Title: Floating in Space
Fandom: Harry Potter
Warning: Angst (marauder Era), slash
Summary: “Do you realize you have the most beautiful face?”
Notes: Written for tigannie_con, using the prompts: “Do you realize?” by the Flaming Lips, the “love, blood and rhetoric” speech from “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead”, and a photograph of a park in fog.
The werewolf lay exhausted by the park bench, curled at Sirius’s feet like a very dangerous puppy.
Sirius was exhausted too from trying to keep up with him, even as Snuffles. Remus’s recent edginess had come out in the wolf, and they had torn across the countryside kilometer after kilometer, so far that Sirius was not entirely sure where they were.
But there was a bench to sit on and the morning fog had begun to burn off, and the scolding Sirius knew he had to give could wait. Maybe until they got back to James and Lily’s, even; Lily was very good at scolding Remus.
Sirius rubbed sleep from his eyes, and froze when the werewolf stirred. The sun was coming up. The werewolf would soon be gone and Sirius would have his Remus back.
The werewolf reared up, growling, and then gave an agonized howl that became a groan as his claws retracted and his fur fell to the ground. Sirius wanted to turn his face away–Merlin, how he hated to see Remus in pain!–but forced himself to watch every terrible moment of the transformation until Remus lay naked and panting on the dewy grass.
Sirius pulled off the extra t-shirt he wore for just this kind of emergency, and stood to take off his trousers too. Remus’s hand moved slowly to take the shirt, and Sirius winced as fresh cuts oozed blood down Remus’s fair skin.
“Bad?” he said quietly.
Remus nodded as he pulled the t-shirt over his head. He didn’t look at Sirius as he took the trousers from Sirius’s hand, but smiled wearily when he saw Sirius’s boxer shorts. “D’you think they’ll let you on the train like that?”
Sirius struck a pose, his hand on his hip and thrusting out his chin. “Aren’t I the height of Muggle fashion, Moony?”
“Is that what they’re wearing? No wonder they seem so odd.” Properly dressed he stood, moving as if every muscle ached. Which they probably did, Sirius thought, and looped an arm around Remus’s neck to steady and support him. Remus sighed but leaned against him. “Nice place,” he commented as they started up the path through the fog.
“Very. Do you need to rest before we Apparate back to James and Lily’s?” he said pointedly.
Remus kept his eyes on the ground. “I’m not going back.”
“Yes, you are.”
“I’m not going to argue with you about this, Sirius. I knew I shouldn’t have come in the first place–I’m endangering all my friends, I’m endangering the baby.”
“Harry,” Sirius said. “They’re naming him Harry. James told me last night.”
“Good name,” Remus murmured.
“You know what else James told me last night? Lily’s sister isn’t coming. That husband of hers won’t let her. Lily’s last living relative and she won’t even come to Harry’s christening.” Again Remus sighed, and Sirius said, “Don’t compound their disappointment, Moony. Come back with me.”
“The full moon doesn’t end for another day and this latest potion isn’t working. I can’t stay. No wonder Petunia’s husband forbids her to see us—I would too, if I had a wife and new baby son.”
Sirius stopped walking. “The christening is today. I have my motorbike: I’ll take you anywhere you want to go right after it’s over. Just one more day. Just today.”
A painful expression crossed Remus’s face that Sirius couldn’t quite name. “You know why James is naming you the baby’s godfather, don’t you?”
“Don’t start with that.”
“I may not be around,” Remus continued relentlessly. “It’s sheer luck and the generosity of Dumbledore that I’ve lived this long. But the day may come when he can’t protect me anymore and anyone who hates half-breeds,” he twisted the word with disgust, “can come after me with a silver bullet.”
“No, they won’t,” Sirius said, cupping Remus’s jaw. “And if they do I’ll stand in front of you. I”ll protect you to my last drop of blood, Remus.”
Remus blinked, which made Sirius’s heart shudder. Remus always reacted to declarations of love with surprise, as if he couldn’t believe what he was hearing. But then his weary mouth smiled and he kissed Sirius in his matter-of-fact way.
“Yes,” he said quietly. “I think I do need some rest before we go.”
*** *** ***
The hostess of the pub barely blinked at the two ramshackle men who requested a room for just a few hours, and Sirius suspected he’d given her too much Muggle money. Pounds, pence, half-crowns, farthings—who could keep track of such things?
Remus lay down on the bed with a groan, and stretched first his arms above his head then his legs down to his toes. “Featherbed, Padfoot,” he murmured.
“Brilliant.” Sirius lay down too and gestured for Remus to roll over. Remus did so, smiling with closed eyes, and groaned again as Sirius began rubbing the taut muscles in his back. The t-shirt was spotted with blood, but none of last night’s injuries seemed serious enough to scar. He kissed the back of Remus’s head, which made Remus chuckle and reach of one of his hands to pull Sirius’s arm over his ribs. Sirius opened his hand, resting his palm over Remus’s heart.
“Do you ever think you’ll have a wife, Moony?” he said quietly.
“I think you’re enough, Padfoot.”
“But don’t you want children?”
Remus chuckled and repeated, “I think you’re enough, Padfoot.”
Sirius smiled but still said, “We’re not boys anymore. We’re not playing.”
Remus raised his head to look at Sirius over his shoulder. “I’ve never been playing. Are you trying to tell me something? Are you getting pressure to carry on the glorious name of Black?”
“No—I’d have to speak to my mother to get that. Not the point, Moony—I just—I just—”
Remus turned over and held Sirius’s chin in the V of his hand. “You are what I want. Always.”
“All right,” Sirius murmured. He kissed Remus and pulled him close, kissing the top of his head as Remus relaxed against him. “Rest. We need to get back to the Potters’ by noon.”
“Life goes by so fast,” Remus murmured, his eyes shut. “Wasn’t that long ago that we were babies ourselves and everything was possible . . .”
“Everything is possible,” Sirius replied, then smiled at Remus’s answering snore.
*** *** ***
Remus looked as sheepish as Sirius felt when Lily opened the door, the baby against her shoulder, and regarded them with displeased eyes. “I see you’ve survived,” she said finally.
“And not a word. Not even an owl. James and Peter have been contacting everyone they could think of to look for you.”
“We’re sorry, Lily.”
“There’s a war on, remember? You disappeared in the middle of the night—what were we to think?”
“The potion failed,” Remus said quietly, and Lily’s expression finally softened.
“Well, come in. Since you’re here.” She stepped back to allow them into the house, shifting the sleeping baby easily from one arm to the other. A mother for less than a week and already she was good at it, Sirius thought with pride. She went on, “You may use our washroom if you’d like to clean up, Remus. And I want to have a look at whatever new injuries you’ve acquired.”
“Thank you, Lily.” He paused and kissed her forehead, then stooped and kissed Harry’s fuzzy dark head.
Lily’s eyes grew bright and she inhaled, then put her arm around Remus’s neck and whispered, “Don’t you know how I worry? Don’t you know how much we love you? Don’t you think we’d miss that beautiful face?”
Sirius felt his own eyes sting at Remus’s expression of quiet bliss. “I’ll—I’ll go let James know we’re back,” he said and hurried away.
He found James in the garden, hastily scribbling a letter for a waiting owl. “We’re back,” he said as James threw down his quill.
“Where have you been?”
“Somewhere near Edinburgh, I think.”
“Of all the—” James stopped himself. “I take it Lily has already informed you of our efforts to find you?”
“Well, whatever she said goes double for me.” He dismissed the owl and hugged Sirius tightly. “Don’t disappear, Padfoot. We need you more than
“It won’t happen again.” There were few men, he thought, lucky enough to have one best friend—how had he been blessed with so many?
“Let’s go play with my son,” James said as they walked back to the house, arm-in-arm.
“I should probably get dressed.”
James glanced down at his attire and laughed. “And I thought you were just making a statement.” He opened the garden door and called, “Lily, love of my life! Where’s the fruit of my loins?”
“Sleeping,” Lily said and kissed him. “Do keep your voice down, you great man-child.”
James swung her around and said, “You married me because I’m a man-child, my love.”
“I married you in a moment of insanity,” Lily replied, but she was smiling and kissed him again, keeping her arms around his neck. “Sirius, the guest bathroom is free if you want to clean up. Try not to wake the baby.”
“Yes, Lily,” Sirius said meekly, kissed her cheek and went upstairs.
*** *** ***
When he came back down they all were gathered in the parlor. Remus sat in the floor in trousers and a dressing gown, his eyes closed as Lily inspected his wounds. James held the baby, swaying slightly and singing what sounded like a greatly toned-down version of the Wyrd Sisters’ latest hit. Peter sat on the other end of the sofa from Lily, drumming his fingers on his knees and watching Remus.
Again Sirius’s eyes stung. He blinked a few times and announced, “Everyone I love best is in this room.”
Lily looked up and smiled at him, as did Remus and James. Peter smiled briefly and went back to drumming his fingers.
“I do wish Petunia would come,” Lily said quietly. “But otherwise, you’re right.” She added briskly, “I think you’re going to live, Remus. These charms should set in resently.”
“Thank you.” He pulled the dressing gown up but stayed sitting at her feet, eyes still closed as she combed her fingers through his hair.
“Hey, Padfoot,” James said, “come hold Harry. He needs to get used to you, Godfather.”
“As you wish.” He crossed the parlor and carefully took the baby from James’s arms. Harry’s eyes opened for a moment as did his rosebud lips, and he promptly fell asleep again.
“His eyes are green,” Sirius murmured. “I thought they were blue.”
“Babies tend to be born with blue eyes,” James said. “But I think he’ll have his mother’s eyes.” He smiled at Lily and she smiled back, still tenderly stroking Remus’s head.
Sirius kissed Harry’s hot forehead and laughed as the baby’s minute fingers closed around a lock of his hair. “Hello to you too,” he murmured.
James carefully worked Harry’s fingers loose. “Sorry. He will grab hold of things—Lily’s thinking of cutting her hair.”
“Oh, no, don’t,” Sirius said.
“That or always wear it braided,” Lily said, shaking her mane a bit. Peter opened his mouth as if he wanted to say something but abruptly shut it again.
Peter was always nervous, Sirius thought, but this was nervous even for him. “Hold the baby a bit, Wormtail?” he said.
“Oh, no—babies hate me. I’ll drop him. Break him. I’d better not.”
“As you like,” Sirius said and went back to swaying, amazed at the heat of Harry’s small body and the strength of his wriggling limbs. He murmured to James, “Do you think it’s possible to die of happiness?”
“No,” James said at once. “It’ll bring you to your knees with the power of it, though.”
Remus said, startling them all because he looked asleep, “If I could pause any moment and live it forever, it would be this one.”
Lily leaned down and hugged him. James smiled, his hand cupping Harry’s head. Peter bit his lips, his head bobbing in a frantic nod. And Sirius thought, Nothing good can last, and wished it could.
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