Remus made his way up the stairs and unlocked the door of the flat, wondering if Sirius would be home. It still felt odd, coming home here, instead of Hogwarts or his parents' home. He wondered how long it would take him to get used to it. "Padfoot? You home?" he called, shoving the door open.
"In the kitchen," Sirius called back, then returned to his pot of soup and the recipe book Mrs Potter had given him as a flat-warming gift (he hadn't really needed to ask why everyone had given him bachelor guides to cooking and cleaning and living on your own while no one saw the need to repeat the theme with Moony).
Remus went into the kitchen and slumped into one of their two chairs. Of course it was the one that rocked because the legs were uneven, but that didn’t matter much. “I’m home.”
"How'd it go?" Sirius asked, frowning and leaning in to inspect the recipe closely. Soup was not supposed to be hard. Why did he have the feeling he'd cocked it up?
“I’m glad to be home,” Remus said, which was meant to answer the question. “What are you doing?”
"I'm cooking tea," Sirius replied, straightening to turn and look at Remus. "Since you were out all day." He suddenly felt awkward and didn't know why.
Remus sat up and smiled at him. “You’re cooking tea,” he repeated. “That’s brilliant, Sirius.”
"Is it?" Sirius asked dubiously, glancing back at the pot. "Maybe wait till you've tasted it before you say that."
“Oh, point,” Remus said. “What are you making?”
Sirius eyed the pot mistrustfully. "Soup?"
Remus laughed. “You say that like you’re not sure.” His feet hurt, and he was exhausted, but he wondered if he ought to get up and offer to help.
"It's supposed to be. Well, if I cock it up, I'll get take away," he promised, smiling. "So nothing even promising?"
“Nothing. I’m thinking about stealing my dad’s pool cue and spending my nights hustling Muggles.” Remus shook a fag out of his box and lit it.
Sirius blinked, surprised by that sudden bitter admission. "There's a career path for you."
Remus sighed. “No one wants to hire a werewolf,” he said. “It doesn’t seem to matter how many NEWTs I took. No one wants to take the risk.”
"Have you tried... not telling them you're a werewolf?" Sirius asked, arching a brow and poking the soup with his ladle.
“That’s be a nice idea, except that my parents filed with the Ministry, didn’t they? Back when I was bitten. And then Ministry requires full disclosure to employers and potential spouses.” Remus took a long drag off his cigarette and studied the tabletop.
"Oh, I didn't know you had to tell them. ...And potential spouses?" Sirius repeated incredulously. "So like, if you get serious with some bird, you are required by law to tell her you're a werewolf?"
Remus snorted. “I suppose if I’m thinking about proposing to her, yeah,” he said. “Well, you know. Werewolves aren’t supposed to have children.” He finished his cigarette and stubbed it out. “Doesn’t matter, I don’t expect that’ll happen anyway.”
"Aw, c'mon, mate." Sirius sat down across from Remus at the table. "I'm sure you'll meet someone. There were plenty of girls liked you at school. Melanie's got single friends, you know. You shouldn't let your furry little problem stop you from living life, you know?"
Remus shrugged. “I just...it’s hard enough worrying about finding a job without throwing girls into the mix. And there weren’t any girls who fancied me, you’re daft.”
"There were loads of girls fancied you," Sirius protested. "They just weren't cool enough." He grinned.
Remus gave him a dubious look and snickered. “Right.”
"Well. There was that odd valentine you got every year," Sirius pointed out.
“Yeah, and it was either one of you lot having me on, or Snape having me on.” Remus considered. “Or possibly Evans having me on.”
"It might not've been someone having you on," Sirius protested. "Though I suppose it might've been Snivvy secretly pining for you," he said, then found that very amusing indeed and laughed out loud.
Remus made a face. “I doubt that very much,” he said, and got up to get a butterbeer.
"You don't know, he could hex because he loves," Sirius said, then burst into laughter again. And then remembered his soup, jumping up from the chair to turn down the heat.
Remus laughed. “I’m sure Snape fancies one of your frightening cousins or someone,” he said lightly. “And anyway, how did we get started talking about Snape’s love life, of all things?”
"Those valentines you used to get," Sirius reminded him, stirring.
“Right. Well, I didn’t get one this year, did I?” Remus asked. He had, actually, but he’d also tried to hide it from the others. He wondered how successful he’d been.
"That's right, you didn't." Sirius frowned thoughtfully. "Or you did and you tried to hide it."
“Why would I do that?” Remus asked, and took a sip of his butterbeer. “Got precious few valentines as it was.”
"Maybe because you always got embarrassed when we tried to read them," Sirius reminded him with a grin.
Remus shrugged, wanting to change the subject. “Anyway, that wasn’t the point. The point is, I don’t think it’s worth the trouble to find some bird to get serious about. Haven’t even figured out how I’m going to pay my share of the rent yet.”
“Nevermind,” Sirius said pointedly, then got out bowls and ladled one up for Remus. He set it in front of him with a flourish, then proudly presented a spoon. “There! See if it's edible.”
Dipping his spoon in, Remus blew on it, then tasted it gingerly. “It’s good, Pads,” he said, hoping he didn’t sound surprised.
"Really?" Sirius peered into the pot in surprise.
"Yeah, really," Remus said, grinning at him. "Not bad for someone who didn't like Potions."
Sirius wrinkled his nose, all that was required from him on the subject of Potions. "Bloody useless subject. Can't believe I needed a NEWT in it." He ladled himself some and sat down across from Remus, looking surprised again when he took a sip and discovered that it really wasn't awful.
“I think I’ll make you cook tea from now on,” Remus teased. “We’ve discovered a hidden talent.” He ate a few more spoonfuls, then said, “What have you been up to today?”
"You'll regret that," Sirius remarked, arching a brow. "I went exploring earlier. Found some really cool Muggle shops. And..." He blinked. "Hey. Can't you apply in a Muggle shop? It's not like you can tell them you're a Werewolf--they wouldn't believe you anyway."
Remus thought about that. “Well, yeah, I suppose I could,” he said. “I mean, I don’t suppose the werewolf regulations would apply, and if they did, they’d contradict the secrecy clauses, so…” He thought about that for a minute, then beamed at his friend. “That’s a really good idea, Sirius.”
"Oi, don't sound so surprised!" Sirius grinned good-naturedly.
“I’m more surprised I didn’t think of it,” Remus confessed. “I mean, my mum’s a Muggle. I should’ve done.”
"Well, you know. If not for all those Muggle Studies classes you lot said were totally worthless..." Sirius leaned back in his chair, looking smug. "I might not have either."
“All right, then,” Remus said, laughing. “I never did know why you took Muggle Studies, though.”
Sirius shrugged. "Had to figure out what my parents were so worked up about." His expression had sobered there, but he smirked again. "Ooh those evil Muggles, believing they have a right to live even though they can't do magic."
Remus sighed. “It’s hard to understand what people like your parents want the world to be like,” he said softly. He looked down at the table, running his finger over a chip in the Formica. “I mean, my mum wouldn’t be around, you know? And I wouldn’t even exist.”
Sirius tilted his head, frowning, and watched his friend. Moony wouldn't even exist. That thought was confusing in the number of different reactions he felt to it, but the prevalent ones were sadness and anger. It was horrible to think things like that. "Yes well, my parents are completely off their gourd," he said gruffly. "The whole lot of those 'purists' are completely barking."
“Yeah.” Remus frowned. “Dad’s pretty staunchly against them, but he won’t speak out against it. Doesn’t want to make Mum a target.” He looked up. “Hey, d’you want to come with me to my parents’ on Sunday? Mum invited me home for dinner.”
Sirius perked up at the invite, though he couldn't have said why. "Cheers, Moony. That'd be ace. Your mum's a great cook."
“She likes cooking. She says you like it better because you’ve never had food that wasn’t made by magic, except hers.” Remus finished off his soup and got up to refill his bowl. “Mum says Dad was really angry I didn’t want to come home,” he said thoughtfully.
Sirius laughed. "Your mum's great. Why did your dad care? You're an adult now."
“I don’t know. It’s weird. It isn’t like he and I get on really well, so I don’t know why he’d want me in the house. I mean, it’s not that we don’t get on, it’s just…” He shrugged. He’d never really talked much about his father to his mates, and he didn’t know why he was bringing it up now, except that things were so strange with his parents since he’d left school.
Sirius gave Remus a clueless shrug. He certainly couldn't fathom why Remus' dad was acting that way. It still boggled his mind that Remus' mum was so... nice.
“Well, it doesn’t matter.” Remus shrugged. “When does your training programme start?”
"Monday." Sirius grinned, then realized he hadn't been eating, and ate. Between swallows, he added, "Can't wait."
Remus settled back in his chair. “You’ll have to tell me about it. As long as you aren’t sworn to secrecy and everything. Do you know who’s going to be there?”
Sirius thought for a moment, rattling off a short list of names he remembered hearing. "And James of course. Wonder if it will be top secret. That'd be ace." His eyes sparked with excitement as he polished off his soup bowl.
Remus fought down a twinge of jealousy. He wasn’t even sure whether he was jealous that Sirius had got in, or that James and Sirius were going to be in together. It wasn’t as if James had designs on Sirius, after all. It was just that they were so close... But did it really matter, considering Remus was the one Sirius had asked to share a flat? Remus took a sip of his butterbeer. “Yeah, sounds like it,” he said finally, forcing a grin.
Sirius returned his grin, setting his spoon aside. He got up and dug out some cling film for the pot, then covered it and stuck it in the fridge.
“Don’t you look a right housewife,” Remus commented idly, his grin becoming real.
"Yeah, you wish," Sirius uttered derisively, leaning over to lightly punch Remus' shoulder.
Remus’ grin widened as he tried to dodge but failed. He stuck his foot out and tried to hook it around Sirius’ ankle.
There was a teetering moment where Sirius struggled not to fall, grabbing Remus' shoulder to keep his balance (grinning all the while), until he got his foot free and planted it firmly on the ground.
“Better you than me,” Remus said, opting for a more active offence and tackling Sirius.
Sirius let out a surprised "Oof!", managing only a moment of struggle to remain upright until he crashed backwards onto the lino, laughing, and immediately grabbed Remus round the middle and threw his weight to try and knock him over.
This, Remus thought as he grabbed at Sirius’ shoulders to try to pin him down, was much better than sitting about worrying about jobs and parents, anyway. He lost his balance and fell over, smacking his shoulder against a chair, and laughed.
Sirius felt a rush of triumph as Remus went down, though when he tried to shift, his hand supporting some of his weight slipped and he ended up with his forehead in Remus' collar until he righted himself and pushed up into a more stable position.
Remus had still been laughing, but when Sirius crashed into him, he found himself suddenly unable to catch his breath. He blinked for a minute before he managed to grin up at Sirius. “Clumsy prat,” he offered.
"Still won," Sirius said, voice unintentionally gravelly. He looked down at Remus and wondered why he was suddenly so warm.
“Did you?” Remus asked, poking Sirius in the ribs.
"I'm on top, aren't I?" Sirius leaned away from Remus' hand, gaze triumphant.
Yes, he was, and Remus frankly wanted him to stay right where he was. Oh Merlin. Remus lifted his other hand and tickled Sirius to see what effect that would have.
"Ah! Evil!" Sirius grabbed Remus' wrist, struggling to push it away--if he could just pin it to the floor, he'd be good. He grabbed Remus' other wrist in a pre-emptive defense.
Intent on escape, Remus brought one knee up to shove Sirius to one side, wrenching one wrist out of Sirius’ hand—though the one already pinned to the floor would have to wait. “Dark creature,” he pointed out helpfully.
Letting out a noise of defeat as he was shoved with Remus' knee, Sirius shifted awkwardly to keep Remus' one wrist pinned, and had to let the other go. Now he was rather awkwardly sprawled across Remus diagonally, but he was already trying for Remus' other wrist again.
Oh, God, this was not making things better. Remus fought the desire to growl at Sirius and darted his hand down to tickle Sirius again, since it’d got a reaction last time.
"Oi, stop that," Sirius laughed, struggling to shift onto Remus' other side, away from his arm.
“But it’s so much fun,” Remus protested, grunting from the shift in weight. Merlin, he wanted to--No. No no no. Instead he shifted and tried to get his other wrist free.
"No it isn't!" Sirius couldn't help but grin, though, and stopped moving, straddling Remus, so he could hold his wrist down. While Remus distracted himself with the wrist that was pinned, he grabbed the other again.
Fuck! Remus realized suddenly that he was trapped. He was trapped, and he was getting hard. Fuck. He wondered if it was possible to spontaneously die of embarrassment. He wiggled and tried to wrench his wrist away from Sirius, but the only effect that had was to make his heart-rate shoot up. He stared up at Sirius breathlessly and hoped he looked more annoyed than aroused or frightened.
"Got you," Sirius said quietly, grinning down at Remus. A moment of silence was all it took for the air to heat; for Sirius to stare down at his friend and realize that his jeans suddenly weren't...fitting well.
What a random time to get hard. Sirius grinned again and got to his feet quickly, stepping away from Remus to cover the sudden awkwardness in the air. "I win," he added, louder.
Got you. That was true in so many ways, Remus reflected, biting back a sigh of relief when Sirius got off of him. He sat up and drew his knees up, hoping it would hide his physical reaction to that. “Good on you,” he said, Summoning his butterbeer.
Sirius made a noise of agreement. "So um. That means... you have to finish cleaning up bye!" He legged it out of the room, wondering if using the Floo would be too obvious because there wasn't exactly an actual door between the kitchen and the sitting room.
“Bye?” Remus asked. “Oi!”
Sirius laughed from the other room, collapsing onto the sofa. He couldn't just abruptly firecall Melanie. That would look strange. But he suddenly needed a snog, and he couldn't snog Remus.
Remus snorted and finished his butterbeer, then started clearing the dishes away. He’d rather sneak away for a wank, but if Sirius was going to lurk about on the sofa and make sure he cleaned up, he’d just wash the dishes by hand and hope that gave him time for this to go away.
Sirius listened to Remus do the dishes, foot jiggling. Why was Remus doing them by hand? Well, his mum probably did. Maybe that was just how he did them. Sighing, Sirius realized his little problem was not going away. He thought about telling Remus he was going into his room, but he didn't know what sort of explanation to give, so he just jumped off the sofa and escaped into his bedroom. Maybe he could write Melanie a filthy letter and feel better.
Washing the dishes did nothing to help. Remus’ treacherous mind kept wondering what would happen if he went in the other room and threw the washcloth at Sirius. Would he get pounced again? And then that led his mind other directions, like what it would be like to run this washcloth over Sirius’ skin, and…Merlin, this was not helping. Remus glanced over his shoulder, wondering what Sirius was up to.
Making his way over to the doorway, he peered out and discovered that Sirius had vanished. All right, so it was safe to head for his room, then. Heading down the hall, he realized Sirius’ door was shut, so that at least explained where Sirius had vanished to. Probably writing soppy love letters to Melanie, Remus thought, rolling his eyes.
Several minutes later, magnum opus composed, Sirius sent his owl away with one very thick letter, and collapsed onto his bed with a sigh. That hadn't actually helped things, of course, and he glanced at his shut door, wondering how thick these walls were. Merlin, what bad timing he'd had.
Remus closed his door as soon as he made it to the safety of his bedroom, then slumped against it. He always felt...well, guilty when he wanked while thinking about Sirius. Sirius liked girls. He wouldn’t want one of his mates fantasizing about him while he wanked. With a sigh, Remus closed his eyes and banged his head against the door in frustration.