It is far too hot, and Sirius is on edge.
Maybe it’s because it’s so hot, or because it’s nearly the end of term and he can think of many things he’d rather do than spend all summer in a dark, dusty house where the very furniture seems to resent him. Both of those explanations make perfect sense, and so he tells himself that that’s what it is, and gets even more annoyed as he tries to squash the niggling knowledge that, really, it’s neither. Because he doesn’t know what it is. And he’s too irritable to try and figure it out.
He’s sitting on the edge of his bed, suitcase open at his feet, trunk open beside it. There are three loose socks and a pair of underpants looking limp and pathetic at him from the bottom of his suitcase. Getting up to move from trunk to suitcase and back again is out of the question, since that would force him to admit that he’s actually packing. Instead, about once every two minutes he reaches awkwardly over to his trunk, grabs something at random, and drops it half-heartedly into the suitcase. In between items, he sulks. It’s basically a terrible plan.
Remus, damn him, is actually folding his clothes and laying them in his case. Watching him makes Sirius even more hot and irritated, and as if his clothes are too small, so he watches him as intently as possible just to spite himself. Remus turns, and his eyebrows twitch when he sees Sirius’s case.
Sirius feels the back of his neck prickle in shame. He feels childish. Remus is watching him warily, as if trying not to bait him. It only makes him feel worse.
‘We’ll see each other, I promise’, says Remus. His hair has stuck to his forehead. ‘You can stay at my house, my parents won’t mind. Or we could all go to James’s again.’ Then, when Sirius says nothing: ‘Do you want me to do it for you?’
Real guilt drops into Sirius’s stomach, drowning out his childish irritability. ‘No!’ he says, far too quickly. Remus looks stricken and turns back to his own case. ‘Sorry’, Sirius mutters, but Remus doesn’t hear and it’s inadequate and petulant and Sirius wishes he could understand what’s going on. He watches Remus’s hands as they fold and smooth and his tendons shift beneath his skin and wonders what the hell is so interesting about his hands that he can’t stop watching them anyway. It’s better than packing. That must be it. Remus crouches to smooth something down in his case and his shirt tightens over his shoulders, dark and transparent with sweat. Sirius never noticed how broad Moony’s shoulders are before. He shifts on the bed. It is at this point that he notices that he’s hard as fuck. Fuck. He takes the only sane option left to him and bolts.
Sirius slams the bathroom door behind him and locks it, sliding down it to bury his face in his hands. The tiles are cool, and his hard-on is suddenly so much more obvious, and how, how did he not notice until now? How long has that been there? Why, oh why is it there? Yes, he thinks about sex a lot, he’s a fifteen-year-old boy, it’s not really front-page news, but he doesn’t have a folding fetish as far as he knows. As much as he tries to resist, the image of Remus’ hands floats into his mind, bitten nails and hard, raised scars, surprisingly strong. His dick twitches. He feels ill.
‘Sirius?’ Remus is outside the door. Sirius can almost hear him chewing his hangnail. ‘Sirius, what did I-’
‘Nothing!’ he yelps. It comes out much higher than anticipated. He thinks of Remus tugging away at his skin, leaving little red flaps that make him wince when they catch on his clothes. Before he can think, he blurts out: ‘Stop chewing yourself, Moony, please, it’s fucking unbearable.’
Remus sounds equal parts baffled and amused, but the worry is still there. ‘How could you possibly know if I’m-’
‘Moony, for fuck’s sake, I’m not stupid, I know you self-cannibalise when you get in a tizz.’ He has no idea what he’s saying. He’s still hard (oh, the wonders of teenage biology, will they never cease), still nauseated with panic, and this whole conversation feels like one of those dreams where you know you’re dreaming so you say whatever you want because you know you can get away with it. ‘It’s bad enough when you’re fucking tearing yourself up, OK, just stop please-’
‘Sirius.’ Remus’s voice is genuinely worried and he doesn’t fucking blame him. He knows he sounds insane. There’s a good chance he is insane. ‘I’ve stopped, OK? I promise. Now will you open the door? Or at least tell me what’s wrong. And don’t say there’s nothing wrong, please, because you are hysterical and you have locked yourself in the bathroom, and those are never good signs.’
‘Fucking hell, Moony’, he yelps, ‘I am not having Feelings, OK? This is not what this is. I cannot be having with having Feelings. I don’t fucking know what’s going on, alright, but I can’t- I don’t-’
There is a long pause. Then Remus’s voice comes, calming, soothing: ‘Sirius, open the door?’ And then, when he doesn’t move: ‘Please?’
Sirius takes several deep breaths. His erection has mostly subsided, but it threatens to return with each jolt of his heart. Remus is closer than he anticipated as he opens the door, which for some reason makes his stomach lurch. He feels like he did when he was seven and caught dragon pox, lost and small in the middle of a bed that seemed to go on forever, everything swooping in and out of view, and if he could just hold still for a moment he could understand, but he can’t think. ‘I think I’m panicking’, he says. His voice sounds very small. ‘Moony? Why am I panicking?’
Remus pulls him into a hug without a word. Sirius buries his face in his shoulder and breathes in the smell of sweat and starch. ‘It’s not just going home, is it?’ says Remus. ‘I’m sorry; I’m being so unhelpful. I think everyone’s going a bit insane. It’s too hot. I don’t even want to contemplate what James and Peter might be off doing.’ His voice is still unnervingly soothing. It isn’t even that he’s trying to be soothing, Sirius realises; his voice is just… calming. Sirius knows that less than a minute ago this realisation would have made him panic still more, but it’s as if that hysterical energy has been drained away. ‘Look’, says Remus, ‘I’m going to pack your damn case. It’s much less painful for all of us. I won’t have to torture myself watching you neglecting to ball your socks, and the rest of the world won’t have to suffer you sulking, which is truly a force to behold.’
Sirius pulls away. ‘I need a shower’, he says. ‘I feel like I’ve crawled out of the bog of all things unholy and sweaty.’ He pauses on his way back into the bathroom. ‘Moony- I know I’m an idiot to you, OK? But you’re not-’ A sidekick. The token bookish one. ‘You’re important. Alright?’ He shuts the door behind him before Remus has a chance to respond.