Communicating, Sirius calls it, a euphemism so old neither of them know where it originated. He smiles when Sirius’ thumb is pressed at the base of his neck, under his hair.
Watching the rain outside from his seat, Remus is hunched over his tea this cold morning. He had hoped for a good day and it seems he’s been given it; Sirius is awake and it’s before nine, a rare event even when they were children, and he speaks into Remus’ hair, lips pressed to the back of his head. He murmurs Let’s talk, and Remus laughs in response.
They actually don’t talk about it, though they’ve technically been doing this for years. It was jubilant when he returned, if restrained; explorative. He had guiltily revelled in the way that Sirius touched every inch of him with his hands and pronounced him completely unchanged, though it was a lie (and not even a very good one).
On bad days though (and at the moment he has more bad days than good) it is optimistic even to hope for a glance. On bad days Sirius forgets, and the air in the house is pulled taut, and they are strained. On bad days he wants to shout and Siriusdoes, screaming about little in particular until he is hoarse. On bad days they are hopeless; Sirius crashes around on the top floors of the house like an unwieldy spirit, and Remus, to make up for it, is as a statue. He picks a spot and sticks to it and only makes things worse.
Now, though, he can turn in the empty kitchen and look him in the eye and say What about?, and Sirius can laugh and it is like they live together again, instead of this mutual house arrest; it’s like Sirius is eighteen, begging to keep the motorbike, a boy who knows the difference between his best friend and his godson. A boy who doesn’t need someone to hold him in the night as he chokes and cries, fighting helpessly against nightmares that he never remembers when he wakes.
Sirius kisses him and still laughs against his mouth, muttering Dickhead like he used to and Remus pretends he doesn’t notice the shake in his hands when they touch, the concave slant under his ribs, the desperate way that they grab at eachother and pretend that this doesn’t feel like borrowed time.