Please be forewarned that this is still a slash story about Remus and Sirius, so, if this idea disturbs you, you read on at your own risk.
Boys' Own Camping Adventure: Resolution
Remus found himself enjoying his moonlit ramble down the narrow wooded track. He reckoned he was several miles from their campsite by now and still had several more miles to go until he'd get to the village.
Not that he actually wanted to reach the village or to find Sirius, for that matter. He didn't know what he wanted to do, but being alone in the forest and going somewhere was better than being alone in the tent and lying there listening for-
Listening for what? Sirius' drunken stumblings outside the tent? The infernal silence of the camp, save for Peter's snoring, had finally driven him into the forest.
For some reason, he had taken Sirius' cloak with him when he left. Just in case. Such a good friend, Remus. Always there when you need him, whether it was the cloak you forgot, lecture notes from a class you missed, or ...a warm sleeping bag. How very convenient Remus was.
He heard the motorcycle ages before he could see it. As the familiar bass rumble got closer and more distinct, his stomach filled with ice and his limbs got heavier and heavier, until he could no longer walk at all.
Sirius saw the figure first in moonlight and then in the glare of his headlamp. His fingers itched on the throttle. What if he just kept going?
But he stopped the bike, killed the engine and the headlamp, and stood balancing unsteadily over the seat. As his eyes adjusted to the moonlight, now bleaching his friend's brown hair a ghostly white, he saw with some surprise that Remus clutched his cloak in both hands. The sight of it made him shiver, realizing how cold he was. And shivering made him think of ... something he didn't want to think about.
He felt safe on the bike, almost reluctant to get off, another completely new feeling. This was turning out to be a night of new and unexpected emotions.
When he did get off, he managed to slide off the seat with his accustomed panache, but the ground met him in a rather unforgiving way. He stumbled and nearly lost the Shadow, which teetered unsteadily as if it were as drunk as he was. This wouldn't do. After wrestling with the kickstand, the bike stood motionless.As did Remus, silently holding out the cloak and giving him that look, the boy-have-you-been-an-idiot look. The longer Remus stood there, the angrier Sirius became.
"How can you calmly stand there and hand me my cloak?" he yelled.
Remus was thrown into confusion, feeling anything but calm. He expected rejection, but.... what was this? If only he could make his legs work, he would turn and escape into the forest, slipping silently through the trees. As it was, he could only stand there like the fool he was, holding the cloak and gawking at the apparition in tight jeans and a T-shirt.
"Don't you realize what we did?" Sirius continued his rant to the utterly shocked Remus.
"'Of course." After several attempts, he managed to produce the measured voice that he used for lying to teachers, although inside he fought the twin urges to run and to bite. That familiar fight-or-flight response.
"The question is, do you?" he continued. "After a night of drinking and picking up chicks," he said acidly, "perhaps you scarcely remember." Voicing that single sentence made him feel as if he was letting all his fears and bitterness show. It was uncharacteristic of him, and he knew it, but perhaps he also knew that the stakes were higher here.
Still furious, Sirius moved closer, attempting to snatch the cloak, but failing because his sense of balance was not working terribly well. He fell roughly to the ground at Remus' feet.
"Dammit! Do I look like I'm in any condition to pick up chicks?" Sirius replied hoarsely, the edge of anger leaking out of his voice.
Remus took a step closer. Sirius was sitting on the ground with his legs set at awkward angles, as if he still did not have control of them.
"Unfinished business with you, Moony," he muttered as he looked down and ran his hands through his hair.
Remus couldn't help but admire the tight jeans and the way in which the T-shirt stretched and rippled over Sirius' shoulders as he cradled his head in his hands. Any number of girls had probably felt the same way before, he told himself, and look where it got them.
"You're already one of my best friends, a better friend than I knew." Sirius broke the silence, staring up at Remus with an uncharacteristically searching look on his face.
"Because I'll sleep with you, you mean?" Bitterness and caution had still not entirely left Remus' tone, although he continued to thaw.
"...because it felt right. No, more than right, it felt terrific. Didn't you feel it, Moony?" Sirius tried to get up, but couldn't muster enough coordination to complete the job.
Sitting there, amidst the dirt and pine needles, Sirius discovered that it was possible to feel more miserable than he had on the previous night when he crawled into the tent and debated with himself about taking the first step down this road. Now he was smack in the middle of it and it hurt; it hurt more than any affair he'd ever had with a girl, even the long ones of a week or more. He had thought he knew who he was, but now he wasn't so sure. And that particular feeling was quite alien to him.
"Do you think I'm made of stone? Of course I- " Remus stopped, feeling a warm flush spreading from his face downward, and was thankful he wore a loose robe to cover the effect. His friend continued to struggle, trying unsuccessfully to get up. Instinctively, Remus reached out a hand and pulled Sirius up with one swift movement. He staggered a bit, making Remus grip his shoulders to keep him from falling.
"I can't stop being your friend..." Remus said slowly, knowing the simple truth without needing further proof or explanation. As he searched his friend's face, a thousand images ran through his mind: games and jests from boyhood, listening to Sirius recount his adventures with girls (sometimes in graphic detail). He tried to make all those memories fit with what he felt at that instant, which was an almost overwhelming desire to kiss Sirius. Hard..
Sirius felt a flicker of hope, and, also, a growing tightness in his jeans. He didn't know where this would end, but if Remus was still willing to be his friend, things might work out.
"...but I don't want to be one of your conquests, either." Remus finished his sentence with a conviction that startled them both.
Before Sirius could reply, Remus did kiss him, a long, deep kiss that lasted many minutes.
They fell apart slightly, each breathing hard and eyeing the other, not with suspicion, but with a growing comprehension of how it was going to be.
"I'll run us back to camp on the bike," Sirius suggested with a shadow of his old grin. "And then to bed?"
"Gods, you're drunk," replied Remus, fastening the cloak around his friend's shoulders.
"But I bet it won't affect my performance. Care to see?" Sirius said as he swung his leg expertly over the seat of the motorcycle. Some things he could do drunk or sober.
Remus only laughed in response and climbed on behind him, snaking his arms around Sirius' waist securely. With a kick to start the engine, they were off.
The following morning, the sun seemed unusually bright, and the birds sounded exceptionally cheery. Remus and Sirius woke and dressed, no awkwardness between them. With one final conspiratorial grin, they crawled out of their tent.
The sun hit them in the eyes. It was much higher in the sky that they had expected: that explained the brightness.
"It's past noon!" Remus squinted at his other friends, already busy with lunch preparations. "Why didn't you guys wake us?"
"We tried," James replied, "But there seemed to be some sort of silencing charm on your tent." He raised his eyebrows inquisitively.
"Oh, yeah, that," Sirius grinned, unable to prevent himself from sending Remus an amused sidelong glance. Remus, as always more controlled, restrained himself and did not meet his eye. "My fault, I'm afraid," Sirius continued. "I put up a Cone Of Silence to keep out Peter's snoring."
"Do I snore, then?" Peter looked up from the fire. "Mum never told me..."
"I'm afraid you do, Peter," Remus smiled. "And Sirius doesn't: it's the only advantage to having him as a tentmate."
Sirius looked a little taken aback by that statement.
"Sirius doesn't snore, but he will talk." James replied. "At least from what I remember... What about you, Remus? Didn't he try to keep you up all night?"
"Er, possibly." Remus hid his confused grin by leaning over the cooking pot, "What's for lunch, then?"
"Sausages?" Sirius asked in a funny voice which everybody chose to ignore.
Especially as there were more interesting things around to pay attention to. "What's that on the back of your neck, Remus?" Peter asked.
"What?" Remus sat up sharply, touching his nape with one hand. His pale face reddened round the edges. "Oh, that, just a scratch."
"Looks nasty," Peter said with concern. "Does it run all the way down your back?"
"And where did you get it, anyway?" James was curious.
"Remus came out with me last night," Sirius replied, "And, along the way, he ran afoul of an animal. A really impressive animal," he finished smugly.
"Do you mean a human, bar-dwelling sort of animal," James asked, confused, "or an animal animal?"
"A bit of both, one might say," Remus said crypticaly. "Still, I promise that if I ever run into this animal again, I will pay it back for all it did to me."
"You think you could, huh?" Sirius drew back his shoulders and looked over at Remus, who could not, this time, resist meeting his eye.
"Are they going to fight?" Peter asked James. "Why are they staring like that?"
James shrugged. "There's something odd going on here, if you ask me. Does this animal have something to do with Sirius? What were you two up to, last night?"
Remus twitched. Pulling himself together, he took a deep breath, and turned towards James. "Oh, you know how odd things always happen when Sirius is around. And odd things get said," he continued, with a quick, forceful glance at Sirius. "Sometimes I think we'd be better off if we cast a permanent Cone Of Silence on him."
"It's not all that odd," Sirius replied. "All I did was give Remus a ride on my bike, and we rode through some brambles, and then the inevitable happened..."
"Yes, well, that's all quite true," Remus nodded, stirring the stew.
James and Peter accepted this explanation at face value. Neither of them had enough imagination to realize what Sirius had meant by 'the inevitable.'.
Well, that's all resolved. For now: it's not necessarily the world's most stable relationship, at the moment. Would love to hear what all the readers think, so please do review. Flames are welcome: they are really quite amusing to read, and we can all do with a laugh.
The characters all belong to JKR, of course.