The Intimate Art Of The Close Shave
by Victoria P.

They are packing up Remus's flat in preparation for the move into number twelve, Grimmauld Place when Sirius lets out a whoop. Remus finds his chest aches at each sound of joy Sirius makes, and he needs to take a couple of deep breaths before going to see what's caused it this time.

Sirius has the unholy light of mischief in his eyes when Remus pushes open the bathroom door.

"You kept it. You kept my razor," Sirius says, practically bouncing with excitement. He holds up the ivory-handled straight razor Remus gave him as a gift their last Christmas at Hogwarts.

Remus smiles. "Yes." He doesn't mention how often he'd thought of using it in the twelve years Sirius spent in Azkaban, longing for the clean, precise pain of a sharp blade slicing through tired flesh. Those days are past. Some things are best left there.

Sirius unfolds it and murmurs cleaning charms and sharpening spells, though the blade has held its edge. Remus has made sure of that.

"Too bad I already shaved this morning," Sirius says, eyeing him speculatively. "But you, Professor Moony, are a disgrace. You haven't shaved in days."

Remus, startled, runs a hand over his stubbled chin. "I'm unemployed, Sirius. I don't have to shave everyday."

"I am a fugitive from the law, Moony. Neither do I. But keeping up appearances is important, you know," Sirius replies, grinning. "Let me give you a shave."

"I thought you liked my scruffy looks."

"Oh, I do, but think of the way I'll pamper you -- a hot towel, a light massage, the best razor known to man against your skin -- while making you respectable again."

"I don't know." He doesn't like the feel of sharp steel against his skin, or maybe he likes it too much -- too easy to lean in, end everything. It's been a long time since he's wanted to, but he's never felt the need to test himself in that regard. Better to be safe and use a shaving charm.

Sirius's eyes darken, and his body tenses. Remus's breath catches at the intensity of his stare. "Do you trust me, Remus?"

"Yes," he answers without hesitation. Distrust has caused enough damage in their lives, radiating out and shattering others'; he has promised himself he will never allow it to creep in and wreak its havoc again. Not between him and Sirius. Sirius has made the same pledge. It is the only vow they need.

"Then sit." Sirius points him toward the toilet and Remus sinks down upon the covered seat.

Sirius gently brushes his hair off his forehead, and then places a warm, wet towel on his face. Remus sighs; the warmth seeps into him, and he relaxes. He can hear Sirius puttering about, running water, humming snatches of songs that were popular when they were Harry's age.

He leans back, tries to get comfortable as Sirius murmurs a spell to keep water from dripping on him. He's in a light doze -- he's had the ability to fall asleep whenever, wherever as long as he can remember -- when Sirius slides the towel off his face. The cool air is startling against his skin, and he sits up abruptly.

"Shh," Sirius says, placing a hand on his shoulder, using the other to tilt his chin up.

Remus swallows hard, feeling incredibly exposed. He used to pretend the wolf was separate, something he became once a month, not something with him all the time, but the years have shown him his behavior has been influenced in myriad small ways, and baring his throat to Sirius, even knowing Sirius means no harm, makes him uncomfortable on a level so deep he can't articulate it.

Sirius drops a light kiss on his lips before lathering his face and throat with cool shaving cream. It has a slightly medicinal scent, overlaid with lemon, and it reminds him of Sirius's skin. He breathes it in and is back in their flat, a lifetime ago, before the world ended and nobody noticed. Back in their flat, recalling lazy mornings spent in bed and evenings on the couch -- he lets the memories wash over him, only slightly tinged with bitterness now, bitterness for the time they've lost, because now he knows it wasn't all a lie.

He squints up at Sirius, gaunt face scrunched up in concentration, and is back in the present.

It's always been painful to look at Sirius for too long -- then because he was so bright, so beautiful, and so damned careless of it all, everything Remus ever wanted and ever wanted to be, like Lucifer before the fall; now because the superficial beauty is gone, and the true strength of his personality shines through in the glint of his eyes, the arch of his cheek, the curve of his lips. Sirius has been refined by fire, his face a map of his suffering, and like the paintings of Saint Sebastian Remus's mother had dragged him to see in museums around the world as they'd searched for a cure, Sirius's martyrdom is written on his body for everyone to see.

Now Remus's heart constricts because he hadn't had faith, had believed the evidence of eyes and hands instead of heart and blood and bone, and they'd paid for it, both of them, and Harry, too.

Sirius raises the blade and Remus meets his eyes, confident Sirius won't hurt him. He attempts to put all his love and trust in that gaze; it's not enough to heal fifteen years worth of damage, but he hopes it's a start.

Sirius smiles, his hand steady as he drags the razor lightly over Remus's skin. Remus relaxes under the touch, his eyes holding Sirius's, body responding to his nearness. The warmth of being surrounded by Sirius is a heady contrast to the cool scrape of the razor, the slight sting on his skin.

Sirius takes his time, working slowly and oh-so-carefully, especially on the sensitive flesh of his throat. A low growl escapes Remus and he shrugs sheepishly. Sirius laughs and presses a kiss to the top of his head. His eyes flutter closed. He's hyperaware of Sirius above and behind him, each firm yet gentle stroke of the razor against his skin reminds him that he is loved as much as he loves; perhaps more. He can't tell anymore, thinks the days of wondering if their love was equal are long past, a foolish indulgence of the young and ignorant. There is love and it is immeasurable and it is enough and yet never enough at the same time.

He wants to reach up and grab Sirius, pull him down and kiss him until they're both breathless and aching with need, press him back against the tiled wall and --

"I think that's it," Sirius says, wiping the remains of the shaving cream away with the now cool towel. Remus waits until he puts the razor down, and then springs, one hand sliding around Sirius's jaw, thumb ghosting over those well-sculpted lips, the other gripping his shoulder to pull him close so his mouth can trace the same path.

Sirius opens his mouth and deepens the kiss; they surge together, smooth skin, warm lips and urgent hands clutching at each other like drowning men reaching for a life preserver. He is frantic, attempting to climb inside Sirius's skin, as if it's the first time, the last time, all over again.

Sirius swings him against the wall, murmuring against his lips, his newly shorn skin. "S'okay, Remus, take your time."

He opens his eyes and is again caught in the intensity of Sirius's gaze, the pupils so large his eyes look black, ringed with pale blue. He lets himself be held upright by Sirius and the wall, and laughs a little at the reversal of their roles. He is the patient, methodical one, always in control, and Sirius is the wild, untamed force of nature attempting to shake him loose. But it's been so long (not really; early this morning Sirius woke him with kisses) and he wants it so much, he can't wait.

His fingers fumble but Sirius is prepared, wand at the ready to banish clothes and other inconveniences so they can move against each other without anything in the way, skin on skin. Sirius is thin, though he'll fill out with regular feeding, and Remus aches at the sight of him.

Remus can't figure out where to lay hands first -- with quicksilver touches, like the glint of moonlight off water, he brushes Sirius's shoulders, chest, belly. Sirius sucks in a breath and they laugh together -- Sirius's ticklishness has provided hours of entertainment in the past, and will again in the future.

"Let me," he says and Sirius nods, dark hair feathering over Remus's skin, making him shiver. He reaches down, wraps a hand around Sirius's cock, hard and hot, slick with precome, and begins stroking.

"You, too," Sirius manages, and Remus has to close his eyes and breathe deeply to regain some semblance of control when Sirius's large, warm hand enfolds him. They move together, stroking and thrusting.

"Remus." Sirius is coming, his face contorted in pleasure, eyes closed, mouth open, hips pumping hard. Remus watches, his own pleasure increasing at the sight, the feel of Sirius spurting over his hand, on his body. Sirius rests against him, limp and sweaty, pressing soft kisses to his neck, hand still jacking him. The tension twists up inside him, and he arches and thrusts, straining for release. He savors that moment on the edge of the precipice, tries to make it last, knowing it never does. Then he falls, comes with a grunt, hips jerking against Sirius's thigh.

They lean against each other, holding each other up, and Sirius pushes the sweaty hair off Remus's forehead, presses a kiss there, on his eyelids, left and right, and then the corners of his mouth.

"Mmm," he murmurs against those warm, kiss-swollen lips, arms wrapped around Sirius's waist, keeping him close.

"I knew you'd like it," Sirius says, laughter in his voice. "But I didn't think you'd like it quite that much." They both laugh, still clinging to each other and resting against the cool tile wall. "We need to do this every morning."

Remus can only nod in agreement. Shaving will never be the same again.


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