Title: October Sky
Recipient's LJ name: mywholecry
Word Count/Media: 2,637 / pencil
Warnings: tl;dr paragraphs? Lol.
Prompt Chosen: October Sky
Authors/Artists notes: Happy holidays/January, Chelsea! In your application you said you liked kissing in awkward places and I thought huh, what would be the most awkward place to kiss?
Every year around his birthday Sirius Black became what his friends described as 'antsy'. The term was originally proposed by Remus as a substitute for James' tactful suggestion of 'batshit'. Since then, as the days began to get that crisp, cold chill to their edges, so did Sirius. That wasn't to say that Sirius was the most careful of men at any time of the year, but the Autumn brought on change and although Sirius preached a lifestyle of constant fluidity (or, rather, 'party hard, mates'), the prospect of change did not sit well with him and never had.
During their time at Hogwarts, the four friends had kept a relatively stable routine of merriment on Hallowe'en night. The only thing that had changed had been their vices, which seemed to morph without their realising it from Cauldron cakes to Firewhiskey. This year, though, they found themselves thrown into a world of paying rent and keeping jobs, where every choice down to whether to brush one's teeth before or after breakfast could somehow be built up to be a life altering decision, and despite Sirius' frequent claims of enjoying this newfound level of freedom, Remus knew it all scared him shitless.
This fear combined with the general discontentment that the season induced, was what Remus believed to be the reason this Hallowe'en night found him soaking wet, standing on Sirius' shoulders, trying to pry open a jammed window. It was what was commonly considered the dead of night; the sky had opened up to let them know just how it felt about this lawbreaking, and whoever said opening a window from the outside was easy had clearly been lying. From below, Sirius pinched Remus' ankles impatiently and Remus blew the water off his nose and wondered how exactly he had let Sirius talk him into this.
The window came loose and clattered up in it's frame with a screech only the oldest of houses can produce. Remus pulled himself up and through the window, oozing into a soggy and highly undignified puddle on the rug. More rainwater dripped onto his nose. He climbed to his knees and leaned out the window to help pull Sirius up and inside. His stomach muscles felt bruised from bracing on the window sill, he was frozen and soaked, but as Sirius tumbled inside Remus still felt a sense of hidden accomplishment for making such a good burglar on his first try.
Beside him, Sirius shook his hair, sending flecks of rain to spatter Remus' face. The only noise was the storm outside coming through the open window. The only light came from that same source and was just enough to illuminate their surroundings in a pale blue tone, enough to see that the room was, in fact, a drawing room, as Sirius said it would be. In all honesty Remus did not know what the exact purpose of a drawing room was, but he had had fears of ending up in someone's bedroom so whatever purpose it served was fine by him as long as there were no angry homeowners waiting to hit them with improvised weapons to protect their home.
Sirius, satisfied his hair was not as soaked, nudged Remus to follow and he walked forward across the room to the door. The ornate doorknob clunked in his hand as he pushed the door open. It swung out, heavy and silent, and both Remus and Sirius peeked out into the blackness of the hallway.
Sirius, ever brave and the one who knew where he was going, was the first to step through the door. The shadows swallowed him up completely from Remus' vision, the windowless corridor offering no mercy, but Sirius' hand soon reappeared from the blackness as if detached and grabbed Remus' sleeve, pulling him out.
Being towed along behind Sirius in the dark, Remus tried to imagine the heightening of his other senses. This stopped quite quickly, however, once he realised he must be making a ridiculous face – mouth open, eyes peeled wide, with his eyebrows encroaching on the territory of his hairline. Although no one could see, Remus' mouth closed with a quiet snap and he gave an embarrassed smile to the dark. Sirius' hand moved down his arm and to his hand, then Remus felt warm breath near his cheek as Sirius demonstrated he could, indeed, whisper (not just stage whisper).
They crept up the staircase, hands joined, both of them instinctively placing their feet as far to the side of each tread as they could. Years of wandering around the school late at night with James and Peter had at least given them some practical technique for the real world. That is, if the real world involved breaking and entering. Which, Remus now saw, it did.
Sirius' fingers were tangled with Remus' own. Ten spindly boy fingers knitted together, still waiting to grow out of looking like the digits of schoolboys. Remus found himself staring down at where their hands must be, wishing he could see them. To someone who had grown up using a night light until the age of eleven when he began spending most of his nights at Hogwarts, blackness so complete seemed like a foreign concept for a home. Had they been cartoons, they would have been nothing but eyeballs, bobbing along, up each step of a seemingly never ending staircase. Remus couldn't imagine being a child and getting up to get a glass of water or use the bathroom in the middle of the night if one had to venture through this nothingness first. Perhaps this exposure to the dark was part of what made Sirius so bright.
A stair creaked and both boys stopped. Their pause hung in the cool, still air - until another creak was heard, this time from below them. Remus couldn't see Sirius but he would swear they had just exchanged a glance when a light sprang into existence in the hallway below them. The flicker of the light spread up the steps, the only thing stopping it's path to Remus and Sirius being the bend in the staircase.
With the world suddenly turned back on again and the knowledge that someone was so close to discovering them, Remus suddenly understood why people were drawn to the darkness. Even if you can't see them, they also can't see you.
Sirius' grip tightened on Remus' fingers and he looked down toward the bottom of the stairs. A tall shadow that had not been there before was cast on the steps in a zigzag of a silhouette. Remus held his breath. When the person stepped forward and the shadow began advancing measuredly up the stairs, creeping up the risers more quietly than they ever could have been, both boys simultaneously sprinted on tiptoe up the few remaining steps to the next landing. His hand still locked in Sirius', he was dragged first toward the next staircase and then yanked back around. There was a brief fumble with the door then they were inside.
They waited, each holding their breath. Remus watched Sirius' profile staring intently at the door. He did not look at all frightened, he rarely did. Instead, he looked determined. A thought curled up in Remus' mind as it often did when he found himself hanging in precarious situations with Sirius where getting caught was a real risk. Sirius, Remus always somehow knew from the way his jaw was set and his eyes focused, was daring any potential captors to catch him. Remus' own philosophy (which he was exorcising right at the moment, in fact) was to repeat over and over again in his head something like we'renotherewe'renotherewe'renothere or don'tfindusdon'tfindusdon'tfindus.
Footsteps reached the landing outside. Pause.
Remus let out a breath as the footsteps retreated back down the stairs. Sirius' inward desire to get caught and Remus' fear of being so must combine and cancel each other out, make them invisible.
Back pressed against the wall, he sunk down to sit on the floor. All the good things about this night - from his pride of opening the window downstairs to Sirius' cool fingers mingled with his own in the dark - would have surely been tarnished completely by being caught.
Sirius looked down at him and flashed him a grin that Remus couldn't help but return. With the time of the year being what it was, the reality of Hogwarts being behind them affirmed more and more each day after summer had ended and they didn't go back to school, and James paying so much attention to Lily and starting his new, adult life, it had been too long since Sirius smiled.
It was Remus who opened the door this time, poking his head out into the unfamiliar hallway and checking if the coast was clear. The light from downstairs had been extinguished and the house was one again silent. Sirius joined him in the hall, passing him to continue up a final flight of stairs. The bare wood of the stairs was smooth underfoot, speaking of many different owners climbing these same steps.
At the top of the stairs two doors greeted them. A small sign caught Remus' eye in the semidarkness and he bent forward to examine it but Sirius touched his shoulder and Remus straightened and followed him through the second door.
They didn't turn on the lights, of course, but even in the darkness the light gold Gs of Gryffindor banners hanging on the walls reflected enough light for Remus to feel that they had stepped out of one world and into one of a teenaged boy, doing what he could to make a statement even if it was only in one room in the house.
Remus took a seat on the edge of the large bed, fingers silently exploring the grooves of the elaborately carved wood of the bed frame as he watched Sirius' shadow cross the window and move to a large wardrobe. Old clothes, some of which Remus recognised, were displaced from their tomb of a drawer and onto the floor; he didn't bother to keep them folded.
Sirius joined Remus on the bed and only then could he see what Sirius held in his hands. Both hands, like a treasured object. Remus waited for him to speak. He had learned over the years that it was useless asking Sirius anything until Sirius decided the moment was right. Sirius, for an impatient man, was very big on Moments.
“You got it for me in first year,” he said finally, speaking in hushed tones.
Remus nodded, he remembered. He reached out and opened the book. It wasn't a very high quality book, certainly. It was the kind of journal anyone could purchase anywhere near the counter of any shop. But Remus had been young and his supply of pocket money had been anything but limitless. The only reason he had bought it for Sirius at all was, he later claimed, so Sirius would stop wining about it. The real reason, however, was that some older student at the time had been showing off a journal stuffed with photos and notes and scribbles collected by him and his friends over the years and Sirius had consequentially spent weeks telling the common room at large how it was all very unfair he did not have such a collection of fond memories to show off. Grand schemes were planned and notes scripted by Sirius and his new best friend James. The two boys had instantly become attached at the hip on the very first day. Remus had sat nearby listening in on their elated plans to synthesise an epic friendship on paper. James and Sirius devised a life for themselves in those few weeks, and listening to them, Remus knew that he wanted nothing else in the world than to have that too with someone.
When Sirius' twelfth birthday had arrived, Remus had handed him the journal in all it's plastic covered glory and said “Here, for your book”.
The following day a camera flashed and, as the spots faded from Remus' vision, Sirius had cackled and said “First picture for my book” before retreating with a goodbye grin.
Of course, like the vast majority of children's plans, Sirius' book never came to be. There were plenty of notes and photos and fond memories during his seven years at Hogwarts, but Sirius was far to much of a teenaged boy to ever have the patience or forethought to compile anything.
So, with the cover open, only a single memory was revealed. The surprised face of an eleven year old Remus Lupin, squinting against the flash. It was the one fond memory Sirius had bothered to save, and the fact that he still had it after all these years carried a much stronger message than anything Remus had ever expected long ago as the flash bulb burst.
“I kept it 'cause I wanted to remember.” Sirius never clarified what he wanted to remember, just finished with “This Hallowe'en I really need to remember.”
Sirius leaned over the book, over the photograph, and covered Remus' lips with his own.
It wasn't the first time they had found themselves in this kind of situation. The previous instances had never been spoken about after the fact, both boys left silently wondering if it would ever happen again until the next time it did. It was always fast, always at a time someone was intoxicated or someone was about to sleep or someone else was in the next room and any questionable activities between friends could not be discussed without being overheard.
This time continued with this tradition as no words were spoken once their mouthes went their separate ways. But this time neither boy made any move to leave, and Remus, who never considered himself to be brave, moved further back on the bed. Sirius moved with and Remus sat with his back to the headboard and Sirius half curled against him, his dark hair tickling Remus' neck as he held Sirius.
This was not remotely similar to how they had spent any previous Hallowe'en. But, like the book, Sirius staying still and allowing himself to remember that Remus had never left him since that day... that said all the words neither of them had ever been able to find.
They stayed like that for hours, never fully sleeping just drifting through the night together. As the hours passed, daylight crept up on them so softly they didn't realise it until Remus blinked sleepily and noticed he could see practically the entire room clearly by the light from the window. Sirius pinched the hem of Remus' shirt and, in silent agreement, they both took one last breath laying together then stood and prepared to make their way back down the stairs and out of the house, without a sound.
And as Remus sat behind Sirius on the motorbike, the book tucked under his jacket to keep it safe from the gentle drizzle as Sirius drove, he knew that what they said about Hallowe'en was true – the veil between one world and another was thin. However this year it was a veil between the past and the future. Sirius knocked the kickstand up, revved the engine to disturb the quiet early morning street, and together they drove off away from Grimmauld place, away from childhood, and away from when making friends was as easy as buying a journal. As Sirius lifted the bike's front wheel up into the air and they began to rise above the sidewalks and houses and streets, the rain whipped against their cheeks and they both knew then that some change? Some change is good. Then they were gone, leaving nothing but a faint rumble in their wake.