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Boys Keep Swinging

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Loving Sirius Black was easy, except for when it was difficult and excruciatingly frustrating, particularly when Remus couldn't decide whether he wanted to snog him senseless or hex the bastard's bollocks clean off.

He wavered quite a bit on that last sentiment because, while Sirius would clearly suffer, so would he. Well, he'd possibly suffer, or more accurately, hopefully suffer. And what kind of idiot would want to possibly hopefully cause their own suffering?

This kind of idiot, he thought bitterly, taking a step backward to avoid Sirius' pointy elbow smacking him in the face as he carelessly waved his arm about, gesticulating wildly at James as they argued over the ingredients and methodology of the potion that was their current prank-in-progress.

He gritted his teeth in exasperation. He wouldn't mind hexing James' bollocks right now as well. He loved his friends, except when they were being complete and utter idiots, a frequent occurrence, and this incident right now was no exception. Sadly, this seemed to be a pattern, and one that was doomed to be repeated over and over, because when all was said and done, as pathetic as it sounded, he'd rather die than live without them.

Still, this acceptance of his reality obviously didn't stop him from frequently experiencing massive levels of frustration or issuing silent threats he would likely never act on. Most times, he could easily brush things off. In truth, their antics mostly amused him, and he was happy to be a part of them. But today, his patience was worn dangerously thin; he'd been simmering for nearly two days, and adding this latest inanity to the already bruising feelings of confusion, hurt, and shame had brought him to the verge of boiling over.

He'd been perfectly content with his life up until a week ago. Well, perhaps not perfectly; more along the lines of fairly, or even tolerably content, but whose life was perfect anyway?


Remus looked down at his half-full plate and rolled his eyes, his face hidden in the shadows of his fringe. He speared a tomato with his fork and chased a bit of egg aimlessly around the plate with it, his appetite long gone.


"I'm fine, James," he huffed. "How many times do I have to tell you?"

"You're not fine," Sirius interjected, pointing his own fork across the table directly at him. A slice of bacon jiggled precariously on the tines as Sirius used the fork to punctuate his words. "You've barely eaten and you look like shit."

"Ta, Sirius, that makes me feel much better now."

"And you know what we mean," James added, narrowing his eyes, "and you won't be fine all by yourself with your furry—"

"Would you shut it?" Remus hissed. "Do you want everyone to hear? They already think I've got a mad niffler or something hidden away somewhere!"

"Rabbit," James mumbled through a piece of toast, and swallowed. "I told Crawford you had a feral rabbit that kept escaping."

Remus sighed and smacked his open palm to his face, banging his elbow against the table and resting his head in his hand. Peter, who was sitting to his right, patted him on the shoulder.

"Could be worse," Peter muttered. "Are you sure you'll be all right? I'd stay, but I wouldn't be any help to you at all."

Remus shook his head, feigned a smile, and resumed his tomato-egg chasing. "I'll be fine. Really. Besides, your sister's coming home for the holidays and I know you haven't seen her in a couple of years. I'll still be here when you get back after break. Stop worrying. I don't need minders."

James and Sirius exchanged a dark look, but said nothing further, for which Remus was grateful. Mrs Potter, when she'd heard he was staying at school for the holidays, had invited him to keep Christmas with their family. Sirius was also spending the holidays with James, and had been rather studiously ignoring the Slytherin table—or one particular Slytherin at any rate—all week. He had spent the entire term pretending he'd entered the world via stork or some fortuitous magical accident, completely ignoring Regulus' existence. Remus supposed it could have been worse. He looked up, past Sirius' shoulder, and saw Regulus watching them, glancing over every few minutes when he thought nobody was looking, the same abstracted, troubled expression on his face that he'd worn all term.

"...the carriages will be departing in fifteen minutes," Professor McGonagall announced over the din in the Hall. "I will remind you all that those of you who are still underage are barred from performing magic outside school. Enjoy your holidays, and do try to behave yourselves," she added, turning her gaze toward the Gryffindor table, and glaring at James and Sirius with a gimlet eye.

He walked with his friends out into the hall, a wry half-grin on his face in an attempt to keep his expression as neutral as possible. Peter clapped him on the back and wished him a Happy Christmas, then excused himself to make a last minute trip to the loo. James shook his hand and clapped him on the arm.

"You sure?"

"For the hundredth time, yes," he said. "Enjoy yourselves, and tell your mum thanks again for the invite, and I'm sorry I couldn't make it."

"We'll write," James said. "You'll send word on Boxing Day, yeah? I know you'll be exhausted, but..."

"I will. Promise. Don't expect a missive. You'll be lucky to get a couple of scrawled lines."

James smiled. "That'll do. You'd better send our presents early."

Remus grinned back. "Who says I got you anything?"

Sirius had been standing idly by, shuffling his feet. He stepped forward now and towed Remus to an empty spot against the wall, a look of angry determination on his face. His fingers were digging almost uncomfortably into Remus' arm. "Right. You're not fooling me, you know. We can come back. Knight Bus or Floo into Hogsmeade."

Remus wriggled his arm, but Sirius held him fast. "Would you stop already? Please? You're making a scene. I told you, I'll be perfectly fine. I've been doing this for nearly twelve years now, you know."

"It's the longest full of the year," Sirius hissed. "Nearly seventeen bloody hours! Seventeen hours, Moony!"

"I already know! Quite well, in fact, but thanks for the reminder."

A look of annoyance passed over Sirius' face, but Remus glared right back at him. Would they just leave already?

Sirius sighed and loosened his grip. "For fuck's sake, I'm worried about you, all right?"

"You needn't be. I said I'll be fine."

Sirius narrowed his eyes briefly and nodded. "Yeah. All right. You'd better be." He squeezed Remus' arm again, and casually slid his fingers down over elbow and forearm as he dropped his hand. "Yeah. Happy Christmas, Moony. Stubborn bastard," he added under his breath, but Remus heard him anyway.

"Hmmph. You too, Pads. I'll see you next term."

Sirius gave him a long blue glance, then quirked his lip in a half smile. "Don't blow up the dormitory, yeah?" he said, and turned back to find James. Remus watched them exit through the huge double doors with the rest of the last minute stragglers, and saw Peter running to catch them up.

"Oi! Wait up you bastards!"

"Mr Pettigrew!" Professor McGonagall exclaimed from the doorway to the Great Hall.

"Sorry, Professor," he yelled, waved to Remus, and ran out the door after his two friends.

Finally some peace and quiet. He turned towards the stairs and caught Professor McGonagall watching him with an uncharacteristically tender expression. He offered her a smile and a nod, and continued on his way to the seventh floor.


The common room was mostly empty. Only a few other Gryffindors were staying over the holidays, and no one from his year. He nodded to a couple of fifth years and sat down on the big scrunchy red couch in front of the fire. He had a lot of potions work he needed to do over the break, but it could wait. He had no idea why he'd thought taking N.E.W.T. level potions was a good idea; he was completely pants at it. He'd managed an Exceeds Expectations on his O.W.L. by sheer luck and a lot of revising with the reluctant assistance of Lily Evans, and surprisingly enough, Peter, who as it turned out, was quite gifted at brewing potions. He shook his head. Sirius hadn't exactly been joking—much—with his parting words. Perhaps McGonagall or Slughorn would let him use an empty classroom instead.

He leant back and stretched, closing his eyes, and sat there, feeling the warmth of the fire seeping up through the bottom of his robes on his legs. His toes were warm for the first time in days. The wood popped and crackled, showers of sparks creating shadows that danced behind his closed lids. The murmur of voices faded away, and he relaxed, his arm still tingling where Sirius had touched him last.

He'd been lying. Of course he'd wanted them to stay; wanted Sirius to stay. But he would never ask them. Not like that. Perhaps it was stupid, and as he heard Sirius' voice echoing in his head—Seventeen hours, Moony!—he was inclined to think he'd been not merely stupid but magnanimously so. Seventeen bloody hours, the longest full moon of the year. This far north, it travelled in a wide, lazy arc across three-quarters of the sky, and this year it fell on Christmas Day.

"Damn," he whispered to himself.

He rubbed his arm half-wishing Sirius had left a bruise so his touch would last longer, and then chastised himself for his lack of will power. This was bad. It was one thing to be attracted to blokes; he'd known that about himself for a couple of years now, and after blurting it out to his friends one night after a little too much...imbibing of intoxicating substances—

"Annie Corling has fantastic tits," Peter had said, a dreamy expression on his face.

"Too big," Sirius said. "And you wouldn't know what to do with them anyway. Now, her arse..."

"Mmm, it is nice," Remus agreed, taking a swig from the bottle and passing it to James. "But not as nice as her brother's."

"Yeah—what?" James cried, spitting out a mouthful of whisky.

—Merlin, that had been embarrassing. He'd wanted to die the next morning for several, really excellent reasons, but he'd more or less come to terms with it. His friends had been a bit shocked at first, but as time wore on and they realised he had no designs on slipping into their beds at night with ulterior motives, and that he still held a fine appreciation for a nice set of tits, they merely chalked it up to another of his 'unusual' quirks. After several awkward and highly embarrassing questions, they'd shrugged and mostly moved on to the next order of business.

Granted, James had paraded around the dormitory starkers for at least a week, and had seemed rather put out when Remus failed to compliment his arse. Sirius, helpful as ever, had suggested James transfigure himself a pair of tits to go with, and offered to do it for him. There had been plenty of teasing and embarrassing, bawdy jokes—he'd been almost grateful when the Corling twins had left school the year before—but they all teased each other about everything anyway, and none of it was mean-spirited.

However, his problem was that he actually was deeply attracted to one of his best friends, and after the way they'd been so accepting, that was simply not on. He didn't have the luxury of having so many friends where he could afford to lose one due to...uncontrollable hormonal inclinations.

Uncontrollable hormonal inclinations. That was one way of putting it. Another would be that his prick got hard every single bloody time he looked at Sirius, smelled him, heard his voice, or thought about him. Stupid hormones. Stupid bloody cock with no sense of propriety or shame—no real sense at all.

He sighed, shifting in his seat, his underpants feeling far too tight at the moment. He'd hoped that with Sirius gone, he'd be able to pass at least one day without thinking about him. Or at least an hour. One hour wasn't too much to ask for, was it?

He opened his eyes and looked at his watch: Fifteen minutes past eleven. Bugger. This day, this entire holiday, was just going to drag on endlessly.

It was a magical school in more ways than one. The Great Hall was so full of fairy lights and other sparkling bobbles that it was nearly blinding to look at; there was an entire foot of snow on the ground and likely more on the way; there were secret passages and hidden corridors to be explored at his leisure, and rooms that appeared and vanished without warning. He had a wand, which alone was a source of countless possibilities for entertainment and mischief—and yet, with his friends gone barely an hour, he was already listless and bored.

To top it all off, he had a hard-on that wasn't going to go away by itself.

He sighed again and reluctantly rose from the couch. His mum had sent him some comics, and a new Muggle science fiction novel two weeks ago—something to do with Mars by that American author he liked. He hadn't really spared it much of a glance; it was nearly impossible to read with those three around. However, now...he had nothing but time to kill. Having a wank didn't take that long, after all, and once he got it out of his system, surely he wouldn't have to think about Sirius again. Pathetic, he chided himself.

He trudged up the stairs, satisfied at having killed another minute and a half, and into the empty dormitory. It was dim at first; the house-elves had banked the fire, which still gave off plenty of heat, but not much light, and the heavy clouds outside muted the light streaming in from the windows. However, as he stepped into the room and closed the door, there was a bright flash, and all around the room strings of coloured, flashing lights exploded into life with a lot of loud pops and whistles, and a...bloody hell was that a cockatoo? A cockatoo with tiny bells on its feet flew about singing a very naughty version of 'Jingle Bells' in Sirius' voice.

It began to snow in front of the fireplace, before which four really manky looking—and likely smelling—stockings were hung with hardly any care at all.

He stood there, a slow grin spreading across his face, watching as long, thick strands of fresh pine garland snaked their way around the bedposts. Idiots. No wonder they'd been late to breakfast.

"...Oh what fun
she is to ride
'cause she's an easy lay"

Remus rolled his eyes and shot a Silencio at the bird. Unfortunately, this had the adverse effect of what he'd intended:

"Good King Wenceslas looked out, on the beast of Stephen,
Such a knob he'd never seen, long and firm and even..."

"Bloody Sirius," he muttered, and threw his shoe at it. After attempting several spells and being subjected to renditions of "I Came Upon My Girlfriend's Ear", and the only slightly tamer "God Rest Ye Randy Hippogriffs"—far more than he ever needed or wanted to know about Sirius' thoughts on the sexual proclivities of the beasts—he managed to shrink the bird down to the size of his thumb. It still flew madly about, but its volume had settled down to a faint murmur.

It was the best he could do for now. Sirius could be utterly infuriating—and frequently was—but he was ridiculously clever and creative when it came to magic. He'd probably nested a several spells in there somewhere, designed to confuse any counter-spells—a Confundus Charm perhaps—and Remus was in no mood to decipher them. The bird would get tired and stop flying, eventually.

But not even mild annoyance could quell his erection. The combination of Sirius' voice and his bawdy lyrics about long, hard cocks and rutting had only made it worse.

He rifled through his trunk, tossing the books on his bed. He kicked off his remaining shoe, summoned the other, and glared at the books, as though they were somehow responsible for his physical state. "Oh, sod this for a lark," he muttered, and pulled his school robe over his head.

Despite the warmth of the fire, there was still a chill to the air, and the cold of the stone floor seeped through his socks, aided by a threadbare patch under his heel and the hole at his big toe. He shivered, breaking out in gooseflesh, his hand reflexively going to his cock. At least that was still warm—and still hard, damn it.

Not that having a wank was an unpleasant thing in itself—far from it—it was more the feeling that if he gave in, Sirius would somehow win. It was a ridiculous notion, considering it was all a figment of his own imagining. How could Sirius prevail at something he knew bugger all about? He sighed. Ah, well, he thought, defeat obviously in hand. At least the bastard can't gloat about it either.

Stripping off his pants, he made to brush the detritus on his bed aside, but another idea had sprung to life, and grinning rather wickedly, he stepped past his own bed and sat down on the one next to it: Sirius' bed.

He threw back the blanket and lay down, inching himself into the middle of the bed. Resting his head on Sirius' pillow, he stretched luxuriously, taking an odd satisfaction in rubbing his bare arse all over the sheets. He turned his head and inhaled. The pillow still smelled of Sirius, and he breathed deeply, his hand closing firmly around his cock. The room was still cool, but he left the blanket off, just tucking his feet under so his toes were covered. He'd forgotten to take off his socks, but he didn't particularly care.

The lights were still blinking at rhythmic intervals, probably in synch with the music, knowing those two. They made colourful shadows in his skin—pretty but vaguely disturbing: a flash of blue on his nipple, red at his left hipbone, and green on the tip of his cock. The rhythmic pattern was soothing though, and he closed his eyes, sighing in content and stroking himself in time with the lights, their flashing still visible behind his closed eyelids.

In his mind, he could see Sirius, naked and utterly gorgeous, standing amidst the blinking lights as they flashed across his pale skin. "Moony," Sirius said, licking his lips, eyes dark with lust, gazing up and down in frank appreciation, "you're...

"...having a wank in my bed?"

It took him about three seconds to realise that the voice hadn't come from inside his own head. His eyes snapped open in horror and he froze, hand in mid-stroke, and swallowed around the painfully large lump that had suddenly lodged itself in his throat. He gawped at Sirius, standing just inside the doorway, trunk floating behind him and thumping him in the back as it tried to force its way—through him if necessary, it seemed—into the room.

They stared at each other, Remus trying to will his body to respond to his commands and at the very least, pull the bloody blanket over his body, but he was too stunned to do more than make some bleating type of noise that sounded rather like a sickly goat.

Sirius' jaw was gaping, his eyes were wide as platters, and he looked positively incredulous. He stood there, trunk repeatedly smacking into him from behind, wand in hand, and it took a moment for Remus to notice, focused as he was on the raised wand in Sirius' hand, that Sirius was trembling.

Shit. He was in so much trouble.

"Moony," Sirius said, his shaking more pronounced, "Oi! Would you quit it?" he yelled, turning sharply and disabling the mobilization spell on his trunk, which fell to the floor with a loud thunk. He turned back to look at Remus, wand still raised, and burst out laughing.

"Oh," he choked out, gasping for breath, and stumbling forward a few steps. "Can't. Breathe. Fuck. Moony!" he wheezed, and finally fell to the floor, rolling on his back with his legs kicking in the air, howling in that barking laugh of his. It was ridiculously loud and extremely unflattering, Remus thought, though he had relaxed a smidgeon when he realised Sirius wasn't going to incinerate him on the spot. Good. Now he could simply succumb to an ignoble death from embarrassment instead.

He hastily tugged the top sheet over himself and wrapped it around his waist, sitting up and tugging harder to free it from the blanket. He draped his feet over the edge of the bed and glared at Sirius as a thunder of footsteps sounded on the stairs.

"Oi, Black," Busby Giddings said grimly, poking his head in the room and staring down at Sirius with a deep frown. Giddings was the seventh year prefect who was also—rather unfortunately—staying for the holidays. He wasn't a bad bloke, generally, but he despised James and Sirius, and his low opinion of Remus' performance as prefect was rather evident, despite the fact that his own success at maintaining any authority over them was just as poor. "What the devil are you up to now? And what are you doing here? Your name wasn't on the list."

"Stuff it, Giddings," Sirius said, wiping his eyes with the back of his hand and sitting up. "It's none of your bloody business what I get up to. You can leave now."

"Oh, it's my business all right." He looked around at the decorations with distaste, spotted Remus, and huffed. "Of course. Can't you ever control them, Lupin?" he said, disgusted.

"We're fine, thank you. You can leave now," Remus echoed, sitting stiffly and hoping his state of undress would be mistaken for an interrupted kip. "And close the door behind you. Please," he added as a courtesy, though not kindly meant.

Giddings snorted, slamming the door behind him, and Sirius immediately cast a rather crass locking charm that snicked loudly as the bolt shot, adding a few others designed to bar entry to everyone except maybe Dumbledore and the house-elves, who never bothered with doors anyway.

Remus exhaled slowly, still brimming with both apprehension and mortification. The fact remained that he was naked in Sirius' bed, having been literally caught red-handed, he thought with no small irony as the hand in question glowed momentarily red from the blinking lights.

Sirius stood, dusting off his backside, and flicked his wand, sending his trunk to its usual place before his bed. He pulled off his cloak and tossed it aside, missing the rack by the door, and catching it with a flick of his wand before it hit the ground.

"Didn't know Giddings was staying, the arse, else we'd have set out a few surprises for him." He shook his head, cloak hung properly, and turned to Remus, grinning. "Moony! Moony, Moony, Moony," he chanted. "What—hey!" He interrupted himself, tilting his head and casting his eyes about the room. "What happened to my bird?"

"I killed it," Remus said through clenched teeth. Would he not just get it over with already? Regardless of the events of the last few minutes, his prick was still hard, and the interruption had done him no favours. His balls ached, and all he wanted to do was run to the loo and finish the damn job...and then hide for the next fifteen years or so.

Sirius grinned again, flashing white teeth. "Liked the Hippogriff song, did you? I wrote that one for you. Initially it was supposed to be 'werewolf', but I needed another syllable, and James thought it was a bad idea in case anyone else wandered in. Not that you'd ever bring anyone up here, or that they'd know it was about you, anyway."

Oh great, Remus thought, rolling his eyes. So it was werewolf sex he was really singing about. Bugger me! Not knowing what else to say, he groped for something neutral. "Um. Where'd you find a cockatoo?" he asked. Right, because idle conversation is so appropriate right now.

Sirius chuckled. "Transfigured that horrid jumper your gran knitted for you two years ago. I couldn't believe you still had it. It was perfect. Didn't even have to fuss much with the colours."

"You went through my trunk?" Remus said, only slightly horrified. It wasn't as though he possessed anything incriminating, except perhaps that hideous jumper, and that one particular book he'd purchased last summer, but he'd taken careful pains to disguise it. Very little was considered private property between the four of them, excepting James' cloak, though Sirius ignored that as well.

Sirius cleared his throat. "Moony," he said, voice dangerously low as he approached Remus, taking slow, measured steps.

Remus tugged the sheet up over his chest as if hiding his body from view would somehow help, eyeing Sirius balefully as he stopped less than three feet away from where Remus was sitting.

"You're naked in my bed," Sirius said, a master of stating the obvious.

"Such a clever dick you are," Remus said, not looking at Sirius' face. He focused his attention on the wand Sirius was idly waggling between his fingers, and glanced past Sirius to his own bed, where his wand lay inert next to his books. There was no way he could dart or reach past Sirius to get it in time. For want of a wandless Summoning Charm.... "Er, why are you here? The train left an hour ago."

"No," Sirius said thoughtfully, "that's the wrong question."

"Oh?" He looked down at his feet, wiggling his toe and idly wondering if the hole in his sock was large enough for him to crawl inside.

"Nope. The correct question is," he said, leaning over and lifting Remus' chin with a finger, "why were you wanking in my bed."

His heart was thumping in his chest. He tried to look away, but Sirius' finger pressed harder into the soft skin beneath his jaw, and he stretched out his thumb, running it along the edge of Remus' jaw to keep his head from swivelling away.

Remus swallowed audibly, trying to look anywhere except directly into Sirius' eyes. Sirius' nose was faintly pink at the tip, and there was a small patch of longer stubble under his chin he'd missed when he'd shaved last. He was gazing, fascinated, at two small, pale freckles just below his lower lip when he felt a hand on his cock through the sheet, and he jerked, squawking rather indignantly. He stared at Sirius' eyes in mingled horror.

"Happy to see me?" Sirius asked, and there was no sarcasm, no malice, nor any disgust in his tone, taking Remus quite by surprise for the second time that day.

"I—I...." Remus licked his lips. "I was—I..." I'm so utterly pathetic, and excuse me while I hurl myself out the window just now, Remus thought, squeezing his eyes shut.

"Show me."

"Pardon?" Remus said, blinking.

"I want to see," Sirius said softly.

"See what?"

"Merlin's balls, Moony, are you always this daft? Don't answer that; it was rhetorical." He pressed his thumb against the side of Remus' jaw. "Finish what you were doing," he said, rubbing his thumb along the edge of Remus' jaw from hairline to chin.

Remus thought his heart had stopped beating, though it quickly returned, his pulse rumbling like thunder in his ears. He licked his lips again and swallowed, unable to process what Sirius has just said. So many shocks in such quick succession—he was quite literally dumbstruck.

Sirius exhaled, amused, tilted Remus' chin up and kissed him. Remus made a low, inarticulate noise in his throat, and Sirius laughed softly against his lips, licking slowly across Remus' bottom lip.

"Mmmm," Sirius said, taking a step back and stretching. "You know, a wank would feel nice right now," he added, pulling off his jumper and tossing it carelessly on the floor. He bent over, the knobs of his arched spine prominent, and unlaced his big, clunky black boots, straightened up, and kicked them off and under his bed. Remus watched in wide-eyed fascination, still unable to think straight as Sirius unfastened his jeans. He glanced up inadvertently, startled even more as he realised that Sirius was watching him.

He kept waiting for the catch, somehow convinced that any moment, James was going to pop out of Sirius' trunk, or the waistband of his pants, with some colossal fanfare, and then they'd laugh and joke, and go nick food from the kitchens or something. This can't really be happening, he thought, as Sirius paused, fingers dipped inside the waistband of his pants. Well. No hidden James after all.

Things like this never happened to him. Birds—those who knew him at all—thought he was that nice, quiet, often sickly bloke, and looked past him without a second glance in favour of Sirius. Blokes didn't look at him at all, and when they did, it was usually because they were scowling at Sirius and James. Yet, right this very second, Sirius Black was standing before him, completely starkers, with a huge erection.

Not that his cock was huge in a grotesque sort of way or anything. It was just like the rest of him: long, skinny, slightly bent, and absolutely perfect.

Oh, God!

Sirius sat on the edge of Remus' bed, a crooked grin on his face, spread his legs and grasped that long, skinny, perfect cock with his long, skinny, perfect fingers, and Remus almost came on the spot.

He made an odd sound in his throat, a growling sort of whimper, and clenched his fingers hard in the sheet, unable to tear his eyes away from the sight before him.

Sirius exhaled, a long, appreciative sigh, and stroked himself, slowly at first. He was still looking directly at Remus, as if waiting for something.

"Well?" he said, and casually licked his lips. Remus whimpered again. He gestured at Remus with his chin. "You seem to be having some trouble getting started. Or should I say re-started? Need a hand?"

If he'd learned anything from hanging about with James and Sirius, it was that they firmly believed that oftentimes, when things happened unexpectedly, you just had to act on instinct and hope for the best. He'd tended toward wariness in applying that sentiment, seeing as how instinct, in their circumstances, tended to be a catalyst for mayhem and endless hours of detention. Until now, that was. Now, for the first time, he thought he finally understood the appeal.

Propelled by instinct, need, desire, and the sheer inability to think, he leapt across the intervening space and tackled Sirius, crushing him to the bed, their legs still dangling over the side.

The next few minutes were a blur of sensation: tongue, lips, and teeth, and the rough scrape of stubble against smooth skin; sharp bones jutting awkwardly into softer hollows; the smell of sweat and the sharper tang of sex; his socked feet scrabbling for purchase on the stone floor as his hips rutted fiercely, cocks sliding together, slipping sideways when his feet slid; the feel of rough, curly hair against his thigh, damp from their exertions; and Sirius pulling him up for another kiss, wrapping his arms and legs about Remus' thin body, and thrusting against taut muscle of thigh, the softer skin at the juncture of thigh and hip.

It was clumsy, chaotic, ferocious, and utterly, utterly brilliant. His hips continued to thrust long after they'd both spent themselves, and Sirius ran a soothing hand over his arse to still his jerking body. Remus gasped for air, his toes barely touching the floor and his arms burning from the effort of holding himself aloft at such an awkward angle, and collapsed atop Sirius' chest, burying his face in the side of Sirius' neck and inhaling a mouthful of hair. He tried to raise his arm to swipe it aside, but discovered he lacked the energy to do more than breathe. It was Sirius' hair, and Sirius' body, and he found he really didn't mind the slight discomfort.

He came back to himself when he felt Sirius chuckling, a vibrating rumble against his own chest. He made some kind of noise but his brain hadn't sufficiently recovered enough to form actual words. Sirius rolled them onto their sides, and brushed the damp fringe from Remus' forehead, kissing the tip of his nose.

"Damn, Moony. That was...fucking brilliant! How long have you been holding that back?

Remus shrugged, turning his head to cover the blush on his face. The lights were still blinking furiously, outlining Sirius' body in dazzling colours. "A while I guess," he said absently. "I was a bit...I mean, I didn't hurt you, did I?" he asked, running his tongue along his swollen lip, and noticing a few other spots on his body that felt a bit sore.

Sirius touched Remus' lip with a gentle finger. "Sorry about that. I think I bit you there. And no, it didn't hurt. I told you. It was brilliant."

Remus smiled. "Yeah."

"You were wanking in my bed."

"You wanked in mine," Remus replied, still feeling a tad defensive, which, all things considered, was a bit absurd.

"Fair's fair."

"Hmmm. So...does this mean we get to do this again in your bed?" Remus asked, holding his breath.

"Fair's fair," Sirius said again, and traced his finger along Remus' hip bone.

Remus exhaled slowly and grinned, his stomach performing a little flip in anticipation. "Not sure about the Hippogriffs, but there's no rest for randy werewolves," he said, and rolled onto his back, pulling Sirius down on top of him.


Remus awoke Christmas morning, and his first thought, upon feeling the warm body next to him was the same as it had been for the past seven days: I'm not dreaming. His second thought, after a deep yawn, was, Crap, I'm still knackered. What time is it? quickly followed by, Bugger, I need to have a piss.

He glanced over toward Sirius, but could make out little more than his outline. He heard his soft snoring, and smiled before reluctantly sliding out of bed and reaching for his dressing gown. It was bloody freezing in the room, and the cold stones of the floor sent a chill straight up his legs, making him shiver.

After taking care of the important business, and quickly cleaning his teeth, he stepped back into the room and glanced out the window; still dark outside. He glanced at James' annoying Fwooper clock—he'd hexed the bird silent the first night of the holidays—and made out the time on the glowing dials: Twenty past seven. A fire was burning cheerfully, and it appeared the house-elf who'd come to kindle it had vanished the hill of snow that had accumulated before it overnight. The stockings, he noticed, seemed a lot lumpier.

He smiled, glancing at the small pile of gifts in front of his and Sirius' beds, and made to return to the warmth of Sirius' bed when a light tapping sound made him turn sharply back to the window. He relaxed as he spotted James' owl fluttering outside, a letter clasped in her beak, and a rather large sack hanging from her talons.

Happy Christmas you lazy bastards!

Just so you don't think we forgot you, your presents from Peter and I will arrive later. However, my mum has taken pity on you two sods, and sent her own offerings. I had nothing to do with them, and hereby absolve myself of any responsibility for the contents of said packages. In fact, I have scolded her for spoiling the both of you, as you've both been very naughty this year, though I suppose I can't quite absolve myself from having contributed to that.

Will be in touch soon. Till then, Happy Christmas, and have a ho(w)ly night! (Good one, eh, Moony?)


He snorted and petted the owl, murmuring, "clever girl," as he pawed through James' bedside dresser for the box of owl treats.

"Off you go then. Go have a kip at the owlry, and we'll have a letter for you to take back later, all right?"

She gently nipped his finger, swallowed the last of the treats, and flew out the window when he opened it for her.

He left the sack on the floor in front of the bed, and stretched. His joints ached, and his back was slightly sore, a reminder of what was to come later in the afternoon. Sighing, he stripped off his dressing gown, drew back the curtains and fastened them to the post, and crawled into bed. Sirius had rolled over onto his back, Remus' pillow half-covering his face, and was sprawled in the middle of the bed. He mumbled when Remus pulled back the blanket, and kicked his legs a bit, but then settled down, relaxing back into sleep.

The light from the fire illuminated Sirius, and Remus knelt beside him, aches and pains forgotten as he watched the shadows of firelight and blinking Christmas lights play along the planes and angles of his body. He was very thin, and nicely proportioned; long legs and arms, pointy elbows, a nice chest—not bony, though he could easily see the shape of his collarbones standing out below the juncture of neck and shoulder, but not overly muscled either; merely long and lanky, with narrow hips and gracefully shaped bones. His stomach was flat, almost concave, and he had a trail of dark hair that arrowed down to the thatch around his cock.

And his cock was standing rather arrow-like itself. Quite lovely, really, Remus thought, and reached out a finger to touch it very lightly at the tip. He gently traced the vein down the underside, and Sirius' cock twitched. He smiled and repeated the movement, pressing a little more firmly, and Sirius twitched again and sighed.

He stared down at Sirius' naked body in something akin to awe. He really was gorgeous to look at, and a shiver ran down his spine as he realised that he was allowed to look now, without worrying about being caught and thought a pervert. Even better, he was allowed to touch.

When he stopped to think about it rationally, he felt unaccountably shy. It still felt like when they were about to pull some prank or other, that sense of forbidden pleasure tingling along his nerves, making his stomach dance, and his heart speed up. But this, this was eminently better than any prank they'd ever pulled, even the one when they'd charmed the food at the leaving feast last year to shriek and plead for mercy any time anyone took a bite.

Speaking of biting.... On impulse, he leant forward and licked the same path his finger had traced. In addition to the twitch, there was a soft moan this time, coming from behind the pillow. Encouraged, he climbed between Sirius' legs, and licked again, this time starting from the bottom up. His heart was beating loudly in his chest, and he was very nervous—he'd never done this before—but he mouthed a quick and silent prayer, hoping he wouldn't make an utter fool of himself, and closed his lips over the head, suckling at it like he'd done to Sirius' nipples the day before.

Sirius shot bolt upright in bed, his eyes wide open, staring gape-jawed at Remus, who pulled back, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.

"I-I'm sorry," he whispered. Great, he'd bollocksed it up after five seconds. He was such an idiot.

Sirius continued to stare, jaw working silently. "Please," he croaked, voice rough with sleep. "Please don't stop."

Remus exhaled a long breath and smiled. "Lie down then. You'll make me nervous if you watch like that."

"I want to watch," Sirius said, though he did lie down.

"Well, then be less obvious about it," Remus said, reaching out his finger to touch the tip and roll back the foreskin, exposing the head. "I've..." He swallowed, blushing. "I've never done this before, so tell me if I do it wrong, okay?"

Sirius grinned. "You were doing brilliantly. Now suck me off already, or do I have to beg?"

"Demanding bastard," Remus said, trying to hide his answering grin, and bent once again to the task before him. Oh my God.


Remus lay on his back panting, a huge grin on his face. It had been a bit awkward and rather messy, but Sirius hadn't seemed to mind at all, especially considering the noises Remus had got him to make. He was ridiculously proud of himself, as though he'd passed some invisible hurdle, and he supposed in a way he had. Discovering that he wasn't completely pants at sex was the best Christmas present he'd ever received.

Of course it would have been a little bit better if he hadn't come the moment Sirius had touched him afterward, but he wasn't going to dwell on it too much. He hadn't realised how exciting it would be, how it would make him feel to do it. Stupid full moon; now he'd have to wait until at least tomorrow night before he could do it again. Possibly Sirius would want to try it on him, too.

"Moony, are you even listening to me?" Sirius said rather indignantly. "I've asked you the same question three times already."

"Sorry. Just thinking."

"About what?"

"Your cock."

"Oh," Sirius said, and Remus could actually hear the grin in his voice. "Well, in that case, don't let me interrupt you."

Remus chuckled. "I think I'm done for the moment, thanks. I'm knackered and my jaw hurts a bit. Speaking of questions though, you never did say. Why did you come back? From the train I mean."

"For you," Sirius said simply. "Now where's the rest of my presents?"


They staggered up from Christmas luncheon, Sirius's arm slung around his shoulder and supporting a fair bit of Remus' weight. He felt very achy and feverish, and what he really wanted to do was crawl into bed and sleep for a week, but they'd have to leave soon for the shack. He had enough time to change his clothes, and have a quick piss and a wash. It was still well over an hour before moonrise, but it would take a while to slog through the long passage, and he was grateful Sirius was there to help him.

Remus was resting his head on Sirius' shoulder, and had his arm slung around his waist as they climbed the last of the stairs to the sixth floor tower landing.

"You okay, Moony?" Sirius asked a bit anxiously. "You don't look so good. Maybe we should have gone straight from supper instead of coming back up here."

"I'll be all right," he said as Sirius opened the door and half dragged him inside.

"'Bout time you got back," James said. He was rummaging around in his trunk while Peter sat on his bed swinging his feet, both of them smiling. "Aha! There you are. I really need to pack better," he added, pulling out his invisibility cloak. "Hurry up and change so we can go."

Remus stared dumbfounded at his two friends, and glanced up at Sirius, who had a crooked half-smile on his face. "You knew they were coming?"

"'Course," Sirius said, though his voice sounded anything but excited. Remus frowned, and turned back to James and Peter. "What...Why?"

"Don't be daft. Of course we wouldn't let you spend it on your own," James said. "Mum sent more packages of food, and Wormy, the brilliant bastard that he is, nicked a batch of his mum's spiced eggnog, and a couple bottles of his dad's liquor, so we can celebrate tomorrow night." James looked rather pleased with himself, and Peter shone with pride.

"Now hurry up. Time's a-wasting."


"I'm telling you, Prongs, it's not gonna work. We need more Billywig stings! Stop being such a stubborn arse already!"

No, his life would never be perfect, Remus thought rather bitterly, his face twisted in a grimace, but could he not have anything for himself that didn't somehow turn to shit?

"I'm stubborn? You're the one who's wrong! Look—If we can shoot them high enough in the first place, the Billywigs won't matter—they're just for effect in getting all the little explosions to zoom around in the patterns we charm!"

The last time James and Sirius had had one of their little 'disputes', he'd ended up with festering boils inside his mouth, and his toenails had grown four feet before he'd been able to administer the counter-curse, hampered as he'd been by the boils. It hadn't restored his toenails to their normal size, but it had at least stopped them growing any further at the time.

"That's what I mean! I'm telling you we need more to sustain it!"

Remus sighed, watching his two friends...loudly disagreeing. Both of their hands were inching closer to their wands, and his own hovered just over his own robe pocket, fingers twitching with impatience. He idly wondered what would happen if he stunned them both first, but knew it was nothing more than a fancy.

"Bugger this," Peter said and transformed, scurrying under the closest bed with an indignant squeak. Remus couldn't quite blame him; last time Peter had been levitated with such force, he'd slammed into the ceiling, fallen, and broken his nose, collarbone and leg. Luckily, Madam Pomfrey had taken pity on them both.

Sirius was pointing his finger in James' face, then down at the simmering cauldron and back at James in quick succession, stabbing it in the air to emphasize his point. Remus wasn't even listening anymore.

He was still exhausted, even though he'd spent most of the entire day yesterday sleeping or resting in his bed. His friends had brought him food and drink, though he hadn't had much appetite and had merely nibbled on one of Mrs Potter's mince pies. The moon hadn't been too terrible, but he had been more sore than usual. He'd been grateful that his friends had been there, that they'd sacrificed their own holidays for him. However, the moment James had returned, Sirius had changed.

Not changed—he was still himself after all—but his attitude had. He'd pulled away, aloof and oddly distant to the point of near skittishness at having any physical contact with Remus. It was as though the past week had never happened; James was back so Remus could go bugger off now, thanks. It was even worse, because Sirius had never avoided him like this before, no matter how badly he'd cocked something up.

Last night, in the loo, he'd been cleaning his teeth. Sirius had gone to have a shower, and James and Peter had yawned and gone off to bed, James eager to check that the potion was coming along properly, and Peter even more eager to browse the new grot mag he'd acquired while home. He'd waited for Sirius to finish, and had approached him quietly while he was towelling off, put his arms around him, and kissed him gently between his shoulder blades.

"Moony!" Sirius had hissed, swinging around and pushing Remus away. "Not here!"

"James and Peter are probably asleep by now," he'd replied, waving a hand absently toward the door. "I'm a bit knackered myself, but..." He raised his eyebrows in invitation.

Sirius had actually looked frightened for a moment, and then he'd straightened up, tossed his head, and said, "We can't. I can't. I...Look, I'm sorry, Moony. Good night."

And that had been that.

Sirius had barely spoken to him all morning, and ignored him completely while he and James fussed over the potion, and Remus and Peter used extra-thick parchment to make small tubes for the second phase when the potion had solidified. A prank was a prank, after all, and Remus wasn't going to shirk his part just because Sirius was acting like an Erumpent's arse.

Speaking of Erumpents, he eyed the bricks which concealed the door to the secret crawlspace they'd discovered last year. A flask of Erumpent horn fluid was currently hidden inside. The fluid had been diluted with distilled water and a few drops of murtlap essence to help combat its unstable volatility, but Remus was still wary. James had nicked it weeks before, a harrowing experience in itself. So far it had yet to detonate, but Remus knew it was only a matter of time, especially as it was one of the ingredients in the potion presently the subject of a budding row.

A sudden flash of light caused him to jerk his head back from his contemplation of pending Erumpent horn explosions. He hadn't seen who'd drawn first, but James and Sirius were both firing hexes at each other, ducking behind bedposts and curtains, and peeking out to fire again.

One of Sirius' jinxes came perilously close to hitting the cauldron, and Remus sighed, pulling out his wand and summoning it, along with the small burner beneath. These little battles weren't actually dangerous in a life-threatening way, at least to the point that neither of them ever cast anything with vicious intent. It was their way of resolving disputes when neither of them would yield to what they considered 'persuasive argument'.

More like they tired of listening to the other shout, Remus knew from experience. When victory could not be achieved with words, a more discerning method was required. Occasionally it led to fisticuffs, but that was rare indeed. Mostly, it devolved into a scene like the one taking place before him—a contest of duelling skill and sheer will: who had the best aim, who exhibited the most creative and artistic spell-casting, and in the end, who was the last man standing.

Remus winced as his trunk glowed briefly and sprouted leafy vines, and ducked as a bolt of blue light flew past his head. He turned when he heard a strange honking sort of noise, and discovered a purple spotted flamingo with a quill nib for a beak. He shook his head in disbelief and transfigured it back into a passable quill, though it still had purple spots and twitched on the dresser, honking. He turned back, levitating the cauldron with the intention of moving it further out of the way.

Half the room was squawking, flashing, or otherwise misshapen in some way, and they still hadn't landed any significant hexes on each other. Still, they were both grinning madly, trading jaunty insults, and Remus really should have known better.

Sirius and James both popped out from their respective cover, James firing mere seconds before Sirius. Sirius stumbled as his feet transformed into gravy boats or soup tureens—it was hard for Remus to tell from his current vantage point, James' usual artistry apparently sacrificed in favour of speed—and fell forward as he fired back, unable to keep his balance. His hex struck James directly in his groin.

James froze, eyes wide, and wriggled his hips, shaking his leg as though trying to dislodge something, a deep frown on his face. There was a sound of ripping cloth, and a set of two small, pronged antlers poked through his robes, ash brown and very pointy. He let out a screech and pointed his wand at them, shrieking, "Get 'em off!" and frantically casting spells to try to vanish them, but only succeeded in making them larger and turning them green.

"What did you do to my knob?" he howled. "Black, you bastard!"

Sirius, trying to stand and discovering it impossible with his feet in their present form, had pulled himself up and was sat on the edge of Peter's bed shaking, his eyes tearing, mouth twisted and tremulous as he obviously struggled not to laugh.

Remus stared wide-eyed and incredulous, also struggling to contain bubbling laughter that tickled in his throat. He swallowed thickly and covered his mouth with his hand, but the hand holding his wand was shaking so badly, the cauldron bobbed up and down before him like it was hiccupping. Wormtail poked his head out from under the bed between Sirius' legs and squeaked with amusement, nose and whiskers twitching.

There was a thunder of footsteps on the stairs, and as the first fist pounded on the door—Giddings shouting for them to "open the fucking door now, you bastards!"—Sirius burst out laughing, pounding the bed with one hand and howling.

James narrowed his eyes. "That's it, you arsewipe," he said, raised his wand, and fired a spell at Sirius.

Peter squeaked loudly and ducked back under the bed, but Sirius had apparently been ready for retaliation. Wand held fast in his grip, he raised it and yelled, "Protego!"

Remus gaped as James' spell deflected, and a feeling a dread stole over him. The cauldron hovered directly in front of him. He pushed his hand out in front of him to shield his face and shied back, closing his eyes against the inevitable. Oh, Bloody He—

Remus stood frozen in place as the world ended around him in a booming, fiery, glittery ball of red and gold sparkles.

"Remus!" James yelled, apparently forgetting his temporary disfigurement. "What the hell did you do to my potion?"

Remus stared at him, blinking watery eyes through a haze of smoke and sparkles, completely speechless, mouth working silently. He realised rather gratefully that he still had both of his eyes and his mouth, and, it would seem as he peered down, his nose, too. Ears as well, though there was an incessant ringing in them, and James' voice had sounded like it had come from very far away. He raised a hesitant hand to his groin and sighed in relief.

Granted, when potions exploded it was usually his fault, but not this time. He'd never been in the middle of an explosion like that. It hadn't hurt—much. Some of the sparklers had stung where they'd touched bare skin, and he had several red splotches on the back of one hand and the palm of the other, but mostly they tingled, dancing over his chest, arms and head like mad fairies.

James, Sirius, and Peter—who had crawled fully out of his hiding place and transformed back—stood watching the fading display with awed expressions on their faces, Sirius clinging to a garland-wrapped bedpost to keep his balance. The air above Remus was still popping with small detonations, which sparked and glittered, and continued to rain down on Remus' head. Giddings had apparently given up his attempts to break down the door. Remus thought he heard muffled cursing coming from the vicinity, but that could just as easily have been the echoes of the explosion reverberating in his head.

He shook his head and blinked his eyes rapidly, noting something felt off, but not quite sure what.

"You were right, Padfoot. We need more Billywigs," James said rather clinically, ignoring the fact that his cock was still sporting a rack of green antlers which continued to poke through the rent in his robes.

"Hmm. Yeah. You think that'll be enough? Though I suppose we can always add an extra Levitation Charm to the potion itself once it's in the tubes," Sirius replied, tapping his finger against his chin.

Peter walked over to Remus, a sympathetic smile on his face. "You look like an owl," he said, reaching out to tentatively touch Remus' arm, then jerking it back as another sparkler fizzed and popped.

"Wormy," James called, "you'll have to make another trip to the dungeons."


"Now. I need to get a new batch started right away. And see if you can find more Billywigs, especially the dried stings. That's the bit we really need. You still have the list from yesterday?"

"Don't forget the charcoal," Sirius put in. "Oh, and see if you can find any strontianite. I don't think the lithium we used is red enough, right, Prongs?"

"Stron-what?" Peter asked.

"It's a big reddish-brown rock, though Sluggy might have some already ground into powder. Remember we used it when..."

Remus sighed as James went on with his instructions. The smell of burnt hair was strong in his nose, and his eyelids felt kind of funny. He reached up to touch his lids, and balked as he felt stubbly ends where his lashes should be. Bugger me! Exploring further, he discovered the loss of half his right eyebrow, and the left felt a little singed as well, and as for his fringe...

He sighed again. "No, really, I'm fine. It's not like you should stop what you're doing and make sure I'm not permanently disfigured, or on fire or anything."

Remus glanced over at Sirius, who looked away rather guiltily. He exhaled strongly through his nose, touched his head to make sure he still had most of his hair, and stalked out the door, not bothering to close it behind him as he passed a gape-mouthed, red-faced Busby Giddings. The fizzles and pops had for the most part ceased as he walked stiffly down the stairs to the common room.

"Hey, Moony! Where ya going?" he heard James call, and studiously ignored him. He needed air, he needed quiet, and he needed to be as far away as possible from Sirius right now.


Remus considered going to see Madam Pomfrey, but quickly nixed that idea, deciding that with a little effort and a calmer state of mind, he could repair the damage himself. Unless an injury involved broken bones, spurting blood, gross disfigurement, or other serious spell damage, he preferred to wallow silently. He wondered if James would have to resort to her...'tender ministrations'. He laughed aloud, berating himself a moment later for thinking about James, because thoughts of James would inevitably lead to....

He clenched his fists. Damn and shite and bugger it all to hell. He was not going to think about him. Not even his name.

"I say, young man, you do look a rather serious fright," a portrait of a portly gentleman in a checked waistcoat said.

Remus ignored him, scowling at his ironic choice of words, and continued walking.

"Well! How rude."

He plodded down the staircase, past the third floor landing and the empty Charms corridor, his mind preoccupied but cognisant enough to remember to skip over the series of trick steps. This would be a rotten time to require rescuing, and with the school nearly deserted, it would likely be some time before any assistance was forthcoming.

Or perhaps not, he thought, as a gaggle of what looked to be first and second years, and possibly a few third years, from both Gryffindor and Ravenclaw bounded past him, bundled up in cloaks, scarves and hats. One boy yelped as his leg sank into one of the steps, but his friends grabbed his arms and yanked him out, laughing, and they continued on their way, not sparing Remus a glance.

He wasn't remotely dressed for it, but the notion of walking outside suddenly appealed to him. He reached the main hall and followed the students outside.

The blast of icy air was a bit shocking, and he fumbled to cast a Warming Charm. He finally managed a passing fair one and lit a small blue flame, which he held cupped in his hand. He'd taken about five steps when another gust of wind blew, dissipating both charms in its wake and sending a cyclone of snow whirling around him.

Going outside had been an utterly stupid idea! He clenched his chattering teeth, struggled to cast another Warming Charm, foregoing the fire for the moment, and trudged out into the knee-high drifts, stubbornness winning the day.

The younger students had gone off toward the greenhouses, so he turned in the other direction and set off toward the Quidditch pitch. He pulled the hood of his robe up, tugged his singed sleeves as far down over his hands as they would go, crossed his arms, and crammed his hands under his armpits, muttering under his breath.

It was stupid to go outside without proper clothing. It was really stupid to think he could get within five feet of a potion without it exploding for one reason or other. It was especially stupid to think his friends would show even the slightest sympathy to his plight, and it was monumentally stupid to trust Sirius Black with his heart.

He'd have been able to handle flat-out rejection, or at least he thought so, looking at it from this side of the equation. He'd never actually expected his yearnings to come to any kind of fruition, and after years of careful cultivation and experience, he was an expert at suffering in silence.

Another gust of wind caught him broadside, and the meagre remains of his current Warming Charm blew away with it. He cursed and cast another, his fingers so stiff that he couldn't let go his wand, even if he'd wanted to. At least he wouldn't lose it, he thought bitterly. He'd had Sirius for seven days, and lost him in the span of thirty seconds. Not quite a record—he'd lasted exactly three hours and one botched kiss with Maggie Holstrop in fourth year—but one he'd rather not lay any claim to either.

Those seven days had been dreamlike, and better than anything he'd ever imagined. They'd run about the school, exploring secret corridors and passageways exposed on the newly finished map, snogged in hidden alcoves, had it off in broom closets, supply cupboards, and a few of those secret passageways. They'd also found plenty of time to sneak out into Hogsmeade, and made Busby Giddings' life a living hell. It had been the most incredible week of his short life. He'd fancied Sirius for well on two years now, but it had only taken two days and eight orgasms for him to realise he was in love with the bastard.

He reached the stands and took shelter from the wind, casting yet another Warming Charm, and lighting another small fire in the palm of his hand. It felt nice as he held it up to his face, though he was careful not to lean too close. He could still smell his singed hair.

He was actually pretty decent at Charms, but for some strange reason, he couldn't quite grasp the complexities of Warming Charms. He was fine with them indoors, but introduce actual weather into the mix, and it all went to shit. Rather like his life at the moment. Perhaps it was poetic justice.

The impact, when it hit, took him by complete surprise. He fell forward face-first into the snow, his wand jolted out of his hand from the force of the collision. He struggled to turn over, grateful that the snow had cushioned the fall, but seized by a blind panic until he felt a wet tongue drooling on the back of his neck.

He rolled over onto his back, and glared up at the big black dog through slitted eyes. Padfoot bounded back and forth, barking with undisguised glee, and shook the snow off his coat, causing Remus to splutter and cover his face with his hands to avoid the onslaught, futile as the gesture was, considering his present condition. Padfoot trotted over and licked up the side of Remus' face, nose nuzzling at his ear.

"Quit it, you daft dog!" he scolded. Merlin's frozen balls, he was so exasperating! "What the hell are you doing here anyway? If you hadn't noticed, I left to get away from you lot."

Padfoot took a couple steps back and barked, dropping to his haunches and stretching out his legs before him. He lowered his head and whined, tongue lolling.

"You're damn right you should feel sorry," Remus said, turning away and scrabbling though the snow for his wand. His fire had gone out, extinguished by the snow, and his fingers were red and so numb he could barely feel them. A blast of warm air hit him, curled around his body as if coalescing into something solid, enveloping him and driving away the chill.

"Bloody show off," he muttered, returning to his search.

"Accio Remus' wand," Sirius said, and the wand flew out of a snowbank a yard away and into his hand.

"I hate you. I really hate you. Why are you here anyway? Just leave me alone."

"If I left you alone, you'd freeze to death, and how would I explain that to your mother?" Sirius said, nudging Remus' arm, and sliding Remus' wand into the pocket of his robe. "What the hell are you doing out here without a bloody cloak? You know your Warming Charms are shit."

"Ta, Sirius. Now go away and leave me be. Something, I might add, you were all too happy to do up until now."

Sirius cleared his throat, an awkward sound, and looked away, swallowing. "Moony," he said, "I...."

"My God, you're not going to apologise, are you? I don't know if I could handle that twice in one lifetime," Remus said lightly, silently cursing himself for being such a pushover, but he could never stay cross at Sirius for very long to begin with. He always forgave him, and the last time—and only time—Sirius had apologised with any sincerity...

Lost in thought, he hadn't seen Sirius lunge this time either, and before he could catch his breath, he was flat on his back, Sirius atop him, snogging him within an inch of his life.

Well this was...unexpected. Without thinking, his wrapped his arms around Sirius' warm back and felt the two separate warming charms merge, the currents shifting and flowing around them.

Sirius pulled back and sat up, straddling Remus' hips. "Shit, you're cold! And look at you," he said, a crooked grin on his face. He shook his head and drew his wand. "I'm tempted to keep you like this till we can get a photo. You look ridiculous, you know."

Remus narrowed his eyes. "And whose fault is that?"

Sirius laughed and flicked his wand, and Remus felt a tugging sensation around his eyes as new lashes sprouted. Another flick and his fringe crept down over his forehead.

"That's too long. Now it'll hang in my eyes even more," he said, swiping it back.

"I like it long."

"'Cause it hides my face better?" Remus said, wiggling his eyebrows which tingled as Sirius pointed his wand at them. "You'd better not grow those long, or even think about messing with them. I remember what you did to James' last term!"

Sirius laughed again, and bent down to kiss him between said eyebrows. He sat back up and looked at Remus, a frown tugging at the corners of his mouth, and a troubled look in his eyes. He sighed. "I can't do it, Moony."

Remus stiffened, his heart thudding dully in his chest. Once had been bad enough. He didn't want to go through this again. He sat up and pushed Sirius off him, sending him sprawling in the snow. The Warming Charm he'd cast was weakening, and his toes were numb inside his soaked trainers.

"Just...Bugger off, Sirius. I can't do this anymore either. I'm not a bloody toy for you to play with when you're bored, and toss aside when you come to your senses."

"What are you talking about?"

"You. Me. Us. You said you can't do it. Then fine, if that's what it is, then that's what it is. I'll get over it, but just go away for now, okay?"

"That's not what I meant," Sirius said, sitting up. "I'm not tossing you aside, for fuck's sake."

"No? Did I just imagine last night? Did I mishear you not two minutes ago telling me yet again, 'Sorry, Moony, you're a nice bloke to hang around with, but the shagging thing is taking it a bit too far. I'd stay around for a chat and maybe a nice cuppa, but James is calling and I've better things to do.'"

"I never said that!" Sirius said, indignant.

"Not in those exact words, no, but it all means the same in the end," Remus said bitterly. "Don't worry, unlike the other, queerness isn't contagious. I'll see you later, Sirius," he added and got to one knee, making shift to stand.

"Would you just stop?" Sirius said, grabbing Remus' arm and pulling him back down. "Are you even listening to me?"

"My ears are still ringing, but I'm not deaf," Remus said, glaring at Sirius.

"Well then you're just daft."

"Last night you—"

"Bugger last night! I'm not talking about that. I know what I said. I was an idiot, all right?"

"No arguments here."

Sirius huffed. "I just...I mean, I don't know...It's—"

"Well, spit it out already, yeah? Before I freeze my bollocks off," Remus said, quickly losing patience.

"I can't tell James!"

"Tell James what?" Remus said, blinking in surprise.

"About us. About me."

"What, that you like boys? That you like me? Do you like me? You seem to like my cock and my mouth well enough."

"Don't be an arse, would I do...that with you if I didn't?"

"That? You mean sex, Sirius. It's sex. We had sex."

"Now who's the clever dick? I know it's sex. For fuck's sake, I was the one who had to make the first move because you just sat there gaping like a Plimpy!"

"I was not—" Actually, he had, at first anyway. He shook his head and made a dismissive gesture with his hand. "Fine. Why are you so worried about James? He knows about me, has known, in fact, for nearly two years, same as you."

Sirius rolled his eyes, and picked at his fingernail, putting it to his mouth and biting at it, then spitting into the snow. "I know. I was there that night. It's different, okay?"

"So it's fine if the werewolf is gay?"

Sirius stared at him. "It's—for fuck's—It's nothing to do with that!" he spluttered. "And besides, you're not gay."

"Oh, really? So I sucked you off Christmas morning for a lark, is that it? That time of the month?"

Sirius snorted. "I didn't say... Look, it's not... Oh, for—you're not exclusively gay, all right? You like girls, too."

Remus rubbed his temples and exhaled sharply. "What's that got to do with it? Does that make me less gay? I like blokes. I like you. I thought you liked me back. I'm not messing about with any birds, am I? And the one time I tried was an unmitigated disaster, as you well know. You teased me for months."

"Because I don't!"

"Don't what?"

"Like girls," Sirius said, his voice startlingly soft, almost broken, and bowed his head, toying with the hem of his jeans.

"Oh," Remus said, feeling rather stunned. "But you've...Oh," he said, understanding. He looked down at the snow piled between his legs, and swirled his finger slowly through the drift, his skin tingling as small clumps of flakes melted into smaller drops of water that ran in icy rivulets. The strength of the Warming Charm Sirius had cast had dwindled even further, and he shivered as an icy gust struck his exposed neck.

Sirius had gone on dates with girls, having far more success than any of them. Remus had seen him snogging a few of them occasionally, most recently Pippa Henderson, under these very stands after the first Quidditch match two months previous. But he didn't, unlike the rumours suggested, sleep around, nor had he ever had an actual girlfriend, at least not one he'd spent any significant time with. "I see," he said slowly raising his head.

Sirius looked wretched, worry etched on his face as if some ghostly hand had actually drawn it with quill and ink. "I tried, Moony. I did. But it's...I'm not...I can't...." He broke off, licking his lips nervously. "What if he..."

"He won't care," Remus said softly.

Sirius snorted again, and turned away, gazing out toward the Pitch.

"Look," Remus said, doing his best to sound reasonable. "Since the first day you met back in first year, you've done everything together. And neither of you can stand it when one of you does something—anything!—without the other, and then you get into a stupid contest over who does it better, and Peter and I end up in hospital.

"It's actually rather irritating how you hardly ever get cross with each other. Or when you do, it doesn't last more than a couple minutes. You can beat each other to a pulp, or hex each other stupid, and when it's over, you start laughing like a couple of loons and fall all over each other. Though if he had any sense, he wouldn't forgive you for hexing his knob earlier. Did you get it sorted or is he going to have to wear dragon hide gloves in order to wank for the rest of his life?

Sirius turned back and grinned at that. "It really was an accident," he said. "The cock part at least. But..." He shrugged, shaking his head and laughing. "The expression on his face was fucking priceless."

Remus chuckled. "It was, though I wasn't in much of a position to fully appreciate it at the time. Anyway, to get back to your dilemma, if he's forgiven you—which I'm sure he has because he has absolutely no sense and he always does—when he finds out, about you liking boys, I mean, he'll probably run out and try to shag Peter, just so you're not one up on him."

"You really think so?"

"Well, no, I think he'd probably draw the line at cock, unless of course he discovered that Lily...well, no, that's not even a remote possibility so it's not an issue, is it?" Remus said, waving his hand dismissively.

"Great. That's a help."

"When you found out I was a werewolf, you and James both thought it was fucking brilliant, and those were his exact words, too. You'd heard all the horror stories, you knew exactly what I was—"

"Most of that is utter bunk, and you know it."

"Yes, a lot of it is exaggerated or outright ridiculous, but the fact remains. I eat people, Sirius, or would if I ever got close enough, and you both knew this, and you didn't care. You think he's going to turn on you because you don't want to shag girls?"

Sirius squirmed uncomfortably, shivering. "My jeans are soaked through and my arse is frozen. Can we go inside yet?"

Remus sighed. "Pads, if it were reversed, and James was the one telling you, what would you say? Would you care?"

Sirius looked at him, incredulous. "'Course not!"

"Then there's your answer. After what—five and a half years is it? The two of you have been, and always will be practically inseparable. Sometimes I think McGonagall isn't quite joking when she says you share a bloody brain. He won't. Care, I mean. He loves you."

Sirius sat quiet for a few minutes, staring off toward the greenhouses now, where the lower years' epic snowball fight was still raging. Finally he turned back, wiped his nose on his sleeve, and got to his feet, pulling Remus up after him and dusting snow and crusted ice from Remus's backside, then his own.

"Right, let's go."

"Wouldn't you rather tell him alone? I mean, I'll go with you if you want, but I think—"

"To hell with James. He's too busy brewing the new batch of potion anyway, and I'm sure Peter's back from nicking the ingredients we need from Slughorn's stores. Takes three days to brew, you know, and then we'll need a full day to charm properly before we can load it into those tubes you and Peter made. It's four days till New Year's Eve."


"Peter can help him with it. He knows what to do. I'll tell him later. And I will tell him. You're probably right. At least you'd better be," he said, a smile twitching at the corners of his mouth. "I can hex antlers on your knob if you're wrong, you know."

"Don't you even think about it, Black," Remus said, shaking his finger at him. "Then where—"

"Prefect's bath. Or a broom cupboard, or the bleeding Great Hall. I don't care. But we're going inside where it's warm, and I'm going to shag you rotten."

"Oh?" Remus bent down to tie his shoelace, which had come undone. If he was going to be monumentally stupid yet again, he might as well face it head on and do it with flair. And a lot of shagging. "The Great Hall, eh? Head Table?" he said, suppressing a grin and unobtrusively gathering a handful of snow.

"Hah! Under Dumbledore's crooked nose if I have to," Sirius said, rubbing his arms. "It's bloody freezing out here. Come on already."

"All right," he said, straightening up, and slinging his arm casually around Sirius' neck.

"Finally! And Moony, thanks, yeah? I know I've been a bit of an arse, and I—"

Remus reached to the neck of Sirius' jumper, dumped his handful of snow inside, and took off like a shot, laughing and stumbling in the deep drifts.

"—I'm going to fucking kill you, you bastard!" Sirius called after Remus' retreating back. "After I shag you!"