Notes and disclaimers: Harry Potter, et al, owned by Scholastic and JKR, not me. No profit garnered ever. Thanks to Circusgirl, and thanks to Mosca, Mare and Circusgirl again.


Sirius was meant to appear to be angry at Dumbledore for a host of reasons, and he didn't find that a particularly difficult task. He was genuinely angry that his little cousin with the often pink hair had fallen through the Veil at the Department of Mysteries, he did think Harry had been ill-served repeatedly by Dumbledore's decisions and he did very much resent that he had spent the last year forced to live in his parents' home. So he had a summer of doing very serious work while appearing to be doing nothing much at all but sleeping his way through London.

He staggered to his flat and sprawled on the couch. "I am taking a memo," he said, aping an American accent he'd heard on the telly. It wasn't a very good attempt, but no one was listening besides the furniture. It was very ordinary Muggle furniture which came with his ordinary Muggle flat and had yet to laugh at any of his jokes.

"All right," he said. "Tonight I did meet with a comely lad called Walter. Walter Springtuskins. He was easily seduced and would have been worth a harder course." Sirius laughed. "Bloody hell. Perhaps I'll compose a letter about that one. Dear Dumbledore, first he removed his robes and then did a little dance and then we kissed and kissed all sorts of places."

Of course, he had also had a long conversation with Walter about Voldemort and standing up against Death Eaters. That would be the sort of letter Dumbledore would like to receive. But no one had approached Walter before Sirius so there was no information of merit to pass on. Not a loss, not a win.

"But a mighty sweet night," Sirius said and went to his bedroom. He curled up on the bed as Padfoot and fell straight asleep.

He woke to Remus scratching right behind his ears and saying, "Who did you fuck last night, Sirius?"

Padfoot rolled over and Sirius rose from the bed. "Hoping for a go at my leftovers, Moony?"

Remus looked battered as always. And remote and old.

Maybe Molly was right and he had loved Tonks. Molly being right about either of them was an offensive thought to Sirius.

"Perhaps I'd like to make sure we don't overlap. Double-dipping wouldn't be effective, would it?"

"I'd like to take a second dip of last night's, I tell you," Sirius said and went into the bathroom without looking back at Remus. He wasn't there when Sirius emerged from his lengthy bath.

"He comes," Sirius said to the rumpled bed. "His undercover work is so dangerous. Very very dangerous, you understand. So he arrives, tells me nothing, takes the mickey out of me for enjoying my freedom and then Apparates away. I suppose I'm a break for him. A rest from all those dangerous people he spends his time with."

Remus cared for him, he was Remus's very last friend in the entire world.

The photo by the bed showed James swooping in and out on his broom while Sirius and Remus watched. Peter ducked in once a while but ran away when Sirius looked at the photo. Once in a while, after Peter had scurried out and James had flown up, Remus would hold Sirius's hand. "You are a very old picture," Sirius said.

Sirius went to the sitting room and wrote a long letter to Harry with everything he knew spelled between the lines. Nearly everything he knew. He spilled a potion over the entire thing and licked the flap. He put a simple stamp on it and performed a spell to send it through the Muggle post. Death Eaters would never think to look at Harry's Muggle post. And only Harry had the other batch of the potion to make it clear even if they did.

Peter had come up with the idea in their third year but James had made the potion. Sirius had modified it since. He'd had days of nothing to do for an entire year.

Sirius went out and talked to somebody whose name he forgot after saying it once and then came back and fell asleep in the afternoon after a hearty meal. He woke up again to Remus's voice. "Did you do anything at all today?"

"Oh, you know, saved a life or two." Sirius smiled. "And you?"

"Nothing, of course." Remus sat down across from Sirius. "You shame me."

Sirius laughed. "Of course I do."

"I'm surprised how many people believe you really have abandoned the fight," Remus said.

"Including you?"

"I never believed," Remus said. He smiled. "I was there when Dumbledore suggested it."

"Nice of him to learn from his mistakes."

Remus leaned back and rested his hands on his chest. "Did you hear about Dumbledore's hand?"

Sirius bit at his fingernail. He said, "Yes. I'm fairly sure where he got it from. Are you?"

"Yes," Remus said. "It's not a good sign."

"Nothing is," Sirius said. "And yet, here we are."

"It's a nice flat," Remus said. He closed his eyes.

"You plan to sleep on my couch?"

"I thought I might."

Sirius glanced at Remus as he left the flat and he certainly appeared to be sleeping. Maybe the couch was more comfortable than Sirius thought. And Remus was still there, eyes closed, when Sirius returned from his evening out. "I've acquired a flatmate again," he told the table.

"Do they ever answer?"

"No," Sirius said. "Why else would I talk to them?"

Remus had not opened his eyes. "Who did you fuck tonight, Sirius?"

"No one." Remus's lips curved, it wasn't a smile. Sirius said, "Little shag in the alley, but you asked about fucking." Sirius stretched and said, "We could change that. Since you're moving in."

"I'm not moving in. I'm resting my eyes. And you don't want to fuck me: I'm already working for the Order." Remus's eyes were still closed but the knuckles of his fisted hand were white suddenly.

"Oh, I choose for other reasons, sometimes. Though really, I'm thrilled to know I finally have a career. I wish McGonagall had offered this one, back at Hogwarts." Sirius grinned.

Remus opened his eyes and nearly sneered. "On that note, I need to get back to my career." He Apparated with a pop that Sirius thought was somehow disdainful.


Sirius watched Kreacher scrubbing the floor. It was oddly soothing. "This is my favorite part of visiting my old home," Sirius said. Kreacher muttered and scrubbed harder.

He heard the ping of the alarms as someone entered. "That would be Harry. Aren't you excited?"

Kreacher bent closer to the floor and didn't quite mask his words. Sirius beamed and turned towards the door.

"You are not Harry," Sirius said.

"No," Remus said. "Still happy to see me?"

"Compared to seeing Kreacher? Of course." Sirius looked over his shoulder and listed off what he'd like Kreacher to do. It was a very long list and Sirius repeated "do not leave this house and do not speak to anyone besides me" three times. He beamed at Kreacher and pulled Remus out of the room. "Let's go upstairs."

"Funny how the house looks better now that it's unoccupied," Remus said.

"Oh, I've done some thorough work. Since I can leave at the end of the night, oddly, I have much more motivation." Sirius held Remus's wrist to take him further to the third floor. "I've missed you in the middle of the night, asking me about who I've shagged," he said without really thinking.

"I've been too busy shagging, oh, wait, I believe that's you."

"Fucking for peace, my mate." Sirius smiled and retrieved a shirt from his bag. "Got this for Harry. I went to a show, right? Oasis? You've heard of them."

"I prefer the Beatles."

"The Beatles don't have shows anymore. This one was good. Called each other wankers, called other bands wankers and even worse besides. It was like you were in the room talking to me." Sirius grinned. "Though you're more inventive, they were all about the fooks and shites."

"I pride myself on my word choice," Remus said. He fingered the shirt and put it back in the bag. "I didn't think I was that critical when we last talked."

Sirius shrugged. "But then you stopped talking to me at all. That was a little vicious."

"You were hurt?" Remus nearly laughed. "I was busy. My work for the Order. It wasn't a message."

"It gets so confusing," Sirius said quietly. He turned and said, "Do you remember this spot?"

"You kissed James, hoping your mother would catch you." Remus nearly smirked.

"She never did walk up here. We tried a number of times that week. It wasn't a hardship, of course, since James was an excellent kisser."

Remus looked Sirius in the eye. "So I heard."

"Were you in love with my cousin?"

Remus took a step back but his expression didn't change. "No, I wasn't. She was in love with me, though. I tried to be kind."

"How difficult for you, fending off both of us." Sirius grinned and started walking downstairs. It was a moment before Remus followed.

"Was I fending you off?"

"Was I too subtle?" Sirius shook his head. "Maybe I had already given up in the face of your clear message."

Remus said, "It was different with you."

"Different because you'd once wanted to and had loved me? I imagine so," Sirius said. They'd reached the bottom floor and Sirius refused to turn around.

"It doesn't seem to be bothering you now," Remus said.

"It's been nearly two years." Sirius turned around, sure of his smile now. "Should I pine?"

Remus patted his trousers. It was almost a nervous gesture. He said, "I'd find it hard to stomach now."

"You're angry, aren't you? That I didn't find my freedom and, what? Jump into your bed?"

"Of course not," Remus said. He turned around and rubbed his forehead. "Of course not."

"If you say it twice, I completely believe you," Sirius said.

Then the ping sounded again and Harry came rushing in, smiling.


Sirius was staring out the window at the half light from the streets when Remus Apparated in to sit at the end of the bed. Remus said, "Did you just get in?"

"Yes," Sirius said. "A very long night." He poked Remus with his toe. "Aren't you going to ask who it was tonight?"

"You never answer."

Sirius smiled. "How is your quite more dangerous than mine work coming along?"

"Wearying," Remus said. "I am weary." He made a pained face so it was nearly sarcasm.

"I don't mind if you sleep here," Sirius said. He turned on his side and said, "I like to be kind."

Remus snorted, but he stretched out next to Sirius.

Sirius didn't expect Remus to be there when he woke up but not only had Remus stayed; he'd wormed his way under the heavy blanket at some point. Sirius shoved his shoulder and said, "Wake up."

"Why why," Remus muttered.

"Because I'm awake," Sirius said. He'd even bathed, thinking it would drive Remus out. Seeing as it had worked in the past. "I don't want him to stay," he'd said to the faucet. He really had a very long night; two dates and one of them had received feelers from the Death Eaters. That made it much more difficult to get them in bed. But more worthwhile when he succeeded, which he had.

Sirius said, "As you're still here, if you clean up, I'll make breakfast."

"Fine, inform the oven I'll be staying," Remus muttered.

Sirius did not inform the oven, but he complained to the table. The table, he thought, was the most sympathetic of his silent furniture. He just sensed it. He sighed and made eggs.

Remus sat down and said, "I suppose I never really thought we'd have a second chance."

"For eggs?" Sirius placed his hand on the table and wished fervently it would suddenly start talking. "Or did you mean something else?"

"Obviously. No one would wish for a second chance at your eggs, Sirius." Remus rubbed his chin. "Yes, I meant something else."

"So since we were doomed, you decided to be kind," Sirius said. "And now you'd like to withdraw your courtesy."

"I would," Remus said. He ate his eggs in silence for a few minutes and finally slammed down his fork. "Sirius."

"Please don't hurt the table." Sirius took the fork away and glared but Remus kept looking him straight in the eyes. "What? I'm supposed to just answer? You'd like me in your bed, or I suppose, you'd like to come to my bed. Thank you for the wonderful offer, Remus, but I'd like to think a bit." Sirius rubbed his trousers. "I couldn't quit what I do."

"Wouldn't," Remus said. "I don't really mind, frankly. I'm not planning to quit mine, either."

"What a glorious second chance," Sirius said. He was nearly laughing.

"You're interested," Remus said, leaning back in his chair.

Sirius leaned over the table and kissed Remus hard, teeth clicking for a moment before Remus was ready. Remus pulled him around the table and Sirius nearly toppled over. He didn't stop kissing Remus.

Remus stopped, though, and leaned further back. "Is that a yes?"

"We do have this brilliant second chance. Me with my own flat," Sirius said. "Allowed out and about, not haunted. It is brilliant, you know."

"I'm willing to settle," Remus said, shifting in his chair. "If you are."

Sirius waited for another answer to come to him, but in the end all he had was "I am."


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