*(1) New Text Message*
Moony: Can you please come get me? (8:37pm)
Sirius stared down at the text for a minute, his mind quickly filling with surprise and worry. He hadn't heard from Remus since he had started dating that new guy. Adam? Allen? Or whatever his name was. Either way, Sirius and James hadn't heard much from their friend in at least a month.
Moony: Sirius, please. I need you to come pick me up. (8:40pm)
Sirius: Where are you? (8:41pm)
Moony: Chestnut and Park. (8:41pm)
Sirius: Omw. (8:42pm)
Sirius launched from his seat and pushed past his best friend and roommate. James narrowed his gaze at him as he shoveled a few fries into his mouth.
"Where you going?" he muttered with his mouth full.
"Moony needs a ride." Sirius' voice was tight with worry. James frowned, then inhaled another handful of fries.
"I thought he was with what's-his-name? That's what Peter told me." James glanced over at Peter, Remus' roommate, who confirmed with a nod.
"Yeah, he was going out with Adam. He told me that he probably wouldn't be back tonight," Peter mumbled through a mouth full of food. Sirius just sighed and rolled his eyes at his friends.
"He sent me a text, practically begging. Something's wrong. He needs me to pick him up." Sirius' voice was cold as he glared at his friends, who simply nodded. "I'll see you later." And, with that, Sirius slapped some money on the table and headed for the door, leaving his bewildered friends to finish their meals.
Sirius pulled up along the corner of Chestnut and Park, quickly spotting Remus. He was dressed in a surprisingly fitted, powder blue dress shirt under a navy sweater vest, and well-fitted khakis. His hair was a little ruffled, several curls covering his eyes. Honestly, Sirius couldn't remember the last time he saw his sickeningly handsome friends dressed like that. But, with how Remus was holding his face, something was indeed very wrong.
"Rem!" Sirius called out of the window as he pulled up to the curb. Remus quickly shuffled over to him and slipped into the passenger seat. The lanky, tawny-haired man didn't say a word. He just held his head low, not showing his eyes.
"Thanks for coming," Remus finally spoke. His voice was hoarse, like he had been screaming his lungs out at a concert. This was just supposed to be dinner. Just dinner. No screaming, no lost voice. Sirius studied him for another moment, his stomach aching with worry, then shifted the car into drive.
As they pulled away, Sirius saw Remus slowly lower his hands. He still held his head low, but there was a darkness around his left eye, catching Sirius' attention.
"What happened, Rem?" Sirius kept his eyes on the road as he waited for an answer. All he got was a sniffle, and a light sob. "Remus-" Sirius answered his own question when he turned to the young man. Various shades of blues and purples surrounded Remus' eye and trickled down to his sharp cheek bone. Remus didn't look at him. "Fucking hell-"
"I'm okay," Remus choked. But, Sirius wasn't having any of it. He thought that Remus wasn't around much because he was happy, because he was too busy having fun with someone who made him smile. Sure, it killed Sirius to think that the man he had feelings for since eighth grade was happy with someone else. But, as long as Remus really was happy, it didn't matter.
But this? This was bullshit.
Sirius tried his best to keep his eyes on the road as he drove them both back to his own flat. James and Peter would probably the out for the night. So, it was the best place for Remus to, well, do whatever one does after something like this.
Sirius suddenly found himself filling with rage. He gripped the steering wheel as his jaw clenched, his pale knuckles turning even whiter. "I'm going to kill him. I'm going to find where that fucker lives and kill him-"
"Sirius, please stop. Please. I just want to get out of these clothes and get some ice on my eye." Remus wiped the tears from his cheeks and frowned. "I'll explain when we get back." Remus turned to him and rested his hand on Sirius' forearm. "Just promise me you'll listen and not freak out."
"It's too late for that, mate. That fucker is going down either way." Remus rolled his eyes and sighed, not wanting to argue anymore. He looked exhausted, which made Sirius' stomach sink even more.
Remus plopped down on Sirius' couch and sighed, gladly accepting an ice pack from his friend. Sirius lowered himself beside him, offering Remus one of his many band t-shirts. Remus took it with a nod and sighed.
"So?" Sirius asked, his voice low. "What the hell happened?"
Remus lowered his head and slowly unbuttoned his shirt. "Adam took me out to dinner. It was that nice place on Park, the one we always walk by. I had asked him for a few weeks now to go there, and maybe catch a late movie afterwards. And, since we've been seeing each other for one month now, officially, he agreed." Sirius watched Remus' every move as Remus closed his eyes, holding the ice back onto his sizable bruise. Sirius' t-shirt was lightly draped over his freckled chest.
"It started out so nice. We were talking, sharing stories about school and friends. Then, we ordered. And, that's when he stared getting irritated." Remus lifted the ice, letting out a deep sigh. "He said I was flirting with the waiter." Remus eyes locked on to Sirius, who stiffened. The bruise was far worse than he thought. The ring right around his eye was almost black, and the whites of his eyes were barely visible under the swelling. "I wasn't flirting, Pads. I wasn't." Remus shook his head as more tears began to fall. "I'm just-"
"Very friendly. I know, Rem." Sirius leaned over and lightly wrapped an arm around his distraught friend. "You're safe now. He's not going to do that to you again. Not to anyone if I can help it-"
"Please don't hurt him. Just leave him be," Remus growled, lifting the ice again. He quickly slipped Sirius' shirt over his head and sighed. "It would hurt him more if I just forget him altogether."
Sirius sighed, rubbing his friend's shoulder. "Why were you alone when I got you? How did you get him to leave?"
A ghost of a smile stretched over Remus' lips. "Well, we were yelling so loud in the restaurant that we got kicked out. Once we were outside, a security officer said one of us needed to leave or he would call the police. Since Adam had the car, he left me there." Remus shifted the ice and winced. "He punched me sometime between getting kicked out and taking off."
Sirius couldn't do anything but curl his fists and shake his head. He had no idea what to say. He had loved Remus for as long as he could remember. And, the only thing keeping him going after he found out Remus was dating someone else was the idea of Remus being happy. Now, Sirius knew that may not have been the case. At least, not completely. And that fact was starting to eat him up inside.
Remus bit his lip as he fought back another wave of tears. Sirius pulled him close, his hand gently cupping the other side of Remus' head as he rested the injured man against his shoulder. Remus started to sobbing, shaking as he dropped his ice pack onto the couch. Sirius just held him, his body tense with anger and sadness. Remus didn't deserve this. He deserved to be held, cradled, and loved. How could that asshole lay his hands on him like this?
Remus lifted his head, interrupting Sirius' thoughts. He sat up and leaned forward, resting his face in his hands. "I shouldn't have gone out with him in the first place." Sirius stiffened. Then, he reached out and turned Remus' face towards him. They stared for a moment, mere inches away from each other, eyes locked.
"Don't you dare think this is your fault. You did nothing wrong, Rem. Some people are just assholes who don't know what they have. He thought he owned you. You don't deserve to be owned. No, you deserve to be loved." Sirius' cheeks reddened a little, but he maintained his eye contact. "I hope you realize that one day."
"I don't know-"
"Don't. Don't say that. It will happen. I know for a fact that there are several people who would love to treat you like you deserve." Sirius wasn't blushing anymore. Sure, he was usually a flirt. But, this was deeper than flirting. He was speaking from his heart. "I'm sure of it."
"Like you?" Sirius' eyes widened at his friend's words.
"How did you-"
"I had a feeling, but I didn't believe it, not completely. That's why I went out with Adam. I couldn't tell if you were just being you or if it was something more." Sirius couldn't help but smile. "A part of me couldn't believe that someone like you would be interested in someone like me. But, after seeing how you reacted tonight, it confirmed my suspicions." Sirius nodded, then turned his body towards Remus.
"Well, you were fucking spot on." Sirius' gaze landed on Remus' bruised eye, making his stomach turn again. "I'm sorry this happened. That you had to find out like this."
"It's not your fault." Remus tilted his head a little. "But, now that I think about it, if you do ever see him again, I guess there is nothing I could do to stop you from punching him." Remus and Sirius grinned at each other.
Sirius leaned in and wrapped his arms around his friend. The feelings he had for Remus for at least the last decade were finally out in the open. And, shockingly, he wasn't nervous about it. Not that he was nervous about anything, like, ever. But, there was an odd calm filling him now, a weight lifted.
Sirius raised a hand and moved some of Remus' hair from his eyes. They smiled at each other for a moment, before Sirius leaned in and pressed a gentle kiss onto Remus' lips. When he pulled away only a second later, Remus' eyes were still closed, his lips still parted. Remus reached up, trailing his fingers over his bottom lip before finally opening his eyes.
"We'll talk about it in the morning. Right now, let's get you comfortable. You're staying here tonight. I don't want that lunatic going to your flat while you're still upset. I know Peter won't answer the door if you're not home anyway." Sirius nodded, waiting for Remus' approval. Remus smiled back, then nestled further into the couch. Sirius reached for the throw that was draped over the back of the couch and covered Remus with it, before retrieving the ice pack from the floor.
"Thank you, Sirius," Remus whispered as his eyes grew heavier. Sirius smiled down at him.
"No need. Just rest. We'll talk more in the morning." Sirius leaned down and planted a sweet kiss onto Remus forehead. He watched as Remus' eyes finally closed. Then, he turned towards his room, his mind lighter knowing that Remus was safe.