I didn't get to actually write as much as I would have liked whilst away owing to the terrible lack of alone time, but in my head things are brewing, in particular some Remus gen that's almost done, and a Doctor Who/His Dark Materials crossover (because why write in one new fandom when you can write in two?).
However, before all that here's a link to my story for hpslashnotsmut, archived here for posterity.
Go Down To The Ocean
2300 words, PG-13
Summary: Sitting on the sand with a breeze dancing around the nape of his neck, Remus watched Sirius and felt his insides squeeze and leap and implode. Remus and Sirius find themselves forced on holiday alone together, much to their mutual embarrassment.
Notes: Originally written for nekare at hpslashnotsmut.
‘You’re sure?’ Lily asked.
James nodded. ‘Yeah. I heard them.’
Lily bit her lip. ‘I never expected that, you know.’
There was a silence, as both of them processed this startling new information and what it might mean.
‘And they really haven’t done anything about it afterwards?’
James rolled his eyes. ‘No. Idiots, the both of them. Apparently Remus is claiming he doesn’t remember a thing – bollocks, if you ask me – and according to Sirius all the wild Thestrals of Arabia couldn’t make him do anything about it.’
Lily clapped a hand to her forehead in despair. ‘And here we see the central problem of this, um, particular sort of relationship. Two men. Good Lord. It’s a wonder any of them ever manage it.’
James frowned. ‘I don’t really know what to do, if I’m honest. Bit out of my league – I’m more used to terribly public and romantic declarations of love, as you well know.’
Lily laughed. ‘I would hardly describe that incident with the Squid in Sixth Year as romantic. But you’re right, oddly – you are truly hopeless. Fortunately for the pair of us, I am a genius.’
James’ eyes widened to take over most of his head. ‘Do I hear the beginnings of a plan?’
Lily just winked and sashayed out of the kitchen. James had to sit down for a few moments to recover himself.
Remus was sprawled out on the kitchen floor, the only place where it was even remotely close to a normal temperature. His head was somewhere very far away and so it was a bit of a shock when Lily appeared in the fireplace next to his knees.
‘Remus John Lupin, stop moping and get up!’
‘ARGH!’ Remus shot across the floor in a bid for escape, but instead he just crashed into the fridge.
Nursing his probably concussed head, he stared blearily at Lily.
‘What are you doing in my kitchen?’
‘Floo powder – nifty tricky, invented about 500 years ago, people use it to communicate with each other from time to time.’
‘Don’t…’ Remus groaned. ‘Don’t be snarky with me. I can’t cope.’
Lily stuck her tongue out and licked the flames experimentally, before grinning. ‘Always tastes weird, that. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, communication.’
Remus tried to shuffle away a bit more, but he just bumped into the fridge again.
Lily glared at him. ‘You can neither run nor hide, I’m afraid. Now stay put and listen to me.’
Remus sat very still indeed.
‘Good. Now then, I have been talking to James, and it appears you are more of an idiot than I first realised.’
Remus started to look horrified, and opened his mouth but Lily cut in again. ‘No, you have to shut up, too. I’m not here to criticise or lecture or do anything of the sort – frankly, I have better things to do with my time then worry about your deviant practises, but this is madness and I’m stepping in.’
Remus noticed, rather absently, that his balls appeared to have shrivelled up and died.
‘So, you and Sirius are a couple of poofters who are apparently completely mad for each other - what is your problem?’
Remus spluttered. ‘It’s not like that… you don’t--’
‘Actually, shut up again. You are clearly too far gone to be helped by any means except the most severe.’ Lily half-vanished from the fireplace for a moment, glancing behind her slightly, then ducked out altogether. She reappeared with an envelope clutched between her teeth.
At that, Remus regained his senses and laughed. ‘What are you doing?’
‘Oh, I can’t be bothered with owls – Guinevere still hates me, presumably jealous she’s no longer the only woman in James’ life. This is a portkey ticket for two, and I don’t care how I do it, but I’m forcing you and Sirius to take it.’
Remus didn’t move. ‘What?? Are you mad? You’ve gone mad, I can see it in your eyes.’
‘I have done no such thing – I am, in fact, the only sane person in the building, so you’d better do what I tell you.’ Lily’s eyes bored into Remus’ brain. ‘You’re taking this ticket, you’re going away with Sirius, and you’re not coming back until you’ve sorted all of this out – in fact, you won’t be able to.’
‘I hate you,’ Remus said rather feebly.
‘Jolly good,’ Lily replied briskly. ‘Now, James is dealing with Sirius once I’ve finished with you, so you won’t have to convince him or anything like that – from strong competition, that does manage to top the list of Things Remus Is Bad At.’
Remus was very aware he was clutching at straws, but there had to be something, anything, to save this from being the biggest disaster of all time.
‘Can we take Peter?’ he tried.
Coldly, cruelly, callously, Lily shook her head and sealed his fate.
There was nothing for it. As soon as they got there, Remus was going to have to drown himself in the nearest body of water. If it was the puddle in the middle of the street, then so be it.
‘You don’t know where we’re going either?’ asked Sirius.
Remus shook his head, and held out a used stamp, now glowing. Sirius grimaced and grabbed it, fingers accidentally brushing against Remus’ as they took off. The sensations in the pit of his stomach seemed even stronger than usual on this trip, Remus thought.
They landed – Sirius gracefully, Remus in a heap on the floor, as he’d completely forgot to prepare himself.
‘Wow,’ Sirius said, in awe.
‘Yeah,’ Remus had to agree. ‘Wow.’
Blue ocean stretched out in front of them, turning into white sand which lead up to where they were standing, just in front of an enormous rainforest. A fish leapt out of the water in the distant, and there wasn’t a sound save the gentle lapping of the waves.
‘Could have been worse,’ Remus acknowledged.
‘Yeah. I was expecting Sibera or somewhere.’ Sirius grinned suddenly. ‘Well, Moony, I think it’s time to go exploring!’
They walked along the beach, hands nearly brushing against each other from time to time, footsteps nearly in sync, but they remained disjointed.
The beach ran uninterrupted for as far as the eye could see, and it was only when they’d been walking for some time than they found anything at all.
A small hut was situated just underneath a palm tree, which made Remus laugh because, well, this was what it was supposed to be like, wasn’t it? Inside the hut was a large straw rug on the floor, and not an awful lot else.
In silent concordance, they walked forward to the edge of the sea. Sirius crouched over the tideline, digging his hands into the wet sand just before the water came to swirl it all away again. Remus watched him smile delightedly each time it happened and kicked off his shoes, throwing them carelessly away towards the hut that had wordlessly become their base.
Sitting on the sand with a breeze dancing around the nape of his neck, Remus watched Sirius and felt his insides squeeze and leap and implode.
For once, he didn’t really mind.
The first day was not enough to break all of the bonds that had so constricted them before. That night they found themselves with no other option but to lie side by side, and the goodnights were stilted.
Remus stared at the ceiling, which was so thin that some stars still shone through. Alive in every nerve from the effort of not touching Sirius, his thoughts were a cacophony of words and glances and a thousand different endings.
When he finally drifted off to sleep, his final thought was that Sirius was breathing far too irregularly to be unconscious himself.
The next morning, and Remus woke with opening lines bubbling on his lips. He ran through them all, one by one, but none of them seemed right. Instead, they just exchanged their good mornings and ducked out of the hut together, neither even contemplating changing their clothes of the night before. Remus looked a little sadly at the food parcel they’d brought with them, whose very British sandwiches just weren’t in keeping with their surroundings.
Sirius vanished at that point, and Remus wondered if he’d blown it already, but when Sirius returned carrying two coconuts he just smiled instead.
The beach was very warm. Remus could feel the contours of the sand through his towel, now adjusted to the curve of his back, which was very nice. Maybe this hadn’t been such a terrible idea after all.
After a while, Sirius startled wriggling around. He suddenly sat up, looking anxiously at Remus. A moment passed it, then he mutted ‘sod it!’ quite emphatically and yanked his shirt off, then collapsing back onto the sand in visible relief.
Remus was suddenly, very forcibly, reminded of why it was they were here in the first place.
‘Sirius?’ he asked tentatively.
‘Not yet,’ Sirius murmured. ‘Not yet.’
Comforted by that, Remus drifted into the sand again, and dreamt of being washed away by the waves.
That afternoon, they decided to see what the jungle had to offer. They pushed their way through branches and got tangled up in leaves, and Sirius’ laugh was especially bark-like when Remus managed to fall head first into a trail of vines.
Suddenly, they pushed their way out of the trees and stumbled into a clearing. Sunlight dappled in through the balmy leaves and fell in dusty rays on a curving lake. The air was heavy with silence and things undisturbed, so Remus approached with reverence.
Sirius, apparently, had other plans. He sprang up behind Remus and shoved him into the water. Thanks to many years of training, Remus instinctively lunged for Sirius’ ankles and they fell in together. Sirius clutched Remus’ wrists and Remus felt the joints against bones with a slight shiver.
‘You bastard,’ Remus said, narrowing his eyes, before making a leap for Sirius’ shoulders and plunging him into the depths, where Sirius’ amusement was only shown by a stream of bubbles which raced to the surface far above their heads.
Some time later, they slowly made their way back to the beach.
‘Remus?’ Sirius asked, voice more shaky than Remus had heard it before.
He just smiled. “Not yet. Not quite yet.’
That night, when Remus rolled to one side he could see Sirius’ star. When he rolled to the other, the crescent moon appeared.
Tomorrow. Tomorrow would be right.
From the moment they stepped outside on the third day, they both knew it. And still, inexplicably, they took their time. Perhaps it was the heat.
‘I wonder how big the island is?’ Sirius said. ‘Reckon we can walk all the way around it?’
It was a challenge.
They moved mostly in silence, odd sentences drifting out as reactions to a tropical bird that swooped past, or a lizard that scuttled in the undergrowth.
When they reached what would later turn out to be half way, Sirius gently took Remus’ hand in his own, and it felt like the most natural thing in the world.
Time passed strangely that day. Sometimes, a single step seemed to take a lifetime, and other times, Remus was barely aware of an hour passing.
He doubted he had ever been happier in all his life.
When the hut reappeared, Remus knew there was no more time.
Everything had been building up until now – all of the glances and the things unsaid, the Quidditch matches valiantly attended in the pouring rain, the essays ungrudgingly leant to save a friend from the wrath of Slughorn, the midnight hours burned away at the library in the depths of Animagus study, Sixth Year and a motorbike flight across the Channel, and finally the firewhiskey of two weekends ago which had brought out the truth just a little too soon.
And now Sirius’ hands were at his jawline, and now their shoulders were touching, and now Sirius was kissing him, Remus was arching his neck in bliss and they almost fell inside the hut (as though they forgot they were completely alone).
Delirious and not entirely sure of the difference between up and down, Remus let himself fall, sinking to the ground with Sirius, who kissed him and kissed him as though all the world rested on it.
Now Remus knew he’d never been happier in all his life.
The glow of the next morning appeared to have spread to the surroundings. As the world came into vision, Remus noticed a glowing in his pack. After digging through it, he came across the envelope Lily had given him. Inside was another stamp, and it was glowing.
A note dropped out, which Remus was reasonably certain hadn’t been there before.
Well, congratulations are in order – if you can read this note, it means you finally snogged him. Thank you for putting James and I out of our misery.
As you can see, the portkey is now activated. I pronounce you free men once again.
See you soon (or maybe not that soon),
Laughing at the sheer tackiness – Remus had read about this sort of holiday package before, but was frankly horrified his friends would sink to such depths – he looked at the glowing portkey for a moment.
Then Sirius turned over in his sleep, and at the sight of bare shoulders Remus quietly tucked the envelope away underneath his shirts.
They didn’t leave for another week.