The common room is cosy, fire cracking merrily and filling the room with flickering light. It should be easy to sink into his book, rugged up and safe from the swirling snowflakes outside.
But he eventually sighs and throws his book next to him on the squashy armchair. The wolf is especially active tonight. He can't seem to focus, not when the golden firelight is illuminating the regal arch of Sirius' jaw and making his eyes flame. He and James are huddled in the corner, obviously plotting. James says something funny and Sirius throws his head back in laughter, black curls tumbling down over his shoulders. Remus' throat burns and he has to look away sharply. Not yours, he has to remind the wolf.
His friends don't know the full extent of his "furry little problem", as James named it. The wolf only rips it's way out of his skin on full moons. But it lurks at the back of his brain constantly. It's possessive, this beast inside. And he hates it with a passion.
When he first started noticing Sirius', actually seeing him for the first time as more than a friend, it was easy to push the thoughts away. To pretend they didn't exist, that the way his eyes swept Sirius' body was nothing more than an appreciation of how much the boy worked on his figure. And maybe it would've worked eventually. Maybe his infatuation would fade with time, until it was just a memory to be laughed at.
But his yearning for his friend ran deeper. And the wolf knew. It caught the thoughts, teasing, toying, playing with them until they stretched and ripped and blanketed him. Mine the wolf snarls whenever he looks at Sirius, Taken, owned, possessed. Remus agrees. He doesn't want to see Sirius flirting playfully with everyone they pass in the corridors. He wants Sirius to look at him with hunger, for Sirius to claim him. His violent wolf is unusually submissive when it comes to the other boy. Of course Sirius' Animagus had to be a fucking dog.
"Remus!" He shakes his head slightly, refocusing. Sirius is leaning over him, a look of concern etched into his features. "I've said your name at least ten times. Are you alright? You were doing that thinking frown thing, and biting your nails."
"'M fine, Padfoot," Remus replies weakly. Sirius is so close, and all he wants to do is curl into him. But he pulls back with an effort from the black curtain that threatens to close around both of them. Sirius shakes his curls back, forehead creasing. "You need a cuddle." he announces.
"Shut up, Moony, and let me bloody cuddle you."
Sirius slides under the blanket and into the tiny gap next to him on the armchair. They're two growing teenage boys, and the space isn't nearly big enough for both of them. But Sirius wriggles and moves and shoves until Remus is practically sitting on his lap, Sirius curled tightly around him. Held, safe, more the wolf whines. Remus forces it away. "What's the matter?" Sirius asks quietly.
"It's really nothing," Remus tells him. "I'm just tired." Sirius hums and shifts to wrap himself tighter around him.
Sirius emanates more heat than the fire. The warm, hard planes of his chest are pressed against Remus' back and his arm is out of the rug, draped just above Remus' crotch. Don't get hard. He tells himself desperately. Beneath him, Sirius adjusts slightly and suddenly there's something pressing into his thigh. And just like that, he's hard. Dammit. It's probably his wand. Remus chastises himself.
Sirius quickly moves again but the wolf has already knocked Remus' mental wall down. Claimedbittenfucked the wolf hisses in a rush. That's a new one. Unfortunately Remus has no time to think over the wolf's sudden profanity. Sirius' abrupt shift sends him sliding off the chair and onto the floor. At the lack of contact, the wolf slinks back into hiding.
"Merlin, shit, sorry Moony!" Sirius yelps. Remus laughs softly, but there's no humour in it.
"I'm going to bed." He mumbles, despite the fact that the clock on the wall has only just gone seven. He picks himself up off the carpet, pasting a smile on his face, and wrapping the blanket around him like a toga.
As he heads towards the stairs he hears a faint "Remus..." behind him, but he ignores it. He's too busy focusing on the wolf's sudden shift in priorities. Up until now it's always been a matter of being owned, or held.
He flops down dejectedly on his bed, face smushed into his pillow, and lets out a howl. It's too much sometimes, this curse. This condition that burns through his veins and slashes his body in half every month. To his shame, that thought is all it takes for the tears to break. He's drowning, sinking, the flood crushing him until he's a shuddering ball at the foot of the bed.
But there's a body burning like fire, wrapping around him. Strong arms that hold him firmly until the shaking stops and the floodwaters subside. And a delicious scent that steadies and slows his breathing. Or maybe it's just the way the boy's whispering "Breathe, Remus. Shhh, you're okay. I've got you." in a continuous rhythm.
It's Sirius. It's always Sirius, that much Remus knows. In a million lifetimes and a million years, Sirius will always find him, no matter what. "I've got you." Sirius whispers again, and Remus turns to burrow into the solidity of the boy, shoulders heaving with sobs. Sirius strokes his hair gently and, for a second, Remus thinks he might even feel a feather-light kiss on the top of his head.
He loves Sirius. He always has, in a way. And just like that, he finally figures out the wolf's obsession. The deep primal part of him wants Sirius as his mate. His sobs stop abruptly and he sits up, scuttling back with a gasp. The pieces all click into place. The wolf's longing to be possessed, owned, claimed. And why the wolf is so content when Sirius is touching him. Anyone else, the wolf shies away with a snarl. But with Sirius, the wolf is peaceful, sleepy almost.
Remus is shocked out of his epiphany when he notices Sirius' cautious gaze, fixed firmly on his face. Part of him wants to scream, shout, I-figured-it-out! But he doesn't. Instead he gives Sirius a smile. A genuine one this time. "Thanks, Pads." He says quietly.
Sirius smiles back. Shifting into Padfoot, he leaps through the air and tackles Remus, licking his face enthusiastically. Then it happens.
Remus growls. Or the wolf does. He thinks it might be both. It's a low, possessive, turned-on kind of a growl that rumbles it's way through his lips without warning. Before he can choke out an apology, the black dog on top of him lets out a returning growl and shifts back into a human, straddling Remus.
"Sirius-" Remus gasps, but Sirius cuts him off when he leans down to capture his lips in a hungry kiss. It's all teeth and tongue and biting and Remus has never been so turned on in his life. But he has tear himself away and look Sirius in the eyes. "The wolf-" He starts, but falters and has to try again. "The wolf, it's, the thing is-"
"Oh come on, Remus," Sirius sighs, still sounding extremely breathless, "We both know we're mates. And not in the 'best friends' kind of way. The kind where this will bond us."
"And you're, you're okay with that?" Remus asks incredulously. "Mating with a werewolf?" Sirius gives him such a fond look that Remus' heart just about explodes.
"I love you, Remus. And I know that it's probably too early for me to say that, but I do. And I want to be with you for the rest of our lives. For some reason, the dog in the back of my head wants to shove it's-" Remus quickly drags him down into another bruising kiss and Sirius smiles into his mouth. Once he's satisfied that Sirius won't continue that particular part of the conversation, he gently pushes him away again. "I love you, too," He tells him. "Just wanted you to know that." Sirius dives back again for another kiss, grinding down slightly. Remus moans, throwing his head back. Sirius takes advantage and latches onto his neck, sucking and biting until a trail of red marks blossom from his ear down to his collarbone.
Undressing doesn't take long. Clothes are strewn around the room, a particularly well-aimed pair of underwear lying on James's pillow. Remus suddenly feels self-conscious, aware of the ugly scars that slash across the pale skin of his chest. But Sirius plasters kisses across every inch of skin he can reach, before climbing back up to devour his mouth again.
The wolf in the back of his head growls contentedly as they entangle among the sheets, hands roaming as they explore each other, whispering words into the dark. When they finally meet and merge into one, glowing marks burn into the skin above their chests and the wolf howls in pleasure, almost drowning out Remus' own moan.
Before they drift off, Remus reaches out to stroke the bonding mark that glows dimly on his mate's chest in the inky blackness of the room. Sirius smiles peacefully at him, reaching out to reciprocate. Then they fall asleep in a intertwined knot of tangled limbs, buried under the covers of Remus' small bed.
James yawns and stretches out along the couch. The fire has burnt down to embers and the night is drawing to a close. Remus had left over an hour ago, and Sirius had quickly followed, clearly worried about him. James didn't even get to "3" in his head, before Sirius was pushing his chair back and following the boy up the stairs. So James was left by himself to figure out the logistics of flooing into McGonagall's office. It quickly got boring. Peter, noticing his listlessness, had challenged him to a chess match. When James ultimately won an hour later, he pushed for another game, but Peter just wanted to go snog his girlfriend. Git.
So now he's sprawled across the couch, half asleep and still bored out of his skull. Sirius must have gone to bed, the lazy sod. He briefly entertains the idea of starting his Transfiguration essay. Merlin, he must be bored. Lazily summoning a stack of paper, he sets to making aeroplanes. Levitating them with a flick of his wand, he steers them one by one into the fire, where they crumple into blackened lumps of flames.
At last he gives up. Nothing's grabbing his attention and he's starting to get sleepy. With another jaw-popping yawn, he heaves himself up off the couch, calling a cursory goodnight in Peter's direction, although the mousy boy's probably too busy to even register his departure. He leaves, muttering under his breath about how useless his friends are.
Their dorm's dark when he enters, and it smells slightly odd, but his tired brain can't place the smell. Both of his friends' curtains are pulled shut, but a barely perceptible light emanates from Remus'. Must be reading under the sheets again, James thinks fondly as he makes his way across the room to his own bed. He strips down to his boxers and goes to climb beneath the sheets, but lying, crumpled, on his pillow are a pair of Sirius' used boxers. It's a childish joke, even for Sirius.
With an derisive eye-roll, he marches over to his best friend's bed and rips the drapes apart. He's opening his mouth, ready to give the dark haired boy a piece of his mind, when he realises Sirius' bed is empty. How strange. Sirius didn't come back down to the common room and, when he goes to check, he's not in the bathroom either. Puzzled, James wanders back into the room. His eyes drift back to Remus' bed, where the light has become even dimmer. Maybe Moony knows where he is, he thinks, crossing the room and pulling back the heavy curtain. "Hey, Moony-" He starts, then jolts back as Remus stirs quickly, pulling the covers up to his chin.
"What?" Remus snaps.
"Sorry," James mutters sheepishly. "Didn't realise you were asleep,"
He can barely see in the darkness of their dormitory but he's pretty sure Remus is glaring at him. "Um, I was wondering, do you know where Sirius is?" He asks anyway. Remus blanches slightly, then his face shifts back into a neutral expression. Why is everyone acting so suspiciously tonight? James wonders.
"Why?" Remus asks.
"He left a pair of his boxers on my pillow!" James bursts out indignantly. "It's not funny!" He whines sulkily as Remus' lips twitch. For a second he thinks he hears a snort of amusement, but Remus coughs loudly and the sound vanishes. "It is kind of funny," Remus points out drily, lips still quivering with trying to hold back laughter. "And no, I don't know where Siriu-" He chokes on the end of his sentence and his eyes suddenly get very big. James thinks he sees the sheets move, but it must've been his eyes playing tricks, because when he focuses they stop.
"Fuck." Remus groans quietly, and James' eyes flick back up to his friend's face. "Remus," He says slowly, incredulously, because now he knows what that smell was, knows that look on Remus' face, and he can't believe- "Are you... wanking?' There's another snort-like noise and Remus suddenly has another coughing fit, broken slightly by a few gasping moans.
"No, James," he says very seriously, but his voice is breathy, "Both my hands are holding the covers at my chin." He lets out another moan, and James' eyes dip to where he can see Remus' white-tinged knuckles gripping the edge of the sheets.
James grins. "Then you won't mind me doing this." He rips the sheets back and screams in horror. There, bobbing between his friend's legs is a dark head with unruly curls. "What the fuck!" He yells, staggering backwards and falling onto his backside. Sirius pulls lazily off of Remus with an obscene popping noise. "Hey James." He smirks.
James' mouth moves, but he finds himself unable to form words. Remus sits up, with a slightly apologetic look. "James-" He starts, but James has regained his speech. His eyes swing back and forth between the twin glowing marks that spread across his friends chests'. "Are those... Mate Marks?" He splutters. Remus and Sirius' happy grins widen impossibly. The room swims before his eyes and he's tilting sideways. His eyes are shut long before his head hits the ground.
When he wakes, he's lying right on top of Sirius' underwear.