So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

-Genesis 3:23-24


When Remus wakes up, it is to the feeling of sunlight all over and the sound of birds chirping. Peeking one eye open carefully, he scans the room. His dusty dresser and framed pictures and random stacks of books are all familiar, but not as familiar as red curtains and James' quidditch socks and the ever-present stack of chocolate on his nightstand. He sits up and rubs his eyes. Eighteen is not a fun age to wake up early for no reason, so he considers going back to sleep, but something feels wrong. Glancing to his left, he realizes what it is: Sirius is not there. He pushes his eyebrows together as he gets up, absent-mindedly pulling the blanket up to his pillows. It's not like Sirius has anything he could do without him, he thinks, pulling on a t-shirt and a pair of Sirius' shorts. It's his own house, and he has no idea what Sirius could be doing alone. He steps out into the hallway, closing the door behind him gently, and he's on the first step of the stairs when he hears Sirius' voice.

"Yeah," he says, "I'm excited for the end of the year." There's a pause, and then he adds, "Not so much for NEWTs."

"Oh, you'll do fine," his mother responds

"Probably," he says. "I just don't want to study, if I'm being honest," he says, and Remus has to stifle a laugh at this. Sirius is not going to study. He has been friends with Sirius since first year, and Sirius has never studied.

"I'm worried about Remus," he hears his mother say, and he stiffens in response.

"Remus? Why? He'll do fine. Probably ace every one."

"No," she says. "Not exams. After Hogwarts. I mean, he's going to have such trouble finding a job, and he can't—much as I want him to—live at home forever."

"Oh," Sirius says. His voice sounds a bit odd, and Remus feels a bit like a deer caught in headlights as Sirius continues, "but didn't he tell you? We're getting a flat together after graduation."

"Ha," Remus more says than laughs, breaking the awkward silence as he quickly makes his way downstairs and to Sirius' side. "Could've warned me you were planning on telling everyone," he says. "You know."

Sirius' eyebrows are pushed together. He's not wearing his usual thick line of eyeliner, but he is completely dressed, wearing his usual leather jacket and skinny jeans. "You didn't tell your mum?" He looks up at Remus' mom, confused. "You didn't know?"

She shakes her head distractedly. "Remus... you know how hard it's going to be for you to get a job once you graduate... how are you going to pay for rent? You have-"

"My uncle left me so much money that I don't know what to do with it all when he died a year ago," Sirius says jokingly. "Money's not a problem."

Remus' mother eyes them both, and Remus knows the look: it is one of pride, one of a refusal to give up their dignity just because of their financial problems.

"I know," Remus says. "It's- uncomfortable," and he nudges Sirius to tell him to shut up when he opens his mouth before continuing, "But I-"

"Remus," Sirius murmurs, inching just a little bit closer. "it's not-" he looks at Mrs. Lupin again. "It's not... you shouldn't be uncomfortable. It's just. I mean, what if we weren't gay? This is- I mean, Remus, I wanna live with you because I wanna be with you. It's like- we can't get married, right? But we would if we could, and when you're married, you don't think, 'I can't live with my husband, how will I pay half of the rent?' You know? You just live together because that's what you both want, obviously, if you're getting married, and the whole thing works out, with the what's-mine-is-yours soppy nonsense and whatnot."

There is a slightly awkward silence, which Remus decides to break by nudging Sirius' foot with his own, saying, "Married?"

"Well, you know," Sirius blushes and ducks his head. "If we could. Right?"

"Yeah," Remus says, watching him. "Still wouldn't like the idea of you just paying for everything, even then."

Sirius laughs, eyes twinkling with something strong as he looks at Remus. "No, 'course not. That's not who you are." They share a set of gooey smiles before Sirius remembers that Remus' mom is watching, and he turns to her. "Besides, he needs me there on the full."

Remus scoffs, a red hue spreading up his neck and into his cheeks. "I don't need you-"

"But I need you to need me, or else I'll go mad," Sirius says, dipping in to kiss his cheek. Remus blushes darker and sends his mother an apologetic grin.

She still looks unsure. "Have you looked around? Do you know where?"

"Was thinking in London, but I want to be far away from my god-awful parents, so I don't know."

"London's big," Remus points out.

He sees the and expensive looming in his mother's eyes but says nothing.

"We've been together since... since when, Moony?" he asks, pulling Remus' back against his chest and hooking an arm around his waist, "Since we were 14? End of third year?" Even Sirius blushes now, holding his head up high to rest his chin on top of Remus'. "Long enough to know that—not to be sappy or anything—but I want to spend the rest of my life with your son."

Remus turns his head, an awed smile on his face. Remus' mother is also smiling, though hers is a bit more reserved, a bit more forced, but it's better than most other mothers would react, so he's grateful, because she's trying so hard to do more than accept it. She's chatting up Sirius and asking about their relationship and Remus has never felt so himself with his parents before, but living with Sirius—that's what he wants. And he agrees so completely and wholly with Sirius, that yes, he'd love for them to spend their lives together, however sappy it may be.

"Maybe Brixton," Remus says, breaking the silence, and Sirius throws his head back and laughs.

"Mmh. Want to live in a Muggle area," he agrees, and a shiver runs down Remus' spine as Sirius' nose nuzzles into the back of his head. "James and Lily are thinking Godric's Hollow, you know?"

"Yeah," he says. "Think that's a bit stupid, to be honest," he says, turning to face Sirius. "It's more dangerous," he says softly.

Sirius' nose wrinkles up. "James doesn't have anything to worry about, I don't think. He's pureblood, no matter how Gryffindor he is. S'what this Voldemort's trying to do, right? Preserve the purebloods."

"What about Lily?"

"That's what I'm worried about," Sirius says softly, his eyes hazing over. "And you. I mean- you know."

"I read that they're trying to get werewolves to join," Remus' mother says suddenly, and Remus turns to face her, blinking. He'd forgotten, for a moment, that she was there, even. "To join his side. They're offering... he says, I think, that they've got a potion to keep the transformations from happening during the full moon."

"It's a lie," Remus says without thinking, his voice harsh. "And I bet... you know, most of them are stupid enough to fall for it."

"What," Sirius begins, and Remus can tell without looking that he licks his lips before continuing, "Did you hear how?"

"No," she says, her eyebrows pushing together. She looks so pretty, right then, Remus thinks, and hopeless, as her gray-stained brown hair falls around her face in curls. She's got a permanently hidden look about her now, like she's wearing a mask, but Remus can remember when her whole existence used to shine, when she'd smile and it'd be brighter than the sun and her laugh would warm his heart over and make him feel at home. It's Sirius, he thinks, settling easily against the familiar body behind him, that makes him feel this way now, and he feels terribly bad for his mother, whose wrinkles and sad eyes seem to have swallowed her light whole, and all that's left is worry and raw care, but he's taken away her reason to do anything with it, and he feels terrible for moving out, for needing Sirius more than her, but he supposes that that's what children do. Sirius notices that he's upset within a second and slips a thumb under his shirt, rubbing consoling circles on his hip. "And I do agree, I don't think it's possible. If it were—"

"No," Remus says adamantly. "I know that you're—both of you—you... you want to help, to make it better, but it's not true, and it's sure as hell not worth working to destroy our whole world."

"S'just... I've seen it," he says into Remus' hair. "I've seen how horrible and anything to stop that—"

"This is... Sirius, think about when James and Lily have a kid. You'd probably be godfather. What if Lily's killed? Could you live knowing that you... that you did something to make that happen? The death of your godson's mother?"

"Of course I wouldn't," he says. "Wouldn't... wouldn't join them."

"Promise," Remus insists, craning his neck to look Sirius in the eyes.

"Of course," Sirius says, "I promise. I'd never do it."

"Good," Remus says. "That's dangerous. Loving someone so much that you start to think they're worth more than the whole rest of the world."

"I do, I do think that, sappily enough," Sirius answers, nudging his nose behind Remus' ear. "But for you. I'd never."

Remus watches him for a long moment before Remus' mother clears her throat.

"Alright," she says. "Should I make breakfast, then? How's pancakes sound?"

It's not until four days later, when the moon's passed without too much incident and Sirius has healed him with spells taught to him carefully by Madam Pomfrey, that Remus has another moment of respecting his mother that deeply. When he wakes up, it's Sunday morning two days after the moon, and he has no desire to open his eyes, so he keeps them shut tight. Sirius' fingers are running over his stomach, bare except for the blanket between them. He's even humming gently, and his nose is against the back of Remus' neck, too cold for the spring morning. He doesn't stop when the door opens, and Remus can tell from the footsteps, even before she speaks, that it's his mother.

"'lo Mrs. Lupin," Sirius greets softly.

"How's he doing?" she asks, her voice kind.

"Great," he answers. "Slept all through the night. He even got hungry last night and I went downstairs to get him something to eat. His appetite never comes back day after."

"Is that glass of water fresh?" she asks. "In case he wakes up, I mean."

"Just got it," Sirius answers.

"And you changed the bandage on his back last night? Before he went to bed?"

"'Course," Sirius says, and Remus knows every nuance of Sirius' voice so well that he can hear the smile. "I take care of him after, you know? Every time. After Madam Pomfrey lets him out."

"He looks like he hasn't been eating."

Sirius snorts. "Always looks like that, doesn't he? Skinny little thing, he is."

Remus has to bite his lips to keep from smiling.

"I'm glad," she says after a minute. "That it's you. That he's got someone... someone who knows him so well, knows everything about him and doesn't think any less of him for it."

"Any less of him for it? 'Course not. There are some of the weird bits that I really like. 'Specially, you know, the gay part," Sirius says, and Remus cannot help the snort that comes out, and then he is laughing, and Sirius joins in, face against Remus' neck.

"I'm honored, Sirius," he says between bursts of laughter, "That you're so accepting of 'my gay part'."

His mother looks on, half-amused and half-disapproving, and Remus grins at her. "Do you hear this idiot?" he asks.

"Hey," Sirius interrupts, eyebrows pushed together. "Jerk," he says, nudging his nose into Remus' neck again. "Just trying to, you know. I like all of you, even the werewolf stuff and the part where you're all boring sometimes and you like books too much and all."

"I'm boring?"

"Moony," he groans. "Shut up."

"I have to admit, though, I can't say the same about you, sappy as I usually am. I mean, I hate your fleas, first of all."

"S'not my fault."

"Mmh," he says, looking over at his mother, still standing in the doorway, and his heart stops when he sees her eyes glistening. "Mum? You okay?" he asks, sitting up.

"'Course, love," she says, smiling. "Just..." she gestures at them, and Sirius grins into his neck.

"That means she approves of me, I think, Moony," Sirius murmurs jokingly.

Remus curls his legs up as he sits and pats the foot of his bed, prompting his mother to walk over and sit. "Thank you," he tells her. "A lot of people wouldn't... wouldn't be so accepting if their son brought home some big oaf in leather and eyeliner and said he was his boyfriend, you know?"

"Oi! I'm not an oaf."

Remus reaches absently behind him, not taking his eyes off of his mother's face as he smooths his hand over Sirius' hair.

"You learn to be open minded," she says.

"Tell that to James," Sirius murmurs, but sedately so, into the pillow.

"Oh, shut up, you," Remus tells him. "But still. It's... you know. That's why I didn't tell you earlier. That I was planning on moving out right after graduation to live with him. I was... kinda worried I guess."

"Honestly," she says, "All I wanted was someone who wanted to take care of you, someone who genuinely cared and loved you. That was all I even dared hope for, and, of course you're a wonderful person, Remus... I didn't think you'd find it."

"I'm the lucky one," Sirius insists.

"Shut it," Remus says again, smiling, though, as he pushes Sirius' face down into the pillow.

"Mhrgmf," he retorts.

"Yes, dear, that's lovely, now stop being such a girl."

"Not a girl," Sirius says, finally having turned his head under Remus' hand. "What would a poof like you be doing with a girl in his bed?"

Remus shakes his head gravely, but with an amused smile, and pushes on. "I know," he says. "Lucky thing I turned out gay, really, because then I could just end up with one of my mates who already knows."

"I resent that," Sirius says, biting Remus' hip, who jumps several inches off of the mattress and lets out a rather high-pitched scream.

"Sirius Black, I'm gonna send you out into the hallway if you don't behave." Sirius grins up at him and wiggles his eyebrows in a truly ridiculous fashion, and Remus groans. "I do hate you."

"I'm sure, love," he says, taking Remus' hand and biting his fingertips.

"Should I go?" his mother asks, smiling amusedly, and they both turn to her, Remus' cheeks pinkening slightly.

"No," he says, grinning cheekily despite the embarrassed flush on his face. "Sorry. He acts a bit like he's four sometimes, sadly."

She smiles a bit uncomfortably and makes to stand up, but pulls him into a hug before leaving, kissing the top of his head. "I'm happy for you, Remus."

He winds his free arm around her waist, and he leans his head against her chest like he used to when he was little after the moon. "Thanks," he says, and he feels his face flush when his voice breaks.

When she pulls away, she's smiling, and Remus feels a loss, like their relationship is suddenly different, and he supposes it is; tomorrow, he's leaving for his last couple months of Hogwarts, and then he's going to be moving out, and things will be different forever.

"Mrs. Lupin?" Sirius asks, diving into Remus' lap to see her as she puts her hand on the doorknob.

"Yes, Sirius?" she asks, turning around half-way.

"Do I have your son's metaphorical hand in metaphorical marriage?"

She laughs, and for a moment it is that old laugh, the one that sounded like tinkling bells, and the warmth spreads to his fingers and he finds himself really smiling, and everything feels so okay that he doesn't remember how he's ever been worried about anything before in his life, and then it's over, and it's gone, and a sad thought trickles into his mind: it is the last time he'll ever get that feeling from his parents, whether it be from his mother laughing or kissing his cuts after the moon or reading him a bedtime story, or his father tucking him in at night or telling him a story over dinner or hugging him at King's Cross Station.

Instead it's going to be Sirius, and he looks down at Sirius face now and gets the feeling again: Sirius' hopeful smile is enough to do it, but so is the way they've blended into one person and can crawl all over each other without noticing. Sirius' laugh does it, but so does the way his arm wraps around Remus when they curl up in bed at night, and so does the way he gestures his hands when he tells stories, and the way his brow furrows when he asks Remus if he needs more painkiller potion after the full, and it is all so comforting that Remus almost doesn't mind the switch.

"Of course," she answers, and then she is gone, and Sirius is looking at Remus like he is the whole world.


Title taken from the Mountain Goats song titled Genesis 3:23... I'm sorry, I don't know how to come up with my own titles

This is kind of all over the place and fluffy but it flows a lot better than when I usually write these two at least imo. I'm really trying to get better at it. Advice? What did you like/what didn't you like? Any comment is appreciated :)