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AU. When Sirius and Remus go looking for Peter Pettigrew, they make a wrong turn and someone else finds him first. Eight years later, Sirius owns a book store and Remus manages it for him. When Harry stumbles into the store and they find out the truth, they decide it's time to be Stealing Harry. (SB/RL slash relationship in later chapters.)

Author Notes:

Warning: This chapter contains a scene featuring M/M sexual contact.

Between the power of the Black family name and that of the Boy Who Lived, they were mainly undisturbed that morning; mediwitches came and went occasionally, giving Neville a potion or taking his pulse, but that was all. Neville accepted the solicitude shyly, as he did any attention from the other adults. He seemed fascinated with Harry, and especially with Nymphadora when she joined them -- by the time Remus arrived for lunch, Nymphadora was sitting on the edge of Neville's bed, legs crossed, running the complete range of odd faces she knew how to make, with Harry imitating voices he thought would go with them. When Remus entered, she glanced up and immediately let her hair fall down into shaggy brown, turned her eyes the same light brown shade, and jutted her chin out into a more masculine shape.

"Now then, young Harry," she said, in a voice that was not-quite-convincing, "Run along with you, it's time for your lunch."

Sirius covered his mouth with one hand, and even Remus looked amused; Dora shook her head and her features settled back into the more familiar snub-nosed, heart-shaped face that they recognised as her own. Harry jumped off the bed and ran to greet Remus.

"Did anyone die?" he asked. Remus frowned. "Sirius said that Mr. Moody said that the traps you were putting on the bookshop could kill people."

"Well done, Sirius," Remus drawled. "No, Harry, nobody died. We hope nobody's going to, either."

Sirius saw Andromeda glance at Neville, who was plucking at the blanket on his lap, suddenly shy and quiet again.

"Let's have some lunch, eh?" Sirius asked. "I'm sure there's somewhere in this building to get a decent sandwich."

"Go on then," Andromeda said. "I'll stay with Neville."

Neville glanced up. "You can go," he said. "It's okay."

"They'll bring me something," Andromeda said firmly. "Now, I think you'll like this book," she said, picking up one of the volumes she'd taken from the Black family library. "Why don't you help me read it?"

"That's our cue," Ted said, giving Sirius a nudge towards the door. They trooped out, Sirius and Remus following Harry, Dora trailing behind her father. When they were safely in the hallway, Ted sighed.

"Guess we'll have to muck out another bedroom at Grimmauld Place," he said. "Should have known better than to let Andromeda near the boy."

"She can't be thinking she'll be allowed to bring him home with her," Sirius said.

"That's exactly what she's thinking, and the worst is, she probably will. You know, Sirius. You're a Black. The name means something, even if she did marry a good-for-nothing Muggle-born," he added, with a grin. "She'll probably badger and charm the Longbottoms into believing that it's best for all concerned if she takes in the child. And it probably is, if what she says about his great-uncle is true."

"It's the boot-faced cat all over again," Nymphadora agreed.

"It's not any business of ours," Remus said firmly. "I need to talk to you about the traps, Sirius."

"I want to hear!" Harry complained.

"So do I," Dora put in.

"Food first, I don't want anyone starving," Remus announced, leading them unerringly towards the little hospital canteen. When they were settled with only slightly soggy sandwiches and cheap bags of crisps, he seemed to relax a little.

"We cleared out the inside first -- or rather, they did, before I got there -- so we know at least that Peter wasn't there. They've put hexes on the floo, both doors, and the attic-trap, not that I've ever been able to get it open, I think it's got about eight layers of paint sealing it shut," Remus said. "Nothing fatal on the doors, just some boils and a nasty warning, in case someone legitimate tries to get in, and once they're in, there's a Slime-Slogging curse -- you remember, we put it on that idiot little Ravenclaw who used to try and tell on us..."

"Right. Slows you down till you stop and lock up altogether," Sirius grunted.

"That's the one. If he does manage to break that, the till will now knock you unconscious if you don't enter zero two two as a code first. The doorway between the shop and the back room does have a fatal hex on it, but only if you try to charm it unlocked. I've shifted all the really valuable books there. The rest of the books have the same hex as your library -- they'll attack anyone making too much noise."

Nymphadora was listening interestedly; Ted, only mildly paying attention, was playing a stealing game with Harry, sneaking crisps from his bag and allowing Harry to steal them back.

"If Peter comes back, odds are he'll trip at least a few of the hexes. In theory, we'll nail him to the floor and we can use him to get to Bellatrix," Remus said, somewhat more bloodthirsty than Sirius had seen him in some time. "It's impossible to search every corner of the shop -- he may be hiding things there," he continued. "Hell, without us there, he may think it's a perfect place to do the ritual."

"How's Snape's research coming?" Sirius asked.

"He seems to have found what he needs. He tells me, for the spell -- the one that...well, there's a potion needs brewing, a charm dipped into it, and an incantation. It's tricky, but not impossible. It could give Peter a...a lot of power," Remus said hesitantly. "He has the two vital ingredients."

"Now could I drink hot blood, and do such bitter business as the day would quake to look on," Sirius murmured.

"He's likely to come at night," Remus said. "We've been invited to sit guard duty in shifts with the Aurors -- Moody has some influence, and you and I know that shop better than anyone." He paused. "Snape sort of...volunteered the first watch, as well."

Sirius glanced up from his sandwich. "Why would he do that?"

Remus shrugged. "I think he'd like to get his hands around the throat of the man who hurt Harry."

"Not if I get there first," Sirius growled. Harry butted his head against Sirius' arm, and Sirius responded, ruffling his hair.

"I'll take that as a yes on the guard-duty front," Remus replied, a slight smile on his face. "He'll fetch me at eleven and I'll fetch you at three. That way you don't even have to see him, and I don't have to wake up and stop the two of you fighting."

"What if Peter's not coming back?" Sirius asked.

"His picture is in every Auror office in the country. Man and rat," Remus said. "He's got to be human to make the brew. We'll find him."

"I'm more worried about that Bellatrix," Ted said. "She's a right nasty character. Was even before Azkaban. Bad egg, through and through."

"Takes after her family that way," Sirius muttered. "Reckon Narcissa'd take her in?"

"Aurors are already watching her," Remus said.

"I hate this, you know," Sirius said. "I hate having to hide. And depending on Moody's people to hide us."

"We'll get them. Sooner or later, and probably sooner. Neither of them are precisely candidates for World's Sanest Evil Mastermind," Remus said. Sirius snorted. Dora laughed.

"And it gives us until ten," Remus said, in a low voice meant for Sirius' ears only. Ears that flushed red when he realised what 'talking' meant.

"Andromeda gave me a book about talking," Sirius answered, just as quietly.

Remus choked on his sandwich, and Ted had to thump him soundly on the back, while Harry and Nymphadora looked on amusedly.


On their way back to Neville's room, with a hastily-wrapped meal for Andromeda, they ran into Bill Weasley, coming down the stairwell.

"Fancy seeing you here!" Bill cried. "We're just getting dad discharged, you should come say hello. Wotcha, Harry, how's things?"

"Wotcha, Bill," Harry said, grinning up at the redhead who towered over him.

"Just now getting out?" Remus asked, curiously.

"Oi, yes, some complicated hex," Bill replied dismissively. "Dad's been fine, they just wanted to make sure. Here, what're you lot doing here?"

"Had to get Harry checked out," Sirius said. "And Andromeda wanted to visit a friend of hers."

"I owled you," Remus said. "Well, I owled the Burrow, anyway."

"Mum probably got it," Bill shrugged. "I'll ask her. She's here now if you'd like to come see her, and dad. I know they'd like to see Harry," he added.

"I'll go with him," Nymphadora said, a little too eagerly. Ted grinned.

"I'll come," Sirius said, and Ted looked approving. "Remus?"

"Actually, I need to see to something," Remus said. "You go on. Give Molly my love, and tell Arthur thank-you, would you, Bill?"

"Sure," Bill agreed amiably, leading Nymphadora and Harry down another flight of stairs, followed by Sirius. Ted gave Remus an odd look.

"See to something?" he asked. Remus nodded almost absently.

"Won't take long. See you in a bit, yeah?" Remus said, effectively preventing Ted from volunteering to come along. The other man smiled, tapped his finger to his lips, and began walking back towards Neville's room.

Remus checked the directory and went down a flight of stairs, passing unobtrusively into a part of the hospital that looked more like an office wing than a medical establishment. The man behind the counter looked up when he approached, hesitantly.

"Can I help you?" he asked briskly.

"I, wondering if Healer Rubin was in," Remus said hesitantly. "I don't have an appointment, I'm not really here for a professional visit..."

"I believe he's having his lunch," the mediwizard replied. "Go on back, if you like. If he doesn't want to see you he won't answer."

"Thanks," Remus said, wandering down the corridor until he came to a door with "Healer Seth Rubin" charmed on it. He knocked, and heard a muffled "Come in!"

He pushed the door open into an office cluttered with paper and piled high with folders, some of them charmed to float in the air. From within the chaos, someone cried out "Lupin! How are you?"

"Seth, I didn't know if you'd remember me," Remus said with a smile. "where are you?"

"Left...not quite that far...look past the folder near your right hand..." Remus stepped carefully through the office, ending in a space free of paperwork, in which sat a small, studious-looking man, who was bent over a plateful of what looked like shepherd's pie. He waved at an empty chair. "Sit! Sit. This isn't a professional visit, is it? You're not due up for another assessment for at least two years -- but I'm sure I have your file -- "

"No -- purely social call," Remus answered. "And it's two-and-a-half years."

"So it is, so it is. You've had no incidents?"

"Going on fourteen years, I think, except the malnutrition admit, but even they had to admit that wasn't purely a lycanthropy-induced incident."

"Ah yes, that Snape business. Bad stuff, that."

Remus, as always, marveled at the perfect memory of a man with such disorganised habits. "Yes. I actually did want to ask you a few things, off the record."

"Always, my dear boy. Still having the dreams, are we?"

Remus looked down. "Well, sort of. It's not the same dream anymore."

The man chuckled. "You're not going to be dramatic on me like last time, are you? 'I think I'm going insane, I've caught a Muggle psychology'..."

Remus grinned. "No. Caught a psychology indeed. I finally told someone about the dream, by the way. One of the reasons I wanted to talk to you."

Seth set his meal aside, and leaned back, fixing dark, analytical eyes on Remus. "I suppose it's too much to hope that you finally told the man you were having the dreams about?"

"No, it was -- got to show him, actually. Pensieve."

"Useless things, except for that kind of work," Seth wrinkled his nose. "We're not speaking, I suppose, of the dreams which thrust you into such excruciating sexual confusion?"

A slight blush crossed Remus' cheeks. "I'm not all that confused anymore," he murmured.

"I didn't think so."

"Neither is he."

Seth leaned forward. "Not to be a gossip, but do you mean you converted the womaniser?"

"He converted himself -- that's not the point."

"Beg pardon, I think it's very much the point."

"No, I mean...the dream's changed now," Remus said, anxiously. Seth tilted his head slightly.

"How old were you when you came to me, nineteen, yes? Saying you had a frightening dream and were in love with another man. You thought you were going mad. You seem to have survived it," he added drily, before continuing. "I used what Muggle skills I have to counsel you, and it seems to have worked for the better part of ten years. I can only imagine that this self-conversion, as you say, of the object of your desire is responsible."

"There's been a lot going on," Remus said quickly. "I just...I wanted to tell you about it and see what you thought, as long as I was here -- we're visiting a friend."

Seth smiled. "Tell away then, lad. I have no appointments until two."

Remus took a deep breath. "I need to tell you about Harry first..."


Ted arrived back at Neville's room to find Andromeda sitting, working on a parchment tablet with a portable inkwell clipped to it; she seemed to be doing figures. She smiled, and put a finger to her lips when he entered, nodding at the bed. The boy was curled up once more, but he seemed to be sleeping this time; round face smoother and younger-looking, more relaxed.

He had a right to be tense, Ted thought; to lose one's parents so young, and he'd probably seen them kill his grandmother...

"What are you working on?" he whispered, leaning over the back of his wife's chair.

"Conversions," she said. "I think the Galleon's a bit weak against the pound right now. Converting to Muggle money might turn a slight profit."

"Oh yes? Inconvenient though, as we do all our shopping at Wizarding shops at any rate," he answered, kissing the crown of her head. "We're not wanting for money, love, are we?"

"No, not in the slightest -- I was thinking of when we buy the Grimmauld house from Sirius. If we changed all the cash to Muggle money, we'd do well, and Sirius would, too. Plus I think there's some sort of tax break that way," she added, making a notation in the margin next to a few calculations.

"You really want to go ahead with this? Turning that old mausoleum into a shop?"

"Yes, and the upstairs would make nice guestrooms and a lovely big flat for us, with a few walls knocked out. Especially if we're going to need three bedrooms."

"Three?" Ted asked, trying very hard to sound surprised.

"Yes -- one for the two of us, and one for Nymphadora, and one for Neville."

"Mmm. Of course, how silly of me," Ted murmured. "Do you really think you can take him from his great-uncle, Andromeda?"

She cast a glance at the sleeping boy, and Ted saw that look again; the one she still gave Nymphadora when she thought the independent young woman couldn't see her. Her fingers twiddled the quill she wrote with, getting small drops of ink on the parchment.

"Dora's leaving," she said finally. "Whether she lives with us or not, she'll be off, and I know she was always gone for school, but it feels...different now. I've gotten used to the...the difficult years."


She lifted her face just enough for him to be able to kiss her forehead. "What does that make you?"

"Mr. Masochist."

She laughed, softly.

"Everyone else still at lunch?" she asked. He shook his head.

"They went to see the Weasleys -- apparently Arthur's still here, getting discharged today. Remus ran off, said he'd be back soon."

"I don't think he likes hospitals much," Andromeda mused. "Then again, I guess nobody actually likes hospitals."

Neville stirred in his sleep, a little, and brushed ineffectually at some hair falling in his eyes. Ted reached over automatically and smoothed it away; when he realised what he was doing, he glanced down, and saw Andromeda beaming at him.


"Remus, I'd like to say something that may sound, in my profession, rather mad. Will you bear with me?"

"Of course."

"You know of the theory of alternate universes? Existences in which our choices were different, and led us along different paths?"

"Yes...I've read books...the, er, Trousers of Time."

"Hah! Good, yes. Excellent metaphor. And you are aware that, as a creature at once human and non-human, you are particularly sensitive to magic of an intrinsic kind that is not necessarily...oh, how do I put this. You're familiar with Muggle electricity?"

"Yes, we use it."

"Good. There is electricity of the sort you plug into a wall, and then there's a more free-floating sort, the kind that gives us static shocks. As a werewolf, you're sensitive to magic of the second sort; not necessarily usable, but intangibly there."

"I'd read studies about it, but I can't say I've ever felt it personally."

"To you, being Changed so young, it would seem normal."

"What does this have to do with my dreams?"

"Patience, Remus. I think you may be tapping into this magic, and it may be leading you down a path to these other worlds."

"Oh. What does that...are you saying I'm seeing what might-have-been?"

"No -- what is, in another reality."

"So this...but it can't get into this one, can it?"

"I don't think it works that way, no. And anyway, it's just a theory. Who knows? I certainly can't see how it all fits together psychologically. Not in a way that makes sense given your personality."

"But in some other world...?"

"It would appear so."

"Excuse me, I -- I should go, I didn't realise we'd talked this long. Thank you...this was...enlightening."

"Come speak to me whenever you wish, Remus. Especially if the dreams change again. Free of charge. I'm fascinated by the idea, frankly."

"I -- yes. Thank you. Goodbye..."


Sirius didn't really listen to the talk going on around him, in the little hospital room; instead he watched the door.

Remus had gone off without saying where he was going, and while Sirius realised that he had, in fact, done this thousands of times before, in their lengthy acquaintance, right now the world was crawling with people who might be Peter in disguise, people who might be helping Peter, people who might realise that as a hostage for Harry, Remus was a good deal...

It ws absolutely ludicrous, but he was still mildly anxious. Ted had told him Remus said he'd only be a minute.

"Don't you think so? He's going off to be a charmbreaker," Nymphadora was saying. "So I said he ought to send me something from Foreign Places and he asked for our address..."

The door clicked, and Remus let himself in, looking vaguely embarrassed but not at all as though he'd just battled off ten or twelve villains who were after his head. He nodded his greetings to the four of them, and pulled a chair quietly up next to Sirius. Their knees bumped, his left with Remus' right, and Remus smiled when Sirius gave him a sidelong look.

"The mediwizard outside said that they're closing visiting hours soon," he said. "I'm willing to bet you can stay, but I think it's best if we take Harry back," he said, glancing at Sirius for confirmation. "They'll probably want Nymphadora out too."

"Yes, I'm a troublemaking adolescent," Nymphadora said, with an uncrackable ego that someone twice her age might have admired.

"Be a good girl," Andromeda said, as her daughter stood and straightened her robes. Harry, unusually solemn and silent, allowed himself to be led -- walking between Sirius and Remus, with Nymphadora on his heels -- out and down to the floo network, where they returned to Grimmauld Place.

"I don't guess I'm gonna be a Healer when I grow up," Harry said, reaching for some fruit on the table. "Hospitals're boring. And creepy."

"Thankless job, anyway," Sirius said, dropping into one of the chairs.

"Dora, can we go finish reading Bullfinch's Mythology now?" Harry asked. Nymphadora gave Sirius and Remus a questioning look.

"I don't see why not," Sirius said, touseling the boy's already-disorderly hair as he passed. "We'll come up later. Mind the naughty bits, Dora."

"Bullfinch already did that for me," she said sourly, stealing some crackers from the pantry as they headed for the staircase. "And why," came the rhetorical plaint from the stairwell, "can nobody remember to call me Tonks?"

Remus chuckled, leaning on the kitchen counter, shaking his head. Sirius rubbed his eyes.

"Hell of a day," he said.

"We've definitely had better," Remus agreed. "And I imagine we'll have worse if Peter abandons the bookshop. I hope we're right about all this -- if he's already long gone, we'll never find them in time. Especially if he has a safe place to brew the potion..."

"I wonder," Sirius said. "I wonder if it's even for him. Bellatrix was...there were many stronger men than Peter that she'd already wrapped around her little finger by the time she met Lestrange, you know. My mother..." and he spat the word, "admired her reputation as a man-wrecker. That was her idea of power, you know, seducing men and then destroying them."

"I hardly know where to begin listing all the things wrong with that," Remus sighed. Sirius stood, and walked to the pantry, rummaging around and coming up with a handful of peppermint humbugs.

"I had Andromeda buy some, and then forgot we had them," he said sheepishly. "I'll take some up to Harry later."

"I'm sure he'd like that," Remus said, somewhat distractedly, and Sirius realised the other man was watching him eat one, watching the way he rolled his tongue around the sweet...

"You did say we should talk, though," Sirius said, coming to lean on the counter, facing Remus, who was standing in profile. Remus turned to grin at him, and dropped his head shyly. "I got about halfway through the book, and it's not a slow-moving book," Sirius continued. "I'd no idea people got up to some of the things they did." He moved closer, so that Remus' shoulder touched his chest, his hip touched his stomach.

"Trust you to go to books," Remus murmured, and Sirius grinned, crunching up the peppermint.

"Andromeda recommended it," he pointed out.

"And I thought Molly Weasley was meddlesome," Remus replied. "How are they, by the way?"

"Fine. We're not discussing the health of the Weasley clan right now," Sirius chided. He swallowed the last of the sweet-toffee centre, and reached out, touching Remus' jaw, turning his head. His body naturally followed, and they leaned away from the counter, kissing, touching, exploring each other's mouths. Sirius shared the taste of mint and toffee, and Remus accepted it eagerly, palms pressed flat on Sirius' chest, while Sirius pulled him close by the waist.

He hadn't known it could be this good, and it was just getting better.

Remus broke the kiss and nuzzled his neck, lips finding his pulse and resting there, saying something he couldn't hear, but felt through his skin. He slid his hands up, over the other man's back, tangling them in shaggy brown hair.

"Think we can make it upstairs?" he asked, gasping as Remus' palms slid across his shirt, teasing him through it.

"How accurately can you Apparate?" Remus replied, with a grin. Sirius growled and they Apparated nearly at the same time, Sirius first to the bedroom with his usual pinpoint precision. Before Remus could recover, he pushed him back onto the bed and climbed over him, straddling his thighs and sliding his hands up his outflung arms, until their fingers tangled together. Remus arched up to meet him, arousal evident even through his trousers, and Sirius moaned into his mouth.

"So you've been doing your homework," Remus said, around kisses that made Sirius feel seventeen. "Care to give a practical demonstration?"

Sirius grinned at him and released one hand, reaching into his back pocket for his wand. He pressed it to the collar of Remus' shirt, drawing it down in a line over his chest to his belt, and muttered, "destringo." Remus gasped when his clothes vanished, and Sirius' a second later.

"Some other time," Sirius said, as he bent to bite Remus' neck gently, Remus nuzzling the dog collar he still wore, "I'm going to spend an hour undressing you." He slid his lips down Remus' throat, licking delicately at his collarbone. "Touch every inch of skin on your body..." lower, cheek sliding over his chest, "...with my mouth..."

He felt Remus thread his fingers through his hair, enjoying the pleasurable pinpricks of sensation, akin to being petted, and he loved being petted; this, however, was not a child sharing his ice cream with Padfoot on a sunny stoop -- this was Remus begging him for more, as he nuzzled the line of his hipbone and explored a single scar on his belly.

"Sirius, let me show you -- " Remus gasped, as Sirius nipped the inside of his thigh, but Sirius shook his head.

"It's all right," he murmured, grinning. "I've read books."

Remus laughed, head tilting back, the line of his neck as beautiful a thing as Sirius had ever seen, and then gasped in the middle of it when Sirius slid his lips over him, tongue working gently. His hips bucked upwards and Sirius pinned them, exploring this new thing, wondering a little that this should arouse him -- to have Remus at his mercy, back arching, fingers clenching now in his hair...

He let his teeth graze the sensitive skin just a little, and was rewarded by a moan he hoped they couldn't hear in the library. He tried to take more, and heard Remus swear; his throat closed up for a minute, and he withdrew, heart racing.

Remus, chest heaving, propped himself on one elbow. "All right then?" he asked, worriedly. Sirius grinned, and swiped his tongue across sensitive skin, and the other man collapsed again.

"All right," he answered, vibrations in his voice making Remus tremble. "How'm I doing?"

"Please don't stop," Remus moaned, and Sirius was nothing if not obedient; by the time he had satisfied himself that he was getting the hang of things, Remus was incoherent, writhing beneath him, thrusting up into his mouth. He sat back for a second, hearing Remus whine in protest, and crawled over his body again, settling on top of him, kissing him, stroking his hair. Their bodies rubbed together in a slow rhythm, almost unconsciously, skin-on-skin, fever-hot.

"Top marks," Remus gasped. "Must thank Andromeda -- "

"Shh," Sirius answered, kissing him to quiet him. "Want to feel this -- feel you -- "

Remus smiled wickedly at him, and they were rolling suddenly, Sirius landing on his side and feeling a warm body curl around his back.

"Another lesson?" Remus inquired in his ear, voice low and compelling, and Sirius pushed back against him -- he wanted to feel...everything...

"Yes," he managed, and then, "There was a spell -- "

"I know it," Remus replied, one of his hands sliding down Sirius' hip, slipping over his belly to stroke him, slowly, lightly. "Restare aselli ..."

Sirius gasped and bit his lip when he felt warm slickness flood through him, followed by an almost unbearable pressure.

"All right, love," Remus murmured soothingly, still stroking him, "You'll get used to it, relax -- that's it..."

Sirius consciously relaxed, breathing deeply, concentrating on Remus' hands, his voice, and the aching fullness began to fade to something more pleasurable. He felt Remus press against him, tantalisingly slow, and then the fullness of before was nothing compared to this --

Remus moaned low as he pressed inside him, and sudden pleasure raced through his body, white-hot in his veins; another movement and he could breathe again, but then Remus thrust once more and he couldn't bite back a cry.

"Am I hurting you?" Remus asked roughly, buried inside him, face pressed to his neck. Sirius shook his head, trying to find words to plead for more. "I want to please you, Sirius..." he continued, as his hips began to move in a slow rhythm that was probably going to kill Sirius from the pleasure of it. "Oh...I want..."

He caught his breath, the motion tensing his whole body, and Sirius tried to fall into the movement of hips against his, shuddering when Remus' fingers tightened, and right...there...and Remus said his name...

He arched and came, feeling the pulse of orgasm through his entire body, barely aware that Remus came also, senses overloaded with the feel of warm skin, nimble fingers.

When he thought he might be able to speak coherently again, he drew a deep breath.

"I could have done that spell," he said. Remus, catching his breath, buried his face in the nape of Sirius' neck, and laughed.

"Full marks for effort," he said, voice pleasantly low, sounding satiated.

"I should think so. That was..." Sirius fumbled shyly for words.

"...better than I'd even imagined," Remus finished, muttering some spell to clean things up a bit. How did Muggles manage without magic...

Sirius realised what he'd said, and the mental images flooded him -- Remus imagining this, imagining him. Pleasure that was nearly over the line into pain flooded him. He moved, turning so that he could face the brown-haired man, seeing something almost desperate in his eyes.

"You don't have to imagine now," he said, and Remus smiled, a true, honest smile. When had the world begun to light up when he smiled like that?

"I know," he said, drawing him closer for a kiss. "Are you all right?"

"You can stop asking," Sirius said, nibbling the corner of his mouth. "That was....very good."

"Good," Remus nuzzled his cheek, their bodies fitting together, arms securing each other in place. "I wanted to let you try it the other way round, first, but...sort of, in the moment -- "

"Shut up now," Sirius ordered, and Remus laughed again. "I'm bigger than you. If I wanted to stop you, I would."

"You always can," Remus said softly, eyes closing as he rested his head in the hollow between his neck and shoulder. "Never want to hurt you," he said, breath deepening. Sirius closed his eyes also, enjoying the warmth of his body, the fact that this was Remus -- here -- trusted -- the man he trusted above anyone else in the world.

They lay together for a while, silent, matching each other's breathing, until Remus stirred, and pulled back a little, sitting up. "We should check on Harry," he said, sliding a hand possessively down Sirius' arm, exploring the corners and ridges of his knuckles.

"So we should," Sirius answered reluctantly. Remus slipped off the edge of the bed, and picked up his clothes from the floor where they'd been sent, offering Sirius his shirt. Sirius watched the way he dressed; settling the shirt around his shoulders, tightening his belt around his hips. He'd never paid particular attention to men, or to Remus, not as objects of desire; now he wondered why. The fall of white linen over broad, unmistakeably masculine shoulders shouldn't do this to him, but he had trouble caring. Remus turned, and grinned at him.

"You're supposed to put that on, you know," he advised, laying Sirius' trousers on the bed. Sirius broke away from his contemplation, and nodded, pulling the shirt back on, doing up the buttons slowly. He saw Remus' eyes darken, slightly, and glanced down; just his hands, doing up his shirt...

Hadn't Remus said something, before they slid into sleep at some point in a past that seemed more distant by the hour, that he'd admired his hands? Sirius smiled, and did his buttons slower, slipping fingers under the edge of the shirt occasionally, to graze bare skin. Remus caught his breath.

"You're supposed to put those on, you know," Sirius said conversationally, indicating the socks Remus held clenched in one hand. He watched in fascination as the blush spread all the way down his throat.

"Hoist on my own petard," Remus muttered. They made themselves presentable, more or less, and Remus smiled suddenly when Sirius spread his arms, tacitly asking if there was anything amiss.

"What is it?" he asked, and Remus shook his head. "What?"

"You've got a bite-bruise, just here," he said, tapping his own shoulder. Sirius touched it, and felt a slight tenderness. "Sorry, I don't think anyone who isn't looking will see it under the shirt..."

"Are you sure?" Sirius asked. "Not that I mind all that much -- "

"Fairly sure," Remus answered. "That wasn't why I laughed."

"Oh?" Sirius asked, drawing closer. Remus kissed him, seductively.

"I was just wondering how I'm going to get through dinner if I get hard every time I see it," he whispered in Sirius' ear. A pleasant tingle worked its way down Sirius' spine and settled in his own groin.

"You'll just have to, now, won't you?" he answered, lowering his voice. Remus growled and nipped his earlobe before stepping back. Sirius, conscious of the bruise now, felt it ache a little; he wondered if he ought to heal it, or put a prolonging charm on it.

He rather liked belonging to someone, and didn't at all mind being marked for it.

"You're going to have to lend me that book," Remus said, as they walked down the hallway towards the library.

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