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A Midwinter Dream

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Sirius watched Remus stare out the window of the Hogwarts Express. He was brooding, and it was ruining all his plans for their time alone on the train. When he'd found out that both James and Peter were staying at Hogwarts this Christmas, he'd immediately seen one big advantage: he and Moony, alone in a compartment for the train ride back to London. Considering how hard it was for them to be alone anywhere at Hogwarts, the opportunity had to be seized and exploited to its fullest.

And at first, things had gone exactly according to his plan. They'd tumbled into one of the back compartments and were kissing even before the door slid shut behind them. Since they had the whole train ride ahead of them, Sirius' plan had been not to rush things, to try and make this different from the frenzied snogging sessions they fit in whenever they could at Hogwarts, but this was Remus, and Sirius didn't think he could ever get enough of him, and he was a fifteen-year-old boy, after all, as was Remus, for that matter, and he did have needs, so even though he started out with soft, gentle, slow kisses all over Moony's gorgeous face (and ears and neck), pretty soon they were right back to frenzied.

They'd had to break apart, reluctantly, when they heard the witch with the snacks trolley coming down the corridor. Sirius had stepped out of the compartment to buy them some pumpkin juice- kissing was thirsty work- and he'd come back in to find Remus just where he was now, staring out the window and looking distant. He'd sat down next to him and handed him the pumpkin juice, which Remus had taken and was occasionally sipping distractedly.

If things had still been going according to plan, Moony, crazed with desire due to Sirius' mere proximity, would have turned away from the window and promptly begun kissing him again. The original plan called, at this point, for frenzy, but since they'd already done that, Sirius would even have been okay with altering the plan and attempting soft and slow again, since Remus seemed to be in a more contemplative mood. But instead of either of these pleasant alternatives, the plan went all to hell, as Remus continued to stare out the window, not only not kissing Sirius, but not talking, either.

Sirius sat quietly next to Remus for quite some time, hoping the plan would kick in again, but eventually he felt foolish, and had to break the silence. "What do you see out there that's so interesting, Moony?" More interesting than kissing him, apparently, which should take some doing, and much less enjoyable, to judge from Remus' sudden shift in mood.

"What?" Remus started as if he had been in a trance. "Oh, nothing..."

Sirius was pretty sure Remus was lying. He was still not entirely sure how staring distractedly out a window could be preferable to kissing him, but he was entirely certain that staring distractedly out a window at nothing at all was not only not something Moony would put higher on his to-do list than snogging Sirius, it could not have put him in such a glum mood when he had been so enthusiastic only minutes before, either.

Well, at least he had him talking again. Talking wasn't kissing, but they did both use mouths, so he was on the right track. Sirius stared out the window too, over Remus' shoulder. He remarked on what seemed to him the most notable aspect of the view, though it was still a far cry from his kissing prowess in terms of appeal. "It's getting dark out there, isn't it? With the sun setting behind us, the train casts such a large shadow. "

"Shadows..." Remus repeated, numbly. "I was watching the shadows. Don't they look ominous?"

"I suppose so." Sirius felt entirely at sea, which was an especially odd feeling considering he was on a train, which ran on tracks, so in theory it was not possible to get off course at all, let alone end up at sea (though with an enchanted train you never could tell). The train was like his plan; it had a starting point and a destination and a nice, direct route between. Remus' mood, his newfound interest in staring out windows at ominous shadows, were the ocean he suddenly found himself on; though it was certainly restful, there were no landmarks to help guide him back to the train tracks of snogging. Sirius found himself wishing for a lighthouse, and at that point even he realized he had stretched his mixed transportation metaphor to the breaking point.

What he needed was a new plan, a plan to get Remus to stop staring out the window. Then he could return to his original plan. This new plan would have to be brilliant, if it was to compete with the fascinating shadows, and it would have to be simple, so as to waste as little kissing time as possible. For the same reason, he would also have to devise the new plan very quickly. Sirius concentrated all his Marauder genius on the problem at hand, and was quite pleased when, only moments later, he came up with what he was quite sure was his fourth* most brilliant idea of all time.

"Moony," he whispered, right in his ear; this was the first brilliant aspect of the brilliant plan; Remus had once told him that his ears were his third most erogenous zone.** "Moony, close your eyes."

Remus did so right away, which, while of course coming as no surprise at all to Sirius, since this was his fourth best idea ever, after all, was still a bit of a relief, as he hadn't had time to come up with a contingency plan, as this plan was already itself a sort of contingency plan, since in the original plan there was no staring out the window, only kissing, etc. That was the fatal flaw of his original plan, he realized; you always had a contingency plan, as improvising sometimes led to brilliant ideas, such as the one he had just executed, but more often led to disaster.***

Remus' voice distracted him from these ponderings upon the nature of a good idea. "Did I close my eyes for a reason, Padfoot?" He sounded amused, but he might be verging towards testy, and that wouldn't do at all, as it would necessitate yet another plan to get back on track, and while Sirius' keen Marauder mind was more than capable of keeping track of dozens, nay, hundreds of plans at once, it was all getting to be a bit much when he wasn't even attempting to execute a clever prank, but just wanted to kiss his boyfriend. So he immediately put phase two of his brilliant idea into operation. He brushed Moony's cheek with his fingertips.

"What was that?" Remus asked. Good, he was playing along. Sirius had to admit to himself that the plan did require a certain amount of playing along on Moony's part, but he was always such a good sport about such things.

"I think," he replied, in between soft soft soft kisses down Moony's neck, "it was a spider." The plan took into account the fact that Remus was not afraid of spiders, because it was, after all, a brilliant plan. "It just ran down your neck."

"I felt it." Remus shivered quite convincingly; he even had goose-pimples. "Where did it go?"

"Down the neck of your shirt. Should I look for it?" Again with the whispering in the ear. He knew this plan couldn't fail. If this next bit just worked (and he had every confidence it would), they'd be better than back on track.

"Yes, please."

Time to sound suave. "You know, Moony, now that it, the spider, I mean, has gone down your shirt, it would be much easier to find if I just took off your shirt. Purely in the interest of spider-finding, of course." Sirius would've winked at this last bit, but Remus still had his eyes closed, so it would be sort of a waste of a wink.

Remus didn't say anything in response, but he tilted his head in what Sirius would term an inviting manner, so he proceeded to divest him of his t-shirt. Remus obligingly lifted his arms and helped get it over his head, so he supposed the head tilt had indeed been a yes. As he casually tossed the shirt over his shoulder and onto the seat, he noticed that Remus had opened his eyes. He hadn't told him he could, but then again, he hadn't told him he couldn't. Sirius was evaluating whether the plan at this point could go forward with a Remus who could see, when his next words made it quite clear that that would, in fact, be just as brilliant as his original intent.

"Oh dear."

Now it was Sirius' turn to play along, he sensed. Luckily for Moony, he too was a good sport.


"When you took off my shirt, I'm afraid the spider transferred its affections to you. I just saw it disappear down the collar of your shirt."

"I suppose you should look for it, then."


*Behind the original idea which led him to kiss Moony for the first time; the plan which had gotten Peter a date with Alanna Blair, the best-looking Ravenclaw seventh-year; and his plan to get Lily Evans to fall in love with James, which he hadn't told James about yet, because the suffering was character-building, not to mention amusing for the other Marauders. Sirius liked to think that while he was, of course, a first-rate prankster, his real talents lay in the field of romance.

**After the two obvious ones, of course.

***Such as the time Peter had improvised and told McGonagall that he was lying flat on his face in the sixth floor corridor after curfew (this was really part of an elaborate scheme to distract Filch (and Mrs. Norris) while James painted his office a vibrant shade of pink) because he had just been tripped by that pesky cat with the square markings around its eyes, which had then run off. In Peter's defense, this was early second year, so they didn't know McGonagall was an Animagus yet, but the results had not been pleasant, and Peter swore that as a cat, she both held a grudge and somehow knew he was a rat, because she chased him every chance she got. Remarks upon the general tendency of cats to chase rats regardless of personal history failed to sway him from this view.