Still Be All Right
by Stellamaru

"This smells like sh--"

"I'd stop complaining if I were you," Remus said, interrupting Sirius's third declaration on the odor of the potion. "You don't have to drink it."

Sirius had the decency to look shamefaced, at least for a moment. "Sorry. I guess the Wolfsbane isn't very tasty."

"I believe the phrase, 'flavor and consistency of wet dog hair'--no offense--comes most easily to mind," Remus said, trying not to sound irritated. "You'd best get on with it if we want to escape the wrath of Molly."

Sirius frowned, and for a moment Remus was reminded of a petulant child. "I don't know why it has to be Severus," he said.

"Because the other choices are Shacklebolt, Tonks, Dung, Arthur, or Molly." Remus said. "Can't have you running around looking like an Auror, and if you think Molly's going to be angry with you now, imagine what she'll say if you're wearing her husband's face. Or her own..." he trailed off, smiling at the image of such a scene. "I suppose it could be me, but since I'll be going with you, it might draw unwanted attention. As school is in session, and the chances of encountering one of Severus's acquaintances are much slimmer than running across someone Dung owes money to, Severus is the obvious choice."


"Don't worry, he won't ever know. You don't have to do this. I can pick something out for you." Remus paused. "It would be much safer."

Sirius frowned and picked up the potion. "You didn't have to say that, Moony," he said, dropping a thin strand of greasy hair into the glass. "I'm already taking a huge risk trusting your potion brewing skills," he mumbled before downing the concoction in one gulp.

Remus kept his face impassive, but he was a little worried. He'd been stewing lacewings in Sirius's room for nearly a month, and he'd had to ask Tonks to pick the fluxweed at the full moon--she'd looked curious, but shrugged it off when he asked her to let it go--and when you added on his less than masterful potion brewing abilities, he just hoped Sirius didn't break out in massive boils.

Sirius had been so excited when Remus suggested it, over two months before. It appealed to his sense of mischief and it took his mind off his semi-imprisonment in Grimmauld place.

Within moments, the sallow face of Severus Snape was looking at Remus and wearing an expression of disgust worthy of its original owner. Remus sighed in relief.

"No--I don't want to know," Sirius said, waving away the hand mirror Remus had picked up off the table. "Just tell me it worked and we'll get out of here."

"It worked," Remus said, suppressing a laugh. He marked the time on his watch. "We've only got enough for another dose, so that's around two hours.... And we should figure in a safety buffer, so make that one and a half hours..." he muttered as he poured the remaining contents of the bubbling cauldron of potion into a flask.

"Scourgify," he said, clearing all evidence of their potion brewing. Molly could always decide to surprise them by coming early with one of her enormous baskets of food. Remus got the distinct impression that she was trying to feed Sirius all the food he'd missed out on while in prison. She seemed to have a greatly exaggerated understanding of a werewolf's appetite as well.

"So we don't have time for me to wash my hair." Sirius threw his glass into the fireplace with a satisfying crash. "We're off!" he said with a wide wave of his hand.

They Apparated to a small alley and, with a few last minute adjustments to their Muggle clothing, they ventured into Muggle London. The bookshop Remus knew of was run by a Muggle-born witch, sold rare Muggle books, and was located far from any wizarding landmarks. The Muggles who shopped there had no idea what the proprietor kept in her back room for more... discerning clientele.

The door hit a small tinkling bell when they opened it. "Ah, Remus!" The shop owner--a short and slender woman with dark brown hair--called out her greeting from high atop a ladder, where she was shelving a set of tiny green books. "Doing a bit of Christmas shopping? I've set aside a copy of that Scrimshoggle's _Compendium_ you wanted."

"Thank you, Violet," Remus said as she climbed down her ladder to greet them. "This is S- er,"

"Vernon Dursley," Sirius said, extending his hand.

She looked up at them both and patted her hair. "Pleased to meet you," she said, shaking Sirius's hand quickly. "You know the way, Remus."

Remus led Sirius through a narrow hallway lined with books into the tiny back room, where a number of magical texts were on display: some on a small table, many more tightly packed in floor to ceiling bookcases. "What do you think? Something on hexes?" he asked, thumbing through a new book on summoning charms.

"You didn't tell me she was young. And pretty," Sirius whispered.

"Who?" Remus said, looking up.

"That shopkeeper. Violet."

"Oh," Remus said. His mouth twitched. "I don't think I said anything about her at all."

"And yet she calls you Remus and sets aside books for you. Curious." Sirius raised his eyebrows.

"You're just upset she didn't look at you twice. Without your good looks, you're forced to rely on your charm. Unfortunately for you," Remus said, smiling.

Sirius put his hands on his chest in mock offense. "You seem to find me charming enough."

"A fact which should preclude silly questions about shopgirls, Vernon," Remus said, reaching out to touch Sirius's neck fondly. Sirius scowled and shied away.

"Don't touch me when I look like this," he said.

Remus chuckled and ignored the request. Instead, he brushed close to Sirius's ear and whispered, "What if I close my eyes?" He put down the book he'd been holding and pressed his palm to Sirius's stomach, his fingers playing near the top trouser button. "I wonder... does everything change? All over?" He moved his hand lower and opened his eyes in surprise.

Sirius groaned. "What?"

"I can see Severus doesn't have anything to worry about," Remus said dryly.

"What!?" Sirius said drawing his back up straight in a huff. "I see. Maybe you'd rather--"

"Oh, shut up, Padfoot," Remus said, grinning. "You should see your expression." He walked over to a shelf. "We're wasting time. What about something on dueling?"

Sirius sulked for a moment before muttering, "Maybe if you hadn't been off shagging anything with a pulse while I was wrongfully imprisoned...."

Remus sighed. "It wasn't-- just because-- it was twelve years. Thirteen, if you count that last year, remember, when you couldn't look at me straight on?" This was a regular topic of conversation, one that usually kept to a light tone, as if neither one of them could bear anything heavier.

After the Thing with Snape in sixth year (Sirius called it a prank; Remus could never think of it in such playful terms), it was James who had got them talking to each other again. Remus had hoped--wished--that James would intercede again that year, after Harry's birth, when Sirius's eyes had shifted away.

At James and Lily's wedding reception, after many glasses of punch, Sirius had nudged him and winked.

"How much you wager James couldn't wait and they're in one of those broom closets?"

"I'm fairly certain Lily's veil was merely a concession to tradition," Remus said, trying to look as though he'd meant to spill half his punch down his dress robes.

"'Concession to tradition'?" Sirius said, laughing. "'Concession to tradition'? Lord, Moony, getting pissed actually rams that broomstick further up your arse, doesn't it?"

"Five Galleons," Remus said, slurring the end of the word. "Says they aren't in any of the broom closets."

"You haven't got five Galleons to your name," Sirius said, propping up a wall.

"But I will, when I win," Remus said.

"Right," Sirius said, tugging on Remus's sleeve. They checked every closet they could find, until they came to the last. Remus pulled the door open wide.

"See? Empty. No fu-- uh, sh-- deflowering going on here."

"Well that seems a shame," Sirius said. They stood next to each other, looking at the empty broom closet.

"Why are you still here?" Remus asked suddenly.


"I mean, why aren't you off with someone shaggable? Even Peter left with that blonde."

"Oh," Sirius said, looking at Remus. "Why aren't you?" Their eyes held. Remus's vision was a bit blurry, but he swore that Sirius hadn't ever turned that particular look his way before. Sirius licked at the corner of his mouth slowly and Remus knew he was gone.

Without thinking--without planning--he took Sirius's face in his hands and pulled him close. Sirius was only slightly taller and it was easy to angle so his mouth brushed against Sirius's lips, where he tasted of punch and smoke. Sirius kissed him back with an edge of ferocious hunger that surprised Remus.

"Sirius..." he whispered, moving his mouth against Sirius's.

"Why, Remus," Sirius said in between playful kisses, "is it possible you like boys?"

"Mm, don't make me laugh, not now," Remus said, pushing Sirius up against the wall. "I like you." He pulled back and looked Sirius in the eyes, rubbing his thumbs against his neck. "Even if-- if it's only for this time."

Sirius threw back his head and laughed. "It better not be," he said, dropping his hands to Remus's hips. "I want to be sober for this next time."

He was good on his word. The following months had been marked with stolen moments found after Order meetings, whenever both of them weren't away on some mission. They never talked about it. Remus because he didn't want to do anything that would prematurely end-- whatever it was, and Sirius, Remus knew, because talking about things like that wasn't in his nature. Remus was just glad he never smelled anyone else--at least, not another man--on Sirius, and that was about as far as it went. It was stupid to be jealous, he told himself.

And then... then Lily was as big as a house with Harry, and Sirius had lunch with Peter one afternoon. Remus didn't know that then, of course, he just knew that one day Sirius started saying he was too busy to meet, and wouldn't look him in the eye.

They skirted around it now with jokes simply because it hurt too much to think a single conversation--one stupid blow out fight, if only Remus had pressed--could've prevented so much. Jokes now were a way of saying things without really saying things.

Remus went over to Sirius, who was pretending to examine a set of books on locking charms on the table, and put his hands on his shoulders from behind. He rested his chin next to Sirius's ear. It was strange, touching a perfect copy of Snape's body in this familiar manner, but the half-sulking, half-mischievous expression was entirely Sirius.

"You're the only one I'm shagging now," he said. "And if I'd known that a bit of furtive groping followed by suspicion of betrayal constituted a life-long claim, I would have locked myself up in the nearest monastery." See? Saying without saying. "Besides, can I help it if people are naturally drawn to my animal side?"

Sirius grinned reluctantly. "Bet you had 'em drooling," he said. "Mild-mannered professor by day..."

"They never knew what hit them," Remus said, echoing one of Sirius's catch phrases from before.

Sirius laughed his sharp bark of a laugh and went back to browsing the table display. "What about this?" he suggested, indicating a set of books on practical defense.

Remus widened his eyes. "That looks perfect," he said. "Harry needs all the help he can get, especially with that-- horrible woman in charge."

Sirius nodded. "He'll come out all right, though. He's resourceful, just like his father," he said, smiling proudly as he gathered up the set of books. "So... we'll just give the whole set together? From both of us?"

Remus chuckled. "Of course. What do you think we're doing today?" He leaned in to kiss Sirius's ear. "You know, I think I enjoy being taller than you."

"I see. If you like variety so much, maybe you should take up with Tonks," Sirius said, belying the jealous tone of his words by slipping a hand under the waistband of Remus's trousers.

"Stop trying to get rid of me," Remus said, shoving at Sirius's hand without conviction. "Besides, I think Tonks would rather be introduced to Violet."

"Really?" Sirius said brightly. "Good. Good." He smiled the whole time Remus chatted with the shop owner as she wrapped their purchases in a neat bundle. Seeing Sirius's boisterous, joyful smile on Snape's thin, tight face was more than a little disturbing. Remus wondered if Snape's mouth had ever contorted into such a foreign shape.

"Better drink the second dose," Remus said, offering the flask.

They spent a short while walking through the street, looking in shops and watching Muggles laden with packages bustle by. Sirius seemed happy just to stand in the chilly winter sunlight, unfiltered through windows. Remus was happy to watch Sirius, free from the shadows of his familial home.

Maybe they made jokes instead of addressing things head on because they both knew there was so little time left; there was no way both of them were going to make it through the coming war alive. It was an impossibility neither one dared to hope for.

It had taken three days and one bottle of Ogden's for them to 'resume old habits,' as Remus said, or 'start making up for lost time,' as Sirius said. A bottle of Firewhisky, a couple of familiar touches, and there they were. Only this time, Sirius was the one who seemed plagued with jealousy. Being Sirius, of course, he felt the need to share this at every opportunity.


"We ought to go back," Remus said. Sirius was making faces in the reflection of a shop window, contorting his Snape-face into strange grins. "We should get back before the potion wears off."

"I wish we had a camera with us," Sirius said, pulling his hair off his face and examining his forehead. "We could take all sorts of incriminating pictures with this body."

"Home? Now, before Molly arrives?" Remus said, turning towards the alley where they'd Apparated. "She'll have our heads if she sees you."

"Come on, a few minutes more," Sirius said. "Where's your sense of fun?"

"Do you like it?"

Remus looked back; the Muggle owner of the shop Sirius was standing in front of had come out and was squinting at Sirius. He nodded at the window. "The display? It's new--my daughter did it last night." The window was filled with bright Christmas colors, red, green, gold, silver, and showed a Santa dispensing gifts to young children. The Santa listed slightly to the right.

Sirius grinned widely. "We were just discussing it," he said, waving at Remus. "It's very fine."

The man relaxed and smiled. "Well, good. Good, then."

"You can tell her Stubby Boardman said it was the finest display he's seen in fourteen years!" Sirius called to the shopkeeper as Remus pulled him away.

"Do you want the potion to wear off in front of the entire Muggle world?" Remus snapped. "And Stubby Boardman? What happened to Vernon?"

"He was a Muggle," Sirius said, following Remus's quick pace. "What if he knew Harry's uncle?"

A sudden jolt of warmth spread through Remus's chest, and he stopped and grabbed Sirius's forearm, just to be touching him. "Have you any idea how many Muggles there are just in London alone?"

Sirius shrugged. "A lot?"

"Home. Now," Remus said between laughs.

"Haven't we got a few more minu--"

"Home, now, or we'll be arrested by the Muggle police for acts of public indecency," Remus said, letting his voice go low in that way he knew Sirius liked.

"Right," Sirius said, pointing towards the alley. "This way."

With two loud cracks, they Apparated back to Grimmauld and had a moment of panic at the sound of Molly's voice coming from the kitchen. "I don't know, I've just arrived," she was saying. "Perhaps he's feeding Buckbeak?"

"Upstairs!" Remus said, waiting until Sirius had Apparated and then following. His heart was beating rapidly when he appeared in Sirius's bedroom, where he took one look at Sirius and burst into laughter. Soon Sirius joined in and they doubled over laughing.

When Remus looked up Sirius was frantically emptying the wardrobe, tossing shoes and scarves across the room wildly. "What are you looking for?" he asked.

"I know there's a camera around here somewhere," Sirius said. "Thought I could send Snivellus a Christmas card this year. D'you think he'd like a picture of himself sucking on a werewolf's--"

"Sirius!" Remus interjected. "How about less talking and more doing?" he said, adding a bit of a growl at the end.

"Do you think I could've fooled Molly?" Sirius asked, drawing his back up straight and stiff. "Am I Snapish enough?"

"You--" Remus's thought was cut short by a loud rapping on the door. Sirius flattened himself against the wall behind the door while Remus composed his expression and opened it.

Snape was standing on the other side with a pained look on his face.

"Severus. I wasn't expecting you today," Remus said, not daring to risk a glance at Sirius without laughing.

"I'm sorry I neglected to submit my schedule to your appraisal," Snape said, narrowing his eyes. "Is the... Master of the house in?"

Sirius brushed his fingertips against Remus's hand. Remus clutched the door where he held it open tightly. "Sirius is, er, having a bit of a rest."

"Is he?" Snape raised one eyebrow by a centimeter. "Your assistance is required for this, I assume?"

"Did you want me to tell Sirius something?"

Snape continued as if he hadn't heard Remus's question. "Such assistance is your forte, if I recall." He glanced at the doorframe, at the gap where the door hung on its hinges. "Do you remember--"

Sirius stopped touching Remus's fingers abruptly. "Severus. Did you have something important to say?"

"Hm. Albus has asked me to supplement young Potter's education," Snape said.

"And you wanted to lord it over Sirius?" Remus felt a sharp pain over his right eye and rubbed the area with his free hand. "You'll have to wait for another time." He moved to close the door, only to have Sirius slam it shut in Snape's face.

Remus closed both eyes for a moment. When he opened them, Sirius was staring at him, his Snape-face paler than Snape's real face.


"Sirius... before you--"

"Snape?! Fucking Snape?"

"It isn't what you think. He-- he knew you were there, behind the door. He knows about us; he was just trying to get to you." Fuck. Snape would know precisely how to cut down to the marrow with Sirius.

"The question is, did you get to him?"

"Sirius, my God. No. Do you actually think--"

"I don't know what to think. You're the one who suggested it be Snape for the potion. Maybe you just wanted something to remind you of old times."

"If I'd wanted a reminder of old times, I--" Remus drew a deep breath. The pain over his eye was spreading to the rest of his head.

"What? What would you have done?"

"Nothing. It doesn't matter," Remus said.

"Don't-- don't put that mild face on. Unless you want to get it over with while I still look like him."

"Shut up, Sirius. Don't go on about things you don't know anything about. If I'd wanted a reminder of old times you wouldn't have been here at all."

The gravity of what he'd said hit him quickly. Sirius was silent. "Padfoot... I didn't mean..."

"Yes you did." His voice was so flat.

"I didn't. I didn't."

"You did, and you're right." Sirius sat down on the edge of the bed. "Sometimes-- I think I'm going to wake up and the last fourteen years will all have been some strange dream. Then I start thinking how many times I would have to turn a Time-Turner to get back there and shove Peter in front of the Knight Bus."

"You could've asked me," Remus said. The pain in his head was now a shooting spike between his eyes and the base of his neck. "You could've given me a nudge in bed one afternoon and said, 'Say, Remus, you aren't a spy for Voldemort, are you?'"

"I could've done a lot of things." Sirius looked up from the bed as his face shifted and warped back to his own thin visage. He looked like a ghost of himself. The potion had worn off.

"We all could have," Remus said. He clenched his fists; he wanted to strike something. Instead, he picked up a silver tray emblazoned with 'Toujours pur' and threw it across the room, where it hit the wall with a satisfying clang. "Damn it all!" he shouted, looking for something else to break.

The ceramic water pitcher with the Black crest was heavy and cold in his hand. Remus hefted it twice before letting out a roar and sending it flying to explode against the wall.

"Fuck!" Sirius whooped, jumping to his feet and hurling a silver candlestick from the night table into the mirror on the opposite wall. The mirror shattered violently and Sirius let out a maniacal laugh.

"Fuck you!" Remus yelled, shoving Sirius against the wall. "Fuck you, Sirius Black, you spoiled, childish, self-centered--"

"Self-centered? At least I'm not still playing the martyr for something that happened when I was barely out of short pants. You're a man for 28 days of the month. Fucking act like it." Sirius focused his hard gaze on Remus. "Go to hell, Remus Lupin," he said, pushing Remus away with a hard blow to the chest.

Remus shook as he caught his breath. "Say that again, and I'll send you there," he choked out, rushing at Sirius and pulling back a fist.

"I've been, thanks," Sirius said, ducking Remus's punch at the last second. Remus's fist connected with the wall and he felt his knuckles smack against plaster. Sirius bent and rammed against Remus with his shoulder, pushing him back and on to the bed.

"Goddamn it, Sirius!" Remus bellowed, trying to sit up.

"Filth! Disgusting half-breeds and traitors! How this noble house has been laid low--"

The shrill voice of Sirius's mother came filtering through the door; both men fell silent at the sound. Remus could hear Sirius's breathing, heavy and strained.

"Goddamn it, Sirius," he repeated, in a whisper this time. He sat up; his face felt hot and sweaty.

Sirius leaned--collapsed--against his shoulder. "Promise me something," Remus said, adjusting his seating on the bed. "No, swear to me. If you ever suspect me of being a spy--or anything else just as ridiculous--you'll damned well tell me."

Sirius coughed. "Don't make me laugh, Remus. Not now." He smoothed his palm against Remus's trouser leg. "You promise me something. "If you ever think-- if there's anything--"

"--I'll hex you into Sunday if you're acting the idiot," Remus said, interrupting.

"God, no. You'll be hexing every waking moment, and a few sleeping," Sirius said. "Just-- don't always think you have to be careful around me."

Remus sagged against the bedpost; Sirius leaned with him, the weight of his body pressing against Remus's. Careful wasn't a word he'd ever associated with Sirius, but it was true: he was careful around him, and he'd always been. He'd always been careful that he didn't do anything to cause Sirius's attention to wane, and careful that he didn't anger or inconvenience him. Now, he was careful not to bring up subjects that put a mad light in Sirius's eyes.

"All right," he said. "All right."


Silverlake: Authors / Mediums / Titles / Links / List / About / Updates / Silverlake Remix