Title: A Bit of Borrowed Warmth
Rating: R for language, non-graphic sex
Word Count: ~4,600
Prompt: The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway. ~ Henry Boye
Summary: In the middle of a war, Sirius grounds himself in certainties, in battles, in friends, in himself. But when Remus kisses Sirius, things start changing too fast.
Notes: Thanks momebie and sopdetly for providing an alpha and a beta, respectively.
written for rs_games
Originally Posted: Oct 6, 2011
Sirius hit the ground, his shoulder sliding in the mud of the embankment, the Death Eater's curse scorching overhead. He kicked, somersaulting to avoid a second curse that sent dirt exploding into the air. Sirius rolled to his feet, firing off a wild spell in the general direction of the Death Eater and sprinted for a tree to catch his breath and get his bearings.
James yelled from his right, further up the embankment where Sirius couldn't see him—it sounded like he was still on the offensive—but he'd lost track of Moony after his tumble. On his own, then—he could handle it.
A spell smashed into the tree, the impact rocking through Sirius's back, and he squinted, not abandoning his cover. Sirius rolled around the side of the tree, casting a stunner for cover fire while he sighted the Death Eater. The Death Eater shot off another curse—this time Sirius could feel the heat of the spell through the splintering trunk—and then Sirius took his turn, casting a severing charm that seemed to have hit its mark based on the cry that came a moment later.
Two bright flashes came from the right—must have been James—enough to distract Sirius when the Death Eater fired another spell into the trunk, powerful enough to blow the tree apart and send Sirius flying through the air. He twisted and his face smacked into the creek. He snatched his wand from where it floated, still in his reach, and rolled, wand up, still loopy from the impact, mind blank of what spell he should use.
The Death Eater was standing halfway down the embankment, his wand trained on Sirius.
This was it; this was the moment. He'd known he'd never make it through this war.
"SIRIUS!" The yell was so mangled that he could only guess it might have been from James since it was about in the direction James had last been. A bright light flashed and Sirius squeezed his eyes shut, wishing he knew where Remus had gone.
Hands touched his face—warm, dirty hands that felt more real than the air still pulling into Sirius's lungs.
"You bloody wanker. You pillock." Remus dropped to his knees in the water, soaking them both as he tugged Sirius into a rare and awkward hug. There was a tremor in Remus's arms, something he'd never seen in Moony in any battle with any Death Eater.
"M-Moony?" Sirius winced when Remus's hand pressed against a gash in his side. "The Death Eater—is he—?"
"Handled," Remus replied simply. He pulled back, wide eyes flicking over Sirius's face. "You're all right, aren't you?"
Sirius nodded, surprised a moment later when Remus cupped his cheek and kissed him hard. The loopy feeling came back, like he'd hit the water a second time. He inhaled through flared nostrils, eyes wide as he took in Remus's closed eyes.
Remus's hand slipped into Sirius's short hair, and his eyes slipped closed at the sensation. A fist on his back pressed Sirius against Remus's warm chest; he gasped and Remus's tongue wetted Sirius's lips before tentatively sliding into Sirius's mouth.
"Padfoot! Moony! What happened?" James called, his voice ragged from running. His footsteps were loud as he splashed through the water towards them.
Remus pulled back suddenly, a flush across his face that could have been from fighting, and then stood up, his wand still gripped tightly. The tremor in his limbs was gone, and for the first time Sirius noticed how easily Remus could stow his emotions. "He's all right," Remus called. He glanced at Sirius, his eyes widening before he looked away.
Sirius wiped his mouth, panic prickling his spine. James hadn't seen them snogging, had he? Shite, Remus had snogged him.
"I heard—I saw the spell." There was a hollow quality to James's voice as he came up to them. "I thought—"
"He's fine," Remus repeated. He conjured rope to bind the Death Eater. "We need to report to Moody; get the Aurors out here." Remus swallowed hard, closing his eyes for a moment while Sirius sat there dumbly, his hands hovering awkwardly over his knees. Part of him wanted to say thanks, but he couldn't make his mouth work.
"Mine got away—bolted when he saw the curse." James squatted, touching the side of Sirius's face. He tilted his head, furrowing his brow. "You sure you're all right? You look . . . like you're about to boot." James backed off slightly, wincing at the thought.
"Ye-yeah." Sirius's voice was rough, so he swallowed, trying to get some moisture back in his mouth. "Just . . . it was close, is all." He slapped his hand on James's shoulder and pushed himself up, trying to upend James and regain some normalcy.
James lost his balance but didn't fall, shoving Sirius when they'd both regained their feet. "Berk," he mumbled.
James hesitated a moment and then stepped forward and hugged Sirius hard. He pressed a kiss to Sirius's cheek, something more tender than the playful smacks they'd taken to giving each other sixth year every time they had an audience in the common room. He didn't meet Sirius's gaze again. "Straight to headquarters. I'll see you there." He Apparated with a pop, leaving Sirius and Remus alone with the unconscious Death Eater.
Remus pressed his lips together, rocking forward slightly. His voice was soft, almost a whisper. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean—"
Sirius shook his head. "Moony. . . ." He wasn't quite sure what was supposed to come after that. Remus had never kissed him before, not even playfully. He'd received a fair few smacks on the cheek from Sirius over the years—and Remus was the one Marauder who knew Sirius had actually quite willingly and often stuck his tongue down Phineas Frobisher's throat. Just . . . kissing each other—like that—hadn't been part of their friendship, and from the way he was now avoiding looking at Sirius, Sirius suspected it still wasn't part of their friendship.
"Apparate, Sirius. I'll be right behind you. James is waiting." Remus met his gaze with something like a plea and Sirius shut his mouth. If nothing else, this wasn't the place for it.
He turned on the spot, Apparating to Order headquarters and breathing a sigh of relief when Moony popped in a moment after. He stayed in Remus's periphery most of the night, trying not to watch him, but feeling like he was looking at someone entirely new.
Sirius rolled his shoulders, his muscles finally able to stretch. He'd been crammed into an alleyway opposite a Muggle storefront thought to be the target of a Death Eater attack. Six hours he'd sat in the rain, watching for anyone who looked suspicious and on the look out for any unusual magic. Thankfully Dung had finally shown up to relieve Sirius so he could unfold his limbs and get warm. A long soak in the tub and dry clothes were on the menu for this evening.
Sirius had just put on the kettle when the front door opened and Remus trudged in, just as wet and beaten as Sirius felt.
"Oh. Padfoot. I hadn't . . . hullo." Remus blinked owlishly, pausing with his scarf half lifted off his neck, like he might decide to put it back on and turn around. They hadn't seen much of each other since, well, since Remus had saved Sirius; their Order duties had taken opposite shifts and what with all the secrecy, it was even easier to slip through each other's lives without touching.
"You want a cuppa?" Sirius pulled out a second mug; Moony looked a bit peakish, which probably meant he'd been pretending to eat again.
Remus came around to the kitchen, leaning against the wall. "Haven't seen you."
"Haven't really been here to be seen." Sirius kept his hands busy fussing with the tea, moving a bit slower than normal and then searching through all their cabinets for a biscuit tin he was certain they hadn't finished off.
"You slept at James's?"
"Once, yeah." Sirius glanced over to Remus, eyes following a droplet of water that slid over his cheek. Remus flinched when the droplet touched his lip, finally tearing Sirius's gaze away from the fine details of Remus's face. "We were near his flat; I was exhausted." Sirius turned back to the cabinet, knocking over a stack of biscuit tins Remus had meticulously washed and stored.
Remus cleared his throat and when Sirius looked over, a smile flickered across his face. "I was hoping we could talk . . . about what happened."
Sirius froze for a moment, the kiss replaying in his head. No matter how he'd tried to forget it, when he closed his eyes it was there—the way Remus's fingers had slid into Sirius's hair, the way he'd pressed Sirius to his chest, the heat of his lips and breath against Sirius's face. He'd dreamed about it the first night after it'd happened and had woken up to toss one off as quickly as he could, trying desperately to fill his mind with images and people who weren't Moony.
Sirius stood slowly, forgetting about the biscuits. "What happened when?"
Remus tsked behind him, getting the milk from the fridge. "You know when, Padfoot."
Sirius licked his lips, buying himself a minute while he poured the tea. "You mean while I was at James's? We let off some steam, if you heard about it. Hestia came over with some firewhiskey."
"Sirius." It was the tired voice, the one Remus usually saved for the morning after a full moon when Sirius was being tiresome and Remus wanted nothing more than to be left alone. "I mean when I kissed you." He set the milk on the counter, the clink of the bottle punctuating the reality of the situation. It wasn't just a dream or another of Sirius's inappropriate fantasies.
"I didn't mean to scare you."
Sirius laughed, turning towards Remus now. "Scare me? Moony, I've snogged other blokes before. You know it."
"Well." Remus shifted on his feet before taking a step forward. "You seem . . . bothered."
Sirius shrugged, adding sugar and milk indiscriminately to their teas. "So you, you kissed me. James kissed me, too. It's, it's. . . ." Sirius waved his hand, trying his damnest to turn the desperate kiss into something casual and much less confusing.
Remus winced. "I don't think James meant it the same way I did."
There it was then: the confirmation that for Remus it wasn't a friendly moment of relief that had gone too far.
"Padfoot." Remus's voice was warm, the same soothing voice that had talked him through the first night he'd killed a Death Eater, that had assured him Remus would never tell James that Sirius snogged a bloke, that had reassured a scared thirteen-year-old boy he wasn't just another Black. Remus had been his brother in arms, his confidant. James was his best friend, but Remus knew his secrets. Now Remus was his secret.
"No." Sirius stepped back. "No, Moony."
"I just want to talk."
"No!" It was much louder than he'd intended, and he immediately regretted it. Remus's eyes widened and he backed away a step.
"Merlin, Moony, I'm sorry." He reached out for Remus, but Remus pulled his arm away, eyes still wide. They both stared for a long moment, and just when Sirius thought Remus would break the tension and move, he was the one moving, the one pushing past Remus and out the door, only realizing when he was standing in the rain that the scarf he'd grabbed was Remus's.
He wound the scarf over his face and inhaled Remus's scent, wishing so badly that Remus hadn't meant anything more by that kiss.
Sirius stumbled out of the Floo, almost immediately pulling his dusty shirt over his head. He'd had to sit for far too long, reporting the whole fourteen-hour stakeout to Moody three times before he was allowed to go home. Moody was expecting him back at the Order in a few hours, long enough to get a shower and a nap, Sirius hoped.
He inhaled some of the dust and soot, coughing as he tottered down the short, narrow hall to the bathroom. The bathroom door opened and Remus stepped out, a towel slung low on his hips.
"Oh." He pulled the towel tighter around his waist, taking a step back to not completely barrel into Sirius. "Sorry, I . . . didn't know you were home."
Sirius's eyes traveled over Remus. His hair stuck up in tufts, like he'd just run the towel over it, his lips and cheeks red from the heat that leaked out the open door. He sucked in a breath that moved his whole body and only then did Sirius realize he was staring, hadn't moved, and they were both shirtless.
He'd been thinking about Remus more and more; that damn kiss had awakened something in him he hadn't realized he'd been repressing. Avoiding Remus hadn't made it go away, but at least he couldn't act on it if Remus wasn't there.
"Sirius, are you all right?" Remus ducked his head, leaning in, and Sirius mirrored the movement, closing the distance before he could stop himself.
Remus stilled when Sirius kissed him, and even though part of his mind knew this was a bad idea, knew this was going to make things even more complicated, he reached up and cupped Moony's cheek, deepening the kiss and pressing closer. Remus's mouth parted, his hands finding Sirius's hips, and then it wasn't just Sirius snogging Remus.
Sirius's hand slid into Remus's wet hair, pulling the short strands into spikes, leaving his fingers damp. He tilted his head, loving the feel of Remus's chest against his, getting lost in the warm arousal swooping through his gut.
Kissing Remus the second time was so much better than the first.
Remus surged forward, stumbling slightly over something, and then Sirius was crashing against the door across the hall. He fumbled for the doorknob behind him, his other hand dropping lower and realizing Remus had lost his towel. Sirius squeezed his arse, smiling into the kiss at the moan that elicited.
They stumbled into Remus's room, Sirius falling backwards on to the bed and pulling Remus with him. He'd never gotten this far with a bloke before, but he wasn't nervous. It was Remus, he was finally kissing Remus again, and getting naked with him, touching him, being touched by him, all seemed perfectly normal.
"Pads," Remus gasped when Sirius touched his prick. He closed his eyes, his features relaxing as he focused. A wet hickey marked his neck and Sirius couldn't help but grin at that.
"You look debauched, Moony."
Remus chuckled softly. "Might be because your hand is on my prick."
Sirius tightened his grip slightly, licking his lips at Remus's gasp.
"I never thought you'd do this." Remus blinked open his eyes and bit his lower lip. "Sorry, I didn't mean to—"
"Never would have if you hadn't kissed me." Sirius pulled Remus down for a deep kiss, struggling to remember the rest of what he'd planned to say, but none of it seemed important any more. He pulled on Remus's cock, starting up a fast pace that turned Remus's words into moans. Sirius bit at Remus's lips and jaw and neck, kissed down his chest, and kept working Remus over until he orgasmed, come dripping on to Sirius's jeans.
Remus collapsed to the side of Sirius, panting heavily from the exertion. His hair was nearly dry, but still sticking up in places, his lips even redder than they'd been when he came out of the shower. Flushed and relaxed, Remus was the very picture of Marauder-y adventures at Hogwarts, the times Sirius had actually convinced Moony to slip out on to the grounds in the middle of the night to play fetch with him or search for secret passage ways in the castle. In the middle of the night he'd always gone to Remus, his thoughts sometimes half on Remus before he'd properly woken up.
Sirius stopped himself, hand halfway reaching to brush Remus's face.
"I have to go." He rolled out of bed, grabbing his discarded shirt and immediately heading to the floo and James's. He wouldn't do this to Remus. He wouldn't break Remus's heart any more than he already had.
James dropped down on to the log, shivering into his lukewarm tea. "This is bollocks."
"You mentioned that." Remus put another branch into their small fire, stirring up the embers.
"Are you sure we can't just—?" Sirius flicked his wrist, miming a spell.
"We're supposed to be low profile," Remus admonished. "A fire at all is risky enough. And Dumbledore said no magic—the Death Eaters will be watching for it."
Sirius rolled his eyes, longing for the debauched, Marauderly Moony he'd glimpsed a week ago. "Death Eaters may be idiots, but even they aren't stupid enough to be fucking about in a forest in this weather."
"Lucky for us, then." Remus rubbed his hands together and then tucked them under his arms.
James scooted closer to Sirius. "Budge up, yeah?" James slid under Sirius's outstretched arm. "Ooh, Padfoot, hold me tighter." He snickered harder when Sirius pinched his side.
"You wish, mate."
James pushed his glasses up his nose and settled in next to Sirius.
Remus turned and walked to the far side of their circle. "I'm going to have a quick look around." He hesitated a moment and then continued on without turning back. He wasn't jealous, was he?
Touching James was just . . . matey. They'd crawled all over each other in school, whether it was wrestling for the last pumpkin pastie or stretching out in the common room and using the other person's lap for a pillow. There was nothing more to it than that.
Touching Remus had always been a bit like taming a hippogriff. Touching him without permission felt off-limits. Of course Sirius usually bounded past personal boundaries and threw an arm around Moony anyway, but when it was just the two of them he'd held back, been more aware and respectful of Remus's desires. Until, that was, Remus snogged him, and then Sirius couldn't stop wanting to touch him.
"What are you sighing about?"
Sirius startled, sitting up straighter. "Sighing? I wasn't sighing."
James poked him in the side. "Yes, you were. A mopey little—oh my god! Do you have a bird?"
"What? No!" Sirius pulled away and then swatted James's shoulder for good measure, hoping he'd keep his voice down and Remus wouldn't hear that insanity. "Please. Like I'd get myself a bird."
James squinted at him, giving Sirius a long look. "Fine, keep your secret from your best mate." James put emphasis on each word, leaning in to stare Sirius right in the face.
Sirius rolled his eyes.
"I, however, am going to trust you with a secret." James pushed his glasses up his nose again and then looked side to side, like Death Eaters had been waiting for James's asinine secret to spring a trap. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small black box. Sirius's stomach hollowed out, his mouth going dry.
"Prongs. Are you serious?"
James grinned and opened the box revealing a small diamond ring that wasn't at all the showy, ridiculous monstrosity Sirius had expected. "Think she'll say yes?"
He smiled tightly. "Can't imagine she'd say no. She's barmy over you—would have to be, I reckon." He hugged Prongs, not about to let his friend know how much he didn't want this to happen.
James clapped Sirius on the back. "You'll be my best man, won't you?"
Sirius smiled, warmer now. "Who else would be?" He shook his head and pushed a hand through his hair. "Everything's different now, isn't it?"
"I wanted to marry her anyway, and with the war . . . didn't seem like I should wait." James snapped the box closed and tucked it back in his pocket.
Sirius's chest tightened and he looked into the flames, blowing his night vision. "You know how I feel about waiting."
James was quiet for a moment. "I know you're the consummate bachelor. . . ."
He held up a hand. "Don't worry about me, Prongs. I've got Moony, don't I?" He half-smiled, thinking about how true it was, about how much of Moony he could have if he just let himself.
"Believe it or not, but I'm not actually worried about you." James ruffled Sirius's hair; Sirius ducked away, batting at James's hands. "I mean, I'm more worried about Moony, having to put up with you."
Remus stepped back into the circle. "I think we're all worried about having to put up with Sirius."
"There's nothing out here and the weather's getting worse. I say we stay another hour and then we go home." Remus rubbed his hands and held them out to the fire again, still on the opposite side of the circle.
"Agreed. I'm sure Lily'd like to wake up with me beside her." James grinned at Sirius, tucking back into his friend's warmth. "Moony, get over here so you don't freeze. Padfoot's like a furnace."
They stared at each other for a moment before Sirius held out his arm. "For survival, Moony. Come on."
Remus moved around the circle slowly, his head bowed so Sirius couldn't see his eyes. When he finally slid under Sirius's arm and leaned against him, heat flushed through Sirius and he couldn't imagine ever being cold again.
The Weird Sisters were blaring from the Wireless and half the Order was crammed into James and Lily's tiny flat. Sirius had offered his congratulations to Lily early, grabbing her in a hug and swinging her around, but now he wanted nothing more than to escape the noise for a few moments and clear his thoughts. There'd been too many questions about the future, about planning the wedding, when it would be, how they'd be able to slip it in between battles and stakeouts, and Sirius just . . . didn't want to think about any of it.
Peter gave him a look when he slipped out of a conversation, but Sirius mimed a drink and was let go without a word. He wound his way through the crowd, changing course when he spotted Remus hovering next to the bookshelf.
"Enjoying the party?"
"Mmm, I'm happy for them." He smiled tightly, the tension between them stretched across his face.
"I'm over the crowd." Sirius jerked his head to the side. "Take a walk with me?"
Remus put his cup on the bookshelf, giving a relieved sigh. "Merlin, yes."
They didn't bother fighting the crowd to get back to the coatroom and just grabbed two of James's coats from the closet before slipping out the front door. They walked in silence for a bit, gaining some distance from the noise and the oppressive feeling of the future.
"A bit much in there, huh?"
Sirius nodded, not really sure what to say or why he'd pulled Remus away from the crowd instead of just going on his own. He really shouldn't keep reaching out to Remus like this; he just kept making things more complicated and confusing.
"It's weird, is all. I knew they'd get married eventually, but I just . . . didn't realize now. And everyone's talking like the wedding will be tomorrow." Sirius shrugged.
Remus shrugged back. "Maybe it should be. No point in waiting once you know your feelings."
Sirius glanced at Remus out of the corner of his eye; Remus wasn't even looking at him.
"And it's not like anything's certain on the front lines as we are. You can't blame them."
Remus stopped walking and turned to Sirius, pressing his lips together. "You seem. . . ." He sighed, losing his careful words. "You're pouting, Padfoot. You're putting on a good show for the crowd, but you. . . ." Remus touched a strand of hair that hung nearly all the way to Sirius's chin, and tucked it behind his ear. "You need a hair cut, mate."
Sirius scoffed, and took Remus's scarf and pulled it up over Remus's mouth, grinning at his wide eyes. He felt the impulsiveness rise up in him—that thing that made him not care about consequences—and he tugged the scarf down and leaned in to kiss Remus.
Remus didn't hesitate this time; he put his arms around Sirius's neck and kissed him back, opening his mouth as he did the first time, tickling the now too long hair at the back of Sirius's neck.
Sirius's fingers twitched at Remus's jaw, about to slide up to his ear, when Remus sighed into Sirius's mouth, pulling away slightly. "We need to stop doing this. You're just going to run away again, and I'm going to think I did something wrong."
Sirius closed his eyes, feeling that well-deserved criticism. "You haven't done anything wrong," he admitted.
"Then stop running away. Sirius. . . ." Remus touched Sirius's lower lip, running his thumb over it until Sirius kissed it. "We don't have to define this. Kissing me isn't a marriage proposal." He grinned wryly.
Sirius sighed. "No, but. . . ." He pushed his hand through his hair, wanting to step away but fighting the urge. "You're just as frightening as one."
"Just what every boy longs to hear."
Sirius slid his arms around Remus's waist, pulling him closer and resting his chin on Remus's shoulder. "Everything's changing."
"That's what happens, Pads."
"No, shush. Shut up; I'm trying to tell you something." Remus was quiet for a moment before Sirius continued. "I'm losing James and I don't want to be alone, and . . . and you deserve something more than that! I'm a tosser who keeps kissing you because . . . because I'm scared not to, but, but I'm scared to kiss you, too! Shite, Moony, if I fuck this up with you I'll just have Pete."
Remus chuckled softly, his fingers carding gently through Sirius's hair. "If you take Pete, who do I have? Moody?"
Sirius laughed suddenly and pressed a smiling kiss to Remus's cheek. "I just don't want anything else to change."
"Something's going to have to, Padfoot. Either we're going to stop kissing or. . . ." Remus's fingers pressed against Sirius's neck and he leaned back to look into Sirius's face. "I'm confused, too. I wasn't planning this, or expecting it. I just . . . I just kissed you," he whispered. "And then you kissed me back."
Sirius closed his eyes, leaning his forehead against Remus's. "Talking about this isn't helping, you know."
"So maybe we stop talking." Remus had a mischievous half-smile in place. "But you also need to stop running."
"You might need to chase me some."
Remus chuckled softly, his fingers once again in Sirius's hair. "I'm a fast runner."
Sirius closed his eyes, pressing his face into Moony's cheek for a moment, smelling his hair, kissing his jaw, enjoying the warmth between them. Remus slowly turned his head and their lips met again in the way Sirius best knew how to communicate with Remus these days.
~Comments and feedback are more than borrowed warmth.