Sleep has never come naturally to Sirius. He wonders, sometimes, if it’s got something to do with being raised in that great bloody wreck of a house. It’s hard for a child to sleep when there’s wailing and gnashing and arguing about all night. Terrible for the REM cycle, if nothing else. So he takes naps when he can, curled up in a plush chair or on James or Remus’ laps. Once, memorably, he napped standing straight up in a cupboard.
He’d scared the hell out of Peter when the little rat when searching for a cloak.
He’s awake when Remus climbs out of bed. He listens to the soft falls of Remus’ feet on the stone, head cocked like he’s a few feet shorter and a good bit hairier. If he’s lucky, he’ll get a nice bit of a tumble when Remus returns. There’s nothing quite like a freshly awake Moony’s mouth around him, sleep-hot and lazy.
Sirius rolls out of bed. He’s not once in his life denied himself the pleasure of getting pleasure.
There’s the familiar sight of wand-light coming from the bathroom, muted by something fancy that Sirius could never get the hang of. Should Moony go to the side of good, the rest of them will be utterly fucked. No one warps a spell like that great bastard. Sirius sneaks to the edge of the door, ready to pounce, but draws up short.
Remus is doing that thing again.
He’s stood shirtless in front of the bank of mirrors, the wand light making him look nearly ghostly. It picks over the curves of his chest, the slight dip at his waist where he’s never quite filled out. He’s lovely, soft and sweet and just a bit too tall. Sirius has touched every bit of him and loved it all.
One of Remus’ hands drag down over his chest, across the flat of his stomach, and then over to his arm. Sirius can’t see the scar where he’s standing from, but he knows exactly what it looks like. He’d spent an hour studying it while Remus slept, cataloging the different densities of scar tissue and wondering how something so small could completely alter someone’s life forever.
This isn’t the first time Sirius has caught Remus looking over himself, frowning at his scars and picking at them like particularly stubborn scabs. He doubts it will be the last. Remus is nothing if not a creature of habit. It breaks Sirius’ heart in increments, chipping away the space Remus invaded a long time ago.
"I keep trying to convince myself that this actually helping you," Sirius says, finally taking the last few steps into the bathroom. On the counter, Remus’ wand wobbles a little, but refuses to fall. In the mirror, Sirius can see the way Remus is digging his blunt nails into his arm. His chest aches.
"You can think whatever you want about it." Remus drops his hand, refusing to budge even when Sirius crowds in against him. He’s hot, a little furnace in the chilled castle that Sirius likes to call his own. His hair smells like sugar, like tea a little, and Sirius presses his face into it.
"Why do you do it?" Sirius asks softly. He presses a kiss to the edge of Remus’ ear.
Remus, his daft, darling little Moony, can’t just let things go. It’s what makes him so wizard at spells. Sirius could do without the perfect jelly-leg jinx if it meant that Remus would just let himself be for a little while. What’s done is done. They can only move forward.
"I do it because it's the only alternative to running away," Remus says softly.
It’s a load of bollocks if Sirius has ever heard one. Moony has never run away from anything. He’s been scared to death, been broken, but he’s never been a coward. They’d never let him. Not Sirius, not James. Not even snivelly Peter. Not that he’s ever needed them to stand his ground. He’s the best of all of them, but he’s too damn daft to see it.
Sirius lifts a hand, watching in the mirror as he traces the air over a particularly gruesome scar on Remus’ left pectoral. He can remember seeing it in the hospital wing, bleeding and open wide enough to show the muscle beneath the skin. They’d been nothing but children at the time, and Sirius drove himself mad in the hallway while Madam Pomfrey patched him up.
Moony had done it. He’d been a wild, unstoppable force that had the three of them running away just to get him involved in a safer sort of chase. For a long time, Sirius blamed himself. If Padfoot could have just done something, anything, to help work out the stupid wolf’s anger, maybe something would have changed. Maybe Remus would have one less scar.
But the past is the past. He knows that. They can only move forward.
"I don't think it's about running away from it," Sirius says. He breathes in the soft, familiar scent of Remus’ hair again before pulling away. He’s frozen through again immediately. "I think you're just being morbid."
"Am not!" Remus shouts. His voice echoes off the walls, bouncing back and back again. Sirius flinches. It takes a lot to piss Remus off. Looks like he’s found the button. After a moment, the anger fades away from Remus’ face. He looks tired. Merlin, he always looks so bloody tired, like an old man jammed into the body of a seventeen-year-old.
Remus yanks his shirt back on and grabs his wand. The light flickers across the stone walls as he fumbles to get his fingers around it and then fades out entirely when Remus cancels out the lumos. He brushes past Sirius, head bowed, and Sirius follows after him. Not once has he ever doubted being a dog on the inside.
Remus ducks behind the curtains of his bed. For a moment, Sirius looks back at his own bed. All he’d wanted was a bit of fun, a bit of a snuggle with Moony, and he’d started a fight about- Something. Tension has been high for all of them, a war in the not-so-far distance, and they’re arguing about bloody nothing.
Sirius climbs into Remus’ bed like he has a thousand times before and wraps himself up around the lump in the center. He’s not going to waste their precious time. Remus curls into him, breathing softly against his chest. Sirius holds him, sleepless as always, and tries to will him to forget. To let go.
They’ve all got their scars. Maybe Remus will see that one day.