A Harry Potter story by kbk

What if I told you
Each time you whispered
My name it felt like a door
I could place a hand against,
Feel how warm it was
  - from Coma, by Jon Pineda


Rating: PG
Disclaimer: JKR owns these characters, not me.

At one point, he'd almost forgotten his name. At work - when he had work - he was always "Lupin", and he never had anyone to come home to. The random fucks thought his name was Ronnie, or something equally unremarkable. When he remembered the good old days, his teenage self was always referred to as "Moony", though he had hated the nickname, thinking of it as just another clue for the suspicious.

So when Sirius comes back - comes back properly, comes to his house and hunkers down in front of the fire and tries to pretend that fourteen years haven't passed - it takes a few moments for him to connect the spoken "Remus" to himself. And the affection imbued in the word is equally startling, because the world is a loveless one when you're a werewolf and your closest friend is an infamous convict. He deflects Sirius's question about his distraction with an impatient shake of his head, and settles next to his friend.

Their talk is stilted and awkward, because they have so little in common any more - not that they ever really did, but their differences used to let them complement each other. Nowadays, Remus has filled all the gaps he used to have - he's been forced to be self-sufficient for a long time. And Sirius is still obviously affected by his time in Azkaban, with gaps in his memory and depression flavouring every other sentence. But they lean against each other and stare into the flames whenever they run out of words, and they manage.

Eventually Sirius falls asleep right there, and for all Remus wants to rouse him and make him more comfortable, the man slept on a stone floor for a decade and claims he can't settle in a real bed. Remus considers joining him there, but he's too old and worn to sleep on the floor without paying for it the next day, so he covers his friend with a blanket and goes to bed alone.

He sleeps restlessly, as always, but sinks into a deep slumber shortly before dawn. He wakes, a few hours later, to find Sirius sitting in the chair by the window. "Morning, Remus," he says quietly, when he sees that his friend's eyes are open, and then goes back to staring out of the window. Remus stretches, and yawns, and feels inexplicably happy.

"Morning, Sirius," he replies, and pushes himself upright. "Been here long?"

"Not long," mutters Sirius. It's odd, because Remus hasn't been able to sleep in a room that has someone awake in it since... well, ever, unless he's utterly exhausted. In school, he would lie awake until all of his roommates were settled into sleep, and of course as soon as one of them dropped off another would startle awake, which led to a lot of sleepless nights for Remus. And he gets the feeling, from the tone of Sirius's voice, that his friend has been sitting there for at least an hour. And Sirius has never been good at sitting still. And yet apparently he's content to have been sitting there alternately watching Remus sleep and looking out of the window, which he's still doing, though that may simply be him avoiding looking at Remus.

"Want breakfast?" Remus asks, deliberately putting all speculation out of his head. He realised a long time ago that falling in love with Sirius would be a very bad idea, and even if it is a possibility between them, it's not one that would be good for either of them. Unfortunately.

Sirius nods, and stands up with a visible effort. Remus would ask... something, but there's really no point. Instead, he swings his legs out of the bed, stands up, pulls on his comfortable old dressing gown and leads the way to the kitchen.

He makes tea and toast for both of them, and decides not to make a comment about how domestic and traditional it is, even when he realises that he's buttered half the toast just the way Sirius likes it while Sirius is hunting through the cupboards for the honey they both like in their tea - but only at breakfast. They eat in silence, and then Remus washes and Sirius dries, and then there's nothing else they can do to avoid talking to each other.

Remus starts with a non-committal "So."

Sirius hangs his head, and groans. "Remus," he hisses, and despite the frustration in his voice he sounds glad to be saying it. Remus is glad to hear it. He engulfs his friend in a quick hug, and then steps back. In a deliberately determined voice, he suggests they review the distribution of Order members and consider potential recruits.

It's odd that they find it easier to talk about war than about their friendship, but Remus doesn't mind. It can wait. As long as Sirius keeps saying his name.



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