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36 hours

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There was absolutely no way Sirius was going to be able to get any sleep. He had been sitting on a couch in the living room of Grimmauld Place for nearly three hours, book in hand. Reading wasn’t quite doing the trick when it came to boring him to sleep, though. Thinking back, he was fairly certain he had actually read the same page four times and not retained a thing. That was probably due to how little sleep he had had.

    It wasn’t like he was trying to stay awake. He wasn’t making a valiant effort to stave off nightmares or staying up doing research to help save the world as he knew it. He just simply...couldn’t. It felt like the inside of his skull had been lined with thick cotton. All of his senses seemed inexplicably muffled. This was ridiculous; it had only been 36 hours since he last slept. Usually, he was more aware than this even with no sleep in his system.

    The clock behind him ticked loudly as his eyes hazed over. Earlier on he had made an attempt at sleep. He genuinely was exhausted, but he couldn’t make his mind shut off. Every time he closed his eyes he found that he was just lying there doing exactly that. Not sleeping but lying in the dark with his eyes closed, awake, brain buzzing. Even where he was sitting on the comfortable chair, warmed by the fireplace, he should have been able to doze off, but no. His eyelids grew heavy, but they stayed open.

    The lock clicked in the door.

    He turned the page.

    The door swung open letting in a cold chill that made the flames in the hearth to flicker.

    His head felt heavy when he looked up, eyes seeming to move somehow a full second before the rest of his head did, giving him the slightest sense of vertigo. He heard the door click a second after it closed, and blinked up at his guest. Remus stood in the door, messenger bag held tightly against his chest. The top of his head was just barely dusted with snowflakes. Ah. So it was snowing. Sirius wiggled his fingers at him in greeting, tracing his eyes over the scars on his face, and allowing his own face to settle into a warm smile. His eyes blinked slowly.

    “Welcome back, Moony. How was the day?” Sirius asked as Remus slipped off his shoes.

    “It was...fine.”

    “Just fine?”



    Having gotten his shoes off, he walked over so that he was standing behind Sirius, gently tugging his hair tie out so that his hair fell down against the armrest that he was slouched against.

    “And I’m assuming that you aren’t out here because you were waiting up for me?”

    “Of course that’s why I’m out here.”

    “I definitely believe you.”

    “Why would I lie right to your face.” Sirius scoffed.

    “Why wouldn’t you?

    “Stop this.”

    Remus ran his hands through his partner’s hair, laughing. He pressed his hands flat against Sirius’ back and pushed him up, grinning at Sirius’ distressed sound. Once there was enough space behind him, Remus slid onto the couch behind Sirius, wiggling so that his legs were on either side of him.

    “You know we’re getting too old for this,” Remus noted, plucking the book from Sirius’ hand, “Too tired to sleep?”

    Sirius hummed and leaned back so that his head was resting against Remus’ collarbone and he could look up at him. The fire lit Remus up from behind, making the edges of his light hair look as though they were glowing. His eyes slid over the curls of his hair. He took in the long scars on Remus’ hands, the bags under his eyes, his short scruff, his– He was speaking? Sirius hummed at him in confusion to get him to repeat what he had said only to be shushed in return.

    “Hush, Padfoot, I’m reading.” Ah.

    Sirius nodded, turning his gaze to the book held in front of him. Lupin gently scratched the top of his head. The words of the novel washed over him like a drone no matter how hard he tried to pay attention to his partner’s voice. After a moment, his eyelids’ weight finally won out. He felt himself relax back and sigh, eyes slipping shut.