Remus frowned at his reflection and dabbed at the cut on his cheek.
Not too bad, all things considered, he thought. Another inch to the left, and I wouldn't have had to worry about full moons anymore.
The front door opened with a crash, startling him, and two agitated voices broke into the sitting room. Sirius and James. In the middle of the afternoon. They should have been at work. Curious what the fuss was about, Remus stepped out of the bathroom.
His friends were disheveled and shaken. When they caught sight of him, though, their eyes went wide. Sirius gave an unintelligible exclamation, and James turned to him, punching him in the shoulder as his face relaxed into a grin.
"See?" he said. "Told you we should've checked here first."
Sirius shook his head and stumbled into Remus, clutching at him. Remus's arms went around him automatically. To his bemusement, Sirius was trembling.
"Is everything all right?"
"It turns out everything's fine," James smirked. "But when has this tosser ever been all right?"
"I am going to fucking kill that pox-ridden prick," Sirius said precisely, voice muffled in the fabric of Remus's shirt.
Remus looked to James for enlightenment.
"Dawlish," James explained. "There was a report of an attack on some members of the Order. He said you'd been killed."
"Oh," said Remus. "Well, there was an attack. No one died, though."
"Glad to hear it," said James, relieved. "In that case, we should get back to the office."
Sirius did not move.
Remus cleared his throat. "I think perhaps you'd better --"
"I'll make your excuses, Padfoot." James rolled his eyes.
"Thanks," replied the muffled voice.
Turning to the door, James paused. "I'm glad you're not dead, Moony."
Remus gave his friend a wry half-smile. "Me, too."
Once James had gone, Remus turned his full attention to his trembling, clinging lover.
"Are you OK, Padfoot?"
"You were dead, Moony," Sirius mumbled miserably into Remus's shirt. "You were dead and I was never going to see you or touch you or kiss you ever again."
"'The rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated,'" Remus quoted, smiling. Sirius's panic at his imagined demise was endearing.
Sirius disengaged himself from Remus's shirt and glared at him, red-rimmed eyes wild. Remus had never seen him look so frantic. "It's not funny, Moony."
Remus cupped Sirius's face in his hands, holding his gaze. "I'm all right, Padfoot," he said firmly, then kissed him tenderly on the mouth.
With a desperate sob, Sirius sagged into him, biting at his lips, urging them apart with his tongue, as if longing to taste, to consume, what he had thought lost. His fingers fumbled with the buttons of Remus's shirt. Catching his agitation, Remus responded, flicking open the fastening of Sirius's robes and shoving them off his shoulders.
"Need you," Sirius mumbled against his mouth. "Please --"
"Bedroom. Now," Remus growled.
They staggered into the next room, barely letting go of one another long enough to shed their clothing, and fell onto the bed. Sirius pulled Remus down on top of him. There was no time for gentleness or art. Sirius sobbed and whimpered, clawing at Remus's back, demanding hard use, and Remus showed him with hands and teeth and grinding hips just how alive they both were. Only when Sirius heard Remus groan and felt the slipperiness of Remus's come on his cock did his own release and relief find him, flooding his body with the joyous knowledge that in such moments, they lived forever.
They lay quiet after, arms around one another, Sirius's cheek pressed to Remus's chest, listening to the slow, strong beat of his heart, to the breath flowing deep and even through his lungs.
"Moony?" he said softly.
"Promise me you'll never die."
Remus gave a sigh that was mostly contentment, and stroked Sirius's silken hair. "You know I can't promise that anymore than you can, Love."
"I think I'd die without you, Moony." Sirius's voice trembled.
"No, you wouldn't, Padfoot," Remus said gently. "You're stronger than that."
Sirius rested his chin on Remus's chest so that he could look at him. "What, then?" he demanded. "What'll I do when you're gone?" His hand settled on the wedge of scar tissue at the top of Remus's right thigh. The wolf's bite.
Sirius knew the statistics as well as Remus did, but this was the first time either of them had voiced the truth out loud. The life expectancy of a werewolf -- especially one bitten in childhood -- was significantly less than the average life span of a wizard. The human body was simply not meant to take the strain. Since learning the facts, Remus had secretly hoped that he would one day die in battle, or in some other quick, painless way. The death that was the usual lot of a werewolf was not a pretty or easy one. However, the awareness that his time with Sirius was limited made it all the more precious to Remus.
He stroked Sirius's cheek, smiling fondly. "You'll wank a lot," he said. "You'll get into all manner of trouble without me there to tell you when you're being foolish and pigheaded. You'll play the degenerate uncle to Prongs's children and Wormtail's, and probably their grandchildren as well. And one day, when you're wrinkled and toothless and very, very old, you'll come to the place where I'll be waiting for you. Always."
"Maybe so." Sirius smiled tremulously. "I love you, Moony. Promise me you'll try not to die for a very long time?"
"I promise, Padfoot."