FANDOM: Harry Potter
PAIRING: Remus/Sirius, James/Lily, Tonks/OC
SUMMARY: A number of chance encounters with an intriguing man named Remus Lupin sets Sirius off on a path to fall in love, and to learn what it is to fight for the people he loves.
NOTES: Thank you to h4yleyg for making me sound less like an American. Many, many thanks to theemdash for being my sounding board, alpha, and beta as I've fought this fic since the start of the year. Written for the 2009 bigbangblackout. Visit the main archive to see the wonderful artwork mavoorik drew for this story!
« Part 1
"So he wants me to really think about it," Sirius said, wiping his forehead with his hand and breathing a little harder than normal.
James grunted, turning as he shifted a large crate to the side. "Have you?" he asked, standing once the crate was moved. "I mean, thought about it?"
Sirius huffed and bent down to pick up another box. He'd come over to have a chat with James, but Lily was demanding that James finish clearing out the attic before evening, and so Sirius was dragged into helping. At least it gave him time alone with James; he loved Lily, but he wasn't sure he wanted her opinion on the matter quite yet.
"I . . . well, sort of? I guess the only problem would be if me and the kid hit it off but Remus decided he wanted to break up?"
James snorted. "You don't think you'll be the one to break up with him?"
Sirius blinked. "Should I be? Do I usually do that sort of thing?"
"No, I just mean, it's funny that you're assuming if it ends, he'll be the one ending it, not you. I'm not sure what that means, really, but yeah, it's funny."
"Oh." Sirius shrugged. "I guess I just don't see why I'd want to break it off yet. But that's not the point!"
"I know," James said calmly. "You're worried about his son getting attached to you and then you leaving his life." James crossed his arms. "I think that's kind of Remus's entire point, don't you?"
"You don't think it's simply concern that I wouldn't want to help raise a kid?"
James nodded. "Sure, it's that, too. But that's just part of it. He's not worried about why you two might split, just that if it happens then it's three people who have to get over it, not just two."
"Mm," said Sirius, pushing his hair behind his ear. "I guess that's the risk he takes? Not to sound callous or anything, just saying. If you've got a kid and you're going out with someone, it's part of the whole thing."
"Look," James said, rolling his neck, "it's not like I've done a lot of dating with Harry in the picture, but if I had to, I think what I'd be most concerned about is that whoever I was going out with understood that they were sort of going out with my kid, too. If you break up, you'll have to break up with the kid, especially if you've developed a relationship. It's not unlike a divorce, not to the kid, anyway."
Sirius nodded slowly, understanding the concern on a bigger scale than he'd previously considered. "That's true. Kid won't understand the difference, will he? He'll just see someone leaving him."
"It probably helps that his folks are already divorced. How old is he, anyway?"
Sirius held up a hand, fingers spread. "He's five. Remus said he and his ex-wife tried it for a year after he was born before deciding to give it up and just get divorced. So the boy's always known them as split."
James bent back down and picked up another box, handing it over to Sirius. "So it's not like he's even gone through the divorce. So. It might still be tough."
Sirius swallowed, afraid of what his best friend was suggesting. "Do you think I shouldn't bother?"
"What?" James pushed his glasses up his nose. "Why would you think I was saying that? I'm not. You just need to understand that if it ends, you'll have to take care with the boy. If you understand that going into it, it'll be better all around. And that's what Remus wants you to get before you go further."
"Okay," Sirius said, nodding. "So just . . . I need to think of it like I'm going out with both of them?"
"Basically. I wouldn't explain it that way to random people on the street," James added, chuckling, "but it's a good way to think of it to yourself."
"Right." Sirius took a deep breath. "James," he said, a slight whine in his voice, "I really like this bloke. He's . . . I can't even describe how he makes me feel. I'm willing to do anything to be with him."
James raised an eyebrow. "Anything? Really?"
"He wouldn't ask anything unreasonable. I'm sure of it." Sirius sighed. "I could fall for him hard," he admitted, his voice soft and almost embarrassed at the sentiment.
"Have you snogged him yet?" James asked, punching Sirius in the arm. Sirius rubbed the spot and smiled a ridiculously goofy smile as he thought back to last night, as they had parted ways at a station. Remus was saying something about how he hated to end a date in such a public setting—or something, Sirius hadn't really been paying attention. Instead he'd been trying to memorize the feel of Remus's hand in his, the way Remus's tongue would peek out every few words as the man spoke; he'd been trying to block out the sounds of everyone else in the Underground with them so that he could get the nerve to lean in just a little more....
But he'd not had a chance to do it, because he saw those lips say "fuck it" and the next thing that Sirius knew, he was kissing Remus and it was soft and a little shy and brilliant, and he thought he'd heard some wanker let out a whistle, but that didn't matter because all he could think was "Remus" and "kissing" and kissing was the greatest invention ever—
"Hellooooooo in there!" James said, and suddenly Sirius was back in his idiot best mate's attic, with said idiot best mate waving his hand in Sirius's face.
Sirius sighed heavily. "Not that it's any of your business, Mr Busy-body Potter, but yes, we kissed." It took great effort of will to not slide back into the daydream of memory.
James snickered. "Sounds like you've got it pretty bad." His grin softened. "I hope it all works out well," he said. "You deserve someone brilliant, mate."
Sirius grinned brightly. "Damn right I do."
When Sirius called Remus on Monday evening, he started the conversation with, "So how many dates do you think is proper before I meet this cracking young boy of yours?"
Remus laughed, warm and relieved even over the phone line, and replied with, "I think probably a few more, but maybe in a couple of weeks?" He continued on with the conversation, explaining that the piece he'd been working on over the weekend was about being a gay parent—he did not ever ask if Sirius was sure about his decision. Sirius appreciated the trust within that non-question, that Remus took it to heart that Sirius had done his thinking and come to this conclusion in a manner that was anything but light.
They planned their second date for that Thursday, meeting at a cinema in Sirius's neighborhood. Remus dropped by to pick him up, and they walked over together, not letting the slight drizzle bother them. Sirius didn't want to be too forward and kept his distance, but they'd not gone even a full block before Remus stepped close and threaded their fingers together, either unaware or uncaring of the look they received from a pair of elderly women who were passing by as he made the move.
It was early yet when they purchased their tickets, and it was a lovely autumn evening, so Sirius suggested that they wait outside for a little longer before finding seats.
"So I suppose you're not ashamed to be seen with me, then?" Remus asked, teasing and poking at Sirius's side.
"Oh, I'm terribly ashamed, but such is my lot in life," he replied, heaving a heavy sigh. "I suppose it could be worse, though. You are quite attractive, and I suspect people are quite jealous of me."
Remus chuckled. "Oh, I don't know," he said, his voice a murmur, "I think they're more jealous of me." Sirius turned to look over at Remus, catching the other man giving him a very pointed look; his stomach twitched and his skin came alive under that look.
"Careful," Sirius muttered back, "or I may suggest we just find a nice dark alley and do terribly naughty things."
"Mmm, I suppose that would be bad. Would hate to have to explain to Teddy one day why his father has a police record."
Sirius swallowed at the casual way Remus mentioned his son; he'd done this a couple times since the phone call on Monday, and Sirius was beginning to realise how difficult it must have been for Remus to not bring him up before. "I'd just tell him it was my fault," he replied, smiling a bit at the idea of still being together "one day."
When, halfway through the film, Remus's fingers found their way to Sirius's knee and began to lightly run over his jeans, Sirius totally lost his focus and couldn't quite remember how the film ended. When they stepped back outside they found that the weather had stayed clear, so they walked back to Sirius's place at a casual stroll. Once they arrived at his door, Sirius took his keys out of his pocket, wondering if he should ask the question he was dying to ask, or just say goodnight. Oh . . . oh bollocks.
He turned to Remus, biting his lip slightly. "So, do you have to, um, get back yet? For a babysitter or anything? Or...?"
Remus grinned. "Teddy's with his mother for the next couple of weeks." He raised an eyebrow. "Why, was there something you wanted to ask?"
"Oh, play dumb why don't you?" said Sirius, chuckling and tugging on Remus's sleeve. "Want to come in for a bit?"
Remus made a show of considering the question carefully, before finally stepping up fully onto the stoop, close to Sirius. "I think that'd be nice, sure." He smiled slowly, warm and encouraging. Sirius felt his breath catch, and he turned back to the door and fumbled with his keys in the door. He got it open without another word, gesturing for Remus to go in first. "Thank you," Remus said with a nod, brushing past him deliberately.
Sirius took a deep breath as he closed the door behind them both, then threw his keys onto the table by the door and pointed in towards the living room. "Sofa's in there, have a seat. Make yourself at home. D'you need anything to drink?"
Remus looked in at the room, then back at Sirius as he crooked his finger. "I'm fine right now. Come here."
Sirius felt that he should be bouncing around the room, but his insides felt tight and his nerves were about to do him in. He took a few steps over, watching Remus's face carefully. "Can I help you?" he asked, aiming for light-hearted but still sounding a bit nervous.
Remus nodded slowly, and spoke quietly. "I've been dying to kiss you all night, and now that we're in your house I think we better do it before I go insane."
Licking his lips, Sirius nodded back. "That's probably a good idea."
"I always have good ideas," Remus whispered. He stepped closer and leaned in, stretching up just a bit to match Sirius's height, and...
Just like the other night, Remus's lips were warm and soft, gentle against his own, and Sirius had to use all his strength to remain standing at the sensation. He kissed Remus back, pressing against him harder, and when he heard a low sound come from one of them, he lost his remaining self-restraint and wrapped one arm around Remus's waist, licking his tongue across Remus's lips. Remus whimpered and their tongues touched and before Sirius knew it their mouths were open and they were snogging deeply. Remus's hands came up to tangle in Sirius's hair, and the brush of fingertips against his scalp drew another soft moan from Sirius; he took a step forward and pushed Remus back against the wall, grinding up against him—
They were both getting hard, and if he didn't stop now, he'd find it nearly impossible to leave this at snogging. He pulled away suddenly, breathing hard, and he leaned his forehead against Remus's.
Remus grunted, one hand dropping to rest at the small of Sirius's back. "I . . . oh I could get addicted to that."
Sirius laughed a bit, his eyes still closed. "Think I already am, Remus." He swallowed, wondering what it was about this man that felt so right, so intoxicating, that made him so needy...
"We should sit. Or . . . or should I go?" Remus asked, the last part quiet and reluctant.
"Don't go," Sirius said, his eyes opening quickly. He didn't even care how desperate he sounded. "We'll go sit down, but don't go yet? Please?"
Remus smiled and kissed him again quickly. "I won't go. Do you have some wine?"
Sirius grinned. "I do, yes. Red?"
Remus nodded. "Yes, I'd love a glass. Then we can sit and talk and try to keep our hands off each other for at least fifteen minutes."
Sirius stepped back and groaned. "Ahh, you know I can't resist a challenge, but that's a tough one!" He winked and started walking to the kitchen. "Glass of wine, coming right up. Go get comfortable." He quickly picked out the best bottle he had—it wasn't a large collection, but the few bottles he had were impressive, and he'd been saving this particular one for quite some time now.
He carried the glasses into the living room, noting happily that Remus looked quite good on his sofa. "Here you are," he said, handing one glass over to Remus. "Are we toasting?"
"Of course," Remus said, holding up his glass. "To reckless couriers."
Sirius grinned. "And to crashing weddings." They clinked and sipped, watching each other and both trying not to grin too widely lest they dribble over their shirts.
Two hours later, and they were warm from the wine and kissing lazily, stretched out over the couch, still fully dressed save their shoes. Sirius was trying to remember the last time he simply made out for the sake of making out, not as a means to an end.
"It's late," Remus whispered, pulling away and resting his head on Sirius's chest.
Sirius sighed, tightening his arms around Remus just slightly. "Mm. You have to go?"
Remus yawned. "I . . . oh. Sorry. Was saying, I think . . . that is, it might be better if I . . ." He trailed off, and Sirius cocked his head to look at Remus, surprised at the flush he saw on the man's cheeks.
"You can stay here if you like," Sirius said softly. "I've got a spare room, if you—"
"No," Remus said quickly, his fingers curling into Sirius's shirt. "I mean, I don't need a spare room. That's silly." His fingers relaxed, and he moved his hand lightly over Sirius's chest. "I don't really want to move."
Sirius wondered if his heartbeat was as loud to Remus as it was in his own ears. "Then don't," he whispered, then kissed Remus's forehead.
Remus closed his eyes. "I feel safe with you. I like that."
"Good." Sirius reached over carefully, trying not to jostle Remus as he pulled a blanket from the back of the couch and spread it over them. "Means you won't go anywhere for a while."
"Mm. Stayin' here."
Sirius wrapped his arms around Remus, and he didn't speak as he felt Remus grow heavier as he fell asleep. Sirius drifted into a light doze, staying there just long enough to wonder if it was too soon to be in love with this man, and if it was too late to stop himself from falling anyway, before he too fell asleep.
The phone woke Sirius the next morning; he groaned and then started as he realized there was a heavy lump spread out over him. Remus stayed, he remembered, and his lips found their way into a wide grin. Despite the uncomfortable couch, he thought that might have been the best night's sleep he'd ever had.
The ringing stopped, and the answering machine picked up; the voice leaving a message was low and feminine, and Sirius realised that it was probably his supervisor. He craned his neck to check the clock on the wall: half-past nine. Shit. For a brief moment he considered ignoring the call, at least for now, and calling out sick later, plead a bad night and that he didn't wake up until just then. But he realised that he didn't know Remus's schedule, and it would probably be best for them to have normal days and a proper end to last night's date.
He gently pushed Remus's hair off the side of his face. "Remus," he whispered, trying to not startle the sleeping man, "Remus, wake up. It's a Friday morning, and I don't know if you have deadlines to meet. . . ."
Remus made a sleepy sound and shifted enough to make his morning erection more than obvious. Sirius grinned and spoke again, a little louder. "Remus, I need to get up. And I think you need to piss." Always the charmer, that Sirius Black.
"Mmmm," said Remus, nuzzling his face into Sirius's neck, but it felt deliberate, a sign of his conscious state.
"Waaaaaake uuuuuuup!" Sirius sang softly, tracing a finger down Remus's jaw. "If you get up I can go brush my teeth and then I can kiss you." Now he felt Remus's mouth curve into a smile against his neck, and he knew Remus was awake and stalling for a lie-in. "I know you're awake, you daft thing. C'mon, you're heavy."
Remus wiggled on top of him for a moment, then grunted. "Fuck, I do have to piss," he said, voice rough with sleep. Sirius laughed softly. "M'kay. Gettin'p." Remus yawned, then pushed himself up slightly, looking at Sirius with sleepy eyes and smiling. "Morning, Sirius."
Sirius smiled back. "Good morning, Remus."
Remus turned and stood. "Loo. Going to the loo." He ran a hand through his mussed hair, looking around in confusion. "Forget where the loo is."
"Over that way," said Sirius with a snicker. "Back next to the kitchen."
Remus nodded. "Right. I'll be back then." He stepped past Sirius, touching his hand to Sirius's head as he did.
Sirius closed his eyes for a moment, then sat up and stretched, cracking his back. He needed to go listen to that message from work, but he didn't want Remus to overhear and think he'd gotten Sirius in trouble.
He considered going upstairs and relieve himself; after that, he could offer Remus use of his shower, and take that time to call in and tell them . . . well, what would he tell them? He could say he simply overslept and would be in soon, or he could plead sick and call off that day. Before he could do anything, however, he heard the toilet flush, and Remus's footsteps were coming back again.
"Shit, you have work today, don't you?" Remus asked as he stepped up to the couch again, leaning over the back. Sirius turned to look at him, nodding, hoping he looked as disappointed as he felt. "I won't keep you, then," he said, leaning in to kiss Sirius's cheek, then pulling back and standing up straight.
Sirius shook his head. "You don't have to go," he said. What am I doing? he thought. Aren't I trying to give us a break? "I mean, at least not before you have a shower. Up the stairs, to your right, if you'd like."
Remus nodded. "That would feel a little less like a walk-of-shame when I leave." He grinned. "Up and to the right?"
Once Remus was upstairs and Sirius heard the water start to flow—don't think about him being naked in your shower, Black—he went into the kitchen and hit the button to get his messages. As he'd thought, it was his boss calling to find out if everything was okay, and was he planning on coming in that day? Sirius sighed, knowing he'd have to make a decision soon about what to do for the day.
Realising he was starving, he opened the fridge and started pulling out some quick breakfast foods, simple things he could offer to Remus as well. Assuming, that was, that Remus would want to stick around longer; he did mention the "walk of shame", did that mean he regretted spending the night? It wasn't as if anything had happened.
Oh. What if Remus had wanted something to happen?
Sirius shook his head, telling himself to stop being foolish. Nothing about Remus had suggested that Remus wouldn't speak up if he wanted something. Ergo, if he didn't say he wanted to do more than snog, then he didn't want to.
He'd almost finished his cereal when Remus came back down, looking more awake and fresher after the wash. Remus walked over to where Sirius stood against the counter, and Sirius smiled quickly as he chewed his mouthful and gestured to the kitchen, indicating that Remus should help himself.
Remus shook his head and smiled. "I'm fine, thanks. I should probably get going, lest I distract you from your duties."
Sirius swallowed and put down the bowl. "I hadn't called in, yet. Wasn't sure . . . you know, what to say." He wiped his mouth with his fingers.
"Go to work, Sirius," Remus insisted. "Go in and give your excuses. I should get home myself, do some work on a new project. But I'll call you tonight?"
Quite suddenly, Sirius was certain that he couldn't wait that long to speak to Remus again. "No, here. . . ." He grabbed a pad of paper and scribbled out his work number. "Call me sometime this afternoon. I'll probably work late to make up for this morning. It'll be nice to have a break to talk to you."
Remus took the paper and tucked it into his pocket. "Then I will." He walked up to Sirius and kissed him softly, lingering just too long to really be considered chaste. "Come over to my place this weekend," he said as he pulled away. "I'll make dinner."
Sirius grinned brightly. "That sounds wonderful, okay."
"Bring a change of clothes, too," Remus said with a wink as he started to back out of the kitchen.
Sirius's grin turned mischievous. "Is that so?" he asked, following Remus. "You have plans for me, then?"
Remus shrugged, then turned around to walk to the door properly. "I guess you'll have to find out!"
"Oi," Sirius said, picking up his pace and catching up to Remus, sliding his arms around the other man's waist. "Not right to tease a man before he's got to go to work," he murmured in Remus's ear, flicking his tongue lightly across the shell and grinning when he felt Remus shudder just slightly.
"Life isn't fair." Remus turned and kissed Sirius briefly, but not without a hint of what he might have in mind. Sirius swooned a little, letting the dramatics cover for the explosion of butterflies in his intestines.
"You better leave now, or I might never get to work," he said, his voice low and rough. Remus just chuckled, kissed him again, then opened the door and stepped out. Sirius leaned against the doorframe, watching as Remus left.
"I'll talk to you later!" Remus called out as he got down to the sidewalk.
Sirius smiled and waved. "You better!" He felt his heart leap as Remus blew him a kiss, then watched as Remus walked to the end of the block and turned the corner, heading towards the Underground station. Once he was out of sight, Sirius sighed, then stepped back inside and closed the door, taking a last moment to collect himself before going upstairs to get ready for his day.
That weekend, as he packed his overnight bag, he gave himself a short pep-talk—not that he would ever admit to such a thing if anyone asked. It wasn't as if he'd never done this before, or even that it had been terribly long since the last time. He couldn't remember ever being quite as excited as he was for this time, though, and truth be told there was a part of him that cautioned against assuming anything about Remus's plans. Even so—even considering the plan that Remus just wanted Sirius's help clearing brush in the garden for autumn and a bit of snogging—Sirius was really looking forward to it all.
He grinned hugely when he caught his reflection in the mirror next to his bedroom door. Even with that small voice trying to keep his feet on the ground, he was fairly certain this was going somewhere. He tried not to think about anything beyond that night, but he was already hoping to meet Remus's son, worrying that the boy might not like him, because how important would his approval be to Remus? Sirius thought it might be very important indeed, which was a terrifying thought when he let himself think it.
But he wanted to give it a shot, and give it his best.
Lily had been very encouraging that afternoon when he mentioned it while he was over for lunch with the Potters; she seemed to think that Sirius would do just fine with Remus's son whenever they eventually met, and that in her opinion as a parent, Remus wouldn't have brought sex into the relationship yet if he didn't feel certain enough that this would go somewhere, too. That assurance buoyed him through the rest of the afternoon, until he finally left for Remus's house.
He knocked on the door right on time, having forced himself to walk around the block once when he realised he'd arrived fifteen minutes early and not wanting to put Remus in an awkward spot in case he wasn't ready yet. The door opened immediately, though, suggesting that perhaps Remus had been waiting at the door for Sirius to show.
Remus smiled widely. "I do like a man who is punctual," he said, reaching out to take Sirius's bag.
Sirius took advantage of the momentary proximity and kissed Remus hello, which Remus returned for a short time before stepping back. "I see I've found the right house, then."
Remus chuckled. "You found me just fine. Here, I'll put this at the stairs, then give you a tour." Sirius nodded, letting Remus play the role of host as he looked around the small entrance way. There was a small cupboard ahead of him with a number of colored lines rising from the floor. Sirius frowned for a moment, then grinned when he realised what it was: a height chart for Remus's son. No, Teddy. He had to start thinking of him as Teddy, really.
"You can come in, you know," Remus said, poking his head around the corner as he looked back at Sirius. He waved his hand, gesturing for Sirius to leave the entryway. "Living room's in here."
The tour wasn't very long, as the house wasn't terribly big, but Remus was fairly thorough, stopping to share the pictures and knickknacks and other paraphernalia proudly. Sirius took an extra moment looking at one of the more recent photographs, a nice shot of Remus and Teddy, and a woman Remus said was his ex-wife. Being able to see all three of them at once, Sirius noted to himself that Teddy looked more like Remus than his mother, a fact which made Sirius unaccountably happy. He thought maybe he should feel guilty about that, but that wasn't something he planned to waste time exploring tonight.
"This picture almost made me cry when he brought it home," Remus said, pointing to a framed crayon masterpiece in the dining room. Sirius saw two figures and a house, presumably Teddy with his father at home. "He'd had to draw a picture of his family at school," Remus explained. "His teacher told me later that she was ready to tell Teddy it was okay to draw the three of us all together, even though his parents didn't live together, because we were still a family. But before she could, he'd spoken up and asked for a second piece of paper because he had two families, and he had to do it right."
Sirius smiled a bit, though he wasn't quite sure why that was a moment for Remus to nearly cry. "So that was . . . good?"
Remus nodded. "I think it is, yes. He clearly understands that his family is different than other children's, but it doesn't seem like he sees us as broken, or that he wants to fix us and get us back together. He just . . . he just sees it that we're two families, and he gets us both." Remus's lips were turned up softly. "I asked him about it, and he thinks he's lucky."
This Sirius understood more, and he smiled wider and touched Remus's shoulder. "Sounds like you've done well with him. Both of you," he added, suddenly realising that though her exact role had changed, Remus's ex-wife was still Teddy's family, and needed to be acknowledged. Remus grinned at Sirius brightly, nodding once.
"Well, I think that's about it for the tour then. At least for now." He winked, making it clear what he was getting at.
Sirius chuckled, a little nervous but figuring that was just par for the course. "Of course, for now." He looked over Remus's shoulder into the kitchen. "Have you started dinner yet?"
"Hungry?" Remus asked, turning around. "I have dessert finishing up, actually. I'm going to barbeque the steaks in the garden, so they've just been defrosting. I'm cheating on the potatoes, though."
"Oh yes, very much. I'm absolutely pants at making decent potatoes, so I got something from the supermarket." Remus spread his hands. "Surely even a man as marvelous as myself must have his imperfections?"
Sirius laughed. "I suppose that's true. If that's the only imperfect thing about you, I think I'll be able to manage." In fact, it almost makes you more perfect, Sirius thought, though he was glad he kept that ridiculously soppy thought to himself.
Remus pointed to the sliding door that led out onto the back patio. "Come on, let's sit outside for a while."
There was more wine, and Remus quickly pulled together a small plate of some cheese and biscuits, and as they sipped and nibbled there was pleasant conversation. Sirius asked more about Teddy, loving how Remus's face got so open and pleased when he spoke of his son, and he even offered the exact story of how he'd gotten together with his ex-wife in the first place.
"It was mostly stupid, if you ignore the benefit that came out of it," Remus admitted around a sip of wine. "I'd come out of a bad relationship, we'd known each other for a few years and Dora'd fancied me even though she knew I was gay. I was hurting, and she was sympathetic, and. . . ." He shrugged. "We hooked up a few times before I called it off—I knew I had to stop taking advantage of her, because I didn't really want her, I just wanted a warm body, and that's not what she wanted. But anyway, those few times were enough. Condom failed, and she found me a few months later to tell me she was pregnant."
Sirius nodded, understanding that sort of situation quite well. While he didn't have any children, there had been a particularly close scare during his university days, complete with a clandestine trip to the chemist where he made James make the actual purchase of the pregnancy test. That had been one of the last times he was with a girl.
"We got married pretty quickly. We were determined to try and make it work, and I deluded myself into thinking I could come to be really attracted to her. I mean, she is a pretty woman, I can see that." Remus shrugged again. "We knew by the time Teddy was born that it probably wasn't going to work, but I insisted on keeping it going for at least another year."
Sirius shifted a bit. "And that was enough?"
Remus chuckled a bit. "She invited a bloke she'd met at the gym to Teddy's first birthday party. We started the paperwork the next week, and I moved out."
He wasn't able to help himself, asking, "Is she still with that guy?"
"No," Remus said, shaking his head. "He broke her heart, actually. Dick." Remus finished the rest of his wine as punctuation on his statement. "But she's been seeing someone for a while now, nearly a year. They seem happy enough, though I think Dora's a little reluctant to talk about marriage."
"Sure," Sirius said, nodding. His mind conjured a vision of a huge, burly man, who could swing Teddy from his biceps in a way Sirius never could. He hated this man, and was determined to be cold to him when they inevitably had to have dinner as a foursome.
Remus shivered a bit. "Getting chilly out here," he said, sitting forward slightly. "Why don't you go back in, make yourself comfortable, watch the television or something? I'll get the barbeque started up."
Sirius nodded, standing and sliding the door open. "Oh," he said, sniffing a bit, "how long did that dessert have to go?"
Remus's eyes widened. "Shit! Oh, it should be okay, I hope. . . ." He pushed carefully past Sirius and went over to the oven, pulling out a pie. "Oh good, looks fine. I think it's just done." He smiled at Sirius. "Thanks for reminding me!"
Sirius walked over, leaning over the pie to smell it better. "Mmm, no problem. Smells great. I could never get the hang of baking, myself."
Remus set the pie on the counter. "It's all my mother. She was forever baking pies. She sold them at a local bakery sometimes, so she taught me so I could help."
Unable to help himself, Sirius leaned in and kissed Remus's neck.
Remus flattened his hands against the counter and hummed quietly. "See, I knew this would get addicting."
Sirius pulled back and winked. "Well I wouldn't want to feed your addictions. Not a very friendly thing to do."
"So you're going to give it up, too? Keep your hands to yourself?" Remus turned and stepped closer, lifting his chin just slightly.
"Until I'm sure you've got this addiction under control?" Sirius poked Remus's nose. "You bet." He winked and started walking back towards the living room. "Think I'll see what's on the telly tonight!" He settled onto the couch, listening as Remus laughed to himself and started to prepare the steaks to be grilled. Hands to himself or not, he was already starting to miss looking at Remus, miss talking to him, and so it wasn't long before he was ambling back outside, sitting down in one of the chairs again to watch as the other man flipped his meat.
"Have you ever wondered," Remus said, his eyes never leaving the steaks, "if maybe some things are just . . . just meant to happen?"
Sirius tilted his head, not sure what Remus was getting at. "You mean, like with Teddy?"
There was a moment before Remus answered, and Sirius considered trying to take it back when Remus finally said, "Sure, like with Teddy."
Sirius had a sense that Remus hadn't been talking about Teddy, but he went along with it. "I guess I've wondered about that stuff before, yeah. I've never come up with a good answer, though."
Remus licked his lips, then gave a quick glance over to Sirius. "Have you ever wanted something to be that way? That it was just always meant to happen, so that you know it's . . . right?"
"I think . . ." Sirius sucked in a breath—am I really going to say this?—then plowed ahead, "I think when things are right, whether it's because . . . because of destiny or fate or just good fortune, then you'll know it pretty soon. It'll make sense."
Remus nodded, tending again to the steaks. "I just have to be ready to accept it, right?"
"Right," Sirius agreed quietly. "That's the tricky part. It's a little scary to leave yourself open enough to do it."
Remus put down the tongs, dropped his head for a moment, then turned to Sirius. "I . . ."
Sirius stood quickly, reaching out a hand, though stopping himself just before they touched. "Don't, Remus. I'm here for dinner, and to spend the night if that's what happens. Okay? That's it."
Remus's eyes were wide, a little wild almost as he nodded. "Okay." He bit his lip. "I want to kiss you. Will that be okay with my addiction?"
Sirius laughed and stepped in closer, wrapping his arm around Remus's waist. "Bollocks to your addiction," he murmured, then kissed him soundly. Remus laughed into the kiss, returning it eagerly. They continued kissing until the sound of the steaks sizzling got loud enough for Remus to pull away with a quiet curse.
"I suppose I should finish these," he murmured, turning and picking up the long fork, prodding at the steaks. "If I ruin these, then there's nothing else in the house," he added with a smile.
Sirius chuckled. "Catch you before you went to the supermarket, did I?"
Remus made a small sound of agreement. "I tend to do most of my shopping when Teddy's here, and usually I have plenty left over. He was sick for a while this time, so I didn't buy as much towards the end." He gestured inside. "Do you want to get the potatoes out of the oven? They should be warm still."
"Sure. Put them on the table?" Sirius said as he stepped inside, happy to help and distract himself before he decided to sod the steaks and eat Remus instead.
The steaks were done in short order, and they ate dinner in relative quiet. It was comfortable, the lack of words to offset the clink and scrape of cutlery and dishes. Sirius thought that James would never believe this, never believe that his friend was being quiet, not speaking. It felt right, though, that they should enjoy the meal and just leave it at that. Once done, Sirius offered to wash up, insisting that Remus take the opportunity to sit and have a drink and stare at Sirius's arse. Remus laughed and agreed, positioning a chair precisely in the kitchen so that he could observe from all angles and direct Sirius to various cupboards and drawers as needed.
When the dishes had been washed and dried and put away, Remus rose and took Sirius's hand, leading him into the living room, drawing him over to sit on the sofa. Sirius followed easily, settling in and gesturing for Remus to tuck against him, wrapping an arm around the other man.
"Thank you for dinner," Sirius said, his voice soft. "And the pie was delicious."
Remus smiled. "You're welcome. I'm glad you liked it."
"I don't cook much, myself. If I want a home cooked meal I barge in on James and Lily and eat them out of house and home." Sirius chuckled, his fingers absently stroking Remus's upper arm.
"I'll have to meet them sometime," Remus said. "Well, properly. As your friends, not as wedding guests."
Sirius felt a bit nervous at the idea, though he wasn't sure if he was more concerned that Remus wouldn't like his friends, or if his friends wouldn't like Remus. "Maybe in a few weeks?" he said. "Have you all over to my place, they can bring Harry, you can bring Teddy?"
"Mmm." Remus nodded. "Sounds like that has potential." He sighed and leaned into Sirius more, his nose nuzzling Sirius's neck. "I'm tired, I don't mind saying. I think I was nervous."
"Haven't cooked for anyone in quite a while," Remus said in elaboration. "After cooking for myself for so long, I was a bit worried I'd forget how to do it for someone else."
Something told Sirius that Remus wasn't talking about supper. "I wasn't worried about your cooking. You made it for me, that's special enough."
Remus chuckled. "Not a picky eater?"
Sirius shrugged. "I don't know. I'm picky about the cook, maybe. Not about the meal, though." He felt Remus's lips brushing against his neck and swallowed. "I . . ."
Remus put two fingers over Sirius's lips. "I don't want to talk about cooking anymore," he whispered. Sirius closed his eyes, taking in a deep breath. "Would you like to continue the tour of the house?"
All Sirius could do was nod and try to hide the fact that he was actually more worried about his own "cooking" tonight, but one look at Remus's face as they stood up and started to walk to the stairs was enough to make him grin. At the top of the stairs there was a door to their right, but Remus lead him past it without a word.
"Mm, this isn't a very good tour," Sirius teased, squeezing Remus's hand and gesturing towards the closed door.
"It's the fast version," Remus said, "takes you right to the best parts. And here we are. . . ." He gestured to another door that was propped slightly open.
Sirius stepped close to Remus, leaning into him as he peered inside. "Oh, forgive me for doubting you, Mr Tour Guide. Please, show me the best parts."
Remus turned, his hand casually coming to rest on Sirius's arse, pushing gently. "After you, honored guest. And do make yourself comfortable."
Sirius stepped inside, looking around the tidy bedroom, jumping slightly when he heard the door close again. He turned back and saw Remus watching him, a hint of nerves around his eyes, and Sirius couldn't help but smile and reach his hand out. Remus smiled back, took Sirius's hand and stepped closer, and pressed up against him.
They kissed softly at first, their hands slowly beginning to touch more, and as the intensity grew, they stumbled to the bed, falling with quiet laughter and the slide of clothes against skin, and soon enough it was just them and the sheets, and Sirius learning everything he wanted to know about the best parts of Remus.
He'd left Remus's house around mid-day after their night together, feeling pretty bloody fantastic considering he'd probably only had about three hours of sleep between each go. Remus looked like a quiet, reserved man, but as he let Sirius into his home and bed he revealed a different side that . . . oh, that Sirius really liked.
Since then there'd been one more night together, spent at Sirius's that time, and the next morning Remus had said that next weekend Teddy would be brought over for Remus to take for the next two weeks, and suggested that perhaps Sirius should be there to meet him. Sirius had agreed quickly, and the rest of the week had been lost in the haze of nervous anticipation.
When Sirius imagined meeting Remus's son, the encounter inevitably ended with giggles and hands sticky from finger painting and Remus looking at Sirius with a face that combined fond admiration and unquenchable lust. Often such fantasies lead to follow up daydreams of the future when the three of them set up house together and they were the perfect family.
Reality, of course, was never so simple, so rewarding.
It wasn't anyone's fault, how it all happened, but though Sirius knew this and knew that there would be other chances, he still somehow felt he had just blown his one shot at having a family of his own. In despair, he didn't go home afterwards, but rather to his borrowed family, eagerly offering his godfatherly services to the Potters. He didn't realise, though, just how deaf to the rest of the world he'd been over the week.
"Harry's not home," Lily told him, her face looking sympathetic. "He's sleeping over at a friend's tonight. And James is off on a business retreat this weekend."
"Oh." Sirius sighed, looking down at his feet. "I'd forgotten about that." In truth, he'd had no idea that James wouldn't be home.
Lily smiled. "So come in anyway. I'll make some coffee, we can catch up." She put a gentle hand on his shoulder. "It's been a while since you and I had time to spend together. Just the two of us, I mean, without that annoying bloke with the messy hair getting in the way."
Sirius took a deep breath and managed a smile in return. "It has been. I swear I haven't been avoiding you." He winked at her and stepped inside, taking a deep breath. "Mmm, smells good. Is that dinner? Lemon chicken?"
She chuckled. "Just in case I ever forgot you're a bachelor, Sirius Black, I'm now reminded." She pointed to the floorboards. "I washed the floors. Lemon-scented." She gave him a look. "And just how bad a cook do you think I am, that my food smells like cleaning supplies?"
Sirius peered down, trying to see his face in the shine. "I don't even have a snappy comeback for that," he said, straightening up again. "You said something about coffee?"
They made small talk while the coffee brewed, chatting about Harry's school happenings, James's frustrations at work, Lily's growing itch to get out and work again herself now that Harry was older, and vague plans for the upcoming bonfire night celebration. Sirius let her talk about her family, happy to not talk about himself just yet, though he knew Lily wasn't happy until she was interrogating him.
Sure enough, once they were settled at the table she turned the spotlight on him: "So, now that you've had time to relax, how are things going with Remus?"
Sirius smiled as he sipped at his coffee, taking the last few seconds to put his thoughts together. "With Remus? Things are going really well. He . . ." Sirius sighed, unable to stop his smile from growing. "He's just fantastic. We work really well together, I've never felt anything like it before." He chanced a glance at her, taking in her smug expression. "Oh I suppose you're giving yourself credit for this one, Evans?" he asked, the use of her maiden name a fond reminder of their long friendship.
Lily nodded. "Absolutely! If I hadn't dragged you to that reception, you might never have seen him again!"
"I don't believe that, actually," Sirius said, his voice quiet and a bit bashful. "I . . . I almost feel like . . ."
Lily held up a hand. "Don't finish that sentence. You'll just jinx it if you do."
He chuckled. "I might have screwed it up all on my own, so don't worry about that." She raised her eyebrows but said nothing, waiting for him to continue. "I . . . well, I was supposed to meet his son today."
"You were . . . supposed to? But didn't?"
Sirius took a deep breath. "Remus had me come over this morning, and his ex-wife was bringing Teddy over around noon. She knew I was meeting him today, she was fine with it. But she . . ." Sirius sighed. "She told him in the car on the way over. I don't know what she told him, exactly, but it upset him. So she turned around and took him home, and then called Remus to tell him she'd bring him home tomorrow when he'd calmed down."
Lily raised her eyebrows. "Are you sure she's okay with you meeting the boy? Because that sounds to me like she created trouble to avoid it."
Sirius nodded, speaking carefully. "Remus said she sounded pretty sorry about the whole thing, and he knows her pretty well, of course. If he trusts her, I have no reason to think otherwise."
"But if you didn't have Remus's word to go on...?"
"I'd probably think she was trying to play some kind of game with Teddy as the game piece, yeah."
Lily didn't say anything for a moment, just looked at Sirius steadily and sipped at her coffee. Finally, she said, "I hope Remus is right. And I'm sure he is. So, are you trying again tomorrow?"
Sirius shook his head. "We both decided it might be best for Teddy to come home to his dad alone, so Remus can try to prepare him better. Or at least figure out what his mother told him." Sirius picked at a bit of skin on his chin, an old nervous habit that came out when he was feeling pessimistic.
"Why did you say you'd screwed it up, then?" Lily asked. "It sounds like if there's any fault to be placed, it would be on Remus's ex."
Sirius waved his hand. "Oh, because I feel stupid for getting my hopes up at all. For wanting it too soon."
"Well, Remus did have some say in the timing of this, didn't he?"
Sirius fixed her with a glare. "Why must you continually crush my martyr complex, Evans?"
Lily grinned. "It's what I do, Black. Keep you realistic, keep you from being melodramatic. The pay's pretty good."
Sirius laughed, shaking his head. "Have I ever told you that you're pretty fantastic?"
"Am I then? I think you're a bit of all right yourself. Say, my husband's out of town, want to have that hot affair you've been promising me for fifteen years now?"
Sirius smirked. "Oh now now, Miss Lily, don't offer things you're not willing to see through to the end. It's just not fair to me; you bat those eyelashes at me and I just lose all sense of decency!"
Lily's face was just the slightest bit amused as she proceeded to bat her eyelashes at him.
"Now you've done it!" Sirius shouted, standing up and going over to bury his face in her neck, while his hands tickled her sides, drawing out a squeal of laughter from her, and she started to hit his chest.
"Oh get off me, you horrible man! You wouldn't know what to do with me, anyway, you sodding poof!" She wiggled out of his grip and backed away, pointing a finger at him as he laughed with her. "Just wait until I tell James how you assaulted his wife!"
Sirius stepped over to her, pulling her into a bear hug. "He'll probably congratulate me for finally achieving one of my life goals."
Lily rose up on her tiptoes and kissed his cheek. "You've a life goal to assault me?"
"Oh no, to shag you. You're going to be the last bird I stick it to, you see. I've been ready to just be my fabulous gay self for ages, Lil, but not having you . . ." He shook his head. "I just feel incomplete."
"Does your Remus know about this plan?"
Sirius nodded his head. "Yes, he's aware. None too happy at first, but he gets the option on being the last man to shag me, so he's willing to indulge me on this."
Lily tilted her head, smiling softly. "You've got it bad for him, don't you?"
Sirius swallowed, hearing again in his head what he'd just said out loud, his stomach twisting oddly. "I really do," he said, his voice a rough whisper, as though saying it louder would ruin it. "God help me, but I do."
Lily nodded. "It'll work out with his boy. You're wonderful with Harry, and I wouldn't have let you be godfather if I didn't know what a good man you are. You can't control the boy's mother, but hopefully Remus has more spine than to let her run his life."
"I think he does. And he's been so careful about timing and everything, I don't think he'd do anything that he didn't think was best for Teddy." Sirius's voice was warm as he spoke, and even he couldn't deny the depth of affection there. "I just want this to work out, Lil."
She stepped over and hugged him, a tight squeeze between friends. "I do, too, for your sake. But you haven't messed it up yet, so that's good, right?"
"Not yet, nope." Sirius kissed the top of her head. "Thanks," he added in a whisper.
"You're welcome," she replied.
Remus called him that night, as was their schedule now, and apologized again for what had happened earlier.
"I called her back," he said, "when I knew Teddy would be having his nap, and I just ripped into her." His voice was a bit sheepish; he wasn't someone who easily lost his temper, but Sirius knew the fuse was shorter when it came to Teddy. "Asked her what the hell she said to him, anyway."
Sirius swallowed. "What did she say to that?"
Remus sighed. "She says she only said Teddy would be meeting Daddy's new friend who wanted to play with Teddy. I can't imagine that something like that would freak him out, though, so I'll have to talk to him tomorrow still."
"Do . . . do you think she'd say something bad about me? Would she want to try to drive me away through him?" He didn't particularly want to know the answer, but he thought he needed to ask the question anyway.
"If you'd asked me that yesterday, I'd say no. But I . . ." The other man sighed again. "I think I'll just see how he's doing tomorrow. Not make any assumptions. Maybe he just misunderstood something. He is only five, after all."
Sirius was quiet for a moment before speaking again. "I'm sorry it didn't work out today, Remus."
"Me too, Sirius." There was a comfortable silence in the line between them; Sirius shifted on the couch, lying back and propping the phone between a cushion and his ear. He slid one hand a bit under the waistband of his jeans, getting comfortable, starting to think about maybe having a wank before bed....
"Well, I'm unexpectedly alone tonight," Remus said, his voice slipping into what Sirius called the Lupin Seduction Baritone. "Have nothing planned at all, wonder what I should do. . . ."
Sirius had opened his flies with a quick twist of his wrist. "I think I'm ahead of you there," he said in return, his hand sliding down into his open jeans.
"So you're naked, too?" Remus asked, and Sirius just laughed.
"Damn, I can't beat the horny bastard!" He lifted his hips and pushed his jeans and pants away, kicking them off his feet and letting one leg fall off the side of the couch for comfort.
There was a soft chuckle over the phone. "Suppose it's not fair when I don't tell you when I start the race."
"Or that you probably started off with fewer clothes in the first place," Sirius agreed.
Remus sighed. "I wish I was there, though. Or you were here, I'm not picky."
Sirius was stroking himself lightly. "Mmm, me too. But this is pretty good, too. Probably a good thing Teddy's not there, now."
"Don't talk about Teddy," Remus scolded. "Talk about how you feel right now."
With a lick of his lips, Sirius began to speak softly, describing how he was getting hard, the way his fingers felt over his skin, listening as Remus's breath began to come faster, sharper, rougher.
He never lasted long when wanking, and having Remus softly moaning in his ear wasn't helping to slow matters at all. "Fucking hell," he murmured, "you do the most amazing, mmm, things to me."
Remus groaned. "Good. It's only f-fair."
Sirius expected to say something about the tingling in his balls, but when he opened his mouth all that came out was a groan as he came over his hand and stomach.
At least, that was all that he thought came out.
When he came out of his orgasmic haze, he expected to hear Remus coming, or the aftermath if he'd missed the actual event, but on the other end there was only silence. "Uh . . . Remus?"
There was a soft clearing of a throat. "You . . . did I . . . ?"
Sirius chuckled a bit. "If you came, I didn't hear it. I suspect you can find out by looking at your hand, though."
"No, you . . ." Remus's next words came out in a rush. "You said you loved me."
Sirius's eyes widened. "I . . . I did?"
"Yeah. Yeah, you did. Well, I thought you did. But it's fine." He sounded flustered now, and Sirius could hear him moving around in bed. "I probably misheard. Or you were, I mean, you were in the, the throes of passion, right?" Remus chuckled a bit, but Sirius knew he was embarrassed, and while Sirius himself was embarrassed for saying something huge like that for the first time in an orgasm, he knew there was a good way to make this better.
"Remus? I . . . I do love you."
Again there was a short silence, before Remus said, "Now I really wish you were here. I have half a mind to throw on a robe and run through the streets of London to come over and kiss you and tell you just how much I love you, too."
Sirius grinned widely. "I have half a mind to do the same. I hope we'd take the same route so we'd meet halfway. We could scandalise passersby with our loosely-tied robes and spent cocks and madly desperate kisses."
"Hold that thought," Remus said. "I can't get arrested tonight."
"Then I'll come over," Sirius said, standing up suddenly, reaching for his jeans, not even caring about the sticky mess that needed cleaning. "I'll leave before anyone shows up tomorrow, but I can't sleep alone tonight, not now."
"I should stop you, you know," Remus murmured, "but I don't think I can sleep alone, either. I'll go unlock the door, and I'll wait for you in bed."
Sirius grinned. "I'll be there as soon as I can." He started to hang up, then grinned wider and said quietly, "I love you."
"I love you, too. Now hang up and get over here."
Laughing, Sirius did just that.
» Part 3