by Victoria P.

"Are you coming?"

Remus looked up from his Arithmancy homework to see Sirius fidgeting in front of him. He'd been hoping to avoid this, hoping Sirius had gone down to the Quidditch pitch early with James. He needed to catch up on his homework -- he'd just spent two days in the hospital wing after the worst full moon since the night Sirius sent Snape to the Shack, and he didn't really fancy an argument with Sirius about it.

Padfoot hadn't joined him for a full moon since that night, and though things were slowly getting better, Remus was not up to a full-fledged discussion about his health, his homework, or Sirius's state of abject apology.

He knew his weak smile wouldnít sway Sirius, but he tried anyway. "Go ahead without me."

"Are you sure?"

"I just want to finish this up." He waved a hand to indicate the scroll in front of him. "I'll be along in a few minutes."

Sirius fiddled with the sleeve of his robe. "Are you sure?" he asked again.

Remus raised an eyebrow. "Did I not just say I was sure?"

"Well, yes, but--" Sirius looked as if he were going to argue, but then he said, "Okay."

Remus knew that tone, and it boded ill for them both. Sirius in a sulk was dangerous. Actually, Sirius was always dangerous, as he'd learned to his dismay, but more so in a sulk.

"But what?"

"Nothing," Sirius said sullenly.

On the other hand, he wasn't Sirius's keeper, and he was tired of being held responsible for Sirius's behavior.

"I said I'd be there. Just go without me."

Sirius looked up from his sleeve but didn't quite meet his eyes. "You have a nasty habit of getting involved in a project and forgetting to show up when you don't want to be someplace."

Remus furrowed his brow, caught and not wanting to admit it. "I lose track of time."

"You never lose track of time," Sirius replied hotly. "You're just sneaky."

"I am not!" He was a painfully good liar -- he'd had to be -- and he'd learned to fade into the woodwork at a young age, but he never thought of himself as 'sneaky.' There was something unpalatable about the idea. Something dark -- Slytherin -- about it.

"Yeah, you are," Sirius replied, reaching out and brushing Remus's hair off his face. He started at the unexpected, and unexpectedly gentle, touch. "But it's okay. I'll wait for you."

And just like that, Sirius had gone through his cycle of moods and was back to being what Remus thought of as the comfortable Sirius. The one who wasn't trying to get them all killed, or starting a war with the Slytherins because he knew it'd make his mum do her nut.

Except that comfortable Sirius was suddenly making him uncomfortable. Sirius had always been gentle with him after moon nights, gentler than he might have preferred, to be honest, but this wasnít the hospital wing and Pomfrey wasnít watching over them, ready to shoo Sirius out at the slightest sign of rambunctious behavior. It was altogether too intimate, and Remus knew he was in far worse danger now than he had ever been on even the most ridiculous of their midnight adventure.

"How long?" Remus asked faintly, still a little shocked by that soft touch and his own reaction to it. He really didn't want to go to the Quidditch match, because his back hurt just thinking about sitting for hours on the bleachers, but if he couldn't get rid of Sirius, it'd probably be easier than sitting in bed, not working because he was distracted by the effects of Siriusís touch.

Sirius was a million miles away. "What?"

"How long will you wait?"

"As long as I need to." There was something more in the words, something in the tone Remus couldn't identify, wasn't sure he wanted to.

"It may be a while," he warned, thinking, 'Go. Go now, before I forget that this is a very bad idea.'

"Yeah, but it'll be worth it." Again, Sirius's warm tone gave the words unexpected meaning.

He took refuge in teasing. "Sarcasm doesn't become you."

"Hey! I was being sincere. Couldn't you tell I was being sincere? That was my sincere voice."

Remus snorted. "I see. It sounds quite a bit like your 'sarcastic voice.' I apologize."

"Hmph. I'm not sure I accept." Sirius wandered over to the window and stared out at the Quidditch pitch.

Remus turned his attention back to his Arithmancy homework, cursing himself for allowing James to talk him into taking the class at all. He'd be quite happy if he never saw quadratic equations again.

He tried to find his place, frowning at the parchment in concentration, when Sirius said, "Are you done yet?"

He looked up, still frowning. "I thought you said you'd wait for me."

"And I will." Sirius leaned against the bedpost, played with the tasseled curtain-ties, practically vibrating with coiled energy. Remus found himself both envious of and exhausted by it. "I said nothing about waiting patiently."

"So it's a conditional thing?" The words were out before Remus could stop them, and he could hear the same multiple meanings with which Sirius had infused his earlier statements.

Sirius jumped. "What?"

He tried to keep his tone light, and failed miserably. "Your willingness to wait."

"Yes. No. I don't know. I'm waiting, aren't I?" He yanked hard on the gold cord, impatience and frustration clearly written in the lines of his body.

"Yes," Remus said softly.

Sirius looked at him, really looked at him, and Remus wanted to squirm beneath that intense scrutiny. "You don't want to go."

"No," he finally admitted.

Sirius took a deep breath and blew it out. "So, I could basically be waiting forever."

Remus closed his eyes. He had a feeling they were no longer speaking solely about the Quidditch match. He nodded. "It's possible, yes." Sirius was not the most patient person, and Remus always knew he might not be willing to hang about waiting to be forgiven, to be let all the way in.

"That's okay." Sirius smiled, and Remus felt his heart stop for a moment, and when it began beating again, the whole world had changed.

"But you want to go." He was slightly bewildered, as he always was by Sirius's sudden, casual kindnesses.

Sirius sank down on the edge of the bed and leaned in, lips nearly touching Remus's ear. "Want to be here with you more."

"That's... just when I've given up on you, you say something like that," he said, fighting to breathe against the tightness in his chest.

Sirius smiled, lips curving and eyes brightening. "Um, was it too much? I mean, I can take it back."

"No! No," he answered quickly. "It was good." 'Better than good. Perfect.'

"Okay then, scoot over." Sirius nudged his hip, overwhelming in the small bed.

"I really do need to get this done," Remus said, attempting to keep his wits about him as Arithmancy became the last thing he wanted to focus on, with the warmth of Siriusís body pressing against him.

Sirius paused, surprised. "It wasn't an excuse?"

"Well, it was," Remus admitted, "but... Forget it. C'mere." He wrapped an arm around Sirius's shoulders, pulled him close.

Sirius settled against him with a minimum of squirming, and pressed a kiss to his temple. "Okay?"

Remus carefully moved his books and parchment to the night table, then turned back to Sirius.

"Okay," he said, and met Sirius's lips with his own.


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