Sirius caught Remus on the third class deck the next day, early in the morning. Remus had been sketching the horizon, the way the sun reflected off the sea, but nothing had really come of his attempts. His fingers itched for something real to draw, something concrete, with skin and bones and lungs to breathe air. He was rubbish at landscapes; it was people he loved, people he wanted to draw, and the one person his mind kept flickering back to was, in fact, Sirius Black.
And then the man himself came strolling down the third class deck, catching a lot of attention from the steerage passengers, who stare with awe or even outright resentment at this well-dressed, devastatingly handsome, obviously wealthy gentleman making his way across their deck. He stopped at Remus and cleared his throat, clearly a bit nervous.
"Hi," Remus offered.
"Right, hello…" Sirius fidgeted with his cufflinks. "Look, can I speak to you in private? Is that all right?"
"Fine by me," Remus replied, and jumped to his feet, leading Sirius farther down the deck, away from the rest of the passengers. "Is this about last night?"
"Well, yes." Sirius flushed and turned to grip the ship's railing, white-knuckled. "I wanted to thank you. Not just for pulling me back to the other side, but for keeping my secret as well."
"Anytime," Remus said immediately, and then – "Well, not anytime, actually. I'd prefer you don't make any more suicide attempts, if you don't mind."
"Right." And here Sirius turned to hold Remus's gaze; his silver eyes burned with an intensity Remus longed to capture on paper. "And look, Mr. Lupin–"
Sirius blinked. "Remus, then. I know what you're thinking – this poor little rich boy, what can he know of misery?"
"Not at all. I was actually just wondering…what could he have gone through, what could have hurt him so badly that he thought he had no other way out?"
Sirius shook his head and turned to look out at the sprawling expanse of ocean before him. "It wasn't any one thing. It was…everything. They're drowning me, Remus…"
"So you decide to try and drown yourself?"
"It's not funny." Sirius glared at Remus. "But, yes. If you're trapped – if you're really just utterly trapped – do you have any other choice, but to just end it all?"
"Yes," Remus replied, "you do have another choice. You choose to escape. You choose to be free."
Sirius just shook his head, laughing. "You make it sound so easy. Some of us don't have that choice."
"There's always a choice–"
"You act as if you know me," Sirius snapped. "You know nothing of my family, of these people–" He broke off suddenly. "This is poor payment for you saving my life."
Remus smirked. "I didn't save your life. I saved your watch from falling overboard."
"And then get accused of robbing me," Sirius added bitterly. "What a world." His gaze dropped suddenly to the sketchbook in Remus's hands. "You draw?"
Remus smiled shyly down at the leather-bound pages he held. "Yeah. A little. I sketch."
"Can I see?" Sirius suddenly looked very intense, his eyes ablaze with fierce interest.
"They're not very good," Remus replied, squinting at the sun over the horizon. "Just sketches, mostly."
"I'm sure they're better than mine," Sirius replied, turning and leaning back against the railing, crossing one ankle over the other, his hands in his pockets.
"You draw too?" Now Remus looked curious, turning his attention away from the water to glance at the other man.
"Sketch, mostly. Not much. Mother and Father used to make me take art lessons when I was younger." Sirius scoffed, shook his head a little. "Boring scenes, mostly. Landscapes, you know, sunrise and sunset. Trees, rocks sometimes. Terribly boring."
"I want to see," Remus said quickly, a challenge in his eyes.
"Maybe later," Sirius replied, and it sounded honest. Not a dismissal, anyway. Remus smiled, and Sirius continued, "And what is it that you draw?"
Remus smirked. "People, mostly. You know. Tall women, beautiful women, naked women. Awfully dull."
Sirius looked startled for a moment, and then grinned. "Well, this I've got to see."
Remus laughed and handed his book over. "Take a look," he offered, and Sirius flipped through, studying the pages before him. His eyes pored over each line, each scratch of pencil on paper. His face betrayed no emotion, but his voice seemed sincere when he said, "Remus, these are exquisite."
"The models were exquisite. I just translated that to paper," Remus replies, brushing off the compliment. Sirius smirks.
"Ah, yes. The models. They are beautiful." He flipped a few more pages and paused, studying one drawing in particular… "So you draw male models, as well?"
This time his voice was calm, but he scrutinized Remus so closely the other man felt a bit uncomfortable.
"Yes," Remus finally replied. "A bit of variety, you know."
Sirius nods, and Remus can't help but add, "And the sex was amazing, afterwards."
For a moment Sirius looks utterly scandalized, and then he laughs, a sharp, barking noise, like that of a dog. "Don't tell me you–"
"Keep it a secret?" Remus begged, grinning, and Sirius just nods, looking disbelieving.
"Well, Mr. Lupin, it appears we have more in common than I imagined."
For a moment, Sirius's silver eyes lock into Remus's gold ones, and then Remus reaches for his drawing book and turns away. "You'd better get back to your own deck and remind yourself how different we are," he said darkly, but offered one last smile to Sirius Black before turning and striding off toward the third class deck.
Sirius calls after him, "Dinner tonight!" before taking Remus's advice and returning to his own deck.