by Ishafel

Since he came back Sirius has been keeping one eye on the clock. No one knows better than a dead man how time flies. Ten minutes a day spent shaving; seven minutes for a cigarette and fifteen cigarettes in a pack, and right there, that's two hours of his day. He keeps track of time spent, time wasted. He has the heavy gold watch engraved with his father's initials, rescued by Kreachur from one of their cleaning sessions. He can no longer remember why he was so eager to throw it out. He has a ballpoint pen and a little notebook, and he keeps track of the way his days pass. Twenty minutes for breakfast, fifteen in the shower.

He's always liked trains but now he loves them. Trains come when they're supposed to, and they go where they're meant to. They don't get lost, they don't disappear, and they don't go anywhere magical or special or adventurous. They have their route and they follow it faithfully. He sometimes thinks that people could learn a great deal from trains.

Today is Thursday. He consults his notebook. He'll take the 8.00 from Edinburgh and be in Doncaster by 10.53. If he waited he could take the 9.00 or even the 9.35, but he's meeting Remus at Berwick-on- Tweed and there simply won't be time. He and Remus have a standing Thursday morning assignation. They meet in the express car like strangers, and when Remus asks if the seat is taken Sirius politely moves his briefcase to the floor. At Morpeth they both get up as if to exit the train, but instead they wedge themselves carefully into the Gents'. Eighteen minutes between Durham and Newcastle; if everything goes smoothly Remus will be ready to exit by York at the latest.

Sirius is always careful to note that eighteen minutes in his book because it is the only time he feels alive. He used to love his motorcycle, sailboats, fast cars, even Buckbeak, because they took him where he wanted to go. But he has had enough of speed, enough of falling. He likes things he can predict now, things he can control. Remus is predictable and controllable and it only adds to his charm.

Every time follows more or less the same script. One of them leans back against the basin, and the other sits on the toilet. It's tight, and it's awful and it's mildly embarrassing, the way they've become dirty old men, screwing by appointment on a commuter train. Three, maybe four minutes of foreplay, awkward kisses and unsure touches; and their bodies are virtually identical, bony and hairy. There's nothing erotic about it. There's none of the frantic, none of the excitement he can almost remember. This is about friendship, comfort, more than it is about lust.

So three or four minutes of foreplay, and if it's Remus's turn he waits, looking almost shy, while Sirius unfastens his belt and his trousers and goes in for the kill. He doesn't watch, only strokes Sirius's hair while Sirius bends and wriggles and manages to get his mouth on Remus's testicles and his cock against Remus's legs. A minute or two on each one and Remus is hard and so is Sirius. This is the tricky bit, getting Remus into his mouth while beneath them the train rumbles on, and if it were to stop suddenly, Sirius would probably choke or bite down or both. But it never does; trains have strict schedules.

The whole time he's sucking Remus off, and with the getting into position and coming up for air several times it takes nearly ten minutes, Sirius thrusts against Remus. He needs to anyway, for balance; he can't use his hands because they're occupied elsewhere, trying to hit the magic bit just behind Remus's balls, or reaching up for his nipples. The end result is that they generally come more or less together, Sirius in his pants and Remus in Sirius's mouth. Then it takes a good five minutes to clean each other up, and they exit the toilet one at a time and make their way to the smoking car. There's time for a cigarette, a smile or two, time for Sirius to ask after Ginny and little Harry and Remus to pull out the latest photos. Then back to their seats, speaking civilly about Fleet Street or the City, two businessmen who are barely acquaintances, drawn together by chance and a shared vice. Remus leaves first, going back to his life, and Sirius stays where he is for a few stops, making notes in his schedule book.

When it's Sirius's turn things are a little tenderer, a little slower; Remus still has a tendency to handle him like glass and Sirius hasn't been back long enough to mind. It's okay not to be in a hurry, and since the first time he hasn't even looked at his watch while Remus's mouth is on him. He writes down everything he does to Remus, in little blocks of time, but what Remus does to him there is no need to describe. He won't have any trouble accounting for this time.


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