*sigh* It was only a matter of time.
Title: Now Face to Face
Author: Nifra Idril
A/N: Because Pru told me to.
A/N the second: Anyone know where I could archive this bad boy?
Now Face to Face
And Remus reaches out, his fingers long in the dark, and his eyes seem to fill with all the silver in the room and...
The slow hand of the clock takes twenty minutes to wind itself around the fat, yellow face.
Sirius stares, his own face, long, pale. It's close to dawn, and the chair he sits in is hard against his back. To him it seems there is no sound other than the long, inevitable clicks of the minute hand, but all around him the house settles, cracking and popping with age.
This house has stood for hundreds of years, and age bears down on the rafters, the beams, pressing the house until it seems that none of the hallways run straight. All the doorframes are tilted, windows off center and it puts Sirius on edge. He doesn't like the distortion, wants to see things clearly.
The strange tableau is jarring; a half-dressed man sits in the dark, spine straight as he stares fixedly at an old, unremarkable clock. Cold air slips in through an open window, presses against his skin. Sirius doesn't move, willing time, instead, to flow faster.
He's tired of waiting.
...and the corners of his fine, sweet lips turn up. "Sirius," Remus whispers...
Sirius hasn't dreamt since his third year at Azkaban. Even in his sleep he felt the chill weight of fear. It curled through him, insidious, until even his happiest memories seemed empty. He learned to just *stop* at night, to close his eyes against the prison and disappear. He's not sure that it isn't the strongest magic he's ever wrought.
He wonders what he would have dreamt of, if he'd been free. Before Azkaban, Sirius' dreams had been vivid. Filled with violently bright colors, movement, and emotions that coiled tightly through his body, winding him up so when he woke, he was fully alert. He misses that.
Misses dreaming of Remus more, though. It's been a long time since he's seen the way lavender light leaks through his dreamscapes across Remus' eyes.
Sirius had always dreamed of Remus, even before he'd noticed the long line of Remus' lashes. Dreams that didn't mean anything. Soft conversations carried out in impossible places. Incomparable capers, and sometimes he'd dreamed things that had set him on fire. Dreamed of touching the delicate white skin, of learning the taste of Remus' laughter. He'd tried, for years, to forget those dreams when he woke up in the morning.
He watches spindly bronze hands meet on the face of the clock, and wants those years back. Tonight.
...there's a rush of air against his cheek, and he can hear the rustling of sheets. His eyes have drifted closed, but he knows Remus is leaning toward him, and if he only shifted just an inch....
What Sirius has learned in this house – his parent’s house -- is hard, and sharp, and would cut him if he tried to curl his fingers round it, hold it. Here, he learned how to run without moving a muscle, and how to hurt invisibly.
He learned love later. Night filtered in through a lacing of tree branches, traced dark circles onto four grinning faces hunched over an old map, and Sirius realized in a single beat of his heart that he would do *anything* for these boys because in a quiet, unquestionable way, they were his whole world.
Years slipped through their fingers like sand, and Sirius learned a second lesson on love one cool Devon night. He sat by the shore, running his hand over a small round stone beside him, listening to Remus. Wind blew over the waves, smelling strongly of salt. Sirius turned his head, blinking in the breeze and saw Remus’ nose wrinkle at the scent of the sea. Hair whipped over his brow, and Sirius wanted to push it back behind the soft, pink shell of Remus’ ear, press a soft kiss to the lean jaw. And he knew.
And it was simple, and beautiful and terrible. His bones ached with tenderness, and he had to look away.
Sirius never spoke of it, never moved to touch Remus beyond friendship. He held his love close, sheltering it like something small, delicate and precious -- like a moth, fluttering soft wings against the sensitive skin of Sirius’ hands.
If he let it go, let his secret fly free, what would happen? He couldn’t know, and he’d learned here, in this cold, distorted house, that hope never went unpunished.
So years passed into decades, and James died and Sirius was frozen in the deep cold dread of Azkaban.
…he would feel Remus’ smile against his own, would feel the gentle prickle against his cheek of Remus’ unshaven face, would be able to cup that beloved face in his hands and say it without words and as his eyes flicker shut…
Once, he thought it would happen by accident. That he’d lean forward catch Remus’ lower lip between his teeth without thinking, soothing the bite with a soft kiss.
Or, they’d be fighting, sparks lighting soft eyes, thin features fierce with conviction and Sirius would simply have to take Remus’ face in both hands and kiss him passionately.
Impulse. He’d always thought it would be impulse. But this was nothing accidental, and nothing Sirius had ever planned either.
He’s had thousands of kisses, has learned the language of lips like a master but he still shakes, tingles, itches with the hot tease of Remus’ breath over his lips. His toes curl, and his frown deepens, because this kiss…this kiss is one that Sirius has pictured for decades.
Sirius woke with a slim body curled beside him, elegant hand splayed over his chest, eyes watching him in the dark. “This is real,” Remus said simply, tracing circles over Sirius’ heart. “We need this, and it can’t wait any longer.”
…the fluttering of wings fills the room. An owl perches beside the bed, and the moment shatters. Remus’ eyes shutter, but his hand stays on Sirius’ chest even as he reads the message. His palm is warm. “I’ll be back,” he says, and his expression carries his apology, but Remus leaves anyway, closing the door gently behind him.
Through the old drapes that cover the windows dawn creeps into the room on quiet toes, curling quietly around the base of the chair. Sirius is still awake, watching as the clock keeps slow record of the hours that have passed.
There was a time when he would have been beside Remus in all things, and now he is stock still, hardly breathing. A million fears crowd through him, and there is little room for oxygen.
He can hear the stuttering footsteps of his house elf, roaming the halls, which means it must be nearly full morning. Sirius does not move. He wills time to turn back; he wills it to turn forward, and at intervals he wills it to stand still in moments of memory.
A soft pop sounds behind him, and Sirius sags with relief when a cold hand touches his shoulder. “I’m here,” Remus whispers.
He stands so quickly the chair falls to the ground with a resounding thud. He can’t speak, but that doesn’t matter. His eyes say everything and Remus smiles. “I know,” Remus tells him, brushing lips against his temple. “I know.”
And the clock ticks on, hands slipping future-ward as two men make love in the tilted room.