Summary: Remus is given the chance to speak to Sirius alone for the first time since his escape from Azkaban.
The other man hadn't even been back in his life for two days and already he had destroyed more than should be humanly possible but no matter how much he thought about it, Remus Lupin couldn't bring himself to care. Standing there, in the entryway to a house he never thought he'd see again with his hand stretched out in front of him, he hesitated like a frightened child unsure of whether or not the dog they dared to get this close to was going to bite and, in some very literal way, he was.
“You're here,” he finally breathed out. His arm hovered there, inches from the others' face like he was unable to move it any further, “You're actually h...”
His voice broke of with a quiver and he took a deep, shaking breath as everything he had been refusing to think about while on the school grounds finally came crashing down. A sudden movement caused him to look up to where the others cheek rested gently in his palm, large black eyes glistening at him like the most loyal of puppies. His hair and beard were still a tangled mess, but they were wet and smelled clean leading him to presume the other must have showered in his short freedom and his mind jumbled, trying to focus too much on everything and, in turn, not focusing on any one thing well enough.
“I couldn't,” Remus gasped out, “I could never...”
“I know, Moony,” came the gentle reply, and then there were arms around his back and a face buried in his neck and it was all the grown wolf could do to choke back the sob he'd been holding onto for so long now, the sob he never let go of when the sentence was passed down and his future was lead away in shackles never to be heard from again...or so he thought because here he was, holding him with arms far too strong to have been incarcerated for so, so long.
“How did you,” the shaken man asked, “They say Azkaban drives even the sanest man mad, how did you last so...”
“You,” Sirius whispered in his ear, pulling himself back to look the other in the eyes from just far enough to keep him in focus, “Every time the madness would come crashing in and I'd try to shut out everything just to hold on, I would close my eyes and all I could see was you, the way you looked that last time, trying so hard not to cry while they dragged me away and I'd remember that I had a promise to keep...”
He trailed off, his eyes welling a little despite all his efforts to be the swave, cool member of this impromptu hallway party.
“What promise?” Remus croaked out.
“That day, watching you,” he shook his head slightly and grinned, his dark hair falling into his face somewhat, “I promised myself that I'd stay sane just long enough to tell you something I think I never did, something I should...”
He leaned in close, so close, his words a breath on the others mouth.
“I love you Remus Lupin.”
The kiss was gentle, like one of the most popular boys at Hogwarts in his day was suddenly uncertain of something he'd done a thousand times and it wasn't until he felt the fingers slowly wind their way into the mess he called hair and felt the other choke back another sob that he smiled and pressed forward a little harder, letting a few of his own tears fall while they might not be noticed. There was a light thump as Remus' back found the wall and Sirius pulled back for air, shifting about somewhat when his foot struck something and he glanced down just in time to see the umbrella stand topple and hit the ground with a crash.
“Filth! Mudbloods!” Screamed the painting hidden behind a nearby piece of black velvet.
“Well,” muttered Remus with a slight grin, “I see that your mother is well.”
As the laughter died between them and the screeching painting continued on in the background, Remus looked back at the man in his arms and pulled him closer still,
“I'm never letting you out of my sight again,” He whispered into the others' ear...and smiled...