When Remus comes home, Sirius is on the sofa, a gothic horror upholstered in green with the Black family crest picked out in silver thread. When they moved into the house, Sirius transfigured it to Gryffindor red and gold, but the green still shows through in spots, sateen lichen on a particularly lurid yet surprisingly comfortable rock. Sirius is reading, hunched over books and scrolls scattered on the cushions in front of him.
Remus stops for a moment, startled by the idea that Grimmauld Place has somehow become "home" these past few weeks.
//"Isn't it great?" Sirius asks, gesturing grandly. The house is tiny, even without any furniture, but it has a sturdy basement they can easily reinforce for full moon nights. Sirius doesn't think it's necessary -- they still Apparate to the Forbidden Forest with James and Peter -- but Remus insists. He wants to be safe, and to keep everyone else safe. And he knows the time is coming when James won't be able to get away as easily; a wife and a job have matured him, and he has other responsibilities now.
Sirius wraps an arm around Remus's shoulders and drops a casual kiss on his lips. "It's home, if you want it."
And Remus does, so badly he can taste it.
"Home," he repeats, a little dazed. He'd never expected to have any of this --Sirius's friendship and then his love, a life, a home to share with him.//
It's a home he'd never expected, and one he'd gladly be shed of if he could take Sirius someplace safe. He'd laugh, if it weren't so damned sad that they've come to this. He's been arguing with Dumbledore since they moved in, but the man refuses to see reason, and Sirius sinks further into a black mood from which it's become increasingly difficult to cajole him.
He watches Sirius's strong, elegant fingers, stained with ink, trace over words and parchment, long, dark hair falling in a curtain that hides his face.
"Hey," he says, "that looks uncomfortable."
Sirius looks up, shrugs one shoulder and rubs the back of his neck. "At least it's warm."
Remus wonders how many times Sirius's gratitude for such small things will break his heart; he doubts he'll ever become used to it.
Things have been strained between them since they moved into the house. Remus is here because he knows Sirius needs him; it is guilt as much as anything that keeps him tied to Sirius's side. Sirius thinks he's here to play watchdog. He's tempted make some joke about werewolves and watchdogs, but it isn't really funny anymore, if it ever was.
Sirius makes room for Remus, who settles behind him and places his hands on his back.
"Is this all right?" Remus asks, pressing the heels of his hands into Sirius's tense shoulders.
//"Is this all right?" Sirius asks.
"Mmm," Remus replies, leaning back into Sirius's hands.
He's been bent over books and scrolls every day for the better part of a week, the only work he's good for after a full moon. It's been tense between them lately; Dumbledore is sending him off alone more often, to meet with other werewolves and Dark creatures who may wish to align with the Order. Sirius chafes at this separation even more than Remus does. For Remus, it is a way to be useful to the man who took a chance on him as a boy, and to prove to himself he's not the Dark creature who rules him once a month. Sirius sees it as Dumbledore taking advantage, because Remus comes back injured more often than not, and refuses to go to St. Mungo's. He cannot explain the wounds, and he's more comfortable with Sirius or Pomfrey bandaging him and murmuring healing spells as he drifts in and out of consciousness. Then he can imagine the damage is due only to the change, and not this war they're losing.
He tries to laugh it off, but Sirius doesn't believe him, looks askance at him, a furrow between his brows. The only promise they've ever made is that they won't lie to each other, but Remus knows the day is coming when he may have to break it.
He tries not to think about that now, as Sirius leans forward and presses a kiss to the nape of his neck.//
"Quite," Sirius says, rolling his neck, joints cracking.
They sit for a few minutes, the only sound the crackle and hiss of the fire and the creak of the wind through old windows as Remus kneads Sirius's tense shoulders and back.
It's been years since he's touched anyone like this; he avoids thinking back, trying to recall. He's not been celibate the past fourteen years, but most of his encounters have been brief, impersonal, too fraught with fear of discovery, of rejection, to turn into anything worth remembering.
Sirius moves under his hands, loosening up. He's still too thin, though Molly's cooking has given them both a bit of weight they'd long been missing. Sirius will fill out; his shoulders and chest are already taut with muscle. Remus closes his eyes, imagines touching skin instead of the wool robe Sirius wears.
He's too tired to stop the scene from unfolding behind his eyelids; it's been too long and some feelings never quite die, even though he's attempted more than once to cut them out at the root.
Sirius makes a small purring noise in the back of his throat, jerking Remus out of his not-even-at-the-good-parts-yet fantasy.
"What are you doing?"
//"What are you doing?"
"What does it feel like I'm doing?" Sirius says, though Remus feels it more than hears it, as Sirius is still kissing the sensitive skin of his neck.
Avoiding the subject, Remus wants to say, but since he's doing the same thing, it feels dishonest to call Sirius on it. Instead, he lets himself sink into Sirius's warmth. "Feels good," he answers. "Don't stop." 'Don't ever stop,' he thinks, knowing that someday -- and probably sooner rather than later -- he will. //
Remus's laugh is tinged with bitterness, a harsh edge he can't get rid of. "Working the knots out of your back."
"Is that it?"
He says nothing, increases the pressure of his thumbs in the hollows of Sirius's shoulder blades.
"Remus." Sirius half-turns toward him. "What are you doing?"
"What do you want--"
He smacks at Remus's hands. "No. None of your bullshit, Moony. I haven't the time or the patience for it anymore. Why are you here?"
Remus stills, caught. Once Sirius had let him retreat into silence, into feigned quiescence, but apparently Azkaban has changed that, along with everything else. Answers tumble through his mind -- facile words, always his camouflage, his safe retreat. 'I want to help. Old friendships should be treasured.' Banalities shading into truth. 'I should have known you were innocent. Harry needs us.'
In the end, there is only one answer he can give. 'Because you're you and I'm me.'
He leans forward, presses his mouth to Sirius's, tasting cocoa and the slight hint of salt on skin before Sirius opens his lips, darts out his tongue in invitation. One hand comes up to cup Remus's cheek; Remus wants to cry out at the familiar touch, the ache in his chest making it hard to breathe.
Sirius pulls back and Remus growls at the loss of his warmth.
"Yes." An answer this time, apparently satisfying whatever questions Sirius still has.
Sirius presses him back into the cushions, a sudden frenzy of hands, lips, teeth, tongues, rough and slick and there, a solid, breathing presence in his arms, against his body. The push and thrust of their hips against each other, the heat of Sirius's breath on his skin, in his mouth -- it is air his lungs have longed to breath for years.
"Too many clothes," he gasps when Sirius frees his mouth for a moment, and Sirius laughs, a joyous sound that sends a thrill through him unrelated to the desire heating his blood.
// He turns in Sirius's arms, pushing him down onto the couch, heedless of the books and scrolls that clatter to the floor.//
They scrabble at each other's robes, pushing and pulling, sending parchment scattering to the floor. Only werewolf-sharp reflexes save the carpet from shattered glass and ink stains. Remus sets the bottle of ink down on the floor and turns his attention back to the tangle of Sirius's robes.
// Sirius wears Muggle clothing more often than not, as he himself does, and Remus thinks the deliberate opening of buttons, the slow slide of material exposing skin, is better than any seduction charm wizards have yet contrived.
Sirius is beautiful -- long-limbed, muscular, tanned. Remus wants to lick down the line of dark hair on his belly, take his cock in his mouth. He can already taste it, hot and heavy on his tongue.
They don't speak, mouths and tongues too busy kissing and licking. It is safer this way, though Remus misses the jokes and secret confessions, the soft exhalations of "I love you" and "You're mine" that used to punctuate their lovemaking. Now, they are quiet, impersonal, fucking only because it hurts too much not to. It is the only time they tell each other the truth without having to weigh words and avoid each other's eyes.
Remus bites hard enough to leave marks on Sirius's thighs, soothing the sting with his tongue as Sirius twists above him, fingers tangling in Remus's hair. Remus licks down the crease where thigh joins pelvis; the musky salt taste makes his cock ache. He reaches down, strokes himself when he takes Sirius in his mouth. Sirius moans and thrusts before pulling away.
"Fuck me," he demands. "Want to feel you inside me."
Remus kisses him, hard, his teeth clacking against Sirius's as his hands move beneath, grabbing Sirius's arse. Sirius slides forward, drawing his knees up and spreading them wide so Remus can settle between them, murmuring a spell to slick his cock and Sirius's arsehole with lube.
When he pushes in, he forces himself to keep his eyes open, to hold Sirius's gaze. He tries to put everything he feels, everything he can no longer say into that look, into the long strokes that make both of them groan and shudder with pleasure. //
Remus manages to get Sirius's robes off so he can cover his chest with open-mouthed kisses, reveling in the feel, touch, taste of skin beneath him --Sirius's skin, a taste he'd thought long lost to him.
He glances up to see Sirius looking away, and he says, "Hey, hey. What's wrong?" Sirius doesn't answer, and still won't look at him. Remus reaches up and pushes the heavy, dark hair off his forehead. "Sirius?"
"I look like a famine victim," Sirius mumbles.
Remus tries not to laugh, and fails. "And I look like a starving, aging werewolf." He pulls Sirius down for a soft kiss. "We're neither of us as young as we used to be, Sirius. But it's not about the way you look. It's never been about that." He guides Sirius's hand down to his erection. Sirius smiles, finally, and strokes Remus through his trousers.
"How is it I'm naked and you're not?"
"You were too busy being vain."
"Hmph." Sirius sets to work on removing Remus's clothing, agile fingers making quick work of it. He crouches at Remus's feet when he's done, and Remus feels more vulnerable than he has in years. He holds his breath, and thinks Sirius isn't the only one who's a little vain, though Sirius is the only one who ever had reason to be.
Sirius studies him, his gaze hungry, palpable on Remus's skin as any touch of fingers or lips. Sirius reaches out, brushes over a long-healed scar on Remus's thigh, another on his belly. His hands are trembling, gentle, and Remus feels as if all the air has been stolen from his lungs.
"These are new," Sirius says, before leaning forward to run his lips along each scar he doesn't recognize. Remus trembles beneath these gentle kisses, each one full of apology and regret for the years Sirius wasn't with him.
"Yes." It is more breath than word, heat blossoming beneath his skin as Sirius kisses him.
He pulls Sirius up for a kiss, stopping the words. They are all sorry. He doesn't want to hear it or think about it now. Not when they're naked and pressed against each other, the feel of Sirius's cock sliding against his too good to ruin with apologies. Their tongues thrust in rhythm with their hips, and Remus skates his hands over Sirius's shoulders, down his back, ghosting over the cleft in his arse.
Sirius shudders against him and comes, gasping against his mouth.
// Sirius shudders beneath him and comes with a gasp, hot and wet over their joined bodies. Remus drives into him frantically, letting his body speak his anger and frustration as well as his love. He spills himself with a low growl, and then moves in for a fierce kiss.
They curl together, but even this warm satisfaction is edged with tension that cannot be dispelled. Remus pulls away first, murmuring a quick cleaning spell. He begins straightening the scrolls and books they've pushed out of the way in order to fuck. Sirius doesn't look at him, doesn't say anything, and Remus tells himself it doesn't matter, it will end soon. It has to, because they can't live like this much longer. He has the sad feeling he will have to end it himself, as Sirius has never known when too much is enough. //
Remus notices they still fit together perfectly, that no one else has ever made him feel felt quite like Sirius does, even now, when he's clumsy and unsure and mostly skin and bone. He thrusts up hard, the feel of Sirius's sweat- and semen-slicked body above him, around him, sending frissons of pleasure along his nerves. He closes his eyes as he comes, the world narrowing to the hot pulse of blood in his veins and Sirius surrounding him.
They lie quietly for a few minutes, kissing and petting each other softly. Remus doesn't want to let go, doesn't ever want to leave the couch. The way Sirius curls against him, he thinks Sirius may feel the same way.
// Sirius picks up one of the books they've knocked to the floor, his face shadowed in the dim candlelight of the living room.
"Veritaserum and the Fidelius," he says after leafing through it, his voice carefully neutral, which sets off a warning in Remus's head. Sirius is never neutral.
"Yes. I've been doing some research--" In a few more days, they will perform the charm, and he will probably never see Sirius again; if all goes well, he will not see James, Lily and Harry for a good long time, either. He doesn't know if he can bear losing them all at once, though he knows he has to. He thinks he should have volunteered instead of Sirius. Sirius has never been able to keep a secret, while he has so many he will never tell.
"No doubt Dumbledore asked you to."
"Not exactly. I just--"'I need to know how to protect you,' he thinks, but Sirius has never wanted his protection, even on the rare occasions he's needed it.
But Sirius is pulling his clothes on. "I need fags." He attempts to fix his hair, but he still looks as if he's just got out of bed. "Don't wait up."
Remus hears the motorbike roar away. With a sigh, he goes to the bedroom, pulls out his suitcase, and begins packing.
He wants to be gone before Sirius comes back, has to act before he convinces himself not to. He thinks about writing a note, but has nothing to say. Sirius knows it's not working, and they have more important things to worry about. He wonders if Arabella Figg will take pity on him and let him sleep on her couch, at least until the next Order meeting; by then he should be able to face Sirius with some measure of equanimity.
Remus locks the door, and leaves without looking back. //
"We should get up," he murmurs sleepily. "Kreacher--"
"Bugger Kreacher," Sirius replies, lips ghosting over Remus's ear, warm breath making him shiver in delight.
"Thanks, I'd rather not."
Sirius sighs. "We're going to have to get up eventually."
But neither of them moves for a long while.
They still have much to do, much to say, much to worry about, but this is a start. And for the moment, it is enough.
Please post a comment on this story.
Fandom: Harry Potter
Title: Wrapped Round Everything
Author: Victoria P. [email]
Details: Standalone | NC-17 | *slash* | 15k | 04/07/04
Summary: "It's home, if you want it."
Notes: Title from Edgar Albert Guest: "It ain't home t' ye, though it be the palace of a king, / Until somehow yer soul is sort o' wrapped round everything," Home (l. 7-8).
// // indicates flashbacks
Disclaimer/Other: All Harry Potter characters belong to Rowling and Scholastic etc.; this piece of fan-written fiction intends no infringement on any copyrights.
Thanks as always to Jen, Pete/Melissa, Dot, and Meg. Thanks muchly to DD for the beta. All errors are mine.
Archive: Lists, Achromatic
Feedback: would be lovely.
Date: April 6, 2004
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