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For Remus Lupin, life at times was… somewhat tough. Scratch that, it was very tough. So tough in fact that he'd grown used to snarky, backhand comments – "Look at him… always so bloody shabby." "Where did he get those scars? If he wasn't such a loser he'd be kind of attractive, maybe." – and even accepted them with a defeated smile. He wished he could say they didn't bother him, but the one thing Remus Lupin wasn't, was a liar.

What he was though, was very secretive, and self-guarded. Many of his acquaintances, both in the wizarding world and in the muggle world where he was forced to work, knew next to nothing of the dour, reserved young man etched with scars. The extent of their knowledge was that he was bookish, quiet yet friendly, and peculiar, for there would be a few days during each month where he was tense, twitchy, and irritable, and some few following it where he would appear impossibly exhausted. There were only four people who knew him for who he really was, and he lived under the same roof as three of them. Well, five, actually, but he couldn't truly count young Harry since he was only three months old.

And one of the people who knew him well was currently pestering him, incessantly, to get dressed and go and get in the car.

"Listen Moony, Prongs and Lily deserve some alone time with Harry, and I know for a fact you need to unwind." Sirius urged from Remus' bedroom door, dressed in the most ridiculous outfit yet. Leather jacket, entirely too-tight jeans covered in rips and safety pins and bright green boots.

"If I go out with you Padfoot, there's no way you're getting me in one of those outfits, you look like a parakeet with an identity crisis." He drawled, pinching the bridge of his nose in embarrassment.

"I know, I look wicked, don't I?" Sirius grinned, forcing a subtle blush upon Remus' cheeks. "Anyway, you look like you need to unwind. Wednesday's transformation was a bit… heavy on you, wasn't it?"

Remus sighed and sat back in his desk chair. "Yeah. Worst for a few months now actually."

Sirius came in to the room proper and took a seat on the edge of Remus' bed, swivelling the seated man's desk chair around to face the bed. "So come out with me and unwind a bit. I know you feel like just sitting in here reading but how much can you really relax with a crying baby in the house?"

"Well, he's a good baby to be honest Pads, he barely cries at all."

"But when he does cry it's at four in the morning soon after you get home from your night shift. If it wasn't for those soundproofing charms Lily put up you'd be going spare."

Remus thought for a second before look over at him on the bed. "Yeah… yeah, I'll give you that. What are you dragging me out to?"

Sirius lit up and clapped his hands together. "Right. There's this muggle band-"



"No. Last time you dragged me to one of those – 'punk' was it? – concerts, my hearing was shot to shit for days. The smell was awful too, they spat everywhere!"

"Oh, you don't have to worry about that." Sirius reached into a jacket pocket and pulled out a small box. "I got you earplugs this time. Should tide you over until someone comes up with a charm that protects your eardrums."

Remus took the box and opened it up to see two small earplugs made of soft foam, and cracked a small smile. "As nifty as this might be Pads, I get the sense that this won't deal with the smell of spit, spilt lager and… whatever it is some of them smoke."

"Nah, we'll deal with that when it comes to it. C'mon Moony, what do you say? Come to a punk show with me?" Sirius reached out his hand with a dramatic flair, prompting Remus to chuckle.

"Alright… but can we get some food on the way? I'm bloody starving." Remus took Sirius' and pulled himself to his feet, not noticing that Sirius was doing the same until it was too late, and he was… rather close for comfort. Nose to nose even. He turned away quickly with a furious blush, failing to notice Sirius' own pinked cheeks.

"Yeah… alright. We'll go to that 24-hour café before the show starts, if you want?" Sirius suggested, scratching the back of his neck nervously. "You know, the one that does that awful black pudding stuff that you like."

"It's not awful Pads, it's like you." Remus playfully thumped Sirius in the chest. "An acquired taste."

"It seems like a lot of werewolves have a bloody awful taste in food." Sirius jabbed, ignoring the incredibly rude gesture Remus made as he walked out into the hallway. "Oh come on Moony, that one was good."

"It was the first few hundred times you made it, now it's irritating. Git."

Sirius shook his head and followed Remus out into the hallway, thinking to himself that Remus DEFINTELY blush when they got up close – it wasn't just himself.

Remus grimaced as he pulled the car into the relatively empty car park and settled into a space, sighing with relief as he pulled to a space and shut the engine off. "I bloody hate your car Sirius."

Sirius was idly rolling a cigarette and looked over with a soft "Hmm?"

"Your car. Surely you must have some money that you can sink into a decent one, instead of something that backfires every few miles?"

"I've not had access to the vault since my dear old hag of a mum kicked me out of the house Moony. Only thanks to Prongs did I even manage to get my own little vault, then sling Uncle Alphard's inheritance in there."

"Well could you dip into that at all? Possibly? At least to fix the bloody clutch?"

Sirius grinned over at him as he put the cigarette in his mouth and lit it with a match, taking a short puff before answering "Well… then I wouldn't be able to afford to take you out, would I?"

Remus shook his head and pulled out the keys, shutting the engine off and opened his door to step out. "Come on, you can't just sit in the car smoking until the show starts."

"Oh alright… Tell you what!" He called over as he stepped out of the passenger side, shutting the door and letting Remus lock it. "I did get some money changed the last time I was in Diagon Alley so how about I pay for dinner?"

"Wouldn't you rather spend it on something other than me?" Remus asked as he walked off towards the exit, the café sitting just across the road.

"Mate, what do you take me for? Buying shit for you and the rest of the Marauders is what makes me so destitute at times. Uncle Alphard would be proud… I think." Sirius jogged around the car and caught up to Remus, putting his arm around his shabby friend's shoulders.

Remus felt goosebumps come up as Sirius' arm came around him, and looked away involuntarily as the butterflies in his stomach grew. He'd thought that by now he'd be used to the butterflies when Sirius got affectionate, after nine years of friendship and just a hair less of that with a hopeless attraction to him. "Not bloody likely..." he'd say to himself.

"And anyway Moony, I do it because I want to, alright? It's what friends do mate."

Remus smiled at Sirius' hushed tone. "You know you go really quiet when you get all sappy? Some would think it's not very becoming of such a boisterous man."

"Oh look at you with your big words." Sirius teased as he pulled his arm away from Remus, walking slightly ahead. "And there's nothing wrong with sappy, sappy is good, sappy means I'm in a good mood. And I'm always in a good mood."

Remus snorted and ran to catch up with Sirius, gently pushing the door of the café open and nodding for Sirius to sit in the normal corner booth. He felt himself flush slightly with jealousy as Sirius winked at two 'punk' looking girls, who gave him a wolf-whistle as he walked off. Shaking himself out of it, he walked up to the counter and gave the elderly woman behind a warm smile. "Evening Elsie."

"Oh hello Moony dear! It's been a little while since you were last here. The usual I assume?"

"Yeah. Full English, extra black pudding, cup of tea."

"And what about your mate?" She nodded to the booth, where Sirius was busy putting his feet up on the chair opposite and putting his cigarette out in the ashtray, waving over to Elsie and mouthing the words "Love you."

"I think he'll have his usual as well." He gave her a knowing look and shared a smirk.

"Right… cup of tea it is then. I'll have it ready in a bit, just have to get the black pudding out of the fridge."

"No problem Elsie. You know where to find us." Remus stalked off to the booth and sat down opposite Sirius, grinning to himself as he grabbed his tobacco pouch and papers from his jacket. "I assumed you only want a cup of tea as per usual Pads, is that alright?"

"Oh, you know me well, don't you dear Moony? Elsie's one of the only people that can do it strong enough." Sirius placed the pouch and cigarette papers down on the table, and began a ritual that Remus found far too interesting for his own good. Internally, as he noticed it, he groaned.

He was focusing again. He hated it when he was focusing on Sirius doing something; it was the consequences of an unrequited longing really, focusing on things like watching the endeared roll a cigarette. The heaping of tobacco – or something else in Sirius' case – the gentle twists of the fingers that closed it up, the way he gently licked the top of the paper to seal it in... Remus found it FAR too interesting.

His focus was shaken when he heard someone clearing their throat, and looked up to see the two girls Sirius had winked at. Still rolling his cigarette, he only noticed due to Remus nudging his foot under the table. "Oh? Oh, hello ladies." He gave the two a friendly smile and went back to rolling his cigarette.

"Hi." The more confident of the two girls replied, the other staying quiet and making doe eyes over at Sirius, much to Remus' irritation. "You going to the gig later?"

Sirius nodded in reply, hiding a smirk as he noticed Remus rolling his eyes. "How could you tell?"

The shy girl giggled and blushed, provoking a slightly irritated look from her friend. "Wild guess mate, definitely. Listen… We're mates with the headline band. You know, the Anti-Nowhere League?"

"Nice, nice. How do me and my mate come into that though?"

"Well, if you're going, we can get you backstage. Meet the bands, go to the after party and that."

Without looking up from the cigarette, he said "And what about my friend?" He gestured to Remus, who looked slightly uncomfortable at being the focus.

"Umm..." The girl looked Remus up and down, wrinkling her nose. Disgust, something Remus was all too familiar with. "We've only got space for one person on the guest list. Doesn't look like his scene."

Remus looked down at the table and felt himself flush with embarrassment. Rarely was someone this forthright when he was out with someone. He knew from Sirius that some punks could be cliquey…

"Sorry ladies, gonna have to be a hard no." Sirius said, finishing yet another roll-up cigarette and sticking it behind his ear.

"W-what? Why?" the girl said in shock. The shier of the two seemed to understand, offering Remus a silent apology with her expression, but the other seemed… offended. "You can meet the band and-"

"Sorry." Sirius held up his hand to interrupt her, his expression stern. "Moony here gets nervous when he's alone in a crowd. And I've seen the League before; it can get dangerous. Wouldn't be able to live with myself if he got hurt." He didn't notice Remus look away to hide his blush, nor his wide and crooked smile.

"Well he's a big boy, ain't he? Can look after himself and that? He looks tasty and all, them scars would scare anyone off."

"No. Third time I've said it now." His tone got sterner, and he paused to lick the papers on the newest cigarette, slipping it into his mouth and pulling his matchbox out of a side pocket, striking it and lighting up his cigarette. "I mean no offence at all, but I really don't like repeating myself. And it seems like your friend totally understands, she seems fine to let it go."

"Yeah, honestly mate, I understand totally." The shy girl started to say before the more confident one piped up again.

"Nah, hang on a bit Lucy. Why is it you don't wanna leave your mate? Can't just be that he gets nervous? What is it, are you woofters?"

Remus felt himself flush in embarrassment and hurt, and he tried to tuck himself into the corner of the booth, looking at the wall. Sirius just gave her a dangerous gaze, taking a short puff on his cigarette. "None of your business. Piss off."

"Rox, that's well out! Doesn't matter if they're gay, he said he don't wanna come backstage. Leave it." Lucy pleaded with her friend, looking over at Sirius apologetically.

With seeming reluctance, Rox gave Sirius and Remus one last nasty look before walking away and out of the café door, muttering "Fuckin' queer bastards..." under her breath. Remus felt himself shake and he curled into the booth a bit more.

"Your friend… Rox, is it? She's a bit of a shithouse isn't she?" Sirius muttered, venom creeping into his voice.

"I really am sorry about that. So so sorry." Lucy stressed. "She's said some… not very nice stuff about gay people before, should've taken that as a bit of a warning sign. Your mate… is he alright?"

Sirius shook his head. "He shuts down around things like this, part of his nerves. Give us a sec." He shifted over slightly and nudged Remus' foot with his own. "Oi… Moony. You alright?"

Remus looked over at Sirius and felt his agitation melt. He gave Sirius a small smile and turned away from the wall, murmuring "Yeah. I'll be alright. Cheers." He turned to Lucy and gave her a small smile as well. "Thanks for telling her she was out of order. I get enough stick for being gay and having people just stay quiet."

"No problem. Tell you what, you can both come backstage, sod Rox. It'll be better there than out in the crowd if you're nervous love, you can sit at the side and watch."

Sirius grinned at Remus and raised his eyebrows. "That sounds ace actually. What do you think Moony?"

Remus looked away from his smile and scratched the back of his neck, blushing slightly when Sirius's foot nudged his own again. "Yeah. Sounds top."

As Lucy and Sirius got deeper into conversation, Remus kept quiet and enjoyed their enthusiasm, playing an unnoticed game of footsie under the table with Sirius. If there was one thing Remus enjoyed, it was Sirius's joy at tiny things like finding a friendly person that wouldn't partake in gay-bashing, or how lovely a hot cup of tea was on a cold November night; or his surprising competitiveness when playing a game of footsie.

With the times he's been dragged out before by Sirius, Remus thought that he'd be used to punks and how rowdy they were. Largely friendly, and overall welcoming, he'd had no issues there unless there were nastier types in the crowd, and they usually got, in the words of one of Sirius's other gig-going mates, "Their shit kicked in."

He was wrong. He wasn't used to it at all.

Being led backstage by Lucy, Sirius couldn't hide that inane, infectious grin that Remus couldn't help aping, but Remus' excitement was punctuated by heavy, heavy nerves again. Everyone was friendly, but aggressively friendly. The noise was… frankly, monstrous. The opening band hadn't even played yet but the music being blared over the speakers was deafening. "It's this band called Discharge, they're fucking ace!" Lucy had enthused when Sirius had asked. "I think Moony's already protecting himself though." She pointed to Remus already sliding the earplugs in and grimacing.

"Don't blame him. Oi, Moony?" Sirius shouted over the music. Remus looked up, eyes slightly frantic. "It'll be better backstage mate, they don't have shit loads of speakers like out here." He smiled when Remus nodded in understanding and pulled him along to follow Lucy's lead, past the bouncers and into the backstage rooms.

"That's them, isn't it?" Sirius said in a mildly starstruck voice, nodding towards a small group of fellows in the corner, bottles of beer in hand and quietly chatting.

"Yeah. They get a bit quiet backstage before playing a set. They've got another..." She looked down at her watch. "Three quarters of an hour to go though, openers are setting up. Oi, Nick!" She shouted over, and a taller bloke with sunglasses and suitably wild hair looked over, grinning. He rushed over and gave Lucy a tight hug before answering verbally.

"You got here at last then Lucy? Where's Rox?"

"Proved herself to be a bit of a cunt to be honest mate."

Nick chuckled and took a sip of beer. "Glad you said it, not me. Who are your mates?" He pointed to Remus and Sirius; Sirius' mouth was opening and closing like a goldfish, and he stammered much to Remus' amusement.

"Met them in the café. They were getting some stick off Rox 'cause Moony here is batting for the other side and I wasn't having that."

Nick nodded slowly. "Good, no place for that kind of shit. Nice to meet you fella, I'm Nick. Your mate though… I think he only knows me as Animal." He reached out to shake Remus' hand and grinned as he watched Sirius remain starstruck.

"He's been bigging you up on our car ride over, I have to admit." Remus smiled as he looked over at Sirius before shaking Nick's hand. "He hogs the bloody record player with that 'Streets of London' 7-inch."

Nick straight up grinned at this and put his hand on Sirius's shoulder. "You're my best mate now. Mind if I borrow him?" He looked over to Remus.

"Be my guest." Remus smirked and arched his eyebrows at Lucy, going into a full grin as Sirius looked back and seemed to become a child again, his excitement spilling out massively. He watched for a little while as Sirius spoke to the band animatedly and partook in the drinking of a few beers until he felt Lucy nudge him in the side, and he flinched.

"You alright there mate?" She looked at him with slight concern.

"Yeah… sorry. Get nervous, though I said that already. God, repeating myself, I'll stop-"

"Mate, mate… breathe." She put her hand on his shoulder in an effort to help. "It's alright. I'm a wreck when I'm not at a gig, I totally get it. I was gonna ask, actually..."

Remus gulped. "Ask what?"

"Well, bit of clarification I suppose. You said you were gay back at the café, didn't ya?" She nodded in understanding when Remus answered in the affirmative, and continued. "Right… is he gay? Is Sirius?"

Remus thought for a second. "I don't know, come to think of. He's a bit more fluid in his attraction. He had a girlfriend back at school, and he's snogged blokes at parties, but I've never actually had a certain answer off him."

"Right… interesting. And just how long have you fancied him rotten?"

Remus choked and spluttered, not hearing Lucy's giggles as he collected himself. "I'm sorry… what did you say?"

"I said, just how long have you fancied him rotten?"

Remus blushed furiously and started to stammer before Lucy pulled him out of the room. "We're gonna go somewhere private mate..." She pushed him through a side door outside into the back alley of the venue, and lit a cigarette. "Right… how long?"

Remus kept spluttering as he tried to form a sentence. "W-wwell I-I mean he's attractive I sup-"

"No. No no no. Slow down and think. How long… have you… fancied him?"

Remus sat on an upturned milk crate and tried to breathe, collecting his thoughts. "Remus… think about it for a bit." his internal monologue told him, and so he did as he was told, and began to think. He'd known since he was young that he was gay, or at least reserved his attraction to mostly men since school, and the Marauders had known since day one. But fancying Sirius?

"I dunno if I fancy him. I mean, he's an amazing friend, always has been, and yeah, he's VERY attractive..."

"And? Is that all?"

Remus shrugged. "I suppose?" He knew though, niggling at his mind, that this wasn't STRICTLY true. "Well…" he scratched the back of his neck nervously, ignoring the grin on Lucy's face.

"Ah… we're getting somewhere." She sat down next to him on the milk crate and nudged him again. "Well what?"

"Well… Oh, I dunno. You've seen how loud and… enthusiastic he gets, haven't you? You know, with the band, just then. Well… I remember him like that at school. He's got a really… infectious laugh. You know what I mean?"

Lucy smirked and took a drag from her cigarette. "Right. Nice laugh. That can't be the only thing though."

"No… it's more… he just has a real love for life. He was in a pretty bad situation when he was younger – got kicked out of the house at sixteen – but he's never really let it affect him. And he's always doing just… nice things for me… and the rest of our friends. When one friend announced she was pregnant, he just went straight out and bought them a pram. No questions asked. And… ooh, don't know if I should share this… VERY personal." He trailed off and looked at his shoes, wringing his hands together.

"Only share if you're comfortable fella." Lucy put her hand on his shoulder again and gave him a small smile. "I won't judge."

"I suppose… well. I've got a disease. Lifelong, really quite horrible. About once a month or so, I get VERY ill. And when I get ill… he's the first one to help me. Helps me when I'm having an episode, or I lash out. I mean, I'm medicated, but that can only do so much, I won't got into specifics. And… you know the first thing he does when I'm on the other side of an episode?" He smiles rather fondly as he remembers. "He buys me a huge bar of chocolate."

"Right… so he's good-hearted, loves life, optimistic, VERY giving… Yeah, they're excellent reasons to have a thing for him."

"Well… is it really me fancying him if I'm just honest about who he is?" Remus pointed out, chuckling a little as Lucy put her head in her hands and groaned quietly. "Really, I can point those things out without fancying him, right?"

"Well, what about that game of footsie under the table at the café?" She smiled as he blushed softly. "Oh, you thought I didn't notice? Or you blushing every time he looked at you? You're quite transparent mate, honestly."

Remus blushed harder. "Oh. Oh… that's pretty damning, isn't it?"


"Hmm. Doubt it's mutual though."

"Wouldn't be so sure."

They chatted on another half an hour without realising it, until Sirius found them, and dragged them back inside for the Anti-Nowhere League's set. "Moony, mate, they're fucking cool and they're just about to come on. Put the earplugs back in, you will NOT want to miss it."

"AND DON'T FUCK WITH THE LEAGUE!" the band finished their first song to cheers and spitting from the crowd, Remus wrinkling his nose in response.

"That's one thing I've never understood. Why on earth do you spit at the band?" Remus said into Lucy's ear.

"Show 'em how much we like 'em mate. You need a proper fucking bath though, afterwards."

Remus was about to respond when the band almost immediately jumped into their next song, screaming "SO FUCKING WHAT?!"

The crowd erupted again and Remus grimaced as they started to mosh and slam into each other. Sirius had dragged him to far too many concerts with this kind 'dancing' and even had to tend to Sirius after one particularly violent evening. He shifted uncomfortably and stepped away from the curtain, the moment a few concert-goers hopped onto the stage and dived back out into the crowd. "Shit!" he exclaimed, flinching away.

Lucy leaned over to Sirius and shouted into his ear over the music "He's not been this close to the action has he mate?"

"Nah, he tends to sit at the back. He preferred the crowds when we saw bands like T-Rex, bit calmer." Sirius shouted back, looking over at Remus. Despite enjoying the shows, he always worried for Remus when the crowd got active and… sometimes violent. He recalled one particular nasty show they had to dash from when the police turned up – he'd been more jittery since.

Cups full of beer started to fly at the stage from the crowd and while the band appreciated it… Remus didn't. Feeling overwhelmed, he started to back away slowly. When the stage-divers started climbing up and virtually flying off back into the crowd, his panic started to peak; in this state he was about to turn and run for the green room the band was sat in before when he saw Sirius move out of the corner of his eye and wrap his arms around Remus' waist, coming to rest his head on Remus' shoulder.

"'S alright Moony. It's alright." Sirius whispered into his ear and hugged him close. "You're not getting hurt on my watch; we'll apparate out if it gets too much for you mate. Okay?"

Remus immediately felt the worry melt as Sirius hugged him from behind, but a different anxiety rose to replace it – the all-too familiar butterflies in his stomach, and the rash of goosebumps swept across his skin again. His heart rate shot up as he turned to answer Sirius, and saw that instead of the goofy smile he was wearing before, he had a smaller, warmer smile, a private smile Sirius only tended to wear when… well, when Remus was in need of a helping hand.

"Okay..." Remus trailed off and nodded, leaning slightly back into Sirius. He felt the goosebumps start to fade and the butterflies in his stomach calmed, sighing softly and relaxing as he felt the panic start to subside. He might not get used to the crowds at shows like this, but he could get used to Sirius being protective… especially like this.

"Oh mate… that was fucking incredible." Sirius gasped, laughing as he flopped down into the back seat of the car. "Ending with a tune like "Let's Break the Law Tonight" is just..." Sirius kissed the air like a chef, prompting a snort from Remus as he closed the door then stepped into the driver's side.

"You're only saying that because Animal let you sing a bit of the chorus then had you stage-dive, aren't you?" he chuckled, starting the car and looking back to reverse out of the spot. "Don't think anyone's around… can do a bit of magic now."

Sirius grinned and pulled his wand from his jacket pocket, casting a bluebell flames charm and chucking them into a jar. "Eight bloody years since we first went to Hogwarts and I still like little spells like this. Makes you wonder really."

"What, how simple minded you are?" Remus snarked, turning back around and driving out of the car park, off straight away down the main road and back to the flat.

"Ooh, words can hurt you know Remus? How could you bruise my ego?" Sirius replied in faux-hurt, idly tossing the jar around in his hands. "It's the little things in life that serve to make life so complete, don't you think?"

"Yeah… I suppose. With all the horrible shit going on in the world, all the stuff Albus has us doing when we're not at work… got to have something." Remus sighed, looking in the mirror at Sirius playing with the bluebell flame jar.

"Why do you think I drag you out into the muggle world so often?" muttered Sirius, still watching the bluebell flames flicker in the jar. "Gives us something aside from all the shit. Even made a new friend tonight… d'you reckon Lily & James would like Lucy?"

Remus shrugged. "Most likely. James would be itching to get her into Quidditch and I don't think Lily's found a person yet that she didn't like."

"Yeah. Oi… wanted to ask you something about Lucy actually."

"What do you want to know? I can't exactly tell you a whole lot since we've both known her for… ooh, I don't know, a bloody evening."

Sirius snorted again. "Ooh, got a bit of sarcasm in you, knew tonight would make you feel a bit better. But..." He placed the jar on the seat next to him and leaned forward, his chin resting on the back of the driver's seat. "I saw you and Lucy nattering quite a bit today. Y'know, before the League went on, when I had a quick joint with the band after the gig, when I came back from the bog at the café just now. Are you… taken with her?" He said quietly… sounding just a bit jealous.

It was Remus' turn to snort now. "You're joking, aren't you Pads? You know I'm gay."

"Mostly gay, in your words; I seem to remember you being very taken with Marlene back in Hogwarts."

"Alright… I'll give you that. But, nah, I'm not interested in that way. Just… don't know, had an instant sort of bond with her. Like I had with you and the rest of the Marauders."

"Aww… isn't Moony a little softy?" Sirius teased, prompting an eye-roll from Remus. "If you're not interested in her in that way… what were you talking about exactly?"

"Oh… n-nothing important." Remus stammered. "Shit." his inner monologue spat. "He's gonna get nosy again. He's not going to bloody stop, sodding Sirius Black."

"Well that's total bollocks, isn't it Moony?" Remus could hear the grin in Sirius's voice, and groaned.

"Oh lord…" Remus sighed and looked in the rear-view mirror at Sirius, who was currently wiggling his eyebrows. "Right… if I tell you, you won't take the piss, will you Pads?"

"Mate… what do you take me for?"

"I take you to be an extraordinary pain in the arse."

Sirius snickered helplessly and leaned against the driver's seat, before responding. "Now that was a good one. But I won't have any sidetracking Mr Lupin. Tell me."

Remus gulped nervously, and started his explanation. "W-well. I was talking to Lucy a lot tonight because… she could sense something about me. And before you ask, no, she's not a witch, nor is she a werewolf."

"Okay… well, what is it she sensed then?"

"She sensed that… I was quite attracted to someone. So you were… you were half right." Remus felt slight relief as he made one part of the admission, but anxiety over the other part of the admission was starting to tie his stomach in knots.

"Oh, oh that's brilliant, mate! Was it someone at the gig?"

"Yeah. Yeah, it was actually. Someone at the gig." He gulped as he pulled up to a traffic light turning red, stopping at an irritatingly empty junction.

"Oh! Oh nice. Would I know them? Was it one of my other mates? Ooh, I bet it was Gadget, he's said to me he's gay before."

"No, Pads… it wasn't him." Remus stated. His heart was thumping a hundred miles an hour at this point, and he felt his palms on the steering wheel start to sweat. He knew exactly what was going to happen, nearly nine years of pining…

"Oh? Well, was it anyone else?"

The light went from red to orange, and faded into green when Remus blurted out his answer.

"It's you, Pads."

Pulling away from the junction, he let the silence hang in the air for a bit, the only sounds coming from the cars engine and the sounds of both men breathing. It wasn't an awkward silence, by any stretch, only slightly tense. Relief emanated from Remus in waves, but that gave way to more anxiety. Sirius was silent, and Remus glanced back at him in the rear-view mirror to see him rubbing his chin, in thought.

"It's me, eh?" Sirius muttered.

"Yeah. It's you."

"Right. Right..." He trailed off and turned back to the jar of bluebell flames for a second. "Is that why you've never 'been' with anyone Moony?"

Remus came to another red light and pulled up to let the engine idle, giving him some time to think. "If I'm 100% honest, yes. It's not a childish infatuation. I tried to write it off as that back at Hogwarts but, didn't bloody work."

Sirius took a second to clamber into the front passenger seat, making Remus chuckle softly as the former slid into the seat next to him and affixed his seatbelt, the bluebell flames bathing the front of the car in a soft baby blue glow. "You were taken with Marlene though? Or was that a way of trying to get over it?"

Remus shook his head as the light turned green and he peeled off to the right, not far from home. "No, I was genuinely very taken by her, but she was happy with Wormtail, didn't want to spoil that."

"Ah… ah, that's alright then. Because truth be told..." Sirius breathed in deeply and looked over to the driver's side. "I was a bit jealous."

"Of who? Me?"

"No. Marlene."

Remus' heart started to thud hard again, and he felt his mouth go dry. Did Sirius really just say that? Is this… "What are you saying Pads?"

"Why do you think I've never actually been in a relationship Moony? I've snogged people… I've snogged a LOT of people come to think, but it's never felt right. Never had a shag either." Sirius put his hand on Remus' leg comfortingly, smiling that warmer smile that only the latter knew. "Why do you think I get you more gifts than anyone? Or for that matter, why do you think I spend more time alone with you than the others?"

"B-because you're my b-b-best friend?"

"Well, that's part of it. But you're no fool. I think you know EXACTLY what I mean, mate."

"Oh. The feelings are mutual." said Remus' inner monologue. There was a split second of sheer elation before a sinking feeling started creeping in.

"Oh… Sirius. Are you sure? I mean, you know my pro-"

"Yes. Very sure."

"You didn't even let me finish. I'm deeply unwell and-"

"Remus!" Sirius interrupted the other man again and squeezed his leg softly. "I don't give a fuck. Yeah you're a werewolf, but it doesn't matter even a tiny sodding iota. I feel the bloody same. Have done for about as long as well. Just been nervous beyond fucking belief about actually telling you."

Remus blushed as he felt his leg being squeezed, and was privately thankful that the house was just ahead, pulling into the driveway slowly. Turning off the car, he sat in silence with Sirius again, all the nervous energy leaving… being replaced with excitement and elation. "You? Nervous about telling me you loved me? Of all the people." he chuckled, before hopping out of the car and nodding towards the house. "Let's get you in."

"Yeah… could do with a cup of tea, truth be told." Sirius agreed, and followed him out of the car, heading up to the front door as Remus took the time to lock the car. "You've always made it best anyway."

"Oh, now we're getting our feelings you, you want to get all mushy, do you?" Remus grinned, mumbling an Alohamora under his breath to get inside, ushering Sirius in and shushing him. "You go get ready for bed, I'll make the tea."

Sirius made to walk off, but stayed with Remus for a second, taking his hand. "We should probably kiss at least once, you know. To seal the deal, and all that." he said in an uncharacteristically bashful voice, and in the dark, Remus could virtually feel the other man blushing. As soon as the word 'kiss' left Sirius's mouth though, Remus joined in the blushing.

"Oh. Oh yes, um… I mean." Remus stumbled over his words for a second. "I've never kissed anyone though… aside from Mum on the cheek. Will I be any good?"

"I'll take the lead, mate. Don't worry." Sirius whispered, and he cupped the other man's cheek with his hand, pulling him closer. "Ready?"

Remus only had to nod before the gap was closed, and found himself tasting Sirius for the first time. Unlike the fierce snogs that he'd witnessed Sirius doing before, this was… gentle. No tongue, no wild embraces, no exaggerated sounds… just a quiet hum of satisfaction that Remus had to admit felt rather pleasant. It's something he knew he'd end up finding addictive, as time went by.

They pulled apart with reluctance and pressed their foreheads together, Sirius stroking Remus' cheek with his thumb. "Before you say anything, you were alright for a first timer."

Remus smirked and blushed, looking up into Sirius's eyes. "We've got ages to practice anyway, Pads. Now go and get ready for bed, somehow I think you'll be sharing mine."

Sirius gave him a peck on the cheek then headed off down the hall to his own bedroom, with Remus watching. He let out a quiet sigh before stepping into the kitchen… finding a VERY tired-looking but quite amused Lily, with young Harry over her shoulder.

"You do realise I've just lost a bet with James." She giggled, patting Harry on the back. "I bet him a month of day-time nappy changes that you two would get together after Christmas."

Remus smirked and looked away bashfully. "And I'm guessing James said before Christmas."

"Oh yeah. He's going to be insufferable, more than he normally is." She pulled Harry down when he let out a tiny burp, cradling him as he started to yawn and fuss. "I'm going to take a wild guess and say tonight wasn't too bad."

Remus turned away to the kettle and put it to boil, hiding a wide grin. "You guess correctly."

"Do you know how long we've been waiting for you both to realise? I thought Harry would've been at Hogwarts by the time you two got your heads out of the sand." She walked over to Remus and gave him a side-hug. "I'll tell James once I've settled Harry down, and leave you two to it. See you in the morning."

Remus hugged her back and kissed Harry's forehead, whispering "See you in the morning, little man." Lily put the baby back on her shoulder and bounced him softly as his eye started to flutter. Remus smiled a small smile to himself as they walked off, losing himself in thought as he made his and Sirius' cups of tea. "Bit of a whirlwind tonight… not that I mind." He murmured to himself, picking up the two cups and taking them into his bedroom, one down on each bedside table.

He'd changed into his bedclothes of pyjama bottoms and a ratty t-shirt when Sirius walked in… shirtless. And only boxers on his lower half. Remus looked with a blush spreading again as Sirius chuckled to himself. "My eyes are up here, Moony." He pointed up to his face, before leaning down for a peck on the cheek and slipping into bed after walking over to the other side. "Ooh, your bed is quite comfy, actually. I could get used to this."

Remus shook his head and slipped into bed himself, pulling the covers over and rolling onto his side to look at the other man, gingerly taking a sip of his cup of tea. "Ooh… strong. Perfect." Sirius murmured, before putting the cup aside and wrapping Remus in a hug. "Yeah… I quite like it in here."

"So, is this how it's going to be now, Pads?" Remus looked up at Sirius from the hug, and wrapped his arms around the other man's waist, pulling him closer.

"Like what?" Sirius mumbled into Remus' hair.

"Staying in here with me? Not gonna sleep in your old room I assume?"

"Better believe it, mate. Not staying away from my boyfriend."

Remus' breath caught in his throat and he tried – and failed – to suppress a smile as he buried his face in Sirius' chest. "So I'm your boyfriend now am I?"

Sirius looked down knowingly and whispered. "I dare you to tell me you're not."

Remus didn't give a verbal answer, and just hugged Sirius tighter in response. "Sirius Black is my boyfriend… how many times can I say that and still feel butterflies?" his internal monologue asked him. "I've got ages to try..."