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Sirius woke to the gentle sound of raindrops on the roof and the unusual feeling of an empty bed beside him. It wasn’t often that Remus got up in the middle of the night – he’d only done it several times in the year or so they’d been living together – but when he did, Sirius could never quite resist following just to make sure everything was alright. It happened most often in the days just before the full moon, and Sirius was well aware of the sort of strain an impending transformation put on Remus’s conscience.

Sirius didn’t bother putting on slippers, or even a t-shirt, as he slid out of bed clad only in his boxers. He padded down the hall on the hardwood floors until he came to the sitting room and spotted him – Remus, lounging on the little window seat with his knees drawn up to his chest and the “I Love My Dog” mug James had gotten him for Christmas wrapped in his hands as he watched the raindrops cascade down the window.

The sight had the corners of Sirius’s mouth twitching up into a smile.

“Sweetheart,” Sirius said quietly, voice thick with sleepiness, as he crossed the rest of the distance between them. He came to a halt beside Remus, still standing and looking down at the beautiful man he was somehow lucky enough to call his own.

In the low light, Sirius saw Remus look at him with a sad smile. Up close, he could feel the tension radiating off of the other man. “Hi,” Remus murmured.

A lock of hair – the same one that had driven Sirius mad for years whenever it fell into Remus’s eyes during classes only to be haphazardly (and unsuccessfully) blown out of the way – had roguishly fallen onto Remus’s face, and Sirius couldn’t resist the urge to brush it away. He heard Remus’s sigh, then felt his boyfriend slowly relax into the touch as Sirius continued to stroke his hair.

“I’m sorry,” Remus said. His voice was deep and hoarse with sleep – a tone which Sirius had grown unbearably fond of over the last year and a half. Still, Sirius frowned, because he couldn’t imagine what Remus might be apologising for.

“Whatever for?” Sirius asked.

Remus gave a tiny shrug. “I didn’t mean to wake you.”

Sirius smiled sadly and shook his head. “Oh, you didn’t,” he assured him. “I think it was the rain.”

Remus stared at him for a moment before nodding and returning his gaze to the raindrops on the window.

“Would you mind if I joined you?” Sirius asked after a moment. He already knew the answer – knew that Remus would’ve told him by now if he wanted to be alone, but was often terrible at asking when he was in need of comfort. Learning to read Remus Lupin’s well-controlled emotions was something of an artform, and Sirius liked to think that he’d gotten rather good at it.

Sirius’s heart did a tiny leap in his chest when Remus smiled slightly at the question and nodded, extending his legs to make space for Sirius to sit between them. Feeling rather pleased with himself, Sirius carefully crawled onto the window seat and leaned back against Remus’s solid chest. He sighed in contentment when a pair of strong arms came around him – bringing with them a waft of the Earl Grey tea Remus always drank when he was stressed – and Remus nuzzled into his neck.

“You smell nice,” Remus murmured sleepily, and Sirius huffed out a laugh.

“I’m pretty sure I just smell like me,” Sirius teased.

He couldn’t help but smile softly when Remus pressed a sweet kiss to his cheek and whispered, “I know.”

Gods, Sirius loved this man.

They sat in comfortable silence for several minutes, listening to the rain and taking comfort in each other’s warmth. Remus had rested his forehead on Sirius’s shoulder and allowed Sirius to reach back and comb slender fingers through the tawny curls he so loved. It was so familiar, intimate in a way he could never quite describe, that Sirius ached with it.

Eventually, as Sirius suspected he would, Remus broke the silence.

“I know you’re wondering what’s bothering me,” Remus said, voice slightly muffled in the crook of Sirius’s neck. “But to be honest… I’m not quite sure how to explain it.”

Sirius’s heart clenched at the raw honestly in Remus’s voice, and he turned his head to kiss Remus’s temple, never ceasing the movement of his fingers through Remus’s hair. “We don’t have to talk about it,” he murmured. “I’m happy to just sit here with you like this and listen to the rain, if that’s what you’d like.”

For a brief moment, Remus’s arms tightened around Sirius, then he relaxed again and nodded into Sirius’s shoulder. Sirius gently pried the nearly empty mug of tea from Remus’s hands, sent it to the sink with a flick of his wrist, and began to trace the lines on one of Remus’s palms. He would wait for Remus to decide what he wanted to do and provide whatever comfort he could in the meantime.

“Sometimes it’s just harder than usual…” Remus said suddenly after who knew how long, lifting his face from Sirius’s shoulder to look out the window again. “Coming to terms with what I am… with what I become…”

Sirius brought the palm he’d been tracing to his lips so he could place a kiss directly in the centre, then linked their fingers and listened.

“It’s a part of me, and I understand that, obviously. And normally I’m as alright with it as I could ever be, because I have to be, and I can’t change it, but…” Remus sighed and paused, and Sirius knew he was trying to find the right words to explain how he was feeling. It wasn’t always an easy thing for either of them to do. “But sometimes I just hate it. I hate that it’s a part of me, even though I know that it’s probably made me a better person, and it’s made me resilient, and I have people who love me in spite of it…”

Sirius squeezed his hand gently. I love you.

“But I didn’t ask for this, you know?” Remus continued. “I can make the best of it by letting it make me a better person, but that doesn’t mean I want it. You can be good without turning into a horrible monster once a month, and I just… I wish I wasn’t like this, because it makes everything harder for me and for my parents and my friends and… for you…”

Sirius’s heart broke as Remus trailed off with a huff of frustration, and Sirius carefully extracted himself from his boyfriend’s arms so he could kneel on the little bench and turn to face him. Remus’s eyes were shiny with unshed tears. Sirius brought one hand up to cup Remus’s cheek and kept their fingers intertwined in the other.

“I didn’t ask for this, Sirius,” Remus whispered hoarsely. One of the tears slipped out, and Sirius brushed it away with a tender swipe of his thumb.

“I know, sweetheart,” Sirius murmured. He pressed their foreheads together, listened to Remus take a shuddering breath… “I know you didn’t.”

They sat like that for a long time, with Sirius eventually cradling Remus’s head in both hands and Remus clutching at his wrists to keep him there.

As though Sirius would ever so much as think of leaving.

“I’m sorry,” Remus muttered, and Sirius wanted to cry. “I don’t know why I’m feeling like this tonight.”

Sirius sighed and pulled back far enough to properly look Remus in those beautiful, hazel eyes. “Remus John Lupin,” he said softly, fondly. “You never need to apologise for feeling things – not with me. Unless, of course, you feel that Prongs’ taste in music is better than mine, in which case I will respectfully demand an apology.”

Remus cracked a small smile at that, and Sirius said a silent thank you to Merlin and Morgana that his boyfriend was alright with Sirius’s tendency to diffuse tension with humour as a reflex.

“You’re allowed to feel like this whenever you want, as long as you always know that nothing about your furry little problem has ever or will ever make me love you any less, alright?” Sirius’s voice was gentle and soft, the way it only ever was with Remus, never James or Peter or even Regulus.

Remus nodded, eyes shining with a stunned sort of love that made Sirius’s heart flutter. “I know,” he replied quietly.

“Good.” Sirius brought their lips together in a delicate, chaste kiss. “Because it’s the truth.”

Remus’s reply was another kiss, longer than the first but just as soft. “I love you,” he whispered against Sirius’s lips. “So much. And I’m glad you followed me out here tonight.”

Sirius smiled and kissed the tip of Remus’s nose. “Yeah?”

“Merlin, yes,” Remus huffed. “This was much better than melancholically staring out the window on a rainy night. I was being terribly cliché.”

At that, Sirius let out a quiet laugh. He supposed it was rather cliché of Remus…

Suddenly, an idea began to form in his mind. It was a bit mad, and maybe a little juvenile, but he thought it might be just the thing they needed.

He stood and extended his hand to Remus, who just stared at him. “Come with me.”

Remus looked at him curiously and took his hand, then let Sirius lead him to the front door, where Sirius slipped on a sweatshirt.

“What on earth are you doing?” Remus asked, a fond, confused smile on his lips.

“We’re going outside,” Sirius replied simply, grinning and tugging on Remus’s hand.

Remus just laughed, but allowed Sirius to pull him outside and into the rain anyway. “But it’s the middle of the night! And it’s pouring!” he protested with a grin, looking up to the sky as both of them began to feel cool droplets of rain against their skin. It was already soaking through the fabric of Remus’s t-shirt.

“I know!” Sirius grinned. He pulled Remus closer as they stood in the grass and wrapped his arms loosely around Remus’s neck.

“Sirius…” Remus laughed, looking at him in wonder.

“Dance with me.”

Remus’s eyes widened in surprise, but the smile never left his face. “But it’s raining,” he said with amusement. “And there’s no music.”

“So?” Sirius countered.

Remus considered him for several long moments, then laughed somewhat incredulously and wrapped his arms around Sirius’s waist.

Sirius’s heart fluttered happily as they began to sway together to an imaginary tune.

“Dare I ask what prompted this?” Remus asked, resting their foreheads together and looking down at Sirius with smiling eyes.

Sirius shrugged and felt his cheeks beginning to flush. “You said you were being cliché, so I figured… if you’re going to be cliché, might as well make it fun, yeah?”

“And you chose dancing in the rain?” Remus laughed.

Sirius huffed and rolled his eyes. “Well, I don’t exactly see you complaining about it!” he said with a grin.

“Oh, I’m not,” Remus assured him happily, pulling Sirius flush against him and into a long, lazy kiss. They continued to sway and kiss and laugh – Remus even twirled Sirius into a rather ungraceful spin once or twice – until both of them were completely soaked. When that blasted lock of hair became so saturated that it began to drip water, Sirius brushed it back yet again, and Remus stared at him for a moment.

“What?” Sirius asked, fidgeting a bit under the intensity of Remus’s gaze. They had stopped swaying, and the only sound around them was the pitter patter of rain on the ground, on the roof, on the leaves of the trees that surrounded their little cottage…

Remus blinked, as though he hadn’t realised he’d been staring. “Nothing, I just…” he said, sounding a bit breathless. Sirius bit his lip and waited. “You’re the most wonderful person, Sirius. Do you know that?”

Sirius was certain that he was probably blushing to the tips of his ears when Remus kissed him. This time it was deeper, more insistent than any of the others had been that night, and it left Sirius feeling out of breath and so, so in love. “Remus…” he whispered. A shiver ran down his spine, and he couldn’t tell whether it was from the chill or from the way Remus was pinning him to the spot with an unwavering gaze.

Remus frowned, and Sirius knew his protective instincts had kicked in upon seeing the shiver. The wolfish instincts – particularly the urge to protect and claim those who were subconsciously seen as pack – were always stronger right before the full moon.

“We’d better go inside and get warm,” Remus remarked, giving Sirius one last kiss on the forehead before linking their hands and apparating them straight to the master bathroom.

“Really?” Sirius huffed when he regained steady footing. “Couldn’t bear the twenty foot walk from the door to the bathroom?”

Remus chuckled as he spelled the shower on. “More like I didn’t want to drip water all over our home. You look like you’ve just been swimming with the giant squid.”

And, well… Sirius couldn’t exactly argue with that logic.

They both stripped quickly and stepped beneath the steady stream of warm water together without making much of a fuss. Somehow, Sirius had managed to train his brain to continue functioning, even with his gorgeous, nude boyfriend standing so close. It had been a necessary skill to master. Otherwise, he’d never be able to get out of bed most mornings.

Sirius closed his eyes and let the warmth of the shower (and Remus’s chest against his back) coax some of the chill from the rain out of his bones. He grinned when Remus began to pepper his shoulder and neck with kisses. Sirius turned around in his arms.

“I love you,” Sirius murmured, and Remus just smiled. In return, Sirius stepped even closer and kissed one of the scars that criss crossed his torso. “Every fucking beautiful inch of you.”

Remus made a soft, pleading noise in the back of his throat as Sirius continued to trace his scars with careful, reverent kisses and tender caresses. He made sure not to miss a single one as he mapped them out across Remus’s toned chest, and when he was satisfied that he’d sufficiently worshipped each and every one of them, he reached for Remus’s shampoo and poured some in his hands.

Remus did as Sirius asked when he quietly told him to turn around, and Sirius was glad that he wasn’t that much shorter than Remus, because he could easily reach those tawny curls and begin to gently massage the shampoo into them. He’d barely worked it into a lather when Remus let out a soft, happy hum, and Sirius smiled. Remus loved this, and Sirius knew it, so he often used it to bring Remus back to himself on days like this.

“Feels nice…” Remus muttered softly several minutes later while Sirius massaged some conditioner into his hair.

Sirius just hummed in acknowledgement and pressed a kiss to Remus’s spine, then nudged the taller man beneath the cascading water to rinse.

Afterwards – once Sirius had rinsed everything from Remus’s hair, pressing soft, lingering kisses to every inch of bare skin he could reach all the while – Sirius shut off the water with a wave of his hand and hastily threw a towel around his waist. He had more pressing matters at hand than ridding himself of the water droplets that continued to drip down his body.

Namely, continuing to dote on Remus until there could be no doubt in the brunette’s mind that Sirius had never once, for even a moment, thought of their relationship as a hardship.

Remus huffed and began to blush a beautiful shade of pink when Sirius silently got to work drying him off. “You don’t have to do this, you know,” Remus said, sounding a bit guilty.

Sirius finished carefully towelling off Remus’s upper body and met the hazel eyes he’d fallen so deeply in love with. “I know,” Sirius whispered. He didn’t look away as he dropped to his knees. “But I want to.”

Then, with the gentle touch he reserved for Remus and Remus alone, Sirius glided the towel down Remus’s legs with deliberate movements. He felt Remus’s eyes on him as he wicked the water away on one leg, then the other. He felt the twitch of Remus’s muscles when he towelled off his gorgeous arse. And finally, he heard a soft gasp from above him when he gave Remus’s half-hard cock a squeeze through the towel.

Sirius pressed a kiss to one of Remus’s knees before getting to his feet and giving Remus a relatively chaste peck on the lips.

“You go on to bed,” Sirius coaxed gently. “I’ll be there just as soon as I’ve dried off.”

Remus only smiled softly at him and made his way out into the bedroom, leaving Sirius to quickly towel himself off and glance at his own reflection in the mirror. The lovesick, smitten expression that was so plain on his own face nearly made him laugh. Instead, he shook his head with a grin at the mirror and left the bathroom.

He was met with the sight of Remus sitting on the edge of their bed, still fully unclothed, facing away from the doorway in which Sirius stood. His shoulders were hunched, slightly, and Sirius knew that despite Sirius’s best efforts, Remus still wasn’t feeling quite himself.

Sirius carefully climbed onto the bed and scooted forward until he could wrap his arms around his boyfriend’s lanky frame from behind, bracketing Remus’s body between his knees. “Hey,” he whispered, gently kissing Remus’s shoulder.

“Hello,” Remus replied quietly.

Sirius bit back a sigh at the other man’s subdued tone and nuzzled at the skin of his neck. “What do you want, sweetheart?” he murmured. He let his lips linger on soft skin before continuing. “What can I do?”

Remus sighed and gently pried Sirius’s arms away from him, then turned slightly until their gazes locked. “Just this,” Remus breathed, bringing their lips together. “I just want you, here, with me.”

Sirius smiled and swallowed down the lump in his throat, blinking away the tears that threatened to spring to life in his eyes. “Wouldn’t dream of being anywhere else, love.”

He kissed Remus slowly and sweetly until he could feel the other man finally beginning to relax all of those taunt muscles. It wasn’t often that Remus took the more passive role in their kisses, but he did nothing to take control as Sirius patiently pried open Remus’s lips with his own to deepen the kiss. Instead, he seemed to go pliant under Sirius’s touch, allowing Sirius’s hands to wander across the expanse of his chest and stomach, mapping the familiar landscape of scars underneath.

“You’re so bloody gorgeous,” Sirius murmured against Remus’s lips.

“No, that’s you,” Remus replied with a breathy laugh that only continued when Sirius pouted slightly.

“Hush up and let me give you compliments, you fool,” Sirius half-teased, half-whined. He grasped one of Remus’s hands in his own and tugged him towards the middle of the bed, then straddled his lap. They both hissed when their cocks brushed together, but Sirius maintained his focus.

He searched Remus’s eyes, carding both hands through the brown curls as he did so, and rested their foreheads together again. “I just want to take care of you,” Sirius confessed in a whisper.

Remus looked back at him with shining, adoring eyes and gave Sirius a somewhat watery smile.

“Will you let me?” Sirius asked. He kissed the corner of Remus’s mouth, then the centre of his forehead. “Let me take care of you tonight, Remus, please.” He doubted that Remus wouldn’t say no, but that didn’t stop the butterflies from erupting in his stomach when Remus gave him a tiny smile and nodded.

“I… I think I’d like that, tonight,” Remus whispered, sounding nearly as vulnerable as Sirius felt. Sirius’s soul felt bared to the world with Remus’s hazel eyes boring into him with so much raw intensity, so he pressed their lips together in a passionate kiss and gently pushed Remus onto his back.

Sirius’s lips slowly made their way down from Remus’s mouth to his neck, and then his chest as Sirius lavished his scars with attention in a way that could only be described as worshipful. When he glanced up at Remus’s face, Sirius saw that his eyes were shining with tears, but there was still a hint of a smile in them. “Alright?” Sirius asked quietly.

Remus nodded and laced a hand through Sirius’s hair, stroking so gently that Sirius nearly let his eyes flutter closed at the sensation. He didn’t though; he kept his eyes on Remus’s. “M’alright,” Remus said hoarsely. “Just… wondering what I could possibly have done to deserve you.”

“Oh, sweetheart,” Sirius breathed, climbing back up Remus’s body to gently guide their lips together. “Being you is enough. It’s always been enough.”

Remus made a soft choking noise that Sirius suspected might have been a sob were it not for the way Remus’s eyes shone with joy and his lips curved into a smitten smile. It made Sirius’s heart soar.

“I mean it, Remus,” Sirius murmured as he began to slide down Remus’s body again. He pressed his lips very deliberately to the centre of Remus’s sternum, right over his heart. “You are the single…” He kissed the long scar that ran the length of Remus’s left pectoral. “...most wonderful man…” Another kiss, to the sensitive skin just below Remus’s navel, this time. “...I have ever met.”

Sirius allowed his lips to curve into what he suspected was a somewhat wicked grin as he chastely kissed the head of his boyfriend’s cock, which was now fully hard and bobbing gently in the air just above Remus’s belly. Remus inhaled sharply and threaded his fingers into Sirius’s long hair, and Sirius couldn’t help the happy hum that escaped him. He liked having his hair pet – so sue him!

Sirius’s own cock twitched at the long groan Remus let out when Sirius finally licked a long stripe along the underside of the impressive length and swallowed down as much as he could. The bead of precum that had gathered at the head was bitter on his tongue, but Sirius didn’t mind. More than anything, it tasted like Remus, and Sirius had learned long ago that nothing about Remus Lupin could ever really be bad.

“God, Sirius,” Remus choked out as Sirius caressed his cock with his tongue. “How are you so – fuck – good at this?”

Instead of pulling off to respond with some sort of snarky comment, as he often did, Sirius only hummed around his mouthful and slowly took even more of Remus in.

Sirius spent ages diligently and carefully making Remus come undone, taking his time to suck him sweetly and languidly until Remus’s forehead was glistening with a sheen of sweat and his breathing was coming in harsh pants punctuated by drawn-out moans. Remus’s fingers were tight in his hair, sending jolts of pleasure to Sirius’s core whenever the other man tugged just a bit too hard, and Sirius knew Remus would be on the verge, soon.

“Fucking… fuck,” Remus said eloquently. Sirius smirked. His normally composed boyfriend tended to forget most of the English language when Sirius had his mouth around his cock, and Sirius was strangely proud of that.

He pulled off and shushed Remus’s whine of protest, replacing his mouth with his fist. “You look beautiful like this,” Sirius whispered hoarsely. Remus gasped when Sirius twisted his wrist just so. “I want you to come from my mouth on you.” Sirius’s own heart was beating rapidly against his chest, and he could see Remus’s fluttering pulse just above the younger man’s collarbone. “And I want you to watch me take everything you give me, yeah?”

Remus’s eyes darkened in an instant. “Fuck… yeah, Sirius.”

Sirius grinned a little, murmured a soft, “good,” and returned to the task at hand, this time with renewed vigour as he fisted his own painfully hard cock with one hand.

When Remus came, it was with a cry of Sirius’s name – hazel eyes wide as he watched Sirius swallow all of it down – and Sirius followed before Remus had even finished coating his throat.

“You are… unbelievable,” Remus panted as they both caught their breath. Sirius fought against the weight of his loose, sleepy limbs and forced himself to climb up the bed. He carefully cast a cleaning charm to vanish the mess he’d made before pressing himself to Remus’s back and wrapping his arms around the other man, one palm resting just above Remus’s heart.

“And you, Remus Lupin, are my favourite person,” Sirius whispered, his voice slightly rough. 

In his arms, Remus turned to face him, and there was a conflicted sort of expression on the younger man’s face when their gazes locked onto each other.

“Oh dear,” Remus half-teased. “Don’t tell James. He’d never forgive me.”

Sirius breathed out a laugh and brought his hand to rest on Remus’s cheek, his thumb slowly brushing back and forth over sun-kissed skin. “Oh, I’m certain he already knows,” he said with a shrug and a soft smile.

Remus’s lips turned up at the corners as his hazel eyes fluttered shut, and neither of them spoke for a long while. Moments like these were secretly Sirius’s favourites – when the two of them could relax into each other’s presence and simply be together. The mundanity of it all was, ironically, what made it feel so significant. Remus was the only person he’d ever met who could tame the restlessness that often felt like it dominated Sirius’s life.

He always had been, for as long as they’d known each other.

“You’re the easiest person to love, you know,” Sirius murmured suddenly.

Remus opened his eyes with a thoughtful expression, his brow slightly furrowed. Sirius wanted to kiss the little scrunched up part of his forehead… so, he did, and he felt a small surge of happiness when he pulled back and found that it had smoothed over again.

“You really are,” he continued. “And that’s not to say that things aren’t hard, sometimes – we still have the occasional row, and sometimes we drive each other mad – but nothing has ever been easier than loving you through it all.”

Sirius saw Remus’s throat bob as he swallowed thickly, and there were tears shining in those beautiful hazel eyes again. “Sirius…” Remus whispered.

“I know I’ve said this before, but don’t you dare forget that the only problem I’ve ever had with your lycanthropy has been seeing how much it hurts you. There is nothing I want more than to be able to take your pain away, but even if we never find a way to do that, I will always be here to hold your hand and bring you chocolate… and to remind you of all of the things you sometimes forget.”

Sirius smiled even as he felt tears brimming in his own eyes, a physical manifestation of the overflowing amount of love he had for this wonderful man.

“Because you, Remus Lupin, are just so bloody… remarkable, really,” he continued softly. “You are brilliant, and kind, and brave, and frankly unfairly beautiful in every possible way-” 

To Sirius’s delight, Remus huffed out a laugh and gave him a watery smile.

“You are the furthest possible thing from a monster, Remus, and I love you so much more than I could ever put into words. I always will.”

Sirius’s eyes drifted shut, causing a few tears to spill out of each of them, when he gently pressed his lips to Remus’s. Their tears mingled on blushing cheeks as they kissed, slowly and leisurely, until they broke apart.

Unlike Sirius, who only had the occasional tear slipping out, Remus had them streaming down his cheeks (though Sirius suspected they weren’t all out of sadness). The younger man was smiling slightly, and Sirius brushed some of the tears away with his thumb.

“I love you so much,” he whispered, pressing gentle kisses to Remus’s eyelids. “So fucking much.”

Remus just laughed wetly and grasped Sirius’s chin to pull their lips together again. Sirius happily let him. 

“I know,” Remus murmured. “I love you, too.”