Sirius kept forgetting to charge his meter.
And so, with London melting through the windowpanes of his modest flat, he and Remus were resigned to drinking the beer before it went warm, and feeling summer seep in through the walls.
"Some people," Remus started, "actually pay for their electricity."
"Sod you," Sirius muttered. "I can pay."
"But you don't, and so we sit here," Remus said waving around the mostly-empty room. "You haven't any furniture, you know."
"Don't need furniture," Sirius retorted, staring across the street where a neon sign was spelling out something he couldn't quite remember anymore. "Living the life of a dilettante requires certain sacrifices." Which was only very slightly true.
But Remus only nodded thoughtfully, and took another long drink of beer, which Sirius watched as Remus swallowed, because Remus always looked exceedingly attractive with his long, long neck tilted back, naked white skin smooth at his throat.
Remus, who lived with Sirius sometimes, had come over earlier that night with Indian take-away and a sudden desire to hear Sirius play the piano.
"I don't even remember how to play it," Sirius lied.
"You're full of shit," Remus said cheerfully. "You're just a jealous tart with that thing, not wanting to share it with anybody."
"That and it's in the Shrieking Shack," Sirius replied lightly.
Remus seemed to consider this a very long time before he said, "I was thinking. We should move it. Then you'd have a mattress and a piano, and that's much more respectable."
Sirius saw nothing remotely attractive about being respectable, and so he told Remus that exactly, adding that between his classes and practicals with Mad Eye Sodding Moody at the Academy he hardly had time to waste on his stupid box of ivory as he had when he was a boy.
"Either way," Sirius finished, "Moony likes it there, and there it shall stay."
Remus flushed. "I do not like the piano."
"Moony attempted to make sweet love to the piano, one of its legs has been forever claimed. If I took it away, all hell would break loose," Sirius said smoothly. "I wouldn't want to deprive you of your one true love."
Remus hunched down against the wall, glaring at Sirius and mutter, "Tosser."
Sirius flipped his empty beer bottle upside down and saw that nothing more dripped out, and set it aside, saying, "Right, then."
He crawled in front of Remus, knees on either side of Remus' slim hips and pressed one hot, sticky kiss to the hollow of Remus' neck, and listened to Remus growl above him.
"Sirius," Remus said warningly.
"Let's not waste this blissfully Bohemian atmosphere, shall we?" Sirius whispered, scraping his teeth down the column of Remus' neck, and soothing the red marks with teasing swipes of his tongue as he heard Remus curse and drop his beer bottle somewhere to the side, where it presumably tipped over and was pooling on the ground. The thought was peripherally exhilarating, the idea that Remus might be lolling soon, naked to the waist and covered in beer so that Sirius might lick it off of him, slick stroke of tongue by slick stroke.
Remus huffed, but his shoulders loosened, and he melted into Sirius' arms, mouth softened and lush, eyes dark--giving in, as he always seemed to do.
Sirius loved nights like these, when Remus was tired and cozy, familiar as an old shirt but softer still, and warm beneath him. Nights like these, Sirius could stroke hands down the sides of Remus' thin body and feel the other man arch into his touch, making soft noises of animal contentment, tame, docile, contained. It was a rare sight, one which Sirius hoarded jealously, and hoped no one else ever enjoyed, and when Remus arrived at his doorstep as he often did, smiling crookedly and slouching, easy and slightly slow, worn from the day, Sirius liked to seduce him, drag him down, kiss him senseless and boneless and smooth out the wrinkles on Remus' face with wet, sloppy kisses.
"Don't ever show anybody else this," Sirius growled in broken syllables, barely words, really. And he uttered them in between hot, claustrophobic kisses, lips over Remus' and tongue smoothing over Remus' teeth, stroking in, laying claim in lazy, sleepy caresses.
Remus, when he caught his breath, managed a slightly-drunken laugh, and his large, long-fingered hands came to Sirius' shoulders and stroked into his hair, tangling there. "Who else would want to see?" Remus asked, comfortably self-deprecating. "A scarred and scrawny dark creature like myself is hardly the paramount of male beauty."
Sirius always got irrationally angry when Remus said things like that. On the one hand, it should have heartened him to know that Moony wouldn't stray--if "stray" was the word to use, exactly, for betraying their little agreement--and on the other it infuriated him that Remus didn't know how well-wanted he was, that he was desirable. Ideally, Sirius would be able to show Remus a world of people who were reaching out toward him, who wanted nothing more than to slide into Remus' affections, fold themselves into his arms, watch him reading his books--and deny them all of that and keep it for himself.
"Shut up," Sirius muttered, and focused himself on divesting Remus of his clothes, kissing the skin he revealed as he undid each button. He dropped open-mouthed kisses to Remus' collarbone, the line of his sternum, the hollow of his belly, and Sirius' hands spread out over Remus' chest, opened like wings and feeling the flutter of Remus' heart under skin and ribs, hot and moving and utterly alive.
Remus laughed, a throaty, gasping sound that turned into a moan, and he murmured, "Whatever you say, Padfoot."
"I hate it when you pretend to listen to me," Sirius grumbled, and let himself get pulled upward by Remus' insistent fingers. "It's so patronizing I can barely stand it."
And Remus, with his white shirt opened like wings around him, chest newly bronzed from the decadent weekend spent at Brighton leading up to Lily and James' fairly extravagant wedding, only laughed and kissed Sirius hard enough to make all of Sirius' contrary thoughts fly out of mind, melt into the ether, disappear from concern.
Remus' mouth was volcanic, unbearably hot and cyanide-sweet, with sharp canines sliding dangerously over the soft flesh of Sirius' tongue, with teeth clamping and bruising Sirius' lower lip, marking him, scarring him with it. It made Sirius feel like he was coming apart at the seems, lose awareness of his fingertips and legs, extremities out of immediate concern, happy to be kissed into oblivion, disintegrating into it.
Then Sirius realized Remus was tugging Sirius' trousers insistently over Sirius' hips, and he moaned slightly and broke their kiss to gasp, "How do you do that? Every time?" and was rewarded only with an utterly predatory smile as Remus gave one last jerk and Sirius wiggled out of his trousers, dragging his pants down gracelessly with one free hand, the other fumbling with Remus' belt. Considering how long they'd been doing this--off and on, of course, given Remus' propensity to disappear for vast periods of time and Sirius' propensity for having royal sulks and pretending that other people could interest him--this part should have been easier, more familiar, and yet they were always reduced to helpless, horrible laughter as they stripped one another, tripping and tumbling until they were a tangle of naked limbs on Sirius' lone piece of furniture.
"So can I be the man this time?" Sirius asked, totally straight-faced until Remus cuffed him on the side of the head and laughed, wrapping his left leg around Sirius' midsection and letting his hips do one slow, indulgent roll against Sirius'.
"Ohfuck," Sirius managed, and felt his elbows collapse a bit, until he and Remus were forehead to forehead, breathing one another's' oxygen. And where they stroked into one another, slow and slick, he could feel their cocks slide side by side--unbearably sweat friction that left him weak at the knees and desperate, choking off whimpers and grinding into Remus' hip, feeling flesh bruising and utterly unconcerned.
"You're funny," Remus said, and did it again, another snap of the hips, smooth and quick and debilitating--so good Sirius braced his elbows on either side of Remus' head and stroked down and up and hard against Remus, feeling them rubbing together, the sticky slick of their pre-cum making the motions fluid and easy, swaying like a dance.
And when Sirius did it again, sinking his teeth into Remus' shoulder as he did, Remus threw back his head, showing that curving, beautiful neck again, with rainlight patterning his skin, mouth opened and silent, gasping for oxygen. Which always made Sirius feel like he owned the universe and that Remus was the most precious thing in all of it, made Sirius groan and move his arms awkwardly until he had his arms wrapped around Remus' back, face buried in the crook of Remus' neck, fucking up against him desperately now, chanting, "Moony, Moony, Moony" until all the words ran together.
So when Remus slid one hand between them to curl around both their cocks Sirius was already incoherent, murmuring everything and nothing, the same promises that hadn't been empty for a long time into Remus' ear, saying, "I love you, I love this, I fucking love this, love the way you feel, yeah" and hoping that he'd remember to tell Remus he meant it this time, that he wouldn't just fall asleep thinking that Remus knew.
It was when he felt Remus stiffen and cry beneath him, a desperate, scraping sound that clawed itself out of Remus' throat that Sirius collapsed onto top of Remus, fucking desperately into Remus' hand, feeling Remus spill hot and slick over them, between them and Sirius wailed into Remus' throat and came and came until he felt boneless and unraveled.
Sirius had no idea how much time had passed before the sound of rain pounding on the roof filtered in, and his eyes opened slowly to night and city-light filtered through the downpour spiderwebbing the walls of his flat, lacing them black and ghostly blue. Under his hands the sheets on the mattress were clammy, and with a slight shift, he could feel the sticky heat between himself and Remus, and groaned slightly, nuzzling the side of Remus' face with his own lazily.
"Off, you git," Remus huffed. "Great fat load."
"No," Sirius said, and settled in comfortably on top of Remus.
"Right then," Remus said pleasantly, and shoved Sirius off with a heavy thud.
Sirius landed on his back, and by the time he caught his breath again, he was already scowling at Remus, who'd propped himself up on elbows and was looking excessively pleased with himself.
"Stop that," Sirius demanded. "Right now."
"I didn't do anything," Remus said innocently.
"You're smiling," Sirius retorted. And then, shifty, he said, "I meant it, you know."
"What?" Remus asked, stretching and revealing the delicious line of his back, all the bumps of his spine, which Sirius liked to run his tongue over when time allowed or memory served. "That you wanted to be the man this time?" Remus turned back and smiled, commenting, "You were on top this time, if you remember."
Sirius shot up into a sitting position, genuinely annoyed now, shouting, "That wasn't what I meant--I meant the other thing! I meant it!"
Remus stopped whatever he was doing, and turned to look at Sirius, blinking his eyes owlishly, and they looked luminous in the otherworldly light the rain and dark conspired to make.
"Sirius, what on earth are you on about?" Remus asked gently.
The truly infuriating thing, Sirius reflected, was that he'd said it so many times already that it was becoming maudlin crap to repeat it again. He'd said it in gestures--putting the piano in the Shrieking Shack, becoming an Animagus, letting Remus ignore him in favor of books, regardless how the very concept attacked his nerves--and he'd said it out loud, in desperate, choked whispers into the curve of Remus' neck, into Remus' mouth, as he was falling asleep. It was really completely unreasonable that Remus hadn't yet seen it fit to actually process the information and put Sirius out of his misery.
"I've only ever meant it with you," Sirius said, babbling at this point, as if the word "love" didn't seem to want to cross his lips again, when it'd simplify the entire thing, or perhaps just speed up his imminent rejection. Sirius supposed he could see why Remus would prevaricate, play oblivious, who'd want a failed-Pureblood aristocrat whose only traits to recommend himself were an odd affinity for playing the piano, being able to turn into a large, shaggy animal, and a gory history of telling secrets and almost ruining lives. Obviously, Sirius was insane to consider this.
Remus stared at him for a moment before his eyes widened and his mouth softened into an "o" of understanding.
"So either way," Sirius went on, "I just thought you'd like to know that I meant it, and all that other tripe. And--" Sirius glanced around, and saw Remus' trousers a few feet away "--oh, look, I've found your trousers, let me just--"
"Sirius, you utter girl," Remus said reproachfully.
And when Sirius turned back to look at Remus, it wasn't reproach he found on Remus' face.
"You'll need to get some furniture," Remus continued.
"Right," Sirius agreed, distracted by the smile on Remus' face, amazed that he'd put it there.
"For my books," Remus said thoughtfully. "And because I'd like to pretend that we're respectable."
Sirius nodded feverishly. "Of course. Respectable."
"Also," Remus said, grinning wickedly, "I'll be the man."
Sirius continued to nod, overwhelmed, "Right, sure, natu--" He froze, mid-agreement, mouth falling open only to see Remus laughing, doubled over with mirth and clutching his stomach, beautiful and disheveled in Sirius' single mattress in his disrespectable and empty flat on a hot, raining day with no electricity and beer on the floor.
"Oh, you utter bastard!" Sirius shouted. "You arse!" And tackled Remus into the blankets.
He was lightheaded and shivering, trembling and happy and nearly undone until he felt Remus' fingers stroking through his hair, softer than before, reverently, and Sirius closed his eyes and fell still and docile, still. He felt Remus' heart beating under his cheek, and he put his opened palm there, next to his face, splayed out over Remus' chest.
"Do you hear it?" Sirius asked, quiet and more than a little scared.
"What?" Remus murmured, drowsy, loping one arm around Sirius' shoulders. "You're heavy."
"Shut it," Sirius instructed. "Listen," he whispered, smoothing his thumb over Remus' skin.
Remus was quiet for a long time, and finally said, "I only hear us breathing."
And Sirius smiled, and said, "Yeah. That's it. That's it exactly."