Actions

Work Header

Sweater Weather

Chapter Text

“Loops.”

“Loops.”

“Loops.”

Each fist bump came with the name as Remus stood by the door after morning skate. He smiled at each of them, even the ones breathing too hard to actually say anything.

“How’s the thigh feel?” He asked a sweaty Kasey as he waddled in with his goalie pads, helmet perched on top of his head.

Kasey shrugged. “Little tight. Might be in later.”

Remus nodded. “Good. Do some heat before, alright? I’ll work it out.”

He nodded, waving his blocker behind his shoulder as he headed towards his stall.

“Remus Mother Fucking Lupin.” Remus heard a second before he was being taken beneath a very sweat-damp arm.

Remus groaned. “James.”

“Did you see my goal? See me steal it from Pads?”

Remus elbowed him hard in the ribs, right where his pads ended above his hockey pants. James grunted and let go.

“Yes, very pretty.”

“Right?” James grinned, then turned to walk backwards farther into the locker room. “Hey, re-tape my shoulder later? Before I go?”

“Sure thing.”

James winked at him. “Thanks, Fruit-Loop.”

Remus rolled his eyes, but smiled back at him. He would allow that the nickname was ridiculous, but he couldn’t deny that he loved it. He was part of this team, even if he wasn’t an actual player.

He looked back to the hall and frowned. “Hey, Pots,” he called out, and James looked up. He was already stripped down to his underarmour. “Where’s Black?”

James hesitated and a few of the other guys looked up, too.

“Captain’s still on the ice.” He finally said, sharing a knowing look with Remus.

Remus nodded. “Right. Thanks.”

 

Sirius was right where James had said he would be, doing slow loops around the rink that would abruptly end, exploding into a break away up the ice, puck slick on his stick and whipped into the goal. Again. Again.

 

Again.

 

Remus sat at the sidelines, waiting for Sirius to see him first. It took him five more goals. While he wasn’t looking, Remus watched his face. So intense. So intent on pretending he wasn’t favoring his right ankle like he was. Remus sat on the bench and folded his elbows on the boards.

“Want to share something with the class there, Loops?”

Remus shook his head. “Just you. No need to alert the media.”

Sirius skated over, ducking out of his helmet and coming to a hard stop in front of Remus. “Well?” He said, leaning on the boards just beside Remus, mirroring his position.

“You’re still favoring your foot.”

“Damn it, Remus.”

Remus spread his hands. “If I don’t point it out, who will?”

Sirius looked away with a shake of his head. The cardinal red and gold of his jersey set off his tan skin against the ice.

“Padfoot.” Remus sighed. “I wouldn’t point it out of I didn’t think I had to.”

“I want—” Sirius pressed his lips together.

“You want to be ready.”

“I need to be ready.” Sirius looked back to Remus. “I’m their captain, Re.”

Remus fought back a shaky breath. It always startled him, knocked the wind out of him a little, when Sirius called him that. It felt more intimate, more like they knew each other, like they were friends. Rather than Remus just being his physical therapist. And not even his, at that. The team’s.

“You’re my captain, too.” Remus smiled, tilting his head down a little. “Speaking as a fan, that is.”

It made Sirius laugh, which made Remus have to busy himself with pretending to straighten some stray water bottles left behind to hide the way his cheeks and neck heated.

“Let me look at it after you shower, alright? That’s it. I know you want to be ready, and I promised you I’d do everything in my power to get you there. I intend to keep that promise, but you have to tell me when you’re not feeling one hundred percent.” Remus raised his eyebrows. “You have to be honest with me.”

Sirius nodded exaggeratedly as he unlatched the bench door, grumbling. “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” But he smiled again. “Thanks, Loops.”

“Sure.” Remus nodded.

As Sirius walked towards the locker room, Remus tried to reason with his flopping heart.

 

~

 

It was cliche, was the thing.

Remus muttered to himself about it back home, microwaving himself some left over chicken and rice. A trainer falling for the heartthrob captain. Not to mention that it was Sirius Black. Sirius was always getting ribbed by the team that anyone who looked at him fell for him. Remus tried to laugh along when it was brought up at the occasional team dinner he was invited out to.

It was a hard thing to do.

It was cliche and it was pathetic. He sat down in front of his couch so he could more easily eat at the low coffee table and turned on the TV. As the season approached, the NHL network was ramping up stat comparisons and player profiles. Among all the rookies, the press couldn’t seem to resist doing what seemed like their monthly story on “The Rival Captains.” Sirius’ face was splashed up on the screen besides Snape’s. Remus rolled his eyes.

“Of course,” the reporter was saying, “the hockey world is more than eager for one of the first match ups of the 2019 NHL season, between the Gryffindor Lions and the Slytherin Snakes.”

“Not to mention,” The suit to the left of the table said, leaning forward with a chuckle, “we’re just raring for our two favorite captains to meet again. The Lion’s Sirius Black and the Snake’s Severus Snape were drafted together in 2015. Just two years later Black was made the youngest captain in NHL history, Snape one year behind him and, well…” The reporters laughed together again. “It looks like Snape hasn’t forgotten. Black went onto beat Snape in points up until last year when Black was out with a broken ankle, allowing Snape to pull ahead.”

“For now.” The right one said. “I don’t know about you, Dean, but I’m still looking at that game tape, that hit by Snape on Black. There’s major debate about how intentional that hit was.”

“Well, let’s not imply Snape was intentional with anything—“

“Oh, no, let’s.” Remus snarked at the TV, shaking his head.

“—And so the rivalry continues. The Lions were cast out of the playoffs in just the first round without their captain, while the Snakes went on until round three. Who will make it this year? Well, we’ll see.”

“It’ll be an exciting season, with both Black and Snape on the ice again, that’s for sure.”

“Sure is, Lee. I’m Dean Thomas.”

“And I’m Lee Jordan. This was Rink Talk, thanks for watching everyone.”

Remus changed the channel angrily. He hoped Sirius hadn’t seen any of that. He didn’t need any of that rivalry bullshit right now. Snape was a good player, so was Sirius. When they were out on the rink, they weren’t just playing each other. It was team against team.

Remus didn’t know about that hit on Sirius. He’d watched the tape just as much as anyone else, maybe more. How Sirius’ stick hadn’t even come within inches from the puck before Snape had careened into him, skate hooking on skate, and twisting Sirius’ ankle grotesquely, bringing him down hard. It was a painful thing to watch, made even worse with Snape denying any dirty play, saying he had thought Sirius was going right for the puck.

 

His phone lit up while he was brushing his teeth and he picked it up from where he had tossed it on the end of the bed. It was James.

 

Pots: TEAM DINNER?? YES?? KNUTTY WANTS TO GO TO THREE BROOMSTICKS??? YES??

 

Remus laughed and quickly sucked toothpaste back into his mouth.

Sounds good, he typed out, and received a string of thumbs-up emojis in reply.

James had been drafted one year before Sirius, and Remus found it strange to think about that one year before Sirius arrived. Of course, they’d all known about him. It was hard not to know about the kid who’d been a prodigy since the age of seven. Remus could remember watching videos of him on Youtube, mesmerized by the way he moved on the ice. He wouldn’t admit it aloud, but he still watched those videos.

It had been a good first year. Of course, he’d only been an assistant then, but Moody, the head trainer, had seen right away how much all the guys loved him, how much Remus was able to help them with what they needed. Just a few months into the season, he had been brought on full time.

The next year, the Lions had won the draw and Sirius came to them, stony-faced and quiet, barely looking up in the locker room. Nobody had known what to make of it, especially not Remus. It was different, seeing Sirius quiet and clipped in interviews online. Every player was like that. Remus had thought Sirius would be different in real life, friendly like James and Finn, Kasey, Leo…all the guys. Now, four years later, Sirius was better. He laughed, he smiled more. He joked around with the guys in the locker room. But that hadn’t become obvious until two years ago, maybe, and it was him loosening up that made all the guys vote him their captain. They cared for him. Remus cared for him. He cared for all of them. Remus thought James had gotten through to him, in the end because, the next thing anyone knew, they were joined at the hip. Sirius, the perfect center, James, his winger. An absolute machine on the ice. Remus’ throat got tight sometimes, watching them out there, but he wouldn’t tell anyone that, either.

He crawled into bed, kicking the sheets back and pulling his computer into his lap. He knew he shouldn’t, but he pulled up the video of the hit again. There were awful videos, ten minutes long, playing it on loop while some idiot talked about their history. Remus hated the sight of Snape’s face. His long nose. His greasy, black hair. He hated him more for the things he said on the ice. And that hit on Sirius. Remus watched it again.

Sirius, flying up the ice towards the Snakes’ goal, towards the puck. It had barely left Leo Knut’s stick before Snape had boarded Sirius. In the video, the sound of Sirius hitting the boards was muffled, but Remus had been right on the bench. He’d heard the crack. He’d sat there, knuckles white, throat getting tighter and tighter with every second Sirius stayed down. Finally, after James had long since leaped off the bench to go to him, Sirius had turned over. Jaw tight. Eyes wide and terrified. He’d thrashed a little with the pain, leg perfectly still.

And then he had looked right at Remus.

Remus will never forget it.

They’d held eye contact until the medic had torn his attention away. It had left Remus feeling split open wide and raw.

The video ended with Sirius leaving the ice, and James going after Snape. James had gotten kicked out of the game. Remus had never heard Coach Weasley yell that loud. Arthur Weasley, former Lions player, was known for being even tempered. He was made fun of league wide for being borderline goofy, and sweet. But he’d led the Lions, before James and Sirius’ time, to two Stanley Cups. So, no one could really complain about him. That night, though, he’d ripped James a new one.

Remus slammed his computer shut, trying to ignore the familiar guilt bubbling up in his chest.

Sirius wanted to be ready. He knew Sirius wanted to be ready for this season, and Remus wanted to do everything in his power to get him there. But he couldn’t make a broken bone heal any faster.

It was what plagued him as he got to sleep that night, mulling exercises and stretches over in his head, seeing Sirius’ eyes, disappointed and annoyed with him, until he fell asleep.

His last thought was that he would do anything he could, anything at all, to have Sirius ready in time for their first game against the Durmstrang Eagles, set to be in just three weeks time.

Chapter Text

It was always slightly awkward, getting to wherever the rest of the team wanted to go for their dinners. Most of them carpooled together, but Remus wasn’t in the team group chat and so there was no way that was going to happen. He was left to take the underground train and hope it was on time, which it never was, and then walk the extra fifteen minutes. The Three Broomsticks wasn’t ideal for that exact reason, but the guys loved it—mostly because the woman behind the bar was in love with all of them and gave them endless rounds of free drinks.

The train was down completely and he ended up walking the entire way, arriving only after everyone else was sitting down.

“Loops!”

Remus waved to Finn and pointed at their table so the waitress would let him through.

As he scooted his chair in beside James, Sirius nodded at him from directly across the table.

“You’re late, man.” James said.

“Yeah.” Remus said. “Just got caught up with something. Sorry about that.”

“It’s alright.” Sirius said from across the table. Their eyes met for a moment and Sirius half smiled, before he picked up a pretzel from one of the bowls in the middle of the table and threw it at Leo's head. “Hey, Knutty, pass me the honey mustard.”

Leo groaned. “It’s pronounced newt. Leo Knut. Like the lizard?”

James snorted. “You’re a rookie, Nut. And even if you weren’t, there’s no way you’re ever dropping this nickname.”

Finn leaned forward, nodding solemnly. “It’s too good.”

James scuffed Finn on the back of his head and said, “no one asked for your opinion, Harzy,” but he was smiling as he spoke. Finn knocked him right back, and soon Remus feared for their water glasses.

Remus loved being around the energy of the team, even if it was always practically bursting at the seams. It was so different from his apartment, nice enough, thanks to the Lion’s management, but still. Silent.

Most of the conversation flowed around him, game talk and love life interrogations. Some of it was funny, and some of it got a little too close to home.

“Loops, you have to come out with us next time we’re on a roadie, okay?” James waved around at the table. “What’s our first one? New York? You have to come, we’ll get you a girl and everything.”

“Look at that face,” Kasey said from a few chairs down, “It’ll be easy.”

There was laughter, and all Remus could do was nod and agree, laugh along, though all of his air seemed to be trapped in his lungs.

“Sure, sure, Kase. I’ll bet I do better than your ugly mug.” That sent the group into absolute hollers, but when Remus looked up, and the smile nearly slid off his face.

Sirius was looking right back at him. Remus’s mind was taken forcefully back to Snape’s hit, that intense, agonizing look Sirius had given him on the ice after he fell and couldn’t get back up last season.

But Sirius just looked away, flashing him a tight smile, and then scooted his chair back.

“Gotta piss, gents.” He announced so that some of the guys would scoot their chairs in.

Remus didn’t realize he was staring after him until James nudged his shoulder.

“Okay, Remus? You don’t actually have to come out with us.”

Remus blinked. “What? No, it’s—I want to.” He nodded. “Thanks.”

James raised an eyebrow, looking amused. “You’re welcome?”

Remus laughed, which turned into more of a throat clearing, and looked down at the beer he had ordered, rubbing his thumbnails against the label. Then, acting on a whim, he scooted his chair back, too. “I gotta go, too. Be right back.”

There was a second, as he walked away, that he thought he had maybe been too obvious. But when he looked back, James was wrestling with Harzy again, completely ignoring his empty chair.

When he entered the restroom, he ran straight into Sirius coming out. The first thing he registered was a hard, warm chest, and then hands on his arms, steadying him.

“Jeez, Loops. Gotta go that bad, eh?”

“Oh.” Remus stuttered, then tried for a smile as Sirius let go of him and leant casually against one side of the small doorway. “Yeah, I guess. Long walk here.”

Sirius’ eyebrows furrowed a little, the corners of his mouth turning down. “Walk?”

Remus realized what he had said too late, and sent Sirius another fleeting smile. “Excuse me.”

“Re—” Was all that Remus caught before the door closed.

Remus took a large breath and closed his eyes. “Stupid,” he muttered to himself. “Fucking stupid.”

He closed himself in a stall and waited what he thought would be an appropriate amount of time to have peed, and then unlocked it again, heart still racing and neck still hot.

It wasn’t that big of a deal that he didn’t have a car, but these were good guys and he didn’t want any of them to feel like they had to do anything about it. But, maybe that was too self congratulatory. Remus shook his head at himself in the mirror, and resolved to try not to think about it too much. Not to mention the girl thing. The pick up a girl thing.

Remus didn’t like to think about that, either. Like he said. They were all good guys. Great guys.

That didn’t mean he knew how they would react to him being gay.

Most likely, fine. But he wasn’t willing to risk it. No matter how much he wanted to tell them. Maybe one day that would change, but right now…right now he wanted them to be his family too much.

The rest of the dinner was mindless, excited chatter about the season. Excited, at least, until dessert arrived and Knutty made a horrible mistake.

“How’s the ankle, Pads?”

Sirius paused, fingers hovering over where he was about to pick up his fork. They fall back to the table along with the silence.

“Nice, Nut. Real nice. Way to bring that up right fucking now, while the man’s got his chocolate cake in front of him.”

“It’s fine, Pots.” Sirius says, and he even manages to laugh a little. Knutty, on the other hand, looks like he wants to melt into the table. “It’s alright, Knutty. It’s—well, Loops? How is my ankle?”

Remus places his own fork back down and looks around at the table. Every single face is turned towards him, looking on eagerly, waiting for news about their captain.

Remus swallowed. “We’ll have to see how you do in the next few weeks.”

Kasey practically moaned. “Such a media answer. Fucking Christ.”

“It’s true!” Remus protested. “I can’t make it heal any faster than it wants to. All I can say is that he looks good out there so far.”

Sirius leaned forward. “You said I was keeping weight off of it.”

“You are. That doesn’t mean that if you’re smart you can’t break the habit. Favoring the uninjured foot doesn’t always mean the injured one is still hurt. It just means you’re scared that it is.”

Sirius leaned back and Remus’ heart pumped in his chest. He thought maybe that last part had gone a bit too far, so he added, “I looked at it. The bone looks good, the muscles around it look good. You just have to trust yourself.”

Everyone seemed to be waiting for Sirius to answer first, but all he did was look at Remus with this funny little smile on his face. It was one Remus didn’t know what to make of. He didn’t know if he should return it or start up another conversation…

Sirius picked up his fork and said. “It’s good to have you around, Loops.”

And that was that.

 

~

 

A week later, Sirius was still favoring his good foot, and becoming more and more frustrated with himself every time Remus pointed it out. Meanwhile, Kasey’s thigh was bothering him again. He hadn’t said anything yet, but Remus could see it on his face every time he lifted his goalie mask for a water break during practice. Until Kasey wanted to admit that it hurt, all Remus could do was sit on the bench and watch the practice scrimmages. It was his favorite part, watching the Lions weave themselves seamlessly together, Coach Weasley’s voice loud in the background.

“How’s the Captain, huh?”

Remus looked up from the game to where Moody was sitting down beside him, stretching out his leg, prosthetic from the knee down and covered with random messages from all the guys—some not perfectly polite. Remus always laughed when he saw the millions of hearts Finn had drawn.

“He’s okay,” Remus replied. “Frustrated more than anything.”

“That’ll get ‘em.” Moody grumbled.

Remus nodded, and they both watched Sirius easily skirt Jones and Wilson with some hard turns, knocking the puck into the net off of the back of Wilson’s skate—much to Wilson’s distain. Sirius laughed afterwards. Remus looked away.

“I’ll get through to him,” he said to Moody’s good eye, the other taken out by a bad puck when he was a player. Now, it was covered by a patch—festively Lion’s colors. The boys had gotten it as a gift for him a while back. Moody had grumbled, but Remus hadn’t seen him without it since.

“I know you will. We’re just running a little slim on time. Two weeks. We need them settled in to themselves and to each other.” He got up then, just as the whistle signaling the end of practice blew, and slapped Remus’ back as he left.

The boys started filing past the bench to change—most of them anyway. James seemed to be attempting to play keep away with Sirius, only Sirius was idly bouncing the puck off his stick blade and over James’ head. It only took a few more minutes for James to get fed up, shoving Sirius playfully into the boards as both of them skated towards Remus.

Sirius nodded to him when they got close enough. “Here to look at me?”

Remus blinked. “What?”

Sirius raised his eyebrows. “My ankle?”

“Right.” Remus nodded. “Right. Yeah, come see me.”

Remus closed his eyes, mouthing a short fuck to himself as he headed down the tunnel ahead of them and back towards the training room. That was ridiculous. Ankle. Remus was there to look at Sirius’ ankle.

Sirius was coming through the door sooner than Remus expected, wet haired and neck flushed above the neck of his t-shirt from the showers. Remus was sitting at his desk with basically half a sandwich in his mouth. Sirius smiled when he saw him.

“Hi.”

Remus went to say hi, but all that came out was a muffled noise, which made Sirius snort a little as he took a seat on one of the tables.

“Hungry, Loops?”

“Shut up.” Remus finally managed as he swallowed. “It’s your fault I get such a short lunch. Keeping us busy.”

Sirius made a face. “I don’t want to keep you from lunch.”

Remus waved him off. “I’m kidding.” He brushed his hands off on his pants and motioned for Sirius to straighten his leg, “let’s take a look.”

Sirius stuck his foot out and Remus carefully began unlacing his shoe to slip it off, followed by his sock.

“You know you’re one of maybe three guys who thinks to clip their toenails.” Remus says as he presses his palm flat against the arch of Sirius’ foot, easing it backwards. “How does it feel?”

“Well, I want to look nice for you, Remus Lupin, don’t I?”

Remus looked up sharply. For a second, Sirius was straight faced, and it was just them staring at each other. Then he cleared his throat and smiled, nodding at his foot.

“At least my foot does.” He cleared his throat again and looked at one of the posters detailing when to ice and when to heat an injury. “It feels fine.”

“Fine?” Remus said after a moment.

“Yeah. No, like—twinging? It was doing that for a bit but it stopped.”

Remus shot him a look. The strange moment had passed as quickly as it had come. “I never heard anything about any twinging.”

“I said it stopped.”

“Sirius.”

“It stopped!”

“Well, you’re lucky it did. Let’s stretch it.”

Sirius was familiar with the drill and scooted down some so he was on his back. He bent his knee, allowing Remus to take his calf and rest his foot on his shoulder.

“I saw you were in Europe this summer.” Remus said, mostly just for something to say. He wanted to talk, to keep his mind off that he was basically leaning over Sirius who was just looking up at him, steadily as Remus messed with his leg.

“Yeah. Me and some of the boys.”

“No James? That’s a new one.”

A corner of Sirius’ mouth lifted. “You know how hard it is to pull him away from Lily sometimes.”

“Yeah.” Remus leaned back and went about feeling the tendons around Sirius’ ankle bone. His ankles were slim and fine-boned. They didn’t match the rest of his tall, broad build. Remus tried not to let his touch linger.

“What did you do this summer? You never said.”

Remus shrugged. “This and that. Saw Lily a few times, actually. Worked for the Cubs. Nothing like Europe.”

“I forgot. You’re a Cub Coach.”

“That I am.” Remus bent Sirius’ leg again and folded it so his knee was against his chest. “Ages six through seven and eight through ten this summer.”

“So, they can barely skate.”

“They can skate!”

Sirius shot him a look and Remus rolled his eyes. “Some of them can skate.”

It was silent for another moment before Sirius said, “I wish you’d skate with us sometime.” When Remus scoffed, he continued, “I’m serious. We do after-practice stuff all the time. You never join in.”

“I couldn’t keep up with any of you.”

“Moody can’t keep up with us, either, that doesn’t stop him.”

Remus let Sirius’ leg back down to the mat and shrugged. “I like watching.”

“I want to see you play.”

“And I want to see you play,” said Remus. “Which means you have to tell me if anything hurts, even if it’s just a twinge, and even if it goes away. Got it, Black?”

Sirius’ expression was shocked for a moment before it breaks into an eye-crinkling smile. “Yes, captain.”

Remus rolled his eyes, but he smiled a little, too. “Get the fuck out of my office.”

 

~

 

It wasn’t that Remus couldn’t skate.

 

It wasn’t that he was embarrassed to be seen beside NHL players.

 

It was that he wanted to be a player.

 

It was that he could have been, maybe, if he’d been a little different. A little taller. A little less wiry. A little more prone to gaining muscle mass. After a while, he had gotten used to coaches telling him he was skilled, but too small, that he’d never be able to take a hit at a professional level.

So, Remus had settled. He quit the college team he’d been playing on and started to get on track to graduate in physical therapy. It had been stay on the team, or have a secure life. He didn’t regret his decision, but it didn’t mean he couldn’t miss what could’ve been.

It was an odd feeling. Missing something that had barely been there in the first place.

It wasn’t that Remus couldn’t skate. It was just that skating hurt a little, deep down, right in the hollow of his chest.

 

It was one week until the start of the season and Sirius was skating better. Even if the timidness lingered, it was beautiful to watch him. It made Remus ache in an entirely different way, in a way that felt good. He guessed this must be what it felt like to watch Michelangelo paint, or Hemingway write. There were pictures beginning to surface online, too, from the open practices, as proof. Twitter was brimming with inside sources. Black was back.

The boys were restless, even in practice now, wanting for the points to matter, to pour their energy into something real. Remus had to admit that he felt a little restless too, a little frantic with wanting everyone to be healthy. He was probably assigning one too many routine check ups and workouts, but, right now, he couldn’t feel to careful. Not everyone was going to be at one hundred percent, it was impossible, but he could try to get them as close as he could.

 

“Remus, are you listening to me?”

Remus switched his phone to his other shoulder so he could chop the onions more easily. “Yeah, sorry, mum. I think the 2:00 o’clock flight should be fine. You know you guys don’t have to come.”

Hope Lupin made a noise into the speaker. “Remus. Of course we do!”

“No, I know, I—I mean I want you there, of course, I want to see you. I just mean—I mean if money’s tight, you know, I’m…It’s not like I’m playing. You’ll just see me on the bench.”

“Remus. You’re a crucial part of the team. Whether you’re playing or not. They’re your team.”

Remus let out a little laugh, scooping the onions into a pot to sizzle, “thanks, mum. How’s the painting going?”

He let his her rattle on about the figure and landscape classes she was taking as he made his bolognese sauce, at least until his phone started vibrating with a new incoming call. Remus pulled it away from his ear and stilled, his mom’s voice faint from the phone speakers.

“Um. Mum?”

“—and then Susan said that she thought my colors were muddled, whatever that means—oh, what, sweetheart?”

“I’m going to have to call you back, okay?”

“Oh, alright. Is everything—”

Remus hit the accept button and held it up to his ear tentatively. “Hi—hello?”

There was a rustling in the background for a second before a voice came through. “Remus?”

“Sirius?”

“Oh. I mean, yeah. Hi.”

Remus looked at the name one more time, just to make sure. Sirius had never called him before. “Hi.”

“Hi,” Sirius said again.

Remus couldn’t think of anything else. “Hi.”

Sirius laughed, “Hi.”

“Is your ankle okay?” It was the only think Remus could think of, besides his quickly forming fantasies of Sirius calling to confess his undying love.

“Yeah. Why?”

Remus opened and mouth a few times. “You’re calling me.”

“Oh, no—I mean, yeah. Yes, I am, but that’s not why.”

Remus turned off the stove, not wanting to get any more distracted and burn his dinner, and turned to lean back against the kitchen counter, heart beating a mile a minute. “Oh. Alright.”

“Is that okay?”

Remus heard the protesting noise he made before he realized he was making it. “No, yeah, of course, I just—it’s unexpected.”

“Your captain can’t call you?”

Remus can’t help but smile a little at that. He ran a hand over his face, thankful that Sirius wasn’t actually here to see his cheeks heat, “No, he can. You can.”

Sirius laughed, too, able to hear the smile in his voice. “Good.”

There were a few beats of silence, but Remus waited for Sirius to continue. It was like a particularly difficult play. Sirius always got it, but sometimes he looped around maddeningly on the ice, waiting for the perfect chance to score.

“Um.” Sirius cleared his throat, “so, there’s a team dinner tomorrow.”

“There is.” Remus had gotten the group message last night. “I’m going.”

“I know, I was calling because I remembered when we met in the bathroom last time and you mentioned that you walked to the restaurant and so I realized maybe you didn’t have a car and so I thought maybe you’d want a ride.”

Remus blinked.

“With me,” Sirius added in a whoosh of breath. “I could give you a ride. If you wanted.”

“I…” Remus nodded before remembering that Sirius couldn’t see him, “thanks. Yeah, that would be—that would be good. That’s really nice of you, you don’t—”

“I know, I know, but I want to. I—we should’ve asked sooner. The boys carpool sometimes, but my car’s all free.”

“No one wanted to ride with the captain?” Remus tried to joke, because Sirius just implied that they would be in a car together alone and Remus’ slightly younger self was freaking out while his present self was also freaking out.

“Guess not,” Sirius said. “I’ll get you at seven? Where do you live?”

Remus rattled off his address on autopilot, but even when the time and place was agreed, Sirius seemed reluctant to get off the phone.

“What are you up to?” he said instead.

Remus flicked the stove back on with a deep breath. “Just making dinner.”

“You’re lucky you’re not bound to the diet I am. I’m making chicken. And broccoli.”

Remus laughed a little. “You’re only angry about that because you can’t cook.”

“How do you know I can’t cook?”

Remus raised his eyebrows at the chicken stock he was trying to open one handed. He put Sirius on speaker and placed the phone on the counter beside the stove. “I’ve seen you in the team kitchen and I’ve seen Chef Molly’s face when you’re there. You can’t cook.”

There was a distant grumbling from the other end of the line and Remus smiled as he browned the meat. Then he was struck all over again by the strangeness of this situation. Sirius Black was on speaker phone in his kitchen.

“I’m interrupting your dinner.”

“No, it’s fine, Pads.” Remus didn’t want Sirius to go. It was nice to have a second voice to fill his kitchen, even if it was over a phone. When Sirius didn’t respond for a few seconds, Remus froze half way through opening a box of pasta. “I mean, you can go if you need to. I’m interrupting your dinner, too, so—”

“You think I look good, right? On the ice, I look okay? I look ready?”

Remus’ heart clenched a little and he set the box down, flipping the stove to simmer. He leaned against the counter again, folding his arms and staring at the lit up screen of his phone. “What do you think?”

Sirius huffed into the speaker. “Remus.”

“No, seriously. I can’t tell you anything if you won’t believe it.”

“Just tell me again.” Sirius’ voice sounded so desperate, so small, that Remus picked up the phone, like holding it closer would help somehow.

Remus bit his lip for a moment. “Sirius, your ankle healed beautifully. You’re skating like it’s what you were born to do. Have you seen what people are saying?”

Another pause, this one rather long, and then, so quietly, “What if they’re wrong?”

“It doesn’t matter if they’re wrong or right.” Remus held the phone closer and barely knew what he’s saying before saying it. It just knew that it was true. “You love to play. You’re an incredible player. Everyone can see that. It was a bad hit. They happen to everyone. Remember James’ concussion? That was horrible, James was horrible for a few weeks, until the fear wore off.”

“Because he loved it more than he feared it,” Sirius said softly.

Remus nodded. “Exactly. I—I did everything I could, and so did you. That’s all we can ask for, and that’s all the fans can ask for.” Remus took a breath. “You look good out there.”

They were both silent this time, letting everything sink in. Remus was struck again by how intimate this entire conversation felt. Him and Sirius, in their two years, had never exchanged more than a few words outside of hockey, outside of the rink, or the team. Remus was convinced this was a fluke, a one-off. Sirius was nervous. That’s all it was, and Remus was sure he’d already talked to James and Kasey about it, but Remus would take what he could get.

“So, seven?” was all Sirius said.

“Yeah, sounds good.” Remus cleared his throat. “Thanks.”

“You, too,” Sirius said. “Really, Re.”

Remus’ chest pulled at that, and he couldn’t find his voice again.

His kitchen felt all too silent after Sirius hung up.

 

~

 

Sirius’ Range Rover was a shiny black, and he had a red flannel shirt on behind the wheel but no jacket when he rolled down the window to wave at Remus from where he was walking out of his apartment complex. Remus felt suddenly funny in the team sweatshirt he was wearing, like it was too much, too obvious, even though he knew that some of the guys would no doubt be wearing at least some kind of team gear.

“Hey,” Sirius said when he got close enough. “What’s up?”

Remus raised a shoulder in a shrug. “Hungry.”

“Same here,” Sirius leaned over to pull the latch on Remus’ door, popping it open for him.

Remus slid in, buckled his seatbelt. Sirius had the radio on low and looked over at Remus with a small smile on his face for a few seconds before pulling the car back into drive and pulling out into the road.

“Getting nervous, eh?”

It took Remus a minute to realize he was talking about the season and not the car ride, but he nodded. “A little. Probably not as nervous as you.”

“Right,” Sirius laughed. “I guess that’s true. Your family coming in again?”

Remus looks away from the road and towards him in surprise. “I—yeah.” He hadn’t know Sirius was even aware Remus’ family had ever come at all. “Yeah, on Thursday. So, what, two days from now.”

“Got good tickets for the game on Friday, I hope.”

“Good enough.”

There was an awkward silence where, had it been anyone else, Remus should have been asking Sirius if his parents were flying in, but he didn’t dare. They didn’t talk about Sirius’ family. That was a rookie rule, one of the first things you learned. Don’t take the last chocolate chip cookies from James, don’t touch Kasey’s blocker and glove, and don’t ask the captain about his family.

“You only have to ask for the box, you know. Any of the guys would help you out.”

Remus nodded, but he knew he’d never do that. He didn’t like asking for more than he needed.

With the silence that filled the car over the radio, Remus realized how much he relied on the surrounding buzz of hockey when he talked to any of the guys on the team. They were friends, but Sirius was and—Remus was fairly sure—always would be a half worshipped idol in his book. It was hard to speak to him on a normal level sometimes, and especially hard when he kept looking over at Remus and smiling the smile that girls made signs for to hold up at the glass for him to see. Remus couldn’t help but smile back, and then they were talking about James’ spin-o-rama in practice and smiling rather stupidly at each other.

Remus had no fucking idea what it all could mean.

“Thanks for the ride,” Remus said as Sirius parked, the car rolling forward a little with his slightly too hard stop. “Beats the stuffy undergrounds.”

Sirius chuckled lightly. “You need a car, man.”

Remus shrugged, trying to neatly avoid the topic altogether by getting out of the car.

 

He was early for the first time in his life, and only the rookies had arrived yet, shuffling awkwardly outside the restaurant before they saw Sirius and straightened up, some smiling, some paling. Remus could sympathize. It was hard to get used to Sirius.

“Hey, boys, alright?” Sirius said, holding his hand out for a few hello’s. “Let’s sit down, yeah? We can order some chips and salsa at least, me and Re are fucking starving.”

Leo nodded. “Yeah, okay.” Then, to Remus, “Hey, Loops.”

“Hi, Nut.” Remus grinned when his eyes rolled at the nickname. “Gonna make us order you a drink or do you think you have the balls to use your fake yourself this time?”

Sirius let out a snort and sent Remus an approving look as he held the door open for him. Remus ducked inside so he could hide how his cheeks flushed with pride.

James arrived by squeezing Remus’ shoulders from behind and making him jump so hard that he spilled his margarita. James cracked up and Sirius calmly slid his own drink over to him, which was just a few sips in.

Remus shook his head. “You should keep it. That one was almost empty and if I have another…who knows what I’ll tell you.”

Sirius just pushed it a little further towards him and flagged the waitress down for another. “I’d love to hear your secrets, Fruit-Loops. You can trust me.”

Remus had been left blinking as Sirius turned and put his brightest smile on for the waitress, who fell for it immediately. He was sure that in no tim the rest of Sirius’ drinks would be mysteriously free of charge.

That dulled Remus’ high, just a little bit. It wasn’t like he never watched Sirius flirt with girls. He’d seen it more times than he could count. He’d been at the table, watching over Finn, usually, who couldn’t handle his alcohol, and Sirius would be at the bar, smiling at some girl and leaning down so she could whisper something in his ear. He’d seen the way Sirius kissed. It was like the way he played hockey. Remus usually felt weird looking and looked away after a few seconds, chest burning.

He’d seen it more times than he could count, but it didn’t stop it from settling heavy in his chest. Sometimes, he almost thought it would be better if Sirius got a girlfriend. Someone Remus could get to know, to come to like. It would be better than secretly hating every random girl who he didn’t have a clue about like some insane super-fan.

Remus took a sip of Sirius’ drink, just for something to do other than watch the girl giggle. Then, he pushed it away. Maybe he could trust Sirius, but he definitely didn’t trust himself. He switched to guacamole instead.

“How’s Lily, Pots?” He turned away from Sirius completely and looked at James, “Haven’t seen her in a bit.”

James made a weird choking-on-his-drink-or-maybe-some-chips noise and coughed for a minute before speaking. Remus, and a few others, watched him with a laugh on their lips.

Remus watched Kasey slap him on the back a few times. “You okay, bud?”

“I’m good.” James wheezed. “She’s good. She’s—yeah, she’s good. She’s good. I’m good.” He cleared his throat. “We’re good.”

Remus raised his eyebrows. He didn’t know what was up, but he was definitely texting Lily when he got home.

“Remus.” Finn leaned over, much too close for Remus’ liking, his brown eyes large.

“Yeah, Harzy?”

Finn shook his head solemnly. “What if I never block a puck again?”

Remus shook his head. “Harzy—”

“What if,” Finn's eyes got bigger and he looked dazedly up into the ceiling. His drink was tipping dangerously close to the rim of his glass. “What if I go from being Finn O’Hara to Finn No’Care-a?”

“Um.” Remus laughed, and then he heard a similar noise from his left and looked at Sirius, sitting at the table. They both burst into laughter. Remus reached over and took the dangerously sloshing drink out of Finn's hand. “Okay, I think you’re done for the night, Harz.”

Finn slumped back in his seat, only to be pulled in by Timmy, who had been traded to them last year, the same year as Finn, from the Owls. They had been in developing camp together in high school and Remus liked their dynamic. Remus had always thought they’d make a good defense pairing, if Finn wasn’t a winger.

“Now, you’ve got two drinks in front of you.” Remus looked up at Sirius. He was closer than expected, and his pupils looked large and dark, but his smile was soft. He tilted his head to the side. “If you still care to share those secrets.”

Remus laughed, tracing a bit of salt off one of the rims with his thumb and licking it. Sirius watched for a second before he looked down at his tacos. “I don’t know,” Remus said. “I’m a pretty open book. I’m surprised you want to know anything at all.”

This was new, too. Sirius, leaning into him, asking him questions about himself—himself, not hockey.

Sirius looked up at him again, brows pulled low this time. “Why surprised?”

Remus shot him a look that he hoped said, because you said barely two words to me for the first year you were here, and after that we talked about hockey. But, to be completely fair, Remus wasn’t sure how much he himself used to be able to stand having conversations with Sirius. In the very beginning, Sirius had been nothing more than the super star who Remus had loved enough to splurge on his jersey for. A jersey that was now tucked carefully away in his drawer, only to be worn when he sure he was completely alone and not expecting any visitors.

“Oh.” One corner of Sirius’ mouth lifted, a little sadly. “Yeah. I wasn’t very friendly in the beginning, was I?”

“I wouldn’t say not friendly.” Remus stirred the drink, took a sip. “You had a lot of pressure on you. Still do. I can’t imagine what that would be like.”

Sirius laughed a little, a dry thing. “Right.”

“I—No, that—” Remus searched frantically for words. “Sorry, that’s probably not what you want to talk about right now. Sorry, I didn’t mean to bring up—you need a clear head right now.”

“My head is anything but clear right now.” Sirius sat back in his chair, running a hand through his hair.

“Uh-oh. Sirius Black hair flip is happening over here.” James leaned down between Remus and Sirius, seemingly on his way to the bathroom. “Is everything okay, you two?”

Sirius elbowed James gently in the ribs. “Fuck off, Pots.”

James laughed, messing up Sirius’ hair completely with a hard rub. Remus almost wanted to look away. Sirius’ hair was a particular highlight from Remus. It was dark, and thick, and wavy, and it stopped around his ears now but by the end of the season it would be curling at the base of his neck. Remus huffed and tried to subtly watch Sirius fix it with his fingers.

It was taboo to say anything aloud, but Remus silently hoped he’d see a Cup ring there on those fingers at the end of this season.

Remus sighed. At least they were back to hockey, to familiar territory that didn’t get Remus’ hopes up, nor let them down. It was even. It was safe. 

“What can I do?” Remus asked.

Sirius blinked up at him, giving his hair one last push to the side. “What?”

“To clear your head. I don’t want you worrying about anything you don’t have to worry about. What can I do?”

Sirius sat forward in his chair and regarded Remus with eyes that looked slightly disbelieving. Remus took another sip of his drink and raised his eyebrows.

“I…I don’t know, the team—”

“No, what do you need?”

Sirius opened and closed his mouth a few times. With each time, his eyes looked a little more at a loss. “We need to—”

“You,” Remus said. “You need to…?”

Sirius laughed, “Remus, it’s not about me.”

“It’s about you when you need it to be, and right now you do.”

Sirius’ tight smile hadn’t fully faded. “You should be a coach.”

“Sirius, you aren’t going to be able to do anything with the weight of the world on your shoulders. You just said it isn’t about you. You’re right, but only in that it isn’t all up to you. It isn’t all on you. Any of these guys would tell you that.”

Remus couldn’t have said where half of this was coming from. It was everything he’d ever thought about Sirius’ silences, about his intense superstitions and routines, about his temper on and off the ice, blaming everything on himself. He’d blame the alcohol, but he was fairly sure it was also his proximity to Sirius in general.

“You care.” Sirius said, and it didn’t sound surprised or defensive. He sounded—happy, almost.

It was so close to the truth. Remus didn’t just care for Sirius, but he couldn’t say that. The happy notes in Sirius’ voice let Remus be glad for the alcohol in his system, however, becomes it enabled him to give the safer reply that he did.

“You’re my favorite player,” Remus said simply, and a bright smile overtook Sirius’ face.

“I didn’t know that.”

Remus ran a hand over his hot cheek. “Yeah, that was probably for the better.”

Sirius laughed loudly, drawing some looks and pressed his forehead onto his folded forearms onto the table for a minute.

“Shut up,” Remus laughed.

“I can’t believe you told me. I mean, I’m fucking glad, I’m never going to let you forget it, but—”

“Fuck off,” Remus covered his eyes briefly before laughing again. “It’s—I’m trying to tell you you’ve got this.”

“Why are we laughing without me? Is Loops funny and I didn’t know it?” James leaned in, arm thrown around Kasey’s shoulder, jostling him so his fork missed his mouth and streaked his cheek.

“Pots,” Kasey said. “Get a grip, I’m fucking eating.”

“Sorry, babe.” James leaned past him, closer to Sirius and Remus. “But seriously, why are we laughing, I need to be included in everything.”

“Oh, we know.” Sirius said, and glanced over at Remus like it was the two of them in on a joke together. Remus knew he would be thinking about that look for a while.

For the majority of the rest of the dinner, Remus was pulled into a strange debate over who would throw the team Christmas party this year with Nut and Harzy. The whole time though, Remus could practically feel the heat of Sirius next to him. His lost eyes when Remus asked him to think of himself first were burned into Remus’ memory. The knowledge that he was going to drive home with Sirius in a dark car after this made him jumpy with adrenaline. It was practically the way he felt before a game, the way he felt about the season opener on Friday.

When it was finally time to go, Remus half wondered if Sirius would be quiet about them riding together, although he wasn’t sure why. Maybe so the other guys wouldn’t ask.

But when everyone was clustered out front and saying goodbyes, Sirius was in the middle of it all and flipping his keys around his finger. He looked at Remus with raised eyebrows.

“Ready?” he asked.

Remus tried not to let his surprise show, and nodded. “Yep.”

“Wh—” James looked back and forth between them with exaggerated swivels of his head. “Fruit-loops riding with captain?

“Yeah, yeah, yeah.”

“Do my ears deceive me?”

“Yes, yes, alright.” Sirius held his hand out and James took it, slapping his back with the other. “Goodnight, Potty.”

 

Once out of the bright lights of the restaurant and walking back to the parking lot, Sirius let out a long huff, and at Remus’ look, smiled.

“Team energy, you know?”

Remus nodded. “Yeah.”

“Good night, though.” Sirius clicked his keys and his car chirped in the distance, the back lights blinking to life in the darkness.

“It was. It’s always good.”

“You weren’t with any other team before us, were you?” Sirius asked.

Remus shook his head as they reached the car. “Just the Lions.”

“Was this always what you wanted to do?” Sirius’ question was quiet while they both got in and shut the doors.

Remus took the break from his honest, intense gray eyes to take a breath. This was small talk, obviously, but Remus couldn’t deny that he liked that Sirius wanted to know.

“Sort of. This is what makes money.”

Sirius looked at him. “But before…”

Remus tried to smile a little. “Doesn’t everyone want to be you, at least a little?”

“You wanted to play?” Sirius sat up straighter, turned his body more towards Remus. “Did you play?”

“Growing up and in college, yeah.” Remus looked down. Everything was getting a little close to that sort spot he’d been thinking about a lot lately. “I don’t exactly have your build though, do I? My coach wasn’t shy about letting me know that.”

Sirius was silent and it occurred to Remus that he might feel awkward for asking now, and so he added, “He did me a favor, really. It’s not a big deal. I love my job.” Which was true. He thought he was probably one of the luckiest people in his line of work that there was. He had a close, team-based relationship with nearly all of the players. Now he was sitting in Sirius Black’s car. He did love his job.

“Again.” Sirius started the engine, “Now you really have to play with us.”

Remus laughed lightly. “It’s still a little bit of a…a hard thing. For me.”

“Oh.”

“But, one day, I hope, yeah. Sure. I’d like that.”

“Remus, I’m sorry—”

“No, no,” Remus assured him. “That’s not what I meant. Honestly, it’s okay. It means a lot that your even asking.”

Remus saw Sirius nod from the corner of his vision, the road lit by his headlights in front of them.

“Tonight was nice.” Sirius said again. Then, he coughed a little. “And not just…you know, the team. What you said. To me.”

“It’s no problem.”

“I know. I just—I don’t get too much of that. It was always, you know, do better, and it was just me out there when…you know.” Sirius coughed again, a little clearing of his throat sound. “When I was growing up.”

Remus only barely stopped himself from whipping his head around to look at Sirius. He’d never heard something like that. In all the interviews he’d watched, in all the dinners he’d sat through.

Rookie rule number one. You don’t ask the captain about his family. Of course, Remus had always assumed he’d had it rough. He’d seen Sirius’ family at games. They were intense. Horribly so. They were exhibit A of stereotypical hockey parents. Yelling at the other boys, correcting plays, correcting Coach.

An apology didn’t feel like the right response. Sirius wouldn’t want pity. But Remus didn’t want to brush over it like it was nothing either. It felt like a seed of trust, and Remus had no idea what he had done to deserve such a thing, but he was going to be careful with it.

“Well, I’m here. Whenever you need me.”

Remus would drop everything for Sirius Black, star of the Gryffindor Lions, he had always known that. Only, right now, it also felt like he’d drop everything for Sirius, his captain who put too much pressure on himself. Maybe, even, in this moment at least, his friend.

He saw Sirius glance at him and looked back, offering a little smile.

Sirius’ jaw was set, though, and his eyes flicked all over the road, knuckles right on the steering wheel. It was like he didn’t know what to do with a comment like that, which made Remus want to shower him in them. Sirius jerked his chin at the windshield. “This is you, right?”

“I—Oh, yeah.” Remus felt like he was being yanked out of a daze, some weird dream, as Sirius pulled up in front of his apartment complex. “Thanks again, for the ride.”

He went to open his door, when suddenly there was a hand on his arm.

“Remus.”

Remus turned.

“Um.” Sirius looked at his hand around Remus’ arm, then the Lion’s logo on his sweatshirt, and let go. “Um, yeah. Sorry, yeah. See you in practice.”

Remus blinked at him, he opened his mouth to say something, but then Sirius turned forward in his seat and looked out the driver side window, away from Remus.

“Yeah.” Remus felt shaky from the strange and rapid shift in moods. “See you.”

Sirius drove away mere seconds after Remus closed his door, making Remus stumble back a step from the car.

He didn’t know what had just happened, but he knew he’d be thinking about this entire night for a while.

His apartment felt especially chilly compared to the warm space of Sirius, when he got inside.

Chapter Text

Remus didn’t always have too much time for it, but there was nothing he liked more than sitting on the bench and watching Gryffindor City’s Hogwarts Stadium fill up with red and gold. The waves of chatter got louder and the seats filled, and it was a nice balance to the energy in the locker room as he walked back down the tunnel and through the doors, leaning against the wall with Moody. There, in case they were needed, but out of the way.

Even more than watching the fans, he liked watching the boys get ready. Kasey was down on all fours in a butterfly squat, full-pads making his body look huge and his head look tiny. Leo was down the hall some, throwing two balls against the wall and catching them quickly. Remus’ eyes blurred after watching for a minute and he looked away. Which turned out to be a mistake in itself.

Sirius was sitting in his stall, shirtless and knees spread to accommodate the stick he was taping between them. He didn’t have any of his pads on yet, typical Sirius, who always had to get ready at the last minute because he spent so much time on his stretches and sticks. He was just in his underarmour, the tight material leaving absolutely nothing to imagination. He had a Lions’ hat on backwards and stray strands of hair were sticking out of the front, casting shadows on his cheeks. He stuck his tongue out and wound the tape carefully around the blade of his stick, checking for wrinkles and creases every other turn. James was saying something to him with broad hand gestures, probably a play he wanted to get perfect tonight.

They all wanted to get everything perfect tonight. It was the home opener. The crowd would be wild, and the pressure would be on. Remus loved every second of it and he knew the boys did, too.

James let out a loud whoop then, clapping his hands together and and throwing his helmet on even though his pads were still hanging in his stall. “Let’s fucking go, tonight, eh boys? Durmstrang fuckers won’t know what hit them.”

He was met with a series answering shouts of approval, all of which amplified when Coach Weasley appeared through the locker room doors with the large lion on it. He grinned and held up a little slip of paper, tonight’s line up.

“Pots, since you’re already standing, why don’t you do the honors?” Arthur said, handing James the paper.

James hit his helmet on his head. “Alright, let’s see. Starting tonight,” the boys yelled and James dropped down a little, knees bent and voice low like the commentators, “in the cage,” there was another round of shouts and James wound up his arm and then bounded over to Kasey, “we have the man named for the sport of hockey itself, Kasey Winter.

There were a series of “Yeah, Kase!” and “Be the fucking blizzard!” before James could continue.

“Next we have…on your left, Harzy!”

Harzy looked up from where he was lacing his skates with a little salute to the cheers.

“On your right,” James smiled around at them all, so wide that Remus could see where one of his outer bottom teeth was still missing, just out of sight. He pressed a hand to his own chest, “yours truly.”

“Alright, Potty-mouth!” Kasey shouted the nickname James had earned himself for his relentless chirping on the ice, name-calling and poking fun until the refs eventually had to call him on it.

“Your favorite D-man pairing, Kaner and our resident Finland-man, Olli!”

Timmy Kane and Olli Halla did some strange, complicated handshake.

“And your center tonight…the man, the myth, the one who holds the record for most marriage proposals by teenage girls at the glass,” Remus laughed at that and James ran back over to Sirius, pretending to take his stick just to see him flinch back, and taking his hat instead and placing it on top of his own helmet, “oh captain, my captain, Sirius mother-fucking Black!”

Everyone clapped a little, Arthur shaking his head fondly and Moody letting James run over and touch his leg for good luck, per tradition, and then it was really business time. There was some calmer chatter as everyone got into their gear and laced up, getting into the right headspace for a game.

Remus rifled through his own inventory in his head, making sure he would be prepared on the bench. He had extra blades for everyone, laces, sterile gauze, and a little box for teeth which he’d learned to keep the hard way (Olli Halla spitting a few directly into his open palm). He took one last look around the locker room before heading back to the mouth of the tunnel at the bench where the guys would pass on their way out for their lap-around introductions under the lights and warm ups. He could see some of the Durmstrang equipment guys over on their bench, and they exchanged nods that were friendly enough. Eagles games were always odd, not just for the competition—they had nothing compared to Lion and Snake games—but because their colors were nearly identical, and so the away-team always had to wear their more solid colored third-jerseys. Remus was glad they were on home-ice, so the Eagles would be the ones stuck in their nearly all goldish-yellow uniform, not the Lions.

Remus looked up at the stands, figuring his parents were out there somewhere, trying to keep Julian at bay, who was no doubt in his BLACK jersey and bouncing out of his shoes with excitement. At nine years old, Remus sometimes wondered if his little brother was a bigger Lions fan than even him, despite living halfway across the country from them.

He had a sudden fantasy of bringing Jules back to the locker room and Sirius being there, maybe James, too, and Sirius would give Jules a hockey stick maybe, and then smile at Remus—

“What’s with the face?”

Remus started, looking at Moody who had brought out the fresh bottles of gatorade and water.

“What? What face? Nothing.” Remus reached forward and started to help him line the bench with them. “I wasn’t making a face.”

“Alright, at ease.” Moody laughed a little. “Jeez, Lupin.”

Remus desperately tried to change the subject, “How’s the lucky leg?”

Moody scoffed, giving it a stomp. “It’s been kissed by Harzy, that’s what. Fucking crazy-ass.”

Remus laughed and sat down on the bench, looking up towards the jumbo-screen where they were showing a video of a few of the guys saying what they did that summer. James was on, giving a typically sarcastic answer. Something about hamburgers. When Sirius’ faces came on next there was a positive roar from the crowd and Remus felt flushed with their enthusiasm. Gryffindor loved their Captain, and they were just as eager to avenge him as the team was. It was pretty fucking thrilling to sit and watch it all, but if he could, Remus would be out there on the ice, fighting to get Sirius ever goal and point he could. He pushed that thought down just as the lights shut off and the music stopped, signaling the beginning of the Lions’ entry onto the ice, their first of the season. Remus’ heart pounded.

“Gryffindor!” boomed Frank Longbottom’s voice, one of their beloved announcer. Frank came with the team on the road, along with Marlene McKinnon. Butts and Kinzy were well loved by the team, and, maybe unfortunately for them, the subjects of many pranks, but Remus was sure they loved the boys’ attention as much as he himself did. The crowed boomed back in response and then the jumbo-screen bloomed to life, along with the lights and the lasers that streaked across the crowd and ice.

“Are you ready?” Frank asked the stadium, and then the jumbo-screen started counting down from ten with loud booms that quickly developed into a bass-heavy song.

“Ten…nine…” Remus found himself smiling, mumbling the numbers under his breath.

“Your Gryffindor Lions!” Frank drew out the words and the lights went crazy as the boys appeared down the tunnel.

Kasey came first, goalie mask propped on top of his head as he skated out onto the ice. Then Timmy, Finn, Leo…Olli, Brady, Evgeni, Kris, Tyler…

They all looped around the rink, warming up and pounding on the glass, laughing when the crowd pounded back. Remus liked watching the rookies the most, their eyes alight with the attention and praise.

And finally James, always second to last, and then Sirius, always last. Remus watched him come all the way down the tunnel, just in time for his name to be read out by Frank. Sirius raised his glove and knocked it into a few of the kid’s fists who had made it down by the glass, before scampering back up to their parents, delighted with having received a fist-bump.

Remus didn’t expect Sirius to look back at him, but for the split second between him being beside the bench and him being on the ice, their eyes met. And Sirius dropped a wink. And he was gliding away, dropping to one knee as he went and raising his stick a little, drawing screams from the crowd. They were happy to have him back. Sirius was cocky, and Remus didn’t like to admit that he loved that, but he did.

Sirius belonged on the ice, that much had always been clear, and when he wasn’t there, something was out of gear. Everything felt settled now, ready.

The lights came up after a bit and then Eagles filtered on, too, taking shots at their goalie. Victor Krum crossed center ice and met Sirius where he was talking to James, offering a somewhat stiff hand. Sirius smiled, so Remus guessed he had welcomed him back. The Eagles were good like the Snakes, but they weren’t assholes like they were. Remus watched Sirius pluck at Krum’s shoulder, no doubt chirping him for the bright yellow color, and Krum laughed, nudging him back and skating away.

Kasey was busy nesting his goal, scraping up the crease with his long goalie skate blades and catching the boys’ practice shots. Remus watched him for a minute, always enjoying how specific and protective Kasey was of his goal (he patted his posts whenever a puck got knocked askew by one, for god’s sake), but soon his attention was—predictably—dragged away by Sirius. Sirius had a routine, a strict routine, and there was few things Remus loved more than watching him go through it. Remus wasn’t sure he even knew about all of it, but he wanted to. He knew Sirius had to tape his own sticks, do specific stretches in a specific order, had to put his left skate on first, and during warm-ups he had to trace the Lions logo with a puck. He knew Sirius liked to have two pieces of toast with butter and honey an hour before games. Remus wished he knew more, secretly. He wanted to know how long Sirius’ pre-game nap was and what he looked like when he woke up from it—

“Earth to Remus Lupin.”

Remus’ slowly spiraling fantasy was abruptly cut off by James waving a glove in his face.

“What?” Remus stood up. “Sorry, what’s up, what do you need? James, face-off’s in like two seconds, you’re on first shift.”

“I just want some gatorade and it’s all red.” James practically pouted.

Remus huffed out a laugh and handed him a blue, shifting to the side as the other team members shuffled down the bench, coach Weasley slapping a few of them on the back. “There, now go!”

James whooped and skated off to take his position. Sirius was at center ice, eye to eye with Krum, the ref between them with the puck. They crouched, eyes on the puck, and Remus said a soft prayer to whatever god anyone could believe in.

The ref dropped the puck, and the game began.

 

Remus was on his feet the entire time. He was meant to be watching for any trip-ups, any hard hits, anything that might need to be looked at. Instead, he kept catching himself just enjoying the game, standing behind the bench. Sirius came careening over the boards, tapping Brady’s butt as he jumped onto the ice to replace him, and sat down heavily in front of Remus. He turned, sweat dripping down his temples.

“iPad,” he said, and one of the assistant coaches held it out to him. Sirius stayed turned, brow intense as he watched a replay of his latest shift, and so Remus got to study his profile. He loved Sirius in the heat of a game, loved how fast he talked. He leaned over to explain something to Olli, who leaned in like if he didn’t catch every word, he’d parish. Everyone on the team tended to listen to Sirius like that, like he was their leader through thick and thin.

“How’m I doing?” Sirius said as he handed the iPad back. Remus assumed he was talking to the coaches until Sirius’ eyes fell on him.

“Me?” Remus asked—stupidly.

Sirius smiled, “You.”

“You look great out there. You know you look great out there.”

James laughed, whacking Remus lightly in the stomach with his glove. “Way to call him on it, Loops.” Then the whole bench leaned back as Brady shoved an Eagles player nearly over the boards and into the bench. The crowd loved it, and James banged his stick on the boards after them. “Way to go, Shady-Brady!”

They were gone shortly after that, Coach calling for short shifts for the end of the first period.

“Keep ‘em coming boys, keep this lead!” he was shouting.

The Lions were up 3-1, and the atmosphere was electric. Remus loved this. It was the closest thing to being on top of the world there was, he thought. Suddenly, Sirius was on a breakaway up the ice off of a clean pass from Harzy. He skirted around number 16, number 3, with hard edges, and then he was nearly at the net—

Krum came out of nowhere, slamming Sirius into the boards.

Remus was on his feet in a second, pressing up behind Tyler and Evgeni on the bench.

It was a clean hit, but it felt like ages before Sirius got up. Remus didn’t even watch Krum take the puck, didn’t watch Kasey miss it, didn’t watch their goal-horn light up, didn’t watch the scoreboard change to read 3-2. He didn’t watch the Eagles celebrate.

He watched Sirius skate towards the bench. It was just for a shift change, but Remus looked over every part of him, checking for a limp, a wince, anything. He looked okay. James was on him in a second, skating shoulder to shoulder and talking to him. Sirius was nodded, even smiling a little, but Remus could tell he was shaken. To have something like that happen in the first game, and when he’d just gotten back

The stadium filled with booing that felt like it shook the walls.

Sirius took his seat on the bench, but before Remus could get through his teammates and to him, the buzzer signaling the end of the first period was sounding and everyone was filing off the ice and back into the locker room. Good, Remus thought. He’d ask to see Sirius, he’d check him out fully, just to be safe.

 

Marlene was waiting for Coach at the end of the tunnel.

“Hey Arthur, who can we have for media?” she asked.

“Not Black,” Remus stepped in, “I want to check that hit.”

Coach nodded, “right. You can have Pots, or Kasey, I think.”

Marlene nodded and shot Remus a smile, which he returned tightly as he pushed between them and into the locker room. Sirius looked up at him almost immediately, like he had been waiting.

Remus only had to jerk his head towards the quiet and training rooms, before Sirius was getting up and following him. Remus held the door open to the quiet room. It was technically for concussion testing and protocol, and Remus hadn’t seen Sirius hit his head, but better safe than sorry. Sirius stepped inside and Remus closed the door.

“How do you feel?” Remus asked, then pointed to the padded observation table. “Sit there. I’m going to check your ankle and your head.”

“Loops—”

“Does anything else hurt?”

Remus.

Remus looked up.

Sirius loomed over him anyway, but he practically towered over him while wearing skates. Remus nearly had to crane his neck.

“What?” Remus asked, a little breathlessly.

Sirius raised an eyebrow. “It wasn’t a bad hit.”

“I know. But given your recent history I want to make sure everything’s fine.”

Sirius sat down on the bench and took his helmet off, laying it to the side along with his gloves while Remus bent to start unlacing his skates. Remus’ heart was still pounding, and Sirius’ gray desperate eyes filled his head. He wouldn’t be helpless this time. He’d fixed Sirius’ broken bone, and he wouldn’t let anything go amiss, not now.

“Durmstrang’s always a tough one to call, eh? Sometimes they’re brilliant and sometimes they’re…”

“Angry?” Remus supplied, carefully sliding Sirius’ skates off of his feet before rising.

Sirius laughed a little, “Yeah. For sure, yeah.”

“Look here.” Remus held up a small flashlight and a finger. Sirius looked, but right at Remus, not his finger. A small smile was still lingering on his face. “My finger, Black.”

Sirius laughed again but obeyed this time.

“When’s your birthday?”

“November third.” Sirius supplied easily.

“When is Pots’ birthday?”

“March twenty-seventh. When’s your birthday, Re?”

Remus chest fluttered a little. He clicked off the flashlight, satisfied. “March tenth.”

“Hey, you and James are birthday-buddies.”

Remus rolled his eyes, “Raise your arms. Touch your—”

“Yeah, yeah, I know.” Sirius obediently brought his fingers to his nose and back out again a few times, then, without prompt, got up and walked in a straight line, toe to heel, and turned and looked at Remus expectantly.

Remus narrowed his eyes at him. “And your ankle? Tell me the truth.”

“Fine.” Sirius smiled and sat down in one of the chairs in the room to start getting his skates back on. “Really, Loops, I’m alright. It probably looked worse than it was.”

“It took you a bit to get up.”

Sirius shrugged down at his laces, digging his heel in to pull them tight, “I’ll admit, I was a little surprised. It’s the first real time I got hit since…you know. Since Snape. But you said it yourself,” He looked up at Remus then, sweat damp hair falling into his eyes a little, cheeks flushed, “can’t let the fear get to me, can I?”

Remus swallowed dryly. “Right. Yeah.” He watched Sirius until he was standing again and pulling his gloves back on, tucking his helmet beneath his arm. “Right, right. Sorry.” He opened the door, “Have a good second period, okay?”

Sirius paused beside him in the doorway, tall as ever with his skates back on and looking down at Remus. “Hey.”

Remus looked up at him. Sirius had a funny expression on his face, something soft and determined.

“Don’t ever say sorry for helping me,” Sirius’ voice was low when he said the words.

Remus caught one last glimpse of the odd expression, and then Sirius was gone, enveloped back into the energetic mass of the team.

They won 5-3, Sirius with three points, two goals and one assist, in the second and third period.

 

The locker room was ecstatic afterwards, and Remus was kneeling to tape up Kasey’s thigh for him when Arthur came out with the lion head. The lion head was this seasons team token, of sorts, an object that got past around the locker room after every game, depending on who played best that night. For the first game of the season, Coach was the one who handed it out. After that it would go from player to player. This year, the object looked like an overly-furry lion-mane and nose, maybe from some poor, cotton stuffed animal, sewed onto a baseball cap. Remus grimaced just looking at it. He didn’t want to think about how sweaty and disgusting that thing was going to become by the end of the season.

“Great game, boys. Great start to the beginning of the season.” There were some cheering and Arthur smiled, waving his hand, “As you know, it is my pride and joy making our season tokens.”

“What section of the wall is last year’s going on?” James said, making everyone laugh. Arthur’s creation last year had been a monstrous blend between a gladiator helmet that had a yarn lion tale glued to the back of it.

“Front and center, thanks for asking.” Coach said. “This year, we have…”

Kasey started a drumroll which the entire locker room eventually joined in on.

“Lion-cap. Gorgeous, isn’t he?” Arthur held it up. “And tonight…I’ve got to give it to the captain, don’t I?”

“Yeah you do!” James pounded the wall of his stall with his fist.

“Quite a hit, and beauties of goals. Sirius.”

Sirius laughed as he walked forward, just his underarmour on again, and put the hat on, crouching into a ridiculous pose so that James could take a picture. He looked hilarious in it, the mane fluffing out around his ears and the nose resting on the brim.

“Thanks, Coach.” He said, and then handed it off to Remus for safe keeping, per tradition. Remus was always put in charge of bring the token on roadies, and keeping track of who got it when.

Remus felt his phone buzz in his pocket and was pulled abruptly from the bubble of the team when he saw his mom’s name flash up. He slapped a hand to Kasey’s shoulder, telling him he was done, and slipped out of the locker room to answer.

“Hey, mum.”

“Hi, baby. Great game!”

“It was,” Remus smiled. “I’ll be right out to get you guys and we can get ice cream or something. I just have to—”

“Remus?”

Remus pressed the phone to his shoulder, turning on his heel back to the locker room. Sirius was standing there, head poking out and smiling a smile that looked almost—shy.

“Yeah? Hold on, mum—Sorry, can I help?”

“Bring them back,” Sirius said.

“Huh?”

Sirius rolled his eyes, “Your family. Bring them back, show them the locker room and stuff.”

“Oh.” Remus’ heart beat. He would love that. Julian would freak out. “Oh, I don’t want—”

“C’mon, the boys would love it. We can sign a jersey and stuff, or a stick.”

Remus’ mouth hung open for a minute before he heard himself say, “okay,” and Sirius grinned before retreating. Remus didn’t move until he heard his mom’s voice in his ear. He blinked a few times and raised his phone back up. “Hey, mum, do you want to…would you guys want to come back to the locker room?”

 

And so here Remus was, his parents and Jules in toe, walking down the all too familiar hallway.

Julian bounced up beside Remus, both hands around his arm. “Are we going to meet Sirius?”

Remus smiled, “probably.”

“Are we going to meet Pots?”

“Yep, him too.”

“Blizzard?”

Remus laughed, “I think you could meet Kasey, sure.”

“Can I take a picture with them?”

“If you say please,” Remus said, because it was definitely what his mom would say. Once they reach the locker room doors, he looked back at his parents. Both were wearing BLACK jerseys, which Remus found unbearably endearing and also slightly embarrassing now that Sirius knew how Remus felt about him as a hockey player. There was no doubt he was going to think Remus had had sway over his parents’ jersey choice. His dad was clutching his phone excitedly to his chest, and Remus couldn’t think why he hadn’t asked to do this sooner. He was glad Sirius had said something, and he’d make sure to tell him thank you later.

“Ready?” He asked.

“Ready, ready, open the doors!” Julian whisper-yelled.

The sound wave once Remus did hit them like a wall, and Remus heard Jules quiet down a little, maybe with nerves as the reality that this was actually happening set in, and Remus turned around to put a comforting hand on his back. He could see that the media was just leaving out the press door, which Remus was thankful for because it meant that none of the players would be surrounded by cameras. He didn’t want this to look like a photo-op.

He made eye contact with Sirius almost immediately, and tried to smile in a way that didn’t look like he expected Sirius to come over or anything. Sirius had a routine, and that included winding down. He looked like he was about to leave for his twenty minute cool down on one of the stationary bikes, and Remus didn’t want to interrupt that. But then Sirius was grinning and motioning them over.

“Oh.” Julian said softly from beside Remus, and Remus patted his head softly and motioned for his parents to follow him over to Sirius’ stall.

Sirius stood when they got there, grinning warmly.

“Who’s this?” Sirius asked, holding his fist out for a dumbstruck Julian to bump.

“These are my parents, Hope and Lyall, and this is Julian, my brother.” Remus said, smiling a little at Jules’ expression. His heart was pounding. “Say hi, Jules.”

“Hi Padfoot. I mean—” Julian flushed.

Sirius laughed. “You can call me Padfoot if I can call you Jules. You play hockey, bud?”

Julian nodded frantically, “yeah, I’m a center, too.”

“Nice.” Sirius raised his eyes briefly to Remus’ parents and held out his hand for them to shake, “Hi, I’m Sirius.” As if they didn’t know, as if they weren’t wearing his last name on their backs, “Did you all enjoy the game?”

“That was such a nasty hit on you.” Julian said, eyes going from Sirius’ face to his locker to his pads to his stick.

“It was, wasn’t it?”

“Oh, we hope you’re alright.” Hope said with a very motherly disapproving frown.

Sirius nodded and, to Remus’ surprise, threw an arm around Remus’ shoulder. “Your son took care of me. Remus takes the best care of us, right James?”

James had come over with a protein bar hanging out of his mouth, but took a bite and chewed quickly when he put together who he was speaking to.

“Jesus f—” He looked at Julian whose eyes were practically hearts. “Hi,” James said again, laughing a little at himself, “you must be Loops’ parents.” James looked down at Julian again, “And older brother, I presume? What’s up, man? Here to try out?”

“Yeah.” Julian said softly, clearly barely able to think, and they all laughed.

Remus, on the other hand, was much to pre-occupied with Sirius’ arm which, having slid away from his shoulders, was now briefly a warm, pressing weight between his shoulder blades, before it disappeared completely as he slapped the seat of his stall.

“Well I’m certainly not going to have a spot on this team if you’re playing, so you might as well take a seat. Let’s see, what will he need to be a Lion, Pots?”

James crossed his arms, pretending to think hard. “Jersey, definitely.”

“Oh, two, I’d say.” Sirius added, “And a couple sticks, don’t you think?”

Julian, now seated snuggly in Sirius’ stall, was red-cheeked with happiness.

“On it.” James said, and winked at Remus as he left to get a few of his and Sirius’ jerseys and sticks to sign.

Sirius on the other hand, crouched down to Julian’s level. “Hey, Jules, do you know how awesome your brother is?”

Julian grinned up at Remus, then back at Sirius. “Yeah.”

Sirius nodded back, “He does practically everything for us. Gets us new skate blades, makes sure we have what we need on the road, keeps us healthy.” Then Sirius looked at him with a similarly fond and happy expression that Julian was wearing, and Remus felt a little like he might cry which would be completely and utterly embarrassing. “He’s pretty great.”

Remus felt his own cheeks flush. “Okay, okay, thanks.”

Hope laughed from beside him, squeezing him in a one armed hug. “Never could take a compliment, could you, Re?”

“That was a lot of compliments.” Remus laughed, running a hand through his hair. He couldn’t stop looking at Sirius and Sirius wasn’t looking away.

Remus felt like he was back in Sirius’ car, unsure what it all meant.

“Hey, did you know I’m your brother’s favorite player?” Sirius asked Jules.

“You’re mine, too! We both have your jersey!”

Remus flushed and had to look away from Sirius and his raised eyebrows then, pretending to watch James come back across the locker room with the gear. He didn’t want to hear what Sirius had to say about that.

James and Sirius were both at Julian’s level for a good fifteen minutes, signing things, taking pictures, and talking hockey. Kasey even came over before leaving to sign the jerseys and offer one of his own sticks. Remus didn’t know how Julian was going to carry it all.

 

His parents eventually left for their hotel with promises to meet him for breakfast the next morning and their favorite pancake spot—really everyone’s favorite pancake spot—in Gryffindor. Remus watched them walk back to their car until they turned out of view, smiling to himself at Jules’ insistence that he carry all three sticks and wear both jerseys at once.

 

Remus stopped by the exercise room on his way back to lock up the office for the night and, as expected, Sirius was there. He looked fresh off the bike and was on one of the mats, stressing his fingers towards his toes. Remus knocked lightly.

“Hey,” Sirius said with a grin.

“Hi.” Remus walked in a few more paces and leaned against one of the treadmills, scuffing the toe of his sneaker against the floor softly. “I don’t want to interrupt you or anything, but I just wanted to thank you. For earlier. You—You really made my little brother’s life, there. He loves you guys.”

Sirius stood, dusting off his leggings and picked up his water bottle from the floor. “I hope he’s not the only one.”

Remus bit back a smile, and his heart clenched. If only Sirius knew what he was saying.

“Of course,” was all Remus could think of to reply.

“You’re family seems great, Re. Really.”

“They are,” Remus replied before he thought about what that statement probably meant, coming from Sirius. Sirius who didn’t have a family like that. Remus felt guilt and the want to strangle anyone who didn’t love Sirius properly swirl in his chest. Sirius deserved so much. Look what he would do for just one kid who he never even met, for Remus, who he barely knew outside of his work.

“I’m headed out soon.” Sirius said. “Do you need a ride?”

Remus shook his head, “Moody said he’d drive me.”

Even though everything in him was screaming at him to lie and say yes, he didn’t want to explain that to Moody.

“Ah.” Sirius said, nodding. He looked, if not disappointed, something like it. “Okay. Well, let me know, eh? Any time.”

“Thanks, Sirius.” Remus was aware of how soft his voice sounded, but there wasn’t much he could do about it with Sirius’ gray eyes on him.

Sirius smiled, a soft and lopsided thing, and Remus’ heart flipped in his chest. As Sirius left for the showers, Remus got back to his desk. On it, was a hat.

It was a Lions hat, red with gold piping and the gold lion. On the bill, in the gold sharpie that the team used for signing, was a messily scrawled message and a signature. Sirius’ signature, complete with the number twelve.

 

I’m glad I’m your favorite, it read.

Chapter Text

Remus hovered outside James and Lily’s house, waiting for Lily to answer the door and watching his cab drive away. Lily and James lived in one of the nice, private neighborhoods, not too far from Sirius and some of the other guys, but it meant a bit of a cab ride for Remus. He’d splurge though, for Lily.

The door swung open and Lily smiled, even if she did look a little frazzled. “Re.”

Remus raised his eyebrows. “Hi, Lils.”

“Hi, hi. What’s up?” She reached and pulled him into a hug—a tight hug. “Come in?”

“Yeah. Hey, are you alright? I haven’t heard from you in a while. You seem…” Remus struggled to find the right word, but ended up settling for, “James is being weird.”

“Well, hello to you, too, Lupin.” James appeared at the bottom of one half of their twisting, grand staircase. He was in what Remus assumed was most of the guys’ uniform on their days off—sweatshirt, sweatpants, and socks. All Lions labeled.

Lily huffed, but smiled a little at James as he came over to wrap an arm around her.

“Isn’t he always being weird?” She leaned up for a quick kiss. “I want ice cream and I want to watch movies. James, shoo, Remus is mine for the day.”

James feigned offense for only a moment before grinning and giving Remus’ shoulder a little shove on his way to the kitchen. “See you in a bit, Loops.”

“Yeah. Hey, I hope your shoulder’s taped under there.”

“Of course it is,” James said, and crossed his fingers behind his retreating back where Remus could see. Remus laughed as he was tugged away by Lily.

Remus eyed her carefully as she looped their arms together, leaning her head on his shoulder and practically dragging him to her and James’ media viewing room. Something still seemed odd with her. The projector was already on and it looked like its last use went to James watching game tape.

“Are you sure you’re alright?” Remus said.

Lily just looked at him, wide-eyed from where she was burrowing down in the many blankets on one of the huge couches, and Remus really knew something was up. First James at the dinner, now this.

“I’ll get the ice cream,” he said, half because he thought they’d need it, and half to give Lily a second.

“Yeah,” she said faintly, then groaned and face planted into the pillows.

 

James was still in the kitchen when Remus got back upstairs, seemingly fixing himself a sandwich for lunch. He nearly jumped out of his skin when Remus said hello.

“Jesus,” Remus laughed, “you just saw me. What’s up with you two?”

James laughed, but it wasn’t his normal one. He ran a hand through his hair, scrubbed it over his face, and then braced both arms on the kitchen island on either side of his sandwich fixings.

“No, sorry. I don’t know, I guess I was lost in thought. Or something.”

“Right.” Remus stooped to get the ice cream out of the refrigerator. He felt like James and Lily’s house was something like his second home, and there was nothing he was more grateful for than meeting Lily at that first pre-season barbecue. Remus had never really had that many fast friends, but him and Lily had talked all night. Remus thought she was part of the reason he was so close with James and all of the guys, unlike so many others on the Lions’ staff.

“Um” James cleared his throat, “so, what movie are you watching?”

“I don’t know yet.” Remus did look at James this time as he scooped chocolate brownie and mint into two bowls. “Pots.”

James looked up from where he was squirting mustard on his bread. James had his glasses on, the round ones that the boys made fun of on road trips. James wore them rarely, mostly when he needed a break from his contacts.

“Are you okay? Both of you, is everything…”

James swallowed a hard swallow and nodded, just a little. “I’m just gonna let Lils talk to you, alright? Don’t worry.”

Remus paused beside him, hand on the silverware drawer, “How am I suppose to not worry when you give me an answer like that?”

James picked up his plate and waved Remus off. “Your ice cream is melting.”

 

When Remus came back with his two generously portioned bowls, Lily was sitting back up and took one almost greedily.

“So.” Remus said, pushing his shoes off his feet with his toes and crossing his legs to face her, “Your boyfriend is remaining tight-lipped. What’s up?”

Lily just looked down at her ice cream, hair hanging so far over her face that it took Remus a good minute before he realized that her bottom lip was trembling.

“Lils, hey, hey…” His voice was nearly a coo as he took their bowls and set them just within reach on the table and scooted closer, wrapping an arm around her shoulders, “Lils…I’m sorry, I…” but Remus didn’t think it was him. He squeezed her gently, thumb rubbing over her shoulder. “What is it?”

“It’s—” Her voice broke and she sucked in a shaky breath.

Remus’ heart was suddenly in his throat again. Even if James hadn’t said anything, that didn’t mean… “I…Is it—are you and James…”

“No.” Lily gasped, even laughing a little as she wiped at her eyes, “God, no. James is perfect. We’re perfect. Fuck, I feel so stupid for even crying because it’s not actually—actually bad, I’m just—”

Lily looked up at Remus then, green eyes shining and bright. The tear tracks on her face made her many freckles look stark and beautiful. “I’m scared, Re.”

“Scared? What do you mea—” Remus’ breath cut off with his words. He glanced down at Lily’s stomach, noticing now that she had both arms carefully wrapped around it. Remus’ heart picked up and he looked back at Lily, wide-eyed. “You mean…”

“We didn’t—it was an accident, but…but we’re…”

“Happy.” Remus finished for her, feeling a smile start to cross his face.

Lily sniffled and then let out a half-laugh half-sob. “Yeah. Yeah, we are, but…you’re not freaked out? Like, we’re young—Fuck, he’s so focused on the team and he just got back from his concussion last year and he doesn’t need this right now—”

“Lily.”

Lily’s rambling cut off and she blinked at Remus, then groaned and put a large spoon of ice cream in her mouth. “What?”

“What do you want? Not worrying about anyone else. What do you want?”

This was suddenly so close to the conversation he had had with Sirius.

Lily was quiet for a moment. It didn’t seem like she was really thinking about it, exactly, more just taking her time with her words.

“I want this,” she finally said. Then she smiled a little, hand against her stomach, “more than that, I want—I want it with James.”

Remus had only just opened his mouth to respond when there was a sniffle from their right. They both looked, and Lily let out a tearful laugh because James was there, rubbing at his eyes behind his glasses, in the doorway.

“‘m not listening, I promise.” James said hoarsely, but he didn’t move.

“Oh, get over here, you idiot.” Lily said thickly, wiping her cheeks.

James smiled a little sheepishly and crouched in front of the couch between them, hand reaching out to take Lily’s and rub over her knuckles. “Feel better now?”

“Mhm.” Lily said, gazing at him.

Remus suddenly felt like a bit of an intruder on an important moment, but then James said, “Finally told your best friend. I told you it’d help. Remus is happy, isn’t he?”

“So. Extremely.” Remus said, arm still around Lily.

Maybe this special moment included him. By what James said, maybe, just maybe, even this little part of what was about to be a monumental part of their lives, was even about him.

“I think it’s a boy.” Lily suddenly gushed, cheeks pink from smiling. She did look like an entire weight had been lifted off of her shoulders.

“I think it’s a little soon to tell…or—how long has it been?” Remus asked.

“About four months,” Lily said. “we’ll be able to tell at my next appointment, that’s what the doctor said.”

James made a little noise and rested his cheek on her knee, grinning up at her. She smiled back, running her hand through his ever-messy dark hair.

“Who else knows?”

“Our parents obviously,” James said, “but from the organization, the team…”

“Just you,” Lily smiled at him.

Remus raised his eyebrows, “not even Sirius?”

James laughed, “he’s next. He’s my Remus to tell.”

Remus smiled. He liked that, the notion that Sirius was to James and he was to Lily. It made him feel more apart of the Lions than ever, left his chest warm.

 

The first road trip of the season was to New York to play the Rangers and Remus never sat down for more than a few minutes before a road trip. For the boys, on the other hand, everything stayed relatively regular paced. They went to practice, took pre-game naps, and played their heart out. Remus sharpened skates, made sure they had a good number of everyone’s sticks, kept track of the token and the pre-game kick around soccer ball. He brought the med-kits and the extra jerseys, the back up skates, and the back up skates for the back up skates. It was exhausting, which is probably why, when he fell into a chair in the Lions lounge with a coffee that evening, he didn’t register he wasn’t alone until he heard hushed tones coming from behind one of the taller chairs, dark leather and plush. Leo had taken to falling asleep in them, much to the delight of James and Kasey’s habit of taking embarrassing pictures and having them printed out to cover various parts of the lounge.

“Oui, maman, ma cheville…c’est bien,” Sirius said, voice low and somber, like every word was being dragged out of him.

Remus didn’t quite speak French, but he had taken a few courses in college, just to be able to talk to some of the French-Canadian guys on his team, and he registered that Sirius was talking about his ankle, saying it was fine. He registered that Sirius was talking to his mother.

Remus should move. He knew he should move.

“Je ne serai pas violent sans raison,” Sirius continued, then, after a pause, a little harsher, “Ce n’est pas une raison.”

Remus swallowed. Sirius’ mom was asking him to play dirty, to hit someone, maybe. God, Remus couldn’t imagine hearing that from a parent—

“Si ce n’était pas un accident…d’accord. Il est bas. Il est ignoble. Je n’est pas.”

Remus heart was in his throat. They had to be talking about Snape, and Sirius was—he was—

If it wasn’t an accident…okay. It’s a low blow, and he is low, ignoble. I am not.

Remus knew Sirius had it rough, but he was glad he could stand up for himself.

“D'accord, la prochaine fois que vous me verrez, vous pourrez me frapper tout ce que vous voudrez.”

Remus sat up then, gasped a little, and Sirius’ head poked out of his chair to see who it was. His eyes widened a little and he whipped his head back around and out of sight.

“I have to go,” he said in English, and then he was standing, facing Remus and sliding his phone in the pocket of his sweats. “Re.”

“I—I’m sorry,” Remus stuttered. “I didn’t really know anyone was in here, I was on my feet all day, I just was going to have my coffee and go—”

Sirius shook his head, shoving both of his hands into his pockets instead. “Re, I’m not mad. It’s fine.”

Remus didn’t know what to say, too focused on the sad tone of gray Sirius’ eyes.

Sirius just shrugged. “It’s not like it’s a secret.”

“That doesn’t make it okay,” Remus’ mouth blurted before he could really think twice about it. “Fuck. Sorry, that’s not my place at all.”

Sirius just shook his head again, head low. “I didn’t say it was okay. I—you know, I see Heather about it.”

Remus nodded. Heather, their sports psychologist. “That’s good, Sirius. A lot of guys wouldn’t do that.”

“Someone’s gotta be the example right?” Sirius pulled his hands free and shook them out, rolling his shoulders like he was trying to roll a weight off of them. “Or at least try to.”

Remus stood, too, took a step forward, because he wanted Sirius to listen to this. “You’re an amazing leader.”

Sirius froze up a little again after that. And it was quiet between them, just in the small space. Remus hadn’t exactly meant to get that close but…now Sirius’ eyes were flicking between his, his lips parted.

“Thank you,” Sirius said softly, then he licked his lips, his chest breathed in like he was going to—

“Boys,” Kasey banged on the doorframe a few times, as if he needed to alert his presence. Then again, Remus thought as he caught himself staring at Sirius’ mouth, maybe that was a good idea. “Coach says wheels up at ten AM sharp tomorrow.”

Sirius looked up. They took a step back at the same time and Remus took a long drink from his coffee.

“Sounds good, Kase, thanks.” Sirius said and pulled out his phone again. Remus went to turn, to go, when, “Need a ride, Remus?”

Sirius smiled at him, a slightly nervous, closed lip thing, “Or…veux-tu dîner?”

“Hungry?” Remus blurted, because it came to him faster than the word dinner and Sirius Black had just asked him if he wanted dinner, potentially with him.

A laugh burst out of Sirius, his eyes crinkled. “Oui.”

Remus loved the way Sirius said oui, loved the way all the French-Canadian guys said it—but especially Sirius. This drawn out sound that was almost twangy. It was lazy, confident, like they were sure of their answer, like they had already known the question before it had even been asked. Sirius sounded mostly Canadian when he spoke English, but it felt like that twang kept up in all of his words at least a bit. Sirius swung a little on his feet, hips dipping back and forth while he waited, hands in his pockets still. He tilted his head, puppyish.

Remus swallowed hard. “Yeah. Oui.” It didn’t sound nearly as good as it did in Sirius’ slight accent.

“Okay.” Sirius nodded, grinning. “We’re getting pizza, don’t tell anyone.”

“That’s not on your diet plan.”

Sirius swung around as he lead Remus out of the room, walking backwards, “Shh!”

“You have your first away game tomorrow night!”

Sirius just put his finger to his lips and beckoned him forward and back to the locker room to grab his stuff. “Meet me at the parking lot,” he said before disappearing inside.

 

Only, waiting at the door the players used gave Remus time to think. To dwell, really. He knew they’d be going to Sid’s for pizza—anyone in Gryffindor went to Sid’s—but he didn’t know anything after that.

“It’s just Sirius,” he mumbled under his breath to himself, then, “Sirius fucking Black, Sirius.”

“What?”

Remus turned sharply on his heel, “What?”

Sirius was standing there with his backpack slung over one shoulder. He pulled the door open and waving Remus through. “I thought you said my name.”

“No.” Remus shook his head, “No, no. So, none of the guys wanted to come?”

Sirius just sort of shrugged and instead of answering asked, “Where do you want to go?”

They looked at each other as they walked side by side. A hint of a smile started to form of Sirius’ face, and then they both nodded a little.

Sid’s,” they said, and grinned.

“Of course,” Remus laughed, “where else?”

Sirius chirped his car and Remus climbed in, waiting for Sirius to stow his bag in the backseat. He climbed in and started the engine, turning around to back up, his arm going around the back of Remus’ seat. This close, Remus could see the few dark freckles that dotted his neck and the bit of collar bone revealed by the hem of his worn t-shirt. There was one just on the underside of his jaw, too.

Remus looked away, out the window at the fairly empty lot. “Hopefully we’ll get in.”

“Hopefully I don’t get mobbed, you mean.”

“That, too.” Remus conceded.

Sirius withdrew his hand from the seat but kept only one hand on the wheel, relaxed. “Busy day, huh? Excited for New York?”

“Always,” Remus said. “And that busy day is partly your fault.”

Sirius glanced at him for a second, then back at the road. “My fault?”

“You’re the one who needs your left skate to be sharpened first and from back to front. Sort of breaks up the process when you have to think about it.”

Sirius scoffed, but it took him one glance at Remus to realize he was laughing and he gave Remus a little shove in his passenger seat. “Fuck off.”

Remus felt warm from Sirius’ hand, “Your superstitions are ridiculous.”

Sirius flicked his blinker on with a little more flourish than necessary. “Excuse me, my superstitions work, thank you very much.”

“You mean you work. See, that’s the part I’ve never quite understood.”

“What part?”

Remus looked at Sirius—he might as well get an eyeful in while he had to be focused on the road. “Hockey’s so focused on superstitions. But it’s all you guys. You work hard, I watch you work hard everyday.”

Sirius nodded slowly, seemingly mulling it over in his mind. “Yeah,” he said, “but…it’s a little magic, too, don’t you think? The chemistry…the team chemistry, or the relationship to—I don’t know, luck. Lucky stick, lucky order, lucky way of taping. It’s all it is, really. I just—I’m just looking for a bit of luck. A lucky charm.”

“Nothing can be perfect. Not even honey and butter toast at 5:00 o’clock sharp.”

Sirius smiled, rolling his eyes a little, and Remus watched the way his eyes brightened, how he drummed his fingers on the steering wheel. “Maybe. But it feels nice to have something constant when nothing else is.” He looked over at Remus and held his eye for a second. Remus felt a little bit caught. “You know?”

Remus watched Sirius pull his bottom lip between his teeth as he looked back to the road, taking the left for Sid’s parking lot. His chest felt tight.

“Yeah.” He cleared his throat. “Yeah, alright. I’ll buy that.”

“Some guys wait a lifetime for their lucky charm, you know.”

Remus laughed. “Yeah, I’ve seen Leo and his lucky tennis balls. Yours will probably a lucky—I don’t know, brand of peanut butter. Let me know when you find it, alright?”

“Oh, I will.”

Sirius sent him a look as he pulled the car into park. A big smile and then ducked away, out of the car, and Remus was left staring at an empty seat before he got out, too.

 

Sid’s was crowded, as they expected, but the guy manning the front desks’ eyes went wide when he saw Sirius and they were ushered to a table in the back before too many Gryffindorians could realize who was among them. Remus was grateful for the privacy and the dim lighting. Now, if he made a fool of himself, no one would be around to watch and Sirius wouldn’t be able to quite catch the way his cheeks flamed.

“I could eat three pepperoni pizzas.” Sirius groaned as they sat down, gazing at the menu.

“I don’t really recommend that, but whatever floats your boat.”

Sirius scrunched his nose. “That will definitely sink my boat tomorrow.”

Remus shrugged, and picked out a small ham and pineapple pizza for himself. Sirius scoffed when he asked what Remus was getting.

“Dégueu.”

“It’s not gross!” Remus protested. “Have you ever actually tried it?”

Sirius sank guiltily in his seat, eyes innocent.

Remus flicked a straw at him from the canister at the table. He didn’t know what made him do it and he regretted it almost instantly. It felt—well, flirty.

Sirius’ eyes, however, lit up. He threw two back. Of course he did.

 

Once their pizzas arrived, Sid’s was in full swing and they had to lean in close over their food to hear each other. Sirius did the funny thing where he folded his pizza in half to eat it and he now had a little speck of grease below his lip. Remus was still deciding what to do about it.

“The guys really didn’t want to come?” Remus asked, just for something to say.

Sirius paused for a second, mid-chew, then wiped his mouth with his napkin. The small speck of grease was still there. Remus shifted in his seat.

“I guess not. The game tomorrow, maybe. Besides, sometimes small dinners are nice, eh?”

Remus nodded. “No, yeah. Yeah. This is—This is nice.”

Sirius smiled a little. “Good. I’m glad.”

Remus finally gave in. “Um. You have—” he motioned to Sirius’ mouth.

Sirius’ rolled his eyes a little, playfully at himself, and wiped his mouth. “Better?”

“Not quite.” Remus’ hand itched.

“Now?”

“No, um. It’s just—here, I…” He started to reach forward before he could really think about it.

And Sirius jolted back.

They stared at each other, Remus’ hand slowly lowering back to his lap.

Remus didn’t want to think about that, what all of that might mean, and so he touched his own lip instead and said quietly, “here,” then he nodded and looked down at his pizza, busying himself with tearing a new slice, “yeah, you got it.”

“Remus.”

“Hm?”

When Remus looked up Sirius’ eyes were sad, even a little panicked.

“What’s wrong?” Remus asked, trying his best to sound like he couldn’t fathom that anything from the last minute could have upset either of them. It sat heavy in his stomach.

“Just…pictures.” Sirius said, “Not—It’s just that anything can be taken out of context, and…”

Remus nodded. He knew that already. He knew what it could look like, especially with the scrutiny Sirius was constantly under by the public eye. Especially now, at the start of the season.

“Yeah, all good, Pads.”

But Sirius still looked incredibly guilty, his eyes pleading for something that Remus couldn’t name. That Remus thought it wasn’t really fair of Sirius to ask him to be able to name.

When Sirius just kept looking at him, Remus rolled his eyes. “Sirius, it’s fine. I know what you mean. It isn’t a big deal.”

“It’s not?” Sirius asked. His expression had turned careful, questioning.

Remus shook his head and bit into his pizza slice, mostly so he didn’t have to answer. He wished he had never done anything at all. He shouldn’t even have agreed to come to dinner. Remus had feelings, Sirius didn’t. Remus was gay, there were no openly gay players in the NHL, and that was probably because being the first one would be so difficult. Sirius wasn’t, anyway, but even if he was, Remus had taught himself not to hope for anything a long time ago.

 

The rest of the dinner was a little weird, stilted, maybe, and Remus was reluctant to get out of Sirius’ car, which had just pulled up at his curb, on such a note. Sirius seemed reluctant to let him, and turned his entire body towards Remus.

“Look. I know I keep bringing it up, but, about the—the thing. It’s not that I have a problem with anything like that. I don’t. I really, really don’t. Whoever loves whoever, I’m for it.”

“I didn’t think you did,” Remus replied, trying to steady his breathing. This was getting a little too close for comfort.

“I wouldn’t want you thinking that about me. I’m not my parents.”

Remus looked back at him. His face was lit blue from the dashboard in the dark. His eyes took on the color and looked strange and earnest. Remus wanted to reach out, but he didn’t know when he’d next have the courage—not for a while. “Sirius, I don’t know your parents. I know you. I know you aren’t like that.”

It was true. But Remus still couldn’t bring himself to say more. To say that he would be Sirius’, if he ever, in some universe, this one or otherwise, wanted that.

The car got silent again, but Remus didn’t look away. If there was anything he could give Sirius, if not himself, it was reassurance and friendship.

Sirius let out a long breath, pinching the bridge of his nose between his eyes. “I’m sorry I ruined dinner.”

“You’d be stupid if you weren’t jumpy about cameras. It sucks but it’s part of who you chose to be. I get it, really. Please don’t worry.” Remus tried to offer him a little smile. “It wasn’t—It wasn’t even like that anyway, so it’s not like you hurt my feelings or anything.”

It was a lie, straight through his fucking teeth, but it had to be said. But, contrary to what he expected, Remus watched as Sirius’ shoulders stiffened.

There was a hanging moment where Remus held his breath, sure Sirius was about to say something—something—

“Ten tomorrow?” Sirius straightened, chewing on his bottom lip. “Do you need a ride?”

Remus felt like there was no air left for him in the car and he cracked the door, slipping out onto the sidewalk. “Moody’s got me.”

Sirius nodded, “Okay.”

“Okay.”

Sirius smiled, tight around the eyes, and Remus had no clue how to fix anything. “Night, Re.”

Sirius drove away slowly, like he was looking back at Remus in his mirror, rather than the road.

“Night,” Remus said to the street.

 

~

 

Remus felt like he was nearly going to fall asleep in the elevator of their New York hotel. It was three in the morning, the Lions had lost 4-0 to the Rangers and Remus had only just finished helping the equipment staff re-load all the Lions gear back into the trucks, ready to be flown out in the morning with the rest of the team. It had been a tough game. They’d had to swap Leo in for Kasey in goal during the first period. It turned out Kasey had hurt his thigh again in practice and he was day-to-day. And Leo, in his first NHL game, had let four goals in while Henrik Lundqvist had gotten a shut out.

Remus had seen Sirius earlier in the locker room talking to him quietly, but tonight was bound to sting for a bit for all of them. After a blinding start to the season, it never felt good to fall so far.

The door dinged, but it took Remus a minute to open his eyes.

“Loops! Asleep in the elevator! Alert! Alert!”

“James—shh! Jesus fucking Christ.”

Remus snapped his eyes open to see James, Kasey, and Sirius standing there, all with what looked like m&ms and potato chips in their hands. James was grinning, Kasey was yawning and favoring his good leg, and Sirius was looking down.

Sirius hadn’t really looked straight at Remus since that night at Sid’s pizza a few days ago.

“What are you guys doing up? It’s three in the fucking morning.”

“Day off tomorrow. Just a plane ride, we can sleep then. Plus…”

James didn’t say it, but Remus nodded, knowing what he meant. It was hard to sleep after a loss. Remus could remember that from college.

“Right, well,” Remus caught the slowly closing door, “get in or take the stairs, I’m exhausted.”

They were all going to the team’s floor and Remus let himself settle against one side of the elevator while the others talked. He looked up and met Sirius’ eyes, who was leaning against the other wall while James and Kasey argued loudly, echoing in the small space. Sirius didn’t look away, but didn’t really smile either. Remus raised an eyebrow, and Sirius tilting his head.

“What?” Remus mouthed silently.

Sirius shrugged one shoulder, then waved one hand, just a little, so the others wouldn’t see.

Remus’ brow furrowed, but he waved back. Then Sirius looked away.

Fuck. Remus just wanted to go to bed.

“Night, boys,” he said when the doors opened and they all stopped at James’ door.

There was a chorus of good nights and Remus was just sliding his key card into the door when there was a hand on his shoulder. He turned into it, and Sirius was there, looming over him.

“I—hi?” Remus said.

“Hi,” Sirius looked back down at the hall where the door to James’ room had just closed behind the others, then back at Remus, “Do you—Do you want company? Or—Or you’re going to bed. You’re going to bed.”

Remus studied Sirius’ face carefully. He had said that, if Sirius needed him, he’d be here, and Remus couldn’t deny that there were few things he wanted more in life than to be there for Sirius, no matter what he had done or assumed. And Sirius obviously needed something, or at least felt like something was unresolved between them. Maybe if Remus let him in, he would finally drop it and they could go back to how it was.  A little distant, but friendly. That, at least, was better than this.

Remus motioned him in with a jerk of his chin, “Come on. We’ll watch something, get you wound down. Give me those skittles if I’m going to stay awake.”

Sirius handed them over readily, like they were his ticket inside Remus’ room, and shut the door behind them.

“I’m going to take a quick shower, if you don’t mind,” Remus said, already walking towards the bathroom, “Make yourself comfortable.”

“Thanks,” Sirius said faintly.

Remus shot him a smile that he hoped was comforting before shutting the bathroom door. He let out a long breath and started the water before stripping. Having Sirius Black waiting for him on a bed would get him moving quick enough, not that he took very long showers to begin with. This was like some strange fantasy of his come to life—except, well, they wouldn’t be…

Remus huffed and stepped under the spray, grabbing for the shampoo bottle.

 

He realized only he was towel drying his hair that he hadn’t thought to bring an extra set of clothes into the bathroom with him and froze mid-rub, looking at himself in the mirror, wide-eyed.

“Fuck,” he said quietly, and turned to stare at the door. He could faintly hear the TV.

He wrapped the towel around his waist, making sure it was secure before opening the door. It wasn’t anything Sirius hadn’t seen before. Naked guys, that is, not Remus naked.

“Hey, sorry, forgot to get clothes before…yeah.”

Sirius had kicked his shoes off  and was stretched out on the bed. He’d piled the pillows behind him and his shirt was hitched up on one side. Remus could see his flat, toned stomach. Sirius’ eyes found Remus in the dim room. His face was all soft angles in the flickering light from the TV. Sirius licked his lips, and then looked away. “s’okay.”

He still sounded unbearably sad and as Remus turned away he frowned, mentally planning his words instead of focusing on the fact that he was currently about to drop his towel and reveal his bare ass to Sirius Black, captain of the Gryffindor Lions.

He did it quickly, boxers at the ready, and soon he was in his sweatpants and pulling a sweatshirt over his head. He hesitated at the edge of the bed, and Sirius looked up at him.

“What?” Sirius asked. His voice sounded sleepy and content, much better than it had in the hall, tight and strained.

“Nothing,” Remus cleared his throat, then knelt on the bed, “You’re hogging the pillows.” He reached and tugged two out from Sirius’ mass.

It startled a small laugh out of Sirius, “Oh, sorry.”

Remus arranged the pillows to his liking, careful not to get too close to Sirius. “What are you watching?” he asked with a sigh as he flopped onto his back, “Fuck, that feels good.”

Sirius shrugged, “Just turned it on. You okay?”

“Yeah, just lots of loading and unloading today. My back is tired.”

Sirius hummed. “You guys work hard.”

Remus looked over at him. “So do you, just at different times.”

Sirius was flipping his phone idly in his hand. “Just giving you the credit you deserve.”

Remus smiled a little. “Yeah, I know.”

Sirius missed and dropped his phone on his chest with a little oof and it turned into a heavy sigh.

“Okay?” Remus asked quietly. He didn’t want to push too hard, but…

Sirius sighed. “I should be okay.”

“But you aren’t.”

“It’s one game.” Sirius let his head fall back and stared up at the ceiling. “It’s the beginning of the fucking season everything is fine.”

Sirius turned his head. Part of his cheek was smushed against the pillow and his eyes were somber on Remus. “And I shouldn’t even be dumping this on you. You’re tired, and this isn’t even a real problem, and I’m just—I’m being stupid and I can do better.”

“That’s not how it works.”

Sirius closed his eyes and sighed again. “I know that.”

“You have a team, Sirius.” Remus said gently, “It’s not just you.”

“I know.” Sirius’ voice was even softer this time and, looking at him, eyes closed, brow drawn together…

Remus wanted to kiss him. So much.

“I think you need to get some sleep.”

Sirius’ eyes opened tiredly at Remus’ words, his blinks slow, and he nodded. “I’ll just lay there. I hate just laying there, in the dark.”

Remus’ heart pulled as the words brought to mind a much younger Sirius, with no escape from the pressure, laying in a smaller bed staring up into the dark.

Remus picked up the remote and flipped until he found a cooking show. Mindless, comforting.

“Well watch a bit, eh? Take your mind off of some of it. I’m just warning you, I might fall asleep. But…I’ll be here. If you need me. Just wake me up, I don’t care.” I care too much.

Sirius’ eyebrows were still low and worried, but he was looking at Remus with something like disbelief. “Thanks, Loops.”

Remus nodded and kicked back against the pillows, the bed jostling as Sirius did the same. They ended up with their shoulders brushing despite the size of the bed. Remus didn’t know why, but from this distance he could feel Sirius’ warmth. It wasn’t just another weight in the bed, it was a person, close by. It was Sirius’ even breathing, the sound of him fiddling with the draw strings of his sweatshirt.

Remus wasn’t sure when his eyes closed, but with the soft sound of the TV and Sirius beside him, he’d never fallen asleep faster.

Chapter Text

Remus woke up to light between the curtains he forgot to close all the way and a heavy, warm weight around him. He was hot with his sweatshirt and sweatpants on and the weight, and he tried briefly to kick it off, only it held him tighter. He opened his eyes, starting a little, and his lips brushed skin. He held very still.

Sirius made a noise in his sleep and shifted, rolling onto his back a little and pulling Remus with him. Remus found himself with his head resting on Sirius’ shoulder and his nose pressed into his neck. One of Sirius’ hands had fallen on Remus’ waist, the other by Remus’ head, fingers in his hair and brushing his neck. Remus was sure he was never going to breath properly again.

His eyes found the clock on the hotel bedside table. It read six twenty-four in the morning. The team bus would leave for the airport at eight thirty. They had—time. Remus let out a quiet breath. They had a lot of time. The light was soft and Remus felt in a haze, like he was in a different world and it was just the two of them. He could close his eyes right now, pretend to be asleep, and do whatever he wanted.

He shut his eyes and pressed into Sirius’ neck, letting his lips brush there. Just a little. Just once. It felt like it was now or never. Never. He slowly, and what he hoped looked sleepily, slid his hand to rest on top of Sirius’ chest.

Sirius made another noise and Remus froze, keeping his breath even.

Sirius’ breathing stopped, held for a few moments, and then re-started.

Remus could feel, beneath his palm, as Sirius’ heart went from sleepy beats to faster, rabbit ones.

Like he was scared, or nervous, or—

Remus squeezed his eyes shut and pretended Sirius’ heart was beating so hard because he was like Remus, because he wanted. Because he wanted Remus, too.

Remus expected to be woken up any minute, any second. He breathed Sirius in, the morning mussed warmth of him, the slight sweat on his skin from his own thick sweatshirt, and prepared to remember it. Prepared to cherish it. Prepared for Sirius to maybe never look him in the eye ever again.

He’d invited Sirius in last night to fix everything, not to make it worse.

And then Sirius’ hand tightened in his hair, just a little, his fingers brushing softly, almost reverently, disbelievingly, through the sandy strands. His palm cupped Remus’ hip and held there, like he was trying to keep Remus from rolling away. All the while, Sirius’ heart beat hard beneath Remus’ palm.

Remus opened his eyes where Sirius couldn’t see. Remus couldn’t even see past the pillow and the dark curls of Sirius’ hair, but he didn’t need to see any of it. He could feel it. He closed his eyes again, determined to stay put. Now or never. Sirius could be half asleep, he could think Remus was someone else, he could not have a clue what he was doing—

Remus wanted this to last. So, he breathed in and let Sirius surround him.

They slept until the alarm woke them up an hour later. It would have felt like a dream, only neither of them had moved and Remus felt Sirius’ chest shift as he reached towards the nightstand to turn off Remus’ phone. They both lay there for a few minutes, not moving apart. Sirius barely let go.

“Hey.” Sirius said, and Remus had to close his eyes again for a second, cheek pressed to Sirius’ chest. That was what Sirius’ voice sounded like in the morning. Scratchy from sleep.

Remus’ blinks felt heavy. He couldn’t remember the last time he had slept that well.

“Hi,” he replied. They were awake now. He should get up. He picked his head up and looked at Sirius, “Um. I guess I—I sort of—gravitate towards…”

Sirius was rubbing one of his eyes and sent Remus a little smile. “How do you know I don’t, too?”

“I—yeah,” Remus nodded. “Yeah, I guess so. I’ll just—yeah. Sorry.” Remus sat up, instantly feeling such a cool contrast between the air and Sirius’ body that he shivered. He hoped Sirius hadn’t seen.

“Nothing to be sorry about.” Sirius said, and stretched—obscenely. His toes curled and he  raised his arms way over his head so his sweatshirt rode up even more, nearly exposing his entire chest. His sweatpants were low, stretched across his hips and Remus didn’t think—well, he didn’t see underwear anywhere in sight. Fuck.

“I’m fucking starving.” Sirius said and groaned as he sat up. His hair was wavy and fluffing out around his ears. He cracked his back once and then winced, turning around to look at Remus. “Sorry,” he said. “Some people don’t like that.”

Remus blinked at him, still kneeling on the bed. It was like Sirius wasn’t even fazed, like everything was perfectly fine. Like they hadn’t just fucking snuggled all night. Remus was busy making a list in his head. Sirius sounds like this in the morning. Sirius is hungry in the morning. He stretches, he cracks his back, does he want coffee or tea—

“Re?”

Remus looked up, “What? Oh, sorry. No, that’s fine.” He pushed himself off the bed, then hovered in the middle of the room. “Um. Do you…Are you rooming with James? I mean, you can shower here, too, I just…”

Sirius shrugged. “I’ll shower when we’re home. Not worth it if I’m just going to have to do it after the plane and stuff,” he shook his head. “Hate flying.”

Remus raised his eyebrows. “You chose a pretty flying-heavy profession.”

Sirius laughed. “A sacrifice I’m willing to make for hockey.” He cleared his throat, looking down a little. “One of many, I guess.”

Remus nodded, even though Sirius wasn’t looking at him.

Sirius stood, patting his pocket, making sure he had his phone and keycard. “Well. See you on the bus?”

“Yeah,” Remus said, at a loss. “Yeah.”

Sirius hovered for a minute, eyes on Remus and lip between his teeth, before he nodded and took a few steps towards the door. “Okay.” He smiled, sort of sweetly, or as sweet as a tall, broad shouldered hockey player could look, with a hand on the doorknob. “Bye.”

“Bye,” Remus said faintly.

Once the door clicked shut behind him, Remus more or less fell back down on the bed, staring at the carpet between his feet.

He didn’t know what just happened, but if he was taking any cues from Sirius, they weren’t suppose to acknowledge it.

 

~

 

They were playing the Snakes.

 

It was a Saturday game, in just two days, and the energy that surrounded it—the press, the players, the fans—felt like the Playoffs. It was almost agonizing to watch the boys bear it—especially Sirius, who, as Remus expected, was taking the brute of it on his own shoulders. Not that the media gave him a choice. To the world, it was captain against captain. It was as if they were two kings, age old rivals, and this was the deciding battle.

“I’m just saying that its bullshit,” Remus said to Moody as they were having their daily morning meeting. Here, they went through each of the guys with updates or strategies to get them back on the ice, or better them any way they could. “It’s not how it works. This whole rivalry thing is just—it’s bullshit.”

“I’m not disagreeing with you, kid,” Moody grumbled, “stop yelling at me like I am.”

Remus took a breath. “Sorry. Sorry, I just—I don’t know. I’m nervous.”

“We’re all nervous.”

“Yeah,” Remus tapped his pen against his notepad, staring down at the scribbled notes he’d taken so far. “At least everyone is looking good.”

“Don’t fucking jinx that!” Moody reached over and scuffed him lightly on the head.

Remus laughed, “Fine, fine.”

Remus thought that it wasn’t really fair of him to be as nervous as he was. After all, he wasn’t even playing. He wasn’t Sirius, with every eye on him, every spotlight, every hope and expectation.

“I’m just bummed it’s an away game. I wish it was on our turf first, you know?”

Moody grunted. “Hate when they throw those fucking things on the ice.”

Remus groaned in agreement. The Slytherin fans had a habit of throwing those fake, rubber snakes on the ice, the kind that spooked horses. It was only during Playoffs, but they did it enough to make an impression. It was unnerving, sure, with the way the bouncing rubber on the ice seemed to writhe, but even more so it made Remus angry. If a blade hit that thing at the speed that players skated, Remus didn’t want to see how bad that wipeout would be. It had happened before, sure, but never to his team while he was with them.

“If I see one of those snakes I’m going to toss it back into the fucking crowd,” Remus said, and there was a delighted laugh from behind him.

“Oh, will you now?” Hands clapped down on his shoulders, “That’s the kind of attitude I like to hear.”

Remus grinned before he even turned to see Pascal Dumais. He was one of the older players and a so much of a father to the entire team that, if they weren’t calling him “Dumo,” they were calling him “Dad.”

“Hey, welcome back, Dumo. How’s the wrist?”

Dumo flexed it for him as if to prove it worked. “Still second line material, mon ami.”

“Are you sure about that? Looking a little rickety there.”

They all looked as Logan entered the room, tan skin flushed from the slowly dropping temperatures outside.

“Hey,” Dumo grabbed Tremzy by his shoulder and pulled him into a headlock. “Mon fils, le connard!”

“Oh, good,” Moody sighed as he got up to give Pascal a friendly slap on the shoulder, “father and son are reunited.”

Pascal laughed. “Are you kidding? He lives in my basement, I get no peace.”

Remus laughed. Logan Tremblay was partially famous among the team because he’d billeted with Pascal and his wife and three kids his rookie season, about three years ago now, and just never left. He wasn’t their son, but he might as well be.

“My built in babysitter, eh?” Dumo said.

“Tu ne me paye pas!” Logan laughed, escaping.

Pascal pinched Logan’s cheek. “I pay you. I pass to you, you score, you get paid, non?”

Remus looked on, amused, as their conversation devolved into rapid-fire French, as it often did. Some of it was too fast for him to follow, but he caught the stray insult or endearment—an oddly familiar contrast between the two of them.

 

It had been two weeks since that road trip with Sirius—the one they didn’t speak of, apparently—and the boys were started to contemplate Halloween. In the locker room after practice that day, the debates of costumes and party hosts were a relieving change from the strained nervous talk of the upcoming game against the Snakes.

“I vote the Captain’s house.” Logan said, throwing a balled up piece of stick tape at Sirius in his stall.

Sirius grimaced. “Okay, but I can’t make any of the food. Unless I’m ordering something.” He pointed to the tape with raised eyebrows. “Pick that up, I can’t stand tape on the ground.”

Pascal quickly volunteered his wife, and James, Lily, and Leo piped up that he himself would make something.

“What?” he said. “I like to cook.”

Finn gave him a sweaty pet on the head. “Of course you do, Knutty.”

Leo rolled his eyes at the nickname and swatted at him with his goalie blocker.

 

Remus was looking at the plays Coach had drawn on one of the many whiteboards that occupied the room when a voice said from just behind him, “You’ll come to the party, won’t you?”

Remus turned and Sirius was there, in a soft gray t-shirt with his number twelve on it and his hands in the pockets of his sweatpants. He had a cardinal red Lions hat keeping his hair out of his face, backwards.

“Yeah, sure. I mean—if I’m invited, yeah.” Remus shrugged his shoulders helplessly.

Sirius took a step forward. “You’re always invited.”

Remus laughed a little, maybe from nerves, maybe from the earnest look in Sirius’ eyes.

Sirius smiled then, too, and after a moment, gave him a little punch on the shoulder and took an awkwardly large step back. Remus looked at him, bewildered.

“Um. Cool. See you there.” Sirius began to turn, but turned back again, taking his hat off, pushing his hair back, and putting it back on again. “Or, not—like, I’ll see you before, obviously. But…”

Remus laughed again, a little freer this time. “Sure thing, Pads.”

Sirius cleared his throat, and his smile looked a little pained, but he just retreated from the room.

Remus stared after him, even when Sirius glanced back right before he turned the corner.

He was pretty sure—well.

He was pretty sure that felt like flirting. Nervous flirting. Very nervous flirting.

He looked back at the whiteboards, but he didn’t comprehend a thing this time.

If Sirius Black was flirting with him, he was done for.

 

~

 

Remus didn’t have any time to test out his theory, not with the Dog Calendar shoot going on and them leaving for Slytherin tomorrow. It was chaotic, trying to get players in from whatever they were doing—practice, workout, eating—and behind the camera where they would be paired with a dog or, in this year’s case, a rabbit.

It was one thing to briefly think that Sirius Black was flirting with you.

It was an entirely other thing to do something about it while he was standing there grinning at you and holding two sleeping beagle puppies. But Remus could try.

“Loops, look,” Sirius whispered, even though no one else was whispering.

Remus smiled, took a breath, and and stepped forward into Sirius’ space—with the excuse of petting one puppy carefully on its tiny head.

Sirius didn’t tell him to go, but leaned in more until Remus could feel the warmth of—maybe it was the puppies, but Remus let himself pretend it was all Sirius.

“Look at their little faces,” Sirius said softly. “Listen, they’re snoring. Très mignon.”

Remus was trying to listen but all he could hear was his own heart and Sirius breathing. Their heads were bent so they were almost touching.

“They are cute.” Remus glanced up at Sirius, eyes flicking over his dark eyelashes and the faint scar at the top of one of his cheekbones, another on the top of his lip. It was similar to the one that Remus knew ran faintly across the bridge of his nose. All hockey related, he was sure.

“You want to hold one.” Sirius said it like it wasn’t even a question and, really, it wasn’t.

Remus held out his hands. “Just until you’re up to get your picture taken.”

Sirius nodded and carefully transferred one of the sleeping pups into Remus’ waiting arms. “This one’s name is Pierrot, and that one’s name is…Puck.”

Remus laughed, cradling the small furry bundle close to his chest. “Did you just make those up?”

“Oui. Mais, c’est bon, non?”

Remus nodded, “c’est bon. Hi, Puck.”

“He likes you,” Sirius said after a moment.

Remus looked up. Sirius was looking back. Remus wondered if he was just looking for signs now or if that was maybe something.

“Does he?” he asked quietly.

Sirius opened his mouth to respond, gray eyes intent, when someone called his name. It was his turn to shoot.

Sirius’ mouth remained open, like the interruption had caused the words to stick in his throat. His eyes looked more frantic now and Remus smiled at him. He knew that feeling. It didn’t matter if he was right about Sirius, or if he was wrong. Remus didn’t want him to be worried about it.

“Here,” Remus said instead, then, after a breath, after he’d pressed the puppy back against Sirius’ chest with careful hands, “he likes you, too.”

 

~

 

The Slytherin stadium was teaming with green and silver and white. The crowd, amped and ferocious, frequently broke out in fits of hissing cheers that could be heard from the visitor locker room.

“No one’s even on the fucking ice yet,” Kasey said from his squat on the floor. “Jesus fuck. I hate these guys, I hate everyone in this city. Fucking dirty fuckers, fuck.”

“Alright, Kase, not the attitude we’re going on the ice with.” Sirius scuffed him lightly on the head as he walked by.

Remus felt quietly proud of Sirius about that, but he wanted to see how long it lasted. Sirius was an incredible player, he was an incredible person, but he wasn’t exactly known for being level-headed on the ice.

Kasey voiced his thoughts for him, scoffing. “I love you, Black, but we’ll see how long that lasts.”

Sirius shrugged as he sat in his temporary stall, legs spread wide and looking smug. Remus looked, eyes tracking down Sirius’ bare, broad shoulders and his strong thighs, every muscle defined in his tight underarmour. His mouth felt dry. When he raised his eyes, Sirius was looking back and a flush had appeared at the hollows of his cheeks. Remus watched Sirius let out a breath and look down at himself briefly, then back at Remus. Remus should have taken that opportunity to look away, probably, but he didn’t. There was a reason Sirius had the most marriage proposals at the glass. There was a reason he got so much attention, why he had jerked away at the mere thought of Remus’ touch. Sirius wasn’t just talented, he was gorgeous. And as shallow as it was, that was what the media liked. People were susceptible to that, they either loved him, or they hated him so much that they would do anything to bring him down.

And if Remus was right, if Sirius felt like he did…Remus didn’t want to be the one to bring him down. He didn’t want to have to think like that.

Sirius finally had to look away to one of the equipment managers, and Remus had to look away to Logan who was asking about his skate, but a few minutes later there was a tap on his shoulder and Remus turned to see Sirius, this time with a sweatshirt.

“I need to make my sandwich,” was all he said.

Remus nodded, “right.”

Sirius pressed his lips together, hesitating, then jerked his chin towards the door. “Let’s go?”

Remus followed Sirius down the hallway and into the visitor’s lounge silently until they reached the empty kitchen.

“You suddenly decided you wanted company for this?”

Sirius looked back at Remus from where he was taking the honey and bread out. “So?”

“So, I didn’t know you could change anything.”

Sirius rolled his eyes and Remus laughed, glad Sirius had caught the joke.

“I can change things.”

Remus raised an eyebrow and nodded at the bread in Sirius’ hands. “Don’t toast that.”

Sirius’ chest puffed out a little, he stared Remus down, and then finally, like the word was being pulled out of him, he grimaced. “No. Nope.”

Remus laughed, taking a seat on one of the tall stools on the counter and leaning his chin on his hand. “Told you.”

“I can,” Sirius protested, “just not before a Snakes game.”

Remus couldn’t argue with that. “Makes sense. The question still stands though.”

The bread popped out of the toaster and Sirius took it out before dropping it onto his plate and shaking his hand out. It was adorable.

“Hot,” Sirius said, then, “what question?”

“Why am I suddenly here?”

Sirius smiled a little. “I can’t want your company?”

Remus looked at him, narrowing his eyes. “You’re nervous.”

Sirius laughed. “Of course I am. Tell me what you’re going to be for Halloween.”

Remus blinked at the change in subject. “What? I don’t know.”

“You’re coming to my party, you better have a good idea.”

Remus shrugged helplessly. “It’s not your party. And I haven’t thought about it yet. I was—what was I last year…”

“You were a werewolf.”

Remus snorted. “Oh, yeah, you’re right. You and James were, what, knights?”

Sirius squeezed some honey out on his buttered toast and then came to sit next to Remus. “In shining armor.” Sirius held out one half of one of the two pieces of toasts. “Want?”

Remus looked at the toast, then at Sirius, whose eyes were soft and he held the food out a little more firmly.

“Oh. Sure, I mean…is that—”

“Maybe it’s a new tradition. Or it can be.”

Remus narrowed his eyes at him, just a little, but takes the toast and takes a bite. “You’re full of surprises today.”

“Just today?” Sirius smiles.

Apparently not, Remus thinks.

 

~

 

Remus leaned against the locker room wall as coach Weasley talked to the team, pacing around in a circle to look at them all, the first line card in his hand.

“Now,” Arthur was saying, “I know there’s a lot of pressure in this room right now. A lot of nervous energy. I’d expect nothing less but, here’s the thing, boys. Let’s use that energy. Let’s use that energy to our advantage, leave it all out there on the ice. We’ve been through the tape, we know these Snakes better than they know themselves at this point, right?”

There was a few claps from around the room, agreement.

“Don’t let them get into your head. Relax and play the game. We’re just going to relax and play the game.” Arthur looked around at them all before handing the card to Logan. “Tremzy, your read.”

“Alright boys,” Logan said, “First liners, you ready?”

James whooped loudly, banging his hand against his stall.

Logan cleared his throat, resting his elbows on his knees. “We’ve got Kaner.”

The boys clapped, as they did between each name.

“We’ve got Halla. We’ve got Pots, and Harzy. We’ve got Black. And in the cage, we’ve got the Blizzard.”

There was more banging, more hollering, the boys psyching themselves up, before everyone was standing, reading to file out onto the ice for warmups. It was crazy-loud now. Remus was already flinching to think about what it was going to be like on the ice.

In the hallway they listened to the Snakes be announced to their home stadium. They listened to the Slytherin fans cheer and hiss, screaming for their team.

It all turned to booing once the Lions were given their cue to skate on. The crowd was a menacing glitter of silver and green. Remus watched Kasey make it to the goal and start digging his skates in, going back and forth, marking up the crease for friction and easy-stops. He watched James go through his stretches. Sirius usually did on-ice stretching, too—and boy did Remus love to watch that—but not for Snake games. Here, he’d done all he needed to do in the safety of the locker room.

Then, Remus turned his eyes to the Snakes’ side of the practice rink. Snape was easy to spot. He didn’t warm up with his helmet on and his dark, chin-length hair glinted greasily in the greenish light of the Snakes’ lazar show, meant to get the crowd going. Remus’ skin prickled at the sight of him. He was being fed pucks for his one-timer, shot just from the left circle of the goal. It was lethal and Remus was not looking forward to watching him use it in game.

They had Riddle in the goal—of course. Tom Riddle was notoriously vicious and aggressive. Besides Snape, he was practically the face of the Snakes, so much so that Crabbe, the back up goalie, barely got an ice time. When they say that goalies are crazy—which they are, even Kasey’s a little manic about stuff—they had Riddle specifically in mind. The guy taunted players to no end with a sneering smile and dark, pupil-less eyes.

Riddle turned from where he was blocking his teammate’s practice shots for some water, and the coiled skin of a snake that was painted on the front of his helmet morphed into the strange, yellow eyes of the animal on the back. Remus hated it. He got the joke, eyes in the back of his head and all, but he hated it. He hated Riddle even more because he was good. He was really good. They called him the Sphinx. Impossible to figure out Riddle, nearly impossible to get past.

But so was Kasey. The Blizzard.

Malfoy was glued to Snape’s side, as usual. They were, at large, thought to be the sort of equivalent to Sirius and James, but Remus didn’t see it. Snape was constantly sneering at Malfoy, yelling and correcting. They meshed, sure, but only through their coach’s pure force.

Coach Karkaroff was brutal with his methods and fought dirty whenever he could. Last season, Remus had seem him tell Carrow, their enforcer, their biggest hitter, to slash Dumo right in the wrist, resulting in his injury. The bone had jutted out on the ice. It had been terrible, blood everywhere. Remus wasn’t even sure how Carrow had managed it so quickly. He didn’t like to think about it.

And then there was Regulus.

Regulus Black.

The biggest story this summer, nearly overtaking Sirius’ ankle and Snape’s dirty hit.

Regulus Black, younger brother of Gryffindor Lions’ captain Sirius Black, gets drafted first over-all, just like his older brother. But, this time, it was to the Snakes. Remus had watched the draft at home with his parents and Julian, and even Julian had known how big of a deal this was. Sirius’ parents had been there, stiff but approving as the younger version of Sirius had walked onto the stage, shook hands with Karkaroff, with the team’s general manager, Delores Umridge, and slipped on a green and silver jersey. Sirius was there, too, to give his younger brother a tight hug before he descended to the stage. Regulus had shaken him off. They denied it, but all the cameras caught it.

Rivalry was there in an instant, plastered across every blog, every paper, every screen. But Regulus was just a rookie, and people far favored the old fan-favorite competition of the captains.

Remus saw Sirius glance over at his baby brother a few times. He even braved a few strides towards center ice before giving up. Regulus hadn’t even spared him a glance. Instead, he was on one knee with Snape, who was talking quickly.

Remus ached for Sirius. He didn’t know what he’d do if Julian decided he hated him.

 

The two teams steered well clear of each other during warm ups until they both finally lined lined up at center ice, Kasey coming a little ways out of his goal, and the lights dimmed. The anthem was a blur. All Remus could focus on was Sirius’ bowed head, dark hair falling into his eyes, helmet pressed against his chest. The soft slope of his nose and his parted lips. Remus licked his lips and thought of the honey from earlier. He didn’t think Sirius was religious, and Remus wasn’t either, but they both were praying to something.

The lights came up and the Snakes’ announcer riled the crowd.

Sirius, number twelve, skated to center ice. Snape, thirteen, did the same for the first face off of the game.

The referee dropped the puck, and they were off.

Chapter Text

It was the middle of the first period, and there was already blood on the ice. Just eleven minutes on the clock. A high stick by Carrow on Finn and Sirius was spewing words at the ref, his mouthguard in his gloved hand. They were across the rink, and with the crowd as loud as they were, Remus couldn’t hear Sirius’ words. He could only watch him corner the ref—Crouch, today, which was good, Crouch was usually fair. He was arguing for a longer penalty, no doubt, gesturing wildly to his own mouth, a mime of the blood Carrow had drawn from Finn’s lip.

Remus tensed when he saw Snape dragging over, coming to a hard stop on the other side of the rink to join the conversation. Remus watched Sirius’ eyes harden, watched them get in each other’s face—much to the delight of the crowd—until Crouch put a hand on both of their chests and pushed them away from one another. Then, he skated out to the ice, microphone on, an announced the two minute penalty.

Sirius cussed him a new one. Remus heard that. Carrow skated gleefully to the penalty box, which Sirius banged his glove on as he skated back towards the bench. Carrow hissed back.

“Fucking bullshit,” Sirius said as he swung over the boards to sit on the bench, the second line replacing him, James, and Finn. “Bullshit.”

“It’s ten minutes in, it’s alright, Cap,” Finn tried.

“Look at your fucking mouth, Harzy. Blood is not two minutes.” Sirius shook his head.

Remus glanced up, already knowing Sirius was being shown on the jumbo-screen in all his rage.

Coach leaned down, hand firm on Sirius’ shoulder, “If you’re so mad about it, why don’t you stop giving them a show and making it better, eh?”

Remus watched Sirius jaw grind for a minute before he nodded. “Yes, Coach.”

Arthur was right. Remus knew that. But, oh, did Remus love Sirius’ ice-temper. Fights weren’t always the best thing in the world for the game, but Remus found himself holding his breath, chest and cheeks hot, whenever Sirius got in someones face or dropped the gloves. Sirius was a fighter and he usually won.

Remus always had to patch Sirius up afterwards in the locker room, where he was silent and fuming. Sometimes he conjured those images for himself, when he was alone. It was stupid, but this entire thing was stupid. This crush was probably the stupidest situation he could allow himself to get in. What was so bad, then, about taking it one step further when he was alone, and thinking about what it’d be like if Sirius needed to get just a little more energy out before returning to the game? Remus would be right there for him. Sirius would still be without his gloves and his hands, hot with his temper, would pull Remus in, push him back against one of the stalls, maybe—

But not at the rink.

Remus cursed at himself under his breath and forced his attention back to the game.

He did not think about these things at the rink, and certainly not with Sirius sitting directly in front of him.

The game didn’t get any more smooth after that. Malfoy scored the first goal of the game at the end of the first period with two minutes to go. As he did, he snowed Kasey right in the face, giving one of his pads a little knock with his skate.

Logan fought him for it and, on the bench, Leo looked ready to go out there, too, goalie pads or not.

The Snakes got a power play from that fight, and Snape scored again.

2-0 was not where they needed to be right now, and during the first intermission between the first and second period, the locker room was feeling the weight of those goals. They sat in their stalls, relatively quiet. Some of the guys had towels around their necks and their eyes closed, gaining their energy back. James was picking at the tape on his shoulder, but didn’t call Remus over.

It was unsettlingly quiet until Coach came in, clapping his hands a few times, like he was waking everyone up.

“Rough start, it’s true, but we’re playing well. We’ve got hot hands tonight, we do, we just aren’t quite following through. That doesn’t matter now, this is a re-set, alright?”

Arthur talked for a while, and it seemed to pick some of the guys up, but it wasn’t until Sirius stood that the guys really straightened, looking to their captain.

“Alright, boys,” Sirius said, scratching the back of his neck. His hair was damp with sweat and curling at his temples. He’d pealed his jersey off and took his place in the center of the room in his skates, hockey pants, and bare pads. They looked like an extra, exterior skeleton. They made him look a little like a superhero, tall and proud.

He was quiet for a few long moments, and Remus held his breath.

Then, Sirius said, “Fuck the Snakes.”

There were a few laughs from around, a few cheers.

Sirius pointed to James, who delightedly banged on his stall, then said, louder, “Fuck the Snakes!”

The sentiment was echoed this time by practically the entire room. Remus loved this, loved how people responded to Sirius.

“Who gives a fuck what happened last season. Fuck Snape, fuck my ankle—Fuck Carrow and Dumo’s wrist. Fuck Riddle….just fuck, Riddle.”

“Psychopath.” Kasey grumbled.

Sirius laughed and it sounded a little delirious, like he was still breathing hard, like in his mind they were all already back out on the ice.

“Look,” he continued. “Tremzy’s got hot hands tonight. Second line, you gotta help him follow through. We have to keep the puck out of the corners, and know where each other are, yeah, boys?”

“Fuck the Snakes!” Finn shouted, and then there was the ruckus of getting geared up again for the beginning of the second. Sirius and James knocked gloves, then helmets, and James swatted Sirius’ arse before he went, Sirius last in line. Just like always.

Snape got a one-timer six minutes into the second period, and the boys skated harder, but the Snakes more viciously. Carrow was a menace tonight, as was Riddle. Seven minutes later, Logan got a breakaway and was shooting down the ice, bringing Remus forward with anticipation until his thighs were pressed against the boards like he himself was going to jump over them and onto the ice. Riddle held up his blocker, making a come-here motion, taunting Logan as as he got closer.

“Come on!” Sirius was shouting from the bench. “Take it, Tremzy, take it!”

And Snape came out of no where and slashed his stick at Logan’s skates. Logan went flying, tripping up and sliding into the boards back first.

Remus’ chest tightened and he began to make his way out of the bench and towards the locker room on instinct, but Logan practically sprung back to his feet as the ref called the whistle.

He wanted to yell, but Sirius was already doing that for him.

“Fucking trip! That’s a fucking trip!” Sirius shouted, and the ref made a motion at him that was equal parts telling Sirius that he realized that already and telling him to calm down.

Snape didn’t even stutter, just made his way to the penalty box without any form of remorse.

“You stupid mother-fucker,” James bit at him as him and Sirius made their way over the boards for the power-play unit, “can’t see over your big fucking nose, Snivilus?”

Snape remained stony-faced as he closed the penalty box door, but Malfoy skated over, as usual. He looked strange against the ice, his blonde hair that fell over his shoulders nearly blending in.

“He’s not the one who needs glasses, eh, Pot-head?”

James scoffed, laughing aloud, “Go dye your hair, Lucius.”

Sirius bumped his fist against Logan’s chest as he went back to the bench and Remus was on him as soon as he sat down.

He leaned over Logan’s shoulder as he squirted some water into his mouth. “Hey, you alright? That didn’t look too good.”

Logan shook his hair out, then put his helmet back on. “I’m fine.”

“Yeah? Do I have to check that, or are you telling the truth? Because if you come to me tomorrow with any sort of concussion, I’m keeping you out an extra week out of spite.”

Logan laughed, “Loops, I’m good. I’m not Sirius, I would tell you.”

Remus laughed a little at that. “Alright, alright. Drink more water.”

“Oui, maman.”

Remus jostled his helmet and turned back to the ice. He expected to see Sirius facing off with Malfoy, per usual for the power play, but when he turned it was—

“Fuck,” Remus breathed out.

Regulus and Sirius were staring at each other from across the face-off circle. It was strange to see Sirius’ profile uncannily and perfectly mirrored across from him, but in green and silver instead of red and gold. Regulus’ hair was longer right now, but the eyes, the nose, the lips were the same. The steely gaze, however, that Regulus had fixed on Sirius, lacked all of Sirius’ warmth and spirit. It was pure, ruthless determination. Remus’ mouth settled into a hard line and he looked at Snape sitting stonily in the box. He wondered where Regulus learned that expression from.

Remus watched Sirius hesitate before leaning down to prepare for the puck drop, and realized that this was the first time the two brothers had ever faced each other in the NHL.

It was a perfect strategy of distraction and intimidating. It was cruel. It was so typical of the Snakes, Remus wanted to scream.

Remus saw Sirius’ lips move, saying something that Regulus didn’t respond to. Instead, Regulus’ eyes were on the puck in the ref’s hand. When the ref dropped it, Sirius’ eyes were still on his brother’s face.

Remus heard Arthur curse as Regulus won the face off, knocking it over to Lucius easily who shot it to Yaxley. The crowd was wild. Yaxley got tangled with James briefly who managed to steel it back to shoot to Sirius, who got it to Finn, and back to Sirius. Regulus was on his brother like fire on hay, and it was like they were suddenly the only two players on the ice, battling it out like Remus was sure they’d done countless of times on the rink that the Black family was rumored to have in the basement of their family home.

They were in something of a grid-lock, both of them having known each other’s strengths and weaknesses all their lives. Coach was shouting from the bench, yelling that they were wasting time, but neither Sirius nor Regulus were giving each other even an inch of room. Remus heard Sirius let out a yell of frustration and finally take his stick into one hand, controlling the puck, while the other acted as a blocker, keeping Regulus back for long enough that he finally got around him. He shot up the ice, pulling the puck back towards him. Malfoy loomed in front of him, and he ticked it over to James, then spun around Lucius’ outside just in time for James to snap it back. Sirius barely had to touch it for it to redirect towards Riddle. It flew past his glove and the goal horn blared.

Remus shouted, throwing his hands up, and the bench went wild. James, Finn, and Brady slammed Sirius into the boards in celebration, tapping their helmets.

When Sirius came by the bench, gloved fist out to bump against each guys’ down the boards, he caught Remus’ eye and held it for the entire time, rather than look at who was congratulating him.

Remus loved Sirius after a goal. Cheeks flushed, smile wide, like he almost couldn’t help himself. Remus could still remember the first time he had seen that smile. The thing was, Sirius hadn’t smiled in the beginning. Remus had thought it was simply something he didn’t do. When he’d first arrived, fresh out of the draft and with unprecedented amount of attention on him—that he had received since the age of ten—he’d been quiet and cold. Everything he said, even when no cameras were around, had come out clipped. Remus had—well, not hated him in the beginning, but he’d been so disappointed that this was the Sirius Black he’d watched hours of video on, tried to model his play after, that he could barely breathe. He’d looked up to Sirius, really, even if they were about the same age. Sirius had always seemed bigger, better. 

Remus had watched him loosen up over two years, and he’d then had the pleasure of knowing the man Sirius was now for another two. But he remembered that first smile like it was yesterday.

Sirius had always had this look of intense surprise when he scored a goal and James and the other boys would jump on him, laugh with him, even when he had been nothing but cold to them. It always, and still to this day, made Remus’ heart ache to remember that expression on his face. He’d let James throw his arms around him but blink dazedly over his shoulder, wrap his arm around James’ back like he wasn’t sure how.

Finally, when they’d secured a Playoffs spot two years ago—Sirius and James’ first ever—the spell had broken.

Sirius had scored the game winner against the Washington Capitals, the goal horn had blared, the Hogwarts Stadium had erupted around him, James crashed into him.

And Sirius had smiled. It had crossed his face like a hose on full blast, like sun in the late afternoon. He’d turned golden, his eyes had crinkled up, and he’d grasped James back like it was a life line.

Maybe it had been, for a while. A line that felt like it could be pulled at any moment. But Sirius trusted them now, Remus knew that much. They weren’t his life line anymore, they were his life.

That was the smile Remus saw now, that very same smile, only this time it was directed right at him.

Sirius pulled himself over the boards, and stood for a second before he sat, looking right at Remus. Remus swallowed hard.

“Gorgeous,” was all he could think to say, and he sounded breathless even to himself.

Sirius’ grin softened and he sat, keeping his head tilted around and back to look up at Remus.

“Thanks,” he said.

Remus pretended to himself that, one day, he could tell Sirius he hadn’t been talking about the goal.

 

The second period ended that way, still deadlocked at 3-1, and the high of Sirius’ goal was slowly receding in the locker room.

Remus watched from behind the cameras as Sirius did his intermission interview with Rita Skeeter, the Lions’ reporter. He had his helmet off, tucked beneath one arm and kept having to push his hair back to keep the sweat from dripping into his eyes.

“Sirius,” Rita was saying with her usual knowing smile. She had a funny—and famous—relationship with the team. They pranked and messed with her to no end, she rarely asked questions directly related to game, but she stuck around out of tradition. Seeing the Lions without Skeeter—or Skeetz, as the boys (James) called her—would be like seeing Snape as their captain.

“Can you tell us what it was like seeing your baby brother out there? And playing for the Snakes, no less?”

“Yep, that was him, alright,” Sirius said.

Remus almost laughed at the typically bland answer.

“He’s a talented player, always has been. Was happy to see him get drafted this past summer. He’ll be a great addition to the league.”

“And playing for the Snakes?” Rita pushed, raising her eyebrows.

“Snakes are a team as good as any other,” Sirius responded.

“And what do you think you will have to do to pull ahead here in the third?”

Sirius pushed his hair back again and Remus’ fingers itched to do it for him.

“Well,” he said, “we gotta focus on getting the pucks in deep and, you know, finding the net where we can.”

Rita looked less than pleased with Sirius’ typical, answerless answers, but she was out of time. The intermission interviews usually lasted a minute or two only, if that.

“Thank you, Mr. Black,” she said cooly with a coy smile.

Sirius flashed her the tiniest of smiles. “Yep.”

As soon as Sirius was past the cameras, he caught Remus’ eye again and sent him a big eye roll. Remus snorted and caught up with him as he headed back to the locker room to rest before the third period.

“This fucking game, eh?” Sirius said.

Remus nodded. He had to look up extra high with Sirius in his skates. They added two or three inches to his six foot three.

“We’ll tie it up,” Remus said.

Sirius raised an eyebrow. “You think so.”

“We’re better than they are. In every way.”

Sirius laughed, “can’t argue with that, I guess. Where are you going?” Sirius looked confused as Remus went to split off from the locker room.

“Gotta check Tremzy. He says he’s okay, but…you know how Logan gets. He wants to play more than he wants air.”

Sirius nodded, “I know the feeling.”

Remus sent him a wry smile, “yeah, I know you do.”

Sirius flipped him off with a low hand and Remus laughed.

“See you out there,” he said, then stopped. “Hey.”

Sirius tilted his head.

Remus wasn’t sure if it was his place to ask, wasn’t even sure if he should bring it up right now, not while their luck was turning, but…he cared more about Sirius than the game. He always would.

“Are you okay? With—with everything.”

With your brother, they both knew that meant.

Sirius nodded quickly and Remus knew then to back off.

He just smiled and said, again, “see you out there.”

Sirius bumped his fist against Remus’ chest, right over his heart. “Good to have you around, Loops.”

That left Remus a little puzzled but smiling as he turned towards his office where Logan would be waiting for him—hopefully.

 

Sirius got them one goal closer to tying it up about ten seconds into the third period with such a beautiful wrap around that James actually planted a kiss on the top of his helmet. Remus let out such a surprised, loud yell that his throat hurt afterwards. Coach was yelling excitedly left and right, telling them all to keep this momentum going.

“Allez!” Sirius had shouted after the goal, jumping up against the glass as James slammed into him. It was—

“Gorgeous,” Remus said to himself. “Fucking gorgeous.”

3-2. One more and they’d have overtime, if they needed it, unless they could—

Pascal and Logan flew onto the ice, and Remus could practically here Marlene and Frank in the box calling them the father-and-son line. They pitched the puck into the Snakes’ zone and Pascal palmed it down onto the ice so he could whip it around the boards to Logan, who lost it to Yaxley. Snape was waiting on their end when Yaxley chipped it back. The defensemen tried their best with Snape and Malfoy zipping it between them, but it was Kasey who saved the day. He stopped on with his blocker, the other with the knob of his stick. A final rebound shot pinged off the post before he was able to glove it down and out of play. He rose up off of his knees and Remus laughed as he patted the place on the post that had stopped the puck. He always did that, as if thanking his goal. It was sweet, and the media ate it up like chocolate.

“Hey.”

Remus looked down at a tap on his thigh and Sirius was looking up at him.

“Hm?” Remus said, and instinctively reached out to take Sirius’ gloved hand, like it was injured. He realized what he was doing and dropped it, cheeks flushing.

“Could you pass me the iPad? I want to watch the playback of my last shift.”

“Oh, yeah, for sure.” Remus handed him the iPad and watched the way his hair dripped onto the screen with only a slight grimace.

Both of their attention was only brought back to the game when the crowd doubled in volume. Carrow had supposedly slashed Olli and the two were now face to face, hands gripping the fronts of each other’s jerseys in an effort to keep each other upright and knock each other down at the same time. The others on line had paired off, keeping each other from making the fight uneven.

“Fucking hell—” Sirius rose on his feet, banging his stick. “Draw it, Halla!”

The Lions did indeed get another power play as Olli drew the penalty and Sirius shoved the iPad back at Remus with a grin before following James over the boards to—hopefully—score another goal and tie up the game. There was ten minutes remaining in regulation time.

 

They fought for it. The fought for it hard, and Remus’ heart was in his throat the entire time he watched the clock run down.

But Malfoy managed to feed Snape for a slap shot with forty-six seconds to go and it was all over from there.

The crowd was manic, hissing and banging on the glass behind the Lions’ bench so hard that Remus’ ears rattled.

Remus saw Kasey hit his stick down on the ice, dejected, as he skated over from his goal. Sirius waited there on the ice, giving fist bumps and back slaps and nods of approval. He tapped his helmet to Kasey’s gently and they said a few things quietly to each other, before he finally skated off last of all. Before he went, however, Sirius glanced over to the Snake bench. It took Remus a moment to realize that he must have been looking for Regulus, but the younger Black didn’t glance his way. Remus could see Regulus between Malfoy and Carrow, looking pleased. They all had shark-grins on their faces.

Remus tries to catch Sirius’ eyes, but Sirius left the ice looking down.

 

~

 

Remus watched the boys load back onto the bus to their hotel to fly out in the morning. They were all in their game-day suits, of course, but they looked more rumbled than before. Everyone’s shoulders were lower.

Remus would do anything to fix it.

Fuck Snape.

Fuck his slap shot.

 

Fuck the Snakes.

 

~

 

Remus was in his bed watching some show on Animal Planet when there was a nearly nonexistent knock on his door. If Remus hadn’t been secretly hoping for it—maybe, maybe expecting it—he probably wouldn’t have heard it at all.

But he had been hoping.

He opened the door and Sirius was standing there in sweats and a t-shirt. He just had socks on his feet, like he’d come down the hall for specifically this reason and planned to stay.

“Hi,” he said.

Remus stared up at him, smiling a little. “Hi.”

Sirius smiled back, then pushed his hand through his hair. It was fluffy and dark from his shower and looked smooth as it passed through his fingers.

“Do you want to hang out?” Sirius asked.

It made Remus remember that he should be stepping aside to let Sirius in, and he did so with a jerk. “Yeah, for sure.”

Sirius wandered right over to the bed and sat down, stretching out on the left, the same side he’d chosen in the last hotel they’d stayed at together.

He chuckled a little at the TV. “Of course you’re watching this.”

“It’s relaxing, what?” Remus said.

“I’m not making fun,” Sirius’ tongue poked out a little in his smile, teasing. “I’m just observing.”

Remus rolled his eyes as he laid back down on the bed, too. “Oh, you’re observing,” he said, mimicking Sirius’ light accent and making him laugh. He tucked his knees against his chest and leant back against the pillows. “Sorry about the game.”

Sirius raised one shoulder nonchalantly, but his eyes darkened. “It happens. Does it suck that it happened right now? Yes, but…you know.”

“C’est la vie?” Remus offered, and Sirius snorted.

“For sure,” he said.

They both watched the elks on the screen calmly sip from the watering hole for a moment. Remus expected a lion or something to jump out any minute. He was proven correct when one was shown, peaking out from the grasses.

“Hey, c’est moi.” Sirius pointed when Remus just gave him an incredulous look. “It’s me.”

“Oh, you’re going to kill an elk now?”

“Only if the elk is a Snake.”

Remus laughed, “right. A snake-a-vore lion. Makes sense.”

Sirius sighed, paused for a moment, and then said, “fuck.”

Remus turned towards him a little more. If Sirius wanted to talk, he would let him. “It’s one game.”

“Yeah, but it felt like the game. The game I came back, the game I proved to everyone…”

“Bullshit.”

Sirius laughed, but it was shaky. “I know, I know, just…fuck.”

“Fuck,” Remus agreed. “Hey, I was wondering…and you don’t have to answer—”

“Does my baby brother hate me?” Sirius looked at Remus.

“Well,” Remus hesitated. “Not quite those words, but…yeah.”

Sirius gazed forward, eyes unfocused as he thought about it. “He’s never been out from under my parents’ thumb.” He began, then ran another hand through his hair. “Does he hate me? No, I hope not. I mean, I was like him not too long ago, non?” His brows pulled together. “Only I had the boys. James, Blizzard…” he glanced at Remus, “you.” 

Remus felt a tug in his heart as Sirius looked away again.

“He has Snape and Lucius. He doesn’t hate me, but he’s going to think he does. He’s going to act like he does. For a long time.”

“You don’t know that,” Remus tried, but Sirius shook his head.

“I do. Because it’s what I would have done if I was in his position and he was in mine. Our parents…”

But Sirius cut off, seemingly unable to get the words out. His eyes were still ahead, but more focused now. They were filled with something that made Remus’ chest hurt.

“I’m sorry,” Remus said softly.

Sirius finally looked at him and held his gaze. His eyes softened a little and he pressed his lips together in a melancholy smile. “Merci.”

They were laying close together on the bed, and Remus could see a slowly developing, deep purple bruise on Sirius’ forearm from a nasty slash. He reached out, not thinking, and ran his fingers over it. Sirius drew in a breath, and Remus was suddenly reminded of his small theory. He looked up at Sirius’ face and Sirius was already looking back.

“Did you ice?” he asked.

Sirius nodded. “Yeah.”

Remus glanced down again, nodding. “Good.”

He let his fingers flatten, palm against the tender skin, and ran his thumb across the darkness gently. He realized it probably hurt a little, but when he went to draw away Sirius’ hand covered his own. Remus froze completely, but then Sirius simply squeezed and pulled away again.

“How’s Julian?”

Remus cleared his throat, trying to recover quickly and took his hand back, holding it close to his chest. He let out a nervous little laugh, and Sirius tilted his head questioningly.

“He would die if he knew you just asked that.”

“Would he?”

Remus rolled his eyes, still grinning. “Fuck off, you know who you are.”

Sirius laughed. “Yeah. I must be pretty famous if Remus Lupin has my jersey.”

Remus groaned and sunk back into the pillows, throwing his arms over his face. “Oh god, I can’t believe he said that. You were never suppose to know about that.”

Sirius turned onto his side, obviously enjoying himself now. “Is it my home or away?”

Remus huffed, voice muffled by his arms. “Home, obviously.”

“Oh, obviously, sorry.” Sirius mimicked Remus’ accent this time.

Remus peaked out from between his sweatshirt. Sirius had propped himself up on one forearm and was leaning over Remus a little, smiling gently. God. Remus wanted to kiss him.

“I’ve never seen you wear it.” Sirius raised his eyebrows at the sliver of Remus’ eyes he could see.

Remus threw his hands down, “Well, I wear a uniform, don’t I?”

“You mean you wear a track suit.”

“I—It’s not—well.”

Sirius cracked up, nose scrunching, and Remus shoved him on the shoulder so he wouldn’t pull him in and kiss him, smile and all.

Fine, it’s a track suit. But it’s nice. It has the Lions’ logo. It has my name on it. It’s comfortable. At least I don’t have to wear a suit and tie to every game like you do.” Remus shrugged, clearing his throat. “It makes me feel like I’m a part of the team.”

Sirius made a noise. “You are a part of the team.”

Remus sent him an unimpressed look. “I’m part of the staff.”

No. You are as much a part of this team as I am.”

Remus smiled, shaking his head, and looked back at the television. “Whatever you say.”

Remus only looked back when Sirius’ hand appeared on his arm, squeezing again. His eyes were a light gray, nearly the same as his t-shirt.

“You are,” he said. “You are, Re.” 

Remus had to duck his head a little. His cheeks felt hot and there was the uncomfortable threat of emotion suddenly in his throat.

“Thanks, Pads.” He managed to choke out, and sent Sirius a smile. “That means a lot.”

“Do you miss it?” Sirius asked.

Remus didn’t need Sirius to tell him he was talking about hockey. Remus didn’t even have to think about it.

“Every day,” Remus said. “There’s nothing like it.”

“I still want to see you play.”

Sirius was still leaning over Remus but he relaxed into the bed now so they were laying beside each other, heads pillowed on their arms on top of the sheets and quilts. Remus’ heart was beating just from that alone. He wondered if he’d ever get used to Sirius Black.

He hoped not.

“Maybe.” Remus smiled.

“At least tell me what position you played.”

“Right Wing.”

“Good, so when you do play, we can be on the same line.”

Remus licked his lips, looking down to Sirius’ t-shirt. He let out a breath before he spoke. “I do think about that. What that would be like.” He glanced up at Sirius briefly with a short smile. “We’d make a good team, I think.”

Sirius smiled widely, like the thought made him happy. He looked up a little, like he was imagining it.

“We would. We’ll never know if you don’t play with me someday,” he said, and then knocked his socked foot into Remus’ and kept it there, ankle on top of ankle.

Remus hummed lightly, looking down at where Sirius’ hand was on the bed between them.

“How come you aren’t out with the guys right now?” he asked.

Sirius made a noncommittal noise and presses his face into the pillow, closing his eyes.

Remus smiled a little. “Oh, you’re just tired? Here I was thinking you wanted to hang out with me.”

“I do,” Sirius said, a sleepy smile on his face. His eyelashes fanned across his cheeks, dark as his hair.

Remus stayed silent. He was still getting used to seeing this side of Sirius. This version of him without any guard up whatsoever. Smiling dopily with his eyes closed.

“I do want to hang out with you,” Sirius said again. “I want you to play hockey with me.”

Remus laughed softly, pulling his lip between his teeth. “Right, well…win a Cup and we’ll see.”

Sirius groaned and reached out blindly for Remus’ face. His fingers found his lips and he pressed them there.

“Ne pas le sort!” Sirius said, then cracked on eye open and snorted at Remus’ face.

“‘m not!” Remus said, fingers closing around Sirius’ wrist. Sirius laughed and let him. Remus hesitated, but didn’t let go. “You and your fucking jinxes. All of you.”

“It’s real. It’s real, I’ve seen jinxes,” Sirius laughed through the words and it got Remus laughing, too.

“Have you now?” Remus said.

“Yes.” Sirius’ fingers closed around Remus’ wrist and they were just laughing at each other. “I told you. I’m just looking for luck.”

Sirius’ eyes were earnest and his fingers were warm on Remus’ pulse point. The air felt heavier in the room now, like it was pressing them closer together somehow. Remus wanted…something. He wanted to know what Sirius wanted, but he didn’t want to ask, lest it break the spell of whatever dance they were currently doing.

“I know,” Remus said softly. “And I said…I said you should let me know when you find it. What you’re looking for.”

Sirius let out a breath, looking down at their hands. They each had their fingers around each other’s wrists, not holding exactly, but close enough. The warmth from it spread all the way down to where Sirius’ ankle rested heavily on his own.

“It might not be what everyone thinks I’m looking for.” Sirius took another breath. “What everyone expects.”

Remus, slowly, pressed his fingers firmer around Sirius’ wrist. He eyed the dark bruise on Sirius’ forearm from before and rubbed his thumb lightly over the delicate skin on the inside of his wrist, paler than the rest of him.

“What’s so bad about that?” he asked softly.

Sirius closed his eyes again and seemed to hold perfectly still within Remus’ touch.

“I don’t know,” he finally said, then, “I should let you sleep.”

“It’s fine, Sirius—”

“No, I should, this…” he sat up suddenly, pulling away completely. He swung his legs over the edge of the bed, facing away from Remus. Remus could see his back muscles, taught and stressed beneath his t-shirt.

“This isn’t fair to you,” Sirius murmured.

Remus sat up, too, tucking his knees beneath him. “Sirius, there’s—I’m not even tired.”

“No, not—” Sirius stood. He ran a hand through his hair once, twice, then turned towards Remus. His eyes were wider than before, the sleepy contentment and openness long gone. “I didn’t mean…”

Remus shook his head, trying desperately to think how to remedy the situation, to get Sirius to sit back down. He couldn’t even stand the thought of another few weeks of Sirius ignoring him, tip-toeing around him, like last time. He couldn’t.

“I,” Remus began, heart in his throat. “You didn’t mean what?”

Sirius took a step forward, then one back. He shoved his hands into his pockets.

“Nothing,” he said, socked heel scuffing the ground. “Nothing, I’ll…I’ll see you tomorrow, eh? At breakfast.”

Remus swallowed. He was disappointed, but he didn’t know what he had expected. This, surely, would fair better than anything else in the long run. They were two friends hanging out. They could gloss over any miscommunication that had just happened, even if they both were aware of it.

“Yeah,” Remus said faintly. “Breakfast.”

Sirius’ hand was on the door when he turned. “Thank you.”

Remus stood. “You don’t have to keep thanking me.”

Sirius sent him a small smile, but that was all. The door clicked shut behind him and Remus was left with a flickering television and on even more uneven ground than he had been before.

 

 

~

 

Sirius’ house looked like he himself hadn’t put in effort to decorating it but that maybe some of the other guys’ wives had come over earlier and strung lights around his door and placed some pumpkins along his walkway and steps. Remus stared up at it as his cab drove away behind him. He was a late, almost an hour so, and the driveway was packed with black Range Rovers and Bentleys. Remus had to squeeze between review mirrors before he could reach the walkway to get to the door. It was closed and he could hear voices and music playing inside. He could hear the high voices of Pascal’s and Coach Weasley’s kids inside and he smiled a little, raising a fist to knock.

“Coming!” a voice shouted from within.

Remus waited for a moment, bouncing on his toes, before the door swung open to reveal—

Fuck.

“Re! I thought you weren’t going to show up! I was going to send a search party!”

Sirius practically shouted the words. He was obviously more than a little tipsy, and he was dressed head to toe as a fireman. He had the hat on his head with a number twelve stuck on, written on a piece of paper, and the heavy pants and coat. Remus didn’t even know anything about firemen, but he already knew he had a thing for Sirius in a uniform. This was just a different type of uniform.

“I—sorry. I couldn’t find my wallet.” Which was true, it wasn’t Remus’ fault that it came out sounding like a stumbling excuse as he stared at the places on Sirius’ jaw and cheek where he had smeared something dark to look like soot on his face.

Fuck.

“Well, come on in, ref.”

Remus laughed and glanced down at his own costume. He’d borrowed a black and white striped referee shirt and put on some dark jeans, then bought a whistle for around his neck. It wasn’t much, but he knew some of the guys would get a laugh out of it.

Stepping inside, Remus took a moment to look around. He’d only been to Sirius’ house a few times, for parties similar to this one, but he liked to see how Sirius’ space had changed every time. Remus smiled to himself. It never changed much. Sirius lived alone in this huge house, and it tended to remain looking like an interior decorator had stepped in, done their magic, and Sirius had left it that way. There weren’t any pictures, like a James and Lily’s or Pascal’s home. It was just…a place where Sirius slept. It made Remus a little sad, and he was glad there were nights like these where the team could fill the big staircases, kitchen, and living room up with light and laughter.

“Nice costume, Loops. Very funny.” Kasey said as Remus followed Sirius’ fireman hat into the kitchen.

Kasey raised his beer at him, his girlfriend, Natalie by his side. Natalie was dressed all in black with devil horns on her head and dark makeup on, while Kasey was all white and looked as if he had been firmly coerced into wearing the tiny little wings that hooked over his shoulders and a headband in his hair that had a fluffy halo on it.

Remus laughed. “The Blizzard as an angel. I’d never thought I’d see the day.”

Kasey flashed him a sarcastic smile, then a softer one at Natalie. “I was convinced.”

“There’s nothing funnier than irony,” Natalie said, and raised her own glass at Remus.

Remus smiled at her but was quickly distracted by a warm hand on his back.

“Re, you want beer? Wine?” Sirius asked, guiding Remus closer to him and over to where the counter was laid out with countless beverages. “There’s punch that Olli’s girlfriend brought, or I can make you something. We have soda…vodka, rum, whatever you want.”

Remus hummed, looking over the options. “What are you having?”

Sirius made a face and sort of snickered. “Too much, probably.”

“Probably?” Kasey called. “Remus, the captain is drunk.”

“James did it first!” Sirius protested.

“And if James jumped off a bridge, so would you.” Pascal entered the room, one kid hanging off of each of his arms. He smiled at Sirius, “We know, mon ami. Hello, Remus. I see you’re calling the shots tonight, eh, ref?”

Remus picked up a bottle of ginger beer and the rum, planning to mix something before they were taken out of his hands by Sirius who waved him off and set about doing it himself.

Remus smiled, shrugging. “I’ll call ‘em when I see ‘em.”

Pascal looked between the two of them, a funny, amused expression on his face. “As you should.”

“Papa, I want another.”

Remus looked down at Katie, one of Pascal’s two daughters, and Marc, his oldest son.

“Katie, you have had two cupcakes and you’re going trick-or-treating tomorrow night, ma puce.”

“Candy is different than cake!” She laughed, clinging more tightly to him. “Marc wants one, too.”

Pascal fixed them with a mockingly stern gaze.

“Sirius said we could!” Marc chirped, bounding around the counter and hugging Sirius around the legs.

“Oh, did he now?” Pascal raised his eyebrows at Sirius. “Are you in charge of my children now, mon capitaine?”

Sirius shrugged, smiling warmly and placing a large palm over Marc’s head. “You know I can’t resist. It’s your fault for leaving them with me.”

Pascal shook his head, but a smile was threatening to break over his face. He held up a finger.

One,” he said, and Katie and Marc shrieked and scampered off towards where Remus assumed there was a food table set up in the dining room.

Pascal took another beer and made to follow them, but pointed at Remus.

“You make sure he gets a penalty for that, eh?”

Remus raised his newly mixed drink up to him. “Will do, Dumo.”

He looked at Sirius, picked up his whistle and blew lightly. Sirius laughed, a full mega-watt grin that Remus needed to look away from and couldn’t tear his eyes from all at once.

 

The party went well after dark. A few of Sirius’ many unused bedrooms went to some sleeping Dumais and Weasley children, and everyone else—team and staff alike—were scattered about Sirius’ house.

Remus found himself with quite a few drinks in him and an easy, happy buzz running through his veins. He also, having gone upstairs looking for a free bathroom, found himself in a hallway he didn’t quite recognize. He tried one door which turned out to be some sort of linen closet, and another that was, thankfully, an empty bedroom. He b-lined it for the bathroom, and when he came out again, was about to leave when a picture on the dresser across the room caught his eye. Then another. And another.

Remus crossed the room, walking around the bed, and looked closer at them. The first one showed two dark haired boys, dressed in what looked like pee-wee hockey jerseys. They had their arms thrown around each other’s necks and were grinning toothily at the camera. Remus would recognize that face anywhere, even in a different time.

“Sirius,” he said under his breath, and his eyes moved to the other boy, slightly younger.

Regulus.

The next picture was much more recent. It was of Sirius, James, Lily, and James’ parents at Christmas, beside the tree. Then, there was one of just Sirius and Lily, and Sirius and James. There were a few more of him and James clustered around. None of them were framed, but just carefully laid out like they were looked at often. There was a picture of Kasey and Sirius with their arms around each other and beer cans in hand at some bar, laughing hard, eyes squeezed shut. Remus leaned forward to see the ones towards the back, careful to keep his drink clear of them. There was another of Lily, a few of Logan, Pascal, and Finn messing around on plane rides or the bus, and then—

Remus set his drink down all together, reaching forward to pick one up that was half hidden from view.

It was him. In the picture he was leaning against the wall of what he recognized as the locker room, talking to Moody. He had his head tilted back, laughing at something, and was fidgeting with a role of stick tape. Remus didn’t know if Sirius had taken the picture or where he had gotten it from, but something warmed in his chest at the thought of Sirius looking at this. It made him feel frantic, too, his mind asking why over and over. 

“Penalty,” a voice said from behind him suddenly, making him jump and turn. He dropped the picture back on the dresser.

Sirius was standing there. He’d since lost his fireman hat and jacket and was left in just a white t-shirt and the fireman pants with the reflective material stripped on them. The shirt set off his tan skin nicely and Remus swallowed, the alcohol in his system making it harder than usual to ignore.

Sirius smiled crookedly at him. “Two minutes for snooping.”

“I was—looking for a bathroom,” Remus stuttered. “I’m sorry—”

“I’m joking, Loops,” Sirius sat down on the bed. His bed, Remus realized with a jolt.

He’d wandered into Sirius’ room.

The space suddenly felt charged, warm and electric.

“Oh,” Remus said stupidly. “Right.” Then, he cleared his throat. “They just caught my eye and—and I never see any pictures in your house or anything. I didn’t know this was your room, Pads, I really am—I didn’t mean to…”

Sirius pushed a hand through his hair and Remus almost wanted to snap at him to not because, honestly, his arms.

“Don’t worry, really. I…” Sirius seemed to think about it for a minute. “I guess this feels like the only room I really spend much time in, other than the kitchen. The pictures…are for me.”

“I’m sorry,” Remus said helplessly again, but smiled a little at Sirius’ exasperated look, and came to sit beside him.

“Good party?” Sirius asked.

Remus nodded. “The drinks are certainly not in short supply.”

Sirius laughed, “I can tell.”

At Remus’ confused look he reached up and rubbed a thumb over the high of Remus’ cheek, the rest of his palm cupping Remus’ jaw. “Pink cheeks.” He dropped his hand. “You get like that when you drink.”

Remus felt himself flush further at the fact that Sirius even noticed. But, then again, maybe Sirius did notice him in ways he hadn’t seen before. He—maybe—flirted, he had a picture of Remus—and Moody—in his room. He was touchy—but with everyone.

Remus let out a breath. He just didn’t know.

“It’s hot,” Sirius said, and then his smile fell, dropped like a stone. “Ah…” He looked down, “Sorry. Like—no, I mean…”

Remus practically gaped at him, heart leaping. Hot. Hot was not a friend word.

“It’s okay,” Remus said, barely hearing himself over his heart.

“Lots of drinks, like you said.” Sirius tried to laugh but it came out tight, his eyes firmly downcast.

Remus raised his hand. It hovered for a moment, and then he let it rest on Sirius’ thigh, a little higher than what would usually be acceptable.

“Sirius,” he said, and when Sirius looked at him, tearing his wide eyes away from Remus’ hand, he nodded. “It’s okay.”

Sirius blinked at him. Remus could see his throat work around a hard swallow and he drew in a shaky breath. Sirius shook his head minutely.

“Yes,” Remus said. “It is.”

Then, Sirius’ eyes widened. He sat there until he seemed to remember to breathe again and said, “You…?”

Remus felt frozen for a second. There he was, about to tell a secret he’d never told anyone, to the one person he thought he’d never tell, or at least would be the last to know. But he wasn’t about to let there be any miscommunication. Not with this. If Sirius was sitting there thinking he couldn’t like men because of his career, Remus wasn’t going to sit by and watch.

He nodded just as quietly back.

Sirius let out a shuttering breath. “That’s why you don’t play hockey anymore?”

Remus’ heart squeezed. Of course that was what Sirius would latch onto. He shook his head, rubbing his thumb once over Sirius’ thigh soothingly. “No. No, Pads, I don’t play hockey anymore because I’m not six foot three like you. My—my sexuality had nothing to do with it. No one knew. No one knows.

Sirius’ eyes were wide again. “And you tell me?”

Remus pulled his bottom lip into his mouth for a moment. “Well…yeah. Yeah, I guess I did.”

“Why?” Sirius asked, voice breathless.

Remus looked at him, eyebrows pulling down. “I’m not ashamed of it or anything. I thought—aren’t you…?”

Sirius looked away quickly, eyes going back down. His chest and back were rising and falling quickly beneath his t-shirt and Remus moved his hand tentatively from Sirius’ thigh to his back. Sirius was warm and his heart was fast. He was panicking.

“Sirius, it’s okay. It’s alright, I’d never tell anyone, I just—I brought it up because I thought maybe that you…”

Sirius stood abruptly and Remus’ hand fell to the bed. “I…it’s not good. I can’t.”

Remus felt like someone had just knocked his skates out from under him and sent him flying backwards on to cold, hard ice. He didn’t know what that meant, it’s not good. Being gay? Being with Remus?

He looked up at Sirius and painstakingly nodded, feeling it like whiplash.

“Right,” he choked out. He was definitely going to cry when he got out of here. He had the briefest thought of walking all the way home, just to get it out. “Right, yeah, okay.”

Sirius made a pained noise in the back of his throat and then he was suddenly dropping to his knees in front of Remus and cupping the back of Remus’ calves, then the sides of his thighs.

“No, Remus, listen,” Sirius pleaded, eyes dark and sad. “Remus.”

Remus looked down at him, utterly confused now. “I’m listening.”

“It would have to be,” Sirius closed his eyes briefly then opened them again, “secret. So secret, and—so hard. It wouldn’t be fair to you. Remus, if my parents found out—I mean, if anyone found out—”

Remus blinked at Sirius, words caught in his throat. “Are you saying…”

Sirius nodded, hard, voice a whisper like Remus’. “Yes. Yes, I want you. I’ve wanted you for, mon dieu, I don’t know how long.”

Remus let out a breath that was bursting with relief and reached out to touch Sirius’ cheek, needing to feel him to make sure this was real—

And Sirius caught his wrist, eyes desperately sad. He shook his head, pushing his hand back.

“I want you, too,” Remus said, confused. “Sirius—”

And then Remus really heard what Sirius had said.

Too hard.

Remus sank back into himself and Sirius dropped his hand.

They sat together, Sirius on his knees and expressing aching, Remus’ eyes down, for what felt like minutes and minutes.

“Remus,” Sirius finally whispered, voice shaky. “Please understand. I’m not ashamed to want you, I just…my family. I…I’m scared.”

Remus nodded slowly. He did understand. Of course he understood. This decision was bigger for Sirius than it was for him but, even if Sirius had made up his mind, Remus needed him to know something.

“I do. I know it would be hard,” he began.

Sirius made a soft, relieved noise and went to speak but Remus cut him off.

“I just wouldn’t care,” Remus said more firmly.

Sirius sucked in a sharp breath. Remus looked at him.

“You’d be worth it,” Remus pressed his lips together in a regretful smile, “for me, you’d be worth it.” He rose, stepping around Sirius. He let his hand rest for a moment on his shoulder. “Just keep that in mind, okay?”

Remus went back downstairs and called himself a cab.

 

Chapter Text

“Can I have everyone’s attention for a second?”

The entire room looked at James who was sweaty post-practice like the rest of them and making his way to the center of the locker room with a shit-eating grin on his face.

“What the fuck, what did you do?” Kasey said, beginning to look around himself warily, as if something was going to spring out at him and it was all James’ fault.

It wouldn’t be the first time.

“Cap, what did you and Pots do this time?” Logan asked.

Sirius, however, shrugged. “I don’t know anything. Honest.”

Even Sirius laughed about how dishonest that sounded.

“I swear on my goal streak,” Sirius said, and Logan raised his eyebrows.

“Heavy stuff,” Logan said.

“Excuse me, hello, hi,” James waved his hands. “This isn’t a prank,” he heaved a breath. “Although it might sound like one…I have an announcement.”

Remus had been very carefully avoiding looking at Sirius all day, but he did now. He wanted to see his face. Right then, he had stopped fiddling with the laces on his skate and looked up, brows lowered. No doubt he was wondering what James could possibly have to say that he didn’t already know.

“Well?” Kasey said. “We’re all looking at you, Pots.”

“Right.” James was staring at Sirius and nervously cracking his knuckles one by one.

Remus couldn’t help but smile a little bit. Even if James was telling the entire team, this message was for Sirius.

“Yep, okay,” James cleared his throat and spread his hands. “Lily is pregnant.”

There was a beat of silence in the room. Someone made a high noise, someone else laughed, and someone else gasped. Remus couldn’t stop watching Sirius’ face.

It remained completely still for a few moments, like his brain hadn’t quite caught up to what he’d heard. Then his eyebrows raised. Then a smile, slowly, spread across his face and he stood, dumbstruck.

“Holy shit,” Sirius said, then laughed, breaking the silence. “Holy shit.”

Then he was striding forward and gathering James in a tight hug—James who definitely looked like he was going to cry a little bit.

Sirius snapped the rest of the room out of it and they practically hollered. The team swarmed them, yelling about champagne and congratulations and a baby Potter.

“Let’s hope he or she doesn’t get your hair, eh?” Pascal grinned, looping an arm around James’ shoulders. “Félicitations, mon ami.”

James laughed, a little wetly. “Thanks, Dumo. Any advice?”

Dumo smiled. “Try not to spoil them. It’s impossible.”

Kaner nodded solemnly from James’ other side. “It’s true. When Justin was born I thought it was bad, but wait until you have two. They’re the cutest fucking things I’ve ever seen and I can’t say no.”

Kasey snorted. “Spoil them as much as you’d like, I’m still going to be their favorite uncle.”

“Please,” Logan scoffed. “we all know Sirius is going to be the favorite uncle.”

Sirius laughed, arms crossed over his chest and looking at James fondly. “I think any one of us will be guilty of being wrapped around the kid’s finger.”

“How far along is she?” Leo asked.

“Almost five months. We’ll be able to tell the gender when Lily goes to the doctor’s next.”

“You kept this a secret from everyone for five months?” Kasey said. “James!”

“Well, it was Lily’s call! And…” James smiled, “not everyone.”

Sirius spluttered a little. “Who knew?”

Remus felt his neck heat a little even before all the eyes in the room followed James’ to him.

“Loops?” Kasey laughed, “Lupin! You traitor!”

“Remus knew?” Sirius said faintly, and then Remus couldn’t help but look at him.

Since this morning, he had been practically religious about sticking to his work, about keeping to himself. Last night, when he had finally gotten home after the party, he had laid in bed mulling over what Sirius had said—what he had said.

 

It’d be worth it.

 

Too hard.

 

And Sirius—Sirius wanted him. He’d wanted him for a long time. Remus couldn’t look at Sirius, not knowing that. Not knowing that every time he’d looked at Sirius, Sirius had been looking back. Sirius wanted him.

Remus had imagined that confession a million times over, but never once had it been like that. He’d never thought that it would hurt.

The worst part was, he wasn’t even mad at Sirius. Maybe he should be. If anything, Sirius had led him on, at least a little. But Remus understood. He understood that Sirius was lost, and all he could do now was hope he’d given Sirius enough information to help him figure out what he wanted to do. Remus wanted to help, but he had to protect himself, too.

He wouldn’t be strung along. He wouldn’t be an experiment. He wouldn’t be an embarrassed late night call.

Sirius knew how he felt. Now, he just had to figure out how he himself felt.

And Remus would wait, but not for the wrong reasons, and not forever.

 

They had a day off tomorrow and it couldn’t have been timed more perfectly. It wasn’t often that Remus wanted to get away from hockey entirely but, right now, all he wanted to do was curl up on his couch and sleep, or catch up on the book he was reading. Hell, he wanted to watch endless hours of television. He was tired, bone tired. It turned out that mutual confessions of feelings that lead to nowhere was even more exhausting that dismissals.

He could still hear some of the guys celebrating and talking loudly about James and Lily from where he was in his the kitchen. He was making himself a warm tea for the road when there was a cough from behind him. He turned to look over his shoulder, then turned back around. He cleared his throat, too, and carefully lifted his tea bag out of his cup and into the garbage.

“Hi,” he said to Sirius, back turned.

“Hi,” Sirius said, and then he came to stand next to Remus at the counter. Remus could see him out of the corner of his eye. He was turned towards him completely.

“Please look at me,” Sirius said, voice dropped quiet. “You haven’t looked at me all day.”

Remus raised his eyebrows, staring down at his tea as he tried to muster the right response. He sighed, finally, and turned to face Sirius, too, leaning his hip against the counter and crossing his arms.

“I don’t exist to look at you, Sirius. If that’s what you’re missing, then you can move along and we can forget about our Halloween conversation entirely.”

Sirius’ eyes widened and he all but tripped over himself to speak.

No,” He said, a little loudly, and he looked around and dropped his voice again to match Remus’. “Fuck, Remus, that’s not what I meant at all.” He leaned back a little. “That’s what you think of me? That I’m some jacked up jock looking for an ego boost?”

“You fucking held me all night long and then told me you’ve liked me for you don’t even know how long but were never planning on acting on it!”

Remus felt his expression morph into one of surprise. He hadn’t even really know he wanted to say that until he did. He didn’t even know he was this angry about it all. He hadn’t thought he was angry to begin with. Sirius’ expression matched his own.

Remus turned back to the counter, taking a long breath. “How do you want me to feel, Sirius? I can’t just be buddy-buddy with you until you decide whether you can risk wanting me or not.”

“It isn’t just about me,” Sirius began but Remus cut him off.

“I know that,” he snapped, then pressed his hands over his face, groaning. “Fuck, I don’t mean to yell at you about this.” He dropped his hands and looked at Sirius again. “I told you I understand and I do, I just—this is…God, Sirius, you’re standing right in front of me and I want you, too.”

Sirius made a soft noise and his hand curled around Remus’ wrist. “Re.”

Remus shook him off, swallowing hard and picking up his cup. “Go be with your best friend. He’s having a baby.”

 

~

 

The Lions crowd was littered with signs wishing Sirius a happy birthday. The rink guards had even let a few little kids and their signs come down to the glass for warmups and press them where Sirius could see them.

Remus was watching Sirius smile happily as he tossed pucks over the glass for them to catch. He knew he probably had a wistful expression on his face, and there was a sure weight in his chest when Pascal skated over to the bench, stopping hard and leaning his forearms on the boards.

“Hi, Dumo,” Remus said.

Pascal only looked at him, head tilted. Then, he spit out his mouth guard into his hand and nodded at Remus. “You should come over for dinner tomorrow night, Remus. Me and the family—and Logan, of course—are throwing Sirius a little dinner party, just us French Canadians, for old time sake.”

Remus raised his eyebrows. “I’m not French Canadian.”

“You basically are. Besides, I’m inviting you. Me, Logan, Sirius, Celeste, and the kids. Very casual. I know James is having him over tonight—the little shit took his actual birthday—but Sirius used to practically live at my house.”

Remus laughed a little. “You complain about billet housing, and yet you seem to have an awfully hard time letting your kids go.”

Pascal shoved his arm. “He is all alone in that great big house of his. It’s true, I’d shove him back in my basement with Logan if I could.” Pascal smiled, “But don’t tell him that.”

Remus looked back to Sirius, who seemed to be communicating with a very young fan through waves and taps on the glass.

“He’ll want you there,” Pascal sing-songed.

“I don’t know,” Remus sighed.

Pascal placed a glove on Remus’ shoulder, pulling his attention back to him. His eyes were serious, but soft.

“I do,” Pascal said, then shoved his mouthguard back in with a wink and skated away to start the game against the Hufflepuff Badgers.

 

~

 

That was how Remus found himself knocking on the Dumais’ door at 7:00 o’clock sharp the next evening.

The door swung open to reveal Pascal with Katie on his hip.

“Remus!” he grinned, “Right on time, as usual.”

Remus smiled, stepping inside and shaking some snow off of his collar. It was early, but his weather forecast had told him there was going to be a severe storm tonight. He hung up his coat and slid out of his shoes at Pascal’s direction.

“Hi, Dumo.” he smiled, waving at Katie. “I hope you guys have candles. Apparently there’s going to be a huge blizzard tonight.”

“Really?” Pascal said absentmindedly, already turning back towards the warm kitchen. “I hadn’t noticed.”

“Blizzard!” Katie said, clapping her hands, “Kasey!”

“Parfait, ma chou.” Dumo kissed her cheek exaggeratedly, making her laugh. “Exactement.”

They walked into the kitchen and Remus shivered as the warmth hit him.

“Remus,” Pascal’s wife, Celeste, greeted him with a kiss on each cheek and then pressed a glass of wine into his hand which Remus took happily. Celeste smiled, “We are so happy you could come.”

“I am, too, thank you so much for—”

“Remus?”

Remus turned around, lowering his wine from where he had been about to take a sip.

Sirius and Logan were standing there, at the top of the basement stairs. Sirius had stopped dead in the doorway and Logan was behind him, peaking beneath Sirius’ arm. Sirius’ eyes were wide.

His chest squeezed and he smiled. “Hi, Sirius. Tremzy.”

Logan waved, and when Sirius still didn’t move, he rolled his eyes and shoved him, making him stumble a bit into the kitchen.

“Welcome to French court, Fruit-loop,” Logan grinned, punching him lightly in the shoulder. He stepped around him and pressed a short kiss to Celeste’s cheek. “Where the food is the best. And there’s little monsters to chase.” Logan growled playfully at Marc and Katie, who shrieked and laughed, running away from him as he chased them around the kitchen island. Pascal’s two slightly older children, Adele and Louis, looked like they were trying very hard to look unimpressed and like they were trying not to smile at the same time. The kids and Logan’s socks were slipping on the floor, whatever was simmering on the stove smelled incredible, and Remus was filled with an unmistakable sense of home.

He smiled briefly at Sirius again, who was still staring like he’d never seen Remus before, and turned back to the room.

“I can see why you can’t get rid of Logan.” He nodded at Celeste. “Dinner does smell incredible.”

“Are you here for dinner?” Sirius had finally torn himself away from the stairs and had come to stand next to Celeste.

Celeste clucked her tongue, hitting Sirius’ lightly in the chest with her dishtowel. “Sirius. Où sont tes manières?”

“No, I…” Sirius closed his mouth, flush. “I just didn’t know you were coming.”

“Oh?” Remus looked over at Pascal, who was very busy with stirring a pot on the stove. “I thought…”

“I think dinner is ready,” Pascal clapped his hands and grinned. “Adele, set the table, Louis help your mother bring the food out.”

“Katie and Marc could do it for once,” Adele grumbled, but hopped off her stool dutifully.

Remus looked back to Sirius when there was a rustle of bringing everything to the table. He had poured himself a glass of wine of his own and fell into stride with Remus as the followed the others to the dining room.

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s fine. I thought Pascal would have told you, that’s all.” Remus took a sip of his drink, carefully not looking at Sirius. “I was as surprised as you to be invited.”

“Remus.”

Remus stopped and turned at Sirius’ hand on his arm. He looked up at him and tried his best to keep his face passive. A crease appeared between Sirius eyebrows that Remus badly wanted to smooth out.

“I was surprised to see you,” Sirius said. “Not unhappy to see you.”

Remus swallowed. “Oh. Well, good.”

 

Remus ended up between Sirius and Katie at dinner, and sitting across from a very smiley Pascal who kept shooting him looks like he knew something Remus didn’t. Once or twice Remus tried to subtly ask him what the hell was up with his eyes, but Pascal always looked away with a soft laugh. The kids and Logan kept most of the conversation going, and Sirius laughed and played along, but Remus could feel it every time Sirius’ eyes fell his way. He was sure Sirius could feel the same whenever Remus looked at him.

There was a tug on his shirt from his left, and Remus looked down at Katie’s large blue eyes.

“Joues-tu au hockey?” she asked in her soft voice. “Like my papa?”

Remus smiled, but shook his head. “I wish. I’m not as cool as your papa.”

“Finally! The praise I deserve.” Pascal said, and Celeste rolled her eyes, but she was smiling.

“I used to, though,” Remus said to Katie.

“Did you?” Pascal tilted his head. “I didn’t know that.”

Remus shrugged. “It’s…you know. I miss it, so I don’t talk about it much.”

“Jesus f—fudge,” Logan sent an apologetic smile to Celeste, then looked back to Remus. “You’ve got to play with us, bud. How did we not know this?”

“He’s already promised,” Sirius said, raising his glass to his lips. “All we have to do is win a Cup.”

All three players knocked on the wood of the table at the same time. Remus rolled his eyes at the superstition.

As soon as they knocked, the lights flickered out, making Adele squeak and throwing the table into semi-darkness. The moonlight reflected off the snow falling heavily outside and the wind practically howled.

“Whoa,” Logan said.

“Oh, a storm!” Pascal said, sounding far too delighted. He threw his napkin down. “I’ll get the candles, you were right, Lupin, you were right.” On his way out, he bent to drop a kiss to Celeste’s head.

“Well. The weatherman was right, really.” Remus stuttered.

Celeste scooted her chair back. “Pascal will never know where the candles are, I’ll be right back.” She hesitated then nodded to herself. “Why don’t we all go to the living room. We’re all almost done anyway and it’ll be more comfortable there. I’ll light the stove and bring coffee, too, non? And dessert.”

The kids scrambled at the mention of desert in the dark, giggling and begging Logan for a piggy back ride as they filed out of the dining room. He ended up groaning and laughing under the weight of the two smallest clinging to his arms and neck.

“I didn’t realize it was going to storm like this,” Sirius said as he and Remus followed the others.

“Me neither,” Remus glanced out the windows as they passed them. “I was mostly joking when I asked Dumo about the candles.”

“Guess the x-box isn’t working, then.”

Remus couldn’t help but laugh a little. “No, I guess not.”

“What,” Sirius said, bumping their shoulders lightly. “You don’t like x-box?”

Remus stopped just in the door, out of view of the dimly lit living room. “You aren’t allowed to do that right now.”

For a moment, Remus was worried he was going to have to explain himself from the look on Sirius’ face, but then Sirius stepped back. “Sorry, I…I’m sorry.”

Remus sighed, “You keep saying that.”

“I know.”

“Boys, go sit down!” Celeste yelled from the dark kitchen, and they dutifully went.

“Can I drive you home tonight? And we can talk?” Sirius murmured as they sat on the couch. He kept his eyes on Remus even as Katie wiggled her way into his lap.

Remus opened his mouth, but then there was a flickering light from the corner of his eye. When he looked, Dumo was there holding a chocolate, beautifully homemade cake. Celeste clapped her hands and Katie started the rather off-key version of happy birthday, only made better by Adele’s pretty voice.

Sirius had to tear his eyes away from Remus then and a smile broke out over his face despite himself. It was Remus’ favorite smile, with dimples and completely unselfconscious. Gorgeous. He wondered if Sirius had ever been treated like this at his real home. The thought brought an ache to his chest.

“Guys,” Sirius said, rubbing a hand over his cheek, which Remus noticed was more stubbly than usual. “Merci…thanks.”

“Le gateau!” Katie said delightedly.

“Oui,” Sirius said in his lovely, drawn out way. “Will you help me blow out the candles?”

“What are you going to wish for?” Adele said from where she was leaning forward in her chair.

Remus smiled a little. She absolutely had a crush on Sirius. Don’t we all, Remus wanted to say.

“Well, I can’t tell you.” Sirius hesitated. “It won’t come true. And…I think I need this one to come true.”

Sirius glanced at Remus again, then blew out the cake with Katie.

 

They were eating and drinking coffee when everyone’s phones started lighting up with severe storm warnings.

“Oh, would you look at that,” Pascal said, holding his phone close to his face. “Dangerous roads.”

Celeste hummed thoughtfully and went to the window. “Oh,” she said, pushing the curtain further aside. “God, we can barely see. I didn’t know it was going to be this bad.” She turned back to them. “Well…I don’t know if I want you boys driving in the dark like this. Especially after all the wine, the food…”

Remus looked down at his wine glass. He had been drinking freely because he had thought he was going to take a cab back. He wasn’t sure the cab services would be running now.

“You both should stay here,” Celeste said, coming back to the table and picking up her cake again. “Just to be safe. The snow plows will come in the morning. The worst that could happen is practice being delayed a little. We have a guest room, if you don’t mind sharing.”

Remus felt Sirius look at him, and was a little grateful. Sirius was giving him the opportunity to turn it down. But the roads looked bad. He would never forgive himself if he made Sirius drive in this weather and he got hurt somehow.

“That would be wonderful.” Remus sent Celeste a small smile. “And I don’t mind if Sirius doesn’t.”

“No,” Sirius said quickly, then cleared his throat. “I mean no, I don’t mind. At all. It’s fine.”

“Are we having a sleepover?” Katie said, relaxing back into Sirius’ chest and tapping his wrist for a bite of his cake.

“Cap and Loops are having a sleepover, mon cher,” Logan said, then stretched out his foot to nudge her feet until she laughed. “You and me can have a sleepover, how’s that?” He looked at Remus and raised a shoulder, “I’m just saying because she really will climb into your bed if you say yes.”

“Tremzy.” Katie sighed happily.

Celeste laughed, “She really will. I speak from experience. Anyway, finish you cake and coffee and I’ll make up the bed for you.”

“We can do that,” Remus took a bite of cake.

“Speak for yourself, Fruit-loop,” Pascal laughed. “I’ve never met a hockey player below 25 who can make up a bed for himself.”

“I can make a bed!” Sirius protested.

“We’ll see, won’t we?” Pascal raised his eyebrows and took a large, final bite of cake, grinning through it obnoxiously and making his kids laugh.

Celeste rolled her eyes fondly. “Stop teasing the boy, Pascal.” She waved towards there food. “Eat up, or I’ll have children begging for left over cake for the next week.”

 

Remus didn’t know how the Dumais’ had so many extra toothbrushes laying around, but he was glad for them and for Logan throwing extra t-shirts at them both to sleep in.

“You’ll have to suffer through two day underwear,” he had laughed. “As if you’ve never done that before.”

It was busy with the warm sounds of the kids getting ready for bed and yelling for Celeste, needing this or that. Remus felt relaxed by the lull of it, the presence of so many others in the house. He wondered if Sirius felt the same, if he also felt like he had too much room to know what to do with at home.

He was relaxed until Sirius closed the door behind them after wishing the family goodnight (Pascal giving them both exaggerated and smacking kisses to the cheeks) and they were alone and quiet.

Remus rubbed his hands nervously on his jeans before deciding to go over and pick up the shirt Logan had lent him. It was too big but it would be comfortable to sleep in. It had Logan’s name and number on the back and the Lions’ logo on the front. Remus looked at the Tremblay that spread between the shoulders and suddenly pictured a different name there. A different number. Black. 12.

“Ah, do you want the bathroom first?” Sirius’ voice cut into his thoughts and Remus turned abruptly.

“Oh.” He held the shirt against his chest, as if Sirius could see the evidence of his thoughts on it. “No. Go ahead.”

Sirius nodded and retreated to brush his teeth. Remus expected him to close the door but instead, he came wandering back out a second later, toothbrush in his mouth. He held it between his teeth by the bed, and Remus watched with raised eyebrows as he struggled to take his shirt off around it. When he succeeded and pulled a plain gray t-shirt over his head with minimal dripping from the toothpaste, he noticed Remus’ gaze.

“Quoi?” Sirius asked.

Remus kept his eyes firmly towards Sirius’ face and shook his head. “Nothing. Just—a funny order of operations you’ve got going there.”

Sirius looked down at his shirt, then at Remus, and shrugged, going back to brushing.

Remus tugged off his own shirt to change.

Sirius made a noise that was sort of a high pitched hum and Remus looked at him again.

“What?” he asked.

Whatever Sirius responded with was garbled by toothpaste and he disappeared into the bathroom. The back of his neck looked a little pink.

Remus let out a breath. He wasn’t going to survive the night. He figured he could brush his teeth, too, if Sirius wasn’t closing the door, and he picked up Logan’s shirt and tugged it over his head as he walked. He blinked against the bright light of the bathroom and stopped at the left sink. Sirius was running water over his face, and when he reached for the washcloth, he missed by a few inches. Remus pressed it into his hand and Sirius blinked water out of his eyes.

“Thanks,” Sirius said.

Remus nodded, putting toothpaste on his toothbrush. “Yeah.”

Sirius straightened. “Logan gave you that shirt?”

Remus looked at him in the mirror. Sirius question sounded like he was almost appalled by the notion. It made something in Remus’ chest squeeze.

“Yeah. He probably just picked two up from his floor.” Remus leant down and spit, running the water. “I’d guess we’re wearing week old laundry right now.” Then, he couldn’t help adding, “why?”

He watched in the mirror as Sirius’ eyes ran over his back, over Logan’s name and number. Sirius’ nostrils flared a little as he took a large breath.

“I don’t know,” Sirius finally said, then turned and went back into the bedroom.

 

Sirius was already in bed—on the right side—when Remus came. Sirius had drawn the covers back and was on his phone, one knee bent and raised out of the sheets. Remus collapsed on the left and doodled around on his own phone for a while. It was…nice. Sitting beside someone. Even if they were completely quiet, Remus liked the company, the weight in the bed. It felt like something he wouldn’t mind getting used to.

The wind howled outside, and they both jumped when they heard what sounded like tree branches brush against the window.

“Jesus,” Remus said. “Wonder what the world’s going to look like tomorrow.”

“Yeah,” Sirius clicked his phone off. Remus was going to remind him to silence it before they slept. “That sounds pretty rough. Mind if I…?”

When he trailed off, Remus looked to see his hand hovering by the light.

“Oh, yeah. Go ahead.” Remus turned his phone off, too. He was doing fine on battery, but he would need to borrow a charger over breakfast. The light flicked off and they were left with the wind and the dark. They’d closed the shades and Remus could barely see his own hands.

Remus listened to Sirius breathing for a moment, wondering if he was just going to fall asleep. That would be fine, probably better, really, but a small part of Remus had hoped that, maybe—

“James asked me to be the godfather,” Sirius said suddenly into the dark.

Remus couldn’t help but turn to look at him, even if they couldn’t see each other. “Sirius. That’s amazing.”

Sirius made a soft noise of acknowledgement, then fell silent for a few moments again. Remus let him think.

“How does he know?” Sirius whispered.

“Know what?”

Sirius let out a breath. “Nothing. Sorry, nothing, I just had to tell someone. I’ve been—God, I’ve just been thinking about it since he asked and…I’m so happy, I am, I just…”

“It’s a daunting thought for anyone,” Remus said softly.

“Right. Yeah. It is.”

“I,” Remus swallowed. “I get why it would be, especially so for you. But being scared by it doesn’t mean you’re the wrong choice. It means you’re the right choice.”

Sirius laughed softly. “You always know what to say to me, don’t you?”

Remus let out a laugh of his own. “No. No, I really don’t.”

They fell into silence again, staring up into the dark. Remus tried to close his eyes, but all that turned into was listening to Sirius’ breathing and remembering that morning when he had woken up in Sirius’ arms. Sirius’ hand in his hair and his breath against his neck. Now that he knew that, even then, Sirius had wanted him, it made it all hurt even more.

“Were you pretending to be asleep?” Remus asked quietly.

“Now?”

“No,” Remus sunk back against his pillow. “The day you slept in my hotel room. After we lost to the Rangers. We woke up and we were—together.”

“Oh,” Sirius said. Remus heard him take a breath. “Well. I…I didn’t think I’d get the chance again. I’m sorry if that’s weird.”

Remus closed his eyes. “No. I just…I don’t know, I shouldn’t have asked.” Remus kept his eyes closed, took a breath, and said, “I was pretending, too.”

Sirius groaned a little, “Remus.”

There was a rustling as Sirius turned on his side. Remus turned towards him and he could just make out Sirius’ features as his eyes adjusted to the darkness. Sirius was shadows and silver outlines, fuzzy with the quiet in the room.

Remus mirrored Sirius’ position. Their hands were tucked between them and Remus inched his head closer to Sirius’ on his pillow.

“This is probably the last thing you want to be doing right now,” Sirius breathed. “I’m sorry.”

Remus shook his head. “It’s more like the last thing I should be doing. But it couldn’t be closer to what I want.” Remus paused at Sirius’ sharp intake of breath. “I already told you that.”

Sirius’ eyes moved down to their hands and they rested on Remus’ open palm, soft on the mattress between them.

“I wished for something when Dumo brought the cake out,” Sirius looked back at Remus. “I’ve wished for the same thing almost every year of my life, but this year it was different.”

Remus could feel his heart in his fingertips. “Oh?”

“I used to wish that—that I could be different. Or maybe that I would stop being different, I guess.”

Remus raised his head off of his pillow a little, heart pulling. “Sirius…”

Sirius shook his head and pressed his cheek farther into his pillow. “I wished every chance that I had that I could just stop—wanting. Stop wanting what everyone around me was implying that I couldn’t have. Stop wanting what I knew I couldn’t want.”

Remus let out a breath. It made sense now. How cold Sirius had been in the beginning. He’d been beaten down. He’d beaten himself down, and he’d been beating himself down for his entire life.

“I didn’t wish for that tonight,” Sirius whispered. When he looked at Remus again, his eyes were shining in the dimness. He reached forward and pressed his palm over Remus’, slowly sliding their fingers together. “Remus, I didn’t wish for that tonight. I couldn’t. I was wrong.”

Remus squeezed his hand, pulling it against his chest. He couldn’t help it. He needed Sirius to know he was there. He hoped Sirius could feel how hard his heart was beating in his chest.

“Wrong?” Remus asked.

Sirius blinked, eyes steady. He looked crumbled but beautiful, like a ruined cathedral that was now open to the sky. “I don’t want it to stop. I know the risks but—God, Remus, when I look at you how could I wish for anything else?”

“Sirius,” Remus breathed. “God, Sirius—”

Sirius pushed himself up then, just enough to bend over Remus in the dark, their hands still locked between them, resting on Remus’ chest. Remus wound his fingers in Sirius’ hair and pulled him down, their noses brushing.

Sirius groaned. “Please don’t let me trap you. Please, Remus, you have to be sure. I can’t—I can’t offer you anything except behind closed doors. Not right now, at least. Not yet.”

“I know,” Remus hushed, fingers stroking the nape of his neck. “I told you, I already told you, and you have to listen to me, okay? Listen.” Remus released Sirius’ hand and cupped his jaw, thumb stroking over his bottom lip, and then his temple, his cheek. “You are worth it, Sirius. You’re kind and good, and I want to be with you even if it’s only when we’re alone. I’ll know. For the entire day when we can’t do anything more than glance and smile at each other, I’ll know what each look means.”

Sirius dropped their foreheads together, his lips pressing just beside Remus’ mouth with a soft sound. Remus closed his eyes, entire body feeling coiled with tension, waiting. Wanting.

“I don’t know how many times you’ve heard that you aren’t good enough,” Remus whispered against Sirius’ skin. “But I’m going to make you forget each one.”

Sirius shuttered. Remus felt it as Sirius let his chest rest against his, pressing them together.

“Re,” Sirius had barely breathed out, and then Remus pulled their mouths together and kissed him.

Sirius groaned into it and Remus heard himself do the same as Sirius’ fingers found his hip and cheek, keeping him steady while Sirius angled his head to deepen the kiss, running his tongue along Remus’ lip. Remus pressed up and against him, hands smoothing from his neck to his waist, rather shameless about feeling each rise and fall of his body along the way. Each stroke seemed to make Sirius kiss him harder, more frantically, like he was making up for lost time.

“Fuck,” Sirius murmured as he kissed down Remus’ jaw, pausing at the place where it met his neck. Sirius slotted his thigh between Remus’ and Remus gasped. Sirius was a hard, hot line against his hip and he was relentless in the presser he was applying in warm rolls against Remus’ quickly filling dick.

Remus let out a sigh at the feeling, pressing his arms to Sirius’ upper back and feeling the muscles move beneath his skin as Sirius worked himself against Remus’ body.

“Oh God,” Remus panted. “Oh God, we can’t have sex in Dumo’s guest room.”

“We can if we’re quiet.” Sirius kissed Remus again. “Je vais garder ta bouche occupée.”

Remus groaned. “I can’t fucking translate French right now.”

Sirius laughed softly. “I can keep your mouth busy.” Then he kept kissing him, slow and dirty. Remus couldn’t help but mirror his smile and tucked his fingers back into Sirius’ dark hair. He pushed up into Sirius’ mouth, then broke to kiss across his cheek slowly, savoring the scratch of his stubble against his lips.

Sirius hummed happily and settled back down against Remus’ chest, nose against Remus’ neck. He was too tall for their current position, and Remus lifted his head a little to see his bare feet dangling a little off of the end of the bed. He laughed, but simply wrapped his arms around Sirius’ broader shoulders and pressed his nose into the hair that curled out above Sirius’ ear.

“You’re not a lion, your a cub, an oversized cub. Somehow I always knew.”

Sirius mumbled something and smacked Remus’ hip lightly before pressing a kiss to his neck.

“Okay,” Sirius said with another kiss, then pushed himself up onto his forearms. He looked down at Remus.

Remus tilted his head, fingers still threading gently through Sirius’ hair. “Okay?”

A small, disbelieving smile appeared on Sirius’ face and he leaned down for a much softer, shorter kiss. “We can’t have sex in Dumo’s guest room. You’re right. But I can hold you without pretending to be asleep now, oui?”

Remus nodded. He thought there might be nothing left in his chest but his heart now.

“Oui,” he replied softly.

Sirius rolled away, pulling Remus with him until he was tucked beneath Sirius’ chin, ankles hooked around each other.

Remus wouldn’t have thought he’d be able to sleep, but when he closed his eyes, and with Sirius’ heart beneath his ear, he found that he’d never felt more calm.

“Je suis content,” Sirius whispered with a kiss to Remus’ forehead.

Remus smiled, and tilting his chin up for a kiss felt like the most natural and practiced thing in the world.

“I’m happy, too.”

Chapter Text

Remus woke up to the sound of the toilet flushing. The room he was in was dark, and it definitely wasn’t his bedroom. He looked to the place where his clock usually was, across the room on the dresser, and when it wasn’t there he sat up further, blankets kept up by his shoulder.

The bathroom door opened then, and he squinted sleepily.

“Sorry,” a voice came, and then someone was climbing into bed beside him. “Sorry, sorry, shh, Il est tôt, it’s early still.”

A hand settled over his hip, a body pressing up against his front and Remus pulled back, blinking hard. Sirius looked back at him, expression morphing into one that was unsure.

“What?” Remus mumbled. This had to be the most vivd dream he had ever had. Dreaming about Sirius coming back to bed after an early morning pee? It had never happened before. Usually his dreams were…less mundane, to say the least.

Sirius gazed down at him, and Remus was struck by the intense feeling of warmth that was present in every place he and Sirius were touching. Sirius’ hand tucked beneath the hem of his shirt and stroked a few soothing lines down Remus’ side.

“Ça va?”

“I…” Remus began to say, and it seemed to trigger something in his brain, to wake it up that last centimeter to realize where he was and what had happened last night. Fierce waves of elation crashed through his chest. He sat up a little further in Sirius’ arms, eyes wide. “Oh.

Sirius tilted his head in the way he did when he was confused, or thinking, or re-watching his shift on the iPad, and Remus remembered. He remembered, but he needed to make sure.

The surest way to do that was to lean forward and kiss Sirius right on the mouth.

Remus’ entire body relaxed when Sirius made a pleased, low sound into it and leaned towards Remus, settling him back against the pillows so he could lean over him and kiss him again.

“I forgot,” Remus mumbled against his mouth. “Fuck, I thought I was dreaming.”

Sirius hummed, pressing a series of slow kisses to Remus’ cheek, then down to his neck. It felt amazing. “You dream about me?”

Remus could almost have laughed if it wasn’t for the fact that Sirius chose that moment to bite gently at Remus’ jaw. Whatever sound was going to come out turned into a slow, settling exhale.

“Yes,” Remus said softly.

“I do, too.” Sirius sounded pleased. “Sometimes daydreams.” He dragged his mouth back to Remus’ and let their lips brush. “Sometimes very inconvenient daydreams at very inconvenient times.”

Remus’ breath caught. “Yeah?”

Sirius sighed and pressed a small kiss to Remus’ mouth. “You have no idea.”

Except Remus was pretty sure he did.

Sirius smiled like he knew and leant in for another kiss. Remus could have stayed like that forever, nestled beneath Sirius’ body being kissed within an inch of his life. Sirius kissed the way he played—confident and precise, then a little messy when he was really going for it. On a breakaway, or, in this case, slowly taking Remus apart with his hand creeping down over the curve of Remus’ ass.

“You still skate,” Sirius squeezed lightly. “I can tell.”

“Look who’s talking,” Remus said, which turned into Sirius wrestling him back down into the covers to be kissed some more for a while.

“You have practice,” Remus said against Sirius’ lips eventually.

“You do, too,” Sirius caught Remus’ lower lip between his teeth and pulled gently. “You stop me.”

It sounded like a challenge, like Sirius wanting to race on the ice, and Remus laughed and wound his fingers through Sirius’ hair instead, letting himself be kissed.

 

~

 

They did have to get up eventually, and as they walked into the bathroom together, Remus realized that this was the first time he was seeing Sirius as, well, more than what he had been yesterday in the light. There was a purple smudge on his collarbone from Remus’ mouth, and quite a few on his own from Sirius’. But otherwise, Sirius looked the same. His body, toned and tall with lean muscle. The way he stuck his tongue out a little when focusing on anything, even spreading toothpaste on his toothbrush. His scars. Remus realized he had now kissed most of them, the one on his cheek and the one on his lip. Sirius’ hair was a disaster of curls from sleeping and Remus’ hands. Remus loved it.

Sirius caught him looking and smiled a little goofily at him in the mirror as he stuck his toothbrush in his mouth. Remus could see now that Logan’s shirt was a size or two too small, and it stretched across every part of Sirius’ torso and arms. Remus shivered, and then blissfully remembered that he could touch.

So he did. He pressed himself along Sirius’ back and wrapped his arms around his middle from behind. He nosed at the strong dip between Sirius’ wing bones, along his spine. He expected Sirius to laugh, maybe, but instead Remus felt him sigh deeply and looked in the mirror to see that Sirius had his eyes closed. He leaned back a little and Remus spread his feet against the bathroom tiles, taking some more of Sirius’ weight.

“We’ll have to remember to be more careful,” Remus said after Sirius had finished brushing.

Sirius laughed and it came out a little breathless. “More careful already?”

Remus moved around to his side and Sirius turned into him. It felt so natural that Remus could melt right into the floor. “I just mean,” he started, and prodded gently at one of the purple bruises on Sirius’ skin. “Clothing will cover these, but I don’t know what we’d say to Dumo if it didn’t.”

Sirius sighed happily and curled his palm around the back of Remus’ neck. “And those are all my fault, eh?”

“Mm,” Remus nodded in what he tried to make look like a serious way. “You’re the one just standing there, looking like you do, after all.” He rubbed his thumb across Sirius’ cheek. “You need to shave.”

Sirius stooped and rubbed his cheek against Remus’, then soothed it with a kiss, or what maybe was going to be a kiss until a ruckus from down the hall made them both look towards the still closed bedroom door.

“Looks like the baby Dumais’ are up,” Remus said.

“Looks like,” Sirius replied, and finished the soft kiss to Remus’ cheek that he had began.

Remus felt stupid with happiness. If Sirius, now his, looked like this in the bright light of the bathroom, he couldn’t wait to see what he looked like in the sun.

 

~

 

The thing was, it was different, and it wasn’t hard yet, but Remus knew it would be. He hadn’t fooled himself about that. That day at practice was full of giddy, secret shared smiles and Sirius coming over for a sharpened skate and letting his hand rest briefly on the small of Remus’ back as he turned to go. It was new. It was easy to love the newness. Remus knew it would be hard sometimes, but he wasn’t going to sacrifice these moments because of that. He would let it play out. He would let himself enjoy this.

 

He would wait by the door for Coach to finish his game-time speech and glance, every few minutes, at Sirius, catching his dark eyes steadily looking back. Remus didn’t know if Sirius was actually being obvious about looking, or if it just felt obvious to Remus because it was all he could see, all he could think about. Sirius had a hole in one shoulder of his Under Armour that was definitely going to rip if he didn’t do something about it. Remus couldn’t help but smile a little bit, thinking about the first—and only—time he’d suggested to Sirius that he get a new shirt, or handed him a new hat when the one he had been wearing in post-game interviews was starting to show sweat stains. Sirius, still stiff and unfriendly then, had fixed him with a hard gaze.

“I can’t,” he had said with a set jaw. “I don’t like to change things.”

Remus hadn’t needed him to say anything further. He’d met plenty of guys who had superstitions like that—couldn’t change a stick that he had scored with, wore the same sweatshirt every day before putting their jersey on. He hadn’t seen any, however, with as many superstitions as Sirius.

So, Sirius’ post-game interview snapback was disgusting—and endearing. So there was a hole in Sirius’ shirt that he was most definitely not going to change until he either broke his point streak, or the shirt ripped right in half. Remus bit his lip thinking about the latter, thinking vaguely about different situations where he could be responsible for such a thing. He let himself think about it, right there in the locker room, with Sirius’ eyes trained on him. Sirius’ hands were busy taping a stick, so practice that he barely even had to look. Remus knew what those hands felt like now, on his hips, cupping his cock through his sweatpants—

Remus had his job to get to though. His life felt like an old life now, like some earlier version filled with hockey—of course—and worrying about how much of the team he should really allow himself to indulge in, even if invited. And Sirius. Pining after Sirius. It was the same, really, except now Sirius looked at him and Remus could tell Sirius wanted to kiss him by that look. It was a little incredible. It fueled him through slipping out of the locker room with a smile, it fueled the spring in his step as he walked down the tunnel to the bench and the waiting, filling Hogwarts Arena. They were playing the Ravenclaw Ravens.

He joined Moody on the bench, straightening the extra sticks and looking around the crowd to see if there were any stand-out signs tonight. There were really only the usual. A few girls waiting to ask Finn if he would go to prom with them, a few Ravens fans telling James that he needed to get his eyes checked.

“Ravens got beautiful jerseys this year, eh?” Moody said, and Remus nodded. They were a paler blue than usual, with their signature dark navy coloring raven wings that ran along the insides of the arms so that they appeared to flap with any movement of the players or fans.

“Sick, yeah,” Remus said.

By the time the boys were out on the ice and warming up, many of the kids had received pucks over the glass and the girls had received, if not a prom date, then a signed stick from a slightly pink but winking Finn. Sirius was stretching out on the ice with James, and Remus actually let himself look this time. It wasn’t a coincidence that Sirius was on his hands and knees, stretching his inner thighs, right in front of the bench—he always stretched right in front of the bench—but Remus could look now. And there was a reason why people always said hockey players had the best asses. He wasn’t obvious about it, but the real fun was in watching Sirius, finish, rise, and catch Remus’ gaze. Sirius smiled and skated over for a moment, instead of going to trace the Lions logo at the center of the ice with a puck like he usually did.

“Hi,” Sirius said, picking up a water bottle.

“Hi,” Remus replied in what he could tell was an odd, breathy tone. “Feel good?”

“Parfait,” Sirius slid the water bottle back and licked his lips. “You?”

Remus felt ridiculously unable to keep the smile off of his face. “Mhm. Hey, do—”

James slammed into the boards beside Sirius, “Where is the fucking blue—”

Remus shoved a bottle of blue gatorade at him and James hummed in delight, squirting some into his mouth.

“Thanks, mom.”

Remus rolled his eyes. “Leave, I’m having a word with your captain.”

James rolled his eyes exaggeratedly back but skated off to shoot on Leo, who had gotten the start in net that night.

When Remus finally looked back at Sirius, he was standing up again and looking guiltily between Remus and the logo, a puck flicking back and forth on his stick.

“Um, I sort of have to…” Sirius began, then trailed off.

Remus laughed. “Go, keep your routine.” Then, quieter, he added. “We can talk later.”

Sirius sent him a wide grin and then was kicking off towards center ice, slapping his stick to James’ butt on his way. Remus watched Sirius handle the puck with depth, near perfection, in the middle of it all. It was like he was the only person on the ice with the way he focused.

The crowd was getting snacks and settling into their seats. Remus felt like the familiar, exhilarating hum before a game was multiplied by the way Sirius glanced over at him with a wide grin before bending for the opening face off, stick across his knees and eyes going focused and hard. A thrill went up Remus’ spine with the thought that he could tell Sirius how much he liked that look on him now.

 

~

 

The Lions got a shut out. The locker room was cheerful and rowdy after the game, high off of a 4-0 win.

Remus felt high with them.

Sirius had gotten a hat trick. His first one of the season. A gorgeous, coast-to coast goal in the first, followed by a shorty a few minutes later, then a tip-in in the third on a power play. The Lions crowd had been manic, and Sirius had been crushed against the glass by the boys in a hug and what looked like hundreds of hats hat been thrown down onto the ice. Remus couldn’t resist looking up at the jumbo-screen where Sirius’ huge grin was plastered for everyone to see. When he looked down next, Sirius had been right in front of him, pushing himself back onto the bench. Remus couldn’t kiss him, so he knocked him in the helmet instead, smiling back.

“Wow,” Dumo had drawled, accent heavy as he shoved his and Sirius’ shoulders together. “Where did that come from, eh?”

“Guess I’m just feeling it tonight,” Remus heard Sirius reply. He had had to turn around and busy himself with the medkit so he could smile for a second.

 

The lion head token was awarded to Sirius, and he shoved it on his sweaty head, laughing.

“Nice night boys, and congrats Knutty on the shut out, eh? Let’s keep it going,” he said, then placed it in the upper part of his stall. Remus would have to remember to collect it later for their trip to Nashville in two days to play the Predators. It was then that he remembered they had tomorrow off. He’d have to go in to prep equipment for the plane, but it definitely left his morning free…should it need to be filled with a hockey player in his bed and then sitting at his kitchen table, sleepy and wanting breakfast.

Remus stuck around long enough to watch the media swarm Sirius’ stall, asking him about his hat trick, about how he thought Leo was doing in goal for his rookie season, about his plans for Thanksgiving. Every question was honest if short. He cracked jokes, even. But at the Thanksgiving one, Remus watched the entirety of his body language change. He sat up, adjusted his hat.

“Just home with the family in Québec. You know. It’ll be nice to have time off.”

After that, Sirius was so obviously less open to talking, that some of the reporters moved onto James.

 

Remus was back in his office and shrugging on his coat when a voice made him turn.

“Need a ride?”

Remus spun on his heels. Sirius was standing there, freshly showered and in jeans and a sweatshirt with his number on the sleeves. He had a beanie pulled low over his wet hair. He smiled, and Remus knew.

“Yeah,” Remus said. “I do.” He grabbed his backpack and slung it over his shoulder, murmuring a, “thanks,” once he had reached Sirius in the doorway.

Sirius just nodded, looking down at him for a moment. Remus thought he might kiss him, right there, and as soon as he had the thought, Sirius looked behind him down one end of the hallway, then the other, and then leaned down for the briefest of pecks.

“Let’s get going,” he said, and Remus couldn’t have agreed more.

They briefly ran into Finn and Leo in the parking lot, on their way home back to the apartment they shared, and were spared not much more than a wave. Remus took a steadying breath. They weren’t doing anything out of the ordinary. It was a little thrilling, even, to have this secret.

“I could make some food,” Remus said once they were in the car. “I know you’re hungry.”

Sirius hummed appreciatively as they pulled out of the parking garage and glanced over at Remus. “I don’t want to make you cook. We could pick something up.”

“I’ve got stuff for sandwiches. It’s not exactly cooking. Or pasta, if you want your…” Remus cracked a smile, “second bowl of pasta of the night.”

“I do that sometimes,” Sirius laughed, too. “I get so fucking hungry. But a sandwich sounds really good.”

“Good,” Remus said. He realized he was practically squeezing his hands together and tucked them beneath his thighs instead.

Sirius only needed a few reminders about directions, and Remus took a little delight in the fact that Sirius, without comment, pulled into the overnight parking lot. He knew it was the only option now that loitering on the curb was out, but it sent a tremor to his heart none the less.

They stood on opposite sides of the elevator and grinned stupidly at each other on the way up. Sirius had his hands in his pockets and his head tilted back against the wall and Remus was fairly sure he was going to melt into the floor before they even reached his kitchen. He was just—big. And his sweatshirt was damp at the collar from his drying hair. Remus wanted to wear that sweatshirt.

“Just down here,” he said when the doors dinged open.

“Ouvrir la marche,” Sirius swooped his hand forward and Remus walked ahead, just a little pink.

He could feel Sirius’ presence behind him all the way down the hall, and even more when he pressed a little closer as Remus opened his door. Remus wanted to press back into it, but he took a breath. He didn’t want Sirius to think this was just about sex. The last thing he wanted was for Sirius to feel like Remus was just another person trying to—get to him.

“I have turkey and ham. And cheese. Cheddar,” he rambled a little, trying to let Sirius look around his small apartment for the first time without watching him as nervously as he felt. He walked into the open kitchen and watched as Sirius looked over the counter to the living room. “Oh, and cranberry sauce. I don’t know, I like it with the turkey, you don’t have to have it—”

His sentence was cut off, however, when he was suddenly spun around by a hand around his wrist and pulled into a warm chest. Sirius kissed him hard with a palm against his neck.

“Sorry,” he said after, “I’ve been waiting all day.”

“Don’t be sorry,” Remus fisted a bit of Sirius’ sweatshirt. “You don’t have to be sorry about kissing me like that, jeez.”

Sirius snorted. “Jeez,” he parroted, then leaned down to kiss a laughing Remus again. “Weird word. You know I think I picked that up from you? And I’ll have cranberry sauce.” He brushed their noses together, “I can help?”

Remus nodded, and they got out the ingredients together, Sirius only chirping Remus a little for how stubbornly healthy all the food in his fridge was.

“I’m not the one burning a million calories every night!” Remus said, popping some bread in his toaster.

Sirius held his hands up, conceding and asking, “You want turkey?”

They ate their sandwiches standing up at Remus’ kitchen counter, arms knocking while they ate because they refused to move away from each other. It was nice. It made Remus’ apartment feel less empty. It reminded him of that first call he had received from Sirius, nervous about his ankle and the coming season.

“What made you call me that night?” Remus asked, and by the look in Sirius’ eyes he didn’t have to elaborate.

“I told you I’d liked you for a while. That, and you’re a big reason why my ankle rehab went so well. I knew you’d be able to comfort me.” Sirius shrugged one shoulder. “You always know what to say to me.”

Remus smiled a little. They were the words Sirius had said to him the night that they kissed. “That’s still not true.”

“I’d know better than you,” Sirius knocked their hips together. He took the last bite of his sandwich and then brushed the crumbs off of his hands. “Alright, I’m going to go find that number 12 jersey of yours now.”

Remus dropped his sandwich right back onto his plate.“No, no, no, no you aren’t.” Remus grabbed Sirius’ arm, but had to put a bit of his weight into leaning backwards to keep Sirius still.

Sirius cracked up and playfully—but successfully—tugged Remus closer towards his bedroom. “What,” he stopped suddenly, making Remus stumble a little. Sirius caught him and pressed him against the wall. “You aren’t going to wear it for me?”

Remus let out a shaky breath. Sirius towered over him, neck bent a little to brush their lips together. His voice was low and deep, his accent sounded heavier than usual.

Remus swallowed and took a breath. “Maybe you can wear it for me.”

Sirius smiled slowly and his tongue came out to wet his bottom lip. “Oh?”

“Yeah,” Remus said, slowly being distracted by Sirius’ thigh pressing between his own.

Sirius’ eyes were dark when he leaned closer, brushing their noses together.

“Show me.”

Remus leaned up and kissed Sirius hard, pushing him backwards in the direction of his bedroom. It wasn’t the most practical. They kept bumping into the walls because they wouldn’t stop kissing long enough to watch where they were going. Sirius kept his hands planted firmly on Remus’ hips, dipping beneath the hem of his sweatshirt.

“C’est bon?” Sirius said against his mouth.

Remus didn’t respond, exactly, but kissed him harder, guiding them through the doorway and into his bedroom. He had a sudden, fleeting thought about whether he had left it messy or clean that morning.

“Mm,” he said, pulling away and glancing around the floor. It was bare except for a stray shirt on the bed. He looked back up at Sirius, who was looking at him with his eyebrows raised. “I was just—if it was clean.”

Sirius laughed, hand moving to rest on Remus’ cheek. He leaned in and pressed a soft kiss to the corner of Remus’ mouth. “Don’t worry about that.”

Remus wrinkled his nose, “I wasn’t worried—”

But then Sirius was kissing him again, backing up until they were by the bed. He gave Remus’ sweatshirt a tug. “Can’t have this on if you’re going to wear your jersey, eh?”

Eh?” Remus parroted, and Sirius gave his side a playful pinch before spinning them so the back of Remus’ knees hit the bed and he fell backwards.

“I can take it off?” Sirius fell down on top of him, thighs spread around Remus’ hips and palms pressed into the mattress on either side of Remus’ head.

“Yeah,” Remus breathed.

Sirius pressed a devastatingly lingering kiss to his mouth, and then grinned before moving onto his neck. Remus blinked up at the ceiling and let out a breath, hands going to Sirius’ hair.

“It isn’t fair,” Sirius said against his skin. He pulled the collar of Remus’ sweatshirt down and kissed there, too, along his collarbone. He scraped his teeth lightly.

Remus’ fingers tightened in his hair, and he pulled his lip into his mouth. “What isn’t?”

Sirius lifted his head and looked at him for a moment, eyes dark and playful. He sat back a little farther down the bed so that his face was level with Remus’ stomach as he pushed the hem of Remus’ sweatshirt up, revealing pale skin.

“You get to see me naked all the time,” Sirius said, and leaned down to press a kiss just above Remus’ naval.

Remus laughed, a little breathlessly. His hand had slipped from Sirius hair when he moved out of reach and he pulled his own sweatshirt up now. “How is anything about that unfair? Seems pretty great from my end.”

“Well, I never get to see you.” Sirius tilted his head at him, eyes flicking along Remus’ face. “Enleves-le pour moi?”

Remus blinked at him for a second, then scrambled to follow instructions, sitting up just enough to wrestle his sweatshirt from his body, leaving him bare from the waste up. It would be easy for Sirius to see, now, how fast he was breathing.

“Now I do,” Sirius said lowly, and kissed down Remus’ chest, large hands spanning along Remus’ ribs. “No more teasing in hotel and guest rooms. You forgot your clothes,” Sirius sends him a small smile. “Jeez, Remus.”

“I did,” Remus said, flushing as he remembered that first night Sirius and him had fallen asleep in New York.

“You certainly didn’t mind me,” Sirius’ mouth had made it down to Remus’ hips now, thumbs playing with the band of his sweats, “silently freaking out on the bed.”

Remus looked down at him, breath hitching. His dick was uncomfortably tight in his boxers now, an obvious bulge just below Sirius’ chin. “Oh, you were freaking out?”

“Mm,” Sirius hummed, then promptly bent and mouthed all along the clothed outline of Remus’ dick.

Remus let out a breath, fingers closing tightly around the sheets.

“You were right there,” Sirius breathed, then pulled away, pushing himself back up to Remus and pressing their hips together, pulling a groan from both of them. “Making me crazy.”

“Fuck,” Remus tangled his fingers in Sirius’ sweatshirt. “Fuck, off, take this off.”

It was what he said, but at the same time he hooked his ankle around Sirius’ calve and kept him there, arching his hips up as Sirius pressed them together.

“Have to let me go,” Sirius said, and fuck if Remus loved how his accent was even heavier now, like he was losing focus. “If you want me to wear the jersey.”

“I just want you,” Remus said instantly, feeling a little wild with the truth of it.

A funny look crossed Sirius’ face for a second, lips parted. He leaned down and kissed Remus, tongue swiping into his mouth. He made a low sound and sat up on his knees, reaching behind him and tugging his sweatshirt and t-shirt over his head in one motion.

Remus held his breath. After so long of not being able to look, the sudden freedom nearly made him ache. He felt himself twitch in his pants at the hard planes of Sirius’ chest. He was just good. Everywhere. Lean muscle, cut hips, broad shoulders.

“Not to say I won’t want you to wear it…sometime.” Remus smiled as he reached forward questioningly and tugged at Sirius’ sweatpants.

Sirius laughed, leaning down over Remus again. His skin was warm against Remus’. “You first. I wear that thing every day.” He nosed against Remus’ cheek, voice dropping to a whisper. “Hey.”

Remus chased his mouth, sneaking a quick kiss. “Yeah?”

“You should know that I—um.”

Remus blinked a few times at the suddenly nervous tones in Sirius’ voice. He reached up and pushed the hair away from Sirius’ face, rubbing his thumb along his temple, over a slightly raised, old scar on the high of his cheek. “What it is? It’s alright.”

Sirius leaned into the touch, smiling a little sheepishly. “Nothing bad, I’ve just never…you know? With a guy?”

Remus felt his eyes widen and Sirius shrink back from it, smile fading a little.

“No, no, no,” Remus said quickly, pressing a hand gently to Sirius’ chest. “That’s fine. Sirius, of course that’s okay. We can do whatever you want.” Remus shook his head, smiling, “If it helps…I sort of feel like I’m going to come in my boxers like a fucking sixteen year old.”

Sirius’ mouth opened for a minute, then he ducked his head against Remus’ neck where Remus could feel him laughing. Remus laughed, too, but even the slight change in mood didn’t stop him from squirming against Sirius a little.

Sirius felt it, groaning gently into Remus’ neck before pulling back to look down at him, to kiss him soundly. Remus decided to take a little more control then, licking into Sirius’ mouth and pushing at his shoulders until he got the hint and rolled obligingly onto his back.

“We can do whatever you want,” Remus repeated as he settled himself on top of Sirius. “We can start slow, okay?”

“I—yeah,” Sirius said, sounding a little dazed. He nodded, “yes.”

Remus got them both out of their sweatpants, their boxers, and then they sat there looking at each other for a moment. Remus swallowed dryly. He’d caught what fleeting, risked glances he’d allowed himself of Sirius in the locker room, but never like this. Never hard leaking against his stomach a little.

“God,” Remus breathed. If only he’d known that his fantasies hadn’t been doing Sirius justice at all. That the real thing was so much better.

Sirius, meanwhile, was staring just as intently back, eyes wide and hungry, and mouth parted like it did after a breakaway up the ice. He opened an arm, and looked up at Remus.

“Come?” he said. “What now?”

Remus let out a breath and went to him, pressing himself all along the side of Sirius’ body and tucking one thigh loosely over his. He liked this, being as close as possible and free to look all he wanted. He ran his hand up Sirius’ chest first, then up his neck to turn his head and kiss him. He wanted Sirius to enjoy every second, wanted him to feel relaxed.

“Okay?” Remus asked when, after a few minutes of making out, Sirius started making noises.

“Oui,” Sirius breathed, chasing Remus’ mouth. “But…” He reached for Remus’ hand where it was curled around the back of his neck and took it in his own, moving down, down, and pressing it just above where his dick was more than a little wet against his stomach. He made another soft sound, and Remus smiled. Sirius skin was hot and Remus was happy to have so blatantly received permission.

Remus pressed a kiss to his jaw and wrapped a hand around him. It was a little dry, and Remus would get the lube from his bedside table in a second, but right now all he wanted to do was watch the way Sirius’ eyes slipped closed and his mouth dropped open. Remus let out a shaky breath and squeezed Sirius at the base, then ran a thumb over the crown.

“How do you like it?” Remus asked, pressing a blind kiss to Sirius’ cheek as he watched.

Sirius swallowed. “It’s good. A little tighter, maybe.”

“Here,” Remus said. “One second.”

He gave Sirius a quick stroke before rolling away for the lube.

“Ah,” Sirius said. “Didn’t know where you were going on me.”

Remus flipped the cap and squeezed a bit out onto his palm before tossing it onto the bed somewhere and pressing himself all against Sirius’ side again. “Not going anywhere,” he said, and took Sirius in his hand once more. “Tell me what you like.”

Sirius let out a little laugh, letting his head rest back against the pillows. “You.”

Remus smiled and took advantage of the newly exposed expanse of Sirius’ throat to kiss it gently. He tightened his grip and heard Sirius’ breathing hitch. “And?”

There was a beat of Sirius simply breathing, before his hand closed around Remus’. It was Remus’ turn to breath a little heavier, watching Sirius show him this part of himself. Never in a million years did he think…

“Can I…?” Sirius began, then hesitated until Remus nodded. He didn’t know what Sirius was asking, but he was okay with it.

It turned out Sirius wanted Remus on top of him, thighs against Sirius’ hips. It turned out Sirius wanted to grab the lube and dribble it straight onto his own stomach, then pull Remus down with his hands on the backs of his thighs.

“Oui?” Sirius mumbled in response to Remus’ punched out moan, and rolled his hips up.

“Fuck. Fuck, yeah, yeah,” Remus breathed. He let Sirius coax him the way he wanted, his hands framing Sirius’ head. They built a relatively quick rhythm, but after a while Sirius started making noises again. He was louder than Remus had expected.

“Who knew,” Remus let slip. He couldn’t remember ever being this hard.

“More,” Sirius panted, then reached for one of Remus’ hands and wrapped it around both of their dicks.

Remus couldn’t help but laugh a little, even as he groaned at the sight of Sirius’ large hand around his, around both of them. “Your play, huh?” he said.

“Communicate to score,” Sirius mumbled, a little deliriously.

Remus would have made fun of him for it, if it hadn’t reminded him of something. He leaned down instead for a kiss.

“That fucking hat trick, Pads, fuck,” he rubbed his thumb against the sensitive base of his cock, thinking about the powerful, dark look Sirius always got on the ice. “You were so good. You’re always so good.”

Sirius made another low noise in the back of his throat. “Because of you,” he managed, then, “I think about you on the ice. All the time. More.”

Remus couldn’t help but smile as he bit a kiss into Sirius’ neck. Sirius said “more” in the same way that he yelled “skate” at his teammates from the bench.

“Yes, Captain,” Remus said into his skin.

“Fuck,” Sirius groaned, but it didn’t sound all that unhappy at all. He practically growled and wrapped an arm fulling around Remus’ back before flipping them.

“C’mere,” Sirius said simply again, and then his hand slipped down to Remus’ ass and lifted him against him.

Yes,” Remus choked out, arms tight around Sirius’ neck. He could feel himself getting close. Sirius had made them both messy with the nearly steady stream of precome it was leaking, clear and shining.

“Did,” Remus thought for a moment, “did you already…”

“No,” Sirius panted. “Just—how I am.”

Remus couldn’t even reply to that.

“Close,” Sirius said. “Remus...” He let Remus back down against the mattress and hitched his legs around his hips. Remus moaned as it brought them that much closer. Sirius expression was blissful, he looked relaxed and Remus couldn't imagine how he had gotten so lucky.

Remus felt his breath catch, his back arch off the bed, before he came hard, blindingly so. He felt Sirius’ reaction when he did, a shaky release of breath as Remus arched against him. Sirius pressed against him, cock heavy and aching against Remus’ hip. He rutted once, twice, and then came, too, with a groan. He came for a long time, mouth open and eyes shut. Remus felt his cock twitch in a valiant effort to come again at the sight.

“Jesus,” he breathed, reaching out. “God, Sirius, look at—you’re so…”

Sirius more or less fell into Remus’ kiss. It was sloppy and wet, and Remus never wanted him to stop. He pressed his fingers through Sirius’ hair to steady him, to pull him in completely until they were chest to chest. Sirius was breathing hard, panting into Remus’ mouth. There was a fine tremor beneath his skin and Remus passed his hands up and down Sirius’ sides, smoothing it away. He pressed kisses to Sirius’ jaw.

“Fuck,” Sirius murmured. “Fuck, Loops, that was…” he groaned a little.

Something in Remus’ chest warmed at the nickname. He held Sirius a little tighter.

Sirius looked at Remus, smiled softly, then pressed his face against Remus’ neck, warming and laughing lightly. “You liked your hat trick?”

Remus laughed out loud. “My hat trick? Your hat trick.”

“But it was for you,” Sirius pressed a kiss to Remus’ neck, which turned into a trail of them until he reached Remus’ mouth again. “For our team…but for you.”

Remus pushed his fingers through Sirius’ hair. “Maybe this is a new hat trick. Our hat trick. A sort of—celebration.”

Sirius laughed, tilting his head.

Remus pressed a kiss to his lips. His heart was still beating hard as he tried to catch his breath. “You know, like a Gordie Howe hat trick is a goal, an assist, and a fight. We can have a goal, an assist, and a…” He smiled.

Sirius smiled slowly, eyes dark and knowing. “A fuck?”

“Maybe,” Remus grinned as Sirius bent to kiss his neck again.

“What will we call it, eh?” He trailed his fingers lightly over Remus’ sensitive dick, then smoothed a warm thumb over his hip bone.

“Mm…” Remus let his eyes slip closed, tilting his chin up.

“Fruit-loop,” Sirius laughed, then snorted and laughed harder. “Fuck-trick.”

Remus laughed too, and then they were laughing against each other, then kissing, then laughing again.

“I’ll just have to score more goals, then,” Sirius whispered against his mouth.

“I guess so,” Remus said.

 

 

(A/N: My prom years have passed, and yet I, too, want Finn O’Hara to be my prom date.)

Chapter Text

Remus woke up to the sound of his phone ringing. It sounded much louder than it probably was from how startled he was. His head jerked up from the pillow, and he opened one eye against the light. He reached blindly and answered.

“Hello?” his voice cracked a little. He cleared it. “Sorry, hi?”

“Remus!” his little brother’s voice shouted in his ear. “Mom says we’re coming for Thanksgiving!”

“What—” Remus blinked hard, falling back on his side with the phone to his ear, “I—Hi, Jules, that’s great,” he looked at the clock and laughed a little, rubbing his eyes. It read 6:45 am. “You’re up early.”

“Yeah. Mom said—”

He was cut off, though, and Remus could hear his mom in the background. “Julian Lupin, I told you not to wake your brother up!”

“Tell her it’s okay,” Remus sighed. “That’s really awesome. I can’t wait.”

“Can’t wait for what?” said a sleepy-slow voice in his ear.

Remus’ eyes widened as a warm hand slid around his waist, and a bare chest pressed against his equally naked back. Remus realized that he was stark naked with Sirius Black in his bed and talking to his little brother on the phone.

Sirius began to say something else, in French this time, when Remus spun quickly in Sirius’ arms, feet twisting in the sheets, and pressed a hand over his mouth. Sirius, obviously not yet totally awake, just made a sleepy sound and kissed his palm, but said nothing further.

Julian, thank god, was more focused on yelling something to their mom.

“Sorry,” Julian said, sighing into the speaker. “Mum’s really mad I woke you.”

“Tell her it’s fine, really,” Remus said, heart going fuzzy as Sirius blinked up at him from his pillow and halo of dark hair. “But, um, Jules, do you mind if I call you back a little later?”

“Yeah!” Jules said brightly. “Can we FaceTime? I wanna show you, I learned this new thing in practice.”

“Sure, of course,” Remus said.

Sirius perked up a little and grabbed Remus’ wrist to move his hand away. Jules? he mouthed, and Remus nodded, pressing a single finger to his lips. Sirius kissed that, too.

“Okay. Bye, Re! Oh, can we go to another Lions game do you think soon? Next visit, maybe?”

Sirius gave him a thumbs up and Remus laughed.

“I think we can definitely swing something, yeah.”

That seemed to be the trick to getting him happily off the phone, and Remus made sure he had hung up before throwing it towards the end of the bed with a laugh.

“Jeez, sorry. Bit of a wake up call, and on your day off, too.”

“s’okay,” Sirius’ stretched, full body, back arching, sheet slipping dangerously low on his hips. Remus had none of the dream-like disillusions as the first time he’d woken up beside Sirius. Instead, he pressed his hand to Sirius’ warm chest and leaned over him for a kiss.

“Ca va?” Remus asked with a kiss to the corner of Sirius’ mouth.

Sirius cupped the back of Remus’ head and kissed him harder, tongue slipping into his mouth.

“So good,” he said, and Remus’ chest warmed. “The family’s coming for Thanksgiving, eh?”

“Looks like it,” Remus laughed, then kissed Sirius’ cheek. It still felt like a novel gesture, so overly casual. “I’ll miss you.”

Sirius sighed and let his head fall back on the pillows. “If I don’t return look for my body in my mother’s garden.”

Remus made a sympathetic noise, but he wasn’t sure how much more he could do. He only knew what everyone knew of Sirius’ home life—or thought they knew. He passed his hands through Sirius’ hair, pushing it off his forehead.

“You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. If you want to come over and eat my mom’s frankly perfect turkey dinner, you can. My dad will try to speak french with you and it will be horrible.”

Sirius laughed, a full, shaking one. “Want me to meet your parents? You like me that much?”

“Well, it’s like you said,” Remus leaned into him. “It’s been a long time coming on this end.”

“Mm,” Sirius hummed. He let Remus kiss his neck for a moment, then tapped his side. “What is frankly?”

Remus laughed and Sirius pinched him lightly. “Um. Huh,” Sirius played with a curl of Remus’ hair while he thought. “It’s like, obviously. Or, no, like…like hands down. Or fucking. Fucking perfect turkey dinner.”

“Ah, got it,” Sirius’ smile slowly turned down at the corners and he held Remus’ face gently in his hands. “My mother is not an—easy woman. My father’s not…he cares about hockey. That’s about it. I wish it was just something I could do.”

“I’m sorry. Mon chou.”

Sirius wrinkled his nose but laughed. “Cute.”

“It’s only for two days, anyway,” Remus said, pushing Sirius’ hair away from his face. “You’ll be back before you know it.” He pressed a kiss to his forehead. “Let me make you some breakfast, okay? Anything you want in particular?”

Sirius smiled sleepily at him, hands sliding down to the dip of Remus’ lower back. He thumbs moved gently across his skin. “You’re always so good to everyone. Which… Re, last night was…”

Remus felt his chest warm as Sirius shook his head, laughing softly as he pressed his lips to Remus’ temple.

“You’re kind,” Sirius said in a soft voice. “I feel good when I’m with you. You treat me like I’m…just myself.”

Remus placed his palm on Sirius’ chest and let him talk.

“I never thought I’d ever get to be with—anyone I actually wanted to be with.”

Remus watched his own fingers trace a pattern over Sirius’ collarbone. “So, all those girls…” He had a sudden flash of Sirius with his hand on some girl’s waist, chin tilted into their kiss.

Sirius laughed. “Those girls. They’re—fine.” Remus snorted and Sirius squeezed him closer. “I just mean…I know what they’re after, you know? A story to tell their friends, a good time. So, I kiss them, keep up appearances, and let them down gently.”

Remus sat up and stared at him. “You mean you never…”

Sirius scrunched his nose. “I did, in the beginning but…it’s exhausting, being someone you’re not. Especially in a setting like that, you know? Where there’s nowhere to hide.”

Remus nodded slowly, leaning into the knuckles that Sirius traced against his cheek. “I hated when you picked up girls.”

Sirius grinned. “Jealous?”

Remus raised an eyebrow, “Who’s calling who jealous?”

Sirius laughed and leaned forward for a quick kiss before falling back against Remus’ pillows with a groan and long stretch. Remus was still figuring out how to deal with a warm, stretched out Sirius Black in his bed.

“Mon dieu, I’m sore,” Sirius lifted one long, bare thigh up, throwing it across the backs of Remus’ legs. “Stretch me out, like at the rink.”

Sirius was already laughing halfway through the words, and then Remus was too, but he grabbed Sirius’ thigh anyway, pushing his knee back towards his chest.

“Aren’t I off duty?”

Sirius just made a noncommittal response and closed his eyes. Remus relaxed his leg and dug his fingers into the part of Sirius’ hip flexor that he knew tightened up a lot.

“I was joking, Re,” Sirius’ smile was soft, but he let out a breath as Remus’ fingers worked.

“We have a big roadie coming up after the break, and you’re nice and relaxed right now. The perfect time for some extra attention.”

Sirius laughed, staring up at the ceiling and letting Remus smooth his hands over the sensitive strip of skin that Remus had never touched bare before. It was soft and slightly paler than the rest of Sirius’ body, like it never saw sun. Remus liked that idea, that he was touching something that nobody, not even the sun, got to touch.

“Besides,” Remus said, in a quieter voice. “I like touching you.” He glanced up when he felt Sirius’ eyes on him. “It’s pretty surreal, after…you know. All this time.”

Sirius turned his head, but didn’t raise it off the pillows. His dark hair curled, like a halo around his head on the white pillowcase. Sirius reached forward and tangled their fingers together in the air before pulling forward with his hand until Remus had to lay against his chest. Sirius pressed the back of Remus’ palm against his mouth.

“It’s only a few days,” he said, as if he was trying to convince himself.

Remus nodded. “Only a few days.”

~

 

Remus had a spray bottle in one hand and a towel in the other, deep-cleaning his apartment when his phone began ringing, interrupting his music.

He answered it with his headphones without looking, assuming it was his mother telling him they had landed.

“Hey mom, okay flight?”

“Would your mother tell you she likes the way you look when you come?”

Remus coughed out a surprised laugh, and he could almost picture Sirius’ smile on the other end of the line.

“No,” Remus said. “No, she certainly wouldn’t. Are you at the airport, too?”

“Yep,” Sirius sighed. “Kill me.”

“Mm,” Remus said, spraying down his kitchen counter. “Life in the airport lounge, waiting for your father’s private jet must be hard.”

Sirius laughed dryly.

“I’m kidding,” Remus said softer. “I wish you were here.”

“I’ve had five bags of pretzels. That’s how stressed I am.”

“Aw, ba—um,” Remus set the spray bottle down hard. “I—sorry. Aw.”

“Did you just almost call me babe?”

“No,” Remus said, pressing his palm over his eyes. Then, after a pause, “No, I almost called you baby.”

Sirius was silent on the other end of the line. Remus listened to the sound of flights being announced in the background and Sirius’ breathing for a moment.

“That’s…” Sirius said finally, clearing his throat a little. “That’s good.”

“Good?” Remus asked carefully.

Sirius laughed, “I’m not exactly used to pet-names, Remus. It’s—it’s not a bad change.”

Remus’ heart pulled a little. “Oh. Well, okay, then.”

“Hey,” Sirius’ voice was soft through the speakers. “You going to keep me company at night while I’m away?”

“Not only will I do that,” Remus said, turning to lean against the counter. “But I will save you the best leftovers you will ever eat.”

“Pre-game meal worthy?”

“You know it, baby.”

Sirius’ laugh was loud and bright in his ear and Remus grinned at having encouraged such a sound.

“I can’t wait. I’ll text you when I land, eh?”

“Don’t forget,” Remus said. “Text me whenever you want.”

“It’ll let you know that I’m still alive. Remember, my body. My mother’s garden.”

Remus tightened his grip on the phone. “You’ll be back on the ice soon.”

Sirius let out a long sigh into the speaker. “I will. I’ll be back with the team. I’ll be back with you.”

Remus smiled and knew it showed in his voice. “Have a safe flight, okay?”

“Okay,” Sirius said wistfully. “Bye, Loops.”

 

~

 

Remus had his own ideas about Sirius’ family, but they did nothing to prepare him for the tight, pure unhappiness littering Sirius’ voice when he called that night. Remus’ parents and Julian had left about a half hour ago, tired from their flight in, and Remus had been sitting on the couch, pretending to watch TV and waiting for Sirius’ call. He answered on the first ring.

“Hey,” he said, rubbing a hand over his face at how eager he sounded.

“Hi,” Sirius’ voice crackled through the phone, the greeting clipped. Remus thought he heard a door shut from Sirius’ end, like Sirius hadn’t even waited to fully get to his room to dial the phone.

“How’d it go?” Remus asked quieter this time.

He was answered with a groan, and a rustling that sounded like Sirius falling back onto a bed. “It’s…the same. It’s nice to have Regulus playing in the NHL. Takes some of the time away from talking about me.” Sirius groaned. “Why did I come a day early. I wish I had come tomorrow, had one family dinner, and then just flew out the next morning as planned.”

Remus pulled his knees up to his chest, tucking himself into one corner of the couch. “Fuck, Pads, I’m sorry.”

“What can I do, eh? It’s fine.”

Remus frowned, unsettled by the hints of that old, cold tone that Sirius used to carry around when they’d first met. Less than five hours with his family, and already he was shutting himself back down, containing all remnants of his usual self.

“Miss you,” Remus said softly. He wanted to comfort Sirius, but he didn’t want to cross any lines either. They were so new, and he wasn’t sure what he was allowed.

“Remus, you have no idea,” another heavy sigh broke up Sirius’ words. “How much I miss you.”

Remus sprawled out on the couch with a sigh of his own, listening to Sirius breathe on the other side of the phone. Never something he’d thought he’d be doing.

“How’s my favorite super fan?” Sirius asked after a few moments.

Remus raised an eyebrow. “I really hope you aren’t calling me that.”

Sirius laughed. “Julian.”

“Oh,” Remus smiled. “Unknowingly dying that you’re asking. He’s good. He loves hockey, but that means he’d rather be on the ice than do any of his school work which is posing a little bit of problem for my parents but…you know. It’s cute. If he loves it, he should work hard.”

Sirius hummed. “Yeah, I think so.”

“I mean, grades, and all that, but…”

“Hockey,” Sirius said wistfully and Remus laughed, agreeing.

Remus could practically feel Sirius rubbing his eyes, pinching the bridge of his nose, and so, after a few moments of silence, he asked again, with one addition that he hoped would break the ice that, Remus was quickly learning, Sirius allowed to freeze over when he was around his parents for too long.

“How’d it go, baby?” Remus said quietly into the phone.

Sirius made a low, wounded noise. “Re.”

“I get it if you feel like you can’t talk about it while you’re there.”

Sirius was quiet again. Remus was learning that that was also something he did. He liked it, how careful Sirius was about collecting his thoughts. Like everything he said mattered. Then again, Remus didn’t know how he felt about what in his life could have led to that. The immense media pressure, probably, and everything he said being constantly taken completely out of context.

“I…” Sirius’ began, then stopped. “I can’t.”

Remus nodded, heart squeezing. “Okay. That’s fine, of course, Sirius.”

“No,” Sirius said, voice almost a whisper. “What about—Would you say…again.”

Remus squinted a little, confused. What had he said? And then, he realized.

“It’s alright,” he said, biting his lip. “It’s alright, baby.”

Sirius laughed and it shook a little. “Is that so stupid?”

“No. God, no,” Remus said all in one breath.

“I want to find something to call you,” Sirius said, and then there was a sound like he was rolling over. The next time he spoke, his voice was muffled slightly by pillows. “Something good.”

Remus smiled. “Something in French.”

“If you want.”

“Honestly, I…I really like Loops.”

“Yeah?”

Remus nodded. “Yeah. It makes me, you know.” Remus cleared his throat. “Feel like I’m part of the team.” When Sirius started to protest Remus held up his hand, as if Sirius could see him. “I know, I know, I am. But still. It’s a nice reminder.”

Sirius hummed. “I still want something that’s…just for me.”

Remus’ entire body went warm.

“You call me…” Sirius began.

“Baby,” Remus said breathlessly.

“You’re the only one,” Sirius’ voice was like heat running down Remus’ spine. “I want to be the only one.”

You are, Remus wanted to say. Sometimes it feels like you always have been.

But that was insane.

“Re,” Sirius questioned.

“Sorry, I’m here.”

“Do you…we can FaceTime?”

Remus was hitting the video call feature before he took his next breath. Sirius’ face appeared on the screen, smiling but a little tight around the eyes. Remus wanted to fix it. He wanted to fix it right now.

“Hi,” Sirius said.

“Hi,” Remus said.

They stared at each other, and then Remus swallowed, working up the nerve.

“I…I was thinking about going into the bedroom.”

One corner of Sirius’ mouth quirked up. “I’m already in bed. Catch up, Fruit-Loop.”

Remus couldn’t help the laugh that escaped, a little too giddily for his liking, as he pushed himself off the couch to pad into his bedroom. He crawled onto his bed and, on next looking down at his phone, Sirius was sprawled against the pillows—sans shirt.

“Fuck,” Remus mumbled, falling back against his pillows. He could feel the anticipation of it all beginning to harden him in his pants and he reached down to squeeze himself through his sweatpants lightly.

Sirius’ eyes were dark and his tongue darted out to wet his lips. “Montre moi.”

A shiver ran down Remus’ spine. Show me.

Remus squeezed himself again, and then held his phone back so Sirius could see the shape of his dick beginning to press itself against the seam of his sweatpants. Sirius let out a shaky breath at the sight and Remus could hear a rustling like he was beginning to play with himself, too. Remus could picture the way Sirius’ nimble, calloused fingers wrapped around himself, the width of his palms. Perfect for scoring goals. Perfect for this.

“I wish you could touch me,” Remus said without thinking, and then flushed.

“I’ll tell you how I would,” Sirius said.

“Show me you first,” Remus said. “I need to see.”

Sirius held his phone back, too, resting it on one of his strong thighs before unbuckling his belt and the dark jeans he was wearing.

“Pads, your jeans. Where the fuck do you keep those all season?”

Sirius laughed, but Remus was soon too distracted for an answer. Sirius was reaching up for the band of his boxers before hooking them below his balls to reveal his semi.

“Huh,” Remus’ breath punched out of him and he felt his dick twitch up against his palm.

“Remus,” Sirius said as he gave himself lazy strokes, filling out rapidly.

“Hm?”

“I want you here. With me.”

Remus couldn’t help but smile. “Well, that’s a familiar tone of voice. Captain.”

Sirius smiled, too. The vein was beginning to trace itself out on the underside of his dick, and Remus was determined to get him there.

"I want to be there, too," Remus said. He wished he could feel Sirius' heartbeat.

Remus shoved his sweats and underwear down to his thighs. He didn’t usually get hard so fast, but he already felt sensitive.

“Fuck,” Sirius’ voice came lowly through the speakers. “Yeah, Loops, just like that.”

Remus reached over to his bedside table, propping Sirius up on a pillow to take a little into his hand. His grip turned into a slick glide and he let his head fall back in the pillows. He spread his thighs a little at how good it felt with Sirius right there--almost.

“You looks so good, Re, mon dieu. Fuck, you don’t even—I bet no one on the team even knows how strong you are under that fucking team jacket. Do you use the team gym?”

Remus let out a breathless laugh, holding his dick around the base and rolling his head to the side to look at Sirius. “That’s what you’re wondering right now, you hockey nerd.”

A faint blush rose to Sirius’ cheeks. “You look so good. You look…God, come out onto the ice to me when I’m home. Fuck, I know you’re good. I can tell by the way you fucking move.” As he spoke, Sirius’ hand began to stroke his dick again. He was hard now, and the tip of his cock was shiny with precome. It was then that Remus remembered just how much of that there would be. The thought made him groan.

“Do that thing you like, Re,” Sirius panted. “The thing on the top.”

“How do you know that?” Remus said. “You’ve seen my dick once.”

“Watching you,” Sirius said simply, and then made a little punched out sound. “Fuck, I never thought I’d get to…”

Remus answered his sound, hips shoving up into his own fist of his own accord.

“Shit,” Sirius murmured, “Remus, Remus…”

Remus pried his eyes open and looked to Sirius, who was already looking at him. His eyes were fixed on the screen, shine on his fingers.

“Do you know how fucking hot that is? It’s like you just—fuck, you’re not coming but you just…”

“Embarrassing, though,” Sirius smiled a little before his mouth dropped open. “Not good if it's at the wrong time.”

“Jesus,” Remus panted, and rubbed his palm over the crown of his dick.

“There you go,” Sirius sounded out of breath and smug. “I was right.”

Remus could only grunt in response.

“Come on, Loops,” Sirius said. “Imagine…” Sirius’ voice broke off, and he sounded almost nervous when he began again. “Imagine I—Imagine I’d let you fuck me.”

Remus’ eyes, fallen closed, snapped open. He felt his dick fatten in his hand.

“Sirius…”

“I want that,” Sirius said softly. “If—if you don’t—”

“Yes,” Remus gasped, hand working himself faster. “Fuck, baby, yes..."

With those words, Remus watched Sirius fall apart, coming in thick strips against his stomach. Sirius cut his own cry off with gritted teeth, his hips flexing up as he worked himself through it.

The sight was enough. Remus’ orgasm hit him hard, made his head heavy against his pillow as his dick pulsed in his hand. His chest heaved and he was faintly aware of Sirius murmuring gently in French as he came down from his high.

Remus caught his breath and looked down at the dark stains on his sweatshirt, and then at Sirius—who looked dazed and sated.

“Loops,” Sirius laughed, and it was accompanied by his bright smile, the tightness erased. Remus felt pride swell in his chest.

“Better?” Remus smiled.

“Yeah. Lots.”

“Do you…” Remus licked his lips. “Did you mean that? Do you really want that?”

Sirius flushed, but nodded. “I mean,” he ran a hand through his hair, slightly sweaty now so that parts of it stuck up off of his forehead. “I’d be fine with it both ways, honestly. Like—so fine. I mean, Re, I’ve never even…But I want you.”

Remus bit his lip against his smile. “I wish you were here. I’d…any time you want.”

Sirius’ smile turned a little shy, but he had the very same excited look in his eye that he sometimes had before a game.

 

After they cleaned themselves up, Remus brought his phone into the bathroom to brush his teeth. Sirius made him laugh and drool toothpaste everywhere, but it was worth it just to get to watch Sirius, butt naked, root around in his suitcase for his pajamas.

“Wait,” Remus said as he flicked the bathroom light off. “Is this your childhood room I’m seeing?”

Sirius had set his phone down for a moment to pull his sweatpants on and he laughed before giving Remus a glance around. Remus frowned.

“That looks…”

Sirius crawled into bed, raising his eyebrows at Remus. “Like a hotel room?”

“Yes…a really expensive one.” Remus followed Sirius, badly wishing he was pulling back the covers for the both of them.

“I can’t believe I have this fucking…” Sirius broke off in a yawn, rubbing his eyes. “Fucking dinner tomorrow. I mean Reg will barely look at me, I just…” he shook his head. “I don’t want to just dump this on you.”

“No, no,” Remus said, folding one hand beneath his pillow so it was almost, almost like they were on their sides facing each other. “Pads. You can talk to me.”

Sirius closed his eyes. “No, this was a good night—”

“The only way this could be a bad night is if you go to sleep upset. I hate seeing you hurting, Sirius.”

Sirius smiled a little, but it soon dropped off his face as he stared, eyes a little unfocused. “I never really talk about it. Not to anyone except, you know, therapy. Where I know it won’t get out.”

“Not even to James?” Remus prompted gently, and Sirius shook his head.

“No. I don’t—It’s not an excuse. Plenty of people go through so much worse than a slap around now and then—”

Sirius cut off shortly at Remus’ harsh intake of breath. His gray eyes flicked downward, then back to Remus’ face.

“I thought you knew. The…the phone call in the lounge…”

“I…” Remus swallowed. “I did, I think. I just—to hear you really say it is… That isn’t an excuse. Pads, you…I mean you’re so strong. Think about that. You found help. On your own. That’s twenty times more than a lot of people can say.”

Sirius nodded, picking at the thread on the mattress. “Heather says I have a bad habit of ‘belittling myself,’” Sirius smiled a little. “Like, my problems. I mean, I get hit in hockey all the time. I know, I know that’s different. But it doesn’t always feel different.”

“And Regulus, does he…”

“No. He doesn’t disobey them. Guess he saw the consequences and got the thought through his head earlier than I did.”

Sirius was quiet for a moment, and then a firm, determined look crossed his face. “I wouldn’t trade places with him though. I wouldn’t give up the Lions for anything.”

“What do you mean give up the Lions? Your parents asked you to give up the Lions?

“They wanted me to get a trade after my rookie year,” Sirius nodded. “My dad played for the Snakes. His career was ended by Godric, you remember. Leo Godric, number 4. It was an accident, but, you know…one wrong hit and you’re done. That’s what happened to my dad and his back. He’s never forgiven the organization for not kicking Godric out of the league.”

Remus could imagine that. Along with Mr. Black’s harsh face. Godric was a hero in Gryffindor, one of their best.

“My mom,” Sirius said, then took a breath like the words were pouring out of him too fast. “My mom saw it that way, too. They put all this work, all this money into making me a good player—”

“You’re the best player,” Remus broke in. “The best, Sirius.”

A sad sort of smile crossed Sirius’ face. “Not if I’m on the Lions. Then I’m just another trader to them.”

“That’s why,” Remus realized, feeling breathless. “That’s why…in the beginning…”

Remus thought of Sirius’ hunched shoulders, his carefully blank face, his cold looks.

Sirius nodded again. “Why make friends if you’re just going to have to leave them? No matter how incredible they seem? My mom—my mom was calling me everyday, saying—making these threats…Dad’d come down to my house and just…well, you know. It’s easy to play off bruises in a locker room.”

Remus shivered at the thought. All the times he’d worked with Sirius, all the times he’d seen various, ugly dark splotches on his ribs and shoulders.

“But you refused,” Remus said, gripping the phone like, through it, he could hold Sirius close. “You refused the trade.”

“I did.”

“Fuck,” Remus rested his cheek against his pillow, not realizing how tense his shoulders had become. “And no one knows?”

“You do, now.”

“Sirius…god, that’s—the Lions Organization—“

“They know, but only because my mother came and,” Sirius laughed bitterly, rubbing his eyes again. “She came and did what she always does. Coach helped me send her away so, I guess he knows, too. At least a little. He didn’t actually make me talk about it.”

Remus didn’t know what to say, only, “I wish you were here. I’d kiss the hell out of you.”

“I’d probably just…shit, what is the word for when ice cream…”

Remus raised an eyebrow, heart beating a little faster. “I…melt?”

“Yes!” Sirius smiled, looking a little brighter. As if his story had lightened him. “I’d melt. I like to kiss you.”

“That…” Remus could only grin back. “Baby.”

Sirius smiled back at him for a moment before he reached out, as if to touch the screen. “We should get some sleep. What is it, now, three? Big day tomorrow, lots of eating. Lots of family. A good family for you. You have to tell Julian I say hi.”

Remus nodded. He would give anything to just be spending the day with Sirius tomorrow, in their sweatpants and keeping an eye on a roasting turkey.

“Yeah,” Remus whispered. “Goodnight, Pads. See you soon, eh?”

“Yeah,” Sirius whispered back. “Re…” he began, but shook his head, as if he didn’t have the words. But Remus knew. “Goodnight.”

 

~

 

The first Remus heard of it was an email from Lions Management. It had been sent out to all of the training and equipment staff, something vague about not talking to reporters. Remus really got the news from twitter.

#BlackBash was trending. And attached to all of the tweets was a video which thumbnail was, at first he thought of Sirius, but then he recognized Regulus Black’s face. It must have been from before the short Thanksgiving break because he was in Snake green in his locker room. Remus held his breath, hand pressed to his throat, as he hit play.

“Regulus,” a reporter’s voice came through faintly from off frame, “Do you have any comments on the rivalry being set up between you and your brother? Does it get in the way of your personal relationship with Sirius at all, being on the Lions and Snakes?”

Regulus didn’t answer for a moment. He seemed like he was trying to play off his hesitation by wiping his face with a towel. But then his eyes, gray-blue like his brother’s, flicked somewhere off camera. His face regained all the sharpness that it had had on the ice.

“My brother’s got a dirty game, slashing and all of that. And you’ve heard him on the ice. I don’t endorse that sort of hockey.”

“And your personal relationship? How about this Thanksgiving—”

“What personal relationship?” Regulus said, eyes dull and casual. “As far as I’m concerned, he might as well stay away with the rest of his pack of cubs.”

Remus stared at the screen. He watched it again. Then again.

It was just—strange. This type of personal attack, especially to locker room media, where you’d be surrounded by staff and teammates. It caused a horrible feeling to sweep through Remus’ chest. At the end of the video, he could just see Snape there, sitting down in his stall beside Regulus’.

He was laughing.

 

Sirius wasn’t answering his phone.

He was on the plane, Remus tried to tell himself. But he hadn’t even received a good morning text.

He did the next thing he could think of.

The phone rang once before clicking on.

“I’m not reaching him either,” James’ voice said, sounding tight with worry. “This is—fuck, Loops. This isn’t good for him right now.”

He tried Pascal next.

“Remus,” he answered the phone sounding grave. “Good of you to call.”

“That reporter goaded him on but…fuck. What the fuck?” Remus ran a hand through his hair. “Has Sirius called you?”

“I can’t think I’d be above James—”

“I’ve tried James.”

“—and you,” Pascal finished, and Remus blinked.

“Me?” he said.

He could almost feel Pascal’s dark eyebrows raise. “You are friends, non?”

“I…Yeah,” Remus stuttered, feeling his face heat at how jumpy he sounded. “Yeah, no, we are. Just, let me know, if you…”

“Of course, Remus.”

“Thanks, Dumo.”

 

Remus tried Sirius again, and then a third time when he knew he couldn’t be on the plane anymore. He couldn’t decide if he was more frantic from not hearing from him, or happy that maybe Sirius was trying to keep away from it all. That had to be the healthiest option, even if it was making Remus feel a little insane. He sat down, then stood up again. He watched the video and then threw his phone on the other end of the couch, only to pick it up again.

He was just thinking about catching a cab out to Sirius’ house, when there was a brisk knock on his door.

Chapter Text

Remus didn’t even hesitate. He ran, socks slipping on the floor, and all but slid into the door to open it, hoping, hoping that it would be—

And there Sirius was, swaying on his feet in the hallway. He has a snapback on, hair curling down on his forehead and his shoulders were tense. There was purple dusted beneath his eyes and he looked exhausted. He looked at Remus for a long moment before Remus watched his throat work around a swallow.

“I hope it’s okay that—”

But Remus was already pulling him inside and wrapping his arms around his neck. Sirius let out a breath and Remus heard his bag drop heavily to the floor, heard the door fall closed, and then Sirius’ arms were just as tight around him. Sirius felt overly warm and shaky in his arms, and he shuttered a little when Remus pressed his cool hand to the back of his neck, knocking his hat off so he could run his fingers through his dark hair a few times.

“Of course it’s okay. I’ve been waiting for you.”

Remus felt Sirius drop his forehead to his shoulder, then press his nose into his neck. He was hunched over, too tall for it, really, but Remus pressed up on his toes and held him tight.

“At least I know why he wouldn’t look at me now,” Sirius’ voice was muffled.

“It’s not you,” Remus said, feeling anger bubble back up in his chest. “He’s being fucking, I don’t know, brainwashed or something. By Snape and his fucking—Snape and Malfoy.”

Sirius didn’t respond, but let Remus take more of his weight. His breathing felt uneven against Remus’ chest. Remus pulled back after a few more seconds and pressed a palm to his cheek.

“What can I do? Are you hungry? Or does a shower sound good, maybe?”

Sirius nodded. “Shower, I think. It’s okay I’m here? Your parents—”

“Left this morning,” Remus cut him off, then smiled a little. “They’re so worried about you, you know. I thought Julian was going to explode. He was so angry about that video, I actually thought he might drop that ‘F’ bomb he accidentally learned from me two years ago.”

A laugh startled out of Sirius, eyes tired. “Wow. My best fan.”

Remus slid his hands down Sirius’ arms and laced their fingers together to give him a little tug in the direction of the bathroom. “I thought I was your best fan.”

“I don’t know. I think my best fan would wear my jersey for me.”

Remus was glad, at least, that he was joking, even a little.

“Maybe for now,” Sirius said as they reached Remus’ bathroom. “you can just shower with me?”

Remus let out a breath of relief. “If you didn’t ask, I was going to.”

He turned the shower on and watched out of the corner of his eye as Sirius stripped. While the water was heating up, Sirius pressed himself all along Remus’ back. He was naked, but it wasn’t sexual. He was just…looking for warmth, maybe. Looking for Remus.

“Have to take your clothes off, non?”

Remus let Sirius rid him of his sweatshirt and sweatpants and then they stepped into the shower. Remus maneuvered Sirius under the hot spray and reached up to tilt his head back. His heart was pounding, and he tried to take a few steadying breaths. He wanted so badly for Sirius to be okay. Remus reached down and smoothed Sirius’ hands, which were unconscious fists, into loose palms.

“I,” Sirius began. “Don’t, um. I don’t really feel like…”

Remus shook his head. “Me neither. Relax, baby, okay?”

A slow smile spread over Sirius’ face and he leaned down, fingers gentle against Remus’ jaw and broad back blocking some of the spray, and kissed Remus—soft and slow.

Remus leaned into it, letting Sirius gather him against his chest, skin on skin. He was warmer than the water, gentle and hurting.

“What if you weren’t here?” Sirius said quietly. Water was dripping in his eyes and they were so blue suddenly, a dark, stormy sea color.

Remus pressed his palms to the broad span of Sirius’ back.

“I’d…” Sirius rubbed his thumb across Remus’ cheek. “I’d come home. I’d feel horrible, and I’d go downstairs…skate, shoot pucks. I’d do that until I couldn’t anymore, and I’d go to bed. And that’s it.”

Remus wrapped his arms around Sirius’ neck, Sirius’ settling around his waist. He tangled his fingers in the wet hair plastered against his skin. “Well, you’re not going to do that now. I’ll kiss you senseless, make you two plates of my mom’s turkey dinner…” Remus pressed up and kissed him again.

“Mm…” Sirius let Remus tilt his chin back and kiss his neck. “Parfait.”

Remus scraped his teeth gently against his jaw. “I would ask if you were going to practice tomorrow, but…”

“Of course I am,” Sirius said, the expression he wore on the ice flickering across his features.

Remus kissed him again. “I know, Captain.”

“But I’m not thinking about that right now,” Sirius sighed and his eyes dropped closed. “I can’t…think right now. I’ll drive myself insane.”

Remus shushed him softly, reaching for the shampoo. “You don’t have to.”

 

 

Remus woke up the next morning to Sirius’ alarm, earlier than usual so he could go home and change for practice. He blinked awake sleepily as Sirius groaned and hit at it. He rolled over and buried his face into Remus’ neck, pressing them together.

“…ne veux pas me lever,” he mumbled. “Nous restons.”

“Entraînement,” Remus said, huddling closer and his eyes still closed.

“Nous restons,” Sirius mumbled again, sounding half way back to sleep already.

The snooze went off again ten minutes later, and Sirius sat up this time. Remus blinked his eyes open in time to watch Sirius scrub his hands over his face a few times, arms and back flexing as he pushed them back through his hair. It had dried curlier than usual from being slept on while wet. Remus reached out to trace the band of his underwear, and Sirius looked over his shoulder at him, eyes tired, but smiling gently.

“Bon matin,” he said, voice raspy with sleep, and then he twisted back around to kiss Remus, deep and slow, with a palm pressed to his chest for support. “Bon matin.”

Remus hummed into the kiss happily, putting his hand on top of Sirius’. “Still feel like I’m dreaming when I wake up with you.”

Sirius laughed. “Good. I’m doing something right.”

“How are you?” Remus asked tentatively.

Sirius sighed, mouth pulling to the side like he was biting the inside of his cheek, but he nodded. “I’m…I’m okay. I’ll probably think about it more later, but…I don’t know. I’m glad we have the roadie to distract me. I’m not excited to answer questions about it.”

Remus raised an eyebrow. “You’re never excited to answer questions about anything.”

“That’s true,” Sirius laughed, then gave Remus a short kiss. “But, really. I am okay. You make me okay.”

Remus smiled, and was about to pull him back down for some more kisses when Sirius gently smacked his hip a few times.

“Let’s go, Lupin, rink in twenty!” Sirius rolled off of the bed and was half way to the bathroom when he stopped and spun. “Loops.”

Remus raised himself up on his elbows. “Mm?”

“What was your number? When you played.”

Remus took a breath before answering. “Six.”

Sirius grinned, head tilting. “Half of twelve. Good. Very lucky.”

Remus laughed. “What if I had said thirteen?”

Sirius gave a shutter and disappeared into the bathroom. Remus laughed, and threw the covers back to follow.

 

“Hey,” Remus said as Sirius started his car. “I wanted to…I thought maybe we should talk about the roadie coming up.”

“Yes?” Sirius glanced over at him as he drove. He has sunglasses on and a team snapback and Remus sort of wanted to ask him to pull over so they could crawl into the backseat.

“Well,” Remus reached over and grabbed his hand across the seats. “I know how important it is for us to be careful, and that’s the only reason I’m saying this. If I had it my way, like, I mean if we could, then the answer would be clear, but…” Remus took a breath, knowing he was rambling. “Do you want to…sleep together? I’m just bringing it up because I won’t be hurt or anything if you don’t because…you know. It’d be pretty hard to explain if someone saw me coming out of your room at the wrong time. Or the other way around.”

Remus looked over at Sirius to see that he was chewing his lip. He couldn’t see his eyes but he knew the expression that rested in them. It would be the same one that he wore when they were down in a game—tight and calculating, trying to see how to make it work.

Remus squeezed his hand. “We don’t have to decide now.”

“Let’s not,” Sirius said. “I want to think about you near me today, even if I can’t kiss you, while I have to deal with absolutely everyone asking if I’m okay. Because I may or may not have responded to anyone’s texts and, given the fact that they don’t know about us…”

Remus nodded. “They’ll think you were doing laps on your rink all night.”

“Oui.”

 

Sirius pulled briefly into a side street behind the rink to let Remus out and he checked his mirrors before leaning in.

“Until tonight?” Sirius said, pressing a last kiss to Remus’ cheek.

“See you in there,” Remus ran quick fingers through his hair, and hopped out of the car.

 

He felt like there were one thousand and one eyes on him as he showed his badge to Tony at the front desk, and walked into his office.

Moody looked up at him with his good eye from where he was unpacking fresh boxes of stick glue and sanding paper. “Good break?”

“Yeah, always good to see the family. You?”

“Kids all made it home, despite working all around the country. Can’t complain. Hear the news?”

Remus looked down at his desk, taking a breath. “Yeah. It’s horrible.”

“Fucking fowl play, is what it is,” Moody grumbled.

“Couldn’t agree more. I just…you know, Sirius just got back. He was just getting confident again.”

“Not what the kid needed, that’s for sure,” Moody sighed and rose with a grunt. “Better get in there. Coach’ll be going in soon, the boys gearing up.”

Remus nodded, throwing his bag into his chair and shoving his phone and badge into his pocket. He left his jacket off, going with his gray shirt with the distressed, overly-washed red Lions Training Staff on the back. He picked up a box of tape, thinking that the wrack was probably empty after break, and followed Moody.

 

The locker room was about what about what Remus expected. Sirius was half-dressed in his stall, hat off and rolling his socks on while James leaned close to him, seemingly whispering furiously. His hazel eyes were full of concern and brighter, as they always looked after he put his contacts in.

Sirius was talking back to him, nodding, and finally Remus saw him wrap an arm around his shoulder, as if he was assuring James that he was okay, really okay.

“Remus,” Pascal appeared beside him, clapping a strong hand on his shoulder. “Maybe you are the lucky one.”

Remus raised an eyebrow. “What?” he said skeptically. He always had to be ready for a prank if Pascal or Logan approached him. Remus glanced over at Logan to see if maybe he was watching, if Pascal was the distraction, but Logan was leaning against the wall beside Leo, laughing as he watched Leo throw two balls against the wall in rapid succession—a classic goalie practice.

“Dumo?” Remus prompted.

Pascal threw his hands up. “No one I have talked to could reach our Captain last night. I was hoping that you were successful.”

“Oh,” Remus hoped he wasn’t blushing. “No. No, I never did. But, you know. We’re not that good of friends.”

Pascal squinted at him for a moment, and then a slow smile broke out across his face and he all but waggled a finger at him. “Okay, Remus, okay.”

“What?” Remus asked again, but Pascal merely patted him on the cheek.

Remus, only a little unsettled, made his way over to the tape wrack and started organizing the black from the white.

“Bon matin,” said a voice in his ear, and Remus smiled.

“Hi, Pads.”

Sirius smiled down at him.

“Okay? James looked…”

Sirius glanced behind him, but they were relatively out of ear shot. “Just making sure I’m okay. You know how he gets. Like a mother. Worrying.”

Remus laughed and nodded.

“Just need some tape,” Sirius said with a tilt of his head. “Tape my sticks.”

“Black, right?” Remus twirled a roll around his finger. “Black for Black?”

“Oui,” Sirius took the tape, letting their fingers brush together for a moment. He flipped it  up in the air as he walked away and caught it behind his back. “Merci.”

Remus swore the first thing he was going to do tonight was take Sirius to bed.

 

Remus followed the boys down the tunnel to practice, letting himself sit on the bench for at least half of the practice before he had to go back and set up for Kasey’s physical therapy session on his thigh. He glanced at the goal. Kasey was looking good today, and Remus wanted to keep it that way.

His eyes followed Sirius around the ice, he couldn’t help it. He was focused, as usual, eyes hard and listening to Coach before springing towards the drills they were doing. He was laughing with Logan and Pascal, seeming to send Logan over to try a trick shot on Leo, which he saved easily. Logan swatted Leo’s butt with his stick in retribution before laughing and skating away for the cross-over drills.

Finally, James came over for some water and leaned on the boards in front of Remus.

“Fruit-Loop,” James said casually.

“Hey, Pots,” Remus glanced up to make sure Sirius was across the ice. He was at the whiteboards with Finn, one glove beneath his armpit and marker cap in his mouth as he pointed. “How’s he doing?”

James sighed and briefly looked over, too. “He seems…pretty good actually. I’m sort of surprised. I mean…” James fiddled with his stick before resting his chin on it thoughtfully. “Between you and me, he doesn’t really talk about this stuff.”

“Really,” Remus nodded along.

“Yeah, but it also really gets him down. Like you can just tell. Like, when we were still rooming on roadies, I always knew when his dad or mom had been texting him. I mean, you know, after we cracked that frosty front of is. But…” James chewed on his lip for a second. “He’d just get this look about him, you know?”

Oh, Remus knew alright.

“I’m glad he’s doing better this time,” Remus said.

“Well, that’s the thing!” James spluttered. Then, voice lowered. “It makes me think he’s…you know. Got someone.”

“Got someone,” Remus repeated slowly.

“Yeah, like a girlfriend.”

“Really.”

“Yeah,” James grinned. “I mean I fucking hope so, he’s just alone in that house all the time. Anyway, you wanna help me get him to bring her to Dumo’s Christmas party and Family Skate?”

Remus looked down to where James had, seemingly subconsciously or out of habit, begun to twist all of the water bottle lids off just enough so that they’d fall off when used, and the drinker would get a face full of Gatorade. He was too distracted to comment. “Me?”

“I don’t really wanna go spreading it around the room if I’m wrong but, well, someone’s gotta help.”

Remus couldn't decide if he wanted to laugh or not. He settled with a noncommittal nod, and that seemed to be enough for James.

 

They were headed to Canada for the road trip: Montreal, Ottawa, Tornoto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver. It was the once-a-year doozy straight that was brutally cold this time of the year.

“But pretty fun,” Logan said in the locker room to Kasey. The boys were sweaty from practice and slowly undressing while they talked.

Kasey sent him a flat look, tying his hair back. “That’s because you’ve only done it a few times.”

“At least we’re in the NHL,” said Leo with a soft smile.

“Yeah, I’m with Peanut,” Logan said.

Leo blushed. “If anyone’s the peanut, it’s you.”

That roused howls from around the room and Pascal wrapped an arm around Leo.

“Look at this. The baby rookie, doing my job for me.”

Kasey whipped Logan in the arm with his towel. “Way to take him down notch, Nut.”

“I wasn’t—No, I wasn’t trying to…”

Logan sent him a smile. “It’s alright, Nut. I know I’m…not tall.”

Kasey cackled. “He can’t even say it.”

Finn leaned over from the other side of Timmy Kane with a somber look on his face. “You’re short, Tremz. It’s okay, we all understand. Everything, will be, okay.”

“Fuck off,” Logan laughed. Then, he glanced at Leo. “At least I don’t have giant squid limbs. Seriously, Knut, how do you control these things?”

“I…don’t?” Leo laughed. “I don’t know.”

“Good for filling up a goal though,” Kasey raised an eyebrow. “If not other things. Bet you make some girl pretty happy, eh?”

Leo was bright red. “What?”

Kasey shrugged. “You know what they say about big sticks…”

“That’s feet,” Finn said.

“That, too.”

Logan mumbled something about hitting the showers, and Leo watched him go.

Remus looked between them all from where he was folding towels with an amused smile. This was part of what he loved most about his job. Just listening. Remembering what it was like to be in a locker room and getting to experience it again.

He spied Sirius over by the fridge, drinking water and looking at his phone, and he decided to take a small risk. He walked over, and pretended to be sorting through the various energy bars stashed on the counter.

“Travel day tomorrow. No games.”

Sirius glanced up, then back at his phone. “Oui.”

Remus crossed his arms and leaned back against the counter, mirroring Sirius’ pose.

“Do you think it’s true?”

Sirius didn’t look up, but Remus could feel his interest. “Do I think what’s true?”

Remus took a breath. “What they say about long sticks.”

Remus had to bite his lip to keep from smiling at the way Sirius’ head snapped towards him. “Oh,” Sirius laughed softly. “Well, I wouldn’t know.”

“Well. Would you want to find out?” Remus looked back at him, mouth barely moving, the words only for him. “Tonight.”

Sirius blinked at him for a moment. Remus watched a flush rise up his neck to his ears, then his cheeks. He laughed, and Remus grinned at his own joke.

“Yes,” Sirius breathed. “Oui, yes.”

Remus nodded, trying to control his heart rate.

“Do you need a ride home?”

“Yeah,” Remus nodded. “Yeah, I really do.”

Sirius all but ran towards the showers, nearly knocking Logan over, now dripping in just a towel.

“Whoa, Cap, where’s the fire?”

“Beneath your ass,” Finn said as he walked by, stark naked, and whipped Logan’s butt with his towel.

The last thing Remus heard was Logan cursing him out in French.

 

He waited for Sirius in the sub-basement of the parking garage as subtly as he could. He saw a few of the guys; Timmy heading out to dinner, Sergei going home to his family, but they didn’t bat an eye. When Sirius finally appeared from behind the opening elevator doors, Remus couldn’t help but be grateful. He was hornier than he had been in a while, and wanting to get away from prying eyes.

“Salut,” Sirius said. His hair was wet from his shower, and it reminded Remus of the first time he had taken Sirius home.

“Hi,” Remus smiled.

They walked to the car mostly in silence, but once they were inside, Remus said, “Mine or yours?”

“Mine,” Sirius started the engine. “I want to cook you breakfast.”

“You can’t cook.”

“I want to kiss you while you make breakfast in my kitchen.”

Remus laughed. “I need to kiss you. Drive fast.”

Remus was already half hard in anticipation by the time Sirius was punching the code into his gate and pulling into his garage. He glanced down at Sirius’ lap before they got out of the car to see that he wasn’t the only one.

Sirius’ garage entered into the mudroom off of the kitchen. They were silent the walked through, Sirius dropping his bag into a chair and opening the fridge.

“You want anything? Water?”

Remus followed him. He turned him around with a hand on his shoulder and closed the refrigerator door with the other.

Sirius smiled. “Oh, you do want something.”

Remus nodded, thigh fitting snuggly between Sirius’. “Yeah.”

“We’re going upstairs?” Sirius pushed off of the cupboard Remus had pinned him against and started walking them backwards. “Maybe you don’t have to sneak into my bedroom this time.”

“I did not sneak,” Remus let himself be pushed gently against the wall by Sirius’ grand staircase.

“No?” Sirius leaned into kiss his neck.

“I was looking for…” Remus began, but the Sirius was sucking a bruise into the tender skin beneath his jaw and he forgot what he was looking for.

“Come on,” Sirius said.

Being back in Sirius’ bedroom was a completely different experience. For one, he wasn’t a little drunk. Everything was clear as day. The tall windows letting the afternoon light in, the white curtains that there was no way Sirius picked out himself, the pictures on the dresser. The massive bed.

“And when you were being nosy,” Sirius said, and then pushed Remus back onto the bed, only to climb his way on top of him. “Bet you didn’t know how much you’d find.”

Remus laughed, twisting his hands into Sirius’ sweatshirt. “You mean, did I know that I’d find out I had a chance with the boy I’d been fantasizing about since I was sixteen? Yeah, no, don’t think I could have guessed that one.”

Sirius pulled back some, eyes dark and pleased. “Sixteen, eh?”

Remus nodded, running his hands up and under Sirius’ sweatshirt. “Took one look at that face in the newspaper, and then I saw a video of you playing…I was pretty done for after that.” Remus smiled. “And mopey about it for a while.”

Sirius’ head tilted. “Mopey?”

“Sad,” Remus said, then laughed at himself. “Which sounds stupid given the fact that I never met you and, let’s be real, you weren’t the nicest person on camera.”

“I was an asshole, you mean,” Sirius smiled.

“Maybe a little,” Remus pushed his hands up further. “Okay, take your clothes off, please.”

Sirius chuckled and let Remus push his sweatshirt over his head, taking his t-shirt with it. Remus’ hands moved to the button on his jeans. “These, too.”

“I’m the only one?” Sirius rolled off of Remus so he could kick his pants away. “Get busy, Loops.”

Remus undressed quickly, mostly so he could catch Sirius with his underwear still on. He settled between Sirius’ thighs and Sirius made a surprised noise, leaning back against the pillows.

Remus curled his fingers into the band of Sirius’ underwear, kissing just below his navel.

“Do you like blowjobs?”

Sirius let out a breath. “Fuck, um. Well…” he hesitated. “Looking at you down there, I think I might but truthfully I’ve never…”

Remus raised an eyebrow. “Had one.”

Sirius nodded, but the way Remus could see his dick filling through his underwear contradicted his words.

“Can I?” Remus said softly, rubbing a palm over Sirius’ dick. “Can I try?”

Sirius nodded again.

Remus smiled, internally triumphant. “First I want to see something.”

Sirius made a questioning noise, but Remus stayed silent and simply continued his gentle strokes over Sirius’ cock through the thin, light-gray fabric of his boxers.

“Mm,” Sirius said, realizing. “I see.”

Remus glanced up at him. “Yeah?” He squeezed the base of Sirius’ cock, then pressed a little harder at the tip.

Sirius made a punched out noise. “Fuck. You’re going to get what you want if you keep that up.”

Remus could see that Sirius was almost fully hard now, beginning to push at the fabric more, the head pressing up against the elastic band. He worked Sirius steadily for another few seconds, and then he leaned down and pressed his tongue to the head. Finally, the fabric got dark with the first little bit of Sirius’ precome. Remus could hear Sirius’ breath coming faster, and Remus leaned back to watch. He pressed the heel of his palm down, the other hand smoothing over Sirius’ strong thigh.

“Fuck, Sirius,” Remus said. He watched as the the fabric of his boxers darkened around the head of his cock, dripping and becoming shiny. Remus’ own cock was hard, pressed between the bed and his stomach, and it was all he could do not to rut against the sheets. But he wanted to last. He had plans for after this.

“Loops, come on, come on,” Sirius said.

Remus nodded, and pulled the now soaked boxers down Sirius’ thighs and flung them away to the floor. It was even hotter bare, seeing Sirius dripping and ready like that. He was rock hard, dick twitching above his stomach. Remus didn’t give him any warning. He circled his hand around the base and closed his lips around the head.

Sirius’ hips jolted with a little “Ah!” His hand shot out to tangle in Remus’ hair.

“D’accord,” Sirius breathed. His fingers tightened in Remus’ hair as Remus took more of him in his mouth.“Okay, okay.”

Remus took a little more of him, his fist covering the rest. He was hot and salty on his tongue. Remus could faintly smell the clean soap of the rink’s showers and Sirius’ skin. It was heady and warm, and Remus pressed his palms up to hold Sirius’ hips, flattening them against his abs.

Sirius broke into rapid French suddenly, a long string of words that Remus was too focused to understand, and he both tried to pull Remus’ mouth off of him while his hips also bucked up.

“Remus, Remus, no, I’m going to—”

Remus hummed. That sounded okay.

“No, no, I want—with you. Don’t want to come yet.”

Remus opened his eyes, and remembered what they were leading up to. He pulled off carefully and Sirius groaned, head falling back into the pillows. He reached down and gripped himself, as if holding himself back from coming.

“Fuck,” Remus sat up with a soft laugh. He smoothed his hands up and down Sirius’ big thighs. “You’re alright, baby.”

“Do not say that right now, I will lose my mind,” Sirius said, followed by a breathy laugh. He took a few breaths before opening his eyes again. The light gray was nearly swallowed by his pupils and his cheeks were flushed. His cock looked swollen and tight, still on the edge.

“Amazing, Re,” he said, then his expression flickered a little. “I…when did you ever—I mean, I know you aren’t out, so when…”

“College,” Remus said. “Like, maybe three times. It wasn’t…” Remus scrunched his nose. “Great. The guy was nice, I knew him from one of my classes. He just sort of wanted to know what it was like, but so did I, so…worked out well. No strings,” Remus smiled. “Nothing like it is with you. Nothing like it at all.”

Sirius nodded, looking like he was thinking about it. “I’m glad this is better.”

Remus laughed. “Uh oh, here he comes. Competitive Captain Sirius Black.”

Sirius smiled a little. “I just don’t want you to think I’m here only to ‘know what it’s like.’ Oui?”

Remus looked at him for a moment, breath half taken. He felt the words settle somewhere deep inside his chest, and he pressed his hand there for a moment, as if to feel them. He nodded. “Yeah. That—me too. It’s,” he hesitated, then settled on, “it’s more than that.”

Sirius pulled his lip into his mouth and nodded quietly.

The conversation seemed to have cooled them both down enough that they would last more than a few seconds, and Remus was glad. He could see that Sirius’ dick had softened a little, as had his own, and he crawled forward to kiss Sirius hard, sinking into the heat of his hands on his back. He pressed their hips together like the first time.

“Do you still want…” Remus began, and Sirius nodded. “Okay. Alright, do you have stuff? Condom, lube.”

“Drawer, left drawer, yeah,” Sirius said, and Remus stretched out to retrieve them.

“Do you ever finger—”

“Yeah,” Sirius gushed out. “I like it a lot.” Then he flushed, like he had said too much.

That made Remus’ entire neck heat up. “Fuck, alright. Just tell me what feels good, yeah?”

Sirius’ dark hair and dark eyes looked bright on the pillow, and he nodded, then pulled Remus back down for a sloppy kiss.

It didn’t take Remus long to find a rhythm. Sirius was relaxed and pliant beneath him, a tight heat around his fingers. Remus punctuated every stroke with a kiss to his mouth or neck. He took deep, slowing breaths, honestly worried for his stamina with the noises that Sirius kept making. Remus pressed up a little with the pads of his fingers and Sirius jolted.

“Oh fuck me, fuck,” Sirius hissed, fingers tight around Remus’ arm. “Again, allez.”

Remus grinned, breathless and pressing himself against Sirius’ thigh, just to relieve some pressure, and did it again, and again, until Sirius’ cock was drooling across his stomach and his mouth was open and red.

“Jesus, Pads,” Remus breathed. “You think you’re—”

Sirius nodded, eyes opening slowly. “Oui, s’il vous plaît, Remus, je le veux, je le veux, oui…”

“Shh,” Remus said, hands shaky as he picked up the condom. “Fuck, you’re gonna make me…” he shook his head and tore the condom open.

Sirius laughed weakly, chest flushed and cock looking more than a little tender against his stomach. He placed his palm by himself, but didn’t touch, as if he couldn’t, and his cock jumped at the almost-brush.

Remus bit his lip against a noise as he rolled the condom on himself. His balls felt heavy and tight, but he was determined to make this good for Sirius. So good.

“Ready, baby? All good?”

Sirius nodded, letting Remus push his knee back a little. Sirius’ hand covered Remus’ on the tender back of his knee, and Remus pressed a kiss to one of the tendons there.

Remus watched Sirius’ face the entire time. The way his eyes slipped shut. How his brows drew together and his mouth fell open a little.

“Okay?”

“Allez, allez,” Sirius panted, and then Remus felt one of his heels against the back of his thigh.

Remus dropped to his elbows as he bottomed out, forehead pressed into Sirius’ neck. Sirius’ hand went to his hair, thumb rubbing back and forth across the back of his neck. He was mumbling in French again, barely formed words. He reached a large palm down and pressed it against Remus’ ass, pulling him deeper. They both moaned. Remus got his knees beneath himself and pulled out until the tip caught, then pressed back in again in a slow glide.

They were lost. Remus wasn’t even sure he could hear anything except Sirius, feel anything except Sirius, who was holding him so tightly he was sure there would be marks. The thought only made him want to be held tighter, to press into Sirius harder. Everything was centered down to where his body met Sirius’. Sirius’ lips were pressed against his cheek, panting out his name, and Remus swore he could never be more happy than he was right now, with Sirius’ hand in his hair and the other clutching his hip. He rutted into Sirius in long, slow thrusts. He looked between them, his cock a dark pink against Sirius’ tan skin, disappearing and then appearing again. Sirius’ cock was shining and Remus reached down to take it in his hand. There was barely any friction.

“Remus…” Sirius whispered, abs jumping at Remus’ touch. “I’m gonna come,” his voice pitched up at the end. “I’m gonna—”

Remus snapped his hips forward faster, “Yes, baby, yes.”

Sirius groaned low in his throat, going tense, then sucked in a breath. Remus watched the base of his dick pulse as he came between them.

“Re,” Sirius gasped as he came, and tilted Remus’ face to kiss him slowly. His tongue brushed over Remus’ until he was dizzy, until he shoved in one last time and ground his hips there until he spilled into the condom.

The feeling made Sirius whimper, sensitive and longing, and he kissed Remus harder. They kissed for what felt like hours, sweaty and sticking together. Remus dragged his lips from Sirius’, kissing across his cheek and jaw, then moving to the other side. Sirius had his eyes closed, breathing slowing, but hands no less tight around Remus.

“I’m not going anywhere, you know,” Remus said quietly, and then had the horrible thought that—that maybe Sirius didn’t know that. The notion made Remus’ heart clench and he slid out of Sirius gently, sensitive now. Sirius was quiet, eyes watching Remus quietly as he tied off the condom and stretched to throw it out it the waste bin in the corner of Sirius’ room.

He came right back into Sirius’ arms, forearms folded across Sirius’ chest, and studied him.

“Has your English returned?”

Sirius smiled lazily and ran his hands through the hair at Remus’ temples. Instead of answering, he said, “How could I have thought I could go without this?”

Remus rested his chin on his hands, relishing in Sirius’ palms pressing on his shoulders in something that was half massage and half caress.

“You’re telling me,” Remus said.

“You’re beautiful,” Sirius replied, thumb passing over Remus’ bottom lip for a moment.

Remus felt his heart flip. “So are you,” he whispered.

Sirius smiled, but shook his head. “It doesn’t matter what I am. You’re beautiful.”

“It does,” Remus protested and pushed himself up the rest of the way to meet Sirius in a kiss.

Sirius laughed. “Re. I…” He took a breath. “I feel…” he trailed off.

Remus nodded. “Me too.”

 

~

 

Remus was bleary-eyed and tired by the time his cab reached the airport the next week. he was just glad he didn’t have to wear a suit like the players for away games. He was perfectly comfortable in his jeans and sweater. It was Sunday and they were due in Montreal the next day for a game at seven. He and Sirius had agreed it would look to suspicious to arrive together, so Sirius, much to Remus’ protests, had ordered both himself a car service, and Remus. It was better than a cab, at least. The driver had offered him water, for god’s sake.

“Loops!”

Remus smiled and waved at James and the rest of the team and coaching staff waiting at their gate. There were definitely some fans trying to work up the nerve to approach their favorite player, but they were usually left alone. He took an empty seat across from James and asked him how Lily was, aware of Sirius’ eyes on him the entire time.

“Six months along now. Due in the beginning of March. Jesus. Maybe we could be close to the playoffs by then, you know?”

Remus smiled. “A Cup and a baby.”

“Shh!” James, and everyone else in sight did whatever they needed to do to ward off the jinx.

“She still thinks it’s a boy, I was texting her a few days ago,” Remus fiddled with his suitcase handle. “You?”

“Boy, for sure,” James grinned. “Can’t wait to buy him his first pair of skates.”

Remus smiled at the image. “That’ll be adorable. And just think, next year, around this time, you’ll be able to bring him to Christmas family skate.”

“Exactly!” James’ face turned wistful and giddy. Then, after a pointed look at Remus, he turned to Sirius. “You finally bringing anyone this year, Cap?”

Sirius looked up from where he had quickly glanced down at his phone. “The answer is still no.”

Pascal leaned in from the seat beside Remus and threw a small pretzel at James. “Come on, Potty, you know the Captain does not date.”

Sirius laughed, but only shrugged off James’ questioning look.

“Yeah,” James scoffed. “He only has every girl ever throwing themselves at him.”

“Jealous?” Sirius raised an eyebrow.

No,” James didn’t stick his tongue out, but it was a near thing. “I just…you know. I don’t get it.”

“I’ll date someone when there’s time. Besides,” Sirius shrugged. “I’m kind of hard to live with. I know that.”

Pascal whistled. “Yeah, I know, too.”

Remus didn’t think that was true.

“A girl wouldn’t mind if Captain Sirius Black—”

“But I don’t want to be Captain Sirius Black to her, do I?” Sirius cut James off.

There was a hanging silence for a moment, and then James nodded. “Yeah. No, yeah. Sorry, Pads.”

Sirius punched him in the shoulder—a little hard, maybe. “It’s fine.”

 

The boys took their usual spots on the plane. Sirius and James sat together, Finn and Kasey, and Leo and Logan. The moved around a little, depending on who was taking part in the card game that ran continuously in the back—Coach always said not to bet real money, but he got in on it sometimes. Remus was sitting alone this time with a good book, near the card-game seats. It made for amusing entertainment for any flight.

“Hey, that’s a bitch-ass move, Lo,” Finn held his cards against his chest and glared at Logan. “Don’t look at my cards.”

“I wasn’t,” Logan held his own cards just as close to himself. “I was trying to see if the drink cart was coming around again.”

“So look down the aisle not down my shirt.”

“I wasn’t, Harz, merde. Je n’ai pas triché.”

Finn sighed. “For the one millionth time, don’t speak French. I do not speak French.”

“He said you’re a sore loser,” Leo said with a sly grin.

“I didn’t!” Logan nudged Leo and said something in French to him, which Leo responded to likewise. “I said I wasn’t cheating.”

Finn glanced between the two of them a few times. “Stop speaking French, I can’t understand you!”

“Relax,” Sergei cut in, pinching his nose. “I hear enough bickering from my three kids. I do not need it from you. Zakroy rot.

“What?” Logan and Finn said at the same time.

“He say fuck your mothers!” Evgeni chimed from a little ways down the aisle.

“I said shut your mouths,” Sergei shook his head. “My God. Can we please play the game?”

“Have a lot riding on the line, Sergei?” Logan leaned forward and flipped his hat backwards. “Let’s do this, mon cher.”

From his seat, Remus could see where Sirius was sitting—and aisle seat, as always. James was asleep in the window beside him with an eye mask. Remus pulled out his phone and connected to the plane wifi, slouching agains his own window to hide it from view.

Rowdy back here.

He hit send and watched as Sirius took out his own phone. He turned his head just a little, but it was enough so that Remus could see his smile.

I can hear.  

Remus bit his lip then, glancing through the gaps in the seats just in case, he typed out, I wonder if anyone would notice if I snuck you into the bathroom and got you off right there.

Remus watched Sirius’ body jolt and he glanced back again, just barely, then glanced at James’ sleeping form.

Yeah? Tell me.

Remus smiled. He had the strange feeling of wanting to cherish that text. It was so very like Sirius. Short, simple. Remus could hear it in his voice.

Suck you again. Only I’d finish the job this time.

The three dots appeared a few times, then disappeared. Then, finally:

This might have been a bad idea.

Remus glanced at Sirius’ row. J awake?

Another few seconds past and then a picture slid in. Remus sucked in a breath. It was subtly taken, easily done with just a downward angle. It was of Sirius’ spread thighs, large and crammed into the seat and clad in his tight, tailored suit pants. And there on the crotch, barely noticeable to anyone who wasn’t looking was the beginning of an outline of Sirius’ dick.

The sight had Remus twitching in his sweatpants.

I see, he typed out.

We’ll break, Sirius’ next text come in. Can’t explain this. Then, Miss you.

Remus sent back a smiley face. Miss you.

 

~

 

Remus let out a breath when he reached the rink the next morning at four AM, Moody clambering out of the car service after him. Dinner alone in his room, knowing that Sirius had to go out to dinner with the boys, had been hard. There were moments where he felt like one of them, and moments that forced him to remember that he wasn’t. Team dinners didn’t include him, not officially anyway, and that was fine. The hotel steak hadn’t been all that bad, and he knew he had to be up early anyway.

Sirius had texted him a gentle good night that he had received when he woke up. Remus had replied with a string of smiley faces and an order to text him when he woke up. It would be at least another three hours, and he had work to do. There were sticks to unload and an entire locker room to set up. The Lions staff liked everything to feel as close to home as possible.

Remus was charged with setting up the stalls and, upon coming to Sirius’, he held the jersey in his hands for a few moments, smiling slightly. He hung it carefully on its hanger, number facing out. And then placed his sweat-stained, lucky hat beside his helmet and gloves. He put the skates on the hooks, making sure they were untied so that Sirius could lace-up the left one, first, as usual. Remus liked following all of the special instructions for individual players. Some of the team members complained about it sometimes, but Remus thought it showed how much the boys wanted to win. So much so that they were willing to drive themselves crazy with little rituals and needs. Right now, Leo was the only one with almost no superstitions, but Remus knew that would change the longer he was on the team. Sometimes Remus even found himself consciously putting on his own left shoe first.

It was obvious when the boys arrived. The distant voices of Logan and Finn bickering loudly came in from the hallway, and in another minute the Canadiens visitor’s locker room doors were being pushed open and most of the team was filtering in. They were in various disarray of their away-game suits. Many ties had already been pulled off in the hallway and jackets had been thrown over arms as they got past the cameras. Remus could see Marlene and Frank doubling as the team’s social media crew, snapping pictures of Sirius and James walking together that would no doubt later be captioned with some version of best friends.

“Listen up,” Logan clapped his hands a few times. “Okay, my parents are coming tonight. So, best behavior, d’accord?” Logan glared around at them all. “So, win? Let’s win, oui?”

“What do you mean your parents are coming?” Sirius said, wrapping an arm around Logan’s shoulders. “Dumo is always here.”

Logan elbowed him in the ribs. “Best behavior.”

“Meaning,” Pascal cleared his throat and put on a high voice. “Bonsoir Madame Tremblay, your son is the best player on this team.”

Sirius laughed. “I don’t know how we survive without him, ma cher.”

“Fuck all of you,” Logan grumbled.

Sirius let him go in favor of walking over to his own stall. His eyes found Remus’ and he stopped in front of him—just a little closer than usual.

“Cap,” Remus said. “What can I do for you?”

“Got something bothering me a little bit,” Sirius said. “I thought you could take a look real quick?”

Remus raised an eyebrow. It sounded good. It also sounded risky. “You sure? I don’t want to throw off your routine.”

Sirius smiled and nodded. “I wouldn’t ask if I didn’t…need it.”

Something hot began to stir in Remus’ chest. He licked his lips and nodded. “Alright, we’ll go to the PT room.”

Sirius trailed Remus out of the room. There were a few reporters lingering in the hall who tried to ask Sirius questions. Sirius politely refused, saying he was preparing for the game right now, and Remus was glad to shut the heavy, wooden door against them.

He was glad to be pushed up against it.

“This,” Remus began to say, only to be cut off by a slow, toe-curling kiss from Sirius. Remus wound his fingers in Sirius’ hair and kissed back for a moment before pulling back. “This is not what I’d call being careful.”

Sirius moved to kiss along Remus’ jaw. “I got off to thinking about you last night.”

That—that hit Remus a little harder.

“Sirius,” Remus breathed. He held him a little tighter, eyes falling closed as Sirius kissed his neck.

“Missed you. I wished you were there when I was out with the guys. Then, I came back to my room all alone. I knew you were asleep, but I came this close to knocking on your door. I could hear some of the guys talking in the hallway, though.” Sirius took Remus’ hand and pressed it to his cock. Remus was startled to find that it was half-hard. “I’ve been like this since the plane.”

Remus felt himself filling in his pants. “You want my mouth that bad, huh?”

Sirius shuttered a little as Remus pressed his palm flat against him. He nodded.

“Fuck, Pads,” Remus breathed. “What if…”

“I know we shouldn’t.”

Remus laughed. “Can’t exactly hide that thing if you’re about to take your clothes off.” The thought actually made Remus a little hot, thinking about Sirius having to strip into his gear with a half-hard cock for anyone to see. He’d probably get chirped out of his mind. “Fuck, just—come here. Five minutes.”

He pushed Sirius back against the door, and turned the lock as he sunk to his knees. He looked up at Sirius with a grin. “You better come quick for me, baby.”

Sirius cursed, running a hand through his hair as Remus smoothed a hand over the dark material of his suit-pants, tight against Sirius cock.

“I love your game day suit, you know that?”

“Yeah?” Sirius said.

Remus nodded, unbuckling Sirius’ belt and glancing up at him. “Like you better in your sweatshirts and hat though.”

Sirius laughed, but was quickly cut off as Remus pulled down the zipper of his pants and leaned forward to nose against the hard line of his dick. “Fuck, Loops.”

Remus slipped Sirius out of the gap in his boxers and Sirius sighed in relief. His hand fell to cup the back of Remus’ head as Remus sucked Sirius down as far as he could. There was still enough of the base for him to wrap his fist around.

Sirius immediately switched into French, palm a gentle pressure. Remus heard his head thunk back against the wall.

“Mon dieu,” Sirius breathed.

Remus pulled off just enough, lips still brushing the leaking head, and looked up at Sirius. “Shh.”

Sirius laughed and pressed a hand over his mouth. Remus smiled and licked a few times over the head, tasting the salty warmth there.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck—” Sirius said into his palm, eyes focused on Remus.

Remus glanced at the clock behind them. Two minutes down. He looked once more up at Sirius, then took him down again.

“Are you hard?” Sirius whispered, hands moving back to cradle Remus’ head.

Remus hummed in acknowledgement and felt Sirius’ cock pulse in his mouth.

“Let me see,” Sirius’ thumb brushed gently over Remus’ temple. “Let me see.”

Remus kept a dragging pace as he reached down and pushed his pants down, letting his cock bob free, heavy between his thighs.

Sirius made a low noise and his fingers tightened in Remus hair. Remus spend up his pace, squeezing Sirius around the base and tonguing at the vein on the underside of his shaft. He sucked hard at the crown before pushing back down again, feeling his own cock getting harder by the minute until he had to reach down and stroke himself. He moaned when he did, hips jerking.

“Remus, Remus, I’m gonna—”

Remus moaned again, sucking hard. Only a few seconds later, he felt pulse after pulse of hot come against his tongue. Sirius’ hips stuttered forward a few times, pushing into the tight heat, and then he stilled as Remus let him slide out of his mouth slowly. He was softening and breathing hard. Remus ran his fingertips over him, pulling a soft ah from Sirius as some last come dripped. He felt high on everything—Sirius’ smell, the feeling of his fingers in his hair. He closed his eyes and rested his head against Sirius’ hip, one hand simply resting around himself.

“Let me,” Sirius said, and fell to his knees, too. He took Remus in his palm, huge and a little rough. Sirius reached his other hand down to massage Remus’ balls. Remus’ mouth dropped open and he gripped Sirius’ shoulder. Sirius brought his palm to rub against the head and Remus came almost instantly, only just managing to cup a hand out to catch it.

“Merci,” Sirius said with a gentle kiss to Remus’ temple as he leaned against Sirius’ shoulder. “So hot, Remus.”

Remus just smiled and kissed him, catching his breath. Sirius gently tucked him back into his boxers for him and Remus watched, a little dazed. It was…sweet.

“Come on, we need to get cleaned up.” Remus reached forward to do the same for him, only Sirius twitched a little at Remus’ touch and Remus raised an eyebrow at him.

Sirius shrugged. “I can’t help how much I want you.”

Remus had to focus real hard not to let that derail them again.

They talked about the game as they cleaned up. That might have been Remus’ favorite part. It wasn’t all sex. It was good sex—incredible sex—but then there was this part. Talking to Sirius like they were just friends, arguing over whether Carey Price could take Kasey in a fight or not.

“Why is it your dream to see a goalie fight?” Remus laughed as he threw out his wet paper towel.

“Can you imagine, in their huge gear. It would be hilarious,” Sirius grinned and gathered Remus close to him. “Okay, one more kiss before we go. For good luck."

Remus pressed up on his toes and kissed Sirius slowly, as if they had all the time in the world. “What happens if you win? Do I become a part of your routine?” He brushed a last kiss over Sirius’ lips. “Does this?”

Sirius smiled. “I hope so.”

Remus did, too.

 

The stadium was a confusing mass of two slightly different colors of red. The boys were in their black away game jerseys, the red numbers and lettering looking daunting and sleek on the ice. Remus couldn’t get enough of Sirius in his away jersey. The way the black material and his dark hair framed his skin and made his eyes look icy. Remus was glad he didn’t have to stand across the face-off circle from him.

Leo was in goal, busy marking his crease up with his skate blades while Logan lobbed a few pucks over the glass to some Lions fans. Coach was leaning over the bench to talk to James with a white board diagram in his hand. Remus breathed in the smell of the ice. It was a normal, thrilling game.

And he had just sucked Sirius Black off in the Habs’ PT room.

A normal game.

Sirius, to his credit, looked bright and ready. He was handling pucks at top speed, warming up his hands. Remus had a good feeling.

The boys came back to the bench for the National Anthem, and Sirius ended up right in front of him, behind Finn and Logan. Logan had his head down against his stick, hair falling into his face and his fist clenched around his fleur-de-lis necklace—for luck. Finn had his hand on Logan’s shoulder, the other holding his helmet, head down. Remus had asked them about that once. It had started when they were at Harvard together and just stuck once they both got drafted to the Lions one year apart. They had said they didn’t know why they had started doing it—either that, or they wouldn’t tell him. Remus wondered what they would do if they ever got traded apart. Remus winced at the thought. That was a reality that he didn’t like to think about.

Sirius was behind them, head tilted away from the cameras on the ice and eyes closed. He knew some of the boys were religious, but he didn’t actually know if Sirius was. He didn’t wear a religious necklace like some of the guys did, a cross or a star of David. He didn’t actually wear anything. Remus wondered if he would want to.

Remus didn’t look for too long, just in case a camera caught it, but bowed his head, too, excited for the game and mind still light with Sirius’ touch.

 

The game was dirty. The first period was pretty uneventful, no goals and one high-stick called on the Habs, but after the first intermission, it was like something snapped. Shea Weber scored on Leo, but made the mistake of giving his skate a little tap with his stick. He said something between his teeth and Leo gave him a little shove back. Logan was on Shea in a second—less than that. Logan threw his stick down, and jumped on Weber from behind—a slightly comical feat given Weber’s good seven inches on him. But Remus liked watching people underestimate Logan in flights because of his height. Weber turned, and Logan threw his first punch, gloves dropping to the ice. It was a nasty right hook. Sirius stood from the bench, tapping his stick against the boards.

“Yeah, Tremz!”

Remus watched as Max Domi tried to get in on the fight from behind, but then Finn was there. He grabbed a fistful of the back of his jersey and yanked him back, getting an elbow in the jaw for it.

The refs were there then, hoping to pull everyone apart before it escalated further. They blew the whistle, and Sirius was already shouting from the bench.

“It’s on them! They antagonized.”

Ref number four gave Sirius an unimpressed look. “Not in the mood tonight, number twelve.”

The four fighters skated off to their respective penalty boxes to the roars of the crowd, excited by finally seeing some action. Logan and Finn sat shoulder to shoulder on the penalty bench, still yelling at the other two. Leo skated a few circles around his goal, as if collecting himself again. He looked tall and looming in his gear, his bright blue eyes piercing out from his Lion’s-mouth mask.

Pascal climbed back over the boards with a laugh, scooting in beside Sirius. “Well, there goes my line to the box, eh?”

“That’s what you get for taking Harzy from me,” Sirius laughed, but then he nudged Brady, sitting beside him. “Glad to have you though, Smitty.”

Coach reached forward and patted his shoulder. “Maybe give the cubs some of your wiser years, eh, Dumo?”

Pascal picked up a water bottle, raising it like a toast. “I try, I try.”

The fight seemed to get both teams fired up. There was a flurry of goals from both sides and they were tied 2-2 until half-way through the third period. Remus could tell Sirius was frustrated by the hunch of his shoulders and how far he was leaning towards the boards, like he was desperate to fix everything himself.

Coach tapped Sirius’ shoulder. “Number 12, your line!”

Remus held his breath as Sirius jumped the boards. His feet hit the ice in a hard glide, a fast smear of black on the gleaming rink. James was right behind him, arcing out to the left and shoving his guard away. Sirius only had eyes for the puck. He pinned Gallagher against a corner hard, drawing shouts from the crowd, and stole the puck from right between his legs, pushing hard to skate backwards and away. he passed it to James once to get around a defenseman, and then James snapped it back. He turned and began racing from the Lions zone to the Habs’, straight down middle ice.

Remus loved, loved when he did this. He had never seen anyone who could take a puck this far, this consistently, as Sirius could.

Remus tried to figure out how. Maybe it was his eyes. He looked one direction for long enough that his opponent turned that way, and the Sirius turned the other. Sirius was in the center zone now, dancing around Domi for a minute before James hit him, clearing the path for Sirius. Sirius pushed harder, weight on the front of his blades for a moment to dig into the ice, to go faster. He spun around a red uniform, a perfect 360, and lifted his blade with the puck on it in a hard, gorgeous back-hand.

It flew into the net soundlessly, past Price’s blocker, and the goal horn blared. Sirius had broken the tie with three minutes left in the third.

The bench exploded.

“Baby,” Remus breathed, but it was lost in the sound.

 

The bus was a mess of celebration and laughter as they boarded it that night, ready for Ottawa. It was a short drive, a little under two hours, and the boys would probably use the time to wind-down together before crashing. Most of them were turned in their seats to talk. Sirius was laughing. He had received the Lion-hat token. Remus was so proud of him he could barely breathe. They weren’t even too far into the season and he had already come so far from the beginning.

“Mes amies,” Pascal knelt on his seat with his phone raised. “My wife would like to remind you all that this year’s Christmas party is at our house, and she also says,” he looked down at his phone, holding it away from him a little and squinting.

“You need reading glasses, Dumo,” James laughed. “Please admit it.”

“Non, non,” Pascal clicked his tongue. “She says if you do not come, she will kill you.”

“I wouldn’t mind being murdered if it’s Celeste Dumais who does it,” Timmy said from his seat.

Pascal raised an eyebrow and looked at Olli, who was sitting beside him. “Halla, you better hit him for me.”

Olli smiled shyly and gave Timmy the softest of taps.

Timmy flipped Pascal off. “You’re never going to get my d-partner to hit me!”

“How’d mommy like your fight, Tremz?” Sirius called from the seat in front of Remus and Moody. Remus had been quietly watching the sliver of his profile that he could see through the seat, only feeling a little creepy about it.

Logan leaned over his own seat and pointed with narrow eyes. “She is very proud, thanks for asking.” He had a bruise on his cheek that looked like it would hurt in the morning.

Finn joined him from the row in front where he was sitting with Kasey. He had a similar bruise on his jaw, greenish and dark against his paler skin. “She ripped him a new one. I was there.”

The banter went on until some of the boys put their headphones on after an hour. Moody was snoring gently next to him and Remus put his earbuds in, too.

His phone lit up after a few minutes with a text.

So we won.

Remus almost laughed out loud. He glanced up between the seats to see Sirius’ face illuminated by his phone. He was smirking, just a little.

You won’t see me complaining.

Remus watched Sirius grin. He turned his head and looked through the seat back at him, eyes silver in the now dark bus.

Room #?

Remus bit his lip. 261.

Want to watch a movie together?

Remus’ heart swelled. Yeah :)

Sirius’ only reply was a little pink heart emoji, followed by the hockey stick one.

Remus clicked his phone off and took a breath. He didn’t think they could get to the hotel fast enough.

Chapter Text

The wind as the team got off the plane in Winnipeg hit Remus like a wall of ice. He pulled his coat tighter around himself and bent his head against the sting of snow.

“This is why it isn’t fun!” he heard Kasey shout from somewhere behind him and couldn’t help but laugh as he stepped onto the bus. He nodded at the driver and slung his bag from his shoulder, shoving it in one of the overhead racks before sliding into a seat near the front. Remus shivered, tugging off his coat and stuffing it between himself and the window as a barrier from the cold leaking through the glass. He gathered his sweater over his hands and tucked one knee against his chest, watching the team load the bus. There was a lot of yawning and shuffling. Remus accepted a tired head pat from Pascal, and returned a little salute from Finn, before Sirius appeared up the bus steps.

He was rubbing one eye, beanie low around his ears and looking sleek in his dark gray, wool coat. Remus tilted his cheek on his knee and watched Sirius’ eyes find his. He blinked for a minute and then stopped walking abruptly, causing Logan to bump into his back forehead first.

“Quoi?” Logan grumbled.

Sirius jolted a step forward again. “Sorry.”

He sent Remus a smile before sliding into the seat beside James a few rows back.

Coach was the last one on. He shook hands with the driver, then clapped for attention.

“Alright, boys. Sleep while you can, okay? We’ll get to the hotel late, it’s a bit of a drive, and I’m making morning skate mandatory tomorrow.”

There were some groans and Arthur smiled wryly before sitting back down with some of the assistant coaches.

 

When they arrived at the hotel it was almost two in the morning and, knowing he had to get up at five, Remus took his new room key and booked it to the elevator. He rode up with Kris and Evgeni, and, once he had safely waved goodnight to them and closed the door, he stripped out of all his clothes and took his toothbrush to the bathroom. He was dead tired, but also half hoping that Sirius would show up at his door. Sure enough, he was turning his lights off and tugging a t-shirt and sweatpants on when there was a very quiet knock at his door. He smiled as he looked through the peephole. There was Sirius, looking large and looming in the fish-eyed glass, hands in his pockets and looking down the hallway both ways.

Remus opened the door, and they were quiet until it was safely shut behind them.

“Again,” Remus said. “Not careful.”

“Guess I’m bad at that,” Sirius said, and leaned in for a sweet kiss. “I won’t stay long,” he said as he walked into Remus’ room. “I just sort of…”

Remus laughed as Sirius flopped on the bed on his back. He smiled and beckoned Remus closer with his socked foot.

“Just want to hang out,” he said, and turned on his side once Remus laid down on the bed, too. “Ça va?”

Remus shrugged a shoulder. “Yeah, tired.” He laughed, “Cold.”

“I can warm you up,” Sirius said, yawning and pulling Remus into his chest at the same time. He was wearing a thick Lions sweatshirt and Remus buried his nose into Sirius’ chest, tucking his arms between them.

“Are you sleeping here?”

“Probably shouldn’t.”

“Yeah.”

Sirius snorted. “We sound so convincing.”

Remus laughed. “We do.” He untucked his chin and tilted his head back to look up at Sirius. “Hey.”

Sirius hummed questioningly and looked down at Remus, leaning in to kiss him on the corner of his mouth.

“I know it’s been a few days, but…how are you with the Regulus thing?”

“You mean have I heard anything?”

“No,” Remus said firmly, pressing a palm over Sirius’ chest. “I mean how are you.”

Sirius sighed, pressing his lips to Remus’ forehead for a moment, thinking. he rolled on his back and Remus propped himself on one elbow, hand resting on Sirius’ chest. Sirius put his over Remus’, tangling their fingers together.

“My mother calls me,” he said slowly. “She’s mad I don’t defend Regulus to the media, what they’re saying about him. Bad sportsmanship, jealous…I mean, you’ve read everything.”

Remus had. He’d read everything.

“That’s fucked up,” Remus said. “Really.”

“Yeah,” Sirius said quietly, eyes staring up at the ceiling, fingers idly tracing over the back of Remus’ hand. “I texted him.”

Regulus, Remus figured.

“He didn’t respond,” Sirius finished. “I’m not surprised.”

“I’m sorry.”

Sirius shook his head, looking at Remus then and smiling—if not a little sadly. “At least I’m free for Christmas. My mother couldn’t talk me down for that. We have Dumo’s party. Is your family coming?”

Remus nodded. “Yeah. They’ll actually be at the last game before we break.”

Sirius’ smile lit up. “Yes? Rangers? Julian, too?”

Remus laughed, heart warming. “You love Julian.”

“Yeah,” Sirius rolled his eyes. “He’s a good little brother.”

Remus pressed his hand to Sirius’ cheek. “Aw, Pads.”

“No, no, it’s fine,” Sirius said. “It’s nice, to have someone like that. I mean, not that he’s mine to have.”

“I’m pretty sure he would love to be yours.”

Sirius smiled, head tilting against the quilt. He ran his knuckles up Remus’ side lightly. “Just him?”

Remus laughed. “No. You know that.” Remus kissed his cheek. “But seriously, what are you going to do for Christmas?”

“Dumo’s,” Sirius snorted, drumming patterns on Remus’ back absentmindedly. “He didn’t even say hello to me after we got back from break, he just told me to be prepared to wear matching pajamas Christmas morning and walked away.”

Remus smiled. “That sounds like Pascal.”

“Yes, it does.”

Remus fiddled with the ties of Sirius’ sweatshirt as they sat, just enjoying each other after a long day. Sirius was scrolling through instagram on his phone, periodically showing something to Remus. Remus tucked his head against Sirius’ neck, enjoying Sirius fingers beneath his shirt, lightly running patterns along his back.

“This is funny, look,” Sirius said sleepily. It was a video of two boys playing hockey with a water balloon, and the loser got it slap-shot in his face.

Remus laughed. “Looks like something Logan and Finn would come up with.”

“Wow, yeah, it does,” Sirius watched the video loop through one more time and laughed before clicking his phone off and throwing it onto the bed, pulling Remus fully on top of him.

“Can’t move,”Sirius said.

“Your feet are dangling off the bed.”

“I can move, but only to the pillows.”

Remus snuggled closer. “As long as you don’t mind my alarm waking you up in…” Remus opened on eye to glance blearily at the clock. He laughed sadly. “Two hours. You have a game tomorrow, I can’t believe I let you stay up this late.”

“Worth it,” Sirius mumbled sleepily. “I’ll play extra hard for you tomorrow, you’ll see.”

Remus hummed, lifting his head and pressing a palm to Sirius’ jaw to kiss him. He sucked on Sirius’ lower lip, kissing him slowly. Sirius moved his hands to Remus’ ass and thighs.

“Re,” Sirius said against his lips. “Do you sometimes feel like—like we’ve known each other for a long time?”

Remus smiled, settling himself more fully on top of Sirius. “Yeah. I do.”

Sirius pushed his hands through Remus’ hair. “Miss you when we aren’t together. Maybe that’s weird after only, what is it, a few months, but…”

Remus shook his head. “It isn’t weird,” he said softly.

Sirius’ hands smoothed down his back. His eyes were sort of wide, searching. He pressed his palm flat there, smiling a little. “You’re heart’s beating.” Sirius took a breath, like he was steadying himself. “Fast.”

“You’ve been making that happen for a while.” Remus said.

He hesitated, looking at Sirius, then, “You know, I never really had good friends…I mean, I did, but…”

Sirius picked his head up a little. “But?”

Remus cleared his throat. “Just…you know, a lot of my friends were in hockey, and when I had to quit…you know. Different schedules.”

“I can’t believe your coach said that,” Sirius sighed. “You can play, look at you.” Sirius ran his hands over Remus’ arms, his back. “Not too small.”

Remus laughed a little bitterly, swallowing hard and anxious to change the subject. “I might have decided I had a point to prove. Anyway, I’m happy with where I am.”

Sirius patted Remus’ butt lightly. “Me, too.”

Remus smiled. “My point is, kissing you, being with you… It’s incredible, Sirius, of course, but…I’m really just—I also like…”

“This,” Sirius said, gathering Remus closer and kissing his cheek.

Remus grinned and leaned down to kiss him again. “Yeah. I like this, too. A lot. It does feel like I’ve known you for a long time. And I like that.”

Sirius’ face looked completely calm, so perfectly relaxed and happy that it made Remus’ chest ache. “Me, too.”

Remus twirled a piece of Sirius’ hair around his finger. “We should really go to bed.”

Sirius bit his lip for a moment, then nodded. “Okay. Set your alarm.”

Remus’ made a pleased noise and pushed himself up to pull back the covers. Sirius tugged his sweatshirt over his head, and then did the same for Remus. Remus laughed as Sirius hustled him beneath the covers before spooning up behind him, skin to skin.

“Hey,” Sirius said.

“Hm?”

Sirius pressed a kiss to the back of his neck. “Come to family skate. Bring your family. Parents, Jules.” Another kiss. “And skate with me. Okay?”

Remus tucked Sirius’ hands between his own and his chest, holding them by his heart. “Goodnight,” he sing-songed.

Sirius huffed out a little laugh, but tucked his face against Remus’ neck and let himself drift off to sleep.

 

~

 

It was period two against the Jets and Remus was back in the room with Logan, tenderly prodding at a banged up knee.

“I am going to kill them.”

Remus raised his eyebrow. “The whole team?” Remus pressed his thumbs into the muscle beneath Logan’s knee cap. “How does that feel?”

“Yes,” Logan grumbled, running a hand through his sweaty hair and glancing up at the television playing the game. “And it hurts a little.”

“Scale?”

“Five.”

“Really.”

Logan hesitated. “Six.” He sighed. “Seven, but can’t we freeze it or something?”

Remus rolled his eyes. “Tremzy, this isn’t the play-offs. You sit out this game, see how you feel for the rest of the road trip. Simple as that.”

“Well, what do you think?”

Remus went over to the fridge for an icepack. “I think it’s just jammed. It won’t be a big deal if you rest it.”

Remus nearly jumped out of his skin when Logan let out a sudden whoop.

“Jesus Christ,” Remus said, turning. “What the fuck, Tremz?”

Logan slapped the padded examination table a few times before pointing at the television. “Cap’s in a fight, Cap’s fighting Beaulieu, holy shit.”

Remus jumped to stand next to Logan so he could see the TV. Sure enough, there was a close up of Sirius’ face. Remus could see his gloves on the ice behind him as he circled Beaulieu. Lee Jordan was talking a mile a minute on air.

“As we know, we really don’t see Black fight all too much, so this is a bit of a treat.”

“That isn’t to say we don’t see him talk a ref’s head off,” Dean Thomas laughed. “Oh, here we go. Beaulieu slammed O’Hara into the boards pretty hard and Black took it upon himself to retaliate.”

“What the fuck,” Logan said under his breath. “How did I miss that, what, Finn…”

“We see O’Hara being helped off the ice now, but oh, Black throws a mean punch!”

Sirius had the Jet by the front of his jersey, holding him in place as he delivered a right hook to his jaw.

“Beaulieu takes off Black’s helmet,” Dean said, “But Black’s got him in a head lock. Oof, I wouldn’t want to be Nathan Beaulieu right now. Black wrestles Beaulieu down on the ice…and…and the refs are there, alright. Exciting stuff, folks.”

“Indeed, Dean,” Lee Jordon laughed. “Certainly got the crowd into it. The Lions players are having a rough night for injuries, though. First Tremblay, now O’Hara. Let’s hope they’re alright.”

Remus watched as Sirius got pulled off of Beaulieu by the referee. He was sweaty and breathing hard, his dark hair falling over his forehead in wet strands. There was blood on his lower lip, and Remus knew it would swell up soon. Remus didn’t realize he had been holding his breath until his lungs burned in protest and he let it all out.

A penalty was called on both teams for fighting and both players skated slowly to their penalty boxes, still spitting words at each other through the glass.

Remus watched, lip pulled between his teeth, as Sirius was handed his gloves and helmet back. He said something that looked nasty to Beaulieu, then laughed with a little sneer to his lip at whatever was replied. Remus took a breath, watching the line of Sirius’ throat as he squirted some water into his mouth, then prodded at his bloody lip.

Only Logan’s voice snapped him out of it.

“Harz, what the hell?”

Finn appeared in the doorway, helmet off and red hair darker from sweat.

“I’m good, I’m good,” Finn said when Logan jumped up.

“Hey,” Remus said, eyes still on the screen as they replayed the fight. He slapped at Logan’s chest with the ice pack. “Sit, Logan.”

Remus ran a hand over his face as they went back to the game, Pascal lining up for the face-off. “Finn, you sit, too.” Remus went to wash his hands. “I didn’t see the hit, tell me.”

Finn sighed as he pushed himself onto the examination table. “It might be my shoulder.”

Logan spluttered. “That’s not fine!”

“Are you fine?” Finn asked him.

“Yeah,” Logan said. “Loops said it’s just a jam.”

Remus walked over to Finn, trying to think of anything except Sirius flicking his hair out of his eyes and wiping blood off of his chin and focus on his job.

“Alright, shoulder?” Remus helped Finn remove his jersey and chest and shoulder pads. “Does it hurt right now? Twinge, ache?”

“Can you move it?” Logan said, leaning over from his own bench.

Remus glanced at him, smiling a little. “You want my job, Tremz?”

Remus wasn’t sure, but he thought he saw Logan flush a little. He rolled his eyes and looked back up to the television. When Remus looked back to Finn, he had a funny look on his face, fiddling with the ties on his jersey.

“What he said,” Remus asked.

Finn raised his arm above his head to demonstrate, but winced a little. “I think he just knocked it around, too. I think I can go back out.”

Remus put one hand on Finn’s jaw, keeping his head steady while he pressed gently on his neck. “Anything hurt?”

“No,” Finn said. “All good there. He didn’t really get my head.”

“If you get another concussion, I swear to god,” Logan grumbled, eyes still on the TV.

Remus was extending Finn’s arm out, pushing on the joint when Logan yelled again. James had scored. They all looked to see Sirius, now out of the box, crush him in a hug, knocking their helmets together. A few minutes later, the buzzer went, signaling the ending of the second period.

“Alright,” Remus said. “Harz, you can go back for the third. Tremz, you stay put for this game. Then I think you’ll be good to go.”

“Fuck, Re,” Logan groaned. “Come on.”

Remus held his hands up with a laugh. “You’ll thank me later.”

“Sucks to suck,” Finn said as they stood, swatting Logan’s ass with his glove.

Logan shoved him, carefully avoiding his shoulder, and they walked back together to the slowly filling locker room. Remus spotted Sirius immediately. He was laughing with James in his stall. Finn and Logan made their way over to slap hands about the fight. Remus bit his lip then followed them.

“Need anything, Black?” Remus said.

Sirius looked up, eyes bright with adrenaline. He had stripped off his jersey and was just in his shoulder and chest pads.

Remus pointed to his lip. “All good, or did he get you?”

Sirius rose, even taller with his skates still on. “I’d accept an ice pack.”

“Yeah,” James patted Sirius’ hip. “So he doesn’t look like Kylie Jenner tomorrow.”

Remus laughed. “Nice.”

Sirius trailed him back to the PT room. Remus let the door swing shut and retrieved a cold compress and the first aid kit.

“Hi,” Sirius said, he swung himself up onto the examination table and his hand curved around Remus’ hip, pulling him between his thighs. “Like my fight?”

Remus narrowed his eyes playfully as he carefully dabbed an alcohol pad over Sirius’ lip. His jaw was already tinting a little blue, the lip fat.

Sirius laughed, then winced. “Don’t make me smile.”

“I didn’t do anything,” Remus protested.

Sirius leaned in a little, a question and an invitation. “You don’t have to.”

He smelled like cool ice and the heat of the game. Remus tilted his chin forward, their lips just brushing.

“Hey, Remus,” the door was suddenly opening.

Remus did his best to keep his face completely neutral as Sirius pulled back some, hand slipping back into his own lap. Remus was thankful to every god there was for the alcohol pad in his hand, a perfectly good reason or him to be standing between Sirius’ thighs.

“Yes?” Remus said, turning to see Thomas standing there.

“Hey, you got any icy-hot in here?” Thomas smiled at Sirius, holding his fist out. “Sick out there, Cap.”

Sirius bumped it. “Good hit on Wheeler, let’s take them, eh?”

“You know it,” Walker hit his fist against his palm, then looked at Remus. “Loops?”

“Uh,” Remus blinked, still reeling from the fact that Walker almost walked in on them—

“Icy-hot,” Thomas repeated.

“Yes,” Remus snapped his fingers. “Yes, no, that’s fine. Here. Over here.” Remus picked a few out of one of his bags. “Anything I should know about?”

“Nah, just sore. Thanks, bud. See you out there, Cap.”

Sirius gave a little nod, tearing the alcohol pad packet up into little strips.

After the door closed, Remus and Sirius sat there and stared at each other for a few minutes. Sirius had a funny look on his face. Remus passed a hand through his hair.

“Right,” he sighed. “Okay, well…that’s how easy it would be. There we go.”

Sirius nodded slowly. “Yeah.” He was still tearing the packet up. “Yeah.”

Remus walked over and put his hands over Sirius’, stilling them.

Sirius let out a breath, still refusing to look up.

“We…” Remus began, then sighed, pressing a quick, hard kiss to Sirius’ forehead. “We knew this was going to be…”

“Hard,” Sirius said, voice sounding rough. “I know.”

Remus raised his hand again, passing the alcohol over the cut before wrapping a pair towel around the cold pack. He went to raise it to Sirius’ mouth, but Sirius took it out of his hand. Remus tried not to let anything show on his face.

“I’m sorry I haven’t been being careful,” Sirius said quietly. “For either of us.”

“Maybe it wouldn’t be as big of a deal as you think,” Remus ventured timidly.

Sirius looked at him then. His eyes were hard and sad. “You know that isn’t true.”

Remus opened his mouth but Sirius pushed on.

“I know what it’s like to get criticism for something that shouldn’t be criticized. My parents do it, and if they do it, then certainly strangers will. If I give an inch, if I let anyone in, they’ll take me apart.”

Remus stared at him.

Sirius clenched his teeth together, as if he hadn’t meant to say that much, and looked down again. “I won’t let them.”

Remus could barely breathe. He reached out hesitantly for Sirius’ cheek. “Sirius—”

But Sirius pushed himself down from the table, turning away and shoulders tight. “I, um.”

“It’s okay,” Remus said faintly. “We should talk later. You have the game. Good luck—”

But Sirius was already pushing out the door and back to the locker room.

Remus pressed his hands to the table, nails digging into the rubber cushion. He felt shaky and light headed. There were times when he forgot how much pain Sirius had been through. When he forgot just how good Sirius was at hiding it.

 

 

They lost against the Jets. Then again Edmonton. They pulled through at Calgary but just barely and Coach was furious, asking what happened. Sirius was off and Remus could see the other boys noticing. Sirius was normal to him in the locker room, if not a little reserved—but he was like that to everyone right now. Sirius still texted him good morning and goodnight. He had called him the night of their…Remus didn’t know if he would call it a fight, but he’d called to say he was sorry for storming out. Remus had barely even let him apologize. Sirius still texted little hearts and hockey emojis, sometimes random pictures of himself stretching, but Remus could tell he was spooked from doing anything while on the road again.

Remus knew he was right to be. But he missed Sirius’ warmth. He missed his laugh. He hated seeing Sirius’ frustration on the ice and the bench. The locker room had been quiet after Sirius had smashed his stick on the ice in the second period against Calgary. Hot-head, Sirius Black, the news kept repeating, always wondering, always asking if Sirius would crack under the pressure. Youngest Captain. Best player. Back from an injury. Snakes Rivalry.

And the list went on. There was so much they didn’t know. Abusive family. Not allowed to love who he wanted to. The weight of the world.

Remus threw his things down on his bed in Vancouver, rubbing his hands over his face. It was a little after six and all he wanted was to order dinner and go to sleep. Well. He wanted to see Sirius. But he would wait until they were home. He would wait, then kiss Sirius senseless, and let him know that Remus was still here for him. As best he could.

Remus was half way through his lasagna and an episode of Criminal Minds when there was a quiet knock at his door. Remus’ heart slammed into overdrive and he all but spilled his plate all over the white bedsheets in his haste to get up.

Sirius was waiting on the other side of the door, looking small and unsure.

Remus stepped aside wordlessly, knowing he wouldn’t want to talk in the hallway.

Remus leaned against the closed door. He waited for Sirius to speak, but he only stood there, opening and closing his mouth a few times. Remus pushed forward, pressing his hands gently to Sirius’ chest. “Hi, baby.”

All the tension seemed to melt from Sirius’ body.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered. “Re, I’m sorry. This is exactly what I didn’t want you to feel like, I’m so sorry—”

“Shh,” Remus hushed. “Sirius, I already told you that you don’t have anything to be sorry about.” Sirius made a protesting noise but Remus stopped him with a short kiss. “Of course you’re worried about it. Walker almost saw us, it was…it was sudden.”

“I get it if you want out,” Sirius whispered.

Remus started back. “I—want out?

Sirius’ face looked pained.

“Sirius, did you forget what I said to you the other night?” Remus wasn’t mad, exactly, but he was a little hurt. He grabbed Sirius’ face, thumbs rubbing across his cheeks. “Sirius. Come on. I…”

Sirius’ hands wrapped around Remus’ wrists. His eyes were a little red and he closed them, like he was holding everything back.

“Sirius—let go. Let go with me. I’m here for you, I—I really—you’re my…”

Sirius’ fingers tighten around Remus’ wrists. “I said that, but I didn’t mean I wanted you to go.”

“I’m not going. I don’t want you to go.”

“I’m not,” Sirius said quickly, voice no louder than a whisper.

Remus shook his head. “Then what are we even talking about? I want you. I told you that I knew we would be behind closed doors. I told you that the very first day.”

Sirius nodded. “I—yeah.”

“So,” Remus smoothed his hands down Sirius’ neck to his shoulders. He shook his head. “I went in thinking we weren’t going to get to see each other too much on road trips. What we’ve done so far…maybe we got away with it as a little…as a way to ease us into it all.”

“Hiding, you mean,” Sirius said.

“Yes,” Remus nodded. “Do I wish we didn’t have to hide, of course, but do I understand why you don’t want this plastered all over every tabloid and blog? Of course. But you don’t have to hide with me. Tell me what I can do. Please.”

“I don’t know,” Sirius said quietly. “I don’t know, I just wish…” Sirius groaned, taking Remus’ face between his hands. “I want to—talk about you. Tell people how much I like you. I want to take you out. I want to kiss you on the bench, I want to take you to family skate and I want to hold your hand.”

Remus stared up at him, heart pounding. “Me too. I want that.”

“And I hate, I can’t stand myself because I’m scared of what people, people I don’t even know, might think. Because part of me thinks that if I tell the world that I want you, a boy, then they won’t give a shit how good my hockey is, something that means so much to me.”

Remus shook his head, trying to calm him. “I know, Pads, I understand—”

“But you mean so much, and hockey’s just a fucking—a fucking ball and stick—”

“No, it isn’t,” Remus said firmly. “It’s not. It’s—hockey’s love, too. For your team, for the way you feel when you score, for the Cup, for the fans, for the rivalry. The competition. Sirius, you’re allowed to love more than one thing at a time. I mean,” Remus flushed, realizing what he’d said. “Not that you…you love me, but—”

Sirius kissed him, slow and deep, as if trying to press Remus into himself.

When he pulled away, he pressed their foreheads together. “Maybe I’m just not brave.”

“Bullshit,” Remus said quietly. “You’re the bravest person I know.”

Sirius kissed one of Remus’ cheeks, then the other. Remus’ heart flipped.

“I’m sorry I ran out,” Sirius said. “And I’m sorry I didn’t come see you. We’re—we’re allowed to be friends, too, non?”

Remus smiled, wrapping his arms around Sirius’ neck. “How jealous would you be if I told you that I played video games with Kasey and Thomas the other night?”

Sirius made a pained noise and pressed his face into Remus’ neck while Remus laughed.

“So jealous,” Sirius whispered, kissing Remus’ jaw in a quick series of pecks. “So very jealous.”

“You’ll have to come next time.”

“Have to play the whole time, to keep my hands off of you.”

Remus laughed again, holding Sirius tighter. “We’ll work it out, okay? We will.”

Sirius nodded against Remus’ shoulder, then pulled back for a softer kiss. “We will.”

 

~

 

Pascal’s Christmas party was set to be held the day after the last game before break, tonight at 7:00, and the day before family skate. Remus’ family were flying in for the last game, and Pascal had waved him off when Remus said he might only be able to stay a little while at the party because his family was here for the holidays.

“Remus,” Pascal wrapped an arm around his shoulder. “So many families are coming. Logan’s, baby rookie Leo’s. Bring yours, they are welcome!”

And so that’s how Remus ended up shuffling on his feet in the airport, looking for the familiar faces of his parents and Julian as they got off the plane—looking forward to Julian’s face when he told him that they were all going over to Pascal Dumais’ house—where the entire team would be waiting.

His phone buzzed in his pocket and Remus pulled it out. It was a picture of Logan laying sideways on what looked like a pull-out couch, giving the camera the finger.

Dumo made him give me his bed :P

Remus grinned, typing back. The things we do for our Captain.

He had just received a string of hearts when Remus heard his name being shrieked.

“Remus!”

Remus looked up to see Julian bounding towards him, backpack bouncing on his back. He was only just ready in time for Julian to launch himself at him in a bear hug.

“Jeez, Jules, did you grow six feet since Thanksgiving?” Remus squeezed his little brother hard, making him laugh, before setting him down and putting a hand on top of his head. “I swear you did.”

“I don’t know,” Julian said. “Did I?”

“Remus, baby!”

Remus looked up to see his parents approaching with their suitcases, his dad handling Julian’s.

“Hi, mom,” Remus smiled, letting her wrap him up in a tight hug. “Hope you guys aren’t too tired for the game tonight.”

“No, no, no,” Julian patted the Lions hat he was already wearing. “I’m not, I promise I’m not!”

Remus’ dad laughed. “I shouldn’t think so, you snoozed the whole flight.”

Remus walked with them to the rental car buildings and sat in the back with Julian for the ride back to his apartment, listening to every story about his hockey team that Julian could think of.

They got back into the heart of Gryffindor with about an hour to spare before Remus had to leave for the stadium, and about four hours before his family did.

“Are you sure you don’t want me to drive you, Re?” his dad offered.

“No, dad, it’s okay,” Remus cleared his throat. “Um. Sirius is actually picking me up.”

“Sirius,” his dad repeated in surprise.

What?” Julian said, his mouth hanging open.

“Sirius…” his dad said slowly. “Sirius Black.”

“Yep,” Remus said.

“The Captain of the Gryffindor Lions…gives you rides to games.”

Remus tried to laugh casually. “We’re friends.”

“Please,” Julian whispered, then he was up on his feet and hanging onto Remus’ arm. “Please let me come.”

“Jules, I’m working.”

Please.

Remus laughed, “Hey, listen, how about you come back to the locker room after the game again instead. Alright?”

“Are you sure that’s okay, sweetheart?”

Remus nodded at his mother. “Of course. Sirius would…Sirius would love it.”

Remus felt a sudden flash of what it would be like to talk to his parents about Sirius. About Sirius and him. It felt good. Really good.

 

Remus couldn’t say no to letting Julian come out to the parking lot with him, their mom in toe, when Sirius texted that he was here. Sirius had a beanie on, fingers drumming on the steering wheel to whatever song was playing, but when he saw them come out, he broke into a smile and rolled the window down as Julian bounded ahead towards the car, all shyness from their last meeting gone.

“Hi Sirius,” Julian said. fingers curling over the edge of the window. “Hi.”

“Hey, how’s it going, bud?” Sirius offered his gloved hand for a fist bump. “Coming to the game, eh? Excited for Christmas?”

“You’re going to take the Rangers down, I know it!” Julian grinned. “And yeah, I am!”

“Well, I’ll see you at the Christmas party, too, right?”

Julian turned wide eyes at Remus. “Party?”

Remus laughed, rolling his eyes. “Way to blow the surprise, Black.”

Sirius’ smile dropped. “Shit. Or, uh—fuck—no. Mon dieu, I’m so sorry,” he looked guiltily at Remus’ mother. “I’m sorry, Mrs. Lupin.”

Hope laughed, waving him off with a little blush on her cheeks. “No, don’t worry. We’re a hockey family, he’s heard all those words before.” Then, she fixed Julian with a stern look. “And he knows not to use them.”

Julian nodded quickly.

“Okay, okay,” Remus said, waving to his mom and ruffling Julian’s hair. “See you guys after. Call me if you need anything, okay?”

Sirius waved as he pulled out, and the second they were out on the road, Remus cracked up.

Sirius sent him wide, sad eyes. “I’m sorry, Re, fuck.”

“Both of your faces, oh my god,” Remus reached over and squeezed Sirius’ thigh. “Also, I think I broke my father when I told him you were picking me up.”

Sirius smiled, glancing over from the road. “Hey, I’m glad you’re coming to the party.”

“I’m excited. They’re excited, too. How is it at Pascal’s? You moved in early.”

“Celeste insisted. She said the holidays start when they play holiday music at the rink, so,” Sirius shrugged. “Here I am.”

They pulled into the Hogwarts parking lot, Sirius stopping at the gate to sign some jerseys for fans waiting there. A few recognized Remus from the bench and said hello. Remus waved, slightly awkwardly, back.

“Your famous, Loops,” Sirius laughed as he pulled into a spot and shoved the car into park.

“Fuck off,” Remus shoved his shoulder and Sirius snorted. Remus pressed his hand over Sirius’, inching his fingers under the cuff of his suit to stroke over the soft, inside of his wrist. “Good luck, alright? No fighting when I’m not allowed to kiss it better.”

Sirius’ smile was radiant and he leaned down, below the cusp of the back seats, and kissed Remus’ palm gently. He looked up at him, eyes soft. “Mon loup.”

Remus’ heart stuttered. “What?” he asked faintly.

Sirius smiled squeezing Remus’ hand. “Mon loup. My wolf. It’s perfect, non? Like Loops, but…my own.”

Remus took a long, slow breath. “God, you are making it so hard not to kiss you right now.”

Sirius glanced out the back window. The player’s garage looked empty. “Then do it.”

Remus glanced, too, making sure there really was no one in sight, and then curled a hand behind Sirius’ head and pulled him in, kissing him hard.

“Mon loup,” Sirius said, lightly biting Remus’ lower lip. “Mon choupinet.”

“What’s that,” Remus whispered, kissing Sirius again, licking into his mouth.

Sirius pressed a hand to Remus’ knee, smoothing it up his inner thigh. “Don’t know translation,” Remus cut him off with another kiss, straining over the center consul. “My darling,” Sirius gasped. “Maybe that works…”

Remus felt as if he hadn’t kissed Sirius in years. He felt hot with it, a burning simmering low in his stomach.

Sirius’ hand smoothed back to his knee, a safer distance, really, and he pulled back with a shaky laugh. “Okay. We should go if you don’t want me to take you in the backseat.”

Remus groaned and thunked his head back against the seat. “Yeah. Yeah, alright. Here we go.”

Sirius laughed and squeezed his thigh before getting out of the car.

Remus took another breath. “Here we go.” He followed.

 

‘Gryffindor,” Frank Longbottom’s voice boomed in Hogwarts stadium, drawing out the words. “For the last time in 2019…Your Gryffindor Lions!”

The crowd went wild as the Lions skated out onto the ice one by one. The Rangers came out more quietly, keeping to their side of the rink. Remus liked the Rangers. They didn’t play dirty, and they were one of the best teams in the league this year, so beating them would mean something. Sirius was out in the center already, tracing the Lions logo with a puck. Remus could see phones pressed up to the glass, like always, filming him. Logan was over by the glass, talking and miming to a boy who had a sign that said Hey Tremzy, I’ll trade you candy for your stick! The boy war a too-big Tremblay jersey that fell to his knees, and a Lions hat on backwards. Logan shuffled back and forth on his skates for a minute, pretending to think about it, before tapping the glass, signaling he’d rather have the Reece’s than the sour strips. It took a few tries, but the boy finally got the packet over the glass, Logan smiling as he refused to let his dad help. Logan then lofted his stick over the glass easily. He gave a thumbs up, and bent for a quick selfie before skating away.

James made an awwing noise. “There’s no doubt the cameras caught that kid’s smile.”

Coach gave him a hard pat on the shoulder pad. “That’ll be your kid at the glass soon, eh, Pots?”

“I can’t talk about it, I’ll cry,” James laughed, then looked down with a smile, like he really was choked up.

Remus jostled his helmet and James looked back at him with a grin. “Lils says hi, by the way. She’s here tonight. Guess we don’t have a secret now.”

“Make sure she comes back to the Room,” Remus said happily. “Hey, are your parents here, too?”

“Not for the game, but they’re coming for the holidays. My father is incapable of passing up a chance to see Pascal Dumais,” James said as he jumped over the boards to skate a few laps and do the wrap around shoot on Kasey, who was in goal tonight. Finn was leaning on the boards, helmet off and talking closely with Leo who was sitting ready on the bench, just in case. Logan skated by and smacked Finn hard on the ass with his stick, making Finn shout and drawing him away to chase after him. Leo raised an eyebrow.

“And that’s going to be all over the internet,” James sighed with a laugh. “Alright, blue Gatorade, Loops, remember.”

“How could I forget,” Remus said wryly.

Remus’ eyes found Sirius again. He was laughing with one of the referees, nose scrunched up. Remus smiled softly at the sight.

“What’s with the face?” Leo asked.

Remus glanced at him. “Just…I don’t know,” he cleared his throat. “Things have been rough with Cap, lately. He feels better now, eh?”

Leo nodded slowly, glancing at Sirius, then back at Remus. Yeah. No, yeah, you’re right.”

“How are you, Nut. I haven’t seen much of you, which I guess is a good thing.”

“I’m—you know.” He gestured around him, fiddling with his blocker. “This is insane. I didn’t—I didn’t know it would be like this. No one tells you.” Leo grinned, his accent dipping and dragging lightly.

Remus smiled, biting back the heavy feeling in his chest. “You’re definitely living the dream.”

 

“Bonne chance mes amies,” Sirius said as he stopped hard in front of the boards for the national anthem, throwing one leg over than the other in front of Remus. “Let’s take these blue boys down town, eh?”

“What a pep-talk,” James said, and Sirius shoved him. The lights went down for the anthem and Remus bowed his head along with the boys, smiling a little as he thought of Julian in the stands.

“Are you ready?” Frank said, and the lights came up. Remus raised his head and, for a split second, he caught Sirius’ eye. Sirius smiled.

“Okay?” he said, because he couldn’t say more. But Remus knew what he meant.

Remus nodded. “Go get ‘em.”

Sirius skated out for the first face-off against Mika Zibanejad. They nodded at the ref, then bent over, sticks ready. Remus watched Sirius’ eyes go completely focus, a steely gray. The puck dropped.

Sirius won the face off, much to the pleasure of the crowd, and stole it backwards into his own zone, floating for a minute, before snapping it to Finn. Finn darted around Strome before passing it back to Sergei when DeAngelo was on top of him. 

“Hey, hey!” Remus could hear Sirius shout, calling for the puck as he wrapped around the edge of the rink, out skating Panarin to get into their zone. He tapped his stick hard on the ice twice to get Sergei’s attention, then checked Kreider with a shove of his arm, pinning him against the boards at the exact moment Sergei shot the puck back towards him. Sirius caught it beautifully, taking off towards Georgiev in the crease. He deked around Strome, and the goal horn lit up.

Logan stood, hollering. “Thirty seconds in, baby,” he pounded the boards with his glove. “Fuck yeah, number twelve!”

Remus’ head snapped towards him, towards Logan calling Sirius, baby. Well. Not in so many words, he guessed. There was still a strange flame up in his heart, hearing that word from someone else.

Sirius raised his gloves and stick for the goal, letting James and Finn slam into him in celebration.

Sirius skated by the bench for fist bumps before swinging over the boards. Remus reached forward and pressed a hand to his shoulder, letting his thumb brush the back of his neck. “Nice one, Captain,” He said over the crowd, and felt Sirius tense, then relax. Sirius turned and flashed him the brightest of grins.

The Lions’ next score was a power play goal, with two minutes left in the first period. Remus could practically hear Frank and Marlene talking up Sirius being put on the power play with two of the cubs, Logan and Finn. It was Logan’s slap shot, fed by Sirius around Brendan Lemieux, only just getting it passed him before Lemieux slammed Sirius into the boards. Remus only just had time to wince before Logan’s shot went bar down over Georgiev’s glove-hand. Finn got there first, slamming into Logan at full force, knocking their helmets together, his glove on the back of Logan’s neck. The Lions were up two to one by the time they were walking back down the tunnel for the first intermission.

“Black,” Coach said, motioning him over with two fingers. “You up for an interview with Skeets?”

Rita Skeeter was standing there, looking all too pleased and excited.

“Um,” Sirius dumped his gloves into the drying bin with a sigh. “Yeah. Yeah, alright.”

Remus suppressed a smile as he watched Sirius take his helmet off. He bit his lip when he pushed his hair back from his face and went to stand warily opposite of Rita.

“So, Sirius,” she said with delight. “Your baby brother has been quite vocal recently! Any further response?”

Remus’ smile dropped from his face. He knew Sirius had been dealing with this. He just hoped that it would have stopped by now, become old news.

He watched Sirius take a breath. “Did you mean,” Sirius said with a small, tight smile. “‘Sirius, how do you feel about tonight’s power play?’”

Rita’s grin faltered. “Oh. Um, well—”

“Because, Rita,” Sirius propped his hands on the top of his stick. “I felt great about it. I thought the boys were strong and communicating out there. I like our chances in this game.”

Sirius walked off, and out of the lights.

James and some of the team, who were watching, snorted, hitting each other in silent amazement. James gave a loud woop before following Sirius back towards the locker room. Rita, to her credit, had taken it well and handed it back to Dean and Lee smoothly.

Remus wanted to kiss Sirius so bad that it made his head hurt.

The locker room was rowdy with their goals and Sirius’ interview, talking themselves up and ready for a win. Remus had texted his dad about their seats and received a short video of Julian going insane after Sirius’ goal. He copied it and sent it to Sirius for him to look at later.

Leo was standing over Logan who was looking up at him from where he was leaning against his stall. He had a small smile on his face as he wrapped some tape around a jammed finger. Leo said something that made him laugh and kick at Leo’s shin with his foot.

“Yo, Loops,” Finn said, slapping a hand on his shoulder. “We’re outta tape, got any white for me?”

“Oh, yeah, give me two seconds.”

“Thanks, man.”

“For sure,” Remus smiled. He took one last look at Sirius, stripped down to his pads and sweaty with a towel around his neck. It was a sight he wasn’t keen on missing, but he wasn’t being paid to stare.

He held the door open for Coach, reading to get the boys back on the ice for second period, on his way back with Finn’s tape, and then made his way back to the rink where the crowds were settling back into their seats. He looked up at the big screen to see that they were playing some pre-recorded video that the media team had done with the boys. They had various facts up on the screen and some of the boys had to guess who it was about. Right then, the fact was, who has a vintage hockey equipment collection? They showed James first, glasses on and squinting at the camera.

“I don’t…” James’ voice and laugh echoed through the stadium. “Who the hell would…Is it Vans, is it Sergei?” James looked behind the camera for the answer, but then they cut to Finn and Leo, being interviewed together. Leo was chewing on his lip and Finn was look up, thinking.

“That sounds like a Sergei move,” Finn mumbled.

“Or Sunny,” Leo said. “Is it Henrik Sunqvist?”

“Oh, good one, Nut, is it Sunshine?”

The camera cut to Logan, who was smirking. “I think I have an unfair advantage to this question.”

That rose a response out of the crowd. It was a dead give-away.

“Huh,” Remus said to Coach. “I didn’t know that about Dumo.”

“It’s an incredible collection,” Coach responded excitedly. “Fascinating to see, really. I know he’d give you a tour if you asked. Maybe at Christmas.”

They showed a few more players; Evgeni jokingly saying Jackson, Timmy actually guessing Pascal, before they showed Pascal with a wide grin on his face.

“Yes, that’s me. One person guesses me?” Pascal laughed, making a tisking sound. “Well, Logan doesn’t count.”

There were a few more shots of the boys who hadn’t guessed Pascal kicking themselves, and then the screen was back to pumping up the crowd with countdowns and replays of the first period.

 

The boys skated back out for the second where the Rangers pulled up 3-2, a lead that they were able to keep until ten minutes into the third. Sirius was on the bench and Pascal’s line was out. Remus could hear Pascal call to Logan for the puck. The pass connected, and then Logan was flying back up the ice. Pascal’s pass was intercepted by Panarin who darted around both Sergei and Thomas Walker’s defense line. Remus could tell that he was lining up for a one timer when Kasey shot out of the goal in an insane poke-check, jabbing the puck right out from under his nose.

“Oh!” Sirius shouted, rising from the bench and hitting James. “Nice one, Kase!”

Finn nudged Leo. “You should start poke-checking, Nut.”

Leo smiled wryly. “Oh, I can poke-check.”

Finn got a dreamy sort of expression on his face for a moment, but then Sirius was turning towards Remus, hitting his glove against Remus’ stomach a few times. “iPad, iPad, iPad, please.”

Remus snorted, getting a little kick in his chest from the secret-feeling look Sirius shot him in thanks as he took the iPad and scrolled through the shifts. Logan heaved himself over the boards, sweaty and panting, and sat down on the bench beside Finn who tapped their helmets together.

“Good shift, Lo.”

Sirius leaned back and hit Logan softly in the back of the helmet. “Yeah, bud, good speed.” Then, he leaned over to James. “Pots, alright, see when Strome went here, we should have you following him up…”

Remus watched the third line, centered by Evgeni, tear out into the ice. Evgeni and Jackson were two of their strongest players together. They could read each other almost as well as Sirius and James could, and Remus watched as they hustled the puck back into the Rangers’ zone. It happened fast. Jackson shot to Evgeni, Evgeni to Evan, then back to Jackson. Jackson slapped it to where Evgeni was waiting by the net, and Evgeni tipped it in. 3-3.

“Nice, Kuny,” Sirius said as the line skated by the bench for glove taps. “Atta boy, Nado.”

Pascal got a wrap-around goal at two minutes, and the game was over—neat and encouraging.

 

“You know, you always wanna go into the new year with a W, and I think that’s exactly what was motivating us tonight,” Sirius said to the reporters gathered around his stall after the game. He was yet un-showered, sweaty towel wrapped around his neck and his lucky, sweat-stained hat on backwards to keep his hair from dripping into his face. “Yeah, I’m just proud of the boys and I think this is a really, you know, a really good way to take some time off, well deserved.”

“Any special plans for the holidays, Sirius?”

Sirius minutely raised an eyebrow at the thinly veiled question. Then, his eyes darted towards Remus. He looked at him for just a second, but Remus felt it to his very core. Sirius smiled. It was small, and rare to the press. Remus heard about twenty cameras go off at once.

“Yeah,” Sirius said. “Any time I get to spent with my friends and family is special.”

“And the team’s annual Christmas party, that’s at Dumo’s house, yeah?”

Sirius looked at the reporter. “What, you’re planning on crashing?”

Sirius smiled again at the laughs it raised from the crowd. Remus saw Finn and Logan shoot a surprised look at each other. The Captain was in a good mood.

“Yeah, for sure,” Sirius said, waving away the laughs. “Looking forward to it.”

“Alright,” Marlene stepped in, motioning the press towards the door. “That’s all folks, thanks a lot.”

Remus watched for a second, and then suddenly there was a hand covering his eyes and a voice in his ear.

“Guess who,” it said.

Remus grinned. “Lils.” He turned, eyes instantly widening. “Holy shit, Lily, look at you.”

“You like?” Lily laughed, turning to the side and running her hand over her baby bump. “Isn’t he cute? Already looks good in a jersey.” Lily tapped the A for assistant captain on her POTTER jersey she was wearing.

“You look incredible,” Remus pulled her in for a tight hug, then pulled back to stare down at the bump. “I mean, I know I’ve seen you over FaceTime and everything but this is something else.”

“Lily Evans,” Pascal walked up to stand beside Remus. He was sweaty still and careful about leaning in to press a kiss to both of Lily’s cheeks. “Mon cher.”

“Pascal,” Lily beamed. “You better get Celeste to tell me all of her tips and tricks.”

Pascal laughed. “The trick is love and kindness. I know you are already overflowing in that. Also, the occasional candy bribe.”

Remus laughed. “I think that still works on some of these guys.”

“Facts,” Finn said, walking by to the showers, naked. “Sup, Lils.”

“Nice ass, O’Hara,” Lily said.

“Hey, you can’t say that,” James appeared, wrapping an arm around Lily. “Hi, babe.”

“Good game, lover,” Lily said, leaning up for a quick kiss.

“Our boy’s a good luck charm.”

“If he can’t come to every single game, I’d be careful what you say,” Sirius called from his stall, un-taping his socks. He balled up the tape and chucked it in their direction. “Hey, Loops, où est ta famille?”

“Oh,” Remus smiled slowly. “I just have to go get them.”

They were down the hall waiting excitedly, guest passes hung around their necks.

“Hey guys,” Remus said. “Ready?”

“Fantastic game, bud,” Lyall said. “What a zinger at the end there, eh?”

“We’ve been really pulling through lately, yeah,” Remus grin. His chest always warmed when his parents insisted on congratulating him on a game. As if he’d played.

“Oh, why don’t you just take Julian in, sweetheart,” his mother said.

Remus raised an eyebrow. “You sure?”

“Yes, of course. He really loves the locker room and we’ll see everyone at the party, won’t we, dear?”

Remus’ father nodded. “Jules might explode if you don’t go soon, so…”

Remus laughed. “Well, alright. C’mon, you little monster.”

“I’m not,” Julian laughed, and Remus wrestled him into a head lock before opening the locker room door for him.

“Whoa-ho,” James said from where he was standing by the door with Lily. “The Captain’s back.” He held his fist out for a bump. “Hey, man.”

“Hi, Pots,” Julian said, a little quietly, but he was smiling. Then, his eyes shifted somewhere behind him and he hit Remus’ side a few times. “Re, Re, Re.”

“What?” Remus followed his gaze to see that Logan and Leo seemed to be having some sort of mock boxing match with nothing but their towels and gloves on.

“Yep,” Remus said. “If you’re gonna ask me what they’re doing, I have no idea.”

Julian seemed entranced though, and Remus laughed and shuffled him out of the way of some of the other players heading towards the showers.

Pascal, throwing his dirty jersey in the laundry bin in the center of the room, stopped when he saw Remus. “What is this? Remus, you didn’t tell me you had a twin.”

“Dumo,” Remus heard Julian whisper.

Pascal laughed and bent down in front of Julian. “Bonsoir. What’s your name?”

“Julian.”

“Julien? Est-ce que tu parles français, Julien?”

Julian shook his head vigorously. “No, sorry.”

“Oh, it’s okay, it’s okay. I bet you play hockey though, non?”

“Yeah, yeah, I’m a center.”

“Ah, like me. Like our Captain,” Pascal poked the C on Julian’s jersey. “Are you in need of more jerseys, Julien? I hear this player, number twelve, is old news.”

Julian looked at once excited by the mention of jerseys and vastly offended at the insult to Sirius.

“Well, I don’t know about that.”

Julian’s head whipped around to where Sirius was standing.

“What’s up, Jules,” Sirius said.

Remus had to carefully control his face at Sirius calling Julian his nickname. He pressed a hand to the top of Julian’s head, glad for the excuse to beam at Sirius.

“Hi, Pads,” Julian said, sounding a little like his father’s prediction might have been right, that Julian might just combust from happiness.

Finn, walking behind Sirius from the showers, did a double take and froze, staring at Julian with just as much awe as Julian was staring at him.

“Remus,” Finn said slowly. “Do you have…a child?”

“What?” Remus laughed. “No, Harz, this is my brother.”

“This is Julian,” Sirius said. “Jules, this is Harzy.”

“I know,” Julian had his jersey sleeves gathered in his hands.

“Wow, I am so glad I’m wearing a towel,” Finn said, almost to himself, before very seriously holding out a fist for Julian to bump. “Mr. Lupin.”

Julian laughed and met his fist. Finn pretended to wince and shake his hand out, smiling with a wink as he walked away.

“Alright, Jules, we should let everyone get dressed, eh?”

“Hey, hey, hey, hang on a second,” Sirius went to his locker and pulled out the sweatshirt he usually cooled down in, throwing it on. “Gotta have my good luck charm for my cool down, eh?”

And that’s how Remus ended up watching from the gym doorway as Sirius talked to his baby brother, asking him any and every questioned as he stretched, and Julian imitating any move he made.

James appeared at Remus’ shoulder while Sirius and Julian were both seated on the ground touching their toes.

“He totally has a girlfriend,” James whispered.

Remus looked at him. “What makes you say that?”

“No offense to your brother, but a sudden interest in kids? When did that happen? Trust me, he’s got baby fever. I’d know. When I found out Lily was pregnant, suddenly I had to say hello to every baby I saw. Like every baby.”

Remus laughed. “Uh, yeah, maybe.”

“I just…” James sighed. “I don’t understand why he wouldn’t tell me, I mean…I’m so happy that he’s happy. And I can tell you know? Only he always denies it and that just…I don’t know.”

Remus looked down at his hands. He didn’t know what to say, couldn’t conjure the words.

“Hopefully he brings her to Dumo’s, eh?”

“Yeah,” Remus choked out. “Yeah, for sure.”

 

~

 

Remus showed up at Pascal’s house with his family a little late. His mother had been slow getting ready, at little nervous, and then his father had misplaced the car keys. Julian had been a puddle of longing in the living room until they had turned out onto the road, finally.

Remus closed his car door, heart pounding, and he didn’t really know why.

“All good?”

His dad held up the bottle of wine they’d brought with a grin. “All good.”

They walked up the path and Remus knocked on the door.

“Remus,” Celeste greeted them with Katie on her hip. She looked elegant in her green, long-sleeved dress. “Mr. and Mrs. Lupin, bonsoir, please come in!”

“Hi, Celeste,” Remus said, accepting a kiss on both cheeks.

“Yo, Loops!”

Remus jumped a little. “Uh, hi, Tremz.”

Tremz waved vigorously at him from the sliver of the living room he could see, and Leo sent him an apologetic look. Celeste laughed.

“We are all…well into the night, you might say,” she leaned in. “A little tipsy, non?”

“Except for me,” Lily walked up and wrapped her arms around Remus. “I’m living through James.” She smiled. “Hi, Hope, hi Lyall, good to see you again. Hey, Julian!”

Julian was quickly commandeered by the other children, a charge led by the Dumais’ kids. Apparently there was a pick-up game going on in the basement somewhere.

“I want one of him,” Lily sighed happily, before following his parents, who were whisked away by Celeste to the kitchen for drinks, and Remus found himself suddenly alone in the entry way, hanging up their coats.

“Hi.”

Remus looked up as he closed the closet door. Sirius was standing there, leaning against the doorway with his ankles crossed. He was wearing a forest green sweater, nothing like anything Remus had never seen him wear before, and dark jeans with white adidas on. His hair was fluffy, no doubt having been wet from the snow earlier, and with no hat to hold it down it curled around his ears and over his forehead sweetly. He looked soft in the yellow lights, and warm. Remus hadn’t kissed him, hadn’t so much as touched him, in the days since his parents arrived. It was only a two days but…the sight of him sent a small shiver through him.

“Hi,” Remus said faintly. He walked the few steps between them and stood close to Sirius, out of sight of the inner rooms.

“Good break so far?”

“Yeah. It’s nice to have Jules around again. You?”

Sirius nodded. “Dumo’s kids are sweet. Logan, not so sweet.”

Remus laughed and so did Sirius.

“Lots of video games,” Sirius finished. “A good break, but…”

Remus heard the I miss you without him having to say it. It was a text he received every morning and every night.

“Did I miss Jules?”

“Oh, you’ll see him. He’ll come looking for you soon enough once he wonders why he’s playing with a bunch of kids when Sirius Black and Logan Tremblay are upstairs.”

“Also at family skate, oui?” Sirius asked.

Remus nodded, and then took a breath, glancing into the living room for a moment. “I have something for you.”

Sirius’ eyebrow went up. “Oui?”

“Mhm. A Christmas gift.”

“Is this something I get while we are alone?” Sirius asked, voice low.

Remus snorted. “Well, this one comes in a box. But you can have that, too, I assure you.”

Sirius grinned. “I have something for you, too.”

“Yeah?”

“It’s in a box, too, but I’d be more than happy to follow it up with something else,” Sirius reached out, fingers pinching the hem of Remus’ gray sweater softly. “Will you find me upstairs later? An hour, maybe? Give people time to drink a bit more.”

Remus glanced around the room. “Pads, we almost got caught. Remember how you felt then. Are you sure?”

Sirius gave his head a small shake. “It’s just a present. Besides, I need you.”

Remus let out a breath. This felt like both the best and the worst place to be meeting alone. Everyone here was their friend, their family, but that worked against them just as much as it worked for them. Remus thought of his unsuspecting parents in the other room. He thought of his own bed, which felt too large now that he had become used to Sirius in it.

“I’ll kiss you in an hour,” he said.

“You better.”

 

Remus wandered into the kitchen for a drink while Sirius went back into the living room. He wasn’t just here for Sirius, even if that was what it felt like. He liked seeing the rest of the boys outside of work.

Leo and Logan where there, Leo trying to dissuade Logan from another glass of wine, and Logan trying to persuade Leo into one more.

“Letting loose, eh, Tremz?” Remus laughed as he poured himself some.

“It is Christmas,” Logan said. “C’est Noel!”

“What?” A girl turned around from where she had been talking to Thomas—who looked like he was sweating.

“Not you,” Logan said, pressing his palm to the girl’s face, who punched him in the arm in return. “Ow.”

Remus raised an eyebrow and Logan waved him off.

“My sister.”

“Oh, I didn’t—”

“Yeah, yeah, there’s two others around here somewh—” Logan cut off sharply. His face froze for a moment, then went sort of blank.

For a second, Remus worried it was something to do with the alcohol, but then he realized that Logan was staring at something behind him. Remus turned around, and was a little bewildered when all he saw was Finn, having just arrived. He was smiling and holding hands with a girl.

“Hey guys,” he said.

“Hey Harzy,” Remus said, then glanced at the girl.

“Oh, this, um. This is June.”

June waved, revealing a bright smile. Her curly hair was piled on top of her head and the white sweater she was wearing set off her tanned skin nicely.

Remus held out his hand. “Remus.”

“Nice to meet you,” she said. Remus watched her glance at Logan and Leo. “What’s up, Leo.”

“Hey, June,” Leo smiled, but it looked a little tight. “Good to see you again.”

“What,” Logan said faintly. Then he flushed, like he hadn’t meant to say it.

“Lo,” Finn said, sounding—a little nervous actually. “Um. Yeah, this is June. I hoped you guys would meet earlier but, you haven’t been around to me and Nut’s place in a while, so.”

Logan stared for long enough that Remus had just begun to feel awkward, and then said a faint. “Hi.”

“Man, Lo,” Leo laughed and it sounded loud in the small space. “Had a bit too much wine, alright, let’s all go into the living room.” He smiled brightly at June. “You can meet the rest of the boys. Let’s go y’all.”

“Excuse me,” Logan said. He set his glass down hard and disappeared through the door leading into the basement, to his room.

They hovered there for a moment, unsure of what had just happened.

“I’ll go make sure he’s,” Leo began vaguely. “He’s had a lot to drink,” he finished looking more at Finn.

“Yeah,” Finn said, face looking pale and conflicted. He turned back to June when Leo followed Logan down to his room. “C’mon J, I want you to meet Lily. Also hopefully Cap is around here somewhere.”

“He’s in the living room,” Remus offered, still glancing at the basement door.

They turned, and Remus only just heard June say something along the lines of, “Was that him?”

 

~

 

Remus went to find Sirius—maybe a little early. The walk up the staircase felt like deja vu, like when he had gone looking for a bathroom at Sirius’ house on Halloween. Only, this time, he was looking for what he had found that time. And Sirius would be looking for him.

He found the guest bedroom where he and Sirius had first kissed. Where he had first felt Sirius in his arms. He brushed his hands over the quilted bedspread before going to the window. The snow was illuminated in the street lamps. The mulled wine and cider wafted up from the kitchen, along with laughter. It felt like Christmas.

“Looks like we’re both early,” Sirius’ voice came from behind him.

Remus smiled and turned around. Sirius was in the doorway, turning the lock on the door behind his back.

“Why were you upstairs?” Remus asked. “On Halloween. When you found me in your room.”

“I saw you go upstairs,” Sirius said simply, and then he walked forward. He pressed into Remus’ space, hands moving to his hips. “I would have done anything to be alone with you back then. Including follow up upstairs in my own house, where I knew where the downstairs bathrooms were.”

Remus laughed, winding his arms around Sirius’ neck. “Oh, yeah? Only back then?”

Sirius shook his head, bending to let their lips only just brush together. “Any time. All the time.”

“Do you know its been almost three months?” Remus whispered, leaning into to press a soft, barely there kiss to Sirius’ mouth. “Three months since you told me that you wanted me. Two months since we kissed.”

“I’m offended that you think I could forget these things,” Sirius’ hands were warm as he pressed them under Remus’ sweater and shirt, against his back. Sirius let out an unsteady breath. “I could never forget, Remus.”

Remus’ chest felt too small, he pulled Sirius tighter to him. “Baby.”

Sirius’ smile was soft and cut off by his kiss, his fingers firm against Remus’ jaw.

“I could kiss you forever,” Sirius whispered.

“Do it,” Remus replied, and his voice sounded high to himself, turned on and—

Maybe in love.

Remus gasped as Sirius pressed a kiss to his neck.

“Do it,” Remus breathed. His hands wound through Sirius’ hair, and he kissed him.

Remus forgot the night. Sirius’ mouth was hot and it tasted like the cinnamon in the cider. He pressed his hands against Remus’ lower back and held him close.

“I know we can’t do much right now,” Sirius said. “But I want to kiss you. I want—I want to know you’re with me even when I alone.”

Remus could barely breathe. He reached up, knuckles trailing across Sirius’ cheek. “I am with you.”

Sirius smiled down at him. “Mon Loup.”

“C’mere,” Remus pulled Sirius down, bringing their mouths back together.

Sirius leaned into it, sucking on Remus’ lip for a moment before breaking to trail wet kisses down the side of Remus’ neck. “How much time do you think we have before people start wondering where we are?”

“Not enough,” Remus panted. “Five minutes. Where the hell did this sweater come from?”

“Like it?” Sirius nipped at his bottom lip. “I bought it for you.”

“Sirius Black,” Remus laughed as Sirius cut him off with a kiss, and it turned into a soft moan. “Went shopping for me?”

“Do anything for you.”

Remus pressed his fingers against Sirius’ toned stomach, warm from the cashmere wool. “New Year’s,” Remus said. “I want to kiss you on New Year’s.”

Sirius smiled into their next kiss. “At midnight.”

“At midnight,” Remus whispered.

“I think I can pull that off,” Sirius pressed a few dragging, slow kisses against Remus’ lips. “Close your eyes, mon loup.”

Remus smiled, head tilting back against the wall as he closed his eyes. Remus felt Sirius’ hands take one of his own from beneath his sweater. All was still for a moment, and then there were lips on the inside of his wrist.

Remus sucked in a breath, and then something cool was being wrapped around his wrist.

Remus opened his eyes to see a simple watch. It was nothing like anything Sirius would have purchased for himself. Nothing flashy, not even all that shiny. A muted silver, with a simple face and leather band. It ticked gently.

“Pads…”

“Look,” Sirius said quietly. He unfastened it and flipped it around. Remus reached out and ran his fingers over the words engraved there, the words that would always be pressed against his skin.

Mon vœu.

“My wish,” Sirius translated, although Remus had known. His voice had caught the moment he had read them. Sirius looked at Remus with open, silver eyes. “Remus…for now, the words are only for you. But,” Sirius fastened the watch around Remus’ wrist once more, and tapped the face of it. “It’s only a matter of time. I want…us.”

Sirius bit his lip for a moment, eyebrows drawing together before he pressed a palm to Remus’ neck, thumb stroking along his jaw. “Re. Please wait for me. I wasn’t asking before, I never wanted you to feel like you were tied down to anything. I’m asking now.”

Remus felt the press of tears behind his eyes. Instead of responding, he reached into his own back pocket, grasping something.

“Close your eyes,” Remus rasped out.

Sirius did so, dark eyelashes fanning out across his cheeks. Remus reached up and smoothed the stressed furrow on his forehead with his thumb, then leaned up to press a kiss there.

Remus withdrew the necklace and let the cool chain fall around Sirius’ neck. Sirius opened his eyes, eyes darting down to the pendant.

“Twelve,” he said.

“To anyone else, yes,” Remus brushed his fingers over the fairly small numbers one and two resting beside each other. “But one is silver, and one is gold. I,” Remus let out a slightly watery laugh. “I don’t know if it’s that easy to understand, but—”

“Half,” Sirius whispered. “Half is gold. Half is silver. Half of twelve is—” Sirius blinked and his eyes shone. “Six.”

Remus nodded silently, and then Sirius was kissing him again, hard and desperate.

“You never had to ask,” Remus said against his lips. “I was always going to wait.”

Sirius’ laugh was giddy and soft and he pulled Remus in around the waist and hugged him.

They knew they would be missed and that the food would be put out soon, and so Sirius brushed his fingers through Remus’ hair, and Remus smoothed Sirius’ clothes.

“Handsome,” Remus said, and took a breath. “Okay, ready.”

Sirius just looked at him, face open and radiant. He raised his new necklace to his lips and kissed it. Then, he tucked it into his shirt and opened the door, letting the sounds of the party back in.

Chapter Text

Remus woke up the morning of family skate to the NHL All-Star teams being announced, along with the captains. Sirius was captaining the Metropolitan Division, and Logan was going with him, while Snape was captaining the Atlantic Division. Regulus was going, too. Go figure. Remus stared down at the article on his phone, unable to decide if he was more elated for Sirius or nervous for him.

Sirius beat him to the punch with a short text that read, here we go.

It’s just bye week and all-star, Remus typed back. He’d let Sirius bring up his brother if he wanted to.

Fucking skills competition, Sirius replied instead.

Remus laughed. As if you don’t have the softest hands out there. You’ll beat Patrick Kane to the ground.

Sirius’ response was a string of heart emojis, plus a few suggestive hand symbols. Remus smiled at his phone until his mom finally emerged from the spare bedroom, ready to head to the rink.

 

Remus rubbed his finger over the face of his watch nervously as he walked into the locker room with Julian and his parents, although he wasn’t sure it was just nerves. There was a part of him, with his skates slung over his shoulder by their tied laces, that itched to prove himself. The other side of him, neck hot with nerves, was stuck in the past, swelling with feelings that were hard to kick.

“Hey, Loops,” Logan said. He was surrounded by three girls, also lacing up—expertly so, if Remus had to guess. His sisters he had mentioned last night.

It was the morning after the Christmas party and Logan looked a little rough around the edges.

“Hey, Tremzy,” Remus replied as lightly as he could while regarding Logan’s slightly red eyes. “Congrats on the All-Star. You okay?”

One of the girls looked over at him with sad eyes, then at Remus. The look was a little like a question, a request.

Logan didn’t really look okay.

“Yeah. And thanks. I mean, not sure it beats having time off but…” Logan grinned, then his eyes went to Remus’ shoulder. “Shit, you skating today?”

Remus laughed nervously. “Um. I mean, it is family skate.”

“Joining the pick up game?”

“Oh,” Remus began.

“C’mon, Loops,” Logan stood, a little taller in his skates. “My sisters are playing, too.”

“Your sisters,” one of the girls said, punching him in the thigh. “Are professional ice hockey players. At least two of us are. Maybe mention that.”

Logan looked down at her with eyes that turned fond in a way Remus had never really seen them. He said something in French that Remus didn’t quite catch, but his sister stood up with a coo and hugged him, calling him baby brother in French. Logan scowled but returned the hug. The other two dog piled around them, and Remus laughed. Even if something was wrong, Remus was glad Logan had those three.

“Remus, Remus, Remus,” Julian said, eyes gazing around the locker room. “Where do I sit?”

“Oh, um,” Remus glanced around the room for Sirius, but didn’t see him yet. “Here, Jules, let’s just…”

“He can have my seat.”

Remus looked up to see James smiling down at Julian.

Julian gave a little jump. “Really?

“Sure thing, bud,” James motioned over to his stall. “All yours.”

Remus smiled at James in thanks and followed Julian who was already seated and petting the walls like they were a holy relic. He was in his BLACK jersey again, and Remus knelt in front of him to lace his skates for him.

“That’ll be our baby, soon,” Remus heard James whisper to Lily from behind him.

Lily made an excited noise. “I love you, Potter.”

He must have leaned down to kiss her because Logan shouted from his stall.

“Mon dieu, get a room!”

James just wrapped Lily up in his arms. “Family skate is for kissing.”

The Dumais kids ewed.

Remus laughed, his entire body feeling warm from the mood of the locker room. He’d never brought anyone to family skate before, and it made it all the better to have his dad kneeling near by to tie his mom’s skates, and Julian kicking excitedly in front of him as Remus tied his.

 

Julian was up and messing around with the other kids, Remus having taken his place in James’ stall to get his own skates on, when Sirius finally walked in. He was greeted by Celeste and the Dumais kids first, Celeste kissing him on the cheek and the kids wrapping around his legs like octopi. There was hollering about the All-Star game. Evgeni slapped Sirius on the back, grinning.

“Why you always Captain, hm? You too young.”

“He’s the best Captain!” Marc Dumais shouted, pressing his cheek to Sirius’ thigh.

Remus watched Sirius ruffle the kids’ hair, swatting at Evgeni. Sirius looked refreshed and happy, smiling and switching easily from French to English. Then, Sirius looked up at him. Remus gave him a little nod as he pulled the laces tight on his skates. Sirius’ eyes flicked down to them, and he grinned.

“Gearin’ up, Lupin?”

“You’re late,” Remus smiled.

Sirius raised an eyebrow, and then moved his eyes to Julian, ruffling his hair. “Ça va, Jules? Got your skates on, helmet, pads, jersey. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you’re ready for a game.”

“I am!” Julian said, eyes bright through the cage on his helmet.

The locker room was nice and crowded, rowdy with families. Remus looked around to see Sirius walk up to his parents with Julian in toe. He shook his dad’s hand and leaned in to kiss his mom gently on both cheeks. Remus laughed when he saw her blush. Remus tied off his skate and walked over there, if only to hear what Sirius possibly could be talking to his parents about.

“Re,” Julian said immediately. “Sirius wants you to play the pickup game!”

Remus kept his smile in place, and looked right at his mother, begging her silently with his eyes not to say anything. But her face was already a worried frown, like they had been talking about it. It didn’t sound like she’d said anything to Sirius though. His father was studying his face carefully.

“You’ll skate with us, right, Re?” Julian pleaded again, tapping his arm with his small gloves.

“Yeah, right, Re?” Sirius grinned, oblivious.

“Please, Remus, please, please,” Julian begged.

Hope began to step forward, her face nervous. “Julian, sweetheart, you know your brother—”

“I’ll skate,” Remus said quickly, with a smile. He took a breath and gave his mom a firm nod. “Of course, I’ll skate.”

Sirius didn’t look as happy as Remus thought he would. He had a soft smile on his face, but his eyes were trained on Remus’, like he was looking for something. “Hey,” he finally said, kicking his sneaker against Remus’ skate. “You have a stick?”

“Not with me,” Remus said, sensing Sirius’ way to get Remus alone.

Sirius narrowed his eyes playfully, then turned to Julian and his parents. “We will be right back.” He began walking before Remus could say anything and, heart in his throat, Remus followed.

Sirius led him into the equipment room where the racks of the different boys sticks were there to choose from.

“Re,” Sirius said the second they were alone. He glanced towards the open door, voice low. He looked unsure and even worried. “I don’t know…Look, your mom seemed a little…” Sirius sighed and re-started his sentence again. “I don’t know what exactly happened, but if it’s something about skating, I don’t want to force anything on you. I know I joke about it, but I don’t want to cross any lines. Ever. I want you to have fun, and if it isn’t, then…I mean, I don’t know, you said you still skate, I just thought…”

“Sirius, hey, hey,” Remus pressed a hand to his shoulder. “Don’t worry. I…my mom gets like that. It’s just…” Remus took a breath. “All it is is hold-over from when I was really torn up about having to stop. I just…I haven’t played, really played, with other people since. Unless you count seven year olds in the summers.”

Sirius worried his lower lip for a minute. “But…do you want to?”

“Yes,” Remus said, and realized it was the complete truth. “I want to.”

“You’re sure. Remus, tell me. You said to me that I can be open, and that goes for you, too.”

Remus felt a small twinge of guilt pass through him. Sirius looked so honest, ready for anything Remus could say. But Remus nodded. He was sure about this, about today.

“As long as you don’t mind me kicking your ass,” Remus said with a smile.

Sirius’ eyes lit up, then motioned towards the stick wall. “Pick one. I know you have a favorite.”

Remus suppressed a smile. “Bet you can’t guess who’s stick I prefer.”

Sirius laughed loudly at the joke, shoving Remus a little bit. It was a friendlier, more distanced reaction than he would have had behind closed doors, but Remus enjoyed it anyway. He could feel the warmth in it.

Remus kept his eyes on Sirius as, slowly, he reached forward and took James’ stick off the rack.

Sirius’ face dropped. “Really? You play with that little flex?”

Remus looked at him innocently, propping his chin on his hands over the top of the stick. “James’ blade has a nice curve.”

Sirius groaned out a laugh, covering his eyes. “Merde. You better not beat me up the ice with that thing.”

Remus only raised an eyebrow.

“Oh,” Sirius laughed. “Cocky, eh?”

Remus shook his head, twirling and testing the stick in his hands. “I’m probably so out of practice.”

Sirius studied his face, smile wide. Then, he jerked his head further into the room. “Come on, you’ll need gear for when we play.”

 

Remus was carefully assembling shoulder pads and a helmet for himself, Sirius leaning against the wall watching, when Finn appeared with June at his shoulder.

“Hey, Harzy,” Sirius said, then smiled. “June.”

“What’s up, Cap?” Finn said with a smile. “Thought I’d get J some skates before seeing everyone.”

“Family skate status?” Sirius said, then winked at June jokingly. “Really got him, eh?”

June laughed, messing up Finn’s red hair. “He’s a keeper for sure.”

They all talked some while Remus set his gear aside for after the little kids skated, and Finn found June a pair of skates that fit alright. When they started to head back to the locker room, Remus held Sirius back a moment.

“Okay, don’t think I’m weird,” Remus whispered. “But just, can you watch Logan’s face when we go in there and tell me if you see anything?”

Sirius raised an eyebrow. “Sure?”

“Watch when Finn walks in. With June.”

Sirius sent him another confused look, but nodded as they followed Finn and June into the locker room.

There were greetings of “Harz!” and lots of chirping about Finn bringing a girl to family skate for the first time. But Remus was busy watching Logan. His head snapped up from where he was talking to Thomas and one of his sisters. His eyes went hard, and he turned fully around. His sister reached out and pressed a brief hand against his back. Like she was comforting him, but she didn’t make a show of it, just kept talking to Thomas.

Remus and Sirius looked at each other and Remus raised an eyebrow.

“Okay,” Sirius said slowly. He obviously still didn’t quite get it.

Remus laughed a little. “We’ll talk about it later.”

 

There was the chaos of filing the kids out onto the ice, some of the older ones holding up the littler ones. There would probably be a million and one pictures taken. Logan was holding Katie Dumais, spinning her around and making her shriek with laughter. Leo was there, too, at Logan’s side with Marc. They placed the kids between their legs, making them feel like they were skating fast while holding them under their arms. Remus looked for Finn, and found him skating hand-in-hand with June. He glanced at Logan once, but that was all.

“I always like family skate,” Lily said, stopping by his side on the bench. “When a bunch of boys turn into mushy puppies with kids.”

Remus laughed. “Yeah, true. You skating today?”

“Nah, don’t want to fall, you know?” She put her hand on her belly and tilted her head at him. “But I see you are, Remus Lupin, when has that happened before?”

Remus glanced out onto the ice where Sirius already was. He was with Julian, and it looked like they were having some sort of race. They started at center ice and Remus watched as they both took off—Sirius much slower than usual, but making a show of working hard with his arms. He let Julian win, making it seem like a tight race, and sprawled out on the ice at the end by the goal, as if he was exhausted. Remus thought his heart might burst.

“I guess I was convinced,” Remus said, smiling at Lily.

Lily was looking back at him, eyes shining. “Uh-huh.”

Remus raised an eyebrow. “What?”

Lily shrugged her shoulders, holding her cup of hot chocolate close. “Nothing. Black sure is cute out there with your brother, is all.”

“Yeah, he is,” Remus said, then blinked. “It is.”

“Re,” Lily said, turning towards him and looping their arms together.

“Lils.”

“I’m your best friend, okay?”

Remus laughed. “I think I know that.”

Lily looked at him for a long moment, lip between her teeth, and then pressed up on her toes and kissed his cheek. “Then, just remember it. Sound good?”

Remus nodded slowly. “Okay…”

Lily laughed. “Go, skate, keep James busy before he takes all of the children home with him. He’s worse than Pascal, I swear, it’s like he magnets to babies.”

Remus laughed shuffling down the bench to the door. “Good thing one’s coming his way.”

“Good thing!” Lily raised her cup at him.

Remus smiled, then took a breath. He grabbed James’ stick that he had cut down a little for himself, and he stepped out onto the ice.

He hadn’t realized how much he had missed skating with other people. He went out onto the ice sometimes, before the zamboni came to smooth it out for practice, but he was always alone. He skated over to where Sirius was still chasing Julian around, only now they both had sticks in their hands and Sirius was doing a very good job at letting Julian keep the puck away from him.

“Looking good, Jules,” Remus said, which made Sirius whip his head around. Remus felt Sirius’ eyes drag over every inch of him.

“Re!” Julian shouted, and then passed the puck to him. Remus caught it on his stick easily. He steadied it with a few quick passes of his blade before tapping it over to Sirius, who caught it easily enough save for the expression on his face. He looked intense and dazed, all at once. Not a moment later, he was being circled by Logan, still toting a giggling Katie, and was obliged to look away—but not without a promise that said he would be back. A few of the Weasley boys, Bill and Charlie skated over, too, chasing their younger brother Percy around.

It was chaotic and peaceful. Remus played keep away with Julian, and took a few pictures as Kasey played goalie for him, throwing himself left and right in slow motion.

“What a shot,” Kasey put on his usual stern face, but Remus could see the smile peaking through. Julian ate it up.

“Kase, look here,” Natalie was holding up a camera with her pink, fuzzy mittens, blond hair falling down from beneath her red and gold beanie with the number 30 embroidered on it.

Kasey eyed the camera mistrustfully, but as soon as he looked at Natalie, he smiled.

Sirius didn’t stick close to Remus the entire time, probably trying to avoid suspicion, and Remus saw him pouring hot chocolate for two of Logan’s sisters at one point, and then skating quietly with coach Weasley at another. Remus, from his past of playing hockey, never would have dreamed that family skate would feel just like that. A family.

 

Children were soon being ushered off the ice by mothers who knew very well that only a tantrum could follow this level of tiredness. Celeste sat on the bench with her children. Some slept immediately, others were all too intent on watching the action on the ice, mainly watching their fathers reemerge from the locker room in full gear—Remus included. Sirius hung back with him.

“You know what I’m thinking,” Sirius said quietly.

Remus looked at him through his helmet’s visor. It was strange, wearing one, after only using a cage all his life. “I think I could guess.”

“I’ll get you on my team,” Sirius said, then tapped Remus’ chest with his glove and pressed their helmets together briefly, before skating out to center ice. It took Remus’ breath away, and he took a moment, in the darker tunnel. He looked down at the Lions jersey he was wearing. It had no name on the back, just an extra that the equipment staff always had lying around, but it felt—real. Remus couldn’t think about it too hard without being pulled down towards everything he had lost. He followed Sirius onto the ice.

“Yo,” Finn called. “Let’s go, hooligans. Alright. Same rules apply. Light checks, nothing ham. No OT, we’ll just tie. Captains, as usual. Sirius. Dumo. Who calls what, gentlemen?”

“Heads,” Sirius said instantly. He always called heads.

Finn tossed the coin, and whistled lowly with a smile. “Tails. Sorry, Black. Pascal, first pick.”

Pascal laughed, tapping his stick against the ice. “I pick Remus.”

Remus knew he must looked about as surprised as he felt, and he couldn’t help laughing at Sirius’ efforts to control his face. Sirius covered himself nicely though, giving Pascal a shove.

“I wanted him on my line.”

“Too bad, you’ll get him on the face-off.”

“I’m really, really,” Remus began as he stopped beside Pascal. “Really not worth arguing about.”

“The puck will speak for us, non?” Pascal grinned.

Sirius took James after that, and then Pascal took Logan, and Sirius took Finn. Pascal called on Leo, and so Kasey went to Sirius. Thomas to Pascal, Olli to Sirius, and so on. It was a funny mismatch of positions and relaxed rules. Remus found himself to the side of Pascal and Sirius, face to face at center ice, quicker than he thought he would.

Finn was at his shoulder, jostling him a little bit. It was familiar, the way boys used to kick at each other’s skates before the whistle blew. It brought back a fire that Remus recognized. He dug his skate blade in and pushed back.

“Oh-ho,” Finn laughed. “Alright, Lupin, alright. Man, got more weight on you than you look, eh?”

Remus smiled at him. “Look alive, O’Hara.”

Moody dropped the puck, and Pascal won it. Remus watched him skate it into their own zone, dropping it back to Thomas, who skirted James, then passed it back to Dumo. Remus scouted around him, feet quick in their well-practiced cross overs.

“Dumo,” he shouted.

The pass connected easily. Remus caught it on his stick and turned to head up the ice, only to be met by Finn again. Remus lifted his left leg, as if he was about to shoot right, and Finn fell for it, diving. Remus pushed off in the other direction, and Finn shouted from his knees.

What?” Finn scrambled to get back up.

Remus laughed, hearing shouts from the bench.

he hadn’t been sure if he’d remember everything at once, or if it would be a bit of a rusty learning curve. But he felt the stick like it had never left his hands, the weight of the puck a welcomed resistance. He passed it off to Logan who carried it around the goal, battling it out with Finn in the corner. Finn covered his back, pinning him against the boards, while his skate tried to wedge the puck away from him. Remus watched him say something, not catching what it was. Logan’s eyes went wide, and he broke free of Finn, shooting the puck back to Remus at the center line.

Remus was half way into offensive zone when a tap on the back of his shin alerted him to someone else’s presence. He could hear the sound of skates digging into the ice just behind him. It was familiar. He knew it was Sirius by the smooth, nearly seamless way he shifted his weight, completely the opposite of Finn’s more rough digs coming from his left. This was a tactic of Sirius’, coming up from behind. He’d lag along, like a trail, until the last second, where he’d poke check the puck into Finn’s awaiting arms. Remus knew this play well. He’d seen it one hundred times.

Remus pushed his skates, weight in his heels, and braked hard. He heard Sirius let out a surprised shout a second before Remus braced as Sirius collided against his back.

The momentum of his stop let Remus turn on a dime, puck still on his tape, and he was in front of the goal. Kasey was there, on the edge of the blue paint, glove raised. Remus could just see his eyes through his mask.

“What’s up Fruit-Loop,” he shouted.

Remus raised his stick, gave Kasey enough time to stand up, reading for a slap, and then sent it low on the ground. Right between his legs. The goal horn blared.

“Oh my fuck!” Logan shouted, and skated over and slammed into Remus in a hug, patting his helmet and bumping their foreheads together. “Yeah, Loops! Mon dieu.”

“I’m going to be kicked out of the League,” Finn said from one knee, shaking his head at Remus. “What the fuck.”

Pascal laughed as he skated over, wrapping an arm around Remus’ shoulders. “I wish I had bet on you, Remus. I would be a rich man.”

“That’s not,” Kasey began from his goal, patting his posts down like he always did. “That’s not okay.”

“It’s alright, baby!” Natalie shouted from the benches, voice echoing in the rink. She had her head on Lily’s shoulder. “I still love ya.”

“Ha ha,” Kasey yelled back, but he was beginning to smile. He turned around to do it, squirting some water into his mouth.

Remus looked for Sirius. He was standing there, a few strides away, staring at Remus quietly. His eyes were soft and his lips parted. He pushed his helmet straight on his head, the chin strap always too loose, and swallowed.

“Good one, Loops,” he said faintly, and smiled.

Remus didn’t bother to hide the grin of his own. “Thanks.”

“Lupin!” was shouted from the bench. Remus looked, and Coach Weasley waved him over the way he did his players—with one, beckoning finger. Remus felt his heart beat hard as he made his way over to the bench, followed by most of the team.

Coach Weasley stared at Remus, lips parted. “Why did my team medic just steal the puck out from the feet of my star player, Moody?”

Moody laughed gruffly from beside him. “Couldn’t tell you, Coach.”

“Putting the puck…between the legs of my star goalie.”

“Couldn’t tell you, Coach.”

Coach squinted at Remus. “That was a beautiful fake you pulled on Blizzard, there. Is there tape on you, Lupin? From when you were at Wisconsin?”

Wisconsin?” Thomas shouted. “You’re telling me Loops went to my school and no one told me?” He clicked his tongue with a grin. “The fuck.”

“Um,” Remus laughed nervously. “I mean—yeah. Yeah, there is. Probably. If it’s still around.”

“Fuck me,” Sirius laughed. “I need to see this.”

“Tell me about it,” James shouted. “To the video room, people—”

“No, no, no,” Remus said quickly, glancing at the bench. Julian and his father, thankfully, were well occupied with Lily, but his mother was staring right at him. “Jeez, I’m not that good, I—really, guys. It isn’t worth it. At all. It all ended in a pretty…a pretty bad hit, so.”

That quieted them down. It was each one of their nightmares. One bad hit to end it all.

“Shit, Loops,” Finn said softly. “I’m sorry, man.”

Remus shrugged a shoulder, carefully avoiding looking at Sirius. “It was a long time ago now. Or at least it feels that way. I’ve been working hard, lots of PT to get most of it back but…you know. It’s hard to work your way back up once it all…falls.”

It was quiet for a moment, and Remus was just beginning to work out what to say to break the spell when Sirius spoke up.

“Well, now we know why you’re so good at helping us. You did it yourself,” Sirius smiled and shook his head before tilting his chin towards the ice. “Come on, let’s play.”

Remus caught his eye and sent him a thankful smile, and they skated back out onto the ice.

“Remus,” Pascal came to skate beside him as they made their way back to center ice. “Your face off.”

“What?” Remus choked. “No way.”

“Yes, way.” Pascal smiled and leaned over to tap his helmet to Remus’.

The other boys were moving into position. Sirius and Olli were positioning themselves on either side of Finn, while Thomas and Pascal moved on either side of Remus.

Remus began to move to the circle, leaning forward across from Logan. Then, Sirius skated forward and tapped Finn’s butt with his stick. “Move.”

Finn scoffed. “Why?”

“I’m your Captain.”

“It’s Christmas.”

“Then I’m Jesus, come on, allez.”

Logan cracked up from where he was waiting to drop the puck, and Finn lifted his stick to hit him in the balls—none too lightly.

“Fuck, Fish,” Logan groaned.

“Sorry,” Finn said sweetly, then turned to Sirius. “Fine.

Remus felt like his heart was in his throat. He kept his eyes steady with Sirius’ as Sirius held his stick low across his body, bending down for the face-off. His hair fell across his forehead, and his eyes, usually steady on the ice, were playful.

“Hi,” Sirius said.

Remus swallowed. “Hi.”

Hi,” Logan butted in, waving the puck. “Mes amies, come on.”

“Ma-is am-i-es,” Finn grumbled.

“Never speak my language again,” Logan said.

“I’ll leave that to you, eh, Fleur-de-lis?” Finn grinned at him.

Logan didn’t look at him, going quiet and turning back to the puck.

Finn’s eyes dimmed, and he caught Remus’ gaze on accident before looking away. Remus looked back to Logan, who chose that moment to drop the puck.

Sirius’ stick shot out and scooped the puck away from Remus with a laugh, sending it back towards Finn and Olli. Olli got to it first, skating out until he opened up a lane to knock it down to where Finn was waiting—only Remus was faster.

He caught the puck and pushed hard towards Kasey in the goal. Only, Sirius was on him almost immediately. He chased him along the boards.

“Ey!” Remus heard Pascal shout, and he only was just able to send the puck wrapping around the boards behind the goal before there was a heavy, warm weight pinning him lightly against the glass.

Remus expected it feel like it had, not too long ago. Being checked because he was an easier target, and then being checked because it was faster, because he was better. He’d always identified with Sirius on that note, the hostility that came with talent. He expected to feel the familiar twinge of panic.

But something in him seemed to know that it was Sirius. It was Sirius and the Lions and he was stronger now. He smiled and pushed back. Sirius held him, laughing.

“I want you with me always,” Sirius whispered quickly. “Out here, and everywhere.”

And then he was gone, pushing hard towards Pascal. Finn seemed to have taken to defense, and dived right as Pascal shot, missing by inches. Kasey caught it easily in his glove.

“Damn you, Blizzard,” Pascal yelled.

“Language!” Celeste called from the bench.

 

Pascal’s team won. Remus won. He got one more goal, while Logan got another. Sirius scored one, and then Olli. And then Pascal finished it up. The kids were back on the ice for a while after that, Julian hopping on his skate blades and clinging to Remus’ jersey. It made Remus’ throat tight, to see his little brother that happy at just him skating. Julian had still been little when he stopped. It made regret try and push its way back up, and he pushed it down as best he could.

“Re, you scored, you scored!”

“Still got it, eh, Jules?” Remus bent down so that they could tap their helmets together.

“Can you teach me the fake? The one you did on Harzy?”

“No, no, no,” Finn said as he skated by. “We are not spreading that around, Lupin child.”

Julian laughed and skated after him.

“Tag!” Finn shouted before Julian could, and darted away.

Remus felt light. Lighter than he had in a long time. He felt something tap against his leg and looked down. A puck had just bounced gently against his skate blade. Following its shot line, he found Sirius on the other end of it, stick poised, and with a wide grin.

 

Remus’ legs were burning, adrenaline pumping through him steadily, by the time they were walking back down the tunnel. The locker room was empty, most of the families waiting in the lounge with rowdy-again children, food, and Christmas sweets.

“Fucking hell, Loops,” Finn yelled over the music Logan had put on—some type of French rap that pulsed in the room. Finn pushed his sweaty hair out of his face. “Bitch-ass moves.”

Remus grinned. “Thanks, I think.” He unstrapped his shoulder pads, setting them on the floor at his feet. “Sorry I had to take you down, there.”

“Broke his fucking ankles,” James laughed. “Damn.”

“Breaks them,” Sirius chimed in, pulling his jersey off. “And heals them.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Finn waved them of, standing to strip off the last of his under-layers. “Hitting the showers, boys.”

Remus’ head snapped up from where he had been tugging at his skate laces. Instantly, he found Sirius’ eyes. Sirius’ tongue darted out to wet his lips, and then he bit back a smile and stood. Remus stared at the way he was holding a sweatshirt subtly in front of him, blocking most of his crotch. Heat stirred in Remus’ chest at the thought that maybe Sirius’ flushed cheeks weren’t entirely just from skating. He didn’t have to say anything as he slipped passed the showers, which were already noisy with the guys and full of steam, and out the door that lead to the PT and quiet room. To anyone else, it would look like he was heading to the bathroom, or maybe the kitchens. It was a perfect escape, and Remus knew to follow. He wanted nothing more than to follow. He tugged off his skates as quickly as he could. He could feel his dick filling in his pants, nudging against his tight boxers in a mixture of anticipation and adrenaline, and he wanted to get out of sight.

“Fuck,” he said, and Leo looked at him questioningly. “Left my phone on the bench, be right back.”

Leo glanced at the doors, then smiled at him. “Sounds good.” 

Remus walked through the music and chatter, passed the billowing, humid steam of the showers, and into the hallway. The noise cut off abruptly as the heavy door closed behind him. The door to the quiet room was cracked open, and Remus took a deep breath. He glanced behind him, then down the hallway, but there was no one. It was the holidays. It was the perfect storm. He ran a hand over his sweaty neck, and thought of Sirius’ expression on the ice as he nudged the door open and walked into the room. Remus knew Sirius had liked watching him skate, and now he wanted to see what he would do about it.

He had barely walked into the dark room before he was being pressed against the door, forcing it shut.

Remus let out a breath and leaned forward to kiss Sirius, wrapping a hand around the back of his neck, fingers lacing in his sweaty hair.

“Pretty fucking smooth exit strategy, Black,” Remus smiled.

Sirius only kissed back hard, and then broke apart with a gasp and took Remus’ hand in his own. There was a fine tremor to Sirius’ fingers.

“Touch me,” Sirius said. His breathing sounded shaky. He pushed Remus’ hand downward, letting him cup the large bulge in his under armour. It was hot through the tight fabric.

Remus could feel his own breath getting quicker as he reached passed the elastic of Sirius’ pants and pushed his hand inside. The moment he did, he sucked in a breath. Sirius’ boxers were damp and tacky through and through, his cock straining hard against them.

“God,” Remus breathed. He dragged his thumb along the heat of Sirius through his underwear, feeling the slickness. “How long?”

“Since you slammed into me. Do you even know how good you look out there?” Sirius leaned down and trailed his lips along Remus’ jaw. “Fuck, just looking at me across the face off like you do it every day, like—like you know how good you are…”

Remus put more pressure on Sirius’ cock, choking off his words. He reached in with both hands, tugging Sirius’ clinging pants and boxers down below his balls so that he could get Sirius in his hands, one working him in slow strokes while the other stroked beneath his balls. It was wet, and the strokes sounded loud in the quiet room. Remus felt his dick stiffen further, and pushed his hips against Sirius’ thigh. Sirius let him, pressing him further into the wall while Remus rutted against him.

“Can’t go into the showers like this, huh?”

Sirius’ laugh was half groan, and his hips bucked up into Remus’ fist. His dick was hot, the head rosy and dark from being trapped so long. Remus had the sudden image of Sirius having to go into the showers like this, hard and leaking steadily down his thigh. It sent a wave of heat through his entire body, aroused and—maybe a little possessive.

“Fuck, I love seeing you like this,” Remus said. “You’ve been this hard for…”

“Calmed down after the game a little. Then remembered that we’d have to shower together and…”

Remus sighed shakily, not looking away from the sight of Sirius’ cock in his hands. He pressed his thumb against the underside of the crown and watched the trickle of clear come dribble out. “Fuck.”

“I’m pretty close,” Sirius said, then reached for Remus. “Let me…”

“You first,” Remus gasped as Sirius cupped him through his pants.

“Both, both,” Sirius pressed his hips to Remus’, bent down to kiss him again.

Remus couldn’t help but laugh. “God, you are so…fuck, baby.”

Sirius pulled Remus’ cock free and he bobbed against his stomach for a moment, the release making Remus’ head thunk back against the door.

“Ow,” Sirius made a soft noise and tucked his palm between Remus’ head and the wood. “C’mere, Loup.”

His other hand wrapped around the both of them, making Remus cry out, and Sirius tucked his face into Remus’ neck, breathing in.

“I loved being out there with you,” Sirius mumbled as he bucked his hips, cock rubbing against Remus’, held tight together by his fingers. “I…I love the way you skate, Re, I love—” Sirius broke off then with a low noise. “Remus…”

Remus wrapped his arms around him, mouth against the strong muscle of his shoulder. He wrapped his hand around Sirius’, around them both. He could feel his orgasm building and pressed his forehead where his mouth had been to see. Sirius was leaking over both of their fingers now, hips moving quickly, fucking their hands. Remus thought about Sirius fucking him like that. The friction and image made Remus feel light-headed, made his mouth drop open and his head fall back, caught by Sirius’ palm. Sirius tilted it forward again, licking gently into his mouth for a kiss as the two of them broke against each other. Sirius came first with a low groan, and then Remus a few moments later. 

They rested there for a moment, still sweaty from the game, but hearts beating fast for an entire different reason now. Remus was sure, so sure, that Sirius had very nearly said—

“You never told me you were so fast.”

Remus looked up at Sirius, leaning into the palm that had fallen to rub gently across his cheek. “Jeez, that’s what a guy wants to hear after a hand job.”

Sirius laughed, eyes crinkling. “Jeez.”

Remus pulled him in for a kiss. “How long do you think we have before people start wondering where we are?”

Sirius sighed, leaning back briefly for one of the paper towels by the sink in the dark room. “We haven’t been gone that long. Didn’t take much, eh?”

Remus shoved at his shoulder, smiling as they cleaned themselves up, flicking the light on to give each other a once over.

Sirius leaned in to press a kiss on each of Remus’ still hot cheeks. “Orgasm glow.”

“I just worked out.

Sirius laughed. “There’s a difference.”

Sirius went to open the door when Remus stopped him. “Hey.”

“Quoi?” Sirius said.

Remus kissed him gently, hand smoothing over his chest. “I loved playing with you, too. Really, I…I know that was probably shocking to hear about…” the hit, Remus wanted to say, but he really didn’t want to talk about it. He shook his head and smiled—a real smile. “I really loved today.”

Sirius stood for a moment, as if thinking, and then leaned in and pressed a lingering kiss to Remus’ forehead. “Me too.”

 

They made it back to the showers—a few minutes apart—without incident. Most of the guys were back in the lounge with the rest of the family, and Remus showered quickly, pointedly not looking at Sirius—or anyone, really. It was strange, showering in the team showers, Logan and Kasey messing around in one corner, Sirius and James in another.

Hey,” came suddenly and loudly from Sirius and James’ corner. James’ voice echoed off of the walls, making Remus look. It was easy to ignore the fact that they were all stark naked when James had reached out and was holding Sirius’ number twelve necklace in his hand.

“The fuck, hello, and this is what? Excuse me,” James leaned in to look at it.

Sirius’ eyes flickered to Remus then away, and he laughed easily as he batted James off. “Christmas present. From a fan. It was mailed to the rink apparently.”

“And you opened it?”

“No, Jen at PR says they go through everything, though. And this was, you know, legit, so…she asked if I wanted it.”

“Oh,” James said slowly. “Okay.” He turned around, water spray hitting the side side of his head, and gave Remus a very pointed look. Girlfriend, is what that look said.

“It looks good,” Remus said. “Maybe Lily will get you something that nice one day, eh, Pots?”

James scoffed. “Lily is getting me a baby. She never has to get me anything ever again.”

Kasey laughed, eyes closed and running his hands through his hair to get the soap out. “Getting is a strange word for giving birth, but okay.”

“They’re gifts,” James said, shutting off his shower. He flicked Sirius’ necklace one more time on his way out. “Some girl’s gonna be watching the National Anthem at the next game and freak the fuck out.”

“Maybe.” Sirius looked at Remus again, knowing smile on his face. Remus felt himself flush as his eyes flickered down his body.

It gave him a strange sense of security, showering, eating, playing with the team…being with the team. False security, he knew. Come January, he would be right back on the bench. He turned the water cold for a minute, letting it wash over his face, before switching it off and snagging a towel.

He was suddenly starving as the adrenaline wore off a little, and was thankful to his mother when, as he walked into the players lounge and wrapped an arm around her, she immediately held out a plate of food for him.

“You must be starving, honey,” she said. “And your brother really can’t get enough of that cake Celeste made, I have to get the recipe from her.”

“She would love that,” Remus said. “Where is Jules?”

“Over there talking to the Blizzard.”

Remus laughed. “You do know his real name, right?”

“Well, yes,” Hope smiled a little. “But the Blizzard is good fun.”

“Wow, mom, have a crush much?”

Hope just patted his arm. “I’m going to bring your brother and father one of these cupcakes.”

She smiled at Leo as he passed her on his way over to the food table behind them, hair dark from the showers and tall and lanky and with his sweet smile.

“Find your phone, Loops?” Leo said.

“What? Oh,” Remus could feel himself flush. “Yeah. Yes, I did.”

“Good thing,” Leo nodded, eyes strangely bright as he smiled and unwrapped a green and red cupcake.

“Hey, Finn never said anything about a girlfriend until last night. How long has that been going on?”

Leo’s fingers froze fractionally on the cupcake wrapper before he started peeling it carefully back again.

“Just a couple of months, I think,” Leo said carefully. Remus followed his gaze when he glanced over to where Finn and June were standing, lunch on paper plates in their hands, talking to Natalie and Lily. “She’s a mechanic. Guess I knew something was up when Finn kept taking his car in for, like, no reason. But, uh, she’s not actually over that much. I think he goes to her. Real nice though.”

“That’s good,” Remus nodded. “I’m happy for him.”

Leo just nodded and took a big bite, crumbs briefly lingering on his lower lip before he licked them away, glancing over at Finn and away again.

Remus hesitated, then said, “Is Logan all right? From last night, I mean. I know you followed him. He seemed…well, better now, but…”

Leo leaned against the table beside Remus and looked down at the sweet wrapper, folding it as small as it would go.

“Hey, Nut, I’m sorry, I didn’t…I shouldn’t be asking you this. That’s not fair on you, I should ask Logan if I think I need to.”

When Leo didn’t respond, Remus added. “It’s none of my business anyway, I was just—a little worried.”

“No, no,” Leo said finally, and, glancing once more at Finn, straightened up and turned so that his tall frame blocked Finn and some of the room from view. His eyes, which had been bright and playful a moment before, were serious. Worried. “Remus, I…I think you should talk to Logan.”

Remus blinked. “Well—you guys know Heather, I mean, a safe space, is always—”

“No,” Leo shook his head slowly. “I think you should talk to Logan.”

Remus held his gaze for a long moment, trying to piece everything out. But Leo, ever a goalie, was unreadable. Finally, Remus just nodded. “Okay. Alright, I’ll talk to him when we’re back in play, eh?”

Leo let out a long, shuttering breath. “Okay. Thanks, Loops.”

“Of course. Do…” Remus hesitated. “Do you need to talk, or…”

Leo smiled—a real smile. “No. I’m pretty well sorted.” Leo crossed his arms and, as he did, one hand pulled the sleeve of his sweatshirt up a little. There, around his wrist, was a bracelet Remus had never noticed before. It was a lanyard that looked like it never came off, and it was every color Remus could think of woven together in a rainbow.

Oh.

Remus’ eyes widened and snapped up to Leo’s face. “Oh.

Leo laughed. “Yeah,” he clapped a large hand on Remus’ shoulder. “Oh.”

Remus’ heart began pounding in his chest almost immediately. He glanced around the room. “How—”

“Don’t fret,” Leo said, in his calming way. “No one else noticed. I can guarantee. Y’all good at hiding it, I’m just…” he shrugged.

“Attuned,” Remus rasped out, then coughed. “I’m sorry, did you say…y’all?”

Leo glanced at the door where Sirius and Logan and James had just walked in, Sirius smiling as he scooped up a giggling Katie Dumais into his arms.

“I understand,” Leo said simply, and then held out his fist.

The two words calmed Remus more than anything else. It wasn’t a I won’t tell, it wasn’t anything about keeping secrets. It was both of them acknowledging that it shouldn’t have to be a secret. It was Leo saying it was alright.

“Yeah,” Remus met his fist with a smile. “So, you and Logan, or…”

Leo sighed, then took another cupcake while looking wistfully over at where Logan had, rather sheepishly by the looks of it, approached Finn and June. He shook June’s hand, who looked at Finn with a smile.

“Something like that,” Leo said, then walked over to join them.

Remus blinked after him, attempting to process. His wide eyes seemed to catch Sirius’ gaze and he raised an eyebrow, mouthing a short, you okay?

Remus nodded quickly, shooting him a smile before turning and grabbing a slice of cake, just for something to do.

“Hey, hey, hey, Fruit-loop,” Thomas walked up, looking a little more frazzled than Remus had ever seen him.

“Hey, Talkie,” Remus said slowly, mind still pre-occupied. “Okay?”

“Noelle,” he said plainly before shaking his head, pressing a hand over his heart.

“I…Christmas?” Remus asked.

“No, no, Tremzy’s sister,” he said. “Fucking smart as hell. Gorgeous. Hey, do I look okay to you? I wished I could have scored a goal out there, but someone was tearing up the ice for me, eh?”

Remus laughed. “Sorry about that.”

“Hey,” Thomas ran his hands down his cheeks, brown eyes nervous. “I got bigger fish to fry now. Does she look like a cake or cupcake girl to you? She told me to bring her something good.”

They both looked at each other for a moment, then laughed. Thomas threw his hands up.

“Celeste’s cake, obviously,” he laughed. “Catch you on the flip side, Fruit.”

Remus nodded, amused. “For sure.”

Remus watched him head back over to Noelle, who was sitting with Celeste with Marc on her lap. She smiled broadly when Thomas walked back up, a smile that reminded Remus sorely of the one that had been a little lacking lately in her brother.

“Hi,” Sirius said, coming up with a sleepy Katie on his hip. He smiled at Remus, tilting his head. “C’est bon?”

Remus stared at him. What could he say? Hello, Sirius, I know you’re nervous about coming out as a queer hockey player. Would it interest you to know something about two of your teammates?

But Remus wouldn’t tell him. It wasn’t his secret.

“Oui,” he smiled instead, reaching out to pet Katie’s soft, dark hair. “C’est bon.”

Chapter Text

Come down, the text said.

 

Christmas had been wonderful. Remus’ mother had made a perfect Christmas morning breakfast of pancakes and sausages and fresh orange juice, something Remus hadn’t even been aware he missed so much. Julian’s face had been priceless when he opened the Lions jersey with his own name across the back, Sirius’ signature sprawled across the number 24 on the back. He had missed having his family around. Cooking with his mom, talking and reading on the couch with his dad, shooting pucks in the snowy park and washing the dishes with Julian sitting on the counter, chattering away and drying them carefully. It was peaceful. It was home.

But he couldn’t get his mind off of Sirius. Remus knew he was safe and happy at the Dumais’. Logan was there, too, they were family. Sirius would have been welcomed at any of the teams’ houses, he was sure. But Remus wanted Sirius at his house. He wanted to see his mother trying to teach Sirius to cook, hopeless but patient. He wanted to watch his father moon over him. He wanted to see Sirius watch and laugh when Julian got sleepy after dinner, insisting that he wanted to watch a movie even as his eyes started to close.

He wanted Sirius there, on the couch, as the ball dropped to bring in the new year, while his dad popped champagne and Julian jumped up and down, throwing the paper confetti they had cut that morning. His parents leaned in for a soft peck, whispering an I love you, and Remus just—he wanted.

 

The text said, come down.

 

Remus’ heart drove into double time.

They’re getting ready for bed, he replied.

Take your time. I’ll be here.

Remus bit back a smile and clicked his phone off, holding it to his chest.

“I’m leaving some dishes to soak,” his mom said, coming over to kiss his cheek.

“I’ll do them in the morning,” Remus said. “What time does your flight leave?”

“Not until tomorrow evening,” Hope looked at him for a moment, then reached forward to push his hair away from his face. “Re, I’m so happy that…well, you’ve really grown. You look so much happier than…well.”

“I know,” Remus said. Since the accident, was what she meant. He smiled, squeezing her hand. “I am. I really am.”

“Happy New Year’s, baby,” she said. “I better go make sure your brother’s in bed.”

Remus laughed. “Probably wearing his jersey again.”

Hope laughed. “Probably.”

Remus watched, trying not to be too obvious about it, as she poked her head into Remus’ room where Julian was sleeping, and then disappeared into the guest bedroom. She waved once, before shutting the door. Remus forced himself to go into the living room and make his bed out of the pull-out couch, giving her time to get ready for bed.

He lasted ten minutes before slipping out the door.

Coming, he sent off, and received a few exclamation points and a short, parking lot.

Remus glanced back down the hallway as he quietly put on his jacket, pulling a beanie low over his ears against the winter air. The house was quiet as he slipped outside.

 

Sirius’ car wasn’t running, but Remus spotted it easily in the parking lot as he ran through the chilly night and knocked on the window. Sirius looked up and reached over with a grin, popping the door open. He was wearing a puffy jacket and beanie of his own, his hands covered in gloves.

“Hey there, All-Star,” Remus said as he hopped in and pulled the door shut behind him.

Sirius half laughed, half groaned. “Don’t remind me. C’mere.”

Remus leaned over for a kiss, pressing his hand against Sirius’ cheek. Sirius made a noise and pulled back a little, taking Remus’ hand into his gloved ones.

“What are you doing? It’s fucking freezing, Loops.”

Remus just leaned forward for another kiss. “Wanted to see you.”

Sirius sent him a mockingly disapproving look before cupping Remus’ hands between his own. Remus watched, heart flipping, as he leaned down and blew hot air over them, then kissed the cold-red knuckles.

“Better?” Sirius said. “Good thing we’re going to Florida soon.”

But Remus half heard him, too focused on the way Sirius was holding Remus’ hands, his entire attention on keeping them warm. Keeping Remus warm.

“Can we…” Remus glanced towards the back seat. “Just, this thing is sort of…” he hit his knee against the gear shift. “In the way.”

Sirius laughed. “Say no more.”

Remus grinned, and there was a brief blast of cool air through the car as both of them moved to the back seat, Sirius behind the driver’s side, Remus the passenger’s. Remus got in first, and watched as Sirius pulled his door closed, breath a puff of air. Remus scooted over, pressing up against Sirius’ side. Sirius said something quick and sweet that Remus didn’t catch, as it was mostly mumbled into a kiss on his temple, and wrapped him up in his arms.

“Bonne année, mon loup,” he said quietly into the small space between them.

“Happy New Year,” Remus repeated as Sirius’ gloved fingers tilted his chin up for a kiss.

“How long do we have?” Sirius whispered, lips trailing across Remus’ cheek to his jaw.

Remus felt his eyes slip closed, the tension of being away from Sirius releasing at having him so close.

“Everyone’s asleep,” he said, fingers reaching to tug gently on the zipper of Sirius’ jacket. “I think we have a few hours.”

Sirius made a pleased noise, pressing a quick burst of kisses to Remus’ cheek. “Good. How was Christmas?”

“Really good,” Remus said. “Jules practically died at the jersey. Lots of baking. What about you, how’s Dumo’s?”

“Why did I ever leave such close proximity to Celeste’s cooking?” Sirius sighed, and Remus laughed. “No, but it’s great. The kids woke me and Logan up at, merde, five? In the morning? Was nice though.”

Remus bit back a smile. “Saw that picture Logan posted of your matching pajamas.”

“I’m going to murder him.”

Remus snorted, leaning in for a kiss. Sirius obliged for a moment, licking sweetly into his mouth, before he made a noise like he remembered something.

“Speaking of,” he said, absentmindedly taking Remus’ hands and pressing them beneath his jacket and sweater, right to the warm skin of his stomach, he winced a little, but held them there. “Warmer, non?”

Remus nodded faintly, unable to find the words.

“Speaking of murder,” Sirius began again, and Remus burst out laughing.

What?”

“Re, I found your tapes.”

“Oh?” Remus said.

“Fuck me,” Sirius said, followed by a flurry of French. He pulled Remus towards him and kissed him hard. “I…you’re so fast.

Remus smiled faintly, looking down. “I was, huh?” He glanced up, raising his eyebrows. “And that relates to murder because…?”

“I’m going to die watching them,” Sirius laughed. “Fuck, Re. You make goalies look like they can’t see out of their fucking masks. How did I never hear your name?”

Remus took a deep breath in through his nose. This was the closest to telling the truth he had ever come but, looking at Sirius in the soft yellow streetlight coming through the window, he felt okay. It wasn’t the whole thing, and maybe he’d never be ready for the whole thing…but it was almost. Sirius deserved that.

“You know Greyback?”

Sirius blinked, obviously surprised. “Yeah. First overall the year before me. He’s on…what, Golden Knights now?”

Remus nodded. “Right. Well, we—we were at Wisconsin together. We played. Everyone thought we would be drafted together.” Remus shrugged a shoulder. “Fenrir didn’t like the sound of that.”

Sirius’ face melted into one of horror. He understood. Of course he understood. “He was worried you’d take first.”

Remus just nodded again, then tapped his left shoulder. “Busted me up pretty good for it. Enough to convince the League I’d never play again. This was, I don’t know, few months before. I’m not surprised you don’t remember. No one likes thinking about career ending injuries when their healthy. Totally normal.”

“Re…fuck me, the next time we play Vegas—”

No,” Remus hit him in the chest lightly. “No, you will not do anything except beat him and his team.”

Sirius groaned. “Please let me punch him.”

Remus laughed. “No.

Sirius leaned in, pressing a kiss to one of Remus’ cheeks, then the other. “Mon Loup.” Sirius pulled at Remus’ waist until he gave way and straddled Sirius’ hips, head ducked low in the space of the car.

“Mon Loup,” Sirius said again, softly. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

Remus shook his head, kissing the corner of Sirius’ mouth. “It was a long time ago. It just…I didn’t trust anyone for a little while. Especially on the ice. It was easier like this, having the job I have. I’m in control. I’m there to help. Do I miss the ice? Of course. Every day. But I also really, really love my job.”

Sirius nodded, hands on Remus’ thighs, and Remus reached out for the number twelve necklace.

“Let’s talk about something happier,” Remus said. “This is a new year, you’re an All-Star, we’re probably going to the play-offs—”

“Non, non,” Sirius gasped, laughing lightly as he pressed a hand over Remus’ mouth. “Don’t say it.”

Remus laughed, holding his hands up in surrender, and Sirius soon replaced his palm with a kiss.

“We could have had an entire week off together instead of the fucking All-Star game, but…” Sirius groaned. “Don’t want to talk about that either.”

Remus ducked down and pressed a hard kiss to Sirius’ lips. “Okay, okay. Jeez, grumpy.”

Sirius, in contrast, made a delighted sound, and accepted the kiss. He went to tuck his fingers into Remus’ hair, but was instead met with the beanie.

“Cute,” he said, before taking it off. “Too cold?”

“Not a chance,” Remus breathed, his entire body heating up with Sirius’ touch. He pushed at Sirius’ shoulders a little, settling him into the corner between the seat and the door, so he could stretch his legs out, supporting Remus more. Sirius gripped Remus’ thighs appreciatively.

“I think the team finally gets how fucking hot you are,” Sirius said.

“Oh? Was that something you were hoping to discuss with them?”

Sirius snorted. “Non. Just…you’re—everything.”

Remus’ heart caught.

“I just mean,” Sirius said, his eyes on Remus’. “You save our asses every day, you help us. You are fucking talented as shit, and then, for me, you’re just…gorgeous. Mon dieu, Remus, you in the showers… if I hadn’t just come…”

Remus laughed. “Okay, enough compliments.”

Sirius shook his head. “It’s the year of compliments.”

“You’re too sweet for me.”

“No, I’m perfect for you.”

The words were true. Remus looked down at Sirius, soft in the streetlight filtering into the garage, and pressed his hands to his cheeks.

“I think you are,” Remus said softly, but that wasn’t good enough. He said it more firmly. “You are."

Sirius’ expression changed, laughter fading. They stared at each other.

“Remus,” Sirius said.

Remus’ thumbs stroked over his cheeks. “Yeah?”

“I don’t want to hide forever.”

“I don’t want to either.”

“But I’m scared. I’m scared.”

Remus nodded, kissing Sirius once, twice. “I know. Don’t feel like you have to do anything, okay? Sirius, I…I’m in.” Remus took a breath, kissed him again, short and hard. “I’m in with you, okay? No matter what. As long as you’re here for me, too.”

“I am,” Sirius whispered. “I always want to be.” He smiled then, nervous but real, and tapped Remus’ wrist right over the watch he had gifted him.

Remus smiled, too, and Sirius leaned forward off of the seat to kiss him with a small, almost desperate noise.

“One day?” he said.

“Name the date,” Remus murmured against Sirius’ mouth. “I told you I’d wait.”

Sirius laughed lightly. “No pressure.”

“No,” Remus said, and pulled back to raise his eyebrows at him. “There’s really no pressure at all. Really, Sirius. As long as…as long as I have this, you, these moments…I’m so happy.”

Sirius’ expression was a quiet one, lost in thought for the most part, and adoring. He rubbed a hand up and down Remus’ side, loving. “Come somewhere with me this summer. Anywhere. A trip. I don’t care, Paris, the fucking jungle, Seattle. I don’t care, I just want to be somewhere. With you.”

Remus’ face broke into a grin. “I want that. Yeah, let’s do it.”

Sirius smiled back, and it filled up the entire space, the small car, the world, Remus’ entire chest.

“Happy New Year,” Sirius said, and kissed him.

 

Later, as Remus stood and watched Sirius drive away, he tried to think of where he had been this time last year. Happy, yes. Happy with his job, and himself, and how far he had come. Just beginning to think about coming out to his family, but never getting around to it. Loved by his family, his friends, his colleagues.

This year was different. No words had been put to it yet, and Remus understood why. But that didn’t change how he felt.

This year, he felt loved in an entirely different way.

This year, he was in love.

 

 

~

 

After Christmas, after Gryffindor’s Decembers, Remus was more than ready for a little sunshine in Florida. The Tampa Bay Lightnings had swept the Penguins last year in the playoffs, giving them lots of credit, at least in Remus’ mind. He was excited for the game, excited for the sunshine—

“Well, I’m excited to see you in a swimsuit.”

Remus looked down at Sirius, who was mouthing at the cut of his hips, carefully and torturously avoiding his hard cock. His hair was a wild, morning-mess of curls, and his eyes were sleepy, mouth soft and warm. The sunlight was filtering through the large windows in Sirius’ bedroom, and they were alone for the first time in what felt like weeks. Remus missed Sirius so much he felt it in his veins, and he guessed Sirius felt the same. He had been woken up at five in the morning, hours before they had practice, by Sirius’ hand gently cupping his soft cock through his underwear, Sirius’ already hard one against his hip.

“Jesus,” Remus breathed. “You just asked to suck my dick. I don’t think there’s anything left to be revealed.”

“I disagree,” Sirius said and bit down gently on Remus’ hip, looking up with a devastating mixture of bold and bashful. “You’ll tell me what’s good, d’accord?”

“It’s all good,” Remus grumbled, settling a hand in Sirius’ hair. “‘m gonna come just thinking about it.”

“No, no,” Sirius pressed a kiss to the side of Remus’ cock. “Not yet.”

Remus let his head fall back into Sirius’ pillows, spreading his legs further on his massive bed. Sirius pushed his arms under Remus’ hips, letting Remus’ calves rest on top of his shoulders. He kept his hands firmly on Remus’ waist, warm and strong.

“I might suck, okay?”

Remus, cock hard and flushed against his stomach, gave Sirius an incredulous look. “You might?

Sirius blinked at him for a moment, and then burst out in a laugh, resting his forehead against Remus’ hip bone. “I meant I might be bad at this.”

“Sirius, you laughing next to my dick gets me going.”

Sirius bit his lip, and then moved his gaze to Remus’ cock again. It was thick, even if not quite as large as Sirius’. Remus’ pale skin was flushed all the way down his chest from Sirius’ mouth and the anticipation. He was practically tingling with it. His cock twitched hard when Sirius, finally, leaned down and pressed his mouth to the base in an open, soft sort of kiss.

Remus pet his hand through Sirius’ hair, watching quietly. He liked Sirius like this, sweet and careful. He could tell how turned on he was, though, but the way his hips were gently, almost unnoticeably, rocking against the bed.

He was so focused on Sirius’ hips, that the hot pressure around the tip of his cock nearly took him by surprise. Sirius sucked hard, and Remus felt the blunt pressure of his tongue against his slit, too.

“Oh,” Remus breathed out, fingers tightening in Sirius’ hair.

Sirius pulled off with a soft sound, and Remus’ cock bobbed above his stomach.

“Good?” Sirius asked simply, and Remus laughed, eyes closed.

“Yeah, baby.”

Sirius hummed appreciatively, and then he sucked Remus down, farther this time, hands moving down to Remus’ ass, fingers digging into the hard muscle.

Remus let out a long, unsteady breath. “Fuck…”

Sirius moaned in response and Remus’ hips jerked up.

Ah—“ Remus gasped. “Sorry, you okay?”

Sirius just looked at him, and Remus could feel the hard press of his tongue. He realized Sirius was looking for instruction. The thought made Remus even hotter. Sirius, so confident on the ice, a menace, really, taking whatever he wanted. And yet waiting for Remus to tell him this.

He eased a hand around the back of his head, pressed down lightly. Sirius’ mouth moved with him, and Remus’ dropped open, his breathing heavy.

“Go easy,” Remus said, realizing immediately that it was a mistake.

Sirius’ eyes darkened, accepting the challenge.

“Jesus Christ,” Remus had time to say before Sirius was pulling off again and getting his knees beneath him, propping himself up to get a better angle. He laughed at Remus’ expression as he retrieved his hands from beneath Remus’ thighs, letting Remus’ legs splay out on either side of his hips. He circled his hand around Remus’ cock. He jacked him a few times, drawing a dribble of precome out.

“Easy?” he questioned, and then bent again, lips brushing the red head. “Remus…”

Remus smirked. Sirius was smug again, brimming with confidence. Remus wanted both sides, and he loved that Sirius gave them to him so willingly. “Alright, do whatever you want, Captain.”

That pulled the arousal back into Sirius’ expression, and Remus could see his cock now, heavy between his legs and dripping onto the sheets. Sirius bent, wordless, and slipped Remus back into his mouth, inch by inch, until his lips met his fist and Remus’ breathing was shaky.

He dragged up, cheeks sucked in, and Remus let his head drop back on the pillows again, hands fisting the sheets.

“Of course you’re good at this. Is there anything you aren’t good at, Christ, Sirius.”

Sirius just hummed, making Remus’ hips jolt again, and reached for Remus’ hand, placing it back on his neck.

“Aw, baby,” Remus said, squeezing Sirius’ shoulder muscle and then cupping the back of his head.

Sirius’ fingers found Remus’ hips again, digging in and he moaned. Remus wanted to touch him so bad, could catch glimpses of his cock, stiff and needy. Remus relaxed into the rhythm Sirius was building up, mouth open at the wet glide around his cock. He ached with it, felt the pressure building in his core.

“I’m gonna come soon,” Remus said, widening his legs as his balls drew up. “Sirius…”

Sirius didn’t pull up, but sucked harder, twisting his fist around Remus’ cock while he tongued at the head.

“Fuck, you’re so—” Remus’ hips strained upward, head digging into the pillows as his back arched. “I’m gonna, Sirius, I’m gonna—”

Sirius moaned in a way that sounded negative, like he was telling Remus not to come yet. It made Remus gasp. Sirius sunk down again, splaying his legs so he could rut against the bed. He sucked in time to his own thrusts, his eyes shut. His cheeks had a dark flush on them and Remus’ cock pulsed as he tried not to come, as Sirius gripped him hard around his base. It prolonged the crest, the feeling of being just there but not quite. Remus felt like he was already coming, his breathing quick with it. The position showed off Sirius’ shoulders, muscles moving with every hard flex of his hips.

Remus’ back arched harder, and then he forced his hips back down on the bed. His balls ached with how good he felt.

Sirius pulled off with a gasp, panting with his cheek on Remus’ hip. Remus’ cock was shining with his spit and jerking as it pulsed out precome.

“Loops,” Sirius panted, and mouthed just above his own fist, sloppy kiss after sloppy kiss. “Fuck, okay, come, come for me.” he said, and trailed his mouth back up to the tip, sucking Remus down again.

Both of Remus’ hands went to Sirius’ head this time. Sirius held Remus’ hips, his own working faster now, grinding down in small circles. He pulled up to suck hard on the head, and Remus was finished. His hips jolted and he moaned as he came hard into Sirius’ mouth. Remus’ hands pulled at Sirius’ hair and Sirius kept him warm and steady for another moment, tongue gentle.

Sirius pressed his forehead to Remus’ hip again as his fist worked him down, grinding against the bed with small sounds that Remus swore were going to get him hard again.

“C’mere,” Remus wrapped his hands around Sirius’ arms, pulling him, and then pushing him, until he was settled on his back. Remus trailed his fingers up Sirius’ wet cock and Sirius closed his eyes. “What do you want baby? Anything.”

Sirius opened his eyes again and, without a word, gathered Remus to his chest. Remus came willingly, kissing Sirius’ neck and jaw, his cheeks and temples, anywhere he could reach.

“You’re so good,” Remus whispered as he ground his hips and sensitive cock against Sirius’ straining one. “That was so fucking good.”

Sirius made a low noise, arms wrapped around Remus’ back. “Re.”

“Come for me, baby,” Remus grinned. “And then you can think about me while you’re in the showers today, eh?”

“Oh fuck me,” Sirius managed to laugh, temples beaded with sweat as he rut up against Remus.

Remus felt that protectiveness flame up in his gut, familiar by now. He went back to kissing Sirius' neck, teeth scraping and heart leaping with the idea of leaving a mark that he knew he couldn’t leave.

“Je le veux,” Sirius said when he felt Remus’ teeth. I want it.

“This summer,” Remus breathed. “I promise.”

Sirius came between them, sudden and long. He held Remus against him, pressing his lips against his temple.

I love you, Remus thought for what felt like the thousandth time since New Year’s.

He kissed Sirius slowly, trying to pour the words out.

“Love waking up with you,” Sirius said, hands stroking down Remus’ sweaty back. His voice was scratchy and soft. “Watching you wake up, blinking and all that.”

Remus pressed his cheek against Sirius’ chest, listening to his heart. It was pounding.

I love you. I love youIloveyou—

Sirius’ alarm went off.

“Fuck,” Sirius laughed, and squeezed Remus tighter. “Shower? You know, the thing I’m going to embarrass myself in today after I get hard thinking about you.”

Remus grinned, cock fattening again with interest at the image. “That sounds nice.”

“Which one?” Sirius looked down at him, eyes on his semi. He reached for it, palming it gently. Remus’ breathing quickened again and he raised his head, doing his best to look innocent.

“Both.”

Sirius snorted, slapping Remus’ ass and rolling them out of bed.

 

~

 

Florida was just as warm as Remus was hoping it would be. Warm enough, and sunny enough, for the team to organize a beach workout.

“They call it a beach workout,” Logan said, throwing his hat down on a lounge chair so he could pull his shirt over his head. Remus eyed the fleur-de-lis tattoo on his left hip, a dark outline against his tan skin. “But it’s a beach day.”

“Sand sprints,” Kasey sighed, watching the waves and the rest of the team settle down in various rows of beach chairs. “Oh joy. Oh joy, oh joy.” He mumbled that to himself before discarding his shirt, too. “Yo, Loops, from one pale guy to another, wanna do my back?” He held up a bottle of sunscreen.

Remus really liked beach days.

“Sure, Kase,” Remus said.

“Sucks to suck,” Logan said, flexing his shoulders. “No burning here, baby. Can’t speak for freckles over here.”

“Hey,” Finn pushed his sunglasses into his hair as he threw his stuff down on the chair beside Logan. “Skincare is important.”

“I’m going swimming,” Leo announced, and shoved Finn in the direction of the water.

“Hey, Nut,” Logan snorted. “Ask Finn about seaweed.”

“That was one time, it’s slimy, and if any of it so much as floats near me, I’m done.”

Leo laughed. “I’ll protect you, Harz, come on.”

Logan stared after them, but didn’t follow. When he turned, he had put his own sunglasses back on, and Remus couldn’t read his expression. Logan sat down heavily on his chair. Maybe Remus would be able to find some time to get him alone this trip.

“Loops,” Sirius said, walking up to them through the sand. He looked gorgeous, baby blue bathing suit setting off his tan skin nicely. “There’s a chair with me, Talker and James, if you want it.”

“Thanks,” Remus smiled, trying to subtly check out the curve of his ass in the thin material. “C’mere, Kase, before I go.”

Kasey handed him the sunscreen and Remus squirted some into his palm. He sent another look to Sirius, who’s eyes were carefully blank, and smirked as he rubbed the lotion into Kasey’s sun-warmed, strong back.

“Aw, you’re just like Nat,” Kasey said. “Warming it up in your hands and shit, man.”

Remus laughed. “Thanks?”

“Always taking care of us, eh, Loops?” Sirius said.

“I do my best.”

 

The entire beach was crowded, and some girls in the tiniest bikinis Remus had ever seen asked for pictures with a few of the guys—Thomas the most popular—but other than that, everyone was relaxed and enjoying the much needed break from the brisk winds of Gryffindor.

Remus was on a chair between Sirius and Thomas, chin tilted up towards the warmth.

“Looking a little pink there, Loops.”

Remus cracked an eye open and looked at Sirius, who had just come back from a dip in the ocean. His hair was pushed away from his eyes, sopping and sticking up. The salty droplets fell down his body and Remus, behind his sunglasses, allowed himself a glance at the way his trunks wetly clung around the shape of his soft cock.

Remus loved beach days.

“I’m gonna put the umbrella up.”

“I’ll do it for you,” Thomas said, coming up behind Sirius, dark skin glistening and smile bright.

“Thanks, Talker,” Remus grinned at Sirius’ expression, as if offended that another man would get to raise Remus’ umbrella for him.

“No problemo. I’m gonna get a smoothie, anyone want one?”

Yes,” James gasped, looking up from where he was lying on his stomach, and Remus jumped. He had thought he was asleep. “Please, I would like—strawberry banana? Yeah, that’s what I want.”

“Anything blueberry, I think,” Sirius said. “Thanks, Walkie.”

“Same,” Remus smiled up at him.

Sirius kicked Remus’ foot as Thomas walked away. Remus looked up in time to see Sirius glance at James, and then jerk his head towards the sea.

Remus smiled, and pushed himself out of his chair.

“Beach days are the best,” Remus said as his feet sunk down in the sand.

Sirius snorted. “Why, because you get to rub sunscreen all over Kasey Winter?”

“That was nice. Maybe it’s because Thomas is walking around all handsome.”

Sirius made a noise that was close to a whine and Remus laughed.

“Maybe it’s because your swimsuit’s clinging to your dick like they’re in love.”

Sirius burst out laughing as they waded into the water. “Alright, alright.”

The water was warm and Remus sunk right into rolling wave, diving down below it and letting the current pull him back for a moment before surfacing. The salt was cool and heavenly on his skin. He flicked his hair out of his face and looked up at Sirius, squinting in the sun.

“I’m never going back to winter,” Remus said.

“Yeah?” Sirius was smiling softly at him, eyes darting all over his face. Suddenly, he could see it. A trip with Sirius, just the two of them. No practice. No worries.

Remus shook his head, and dunked beneath the water again. Everything became quiet for a moment. He could hear the sand sifting against itself. The silence made his thoughts suddenly loud.

He loved Sirius.

He loved Sirius.

Remus broke through the surface just in time for Sirius to dive under. He felt Sirius’ hand press against his chest, submerged, and then it was gone as Sirius surfaced again. But Remus was grinning, hand where Sirius’ had been.

From the sea, Remus could see how the team had spread out. Jackson, Evgeni, Sergei, and Pascal were playing volleyball a little ways down, Leo and Finn were still in the water together. Remus didn’t see Logan. He hoped he went to get smoothies with Thomas. He could see Olli near by, sun shirt and sunhat on, in the shade, happily away from the sun and reading a book.

“Did you notice anything funny with Logan at Christmas?” Remus asked Sirius as they floated together, carried up and down with the waves and hands brushing.

“This again?” Sirius smiled a little and shrugged. “I don’t think so? I mean, I think it’s funny that he’s not living with Finn, but who am I to talk? Took me a long time to move out, too. Celeste is heaven in a person.”

Remus smiled, licking salt from his lips. “Yeah, no…” Remus finally spotted Logan on the beach. He was still sitting on his chair, eyes down and on his phone. “I just was wondering.”

“What do you think’s up with him?”

Remus shook his head. “I’m not sure yet. I’ll let you know.”

Sirius raised an eyebrow. “Okay… I am the captain, you know.”

“No, really?”

Sirius grinned, floating on his back. “I just mean I’m here to help.”

“I’ll let you know, Captain.” What Remus didn’t say was, I actually think this one might help you.

“Hey,” Sirius said, and Remus looked. Sirius was sun-kissed. His eyes took on the light color of the water. Sirius swam closer, even though no one was close enough to hear. “I’d kiss you right now if I could. You look gorgeous.”

Remus let their feet brush in the floating sand. “I’d kiss you right back, baby.”

 

~

 

“Florida ice sucks,” Finn yelled, slapping his stick against it. “Bouncy mother fuck.”

They were at morning practice, two hours of ice time at the Lightning’s rink before the game that night. Remus was partly watching Sirius laughing as he and Olli played keep away while the next drill was set up, partly nodding along to Finn, leaning against the boards complaining, and partly looking at Logan across the rink, silent beside where Pascal and Kris were talking. He was shuffling a small bit of shaved ice with his stick, back and forth, back and forth.

“Loops, you should practice with us,” Finn said.

“He’s not insured,” Coach said, flipping through his notes. He was firm, but he sounded sorry. “If he gets hurt, he could sue us.”

Finn scoffed. “What if I pay him off right now?”

“Harzy, get your ass out on that ice and don’t complain about it.”

Finn sighed, but bumped his glove against Remus’ fist. “I fought for you. You took me down, and I fought for you.” He tapped his temple. “Remember that, Lupin.”

Remus laughed. “Whatever you say, Harz.”

Sirius was in full blown captain-mode, laser-focused on making sure they won every game they could. It was January now. They were getting closer and closer to clinching a play-off spot. But they had to keep winning. Remus watched him touring around the ice, checking in on everyone—Leo, in goal. Talking plays with Pascal. Mostly discussing but sort of arguing with the coaches in the endearing and intimidating way that he had.

Remus loved him.

 

They were five minutes into three-on-three drills when Logan went down hard near the goal, accidentally tripped up by Leo. It was an awkward, sudden fall, a caught skate blade-on-blade. It took him a second to get up, and Remus didn’t know if it was because he was hurt, or becomes of something else. He had been acting dazed all practice, Remus was trained to look for that for concussion reasons. Only, Logan hadn’t hit his head.

Sirius skated up to him, stopping just short of the boards. “I want you to check Tremz out.”

“The kid’s asleep on his feet,” Moody said from beside Remus. “Or something.”

“Tremz,” Remus called, and motioned him over with a beckoning hand.

Finn skated with him, as if afraid Logan was going to fall. By the look on Logan’s face, Remus didn’t think it was an entirely unreasonable fear.

“I’m telling you, Lo, Florida ice,” Finn said as Logan stepped off. His tone was teasing, but his worried eyes met Remus’.

Alright, come with me, Tremz.”

“Okay,” Logan said. He didn’t look at Finn.

 

“I just got tripped, Loops,” Logan said from the exam table. Remus saw the sleepless purple beneath his eyes. “Everything feels fine.”

“I know, it didn’t look bad,” Remus said as he washed his hands. “It took you a second to get up though. Feeling okay? I noticed a little at the beach, too. Thought it was the heat, but…”

Logan was silent for a few, long beats.

“Yeah,” he finally said, and that was all. It was faint, and Remus sighed and turned around. Logan was staring at his hands, gloves and helmet beside him.

“Logan,” Remus began, and Logan looked up. Remus stayed across the room, leaning against the sink and shelves. “I just want you to know…I want you to know that I’m a resource for you. That the confidentiality that applies to people like doctors, any sort of doctor, applies to me. I only have to report things if I feel like they pose a danger to yourself, or to other people.”

Logan blinked at him, hands twisting in his jersey.

“I’m here, Tremz. If you want to talk. If you need anything. Really. I’m here.”

Remus turned around, then, giving him space, busying himself with random things until—

“I’m so…” Logan’s voice was faint, small in a way that Remus had never heard it.

Remus turned around slowly, and his heart hurt for him. Logan was staring at his hands, still pulling at his jersey, and his eyes were dull with the pain of whatever he was thinking about.

“I’m…” he tried again, and swallowed hard. He looked up at Remus. “I’m horrible.”

Remus shook his head slowly, and walked over to him. “Why do you think that?”

Logan looked down again. He squeezed his eyes shut, and when he opened them again, there were tears on his dark lashes.

“Fuck,” he wiped at them roughly, angrily.

“It’s okay, Tremz, hey…” Remus reached out, rubbing a hand over his back.

“No, it’s—” Logan tried again.

And then suddenly, in the next breath, Logan was sobbing. Great, heaving sobs that wracked his entire body. The scary part was, they were nearly silent besides his ragged breathing, as if he couldn’t bear to let them out but couldn’t catch his breath either. They tore out of him.

“It’s okay,” Remus said softly. “This is okay.”

Logan buried his face in his hands, elbows on his knees, and cried.

Remus felt tears in his own throat just at the sight. This was hurt. This was pure hurt.

“I can’t love him,” Logan said, breathing hitching while he tried to get the words out. “I can’t—they’re—”

Remus took that in stride. He figured this was something to do with sexuality, based on what Leo had said—or, rather, shown. He thought of the multi-colored thread of his bracelet.

Remus shook his head. “Yes, you can.”

Logan looked up at him, green eyes bright and chest still jumping with his tears. He shook his head. “No.”

“Yes,” Remus said gently. “Logan, you can love whoever you want.”

“Not here,” Logan’s lip trembled and he blinked new, hot tears. He wiped at his face with the sleeve of his jersey. “Fuck, Loops you see what they—if they knew…”

“I know,” Remus said quietly. “I understand why you’re scared. I’m…” Remus took a breath. “I’m the same. And when I was playing…I was scared, too.”

That froze Logan in his tracks.

If anyone had told Remus a year ago that the first person he would be coming out to was Sirius Black, the second Leo Knut, and the third Logan Tremblay, he would have laughed.

“You’re…” Logan breathed.

Remus nodded silently. “Yes. And I understand.”

In the next moment, the door was opening.

“Hey, Loops, is Tremz—”

Remus felt Logan recoil at Finn’s voice, eyes widening at Remus as they both turned to look.

For a moment, Remus could only watch as Finn appeared, just his head and shoulders through the door, sweat dripping from his hair. The smile slowly dropped from his face as he took in the sight in front of him. Logan’s red eyes. His shaking hands.

He took another step inside. “Lo, oh my god.”

“Harz, do you want to give us a minute?” Remus said as steadily as he could. This was not what Logan needed. He should have locked the door.

“Lo, what’s wrong?” Finn looked at Remus. “Is he okay? What’s—Lo, what’s wrong?”

“Finn,” Remus said more firmly. “I’m asking you to give us a minute.”

“Logan,” Finn said again, taking another step through the door. He looked tall on his skates, but wrecked by what he was seeing. Remus heard Logan let out a low sob from beside him, and watched Finn’s face break, worried and confused.

“Finn, leave,” Remus said, and walked forward, pushing Finn gently backwards.

“Hey, no—get off me,” Finn said louder, and looked desperately back at Logan. “Lo…”

Logan looked down, lip shaking like it was taking everything in him to hold himself together.

Remus had never seen Finn aggressive off of the ice. For a moment, Remus thought he was going to push back, but then he deflated again.

“Logan,” Finn pleaded.

“Finn, I swear to fucking god, listen to me,” Remus gave him a shove. He opened the door. “I’m sorry, I know. You can talk to him later, that’s up to you, but right now, this is my office.”

Remus shut the door. They could both see Finn’s silhouette, standing there still, through the shade on the window. After a few, long moments, it disappeared.

Remus turned. “Oh god, Logan, I’m so sorry, I should have locked—”

Logan let out another breath, half air half tears, and shook his head. “None of this is your fault.”

“No, I told you that you could talk and then the person you’re talking about fucking—walks right in.”

Logan looked up, startled. “You know?”

“I…”

Logan’s hands gripped the padded table on either side of his thighs. “Do people know?”

“No, no, no—” Remus held up his hands, walking back over to him. “No, I swear, Tremz, no one knows.”

“How do you?”

Remus took a breath. “Um. Well…”

“Remus,” Logan said. He looked truly panicked. “Remus.”

“I can’t say that without—” Remus sent Logan a pleading look.

“Was it Finn?”

Remus pressed his lips together. He shook his head.

“It was Leo,” Logan said.

Remus knew before he could help it that his surprised expression gave him away. He guessed that he shouldn’t be that surprised. Leo and Logan were roommates on the road. It was logical that Leo would be a friend Logan might have confided in.

“Yes,” Remus stumbled through the word, and only because Logan had said, rather than asked.

Logan put his head in his hands.

“Fuck.”

“Do you…what’s can I do?”

“I don’t know,” Logan said. “I don’t even know what I can do.”

“I think…I think you should talk to Finn. Then you two can figure out what you want to do. It’ll be hard and awkward but…it’ll work out. I know it will. You guys have a strong friendship.”

When Logan laughed, he sounded unbearably tired. “When has anything like that ever worked out before?”

Remus smiled a little. If he only knew.

“Just trust me, okay? Can you?”

Logan let out a long, exhausted breath. “Yeah,” he said, voice rough. he snuffled, and rubbed his jersey against his face. “Fuck…yeah. I can.” Then, Logan looked at him carefully. “Are you…do you have someone?”

Remus hesitated, but nodded silently. “But I won’t say more than that.”

Logan’s eyes widened. “He’s in the League.”

“Go talk to Finn,” Remus evaded the question, then paused. “Maybe after you’ve both cooled off a little.”

Logan heaved himself off of the table. “Thanks, Loops. Really, I…I don’t really talk about this. My sisters, they want to talk about it, but I just…”

Remus waited patiently. Logan still looked tired, but he was standing a little straighter now.

“I’ve always been scared of it,” Logan said. “I was never allowed. I’m still not allowed.”

“Oh, you’re allowed,” Remus shook his head. “They are just people stupid enough to believe they can control something like that. Logan.”

Logan looked up at him.

“You said you love him.”

Logan’s eyes closed and he looked down again.

“And,” Remus gestured at the door. “I don’t know if you noticed, but he was about to take a swing at me just to get to you, so… it’s pretty clear to me that he has some sort of feelings, too.”

Remus had a brief, panicked thought, suddenly remembering June. He didn’t understand that part of this. From the way Finn had just acted, to whatever Leo, who lived with Finn, seemed to think…he didn’t know how she fit in.

“Feelings and a girlfriend,” Logan said, voice thick again.

“That doesn’t mean it won’t…” God, Remus ached for him, remember seeing Sirius with girls. “It’ll feel good to tell him, I think. He’s your best friend. Let him be there for you in any way that he can. Logan, you need people to support you through this. I didn’t have that, but now I do. And it’s really fucking important.”

Logan sniffed, eyes filling again. “I’ve never said it.”

Remus sucked in a breath. Me neither, he wanted to say, but instead he wrapped his arms around Logan, feeling him return the hug with a little bit of surprise.

“I think you should,” Remus said.

As he said it, he made a vow to himself, too.

 

~

 

The stadium was blue that night with Lighting jerseys, warm-up music blasting as the two teams skated around the ice. There were some vibrant spots of red near the glass, and Remus watched as Sirius skated over to a father and his two small children, one boy, one girl. The girl was wearing Thomas’ jersey, and the boy was wearing Sirius’. Remus smiled as Sirius waved at them with his glove, and then whistled at Thomas. Thomas skated over, too, asking the little girl for a high five through the glass, and then pretending to be knocked over and onto the ice with her force. She giggled madly. Sirius threw a puck over to the boy, then posed for a picture.

His attention was pulled away by the sound of a hard stop in front of the boards near him.

“Fucking ice,” Finn grumbled. He looked at Remus, then away, cheeks flushing. Pascal was with him, and squirted him with a water bottle.

“Not with the cameras and microphones around, mon cub. Florida will kill us all.”

Finn rolled his eyes. He looked tense. He didn’t look at Logan, a few feet away, on his knees and stretching.

Remus caught Logan’s eye and raised an eyebrow. Logan shook his head. So, they hadn’t talked about it yet. That was good, it had only been a few hours. By the looks of it, Remus would guess that they weren’t talking at all right now.

“Don’t let it affect your play, Harzy. It’ll work out,” Remus said quietly, and Finn’s eyes snapped towards him. They went hard, and he all but threw his water bottle back into the bench slots.

“You don’t even know what you’re talking about,” Finn said lowly.

“Oh for fuck’s sake,” came a new voice, and one of Tampa’s blue uniforms came skating up, taking Finn immediately into a headlock. “If it isn’t my baby brother.”

Remus raised his eyebrows. He had completely forgotten that Finn’s brother played for Tampa. That he had a brother in the League at all.

“Alex, come on,” Finn groaned as Alex rattled his helmet before letting go. Finn laughed though, and hugged him, slapping his padded shoulder. “Hey, man. Ready to get your ass whipped?”

“Fat fucking chance,” Alex shook his head, and smiled at Remus. He had his brother’s smile, all blinding perfect teeth, crinkling soft brown eyes. Alex kept a faint, red stubble that Finn shaved clean off. He called for Logan, then, who skated over a little hesitantly, and bumped fists with him.

“Sup, Lo,” Alex said. “Haven’t seen you in the city for a few years, what’s that about?” He glanced back at Finn, who’s smile had faded. He raised an eyebrow and looked at Remus. “These kids lived at each other’s houses during college.”

Remus smiled back, dying a little inside at the pain he wasn’t sure Finn’s older brother knew he was currently causing.

“I can believe it,” Remus said.

Logan coughed and shuffled a little on his skates. “Just busy, I guess.”

“I guess,” Alex parroted with a laugh. “Alright,” he smacked Finn’s ass with his glove. “Good luck little brother, love you bunches.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Finn grumbled, retaliating with a shove from his stick, but he smiled again. Remus was glad, because he could see about fifteen cameras trained on them.

“Boys,” Sirius stopped hard in front of them. “The fuck are we standing around here? Circle shoot, come on.”

Logan shot away as fast as it seemed that he could. Finn, however, looked again at Remus. His brown eyes were worried and Remus did his best to look back calmly.

“It’ll be okay,” he said, and then glanced at Pascal, who was very obviously pretending like he wasn’t listening.

“You can’t know that,” Finn said quietly.

“But we can hope,” Remus replied, and then nodded towards center ice. “Cap’s calling. Play the game first, and come find me later if you want.”

Finn took a long, slow breath, and then wordlessly skated away.

Pascal took his place in front of Remus, and he was smiling. “Sometimes we all simply need a little baby push in the right direction, non?”

Remus stared at him. Pascal just kept smiling.

“Like a dinner invitation,” Pascal shrugged exaggeratedly. “On a stormy night.”

Remus nearly choked. “I—Dumo.

“I have a game to play, Remus,” Dumo sing-songed as he skated away to shoot on Leo.

Dumo,” Remus yelled.

“What are you yelling at Dumo for?” Coach said, coming out of the tunnel with his line card.

Remus stared at him. “Um—the water bottles, he was unscrewing the water bottles.”

“Oh,” Arthur laughed. “The usual.”

“Yeah,” Remus said distractedly. “Apparently.”

 

~

 

They won 3-2, two goals from Thomas and one from James. The atmosphere in the locker room as everyone packed up to get back on a plane to Gryffindor was calm and pleased. Remus was packing up his supplies in the visitor’s PT room when there was a knock at his door. Remus looked up.

“Finn,” he said, not completely surprised. “Hi. Good game.”

Finn sent him a small, wavering smile. His hair was tucked beneath a beanie and he had his hands shoved deep in the pockets of his light gray suit.

“Can we talk?” he said.

“Of course,” Remus gestured to a chair and the exam table. “Where ever.”

Finn pulled the hat from his head, red hair a mess beneath, flopping over his forehead. He let out a long breath as he hitched himself up onto the table, vans swinging on his feet.

“Logan’s really hurting,” he said. “And it’s my fault.”

Remus blinked. Based on Logan, he had thought he was going to have to work a little harder to get Finn talking.

“Okay,” Remus said slowly. “Why is it your fault?”

“Because I’m an asshole.”

Remus laughed, just a little. “Harz, you aren’t an asshole. What do you mean?”

Finn took a few moments to respond. He was pulling at his suit lapels and seemed to be biting the inside of his cheek.

“Loops, what I’m about to tell you…”

“Doctor’s confidentiality, Harz,” Remus said. “It’s the same deal as you telling me you think you might have an STD. That information’s going no where, unless I think you’re about to cause someone else some harm.”

Finn actually laughed. “Oh. That’s a real nice image, thanks.” He cleared his throat. “Me, um. Me and Logan, in college…we had, well, I wouldn’t call it a thing but,” Finn looked up at Remus, expression soft. “Logan’s my best friend. That’s all we’ve—that’s all we’ve said, but I,” Finn pressed a hand over his mouth, staring at the wall. He laced his fingers together, then, elbows on his knees. Remus watched him think it through, watched the words formulate in his mind. He watched Finn feel them in his entire being. “Remus, I love him so much. Really, love him, I mean. I’m—I’m in love with him.”

Remus looked at him. He admired him. Finn was nodding slowly to himself, eyes closed. Remus understood Logan’s pain now. Logan, who had never said such a thing, not even when Remus had flat out asked him.

“Finn, that doesn’t make you an asshole.”

Finn just gave him a pained look. “June.

“Oh. Yeah, okay, maybe explain that to me.” When Finn didn’t answer, but just pressed his fingers into his eyes, Remus took a step further. “Finn, was…was this, like, a jealousy thing?”

“It didn’t start that way,” Finn said. “At first it was…it was me trying to be happy. Me trying to move on.” Finn groaned. “I…I really, really like June. And she really likes me but,” he laughed, a little tearfully. “It took her about three fucking days after I asked her on a date to figure me out. Literally, I thought we were going to lunch and she fucking sat down like, alright, O’Hara, who are you in love with?” Finn rubbed a hand over his face, laughing again, but the laugh was sad. “I thought I was going to fucking cry.”

Remus thought Finn looked like he was going to cry right now.

“After I told June what was up,” Finn sighed. “We became really good friends. Like, is that weird? She’s the first person I got to open up to. Ever. She’s—fuck, she’s incredible.”

It actually made pretty good sense to Remus. He’d never actually seen them kiss, but he could see the affection there.

“And she said she would come to family skate with me, as a friend, because my family was at my brother’s this year, right? Here, in Tampa. But everyone assumed she was my girlfriend, of course, I mean that’s logical.”

“Right…”

“And then she went along with it, maybe to help, and then I saw the look on Logan’s face, and I thought…” Finn stopped abruptly, swallowing hard. “I thought…maybe now he’ll talk to me. Maybe we can sort this out. Maybe I’ll finally tell him…I’ll tell him…”

But he couldn’t finish.

“I think,” Remus began. “I think you guys should talk to each other. Really, just—just a long, sit down talk.”

Finn nodded. “I try. Logan…fucking French.”

Remus smiled a little. “There’s a lot of history here that I don’t know about, and a lot of feelings I wasn’t there for. Only you two know how you feel, and what you want.”

Finn still looked conflicted, though, and he was rubbing at his heart like it hurt. “But Leo—”

Remus tilted his head a little at him. Logan had mentioned Leo, too.

“Does Leo know about all this? What is he, like the middle man between you two? Because he’s the one who told me to talk to Logan.”

Finn’s head snapped up. “Really?”

“Yeah, but he also told me about you and June, so—”

“No, no,” Finn said, suddenly standing. “Leo knows about me and June. Like, the truth. Logan doesn’t know.”

Remus raised his eyebrows. “Well, Logan’s the one you’re in love with, right?”

Finn’s smile was sad. “Only for seven years of my life. But, there's…”

Remus waited for him to go on, but he didn’t, just shook his head. “Well,” Remus said. “Then I think maybe you should tell him that you don’t have a girlfriend. That might make things a little easier for him.”

Finn groaned. “Yeah. Fuck me, see? I’m an asshole.”

Remus put a hand on his shoulder and shook his head. “No, Harz. You’re trying your best to be yourself in a world that’s making it really fucking hard. You’re brave. You just need to talk to the people who will help you. You’ll support each other.”

Finn blinked at him, and then cursed and pulled Remus into a hard hug, face tucked into his neck.

You helped me, Loops. Fuck me,” Finn pulled back and he was sniffling a little. “Do you get paid for this?”

Remus laughed. “Yes.”

“Good.”

“Good,” Remus patted his shoulder. “We need to get on a bus now, Harz.”

“A long talk to him on the bus,” Finn’s face lit up with anticipation and nerves.

Remus shook his head. “No.”

Finn sighed, but nodded as if resigned to Remus being right. “We’ll talk to him at home.”

Remus tilted his head as Finn turned towards the door. “We?”

“Catch you on the plane, Loops!” Finn called, and let the door close slowly behind him.

It was caught by a hand before it closed. Sirius’ head poked in.

“Jeez,” he said, and then grinned while Remus rolled his eyes. Sirius closed the door, turned the lock, and then pulled Remus in with his hands on his hips. He leaned down to brush their lips together, his hair, wet from his shower, dripping cooly on Remus’ neck. “You’re city hall today, eh?”

Remus grinned, wrapping his arms around Sirius’ neck. He looked handsome in his dark gray suit. “You have no idea.”

“Is this to do with your Logan fixation?”

Remus snorted. “Oh God. That makes it sound like I have some sort of kink for him.”

Sirius raised an eyebrow.

Shut up,” Remus laughed, and pulled him down for a hard kiss, licking into his mouth before sealing it with a soft scrape of his teeth against Sirius’ lip. “You know that’s only for you.”

Sirius tucked his face against Remus’ neck and held him close. “Mine or yours tonight?”

Remus thought for a moment, heart speeding up. He carded his fingers through Sirius’ hair and pressed a kiss to his neck. “Mine. I’ll cook.”

And I’ll tell you I love you, he didn’t add.

 

The plane ride felt quick, and Remus had slept the entire time. He was groggy as they stumbled off the plane. He caught Sirius staring at him as they exited into a waiting area. Sirius smiled at him, warm and soft. It filled Remus up to the brim.

I love you.

It had been playing like a record on the plane, even as he slept. He dreamed in I love you’s, now, he lived and walked in them. He needed to say it. He thought of Finn and Logan. He needed to say it. He would say it tonight.

Sirius had one AirPod in, and he looked down, still smiling. Remus expected his phone to buzz with a text any second.

Instead, Remus watched Sirius’ entire posture change. He stiffened. He had a funny look on his face, looking down at his phone. It was staring and vacant. With alarm, Remus realized he could see Sirius’ hand shaking. He took one step forward, and then Sirius looked up. His eyes, even from across the room, were completely blank, cold. They stopped Remus in his tracks. It was identical, perfectly identical, to Sirius’ first years on The Lions. That stare was Sirius looking through layers and layers of walls, of brick and cobwebs and years of being torn down. What Remus didn’t know, was what had sprung them up so fucking quickly. Just hours ago, Sirius had been smiling and kissing his neck. Now, he was looking at Remus like he didn’t know who he was. Before, years ago, Remus hadn’t known Sirius well enough to realize that look for what it was.

Now, he knew Sirius looked afraid.

“Whoa,” he heard from behind him, and turned. Finn was staring at him wide-eyed. Logan was staring at Sirius, eyes even bigger. James was staring at Sirius, expression unreadable. They all had their phones in their hands.

Remus reached for his own phone, nearly dropping it. No emails. No texts. Remus’ hands were shaking, too, now. He had a feeling in his stomach.

Twitter. Trending.

Remus swayed, hand reaching out for something to grab onto and finding one of the flimsy, belt, line dividers. He felt his entire body heat up, then go ice cold.

#SiriusBlackGay.

It was worse when he clicked on it.

Captions. Horrible, horrible, captions. He didn’t even see if there were any supporting messages. All he could see were question marks, and capital letters. Slurs.

Burning this jersey, one said.

#notmycaptain.

And the pictures.

They were dark, but they were clear. Taken through Sirius’ car window, in Remus’ parking garage. On New Year’s eve. Remus was on Sirius’ lap. They were kissing in one, and in another, Remus was kissing Sirius’ neck, Sirius’ face tilted up, eyes closed. They were perfectly recognizable with their hats off, with the streetlight filtering in.

#CaptainBottom the tweet read.

Remus felt sick. He pressed a hand to his throat. He couldn’t breathe.

Sirius.

Remus looked up when someone said Sirius’ name, quietly. It was Pascal. He was the only member of the team to approach their captain, the others still frozen or shuffling with shock. Remus watched as Pascal reached out a hand. He watched as Sirius fell a step backwards.

“Sirius,” Pascal said again, followed by French that was too low for Remus to hear.

Not even Sirius seemed to hear. Remus watched his throat work around a swallow. Remus silently begged Sirius to look at him. But he didn’t.

Instead, Sirius turned on his heel and walked out of the airport, automatic doors opening before him, and then sealing shut. Sirius disappeared as the light’s reflection took over the glass. Remus found himself staring at his own, murky reflection, smaller and behind Pascal’s, who still had his hand out.

Remus couldn’t look away from the whites of his own terrified eyes. His hand closed more tightly around his throat. He couldn’t think.

Vaguely, he registered James walking slowly up to him. He stood there, shown in the door’s reflection for a long moment, and then Remus watched his hand reach out and gently hold Remus’ shoulder.

“Can I drive you home?” James said softly.

Remus stared ahead, eyes unseeing. James gently took his phone out of his hand and clicked it off, slipping it into his own pocket. He wrapped his arm more firmly around Remus’ shoulders.

“Come on, Re. Let me—let me be here for you.”

“He needs you,” Remus choked out. They both knew who he meant.

“I’m going there next,” James started walking them forward. “Lily’s going to you. She’ll meet you at your apartment, okay?”

That made Remus’ eyes fill. He blinked away the wetness, and it dripped down his cheeks.

“Okay,” he whispered.

“Okay, babe,” James said and squeezed his shoulders.

They followed where Sirius had been, out the doors and into the freezing night.

Chapter Text

Gryffindor, 2015

 

Behind the blinding flashes of cameras, from up on the stage, behind the press table, and within the circle of microphones, Sirius could only see his mother’s face.

This was not what someone was suppose to feel like when they were drafted to the NHL.

This was not what someone was suppose to feel like when they looked at their mother.

Sirius took a small sip of water from the bottle provided.

“Sirius,” a reporter said. “How did your father, legendary player for the Slytherin Snakes, Orion Black, react to you getting drafted to his rival team?”

His mother’s mouth was pursed and cold at that. He knew what her eyes were telling him.

Renounce the draft. Refuse.

On the other side of the room, a few of the Lions players were watching. James Potter. Kasey Winter. Pascal Dumais, who he was set to be living with starting tonight. James smiled when they made eye contact. Kasey looked unfazed. Pascal was standing tall with his arms crossed. Sirius liked Pascal. He liked Celeste. He could tell they hadn’t thought much of his mother. There was another boy standing near them, too. He had an open face, and a training staff jacket on. He had his hands in his pockets and was looking at Sirius with a mixture of surprise and—Sirius thought maybe concern. Sirius didn’t like people to be concerned about him. He looked away.

“He’s my father first. A player second,” Sirius finally replied to the question.

It was such a lie. It tasted like ash in his mouth.

“Do you two talk about the end of your father’s career?”

Sirius stared down at the reporter, who looked back for a moment before shrinking away against his seat. Sirius knew what he looked like. Intense eyes, good for the ice, bad for people. Good for pissing off his parents. The twins of his brother’s.

“No,” Sirius said plainly.

There was a long, awkward pause as the room waited for Sirius to continue. He didn’t.

“Sirius, you’ve been considered a prodigy since you were very young, you must have thought about what team you would like to go to. How do the Lions fair against all those dreams?”

Sirius’ saw his mother take a step away from the wall. She had her hair pulled back loosely from her face, dark curls around her eyes that cast strange shadows in the bright press room lights.

Refuse.

How could he? Who did that?

It wasn’t like he was going home. Pascal certainly wasn’t going to hit him. At least, he didn’t think so.

“I’m honored to be considered,” Sirius said as neutrally as he could.

Someone stepped forward and waved the press away. Sirius stood up from the table, grabbing one of the tiny water bottles from it. He drained the entire thing in about two seconds flat. It had been a long day so far, and it was only ten in the morning.

“Sirius,” a woman with a Lions badge around her neck came up to him. She had introduced herself as Alice earlier. “So, we’ll get you going into the locker room, a few pictures in your stall, and then everyone’s got practice, so…” she smiled. “Pretty normal from there.”

“Okay,” Sirius nodded.

“Just try and relax into it a little,” she said hesitantly. “This can’t be the first time you’ve seen this many cameras.”

He wanted to laugh. He wished it were the cameras making him nervous.

“Sorry,” he said. “I’ll be better.”

“No, no,” she said hurriedly, eyebrows drawing together. “You’re doing wonderfully, absolutely wonderfully.”

Sirius blinked. “Oh.”

She smiled at him. “Yeah. Now, c’mon, let’s see you in that Lions jersey again! I was so damn happy when they called your name, you know.”

“Oh,” Sirius said again as they walked across the room. He glanced up, but the players had disappeared, along with the boy. “Thank you.”

She laughed. “Thank you. With your dedication, who knows what’s possible! Knock on wood, of course,” she winked and he smiled at her reference to one of his many superstitions.

“Don’t worry,” she said. “We have that bread brand you like for your pre-game sandwich.”

“How do you…” Sirius realized. “Minerva.”

“That agent of yours is one hell of a woman,” Alice said, and she sounded thoroughly pleased—maybe proud even.

“Minnie’s really great,” Sirius said. He really didn’t know how he would have survived everything without her. She knew his parents’ ways. She did her best to protect him. It wasn’t always enough, but he was thankful for it all the same.

They rounded the corner and Sirius felt his own steps slow.

“Alright,” Alice grinned, and stopped too. She looked from him, to the closed locker room doors, and back. “Ready?”

“Are the press already in there, or…”

“Yes, they go in through a different entrance,” Alice cocked her head. “Is that okay?”

“Yes,” Sirius said quickly. “Yes, that’s fine.”

“No more questions,” she assured him. “Just pictures. You just have to pose in front of your new stall, put your jersey on, and—”

Sirius smelled his mother coming up behind him before he saw her. He hated her perfume. He didn’t even know what it was. Something sickly sweet. Something floral. It made his throat closed.

He felt her hand on his shoulder.

“Pardon,” she said. “Hello, how are you?”

Alice smiled. “Mrs. Black—”

“May I have a word with my son before he joins his teammates?”

“Oh,” Alice looked towards the door again. “Well, I don’t see why—”

“Sirius,” came another, almost sing-song voice, and suddenly Pascal Dumais was there, hand sliding easily around Sirius’ shoulder, easing his mother’s away. His smile was broad, eyes crinkled. “C’est bon?”

“Hi, Dumo,” Sirius said breathlessly. He glanced at his mother, and then wished he hadn’t.

“We’ll go in now, non?” Pascal reached out and took Sirius’ mother hand between his own in a caress. “We are very happy to have your son, Madam. We will take good care of him.”

Mrs. Black looked on with an open mouth. “I—”

“Will we see you at the opening game of the season?”

“Well—”

“Pity,” Pascal laughed brightly, then patted Sirius’ back. “Allez, mon fils.”

My son, Dumo had called him.

Sirius was two steps from the door, Pascal’s warm palm gentle between his shoulders, when a colder hand closed around his wrist and he was yanked backwards harshly. He let her do it.

“You remember what we talked about,” his mother hissed at him, gray eyes hard and flicking to Pascal, who was standing very close, smile gone, hazel eyes firm on her. “Do not make any mistakes. Do not.”

Sirius began to take a step back, and her hand tightened. He let it.

“Oui, maman,” Sirius said softly.

“The press is waiting,” Pascal said in a clipped tone to Mrs. Black, and then, much more softly to Sirius. “Your team is waiting for you.”

Pascal turned Sirius towards the locker room, the two doors meeting to form the large Lions logo, a dark red and gold.

Sirius’ team.

The one his father had thrown his wine glass over the night they found out that the Lions had received the first pick of the first round in the draft. The team his little brother had bought a hat for, sneaking in Sirius’ room to show him late that night. They hadn’t really spoken since.

Sirius spared one last, brief thought to Regulus, but pushed it away. Regulus was too obedient to be in any danger.

“You do the honors,” Pascal said. “Allez, go on.”

Sirius pushed the doors open.

The locker room was large and round, exactly what Sirius was used to, and not at all. In this locker room, his mother couldn’t follow him in. He wasn’t going to be hated for being the best. Jealousy was less of a problem. They were already in the NHL.

“Hey, Mr. Prodigy!”

Sirius looked up and James Potter, half dressed in his hockey pants, was walking towards him with a wide smile, glasses still on and hand out. He stopped in front of Sirius and Pascal.

“James Potter,” he said when Sirius shook his hand, only to be pulled into a half hug and slapped on the back. “I’ve really been looking forward to meeting you.”

“Nice to meet you,” Sirius said, trying on a smile as a camera flashed, catching the moment.

James hesitated, smile flickering, but he swept his hand out towards where Sirius saw that their stalls were beside each other.

“Neighbors, eh?”

“Guess so,” Sirius said.

He looked at Alice, who nodded, and so Sirius took his jersey from its hanger. He held it for a moment. The maroon was deep and soft, and the golden lion stood out against the black piping. Two gold stripes flashed on the sleeves as Sirius spun it around to get a look at his name and number. They was there, in black figures, bold and real.

Sirius was a Lion. He belonged to Gryffindor now, at least for a little while, no matter how anyone felt about it.

He pulled the jersey over his head, and let the cameras flash.

 

It felt a little better and a little worse when the press went away. Better, because this was normal. Sirius knew the routine of practice, of listening to the coach. Worse, because Sirius didn’t know these guys. He wasn’t allowed to know these guys.

Renounce the draft. Refuse.

“Excuse me, Sirius?”

Sirius looked up from where he had just begun to lace up his left skate.

The boy in the team jacket was there again, soft smile and sandy hair, strong shoulders and chest. If not for the jacket, Sirius would have wondered which teammate he was, and how he hadn’t recognize his face. He’d poured over the Lions roster one million and one times.

“Hey,” the boy held out his hand. “I just wanted to introduce myself real quick before you get out there. I’m Remus, Remus Lupin, I’m a trainer here and on the PT staff.”

Sirius nodded slowly. Remus Lupin had pale skin, a few freckles, and tawny eyes. Sirius felt a familiar, startling tug in his chest, and pushed back on it so hard, so quickly, he thought he’d snap. It left him breathless. Remus smiled again, and Sirius heart pushed forward harder.

Remus Lupin wasn’t a trainer. For Sirius, he was dangerous.

Sirius closed off his expression further, and took the hand only for a moment. “Hi.”

It seemed to do the trick. Remus’ smile faltered and he took a step back. “Um. Yeah, okay. Just let me know, alright? If you need anything.”

“I will,” Sirius said, and looked back down.

He thought he heard some murmurs from beside him at that. Which was fine. They could hate him. They could think he was an ass. He wasn’t going to be here that long anyways.

Even if he wanted to be.

 

~

 

Gryffindor, 2016

 

“I want to stay,” Sirius said, clutching the arms of the chair in Coach’s office. “I want to stay.”

McGonagall, sitting beside him, laced her fingers over her dark tartan skirt. “My client has spoken, I believe. What protections are you prepared to put in place?”

Arthur and Alice looked at each other.

“Protections?” Arthur said. “Well, there’s already a trade restriction clause in there,” he tapped the contract on the table, “but…”

Alice bit her lip as she looked at Sirius. This boy who was barely nineteen, knuckles white. This talented boy who she had barely seen smile. She thought of the cold woman who had gripped Sirius’ wrist on his first day as a Lion. Make no mistakes, she had hissed.

“I believe…” Alice took a breath. “Minnie is referring to Sirius’ wish—”

“I mean publicity,” Minnie said. “A very hard field to control, I am aware, however—should there be sources that say things contradicting what Sirius has said in this room…”

I want to stay.

“Our players come first in Gryffindor,” Alice said firmly.

Minnie leaned forward. “I thank you for that Alice. I really do. But this is a…delicate matter. We all heard what Sirius said, that he wishes to be a Lion, however, there are people who cannot, as of right now, know that he has said this. I am asking you to protect his decision. I am asking you to support his decision while—”

“While not flashing that he made it,” Alice said slowly. She looked at Sirius again. He was looking down, entire body tense as his phone lit up from where it was on the table. It had done that four times, just in the last twenty minutes.

“I’m sorry,” Sirius murmured, and declined the call. He had a thick accent, stumbling over the English he wasn’t quite used to speaking all the time.

Maman, the contact had said, again and again.

“We can do that,” Arthur said, looking at Alice, and nodding at Minnie. “No one will blink twice at us wanting to keep the best player in the League. Even if Sirius was requesting a trade, he’s fresh out of his rookie year, players need to earn the right to make calls like that.”

“Exactly,” Alice agreed. “This is just as much about locker room and team etiquette as it is about PR and media. And that’s good for us. For all of us. Everyone can feel very secure about staying right where they want to be.”

She probably sounded like she was babying him, saying it so blatantly like that, but it didn’t matter to Alice when Sirius blinked up at her with his pale eyes and smiled, just a little.

They all looked up when there was a commotion from outside. A shrill voice was speaking, words unintelligible through the walls, but Sirius stood so fast he nearly knocked his chair over.

“Minnie,” he whispered. “Elle est là?”

McGonagall stood, too, just as the door blew open.

Sirius’ mother stood there, hair casting curled shadows on her high cheeks. Sirius watched as she took in the scene in front of her. Sirius, Minnie, Alice, and Coach. Already, Sirius’ breathing was coming faster. Old bruises, long faded, began to ache. His stomach seized up and rebelled.

“What’s going on here?” Mrs. Black demanded.

“A meeting, Walburga,” Minnie exhaustedly.

“I was not informed,” she snapped, and then turned her eyes on Sirius. “I have been calling you.”

“Mrs. Black,” Alice said cooly. “Your son is nineteen years of age now. You are not required to be present—”

“Shut up,” Mrs. Black snapped, and turned on McGonagall. “What do you think you are doing?”

“I am working with my client,” Minnie took a step forward. The two women were identical in height.

“The trade, then?” Mrs. Black said, and turned back on Alice. “Is it done?”

“No,” Coach Arthur said. “We will not be trading Sirius. Now, ma’am, I’m not sure how you got in here—”

“C’est ordure!” Mrs. Black shrieked. “Sirius. Do what I say.”

Sirius was—embarrassed. Shame coated the inside of his mouth like tar. He should comply, just to get her to leave, to get her to stop yelling.

“Your son is doing exactly what you want,” Alice said, and even matched her tone to sound regrettable, even annoyed. “Why he would want—why either of you would want him to be traded away from one of the leading teams in the League—”

“Cheaters,” Mrs. Black snarled. “Dirty play, you mean.”

“—is beyond me,” Alice pushed on. “But, unfortunately, your son doesn’t have as much power here as either of you think he does.”

Sirius stared at Alice. She was doing it. She was getting him out. She was letting him stay.

Mrs. Black was staring, too. “My son is the best player in the League.”

Arthur laughed. “And so, why would we let him go? Now,” Arthur stood. “I am going to ask you to leave one more time, otherwise I will have security escort you out. This is a private meeting that does not concern you.”

“I am his mother!”

“That means nothing here, Walburga,” Minnie said, smoothing her skirt and sitting back down.

“This is a trick,” Walburga sneered, and walked forward to Sirius. She grabbed his hair, tightly, nails digging into his scalp. “You think you can trick me, mon regret?”

Sirius closed his eyes. My regret. The shame was bile, now. He wished for anything, anything good. He wished to stay, he wished for his team to want him, he wished for anyone to want him. He wished.

“Mrs. Black, get your hands off of my player,” Arthur boomed.

Sirius didn’t know how officers got into the room, but then his mother was yelling in French, ripping her arms out of their grasps as she walked with a high, stiff neck out of the office, the door slamming behind her.

Sirius could still feel them, her fingers, digging into his neck.

“Sirius?”

It was Alice’s soft voice. Sirius opened his eyes and looked up. He hadn’t realized they were still closed.

“Are you okay?”

Minnie patted his hand carefully, knowing he wouldn’t want to be touched. “She’s gone now, my boy.”

“I’m okay,” Sirius managed. He looked around at them all. “Thank you. Thank you, I…”

“Of course,” Arthur said. He was a little wide-eyed. Sometimes Sirius forgot that, to most of the world, that wasn’t normal.

“Well,” Minnie said into the silence. “If that’s settled…”

Sirius sunk back down into the chair. He felt like he had skated three straight periods, double shifts.

“Actually,” Arthur said, clearing his throat and sitting. “There is one more matter I’d like to discuss. Well, more of a question, really.”

Sirius looked up, dread turning over in his stomach all over again. But Arthur was smiling at him gently.

“I’ve talked to some of our key team and staff members. Dumo, Pots, Sergei. Even our rookie O’Hara had something to say, but when doesn’t he? And me and the coaching team have put lots of thought into this, too. Sirius, you’re a leader on the ice. You make our boys better. You’re very kind, and a steady presence in the locker room, if not…reserved,” Arthur laughed a little. “Well I hope that will change a little now that…” his eyes went to the door that Mrs. Black had stormed out through. “Now that you are able to really feel safe and a part of our organization.”

Safe, Sirius thought. He couldn’t even fathom it.

Arthur leaned forward.

“Sirius, we want you to be our captain.”

 

~

 

Gryffindor, 2017

 

They were playing the Penguins. Sirius was still getting used to the C stitched onto his jersey.

The game was going to overtime. Crosby and Letang wasn’t letting anyone close enough to Murray to get anything done. Sirius was exhausted, but shook his head when Coach motioned to pull him in during a break for out of play. He wanted to end this. James stayed out, too, and Brady switched for Sergei.

“Let’s go, eh, Crosby?” Sirius popped his mouth guard back in and leaned over for the face off.

Crosby didn’t reply, eyes already on the puck.

Sirius won it. He knocked it back to James, and then shot forward, yelling for it back. Sergei checked Malkin hard, both of the spitting at each other in Russian, but at least it got him out of the way. There was a clear channel for James, and then the puck was back on Sirius’ tape.

Crosby loomed in front of him, stick long with his strong reach, but Sirius dodged. Murray was probably too far away still for any good chance, but the clock had seven seconds on it and damn it if Sirius was about to go to a shoot out. He took the shot.

He could almost feel it hit the back of the net. Before he was thinking about what he was doing, his arms were up, stick in the air. He heard James yell. It wasn’t until he saw that James was smiling, that Sirius realized he was smiling, too. So hard that his cheeks hurt. He watched James slow down as he neared him, all too used to the lesser celebrations that he thought Sirius preferred.

“Fuck yeah, Cap!” James shouted, smile wide. He was still a few strides away. Sirius’ heart was racing a mile a minute. The goal felt—different. It was just a goal, just one game, but Sirius…he wanted his team. He wanted James, his friend.

Sirius grinned back at James and held out his arm. It was better than the goal, watching James’ face drop in surprise, and then light up again.

To anyone else it would have seemed like a split-second of a moment.

James took the last few feet to dig his skates in, one, two, three, four, and slammed into Sirius against the boards, knocking their helmets together. Sergei came in on the other side, looking more surprised, but smiling.

“Very nice, Mr. Black,” he said.

“Thanks,” Sirius said breathlessly.

James held on a little longer as they skated over to the bench, but let go to bump gloves down the line.

The boys started piling out of the boards to celebrate the win.  Sirius received a very loud kiss on the side of his helmet from Pascal.

“Bravo, mon fils,” he said softly, eyes bright.

Coach slapped him on the back, smiling as they filed off the ice. “Atta boy, kid.”

Sirius was about to disappear down the tunnel when a soft voice stopped him.

“Good game, Sirius.”

Sirius stopped, eyes falling on Remus and his own bright smile. It sent the same bubbling heat through Sirius’ heart as it always did. Logan was tapping him on the shoulder, telling him to keep moving, and so Sirius used the excuse of pushing a stick up towards one of the little kids leaning over the tunnel entrance. Just to look at Remus a little longer, in the bright lights of the ice.

“Merci, Fruit-Loop,” Sirius replied, and walked down the dim tunnel still grinning.

 

~

 

Gryffindor, 2018

 

“Snape’s been eye fucking you all game, eh?” James had said in the first period, a distant memory now. “We should keep an eye on him.”

Sirius had waved him off with sarcastic replies. Well, I’m pretty. Dirty snakes, nothing new.

“Don’t move, Sirius,” the doctor was saying now. The crowd was nearly silent. It was eerie and strange. Players milled about on the ice, the Snakes keeping their distance for once. Second period, ten minutes left on the clock.

The pain was radiating from Sirius’ leg like nothing he’d ever felt. He was dimly aware of his blood pooling on the ice, the grotesque look of his white bone against the white ice, sticking through his skin. He was breathing too hard to be normal, sweating. James was crouched by his head, gripping his hand and shoulder. James’ knuckles were bloody and bruised, a sight that must match Snape’s cheek.

“It’s a bad break, alright?” the doctor said. "We’re getting you the stretcher now. Try to breathe.”

But Sirius was only half listening. Staring straight ahead, all he could focus on were the wide, amber eyes gazing back at him. Remus. It was all he could do to keep from screaming. He kept looking at his face. He didn’t know exactly why it calmed him so much, why he suddenly wanted to keep it in sight more than he wanted morphine. Remus had his hand pressed against his throat, eyes darting between Sirius’. Maybe Sirius could tell him he wanted him right now, and pass it off as pain induced delirium.

Sirius bit out answers to the doctor on autopilot.

Yes. No. Dizzy. Numb. Ten. He was used to pain. But not this.

“Was it him?” Sirius said through his grit teeth to James. He kept his eyes on Remus, Remus who wasn’t looking away. Remus who was good, who healed, who helped.

“Yes, the fucking—” James said back. “Fuck, Sirius, fuck.”

The lift onto the stretcher felt like a whip. His father’s rings slicing his cheek. His mother’s nails. The bruises, the aches. Remus disappeared from view as he was placed on his back to be taken down through the tunnel.

Snape loomed up at the edge of the ice, black hair stringy with sweat. He gave nothing away. There was no apology. There was nothing.

Sirius had thought he was safe. But he should have known better.

The hits always came.

~

 

Gryffindor, 2020

 

Sirius let a lot of people do a lot of things to him. He let them make decisions for him. There was someone who decided what were the best foods for him to eat. What were the best ways to phrase his sentences. The best people for him to be seen with, and when. And those were people who were trying to help him. Who did help him. He was thankful to them, willing to give up a little control.

His mother. His mother had always been a different story. The control had been less control, and more restriction. Punishment. Less sleep, less food, more hours in the weight room. Sirius still caught himself at it sometimes. He’d have a bad game and find his entire appetite gone.

Sirius looked down at the sandwich on the counter, untouched.

The ice. The ice was different. It was only on the ice where no one had control except him. He called the shots, he wore the C. He helped his teammates, and his teammates helped him. There was no punishment for a bad game on the ice. There was support. There was next time.

This wasn’t the ice. This wasn’t anything he’d experienced at all. This wasn’t any help to anyone. This was out of a nightmare, one that he’d been having since he was thirteen, realizing he liked a teammate’s chest and smile more than any of the porn that got passed around, the girls that pressed up against him at parties.

 

Remus.

 

Sirius took a shaky breath in, pressing his palms to the cold marble counter.

Remus wasn’t a system, or a test, or a game-plan. Remus didn’t want him for what he could or couldn’t do. Remus didn’t punish him.

So, how on earth could he have been so selfish as to punish Remus? To take away so much from him.

 

Sirius had arrived at Hogwarts hours early, just to avoid anyone. He didn’t know how long James had knocked on his door last night. He didn’t even remember falling asleep. He didn’t know how many calls he had received, from anyone. He hadn’t checked.

He looked up at Remus, sitting across the table from him and looking down.

The hits always came.

The look on Remus’ face hit Sirius square in the chest.

This was old panic. Sirius knew that. It was the residue of things that had been ingrained into him for his entire life. But he couldn’t stop it. He had thought he was prepared now. Better now. Yet, here he was, frozen. Unable to even take a step towards the person he wanted the most. They sat in silence.

“Okay,” Alice said softly when her and Coach Weasley sat down at the table with the two of them. “Sirius, we know you have a plane to catch, and we don’t have too much time, but…let’s do our best, okay?”

She looked between the two of them. “How are you both doing? Would you like some tea or coffee? I know this is…this is…”

“Who took them?” Sirius said. “The pictures.”

“We’re not sure,” Alice replied. “A passerby maybe. Someone else in Remus’ building. Or a pap following you. It was New Year’s, after all. You get announced for All-Stars, you’re high-profile already, you leave your house just after midnight…it’s easy to assume you might be going to meet someone.”

“It didn’t come out on New Year’s,” Sirius snapped. “Why wait?”

“Money,” Alice said simply. “People bid on these things. Sometimes they take time.”

“It was my idea,” Remus said. He still wouldn’t look at Sirius, but rather calmly at Alice. “I don’t want Sirius to take any blame for that.”

Alice sighed. “The organization isn’t happy with you, Remus.”

“I figured,” Remus said faintly.

Sirius’ throat closed. If Remus was fired, he’d never forgive himself. He hadn’t even thought—they’d never talked about—

“In their eyes, you’re an employee. One that’s trusted with, well…players’ bodies.”

“Quoi?” Sirius burst out. “Like—like he’s some type of pervert? Like he manipulated me into something?”

“Someone in Remus’ position has access to private information,” Alice said, then put her hands out. “I am in no way saying that’s what went on with the two of you. And we’re here right now to figure out what we want to do and how we want to respond. I am here to fully support the both of you.”

“We both are,” Arthur said.

“What do they want us to do about it?” Remus asked.

“They’re trying to be…” Alice winced. “Party pleasers. They meaning, not just Lions organization, but mostly the NHL, the League. They’d like the Lions to let Remus go, showing they don’t condone,” she raised air quotes, “unprofessional relationships, but they’d also like Sirius to release a statement of confirmation.”

Sirius blanched. “Confirmation?”

“There have been rumors of this sort before, with other players,” Alice said. “But…those pictures don’t leave much to interpret.”

Remus scoffed. “So they’re willing to accept it just because they can’t deny it.”

Sirius silently begged Remus to look at him. He needed to see his face, just like that day on the ice with his ankle and Snape’s hit.

“Like I said,” Alice said with a dark look at the papers in front of her. “The League is trying to please their entire fanbase, which unfortunately includes lots of close-minded people.”

“That can’t be the entire fanbase. What about the other parts?” Remus said. “We’re here. And we aren’t the only ones!”

Sirius looked at Remus and his anger-flushed cheeks. “What?”

Remus looked at him, finally. He looked startled at himself that he had at all, like he had promised himself he wouldn’t. “I…I just mean we can’t be,” he looked away. “There’s no fucking way you are the only professional male hockey player who isn’t straight. I was nearly a professional hockey player and I’m definitely not.”

“Coach,” Alice said slowly. “If you’d like to talk about the organization’s position.”

Arthur nodded, and cleared his throat. “I am extremely willing to fight the board on this. I wish my leverage was that you’re both human and shouldn’t be judged in a professional setting on a personal relationship, or just at all. Jesus Christ, why are people so stupid? But…right now, my reasoning—the reasoning that will get their attention and sway their minds—is that we are two inches from a spot in the play-offs. Remus is known and loved by my team. He is a very valuable member of the Lions staff, just as Sirius is a very valuable player. That’s the simple truth on my end.”

“So, you can protect Remus,” Sirius needed him to say it.

Coach nodded. “Yes.”

“Good,” Sirius said, and rose. “Then we’re done.”

Alice put out her hand cautiously. “Sirius, as for your statement to the press—”

“Fuck the press,” Sirius said. “I don’t owe them anything.”

Alice’s eyes turned firm. “You will be asked about this at the All-Star game. You should think about what you want to say.”

“Was it not already said for me?” Sirius shouted, and the room flinched into silence.

Alice swallowed. “You’re right.” She looked between Sirius and Remus.

Arthur leaned forward. “We are so sorry that this happened to the both of you.”

“It was a horrible violation of privacy and you both have every right to be extremely angry,” Alice continued. “But, please. Think about that anger when you are in front of a camera. Now, I am so happy to give you whatever support you need, whether that be anything from responses you can use so you don’t have to worry, or support via the organization’s social media. I know you’re private, Sirius, but—”

“But, what?”

“But this could mean something to someone out there,” Alice burst out. “You, the face of the National Hockey League—”

“Who I love has nothing to do with the NHL,” Sirius snapped, and then his face dropped, realizing what he had said.

He stared at Remus, who was looking right back at him, hand pressed to his throat. His eyes were bright with unshed tears.

I love you.

The phrase had been echoing around his head for weeks now. Remus.

“I have a plane to catch,” Sirius choked out.

“Okay,” Alice rose. “ Okay. Logan would be with you, but he requested a later flight last night, and so it’ll just be you and Minnie and the camera crews—”

“That’s fine,” Sirius barely got the words out before he was disappearing through the door, weekend bag in hand.

He felt sick.

I love you, I love you, I love you.

Old panic, residue fear that was sticky like cement, keeping him in place and getting harder and harder to budge.

 

Only when the plane was about to take off did Sirius check his phone. Missed calls.

His mother. Two. It surprised him.

Minnie. Ten. But he had called her back.

Remus.

Thirty-six.

And one message, from this morning, just after the meeting.

Call me when you’re ready to talk. Good luck.

Sirius, heart in his stomach, slid his phone into his pocket and closed his eyes as the plane began to move.

Chapter Text

Remus had his head in Lily’s lap, the TV on a commercial break from the All-Stars game, when there was a knock at the door. Remus’ head ached, but he raised it anyway at the delusional thought that it might be Sirius, despite knowing exactly where he was. He remembered a similar knock, one that had actually revealed Sirius, who had fallen straight into his arms. And Remus had been there for him.

“Do you want me to get it?” Lily asked gently, her hands in Remus’ hair.

“I will,” Remus sighed, and sat up, rubbing his eyes. “Sorry that’s probably not a comfortable position for you and the baby.”

James appeared from the kitchen, wiping his hands on a towel. “Do you want me to get it?”

“I’ll do it,” Remus smiled a little, standing. “Thanks for getting the dishes, Pots, really.”

“No problem,” James shrugged.

Another knock sounded and Remus called out that he was coming.

“Probably just one of those salespeople,” Remus sighed as he turned the lock. “Someone always falls for it and lets them in—”

Remus’ words died in his mouth in surprise.

Finn sent him a hesitant smile from the other side of the door, Leo mirroring it.

“Sup, Loops,” Finn said.

“I…Hi, boys.”

James poked his head around Remus to see.

“Cubs?” James questioned.

“Pots?” Leo said.

“And Lily!” Lily called from the living room.

Remus stared at them. “What are you doing here? Are you…”

And Remus realized. How could he have forgotten? Logan.

He didn’t know what was going on with these three, but maybe he was about to find out.

Finn held up a bag. “We brought tacos.”

“You just missed it, I made dinner,” James said.

“Oh,” Finn lowered the bag slowly. “Well…phew.”

James scoffed. “Thankless little rookie babies.”

“I’m not a rookie,” Finn pointed out. “More tacos for us.”

“Still.”

Remus blinked back to life. “Jeez, sorry, come in, guys.”

Finn walked past him only to receive a slug on the arm from James, and Leo put his hand on Remus’ shoulder as they followed James and Finn back into the living room.

“How are you?”

Remus looked up at him with a shaky smile and raised a shoulder. Leo nodded, understanding.

“We haven’t talked,” Remus found himself saying, throat closing a little at just the words. “I don’t really—Things are really just…busy right now.”

“I’m so sorry, Loops,” Leo said quietly.

“Don’t make excuses for him,” Finn said as he unpacked the take-out containers.

Lily spread her hands. “Thank you, O’Hara.”

“I’m not,” Remus said. “I didn’t expect smooth sailing, alright? Look, it’s…” Remus sat down. “It’s more complicated than that. Is there a point where I’m going to stop cutting him slack? Of course. But I need you guys to trust that I know when that point is. That point isn’t now, when he got brutally outed, which he was terrified of, and then had to go to one of the most public events in hockey in the same fucking breath.”

Remus stared around at them all. Finn was still holding the same take-out box.

“Okay?” Remus said.

“You got outed, too,” Leo said quietly.

“Yes,” Remus said over an exhale. “But I was ready. Not the way I would have chose, but I was. That’s the difference.”

The room got quiet again. Remus glanced at the television, but a commercial was still playing.

So,” Finn began slowly. “Is this a good time to say that me and Leo—”

Lily gasped, clapping her hands to her chest. “I knew it. Wait—”

“…are dating Logan?”

Lily’s gasp turned to one of surprise, slow and drawn out. She put her hand on her belly, eyes wide as she looked between them.

“Oh,” she breathed. “Yes.”

James put his towel on his head, pulling at it by his ears. “The cubs?

Finn gave James a confused look. “Yes? What are you doing?”

“How did that happen?”

“Lots of misunderstanding,” Leo sighed. “And time.”

“Eight years in some cases,” Finn added.

Lily cooed. “Since college, aw, babies. Nut, are you wearing Logan’s hat? I’m going to cry. I’m pregnant so I’m allowed to cry at this.”

Everything Remus wanted to say felt lodged in his chest. He blinked and he saw Sirius’ haunted expression.

“Re?” Leo said hesitantly.

Remus snapped his head up. “Hm?”

“I know this is probably the last thing you’d want to hear,” Leo continued with a glance at Finn. Through the glass coffee table, Remus saw Finn put a hand on Leo’s thigh. “But we really have you to thank. Logan was sort of our missing link, you know? He was…” Scared, Remus knew Leo was about to say. Just like Sirius. But he shifted at the last second. “You really got through to him.”

What Remus couldn’t do for Sirius.

Remus smiled at them, knowing it was probably shadowed with everything bouncing around in his head and chest right now.

“I’m so happy you guys worked it out,” he said, and it was true. “Really, that’s…”

Sirius turning away, disappearing.

“That’s amazing.”

Sirius, the morning after.

Who I love has nothing to—

“Sorry,” Finn said. “Maybe that was…”

“No,” Remus said. “No, I’m glad you told us. I’m glad you’re comfortable, of course I am. I don’t want any of this making you feel like you can’t be yourself.”

“I think it did the opposite, Re,” Lily said gently.

Remus nodded. “Exactly.”

There was another knock on the door. Remus turned around.

“Um,” he said. “I’ll get it? Again, I guess?”

 

“What’s up, Fruit-loop,” Natalie said when Remus opened the door. Her blonde hair was pulled into a high, messy bun and she was wearing pajamas. “I brought face masks.”

“I brought alcohol,” Kasey said from behind her. He held up a bag. “And candy.”

Remus stared. “I…”

“We brought tacos!” Finn yelled from the living room.

Natalie clicked her tongue, smiling. “I knew I liked that red-head.”

“Sup, Nat,” Remus heard Finn say as he and Kasey watched Natalie walk into the living room from the door.

“You are a walking freckle, O’Hara, but you brought tacos, so it’s okay.”

Finn snorted, and Remus turned back to meet Kasey’s dark eyes.

“Hey, Bliz,” Remus said softly. “Uh, thanks for bringing—”

“He was selfish,” Kasey interrupted him. “And you’re allowed to think that and love him at the same time.”

Remus almost laughed. It seemed that everyone knew Remus loved Sirius except Sirius. Kasey’s words hit like stone, but they were soothing, too. The ache of pressing on a paper cut.

Kasey smiled a little, just a closed upturn of his lips.

“Come on,” he said, and nudged Remus inside the door, closing it behind him. “I make mean cocktails.”

 

Walking back into the living room, Remus stared around at them all. They were spread out, Kasey in the kitchen unloading what seemed like ten bottles, Natalie and Lily with their arms around each other on the couch. James and Finn seemed to be seeing who could build the biggest taco, Finn leaning back into Leo’s chest and feeding him chips.

Natalie pointed between them. “When?”

“A while,” Finn said. “Logan, too.”

Natalie’s smile was approving. “Hot.”

Leo pressed his finger over his lips, and Natalie pretended to zip her mouth closed.

Remus let out a breath. He had thought he would want to be alone, but this felt—better. The chatter, the laughter…it distracted him. Sirius wasn’t his entire world, no matter how big a part of it he occupied. Remus liked being reminded of that.

He took his place back on Lily’s other side and leaned into her.

“And welcome back to all our viewers,” the television said. “To our 2020 All-Star Weekend, where you can see your favorites present their best skills, and dream lines compete against each other.”

Remus sucked in a breath.

“You gonna be okay?” Lily said quietly. “Watching this?”

“Yes,” Remus said firmly. He wanted to see Sirius’ face.

It was true, Remus did have a point when he would stop cutting Sirius slack.

He would wait, but not forever. And not for the wrong reasons.

He had told Sirius that himself.

 

“Red carpet first, right?” Finn asked through a mouthful of chips.

“Yep,” Leo said.

“Okay,” James said, staring at Finn and Leo. “I love this. Where would Logan be sitting right now? Like, does it get crowded?”

“Imagine if you had two Lilys, James,” Finn said with a raised eyebrow.

James blinked for a moment, then flushed behind his glasses. “Fuck.”

Finn grinned. “Yeah.”

James took another bite of taco and chewed slowly. “That’s so much love.”

“Yeah,” Leo said softly, and pressed his cheek to the top of Finn’s head.

“What we’ll be doing tonight is welcoming all of our players, who were voted in by the fans, of course,” said the announcer. “And there is our nice red carpet. We’ll see who arrives first shortly, I’m sure.”

“I am so excited to see Crosby,” Lily sighed. “That man’s butt, my god.”

James made a disgruntled sound.

“Love you, Potter,” Lily smiled.

“It is a legendary ass,” Kasey said.

“Me and Kase rate asses every year,” Natalie said. “I think Crosby won.”

“He wins every year,” Kasey said. “Deservingly so.”

“That’s true.”

They watched the Stars arrive, then the Bruins. Zibanejad  and Panarin came from the Rangers.

Sirius and Logan were one of the last team members to show up and, ironically, they did so at the same time as the Snakes.

“Oh, Jesus fuck,” Finn breathed. They had finished their tacos and Finn was still sitting against Leo’s chest while Leo leant back against the couch, their hands laced on Finn’s stomach.

Remus watched, holding his breath, as Sirius and Logan got out of the car.

“Our boys,” Kasey said. “And…”

From just beside them, Snape and Regulus emerged, straightening their suit.

James and Finn hissed loudly.

“The snakes,” Leo finished.

Remus only half heard them, too focused on the camera flashing to a close up of Sirius’ face. His heart positively yearned.

Sirius looked exhausted. His eyes were a dull gray, hair curling agonizingly soft over his forehead. He was wearing a black suit, lapels velvet.

“Sirius Black with the fashion statement,” one of the announcers laughed. Remus couldn’t even tell them apart. “I guess we should expect that now.”

“Oh, fuck you!” Natalie yelled. “Fuck you, you stereotyping ass-hat.”

It rolled Remus’ stomach, but not as much as Sirius’ expression when he saw his brother and Snape. It was only on the screen for a second, his clenched jaw and unsteady eyes, before it switched to Logan.

“Oh, baby,” Finn sighed. “Look at that glare.”

It was true. Logan’s stare, aimed at Snape, was menacing.

“And there’s the League’s oldest and most famous rivalry right there,” the commentators said with a laugh. “Arriving at the same time. And, of course, Sirius Black who, as you all might know, has made a bit of a splash in the news recently when photos of him kissing another man were leaked to the media and turned out a major Twitter trend. That man is Remus Lupin.”

Remus’ stomach clenched. He had known they might bring him up, but he didn’t really think—

“Now, what do we know about Remus Lupin?” the announcer continued. “Not much. He’s on the Lions training staff, working, shall we say, closely with the players. And, well, the man was one heck of a hockey player himself. Let us play you the tapes we dredged up from Lupin’s college days at the University of Wisconsin.”

“What the hell,” Remus breathed, tucking his knees to his chest and hugging them. He felt Lily glance at him.

The screen faded away from the carpet and suddenly Remus was staring at an old memory. The footage was a little grainy, but he saw himself—could remember the feeling of himself—sprinting up the ice, skates cutting in. He took one player down, another, and scored. The tape cut and he won a Face-off, knocking it back to—

“Is that Greyback?” Finn leaned forward. “Fenrir Greyback?”

Remus swallowed. “Yes.”

“You played with—”

The announcers came back into view, grinning at each other.

“Pretty great. Unfortunately, Lupin was injured just before his draft eligibility, but, rumor has it, he was set for first. Would you look at that, Rob?”

“I know, John. Well, looks like he found another way to get some fame, eh?”

The two laughed. The living room was dead silent.

“Up next, we’ll get to talk to some of the stars. We’ll be right back after this break.”

“Excuse me,” Remus managed.

“Remus,” James called.

But Remus was already up, walking quickly out of the living room and into his bedroom, closing the door behind him.

Remus squeezed his eyes shut, then open. He fumbled for his phone, sinking down to the floor against the door with his knees against his chest. His thumb missed the call button twice, but finally the screen went dark with the call display.

It rang and rang. And rang. Remus rubbed his thumb along his neck. Of course, Sirius wouldn’t answer. Look what he was in the middle of.

“Hey.”

Remus closed his eyes.

“You’ve reached the Sirius Black,” James’ voice said on Sirius’ voicemail. “I can’t come to the phone because either girls are proposing marriage, or I’m scorning a hat trick. Maybe both! Leave a message!”

The beep was piercing, for the thirty-seventh time. He’d never left a message before.

“Sirius,” Remus whispered into the speaker. He pressed his forehead to his knees. “I know you’re—busy and I’m not going to beg you to talk to me, I…”

Remus took a breath.

“Just re-watch your arrival. I’m not going to beg, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to fight for you to see. See if you really care what those sort of people think about you.”

Remus hung up.

“Remus?”

It was Leo’s voice through the door.

Remus let out a steadying breath, scrubbing his face before standing and opening the door.

“Sorry,” Remus said. “I’m good, I just—I haven’t seen those in a long time, and then the two guys… I just needed a second.”

Leo had his hands in the front pocket of his sweatshirt, Logan’s hat backwards on his head, his blond hair fluffing out over the adjustment strap.

Leo nodded. “Do you want us all to clear out?”

Remus shook his head. “No.” He looked to the living room where the soft faces of his friends were peering at him. “No, I really don’t. C’mon let’s watch. I—Crosby does have a good ass and, you know…at least I can say that out loud now.”

Kasey laughed, pumping his fist in the air.

Remus settled himself on the couch again as they waited for the commercials to end.

“We’re cuddling too much,” Remus heard Finn whisper to Leo.

No,” Remus said, hands out. “Please cuddle. Really, that’s not what’s wrong, I’m so happy for you guys.”

“It’s so cute,” James mumbled. “Lily, can we cuddle?”

“No, I’m cuddling Remus. We’ll cuddle later, baby.”

James nodded. “Kasey?”

Kasey raised an eyebrow from his chair. “You want to sit in this chair with me?”

James shrugged. “You can come on the floor.”

“I am a net minder,” Kasey said. “We do not sit on the floor.”

Natalie laughed, peeling a face mask out of its package. “Snob.”

Kasey winked at her.

Remus let out a breath, and smiled at Lily when she smiled at him. Things would happen, one way or another.

The ball was in Sirius’ court, the puck in his zone.

 

~

 

Sirius eyed the photographers and interviewers. His stomach churned. He had barely said two words to Logan, who had basically gotten right off the plane, into his suit, and into the car with Sirius, Minnie, and Logan’s agent, Clyde. They’d bumped fist, but the most Sirius had received from Logan was a hello and a serious of unreadable looks. It was those looks that disquieted Sirius more than the reporters. If Logan hated him—

“Hey,” Logan said as they were ushered forward onto the red carpet. Sirius was tense with Snape and his brother at their backs.

He looked at Logan.

“We’re talking later, okay? If we get split up, text me when you’re back at the hotel.”

Sirius blinked. It was—harsh for Logan. It was the way he spoke on the ice.

“I—okay. Yeah, let’s talk.”

Dread pooled in Sirius’ gut. But Logan wouldn’t want to talk if he didn’t like who Sirius was anymore, right?

Logan clapped him on the shoulder. “I have your back, Cap,” he said, and then he was pulled away to do his own run of interviews before Sirius could respond. Minnie approached him while Sirius was still standing there, mouth open, expression still changing.

“Right,” she sighed. “Well, here we are.”

Sirius shoved his hands into his pockets. “I’m sorry, Minnie. I’m such a headache.”

“Stop that nonsense, Sirius,” Minnie said, patting his arm. “You are the most real person I have ever met. Snapping at stupid questions instead of being a drone. It was unfair how the world thanked you for it, but I believe in you. You have a game plan, I’m assuming, although you refuse to tell me anything about it?”

Sirius sighed. “Sirius Black being gay is news. Sirius Black telling the media to go fuck themselves isn’t.”

“Excuse me,” an aid came up to them, headset on. “We’re ready for you on the carpet now.

“Thank you,” Sirius said, and he had just started forward when Minnie lay a gentle hand on his chest.

She pressed her lips together. “You remember what Alice said. This could be important to a lot of people. That includes yourself, my boy.”

Sirius swallowed hard. He nodded, quiet, and then followed the aid into the camera fray.

 

~

 

“Logan Tremblay, holding his fucking own,” Kasey slow clapped.

“You mean holding his fucking tongue,” Natalie said. “That’s kid’s a fire cracker.”

Finn, gestured to the television with his ice cream. “He was the perfect medium between civil and simmer. And now I can tell you all that I bought him that suit when we were eighteen. Well, I was eighteen. He was seventeen.”

“Does Tremz know we all know?” James questioned.

Leo nodded. “His plan was just to start making out in the locker room. I thought we should go for more of a verbal approach first.”

“I was okay with either,” Finn added, then looked at Remus. “I’m sorry I’m eating all your ice cream.”

Remus waved him off, heart still ringing with Logan’s words to the third interview he had.

You guys wouldn’t care if he had a girlfriend, Logan had said with a shrug. Why are you asking me that question with such a crazy look on your face? And then, finally. I support my Captain.

Sirius had been too far away to hear. He hoped Minnie played it for him later.

“But if that was one of Logan’s first interviews, that means…” Lily trailed off.

Sirius.

“I hope he knows what’s coming,” he said instead. By the looks of him, shoulders hunched, eyes guarded, he did.

All Remus wanted was for Sirius to talk to him about it. It was like a single, hooked claw dragging its way through him.

The screen flipped to Sirius, his gray eyes focused on the reporter’s grin. His own smile was small. The reporter threw him softball after softball, and Sirius answered them shortly. Remus waited, waited for it to happen, for the interview to take the turn they all expected.

But the reporter held out his hand. “Great to have you in the League, my friend. Have a great weekend, eh?”

Sirius stared at the hand, the camera zooming in a little.

“Ah, yes,” Sirius said haltingly, and took his hand. “Thank you.”

Remus sat forward.

“Well, that was okay,” Leo said, sounding out of breath.

“Yeah…” Remus said. He wasn’t ready to believe it was over yet, though.

“So, Sirius,” another reporter said. “You’ve been in the news lately, huh?”

“Oh, here we fucking go, eh?” Kasey gestured angrily at the screen.

“I’m in the news a lot,” Sirius said blankly. “More than I’d like.”

She laughed. “But first openly gay NHL player. That’s got to feel good?”

Sirius stared at her.

“He wasn’t,” Remus sat back again, cheeks hot as he stared at the microphone that was being held closer and closer to Sirius’ mouth. “You fucking lunatic, what is open about this to you?”

“Preach, Loops,” Natalie said, leaning over to pat his knee.

“I’m looking forward to a good weekend,” Sirius said. “Playing some good hockey.”

“I—”

But Sirius was already walking away, in fact, walking past all the cameras. The television camera caught some reporters staring at Minnie with alarmed eyes, angry at missing their interview with Sirius Black.

They could just see a glimpse of Minnie’s head following Sirius as the camera tracked his back all the way into the building.

Commercials filled the room.

“Wowza,” Finn said. “Okay.”

“I think it’s good he didn’t stick around for those guys,” Leo said. “I mean, he shouldn’t be made to talk about it like that, you know?”

“Yeah, maybe he should talk to me first,” Remus grumbled and took a long sip of his cocktail.

Yes, Lupin,” Natalie clapped. “Bitch all you want, we know we all love him. It’s all good.”

Remus did want that, at least a little. It even made him smile, Natalie’s words. But most of him was longing for Sirius, for his phone to ring. He kept it close, even as the screen played another two hours of Sirius and all the other All-Stars signing puck after puck, doing stupid game after stupid game, preparing for the skills competitions tomorrow, and the three-on-three games the day after that.

 

~

 

Sirius was exhausted. The day had been camera after camera, signature after signature. He could have fallen asleep on his feet, but Logan’s promise kept his adrenaline up. Remus’ text, too.

Thankfully, he and Logan had shared a car back to the hotel.

“Your room,” Logan said simply, and pressed the elevator button.

 

They were mostly quiet on their way up, and Sirius’ hands fumbled a little with the keycard as he let Logan in. His suitcase was still zipped up where the bell-boy had left it, and Logan took his jacket off, tossing it onto the bed. Sirius heard the door shut behind them, and then it was quiet.

“Là,” Logan sighed, crossing the room and then turning around to face Sirius. “Straight to it, I guess.”

“Yeah,” Sirius breathed.

“I don’t want to sound like I know more than you. Because I don’t. I really, really don’t, but, this is just something I think you should know.”

Sirius looked at Logan carefully, wondering what he meant.

“Knowing about you, knowing that you’re…” Logan raised an eyebrow.

“Gay,” Sirius said.

“Gay,” Logan finished. “Cap, it,” he looked around, but they were alone. He took a step forward. “Sirius, it did more for me than I could ever tell you.”

Sirius felt the words sink in slowly. He looked at Logan. Really looked at him. Brighter. He stood straighter. He looked more focused.

“You mean you’re…”

“I get that you think you’re the only one, that you’re alone in all of this,” Logan said. “I thought that. I felt that. It nearly crushed me. But you aren’t. I’m not alone, either. Neither of us are alone, but…but you’re on one hell of a precipice.” 

Sirius knew what he meant.

“I ran from him.”

“Yeah,” Logan said. “What the fuck, Sirius?”

“I know,” Sirius felt like the air was leaving the room. “I’m horrible.”

You aren’t,” Logan said, and looked up at Sirius. “But, that was. That was horrible. But you must have talked, I mean, it’s been…what? Two days?”

Shame burned Sirius through and through. “No,” he choked out. “We haven’t. He’s—he’s waiting for me—”

The words hurt. Remus seemed always to be waiting for Sirius, and Sirius always asking Remus to wait. It had seemed romantic, under the veil of Christmas and gifts. It didn’t feel that way now. Sirius felt selfish and cruel. He was.

“I left—” Logan reached up, as if to take off his hat that wasn’t there, and then smoothed his unruly hair instead. “I left Finn so many times.”

Sirius jerked his head up. Finn.

“And I was so scared and guilty because of that, that I left Leo, too.”

“Leo?” Sirius said, confused. “You…wait, I don’t—”

“Both of them,” Logan said simply. “Yeah, it’s…” despite everything, Logan smiled. “It’s…yeah. It’s us.”

Three, Sirius thought. On his own team, and he—he had thought—

“How could you do that?” Logan said softly. “How could you do that to him?”

Sirius stared at Logan, throat closed. He swallowed over the bile.

A mistake. He had made a mistake, of course he had made a mistake, he always made—

“Cap, I saw you,” Logan stepped forward. “I saw you every day and I didn’t know why, but you were happy. You were so fucking happy and I thought maybe you were just…I don’t know. I was jealous, to be honest,” Logan let out a short laugh. “I wanted to know how you did it. And now I see because I did it. I found my…” Logan took a breath, as if this was the first time he was saying it aloud. “I found my two.”

I lost my one, Sirius thought.

“You’re like my brother,” Logan said. “And, growing up with three sisters, I’ve always wanted a brother. I’ve looked up to you since I was, what, in high school? And you deserve that, Cap. You’re good, and you’re kind, and you’re a hell of a hockey player.” Logan shook his head. “But fuck what you did to Remus.”

“I don’t know what to say!” Sirius shouted, and Logan blinked at the suddenness. It had burst out of Sirius, the words hiding until he couldn’t, he couldn’t

Sirius sat on the end of his bed. He was exhausted, and Logan hated him, and—

The bed dipped beside him and Logan’s arm wrapped around his shoulder. The sudden warmth at his side made Sirius close his eyes, dropping his head.

“Cap,” Logan’s voice was soft. “Merde, this is coming for someone who didn’t say a word about how they felt to the boy the loved for eight fucking years, but, yes, you do know what to say. I always knew what to say, I just couldn’t.”

“I can’t,” Sirius said.

“Sirius, fucking think for yourself,” Logan said, taking hold of Sirius’ shoulders and turning him to the side to face each other. “I said I couldn’t, that doesn’t mean you can’t. We can now. Who the fuck knows what your fucking family said to you all your life, but that doesn’t mean they’re right. All the shitty things Twitter said are wrong—everyone is allowed to be wrong but what the fuck are you doing if you can’t fix things?”

Logan was breathing hard by the end. He swallowed over a dry throat and Sirius watched, stunned. Logan shook his head, eyes bright.

“I saw what happened to you and I got angry and scared. You saw what happened to you and you got scared. You need to get angry. Drop the fucking gloves a little, Black, lose your temper. I’ve seen it before. It’s like a dead point streak mid-season. You fucking accept that you can’t score anymore? No.”

 

I don’t know how many times you’ve heard that you aren’t good enough. But I’m going to make you forget each one.

 

“I’m fucking mad at you,” Logan said. “But it’s because I love you. Not because you’re bad or because you’re hopeless, or because you made a mistake. You aren’t a bad person. And you’re allowed to make mistakes.”

 

Do not make any mistakes, his mother had said.

 

Logan let go of him, then, and the sat there shoulder to shoulder, quiet. Sirius felt—lighter. He’d never felt that after being yelled at before.

“Tremz,” he began shakily, then cleared his scratchy throat. “I’m…I’m proud of you, you know? If that means anything right now.”

Logan’s voice was thick, too. “Of course it does.”

“You’re right,” Sirius whispered. “You’re right, I…I made a horrible mistake. I had never been so terrified in my life. If I lost the team, I—I don’t know what…” Sirius pressed the heels of his palms into his eyes. “You all are the only family I ever…”

Logan was quiet for a moment, and then his hand replaced itself on Sirius’ back.

“It’s not just about Remus, huh?”

Sirius let out a sob, let it tear through him, and shook his head.

“Cap,” Logan hushed, and Sirius felt him press his forehead to Sirius’ temple, like they did after a goal sometimes, in a scrimmage, only there was no helmet. No hockey. This was his friend. “You’re our Captain. We gave you that, and we keep you there. We want you there, you’re our leader. You’re our friend.”

“Have you talked to the boys?” Sirius wiped at his eyes, looking at Logan. “Have they said anything?”

“No one’s texted you because Leo thought we should all let you tell us in the way you wanted to,” Logan said. “Not because no one supports you. To be honest, we didn’t think you’d go radio silent for this long when we made that decision, but… And after you didn’t let James in…”

“I have a lot of people to talk to, huh?”

Logan smiled. “Not right now. Right now, you have one person to talk to.”

Sirius smiled, too. “Yeah.”

Fuck, he hadn’t looked at his phone all day.

Logan got up and stretched with a groan. “That media run was hell. Fuck this weekend. If I so much as pull a muscle tomorrow I’m going to murder someone.”

“That’s what we all say,” Sirius stood too. “Tremzy.”

Logan looked up at him.

“I’m really happy for you. You and Finn…and Leo,” Sirius laughed a little. “How did that work out?”

“So much drama,” Logan rolled his eyes. “And moping. And, what’s the word, destin?”

“Fate,” Sirius said.

“Right, fate,” Logan smiled. “See? Not so different from you.”

“Guess not, no.”

“I’m going to call my boys,” Logan said, and held up his phone, shaking it at Sirius. “You call yours.”

Sirius’ heart lurched with guilt, but he nodded. “I will. Really, though, I…I don’t know what I’d be doing now if you weren’t here.”

“Spiraling, like you did after that failed cup run?”

Sirius laughed. “Yes.”

Logan swung his jacket over his shoulder. “See you tomorrow, Cap. I’ll be ready to defend your honor.”

“No, you aren’t allowed to fight because of this.”

“D’accord, d’accord,” Logan waved him off and shut the door.

Sirius stood there, feeling strangely light, given everything. He blinked after Logan for a moment, and vowed to call James, too, who had pounded on his door for hours. He felt stupid and selfish still, but he wanted to apologize. Not hide. But only after. After Remus.

Sirius took his phone from his pocket.

He had a voicemail. Remus hadn’t left a voicemail before. Sirius thought of the cold, formal text. He didn’t know if he could bare to hear that in Remus’ voice, but he clicked listen anyway.

“Sirius,” Remus’ voice came after a second, and Sirius sat down heavily.

 

I know you’re—busy and I’m not going to beg you to talk to me, I… Just re-watch your arrival. I’m not going to beg, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to fight for you to see. See if you really care what those sort of people think about you.

 

The phone went dead and Sirius scrambled for his remote.

 

~

Everyone had left for the night, but the apartment still felt warm from their presence. Remus decided to make himself a bowl of ice cream, but found himself eating straight from the carton instead. Finn really had made all-gone.

He was watching the melted part pool in his spoon when his phone rang. Everything, even the air, seemed to still and cool.

Sirius.

The name flashed at him. He hadn’t dared to put a contact photo, a picture of him that Remus had taken, bare in bed, sleepy eyed and smiling—

Now, maybe he could. One day. Soon. 

Remus pushed himself up to sit on his kitchen counter. He set his ice cream down, feet swinging nervously against the cupboards, and answered the call.

“Hi,” Remus’ voice was shot.

“I didn’t have my phone,” Sirius sounded desperate. Remus’ heart broke. “No, that’s not an excuse, I…Remus—”

“For the last thirty calls, or…”

“I know,” Sirius whispered. “I know, I know, Re, oh god, what they said about you—”

“I’ve been defending you to—to everyone,” Remus’ voice was thick. “Everyone, but I don’t…I can’t…”

“I’m coming home,” Sirius said. “Fuck these games, Remus, I’m coming home.”

Remus didn’t say anything for a long moment. He could picture Sirius there, alone in his hotel room. “I don’t know what to tell you right now, I’m… It hurt, Sirius. You left. You left and then you ignored me.”

“I know I did,” Sirius whispered. “But—”

“You aren’t the only one who this happened to,” Remus said, hushed, and then, even surprising himself, let out a sudden sob. He tried to reign it back in, but he couldn’t. It burned now, hearing Sirius’ voice, being alone. It hurt more than it had. He didn’t know if he had been ignoring it, or pushing through it, or if it was just hearing Sirius know that he had been wrong.

“I know that,” Sirius said. “I do, Remus, I know that. I made a mistake. I made a mistake. The meeting. I should have taken a later flight, too, I should have talked to you. I shouldn’t have run out, that was—I’m—”

“I don’t want to do this over the phone,” Remus replied with a hitch in his words. He stirred the spoon in the melted ice cream, just for something to do, then gave up and fisted his sweatshirt by his neck. “I know I said call me, but I really—I really want it to be us together talking, okay?”

“You mean…after the games?”

Remus took a slow breath. “I’m not just going to say everything’s okay, Sirius. It fucking hurt. All of it. And I know you’re hurting, too. I hate that you’re hurting, too, but…”

“You don’t have to explain,” Sirius felt guilt like it was something crawling inside of him. “I’ll—let me wait for you now.”

Remus let out a breath, remembering the words.

“I…I understand why what happened happened,” Remus said. “I do. Of course, I understand. And all I want is for you to be okay. For us to be okay. I just need my own time, too.”

“I want that. Please, just—let me tell you one thing,” Sirius said. “Is it okay?”

“Yeah,” Remus said softly, curious. “Go for it.”

“I talked to Logan. Well—he also talked to me. Really gave it to me. I deserved it.”

“Don’t put yourself down to me right now,” Remus began, but Sirius cut him off.

“I’m not, no, I’m not,” there was a sound like Sirius sitting down on the bed. “I…I won’t explain it all to you now, but I just need you to know that things are clearer for me. I’m…I’m not alone.”

“You never were,” Remus managed.

Remus listened as Sirius’ breathing changed into cries. Remus wanted to hold him tight.

“It’s so good to hear your voice,” Remus said softly. “Be careful, okay? With everyone this weekend. Snape. Regulus.”

Your mother, Remus thought.

“Logan will be with me,” Sirius said, and then added, as if remembering, “and I’ll be with Logan.”

Remus nodded. So Logan had told him.

“Protect each other.”

Sirius nodded. “And everyone else who needs it.”

Remus sucked in a breath, and cradled the phone closer, eyes soft.

“Yeah,” Remus said. “Yeah, baby, everyone else, too.”

At the name, Sirius sounded all but torn apart. He let it out, lungs out racing his heart.

“I miss you,” he choked out. “Am I allowed to say that?”

Yes,” Remus hushed him. “Sirius, I’m mad, yeah, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want you. Of course I want you, you’re mine. You’re my wish, okay? This happened because we’re each other’s. We can be—we can be something good that comes out of this, can’t we?”

“Oui, yes, yes,” Sirius said. “I’ll tell you everything, okay?” He sniffed, taking a moment to breathe. “It’s different, hearing these things from my friends. From you.”

“You haven’t had a lot of support, Sirius. I…I get that it’s going to take a second. And so…I’m here, okay? But I’m not here to run back to if you keep leaving me. That wasn’t good. That was…” Remus would never forget that feeling.

“I’ll be better,” Sirius said, and then sucked in a breath. “I mean…for myself. For you.”

Remus nodded, even though he knew Sirius couldn’t see him.

“I’m going to try and sleep,” Sirius said.

“I miss you,” Remus replied.

“I miss you, too,” Sirius said. “So much.”

 

~

 

Sirius stepped out of the tunnel and immediately his eyes were drawn by flashes of color near the glass. There were six teenagers standing there. Their cheeks were decked out in painted on rainbow flags, and they were wrapped in them, too, holding paper versions up to the glass with the words HERE FOR #12 on them.

All Sirius could think about was going over there and maybe crying. Instead, he picked up a few pucks to sign.

The locker room had been—intense. There was no way Sirius could have missed the way some guys had moved away from him, avoided him. But others came up and shook his hand. They didn’t say much, but Sirius didn’t really want to be congratulated. The support, even quiet, was enough to keep him on his feet and focused enough to feel like, sure, he could perform some hockey tricks today.

And Remus’ words. We’re each other’s.

“Sometimes I think hockey just isn’t colorful enough, you know?”

When the voice spoke, Sirius’ eyes found the stick that had come into his vision first. The tape wasn’t the usual white or black, but all colors, neatly wrapped and waxed off.

Sirius looked up to find Alex O’Hara grinning widely at him.

“What’s up, Lion?”

“Hi, Alex,” Sirius said faintly, as they tapped helmets.

“I hope you don’t mind,” he gestured to the tape.

Sirius, to his own surprise, let out a laugh. “Of course I don’t, I… I should have thought of it, maybe.”

“You want some?”

Sirius looked at the pucks he was holding, then back at the kids at the glass.

“Yeah,” he nodded, setting the pucks aside for a moment. “Yeah, I do.”

“Alex,” Logan stopped hard in front of them with a spray of ice. “Have I ever told you how much I love you?”

Alex laughed, and then leaned in close. “Oh, yeah? More than my brother?”

Logan flushed pink beneath his tan skin. Then, he grinned and punched his arm. “How long have you known?”

Alex scoffed. “Please.”

And so Sirius found himself, sitting beside Logan as they re-taped their sticks with rainbow tape, while millions of cameras and cell-phones watched.

It was terrifying. And wonderful. It was something that went along with the phrase never in a million years, in Sirius’ mind. Only, it was happening now.

“Could I get some of that maybe?”

It was Mika Zibanejad, his hair pulled back beneath his helmet, dark eyes kind and soft.

It was the flood gates.

Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang. Braden Holtby, Nate MacKinnon.

Not every player did it, not by far, but they did have to ask for another roll.

Sirius’ breathing was working against his pounding heart when he took to the ice again, throwing a puck down and watching it bounce darkly between the colors. He smiled, and looked up at the kids behind the glass again.

Silver sharpies were not in short supply, and he fired off six signatures before skating over with them balanced within his arms. They began to pound on the glass as he approached, and he nodded to them. They were hard to hear over the crowd and the announcer’s noise, but he smiled and mouthed thank you, and they seemed to understand. He flipped the pucks over the glass easily, and bumped his fisted glove to it.

They loved him for who he was.

And Logan had been right. His team would, too. The thought that they wouldn’t still chilled him, but there were two sides of the coin now.

It even made him forget about—

“Stop this,” Regulus was there, hissing at him and grabbing him by the arm as he skated back with Logan, who had wandered over to a little boy with a Tremblay sign and jersey.

Sirius stared at his brother, surprised that he’d even approached.

“What are you—” he began, but Logan cut him off.

“Back off,” Logan growled, and gave him a little push. Sirius cursed internally. He didn’t want to start a fight right now.

Regulus ignored him.

“Sirius—” Regulus said quietly. “Think about—”

“Don’t tell me to think about the family,” Sirius practically snarled. “I’m thinking about myself for once. What I want.”

Think about what you’re doing,” Regulus said, glancing at Logan desperately, like he wanted him to leave. “This is it, if you really—”

Sirius shook his head, yanking out of his brother’s grip. “I tried to take you with me, Reg. I tried so hard. And what did you do?”

Fuck you,” Logan spat in Regulus’ face. “You call yourself his brother? When was the last fucking time you acted like that? Oh, right, was it when you trashed talked him?”

“You don’t know what you’re saying,” Regulus growled. He had switched to French now.

“Rookie,” Snape said in English from the outskirts of their triad, eyes on Regulus. “Come on.”

“Daddy’s calling,” Logan snarled.“La marionnette.”

Sirius watched his brother swallow, pale eyes wide and fierce.

Puppet, Logan had said.

“Tremz,” Sirius said, and put a hand on his shoulder.

Regulus looked to Sirius, then.

“Microphone?” he asked.

Regulus was asking if he was mic’d up. Sirius shook his head, and Logan scoffed.

“Little late,” Logan said.

Regulus, once again, ignored him. “Maman est là.”

“Je l’ai deviné,” Sirius had guessed as much.

Logan was still standing between them, but he looked like he wasn’t sure if he should be now.

Regulus pushed forward one stride, and Logan’s glove pressed against his chest. Regulus glared down at him, then turned back to Sirius. He was nearly as tall as him now, but for a single moment, Regulus’ expression flickered. Sirius saw his brother again, his little brother, the boy who had snuck him a Lions hat and hugged him and told him he’d miss him more than anything, and please don’t leave me alone in this house, with them

“Fais attention,” Regulus bit out.

Be careful.

Regulus shoved Logan with his stick and Logan cursed again, but Sirius barely heard. He watched Regulus skate away, back to Snape’s side. Sirius and Snape looked at each other, across the ice, for a brief moment.

Sirius didn’t think Regulus would ever forgive him for leaving. Especially not with Snape at his side.

Snape’s lip curled, and he turned away, over the boards.

 

~

 

“That’s my big brother!” Finn shouted.

Remus laughed, hand on his throat as he stared at the screen, at Sirius, sitting on the bench beside Logan and Alex O’Hara, Zibanejad, Panarin, Crosby, Letang, Holtby…

Sirius, camera honing in on his focused face as he scribbled the signature that Remus knew well. The camera had been showing the fans wrapped in rainbow flags off and on, and it showed them now, too, as Sirius skated over with a wide, if not a little shy, smile on his face. He sort of talked to them, mostly just nodding and bumping fists as he passed the pucks over.

The camera saw Regulus coming before Sirius did.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” Finn sat up in Leo’s arms, pulling him with him. “Black brothers, Black brothers.”

“Fuck,” Remus said, and felt Lily grab his wrist nervously.

Regulus and Sirius were talking furiously at each other, at least until Logan got between them.

“I swear to god, someone’s gotta get that kid out of Slytherin,” Kasey grumbled. “He’s like the Captain was, but on steroids.”

Remus nodded slowly, eyes on Regulus’, or at least what sliver of his face the camera was able to get.

Kasey hit Remus’ couch with his fist when they showed a long shot of Snape and Sirius. They were practically staring each other down.

“Can I just,” Kasey gestured at the television. “Can I kill him? Or shave his head?”

“Fine with it,” James nodded.

Leo glanced at Kasey. “I like that that’s your next worst fate after death.”

The cameras moved on relatively quickly as the skill events began. Hardest shot, accuracy, puck handling…

“So, Cap is accuracy, and Lo’s hardest shot,” Leo said, staring at his phone as he scrolled through the website.

“I wanna see how hard Logan can shoot,” Finn mumbled, and Leo whacked him on the head. Natalie nearly cackled and gave Finn a pat on the head.

Remus couldn’t stop looking at the tape on Sirius’ stick.

“Quite a display of camaraderie, seemingly begun by Alex O’Hara, older brother of Finn O’Hara who is Black’s teammate,” one of the commentators began. He was a new voice from yesterday’s red carpet. “It’s good to see that, eh, Tom?”

Remus liked him.

“Sure is, Nate,” replied Tom. “Sure is.”

“Well, that’s more like it,” Remus sighed.

No matter how fun it was to watch Sirius execute a perfect score as he dangled a puck between tight cones and flipped it through tiny slots, Remus itched to talk to him. He itched to see him.

He loved seeing the sticks tap for him, see other boys knock helmets with him like nothing had changed, but still. Remus wanted him home. He wanted him away from Regulus and Snape, and here in Gryffindor, or anywhere where support was strong. Remus had spent hours last night after the team had left scrolling through articles and Twitter. His mind was filled with the messages telling Sirius that he’d changed their life.

He couldn’t believe he had to sit through another entire day of this, watching Sirius play three-on-three games—possibly against Snape.

“Hey, Leo, did they announce the lines for tomorrow yet?” Remus asked. “Would you look it up for me?”

“Sure,” Leo said, looking around Finn’s head to get at his phone.

“The boys aren’t going for fastest?” Lily said disappointedly.

James snorted. “Um, I think we know Remus wins that one, Lils.”

Finn shook his head. “I’m still like, at family skate…I fucking fell over. I haven’t fallen over since, like, I don’t even know.”

Remus smiled. “Sorry about that, Harzy.”

“You really tore Kasey up, Fruit-Loop,” Natalie laughed, reaching up to push her hand through Kasey’s hair.

“Look, he’s really good, I was surprised, and I hadn’t warmed up, okay? I was surprised.”

Remus laughed. “I did have that up on you, Bliz. I’ll admit it, and give you a free pass.”

No,” Kasey huffed. “I don’t want a free pass, I want to play again and stop your shot.”

“Fuck,” Leo breathed, and Remus stopped laughing.

“What? Is it Snape? Did they put them on the same line?”

Remus knew they liked to do that at All-Stars, put rivals on the same line. Sidney Crosby and Claude Giroux were frequent victims.

Leo looked back at him, then up at the television where Regulus was taking his mark for the fasted skater loop.

“Not Snape,” Leo said. “Regulus.”

As if on cue, the announcer spoke up.

“And here’s Regulus Black getting ready to skate. We’ll be getting a real treat tomorrow, Nate. We’ll be getting to see Sirius and Regulus Black, hockey’s most famous brothers right now, play on the same line with Mathew Barzal. That should be quite some hockey.”

“Oh my god,” Remus heard someone breathe.

Quite some hockey.

Remus wondered if Sirius knew.

 

On everyone’s way out, Lily squeezed him in a hug. “You seem better today. Did you guys…”

Remus nodded. “We talked. It was…you know, it’s hard. It was good.”

“Yeah…”

“But I said I want to talk about it mostly face to face and so…all I can really do is wait now. I’m probably going to call him again now. See if he wants to talk about Regulus.”

Remus was absolutely going to call him again now.

“Okay,” Lily sent him a smile. “See you tomorrow for three-on-three?”

“Hang out at Lupin’s,” Finn hollered in the hallway and was immediately shushed by Leo.

“Jesus, Harzy,” Kasey groaned as he hit the button on the elevator.

 

Remus was in the middle of doing dishes when his phone rang. He wiped his hands quickly and picked up, nearly fumbling his phone into the sink.

“Hi,” Remus sounded breathless even to himself.

“Hey,” Sirius said. “Do you want to FaceTime?”

“Yeah,” Remus said. “Yeah, yeah, one second.”

Remus more or less ran to the couch, socks sliding on the floor, and sat down just in time for his phone to light up. Sirius’ face filled the screen. His hair was wet from a shower, and Remus didn’t know if it was the light, but the bags under his eyes looked worse than Remus had thought.

“Hi,” Remus said softly, smiling. “God, I’ve been staring at your face all day on TV but I feel like I haven’t seen you in forever.”

Sirius smiled, rubbing one of his eyes before stretching back on the bed. “Wish I could stare at your face all day.”

“You’ll be home soon,” Remus said. “Hey, I…today was pretty amazing.”

Sirius laughed and reached out of frame for something. His hand came back swinging a roll of rainbow tape around his finger. “A fan gave me this.”

Remus grinned. “I’m so proud of you.”

Sirius looked at him for a moment, like he wasn’t sure what to say. Then, he smiled again, but it was quieter this time, less at Remus and more at himself.

“Me too. Today was—good. I mean…you probably saw Reg, but…”

Remus nodded. “Did you see your lines for tomorrow?”

Sirius shook his head. “Not yet. Why, are they up?”

Remus took a breath. “Yeah. They’re up.”

 

~

 

The All-Stars management seemed to enjoy the idea of putting Sirius and his brother together as much as possible, even going so far as moving their lockers beside each other. It felt like there was always a camera trained on the two of them, and Sirius had never been more on edge. The only good take away from this, it seemed, was that people weren’t asking him about his sexuality anymore.

“You’re welcome,” Minnie had said when Sirius had mentioned it to her in the car over to the arena that morning with Logan and Clyde.

Sirius raised an eyebrow.

“I had to give them something, Sirius,” Minnie said. “They need their publicity. I hate it as much as you, but I thought this would be better.”

Sirius had to give Minnie some credit for that PR move, actually. At least with his brother, Sirius was used to dealing with the hounding.

“As Harzy would say,” Logan said from his seat, headphones on one ear and making his hair stick up. He raised his sickly-sweet coffee at her. “Bitch-ass move, Minnie.”

“Why, thank you for that assessment, Mr. Tremblay.” 

Sirius was just as thankful for Remus’ heads up about the game lines, even though he would have found out this morning anyway.

He only wished he had had one about Greyback. Sirius’ line, consisting of himself, Regulus, and Barzal, were set to face off against Greyback, Tom Wilson from the Washington Capitals, and Tony DeAngelo from the New York Rangers.

There was no fighting in All-Stars, which was a shame.

Cameras had followed him all the way into the locker room, where Regulus had cleared his throat awkwardly as he sat down beside Sirius and started dressing. Sirius felt a strong pang in his heart. They had done this with each other a million times. He hated that it felt so strange.

“Maman—”

“I don’t give a damn,” Sirius whispered lowly, using French so there were at least fewer people around them who could keep up. “And you shouldn’t either.”

Regulus laughed, and he made it look mirthful for the sake of the cameras. So, he was learning. There was no humor in his eyes.

“Do I have a choice?” he said.

“I did.”

“Yeah, well, I think we all know how you chose.”

“Regulus,” Sirius sighed.

“Drop it,” his brother bit back.

But this was the longest they had been and would be together in probably months. Maybe years, if Sirius counted his family. He didn’t want to drop it.

Sirius pulled him aside in the locker room while the cameras had to follow the stream of players leaving for the tunnel. It was a brief moment of privacy.

“I would have done anything to get you out with me,” Sirius whispered intently, and pressed his glove to his little brother’s helmet, keeping them close. “Anything. But I couldn’t help you if I was trapped there with you. Maman’s, the Snakes, either one. I had to get out. And then—”

“You don’t know what it was like,” Regulus’ voice came out shaky, and Sirius realized he had tears in his eyes. Regulus closed them quickly, head bowed so that their helmets tapped together. “You left, they lost you, and so they doubled down. I couldn’t—I couldn’t breathe. I can’t breathe.”

Sirius stared at him. In some ways, this hurt more than anything that had happened in the past few days. This hurt more, his little brother, his to protect.

“Reg…” Sirius began.

“You don’t know what he’s like,” Regulus whispered, and then, like he was afraid to say the words aloud. “Snape. Malfoy.” He swallowed, and added, even quieter so that Sirius could barely hear. “Riddle.”

“Mon étoile…” Sirius said. He hadn’t said the old nickname since they were little, and Regulus jolted to look at him. Stars, the two of them. “I’m sorry. Please, let me help you.”

“They made me hate you,” Regulus said. “But I never did.”

They both looked up when the locker room was beginning to empty out. Their moment was over.

“Let’s play,” Sirius said. “Let’s play, and then let’s talk, d’accord?”

“They made me delete your number, but I memorized it,” Regulus said. “Is it the same?”

Sirius closed his eyes, then nodded. “Oui.”

“D’accord,” Regulus said, then jerked his head towards the tunnel.

Sirius tapped Regulus’ chest with his glove. “Allez.”

Sirius followed him towards the tunnel, going out last. People would play it off as a strange superstition, but Sirius knew there would be pictures of him and Regulus talking anyway. He felt different this weekend. For obvious reasons, and not.

His life had always had a path, and that path had always been set. If it changed, the breaks had been slow. A trade deal. A contract. Longing for Remus. Everything had happened with time.

Not this. He was out. He was proud. It was an earthquake, a fault slipping. Regulus needed him, he didn’t hate him, after so long believing otherwise. An aftershock.

He was half way to the tunnel when he saw her.

Another slip.

His mother stood against the wall, her too thin body all in black, hair inky. She spared a short look to Regulus, but followed Sirius with her eyes. Minnie was standing beside her.

Sirius stopped walking.

Regulus, seeming to sense that Sirius wasn’t behind him anymore, stopped, too. Sirius held out his stick, telling him to stay put, and made his way over to the two women.

Sirius’ mother’s lip curled in what maybe appeared to be a smile. “Sirius,” she held out her arms. “I have so much to say to my son—”

Sirius turned at the last minute, minutely. It was a classic play, a fake out right in front of the net. He watched his mother realize his side-step at the last moment when it was too late.

Sirius hugged Minnie close to his chest.

“Regulus,” he whispered, and let go.

“Sirius?” Walburga’s laugh was high. “I beg your pardon?”

“You can’t have it,” Sirius said, and looked her straight in the eye. He towered over her. He didn’t know how he hadn’t realized that before. He looked to Regulus, then at Minnie, and then back at the dark woman.

“Never contact us again,” he said, and then turned towards the tunnel and into the bright lights, eyes on his brightly colored stick tape, and on his brother walking ahead of him.

 

~

 

“Welcome back to the 2020 All-Star weekend, everyone! As you can see, the players are out on the ice and this news has just reached us. It seems that Sirius Black has just thrown his own mother out of the arena.”

Say what?” Natalie yelled.

The commentator laughed. “I know, Nate, this is very…well, there have been rumors about the Black family. I really thought they were, you know, classic hockey parents. Sirius seems to have taken matters into his own hands. He deserves to, honestly, after what he’s been through these past days. What a kid, I—oh, man, hold on everyone, we’ve got a fight!”

Remus and Lily both yelped when the camera cut away quickly from where Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin had been joking around, and to Sirius—beside Fenrir Greyback, to Remus’ horror—throwing a punch.

 

~

 

“Sirius Black,” a voice said, and Sirius took a long breath through his nose, and turned.

Fenrir Greyback, American, had perfectly straight, light brown hair, cropped short and sticking up in the front. His face was scruffy, and when he smiled, his thin lips revealed sharp canine teeth. The teeth beside his jolly laugh made for an eerie sight. Knowing he was the same age as Remus unsettled Sirius. He didn’t look it. He had the timeless look of a corpse, skin waxy and smooth safe for a bad scar, a skate cut, raking over his left cheek. Greyback leaned against his stick, smile in place.

“We have a game soon, don’t we? You and your cubs will be coming to Vegas.”

“Looks like.”

“Ready to lose?”

Sirius smiled wryly. “What sort of question is that?”

Fenrir shrugged. “How is Lupin these days? He was quite a player.”

Sirius could feel the cameras on them, but decided he didn’t care if they were mic’d. The crowd was roaring, he had seen Vegas fans taking pictures with Fenrir. They deserved to know who they were supporting.

“Before you destroyed his career, you mean?” Sirius said evenly.

Logan looked up, eyes wide, from where he had been re-lacing his skate.

Fenrir laughed. “Still pushing that story, huh? Look, man, if you watch the tape it was a clean hit.”

“How the fuck could it have been clean? You ruined his shoulder.”

Oh, his shoulder. Well, that’s a different story,” Fenrir nodded, as if remembering, and then looked at Sirius, his sick grin still in place. “And there’s no video of that.”

Sirius’ entire bloodstream went cold. He thought of Remus. His panicked expression whenever any conversation got close to his hockey career, his mom’s worried one. But Remus had said, a bad hit, Fenrir…

“No proof,” Fenrir shrugged, and then gripped Sirius’ shoulder, fingers digging into his pads. Louder, so that the other players around them could hear, he said, “Really sorry that he had to stop playing, though. I heard it was one hell of a car accident.”

A fourth shock-wave, rocking his Earth.

 

~

 

“Holy fuck,” Finn said loudly. “What is happening? What is happening?

Remus couldn’t look away from the screen, from where Sirius basically had Fenrir in a choke hold, the momentum of their swings propelling them in a slow, oblong circle as the other players backed away from the sudden fight.

“Jesus, what do you think he said?” Finn asked.

Kuny, who had decided to join them today, shook his head. “Shit-head player, doesn’t matter. Go Cap. I punch him also, when we play Vegas.”

“Remus, you said you played together?” Leo questioned. “Was he a shit-head in college, too?”

“I…” Remus began, and the whistles blew on screens, refs skating forward to pull the two players off of each other.

“Well, man-oh-man, Rob,” one of the commentators said. “I wonder what he said.”

“One could guess,” replied Rob.

Remus felt dread swirling in his stomach. They couldn’t guess, but Remus could. Remus was the only one who knew aside from Greyback.

Remus could still taste the bile from the biting pain of Greyback’s fingers, ripping into the muscle between his neck and shoulder. His hand covered it instinctively.

You hurt it in the game and didn’t tell anyone, Greyback had spat at him. That’s your lie. Remember, I know about you.

He hadn’t, of course. Remus knew that now. It was a bluff, an easy sentence that could mean anything to anyone. Everyone had secrets. Greyback had simply put faith in just how powerfully Remus’ secret would hold him.

Enough for Remus to tell his training staff that he had been hiding a very serious shoulder  injury. Festering muscle tears, dislocated, would heal wrong for sure, not a worthy investment, not anymore—

“Remus?” Kasey said.

Well. Remus’ secret was out now. Fenrir’s could be, too.

“He’s the reason I don’t play anymore,” Remus said quietly.

Lily sat forward, hand on her belly. “What do you mean, Re?”

“He was your bad hit?” Finn asked in a hushed voice. “Was it—on purpose?

Remus pressed his lips together, trying to steady his breath. “It wasn’t even on the ice. He cornered me in one of the recovery rooms. My routine used to be long, I would stay after the other guys, cool down, stretch, you guys know.” Remus kept his gaze steady on the television where they were zoomed in on Logan and Sirius speaking with their heads close together. Sirius would no doubt have a black eye in a few hours.

“Ripped my shoulder apart,” Remus said softly. “Told me if I told anyone he’d tell my secret.”

“He knew?” Leo said. He sounded horrified. “And that’s what he did?”

Remus shook his head. “He didn’t know. I was too careful. But everyone has secrets, don’t they? I guess he just put his bets in the right place. Some people do.”

“And you never said anything,” Kasey said. “Jesus, Loops.”

“Well, now everyone knows my secret, eh? And I didn’t want to be that guy, blaming the end of their career on someone, some other player. No one would have believed me. And now, it’s so long ago, what does it matter?”

“It matters,” James said urgently. “It does. We can—we should do something.”

“Maybe,” Remus said. “But not now. Not with all of this.”

“And Sirius? He know?” Kuny asked.

Remus looked at the television. ““I think he just found out.”

Which was stupid of Greyback, really. What did he expect Sirius to do? Laugh along?

The game had resumed. Greyback, Wilson, and DeAngelo were lined against Sirius, Regulus, and Barzal. Sirius and Regulus were talking. They bumped fists before taking position. Remus blinked. That was new.

“What the fuck, are we friends now?” Kasey mumbled, intent on the screen.

Sirius scored easily, like a fire was at his heels. Remus loved that look he got in his eyes. The camera zoomed in on their celebration. Sirius wasn’t smiling, but he clutched Regulus and Barzal to him. Barzal looked a little hesitant, like he could sense he was in the middle of something that he knew nothing about.

As Sirius skated towards the bench for glove taps, he found a camera and stopped. The camera held, of course. Sirius Black was looking right at it. Sirius wedge his glove under his arm and reached for his neck.

“What’s happening,” Finn whispered again. He had his hands in his hair, like everything was too suspenseful.

Meanwhile, Remus’ heart was clattering down his ribs.

Sirius withdrew the silver and gold number twelve necklace, gray eyes steely.

He pressed the numbers to his lips.

“Oh…” Remus whispered, hand over his neck.

Sirius’ eyes grew soft as he tucked the necklace, Remus’ gift, safely back into his jersey. Like he knew Remus was gazing at him, too. Remus felt his entire world zero in on this moment. That was for him. Sirius was defending him.

An animal sound came from James.

Necklace,” James shouted. “Fuck me!”

“Yeah, you’re the only one who was still working on that, sweetheart,” Natalie said.

Lily laughed. “But we love you.”

“We do.”

Remus gripped his watch, thumb rubbing over the face.

I love you. I love you IloveyouIloveyouIloveyou.

He would be home tomorrow.

Remus’ chest was a scrap of feeling. His heart was warm, his blood cool, his neck hot, his hands shaky.

Home tomorrow.

 

~

 

The cameras that had swarmed Sirius a moment ago now swarmed Regulus’ stall. Regulus had a towel around his neck, sweat dripping into his eyes. They were lighter though. He kept looking at Sirius, and Sirius remained seated in his stall, showing him that he was staying right where he was. He wasn’t leaving him.

“Regulus, do you have any…” the reporter glanced at Sirius and seemed smart enough to make his question vague. “…thoughts on your brother? Or, what was it like playing with him today? How long has it been?”

Regulus was slow in answering. He wiped his face, adjusted the hat he had on backwards. They look so much alike it’s scary, Sirius heard a reporter whisper to her friend. Finally, Regulus cleared his throat, and looked up from where he had been picking at the label of his water bottle.

“I’m very proud of my brother,” Regulus’ voice was steady and deep. He was unblinking. “It was very brave what he did, especially given the—the intrusive situation. No one deserves that. I wish him all the best, and Lupin, too. I look forward to spending time with him this summer in Gryffindor.”

Sirius’ smiled. And he knew the cameras caught it.

 

Sirius was sitting in Regulus’ stall this time when his brother got out of the showers. He stayed seated, the two of them silent among the other changing players, while Regulus got dressed. Sirius slipped his phone out of his pocket.

Call you in twenty, he shot a text to Remus.

“Hey, Cap,” Logan said from the doorway. “I’m going out with some of the guys. You’re…” he glanced at Regulus.

“See you on the plane,” Sirius said, and Logan nodded, understanding.

Regulus sat in Sirius’ stall. He had a Snakes sweatshirt on, and the sleeves were picked practically to pieces, fraying and ratty. It hurt to look at them.

They were alone.

“Alors,” Regulus said hesitantly.

Sirius turned to him. “Come back to Gryffindor with me. Minnie got you a seat with me and Logan. Tomorrow.”

An expression of relief so pure crossed Regulus’ face, that Sirius watched him ache with it. Sirius stood and pulled his brother into a hug. The first in a long, long time.

“Okay,” Regulus said into Sirius’ neck, voice thick. “Okay."

Chapter Text

“Will you be okay here?”

Sirius watched Regulus stare around at his large, empty house. Regulus raised his eyebrows.

“Is Tom Riddle here? Or Severus Snape?”

Sirius scoffed. “No.”

“Then, yes. I’ll be okay here,” Regulus jerked his chin towards the door. “I know you have things you need to do.”

Sirius nodded, jingling his keys in his pocket nervously. “Yeah. I…Yeah, I showed you the fridge, take whatever you want, and there are a bunch of bedrooms to choose from. PlayStation and shit in the basement, there’s a synthetic rink if you want—”

Regulus snorted. “Of course, there is.”

Sirius smiled, rubbing the back of his neck, fingers finding the chain of his necklace. “There’s—”

“Sirius,” Regulus raised an eyebrow and sat down on a kitchen stool, pointedly taking out his phone. “I’ll literally be fine. I know how to drive, I know how to cook.”

It was Sirius’ turn to raise an eyebrow.

Regulus rolled his eyes. “I know how to order take out.”

“Right.”

“Don’t worry. I know this is weird. Go see your boyfriend.”

“Are you sure? I could take you to Dumo’s.”

“The last thing I want is to be fussed over right now,” Regulus said. “I’m probably going to go nap or something, okay?”

Sirius nodded slowly, swallowing. “Okay. Okay, um, I mean, I don’t want to assume anything, but I also—I might not be back tonight?”

Regulus laughed, and it was familiar. So familiar it hurt and felt good at the same time. “I should hope not, if all goes well.”

Sirius laughed, too, maybe a little awkwardly.

Bye,” Regulus said, then, more softly. “And thanks.”

 

Sirius watched his garage door open slowly, coat pulled tightly around him as he pressed the button to start his car. His little brother, his previously estranged, hockey runaway brother, was hanging out in his house while he went to tell the love of his life that he loved him. Sirius took a deep breath, and put the car into reverse.

Remus knew he was coming, had told him to come. Things had been good on the phone, Remus had told him to hurry. Sirius wanted him with every movement. Drumming his hands on the wheel, glancing in each of his mirrors, puffing his breath out in fog. Sirius’ hands were jittery as he parked the car and jogged his way up the stairs instead of taking the elevator, just to try and calm himself down. The result was that Remus’ door was looming in front of him much sooner than he expected and all there was left to do was knock.

In Sirius’ gut, there was the chance Remus didn’t want him after all. There was the chance that he was still laying on the ice, blood his only companion, pretending he could want this boy.

It took a few moments, each one feeling longer than the last, until the door was swung wide to reveal Remus, soft in a too big sweatshirt. They stared at each other.

“Hi,” Sirius fidgeted, his hands in the pockets of his long, wool coat. “Sorry it took so long, I have, um—”

“Your brother at your house,” Remus finished for him. “Are you okay? What’s…I mean, I want to know what’s happening with that but first, I…” Remus looked up at him with large eyes that practically broke Sirius’ heart.

Sirius took a long breath.

“I’m just going to say it. I don’t want to accept the things I’m not happy with,” Sirius took a step inside, Remus’ chin tilting up to hold his eyes. “I never want to run again. Re… I’m so sorry. I’ll wait, I’ll leave, I’ll stay. Tell me what you need? Please?”

The air stilled between them. Remus’ apartment smelled warm, like late-night coffee and the fleece blanket he kept on his couch. Remus looked at Sirius like he was everything, just stumbling through his door. He reached up and took the edges of Sirius’ coat, pulling him inside the apartment. Sirius took that as the sign he longed for. He stepped forward again, their chests nearly together, and pressed his fingers to Remus’ neck. Remus closed his eyes at the touch before looking back up at him with a small smile.

“You’re doing what I need,” Remus said. “What do you need?”

“I’m scared of a lot of things right now,” Sirius whispered. “But I’m the most scared of losing you.”

Remus brought his hands up to hold Sirius’. “You are?”

Sirius hated that Remus even questioned it. He couldn’t seem to get close enough, pressing them together, feeling Remus’ warmth through his shirt, breaking through the cold wool of his coat.

“Remember what you said? What you said about people who told me I wasn’t good enough?”

Remus’ hands tightened around his wrists. His eyes filled, becoming bright, and he nodded. “I’d make you forget.”

“I haven’t forgotten,” Sirius said softly. “But I didn’t need you to make me forget.” He stroked his thumbs through the slow tears that blinked down Remus’ cheeks. “I needed you, so I could see that they were wrong.”

Remus let out a tear filled breath, curving a hand around the back of Sirius’ neck.

“Re,” Sirius whispered, brushing their noses together. “I see now.”

Remus pulled him in. “C’est l’heure?” He twisted his wrist, making his watch flash in the dim light. It’s time? he had asked.

Sirius smiled, tears in his throat, relief in his chest. “Oui. Mon vœu.”

Sirius,” Remus said, and pulled him in, arms tight around his neck. “Sirius, Sirius…”

Remus said his name until they were kissing, the door swinging shut behind them. Remus kissed Sirius hard, hands on his cheeks.

“Re,” Sirius said. “I love you. I love you so much, I love you—”

Remus laughed wetly, a sound of pure relief as he kissed Sirius again and again. “I love you, too.” He said it between each kiss.

Something released inside Sirius’ chest, something so long knotted that it had nearly melded together, something tight that, now snapped loose, made him gasp and stumble. Remus swallowed it, kissing him tenderly, hands in his hair.

They parted, finally, and looked at each other again. Remus broke into a smile first, palms passing over Sirius’ wind-cold cheeks.

Sirius kissed Remus again. “Merde, do you want to go out to dinner and, I don’t know, make out the entire time? Hold your hand and…”

Oh. Sirius wanted to hold Remus’ hand.

Remus laughed. “That is something we could do now.”

Sirius had barely let himself thing about it, all the possibilities, but now that he was, it was overwhelming. They’d get looks, comments, he was sure, but he was more than used to that. He would get looks, comments, slurs…but he’d also get Remus. Remus, who he could keep.

“I want to,” Remus said, but at the same time he pushed at the collar of Sirius’ long coat, easing it off of his suit clad shoulders. “But…what if I want you all to myself first?”

Sirius took in a long breath. “You have me.”

Remus leaned up for a kiss before hanging Sirius’ wool coat on the coat rack by the door, his suit jacket to follow. Sirius was standing in his white button down and tie, his slim trousers and his shoes, until Remus tapped them with his socked-feet and he toed them off.

“Come on,” Remus said, then smiled as he pulled him through the room. “I love you.”

Remus’ bedroom was familiar and warm, a relief from hotel rooms and the crowds. His bed was made, if not rumpled, and there was a few of of Sirius’ t-shirts folded on the dresser. The sight of them warmed Sirius thoroughly. It made him think of his empty house, Regulus there now. It made him think of Remus there, Remus living there.

Remus’s fingers rose to the buttons by Sirius’ neck, undoing them one by one.

“I missed you so much,” Remus said. “God, I can’t even…” Remus laughed, pressing a kiss to Sirius’ neck. “It feels like I saw you years ago.”

Sirius kissed Remus’ temple and Remus made a soft sound and finished off Sirius’ buttons, kissing the skin revealed as he eased the shirt away. It fell to the floor and Sirius reached for Remus’ sweatshirt hem, pushing it up until it fell, too.

Sirius looked at Remus’ shoulders, but he couldn’t even tell which one Greyback had destroyed. He bent anyway and placed a lingering kiss on each one. Remus watched him do it, hand in his hair and breath coming faster.

“Re,” Sirius began.

Remus ran his hands over Sirius’ shoulders. “You’re going to ask me about Greyback.”

Sirius hesitated, but nodded. “What—What he said, Remus. I can’t even…”

“It’s not a complicated story, and…and I’m sorry I didn’t tell you all of it,” Remus glanced up at him before looking straight ahead at Sirius’ necklace, glinting gold and silver in the light.

“He cornered me after a game,” Remus said slowly, and Sirius held him closer, standing there together, half-bare at the foot of Remus’ bed. “Scouts were there. They’d talked to me first. People were saying that I would be…”

“Number one,” Sirius said, and Remus nodded.

“He cornered me in the recovery room. I was always the last one in there. And he dislocated my shoulder. And then just sort of…” Remus’ hand flew to his throat, fingertips brushing the soft, strong curve where his shoulder met his neck. “Just sort of kept pulling.”

“Oh, mon coeur,” Sirius breathed.

“Told me to hide it. Told me I was ruined. He’d hit me earlier that game,” Remus let out a tight laugh. “Pretty weird thing coming from a teammate, and he was super apologetic afterwards. I didn’t understand what had happened. But now I realize it was to explain my injury for the cameras. He told me he knew. But there was no way he could have. But I was scared.”

Remus looked up at him. “There.” He pressed his hands to Sirius’ cheeks and kissed him again. “That’s the story. And I’m not scared anymore.”

“Thank you,” Sirius said. “Re, you can trust me with anything, I know I was wrong—what I did—but you can.”

Remus shushed him softly, and Sirius closed his eyes, leaning their foreheads together.

“Baby, I trust you because you were wrong. You were wrong, and you owned up to it. What in hell is more trustworthy than that?”

They were both slowly stitching back together.

“You don’t have to apologize anymore,” Remus said. “Okay? It’s us now. It happened and we’re surviving pretty fucking well.” He grinned into their next kiss. “We’re in love and maybe the world’s not as bad as we thought it was.”

Sirius thought of the shock waves, one after another, and knew that this must be what it felt like to be settled, really settled. The landscape looked different, but it was better.

“I love you,” Sirius laughed, and took Remus’ hips in his hands, walking him slowly back towards the bed and making Remus smile. “And I want you.”

Remus’ hands went to Sirius’ belt, the buckle jingling softly as Remus undid it.

“You have me,” Remus said as his hands pushed beneath Sirius’ pants, easing them down for Sirius to kick off. Sirius was left in his underwear, Remus still had his sweatpants on. They were still both mostly soft, but Sirius wanted to change that. He wanted to love Remus in as many ways possible.

“Lay back,” Sirius said softly, pressing a kiss to Remus’ mouth, his cheeks. He eased Remus back onto the bed with more kisses and soft hands until Remus was pale against the pillows and his arms were around Sirius’ neck. His kisses began to feel frantic after a moment, like he was afraid to stop. Remus’ fingers were tight in Sirius’ hair and a few soft, high sounds escaped whenever the broke before he was tilting his chin up with bruising kisses. Sirius pulled back with a few softer ones until they were looking at each other again.

“I’m not leaving,” Sirius said, settling between Remus’ thighs. “I’m here.”

Sirius felt some of the tension leave Remus’ body and watched his eyebrows draw together. He nodded.

“I know,” Remus said. “I just—now that you’re here, the moments when I thought you might leave hurt more. But…it’s because I’m happy.” Remus’ fingers were softer now, brushing Sirius’ hair back lovingly. He laughed a little. “If that makes any sense.”

Sirius kissed him slowly, and felt the last of the tension leave. “It does.”

They kissed for a long time. Sirius didn’t know how long. He knew his lips felt raw and warm, that Remus was pliant and making soft sounds, and that their cocks were hard against each other. There was no urgency.

It was incredible, how much room there was for good things when you finally believed yourself to be good, too. And Sirius did. He didn’t regret himself anymore and he wasn’t ashamed. All that energy was being poured into himself. Into Regulus. It would be poured into his team and career. And finally, into Remus. Sirius felt light with it, like stepping from the ground onto the ice.

Remus’ hands went to Sirius’ boxers and pushed them down as they kissed. He swallowed Sirius’ groan as his cock pressed up freely against his stomach and reached down to gather the wetness down the shaft. When he started to press his hips up to get out of his sweatpants, Sirius leaned back and pulled them away, leaning forward to kiss his hips and stomach, back up his chest to his collarbones, and finally his shoulder. Sirius sucked warm kisses to where his muscles, once torn, dipped powerfully around his neck and arm, and then slotted their hips together with, finally, nothing between them.

“I want,” Remus breathed as Sirius rutted against him. He pressed his palms against Sirius’ back. “Sirius…”

“Yeah?” Sirius said. He’d do anything. He wanted everything.

“Will you fuck me?” Remus said softly, fingers in Sirius’ hair, pulling him in for another kiss. “Baby.”

Sirius half laughed, half groaned, and Remus smiled into their next kiss.

Will I?” Sirius said and Remus laughed, too, hands pressing down Sirius’ back.

“Yes,” Sirius whispered, sucking a kiss into Remus’ jaw, his throat. “Yes…”

He throbbed with the thought of it, fingers shaky when Remus handed him a small bottle of lube that Sirius remembered from their first time, from Remus fucking Sirius.

Sirius rubbed a thumb over Remus’ hip, stroked his cock a few times, making him sigh. “Tell me what’s good, okay?”

Remus nodded, thighs spreading and feet planted on the bed.

Sirius went slow, watching Remus’ face more than anything else. Remus sunk back into the pillows, throat bared as Sirius kissed him, fingers gentle inside him. Remus kept him close, breath hitching as Sirius opened him up.

“It’s okay?” Sirius breathed. “Tell me, sweetheart.”

“Yes,” Remus said, and his mouth dropped open when Sirius curled his fingers. “Sirius.

Sirius bent to kiss Remus’ jaw, his necklace brushing against Remus’ chest. Remus arched against him, breath hot against his neck as Sirius stroked his prostate. Remus’ cock drooled on his stomach, his hand tight around Sirius’ bicep.

“Love you,” Sirius whispered with a kiss to Remus’ jaw.

“Love you,” Remus gasped. “Love you, love you…”

Sirius moaned when he felt Remus tighten around his fingers, “Re…”

Remus tangled his fingers in Sirius’ hair, angling him into a deeper kiss. “I’m ready. Baby, I wan…”

Sirius pressed his fingers in one last time, drawing a high sound out of Remus that ended with a breathless laugh, brows drawn together.

“Fuck, you’re good at that.”

“Because I’m in love with you, that’s why.”

Remus wrapped his legs around Sirius’ waist. “Oh, yeah?”

Sirius pressed gentle kisses to Remus’ neck. He reached down a hand to wrap around Remus’ cock, giving it a few slow pulls before reaching for himself. “Je t’adore, mon vœu.”

Remus’ mouth dropped open as Sirius pressed into him slowly. “Oh—” Remus’ legs tightened around him, fingers pressing to his back. “Yes, baby, yes.

Sirius wrapped his arms around Remus’ back until they were flushed together. It was mesmerizing, being close to him like this. Sirius drew in an unsteady breath at the heat, at Remus’ heels pressing against his ass. He watched Remus’ face as he pulled out until the tip caught, watched his eyes open and find his, amber in the dim light. He pushed back in, just as Remus pressed a hand to his cheek, thumb tracing over his bottom lip. Sirius closed his eyes, leaning into his palm.

“So good,” Remus breathed, his fingers sliding back into Sirius’ hair to pull him down for a kiss. His breathing hitched as Sirius pulled out and pushed in again. “So good…”

They were breathing each other’s air, the sweat shining Remus’ skin catching the light and drawing Sirius down to kiss it, tasting the salt on his throat and shoulders. He kissed his shoulder again and again, and Remus held him closer as he brought their hips together again and again.

“Re, you’re so—you feel—”

“Come here,” Remus said.

“I’m right here.”

Remus smiled, arching his back as Sirius snapped his hips forward again. “No, come here.

Sirius didn’t have time to figure out what he meant when Remus was rolling them over. Sirius found himself on his back, laughing as Remus smiled down at him, pressing kiss after kiss to his mouth.

“C’est une…what,” Sirius panted. “Une cowgirl?”

Remus laughed, lacing their fingers together and pressing their hands over Sirius’ head. “I like to see you.”

Sirius groaned as Remus rocked down on him. He tightened his fingers around Remus’. “Fuck, Loops.”

Remus’s cock drooled onto Sirius’ stomach and Sirius felt his own pulse at the sight. Remus sat back, thighs tight around Sirius’, and ground down, hands slipping to press against Sirius’ chest.

Sirius felt his orgasm building as he looked at Remus’, how his eyes were closed, how it was Sirius who was making him feel this way. “I’m not going to last.” Sirius gripped Remus’ hips.

Remus leaned down to kiss him again, fucking back on Sirius in slow, hard thrusts. It pulled sounds out of Sirius before he could stop them, and he wrapped his arms around Remus’ shoulder. The pressure trapped Remus’ cock between them, making Remus’ hips stutter.

“Sirius,” Remus’ hips stilled as he panted. Remus clung to him, forehead against Sirius’ temple. Everything was momentarily still, breathing each other’s air, soaking in each other’s presence. 

“I have you,” Sirius pressed their mouths together and eased Remus on his back again. Remus looked gorgeous, turned on and needy, in Sirius’ arms. His hair was sweaty against his temples, eyes hazy and hooded, but happy. Sirius pushed his hair back from his forehead and kissed him, feeling like he couldn’t help it. “Je t’ai, je t’aime.”

Remus moaned, and locked his ankles around Sirius’ back, holding onto his shoulders from under his arms. “So good, baby, you’re so good—”

Sirius fucked his hips forward slowly, the same as Remus had been doing, and felt high on it, felt Remus tight and hot around him.

“I’m—I need to—”

Sirius groaned, pushing into Remus faster. They were panting into each other’s mouths in what would have been a kiss if they weren’t breathing so hard. Sirius felt his orgasm building again, cock hard and heavy inside Remus.

Remus got loud as Sirius sped up, breath punching out of him. He moaned Sirius’ name, heels digging into Sirius’ ass so that his cock rubbed between them.

“Sirius—Sirius—” Remus clung to him as he began to come.

Sirius fucked him through it, Remus’ mouth open as his cock pulsed between them, splashing hot against his chest. Sirius’ lips were against his jaw as he pressed in one more time and stayed there.

Ah—” Remus’ eyes flashed open as Sirius stayed inside of him, grinding in and barely breathing. “Yes, yes—”

Sirius felt himself start to come before he could say, gasping and pressing closer to Remus. “Re…” Sirius couldn’t describe it, the heat on heat as his cock pulsed itself inside Remus.

The room quiet, the air conditioning cool against their sweaty skin. Remus took a breath in and then he was kissing Sirius again, slowly. Sirius’ kisses felt messy as he came down, and he let himself just be kissed. Remus turned them on their sides, leg still against Sirius’ hip, and they both sighed as Sirius, too sensitive now and soft, slipped out of him.

“Love you,” Remus whispered, then laughed quietly. “Fuck, that was amazing. Oh my god,” he mumbled the next words into their kiss.

Sirius smiled, breathing hard, and let his eyes slip closed as Remus kissed down his neck. “Are you going to let me take you out to dinner now?”

“Depends,” Remus laughed. “Can I reach across the table and wipe pizza grease off your lip as much as I want?”

That made Sirius laugh loudly, and he felt Remus’ own laugh against his chest.

“As long as I…” Sirius reached for Remus’ hand and their palms slotted together. He watched their fingers lace. “Can hold your hand.”

Remus sighed against him. “I think that sounds like a deal.”

 

~

 

Gryffindor was still freezing, but Remus was warm. Sirius drove them to Sid’s with one hand on his thigh, and, although out of sight, it didn’t matter who saw.

“You’re going to get pineapple pizza again?”

Remus laughed. “You remember?”

“I remember.”

Yes,” Remus said, and patted his hand. “And you’re trying some this time.”

“I’ll try anything.”

“Wow, that’s such a lie.”

“Non,” Sirius squeezed his knee. “I will.”

“You’re too superstitious,” Remus laughed.

Sirius nodded grudgingly and Remus leaned over the center consul and pressed a kiss to his neck, just below where his hair curled.

“Were you?” Sirius asked quietly, glancing over at him from the road. “Superstitious, I mean.”

The question was one Remus had carefully not thought about for a long time, but he slot his fingers in-between Sirius’ and let himself remember.

“Very,” Remus said after a moment. “Almost to your level, so I really shouldn’t make fun of you…” he laughed, and then sighed. “But…it didn’t get me anywhere, you know? I can eat the same thing and do the same thing but…I’m as healed as I am today because of hard work.”

Sirius brought their hands up and kissed the back of Remus’ as they pulled into Sid’s parking lot and put the car into park.

But,” Remus smiled over at him. “I did luck out meeting you. And the boys. And with my life.” He reached over and cupped Sirius’ cheek, because he could, and kissed him. “And you.”

“So, luck does matter,” Sirius grinned. “Luck and hard work and you.

“I suppose. Now come eat some lucky pineapple pizza with me.”

Sirius laughed as they got out. “Yes, sir.”

 

“Hi,” the host said. “Welcome to—oh my god.”

Sirius sent him a smile, his arm tight around Remus’ waist. Remus could tell he was nervous.

“Hi,” Remus said. “We were hoping we could get a table for two?”

The boy stared at them, eyes wide, and then nodded slowly. “I…yes. Yes, of course.”

As he lead them to their table and set their menus down, Remus could tell he was dying to say something. He managed to hold out until he was pouring them some ice water when—

“I really won’t make this a big deal, like, seriously, I won’t, but—I just—you guys are amazing. I’m like—Sirius Black: He’s gay, he’s incredible, he’s dating the hot guy who’s always on the bench.”

Sirius laughed and Remus felt his face heat.

“It’s really incredible, what you’ve done for our community,” the boy said. His name tag said Nate.

“Oh, no, we didn’t…” Sirius began, then looked at Remus. “I mean, we didn’t really do anything.”

“Yes, you well freaking did,” Nate said, setting their silverware down and looking at Sirius straight in the eye. “You didn’t deny it. You’re accepting it now. You renounced the hate. Have a fan-fucking-tastic meal, your pizza and drinks are on me.”

Remus gazed after him, mouth open and beginning to smile, then turned back to Sirius. Sirius looked back at him, and both of them just stared at each other. Sirius looked after Nate again and let out a laugh.

“That was…really nice.”

“Yeah,” Remus laughed, too. “Really nice.”

“I never…” Sirius looked down, pulling his water glass forward. “I guess I never thought about it like that. Being part of a community. Like a team?”

“I don’t know if I have either, actually,” Remus said, and then held his hand out across the table, palm up. “But I like it.”

Sirius smiled. “See? You are on the team.” He took Remus’ hand and squeezed gently. "I like being on the same team as you.”

Remus laughed. “Me too, baby.”

 

After they ordered, Sirius seemed fidgety.

“No, I’m good,” Sirius said when Remus asked. “I just can tell people are recognizing me.”

Remus glanced around. It was true. He could see people leaning across tables, a few phones held sneakily up above plates.

“Come here,” Remus said. “Scoot your chair around so your back is to the room next to me.”

Sirius looked behind him once before scooting his chair over, tugging his silverware and menu with him. He smiled sweetly as he scooched in, and then it felt more like it was just them. A brick wall had been behind Sirius and blocked most of the tables, and their bodies blocked the rest.

“I guess I didn’t really think this through,” Sirius laughed quietly. “I just…I wanted to be out with you.”

Remus smiled and took Sirius’ hand again. “I think with Nate working the floor, we’re pretty good here.”

“Oh, so you can just kiss me, then.”

Remus laughed and leaned forward, giving him a soft kiss. “I think I can.”

“One pineapple ham pizza for the lovebirds who are giving me life,” Nate said, setting it down. “And one pepperoni. You guys enjoy and let me know if you need anything else. Do you want a fudge sundae? I’m going to bring you a fudge sundae.”

Nate gave the back of Sirius’ chair a little tap as he walked away to take another table’s order.

“That is so not in my diet plan, but I deserve a fucking sundae.”

“Yes, you do,” Remus said, and picked up a piece of the pineapple pizza. “And now do your duty.”

Sirius narrowed his eyes at the pizza, but then slowly opened his mouth. Remus felt a little flushed as he folded the pizza a little so he could hold it out towards Sirius.

Sirius chewed slowly, expression entirely unreadable, and then swallowed.

“That was so gross.”

“It’s not,” Remus said, and then took the next bite. “Your tastebuds are broken.”

Sirius just pointedly picked up a piece of pepperoni.

“Jeez, that’s the biggest bite I’ve ever seen,” Remus said.

Jeez.”

Remus shoved him and Sirius smiled.

“Love you,” he said.

Remus reached out and swiped his thumb over his bottom lip. “Love you.”

 

~

 

Remus woke up the next morning to kisses being pressed to his neck. He turned slowly in Sirius’ arms and pressed his nose again his bare chest.

“No alarms,” Sirius whispered, stroking a hand through Remus’ hair. “No practice, no media…”

“Your brother,” Remus mumbled.

Sirius laughed. “I’m trying to be romantic.”

Remus wrapped his leg around Sirius’ hip. “We’ll go this afternoon, we should make sure he’s okay.”

“I love you.”

Remus hummed sleepily and pressed a kissed to Sirius’ neck, and then he was asleep again, too content for anything else.

Sirius just held them together under the covers he remembered half throwing off last night, hot from pulling another orgasm from Remus after dinner. They would both need a shower, but now the sweat had long cooled and Sirius tucked them back in again, lulled to sleep by Remus’ breathing.

 

~

 

“Baby,” Remus said from near the toaster, and Sirius looked up from his coffee.

He smiled. “Yes?”

“Will you call my family with me?”

Sirius’ eyes widened in surprise. “You mean you haven’t…”

Remus, looking guilty, shook his head. “Not really. I…I thought I might lose you, and I didn’t want to…if I was going to come out to them, I wanted to know where I’d be. I didn’t want to be in limbo, I guess. I’ve been sure of myself for a really long time. I wanted to take the time to feel that way again, with or without you. And…” Remus smiled, glowing. “Yeah, here we are.”

Sirius kicked at the stool beside him, grinning. “Jules, too?”

Remus laughed. “My mom said he’s going crazy. I know that much.”

Remus picked up his phone and pulled up his mom’s contact, hitting the button for FaceTime.

Julian’s face filled up the entire screen, more nose and great, hazel eyes than anything else, shouting into the speakers. “Remus, Remus, Remus…”

“Hi, Jules,” Remus laughed.

“It’s been so long forever,” Julian said. “Remus, I saw—”

“Remus, sweetheart?” his mother’s voice came, and the phone was promptly pushed backwards to reveal Hope and Lyall, too. They looked out of breath, as if they had run at the sound of Julian chanting his brother’s name.

“Hi, guys.”

“Oh, hi, baby, hi,” Hope pressed her hand to her neck, grinning. “Oh, it’s so good to see your face.”

“We’re very happy you called,” Lyall said. “Very, very happy, Re.”

“Me, too. I’m sorry it took so long, I just…” Remus said, and was suddenly nervous in a way he hadn’t been in a long time. He cleared his throat. “Hey, I’ve got someone here with me, too.”

Remus glanced at Sirius who bit his lip as he leaned into frame with an awkward wave. “Hi—”

Sirius,” Julian shrieked. “Sirius, you were kissing my brother.”

Remus’ heart skipped. He couldn’t tell. Julian’s face was pure awe, but that didn’t mean it was good or bad.

“Oh, Julian, that’s very rude,” Hope scolded. “We don’t know what you’re talking about, that is not something we know about, but I’m sure your brother has something he would like to tell us that’s very exciting news, and that he should have been able to tell us himself.”

Remus loved his mother more than anything. She managed to sound pissed about the pictures and elated for Remus at the same time. She was kind, loving, giving Remus as much of a chance to tell them himself as she could.

“Sorry, mama,” Julian said, but then broke into a grin that changed Remus’ entire world.

“Sirius can you be Remus’ boyfriend? Please?”

“Jules,” his mother said.

Remus felt tears stick in his throat.

“Sirius, it’s very good to see you again,” Lyall said, patting Julian’s head, as if he saw Sirius Black sitting in his son’s apartment every day.

“It’s good to see you, too, Mr. Lupin,” Sirius laughed, and Remus felt him glance at him. He reached out and took Sirius’ hand, lacing them on his thigh. It was out of frame, but Remus swore his mother caught it.

“So, this is… not exactly what I had planned,” Remus began. “But—”

“You’re in love with Sirius Black,” Julian burst out, and then clapped his hands over his mouth, looking at his mother.

Julian Lupin.

Remus shook his head. “It’s okay, mom.” He looked at Sirius, hair still mussed from sleep, tapping one finger against Remus’ knuckles. “Jules’ is right.”

Sirius’ eyes flickered over his face, smile growing slowly, then back at the camera. “And I’m in love with Remus Lupin, Jules, don’t forget that part.”

“Oh my god,” Julian was practically smushing his own cheeks. “Everyone at school was like, so crazy. Asking me questions. I’m famous. And some people were mean, and I was like, I don’t like you anymore. And mom said it was rude to talk about so I stopped because Remus hadn’t talked to us yet. But now do I get to say it?”

Remus looked at Sirius, who shrugged.

“It’s all I want to talk about to my friends, too,” he said, and Remus laughed.

“We’re so happy for you both,” Lyall said. “And Remus, I…”

Remus watched his father swallow over emotion.

“I’m very proud of you. Your mother and me both. Hell, I’m proud of both of you,” his father laughed wetly, waving his hands like he couldn’t believe he was crying. “That All-Star game, for fuck’s sake, it couldn’t have been easy.”

“Dad,” Julian said.

“Bad word, I know, I know, sorry, J.”

“It wasn’t,” Sirius said. “But it was worth it for where I am now.”

C’est bien,” Lyall sent a thumbs up, and Sirius laughed.

“Oui, monsieur.”

“Sirius, I hope we will be seeing you soon, sweetheart,” Remus’ mother said. “I wish we could get off for Remus’ birthday but we’ll just have to celebrate at the,” she dropped her voice, “playoffs.”

Sirius, Julian, and Remus’ parents knocked on wood. Remus was going to cry. He rolled his eyes when Sirius took his knuckles for him and knocked on the seat of his chair.

“I hope Remus’ little apartment can fit all of us. That is, of course, if he’s still living there.”

Remus burst out laughing, covering his eyes with his hand. “Mom.

Sirius laughed, too, wrapping an arm around Remus’ waist, more obviously this time. “I’m sure at my house we’ll all be very comfortable.”

Remus looked at him. They hadn’t talked about it, but the idea of driving to the rink every morning and home every night with Sirius, of making meals together, relaxing on the weekends…

“I’m sure we will,” Remus said softly, and very nearly kissed Sirius right there in front of his family. Which was definitely something he could do now, he realized.

“Well, we’ll let you go,” Remus’ mother said—knowing, as usual. “Call us soon, okay?”

Please,” Julian said.

“I will, Jules,” Remus said. “Promise.”

The screen went blank just as Julian’s frame started to blur as he jumped around the living room. Remus sat for a moment, put his phone down flat on the counter slowly, and let out a long breath.

“Jeez,” Remus said. “Fuck.”

Sirius hauled Remus into his lap and Remus let all of his happiness and relief spill out between them. He laughed, maybe half cried, as they kissed, and it made Sirius’ eyes become bright, too. He rubbed his hands up and down Remus’ back, palms familiar and warm.

“C’est bien,” Sirius’ voice was raspy.

Remus nodded, laughing again and pressing kisses along Sirius’ cheek. “Yes, yes, yes.”

 

~

 

They entered Sirius’ kitchen quietly, Remus carrying an overnight bag—just in case.

“He used to be able to sleep for literal hours into the day,” Sirius had said in the car. “He could be asleep still.”

“We have time,” Remus said, and pulled Sirius’ hand into his. “I have an idea.”

“What?”

Remus kissed him, and then hiked his bag further up his shoulder and pulled him in the direction of the basement. “Come on.”

Sirius flicked the lights on, but even before that, the artificial ice seemed to glow in the dark of Sirius’ basement.

Remus sat down in one of the rink side leather chairs and unzipped his bag.

“When did you sneak those in there?” Sirius laughed as Remus pulled one of his skates out.

“When you were making coffee,” Remus smiled and took his shoes off. “Come on, get busy, Captain.”

 

They laced their skates beside each other, something that sent a strange mixture of emotions through Remus. He could remember what it felt like to do this every morning beside teammates. Then, he had watched the Lions doing it over and over. It had taken him a while to even think about putting skates on again. And now, here he was, without the secret that had kept him away, and about to skate with Sirius. His Sirius.

“I only keep my sticks here,” Sirius said as he took a few from the rack. “So, you’ll have to do with a little flexibility.”

Remus laughed and took it, along with the spare pair of gloves. “I think I can manage.”

The ice felt different, but it certainly did the trick and they glided around each other for a few moments, passing a puck back and forth in light strokes. The feeling sent a breath wavering out of Remus. The familiar magnetism of hockey, of Sirius. Remus held the puck back on Sirius’ next pass, and skated backwards a few strides, looking at him.

Sirius’ face lit up. “Oh yeah?” he pushed forward once, twice, shoulders shifting in the way they did on the ice, showing his full hight. He was a looming obstacle between Remus and the net, and Remus felt his heart jump.

He clicked the puck back and forth on his blade a few times.

“Yeah,” he said, and the took off.

Remus got right up to Sirius’ waiting stick and then twisted, spinning outward around him only to be cut off as he did, Sirius stealing the puck from between his legs.

“Oops,” Sirius laughed and took off towards the other end.

Remus grinned and stayed tight on his heels. It took a minute, but he managed to nudge Sirius enough into the side of the rink to grab the puck again. Sirius reached after it.

“Slash, slash!” Remus called. “That’s a fucking penalty.”

“I didn’t!” Sirius dug his blades in and skirted around the goal to get in Remus’ path. Remus laughed, but pulled up short, making Sirius have to stop hard, and right in front of him. He was breathing hard, eyes bright and pale.

“There’s no way I’m taking a shot with an unpadded Sirius Black standing right there,” Remus panted. “I’d get fired immediately. But you should know that it would have gone in.”

Sirius grinned, leaning on his stick with his gloves resting on top of it. He rested his chin on his gloves. “I know it would have.”

Remus knocked the puck so that it bounced against his skate. “Wanna run drills?”

Sirius groaned. “Of course you would like doing drills.”

“I love drills.”

Sirius let his stick clatter to the ground and pressed his gloves to either side of Remus’ face. “I love you,” he said before kissing him soundly.

Remus’ stick followed, wrapping his arms around Sirius’ waist and kissing him back, right there in front of the goal. It felt almost like being on center ice, kissing in Hogwarts stadium.

“I love you on skates,” Sirius mumbled. “You’re so fucking beautiful on skates.”

Remus made a face and Sirius kissed it away. Remus let him for a moment before pulling back with a laugh.

“I think we should go make some lunch. Maybe Regulus will be awake and just not know we’re here.”

“You mean you want to make my baby brother lunch?”

“Maybe I just want to have lunch with the Black brothers.”

“Yeah,” called a voice from up the stairs, making both Sirius and Remus jump. “This is cute, but I’m starving.

Sirius laughed and Remus hid his face in Sirius’ neck. “Okay, Reg, we’re coming.”

 

They unlaced quickly and walked upstairs in their socks, Sirius in the lead. As they reached the light of Sirius’ main floor, Remus was suddenly nervous. All he knew about Regulus was that he was a younger version of Sirius, but with none of the support system. He had been seeped in the Snakes, and who knows what had happened after Sirius left home. On camera, the only way Remus had seen him, he was closely watched and fiery with deflection. Remus, frankly, didn’t know what to expect.

They walked into the kitchen to find Regulus sitting there in sweatpants and a ratty Snakes t-shirt. He watched them enter with familiar eyes, but an unfamiliar amused expression. He seemed a little lighter than the boy Remus had seen on TV.

“Hi Regulus,” Remus said. “I’m Remus. It’s nice to finally meet you.”

“Yeah, I’m sure you’ve heard great things.”

Sirius rolled his eyes as he opened the refrigerator and started taking out things for sandwiches. “Reg.”

Regulus flipped his phone around in his hands a few times before slouching against the kitchen counter. His gray eyes flicked up to Remus’ briefly. “You, too.”

“Do you like turkey sandwiches?”

“Re makes them with cranberry sauce,” Sirius added. “It’s really good.”

“Oh,” Regulus nodded. “Yeah, thanks.”

The kitchen lapsed into silence then as Regulus watched Sirius and Remus assemble sandwiches and talk softly together. After a few minutes, he laughed.

“What?” Sirius said as he spread mustard on a toasted piece of bread.

“Nothing,” Regulus said after a moment. “It’s just…well, one, I’ve never seen you in a kitchen.”

Remus snorted. “Me neither.”

“And two…” Regulus hesitated again. “I don’t know, you just…” he glanced at Remus. “Have a life here.”

Remus watched Sirius’ head jerked up. “What?”

“Not like,” Regulus shrugged. “I just mean it’s different.”

“I…” Sirius swallowed. “Yeah, I…”

“It’s because of you.”

Remus looked up when he realized Regulus was talking to him. “Oh.”

“Yes,” Sirius cut in. “But it’s also because I’ve been talking to someone.”

“You can say the word therapist in front of me.”

Sirius raised an eyebrow. “I didn’t think I couldn’t.”

Regulus went quiet again and looked down at the sandwich Sirius slid over to him. “I know.”

“Hey,” Remus looked at Sirius. “I can go.”

“No,” Regulus said. “Sorry. Thanks for the sandwich.”

“Reg, you don’t have to apologize for thinking this all is…insane. You don’t have to apologize for anything.”

Regulus looked at his brother. “Like that. That’s new.”

Remus looked between them, at Sirius taking a steady breath.

Sirius nodded. “I know. It’s…it’s new for me, too. All we used to do is apologize, non?”

Regulus took a bite of his sandwich and chewed slowly. He looked at Remus. “Is it true what Fenrir said? About you?”

Remus blinked.

“I overheard,” Regulus said. “People tend to overlook me when Sirius is around.” He smiled, but it was small. “I don’t think anyone else caught it, if you’re worried.”

“Yes,” Remus said softly. “It’s true.”

Regulus nodded. “I guess it’s not just my team that’s got bastards, then.”

Remus shook his head. “Guess not.”

Regulus looked at Sirius. “But your team seems to be bastard free.”

It was Sirius’ turn to smile a small smile. “Guess so.”

Regulus took another bite, swallowed, and looked determinedly between them.

“How do I get on it?”

 

~

 

On the first day back, Minnie was waiting for them in the Hogwarts lobby, phone in her hand until she seemed to sense them and looked up. Regulus was gazing around the room, at how his brother bumped fists with the security guards.

“Sirius,” she said. “Regulus. Mr. Lupin.”

“Just Remus.”

She smiled. “Of course. How are we all?”

“Good,” Sirius said quickly, and then beamed at Remus. Remus was going to melt.

Minnie looked at Regulus. “And you? Any regrets, better tell me now.”

“No regrets,” Regulus said. “Except staying so long.”

“Alright, then,” Minnie said. “Let’s go have a chat. You two, see you later.”

Regulus gave a little salute and followed Minnie towards the elevators. Remus looked at Sirius waving back, and then took two steps away before Sirius stopped, making Remus stop, too.

“Fuck, just…” Sirius touched Remus’ hand. “Just a second. Reg!”

Regulus turned, eyebrow arched. He was so similar to Sirius, and so different. Remus couldn’t imagine anyone making this kid do anything he didn’t want to.

“Are you…veux-tu que je vienne avec toi?”

Do you want me to come with you? Remus translated.

A funny look crossed Regulus’ face, and he just looked at his brother. He looked small in the vast lobby.

“It’s okay,” Regulus said finally. “I’ll tell you about it after. I promise.”

Sirius hesitated, but nodded slowly. “Okay. Okay. Yeah, I…”

“It’s okay,” Regulus repeated softly. “I’ve got Minnie.”

Minnie’s face softened at that, more so than Remus had seen it yet.

“Go to practice,” Regulus nodded, walked backwards to catch up with Minnie. “See you after.”

Sirius only turned around after they disappeared into the elevator, heading up into the office space above the rink. Remus took his hand, half relishing in the fact that he could, and half focused on comforting.

“He’ll be okay. You’re a good brother.”

Sirius sighed. “I know. I just…I don’t know what he went through. It’s strange thinking Minnie will know before I will.”

“Well…” Remus took a breath. “It might be easier for him to tell her than you. Like it’s easier for you to tell Heather stuff than me sometimes, right? It was easier for me to tell the therapist I saw about my shoulder than to tell the team. It’s like a step? You know?”

Sirius’ smile was slow, and he unlaced their hands just to wrap one arm around Remus’ shoulder. “I love you and your smart as hell.”

Remus laughed as Sirius swiped them through the player’s door. “I know.”

They could hear the locker room as they approached, the music blasting. Like it was just another day.

Sirius leant down for a kiss right in the hallway outside the locker room, before Remus had to split off towards his office.

“I guess I’ll meet you in there,” Remus said, a palm on Sirius’ chest.

“Guess so,” Sirius said. “Get ready for chaos.”

Sirius smiled—probably a little ridiculously—and watched Remus go, looking over his shoulder once before he walked into his office.

The world was new.

“Me and my fucking girlfriend jokes, eh?”

Sirius jumped and turned to see James walking towards him from the other end of the hall. He had his familiar green Northface jacket zipped up and a black Lions beanie pulled down over his ears against the cold, having just arrived.

Sirius’ heart pulled, remembering James standing outside his door for hours the night they returned from Florida, probably freezing and knocking, knocking, knocking

“James…” Sirius began. “I’m—”

“Don’t apologize to me,” James said, and took two more strides to pull Sirius into a hard hug.

Sirius blinked over his shoulder for a moment, feeling James’ weight against him, and then wrapped his arms tightly around his back.

“I’m sorry I did that to you,” James said softly in Sirius’ ear. “I’m sorry you felt like you had to play along, fuck, I feel so horrible.”

No,” Sirius said, surprised. He clutched James to him. “No, Pots, you didn’t—”

“Still,” James pulled away, his hazel eyes brimmed. “I’m—You’re my best friend. No matter what. I’m fucking happy as hell for you and Loops, Jesus fucking Christ, I’m so happy.”

Sirius let out a laugh, but they were both sort of crying.

“I should have let you in that night.”

James laughed too, wiping his eyes beneath his glasses. “My knuckles fucking hurt, man.”

They were hugging again when the locker room door opened and they heard a gasp.

“What the hell?” Thomas’ voice said. “This is not suppose to be happening in the hallway, we want to be part of the love, come on inside!”

Sirius groaned and wiped his sweatshirt sleeve over his eyes before Thomas pulled him under his arm. He was half-dressed in his hockey shorts and warm against Sirius’ side.

“Captain, you scored one beauty of a man, okay? Like, damn, Lupin? Damn.” He stopped, releasing Sirius and turned more serious—at least for himself. “I’m psyched for you guys. After everything that happened…if you need anything, okay? Me. I’m here.”

“Thanks, Talkie,” Sirius said. “Means a lot.”

“In bigger news,” Thomas said, and ran over to slap Logan’s ass. “I’m dating your sister Tremz.”

Thomas let out a long whoop, both fists in the air. Logan stared at him.

“Quoi?”

Finn cracked up and Logan slugged him in the arm. Finn pulled him in for a kiss.

Ooh,” Thomas said. “So much love. I gotta play some love music, what’re we feeling, boys?”

A hand on Sirius’ arm distracted him from the scene as he was about to turn towards his stall, and he looked up to find Kuny standing there.

“Hey, Kuny,” Sirius said, a little unnerved by his expression. It was—almost nervous.

Evgeni pressed his hands around one of Sirius’. “Cap.”

Sirius glanced at Sergei, who was standing a little bit behind him, but clearly watching them.

“I…This is hard thing for me. Hard thing, and hard for me to say,” he glanced at Sergei, who nodded encouragingly.

“It’s okay, Zhenya,” Sergei said, using Evgeni’s Russian nickname.

Evgeni took a breath, and looked back at Sirius. “I’m want support you. I’m want. I just—can’t say to reporters sometimes.” Evgeni swallowed hard, looking pained. “Can’t support if I’m want to go home, see parents ever again, see family, play for Olympics. So sorry, Cap. Not mean anything. Best Captain. Best friend. Love Loops, too. Cap, I’m sorry, so sorry—”

“Kun,” Sirius shook his head, clapping his hand over both of Evgeni’s. “It’s okay. It’s okay. I understand, okay? Really. If anyone can understand wanting one thing and having to do another, it’s me. Don’t be sorry. I know you.” He gave his hands a squeeze, then pressed them to his broad shoulders, giving him a shake. "I know you, alright?”

“Nado say you understand,” Evgeni said with a sigh. He smiled. “Sergei, too. I’m still…is hard. Have to be careful. Stupid thing, to have to hide. Hope I’m can support soon. Glad you’re…open? Not right word? You know, glad you’re open now. Open for pass.”

Sergei chuckled from beside him. “He means free.”

Sirius laughed, too. “Me too, Kunz.”

Sirius dropped his bag in his stall and managed to shuck off his sweatshirt before a shadow fell over him and he looked up to meet Pascal’s eyes.

“I hear your little brother is in town,” Pascal said, arms crossed over his bare chest. “That is very interesting.”

“Lots of life’s been interesting lately,” Sirius huffed out a laugh. “Yeah, he’s…we’re figuring it out.”

“Lots of life is being figured out lately, too.”

“Oui,” Sirius said. “Dumo, listen—”

“No, you listen,” Pascal said. “I believe I will have a free basement soon,” Pascal glanced at Logan, who was watching something on Leo’s phone. “Just an offer.”

Sirius felt a familiar warm feeling in his chest that seemed to always come with Dumo. “You sure you want another Black brother in your house? We don’t do laundry, remember. Or cook.”

Pascal laughed, too, but pressed a palm to Sirius’ cheek. “I will always want you in my house. I feel the same about your brother. I am sure of it. Plus, you babysit, non?”

“Dumo…”

“Don’t cry,” Pascal said firmly, and pulled Sirius into a hug. “I will cry.”

Sirius laughed, throat tight for what felt like the thousandth time that day. Pascal gave him a few slaps on the back and pulled back with a kiss to his cheek. “Allez, mon fils. We have practice. Oh, good, there is the man of the hour.”

Remus walked into the locker room with Moody laughing, only to be tackled by Thomas a moment later.

“Loops, listen to my love playlist,” Sirius faintly heard him say.

“I thought I was the man of the hour,” Sirius said.

Pascal laughed. “You are always the man of the hour, give the rest of us a chance.”

Finn sauntered up to Remus, pushing his phone at him. “Your cute ass Sid’s date is all over instagram. You’re like America’s new power couple.”

Sirius watched Remus laugh and roll his eyes. “Well, I think that’s an improvement from the last time we were splashed across social media.”

“True.”

Okay,” Coach called as he walked into the locker room, looking around at them all. “I don’t know how many couples are in this room anymore, but if any of you bring disagreements or drama onto the ice, you’re benched.” He walked over to the whiteboard and uncapped a marker. “That’s all I have to say about that, the rest is your business.” Coach gave a thumbs up, a little smile sneaking onto his face, and then flicked on the projector. “So. Let’s take a look at what we’ll be up against in Vegas tomorrow.”

 

~

 

Vegas was a million worlds crammed into one place, but Remus only cared about one. That world was Sirius, kissing him while they waited for the plane to reach its gate. Holding his hand while they shuffled sleepily onto the bus. Following him to his room once they got to the hotel, some of the other boys waving goodnight to them without a moment’s thought.

“I have to set my alarm early,” Remus said once they were getting ready for bed. “Are you sure you don’t want your own room? I know morning skate is optional tomorrow. You could sleep in.”

Sirius scoffed, tugging his clothes off haphazardly, then walking back into the bathroom to spit out his toothpaste and rinse—butt naked.

Remus really loved this new world.

“I am never sleeping alone again,” Sirius poked his head back out, the edges of his hair damp from the sink. “Unless you want to.”

Remus shook his head, and Sirius grinned. He walked back over to his suitcase and retrieved his pajama bottoms, tugging them on and then flopping down onto the bed on his stomach. Remus laughed and knelt on the bed beside him, throwing a leg over his hips.

“Want a massage?”

Sirius groaned happily. “Are you kidding? Yes.”

“Perks of dating your PT, I guess,” Remus said as he began to knead the muscles of Sirius’ shoulders. He ran his hands appreciatively over the vast expanse of Sirius’ back. “Or maybe for me, perks of dating a professional hockey player.”

Sirius just groaned into his folded arms.

“Anywhere particular?” Remus said.

“No, just you,” Sirius sighed.

Remus looked at the way his eyelashes were fanned out over his cheek, dark and thick, and leaned down to press a kiss between his the strong bunch of muscle where his shoulders met his spine. He felt Sirius’s back rise as he breathed in steadily, and then fall. It was rhythmic, and Remus pressed another kiss along his spine, and then another. He worked out the tenser muscles in Sirius’ shoulders and then moved down to his lower back, just above the swell of his ass.

Remus noticed Sirius’ hips beginning to minutely rock down against the bed just moments before Sirius reached back silently and pulled away his pajama bottoms until they were framing his ass, no doubt freeing his cock, too. He gasped, cheek against his forearm and eyes closed.

“Fuck baby…” Remus said softly, cock filling at the sight. He ran his hands over the meat of Sirius’ ass, bare now. Sirius’ lips parted and Remus leaned forward to kiss his neck and cheek, sloppily reaching his panting mouth. “Fuck, do you want to? You have a game tomorrow…”

“I want to,” Sirius opened his eyes, pupils blown. “I want to, we’ll go slow.”

Remus pressed his clothed, slowly filling cock against Sirius’ ass and Sirius moaned. “Yeah, please.”

Remus reached for his toiletries, still thankfully sitting beside them on the bed from unpacking, for the lube. He backed up, spreading Sirius’ thighs until Sirius got his knees under him and Remus could sit between them. He tugged Sirius’ pajama bottoms away, ruined and wet from his dripping cock.

“Jesus, you’re gonna ruin the fucking bedsheets, look at you,” Remus groaned and swiped a dry thumb over Sirius’ entrance before uncapping the lube. His own cock was tenting his underwear, the head pushing up against the elastic waistband. He gave himself a quick squeeze before focusing back on Sirius, slipping a finger inside of him.

He opened up Sirius slowly until Sirius was moaning with it, muffled by a pillow, and Remus had to pull his cock out, eyes closing with how turned on he was. He was hot in his own hand, and the tip pressed in easily, rendering Sirius silent.

“Re, Re, Re…” Sirius panted as Remus pushed inside of him. “Huh, fuck…”

“Shh, baby,” Remus grinned and smoothed his hands over Sirius’ hips before pulling back out. When he fucked in, he curled around Sirius as much as he could, eyes shut and breathing him in. “Nice and slow, right?”

Remus fucked Sirius like that, holding him close, telling him he loved him over and over until Sirius cried out and came with Remus’ fist around him. Remus kept his thrusts slow, fucking him through it, agonizing in Sirius’ walls pulsing around him, dragging against him. Remus let his mouth drop open, tasting Sirius’ sweaty skin as he finally came, orgasm rippling through him for a long time. Sirius was pliant beneath him, breathing hard. Remus stroked his cock, drawing shivers from him, until they collapsed together.

Sirius let out a breathless laugh when they finally stilled. “I think we forgot to be quiet.”

Remus smiled, pressing a kiss to his shoulder between breaths. His heart was pounding in the best way. “Oops.”

Sirius let out another noise as Remus pulled out carefully and cleaned them up.

“Well, now I’m tired,” Remus sighed as Sirius flicked off the light and pulled Remus against his chest.

Sirius hummed, yanking the tightly-made bed out of its tuck, and over them.

“Re,” Sirius said into the dark after a few moments.

“Hm?”

“Are you going to be okay tomorrow? I know you’re okay every other time, but…”

“But this feels different,” Remus finished, adjusting closer to Sirius. “I’ll be okay, though. He doesn’t have anything on me anymore.”

“Do you want to tell people? About him?”

Remus took a slow breath and felt Sirius’ hand press against his back. “I don’t know yet. I don’t think so. I don’t think I… I don’t think I want him mingled into this moment. Maybe one day but… I can’t prove anything, you know? And I don’t need to. I’m happier than he is, aren’t I?”

Sirius laughed softly. “Yeah, you are.”

“We’ll be okay,” Remus pressed a kiss to Sirius’ jaw.

 

~

 

The Vegas visitor’s locker room was buzzing with more nervous tension than usual. Coach was standing around a computer with some of the coaching staff, glasses low on his nose and nodding. The boys were in various state of dress, milling around and going through their routine. Kasey and Leo were bouncing tennis balls to each other off of a wall, Kuny was lying on the ground with his legs scissoring in the air. Sirius and James were in their stalls, talking hurriedly as usual, Sirius drawing a play out on his palm. Finn was standing near the coaches, looking at what they were watching via the projector with his bare arms crossed. Logan had his headphones on and his eyes closed.

“Alright boys,” Coach said, swiping his glasses off of his face and folding them into his shirt pocket. “Getting down to the wire here, okay? Closer and closer to that goal. We’ve been over this tape one hundred times, you know what to look for. I want you all to remember how much this means to you.”

Remus looked around the room. The team had stilled to listen. Some were nodding.

“How hard you’ve worked, what you’ve been through. Let’s not give it up now.”

There was the thumping of stalls.

“Okay?” Coach said. “I thought we could do a little something extra tonight, too. If you don’t want to, okay, but me and Alice talked and I would like to put up as an option that you use some Pride stick tape for this game. We have many people to show our support for tonight. Some who are in this room, and countless who aren’t,” He glanced around the room, and then at Remus. “Well, boys?”

“Hand it over Coach,” Pascal said, flicking his fingers. “Come on.”

“Bitch ass,” Finn nodded. “Dumo, pass me some.”

Remus laughed, and watched a few rolls slowly make their way around the locker room.

Hello,” Thomas called as he wrapped long pieces around his socks instead of the usual clear sock tape. “Look at me, we’re hype.”

Remus grinned. “Nice one, Talkie.”

He found Sirius next, who was sitting very intently in his stall, meticulously and carefully wrapping the multicolored tape around his blade. He ripped it with his teeth, and then paused to type out a message on his phone.

“Hi,” Remus said, leaning against the side of his stall. “Nice stick.”

Sirius laughed. “Thanks.” He held up his phone. “Just checking on Regulus,” he said, and then tucked his phone behind him. “He’s skating. We’ll talk with Minnie when we get home, see what our plan is.”

“Sounds good to me,” Remus said.

Sirius stood and kissed him with a smile before pulling away to tug his pads on over his head, strapping them around his ribs. Remus loved the way Sirius looked in just his pads. Like some sort of hot Iron Man.

“Tell me if you need anything tonight,” Sirius said smoothing his jersey across his shoulder pads. “Okay?”

“I will,” Remus said. “Don’t worry, alright? Just win. Win for me.”

Sirius raised an eyebrow. “As if I could do anything else.”

 

“Alright boys,” Sirius said as they heard the Knights enter their home ice first. The crowd was roaring. “We win this? We’re one step closer to clinched.”

“We’re going for the you-know-what,” Finn shouted.

Thomas let out a long, very high pitched scream, and jumped at the same time Kuny did to bump chests. Remus raised his eyebrows at them, but smiled. It seemed to do the trick, and got the rest of the locker room going.

“That was easy,” Sirius whispered to Remus as he put his helmet on. As he passed into the tunnel, he pressed a kiss to Remus’ cheek. “See you out there.”

Remus laughed and tapped Sirius’ butt on his way out.

Thomas was behind him. “Give me one!”

“Those are exclusive, out you go,” Remus patted his helmet instead.

Thomas proceeded to howl out through the entire tunnel walk, much to the delight of the watching Lions fans at the glass.

“Lupin,” Moody said. “I believe this team of ours is going go high places.”

“Oh yeah?”

Moody smiled a rare smile. “I can feel it. In the leg.”

“I love that leg,” Finn said, touching it softly with his glove. “And these legs,” he turned around and tapped both of Leo’s goalie pads.

“Your distracting me,” Leo said.

“I certainly hope so.”

“Jesus Christ,” Moody said. “Move it along, move it along.”

 

Remus followed the team through the tunnel with Moody behind him. There were swarms of cameras along the glass, and Remus even caught some of them following him instead of the players. He kept his head down, taking his spot on the bench and busying himself with checking the med kits. The crowd was roaring as the teams joined each other on the ice.

“Just your luck your first game back is so high profile, eh,” Moody grumbled. “We got your back, kid.”

“Thanks,” Remus replied, and took a breath before looking out at the ice. Blizzard was starting tonight, warming up the crease with his blades and turning from side to side on a dime. Remus found Sirius, doing his usual. He smiled at the sight before slowly looking towards the Vegas side of the ice. In his mind, he knew he was unconsciously looking for Fenrir, but what drew his eyes instead couldn’t have been more opposite.

Marc-Andre Fleury, ready and warming up in his goal, had rainbow stick tape wrapped around his large goalie blade. It flashed out against his dark jersey.

“Wow,” Leo said faintly from beside him. He was standing, helmet perched on his head as he readied himself to go out onto the ice. His blue eyes were bright. “That’s…”
Remus smiled, placing a hand on Leo’s shoulder pad.

“I’ve looked up to Flower forever, I…” he laughed. “Wow…”

“How are you doing, Knutty?” Remus said. “All this chaos, you were there for me but I haven’t really been there for you.”

Leo shook his head and smiled. “That’s not true. It’s really good. Really, really good. I mean,” Leo stepped onto the ice and spun around for a sip of water, leaning in on the boards. "I don’t think we’re going to be as public as you guys right now, just, well, because of the facts. The three of us are more expendable than Sirius, and after we talked to Alice, she said she wouldn’t put it passed the League to want to…”

“Be homophobic fucks.”

Leo nodded. “Exactly. But, I don’t think we mind. We’ve got our apartment, and so long as no press are around we’ve got the room. We’ve got the team. And we’ve got you and Cap. There’s hope for the future, you know?”

The words reminded Remus of the boy at Sid’s.

“You do. And, maybe without him knowing it, you’ve got Flower.”

Leo laughed, nose scrunching. “Yeah.”

“I wish all these guys were as great as Flower is,” Moody grumbled. “Exhibit A, ten o’clock.”

Remus swallowed. Fenrir was on his radar whenever they played Vegas, but he loomed like a shadow tonight. And with good reason. Sirius knew now. The team knew now.

Logan skated up to the bench and squirted some water into his mouth, eyes on Fenrir. “I’m ready to get dirty.”

“Let me get dirty with you,” James replied from Remus’ right.

Logan raised an eyebrow. “Be my guest, Pots.”

Fenrir was rounding the goal time after time and slamming the pucks in with his signature slap shot. Remus had stopped flinching a long time ago, but he still blinked. He saw Sirius swoop near the center line once, twice, and silently begged him not to cross it. His expression was already murderous.

“Don’t be stupid guys,” Remus said, dragging his eyes away from Fenrir and back to Logan and James. “Really. That won’t fix anything. Just win.”

“Roger that,” James gave him a salute.

Logan stayed back a moment and raised his eyebrow. “I hope you’ve told the captain that.”

“Oh, I have,” Remus smiled a half smile. “Please, Tremz. Just win, don’t get hurt. He’s not afraid to play dirty.”

“If you get hurt,” Leo said in a quiet voice. “There are so many things that I know you like now that I won’t do to you for a month.”

Remus snorted as Logan’s mouth fell open. He caught his mouth guard between his teeth and groaned out Leo’s name around it, chewing dejectedly.

“You heard me,” Leo smiled and skated off to warm up as back up.

Logan looked at Remus. “Fine.”

“Merci,” Remus laughed.

 

~

 

“The Vegas lazar shows are always so fucking wild,” Finn grumbled as a knight in a golden cape and no shirt skated around brandishing a sword. “I mean what is going on?”

“It’s the golden knight,” Logan said from in front of him. “Looks like your halloween costume at OKN. What year was that? 2014?”

Finn snorted. “Oh yeah, forgot about that. You’re one to talk though, you fucking slutty Batman.”

“Hey, I looked good.”

“Please let me see slutty Batman,” Leo whispered.

“Oh, I got you, baby,” Finn leaned back to say, and then leaned forward to Logan. “And yeah, you did.”

Remus laughed as the knight finally skated off and they announced the woman singing the national anthem. The conversation made him think of Sirius, soot-streaked in his fireman costume that night. He wondered what he could have done with it. He looked up and caught Sirius’ eye who smiled, as if reading Remus’ mind. He had his necklace in his hand and, as the song finished, where he would have jumped the boards, instead he leaned towards Remus.

“For good luck?”

Remus’ eyes widened. “Really?”

Sirius grinned and pressed a kiss to his lips, then to his necklace, before disappearing over the boards.

Remus definitely heard some jeers from behind the glass, but he heard some cheering, too. Mostly, he smiled stupidly as the lights came back up and the music blasted for game time.

“Keep it together, kid,” Moody chuckled.

“I am, I am,” Remus could see his grinning face on at least one camera, could practically hear Frank and Marlene on the home broadcast freaking out over the kiss. It would be all over twitter no doubt, all over the news. But it was okay now. This was a choice.

 

Puck drop was Sirius versus Karlsson. Sirius won it easily, kicking forward in fast strides out into the Knight’s zone before passing it off to James. James ducked around Reaves, then Whitecloud, before Olli picked it up in a drop pass, carried it further into the zone and—

“Fucking yes,” Logan thumbed the boards. “Slash, you mother fucks.”

Remus tried to hide a smile as Whitecloud was ushered into the penalty box.

“A minute in,” Finn said as he swung over the boards for the power play. “How’s that for winning, Lupin?”

“It’s a minute in,” Logan said with a shake of his head. “Calm down.”

 

But Remus agreed. It did feel like they were winning. James caught two goals in the first, and the first intermission was wild with the thought of him getting a hat trick.

In the locker room, sweaty and fresh off an interview with Rita, he stroked the rainbow tape. “Might have to keep this stuff around. Feels a little lucky, eh?”

Remus laughed. “I’d like to see it.”

“Oh, we’re getting you that hat trick,” Sirius knocked James’ helmet on his head as he walked past in just his hockey pants. Remus let himself look this time. Sweat shone across his shoulders.

“I hate that rat bastard,” Kasey said calmly as he wiped down his helmet. “Might kill him. Just might.”

“Love ya, Bliz,” Leo laughed.

 

The second period was shot off by a tricky goal by Sirius, that got called with interference. It set off a fight, Mark Stone pulling back to aim a punch at Sirius, his elbow catching Olli squarely in the mouth.

No,” Thomas shouted from the bench. “I don’t believe.”

Where?” Leo said to himself from beside Remus and Remus shook his head.

“Yeah, that looked fine to me.”

Timmy was on Stone now, being pulled apart by Sirius and Olli, who had blood quickly accumulating down his chin. Remus motioned him in and reached behind him for his med kit. Olli spit before climbing back over the boards.

“How do your teeth feel?” Remus said wryly. “Feel like spitting any out?”

Olli laughed and sat. “No, just caught my lip I think.”

As the refs reviewed the goal, Remus was leaning down to prod at the cut on Olli’s mouth when a sudden slash of ice sounded from in front of him.

“Good to see you, Lupin.”

Remus jolted upright, and Olli stood, too. He came eye to eye with Fenrir, blood dripping down his chin still.

“Wrong fucking bench,” Olli said lowly.

Fenrir just laughed. It raised the hair on Remus’ neck. Fenrir across the ice was one thing. Remus could handle that. But he had never spoken to Remus before. He had never engaged in contact of any kind.

Then, Sirius was there, skating up behind him and shoving him out from in front of Remus.

“Get the fuck away from him,” Sirius all but snarled.

“Oh, come on, we’re old teammates.”

“You’re not my teammate,” Remus said evenly, heart hammering.

Sirius shoved Grayback again, only this time Grayback shoved him back, snapping Sirius’ head back when he wasn’t expecting it.

“No, I guess I’m not you cocksu—”

“Break it up, fellas,” a ref skated between them. “That’s enough, the goal is good, let’s get back to it before I have to call you for delay of game.”

Fenrir jumped the boards to his own bench, and Sirius climbed over towards Remus. Remus wanted to reach out, but he knew that would hardly do either of them any favors.

“We’ll get him for that,” Sirius said as he sat, looking up at Remus. “That’s a slur, we can get him for that.”

“I’m witness,” Coach said. “Yes, we sure as hell can.”

“Fuck,” Leo’s blue eyes were dark. “Fuck, I wish I could fight.”

No,” Finn and Logan said.

Remus gave Sirius’ shoulder two hard pats, then Leo’s, half trying to calm them, half trying to steady himself.

They were up three nothing. They were winning. Remus had already won. Fenrir was a person, but Remus had an entire fucking world.

He leaned down to check on Olli again, but looked at Sirius. “Love you.”

Sirius’s eyes were warm and determined. “I love you, too.”

“Loops, ow,” Olli complained, and they laughed.

 

The first part of the third period was a blur. The Knights’ defense seemed to get worse with every five minutes. They were up five nothing, Kasey was going to get a shut out, James got his hat trick and hats flew from the few Lions fans in the stands. Sirius laughed and slammed him into the boards to celebrate. The sight made Remus’ entire chest ache, remembering the first time. Sirius got off the ice and tussled Remus’ hair, too, with his glove, and Remus shoved him away, laughing.

They were winning. He—Fenrir’s dark eyes and snarl—was losing. The Vegas crowd was taunting, singing Kasey’s last name in an eerie, stretched out voice, trying to distract him, at the very least make him lose his shut out. They should have known Kasey better.

With five minutes left in the game, Sirius lined up for another face off against Karlsson. Sirius won it, and jetted forward, his eyes on the puck. James weaved his way across the ice, tapping his stick down, asking for the pass. Sirius saw, deked around Reaves. He had an open lane, a perfectly open lane—

Remus saw him coming like a shape in the night. No where, and then there.

Fenrir slammed into Sirius’ stomach, shouldering him against the boards with a sickening crack.

Remus felt his own chest do the same.

A whistle blew, and it bled into the ringing in Remus’ ears.

Sirius was down. Remus watched him try and push himself up once, twice, and then slump. Remus’ hand flew to his throat, where there was no air.

The bench was a flurry of motion instantly, Logan, Finn, Pascal, swinging themselves onto the ice and shouting at the referees.

James was on Grayback, knocking his helmet off but getting dragged away by a referee. The refs didn’t see Pascal coming, though. Pascal tossed off his gloves, grabbed Grayback by the neck and threw a hard punch to his jaw before anyone could see what was happening. Remus watched without breathing. Pascal pinned him against the boards.

And Sirius wasn’t getting up. Olli and Timmy knelt beside him.

 

Hits come out of no where. Remus knew that very well. But this hit had come from farther than no where. It had come from the unfathomed.

“Sirius,” Remus heard himself say. Medics ran out onto the ice and rolled Sirius onto his back, and then he was out of view. Remus couldn’t even tell if his eyes were open, couldn’t see what was wrong

He turned to Arthur. “What is it, what is it—”

“We don’t know yet,” Arthur breathed. He held up his calling card in front of his mouth and spoke quickly to Moody and an assistant coach, out of view from any camera. Remus’ stomach lurched when he suddenly saw Alice there, standing just inside the tunnel with a hand to her chest.

Remus felt Moody’s hand on his back. “All right, kid. It’s okay.”

“He needs—take him back, take him away from the—”

A medic put his hand up and Remus knew that sign. Stretcher. They were calling for a stretcher.

Remus grabbed onto the boards and then Leo was there.

“Loops,” he heard Leo say faintly.

“Can you see anything,” Remus said. “Can you see him?”

“There’s no blood,” Leo said. “I think it’s a rib.”

Rib. Ribs could do any height of damage, or none at all.

The stretcher came flying out of the tunnel, and then Sirius was being ushered right past Remus. Remus pushed passed Coach, trying to get a glimpse. He saw a pale gray eye blinking quickly at the quiet crowd, and then Sirius was gone.

Remus looked out out at the ice, to the players still shouting at each other. James was red in the face behind the arms of a referee, and Pascal was spitting right in Fenrir’s. Thomas was on Karlsson. Fleury had skated back to his bench and was talking in quick French to one of his coaches. Their eyes met briefly before Remus looked at the clock, then back down the tunnel.

Two minutes and ten seconds. That was all that was left in the game.

 

~

 

They won. Technically. The locker room was deafening. The only sounds were tape being unwound and bags being unzipped, showers turning on. It felt like time had rewound itself, back to Snape’s hit. James hung back with Remus in the hallway near where Coach was on the phone.

“Sunrise Hospital,” Coach said to them, before continuing to talk.

“Okay,” James said, swiping his hands through his sweaty hair. “Alright, um, we’ll get a cab or—”

Fleury was there suddenly, appearing down the hallway from the direction of the home locker room. He stopped in front of them a little shyly, but held out something—car keys. “You should take my car. You’ll get there faster.” He was still in his full gear, tall in his skates, his kind eyes worried on Remus. “He is horrible. I hate his guts.”

Remus blinked at him, dazed, then nodded.

James took the keys. “Thank you, Fleury.”

 

It was the second time Remus had felt like he was going to pass out or throw up in a car with James.

“Loops,” James began. He was still mostly in his game dress, sweaty in his under armor and thrown on sweatpants. He still had his contacts in. There was stick tape on one of his shoulders. “It’s—fuck, Remus, I didn’t even see him coming, I…”

“It’s not your fault,” Remus said, and sounded bland even to himself. “You never can see them coming, no one can.”

“I…” James’ phone started ringing. “Fuck, can you get that for me?”

Remus fumbled for it by the gear shift, hoping it would be some news of Sirius. Celeste’s name flashed up at him. Maybe she was looking for news, too. Sirius was like a son to her.

“It’s Celeste.”

“What?” James’ head jerked towards him. “Answer, answer.”

“Celeste?” Remus said. “Hi, it’s Remus.”

“Remus, mon dieu,” Celeste sounded out of breath, and like she was on the road. “Are you on your way to the hospital?”

“Yeah,” Remus swallowed. “Sirius…”

“Lily’s water broke. Tell James to get here as soon as he can.”

What?” Remus clutched James’ shoulder.

“What, what, what,” James shouted. “What?

“Lily’s water broke,” Remus gripped tighter.

“Holy fuck,” James passed a hand through his sweaty hair. “Holy fuck, Lils—fuck, tell her I’m on my way. Fuck, I—fuck.

“He’s coming,” Remus leaned forward against his seatbelt, as if that would make the car go faster. He was torn in two, Lily and Sirius. “Tell Lily.”

“Put me on the phone,” came Lily’s voice in the background. “Put me on the phone.

Remus gasped in a breath and eyed an upcoming gas station, and then turned to James. “Pots, drop me off here. I’ll call a cab, you have to get to the airport—”

“James?” Lily’s voice came through the phone, and Remus quickly put it on speaker. “James?”

“Hi, Lils,” James said, and put his blinker on, taking a sharp turn into the gas station. “Hi sweetheart, are you okay? You feeling alright?”

“You’re not here and—and—” Lily’s voice was tearful and cut off by a groan.

James pulled the car into park and put a hand over his eyes, taking the phone from Remus. “I know. I know, fuck, I’m sorry, baby, I’m coming as fast as I can, okay? Are you okay?”

“Yes. Is Sirius okay?”

Remus closed his eyes, too, giving himself a second to rest his head back against the car.

“We don’t know anything.”

“It looked so bad, James. Remus?”

“I’m here,” Remus said. “I’m gonna get out and call a cab though so James can get to you, okay?”

“This hurts like a fucking bitch.”

Remus, despite everything, smiled a little. “You got this, Lils.”

“I guess we’ll just wish each other luck, huh?” Lily said faintly. “My boy will come to me, you go to yours.”

Remus swallowed and clicked open the passenger side door. “Yes. Good luck, Lils.”

James pulled him in for a quick one-armed hug. “Love you. Tell Cap that I…”

“He knows,” Remus said, jumping down to the hot smelling cement, even at this late hour. “I’ll keep you updated. You better do the same.”

James nodded, hazel eyes bright. “I will.”

Remus closed the door.

 

He stood there for a moment, watching James’ taillights disappear and mingle into the traffic.

A bell rang somewhere above him as he went inside, welcomed by the stale smell of chips and burnt coffee. The salesman gave him a phone number for a cab service, and Remus recited the address of the hospital on autopilot. His stomach rolled. Lily. Sirius. Fenrir. The postgame was still playing on the radio.

 

As Remus stood there, helpless in a gas station parking lot, a very old urge came flooding back. Calf stretches before thigh. Two bottles of water on the bench. Right foot first to step onto the ice. Pasta and marinara before home games, chicken and broccoli before away. Eggs morning of, pancakes after a win. Drag the puck around the goal crease twelve times. Calf stretches before thigh, two bottles of water on the bench, right foot first to step onto the ice, pasta and marinara home, chicken and broccoli away, eggs morning of, pancakes after a win, goal crease, calf, thigh, two bottles, right foot first, pasta, chicken, eggs, win, goal, do it right, win, goal, do something

Remus sat down hard on the curb and put his head in his hands. He tired to remind himself that those were not the things that got him where he was today. But hockey was like that. Half control. Half commitment and work. And half chance.

Half sheer dumb luck.

Chapter Text

part xvii

 

Remus forgot his own birthday.

Lily had to remind him, bringing out a cake while he and Sirius had spent the day playing with baby Harry. Harry Potter. Harry James Potter.

The team adored him. Remus would never forget the sight of an entire team of hockey players, fresh off a plane, and crammed into a hospital room to peer at the small head of dark hair in Lily’s arms.

Minus one. Minus two, if what Sirius said was true, and Remus was part of the team. Remus had looked at the picture that Pascal had sent him from beside a sleeping Sirius and a heart monitor.

He had looked at the picture, and then at Sirius, and the relief doubled.

Four broken ribs. Bad, but it could have been worse. So much worse. A few days in Vegas to be monitored, just in case. Then, home.

Home for Remus’ birthday, home and in pain, but smiling none-the-less. Harry was a welcomed distraction from it all—the press, the hurt, the uncertainty. Lily seemed to know this without it needing to be said. Remus had told her she had enough going on without worrying about a cake, but Lily had just waved him off and cut them all large slices of the chocolate fluff.

Sirius, meanwhile, had somehow slipped a simple golden necklace around Harry’s neck, and when Remus looked down next, there it had been. A shining gold star pendant. The message had been clear. Sirius’ name-sake and Sirius himself—something to make a wish on.

Remus took a weeks off of work, all that he could.

Road-trips were a blur. Practices were anxious. The team was anxious.

March 27th.

Eight weeks. Sirius had been out for eight weeks. Resting, and stuck in his big house. Remus never thought he would be so thankful for Regulus.

“I’d rather be here than Slytherin any day, even though he whines like a baby when you’re gone.”

Non,” Sirius would protest.

Regulus would raise an eyebrow. “Yeah.”

Remus would sneak into Sirius’ bedroom whenever he got home late, press one, two, three, four gentle kisses across his chest, and take his place on the other side of the pillow, carefully placed so that Sirius didn’t roll over during the night.

Sirius whined a good deal about that, too. And getting back on the ice.

“I just…I want to be back in case we make it to…” the playoffs.

The team was close. So close.

Sirius had only recently been allowed to come to the rink, suit and all, for home games to sit in the team box. It was strange, looking up from the bench at the jumbotron and seeing the image of Sirius there, standing with his arms crossed, sometimes with a beanie on, making his eyes look intense as he focused on the game in front of him. He was completely unreadable—to everyone but Remus. Remus could tell when he was happy with the team’s playing, when he was annoyed at their opponents. The internet was crawling with gifs of Sirius’ stormy eyes. Remus had more than a few saved, and they frequented the team group chat.

Remus looked up now, but all the jumbotron was showing was James, who had been taking lead in Sirius’ absence, talking quickly to Finn. Remus could see his own legs in the background.

The Stars were up 4-1, and there was ten minutes left in the second period. If they won this game, and they won the next game, they were in. And Sirius would be back the week after that—hopefully in time for the first playoff game, and not for an all-too-long summer vacation. Although, honestly, right then, Remus thought Sirius deserved either one. A chance at the Cup, or a break, a chance to rest up. To be together.

Leo was in net, Kasey resting up his thigh that continuously bothered him. Leo was skating a slow circle after the Stars scored yet another goal, tracing the blue crease with his stick. Remus could practically feel his furious calm.

“Big Rig may experience different weather up there, but he sure as hell has more gravity. Tremzy,” James knocked his helmet with his glove. “Don’t let him catch you, eh?”

“We gotta come back from this shit,” Finn said as he followed Logan over the boards. “For Leo. Leaving him out to dry out there. No.”

“For Cap,” Thomas said, coming back over the boards and breathing hard.

“Gotta put my baby in that silver crib!” James followed his wingers, a center for now.

“Cookie, Bluey, Ringer, be ready,” Coach called. “You’re on deck.”

“The oven is hot tonight,” Elias Cook said, pouring water over his neck.

Stop saying that,” Kasey shook his head. “Jesus.”

“He can’t help the heat, Baby Bliz,” Thomas said.

Kasey just shook his head and looked back to the game.

Remus leaned in over Thomas’ shoulder. “That was a hit, Talkie, you good?”

“I’m hot,” Thomas said around his mouthguard.

Remus snorted, patting his shoulder pad. “You sure are.”

 

James lined up for the face off, Finn and Logan jostling against Benn and Perry. Logan dug his skates in when the ref dropped the puck and James whipped it back to him. Logan darted forward into the Stars’ zone, tailed closely.

“C’mon, Tremz,” Remus murmured.

Logan shot the puck off to Finn who got battered against the boards almost immediately by Benn, but got it smoothly to Olli, who sent it sailing back towards the Stars’ net. James was there behind the crease, Khudobin pushed out the wrong way—

James curled it in from behind and the Gryffindor goal horn blared.

“Fuck!” Thomas rose to his feet, knocking his stick against the boards. “Atta boy, baby-daddy!”

4-2 until the buzzer sounded and they were heading back down the tunnel. Remus glanced up at the screen one more time, and only just caught Sirius, smile plastered on as he was shown shaking the hands of a few older men. Remus suppressed a smile, and followed the team off of the ice for second intermission.

The locker room was subdued, and Sirius came in while Remus was crouched by Logan, taping up a jammed finger. He walked up to Coach first, leaning his elbows on the podium where he controlled the projector. Remus watched as he pointed to a few of the plays drawn up on the whiteboard, Coach nodding along.

“I can do this,” Logan said. “Leave with your moon eyes.”

Remus rolled his eyes, but tore off the tape and rose. “You’re all set. Try and keep it safe during third.”

“Oui,” Logan said, already sliding his headphones back on. Finn rose to get a fresh jersey, brushing a palm over the back of Logan’s neck on his way. Logan’s eyes followed him as he went to Leo next, who was sitting with his elbows on his knees in his stall, head down and airpods in. Finn squeezed himself in beside him and wrapped an arm around his shoulders. He leaned in to press a few kisses to his neck, murmuring soft words. Leo closed his eyes and pressed into him.

“Hey.”

Remus turned away from the two to meet Sirius’ eyes. He was smiling, a good break from the grimace Remus had become used to.

“Hi,” Remus said and pressed a hand over the familiar bandage, thick beneath Sirius’ suit and shirt. “Feeling okay?”

“I’m good,” Sirius leaned down, right in the locker room, and kissed him. His mouth was gentle, leisurely. “I feel good.”

Remus smiled into it, and took his hand. “Good. Come on.”

Sirius followed him, hand in Remus’, into the training office.

“Ten minutes until show time,” Remus said in the dim space and wrapped his arms around Sirius’ neck. “Are you really feeling okay? Been on your feet for a while, I’ve been watching.”

“Loops, I come back soon. I’m healed, I’ve started light exercise. It’s just a matter of insurance.” Sirius leaned into him, lips brushing his. “You seemed to think I was fine last night.”

Remus grinned. “Yeah, I definitely think you were fine last night.”

Sirius smiled, but then his expression turned more grave. He bit his lip, and ran his hands up and down Remus’ sides a few times, almost as if to comfort himself. “Fuck, I want this for the team so bad.”

Remus nodded. This was a conversation they had been having more often than not. “I know. And they know. You want it for them, but baby, they want it for you. They’re out there doing their fucking hardest for you. I don’t think you should start preparing for the worst. Not yet. Hockey’s a fast game.”

“We’re just—we’re so close. And fucking Grayback and…and if we win this game, we just have to beat Vegas again and we’re in. And I won’t get to fucking be out there because of fucking Grayback. And he’s not even suspended anymore—”

Remus kissed him, and Sirius mumbled for a moment into it before relaxing.

“Two games,” Remus said. “Home. Then Vegas. We beat Grayback, take a chance at the cup away from him. That’s the best we can do.”

Sirius looked at him for a long moment. “How are you so okay with all of this?”

“What’s the alternative? Obsessing over him? He’s not worth it. At all.”

They looked up at the sound of the team noisily making their way back down the tunnel, shouts and whistles, trying to psych themselves up for a come back.

“Third,” Remus said, then tucked his fingers into Sirius’ hair and kissed him again. “You’re competitive. I love you for it. But, baby, you’ve already beaten him. You beat him a long time ago.”

Remus kissed Sirius’ slowly smiling mouth again and again before rushing out the door.

 

Sirius made his way back up to the box. He watched the other members’ eyes follow him as he slipped back into the private room. There was an absurd array of food and drinks on a table, designed to impress members and investors. Sushi rolls and miniature hot dogs, popcorn in Lions colored cardboard boxes. Red-frosted cupcakes and lion head cake-pops. Sirius took a cupcake. He’d already beaten Grayback. Remus had just kissed him. His ribs had healed well. It all called for a cupcake.

“Really letting yourself off, eh?”

Sirius looked up at a man. He was wearing a white collared shirt under one of Sirius’ jerseys. Obviously a fan, obviously nervous, obviously important given the way one of the managers was looking at him talking to Sirius.

“No,” Sirius said plainly. “I’m having a cupcake.”

There were laughs from around him, as if Sirius was the funniest guy in the room. Sirius didn’t feel funny. This guy was making him miss puck drop.

The man held out his hand. “I’m Mike. Real doozy you slapped the world with.”

Sirius took it tightly, cupcake in his other hand. “I wasn’t aware that I did the slapping.”

“Probably broke a lot of hearts though.”

Sirius looked at Mike the way he looked at opponents on the ice. He watched him blink, watched his body language change.

“I was thinking about my own heart. Désloé, how do we know each other again?”

“Oh. Well—”

“Right,” Sirius nodded. “Enjoy the game.”

Sirius walked towards the box’s edge, unwrapping his cupcake. He could see the entire stadium from up here, the teaming mass of red and gold, the team readying themselves on the ice. A tiny glimpse of Remus on the bench. Coach was gesturing and talking. He watched his own face on the jumbotron as he took a bite of the dessert. He found the camera and flashed it a thumbs up, waving his arms upwards and listening to the crowd’s cheers roar in time with his hands. He caught glimpses of rainbow flags in the crowd, signs with number twelve decked out in the colors. It was a nice contrast to the signs that Sirius saw on his way into the stadium. Defaced number twelve jerseys, slurs, people jeering at his window as he drove through security. Interesting, to see who was inside, and who was not.

The puck dropped and James won it. James who, despite them being down, was hot tonight. No doubt riding the adrenaline of Harry and Lily at home, of being named temporary captain, of being so close to what they all dreamed of.

Sirius couldn’t think it, not even in his head.

The puck seemed to be frozen in the central zone, both teams battling too hard. A stalemate in aggressive trench warfare. Back and forth, back and forth with no progress. Sirius crumpled the cupcake wrapping between his fists and cupped them together, shoulders tense.

“Allez…” he whispered to himself.

The camera was on him again, and he looked stony even to himself. He raised his eyes to it and pointed a finger down at the game. Show that, he mouthed.

The Lions goal horn blared. Logan had scored.

Sirius knew the camera caught his reaction on camera. He put his fists up, relief bubbling out of him in a shout.

“Allez, Tremzy!”

The crowd was going wild. Finn slammed Logan into the boards in celebration and the jumbotron replayed the beautiful tip-in. 4-3. Things weren’t so impossible anymore.

Sirius squeezed the wrapper in-between his hands again and set his elbows on the ledge.

“Play Kuny, play Kuny…” Sirius muttered under his breath. He would match Oleksiak. Sure enough, Coach sent Kuny’s line over the boards a second later. Nado and Evan Kane followed him, Fox and Sunqvist on defense.

“No power plays,” Sirius prayed. “Come on, Nado, no stupid penalties.”

“Do you always talk to yourself in French while playing?”

Sirius stiffened. Mike was back.

“Non, parfois je parle en russe.”

Mike blinked. “What?”

“Laisse-moi tranquille, homme intrusif,” Sirius grinned sharply. “I said only sometimes. Usually on the bench.”

That seemed to make Mike happy. “Hey, you’re really superstitious, right?”

“Yes.”

“Like what?”

Like being alone in the team box, Sirius thought bitterly. Like getting a blowjob from my boyfriend before a game, you know, that doozy I slapped the world with?

“There’s a lot of them,” Sirius said. “If you’ll excuse me, I really have to watch this.”

Mike nodded quickly. “Oh, of course, of course.”

Sirius shifted away a little when he didn’t move, tried to focus on the ice. The puck had dropped and it was on Evgeni’s stick. He was carrying it quickly up the ice, seeming to cut through the players with his broad shoulders. Sirius imagined he could hear his deep voice, calling for Nado to look alive. The pass connected, but Seguin tapped it out of Nado’s hands from behind and sent it up the ice quickly to Benn.

“Merde,” Sirius said. The Lions were changing and then it was Pascal’s line with Elias and Brady, Olli and Timmy on defense. Benn managed to get around Olli, and then—

Leo was pushing far out of the crease and aggressively jabbed the puck right from Benn’s stick and onto Pascal’s waiting one. Leo slid back into the crease like a water snake. The stadium was chaos.

Knutty, Knutty, Knutty, was the chant. It filled the air itself. The jumbotron showed the bench briefly, Logan and Finn and Thomas grinning up at the stands. Pascal still had the puck.

His solid form darted up a clear channel, catching the Stars in a slow shift change. He was in front of the goal, Sirius squeezed the wrapper between his palms. Pascal faked by lifting his left leg,Khudobin went for it, and Pascal slid it right between his pads, neat and tidy.

They tied the game. They tied up the game. Sirius pushed back from the railing with a long breath as a TV break began. The Lions ice crew came out to some pop song and began their sweep. Sirius looked down at his bench and yearned to be with them. He rubbed his hand absentmindedly over his ribs. They were healed. He had a few more sessions with Remus left and then he would be back. He would be back.

He thought of the hit.

He hadn’t known what was wrong. There had been no air in his lungs. But Remus had been his first thought. He knew who hit him, he had seen his face before he hit the ice.

Remus.

This would hurt Remus.

“Wait, has a what?”

His own voice over the jumbotron drew him out of his thoughts. It was a pre-recorded interview, one of the fluff ones that they played for fun to entertain the crowd.

Marlene’s voice from off screen repeated the question. “Which one of your teammates has a life-sized Stormtrooper, R2-D2 and C-3PO action figure in their apartment?”

They showed his own face again, laughing and thinking. “Oh. Um.”

It switched to James, arms crossed and actually thinking about it. He pushed his glasses up his nose and laughed. “I don’t know, Finn and Leo? That seems like a weird Harzy thing.”

It cut to Finn. “That’s not weird. I wish it was me. I’ll convince Nut, don’t you worry.”

Pascal looked unimpressed, sitting easily in the chair. “There is only one person this could be, and that person spent the first two months of his time in the U.S. with only the phrases, You’re my only hope, and I’m your father, to his vocabulary. Oh, and the word no.”

Sunny was laughing. “I know exactly who this is.”

Nado looked pained. “Do you have any idea how many times I’ve seen Star Wars now? Do you have any idea?”

Finally, the screen cut to Evgeni, smiling, tongue jokingly between his teeth. “Good for English, you know?” He held up his hands. “I am Force.”

The video ended with a swoop of the Lions’ logo, and even Sirius could help but smile. There was eight minutes left in the period.

Eight minutes to pull ahead.

They would do it.

The Stars had called a time out, and so James, Logan, and Finn were milling around the ice together, keeping their muscles warm. Leo was looping around the goal.

They were ready.

Seguin faced off against James, both of them leaning forward.

Seguin won it.

There was a fleury when James was pinned to the boards by Oleksiak, but Logan was there to steal the puck from beneath his feet.

The clock had dwindled down to four minutes when a whistle blew with a slashing penalty on the Stars. Pascal and Thomas joined James on the ice for the power play unit.

Sirius could feel the energetic restlessness of the crowd. They all knew what this could mean. Sirius let out a shaky breath and looked at the wrapper in his hands. He thought of Remus. Remus, and his long list of superstitions. But what pulled him through had been himself. Sirius held it anyway, but he held his Lions closer.

They were ready.

They set themselves up in a triangle, a tic-tac-toe, in front of the Stars’ goal. The sent it to each other quickly, boxing the defensemen in. Finally, James got it to Evgeni, who slapped it with a one timer and—

The goal horn. 00:24 seconds remaining.

The crowd was already singing with victory. The Stars tried for one last push, but Leo snatched the puck right out of the air with his glove.

00:03.

Done.

Sirius pushed his hands through his hair in relief. “Merde.”

Sirius was out of the box before anyone could even think about congratulating him, jogging down the private staircase and towards the locker room. He made it to the player’s hallway before he was stopped by a smiling Alice.

“I know, I know,” she said. “Can we just get a few questions in?” She gestured over to where Marlene was standing with a microphone, talking to a dark haired girl holding a camera. Alice raised an eyebrow. “It’s only Marlene.”

Sirius rolled his eyes. “Sure.”

Alice patted his arm. “Congrats, by the way.”

“Thanks,” Sirius said and shoved his hands into his pockets while looking at Marlene expectantly.

“Okay, McKinnon, let’s go.”

Marlene scoffed. “Nice to see you, too. Hi Cap, how are you? Ribs, mind, in general.”

Sirius relaxed a little. If he had to do interviews, he preferred Marlene above all else. “I’m healing well. Ready to get back on the ice.”

Marlene narrowed her eyes at his short response and he smiled. That made her smile. Those were rare for the press, and she had just caught one.

“Any thoughts you want to share about how the majority of the world is responding to you lately? By my calculations, you’re quite the icon and inspiration—not that you weren’t before of course.”

Sirius laughed a little. “Oh yeah? Um,” he cleared his throat. When he looked up he could see Remus down the hall a little ways. He was talking to Kasey who was still fully dressed. Remus looked beautiful and strong and…And Sirius just… He hated questions like this but he just—

“Someone is always going to find something wrong with you,” Sirius said. “With what you say. With what you do. My job is not to please, you know? My job is to play hockey, sure, but, really, my job is to be the person I want to be, do the things I believe are right, do the things I love. With the people I choose to love. I think that’s everyone’s job,” Sirius found Remus beyond the cameras again, along with everything he had ever wanted. He looked back to Marlene. “That took me a long time to learn. They say, have a thick skin and an open heart. Before, all I had was a thick skin. Now, I’ve found someone who can help me have both. I didn’t even realize how much I needed that.”

 

~

 

“And that was an interview with a surprisingly heartfelt Captain Sirius Black,” Lee Jordan broke off in a laugh. “Earlier this game we also got to see him telling the cameras, show the game, show the game. Pointing down at the ice. Outstanding. That’s a layer of the Captain that I don’t think we see very often. From what I hear, the dude’s funny, though, Dean. Now, let’s take a look at the Lions’ top scorers. With the Captain out, that would be Logan Tremblay, James Potter, and, that’s right, one of the oldest in the league, Pascal Dumais…”

“What is that?” Remus said, appearing in front of Sirius where he was waiting in the PT room and drawing his attention away from the television. Remus peered at his hands.

“Oh,” Sirius felt himself flush as he looked down at the cupcake wrapper, more like a tiny ball of oily paper now. “I was holding this when Logan scored, so…”

Remus laughed. “So, you had to hold it the entire period. And now it’s practically falling apart. You’re not keeping that.”

“But it—” Remus grinned as Sirius surrendered the wrapper. “Fine.”

“Hey,” Remus said, and Sirius looked up. Remus was flushed from the game, eyes bright with the win. He leaned up and kissed him hotly, then softly. Sirius had to blink a few times when he pulled away. 

“You always had an open heart,” Remus said. “That’s obvious to anyone who knows you. Who loves you.”

Sirius smiled. “Yeah?”

“Yeah.”

Someone cleared their throat. “Sorry…”

They looked up to see Kasey, now in just some basketball shorts. “Hi.”

“Hey, Bliz, I’m ready for you,” Remus said, then looked up at Sirius. “I can get the subway back if you wanna go home to Regulus.”

“Non, non, I’ll wait,” Sirius said, and bumped fists with Kasey on his way out.

 

Remus smiled after him for a moment, then at Kasey. “So, thigh?”

Kasey nodded, eyes shifting downward, then back to Remus again. “Yeah.”

Remus paused, brows drawing together. “Kasey, are you—”

“Hey, Kase?” Natalie appeared in the doorway. She had her long blonde hair drawn back in two dutch braids and a Blizzard jersey on over a gray sweatshirt with the hood spilling out. Her smile wasn’t as bright as usual.

“Hi, Remus,” she said. “Baby, I’m gonna go say hi to Marlene. Just text me when you’re all set okay?”

“Hi, Nat,” Remus said slowly.

Kasey nodded, accepting a kiss on the cheek. “Okay.”

He hopped up on the table and lay on his back while Remus got ready.

“Just the thigh that’s bothering you?” Remus said carefully. He pushed Kasey’s shorts up his thigh to get at the tense muscle and carefully began kneading the muscles. The post-game played softly on the television while Remus waited for Kasey to speak.

“Will it always be like this, Loops?” Kasey asked quietly after a few moments.

Remus looked up at where Kasey was reclining on the padded table with his fingers across his chest. Remus, if he was being honest with himself, had been waiting to have this conversation with Kasey for a while.

Kasey looked back at him. “It acts up more often than not. I can’t play if I can go down, I…I can’t—”

“I know,” Remus said softly. “I know, Kase. Look.” Remus moved down to his knee, smoothing the muscle firmly. “This injury…it’s a tough one. It takes a long time to heal. It takes time and endurance. So, my answer is no. It won’t always be like this. It just takes time.”

“What if I don’t have time?” Kasey’s voice was even quieter. “I’m a goalie. Sometimes we have less—”

“Kase,” Remus looked at him. “You’re twenty six years old. You do.”

Kasey groaned as Remus pressed his knee out to the side, loosening the muscle slowly. “Fuck.”

“We’ll do some strength training next practice, okay? We’ll make a schedule, I’ll work with you. And we have a day off tomorrow. I’ll send you some videos to do at home if you want, or you can rest.” Remus smiled a little. “Or Natalie can help you stretch.”

Kasey smiled and it seemed easier. “When you say stretch…”

Remus laughed. “That’s the point. Look, you will heal, but you also have to enjoy the rest of your life. Hockey’s everything, and not everything at the same time. I’m gonna give you some salve, okay? And then you’ll be good for the night. Rest.”

Kasey nodded. “How’s Cap doing?”

“He’s okay,” Remus said, warming up the muscle salve between his palms. “Wants to be out there with you guys.”

“We want him there,” Kasey sat up on his elbows and watched Remus’s hands. “What about baby Black?”

Remus snorted. “Good. I mean, happy he’s here. The whole Snake runaway thing is sort of up in the air. The Snakes have their lawyers on his ass about his contract, and Minnie thinks he might have to go public with some pretty horrific stories to prove that they breached it.”

“Horrific stories…”

Their eyes met somberly. “I know.”

“Jesus,” Kasey sighed as he sat up. He pushed his hair out of his face and looked down at his leg. “That feels better. I…I feel better.”

“Good. Try and stay off it as much as you can, okay? Nat loves you to death, don’t tell me she won’t get you what you need.”

“Oh, she will,” Kasey smiled and eased himself carefully off the table. “Thanks, Loops.”

“Bliz,” Remus said, and Kasey turned to look back. “You have time and life and everything else. Really.”

Kasey nodded. He smiled a serious sort of smile. “You’re right. I get in my head.”

“You’re a goalie. That’s part of the job.”

Kasey laughed, flipped him off, and closed the door behind him.

 

Sirius was waiting for him on one of the couches in the player’s lounge, eyes closed and beanie on his head. His shoulders looked broad in his dark winter coat and suit.

“Hi, handsome,” Remus said, leaning over Sirius with his hands resting against the back of the couch on either side of his head.

Sirius’ eyes opened and he smiled. “Salut.”

“Ready to go home?”

“Regulus says he’s out with Leo. Day off and all that,” Sirius tilted his chin up, silently asking. “House to ourselves.”

Remus pushed himself back upright. “Let’s go.”

 

~

 

“I’m glad Regulus had Leo,” Remus said as he stood in Sirius’ massive but mostly empty closet. He picked out one of Sirius’ t-shirts and sweatpants and pulled them on. “They’re both eighteen and both have a lot of pressure to deal with, even if it’s, you know, different pressure. It’s nice.”

“Yeah, I’m happy,” Sirius said as he came back into the bedroom from the bathroom. His torso looked lean in his his sweatpants, the bruising finally faded. "And thankful to Leo. He didn’t have to reach out, you know?” Sirius collapsed onto the bed with a smile, bouncing a little. “Now, let’s stop talking about my brother.”

“Nope, no bed yet. Come on.”

Loops.”

“You want to play next week, you do this with me now. Let’s go.”

Sirius let Remus wrangle him downstairs and into the gym. Sirius put on some music and then Remus lay him out in just his sweatpants on a soft mat and led him through the breathing exercises and some of the light core work that was on his recovery plan. Sirius kept his eyes on Remus the entire time, the two of them laughing as his hands wandered to Remus’ hips. Remus had to admit that, now that Sirius wasn’t in pain, watching him spread out on the mat like this got him. His softly moving chest, his hard muscles, the shadowed curl of his hair on his temples. He let it get him, there in the privacy of Sirius’ basement. Sirius noticed.

He smiled the next time he raised up in a crunch, abs working, hands behind his head. “Maybe I could use some incentive.”

Remus raised an eyebrow from where he was by Sirius’ bent knees. “Oh?”

Sirius pushed up and held there until Remus bent so he could kiss Remus lightly, then lowered back down.

The next time he came up, he brought Remus down with him. He parted his knees so Remus could settle between them. Sirius’ chest was warm from the exercise, his heartbeat even. Remus sighed into his kisses.

“We should go easy, we have the party at Pascal’s tomorrow—”

“I’m perfect,” Sirius said, and rolled them gently so that Remus was on his back now, Sirius hovering over him. “I feel perfect. I want you so bad.”

It had been a bit of a challenge. They’d been on strict no-sex orders, given to them rather sheepishly by Sirius’ doctor while he was still in the hospital. It had been a lot of Remus trying to sneak a quick jack-off in the shower, trying not to make things harder on Sirius, only to come out of the shower to a glowering, turned-on boyfriend.

Getting the all clear had been spine-melting, and it had sort of been that way ever since. Still, sex was few and far in between. Regulus was in the house more often than not, and even if it was a big house, Remus didn’t think it was the best idea to invite him to stay only to sneak off to Sirius’ bedroom.

Regulus had received the message quickly though, and told them clearly enough when he would be out for a while.

Remus shuttered when Sirius’ hardening cock dragged across his own.

“Fuck, are we really doing this in the gym?” Remus panted out a laugh. He was already so turned on that it ached. His dick pressed insistently against the band of his sweatpants, and when Sirius next dragged his hips down, the loose fabric pulled away to expose the shiny head of his cock. Remus moaned. “Sirius, fuck…fuck, I—”

“No lube,” Sirius said. “Shit, I…”

Remus just pushed Sirius’ sweatpants down over his ass, making his cock fall free, bobbing and stiff, and tugged his own sweatpants down until his hips and thighs were exposed. Remus pushed their hips together, mouth open. It was plenty wet, Sirius cock already beginning to shine at the head.

Sirius fucked his hips forward steadily against Remus, the friction making him squeeze his eyes shut. Remus felt Sirius’ lips against his neck, and wrapped his arms around him. He felt sort of frantic with it, lazily happy with how much he loved this.

“Love you,” he murmured as Sirius pushed forward with a well-aimed thrust. “Fuck, baby, yeah…”

“Not bad for a core workout,” Sirius said into his skin.

Remus laughed, even as pleasure sparked at the edges of his vision. His cock felt heavy and sensitive against his stomach.

“Don’t overdo it,” Remus said. “Here.”

Remus pushed at Sirius’ shoulders until Sirius groaned and rolled onto his back.

“I’m fi—”

His complaints died on his tongue when Remus pressed up all along his side, cock trapped between them, and wrapped a hand around Sirius. He kept his strokes even and tight, running his fingers down over his full balls, the vein on the underside. Sirius was hot in his hand, precome thin and leaking over the back of Remus’ hand. Remus kissed Sirius, tongue sliding into his mouth, and more heat trickled over his fingers. Remus felt like he could come just like that. It was almost—surreal. He was so turned on, especially for not even having done that much. He had just been taking Sirius through his exercises one moment, and then Sirius had taken him between his thighs and he was done for.

“Re, let me,” Sirius breathed, and his fingers found his own cock for a moment before wrapping around Remus’ shoulders to reach behind him, rubbing over the swell of his ass.

Heat pooled in Remus stomach and made his hand stutter, gripping Sirius tighter. “Fuck, yes…”

Sirius’ fingers were soft and slow as they worked their way inside of Remus. It was a little dry, but Remus let his temple pitch forward onto Sirius’ chest as Sirius fingered him. He stroked Sirius slowly, dazed by the contrast between his own pale fingers and the darker, flushed skin of him. He wished he could see Sirius’ hand.

“There,” Remus gasped suddenly. “Ah—

Sirius pressed him in gentle, slow strokes. It was different, being touched there and not his cock. Remus pushed into the feeling, his cock trapped and still between them. It wasn’t enough to do much except let Sirius’ fingers build a painfully slow pressure inside him. His eyes were lidded as he stroked Sirius’ cock until it was rock hard in his palm. He threw a leg over Sirius’ thighs so that Sirius could push into him deeper, finger curving against his prostate.

Remus just moaned.

“I’m gonna come soon, mon loup,” Sirius panted, hips straining up once, twice. “Loops—”

Remus sped up his hand, swiping his thumb over the swollen head, and then Sirius’ hips jerked. Come dripped lazily over Remus’ fingers, more and more of it, in thick white pulses. Remus’ dick throbbed at the sight, at Sirius’ fingers, tense from his orgasm, pressing hard inside of him. He squeezed his eyes shut, then opened them, gasping. His hand had stilled against the base of Sirius’ cock, and he could feel him pulsing there, cock throbbing through his orgasm. Sirius’ head had fallen back against the mat, his chest rising and falling quickly beneath Remus’ chest. It was a mess on his hips and Remus’ fingers.

“Fuck. Oh—” Sirius moaned as Remus started stroking him again. His cock strained valiantly, but it was spent and softening. “C’mere, Loops, fuck.”

Sirius turned into Remus, fingers twisting inside of him. It gave him a better angle, and when he moved next, he doubled down.

Remus could only hold onto his shoulders, pliant against the mat.

“Can you come like this, sweetheart?” Sirius said gently. “Just on my fingers?”

Remus already felt like he was coming. There was sweat on his temples and chest, and he felt Sirius’ kiss the salt away. His cock was taught against his stomach, an angry red now. Sirius stroked inside of him evenly, but in quicker time. Remus didn’t even have time to catch one breath before the next was stolen.

“I’m coming—” Remus said, but he knew he wasn’t. Not yet. But he was sure he was. He groaned and Sirius kissed his exposed throat, his back arched up, pressing down on him.

“C’mon, baby,” Sirius said. “Fuck, look at you.”

“I’m coming,” Remus said again, voice breaking, and the calloused pad of Sirius’ finger pressed against him hard, and then he really was. It tore out of him forever, spilling against Sirius’ tan skin. Sirius cradled Remus against him, saying soft things in French until Remus could open his eyes again. Sirius took Remus’ dick gently in his hand, easing a last shiver of pleasure from him. Remus smiled a little deliriously and curled closer to his warmth.

“Bath?” Sirius whispered.

“We gotta clean this,” Remus laughed. “Fuck, I feel like my brain is gone.”

“I’ll clean,” Sirius said, and tilted Remus’ head up for a kiss. “Go get the hot water going.”

That sounded fine to Remus.

 

~

 

Lily opened the door to Pascal’s house with Harry cradled in her arms.

“Sirius fucking Black I swear to god you triggered my labor.”

“You say that to me every time you see me.”

She stepped aside. “And will continue to do so.”

Remus stepped through the door first and took Harry from her, holding him close so that Sirius could press a kiss to one of his chubby cheeks. He wasn’t heavy, but Sirius wasn’t suppose to lift very much. Harry smiled at him and Remus watched as Sirius smiled back, murmuring in French.

“Where’s Regulus?” Lily asked.

Sirius shrugged, still making faces at Harry.

“Out with Leo,” Finn’s voice suddenly said. He was sitting on the couch with Logan tucked up against his side. “Yeah, uh-huh, Leo’s replacing us with your brother.”

Logan rolled his eyes. “That’s not true.”

Finn raised his eyebrows, as if to say he wasn’t so sure about that. Logan nudged his jaw with his nose until he pressed a light kiss to his lips. Remus smiled.

He could see the long road that was behind them and the long road ahead at the same time. It was better that way.

Most of the team was there. The living room had a huge banner that read Congratulations Logan! and beneath it a smaller one: for finally moving out of my basement! 

Sirius laughed hard. “I didn’t get one of these!”

Pascal shook his head from where he was playing cards with Sergei. “I knew you would leave eventually. This one, I wasn’t so sure.”

Hey,” Logan groaned.

Remus laughed and snapped a picture of Sirius in front of it.

“Can I have that for my instagram?” James asked.

“Baby, too much instagram, okay, I love you so much, but…” Lily winced.

“But I have a baby now,” James stood to Remus’ other side, and then Remus had two fully grown hockey players making baby talk surrounding him. “That’s what instagram’s for. Isn’t it, my little lion?”

Harry laughed delightedly at his father.

Kasey and Natalie were sitting on the couch beside Logan and Finn. Natalie had Kasey sitting between her legs on the floor, fingers running through his hair as she talked to them. Kasey seemed to be talking very seriously about something with Katie, who seemed to be wearing three princess dresses at the same time. She was sitting in his lap and he was nodding along, responding whenever she waited for him to.

Remus handed Harry back to Lily when they went into the kitchen to get drinks. Celeste was in the kitchen with Anya, and Thomas seemed to be helping, too, along with Noelle.

When Sirius said he was surprised to see her, she waved him off, taking a sip of her wine. “I’m the resident Tremblay sister representative. We were all pretty worried about Lolo for a minute there, but…” she smiled. “If only we knew. Not one boy, but two. Plus,” she looked over at Thomas, who was focusing intently on what Celeste was saying and stirring on the stove. “I have my own reasons.”

“Talkie’s a good one,” Remus said. “You lucked out there.”

“Right?” Noelle laughed, then nodded at Sirius. “I’m really glad you’re okay.”

“Me too,” Remus and Sirius said at the same time.

Noelle laughed again, and then her expression became more mild. “And…” she looked towards the living room, where they could distinctly hear Logan’s laugh. “I know none of this was easy for you two, but I’m happy you were there for my brother. Maybe not in the way you wanted to be…in the way any of us wanted…but you showed him it was okay to be who he is. I think Finn would have gotten to him eventually but I think it would have taken a lot longer. I’m glad he’s happy now. And that’s largely thanks to you two.”

“The delicious smells of success,” Thomas suddenly sang out, slightly off-key. “Breathe in the delicious smells of success, hey, Christmas, come over here and look at this goodness.”

Noelle laughed. “Oh, I’m already looking at it.” She sent Remus and Sirius a last smile. “Anyway, I said my piece.”

Remus laughed as she returned to Thomas’ side, tucking herself against him.

“That was sweet,” he said and rubbed his hand gently over Sirius’ chest, sort of out of habit by now. He could feel the bandages there.

Sirius kissed Remus’ temple. “Yeah.”

“Sirius, mon cher,” Celeste kissed Sirius’ cheek when she came over from the stove. “You are okay? Of course you are, Remus is with you. No more big empty house and take out meals, oui?”

Sirius laughed. “Way to sell me out.”

Remus snorted. “Like everyone didn’t already know.”

Celeste laughed. “C’est vrai.” She sighed, patting Sirius’ chest, near his ribs. “I am still so angry about Grayback, honestly.”

“Aren’t we all,” Pascal said, coming over. Celeste wrapped an arm around him.

“You and me both,” Sirius said, taking a sip of his wine. “But it’s over. I have to let it be over or else I’ll go insane.”

“You’ll be back out there soon,” Pascal said.

Sirius smiled. “Only thanks to Loops.”

Remus rolled his eyes. “It’s you who does the hard part.”

Pascal laughed. “As if getting this boy to do what he’s told isn’t the hard part.”

Remus laughed. “Hm, true.”

“Celeste, the goodness looks ready to me,” Thomas called over from the stove.

Celeste laughed and leaned back towards the doorway to the living room.

“Dinner, everyone!” she called.

It only took a few moments for the kitchen to become crowded with people lining up with their plates.

“Hey,” Evgeni bee-lined between them for the wine bottle, but stopped on the way to give Remus a kiss on both cheeks. “Get Captain laid, no more grumpy.”

Kuny,” Remus said.

Nado, behind him as always, cracked up. Sirius laughed, too.

“Merde, Kuns,” he said. “Subtle.”

“Very,” Regulus’ wry voice suddenly said from behind them as he and Leo entered the kitchen.

“Just in time!” Celeste said, handing them both plates. “Where have you boys been?”

Leo shrugged. “Just—hi, sweetheart,” he cut off as Finn wrapped his arms around his waist. “Just touring around Gryf. Got lunch.”

“Yeah, Sid’s is the best,” Regulus said.

Sirius spluttered mid way through serving himself dinner. “I told you that.”

“So?”

“So, you believe Leo and not me?”

Leo grinned. Regulus shrugged.

 

Remus spent most of dinner holding baby Harry and watching Sirius tickle his tummy while he laughed. James looked ready to cry at the sight. Lily took him back to be fed when they moved to sit around the living room with dessert, but Remus didn’t mind. He just leaned back into Sirius’ chest, happy with his team around him.

Logan looked red in the face from all the jokes implying why he was so eager to move in with Leo and Finn. Adele had stuck close to him all evening, sitting on his free side. Logan had his arm around her. Remus had overheard him assuring her that he’d be over to visit all the time, which he thought was unbearably sweet. Leo looked resigned and amused to the teasing, and Finn just looked thoroughly pleased, sitting between them with an arm around each.

Remus felt a kiss being placed on his neck.

“Maybe we could celebrate more than one move tonight,” Sirius said into Remus’ ear.

Remus held Sirius’ arms across his chest, turning to look at him. “What?”

Sirius just smiled and pulled Remus out of the living room and into the butler’s pantry of the kitchen. He took Remus’ hands in his warm ones.
“You should move in with me.”

Remus took a slow breath in.

Sirius slid his hands up Remus’ forearms. “I want you to move in with me.”

“Baby…”

“Besides,” Sirius smiled. “Your mom will be coming to town soon with any luck,” Sirius knocked gently on the wooden cupboard behind Remus’ head with a smile. “Better not to disappoint her.”

Remus laughed, reaching up to press his hands to Sirius’ cheeks. “Better not.”

Sirius leaned down to nudge their noses together. “Live with me. You sort of already do, and I…I love it so much. I love having you near.”

Remus nodded. “Yes.” He kissed him once, and again, and again. “Yeah, I want to.”

Sirius smiled into their next kiss, and that was how Logan found them.

“Alors,” he said, hands up. “Sorry. Just got sent in for some more wine. God knows I need it.”

Remus flushed and laughed as Logan reached down for a bottle from the wine fridge.

“Carry on.”

“Oops,” Sirius snorted when they were alone again.

“I’ll have to get a car,” Remus mused as Sirius hugged him against his chest. Sirius lived just outside the city center. “No more subways and city walking from out here.”

“I’ll buy you whatever car you want.”

“That’s not what I meant.”

Sirius squeezed him closer. “It’s what I said. I want to. What else do you want? Tell me.”

Remus smiled and tilted his chin up to look at him. “You.”

 

~

 

It had been hard, saying goodbye to Sirius for the short road trip to Vegas. It was strange going without him.

“Force him to keep doing his exercises,” Remus had told Regulus firmly.

“Will do,” Regulus saluted.

“Miss you already,” Sirius had said softly when he dropped Remus off at departures.

“Just a few days,” Remus kissed his across the seats, and then kissed his new star necklace. “They’ll win.”

“Shh,” Sirius laughed gently.

Remus just smiled. “You’ll see."

 

Remus was in the visitor’s PT room, making sure it was well-stocked. Just in case. Moody was already in there, leaning against the table and watching the pre-game. He greeted Remus with a nod, and Remus pulled out a box of supplies to sort through while listening.

“—first time the Lions will be on the ice with Fenrir Grayback who, as we all know, received a two game suspension after a hard hit on Lions Captain Sirius Black, breaking four of his ribs. We know that the Lions organization was especially not happy about the lack of severity shown by the League. I suppose we may see what the players have to say about this tonight. I expect the Lions will push especially hard for a win in honor of their wounded Captain—not to mention that winning this game would secure them a spot in this year’s Stanley Cup play-offs. Marc-André Fleury is back with his rainbow stick tape, his second time showing support for Black. It’s nice to see. Let’s take a look at who else we’re watching tonight. First, we’ll talk about Logan Tremblay…”

“One game,” Moody grumbled. “One game.”

“One game,” Remus repeated. “Sirius really wanted to be out there tonight.”

“I don’t think Grayback knows what’s coming for him now that he isn’t,” Moody laughed gruffly. “You saw those boys when he took Sirius out. They’re fresh out of a day-off now. Rested, furious, determined.” Moody tilted his head. “I feel good things in my leg.”

Remus laughed. “Well, thank God.”

 

Sirius was sitting with his brother on the large, leather couch in his TV den, anxious and waiting for the second period to resume. The commercials were muted and he was waiting for Regulus to work his way up towards saying whatever it was that he was holding back. Sirius could tell there was something.

“Your house is ridiculous,” Regulus said around his Chinese takeout—not for the first time.

“I was young,” Sirius said defensively. “I thought buying a house like this was, like, required.”

“Stupide,” Regulus snorted.

“—a nasty hit on Finn O’Hara by Ryan Reaves, but he seems okay,” the commentator said, replaying the hit, and Sirius tensed. He didn’t need a replay of that. They cut back to commercials again.

“Do you think they can actually force me to go back?” Regulus said suddenly.

When Sirius looked over he was poking mildly at his noodles.

“I won’t let them do that.”

Regulus rolled his eyes. “You’re Sirius Black, not God.”

“I won’t let them do that,” Sirius said again. “Tu comprends? I will not. And Minnie won’t either.”

“Maman says—”

Sirius sat up. “You’ve been talking to her?”

“I have to sometimes,” Regulus grumbled. “Legal stuff. Minnie’s always there.”

“It doesn’t matter what she says. She is—”

“Yes, I know what she is,” Regulus snapped. “I’ve been living with her—until a few months ago, in case you forgot.” He glowered around the room. “While you were in your big fancy house…”

Sirius blinked. “Reg…”

“I’m not—mad at you. I was, but I’m not. I mean, I’m doing what you did, aren’t I? Making a better life, damn the consequences?” Regulus sighed. “There are other Snakes who want out, you know.”

Sirius sat up. “Like…witnesses? Reg, you could compile a case.”

“They’re worried they’ll never get back into the League,” Regulus said. “I’m trying, but…I don’t know, Sirius.”

Sirius’ heart ached. He looked down at his chicken and rice. “I wish I could tell you what to do.”

Regulus looked at him, gray on gray, and nodded. “I know.” He glanced at the TV. “We’re back.”

Sirius secretly liked that. Looking at the Lions play with his brother, and hearing him say we.

“O’Hara didn’t need any help getting up, even if he looked a little rattled. Now, speaking from experience, I don’t know about you, Lee, but I was waiting for O’Hara’s line mate, Logan Tremblay to have something to say about it…Tremblay did not challenge Reaves, though.”

They were lining up for puck drop, James at the center against—

Grayback.

“You know, Dean, I think that’s a testament to these young Lions, really all the Lions. They call them the cubs, you know. You can tell how much they want this. They band together, they listen, they work…I think it’s pretty rare to see such fine communication in an entire team.”

Grayback won the face off.

“Fuck,” Regulus breathed.

Sirius wished he was there, standing beside Remus, on the bench, jumping the boards—anything. Instead, he was sitting on the couch, eating take-out. Helpless.

The entire first period, and the majority of this one had been back and forth. The score was still 0-0. They were fighting. Hard. Fenrir passed it to Tuch, who knocked it over to Engelland. Engelland took a hard shot, and Leo caught it in his glove.

Another amazing save by Knut,” Dean said. “Rookie goal tender Leo Knut has blocked 29 shots in this game so far, most of them with his glove. I love seeing that sort of technique from the younger players, you know?”

“Absolutely Dean. And it looks to me like Coach Weasley is giving the Blizzard, Kasey Winter, a nice long rest as he looks ahead to hopefully a long and successful playoff run.”

Sirius leaned forward as play started up again. Evgeni barreled against Reaves and Fenrir, evading a two-on-one with a slick pass to Nado. It was hard hockey—it looked a little like play-off hockey. Brutal, hard-hitting, and determined.

It stayed like that until half way through the third.

“Fucking hell,” Regulus said. “How does this game still have no score?”

Sirius shook his head. His heart was in his throat. He had texted Remus at the second intermission.

Boys are fired as hell, Remus had said. Good feelings. They don’t even seem tired.

Harzy okay? he had said.

Yes. Then, a minute later. Boasting that you’re checking on him XD

That reassurance was the only thing keeping Sirius sane.

“We have to break their defense,” Sirius was half watching the battle on the ice and half running through plays in his mind. The clock read twelve minutes.

Sirius could have laughed. He pressed his necklace pendant between his palms, his steepled fingers against his mouth. He wasn’t religious. He just wanted this. For all of them.

Pascal’s line was out.

“Come on Dumo,” Sirius said.

Sirius watched Pascal and Fenrir line up for the face off with tense shoulders. He waited, and waited, and then the referee was straightening again, looking at Pascal and pointing away.

“Fuck,” Sirius cursed. “He’s kicking Dumo out of the circle.”

“I wonder what he said.”

Sirius silently begged Pascal to be careful.

Brady took Pascal’s place. He won the face off, and Sirius and Regulus shouted.

He passed it easily to Pascal, who dragged it along the boards.

“What’s he going so slow for?” Regulus demanded, fist hitting the couch.

Sirius only saw what was coming next because of the TV angle.

Pascal had his head down, and Fenrir was skating hard towards him on the ice.

Sirius and Regulus were on their feet in a second, shouting at the television. They couldn’t warn him.

Sirius couldn’t even breathe properly. It seemed to go on in slow motion, all of it. Pascal, his—his father, really, his protector. The man who had taken him right from under his mother’s grasp. Pascal who knew him better than anyone. Maybe even Remus.

Fenrir was obviously going in for the hit. He was probably confident that he could get away with it again. Just like he had with Remus. With Sirius. If he so much as touched Dumo—

But he underestimated Pascal Dumais just like had last time.

Pascal, puck on his stick, let Fenrir get closer, and closer, and then deked right. He spun on his right blade harshly and kicked off the boards like a goalie did on a goal post. The effect was that he went rocketing out of the way, right towards the Golden Knights’ goal, and Fenrir slammed into the boards with his own full-force.

The game didn’t pause for him. It only stopped when the goal lit up red as Pascal shot a clean line into the top left corner of the net.

Six minutes and three seconds remaining. 1-0, Lions. The Lions bench was on their feet, sticks banging against the boards as Pascal skated down for glove taps. The TV showed his familiar face, smiling. He looked into the camera for a moment, and Sirius swore Pascal was looking right at him.

He won’t get you again, the look said. Pascal tussled Remus’ hair with his glove. Or any of us.

Six minutes felt like six hours, longer and longer with each one of Leo’s saves. They showed his face during an offside whistle. He tilted his helmet up for some water. His blonde hair was darkened and drenched with sweat, but his blue eyes were fierce. He tapped his mask back down, and went back into a crouch. Sirius had never been so proud of Leo fucking Knut.

Shots were traded ferociously, the puck practically bouncing between the zones. Leo saved it with his blocker, a few bouncing off of his helmet, some dangerously close to his neck guard. He pushed off one post and dropped into a full split, the puck sliding snugly against his pad until he scooped it up like a hawk.

“Fucking hell, Leo,” Regulus mumbled.

“Right,” Sirius said. “Merde.”

Three minutes. James had four shots that very nearly went in. Logan had five close-calls. They were panting on the bench, squirting cold water down their necks, but they were keeping the score. They were protecting their lead.

Two minutes.

The Golden Knights pulled their goalie, the net was empty, and still no one scored again.

When the buzzer finally sounded, Sirius was breathing like he was on the ice, too.

The bench exploded, spilling out onto the ice. Finn threw his gloves into the air right before Logan crashed into him.

They had won the game with one goal, and three periods of sheer will-power.

Sirius hugged Regulus hard. He watched as his boys jumped on each other against the boards, knocking Leo’s helmet for his shut-out and grinning. They were clinched.

 

They were going to the playoffs.

Chapter Text

https://lumosinlove.tumblr.com/post/631357092063854592/round-two-showtimes-road-to-the-stanley-cup

Chapter Text

https://lumosinlove.tumblr.com/post/631959409833148416/round-three-showtimes-road-to-the-stanley-cup

Chapter Text

https://lumosinlove.tumblr.com/post/632327093916762112/showtimes-road-to-the-stanley-cup-gryffindor

 

Showtime’s Road To The Stanley Cup: Gryffindor Lions Edition

 

GAME ONE: GRY:

Mic’d Up: Pascal Dumais

 

“Mon fils, stop shooting at my feet,” Pascal slashed lightly at Logan’s shins as he skated by during warm ups. “I will tell Celeste not to feed you.”

“She’ll never listen,” Logan scoffed. “And besides, Leo feeds me.”

Pascal stole the puck from Logan’s stick. “You make two shots against Leo and it’s forgotten.”

Logan grinned. “Done.”

They raced towards the goal where Leo was marking up his crease.

 

GAME TWO: GRY

 

“Walkie Talkie is back with another episode my lovers, lions, and legends,” Thomas said to the camera with a grin. “Who we gonna talk to first? Harzy! Come here.”

“I’m naked.”

“Please put some clothes on, and come here.”

After a moment, Finn appeared beside Thomas’ side, towel around his waist and eyes narrowed. “What?”

Thomas gestured around the locker room with his microphone. “Favorite on the team. Go.”

Finn’s eyes narrowed further. “You’re mean.”

“Careful, Harzy,” Logan shouted from across the room.

 

GAME THREE: GRY

Mic’d Up: James Potter

 

“Why am I always wearing this thing?”

Alice patted his shoulder pad where the mic was secured. “Because you’re hilarious.”

James brightened. “Really?”

Alice laughed. “Cute, Potter.”

“Does the camera want to see…” James held up his phone with a grin. “Baby pictures?

“Well, actually, the game is starting in a few min—”

“So, this was taken this morning when he woke me up at three AM. And this one—”

 

 

GAME FOUR: GRY

 

“So, Cap, how are you feeling about going to the Stanley Cup finals?”

Sirius used one end of the towel hanging around his neck to wipe the sweat from his neck. “I’m real happy it was a sweep, that always feels good. Happy for Blizzard’s shut out. I thought we played well.”

“And, the age old question, what are you most preparing for in your face off against the Snakes?”

Sirius looked at Marlene for a moment, then glanced at the camera. “I’m preparing to win.”

Chapter Text

Regulus liked the cubs. Finn was a little out there maybe, but Logan, off of the ice at least, was steady and put together.

Leo had snorted when he’d told him what he thought. “Interesting take.”

They didn’t seem to mind having him around, although there wasn’t much time lately when Regulus didn’t feel like an intruder on something. Living in his brother’s house when he probably wanted to be alone with Remus. Leo inviting him over to nights that would probably feel and go differently if he wasn’t there.

But he didn’t feel unwelcome. Just out of place. Which was surprising, given the fact that he was a Snake. Had been. He still felt like he was one, anyway. A Snake. An intruder. Out of place.

And now the Lupins were here to stay and Regulus was self-aware enough to realize that he was seeing for the first time what was probably the most loving family in the entire world.

“Julian, sweetheart, you have to let Sirius rest. He’s got some big days coming up, as you well know.”

Julian looked up at his mother.

Regulus wasn’t sure if Julian liked him all that much yet. Although, he didn’t really blame the kid. When you were little, the rivalries seemed like a full-blown military crises. That was how the Lions had seemed to him, at least. A real beast, with sharp teeth. He imagined that, for Julian, he had venom and a tail that rattled.

“But—” Julian looked up at Sirius, who was playing goalie in one of the make-shift nets that he had set up in the living room.

“It’s okay, Hope,” Sirius said. “We’ll go another half hour.”

“You’ll go until dinner, which is in ten minutes,” Hope said.

“Well, it that case, bud, we should go help set the table, non?” Sirius stood straight from his goalie-crouch. “We can play more later.”

“Really?” Julian said, clutching his hockey stick.

“Mais, oui. Allez, let’s go help your dad and Re.”

It left Regulus alone with Hope in Sirius’ large living room. Hope was a mother. Regulus didn’t know how to put her smile and that role together yet. He watched her put her hands on her hips and look around. Even Regulus had to admit that the living room was mostly empty and bland. Sirius clearly didn’t know what to do with a house besides sleep and eat there.

“Well,” Hope said, and then smiled at Regulus. “Needs some brightening, huh?”

“Probably.”

Hope nodded. “Probably. Come on, let’s eat.”

Regulus followed her through to the dining room where Lyall was setting plates of salmon and rice down, along with a large salad. As Sirius sat down, Julian all but climbed over Remus to get the chair beside him. Remus’ eyes found Regulus’, maybe by accident, but he smiled, and Regulus did, too, a little. Regulus gestured to his own chair, on Sirius’ other side, and moved across the table instead. He sort of wanted to sit beside Hope, anyway. He wasn’t sure why.

“Here you go, sweetheart,” Hope said, passing him a glass of water and a bread roll.

“Thank you.”

Family dinners had not been like this. He found Sirius’ eyes, and the thought seemed to pass between them.

Really, the place was crawling with families. Not Sirius’ house, but Gryffindor. Hogwarts Arena. Regulus had watched Logan be practically tackled by someone who could only have been Leo’s mother, with her bright blond hair. Leo’s father, also blond, had walked right up to Pascal, shaking his hand. He had a sharpie in his back pocket and a wide smile. Finn also looked just like his mother. Haley O’Hara and her dark red hair, cropped in a pixie cut, shared her sons’ easy smiles, but her startling blue eyes were her own. Ramsey O’Hara was dark haired and brown eyed, and always video taping. Alex had been wearing a Heart-throb-O’Hara t-shirt. Marius and Iva Tremblay were quieter, but Iva looked just like her son, and kept pulling Logan into her arms, her eyes almost relieved when they looked at her son’s smile. The Tremblay sisters were anything but quiet.

Regulus, while surrounded, had tended to keep close to one wall. The quiet kindness of the Lupins was welcomed.

Regulus also kept to himself during dinner, listening to the conversation and taking seconds—and thirds—of the food.

“Hungry teenage hockey player,” Lyall laughed, raising his wine glass towards Regulus. “That’s something I remember, eh, Remus?”

Remus smiled and glanced at Sirius. “I don’t think the hungry part stops after teenage years, dad.”

Sirius glanced up, mouth full. “No, it doesn’t.”

Regulus smiled, watching as Julian seemed to be trying to time his own bites with Sirius’. He remembered being that obsessed only, back then, it was just a little brother thing, not a Captain Sirius Black thing.

“So,” Hope said, leaning on her elbows and lacing her fingers. “For the dinner tomorrow. Re, why don’t you and Sirius go get the food?”

“Please let me go with,” Julian said. “Please, please, mom.”

“You’re on house duty with me. Plus, Remus and Sirius will be going right from morning skate, so—”

“He can come to morning skate with us,” Sirius said.

Remus nodded. “Yeah, mom, it’s no problem.”

“You’ll both be working, who would—”

“I don’t need to be watched, mom,” Julian begged. “Please let me go.”

“Julian, it’s not a babysitter, it’s just that—”

“I can…” Regulus glanced around. “Not watch him, but…we can hang out.”

The table went a little quiet. Regulus felt a little dizzy, like someone was going to swing at him. He knew that wasn’t true.

“I’ll probably go to the rink and watch, anyways,” Regulus continued into the quiet, looking at Julian, then Hope. “I’m going out with Leo after, so.”

“Leo Knut?” Hope said and then smiled. “Oh, I’m so glad you two are friends.”

Everyone kept saying that.

“Well, Jules?” Hope said. “Alright?”

“Okay,” Julian said hesitantly, eyes on Regulus. Regulus flashed him a tight smile and then looked back down to his plate.

He volunteered for clean up duty, just so he didn’t have to make conversation. It wasn’t awkward, but he wasn’t used to these laughter filled living rooms. He wasn’t used to Sirius’ laugh. It threw him off guard.

“Regulus?”

Regulus looked up from the sink to see Remus behind him in the kitchen window’s reflection. He was all shades of night, until Regulus turned around and he was warm again. Remus looked almost nervous, leaning back against the refrigerator.

“What’s up?” Regulus said.

“I just,” Remus glanced down the hallway, then shrugged. “I know Julian’s…not exactly warmed up to you. Thank you for offering anyway.”

Regulus turned back around to the soapy water. “Don’t worry about that. I get it. I’d probably be the same.”

“It’s just that, it isn’t you. It’s—”

“Remus, I know what it’s like to be brought up in a hockey household. There’s a whole lot of loyalty. And sometimes loyalty doesn’t change easily,” Regulus glanced back once more. “Don’t worry. I understand. I’m a Snake right now. He’s a Lion. I’m someone who betrayed their brother, and he’s someone who loves his brother more than anything.”

He could feel Remus’ eyes on his back.

“I understand,” he said again, and turned the water back on.

“Well, thank you again. I think you guys will like each other a lot.”

Regulus nodded. “I hope so.”

 

~

 

It was the Lions’ last practice before they would get on a plane for game one against the Snakes. Regulus knew he would be taking a risk, traveling with the team there. But he wanted to show that he wasn’t afraid. Part of him even hoped that he ran into Snape, or Riddle, or Malfoy, or any of them. Just to show that he was better off. The other part of him didn’t want to care what they thought.

Regulus could picture the stadium and the entire, green crowd that hissed and cheered. With the drums of the music, a single spot-light would appeared on the ice, and with each successive beat, one of three very familiar words. The Snakes’ motto.

 

ALWAYS

PURE

HOCKEY

 

Toujours pur, Regulus could remember his father saying to them growing up, accompanied by the slap of pucks against the boards, and endless drills. Toujours pur, toujours pur—

Someone tapped his arm, and Regulus looked up to meet Leo’s gaze. He was lacing his skates.

“Ça va?” he said, which made Logan look up.

“Oui,” Logan said, then noticed Leo looking at Regulus, not him. “Oh. Ça va?”

“I hope you beat them,” Regulus said. “That’s all.”

“Well, yeah,” Logan laughed, wrapping tape around his socks tightly. “Me too.”

“Regulus,” Julian came up to them. He was in a Tremblay jersey today and Logan wrestled him into a gentle headlock, making him laugh before looking back up at Regulus. “Sirius is going out to warm up can we please go watch?”

Leo smiled. “Take him out.”

Regulus couldn’t help but smile a little, too. “All right. Allez.”

 

Sirius was doing shooting drills, rubbing absentmindedly at his healed ribs. It was nice to be around the sounds of the ice again. Sirius’ basement didn’t count.

Remus was on the bench, sitting on the boards with his feet dangling near the ice. Every once in a while, Sirius would swoop by for a kiss, or to say something that made Remus laugh. The other boys were filing out slowly. Finn and Logan were passing a puck back and forth while Leo dropped into the splits, stretching and talking to them. Evgeni and Jackson were ramming each other into the boards and laughing. The atmosphere would change once Coach came out, but Regulus now knew that it wasn’t like in Slytherin. There was never any silence. The laughter never went away, not even when they were working hard.

“Why did you leave?” Julian asked suddenly. He was standing nearly pressed against the glass, watching. They made eye contact in the slight reflection from the lights. He looked just like his older brother, something people always said to Regulus, too.

“I…” Regulus took a breath. “I wanted to leave.”

“Why?”

“I wanted better for myself,” Regulus said carefully. “I think we should always want the best for ourselves, non?”

“What if you can’t have the best? My brother wanted to play hockey.”

Regulus glanced over at Remus, laughing as Kasey squirted him with his water bottle, and thought of the right words.

“What’s best isn’t always attached to a thing or a person?” he tried. “Sometimes it’s a good attitude. What I meant was, I thought I was stuck. Then, my brother showed me I wasn’t.”

“So, Sirius is the best for you?”

“Sirius showed me that I could be the best for me. But, oui, Sirius is pretty great. So is your brother.”

“I know that,” Julian said, and rested his forehead against the glass again. He was quiet, and then, “You said bad things about Sirius. I saw it on youtube.”

Regulus chewed on his cheek. “Yeah.”

“But then you said good things.”

“Yeah.”

“Did you say sorry?”

Regulus swallowed. “Yeah.”

“That’s good.”

Sirius skated up fast and hard and stopped in front of the glass, knocking his helmet over where Julian had his forehead. Julian laughed and knocked gently back.

“Ça va?” Sirius asked, glancing at Regulus.

“Oui,” Julian replied and Regulus nodded.

“Hey Jules,” Sirius said, loudly to be heard over the noises of practice. “Tell Reg to make you un sandwich de la rondelle in the kitchen.”

He skated away with a grin at Regulus, who couldn’t help but smile back. The words brought back a memory that he hadn’t thought about in a long time. It left Julian looking half expectant and half skeptical.

“Allez,” Regulus sighed as he pushed himself up from his seat. “I’ll let you in on a Sirius Black tradition.”

“Okay,” Julian grinned.

 

The Lions kitchen was a strange sense of déjà-vu. It was the Snakes’, only awash in brighter colors.

“What’s a sandwich…sandwich ron…”

“Sandwich de la rondelle,” Regulus repeated, opening cupboards until he found bread and peanut butter, and swiping a banana from the counter.

“It’s a peanut butter and banana sandwich,” Julian said.

“Oui, sort of. But—Les bananes,” Regulus held up the fruit. “Sirius use to fry them in cinnamon and honey and then they would become darker because they’re caramelized. They would look like little hockey pucks, or la rondelle.”

“I want one,” Julian said. “Please.”

Regulus laughed. “I thought you might.”

 

~

 

Sirius watched from the bed as Remus pulled on a long sleeved white shirt. The cotton clung to his strong shoulders and he shook the sleeve out over his watch. Sirius could see his star necklace through the thin fabric. Remus pushed his sandy hair off of his forehead and looked up at the shelves again, patted his dark jeans, and then turned the closet light off. He stopped when he stepped out and raised an eyebrow.

“That’s not exactly what I call dressed for guests who are showing up in—” he looked at his watch. “ten minutes.”

Sirius stretched out against the bed. “You look good, Loup.”

“I’m wearing jeans and a shirt.”

“I said you look good, I don’t care what you’re wearing.”

Remus smiled and knelt on the mattress. “Then in that case, you look good, too.”

“I’m naked.”

“Then what’s that on your face?”

Sirius groaned. “It’s tradition.” He touched the dark beard on his cheeks and chin. He was keeping it short and neat, rather than letting it grow wild like some of the other guys, but he still felt a little self-conscious. “It isn’t that bad…”

Remus crawled forward until he was poised over Sirius’ body. “You know you look good.” He leaned down to brush a kiss over Sirius’ cheek, feeling the coarse stubble against his lips. “But this place is going to be filled with families in two seconds.”

“Hm,” Sirius leaned up to kiss Remus’ throat, and Remus felt the scratch there, too.

Parents,” Remus warned.

Sirius kissed along Remus’ jaw.

“Dumo.”

Sirius sighed. “We should get dressed.”

 

Sirius, forced into a pair of tight jeans and a button down by Remus, opened the front door to see Pascal standing there with Katie on his shoulders.

“Bonsoir,” Pascal said. “I come bearing hungry children and the most beautiful woman in the world.”

Sirius laughed and Celeste slapped Pascal’s chest. “Well, there’s a Leo Knut cooking with a Hope Lupin so I think we’ll be able to help with that.”

“Is Logan here?” Adele said, pushing her way past her family.

“Yeah, living room. What, don’t care about me anymore?”

She rolled her eyes and gave him a hard hug before disappearing into the house.

Celeste gave Sirius a smile, looking after Adele. “We are still missing Logan being just downstairs. You were a hard loss, too, you know.”

“Tremzy,” Katie said and pointed forward.

Logan appeared with Adele under his arm and Pascal ducked down so Logan could take Katie into his arms.

“Salut, Katie,” Logan pressed kisses to her cheeks until she laughed.

Sirius watched them wander off towards the kitchen and then looked back at Celeste. “I think it goes both ways.”

“I am going to see if the chefs need any help,” Celeste said, and followed Logan and her daughters towards the kitchen.

Sirius watched them for a moment, and then turned back to Pascal. “Where are Louis and Marc?”

“Sleepover,” Pascal laughed and stepped inside, handing Sirius a bottle of wine. “I guess playoffs aren’t that cool anymore. Katie seems to like hockey the best.”

“She’d make a killer center.”

Pascal scoffed. “Killer, eh? Been hanging out with Remus.”

Sirius smiled. “Of course.”

“What about your younger one?”

Sirius closed the door and the warmth of the house picked up again. “With the younger Lupin down at the rink.”

“Oh? They are friends now?”

“I was surprised, too.”

Pascal patted Sirius’ back as they came through to the kitchen. “Kids are quick to forgive.”

“Blow on the spoon first,” Leo was saying to Katie. “So you don’t burn your tongue, and then tell me what you think.”

Logan laughed softly, kissing Katie’s cheek again. “Our entire dinner is riding on you, mon coeur.”

Sirius watched as Katie blew very carefully on the waiting bolognese sauce, and then let Leo feed her the spoon while she held onto Logan’s neck. His eyes found Finn next, who had a look on his face that Sirius knew well. Sirius looked at Remus, holding a glass of wine and talking to Eloise Knut and Hope.

Sirius could get used to this.

“Where are your parents, Dumo?” Sirius asked.

“I’ll fly them out when we win,” Pascal smiled, knocked on Sirius’ head, and then put a hand on his shoulder. “You know… Sometimes I want to shove you back in my basement and never let you out. But then I remember you’re not the same boy you were.”

One corner of Sirius’ mouth lifted. “That would be threatening, coming from someone else.”

“Yes, but you know what I mean.”

“Ouais,” Sirius said, and put his hand over Pascals. “I know.”

“This has been a hard season. Your team is going to work hard for you.”

“Pascal,” Sirius said softly.

“Dumasha,” Sergei’s gruff voice called, and he appeared beside them, clapping Pascal on the back. “Come play bubble hockey with me. I’m beating all the kids. Omg.”

“No, he’s not,” Thomas yelled.

“I’ll win,” Pascal warned.

“We’ll see, you lumberjack,” Sergei patted Pascal’s thick beard before retreating back towards the living room.

Pascal tussled Sirius’ hair once before following, and Sirius watched him go. His memories of living with the Dumais’ felt at once distant and like yesterday. The earliest ones were covered with ice. He had been terrified of his own family and his new one. The later ones went from ice to slowly melting frost to new, spring soil. Pascal had done that. And Celeste and the kids. And Arthur, and the team.

Remus.

Sirius walked over to where he was standing with the two women.

“Well, if it isn’t Sirius Black,” Eloise smiled and kissed him on the cheek. “Hi, honey.”

Sirius, a little surprised, laughed. “Hi, Mrs. Knut. Hope.”

“Hello, sweetheart,” Hope said. “Nice party we have here.”

“Thanks to you and Remus.”

“Oh,” Hope laughed and rubbed Sirius’ shoulder. “You have a beautiful house, it should be filled with your loved ones. A truly beautiful house…”

“Mom,” Remus laughed. “You can stop telling Sirius his house is beautiful.”

“Then I’ll tell him he’s beautiful. And probably so will your father. Sirius, my husband loves you.”

“Tell me about it,” Eloise said. “Wyatt’s walking around with a sharpie, so if you see him be ready.”

Sirius huffed out a laugh. “I’m ready.”

“He loves you. Not as much as Jules, of course,” Hope said.

Remus gestured to himself. “Um.”

“Of course, not as much as Remus,” Hope and Eloise smiled at each other. “I’ll leave you two. I’m going to find that Potter baby.”

Eloise hummed. “I’m gonna go convince Leo’s boys to move home with him for the summer.”

Remus smiled. “I don’t think you’ll have too hard a time.”

“Oh, I know I won’t.”

Sirius pulled Remus against his side, leaning back against the wall to look out at the scene that the kitchen was. Remus settled against him.

“You know,” Remus began, and then cut off.

“Quoi?” Sirius asked. He looked down at Remus’ thoughtful smile.

“Whether or not things…happen…”

Sirius laughed, knowing that this was Remus’ way of getting around setting him off in a round of superstition.

Remus looked up at him. “We’re doing pretty great.”

“I was just thinking that.”

“Good.”

Remus tilted his chin up, obviously wanting a kiss, and Sirius complied.

“I can’t believe we’re getting on a plane tomorrow,” Sirius sighed.

“Is Regulus still coming?”

Sirius nodded grudgingly. “No matter how many times I tell him it might be a bad idea. Even Minnie says—”

“He lost his rookie season,” Remus said. “I think he needs to be a part of this.”

“He’ll get—harassed by reporters.”

“So will you, and you’re still going.”

Sirius smiled and pulled Remus in closer, wine glass pressed carefully against the small of his back as he looped his arms around him. “That’s different.”

Remus wrinkled his nose. “Is it?”

“I’m the Captain. I’m just worried.”

“A true Captain’s job,” Logan said as he passed them, Timmy and Olli in tow.

“I am,” Sirius said after them, and when he looked back down it was to be kissed by Remus.

“Dinner!” Leo shouted, Hope beside him putting a stack of plates out. “Y’all come get it.”

“I’m gonna die,” Finn sighed, stopping beside them. “The accent is so here right now and I’m just—I’m gonna die.”

“Harzy, are you talking to us?” Remus asked.

Alex looked up from where he was standing with Kasey and Natalie. “Just ignore him, he’s a fucking puppy.”

“I’m pep-talking myself,” Finn took a long sip of his drink. “For life.”

Alex patted his back. “Okay, Fish, get it together.”

“Stop yelling at me.”

“I’m not yelling at you.”

“You’re yelling. I’m telling mom.”

Alex scoffed as they walked towards the food. “You can’t tell mom.”

Sirius snorted and pulled Remus away towards the plates to serve themselves.

 

~

 

Game one was rough and fast and disappointing. When Sirius had first skated out, the hisses had been deafening. Remus had watched from the bench with his nails digging into his palms. The Snakes had won 3-0. Close, but not enough. Kasey had made forty saves. Elias Cook had taken a puck to the knee and Remus knew even before evaluating him that he might be out for the run. Snape had been vicious. But so had Sirius. The locker room had been crowded, the families wonderful but adding pressure, and Remus was more than happy to watch Sirius collapse on their hotel bed. He was still in his game suit, but it was rumpled. The steely color had faded as the adrenaline did, and he looked tired.

“Fuck,” Sirius sighed, and raised his chin to look at Remus. “Why are you standing over there? C’mere.”

Remus laughed and chucked his bag down before falling beside Sirius onto the bed.

“Hell of a game,” Remus said. “It’s just one game.”

“Yeah,” Sirius replied, and then was quiet. “Riddle’s a good goalie.”

“So is Kasey.”

“No, I know, I just… we really couldn’t get a single shot in. I’m just happy we weren’t at home. God, Kasey’s probably just…kicking himself right now.”

“Nat’s here. And his family. She’ll talk some sense into him.” Remus said. After a moment, he groaned and sat up again. “Speaking of home, we should pack for the flight back tomorrow.”

Sirius groaned. “Come back.”

Remus laughed. “We have to be out the door at six tomorrow, and I know you won’t want to get up early to do it then. Just put your suit away, that’s all you brought anyway.”

“I just played an entire hockey game.”

Remus suppressed a smile as he took one of Sirius’ ankles and pulled off his shoe. “The world doesn’t know you’re like this.”

“Non.”

“I could tell them, you know.”

Sirius laughed. “That you undress me?”

Remus smiled. When both shoes had clunked to the floor, he straddled Sirius’ hips, hands going to his belt. “You’re right, maybe not.”

Sirius smiled and let his head fall back with a groan. “Fuck.” Remus let Sirius pull him down against his chest. “You’re so hot, but I’m so tired.”

“Oh, no way we were not about to have sex. You are waking up at six in the morning and you’re playing the game of your life the next night.”

Sirius let out a content sigh. “Hm.”

Remus pressed a kiss to his neck and then reached for the buttons of his shirt.

“I think we have to go to the net harder,” Sirius said thoughtfully as Remus pulled him into a sitting position.

“I think we need to get a handle on our power play,” Remus said, pushing Sirius’ shirt over his broad shoulders. He kissed those, too. “I think Coach should put Finn back on it. He’s ruthless when he wants to be.”

Sirius hummed. “Yeah. Him and James do well together, too. Will you murder me if I watch some tape?”

“You’re going to sleep.”

“I just want to see that second period play. You know—”

“Tremz was off-side and, no, Carrow didn’t push him,” Remus smiled when Sirius made a face. “Believe me, it happened right in front of me.”

“We were going to score.”

“I know,” Remus bent to kiss the scar on Sirius’ cheek, then the one on his lip. “But that’s hockey.”

Sirius kicked his pants off once Remus stood to go to his own suitcase. “I wish we had come out of the gate strong, that’s all.”

Remus snorted, tugging off his shirt. “Nice media lingo, there.”

Sirius rolled onto his stomach with a groan, then pushed himself into a standing position. A moment later, Remus felt his chest against his bare back, their skin warm against each other.

Sirius’ hands stroked over Remus’ sides, dipping into the muscle that cut along his hips. “You haven’t even asked me how my ribs are,” Sirius said against Remus’ temple. Remus could hear the smile in his voice. “You always ask.”

“I know you’re better,” Remus leaned against him, tilting his head to the side when Sirius began to kiss his neck gently. He put his hands over Sirius’. “I know we didn’t win, but you were amazing tonight.” He turned in Sirius’ arms and wound his fingers in his dark hair. "You see everything out there, huh?”

“I try,” Sirius said softly.

“You do,” Remus kissed him, then again and again. “Don’t get in your head, baby. You’re good.”

Sirius let out a breath, lips against Remus’ cheek. “I’m glad you’re here.”

Remus wrapped his arms around Sirius’ waist and held him there.

“Just tape for, like, ten—“

Remus pressed in closer. “Nope.”

Sirius’ laugh rumbled against his cheek. “Come to bed with me, then.”

 

~

 

It was better to be back in Gryffindor. Remus didn’t want to admit how much of a weight it was off of his chest to be away. To have the team away, and Regulus. It had been fine. Regulus hadn’t been bothered. Not yet, at least. They would be on a plane back to Slytherin tomorrow, win or lose.

“Shitter-McFucks,” Thomas said loudly. “We gotta win this game.”

“Where do you come up with these things?” Sergei sighed.

“I don’t know,” Thomas said, and he looked thoughtful. “They come to me. Makes sense though, right?”

Sergei made a barely affirmative sound and returned to taping his stick.

“T,” Remus said, smiling a little at the conversation. He held out Thomas’ shoulder pads. “Fixed it.”

Thomas took it and clutched it to his chest. “Sick, thanks, Loops. I love you.”

Remus smiled and turned to the room. “Does anyone need anything?”

There were a few murmurs of no, and Remus let out a breath. “Okay.”

Remus glanced at his watch. Twenty minutes until they had to be out for warm ups. Sometimes it was strange, thinking about the Snakes in this very building, doing the same thing they were. Taping sticks, getting dressed, stretching. Remus’ eyes found Regulus, who was sitting in Sirius’ stall while Sirius stretched out on the floor. They were talking intently, no doubt about the game. Regulus seemed to be drawing plays out on his palm, Sirius nodding along, then pointing, as if to correct something. Remus smiled at the sight, then walked over and crouched by Sirius’ shoulder.

Sirius looked up, hands around his ankles stretched in front of him. “Hi.”

“Hi,” Remus replied, and glanced at the door.

Sirius blinked. “Oh.”

“And I’m out,” Regulus sighed and stood.

Sirius stood, too, adjusting his snapback and catching Remus’ fingers. “Yes, yes, now?”

“I thought you could use a pick-me-up.”

Sirius cursed under his breath, grinning. “Re…”

He already looked flushed with it—with just the thought—and Remus wanted him. Badly.

Sirius was on his heels until they got to the PT room, looking carefully out into the hallway before shutting the door and turning the lock. He was still smiling when he turned, gently taking hold of Remus’ hips and backing him against the exam table.

“I love you,” he said into his first kiss, and then, into the second, “how do you want me?”

Remus hooked his fingers into the band of Sirius’ spandex and turned them so that his back was against the table, cushioned by the padding. Sirius leaned down to kiss along Remus’ neck.

Remus reached down to cup Sirius’ cock through the thin material of his spandex. “Just like this.”

“Jesus,” Sirius breathed. “Fuck, we—how much time?”

“We have time.”

Remus knelt on one knee, then the other. He pulled the spandex away to reveal Sirius’ cock, half hard but twitching as it filled. Remus’ heart beat faster, his own cock beginning to press out against his thigh.

Sirius’ hand was gentle against the back of Remus’ head as he took him into his mouth, sucking on the damp head.

Sirius half laughed, half moaned, brows drawn together a little as Remus took him down further. He was fattening up to full now, slick and heavy in Remus’ mouth.

Ah—” Remus looked up to see Sirius’ head fall back. The tension fell out of his shoulders. His back arched a little, defined abs flexing through the thin material of his black undershirt. “Yeah—”

Remus sucked harder, keeping a hand wrapped around the base of his cock, stroking softly in the way he knew Sirius liked. Sirius was already spilling thinly over his tongue, bitter and warm. Remus pulled off to the head again, pressing his tongue to the slit hard and making Sirius jolt.

“God, Remus—” Sirius choked the words out, cock slicking itself more as Remus reached down to cup his balls and stroke behind them. Sirius widened his stance, welcoming the touch. “Ouais—yes.

Remus stilled and pressed his hands behind Sirius’ hips, coaxing them forward gently. Sirius blinked down at him blearily. “You—you want me…”

Remus pushed Sirius’ hips forward more insistently and looked up. Sirius’ fingers tightened in Remus’ hair.

“Merde,” his hips fucked forward, almost on their own. “Re.”

And Sirius complied, fucking himself into Remus’ hot mouth in slow strokes. Remus was hot and aching in his own pants, and he reached down to push them under his balls. He moaned at the first touch, and Sirius picked up his pace. Remus’ breathed in through his nose, smelling Sirius’ slight sweat, and fucked his fist in time to Sirius’ hips. He was heavy on his tongue. Sirius’ breathing was heavy, eyes dark and hair curling out form under his hat. He was gorgeous, and strong, and Remus didn’t care if they won a silver cup when he had those silver eyes.

Sirius’ mouth was open, eyes tight with pleasure as he watched his cock sink in and out of Remus’ mouth, watched Remus’ hips move at the same time. Remus moaned as he pressed his palm against his own head, fingers tight around his shaft.

“Mon—I’m gonna—”

Remus felt flushed and turned on by Sirius standing there, half dressed before a game with his swollen cock looking like that. It was only a few more strokes before Remus felt Sirius begin to come in his mouth. Sirius’ hips stilled, abs flexing in, and Remus bobbed his head, sucking him through it.

Yes, yes,” Sirius whispered, head dropped back again. He stopped breathing and grit his teeth. He pushed his cock into Remus’ mouth once, twice. “Ah.”

Remus pulled off when Sirius made a soft, sensitive sound. Sirius took one look at him, chest heaving, and dropped to his knees, too.

“Baby,” Remus’ voice shook, fist quick on his own cock. He needed to come so bad.

Sirius just pushed at his shoulders, laying him back until he was against the carpet and Sirius had him fully in his mouth. He worked Remus with his mouth quickly, groaning around him, and Remus’ hips arched off the ground towards the heat. He came hard, forcing his eyes to stay open so he could watch Sirius.

They lay there for a moment, Sirius panting with his cheek against Remus’ hip, before he pushed himself up and positively beamed at Remus.

“Nice and clean,” he said, and surged up and kissed Remus. “I fucking love you.”

Remus wrapped his arms around Sirius’ neck and licked into his mouth. “I love you, I love you. You’re going to play so well.”

Sirius smiled into their next kiss, biting at Remus’ lower lip. “I am now.”

Sirius pulled back with a questioning noise when Remus started laughing into their next kiss.

“I’m sorry,” Remus laughed through the words, stroking his hands over Sirius’ cheeks. “It’s like an entire new experience kissing you with this thing.”

Sirius grinned and rubbed their cheeks together. “You like it a little bit, I know you do.”

Remus smiled into the kiss, but didn’t answer, instead carefully tucking Sirius back into his spandex and patting his butt. “See you out there, Captain.”

 

It was Sirius’ first home game back and playing. Instead of the normal pump up songs, the Lions’ had a special pre-game video on the jumbotron. When the lights went down, it played the first notes of Back in Black. At first the song’s notes were spaced out, remixed. It was hard to tell what the song was, echoing through the stadium. As soon as the crowd figured it out though, they went wild, and then an image of the back of Sirius’ jersey, slow-motioned, played of him walking down the darkened tunnel to the ice, his last name shining in glossy letters.

Dum.

Fast clips of Sirius’ tricky, skating feet.

Dum-da-dum.

A goal from the season, beautiful and impossible—until Sirius did it. Remus’ heart pounded.

Dum-a-dum.

The crowd recognized the song. Hogwarts roared.

Dum-a-dum-dum.

Remus laughed on the bench, popping a piece of gum in his mouth.

“Marlene’s a genius,” he shouted over the noise to Moody.

“She is,” he laughed gruffly.

The video continued with the rest of the team, highlights from the season and snippets of interviews. Finn and Logan crashing together after a goal. Leo’s bright blue eyes, focused from behind his mask. We’re ready, his accented voice said. We feel ready. James and Sirius’ famous one-two plays. Evgeni, mountainous and bear-like. Pascal and Logan. The French Canadian father and son, came Frank’s voice, and then the clip cut, bleeding together into a whole. Pascal and Sergei, helmets pressed together. Thomas, proud and tall, flipping a puck right between a goalies legs. Walkie-Talkie, walking the walk!

A waving rainbow flag being waved by numerous fans.

Remus felt tears building in the back of his throat. He wished he could see Sirius right then.

Frank’s voice over the speakers. Lions fans. Welcome to the Stanley Cup Finals.

He drew out the next words in the way he always did. Your Gryffin-dor Li-ons!

The Snakes skated out for warm-ups when the Lions did, insignificant and dark in their black away uniforms. When the lights came up, the Lions were out, Kasey raking up his crease and the others doing a lap on their side of the rink. Remus saw Snape’s eyes flick over from behind his visor, but that was all.

Arthur was bent over his calling card with some of the assistant coaches, motioning to various players.

“How does it feel?” Remus asked Kasey when he skated over to the bench for some water while Leo warmed up in goal, too.

“It feels good,” Kasey said. “It—”

James skated up fast and stopped hard. “Blue.”

Remus raised an eyebrow at him. “James, you ask me this ever game, I really don’t know how…” Remus trailed off and crossed his arms. “This is a superstitious thing. Isn’t it.”

James, looking only a little guilty, smiled. “Blue?”

Remus handed it to him. “You are all insane.”

“Bliz,” Leo said, opening the bench door. “You’re back in.”

Kasey tapped his butt with his blocker and skated back out.

“Is he okay?”

Remus looked back at James. He had his contacts in, adjusting one with a knuckle. “What?” Remus asked. “Who?”

James looked over to center ice where Sirius was tracing the Lions’ logo with a puck. Remus could see fans filming him—or maybe it was Kuny, down on the ice with his legs in the air, stretching.

“You know how Cap gets,” James said. “How much did he beat himself up over the last few nights?”

Remus sighed. “Oh, he tried to watch tape.”

James snorted. “Of course.”

“Didn’t let him, though. I all but wrestled him into bed—no.

James’ face was already lit up.

“Not like that, Pots.

James laughed loudly, reaching with his stick for a puck to take back out with him. “Sure, Loops, sure.”

Logan and Finn were standing near middle ice together, waiting for the wrap-around shoot. Logan was laughing at something Finn was saying. He took his helmet off and put it back on again, like he did with his hat.

“Cute, huh?” Leo said, and when Remus looked over at him, he grinned.

Remus laughed. “Proud of yourself?”

“Very.”

Remus found Sirius again. He was at the far side of the rink, pushing a stick over the glass for a little kid.

“Yeah. Yeah, me too.”

The horn went to signal the end of warm ups, and the team skated back towards the bench so that the ice crew could get rid of the shaved up ice.

Sirius jumped the boards in front of Remus, and Remus could already see the game taking over his expression. He was chewing the inside of his cheek, tapping various teammates and talking fast directions to them. Go hard here, ease off this, cover Malfoy on the power play…

When the lights went down for the national anthem, it felt sudden. Remus’ heart jumped in his chest. Sirius glanced at Remus as he pulled his twelve necklace out from within his jersey, smiling before bowing his head and holding the pendant to his lips. Finn had his hand on Logan’s shoulder, Logan was holding his necklace, Leo was behind both of them, close and shuffling from skate to skate.

Remus looked over to the Snake’s bench. They were still. Their eyes were ahead. He thought about Regulus, up in the Lions box with the other families, looking down at the red and green. He wondered, not for this first time, if Sirius’ parents were here. He hadn’t asked. He didn’t want Sirius looking for them, even subconsciously.

Things didn’t get interesting until halfway through the second period. The Snakes were mirroring Sirius’ line, calling Snape’s out whenever Sirius jumped the boards. Malfoy was on him like a magnet, hammering him into the boards and getting penalties called on himself for slashing.

“What kind of fucking strategy is this?” Finn said before climbing back out onto the ice for their fourth power play of the period. Sirius was circling with one of the refs, talking with his hands, his mouthguard in one of his palms.

“Alright, boys!” James yelled. “Alright, alright, here we go!”

Not single goal had yet to be scored and the crowd was anxious for one, shouting at every moment a Lion was close to Riddle’s net.

Sirius, seemingly giving up on the referee, set up across center ice from Snape. He spat something that made Severus sneer and Remus—Remus couldn’t deny that it sent a new wave of heat through him. Sirius was all hockey now, and his eyes were on the Cup. The Stanley Cup wasn’t in the building yet, it was too soon, but it would be. Remus’ throat got tight when he thought about it. He’d never been this close. He never thought he’d ever be this close.

The puck dropped. Sirius scooped it back to Finn and darted into the Snakes’ zone, wrestling against Malfoy still. He shouted for James but Snape intercepted the pass, sudden and sloppy in his strokes, and carried it back to the center zone. Malfoy, though, was too busy with Sirius. The puck went careening towards the boards, momentarily alone, before Finn was there, catching it and carrying it towards Riddle. He faked once, weight on his toes, twice, and then shot it above Riddle’s left shoulder. The goal horn blared in red lights. His hands went up and so did Sirius’. Logan shouted from beside Remus on the bench.

“Fuck, Harzy,” he said, and Leo and him shared a smile.

Remus clapped with Hogwarts, glancing up at the jumbotron to see the score change from 0-0 to 1-0. Finn jumped the boards and Logan pressed their helmets together in the split moment that they met while leaving and getting onto the ice. Finn was sweaty and grinning.

“That’s what we’re doing,” Thomas shouted. “That’s what we’re doing.”

Sirius stayed out and Remus smiled. He wanted a goal, Remus could tell. He and James circled each other as they talked, heads close together so the others couldn’t hear or read their lips.

Remus patted Finn’s shoulder. “Good getting us going, Harz.”

“I’m good at getting boys going, Loops.”

Remus snorted and Leo shoved him.

Riddle was making a slow lap around the crease, eyes on Finn on their bench, then moving over, all the way across the ice, to Kasey, re-setting, too.

Remus looked between them, and when he returned to Riddle, he saw that he was spitting words at Snape and pointing to Kasey.

The lights changed, calling a TV break.

“Mon loup, c’est bon?” Sirius said. He put a foot up on the boards, stretching.

Remus hesitated, then nodded. “I—yeah. Your ankle? Is it stiff?”

“Non, just stretching,” Sirius smiled. “Worrier.”

Hey,” Remus tried to smile back, but he was watching Kasey approach the bench. “Hey, Kase—”

“I saw it, too, Loops,” Kasey said, squirting some water into his mouth and glancing over at Riddle. “Believe me. That guy’s eyes practically glow like the ones on his mask.”

“Just watch out for any bad plays,” Coach said. “That goes for everyone.”

“I mean,” Kasey shrugged. “If he tries to get a goal by ramming into me, it’ll be no goal.”

“I’m not worried about the goal, Bliz,” Coach said. “I’m worried about you.”

One corner of Kasey’s mouth lifted in a smile. “Well, shucks, Coach.”

“Alright,” Coach nodded. “Let’s be careful and play hard.”

There was a chorus of yes, coach, and Pascal’s line went out for the face-off.

 

“What exactly did you see Snape and Riddle do?” Sirius asked, back in the locker room. He was smiling and wearing the Lions hat token that Logan had given to him after Sirius scored two goals in the third. They had won game two 4-2. The series was tied for now.

“Nothing really,” Remus was bent beside him by James, taping up a sore calf. “It was a look but…”

“But that’s all it really takes with Riddle,” James said. “Thanks Loops, that feels better.”

“Go easy on it, no running on the plane.”

“I don’t do that!”

“Yes, you really do.”

“Well, I am a responsible father now.”

“I didn’t see them try anything,” Sirius said, glancing over at Kasey. “But I’m not sure that makes me feel better.”

Remus sighed, running a hand over Sirius’ knee and using it to push himself up. “Me neither. But, hey.”

Sirius looked up at him, and Remus tilted the brim of the hat back so he could lean down for a quick kiss. “We won.”

Lupin love,” Thomas shouted.

Remus laughed. “Do you need something, Walker?”

Sirius!

Remus didn’t have time to look behind him before Julian was barreling into his back, arms around his waist and gazing at Sirius.

“Those goals were so good.”

Sirius smiled. “Thanks, Jules. Wanna wear the hat?”

“Really?”

James leaned in. “Be warned of the countless sweaty heads that has adorned. We can’t wash it.”

“I wanna wear it!”

Sirius placed the hat on Julian’s head while the other families filed in. Remus saw Alex give his brother a tight hug, Leo’s dad going up to clap Logan on the back. Kris’ daughter went running to him, and he scooped her up with kisses. Julian had become fast friends with Regulus and was running to show him his hat where he was standing with Leo.

Sirius rose, locking his hands around Remus’ lower back. “Want to come cool down with me?”

Remus smiled, palms on his chest. “Oh, we’ll cool down, will we?”

“Yeah,” Sirius pressed a kiss to Remus’ cheek, beard dragging against his skin. “You know. Relax all of our tense muscles.”

Remus wound his fingers in Sirius’ sweaty hair. “I love you. Go shower.”

Sirius pressed a last, soft kiss to Remus’ mouth. “Don’t leave without me.”

“Never.”

 

Sirius’ house was warm and quiet when Hope unlocked the door.

Hope turned to Sirius once they were inside. “I made some spaghetti for you, Sirius, I thought you might be hungry.”

Sirius laughed. “Hope, tu es un ange.”

“He said you’re an angel,” Remus smiled. “And he’s right.”

“Remus makes the best post-game sandwiches,” Sirius pulled him close. “I guess I have you to thank for that.”

“Oh, no, that’d be Lyall,” Hope smiled, pulling a covered dish out of the refrigerator and turning to the microwave. “Lyall and Remus always made sandwiches together after his games.”

“And me,” Julian said, sliding into a chair at the kitchen table. “Right dad?”

“Every game,” Lyall smiled. “Best part of my day, bud.”

“Can I go skate, mom?”

“Julian Lupin, you are going right to bed. Do you know what time it is? I’ll let you miss school for this, and your bedtime, but there is a line, darling.”

“But we’re having spaghetti.”

Hope raised an eyebrow. “Did you just play a full game of hockey?”

Julian sighed. “No.”

“Okay then,” Hope stroked Julian’s hair. “Go get ready for bed, okay? Take dad with you.”

“C’mon, J, we’ll watch some of the post-game.”

Remus watched Julian and his dad trudge upstairs then turned to Hope. “Mom, let me do that. We have a long flight tomorrow again. Why don’t you go rest up, too?”

Hope looked between them and laughed, understanding. “Well, if you insist. I’ll just leave you two alone then. My son the chef, that’s new!”

Remus snorted. “It was new, like, four years ago!”

Hope smiled and kissed Remus on the cheek, then Sirius. “See you two tomorrow.”

When the microwave beeped, they shared the bowl with two forks, ankles tangled below the table.

“Are you really worried?” Sirius said after a few beats of silence. He twirled his fork in the noodles and held it out to Remus. “About Kasey. About Snape.”

Remus took Sirius’ fork gently into his mouth. “I don’t know. I know he’s worried. He’s nervous about his thigh. I can tell. It’s like you, early on with your ankle. Timid.”

Sirius nodded slowly. “Do you think I should talk to him?”

Remus shrugged. “It couldn’t hurt. Kasey’s strong, but it’s always good to hear you’re good.”

Sirius’ smile was sly, if not a little sleepy. “So I learned today.”

Remus smiled. “Eat so we can sleep. You frickin sweetheart.”

Sirius laughed and pulled the bowl towards him to scrape the last of the noodles towards him and into his mouth. After putting it in the sink, he bent over the back of Remus’ chair, arms across Remus’ chest.

“Bed?”

Remus tilted his head back for a kiss. “Bed.”

~

 

Slytherin was cold and the Snakes were vicious. Remus looked up at the second period clock running down as he prodded at Sirius’ left shoulder. Sirius was breathing heavily, Moody holding cotton to his bleeding nose.

Malfoy was in a similar state, being led to the the penalty box.

“Finally got tired of him being all over you, eh?” Remus said, then, more firmly, and loudly to be heard over the Slytherin crowd, “Do you have to go back to the locker room with me?”

“Non,” Sirius yelled, batting Moody’s hand away and swiping his own across his nose. The bleeding had stopped. “I’m good, allez.”

Remus nodded, replacing Sirius’ shoulder pad and pulling his jersey back down over his shoulder and arm. “All right, go.”

“Love you,” Sirius breathed, and then hopped the boards to go to the penalty box. Remus couldn’t help but smile a little as he watched him and Malfoy spit words at each other through the glass.

Coach leaned in. “He okay?”

Remus nodded. “He’s fine.” He looked back over at the penalty box, at Malfoy inside. “Blondie’s really not gonna leave him alone this whole series, huh?”

“That’s their way,” Coach grumbled. “Stick on you like leeches. Sirius knows how to handle it.”

Evgeni and Jackson made their way back onto the bench.

“Just take your time, the word will come to you,” Jackson was saying. “Kuns, you can’t get frustrated like that.”

Evgeni grumbled something in Russian and Jackson just nodded along.

“Nado, score goal,” he ended with.

“I’m trying.”

They were down three nothing, and Remus looked back at Kasey. He was tense, in his own head. Remus would give anything to be able to talk to him.

The puck dropped, Logan on the face-off. They were four-on-four, Sirius leaning forward in the box, probably hoping for a jack-in-the-box goal. Snape carried the puck in easily, past Olli, deking around Pascal only to be crushed to the boards by Timmy. He lost it for a second, but Logan flubbed a pass and then it was on Carrow’s stick.

“Shit,” Remus swore under his breath.

Carrow was a ruthless, fast skater. He pushed towards Kasey, closer and closer.

Despite everything, Remus wasn’t expecting him to ram into Kasey, disregarding the puck entirely, and knocking them both into the net.

The goal horn blared and Carrow didn’t even look up as he skated off the ice and down the tunnel. He knew he was too dirty to be allowed back in the game. Some of his team members patted him on the back. Remus felt sick.

Remus leaped up—and Kasey stayed down. The ref was blowing the whistle hard.

“Fucking interference!” James shouted, voice breaking with how much he had been at it. “Fuck!”

Kasey hit the ice with his stick as he rose, slowly. So slowly.

Sure enough, the referee skated out, hands in a cross, signaling that there was no goal.

Just as suddenly, the crowd started to sing. At least, at first Remus thought it was singing. Then, he recognized the sound.

Winter,” the crowd was saying in a long, drawn out drone. It was haunting. It was over and over again.

Winter, Winter.

They were taunting him. Kasey was lapping his goal. He was favoring one leg. He was keeping his head down.

“Coach,” Remus said quietly. “Coach, he’s hurt.”

“Let’s see what he does,” Coach said. “Let’s see, Kasey’s not reckless.”

“He might be if the entire crowd is taunting him into it.”

“We have ten seconds left. He can last ten seconds.”

“We’ll keep it away from him,” Thomas said. His eyes were dark. “Jesus, Kase.”

The ten seconds went, and the end of the second period rang out.

Kasey was down on one knee in his crease, head bowed. Then, he lifted his gaze and looked right at Remus. Remus could only just make out his brown eyes through his mask. Kasey gave a slight shake of his head.

 

Walking back down the tunnel was a blur. Sirius was holding his hand until they had to part ways. Remus looked up at a TV as he passed and stopped when he saw himself. It was the moment from earlier. He had his hands up Sirius’ jersey, checking his shoulder, while Sirius had his head turned close to him, mid-sentence, blood dripping down his face.

“Black and Lupin, close on the bench this game,” the show host was saying and Remus scoffed. “And what looked like a bad hit on Lions starting goalie, Kasey Winter, by the Snakes tonight. Lucky for the Lions, they don’t have too bad a rookie. Nineteen year old Leo Knut, Louisiana born…”

Remus kept walking, pushing open the door to the quiet room where Kasey was waiting for him on his back on the exam table. He had his bad leg stretched out.

“Hi Kase,” Remus said softly.

Kasey had an arm over his eyes, and he pulled it away slowly. “Hi, Loops.”

“You okay? Can I get you some water or a bar or something?”

Kasey shook his head. “No. Let’s just—let’s get this over with. Just tell me.”

Remus bit his lip, but nodded. “Okay. I’m gonna take your shorts off, alright?”

Kasey nodded, and Remus worked quietly until he was stripped to his underarmour and Remus could feel his strong muscles and tendons. Remus was gentle and quick. Kasey wasn’t a player who liked things sugar coated.

“Well?” Kasey asked in a rough voice.

“It—it has a light tear, I think,” Remus said softly, and Kasey closed his eyes. “I need you to rest Kase. Don’t think I haven’t seen you pushing yourself. I know it’s frustrating.”

“Barely,” Kasey grit out. “I’ve been barely pushing myself. It’s—it’s just not—”

There was a knock at the door, making them both look up.

Natalie poked her head in, and the moment Kasey saw her he pressed a palm over his eyes and sucked in a sharp breath of tears.

“Kase,” Natalie was rushing forward, the door falling shut behind her. She rubbed a palm over his chest, the other in his hair. “Hey, baby, you’re all right.” She kissed his forehead. “You’re all right.”

“I’ll give you two a second,” Remus said quietly, and she nodded.

“Thanks, Re.”

Remus felt overly hot and heavy when the door closed behind him. The hallway looked busy and loud with staff members.

“Remus.”

Remus turned at Arthur’s voice, meeting worried, stern eyes.

“Tell me,” Arthur said.

“These injuries are tricky,” Remus managed. “They’re easily aggravated and…”

“And I should get Knut warmed up?”

“Yes,” Remus said, even though it hurt. “Yes.”

Arthur pressed his lips together and they stood there for a moment, the chaos around them.

“I’m going to go see Bliz,” Arthur said. “Tell him he’s good.”

“Natalie’s in there. I think you should give him a minute.”

Arthur nodded. “Okay. Go see the boys. I’m coming back in five to go over strategy.”

“Okay,” Remus managed a tight smile, and headed for the locker room.

Sirius was on him in a moment, sweaty and stripped down to his pads and socks.

“No, it isn’t good,” Remus said before he could ask. “Where is Leo?”

“Warming up,” Sirius said. “Fuck. Re—”

“Loops?”

It was Evgeni.

“Blizzard is okay?” he asked. The rest of the locker room quieted to listen.

Remus shook his head. “He’s okay but he’s done for the season.”

Remus turned to Sirius and took his hand. “Are you okay?”

“Yes,” Sirius said. “Are you?”

“I feel horrible,” Remus said. “I should have watched him closer, I should have—I knew how hard he was being on himself, I’ve been there.”

“Re, this isn’t your fault. Did you see that hit? Carrow’s out of the game and he’s gonna get a suspension for that. It was completely insane.”

“They’ll just replace him with Bones. You know they will, that’s their whole strategy. They don’t care how hard the hit is—”

“They don’t care about their players,” Regulus cut in. He was standing with Pascal and offered a humorless smile. “Whatever makes the game easier.”

“And yet their motto is always pure hockey,” Pascal shook his head.

“I need to find Leo.”

“He’s with Finn and Logan by the bikes,” Regulus said.

Remus nodded, pressed a palm to Sirius’ cheek, and then turned away.

Leo was stretched out on the floor in his spandex, Logan and Finn talking with him as they kept their muscles warm on the bikes. They looked up when Remus entered.

“Is Nut in?” Finn asked.

“Yes.”

Leo sat up. “Is Kasey…” but he trailed off at Remus’ expression. “Fuck.”

“Bliz,” Logan sighed, raking his fingers through his sweaty hair before hanging his head, elbows on the bike handlebars and feet slow. It had been Logan’s missed pass.

“It isn’t your fault, Tremz. We just have to hope for the best. But get warm, Leo, okay? You can see him after.”

Leo nodded. “Okay. Not my first play off game or anything. No pressure. At least my family is here.” Leo let out a long breath and touched his forehead to his knees. “My mama would cry if she missed this.”

Remus looked to Finn and Logan. “You guys good?”

Finn nodded. “Yeah, Loops, we’re good.”

Remus pushed back into the hallway, hoping to go back to Kasey, only to be met by Alice. He tried to duck out, but she walked with him.

“Coach says he’s in,” she said, gesturing to the door closing on the cubs. “He told me to come to you for news on Kasey.”

“Slight tear in the adductor longus,” Remus said as they walked down the hall. When Alice just gave him a look, Remus sighed. “Inner thigh.”

“So, his repeating injury.”

“Yes, but,” Remus stopped, hand on her shoulder. They were at the locker room. “Do me a favor, and don’t put that in the press statement. I don’t want him hearing that right now.”

Alice’s expression softened. “You’re good to them, Lupin.”

Remus was already pushing open the door. “They’re good to me.”

 

Out on the ice, Leo was met by hisses and jeering. Finn and Logan kept close to his side while he marked him his crease, circling and tapping his posts.

Moody chuckled from beside Remus. “Not superstitious, eh?”

Remus patted Sirius’ shoulder. “That can only last so long when you’re around this one twenty-four seven.”

Sirius turned. “Quoi?”

“Nothing,” Remus said, and shared a knowing look with Moody.

“Where’s Bliz?” James asked.

“Watching with Natalie and his family in the recovery room,” Remus said. “He’ll be okay, you guys focus. Win this game for him.”

Remus looked out at Leo, at Pascal on the face-off.

The referee dropped the puck, and the third period of game three began.

Chapter Text

 

They scraped by in game three. They played two overtime periods. The final score was 7-5 Gryffindor, the seventh being Logan’s empty-netter when Slytherin had finally pulled Riddle.

Remus sat beside Sirius in Slytherin’s guest recovery room while Sirius grit his teeth and sank into an ice bath.

“Fuck,” Sirius groaned out.

“It’ll feel better after,” Remus said.

“Fuck Riddle,” Sirius said, breathing heavily through his nose.

“Amen to that,” Thomas said. He was beside them in an ice bath of his own. He was relaxed, though, and on his phone. “Do you guys ever think about how me and Riddle have the same first name? Like, what? No way.”

“You guys aren’t even from the same universe,” Remus said as he took Sirius’ hand and held up the medical tape to his jammed ring finger. The swelling had got down and he wrapped it tightly to his pinky before tearing the tape off with his teeth. He caught Sirius watching and smiled.

“That’s what I thought,” Thomas said.

“I think my limbs are going to fall off,” came Finn’s voice as he walked in clad only in his underarmour shorts. “Can I take a bathtub on the plane with me?”

Remus rose, laughing. “If only. Lay down on the table, Harz, what do you want?”

“My back, please and thanks,” Finn said, then groaned as he lay on his stomach. “Black, do you get these just, like, all the time at home?”

“None of your business.”

Oh-ho,” Finn grinned. “I see.”

Remus pinched Finn’s side and he laughed.

Marlene knocked on the doorframe. “Bus leaving for the hotel in thirty, guys.”

Remus nodded in thanks and dug his thumbs into Finn’s lower back muscles, making him groan.

“Easy there, O’Hara,” Sirius grumbled. His timer had gone off and he was easing himself out of the ice. “Jeez.”

“Jealous Captain,” Finn said. “Who knew. Actually, I totally expected that.”

Thomas nodded. “Same.”

Remus glanced at him. “Talkie, your timer went off.”

“It’s kind of nice in here.”

Sirius and Remus looked at each other, half smiling and half bewildered.

 

The bus was quiet. They were exhausted. Remus found Leo in his seat. Logan was beside him, hand rubbing the back of his neck. Leo had his eyes closed. Kasey was more or less surrounded, by Finn and Timmy, Thomas and Elias and Olli. He was smiling, and that was all Remus cared about. Remus scooted into his usual row, into the window seat, Sirius close behind.

“That was close,” Sirius sighed, then glanced at his phone. “Fuck me, it’s one in the morning. We have to be up in like—five hours.”

Remus smiled, leaning into Sirius’ side. “At least we won.”

“If we win the next two games…” Sirius said, then trailed off and smiled.

“Shh,” Remus said teasingly, and knocked gently on Sirius’ forehead.

Sirius wrapped an arm around him. “Did your family already go back?”

“Yeah, a while ago. My mom texted me a cute video of Jules when you scored though, look.”

They watched it, phone held close between them. Julian had his Lions beanie on, one with a puffball at the top, a Black jersey, and when the goal horn went he all but bounced out of his seat, grinning at the camera when Hope called his name from behind it.

“Aw, Jules,” Sirius laughed.

Remus clicked off his phone with a smile, then glanced behind him. “Knutty did good.”

Sirius nodded. “Looks beat, though.”

“Everyone looks beat.”

“I just hope he gets a good night’s sleep. He deserves it. That fucking poke check, I swear to God. Some other team’s gonna try and snatch him up if we’re not careful.”

Remus winced. “Knock on wood for that.”

Sirius laughed and knocked twice. “Agreed.”

When the bus pulled into the hotel, Coach stopped them only for a minute.

“Tape review on the plane, alright? I want you boys to get as much sleep as you can. Get out of here and make sure you eat something.”

Remus was willing to stay up only long enough for their food to knock at the door.

“Thank God, I’m starving,” Sirius said.

Sirius rolled the cart in himself, tipping the bellboy at the door, and Remus sat up, scooting to the end of the bed. He could smell the hot bread rolls from here.

“Sleep is for the plane,” Sirius said. “Two in the morning is for eating.”

“You deserve it,” Remus took the lids off their pasta plates. and broke open the soft bread. The butter he spread melted right inside.

Remus moaned, falling into Sirius’ side when he sat, cross-legged, beside him. Sirius laughed, dropping a kiss to his hair and switching on the TV.

“Movie?”

“Mhm,” Remus said, sucking noodles into his mouth.

 

~

 

Your Gryffin-dor Li-ons.

Leo kept hearing it. He was here.

“Game four, baby,” Finn said over the noise of Hogwarts Arena.

Leo looked up at him from where he was butterflied on the ice. He pushed off of his left goal post one last time, putting his glove hand out in a mock-save, before straightening.

“Game four.”

“You okay?” Finn asked. If they were alone, he’d be closer. Leo wanted him closer.

“I’m okay,” Leo let out a breath. “I don’t want this to go overtime again. Last game was—hard.”

“We’ve got you. And you’ve got us,” Finn said, then he skated closer, right up in Leo’s crease. His smile would look teasing to anyone watching, but Leo could see his eyes. “Love you.”

Leo smiled back, pulling his mask down. “Love you, Harz. Tell Lo for me, too.”

“Will do,” he said over his shoulder, readying for puck drop.

The first period went quickly. The crowd was loud and it was a relief to be within the see of red, rather than green. Defense kept Snape and Malfoy out of the zone, away from Leo’s crease. When a buzzer sounded a few seconds after the ref called Logan for a slashing penalty, Leo pushed his mask up, breathing hard. He poured water over the back of his neck before squirting some into his mouth, and watched Logan make his way out of the penalty box. Logan was still shouting at the referee as he skated across the ice. Leo couldn’t help but smile a little as he shoved his mask back down. The Snakes would start the second period with an advantage, but at least Leo could meet Logan halfway across the ice and lean into his ear.

“I love it when you’re like this.”

Logan looked up and smiled, and it sent a small thrill through Leo, because Logan’s eyes were still sharp from the anger. When Logan wanted to, he could be wolfish. Leo could have kissed him right there.

“You’re playing so well, Peanut,” he said as they reached the bench. James was waiting to tap them in. Logan’s pupils were wide from the adrenaline and darkness of the tunnel. “Fuck, we just keep meeting each other, though. 2-2, 3-3. And now I gave them the fucking AD.”

“I won’t let them get us,” Leo said. “I won’t.”

Logan grinned. “Hey, c’mere for a second—”

“Hey, Leo!”

They both looked up at Marlene’s voice.

“Could we grab you for intermission?”

“Oh,” Leo glanced at Logan, who looked like he was trying very hard not to look murderous, and smiled. “Sure.”

Leo felt Logan lightly punch his shoulder, and then he took his mask off, accepting the towel someone gave him as he walked under the lights and camera set up.

“Does my hair look okay?” he said, laughing.

Marlene smirked. “Leo, I don’t think your hair can look bad. We’re on in thirty seconds. You need water?”

“I’m good.”

“And five, four, three, two…” The man behind the camera pointed at Marlene.

“So, Knutty,” Marlene smiled. “This is your rookie season, a big season for the Lions on and off the ice, and with the Blizzard injured, you are playing your very first full play off game. How are you feeling?”

“I’m obviously first and foremost sending all my good thoughts to Kase in his recovery. That was really hard to see because, you know, I really look up to him. He’s my friend. But I’m also really excited for this opportunity to be out there with the boys and playing hard.”

“Is your family here?”

Leo smiled. “Yeah, my parents.”

“And how are they?”

“Sort of freaking out,” Leo laughed, wiping his forehead with the towel. “My mom has a hard time watching sometimes. Worrying, you know. And my dad’s a little star struck I think. I’m really happy they’re here.”

“Alright, we’ll go let you rest, thanks Knut.”

“Thanks,” Leo flashed another quick smile before ducking out from the lights. Logan was still there, waiting.

“Cute,” he whispered.

Leo rolled his eyes. “I’m probably bright fucking red. My face always gets so red after working out or games.”

Logan pushed the doors open to the locker room. “Yeah, after other things, too.”

Leo smiled. “Well, that I don’t mind so much.”

“Hey,” Logan grabbed the front of Leo’s jersey.

Leo let Logan pulled him into the change room.

Leo smiled, boxing Logan in. “You sure are nice when you’re high on adrenaline.”

“Yeah,” Logan grinned, letting Leo press him against the doorframe. Leo leaned down and kissed him softly, barely a brush, and then harder. Logan kissed back with fire.

His goalie pads were thick in between them, but Logan pressed them as close as he could. Despite his kiss, his touch was soft, hand on the back of Leo’s neck. Leo could taste his sweat, and they probably both stunk, but he didn’t care.

“Ow-ow.

Leo felt a towel whip his butt and looked up to see Thomas.

Yeah, rookie, get your rewards!”

Leo laughed.

“I think he means me,” Logan whispered against Leo’s mouth, then sighed happily. “Let’s go.”

“Am I missing something?” Leo heard Finn say from around the corner, and laughed.

“Not anymore,” Logan called back.

Finn was standing, stripped out of his jersey. Leo loved the way he looked in just his pads, strapped around his ribs and his shoulders. Leo put his mask on Finn’s head as he passed him on the way to his stall.

“Love you,” Leo said.

Finn’s smile was the sun, and Leo really was in love.

“Hey, hey, hey,” Finn said, and his kiss, after he had pulled Leo in, was sweet.

“What?” Leo said softly.

“Sergei had these little Russian candies. They’re good.”

“Yeah. They are.”

“You were so great out there, Le.”

“We gotta pull ahead,” Leo said. “I want this.”

“I want you,” Finn grinned. “And this.”

“You have me.”

“Oh, then I want this. Some nice, silver—

“Shh,” Sirius said, knocking Finn across the back of his head.

Ow.”

Sirius just grinned, looking back at him as he walked by.

Leo pressed his fingers to Finn’s jaw, bringing their eyes back together.

“Score for me this period,” Leo brushed a kiss over his mouth. “Okay?”

Finn’s smile was like Logan’s this time. Adrenaline-filled and burning. “Okay.”

 

~

 

Game five was rough. It was everything. If they won this like they had won game four, they won it all. Remus had seen the Stanley Cup and its white-gloved keepers in the hallway. They wheeled the case between them. He was torn between thinking that the fanfare, the white gloves—the guarded case—was ridiculous, and eating it up with the rest of the Slytherin stadium.

It made both teams almost bloodthirsty. Remus could practically smell it in the air. The hits felt harder. It was only the first period, and already the score was 3-2 in favor of the Snakes. Pascal’s mouth was bloody from a high stick by Malfoy, the clock read 5:43 remaining in the first period, and Sirius and Snape were shouting at each other, refs holding both of them away from the other one.

The crowd was eating up that, too.

“Dumo, hold that for me,” Remus said, putting Pascal’s fingers over the towel he was holding. “Teeth?”

Pascal shook his head. “They’re fine.”

Remus nodded and used his now free hands to rip some medical tape. He secured it over the cut below Pascal’s bottom lip.

“You good?”

“Of course, Remus,” Pascal prodded at the cut. “This is nothing.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, tough hockey man.”

Sirius skated up sharply as a TV break started, shoving his mouthguard back into his mouth and clambering onto the bench. He was drenched in sweat, and had taken a puck to his thigh that would leave an ugly bruise later.

Remus could practically hear the commentators now. Classic captain rivalry. Sirius Black, showcasing his temper.

“You know,” Remus said, leaning in as he handed Sirius the iPad. “You only get this angry during games. How on earth do you do that?”

“I would never shout at someone outside of the ice, outside of competition, unless they were really wrong,” Sirius said shortly, eyes on the screen. “I’ve had enough real fighting in my life. I won’t be an angry person. Not like that. This is different.”

Remus blinked. “I love you.”

Sirius looked up. A small smile broke through the rest. “Love you.”

 

Sirius scored exactly six seconds after the break. It was a gorgeous wrap-around, right below Riddle’s blocker. James and Brady pressed him against the boards and, when Sirius smiled, Remus found himself thinking about that first one. The first time he’d seen the ice crack.

They’d tied it up. They’d start the second period without any advantage.

“That’s better than nothing,” Coach said once they were all in the locker room, draining water bottles and rolling out sore muscles. “And we’re playing at our best. I can see it, I can see the communication out there. I can see us working together.” He took his glasses off, blue eyes focused and excited, and rubbed them on his shirt. “Let’s keep it up, boys, okay? We win this…well, you know what happens then.”

Remus leaned against Kasey’s stall, at the end of the line, and clapped with the rest of the team, helpless to the grin on his face.

This felt real.

 

The second period didn’t.

The Snakes pulled up 5-3. Sirius broke his stick against the bench. Logan, too. They were frustrated. They were stiller, almost fumbling. Remus felt their frustration leak into him, their stiffness. He found himself white knuckling his own sleeve, palm against his throat.

He didn’t think they were going to win this game.

And they needed to win.

Remus ended up being back in the room with Finn, icing a jammed knee, for the end of it.

“Black to Potter,” the commentator was saying. “And Potter takes it back to the Lions zone. Lots of hesitation from Gryffindor this period, I must say—and Black has it again but—oh, bad shift change by Potter, and whistle blows, penalty on Lions for too many men on the ice.”

“Fuck,” Finn said. “Fuck.”

“Hold still,” Remus sighed, not even wanting to look at the television.

“Malfoy wins the face-off, and gets it back to Snape. Snape to Bones, Bones replacing Carrow on first line, Carrow suspended for a dirty hit on Lions starting goalie, Kasey Winter. Bones back to Malfoy, carrying it quickly into the Lions zone, back to Snape, around the back of Knut’s crease, and just narrowly missing what would have been a nasty hit by Jackson Nadeau. This is what is often called the Lions’ double enforcer line. Lions obviously looking to add some muscle to their frankly lacking game right now. Snape still with the puck, and back to Bones, and Bones snaps it right between Leo Knut’s pads! Right in the bread basket, what a goal.”

“Oh, Peanut,” Finn said faintly.

“And the horn goes, ending the second period in game five of the Stanley Cup finals. Snakes up six goals to the Lions’ three. We’ll be right back after this break.”

Remus stood by as the team filed into the locker room for the intermission between the second and third, but let Sirius fume on his own. Leo was the only one standing. He was tossing his tennis balls against the wall in a perfect rhythm. Remus felt his eyes blur as he watched. Hit, catch. Hit, catch. Hit, catch.

“Can someone get a hat trick, or something,” James said. He ran his hands through his hair, making it stick up in all different directions. “Okay…”

Suddenly, Coach was blowing into the room and reaching for the TV remote, turning up the volume of the one mounted in the corner.

“Everyone listen,” he said, although the room was already silent.

“We have some breaking news in the hockey community, yes, even, in the midst of this exciting final series. Remember those pictures of Lions Captain Sirius Black? Well, we’re finally getting more information.”

Remus nearly jolted. He found Sirius’ eyes instantly, and then Sirius was at his side, hand on his back.

“What?” Remus said, but Sirius just shook his head.

“I don’t know, sweetheart.”

The NHL commentator shuffled his papers. “It was more than just a camera that happened to be in the right place at the right time this New Year’s Eve. Proof has come out that Snakes’ assistant coach, Arsenius Malfoy, uncle to Snakes’ top player Lucius Malfoy, is responsible behind what I believe can only be called an attack.”

“Jesus,” Jackson said. “Is it just one huge family affair over there?”

Alice appeared at their sides. “I told you we’d come through. It just took a little careful poking around.”

Sirius’ arm wrapped around Remus’ shoulders and Remus reached up to hold his hand.

“How did you find out?” Remus asked. Alice just pointed back to the screen, listening.

“The exact details of what Malfoy was expecting to find are still murky. More for you, after this break.”

Alice turned back to them. “Regulus said—”

The doors opened again and it was Regulus himself rushing in, grasping Sirius’ arm.

“It was Dima,” he said in a rush.

Sirius blinked. “Who’s Dima?”

“The others,” Regulus hissed. “Remember, I told you there were others who were too afraid—”

“To speak out, right. Dima—Dima Krupin? Number six, the winger?”

“Want to say it louder for the cameras just outside? Fuck, Sirius.”

“Sorry,” Sirius let out a breath. “Sorry, I just… was he a friend to you?”

“That doesn’t matter. We were all friends on the Snakes. That doesn’t mean we treated each other well.”

“That makes no sense.”

“No, it doesn’t,” Regulus looked briefly out at the room. “Especially not here.”

Sirius looked back at Alice. “Breaking news mid-game…your idea?”

“I’m the smartest person in this room. It might shake them a little. It’ll shake the crowd. No offense, but—”

“You guys need all the help you can get right now,” Regulus cut in.

Sirius smiled, just a little. “Yeah.”

Alice turned to Regulus. “You’re right, it was Krupin. After you told me and Minnie that there were some other players willing to speak, I did some digging around of my own. It’s not just your word against theirs anymore, Regulus. This is good for a new contract for you. And getting some closure. Plus,” Alice looked at Remus, then Sirius. “I wasn’t expecting Dima to tell me about the pictures. I really did think it was a random pap. I’m sorry, I should have looked closer.”

Sirius shook his head. “You can’t predict things like that. I knew we had a rivalry. I didn’t know they hated me.”

“What’s next?” Remus asked.

“Well,” Alice looked at her watch. “You go play a third period. And I start talking to lawyers.”

 

Sirius was last out on the ice. He lapped once around the rink, and Remus watched him glance up at the score board, as if the 6-3 would have changed some how.

“No more Malfoy,” Remus said to him from the bench. They looked at the Snakes’ bench and, sure enough, Arsenius was gone. Lucius and Karkaroff looked stony-faced and pale. The crowd was—

“It’s quiet,” Sirius said. “Quieter.”

“We can’t assume Slytherin is bad just because the Snakes are corrupt,” Thomas said. He looked more serious than Remus had ever seen him. “Even though it’d be easy to, eh?”

“Cheap shot,” came another voice, and Sirius turned to see Snape standing there, closer to his own bench than theirs.

Sirius leaned on his stick. “Yeah, you’re right it was.” He made a bit of a show of blinking, as if understanding something. “Oh. Oh, I’m sorry, I thought we were talking about you.”

“Your people don’t know shit,” Snape said. “It was a nice play, though, trying to throw us off like that. It won’t work, you’ll still lose.”

Sirius merely shrugged. Remus could have jumped the boards right there. Snape wasn’t even looking at him, just Sirius.

“You might win this game,” Sirius said. “But you’re not winning the series. You don’t deserve it. Aren’t you listening?” Sirius looked around at the stadiums. “You took this off the ice. And that’s not okay with me. It’s not okay with this crowd, either—your crowd—at least not with all of them. You’re cruel. I’m done talking to you now.”

“Toujour pur,” Snape spat after him, and although Sirius didn’t look back, the words made Remus sick. Snape wasn’t talking about hockey anymore. Snape turned, and looked right at Remus.

“Toujour pur,” he hissed again, and then Thomas’ fist was around the front of his jersey.

Coach was at Remus’ shoulder, shouting over to the Slytherin bench. “Control your team!”

“You bigoted shit,” Thomas said lowly. “Walk away.”

“You’re the walker,” Snape tried to shove his hand away, but failed. “We could use muscle like you.”

“I’d rather play two months with my team than win five Cups with yours,” Thomas shoved him away just as the referees got there, blowing their whistles and dragging Snape away. Aside from a few loud people, the crowd was still strangely lulled, as if most of it was watching the fight in a trance. They stayed that way through puck drop, through the first ten minutes. Remus felt chilled to the bone and too hot all at once, watching the clock tick down and having no goals scored.

Game six. They needed to win game six.

 

The press surrounded Sirius in his stall afterwards, and Sirius was having none of it. His eyes were gray clouds, revealing nothing.

“There is an important distinction between team rivalries and actually hurting people,” Sirius said to the reporter. “We hiss, we hit, and we chirp hard. We also play hard. And then there’s this. I’m lucky to have the people I have around me.”

“Sirius, are you planning to retaliate? Perhaps legally?”

“I would hope the NHL would get their head out of their ass, join this century, and be brave enough to take this matter into their hands. As for me, I have a game six to worry about, and I would hope my opponents on the ice are not my enemies in life, but, there you have it.”

“Sirius, the organization might feel differently about you speaking out so boldly—”

Sirius almost scoffed, his first and only give-away. “Then I feel differently about them, too. Look. I am gay. I am a hockey player. I was followed in the dead hours of the morning, and then exposed when they felt the moment was right, taking my choice and opportunity away. An organization is being allowed to exist that is quite obviously toxic. What else do you want me to say?”

“That’s all, folks,” Alice cut in, stepping up and pushing the camera down with a hand. “Sirius, you can go.”

The cameras filed out reluctantly after some half-hearted questions about the actual game to other players. Once the door closed, Sirius took Remus by his waist and pulled him in.

“Sorry, I’m sweaty,” Sirius said, but didn’t pull away.

“I don’t care,” Remus said, hands on his back. “I don’t—I don’t think this has all hit me yet. What the fuck.”

“I know,” Sirius sighed, then pulled back and smiled softly. “At least it’s out there now.”

Remus nodded, running a thumb over Sirius’ lip. “Proud of you.”

“You, too,” Sirius kissed Remus’ wrist. “I’m gonna shower, then let’s go.”

 

Sirius, beanie pulled low over his ears, held the door open for Remus, Regulus, and Leo.

“I mean, do you think they knew?” Leo was saying to Regulus. “How could they?”

“I didn’t even know,” Regulus said. “So, no. But—“

“Excuse me?”

The voice that had spoken was heavily accented, like Evgeni’s. When Remus turned, there was a boy standing in the hallway, freshly showered and in a light gray suit, making his blond hair look ashy. He looked nervous.

“Krupin,” Sirius said slowly, then Regulus stepped forward.

“Dima,” he said, voice soft, even breathless. “Are you okay?”

“Good thing I do for you,” Dima said, then gave his head a small shake. “Bad thing for me. You say—the woman say she help. But then I’m alone in locker room, and you’re here leaving for your bus?” He took a step back. “I am tricked?”

“No,” Regulus said. “No, of course not—”

“We didn’t know,” Sirius said. “Let me text Alice, okay? We can see what the best way to do this is.”

“I come inside?” Dima said urgently, pointing back at the locker room. “Please.”

“Yeah,” Regulus said, and Leo pushed open the door again.

Those who were still getting dressed, or just talking while they waited for the bus, went dead silent when Dima followed them in.

“Krupin?” Evgeni stepped forward, Sergei and Jackson at his heels. Evgeni said something fast in Russian, and Dima responded. Remus could only look between the two as they spoke.

Evgeni ran a hand over his hair. “He say not safe. Is true?”

“They can’t legally make you do anything,” Alice said as she brushed through the door. “They can fine you, but that’s about it.” She looked at Krupin. “Do you remember what I said when we spoke on the phone?”

“I want like Regulus,” Dima said. “Yes. You say I can do.”

“I said we can get you out of your contract but only with cause. Are you willing?”

Dima stiffened, his blue eyes, paler than any Remus had ever seen, going tight. “Have to send money home. To Russia. Taking care of family, parents, sisters. Can’t…”

“You will be helped,” Pascal stepped forward, farther than any of the others beside Regulus, and stood by Dima’s side. “You will be helped. I will help you keep your family safe.”

Dima just looked at him, like Pascal was speaking, not just another language, but a new one.

“Okay?” Regulus said.

Dima was still staring at Pascal, but he nodded and gave a faint, “okay.”

“Everyone wait in here for the bus,” Alice said, and her voice caught a little. “No talking to reporters, and no talking to anyone from the Snakes’ organization.”

Remus’ throat felt a little tight, too. He felt Sirius slip his hand into his own, and was grateful. He wanted nothing more than to be home, holding him close.

The bus back to the hotel was silent. They were going back to Gryffindor. Game six.

“We have to win on Friday,” Sirius said softly from beside Remus. It was the first words he’d spoken since getting on the bus. “We were so close.”

“We’re still so close,” Remus said. "And now we’ll win at home.” He knocked gently on Sirius’ thigh, making him smile. “Surrounded by red and gold. Come on. Sometimes this happens. You know that. When everything’s riding on one thing…it can become—”

“That’s what this game is,” Sirius said. “Everything, everything has one shot.”

“Bullshit,” Remus said. “It might feel that way in the moment, but you always have more than one shot."

Sirius was quiet, and then wrapped his arm around Remus, kissing his temple and keeping his nose in his hair. Remus wrapped his arms around him, under his coat where he was warmest.

“Well,” Sirius sighed, glancing towards the back of the bus where Regulus sat with Dima. “We have two runaways now. What do you think of Krupin?”

“I think he’s brave. I think he must be exhausted. Can you imagine playing an entire game while knowing that was going to happen between the second and third period? Being so terrified of your own team that you wait outside the visitor’s locker room, too scared to even stand in the hallway? He needs sleep.”

Sirius nodded, and brushed his knuckles against Remus’ cheek. “You’re tired, too, mon loup. I’ve got you. Close your eyes, I’ll tell you when we’re there.”

Remus wanted to protest. “You need—” he began, but he pressed his cheek against Sirius’ warm chest. “You sleep, too. We’ll wake up when the bus stops.”

 

~

 

Logan flicked through the pictures again, sitting on the couch in their apartment. Someone had taken these. Someone had taken these to hurt Sirius. And Remus.

“Mon ange?”

Logan looked up to see his dad standing there, leaning against the doorway. He clicked his phone off and smiled, albeit a little tight.

“Just waiting,” Logan said, the French easy on his tongue. “You’re all ready?”

“Ouais,” Marius said, sighing as he sat beside him. “Are you okay?”

“We’re playing well,” Logan said. “We’re so close.”

“Non, non,” Marius said. “Don’t do that, you know what I mean.”

Logan rolled his eyes, but smiled, his dad’s hand warm on his neck, massaging out the tight muscles like he used to when he was younger. He looked down at his dark phone, and took a breath.

“It’s these pictures,” Logan said. “Last time, they brought me Finn and Leo. This time…I already have them. And I’m so happy. And now, I look at them, and there’s more room to be scared about…”

Logan trailed off, and tilted into his dad’s side, letting him secure an arm around his shoulders.

“You’re okay with it, right?” Logan asked quietly.

“With you and the boys?”

Logan nodded.

“Yes,” Marius said. “I want you to be happy. You can’t fault me for being surprised, though,” Marius laughed and Logan did, too. “But yes. I am so very okay with it. They treat you well, I can see. That’s what I care about.”

“D’accord,” Logan said. “And maman, too?”

“Oui.”

“D’accord.”

“You really are, ah, what is it Noelle says? Oh,” Marius chuckled, petting a hand through Logan’s hair. “A little pot of honey.”

Logan snorted. “Whatever.”

“Ready!” Finn shouted from their bedroom, and Logan heard the distinct zip of his bag. “Nut, I can’t fit this sweatshirt, can you put it in yours?”

“Honey, we’re going to the game. Why are you bringing so many clothes?”

“Just in case we—you know,” He dropped to a whisper. “w-i-n.

Logan smiled when he heard Leo laugh.

“Allez?” Marius said.

“Ouais, allez.”

 

~

 

Remus watched the crowd from the bench as he set out water bottles and double checked the med-kits. Game six of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and people were going all out. There was everything from red and yellow face paint, to full-maned lion costumes. There were phones pressed to the glass, beer sloshed over seats, and laughter.

It was not Slytherin.

Marlene was down at the bench, ready to take some warm-up interviews. She had a gold and red ribbon braided into her long, blonde hair.

“You ready, Lupin?” she said.

“You bet,” Remus grinned. “You?”

“Nervous,” Marlene looked out at the yet empty rink, at the staff making sure the goals were secure. “But yes.”

Remus went to respond, but when the lights went down, the crowd would have drowned out his words. Beams of light flashed across the filled seats, and then the stadium went almost completely black. For a moment, it was just the crowd, cheering. Remus’ heart went into double-time. Then, slowly, a projection of the Stanley Cup faded onto center ice. There was the sound of a skate cutting through the ice, and then the entire rink seemed to crumble, the projectors working to make the bottom of the stadium seem to fall away. And it was dark again. Then, a lion’s roar. The crowd roared back.

The jumbotron lit up, and music started, something with a heavy baseline, and each hit brought a new clip, a new team member. Pascal taping his stick, Sirius shooting the puck. James doing a complete spin to avoid a hit. Thomas, executing a hit. Logan and Finn, together on the ice. Finn, helmet against Leo’s. Logan, bringing his stick back for a slap shot, tongue poking out of his mouth. The puck going over Riddle’s shoulder. The bench on their feet. And the Stanley Cup, lit to shine.

Your Gryffin-dor Li-ons.

The Snakes and the Lions came out at once. The ground nearly shook. Remus crossed his arms and laughed, despite it all. The pressure. The pictures. Dima, Regulus. His shoulder.

He was here.

“How’s the leg?” he shouted over to Moody.

Moody grinned. “Knock on wood.”

Remus watched Sirius skate his usual laps in the dark and lasers. The light show made him look faster, like he was dodging bullet after beam.

Remus wasn’t religious, but he was definitely praying to something.

“Blue!”

Remus flipped the gatorade to James, who grinned.

“You’ve learned.”

“You’re persistent,” Remus laughed.

The lights came up, and the ice looked especially white. The Snakes, back in their black, away jerseys, loomed. Snape didn’t approach their bench. No one did. Remus thought they probably had Alice to thank for that.

Sirius skated up, fresh off his logo-trace, and said something fast in French. Remus shook his head, blinking.

“What?”

Sirius laughed. “I said, will you be my date to the after party?”

Remus raised his eyebrows. “What, we go from knocking on wood all year round to talking about the after party? Who are you?”

“We have to do this,” Sirius said then leaned in, always to Remus’ surprise, and kissed him on the mouth. “There’s no other choice.”

And for the first period, it really did seem as simple as that. Remus found himself tracking the plays in his head, listening to Coach shift his call card around as needed. Remus watched Sirius the most. He felt like he could predict his moves just as he made them. Remus thought he should fall back, and he did. Remus thought he needed to pass, and he did, shoot, and he did, hit, and he did.

In the first ten minutes, Sirius scored.

Malfoy was still trying to keep on top of him, keeping Snape free to receive passes and carrying them up channels, but he couldn’t keep up.

“I guess this is what happens when the Captain makes up his mind, eh?” Coach said, leaning in so Remus could hear him.

Remus grinned. “I guess so.”

Sirius skated down the line, bumping gloves and pushing himself over the boards. He and Logan were talking fast French to each other.

“Bla bla bla,” James panted. “I don’t know what we’re saying, what the fuck, he’s not on our line, Sirius, come on.”

“Snape’s favoring his right leg, have you noticed?” Sirius said, clearing his visor with a towel. “We should try to pass and shoot on the left, it’ll buy us some time.”

“Like half a second, sure,” James said.

“Sometimes that’s enough.”

Logan laughed. “Oh, Cap. No one sees this game like you do.”

Remus smiled and patted Sirius’ shoulder, earning him a glance back and a grin.

“That’s true, Tremz,” Remus said. “That’s true.”

 

~

 

The intermission between the first and the second flew by. They were up 1-0, but Leo wasn’t about to talk about it.

“Jinxes are real,” Leo mumbled. “Jinxes are real.”

Oh-ho,” Finn laughed. “Not superstitious my ass.”

Leo rolled his eyes. “Ready?”

Finn stood, twirling his stick in his hands. “OO-WAY.”

Logan cringed, standing up, too, helmet under his arm.

“Wait,” Finn said. “Speaking of asses.” He reached back and patted Logan’s, then Leo’s, laughing when they both hit his arm. “What? I’m superstitious.”

Leo turned to them. “I want a Cup.”

They both quieted. Then, Logan walked forward, pressed his hand behind Leo’s neck, and pulled him down for a kiss.

“Well, then we better get it.”

 

Back out on the ice, Leo looked across it to Riddle. He was re-marking his crease, feet scraping methodically.

Some members of the ice crew were shooting t-shirts into the stands right behind him, and the canons sounded loud in Leo’s ears, as loud as his heart.

He thought about looking for his parents, but all he wanted to see was the ice, and that little black blur that was the puck.

“You know,” he said to Finn, who was passing pucks to the others so they could warm up and shoot. “If we played Quidditch—” Leo broke to block Logan’s shot, then he straightened. “I know I’d be the Keeper, technically, but couldn’t I be the Seeker? I mean, I’m the one catching the tiny ball.”

Finn laughed. “Sure, baby, whatever you want. I’ll be Chaser.”

“That’s true,” Leo hit his glove onto his hand more firmly with his blocker and stretched out his thighs. “I’m just saying.”

“You can seek and keep me tonight, if you want to,” Finn grinned as he skated away.

“Count on it,” Leo said.

At least, Leo hoped that would be part of tonight. When he thought about winning, it didn’t feel real. When he thought about winning, he might as well have been in his childhood room, back home, staring up at his posters and thinking, maybe. It had always been one day. Now it was tonight.

The referee dropped the puck and Sirius won it. Leo pushed away from his goal a little, giving himself more room to reposition should the puck suddenly come his way. When they change shifts and Leo saw Logan and Finn jump the boards, he smiled. Finn was on his cover in a second, slamming a number 15 into the boards hard.

Leo couldn’t lie. He liked watching his boys hit.

15 shoved Finn away with a hand to his jersey, and they raced towards Pascal. 

They lost possession to the Snakes soon after, and Logan raced Malfoy until he couldn’t anymore. Snape was coming at top speed towards Leo. He was leaning to the right, pushing more with his right leg than his left.

He would shoot left, then. He would shoot left, and Snape favored slap shots, but that didn’t mean that would be what he went for now. Leo watched his eyes, and his feet. He watched his foot raise to suggest right, but watched his eyes suggest left—

And he guessed.

He guessed like he had guessed with Finn. And with Logan. And with himself.

He guessed right.

And the puck went into his glove. He just snatched it out of the air.

The crowd erupted, and Snape only barely stopped himself from crashing into Leo. His skates sprayed ice, right through the mask, and Leo straightened, staring through it.

“Careful with those things,” Leo said.

Snape’s eyes were cold. “Who, me?”

Leo smiled, glancing behind him. “You.”

And Logan yanked Snape back by his jersey.

“Don’t touch my goalie,” Logan snarled, and then Finn was there, too, and Malfoy.

Leo watched them scuffle for a moment before the referees were blowing the whistle.

“Knut,” one said, and Leo dumped the puck into his waiting palm. “Nice one.”

“Thanks,” Leo smiled.

Pascal looped around the back of his goal as they reset, laughing.

“Your knights in shining armor, non?”

“Oui,” Leo laughed, settling back down into a crouch. “I guess so.”

Leo glanced up at the score board. Sirius had given them a lead, but Leo would feel a lot more relaxed it they could widen it.

The lines rotated, Coach’s voice sounding hoarse and far off from calling numbers. Leo watched both teams battle hard as the clock ran. They slammed each other against the boards, received penalties for holding, slashing. The Snakes were even awarded a delay of game. Still, the score didn’t budge.

Evgeni won the next face off, Evan and Jackson ticking the puck quickly between the three of them. For someone so large, Evgeni was surprisingly soft with his hands. He cut through the Snakes like butter, keeping the puck until he was nearly right in front of the net. His shot went wide.

It went right onto Yaxley’s stick. Leo could hear coach Karkaroff shouting from the bench. Both teams changed, and then the fourth line, Elias, Evander, and Will, were out. Elias tried to get the puck, but Bones was bigger than him. He was knocked back, stick falling out of his hands. They weren’t allowed to pick their sticks up with play surrounding them.

Leo kept close to his posts as Bones approached in a clean breakaway from the others. His pale hair, so similar to Malfoy’s, was sticking with sweat to his cheeks. He was to the left, tipping forward on his feet, preparing to shoot. Leo pushed out, just a little, when Bones’ stick went back—

He knew he had butterflied too early the moment he did it.

The puck went sailing into the goal, right over his shoulder. The goal light lit his vision up red, the horn loud in his ears. Leo pushed his mask up and turned away from the celebrating Snakes, squirting water into his mouth. He glanced up at the stands, as if he would be able to catch a glimpse of the Lions’ box, of his parents, but it was just a sea of red.

He shoved his mask back down and looked at the clock instead. Two minutes remaining in the second period. Logan, Finn, and Pascal were back on the ice. Logan and Finn were talking quickly at each other, before they seemed to agree on something. Leo watched them pop their mouth guards back in. Pascal got kicked from the face-off, and Logan took his place. The crowd had started up a chant of, Let’s go Li-ons. Leo heard the five claps that came after the words like a tick of each second off of the second period clock.

Logan won it. Finn carried it, skating backwards, and then Logan had it again. Pascal crushed Yaxley into the boards and Logan shot through the opening. Leo’s heart beat hard as he listened to Logan’s familiar, smooth strokes. Logan faked once, making Riddle lunge to the left, and then shot it into the net.

Leo grinned as the bench shot to their feet, as he watched Finn press Logan into the boards. A perfect answering goal. 2-1, Lions.

Please let us win at home, Leo thought. Please.

 

~

 

Remus was handing out vitamin C and electrolyte packets when Coach came in. The room was quiet. Logan had a towel over his head. James was texting, Lily no doubt. Sirius was in full superstition mode. Earlier, he had been on the floor stretching, always in the same order, and now he was sitting in his stall, eyes closed and thumb rubbing over his necklace periodically.

“Here,” Remus said softly.

Sirius’ eyes opened. He took the packet. “Thanks, Re.”

Remus smiled. “Need anything?”

Sirius huffed out a laugh. “A win?”

Remus laughed. “I’ll see what I can do.”

“Well,” Coach said, standing with his arms crossed in the middle of the room. He had ditched his suit jacket long ago, and his calling card was in his shirt pocket, along with a pen. He took his glasses off, and put those in the pocket, too. “I’ve never seen the room quite this silent before.”

“We’re in the zone, Coach,” Thomas said, raising some laughs.

“Good thing,” Coach said. “Okay. Here’s where we’re at. We’re playing well, yeah? We’re pushing hard. We’re not giving them much. This is…” Coach paused. “This is what most of you have been thinking about since you were three years old.”

Remus watched Logan open his eyes, moving the towel to around his neck. Finn was rocking a little in his seat, rubbing a tennis ball under the arch of one foot. Kasey was there, dressed in a suit but sitting in his stall. Pascal was standing, nodding at Arthur’s words. Remus thought about what it must be like for Pascal. He was one of the oldest in the league, already a Stanley Cup champion. Sergei, too, both with Colorado. Everyone else here was still waiting for their first Cup. Remus smiled a little. Himself included.

Sirius, sitting just behind him, reached forward and took one of Remus’ hands. Remus looked back, taking a few steps backwards to lean against the divider between Sirius’ stall and James’. He squeezed his fingers.

“Well, there’s one more period between now and everything you’ve worked for your whole lives,” Coach said. “There’s two ways the rest of this night can go, and I don’t know about you, but I’m really done with Snake hotels.”

Kasey pounded the side of his stall, making Thomas and James do the same.

“You’re a fantastic team, and I think…” Coach took a breath. “I think this season more than any season, we’ve seen that on and off the ice. And not just by comparison to certain, other, people. Or other organizations. This is a team. In the full meaning of the word. The support I see everyday in this room is why,” he pointed in the direction of their home ice. “It’s why we’re able to play at the level we are playing at out there.”

Coach looked around at them all, each of them, and, in the moment his eyes went to Remus, he smiled.

Coach put his glasses back on. “Let’s go finish this.”

The locker room erupted into shouts, into the rustle of the boys suiting up again. Remus squeezed Sirius’ hand, feeling nervous and a little slap-happy.

Sirius stood, releasing him in favor of wrapping his fingers around Remus’ wrist, the one with the watch on it, and bringing it up to his mouth to kiss just above the inner side of the band.

“You know,” Sirius said. “Whatever happens out there…you are the best part of this year.”

Remus stepped forward and tilting his chin up. “Aren’t I the one suppose to be lifting you up?”

Sirius laughed, leaning down to kiss him gently. “Lifting you up lifts me. Now, I’ll ask you again. Will you be my date to the after party?”

“Do you ask dates to those things?”

“No. Will you?”

Remus smiled. “Yes.”

Captain,” James shouted. “Less wooing more winning!”

Sirius just shoved him and kissed Remus again.

“See you out there,” he said, and then took his place by the door, fist bumping each player as they went out.

He looked true to his role right then, and Remus couldn’t imagine this team any other way than it was.

 

The third period was a blinding blur of adrenaline. It was trying not to watch the clock the entire time. It was Snape scoring on Leo—

And then it was Logan getting a hat trick. They had to pause with how many hats rained down on the ice.

“Oh my fucking—” Thomas rose from his place on the bench, laughing almost deliriously. “Fucking shortie pants on fire!”

Finn, out on the ice, gave Logan a hard kiss on the cheek, and Remus grinned.

5-2, Lions.

Twelve minutes remaining.

Logan hopped the boards, breathing hard, and Remus punched him in the shoulder.

“Ow, Loops, you aren’t suppose to punch us, you’re suppose to heal us.”

Yeah,” Finn panted, close behind, and then ducked their heads close together. “There are so many things I want to do to you right now.”

“Damn,” Thomas whistled. “I wish Noelle was on our team. I want bench-talk in my life.”

“Mais, non,” Logan said, shifting in his seat, but he smiled at Finn. “It’s distracting as hell.”

Jackson and Evgeni jumped the boards and were keeping the puck well away from Leo.

“We are not a defense machine!” Coach shouted. “We have nine more minutes, and five’s a fine number but let’s see what we can do! Thirty second shifts, okay, boys? 29, 44, 21, on deck!”

Elias, Will, and Evander took the third line’s place, and then Sirius, James, and Brady took theirs. Snape got kicked from the face off, Sirius lost it, and it went to Snape’s stick from Malfoy.

“Karkaroff’s gonna blow his own head up over there,” Finn laughed. “Fuck. Oh my god, oh my god.”

Sirius shouted for James, and then he was carrying it up the ice. He tried to get around Snape, but was met by a slash that snapped his stick right in half.

“Power play!” Finn shouted, shooting to his feet. “Yeah, baby!”

“Hey, don’t call Sirius baby,” Logan said.

Remus would have responded, but that strike had been a little too close to Sirius’ wrists for his liking.

“That was a failed attempt—” Remus began, but Coach was already nodding.

“I know, Loops. But well avoided.”

The clock froze at four minutes as Snape went into the box, cursing. Sirius shook his head when Coach tried to pull him in. He stayed.

Three minutes.

Finn, James, and Sirius were merciless. They were making the Snakes run for it, making them look stupid. Malfoy and Bones lurched around the ice like puppets, trying to keep up with the puck in front of their goal. Sirius shot it to James, James back to Sirius, Sirius to James, James to Sirius, James to Finn—

And Finn slapped it hard, a perfect one timer.

The goal horn went, the light, lit.

Remus shouted, hands going up. He grinned at the score-board. 6-2. Karkaroff was silent now. Their entire bench was silent. And Remus wasn’t a gloating winner, but he didn’t give a damn.

Snape left the penalty box stiffly after the goal. He didn’t spare one look to the Lions’ celebrations, but waited at the face-off circle. Then, Riddle started skating towards the bench.

“They’re pulling Riddle,” Logan said, and Remus watched him look across the ice to Leo and grin. “Merde. We…we’re going to…”

Two minutes.

Kuny was bouncing on the toes of his skates, one of his glove fingers between his teeth as his eyes went from the clock to the ice and back. Nado was holding onto his shoulder, shaking him.

“Loops.”

Remus turned towards the breathless voice beside him to see Kasey. That made it real. Kasey had come down from the box so he could dog-pile on the ice with the others when—

when they won.

Forty-five seconds remaining. The crowd was already celebrating. Throwing their hats and positively shouting as they watched play resume, the puck seemingly glued to Sirius’ stick.

“Kasey,” Remus grinned. “Kase.”

“I know,” Kasey’s eyes looked bright. “I know.”

Twenty seconds, and Sirius had shot after open shot but he didn’t try for an empty netter. He wasn’t rubbing it in their faces. He was running the clock down.

Remus felt Kasey’s hands on his shoulders, saw Pascal wrap an arm around Sergei and Logan each.

When the clock reached three seconds, Sirius dropped his stick and threw his gloves up into the air.

And it was like a dam breaking.

The bench exploded. The arena exploded. Coach threw his calling card and hugged Moody tightly. The boys poured off the bench and onto the ice, tossing their gloves into the air, their helmets and their sticks, until they could pile onto Sirius, James, and Finn, onto Olli and Timmy.

Remus let out a shout, hugging Arthur, and watching the team. His hand went to his throat, heart in his ears. His cheeks already hurt.

He’d give anything to be on the ice right then, with them. With gloves and a helmet to toss away in elation. It was the most painful happiness, and the sweetest.

He watched for what felt like forever. Watched tears, and laughter. The team seemed to melt into one.

The staff walked onto the ice soon after, congratulating the players while they waited for the families to be let down.

Remus stepped through the bench door, walking carefully in his shoes. He was shaking. He didn’t know where the Snakes had gone. Retreating quickly off the ice, out of the red and gold. They were not suppose to leave like that. They were supposed to shake hands.

Remus didn’t care.

The group pile broke up a little as the staff and families came onto the ice. Finn was clutching at Leo, both of their eyes red, until Leo’s mother was there, taking her son, a good head taller than her, into her arms.

“Remus, Remus!”

Remus could only kneel silently and let his little brother crash into his arms.

“You did it,” Julian said. “We did it, the Cup.”

“I know,” Remus laughed wetly, wiping at his eyes with his sleeve. He pulled back and shook Julian by the shoulders, making him laugh. “Jules.

“When do they bring it out? Soon, right?”

Remus nodded. “Yeah, soon, I…” he stood. “Stick with mom for a second, alright, I need—I need to find…”

“He’s over there,” Hope said, and pressed a palm to Remus’ cheek. “Oh, Re…”

“Guess I still got a cup, huh, mom?” Remus said.

Hope smiled and nodded. “I always knew you would.”

Remus squeezed her hand. “I have to find him.”

“Go.”

Remus was stopped again and again, accepting a hard hug from Sergei, and a sloppy kiss on the cheek from Evgeni. Remus laughed through everything, half crying like everyone else, but he was searching the entire time for the familiar dark hair and gray eyes.

Finally, among the chaos, Remus spotted Sirius—and he was working just as hard to find him. He was being stopped even more, by families and staff and his teammates, and he looked them all in the eye, but then he was crane his neck above the crowd, almost seeming to be trying to listen for Remus above the singing stadium.

When his gaze finally did find Remus’, his face broke. He smiled through the onslaught of tears, and Remus pushed through people harder. Sirius pushed, too, until they crashed together. Sirius’ breath was hot on his neck.

“Re—”

“I love you,” Remus said through his tears. “Sirius, I love you so much. I’m so—” he had to pull him in harder, pressing a kiss to his cheek. “I’m so fucking proud of you.”

He could feel Sirius shaking with his own tears, wet against his neck. Sirius couldn’t speak, and just clutched Remus tightly.

“You did it,” Remus managed, laughing and crying at the same time. “You did it, baby. You did it.”

“Love you,” Sirius managed. “Remus.”

“I know,” Remus laughed. “I know, I did it, too. But this is yours right now.” He stroked his fingers through Sirius’ sweaty hair. “This is yours.”

There were a dozen cameras flashing, more than a dozen people watching, but Remus didn’t care. They were allowed this.

 

The had to clear some of the ice for the ceremony, and the families and team gathered to one side as they rolled out a red carpet for the officials to walk on. Gary Bettman, commissioner of the NHL, and the Conn Smythe Trophy. Bettman gave a speech that was mostly drowned out by the crowd. Even if it hadn’t been, Remus wouldn’t have heard too much of it anyway. He was too busy staring at the team, faces red from joy and tears. He wrapped his arms more tightly around Julian, and felt his mom do the same, one arm around him, and one around Regulus.

“Where’s Dima?” Remus asked while Bettman spoke.

“Watching at Sirius’ house,” Regulus said. “He’s okay. He’s happy to be out of there. Like me.”

“I set him up with some of my homemade apple pie,” Hope said.

Remus smiled. “Well, then of course he’s happy.”

“Before we get to the Cup,” Bettman said. “We have one more award for the Gryffindor Lions. That is the Conn Smythe Trophy, for most valuable player in the series.”

The trophy was beside him on a table draped in dark cloth. It looked a little ridiculous on the ice, so did the carpet. Bettman was still talking, saying that there were many contenders, but the only thing Remus heard was—

“And the Conn Smythe Trophy for most valuable player in this series will be awarded to Logan Tremblay.”

There was a shout that could have only been Finn, and then a laughing, slightly sheepish Logan was skating forward and shaking hands with Bettman, accepting his trophy. He pushed his hair out of his face twice before they finally got the picture, and then he skated gratefully back to the group, being jumped on by Thomas and Timmy.

“And now for the Stanley Cup.”

The same white-gloved men Remus had seen earlier walked out onto the ice, each carrying one side of the cup. They set it carefully on a second table and Bettman shook their hands before facing the camera again.

“Sirius Black,” Bettman said. “As captain, you will hoist the Stanley Cup first in honor of your team.”

Remus pressed a hand to his neck, smile so big it hurt as he watched Sirius, hair a little longer, dark beard making his eyes look luminous. He skated forward to cheers, and Remus glimpsed a few rainbow flags being waved madly at the glass. Remus watched Sirius shake Bettman’s hand, saw Bettman’s mouth say the word congratulations, and wondered what Bettman had to say about this year. Would he cause Sirius trouble, down the line? Remus hadn’t allowed himself to be afraid for his own job, had forced himself to stay present in this year, even if it was his last with the Lions. But, for a moment, the worry crept in. He never wanted to let this go.

Sirius posed for pictures, and then within the flash of what felt like a thousand cameras, Sirius hoisted the Cup above his head, as so many before him had done.

Julian was jumping up and down against Remus, Regulus clapping with a grin on his face beside them. Remus wanted to clap, wanted to do anything, but he was breathless. He could only grin and watch Sirius make his lap, gazing up at the crowd, and then at his team, and then at Remus.

Sirius passed the cup to Pascal who, before taking it, pressed a hand over his heart. After his lap, Pascal handed it to Logan, Logan to Finn, Finn to Leo. Leo handed it to Kasey, still in his suit but having traded his shoes for skates. Kasey handed it to Evgeni and Evgeni handed it to Jackson, Jackson to James, who looked at Harry before he handed it to Timmy. Timmy to Olli, Olli to Thomas, Thomas to Sergei, and so on.

At the end, it went back to Sirius. The families found their players again. Remus watched Natalie kiss Kasey hard, her hands tangled in his hair. He was laughing into it. Thomas had Noelle’s legs around his waist and he was laughing, too, as she peppered his face with kisses of her own. Leo was standing with Finn and Logan, and Remus felt a pang. He wanted them to be able to show their affection more than anything. But they looked happy, heads close, but mindful of the microphones and cameras that were around.

Remus saw Sirius in the middle of it all. He was holding the Cup, clutching it really, and skating slowly with his lip between his teeth. Looking for Remus.

“Be right back Jules,” Remus said, and gave his brother a last squeeze.

Remus walked as fast as he could until Sirius saw him.

“Re,” Sirius said, and laughed like he couldn’t help it. “Take this.”

“Sirius—”

“It’s yours.”

Remus looked up at him, eyes filling again, and then closed his hands around the base and brim. Sirius let go, and Remus was holding the Stanley Cup.

“Come here,” Sirius said. He put his hand on Remus’ jaw, and Remus had time to smile before Sirius kissed him.

Cameras flashed.

 

Waiting in the locker room with the rest of the team, besides a James Potter vigorously shaking a champagne bottle, was a dream.

“Ready?” James shouted. They all had new hats on, reading that they were the champions.

When Sirius opened the door, chaos ensued. Champagne rained down on him, and Sirius was laughing so hard he nearly dropped the Cup. Then, it was only a matter of filling it with champagne. They let Coach drink from it first, then Pascal held it for Sirius and Sergei. Finn and Logan held it for Leo. They could barely drink without laughing, most of it seeping into their uniforms.

“Re,” Sirius said, grinning and holding the Cup full of champagne. “Come here.”

“Oh God,” Remus laughed, but let Sirius tilt them champagne into his mouth. It was sticky-sweet, the bubbles tickling his nose.

Loooopps, came from all around him. His name, drawn out, from the team—his team. They put a champion hat on his head, backwards.

Remus saw the cubs duck out for a moment when a fifth chorus of We Are The Champions started up, and smiled, nudging Sirius.

“They deserve it,” Sirius shouted over the noise, then pulled Remus in, sticky fingers against his cheek. “I love you so much.”

Remus pressed his hand to the back of Sirius’ neck and kissed him hard. He tasted the champagne, smiled into it at the hoots from around them.

“Sirius,” Marlene’s voice came. “Can we get—”

Sirius, without breaking the kiss, reached beside them and turned the camera, protected from the spraying alcohol by a sheet of plastic, away with his palm. Marlene laughed, and Remus wrapped his arms around Sirius’ neck.

The only thing he wanted the world to see was that nothing should stop anyone from following their dreams.

There would be the parade down Gryffindor’s main street tomorrow, and TV interviews, and the Cup would make make its way around the entire team, each player getting it for one day that summer.

But first, there was Dumo’s Cup party.

 

~

 

The party was already in full swing when they reached the Dumais’ house. Sirius, honestly, wasn’t sure the party had ever stopped. He was a little drunk, a little exhausted, and so high on adrenaline he couldn’t sit still. Remus was at his side, both of them changed into a t-shirt and out of their champagne soaked clothes—not to say that these wouldn’t have the same fate.

“Jules wanted to come, huh?” Sirius said as they got out of the car, the driver opening the door for them.

Remus whistled. “Oh, boy, we’re gonna have some serious making up to do for the fact that he couldn’t. I mean, it’s gonna get crazy, so I get it, but…I don’t know, we’re gonna have to let him eat his cheerios out of Cup tomorrow or something.”

Sirius laughed and wrapped an arm around Remus as they made their way up the driveway. “We can arrange that I think.”

They were met with drunken shouts. There were some families there, but Sirius guessed most of the non-team-members would duck out before it got too crazy.

Most of the crowd was out by the pool, the cup in a prized spot on a table.

“Finally,” Pascal said, walking up to them and holding out two beers. “The Captains are here.”

Remus laughed, taking one. “If you say so.”

“I do say so,” Pascal said, wrapping an arm around Sirius. “You will get the Cup first, non?”

Sirius nodded. “When do they size us for our rings?”

Pascal laughed. “Soon, mon fils, soon. Are you going to relax? You have no tape to watch, you have no game to train for. You have just accomplished the highest achievement. Relax, d’accord?”

“Well,” Sirius smiled. “I could always think about getting another.”

Pascal snorted. “Okay, I give up. You have fun with him, Loops.”

“Oh, I will,” Remus said, and tugged Sirius towards the patio.

 

A couple hours in, and Sirius was pleasantly buzzed. He was watching Remus, across the pool, talking and laughing with Kasey and Finn. Logan was against Finn’s side with his eyes closed, cheek against his chest, and Finn was absentmindedly running his fingers through his hair.

Remus laughed at something Kasey said, and then caught Sirius’ gaze. He smiled, and Sirius watched him excuse himself before he was walking around the pool.

“Hi,” Sirius smiled, putting his drink down so Remus could press close to him.

“Sirius,” Remus said.

“Hm?” Sirius replied, leaning down.

“I want you,” Remus’ lips brushed his cheek as he said the words. “I’ve wanted you since we got here. Since seeing you soaked in champagne.”

Sirius had been purposefully trying not to think about that. He was surrounded by teammates, and with all the adrenaline, one thought about Remus would send everything straight to his groin. Sirius bit his lip now, feeling himself stir.

Remus smiled. “Yeah?”

“Dumo’s gonna kill us,” Sirius laughed. “Where?”

Remus just smiled and took his hand.

 

“You remember this room, don’t you?”

Sirius glanced around them and laughed, then went back to pressing kisses along Remus’ throat. “I think so, yes. I remember I was instructed that we couldn’t have sex in here.”

Remus pushed the door shut, turned the lock, and then pushed Sirius against the door.

“I’m so fucking proud of you,” Remus said between kisses, and Sirius just let the words sink into him.

“Couldn’t have done any of it without you,” Sirius said, then pulled back just enough to properly see Remus’ face. “I mean that.”

Remus’ eyes went softer. He trailed his knuckles along Sirius’ cheek, and then his smile, and the playfulness, returned.

“I’ll be right back,” Remus sing-songed, and Sirius made a noise he didn’t know he had in him.

“Where?”

Remus looked back from the bathroom door. “Alcohol makes you have to pee!”

He watched Remus grin and walk into the bathroom, and then flopped back on the bed, hand going to his clothed cock. He touched himself without any real intention, wanting to wait, but he still felt hot and needy against his own palm. His blood thrummed. The Cup. They had the Cup. It was just downstairs. And he had Remus. It made him stiffen, and he watched his cock press up against his tight jeans, letting a breath out through his nose.

“Captain,” Remus’ voice startled him out of his thoughts. He looked and—

“Oh, fuck me,” Sirius breathed, hand squeezing around his cock involuntarily, and Remus grinned.

“If that’s what you want,” Remus said. He hitched up the fabric of the jersey—Sirius’ jersey—to reveal his hard cock. Thumb caught in the material, he stroked himself a few times. “Well?”

Sirius could only stare as Remus turned around. BLACK was spelled out in bold letters across his back, stretching between his shoulder blades. He still had his championship hat on, flipped backwards.

Sirius pushed himself up against the headboard as Remus knelt on the end of the bed.

How?” he asked.

“Snuck it in here while you were talking to James, around when we got here,” Remus grinned. “Figured…just in case.”

Sirius tilted his head back and laughed. “You were planning on fucking in Dumo’s guest room?”

“Mhm, I’m always planning,” Remus said, and when his hands went to Sirius’ belt, Sirius’ went to his hips. He rucked the jersey up, getting a good look at where the material draped around his erection. He was already a little pink and shiny around the head.

“Re…”

Sirius watched Remus unzip his jeans and pull his cock from the slip of his boxers.

Ah,” Sirius rested back against the pillows again as Remus took him into his mouth. Sirius didn’t know if it was the adrenaline or the alcohol, but he knew he wasn’t going to last too long. “Wait, fuck, I’m really—”

Remus pulled off and leaned down to suck at his balls, tearing another sound out of Sirius.

“What do you want, baby?” Remus asked. His warm palms rubbed Sirius’ thighs. He pushed forward until he could settle on his lap, wrapping his arms around Sirius’ neck. The C on his jersey glinted in the dim light. “Tell me, I want whatever you want.”

“Fuck, that’s…” Sirius touched the C with his finger “Re…”

“Long time coming, huh?”

“I…” Sirius’ skin felt overly hot, but pleasantly so. It was always like that after a win, but this—

“I don’t think I can sit still, I need…”

“Fuck me, then,” Remus said softly, teeth scraping over Sirius’ lip. He rocked his hips forward until Sirius’ cock brushed against his entrance and he let out a breath.

Sirius nodded, almost dazed. “Yes. Do you want that?”

Remus grinned into their next kiss. “Only for the last four hours. I’m taking your clothes off now.”

After having what felt like the weight of the world on his shoulders for the entire final series, it felt good to have nothing touching him except Remus’ hands, his skin. Remus even smelled good, familiar, as Sirius kissed his neck and let Remus rock his dick into the curl of his fist while he opened him up.

“Can we—like this first?” Remus panted, reaching behind himself to slick Sirius’ cock. “Fuck, you’re—dripping, god—”

“Like this first,” Sirius nodded, and kissed him.

Remus licked into his mouth as he lined himself up. The only sound in the room as Remus took him, inch by inch, was their breathing. Sirius knocked Remus’ hat off to get at his hair, making Remus laugh, eyes shut at the feeling of Sirius inside him.

Sirius rubbed at Remus’ sides, trying to stay calm despite his thrumming blood. He could feel his heartbeat where they were connected. He’d never been this turned on.

“You okay?” he asked quietly. “Re, you look so good in this.”

Remus’ only response was to push himself up with his thighs and sink back down again.

“I used to watch your highlights on Youtube,” Remus said, and sunk down again and again. “I loved the way you played before I knew I would ever get to love you.”

Sirius could only press his forehead against the slightly sweaty skin of Remus’ neck and splay his hands over his back, beneath the jersey. He felt lean, and strong.

“Sirius,” Remus’ hands tangled in Sirius’ dark hair, and Sirius let his beard scratch his skin, the way he liked. It made Remus moan and rock down on him harder.

“Seeing you out there,” Remus continued, voice breaking. “God—It was everything. I’m so—”

Sirius held him tighter, wishing he could be even more surrounded by him than he already was. “Remus.”

Remus picked up his pace, their skin slapping together. Sirius could feel his muscles growing tighter as his cock dripped between them onto Sirius’ stomach.

“I’m coming,” Remus managed, and then he stilled, cock painting Sirius’ chest before Sirius could even get a hand around him. He cried out, and Sirius was thankful for the music and loud chatter downstairs.

“Fuck,” Sirius throbbed as he stroked him through his orgasm, as Remus’ body tightened around him. “Remus.”

“No,” Remus said, and then he was tugging Sirius down until Remus was on his back and Sirius was hovering over him, still buried deep inside. “Fuck me. I want you to, I really, really want you to.”

“Are you sure?” Sirius said, but his hips fucked forward as Remus’ body drew him in.

Remus’ smile was blissed out and he nodded. “Yes.”

Sirius pushed in gently, barely pulling out at all, and Remus arched against him. His hair was dark with sweat against his temples and Sirius leaned down to kiss the salt from his skin.

“Can you come again, sweetheart?”

“Harder,” Remus gasped. “Fuck—yes.

Sirius’ muscles burned from the game earlier, but this felt good. It felt like every last bit of his pent up energy was finally draining away. Sirius curled his body over Remus’ almost protectively, and fucked into him in quick, hard thrusts. He wrapped his arms around Remus and felt the shiny letters of his own name there. It made him think of Remus on the ice, of the two of them there together. Those moments felt eternal.

Sirius sat up, wanting to see the Lions logo, the C, across Remus’ chest. He reached down to grip his cock around the base and pulled out all the way before sinking back in sharply, relishing in the way Remus’ moaned.

Yes,” Remus said, mouth parted and eyes barely staying open. “Sirius, Sirius…”

“I’m close,” Sirius groaned, fisting the fabric of the jersey. “Re, god…”

Remus nodded, and then began to shift his hips, looking for his prostate. Sirius pushed in again and rolled his hips in small circles, making Remus tense and grip the sheets.

“There, there—” Remus’ voice was tight with pleasure. His cock had barely even softened, and Sirius watched it strain against his stomach, a deeper blush now.

“Love you,” Sirius said softly as he began fucking into him again. He pressed them together so that each push rubbed off Remus’ cock. Remus dug his heels into Sirius’ ass, and came again, burying any sound in Sirius’ neck. Sirius followed him over the edge, feeling himself fill Remus up with each pulse. His orgasm seemed to last forever, and Remus kissed him through it, hands tight in his hair.

When Sirius opened his eyes, Remus was smiling at him, pushing his sweaty hair away from his face.

“You might’ve won an oversized goblet,” Remus said. “And that’s great for you. But I won you.”

Sirius laughed, probably too hard for what the joke was, and tackled him to the bed. He kissed him, feeling the warm planes of his skin.

“We should get back,” Remus said after a few moments of kissing. “We have all summer.”

Sirius nodded. “And that trip I promised you.”

Remus grinned. “That, too.”

 

Sirius felt easy and bright back in the house. 

He pulled Pascal into a stumbling hug. “You should change the sheets in your guest room. Désolé, love you.”

Sirius,” Remus gasped out a laugh.

Pascal shook his head. “No kidding.”

“Yeah, you two don’t look like you just fucked at all,” Finn said, shaking his head.

“Says the walking hickey,” Natalie raised her eyebrows.

Finn’s hand went up to his neck. “It’s—look, it’s just the team now, I wasn’t about to go nuts with parents walking around.”

“You’re welcome,” Leo grinned, listing into his side and kissing Finn’s neck again.

Finn made a noise that Sirius guessed was suppose to be protesting, but didn’t come out that way.

Leo was tugging at Finn’s shirt. “Let’s find Lo, let’s go to the bathroom—”

“Get out of the way!” Nado shouted at the top of his lungs, and a second later he was barreling through the living room and out the back door, straight into the pool, Cup held above his head—naked save for a very small red and gold speedo.

Kuny followed a second later in a matching one, holding two beer cans. “I am Force!”

“I am so glad my children are with Celeste’s parents tonight,” Pascal said. “And I’m going to have to clean my pool. And my sheets.”

They all looked out just in time to hear Lily scream.

“We’re getting married!” Lily shouted, and jumped into the pool holding Natalie’s hand.

James put his hands up. “To be clear, she’s marrying me not Natalie! But, like, we’d all marry Natalie, so—yeah! Also, Lils, babe, you jumped before I could give you your ring!”

James jumped into the pool.

“Okay, there’s sex, there’s marriage,” Pascal laughed. “I guess we’re in Vegas in now.”

Pascal went to check on the Cup, mumbling something about chlorine and silver, and Finn was indeed dragged off towards the bathroom.

“Hey,” Sirius said softly and nosed at Remus’ cheek until he looked up. “Really. Where do you want to go this summer?”

Remus smiled, tilting his head. “Anywhere with you.”

 

~

 

Epilogue: One Month Later

 

There was no church, just the field and the barn, lit with countless string lights in the settling dusk. Remus watched as Lily gathered her dress about her, readying herself to throw her bouquet.

“Weddings are nice,” Remus said.

“Oh yeah?” Sirius smiled, lacing their fingers together. He looked handsome in his dark suit, the beard long gone and his hair shorter again, and curling. “What if I put you in a suit and married you?”

“That’s something you can do now.”

“It really is.”

“Would there finally be a Lupin on NHL ice?” Remus grinned.

Sirius raised an eyebrow. “Well. You never know.”

“Ready?” Lily shouted, then turned around, red hair fanning behind her, and tossed her flowers behind her back.

“No fucking way,” Remus heard Natalie shout, and when the crowd cleared, Kasey was standing there, awkwardly holding the bouquet.

“What?” he mockingly glared at the rest of them. “It’s my job to catch flying objects, I couldn’t help it.”

“It’s lucky, Bliz!” Finn laughed. “A goalie like you? If it isn’t Cap who got it, you should.”

Remus leaned into Sirius’ side. “You’re missing out on a lucky object. Maybe you’d have to start finding a wedding to crash before every single game.”

Sirius laughed. “That’d be something for the media to eat up. But, I don’t need it.” He moved behind Remus and wrapped his arms around his waist, leaning down to kiss his neck. “I’ve got all my luck right here.”

Remus smiled, closing his eyes and letting Sirius sway them to the music.

“Lupin?”

Remus looked to see Arthur standing there, his wife Molly, at his side.

“Hi, Coach. Molly,” Remus smiled. “Good summer?”

“Very,” he smiled. “Could we talk for a moment?” said Arthur.

“Sure,” Remus said. He turned and kissed Sirius lightly, handing him his wine glass. “Be right back, baby. Probably about your superstitious demands for next season, eh?”

Sirius smiled back, and Remus thought there was something knowing to it.

“Okay. I’ll be here.”

 

~

 

Four Months Later

 

The ice was bright and white as the Lions’ first line readied themselves for face off. The commentators in the TV studio were talking a mile a minute.

“That’s Remus Lupin facing off against Victor Krum—on Black’s line, of course, adding some nice speed to the Black-Potter one-two punch this season. Black and Lupin, set to get married in the summer. What do you think, Dean, will we have two Blacks or two Lupins on the ice next season? Well, whatever it is, we’ll be a lucky team to have either. And the puck drops, Lupin wins it—”

Chapter Text

Just alerting anyone who might have notifications on that I will be beginning to publish Sweater Weather's sequel, Vaincre, soon! The preface is up now :)