I'm sorry it's late, Ellen, but I didn't like the way it was going yesterday.
Harry Potter (Sirius Black/Remus Lupin) Spoilers for Order of the Phoenix; PG
Remus downed the potion, grimacing all the while. "I hate full moons."
"I don't." Sirius tipped some milk into a cup, poured in hot tea and added two spoonfuls of sugar. He handed the cup to Remus, who looked at it dubiously before taking a sip and smiling. "It means you're here for a couple of days. It's even worth having Snivilus deliver that."
Snape had, in the few minutes it took to hand Remus the goblet, still managed to imply that Sirius was useless, needing to cower in his family house the way he did. If Remus hadn't been there…he still wouldn't have done anything. Because Snape was right. All he was good for was what he was doing - making tea. He put his own cup down on the table, afraid of breaking another one. Remus covered his hand with both of his, warmer than usual this time of the month.
"If I could be here more often - I don't like leaving you alone. I know how you get alone."
"I'm not alone." Sirius forced a smile. "I have Buckbeak. Not to mention Mother and Kreacher. And whatever doxies Molly missed last summer."
"Thank God for Buckbeak." Remus smiled, too. Sirius knew it was as false as his own, but it was still a rare and precious thing these days. "And the doxies." He took his hands away to drink more tea. "I'll talk to Dumbledore. Maybe you can apparate over to the Weasleys for Christmas. Maybe I can even join you there."
Sirius shrugged, already missing his touch. "He'll say we can't take the risk and we can't plan anything. And there's more room here, and safer for Harry. But." He smiled. "Maybe you all can come here. I can get the place decorated, and we'll have Harry and the others and I'll cook a feast. And you'll be yourself." Remus smiled his gentle smile, and then flexed his shoulders.
"It's starting?" Sirius stood up and walked around to the other side of the table, and began rubbing Remus' back and neck. He was too thin. He always was thin, but now Sirius could feel the bones under the muscles, and the muscles felt as worn as Remus' robes. He wouldn't let Sirius buy him new ones, even though Sirius could well afford it. He said it would be suspicious if a known werewolf suddenly looked employed.
"Yes. It'll be a couple of hours before it's anything noticeable." Sirius felt him relax under his hands. "Oh, that feels wonderful." He leaned back into Sirius' chest. His hair was even grayer now. He knew werewolves aged more rapidly than wizards or even Muggles, but he'd never stopped to think about his friend. Now he realized that he'd missed thirteen years out of Moony's life sitting in Azkaban, and he didn't know how many more there would be, even assuming they survived the Death Eaters this time.
He bent to kiss Remus on the side of the neck. He tasted bitter, the way that potion smelled.
"Ohhh." Remus twisted away. "Sirius, you know I can't. My hormones are all out of whack and you…you smell wrong."
"I can change." Sirius wanted him so desperately.
"We tried that." He slumped in his chair. "Not with the potion. I'm so sorry, Sirius. I miss you. God, when we left school - I couldn't get enough of you."
"Fighting Death Eaters, calling on James and Lily and the baby. Making love all night long and doing it all over again the next day. We were so young. You were so beautiful." He knelt next to Remus, and buried his head in Remus' lap. "You still are."
His hand was gentle on Sirius' hair. "Not the way you are, my handsome one. I love you, Sirius. I never stopped, even when I believed you'd killed them all - James and Lily, Peter and those Muggles, even when I hated you and thought you'd deserved it all." His grip tightened. "I'm sorry I didn't believe you were innocent. I'm so sorry."
"I don't blame you. Peter did it all very cleverly, didn't he? And I was locked up and couldn't tell anyone anyway, and I deserved it for convincing James to trust Wormtail."
"We all trusted Wormtail. He was a Marauder. He was one of us." He kissed the side of Sirius' head and flexed again. "I have to go. I have to get ready. Please, let me stand up."
"All right." Sirius got to his feet, and offered a hand to Remus, who took it. "Up you go. I'll check on you later, shall I?"
Remus, who was stretching his hands slowly, nodded. "If you wish. I'll be fine. I'll be in Buckbeak's room. He's used to me." He gave Sirius a peck on the cheek and left the kitchen. Sirius could hear him limping to the third level. Biting his lip, he gathered up the tea things and started to wash up.
He pulled out a bottle of firewhiskey and nursed a glass for an hour. At one point, Minerva popped by to leave a report of Umbridge's activities, and then left, fuming. Finally, when the moon shone through the front room window, he rinsed out his glass and walked upstairs.
Buckbeak was curled in one corner on his bed, asleep. Sirius had to smile at that - even hippogriffs instinctively trusted Remus. It had taken Buckbeak a week to get used to Sirius.
The wolf was under the window, out of the light of the moon. He was lying on an old blanket, his robes folded neatly next to him, and when he looked up, Sirius could see Remus in his eyes.
He knelt next to him and scratched his ears, and got a lick on his hand as reward. Then he changed, and Padfoot snuggled next to Moony in the dark of the room.