Time and Again
It was so strange; Sirius hadn’t thought it would be this way. After thirteen years here he was standing in front of Remus Lupin, his oldest living friend and former lover and he felt…nervous.
The Order of the Phoenix had smuggled Sirius back from Albania, to his old home at Grimmauld Place, and he’d been told that Remus was once again unemployed, and living in a small one roomed bedsit in London. Severus Snape, the bane of Sirius’ existence, had leaked the fact that Remus was a werewolf, so he’d been forced to resign from Hogwarts.
Sirius had immediately sent word that Remus should stay at Grimmauld Place, at least it might prevent him from going insane with loneliness.
He wasn’t sure what he expected, he’d only seen Remus briefly in the Shrieking Shack, after they’d unmasked Pettigrew, but all of the old feelings of love and friendship had flooded back to him in those moments. Twelve years in Azkaban had stolen his happiness and wrecked his body, but they couldn’t destroy the feeling that Remus always stirred in him.
“It’s so good to see you free, Sirius,” Remus smiled gently. Tentatively, he reached out and embraced Sirius like a long lost brother.
“It’s good to be free, but I won’t rest until Pettigrew’s dead.”
“Let’s not dwell on that for the moment, let’s have tea and I’ll fill you in on what’s been happening in the world.”
“Yes,” Sirius said in a slightly strained voice, “Either that or we could curl up in bed together for the afternoon?” he suggested with a degree of nervous excitement.
Remus’ cheeks went a familiar pink, and the blood surged within Sirius. It was the one thing about Remus that still made him as attractive and alluring as when he was a fresh-faced teenager; his ability to blush like a virgin.
“I think it’s a little soon, don’t you?” Remus stuttered.
Sirius’ heart leaped into his mouth, “Oh, I’m sorry,” he said frantically looking anywhere but at the lanky form before him. “You’re right, as always. I have looked in the mirror since I escaped from Azkaban, you know, frightened myself half to death,” he laughed a cold, bitter laugh, “I wondered who that raddled old man was grimacing back at me. Frightful sight!”
“The good news is that I have bathed a number of times and most of the layers of filth have now gone, though the toenails are still pretty frightful and Tonks had to toothcomb my hair with an enchanted comb to get the lice out. But I’m assured that they’re all stunned, and departed now.”
“Molly Weasley says she might be able to sort out a little permanent glamour for the teeth, though they’re not black anymore, just an unpleasant yellowish brown…”
“SIRIUS!” Remus yelled.
Stunned at Remus Lupin actually raising his voice, Sirius fell silent, and turned to look at his friend.
“My dearest Sirius shocking as I’m sure this will be to you, I never fell for your looks in the first place desirable though they were,” Remus sighed, “And I’m damned sure that they have no bearing on how I feel about you now.”
Shocked and stunned, Sirius merely mumbled, “Oh!”
“I loved…I love Sirius Black because of who he is inside.” Remus smiled gently, “You were always so much more than a pretty face to me and I’m just sorry you never really understood that.”
“I…I, well…oh.” Sirius paced the floor.
“That’s not why I declined your offer, I can assure you.”
“Then why?” Sirius asked, now even more puzzled.
Remus rolled his eyes impatiently.
“Wha…oh, Merlin’s beard, I’m sorry!” Sirius reached out and grabbed Remus’ arm, “You have someone, I’m sorry, how very gauche of me to think you wouldn’t have. Oh, Remus, please forgive me!”
Now looking slightly annoyed, Remus grabbed Sirius’ hand, “No, I don’t have anyone.”
“You don’t?” Sirius replied with a sliver of hope in his voice, “Why not?” he suddenly added accusingly.
“Wh...I It’s..” Remus was blushing again, “Will you stop asking fool questions?”
“I thought it was a perfectly reasonable question myself?”
“There is no one, all right?”
“As you wish,” Sirius tried to busy himself, shaking the dust from an old chair covering, causing him to sneeze violently.
Suddenly Remus’ strong hands gripped his shoulders, “Let’s sit down,” Remus said softly and Sirius shivered from the touch.
“I’m sorry old friend, I know I’m acting like a complete ass,” he shook his head, “I feel like a spotty teenager trying to make conversation with the handsome school Quidditch Captain. I just don’t understand it. I wasn’t like this when I was a spotty teenager!”
Remus moved in close behind and wrapped his arms around Sirius, pulling him against his body, and resting his cheek against Sirius’ head.
“You were never a spotty teenager that’s why,” Remus chuckled, “You never really understood what it was to be shy or unattractive or nervous and I envied you so very much.”
Sirius leaned back into the embrace, tears were stinging his eyes. “I’ve been afraid for twelve years, Remus, afraid and alone and I thought I’d gone mad so many times. No human being has touched me in all this time, not even to give me a beating!” he laughed coldly, “You have no idea what it’s like, longing to be held, to be touched.”
“You’re home now,” Remus whispered, gently kissing Sirius’ hair, “You’ll never be alone again, I’ll make sure of that.”
“You’re a good man, Remus Lupin, the very finest,” Sirius smiled, holding on to the arms that encircled him protectively.
“As for why I can’t accept your invitation, well, that’s because the last twelve years of lycanthropy have taken their toll on me,” Remus explained, “My body requires days to recover from the changes. I’m in pain a lot of the time, I’m afraid sex would be out of the question until I’m rested.”
Sirius turned and slipped his arms around Remus, “Who said anything about sex?” he smiled wickedly, “I was thinking more in the line of an afternoon nap. I have spent twelve years in prison, you know, I need my rest?”
Remus laughed and hugged him tightly, as they parted he kissed Sirius with gentle deliberation. “Well, I suppose if you promise to stay on your own side of the bed, and keep your hands to yourself?”
“And that tongue stays in your mouth, not in my ear?”
“Definitely!” Sirius bobbed his eyebrows suggestively.
“And you ‘nap’ on your side, so that you don’t snore?”
“As long as you’re holding me, I think I can do that,” Sirius growled playfully.
“And,” Remus said at last, “That you’re sure those lice are all thoroughly stunned and gone?”
Grinning wildly now, Sirius nodded, “I’m sure!” he insisted, “Of course, I’m not sure about Padfoot's fleas…”