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So, I'm way off track with this writing-every-day thing, but I'm still having a brilliant time playing with Remus and Sirius. Ah, writing.

~1,460 words. For prompt #7 at [livejournal.com profile] barefootboys. No DH spoilers. (Have skipped some prompts as they did nothing for me at the moment. Maybe later. :D) This is the one where Remus is mad about That prank, and I have fun with dialogue. Whee!


Rare and Sacred Time


In some rare and sacred dead time, sandwiched between the late sleepers and the early risers, there is a miracle of silence.

Everything has stopped.

And this is a pause worth savouring, because the world will soon be complicated again.

-- Jon McGregor - If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things

James is the first to wake. He is the responsible one, the undeclared leader. It's his duty to make sure Remus isn't too cut up, and to send the others away to breakfast before he carries Remus back to school.

This time, Sirius won't leave. Peter has already scurried away into the pale morning, but Sirius is sleepy and stubbon and won't move from where he's curled next to Remus. "Can't you see he needs to sleep just a bit longer? You want to be Head Boy next year, you need to go. You'll be in the worst trouble if you're caught," Sirius reasons.

When Sirius starts worrying about getting caught, James knows it's time to give in. "Okay, but what do you think you can do?"

"Just gonna talk to him. Go on, Prongs," Sirius says.

James shrugs. "Your funeral."

There's no point in waking up Remus just yet. When James's footsteps have faded away, the world is silent. Not even the birds are awake yet, though the godforsaken moon has long set. Remus is snoring gently into Sirius's arm, and this is the first time in weeks Sirius has had a chance to examine his face without Remus turning away. The longer Remus stays asleep, the more time Sirius will have to memorise the three freckles in a triangle on his cheek, the faint lines in his forehead that are appearing twenty years too soon, and how he's always smiling crookedly, thanks to a bad night and a bad scar that pulls up the corner of his mouth.

Remus opens his eyes and moves away from Sirius-- just imperceptibly, like he doesn't realise he's doing it-- and Sirius begins to study the ceiling.

"Where's James?" asks Remus, and Sirius stops wondering if Remus will be happy to see only Sirius.

"Breakfast," he explains. "Don't blame him. I asked him to leave."

"Did you?" Remus's voice is frosty; he glares icicles at Sirius instead of daggers. Two-foot-long icicles with extremely sharp points. "I suppose you were planning to carry me to school. Well, I can walk."

Sirius waits. Remus doesn't stand up. "Are you sure? I could--"

"What you can do is leave now."

"Moony, I just--"

"Don't call me that. Only my friends call me that, and you are clearly not one of them."

Sirius closes his eyes. He was under no impression that Remus would forgive him easily, but he was hoping for difficult as opposed to impossible.

"You were just leaving?" Remus prompts.

Best to just dig his heels in, then. "Actually, I was just finishing deciding that I am not leaving until you do, and at that point I will follow you and make sure you don't kill yourself getting back."

"I don't need you babysitting me."

"So prove it. Stand up."

"I don't need to prove anything." But there is faint worry in Remus's eyes. He makes it to his feet all right, then sways dangerously and sits back down. "Maybe in five minutes. You should go."

"I'm sorry," says Sirius abruptly. He should have said it sooner, though it's unlikely it would have done any good.

"Apology not accepted."

"I thought you'd say that."

"Mastered Divination, have you?"

"I just know you, that's all."

"Then you should have known I would not appreciate you pulling a stunt like that."

"I wasn't thinking."

"That's not a good excuse."

"It's not an excuse at all. It's a reason."

"I really don't care. Shut up, my head hurts."

Sirius shuts up. The birds start singing. Sirius contemplates changing to Padfoot to chase the stupidly cheerful feathered buggers. "It's getting late," he says finally, and it is. If they don't go now, Sirius will miss his first class.

"So go."

"I'm not going without you."

"You're not going to give up until I give in, are you?"

"You know me."

"That's kind of the problem. Fine, carry me. But this doesn't mean I forgive you. The sooner I get back, the sooner you'll have to leave me alone."

Sirius helps Remus climb onto his back and starts off through the tunnel. "Don't count on it. I'll bring you chocolate after class."

"I don't want-- God, Sirius. You're incredibly stubborn. What do I have to do to prove I don't want to see you?"

"You'll never prove it, because it's not true. You love me, deep down in your heart."

"Very deep down, maybe. Where there's muck and weeds and dead flies."

"I'll take what I can get." Sirius grins and picks up speed, so Remus will have to hang on tighter.

***


"Chocolate, like I promised." Sirius tosses the bar onto Remus's bed.

"What part of 'I don't want to see you' did you not understand?"

"I just figured it was time I started keeping my word again."

"Chocolate doesn't begin to make up for it."

Remus is still not meeting his eyes and Sirius can't stand it. "Would you please look at me?"

"No."

"Why not?" There is a distinct whining edge trying to creep into Sirius's voice. He squashes it like a gnat.

Remus rolls onto his side, so his back is to Sirius. The chocolate bar falls to the floor. Sirius hears it break. "Because when I look at you, I start wanting to forgive you."

"That's a good thing, isn't it?"

"Not when I still hate you."

Sirius twists his robe around his hands. "Anything I can do to make you not hate me?"

"Nothing's coming to mind."

"I'm going to eat supper now. Do you want me to come back after?"

"No."

"How bad for you, because I will anyway."

"You're going to fail something if you don't study."

"You're more important."

Silence.

"I mean it, Moony."

"I'm more important than something you don't actually want to do? Thanks."

"That's not-- you don't-- can't you just take a compliment?"

"Can't you just go away?"

"All right, I will. See you after supper."

Sirius doesn't reach the door before Remus's pillow hits him in the head. "Nice shot," he calls as he leaves.

***


It is a week after the full moon. Sirius is carrying a stack of textbooks into the common room, when Remus, who is on the couch reading, looks at him. Sirius nearly drops his books. "Hello, Moony!"

"Thought I told you not to call me that." Remus is still meeting his gaze, and the corner of his mouth is pulled up just a little too much for Sirius to blame the scar.

"Yeah, well. I'm terrible at listening."

"I think I like you when you're like this."

"When I keep insulting myself so you don't have to?"

"Exactly. Come here, I'll help you study."

"Am I forgiven yet?"

"No, but I will feel guilty if you fail."

"Guilt can be an excellent motivator in ending fights. I feel very guilty, which is why I keep apologising."

"Do you want to study, or do you want me to tell you to leave?"

"You can't make me leave, this is the common room."

Remus levels his wand at Sirius.

"--Studying it is."

***


Two hours of incomprehensible Arithmancy later, Sirius drops his quill and stretches his cramped fingers. "I know I'm terrible at talking about things--"

"--and at listening--" interjects Remus, who can apparently write for hours with no discomfort.

"--but I think we need to discuss It. If only so I can apologise again."

"If I can't make you leave me alone, can I at least get you to stop bringing It up? It is not up for discussion."

"I'm sorry anyway."

"I know you are."

"You do?"

"You've only apologised sixteen and a half times since It happened."

"What was the half?"

Remus is turning red. "You were talking in your sleep."

"You were listening to me talking in my sleep?"

"My bed is next to yours, and you were very loud."

"What else did I say?"

"Just some things. Sappy things. Things about love, and muck, and gnats."

"I was probably dreaming about being Padfoot and rolling in mud."

"No, no, you definitely said 'love' in connection with. With my name."

"Oh. Well."

"Yes."

"I really am sorry, you know."

"You could probably make it up to me."

"How? Anything. I'll do anything."

It's quiet in the common room. Remus's face is awfully close, and his eyes are a little angry but he's definitely smiling, and Sirius figures he can stand a hex or two if he guesses wrong. He kisses the corner of Remus's mouth, and Remus turns his head and kisses him back, and there is still more anger in his teeth. He winds his hands into Sirius's hair with perhaps more force than is strictly necessary, but Sirius doesn't fight him.

Forgiveness is so close he can taste it.
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