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Temptations by timeturner

Format: Short story collection
Chapters: 2
Word Count: 6,824
Status: WIP

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Strong Violence, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Contains Slash (Same-Sex Pairing), Substance Use or Abuse, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: Drama, Romance, Angst
Characters: Lupin, Sirius, James, Lily, Narcissa, Pettigrew
Pairings:

First Published: 01/28/2006
Last Chapter: 05/23/2007
Last Updated: 05/23/2007

Summary:
A touch, a command, a brief hesitation….a temptation that can’t be denied. And, sometimes, it comes to light in the most unsuspecting ways. When it strikes you, how long can you resist?



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Chapter 1: The Unexpected
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Story Note: So, this is destined to be a series of plot bunnies gone rampant. Each chapter will be someone different (that’s the plan anyway) with temptations the characters facing being the only common thread. I’ve no idea when other chapters will be up (or who they might be about even). I haven’t stopped my others fics—these are just those moments of “have to write something else for a bit” that drive us all nuts. Anyway, enjoy, have fun, and remember…temptation is never found where you expect it.



Temptations:
The Unexpected



He hated hormones. They raged all over Hogwarts these days and merely served to remind him of his “difference” at every turn. It wasn’t even as if half the boys knew what they wanted anyway…after all, with the exception of Sirius, he couldn’t name a single boy that had done a thing about those raging hormones. And, unfortunately, Sirius wasn’t one to talk about what he did behind closed doors which made the gossip about him spread even wider.

For sheer spite, Remus slammed the door in Sirius’ face as they tramped into their room. He knew he wouldn’t need to apologize – if anyone understood his current frustration it was the Marauders. Shrinking off his rain-soaked clothes, he tried to tune out the angry banter between James and Sirius.

“Where does she get off? Telling the Headmaster he was endangering students lives by playing some silly game in the storm.”

“She’s a primadonna,” Sirius offered. “But she’s a Back and will always get her way.”

“Peter thinks she blackmailed the coach to cancel the game,” James huffed angrily, throwing his boots across the room so they splattered water over everyone. “Why did she care? Her boyfriend on the team or something?”

“I don’t keep up with her conquests, James.” Sirius dropped onto his bed with a chuckle. “But it wouldn’t surprise me if her whole ploy was to five her more free time to shag the Slytherin Quidditch team.”

“Who ever heard of a game being called on account of rain?”

“In all fairness, James, it’s a damn sight more than just rain. A little colder and we’ll be in a full fledged blizzard.” Remus ignored the piercing gaze he received and climbed into his top bunk. He knew they would go on for hours and when Peter finally showed up the whole evening would have to be recounted again.

He tugged the curtains tighter as James continued his tirade against her “holier than thou self”. Sirius laughter and tales of her exploits as a child would turn…he knew they would. If for no other reason than those damn raging hormones, the two would undoubtedly begin discussing her coming of age and whatever Sirius happened to know of it. He dropped his head heavily onto the pillow, his rain drenched hair immediately soaking the fabric through. He wanted to tell them to sod off…to tell them to just stop talking about her and maybe she wouldn’t be so damn popular. To hear the boys of Hogwarts talk, you’d think she was a saint. Or at least God’s gift to the sexually inept.

But, he knew he would never tell either of them that. Not only because Sirius would slug him (which he would) but because he wanted to know every little thing about her…conscious things, of course. The unconscious things he already knew from years of observing her. The way she tossed her hair to catch some unsuspecting boy’s attention; the slight furrow in her brows when she’s studying; the soft tinge of pink that colors her ears when she’s angered. He could sense the tightness growing in his flannel pajamas and his hand automatically slipped beneath his waist band as images of her filled his mind.

Sirius had faltered under James’ constant questioning. He was describing her at a party he’d attended over the summer…her low cut dress; the thin black heels that made her legs look even longer; and, the soft lilt in her voice as each man fell under her spell only to be crushed by the venom that was Narcissa Black.

They were bad-mouthing her again. How, since her engagement, she’d jumped from one man to the next. That gossip alone had caused her to be the most popular girl in school…how even friendly Lily Evans wouldn’t go near her anymore because she had supposedly slept with Lily’s beau. Remus gripped tightly to the sheet with his one free hand, determined to block out their conversation and keep the vision in his mind clear. But it was no use. Although the image was still there, his rhythm was off. He slipped his hand from his pants and buried his head further into the pillow…the image still wouldn’t fade.

Hopping down with a heavy thud, he didn’t pause to look at the others. “I’m going out. Don’t wait up.”

“Where the—"

He slammed the door before they even got the question out.

It wasn’t as if she was the only object of temptation for him out there. There were hundreds of girls at Hogwarts that he could fantasize about but none were like her. It angered him—made him feel like a fool—to think of how many other boys were probably under the same spell as he. He hated being a sap; hated that Sirius knew he liked her; hated that she’d been with so many men if you believed the gossip; but, more than all of that, he hated nights like tonight. Days away from the full moon, locked up because of the storm, his urges almost strong enough to make him publicly humiliate himself and, as always, a bitterness welling inside that the only person around to attend to his needs was himself.

He stood silently as the cold rain pelted on him, not sure exactly how he’d gotten outside but knowing the icy streams were at least stirring his common sense back in motion. A soft clatter from somewhere nearby caused him to sink further into the shadows. It was repetitive, growing louder and so rhythmic that it could only be footsteps. He tilted his head around the column and came face to face with a wand drawn against his flesh.

“Don’t move.”

It was the voice he knew only from dreams.

“Pardon?”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Narcissa quickly stashed her wand. “I had expected… well, never mind.” Her flustered composition changed in an instant and she offered him a smile. “Are you alone?”

“Not anymore,” he answered distractedly, his eyes following the curves of her body. She was wearing nothing more than a white t-shirt and jeans and he knew she had to be freezing. Her shirt was soaked through and she had nothing underneath. Although he knew he should look away, the curves of her breasts had hypnotized him. They were perfectly rounded, light shadows reflecting under the porch lantern, and looked exactly sized to the cup of his overly-large hands. He wanted nothing more than to…

“They’re breasts,” she interrupted huffily, causing him to blush scarlet. “And you may stare at them all you like if you just promise to get me out of this frigid rain.”

“An enticing offer, I must admit,” he murmured, regaining some sense of composure, “but I think you know your way back inside the castle.”

He moved a pace away, determined to put distance between them before he made more of a scene.

“Please,” she grabbed his arm and spoke in a familiar tone that he recognized well…it was the tone Sirius always used to convince him of something (something that would normally result in detention for all involved). Tonight, though, he knew there were worse things to fear than Sirius.

“You’re a prefect, aren’t you? Surely you must know somewhere I can get dried off.” She smiled but he noticed her teeth chattering. “I’d really prefer everyone not seeing me like this.”

As beautiful and sensual as she was, she didn’t look well and he had to wonder just how long she’d been out in the storm. A dozen questions about what she could have been up to—from conspiring with Voldemort to shagging some unsuspecting sap like himself—rushed through his mind but none had a suitable ending for him so he dismissed them all. He gazed at her more thoughtfully this time, noticing how the shiver bumps on her bare skin were diminishing even though her shaking continued. He pulled off his cloak and wrapped it around her.

“This way,” he directed and fell in step behind her immediately. He walked slowly as she seemed to be unsteady and as they neared the stairwell to the prefect’s room, he took her arm as she faltered.

“Damn nice of you,” she murmured as he led her into the softly lit common area.

“Such language,” he chided, helping her slide down onto the sofa.

“I am a Black,” she returned, her voice still quivering with the cold. She began pulling off his cloak and Remus tilted his head her direction.

“What on earth are you doing?”

“You want to stare at my breasts, don’t you?”

“You are a conceited little priss, aren’t you?” he chuckled. “Keep your clothes on before you die of hypothermia.”

“I keep my promises.”

Remus nodded…he’d really expected no less from someone related to Sirius. But even in his current state, he wouldn’t have her freeze to death just so he could chance a last look at her chest. “Keep it on until you’re warm them, all right?” When she still seemed insistent, he offered her the sarcastic dry wit that always seemed to work on Sirius. “No sense rushing our evening, is there?”

She nodded without comment but dropped her head back against the sofa. “I didn’t realize how cold I was.”

“That’s a bit dangerous, don’t you think?”

“We do what we must,” she whispered with a quiet soberness that made him turn her way. “We’re safe her for awhile, then?”

He nodded from across the room, refusing to move any closer to her.

“You can sit down, you know. I don’t bite.”

“Sirius disagrees,” he returned as calmly as he could. He dropped to the edge of the coffee table, figuring it was the safest place he could sit and still keep her at an arm’s length.

“Ah, yes,” she nodded. “I thought I recognized you. You are one of his little gang, then?” Rather than wait for an answer, she leaned down and began to unlace her boots. Her hands were quivering, though, reminding him that she’d been out in the cold far longer than she should.

“I wouldn’t quite call us a gang,” he murmured but couldn’t resist a smile. Her disapproving look wiped it quickly from his face. Reaching to her, he moved her shivering hands from her boot laces. “Allow me,” he offered quietly, not daring to look at her.

“Thank you. I admit I’m a bit cold.”

“It must have been a rather important errand to get you out on a night like this.”

She ignored him and waved her wand toward the fireplace. “Sirius isn’t one for loyalty. It surprises me he hasn’t turned on you already.”

“I suppose our view of loyalty might be a tad different.”

“Perhaps,” she shrugged as if the matter was of no real interest to her anymore. “I know what I was doing out in weather like this but what were you doing out there without your gang?” she said the last word with condescension, almost begging him to retaliate.

“Trying to subdue my repressed sexual desires. You?”

Whether it was his honesty or vulgarity that caught her off guard he wasn’t sure but something in her demeanor had suddenly shifted. She leaned forward, her breath warm on his stubbled cheek.

“Looking for you, of course,” her hand slipped easily along his thigh, her eyes filling with challenge. He met her gaze calmly, though, and the intensity of his stare caused her to hesitate. “You are different than the others,” she mumbled with a puzzled tone.

He chuckled. “If by ‘others’ you mean the boys you’ve bedded in your haste to live life to its fullest before rushing down the altar, then yes. If by ‘different’ you mean I know enough of your childhood antics to ruin your lovely reputation here at school well, yes to that, too.”

She folded her arms in an attempt to be dignified but it only made him laugh more. “You really are vulgar, you know that?”

“Yes,” he nodded and waved his wand to produce two drinks for them. “But at least I’m honest about it. Truce?” He offered her a glass filled with a warm golden liquid. When she refused, he gave her a tight nod of order. “Don’t be obstinate. Your precious reputation is safe with me.”

He could hear the grumble of protest in her throat but she took the glass…if it was one thing he had learned from living with Sirius all these years, all Blacks knew how to follow orders. Standing up, he made his way to the corner to pull a dusty blanket out of a trunk. Although he wanted nothing more to ravage her, the pale tint to her skin wasn’t normal and her slow methodical movements made him worry for her health. She raised her arms as he tucked the blanket around her and, had he blinked, he would’ve missed the rare look of thanks she silently offered him. “How long where you out there, Narcissa?”

“Worried about me?” she grinned mischievously. “It’s a ploy. You get concerned and I ravage you when your defenses are down.”

Remus shook his head, a slight emotion of pity growing in his stomach. He moved to sit closer to her, his hand tracing lightly along her cheek as he felt for her temperature. “I never imagined you to be this much like Sirius,” he murmured. He took her glass away and sat it to the side, chaffing her chilled hands in his to warm them.

“What do you mean? I’m nothing like that filthy, good for nothing…”

“You do not want to go there with me.”

She hesitated, an inquisitive look washing over her pale face. “Did you….did you just growl at me?”

Remus bit the inside of his lip in punishment. How could she manage to make him lose control so easily? He turned away to avoid her gaze, pretending to stoke the magical fire.

“Okay, then,” she responded quietly, a touch of unease creeping into her normal lyric voice. She tapped her glass to get his attention. “Could I have another?”

“Are you helpless?” he spat, still angry with himself for letting her get to him.

“Such a gentleman.” She re-filled her own glass. “So how exactly am I like your beloved Sirius?”

“Kindness alludes you,” he whispered. “When someone offers it you run for cover, insult them, or have a well-stocked smart remark to retaliate.”

“Kindness is for fools.”

“Again, a Sirius response.”

“Can you talk of nothing but him?” she barked. “I’d rather show you my breasts to shut you up than listen to such a comparison.”

“And I’d prefer to shag you here to teach you what a real man can do rather than be subjected to your childish innuendos that assume you are so desirable no man can withstand your advances,” he growled purposefully this time. There. That made him feel much better, he though silently. He offered her a tiny grin. “But, alas, it seems we’ve reached a stalemate.”

He dropped to the couch in resignation. He knew no way to exit chivalrously…he couldn’t very well leave her stranded and, to his detriment, he really was curious to find out where she’d been tonight. He considered calling on Sirius to get rid of her for him but knew he’d never live that down. He took a long swig of his drink and dropped his head on the back of the couch.

“Are we done with pleasant insults, now?” she asked, dropping down beside him so that their legs touched.

He shuffled inches away. “Your witty banter exhausts me.”

“Don’t believe a girl can be both beautiful and smart, do you?”

“Believe me when I say,” he leaned closer to her with a courage he hadn’t felt in ages, “your intellectual capabilities have never been in question.”

He knew it was a mistake the moment he moved. Her skin, still damp from the torrential rain, glistened under the candlelight. An earthy scent of rain and grass-- nothing he had expected from the primadonna image she presented to the world—drifted to his senses and an uncontrollable longing rose from somewhere deep within him. She smelled nothing of perfume or bath oils like any other woman he’d been with. Rather, a mere trace of cologne mingled with an outdoorsy, almost masculine scent, of crushed pine needles and raw physical need. Like every Black he’d ever met, everything about her exuded power, arrogance and defiant manipulation.

It was impossible to deny his attraction to her, he knew that now. She would get her way, as Sirius had told him just tonight…a Black got anything they wanted. If only he could get away from her somehow…if only she couldn’t see through his exterior to know how desperately he wanted her.

A tiny smirk curled onto her face, her fingers tracing along the curves of his arm. Her voice was steady, as if her question concerned nothing more than what he had consumed for dinner. “Do you want me, Remus?”

“Doesn’t everyone?” he replied softly, hoping to continue his charade of indifference. But the soft arch of her back as she leaned toward him, the soft curve of her neck as she tilted closer to give him a more distinct view of the bare flesh on her shoulders told him she knew….she had always known.

“Do you dream of me?”

“No,” he lied but knew she could tell the truth. She was too close to him…her normal perfume had been washed away in the rain, leaving only her natural scent to appeal to his darker side. He fought the urge to bury his face in her neck and inhale her scent.

She inched closer to him, watching him intently as she moved. “I’m used to those things, of course.” She pressed her body into his heavily but then drew back with a tiny intake of breath. She continued to advance on him but her movements were tense and hesitant, as if she had suddenly lost control of the situation.

“You look uneasy,” he murmured with amusement. He could barely contain the urge to flee from her presence and here she was-- afraid of him.

“Around you, I feel-" she hesitated, “I feel like prey.”

Her words sobered him immediately. Had he really lost that much control of himself? He jerked quickly out of his seat, shoving his hands deep in his pockets to keep them in check. “I should go.”

“No, no.” She blocked his exit, her body colliding with his. Her voice softened. “I didn’t mean it like that.”

“Sirius warned me about you,” he spoke softly as he dropped his face to her shoulder.

“It seems you are the dangerous one in this room,” she countered, her vivid red nails raking through the fabric of his cloak.

Before he could rationalize against it, his mouth buried into the nape of her neck, his embrace possessive and urgent. Her movements were hurried, well practiced, and the idea that he was with a woman rather than a child caused a fire to well within him.

He pressed into her, the curves of her hips seeming tiny and fragile compared to her gruff movements. He tore hungrily at her shirt, leaving it hanging in shreds against her arms as his mouth engulfed her chilled skin. He could feel the heat rising within her as his lips blazed a path across the curves of her stomach. His hand slipped into her jeans easily, the low moan that escaped her lips causing his fingers to tighten dangerously around her throat. Ignoring any gentleness he might have shown someone else, he yanked her hair to the side, lacing is fingers painfully into the rain curled knots. He heard her wince but ignored it—he hated her and adored her in the same breath. His teeth buried into her shoulder as she touched the flesh of his chest….her own violent touches making him want to punish her even more. His eyes fluttered open and then closed again as she moved and then he opened them wider as if his unconscious had registered something he wouldn’t allow himself to believe.

The mark was small…tiny enough not to be noticed under any of her normal clothing. It was still red and irritated, slight speckles of fresh blood still clinging to her flesh and it occurred in the back of his mind that this was where she had been tonight…joining Voldemort’s ranks of supporters. He tried to rationalize it. She was, after all, marrying Lucius. She would be expected to support her future husband. But that was not Narcissa…she was stronger than that. She could make any man fall to their knees and attend to her every whim. She was certainly strong enough to say a simple thing like “no” and not go to the dark side, wasn’t she?

Or, perhaps she wasn’t.

Sirius was strong enough. He defied his family, his heritage, his brother—he risked everything for what he believed was right. He and Narcissa were alike in so many ways: their maddening arrogance; their insatiable hunger for danger and adventure; their practiced charm; and their undeniable appearance that exuded power, prestige, and, though he hated to confess it even silently, an undeniable sexual attraction to anyone who happened to be in their presence. But no matter how much he tried to delude himself, she was not Sirius.

Remus felt his stomach turn as his body reacted to her urgent motions. She was attacking him now-he knew no other way to describe it. Hands; mouth; tongue; hips….all of her body viciously smothering him as her passion turned into a demand for ownership of him.

This wasn’t right.

Sirius had warned him about her. Just how many times had he warned him? Remus couldn’t recall. He’d never even told Sirius how he felt about her but somehow Sirius knew. He always knew. He knew Remus was drawn to her, to everything she represented to him…Remus’ breath caught in his throat as the realization of what he truly wanted coursed through his being.

Images of Sirius mingled with Narcissa, the naked body before him being transposed into something much more forbidden. His face, his hands, the confident swagger to his walk, the playful glisten in his gray eyes, his arrogant crooked smile, the broad chest with ripples of muscles he saw each night before bed, the sinful curve at his waist that drew attention in the shower rooms….Remus’ body instinctively thrust toward Narcissa. Her gasp of breath and soft cry of passion causing his eyes to flicker open and his lust filled dream to fade away.

He tried to turn his eyes away from the mark but couldn’t seem to tear his gaze away. Her touches weren’t electric anymore but distracting, the curves of her body seeming more destructive than alluring. He dropped his hands to his sides in distraction but she didn’t even notice. Like an animal released, she was clawing and tearing at him while he stood unmoving, his irreverent daze going unnoticed. She thought she owned him. No, she truly wanted him. He could tell by her desperation that she felt he could give her what she had been searching for all this time. All those men, all those nights, and it had come down to a lowlife Gryffindor that was best friends with her cousin. She considered him trash, he knew. She was only using him to fulfill her own needs and then he would be trash to her once again. That he was allowing her to use him infuriated him. How had Sirius known?”

A vague memory touched his senses…a quiet, half drunk moment in the common room when Sirius had mentioned Narcissa. He had said nothing of true interest but the studious look he had caused Remus to wince. Sirius had watched him searchingly for the longest time, remaining silent even when Remus rambled and complained about her to maintain his charade. Sirius let him, of course, but when Remus had finally run out of insults toward her, Sirius had dropped his eyes away. “She could never satisfy what you want, Remus.”

How had Sirius known when he didn’t?

He tried to ignore Narcissa’s movements, tried to pull his mind from what he knew Sirius would undoubtedly see as betrayal. He was replacing Sirius with her…she was available, she was willing, she was free with no strings, repercussions or cultural bias. He could have her but he could not have what he wanted.

The thought sickened him.

“How does it feel, Narcissa?”

“What?” she gasped for breath as she struggled to undo his belt, her desperation to have him for her own causing a wretched bile to rise in his throat.

“To want something—"

“Yes,” she moaned softly as her hands finally broke through the fabric of his pants, encircling him painfully with her fervid lust. “Yes, I want you,” the tinge of success in her voice was more than he could take and he gripped her forearms roughly, jerking her mouth away from him. He lifted her off her knees in one swift violent motion, pinning her against the door with such force the wood splintered. The change in him was instantaneous and her wild look of fear mingled with unbridled passion caused his eyes to narrow.

“How does it feel,” he seethed as he reached for the doorknob, stepping away from her touch and into the hall, “to want something you can’t have?”




Chapter 2: Breathe
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Author’s Note: Just a reminder for those who might not have been around ages ago when I first the first chapter. This is a series of one shots where each chapter centers around a different “ship” and one particular moment in time for them (hence, why it may seem to end abruptly…that’s intentional, I promise!). The goal is to write about a myriad of different ones but, of course, I couldn’t bear the thought of not getting Sirius and Lily in here somewhere! I hope you enjoy!




Temptations
Chapter 2: Breathe



In the hollowness of war, comfort is a temptation even the strongest can’t resist


Lily rolled over in the bed, tossing with exasperation. She gripped her pillow tightly, yanking it over head to try and drown out the sound. She let her eyes close against the stiff freshly laundered cotton, knowing it would only be a moment before she had to pull it off and take a gulp of air. She shallowed her breathing, desperate to muffle all sounds for as long as possible, a dark place in the back of her mind hoping she might black out and avoid ever hearing anything ever again.

Unable to withstand it any longer, she sat up and chunked the pillow across the room. “Sirius, will you please stop snoring!”

Before she could sink back onto the bed, it came back at her smacking her in the face and causing a red mark to immediately surface where the feathers had hit her.

“I’m not even asleep, you twit.”

She glanced around the tent, her eyes peering closely at each table as she tried to discern the sound. The folding tables were crammed full of medical supplies and magical gadgets, the boxes still lying open as both she and Sirius had been too exhausted to clean up after the most recent influx of wounded. They had been on leave…resting up after near twelve hours of brutal battling with the Death Eaters. Replacement Order members had come to relieve them but the battle had turned worse and, rather than sleep Sirius and Lily had moved to the medical tent to help however they could. Sirius hadn’t slept in nearly forty-six hours and she was pushing near twenty herself.

She pulled the pillow close to her chest, enveloping it in a hug as if it might make the images and sounds go away. James, Peter and Remus were out there somewhere, along with dozens of other schoolmates and she had no idea if they were alive or dead. She squeezed her eyes shut, hoping the green pallor of the tent might fade from her mind. She trembled as a muted scream far in the distance carried over the wind and to her ears.

“It’s the protection spell for the medical tent, Lil,” Sirius’ voice filtered above the aggravating gurgling that she had mistaken for his snoring. “That noise means we’re safe. You only need worry if it goes silent. Just relax and try and get some sleep.”

She hugged the pillow tighter to her chest rather than respond. She rocked herself gently, hoping to get a grip on her emotions. She had never been fearful; it just wasn’t in her nature. She worried about things, of course, but nothing had ever really frightened her. There was something about this place, though, something about the stench of blood and death that seemed to hang in the air that just gave her chills. She’d seen many battles with Death Eaters over the last few months but none had gone on this long…none had been so violent with so much at stake. Death Eaters were trying to overtake Hogwarts and the Order would prevent it – no matter the cost.

She jerked involuntarily as Sirius moved, rolling on his side to gaze at her. Although he had managed to pull off his shoes, he remained fully dressed. His black trousers still coated in dried mud, jagged holes scattered here and there throughout the fabric. His pristine white dressed shirt, his trademark since the day she’d met him, was rolled carelessly at the sleeves, splatters of blood turning brown mixing with the dirt so she couldn’t tell which was which. He was physically spent, she could tell by the slow, careful movements that seemed to require so much effort. She glanced questioningly at him and, as if he understood immediately, he scooted further back on his cot, making room for her to lie down beside him. She crossed the room quickly, climbing onto the thin mattress and pressing her back into his chest. His hand slid around her waist, pulling her into a protective embrace. He dropped his head next to hers, sharing the tiny corner of pillow that she hadn’t already claimed. She shivered in his arms as a deafening explosion sounded somewhere outside and she entwined her fingers in his, pulling him ever closer to her.

“Better?” he murmured.

She nodded but tightened her grip on his arm anyway. “Do you ever want to escape, Sirius? Just run away from all this?”

“To go where?” he chuckled.

She shrugged. “Somewhere without the noise and the bodies and the blood –"

He could feel her begin to tremble as she spun herself tighter and he cut her off. “No. If I’m going to die, I’d rather die with my friends beside him than off alone somewhere.”

She rolled over to face him, clasping her hands to her chest. “I’d like to go home…to see my parents and my sister. She has a new son and who knows if I’ll even—" she fell quiet. “I’d love to escape.”

“Commonality of a muggle existence,” he joked but sobered immediately as her eyes clouded to a miserable shade of green. He nudged her slightly. “Would you want to return to the Black family?” he asked seriously. “This is my escape.”

“Truthfully?”

“Mostly.”

She opened her mouth to speak then closed it again, fingering the hole in his shirt where a missing button should have been as she tried to compose her thoughts. “Regulus is here,” she whispered and could immediately feel him tense beside her.

“I don’t know that. You don’t know that. Speculating about it is worthless.” Although his voice was cold, he refused to meet her gaze.

“Sirius,” she tilted his face down to hers, “I saw him.”

His eyes held hers, his voice a whisper. “What?”

“Last night, when I met the team from St. Mungo’s for the supplies. He tried to intercept the delivery.”

“Was he killed?”

“No, I couldn’t,” she whispered, dropping her eyes. “He’s your brother, Sirius.”

“You’re a fool, then. He would’ve killed you in an instant, Lil. He’s lucky he’s survived this long as it is. Don’t mistake him for me and don’t ever let him walk away just because-"

She lifted her hand to his face, covering his lips with the tips of her fingers to quiet him. “He’s safe, Sirius…at least for today.”

He dropped his eyes away without comment, his body relaxing with the news that his brother was safe. She let out an exhausted breath, causing him to squeeze her hand. “It’s hard, isn’t it? Facing this everyday? You could go home, you know. Live a normal muggle life.”

She sent him a sour look but, in the silence that followed, his words began to sink in. She did have the ability to escape. Unlike he or James or any of the other Marauders, she could flee to a muggle world that offered freedom from the war that seeped into her every being. “Is this life, Sirius? Is this all there is? Pain and anguish and death and destruction?”

He shuffled her in his arms to look at her better, not sure if she was asking him or trying to solve the question her self. He opened his mouth to speak then fell quiet, pulling her tighter into him to try and keep his emotions in check. He lay silently, half dozing and half frightened to sleep for fear of leaving her unprotected. They were safe for the moment – he knew that. But somehow, knowing he couldn’t protect her from the pain she was feeling made him believe he had failed her. His voice was less than a whisper when he finally garnered the energy to respond.

“The great art of life is sensation, to feel that we exist, even in pain.”

“Lord Byron,” she offered with a half smile and poked him gently in the chest. “My well read lover,” she joked half-heartedly then realized what she’d said.

Her eyes cast away from him, unsure of what had made her say such a thing. It had been years since they’d shared anything intimate, years since they’d felt any pull other than mere friendship. It was as if in growing up they had some how outgrown a need for each other and the thought made a melancholy mood wash over her. Life had been simple and easy back then—homework and detentions their biggest threats; far off dreams and plans for the future coloring their days; lazy Hogwarts weekends when nothing seemed more important that a quick snog session before the chaperones could catch you. Knowing that the school was mere steps away and under siege filled her with grief. It wasn’t as if she regretted her current life. She would gladly do anything; even give her life, if it meant stopping Lord Voldemort. But she couldn’t help but feel all her youth had been wasted just to end up in this one horrid moment when nothing but death clouded the air around them.

She pressed her lips gently into his, one hand sliding to caress the stubble growing on his cheek. She lifted her eyes toward him questioningly but he had nothing more than a tired, vacant expression across his face.

Their movements were slow and wearied, as if exhaustion had slipped into every part of their being. They had been together several times before in years past, products of teenage experimentation and too much drink. But neither seemed to have the energy to put effort in their movements, both moving in silent methodical steps that were more requisite and compulsory than passionate.

He slipped his arm underneath her head, dropping his face into the crook of her neck. Unable to hold himself up, he sank heavily on top of her, his body pressing hers into the stiff sheets. Her hands moved to rest on the back of his chest, not even bothering to move as she felt him come for her. She let out the tiniest gasp…she’d forgotten him and how he moved. Even with his fatigue, nothing and no one felt like Sirius Black.

“Okay?” he asked, lifting his head to eye her closely.

“I’d forgotten you,” she whispered.

He smiled a warm, tender smile that made her weak. He leaned down, his lips brushing against hers as his body moved with a slow, calm rhythm just for her.

Unlike others she had been with, he only moved when she breathed…a hypnotic action that seemed to draw her deeper into him. She had no idea how he managed such serene control over himself but his gliding movement touched her more deeply than anyone else had ever managed. She felt a warmth grow in her lower abdomen and sucked in a breath as he let his fingers trail down her side to crook her leg up toward him. Even in her frazzled state, she could sense her perception becoming more acute—the metallic creak of the cot underneath them; his calloused hands rubbing on the back of her neck; a river a chilled air seeping into the tent from somewhere high up above; the thump of his heart pressing into her flesh; the medicinal stench of bleached sheets being overtaken by his smell of leather and salty sweat; the slight tickle of his long hair as it swayed against her face with his movements; the tremble in his already exhausted muscles as he tried to hold on long enough to get them where they needed to go. She could feel him shift position, moving his arms underneath her shoulders to cradle her head in his hands. He had no energy to kiss her but dropped his face in her shoulder, his labored breathing hovering at the hollow of her throat as he used his new position to entwine them so deeply it tinged on painful.

“Breathe, Lily,” he ordered quietly, his command veiled with a tinge of concern.

How he had noticed such a thing in his exhausted state was beyond her. That he could block everything out and be there only for her made her weak. Tears welled at the corners of her eyes as she tried to ignore him. She didn’t want to breathe. She knew a single breath would cause the feeling to end, oxygen would rush over her and she’d no longer be able to stave off the feelings he had caused to well within her. She wanted to prolong it…to lock out the real world for as long as she possibly could manage, to keep it just the two of them – a tiny sliver of life where there was no war or blood or wounded.

She caught his eye uneasily, his grey eyes looking far deeper into her soul than she thought possible. He knew.

He knew what she was afraid of and what she wasn’t; what she wanted to escape from and what she longed to have. He understood that by holding her breath she was prolonging the sensation of true living that he had welled within her. He had recognized how desperately she feared the lost dreams the war had stolen from her even though he seemed to have no emotional upheaval of his own. Dreams of simplicity…days of sunshine watching her children play in the front yard; a happy marriage not tinged with death where hours were filled with common everyday things like washing clothes and dishes and baking bread…things she remembered her mother doing in childhood. She knew he could see her fear of never feeling this way again – being forced into saying goodbye to childhood and youth and freedom from responsibilities. As tempted as she was to stay here in this place forever, he was telling her it was impossible and that she had to move on. She had a choice but it took his words to convince her to make the decision.

“Lils,” he whispered, pulling her into a reassuring embrace, “just let it come.”

She sucked in a desperate breath, her sobs punctuating by ragged gasps as he quickened and allowed shudders to overtake them both. She clasped to him, unwilling to let him move away. He rubbed her head gently, her body trembling with uncontrollable sobs from both fear and the effect he’d had on her.

She would accept not the inevitable but instead cling to righteous ability to decide what path in life she was willing to take rather than avoid. She would face the war, the death, the stench of unfairness without complaint or fear. He alone had taught her that much.



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