus' mind, were fighting Voldemort's top Death Eaters and though they were doing a good job defending themselves Remus was afraid of what could happen.

Again he caught sight of Sirius, his best friend seemed to be fighting three Death Eater's at once and for some reason it made Remus growl, low and dangerously in his throat. It was the middle of the lunar cycle, the time when his wolf usually was sound asleep, locked away deep inside Remus' mind but here it was, ready to emerge. Remus actually felt sharp teeth pressing against his gums and his sight flashed to and from monochrome as he watched the fighting play out around him. Senses sharper than his own assaulted his mind and without another thought he moved towards his best friend to do something, even though he wasn't exactly sure what.

Sirius laughed at Bellatrix as he easily avoided yet another of her hexes. "Oh come on Bella, I remember you being a much better shot than that. Did Azkaban really dull your senses that much? Poor thing."

Bellatrix snarled at her cousin's taunting of her aim and concentrated enough to have her next hex hitting him square in the chest, sending him flying back towards the shadowy Veil. She watched with greedy anticipation as he fell.

Time stood still and Remus' world came crashing down around him in sharp glittering shards that cut through him harshly as he watched Sirius stumble and move closer to the flickering veil in the archway behind him. Something ripped through his very soul, something deep and primal and much bigger than himself. Sirius, his best friend, his other half...His matewas in mortal danger and there was no way for Remus to reach him in time. A howl of desperation rose from his throat and he moved anyway, knowing that he needed to try to reach the other even though he knew it was impossible.

Harry was just as stricken watching Bellatrix Lestrange's hex his godfather right in the chest. Sirius was his bloody family, the one adult who actually listened to what he had to say and understood how he felt. This could not be happening. If something did happen to Sirius here it was all his fault. He was the one who had fallen for Voldemort's lies, he was the reason they all were here in the first place. With a shout of his godfather's name he jumped over a still masked Death Eater, his wand drawn and pointing towards a laughing Bellatrix. His only thoughts were to get there.

Sirius' eyes connected with first Harry's then Remus', disbelief that Bellatrix had actually managed to hit him shining in the gray depths as well as remorse for making such a bad slip that would cause his two most important people grief.

Just before he fell through the stone archway a deep, somewhat rough voice called out, "Corpus Leviosa!"

Suddenly Sirius was rising away from the Veil, someone levitating him to safety.

Bellatrix spun to see who had interfered and felt her mouth drop open when she saw Regulus Black standing there, his wand gently directing Sirius' floating body to rest safely next to Harry Potter. She shrieked and cast a curse at the younger Black brother just as he released the levitation.

Regulus ducked, the Black family gray eyes cold and hard as he cast a cutting curse back at Bellatrix, hitting her thigh and prompting another shriek, this one of pain.

Sirius stumbled to his knees, eyes wide as he saw his little brother, his supposedly dead little brother, very much alive and fighting against his former compatriots. Suddenly Sirius coughed harshly, blood leaking from his mouth. 'Oh shite.'

Amber eyes were huge as he watched the younger Black brother, it had been years and years since he'd seen Regulus but he remembered him. The good son, the perfect Death Eater...What on earth was he doing here? How was it he was alive? He broke out of his pondering as Sirius coughed and bright red blood dribbled down his chin. A tight fist clenched around his heart when he realized that Sirius wasn't out of danger yet. He startled at Harry's sharp voice.

"Go, get him out of here!" Harry had no idea who the dark haired man was, all he knew was that he had saved Sirius and hexed Bellatrix and that made him a good guy in Harry's book, at least for the moment. "Remus, get Siri and get him to Madam Pomfrey, he needs help." He watched as Remus got himself out of his stupor and ran to grab Sirius. He moved towards them and cast Stupefy on Carrow when the large Death Eater moved behind the unknown man to hex him.

Regulus glanced back, catching the bottle green eyes and nodded a brief thanks before returning the favor as Gregory Goyle Sr. lifted his wand at the youth. He looked up as Bellatrix charged towards him with a knife instead of her wand. He caught her wrist, ducked and flipped her over his shoulder then held his wand at the ready, making her freeze in mid-wand reach. "Don't even think about it Bella. We both know exactly how capable I am of stopping you, permanently."

She glared up at him. "You little traitor, when the Dark Lord learns of this he'll-" she broke off, eyes wide as her cousin laughed at her. It was a rusty, rough laugh as if it had been years since it had last been used but it was also cold and not warm as her Reggie's laugh used to be. It bothered her on a visceral level.

"Voldemort? You think he scares me little Bell? He doesn't. I know his greatest secret and his greatest shame and I've already escaped agonizing death once. He's naught more than a silly playground bully blown up to be more than he is."

If the situation hadn't been as serious as it was Harry might have laughed at the dark haired witch's expression when the man tore her precious Dark Lord down. As it was Harry didn't have the time to watch any longer as the Death Eater's started to get desperate when they realized that things were going down the crapper for them and fast too. More Order members arrived, Kingsley, Moody and Tonks turning the fight around very quickly with their trained Auror skills. Harry continued fighting but his mind was on the unknown man and on Sirius, wondering if Remus had gotten him to safety where he would get help.

Bellatrix glanced to the side, seeing a rat scurrying along the wall and murmured just loudly enough that only Regulus heard her, "Tell me cousin, which is worth more to you? Me back in Azkaban? Or your dear older brother's freedom?" She let her eyes linger on the rat just long enough for him to glance away, giving her her chance at escape. She surged up, knocking his hand away and grabbing her own wand and knife before running for a fireplace, flooing away.

Regulus cursed and spun, if he couldn't have Bella back where she belonged, in Azkaban, he'd make damn sure that Pettigrew got a taste of the prison's delights. "Animus Revealo!" The spell hit the rat, returning it to human form then he cast another, "Stupefy!" and knocked the traitor out at Shacklebolt's feet.

Lucius Malfoy looked around, his sneer still in place but inwardly he was pleased that his warning had reached the Order in time. Not willing or able to break his cover just yet he tossed another hex over his shoulder before he followed his sister in law through the fireplace.

A surge of loathing when through Harry when he saw the unconscious form of Wormtail on the floor and the long scar on his arm seemed to throb. Maybe if Wormtail was caught this whole failure of an expedition wouldn't be completely wasted. The Auror's started to round up the captured Death Eater's but Harry kept his gaze on the dark haired man, not wanting him to disappear before Harry had a chance to talk to him...To thank him for saving Sirius.

Regulus didn't want to be cornered by any Aurors just yet so, in the chaos of them rounding up Death Eaters and helping the teenagers who were injured, he quietly slipped away into a dark corridor to wait until he could use a floo to leave.

Harry shook off Tonk's concerned hand from his shoulder and pointed her in his friends' direction instead, Ron still had vivid read welts all over his body from the giant brains that had attacked him and the others' were looking battle worn too.

After another glance around he followed the stranger out the door he had slipped through, wanting the chance to speak to the man. For some reason it felt really important to meet him.

"You should be with your friends Mr. Potter, not following after strangers in the dark." The rusty voice came from a shadowed corner where Regulus had positioned himself, perfect to watch the entire corridor in case he needed to defend himself. He'd been surprised to see Sirius' godson slip in after him and now he studied the youth curiously.

Harry's head whipped around and he watched the tall man carefully. "Well, I hardly ever do what I should, not likely that I'd start now." He took a step closer to the other. "You have me at a disadvantage here, you know who I am but I don't know anything about you."

A dark brow winged up. "I'm afraid much of the wizarding world has you at a disadvantage then Mr. Potter, for they all know your name and thanks to the media they all know your face as well. As I doubt you will see me again after tonight, you need not know anything more of me than I just provided assistance to you and your faction."

Harry couldn't stop the grimace on his face at the mentioning of the media, his fame was certainly not by choice. "But why? Why did you help? Why is it so bad wanting to know more?" Harry would probably have gone on asking questions but the door on the other side of the corridor flung open and Albus Dumbledore himself strode through.

"Ah Harry my boy, you need to get to your friends and give a statement to the Auror's before you return to Hogwarts."

Harry wanted to protest and ask how Dumbledore knew that since he came from the opposite direction but Dumbledore's expression didn't invite to opposition. He bit his lip and nodded shortly before turning on his heel and walking back towards the black painted door of the Department. He would most definitely ask Remus and Sirius questions later since it seemed they knew the man.

Albus waited until Harry had closed the door behind him before he faced the other man. "Regulus Black, I must say it is quite the surprise to see you here."

Darkly amused gray eyes met the old wizard's gaze steadily. "Is it? I can't imagine why." The sarcasm bounced off the twinkle eyed man like a rubber ball but then again, Regulus supposed dealing with Severus Snape inured one to sarcasm. "What do you want Mr. Dumbledore?"

"Hm?" Albus scratched his beard with a long fingered hand. "I want you to know that you don't have to be alone anymore...That you never really did." Dark blue eyes were almost serious as he watched Regulus through his glasses. "You are a very valuable asset young Mr. Black, I am sure you realize that."

A rusty humorless chuckle rolled through the air. "Let us table the act hmm? You, Albus Dumbledore, are nigh desperate to have Voldemort brought down, desperate enough that you quite cheerily manipulate others as if they were pieces on a chess board. Even those you seem to care about. Now, you want something of me and I've no patience for the veiled manipulations of powerful men. State what you want and what you are willing to offer in return."

"What I want?" Dumbledore ignored the sharp tone of the other man and kept his pleasant smile on his face though his eyes didn't twinkle quite as much. "I want peace, I want the best for the wizarding community...I want your allegiance." There was no reason to beat around the bush here. "I can offer you a home, weapons and more protection than you have now. I can offer a life free from hiding."

"When last I offered my allegiance to a powerful wizard like yourself I came to regret it. You, I will not follow the lead of. I will, however, follow the lead and guard the back of the youth who just left." His gaze stayed steady on Dumbledore's. "That young man has the makings of a true leader."

Dumbledore swallowed around the slight annoyance in his throat at the man's reluctance. He did understand where Regulus came from but that didn't change the fact that they needed him in the war that was looming closer with each day. "I will take your aid any way I can get it." He said finally. "And Harry will need everyone who can to guard his back, the future looks thorny for that young man."

"True enough. So what now?"

Remus stood by the window in the master bedroom of Grimmauld Place no. 12 and looked out over a dreary London. Sirius was sleeping in the large bed and Remus' mind was still buzzing with the revelation that had struck him at the Department of Mysteries. Sirius Black was his mate...He had no idea what the other wizard would think of that or if he had any romantic thoughts about him at all. Sighing he went back to the chair next to the bed and sat down, watching the steady rise and fall of Sirius' chest. It had been too close this time, Remus had almost lost him just when he had gotten him back.

The door to the room slowly creaked open and in stepped Sirius' brother, followed by Dumbledore. The younger Black brother's eyes went straight to Sirius, looking over him with intensity then he looked at Remus, "How is he?"

"He's alright, sleeping now." Remus' amber eyes traveled between Dumbledore and Regulus unsurely, the few times he'd met Regulus Black in the past the younger man hadn't not hidden his contempt for him so he wasn't sure just how to act. "He got some internal injuries from Bellatrix' hex but Poppy has healed him."

"Good, good." Dumbledore nodded, feeling relieved that the elder Black would be okay.

Regulus moved to a chair on the opposite side of the bed from Remus, knowing that the werewolf would be unlikely to want him anywhere near him but still wanting to be near his brother. He shook his head as he looked at Sirius' relaxed face. "Idiot. You never did learn to rein in that impulsive, reckless streak did you?" The rough voice was gentle with exasperated affection.

The affection in Regulus' voice was raw and real and it made Remus relax back in his chair. He did not care what Regulus thought of him, what was important was the way he felt about his brother. "Did you really expect him to?" He asked softly.

"Well things seem to be okay here, I will leave you and go back to Hogwarts and my wayward students." Dumbledore bowed slightly and walked out the room.

The younger Black raised his eyes to Remus'. "I didn't though I did think he'd at least gain sense enough to be serious in battle."

"Technically I am always Sirius in battle." The somewhat weak voice drew both the other men's attention to the bed, where the animagus' eyes were open and looking between his brother and Remus.

Regulus rolled his own eyes. "That has always been an awful pun Siri."

"What happened to your voice?" The older brother narrowed his eyes on Regulus, taking in the more world weary look on the other's face suspiciously. "And how the bloody hell are you alive?"

"It's a long story and one I prefer not to repeat so is there anyone else who will want to know that we need to bring in here?"

"You know Harry will want to know." Remus eyes didn't leave Sirius. He felt reassurance when the other was well enough to joke but he was still worried. Worried about the whole situation and about what would happen next. His wolf was growling and pacing inside him, wanting him to gather Sirius in his arms and keep him safe, claim him.

"Yeah I know. Can we get him h-" Sirius looked at the other marauder and noted just how deeply amber Remus' eyes were at the moment and frowned in concern. "Moony? You okay?"

Remus' eyes flashed and it took all his willpower not to act on his instincts. "I...I'm just fine Padfoot." He tried to smile reassuringly. "I'll just go and floo Hogwarts, see if we can get Harry here and I'll make some tea. I'll be back shortly." He rose from his chair and walked towards the door.

Sirius' frown deepened as Remus slipped out the door. "Fine my bloody arse." He slid his gaze over at Regulus. "Did you say something to him?"

"Oh I like that. Something wrong with your friend and it's automatically me? Nice Sirius, real nice. Good to see you've not changed at all." Regulus scowled and leaned back in his chair.

"Well there's not anyone else in the room." Sirius was nearly growling.

"Except you." Regulus lifted a brow and wondered just how dense his brother was.

"Are you saying I'vedone something?"

"You're his best friend aren't you? And you nearly died before his eyes. You really think he'll be all sunshine and scones after that?"

Sirius opened and closed his mouth a few times. "Sneaky smart-arse Slytherin."

"Reckless, impulsive, childish Gryffindor." It was a dry tone Regulus used. "Really Siri are we going to resort to school-age insults? I would have thought you'd learn a few better ones."

"I'll give you a better one you sl-" he broke off as the door opened again.

Remus stepped inside again, carrying a tray, closely followed by a wide eyed Harry and Kreacher, grumbling about the filthy werewolf making a mess in his kitchen. The house elf's large round eyes widened even more and he grew silent as he watched the man sitting my the bed. "Young Master?" The old elf trembled and shuffled forward, gripping Regulus hand tightly. "Young Master has returned finally?"

Harry's brows furrowed, there was obviously something he was missing here.

Sirius damn near choked on air at the total change in Kreacher's attitude and watched his brother with the house elf that had been driving him batty all the last year.

Regulus smiled at the elf, squeezing the wrinkled old hand in return. "I'm back. How are you Kreacher?"

"Kreacher is fine now that the young Master is back to take care of the house." The elf released the hand reluctantly and stepped back with a bow, tears of happiness running down the wrinkled cheeks.

Remus watched the scene in shocked silence before turning back to the tray in his arms and started to pour the tea. He handed cups to Sirius and Harry. "I'm sorry Regulus, I don't know how you take your tea."

Harry's spoon clattered against the thin china, Regulus? Sirius' brother? He was alive? He turned bright green eyes on the other.

Regulus met the youth's gaze and lifted an amused brow. "You're very good at letting the cat out of the bag Mr. Lupin."

Sirius groaned. "Oh Merlin, he's still got that bloody proper polite habit."

Gray eyes, a shade or two lighter than Sirius' slid over to his brother. "There is nothing wrong with being well mannered. You could do with a little manners you know."

"Don't start in on that again." Sirius hefted himself to sit up, grimacing at the slight soreness that remained after being healed. "Damn mad witch."

"I'll refrain from commenting about the lack of brain showed by taunting Bellatrix." Regulus took a sip of his tea.

"Shove it. Well, explain your continued presence in the land of the living will you?"

Regulus sighed. "You never could be patient. I suppose first you should know how I supposedly 'died'. Obviously I was not killed by Voldemort himself, nor were orders issued for my death. After I joined the Death Eaters, I allowed Voldemort to take Kreacher along on a bit of a trip to hide a dark artifact of great importance to him. During that trip he left Kreacher to die in the elaborate trap set up to guard the artifact." The man's eyes flashed in quiet fury. "He forgot about the laws that bind a house elf to their master. I had told Kreacher to return as soon as he'd finished his task and so he was able to pop back to me and tell me of what happened." He met Sirius' eyes, "I know you think very little of me for my decision to become a Death Eater but then I believed it to be the right choice, the choice that would help safeguard our world from discovery and protect us all. That opinion changed that day. I had Kreacher take me to the cave so I could retrieve the artifact myself." He smirked, "I left a replica and a note inside it as a way of thumbing my nose at the Dark Lord in what I thought would be a post-mortem 'bugger you'. The trap he'd set up caused a small army of Inferi to awaken and attack me."

Harry watched the house elf with new eyes, feeling pity and respect well up in him. Both for the elf and his master. "You took him on all alone?" Harry'd had his friends alongside him in every battle against Voldemort...Except for the graveyard but he didn't like to think about what had happened there...Even then he'd had his parents and Cedric tell him what to do. At the others questioning eyes he continued. "One thing I have learned is that Voldemort does not take deceit kindly, it doesn't matter that you didn't fight him directly, you still took him on."

Remus poured tea and gave the cup to Regulus, placing sugar and cream close by if he would want it since he still hadn't told Remus how he liked his tea. It was strange listening to the younger Black's story and realize that everything you thought you had known for sure wasn't all true.

Regulus nodded in thanks to Remus then addressed Harry's statement. "I am not the only one who was fighting him from the shadows of his own servants. I was very weak by the time the Inferi awakened and I wouldhave died had it not been for another so-called Death Eater who'd followed me. He drove off the Inferi with Fiendfyre and took me to his home to recuperate. It took...quite some time before I was able to get up on my own." He looked down at the tea, sipping absently not bothering with the cream or sugar. "Once well enough I left his home in search of other artifacts of the same nature as the one Voldemort had put in the cave, intending to find a way to destroy them. It was not until I heard of his return to flesh and blood that I returned to England and the manor of the Death Eater who came to my aide."

Sirius frowned. "So you've been alive all this time, searching for dark artifacts or hiding out in some spy's house?"

A dark brow lifted. "Essentially. Why so irritated? I hear you didn't even attend the memorial service held in my honor."

"You little son of a-" Sirius stopped himself, "So why come back now?"

"Because I knew you'd end up getting yourself in trouble. You are still my brother you know."

"We're glad to have you back and very happy to see you alive." Remus gave Sirius a pointed look. He knew how much Sirius had mourned and missed his little brother even though the other never spoke of it.

Harry nodded. "I'm glad you had someone to help you when you needed it." He stirred his cooling tea. "I hope you'll stay now, it would be nice getting to know you...And Remus and I could use all the help we can get keeping Snuffles here out of trouble." He grinned at his godfather.

Regulus choked a bit on his tea and coughed before he asked, "Snuffles?" He slid a wicked glance over at his brother, who held up two fingers casually.

"Oh yes, he's our very own cuddly little Snuffles." Harry's grin widened and Remus rolled his eyes.

"Really Harry..." He couldn't quite hide his smile though. At least Harry's gentle teasing was normal, something Remus needed with all the warring emotions inside him.

The younger Black brother chuckled just a bit, much warmer than any laugh he'd given yet though it was still rough. "Brother, I never knew you could be so cute as to warrant such a name."

"Shove it Reg." Sirius frowned. "And you still haven't answered my first bloody question."

"Which was?"

"Why is your voice so rough? You used to have a smoother drawl than bloody Malfoy."

Regulus sobered and reached up to the high collar of his outer robe, pulling it away to reveal a large vicious scar on this throat. "Inferi like to go for the throat."

Sirius stared at the scar, everything Regulus said finally starting to sink in.

Watching the ragged scar Harry was struck by the insane urge to reach out and touch it in comfort. A bit worried by the thought he turned his attention back to his tea, all urges to joke around forgotten.

"You're alive, I think we all can live with a rough voice when it means that you're here and alive." Remus placed his empty cup back on the tray.

The younger Black put his collar back up. "I don't speak much in any case." He set his tea cup down on the tray in a similar manner. "I believe I should go and look around. It's been some time since I've been home. Any rooms I should avoid?"

Sirius' cheeks turned slightly red in abashment. "Mother's quarters. Buckbeak is in there."

Two black brows lifted, "I do not believe I'm going to ask." He rose. "Get some rest Siri." He turned to walk out then found his sleeve caught and turned back in surprise to see his brother's hand gripping it and the darker gray eyes looking up at him.

"Reg, I'm sorry."

He sighed, shook his head and moved to sit on the edge of the bed, giving his older brother a hug. "Idiot Gryffindor. It's years in the past."

Sirius chuckled, knowing that was as close to a 'you're forgiven' as he'd get out of Regulus. "Sneaky Slytherin."

Harry was so happy for his godfather, imagine having someone you thought was lost forever come back to you. It was a miracle and Harry was happy for Sirius, his godfather had lost so much, it was really nice seeing something returned.

"Well I should probably return to Hogwarts. I was only allowed a few hours of leave." He got up from the chair and smiled at the men in the room. "Thank you for letting me hear this." Harry turned to Regulus. "It was very nice meeting you formally, getting to know your name."

The man gave him a very slight smirk. "Yes well, sitting down in an invalid's room-"

"Oi!" Sirius pushed his brother away with a half frown half pout on his face that Regulus ignored.

"Is much more conducive to proper introductions than a dark corridor in the Department of Mysteries."

"You may be right there but I still think you got pulled along by the mood of the Department and were secretive just for the sake of it." Harry smiled at Regulus and leaned down to give his godfather a hug. "Take it easy for a while Snuffles and let your body heal. Let Remus take care of you." Harry rose, turned and gave Remus a hug too. "Okay I need to go, I still have to talk to professor Dumbledore about why Voldemort lured me there...The prophecy." The smile slid off Harry's face at the thought of that conversation, he didn't think it would be sunshine and puppies. Saying his goodbyes he left the room to take the floo downstairs to Dumbledore's office which was the only floo connected fireplace at Hogwarts.

Regulus stood up again. "I'll leave you to rest and reacquaint myself with the house now. Mr. Lupin do see to it that my blockhead brother gets some rest will you?" He ignored the second indignant exclamation from Sirius, though his lips twitched, looking at Remus.

"He won't leave this bed and he will get his rest even if I have to sit on him." Remus nodded with a small smile. "I know this is your house but if you need anything don't hesitate to ask me, I know my way around pretty well."

Regulus nodded and slipped out of the room, leaving a pouting Sirius staring at Remus.

"You'd sit on me? Moony that's just unfair."

"What, you afraid you couldn't take it? Too frail and weak I suppose." A sandy brown eyebrow rose as Remus watched the pouting man in the bed. Teasing like this was also normal and safe...This he could do.

"I could take anything you wanted to dish out Moony." Sirius' eyes glimmered with mischief and just a slight edge of challenge. Crossing verbal swords with Remus was always fun.

"You'd like to think so, you have no idea what I'm capable of puppy." Remus replied easily as he pulled the heavy blanket over Sirius and fluffed his pillows.

Sirius scoffed. "Moony I've seen you at your best, your worst, and your most humiliating, I know you better than anyone else. I say bring it Wolf." He grinned and reached out to poke Remus' cheek, jolting at the almost electric tingle that went up his arm as soon as skin met skin.

Remus' eyes flashed and he practically jumped backwards away from the bed. His wolf howled with the need to touch more, to prove himself to his mate in any way that he could. There was no way he could burden Sirius with this right now when his best friend was still healing. Honestly though, Remus didn't know if he would ever find the courage to deal with it. He couldn't lose Sirius, he just couldn't and he was afraid that was what was going to happen if the dog animagus found out.

Sirius had noted that quick flash of the wolf in Remus' eyes and he sat, his own eyes wide and stared steadily at his friend. Something more was going on here and he didn't like feeling like he was being kept in the dark. "Moony, what the hell was that?"

"What was what?" Remus met Sirius' eyes and wavered under the steady questioning gaze. "It's nothing Siri, don't worry, the wolf got a little agitated during the battle earlier that's all. He'll calm soon enough." Remus busied himself making sure that Remus had water and a pain potion close on his bedside table if he would need it.

The other man almost flinched as if he'd been slapped at the lie. Remus couldn't lie worth a damn, at least not to him. The werewolf was hiding something and it surprised Sirius how much it hurt. He rubbed the center of his chest, not really sure what caused the sudden vicious squeeze of his heart aside from the fact that Moony, his best friend and constant confidant, was hiding something, and it had to be something important, from him.

Remus was at his side in an instant as he watched Sirius rub his chest. "Are you in pain? Are there still some effects of the hex?" He looked Sirius over worriedly, his arms aching to reach out and touch, comfort and soothe.

Sirius' eyes flashed in irritation, knowing that the anger he felt was completely out of proportion but still it was a tight, painful knot in his stomach. How dare Moony be all sweet concern while he was keeping something from him? He reached out, this time making sure his hand only hit the rough tweed of Remus' jacket instead of skin, and pushed the werewolf away harshly. The tingle went up his arm again, only this time it was dulled. His voice was strained and tight as he bit off, "I'm fine. Go keep Reg company. I'm going to get some sleep." And so saying he flopped onto the bed, turning his back pointedly towards Remus.

The wolf in him whimpered at its mate's rejection and Remus tried to reign in the hurt. He was the one keeping secrets, Sirius had every right to not want to be near him. "Okay...Sleep well." Remus' voice was soft and a bit uncertain. "Call me if you need anything, I'm just down the hall." Before he could stop himself his fingers reached out to run through soft black hair, he made sure not to touch skin. Remus pulled his hand away and stepped out of the bedroom, closing the door behind him and leaning against it as he tried to compose himself. What the fuck was he supposed to do about this mess?

Back inside the room, Sirius gave in to the confounding need to curl into a little ball. He wanted to shift to Padfoot and curl up like that but he was still drained from the events of the day and didn't have the energy to complete a transformation. Tomorrow he'd try and drag whatever was going on out of Remus, when he wasn't so raw with hurt over the fact that he was going to have to drag it out of his best friend in the first place. If that didn't work, well he'd send an owl off to Hermione, research maven and all round clever witch. If it was in a book she'd find it and he'd have some ammunition to use in a confrontation with Remus.

A/N: We hope you enjoyed the first chapter of this and please do review, it does indeed make for faster posts when we know that people are liking what we're posting.