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running in circles

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They're sat in a rental car in the otherwise empty car park of a crappy fast food chain. The cold silhouettes of the surrounding factories and the mid-20th century buildings further away in the distance are contrasting oddly with the warmth of the day; washed out, grey concrete and cold steel versus purple air and pink neon signs and suffocating humidity. There's a stillness in the air, a lazy kind of feeling that seems to be floating all around them. The window on Sirius's side is rolled down and the smell of wet, hot asphalt coming through is almost nauseating, but it's still better than the smell of cheap burgers and oily chips that would otherwise soak the enclosed space. To his right, James is licking the salty potato crumbs off his fingers. It's gross and distracting. He wipes his fingers on his jeans.

"They gave us napkins in the bag, you know."

James rolls his eyes. "You're one to talk, you've got tomato sauce on your shirt."

Sirius looks down. So he does. He shrugs, not bothering to try cleaning it up. Instead, he reaches for one of the milkshakes, breaking the straw out of its paper encasing and pushing it through the lid. He'd asked for chocolate and James for strawberry. James, who's now taking the lid off his plastic cup and swiping at the whipped cream on top with his straw, then brings it to his lips.

Sirius makes a face. "Don't know why you keep getting that shite, it's disgusting."

"It's strawberry, it's delicious. Trust you not to know about the finer things in life," James laughs and licks some more cream off the straw.

"It tastes nothing like a strawberry," Sirius argues. That's not how you drink a milkshake anyway, he wants to add. "Too artificial," is what comes out. He stares at the corner of James's mouth and wonders if he'd like the strawberry flavouring better if he were to taste it off James's lips. He starts slurping on his own milkshake instead and stares ahead.

James had showed up on his doorstep that morning and told him to pack a bag. He fancied a drive, he'd said. Sirius, ever so cranky in the mornings, shrugged, shoved some clothes in a backpack, threw his sunglasses on and promptly fell asleep in the passenger seat for the first couple of hours. They drove for the entire day, only stopping for food and petrol, swapping seats every so often, singing loudly and tunelessly to BBC Radio Two's finest music selection. They'll need to get going soon, check in at whatever shabby motel they stumble upon first. He doesn't move.

The sun has now fully gone down, the sky clear from any remaining streaks of mellow pink and violet. Just dark blue that grows even darker the longer they sit there, unmoving, until it's fully black. The twinkling of the city, the broken streetlamp across the road and the neon advertisements only just about break through the darkness, painting long shadows on the pavements and reflecting in the water puddles.

At long last, Sirius turns his head to the right again. James's head is propped up against the headrest, his eyes are closed and his chest is rising and falling steadily and rhythmically. His glasses have slid halfway down his nose and his lips are ever so slightly parted. Sirius would like to run his fingers down the side of his face, to his jawline and then across his lips. He wonders if James still tastes of synthetic strawberries.

A car whooshes by on the road, not stopping, not even slowing down, but the noise is enough to awaken James. Sirius's self-indulgent bubble pops and he schools his features into something that doesn't reflect the deep longing within him — or he tries to, at least.

"Come on, sleeping beauty, let's swap seats. I'll find us somewhere to crash," he says, putting his empty cup down in the holder by James's side. James is looking straight at him, expression undecipherable. He's wearing a soft smile and his eyes are still heavy with sleep. He nods, pushes his glasses back up, and makes no move to get out of the car.

"You could just do it, you know. Don't have to just look. Kiss me if you want."

Sirius's breath catches and his eyes go wide. The colourful light refracting through the window and then through James's glasses is making his eyes glimmer. His voice was lower and richer than usual, making Sirius's skin break out in goosebumps and a shiver run down his spine as he takes in the words.

He knows.

James knows.

James knows and hasn't given him the always my best friend speech with the implied and nothing more at the end of it. His head spins, his brain feels foggy, and he's vaguely aware he must look fucking ridiculous just staring, mouth open, frozen like a goddamn fool. James licks his lips, drawing Sirius's attention to his mouth.

Kiss me if you want.

Yeah. Sirius very much wants that. So he leans forward and grabs James by the nape of his neck, drawing him closer and kissing him softly. He's kissed people before and he's even kissed James before, back when they were drunk freshers, hands fumbling and minds reeling, so it doesn't really make sense that this one instance should be as electrifying as it is. The angle is slightly awkward, and James does taste of his terrible milkshake, and it's still so fucking hot in the car. James chooses that moment to grab lazily at Sirius's hair with his left hand and splay the fingers of his right one across the side of Sirius's neck. His index finger is slowly moving up and down behind Sirius's ear, caressing the soft, sensitive skin there, and Sirius's mind goes blank as they kiss over and over, until they're gasping for breath and have to pull apart.

"You said something about finding us a place to crash?" James asks after a moment, resting their foreheads together. He's breathing heavily, too heavily considering they were barely doing anything at all. He's laying chaste, deliberate kisses on Sirius's cheeks and nose and lips, and his hands are still tangled in Sirius's hair and moving across his skin.

Sirius huffs out a breathy laugh. His earlier weariness has been replaced by the bone deep need to get lost in James and hold him and have him for as long as he's allowed to. He could stay there and kiss him forever, but the idea of a bed and better lighting, plus something more than this faux privacy of their car, is rather appealing. He pulls away, clears his throat and nods several times.

"Yeah. Yeah. Okay, yeah, let's find a place."

From the corner of his eye, he can see James smirking as he twists the key in the ignition. Sirius throws a hand over his face and hides his stupid smile behind it until it grows too large inside of him and he laughs out loud with relief and happiness. To his side, he hears James laughing too as he's driving away and it feels goddamned good. He feels good.