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During school, presumably in aid of his pureblood undoing, Sirius Black mastered the art of being late to almost everything; he was late to James’ wedding, even, rushing up the aisle to stand at his side about a minute before Lily was due to come through. James didn’t mind, of course. Remus cannot recall a single time he truly minded anything that Sirius did. 

Remus himself was not born with such merciful patience. He wasn’t born with many things, not in the least nonsense like that. There are three certainties in his life: this unending headsickness, the SX-70 single lens portraits he burned in a tar pit by the ocean in 1983, and the ache in his stiff-jointed fingers, blue at the nail beds, straining at the knuckles as he fills the kettle at the bottom again and flicks it on to boil another pot of tea. Sirius is not one of those surenesses and probably never will be. 

With the stalking quality of a sort of death there is the faint scratching at the bottom panel of the Dutch door. Remus hears it and thinks first that it is a fox, and then that it’s him, and then that he doesn’t want to answer it. He doesn’t want to answer it. He isn’t a coward — he asked for Gryffindor and later asked for Sirius and they were practically the same thing, in retrospect — but he would like to dig himself a hole and fucking die in it. 

“God, fucking,” he mutters. “Give me a minute.” Remus takes the door by its handle and squeezes the cold metal to find some sort of strength, and then unlocks all five latches. 

The black dog has been running through the dew; the underside of its jaw is stringy with moisture, drops of rain clinging silver to the fur between its eyes. It blinks up at Remus. Remus stares back. 

“Come in, then,” he says, tongue thick. 

Padfoot whuffs. He stands up and shakes himself off before lumbering inside past him, limping a bit on one leg. His claws skitter on the floor. 

Remus looks out over the moors. There are no lights out there. He still has blind, mad nightmares about it sometimes; werewolf hunters, wizards, great booming clashes of magic on the far horizon. The approach of mutiny, it sort of sits in him, he’s been waiting for them to come for him since he moved here and he still spends more time than not avoiding looking outside for fear that spell light will have stained the mist grey and vengeful red.

Behind him, in the kitchen, there’s the creaking sound of someone sitting at his table. Remus only has one chair. 

He closes the door and turns around. Sirius gives him a look like he’s seen something particularly distasteful carved behind one of the bathroom stall doors in the Whitehall underground public toilets like in the old days when he and Remus would fuck around in the Ministry atrium trying to catch Reg on his way to visit his dad, summer after seventh.

“You look like shit,” he greets. 

“You don’t get to tell me that,” Remus replies. He gestures to Sirius. The tangled hair and the fucking smell. He looks more corpse than person. “Look at you.” 

“I’ve been a bit busy.” 

“I know.” 

They watch each other. Sirius looks like he’s trying to see past Remus to something behind him, like he’s trying to will him not to be there. 

“Well,” Remus says. “Is Harry alright?” 

“You would know if you wrote to him.” 

“I meant the third task.” 

Sirius gives a jerky shrug. He picks his fingernail sidelong in between his front teeth and digs out a fleck of old food or maybe a bug and flicks it. 

“Of course he’s not,” he says eventually. “He’s strong, but only as strong as a teenager.” 

“Did you talk to him?”

“A bit.”

“And?” 

“Diggory’s dead.”

“Ah,” Remus says. “I thought as much.” 

“The old man’s had me out gathering the old crowd. Emeline and that. Most not too happy to see me, I’m sure you can imagine.” Sirius rolls up his sleeve and shows off a shiny red welt on his forearm. “I don’t think he recalled that I’m wanted for murder.” 

“Yes, well,” Remus says. 

Sirius looks from him to the welt and back to Remus. Then he scowls, glaring at the table.  

“I can just leave,” he snaps. “If you don’t want me here.” 

“You’re on death’s door,” Remus says, though it’s less a justification for Sirius to stay and more a mild observation, undirected. 

“Yeah, well. I’ve been eating rats for nine months. Forgive me.” 

“Not the worst thing you’ve eaten.” 

“Piss off,” Sirius mutters. He stands up and grabs the table, swaying. 

“Oh, stop it,” Remus snorts. 

Sirius rights himself. “It was worth a try,” he scoffs. Just as quickly, the mirth leaves his face. “Have you got a sofa, then?” 

“Next room over. But I’ve got a shower too.”

“A little less urgent than sleep at this point, isn’t it?” 

“You’ll give the furniture diseases,” Remus sighs. 

Sirius shrugs. “I’ll wash up in the morning. Just… lay off for tonight. Please.” 

That’s rich. But Remus isn’t in the mood to argue either. “Fine. Goodnight.” 

Shaking his head, Sirius offers no response. He shoves past Remus into the hallway and hits the ground as the black dog, his claws skittering on the floor. He disappears into the dark living room. 

Feeling lost, Remus glances around the kitchen. The kettle’s just coming to a boil, beginning to screech. He stumbles to it and flicks it off. Testy silence falls. It feels wrong, false. Like there should have been more said. But if Sirius wasn’t going to initiate it, neither is Remus. 

He makes another cup of tea and sits in the kitchen, listening as the house creaks. There’s no noise from the living room, not even Sirius’ doggy snuffling. He might as well not be here at all.


They carry on like that for a few days. Remus makes the food and Sirius lies around, usually as the dog, and they don’t talk. 

The Shrieking Shack feels like years ago. Remus dreams of it often, in a feverish sort of way; for multiple nights that week he comes awake with Sirius’ name on his lips, tasting moonlight, feeling the knobbly expanse of his ribs beneath his hands. He’s forgotten most of what happened that evening but the wolf has clung to the memory of Sirius in his arms like something territorial, as if to say, mine. He’s tried quite hard to forget it and nothing’s worked yet, but Remus figures there’s still time. 

“You cut me out of this one,” Sirius says one morning. 

Remus startles. He didn’t hear him come in. “I’m making eggs,” he says, fumbling. “The blue ones. Do you want some?” 

Sirius squints at him from across the room. “How do you take them these days?”

“Poached.” 

“Bleh. I’ll just have coffee, thanks.” 

“I make them really well,” Remus cautions. It’s almost a superpower. “It’s good.” 

Sirius takes a seat at the kitchen table, not dignifying that with a response. He folds his arms across his taut stomach. His face is sort of grotesque when he moves it; every time he flexes his jaw it seems to pull the hollows of his cheeks until the skin there looks like it’ll tear. He’s pulled too tight, not enough flesh separating the sharp yellow planes of his crooked teeth from the skin. 

“You took me out of the photos,” he says again. “Those two on the wall, there.” 

Remus doesn’t have to look over to verify. He looks at those two photographs every day. 

“I did,” he says evenly, turning back to his eggs. 

“Yeah.” 

“It was sort of a cope,” Remus elaborates. “So I could still look at them.” 

The photos are both from 1979, one outside a muggle pub in London, the other in the Potters’ (new, at the time) place in Godric’s Hollow. Both are of the four of them. Remus was lucky that Sirius was on the end in each, arms around James’ neck. Easier to chop away that way. 

“Without seeing me,” Sirius laughs bitterly. “Yeah. I can see that.” 

“Would you have done anything else?” 

“I’m an honest person,” Sirius defends. “I like the ugly truth. I would’ve kept you in. Treachery and all. Did you keep any photos of Peter?” 

“I’ve got a few. I chucked them out last summer.” Perhaps the description is too sedate. Remus put them all, still in their frames, into a Tesco shopping bag, and he hauled them to the train tracks down the way and threw them in front of an inter-city and watched them crunch and shatter and fly apart under its wheels. And then he picked up the pieces from the grass and broke them in his hands until he was bleeding. He thinks he’s still got a chunk of glass stuck under the skin of the side of his thumb. 

“Hmph,” Sirius says. “Yeah.” 

Remus finishes his eggs. He makes Sirius a coffee, not sure he’s remembering how he takes it right. It’s shitty instant gold roast shit and he doesn’t have proper sugar, only brown, which he used for cooking months ago and then forgot he had. 

Sirius doesn’t complain, but he doesn’t thank him either. He cups his hands around the chipped SOS mug and doesn’t look at Remus. 

Ugly silence falls. Remus eats, trying not to chew too loud. He accidentally bites his fork and it feels like he’s set his whole skull on edge, like his brain is rattling. He tries not to let the discomfort show on his face. Light streams through the window, cuffing Sirius across the shoulder, the sun too high to catch his jaw. 

“Well,” Sirius sighs. “It’s good to know where we stand, then.” 

“What the fuck are you talking about?” Remus asks flatly. 

Sirius laughs. It doesn’t sound humorous. “In all this, I mean.”

 “All this?” 

He gestures between them. 

Remus stares. “You— you’re unbelievable. That’s not even… I’m not trying to be mean, I just cannot believe you.” 

“I just wanted to know where we were,” he snaps. “After everything that happened— nevermind, fucking, fly off the handle then, I’m sorry for asking a question. Didn’t realise that wasn’t allowed in your shitty house.” 

“My house isn’t shitty,” Remus says, affronted. 

“It’s barely standing,” Sirius sneers.

“Right, and whose fault is that?” 

A fierce scowl. “You can’t be saying it’s mine—“ 

“I didn’t say that,” Remus cuts in. “Don’t put words in my mouth. It’s just hard to find work right now, I don’t fault you for not keeping up with politics, but I would’ve thought you knew that much.” 

“Yeah,” Sirius sneers. “Yeah, I’m so sorry for being so apathetic. See, I’ve never had any experience with a fucked legal system, so I should really educate myself before I speak next time, shouldn’t I? God, you’re dense.” 

“Dense.” Remus laughs in disbelief. “Dense.” 

“Do you want me to call you something worse?” 

“Dense is fine.” He finishes his eggs and pushes the plate away. He had to summon another chair last night but it feels like it might collapse under him at any moment. Or maybe that’s just the effect Sirius has on people he’s angry at. “Call me whatever you want. We’re not children.” 

“If you act like one, I’ll treat you like one,” Sirius says. “Merlin. I shouldn’t have listened to Dumbledore. I should go.” 

“If he wanted you here,” Remus replies sternly, “I think you should stay.” 

“I don’t give a shit what he wants.” 

“Well. I do.” 

“And what about what I want?” 

“Forgive me for not prioritising your every whim. That went great the last time we did it,” Remus says. 

Sirius looks genuinely hurt by that. He stands up and throws his coffee on Remus, sort of ruined by the fact that there’s only a bit left at the bottom of the mug and it’s gone a bit lukewarm. The dregs splash across the front of Remus’ jumper, leaving a dark, sticky stain. 

“Low blow,” Sirius snaps. “Next time, leave him out of it.” 

“You know Lily died too?” Remus says. “This isn’t just about—“ 

Sirius throws his mug against the wall. “I know that! Fuck off, Remus!” he shouts. “Just fuck off!” And he storms out.


Predictably, neither of them apologises. 

Remus picks up a job in the village nearby. Muggle work, filing papers for a subsidiary of the NHS. He works in a tiny, cramped office building on temp time. Fluctuating, hourly-paid work without much consistency. They call you in when they need you and stop answering your calls when they don’t. But it gets him out of the house for a few days, which he hopes will help. 

They return to not speaking to each other, since it evidently goes south whenever they try. Sirius keeps sleeping on the sofa. Remus returns from work sometimes to find black dog hair in his bed and suspects that Sirius has laid in it a few times just to smell him. He would laugh at that, but he knows he would do the same; he would bury his face in the sofa cushions and will himself to crawl inside of them and live there in Sirius’ smell if he could. There are lots of things he would do if Sirius wasn’t as hovering and constant as he is, everpresent, scowling in the corner of every room or draped as a dog across every available surface, as if intentionally trying to get in Remus’ way while keeping up silent appearances. He’s about as insistent as a runny nose, never seeming to go away fully. And Remus wishes he would as much as he’s terrified that he will. 

After the photograph debacle, Remus takes them all down. It leaves the walls bare and colourless. He should repaint them sometime, he thinks often, knowing he never will. He puts the photos away under his bed and knows Sirius looks at them while he’s at work.

Nymphadora Tonks sticks her head through the fireplace on the Sunday after a week of work. Sirius and Remus are eating dinner silently, not talking. 

“Wotcher,” she greets amicably, from among the flames. 

“Oh no,” Remus says. He stands from his seat and gropes around in his back pocket for his wand. 

“I’m not here with the Auror Office!” Tonks says quickly. “Calm down, Lupin, it’s fine.” 

“Oh.” Slowly, he sits back down. He puts his wand on the table and then reaches out to clutch it again. “You know?” 

“Mad-Eye’s got me in on it,” Tonks nods. She looks from Remus to Sirius and clears her throat. “Uh. Um. Hi.” 

Sirius nods. He looks entirely uncertain of what to say. He looks at Remus like he’s drowning and asking for a hand. Remus looks away. He feels a bit bad about that.

“Hello,” Sirius grees awkwardly. “Been a bit.” 

“Before I went to Hogwarts,” Tonks agrees awkwardly. “Good to see you looking so…” 

She trails off. Sirius doesn’t look well by any means. He looks like somebody threw him under a train and crushed him up in their hands too. 

“Well,” she finishes. “It’s good to see you.” 

“Yeah,” Sirius agrees. “How’s, uh, being an Auror going?” 

“It’s great.” 

“Mm.” 

Tonks seems to realise that she’s probably not entirely welcome here, between Sirius, wrongly imprisoned by the institution she works for, and Remus, whose fingers are twitching around his wand as he fills with cold dread. He can’t fucking stand Aurors. He would rather face down a pack of werewolves than even one of the Ministry’s dogs. 

“It’s, uh, great,” Tonks repeats. She clicks her tongue. “Uh. Anyway. I’ve just been told to spread the word — Dumbledore’s got a new location for our HQ in mind. He’s going to send a letter. But he wants us moved in and operational in a few weeks’ time, so get ready for that, okay?” 

“I just got a new job,” Remus says, sounding pathetic even to his own ears. 

“We can’t go—“ Sirius cuts himself off. “We…”

“Sorry,” Tonks says. She disappears from the grate and the fire turns golden again. 

“Fuck,” Remus mutters. He drops his wand and it clatters onto the table.

“Yeah,” Sirius assents. It’s the first thing they’ve agreed on since he got here. “Yeah. Fuck. An Auror. Who would’ve guessed?” 

“Grew up after the war, mostly, too.”

“A shame.” 

“Mm,” Remus agrees. He’s still running over it in his head. One of them knows where he lives. He’ll have to get a buyer and fast. He can move in a year or so. Or maybe closing off the fireplace would work best— but that would draw attention to him.  Yes. He’ll have to sell the house.

“Hey.” Sirius snaps his fingers in front of Remus’ face. The click seems especially loud, bone against bone. “Get out of there.” 

Remus shakes himself. “I’m fine,” he says. 

“Yeah,” Sirius agrees, not believing him. “Yeah, well. Anyways. Moving in a few weeks. Wonder where the new location is?”

“If he’s smart, somewhere in London,” Remus says.

“Nah. Too close to the Ministry. They’d tread on our toes.” 

“Gets us in the thick of things.” 

“And that’s definitely where we want to be.” 

“That’s not what I’m saying.” 

“Trust me,” Sirius says. “I’m eager for a fight too. But Dumbledore’s stupid if he thinks we’ve got half the people we need to take them on right now. We need a recruitment drive. Foreigners, maybe—“ 

“This isn’t the first war, you know,” Remus says. 

Sirius stares at him. His mouth clicks shut. 

Before he can think to stop himself, Remus ploughs on. “It’s not the first war,” he repeats, “it’s not— we’re not fighting some fringe freaks anymore. The Ministry’s crawling with them; one well-placed Imperius Curse and they’re down, we wouldn’t even know it’d happened. It’s not about battles. We can’t fight our way out of this one.” 

“Then why pull the Order back together?” Sirius demands. “That’s what we’re for. Fighting our way out.” 

“It didn’t work the first time,” Remus snorts. “And it won’t work the second.”

“Here I was, thinking you were Dumbledore’s man.” 

“I’m not. I think he’ll be smart about it. Get fingers in the Ministry, infiltrate parliament, if he can. It’ll be a Cold War.” 

“You think too highly of him,” Sirius mutters.

“Yes, well, he’s the reason I’m not destitute yet,” Remus replies. 

“And he’s the reason I—“ 

“No he’s not!” 

“Yes, he is! No trial, and he could’ve called for one if he wanted, he could’ve shortened my stay to two days and he didn’t!” Sirius shouts. “How can you not blame him for that?! God, Remus, it’s me you’re fucking, not him—” 

“We’re not fucking!” Remus spits. He stands up again and, not sure what to do with his hands, points at Sirius desperately. “Merlin, I— I hate you, how can you say that?!” 

“It’s true,” Sirius says. He stands up too, taking his plate of beef stew as if he’s going to throw it and then dropping it back onto the table. He laughs bitterly. “It’s true, isn’t it, it might as well be, you’ve been fucking me with your eyes for days.” 

“What the fuck?” Remus asks, flabbergasted. “What the fuck? What’s— what?”

“I’m not stupid!” Sirius says angrily. 

“No, I really do think you are!” Remus replies. “You’re deluded, maybe if you spent less time sleeping in my bed when I’m not home you’d be able to get over me. You’ve had thirteen fucking years to do it, I would’ve thought you’d moved on! Jesus.” 

Sirius cackles. He staggers back against the countertop and laughs like he’s got something stuck in his throat. “Thirteen years,” he says, “and you’ve probably spent more time cutting me out of your photographs than dating other people, you’re pathetic.” 

“Don’t insult me because you’re angry at yourself, Sirius,” Remus says gravely. “I’m not the one who. Who. Who.” 

“Who what?” 

“I’m not going to say it.” 

“Say it,” Sirius says. He picks up the plate and throws it at Remus. “SAY IT!”

Remus throws his arms up to bat away the flying crockery. It shatters on the floor and slops stew across the tiles. 

“I don’t need to!” he shouts. “I don’t need to say it, you already know it— and so do I, everybody knows it, even the people who don’t think you’re a murderer know it was your fault!”

“My fault,” Sirius mocks. “My fault, yeah, ‘course, since I spent all that time fucking werewolves on the side, that would definitely have made me seem untrustworthy—”

“I wasn’t fucking—”

“Yeah,” Sirius sneers. “Of course you weren’t.” 

Remus lets out a wordless shout. Blind with anger, he picks up and tosses his plate at Sirius like a frisbee and catches him along the top of the chest. Sirius slips and falls with the impact, bashing his head against the corner of the counter. 

“Ah, fuck,” he says, hitting the floor on his backside. 

“Oh shit,” Remus mutters. He crosses to Sirius’ side. “Let me look at that—” 

“Get off me,” Sirius commands. He shoves Remus away, feeling at his skull through his long hair. His fingers come away bloody. “I can do it myself.” 

Feeling cowed, Remus steps back, fumbling his way into a chair by the table. He watches Sirius pull himself to his feet and hobble to the sink, shoving his head under the facet and grabbing a tea towel to dab at the wound. 

Neither of them speaks. The only sounds are Sirius’ pained breathing and the running water swirling down the drain, gurgling. 

Eventually, Sirius leans back, turning off the tap. He wraps the tea towel around his head like a bandana, knotting it at the side. He looks ridiculous. It’s already started to bleed through. And he’s half covered in stew as well, just to complete the look. 

He turns to look at Remus. Remus stares back. They size each other up. 

“Well,” Sirius says eventually. “Glad we’ve decided to be mature about this.” 

“Fuck off,” Remus tells him. “Sincerely. I don’t need a lecture. I need you to get out of my house.” 

“Gladly.” 

“Not like that.”

“Then like what?” Sirius asks. “Like what, Remus? Do you want me to leave or not?”

“Dumbledore said.” 

“I don’t give a shit what he wants. If you want me gone, I’m gone.” 

Remus kicks at a piece of broken plate. “I don’t know, Sirius,” he says eventually. “What do you want?” 

Sirius shrugs. “Dunno. Peace. A drink. I wouldn’t turn down a tab of acid.” 

“Be serious.” 

“I am.” 

“I mean it.” 

“I wasn’t joking.” Sirius hesitates. “I want to sleep in your bed.” 

“Ha,” Remus says. 

“I can be the dog.” 

“Surprisingly that doesn’t make it more enticing.” 

“I’ll sleep on the end. By your feet.” 

“No,” Remus cuts in. “No. We’re not doing that.” 

“Then I want to go,” Sirius says. 

“Then go,” Remus obliges. 

They stare at each other. Sirius fumbles with the tea towel, fingers fluttering over the knot on the side of his head. Remus watches him intently. Neither of them speaks. 

“I hate you,” Sirius says eventually. “You know that? And I hated you while I was there, too. I used to think about James, when it was hard. And Harry. But thinking about you made me feel worse.” 

“Wow,” Remus replies. “Well, I’m glad you got that off your chest.” 

“I mean it. I’m not just saying it.” 

“Yeah. I know. I feel the same way.” 

“Getting to hate me from the outside sounds luxurious.” 

“It was,” Remus agrees nastily. “I took pleasure in it.” 

“It says a lot about you that you thought I murdered them and you still didn’t get over getting broken up with,” Sirius remarks. “You should really talk to someone about that.”

“I shouldn’t have hugged you in front of Harry,” Remus snaps. He’s not sure why he’s still talking. Just to hurt as deeply and fully as possible. “I should’ve told him what you really are.” 

“I don’t think he’d care that I’m your one that got away,” Sirius guffaws. 

Remus stands up. He crosses to stand in front of Sirius and inhales through his nose. Sweet something smell. Even after all this time, his scent is the same. 

Sirius looks up at him. One of his hands comes up to rest on the side of Remus’ neck. Not applying any pressure. Just sitting there.

“I,” Remus says. “I’m.” 

“Say it,” Sirius murmurs. 

Remus tilts his head down until their foreheads are almost touching. Until he can feel the heat of Sirius’ breath against his throat. They stand like that for a while. Sirius holding him by the neck and Remus with his hands dangling at his sides, drawing in and out of fists. Outside in the darkness, a bird caws. 

“I don’t know,” Remus whispers. “I missed you. And I wish I hadn’t. I wish I didn’t. I wish you’d died. I wish I could kill you myself.”

“Makes two of us,” Sirius says. His hand on his throat tightens until it’s painful. “We could.” 

“But we won’t.”

Sirius presses harder, thumb carving into his airway. “But we could.” 

Remus makes a choked noise. He grabs a fistful of Sirius’ hair and tugs, trying to pull him off. “Let—- go—”

But Sirius only squeezes tighter. His other hand comes up to grip the other side of Remus’ neck. 

“Shit—” Remus gasps for breath, feeling blood rush to his head. 

He yanks on Sirius’ hair and claws at him and bites his face with human teeth, trying to dig them into his jaw. They grapple with each other, slamming into the counter, feet scrabbling across the floor until Sirius slips and drags Remus down with him and they both hit the floor. 

Sirius ends up on top. He pries his hands from around Remus’ neck to take him by the shirt and shake him. Remus’ head cracks against the floor and he sees stars. 

“Fuck,” Sirius gasps. “I could’ve killed you.” 

“Get— off—” 

Sirius stares down at him, eyes wide with madness. Then he lets go, sitting on Remus’ pelvis. He sits upright and looks at the ceiling. 

Remus drags in quick, painful breaths. He’s bleeding from the nose and he’s got it in his mouth too, but he thinks that blood is Sirius’, not his. 

“Get off,” he pants again. “Get off me.” 

With a long breath, Sirius clambers off him. He lies down beside Remus. They both stare up at the bulb above. 

“Sorry,” Sirius mutters. “No, I’m not.” 

“Yeah, I know.” 

“Good.” 

Remus coughs. He reaches up to massage his throat. “Did you really eat rats for a year?” 

“The occasional fox.”  

“Right.” 

“It wasn’t so bad,” Sirius muses. “I had Harry. And I was free.” 

“Are you not free here?” 

“Not with you, no.” 

Remus hums. He feels the same way. He opens his mouth to say something. Probably to ask Sirius to leave again. But he can’t get the words out. He feels stuck here, in this moment, a fly to a trap. He knows that no matter where they move, they’ll be tied at the wrists. Going down together. 

“Do you regret it?” he asks. 

Sirius hesitates. “Course I do,” he says. 

“Not switching. I mean… going after him,” Remus clarifies. It feels like a forbidden question. “Do you regret it, Sirius?” 

A pause, long and ugly. 

“Do you?” Remus presses. “Do you?”

“I don’t know,” Sirius replies eventually. “Why?” 

“I think about it a lot. If things would’ve been better if you hadn’t. You could have come to me,” Remus says. And he tumbles over his words, all of them pouring out of him at once. “You could’ve come to me, you could’ve come to my house and told me what you’d done. And I would’ve believed you. And even if I hadn’t, I would’ve let you sleep on my sofa.” 

“I couldn’t let them go unavenged,” Sirius murmurs. 

“You did. You have.” 

“At least I tried.” 

“It’s war. Trying isn’t good enough.” 

“Don’t pretend this is about them,” Sirius says. “This is about me. And this thing. And you— you’ve—”

Remus stretches his hand towards the ceiling as if he can capture the light in it. He lets it drop back onto his chest. He looks at Sirius, who is still covered in stew, beginning to go clumpy and hard in the folds of his shirt as it cools. There’s a cut torn into his cheek where Remus’ teeth tore it open. 

“Maybe it is,” he admits quietly. “Maybe it is about you.” Almost everything I do is about you.

Sirius sits up. “I’m going to shower,” he says. “Can you wash these?” He gestures to his clothes. 

“Yeah,” Remus sighs. “Yeah. Yes.” 

“Good.” He stands up and looks down at Remus. “Only a few more weeks.” 

They both know it’s a lie. But Remus has told many lies in his life. He nods and closes his eyes, chin tipped towards the ceiling. As it begins to rain outside, he listens to Sirius walk out, footsteps padding towards his bedroom.

When the shower turns on, Remus rubs his face with both hands. “Shit,” he whispers into the quiet. “Shit.”