A Sleep Like Unto Death
Part 1 - Sleeping
By Kick Flaw
James finished his weekly clean-up with an exasperated sigh. Clean-up, of course, meant stuffing anything out of place under his bed, but that ever-so-trying task wasn't the cause of his fraying nerves. The cause was cross-legged on the floor at the far end of the room, and was fully ignoring the mess in his cordoned area as well as their impending Double Potions class. "Sirius, you haven't even dressed yet!" James huffed.
Sirius, utterly absorbed in his newest experiment, failed to respond. Vials clicked, liquids combined, solids dissolved and formed, that was all that mattered to his distracted best friend. James tugged his bed curtains shut and went to work on Sirius' space.
"You know, Double Potions starts in ten minutes. If you stop now you *might* be able to get there on time. I'm not going to wait for you this time. Last time you did this we were twenty minutes late! And may I remind you that that incident was just last week? Professor Thatcher will have your head! It's not like your chemicals won't be here when we get back. Sirius!"
Sirius blandly clicked a timer on and hooked a thin tube between two of his strange nozzles. All the years James had spent as the muggle-born boy's best friend and he still didn't grasp the 'fine art' called Chemistry. He did like it though, when it wasn't threatening his schedule.
"Relax, Prongs." said Sirius, a bit late. "Thatcher adores me. She didn't give us a detention last week, remember?"
"Only because you did that smile thing to her."
"Then I'll do 'that smile thing' again. You're missing the point. I can't leave this to boil unsupervised. Do you have any idea what that could do to my beaker?" he shuddered.
"Merlin help me. Double. Potions. Hello? Double Potions!" James emphasized his very good point by throwing a quill at Sirius' head; The boy had a buggered priority system.
"Hey." protested said boy as he half-heartedly rubbed where the sharp end of the writing instrument had hit, then promptly forgot about it. "Quit it. I'm trying to concentrate." Another clink, bubble, whoosh accompanied his nonsensical mumblings. Something about hydrochloric whatsit and catalystic reactions, whatever. James viciously kicked various muggle clothing underneath his friend's bed and tugged those curtains closed too, not bothering to tidy Sirius' pile of blankets. Four or five at least tangled up in what resembled a snowball fort or a bird's nest. If anyone needed extra blankets it was Remus, with his below-average body temperature. Remus, who was probably half-way to class. A glance at the mechanism that magically clocked each Marauder, designed by Sirius himself in a fit of genius, affirmed that Remus and Peter were indeed safely on their way.
"Padfoot!" James snapped.
"Go on, already! I won't be long."
"Fine." he shouldered his bag and headed for the hall. "Remember to change. And try brushing your hair? You're welcome."
"What?" but the door had banged shut. Sirius shrugged, returning to his work. James would eat his words when they smoked out the Slytherin's Quidditch practice. Ah, the joys of chemistry.
The Potions room was a wide, large, square place, with shelving over all available wall-space and a small platform at the front for the teacher to use in demonstrations. Three rows of four-person desks stretched from the entrance to the platform, black, scarred from use. The floor was blackened in some areas, but never dusty, and the jars crowding each shelf were always full. Extra cauldrons cluttered the corner to the left of the platform; High-light candles illuminated the entire room. The classroom reflected its teacher -neat, open, and intelligent. Remus made himself comfortable at the middle-row table he and the Marauders shared, almost looking forward to today's brewing session.
A bag dropped next to the empty chair at his side.
"Uh oh." he said when James took his seat alone. Not good.
"Yup." intoned the wild-haired wizard, doom in his voice. "He's at it again."
"And you left him?! Are you crazy?"
James held his hands up defensively. "Hey, I have a team to train, I can't afford to risk any more detentions than I do regularly."
"You trust him?" Remus looked doubtful, sitting forward to lay out his fresh notescroll and quill. James, shaking his head, mimicked his actions.
"There was nothing I could do. You *know* how he gets." they shared a knowing look. "Besides, the best stuff is born when the process goes uninhibited. Who can fight inspiration?"
Remus arched one sarcastic brow. Sirius was notorious for his 'inspiration'. When it struck nothing got through that black head. Scribbled napkins, bizarre symbols scrawled on the back of his hand, parchments of notes that sporadically trailed off into disorganized ideas and mapped equations, drawings of hypothetical results on desktops -all a part of that mysterious force they loosely dubbed 'inspiration'. Over the years they'd taken to lugging a scroll and quill with them everywhere, just in case; If Sirius couldn't jot that muggle intricacy down he tended to get a little twitchy. And, like James had stated, Sirius thought up some marvelous things, things they didn't want to miss for lack of proper supplies. It was endearing. Frustrating, but endearing. To Remus anyway.
Still, common sense made him wary. Sirius had a bad habit of blowing things up when no one was around. "Remember what happened the last time we left him alone? A quick trip to the common room and boom! Up went the whole back half of our room. He was lucky to survive." Horrible thought, that.
"The scariest part is that he was laughing." James muttered, and Remus nodded in total agreement. "Let's not jinx it, ok? Where's Pete? The clock said he was here."
"Oh..." Remus winced. "He and Ronnie had a fight." he pointed to the slumped bundle at his other side. "It's not pretty."
James gaped. "A fight? But Pete and Ronnie don't fight! Everybody knows that!"
"Apparently they do."
Peter and Veronica Springhip had been dating for two years, two disgustingly perfect years. The whole sixth year class maintained a healthy state of awe at the sweetness and maturity and understanding that passed between them. Not only was it an inter-house relationship -Ronnie was a Hufflepuff- it was a marriage of exact likenesses, and everyone in the wizarding world knew that those dulled and ended quickly. Yet somehow they'd become a staple, a constant, something to rely on, especially for the Marauders. Mainly due to the fact that James, their intrepid leader, thrived on security and routine, and that that very same boy was embroiled in a rollercoaster of a relationship with the famous Lily Evans. Besides, people had expectations. They counted on Sirius to be anti-sexual, Remus to be asexual, James to fighting and/or making up with Lily, and Peter to be wallowing in near-domestic bliss. That was how it worked.
James really hated when a screw came loose in the well-oiled machinery of his life. "Damn it." he growled. "This is shaping up to be a terrible day."
Remus patted him on the head.
"No kidding." moaned the disconsolant lump they called Wormtail.
"Oh come on, guys, it's bound to get better."
"Thanks, Remus. You just jinxed it."
"I hate optimists."
Professor Thatcher called class to attention, otherwise Remus would have taken offense at Peter's optimist comment. The sixth year Gryffindors and Slytherins shuffled their notescrolls into use as a lecture on various sleeping potions began. Thatcher always did a brewing on Double days, so she tended to launch straight into those lessons. They served as an effective conversation stopper. Her concise, unrepetitive teaching method left a student confused if he or she didn't catch everything. Sirius was definitely in trouble.
Fortunately for the black-haired boy the only one who topped him in Potions was Severus Snape. He just had a knack for brewing things, chemically or magically.
Remus smiled and doodled a large, black dog in his margin. He had such a hard time paying attention when Sirius was dancing around in his head. The picture was drifting into a pattern of stars and hearts when the class door thudded open and he jumped, whispering a quick erasing spell. James and he shared another knowing look out of the corner of their eyes.
"Well." Professor Thatcher ceased her lecture mid-word, gesturing with an expectant hand. "Mr. Black. Good morning. So nice to see you."
Sirius struggled to keep his books balanced. "Good morning, Professor."
"You're a fright, young man."
"Yeah." sheepishly -he really was. Blue-violet eyes darted out from beneath mussed bangs, alert, but his shoulder-length hair was uncombed, his shoes were only half on, and his robes were disheveled enough to expose the muggle jeans and t-shirt he wore underneath. The books he carried barely stayed in his arms. "I took a tumble down one of the staircases and everything scattered. That's why I'm late. Sorry, Professor Thatcher." he lied smoothly and-
No matter how violently Sirius espoused the negatives of dating, that smile still sent hopeful hearts aflutter. It was wide and a twinge lop-sided and his lips had a way of parting that echoed the painted mouths of showgirls, painfully charming. Small, white teeth gleamed. An endless line of girls melted for him when he smiled, sought his heart, his arm, always ended up disappointed. Because Sirius Black -breath-taking, clumsy Sirius Black- didn't date. Ever.
Thatcher shook her head tolerantly, affected. "Clumsy, as ever. Are you hurt?"
"Oh no. I wasn't up very far. Thanks."
"Sit down then. Let me know if you begin to feel unwell. You may need to see Madame Pomfrey."
"Sure thing." Sirius teetered to the empty spot next to James and dropped his load of books loudly before seating himself. The sleep-inducing lesson on sleeping potions resumed; the class' attention shifted from Sirius, who was searching for his notes, back to Thatcher. Amidst the scuffling, Snape's snide insult went unheard by all but the Marauders sans Peter, who was too busy grieving to care.
"So, how many galleons did you pay her not to give you a detention this time? Oh that's right, you only have *muggle* money, and little at that. My apologies. Did you sleep with her as recompense?"
"If I say yes will it feed your sick fantasies long enough to keep you away from me for the rest of the day?" Sirius replied, though one wouldn't know it from the cheerful expression he plastered on.
Snape hissed. "The only fantasies I have involving you are the bloody kind, Black."
"No, actually, I wash regularly. I can teach you if you want. You certainly need the lesson. No offense."
"None taken. I learned early on to ignore the idiocy of the smaller-brained species."
Remus rolled his eyes and tried to focus on whatever it was Thatcher was spouting. Their skill had to be lauded, as childish as it all was The entire battle took place without them so much as glancing at each other. In fact both looked attentive, positive even. It was a wonder that they heard each other, with the isle between them and their voices so low. Remus didn't have a problem, being cursed with heightened senses, but they certainly should have. Perhaps they had a built-in insult-radar that allowed them to pick up any derogatory remark clearly.
Oh, nice, I'm thinking in mechanical terms, Remus thought. I'm thinking like Sirius.
But it was better to think like him than of him. It was hopeless, after all.
Peter caught the batwing slices before they could ruin the potion the Marauders were working on. Such speed was unlike him -he was the solid, plodding type- but he saved their concoction nonetheless. For once.
"Thanks, Pete." Remus let out a relieved breath as he recorded the latest component. Thatcher insisted that all groups keep a list of their ingredients and measurements exactly as they went into the cauldron as a safety precaution. That way if something went wrong she could trace the mistake and brew a proper cure. He was always saddled with writing it because his handwriting was by far the best. Had James or Sirius or Peter been in charge it would have been chaotic. "I thought we were goners."
"We should be so lucky." James glowered. "More like our *grades* would have been goners."
"What's this about gone grades?" Asked Sirius as he plopped the bottle of chrysanthemum root he'd gone after down.
"Snape knocked batwings over our cauldron, but Pete caught them in time."
"Mmm." a smirk quirked his lips. "Your grades. Not mine."
"Shut up." growled James.
Professor Thatcher had assigned the class a variety of sleeping potions which they were to sample when complete. Each group had a different drought, and one of each group had to take on the dubious chore of sampling whatever the amateurs had brewed. All of the antidotes had been prepared prior to class, unfortunately, so any enterprising student hoping for an excuse to sleep away the afternoon was disappointed. The Marauders had gotten a fairly unchallenging Easy-Rest Potion, to Sirius dismay. He'd been yearning for one of the stronger Somnomnis ones, though the others had been gracious enough to assuage his wounded intellect by allowing to him to be the sampler.
Remus smiled to himself. It was all so normal.
"We need rock salt."
"Watch it, Hornhead."
"Ha ha." James nudged Remus smugly. "He went. All I need now is a leash."
Remus laughed. "I dare you."
"It'll be funny. I can see it now. You dragging him to one of those prissy dog shows, all done up, growling. We could have Tori dress him in her bows. Pink ones!"
Peter and James practically fell over cackling as Remus pantomimed the event. Their amusement increased twofold when the light-haired wizard threw a pretend-leash around Sirius' neck upon the boy's return. Sirius, to his credit, remained bewildered only long enough to decide to pretend it hadn't happened. The potion called.
"I hope you boys have a good reason to be slacking. I don't see any work being done." Thatcher interloped on their game. But her voice wasn't condemning, unlike Professor Cigel, the doom-and-gloom Divinations teacher whose very posture forbade human emotions. One too many visionary nightmares had soured him -he had a way of staring at Peter that unnerved anybody nearby.
Remus, James, and Peter went quiet. Even if Professor Thatcher was in a lenient mood it was unlikely she'd let them get away with careless brewing. Potions were too dangerous for anything but intense concentration. That was why they let Sirius do all the work. It was only fair; They all rode on each other's strengths in one class or another.
"Actually, Professor." Sirius pinched in a bit of rock salt and saved his friends at the same time. The potion turned blue. "We're done."
"Hmmm." Thatcher began her usual check over of Remus' list while Sirius filled a vial with Easy-Rest to drink. The other boys relaxed. Another successful Double Potions. Remus had been leery of letting Sirius handle the brewing, after all he'd missed most of the lesson, but the other boy had assured him of his ability, and once again it appeared he'd pulled it off.
He mimicked the leashing again; James and Peter snickered.
"This isn't right..." the Professor said, green eyes narrowing. Then horror suddenly, frighteningly dawned. "Wait! Sirius! No!"
But it was too late.
James leapt up, but it was Remus who caught Sirius as he fell. Though he lost his own balance to the awkward catch, the werewolf's lightning-fast reflexes saved Sirius from smashing into any number of deadly corners. Together they plunged to the floor. Chairs skittered beneath their combined weight, knocking tables and crashing noisily out into the isle. Cauldrons spilt. Shrieks rang out from the surrounding tables and instantly students were flocking to the scene of the commotion, slipping on hot potions and bumping into each other heedlessly.
"Oh my god!" cried the first one to see.
Sirius lay limp, sprawled in Remus' lap like a lifeless bag of flesh and bone. There was no color to his skin. He wasn't breathing.
"Sirius!" Panicked by the death-still form of his friend, Remus frantically pressed his hands to Sirius' neck. "Sirius! Shit!" Fingers sought a pulse and found none.
James dropped to his knees and did the same with his wrist. "Sear!" Nothing. Brown eyes met amber wildly. "He's got no heartbeat!"
Peter stood, hand over mouth, stunned.
The classroom erupted.
Thatcher had to use a magnifying spell to make her voice heard over the chaos. "Someone get the Headmaster!" she yelled. The sound of it rocked through the room like thunder. "Now!" As soon as she saw a head dart out the door she shoved her way through the throng and knelt with James and Remus, eyes scanning Sirius intently.
"Professor!" Remus begged. "Help! He's not breathing! He's got no pulse!"
"Please." She thumbed the pulse-point. "Just...calm down." Her voice quavered.
"Calm down?!" screeched James. "Calm down?! That's my best friend! I won't calm down!" But he forgot her then and focused on the fallen wizard with all his will. His strong hands cupped Sirius' drooping head, turning it to face him; he stared at the slack features achingly. "Please." he whispered. "Don't be dead. Please."
"He can't be dead." Remus whispered. "He can't be dead." He fisted his own hands in the wrinkled robe covering Sirius' shoulders. There was no attempt made to hide the terror he felt.
Professor Thatcher leaned back, head down.
"He can't be dead." James repeated, meeting Remus' gaze, equally terror-stricken.
"He's not dead." She touched both gently on the shoulder. "Don't worry, boys. He's not dead. In a way."
Both snapped their eyes to her. "In a way?!" Remus echoed and clutched Sirius harder. A pale, ink-spattered hand fell lifelessly to the floor.
"It's hard to explain.
"Professor!" called the student who'd run for Dumbledore. "The Headmaster is here!"
The message spread like a balm on the upset students. Clamoring voices quieted, breath came slower. It was all right now, Dumbledore could mend anything. He strode rapidly through the room; tranquilty followed as he passed. The very sound of his robes brought security. Peace in the simple whoosh of heavy velvet.
"Marigold, what happened?" his serious, uncondemning eyes took in the scope of the disaster immediately.
"A sleeping potion went wrong, Albus." Thatcher said, standing. "Mr. Black has drunk a Fairy Tale Potion, I fear."
Dumbledore closed his bright eyes and didn't speak for a long minute.
Then, having steeled himself, he dropped a steady hand on James' shoulder. "Be at ease, Mr. Potter." James sagged. "You as well, Mr. Lupin. Your friend is fine."
"But, Professor." Remus wiped at his eyes. "He's-"
"Asleep. Deeply, deeply, deathly asleep. And he can be awoken."
Remus tried to force himself to trust the man who'd done so much for him. Dumbledore wouldn't mislead him. But his instincts screamed against it. He cradled as much of Sirius as he could fit in his lap, not quite believing. It was too unreal. No pulse, no breath, no life. The wolf inside was howling a dirge.
"I understand your doubt, Mr. Lupin. But he's still warm, right?" The Headmaster could sense his disbelief. And Sirius was warm, he was. Remus felt something uncoil and leave him gasping.
"Well then, perhaps we'd better get him to a bed." Dumbledore smiled. With surprising strength and agility, the aging wizard bent and scooped Sirius' limp form into his arms. Robes askew, hair tangled, pale and corpse-like, Sirius hardly looked like a bride, but that was the image that sprung to Remus' mind.
No time for fantasies, he chided himself. Not so close to losing him.
James stood, helped him to his feet and gathered Peter, always the leader. Without asking permission they trailed behind their encumbered Headmaster wherever he may head, so long as he possessed something so sacred to them.
The Marauders first loyalty was to each other.
Gloriously soft maroon pillows and slick, black hair framed the white, still face of Sirius. The bed he lay in was Dumbledore's own, a king-size affair with thick curtains and blankets silken to the touch. Deep red, almost ruby, and trimmed in silver, it dominated the Headmaster's bedroom. Sirius' slender form was nearly overwhelmed by the luxury, but he appeared peaceful. Dumbledore had stretched him out straight on his back and arranged his hands gently across his stomach, just like the sleeping princess of childhood tales. Double Potions had been dismissed early -now Dumbledore, joined by the Marauders and Professor Thatcher, sat in dark-wood chairs around the extraordinary bed.
James had not yet ceased his demands for an explanation.
"My dear boy," the Headmaster smoothed the blanket over Sirius' form. "If you would be silent, perhaps I could explain." It was as close to a reprimand as he'd ever come to giving the wild-haired boy.
Remus jabbed James. "Shut up."
"Ow. Fine. I'm just worried, ok?" James snapped. Anxiety marred his brow the way it would a captain's when one of his troop went down.
"I understand, Mr. Potter, I really do, but you must believe me when I say Mr. Black will be all right. He just tripped his way into another bit of trouble." the bearded man chuckled. "A little more than he could handle, unfortunately."
James' eyes narrowed. "It's not funny."
"Stop it!" Remus hissed. "You're being an arse."
"So am I, but I'm not losing control!"
"Bugger control, I'm scared. I'm bloody scared! What if they're wrong?"
Peter lifted his head, finally, and glared at the them from the place he'd silently taken across the bed. "You're both out of control! Would you just be quiet?!" he snarled.
"Boys." Dumbledore was all seriousness as he swept them each up in his bright blue eyes. "I'm not wrong."
James and Remus looked away, ashamed.
"No, he's not." Affirmed Thatcher. "Mr. Black drank a Fairy Tale Potion, and while it's not the easiest thing to remedy, it *can* be done, if the proper steps are taken."
"That's where we need your help." Dumbledore said.
They spoke at the same time. "Anything."
"What can we do, Professor?" Peter asked.
"First allow me to enlighten you about Mr. Black's condition. It's a bit messy, so no interruptions. Ok?"
All three nodded.
Dumbledore relaxed slightly, making himself more comfortable before beginning. The lights in his room dimmed in time to his mood, no longer the glaring starkness of when they'd entered. It didn't help the boys. Remus wrung his hands and James gripped the armrests so hard his knuckles were white. Unnaturally pale, like Sirius' bloodless flesh.
"Fairy Tale Potions were first discovered in the late 1400s by a man named Florencio Masciangelo in Italy. He was a dark wizard, notable for more than just his potion-making abilities. His skill was combining love-magic with other kinds to create especially dangerous enchantments. The Adoratus charm is credited to him as well, which I'm sure you studied in Defense Against the Dark Arts. The three Fairy Tale Potions were of later design, perfected close to the end of his life, when he was markedly more insane. He called them 'I Baci di Amore Allineare'. 'The Kisses of True Love'.”
“Each potion holds true to his usual style, a melding of love-magic and potent curses. Whoever drinks the potion falls victim to whatever curse it involves, and can only be cured by exactly that, a Kiss of True Love. The first is called 'Beast's Kiss', which turns the drinker into a monstrous beast. The second is 'Sea's Kiss', which turns the drinker into a creature of the waters, like a frog or a mermaid. The third is the most dangerous, because the curse is extremely subtle, and, without the necessary knowledge, can be mistaken for death. That is 'Sleep's Kiss', which spells the drinker into a 'sleep like unto death'.”
“The Kiss of True Love is the only antidote for any of these potions. Because they toy with love and form and time they have been expressly forbidden since their creation. The few instances of their use have been terrible. Even the muggle world was affected, though that history has long since passed into myth. That is how the name 'Fairy Tale' came to distinguish them -because of the fairy tales muggles have based on their influence. 'Beauty and the Beast', 'Snow White', 'The Frog Prince', 'The Little Mermaid', and 'Sleeping Beauty' are some of those legends. 'Sleeping Beauty' fits quite nicely our mishap, if any of you are familiar with it. Mr. Black as fallen victim to an accidental 'Sleep's Kiss' Potion."
Finished, Dumbledore leaned forward and stroked a stray strand of hair off of Sirius' cheek. Thatcher was nodding to herself, satisfied with the given explanation. But James, Remus, and Peter could only stare at their slumbering friend and try to absorb the implications. It hit James first, vocally.
"But -if -that means...that the only thing that can wake him up is a Kiss of True Love." he said, aghast.
"Merlin..." Peter breathed, wide-eyed. "Unreal."
Remus sat still, very still, and silent. The hazel-gold of his gaze alighted on Sirius' black lashes, sweeping gently his porcelain cheek, and was numbed. Intense but numbed.
"That is why we need your help." continued the Headmaster. "You know Mr. Black better than anyone I dare say. Is he involved with anyone? Is there anyone who may love him truly?"
Slow terror flooded James' face. "No. He refuses to date, to even *like* anybody. He absolutely doesn't love anybody like that. I'd know if he did And…he doesn't! There has to be another way!"
Thatcher shook her head. "I'm afraid there isn't any other way. He'll sleep until he receives the right Kiss, and it that's never, he'll sleep eternally, never aging, never dying." she brushed the dark-haired boy's hands with her fingertips sadly. "This Fairy Tale Potion suspends life completely."
"Wait." Dumbledore's quick intervention prevented James from having an emotional meltdown. "You misunderstand the idea, Mr. Potter. Mr. Black doesn't have to love the Kisser, the Kisser has to love Mr. Black. Requital has nothing to do with it."
"But nobody is in love with Sirius! He won't let anybody!"
A grave smile curved Dumbledore's lips. "Nothing can stop a love from existing if it was meant to exist."
Pangs wracked Remus suddenly, as if his heart were spasming, starving.
"Surely someone has made an advance for him." Professor Thatcher insisted.
"Well, yeah. Plenty of girls have asked him out. Lots claim to be in love with him, half of the Gryffindors at least, and some from other houses too. How do we tell who truly loves him?" asked James.
It only it had been him under the spell, this would have been so much easier. For all that he and Lily fought, the love between them was true. Or Peter, because Ronnie would have kissed him awake regardless of whatever disagreement had sundered them. But Sirius was surrounded by such a maelstrom of crushes. Proclamations of undying love came to him all the time, and there were numerous girls who swooned over him regularly. His looks, his wit, his brilliance, even his clumsiness drew romance to him like a magnet. No one stood out as a True Lover in the swarms. It would be impossible to determine which girl wanted to spend her life with him and which just wanted to claim him. If anyone really did.
"We'll have all of them try kissing him then."
"But what if none of them truly love him?" was James' question to that.
Dumbledore stood. "So many questions, young Potter. I highly doubt that will be the case." he pulled his long wand out of his sleeve, and the others stood as well; James' mouth opened around another worried inquiry, undetered by the Headmaster's comment, but Dumbledore preempted him. "And if that *is* the case, he will sleep."
The white-haired wizard struck his wand upon the air. With a sound like earth-crashing the bed disappeared and Sirius with it. The room shuddered.
"He will sleep."
The day had passed.
The sun was barely above the horizon -pinks, oranges, purples had just begun to paint the clouds. Sunset. Remus curled up on the wide windowsill, alone in the room he shared with the Marauders, and watched, feeling the moonrise, reveling in the tingles that pricked his nerves. This was familiar, and suddenly, next to the thought of losing Sirius, not so scary anymore.
Remus stretched a hand out until his fingers knocked the glass. He pressed his palm into its cool comfort, and oh, how he wished he could touch the sky. To steal its blossoming color and smear it into bone-white corpse-flesh. To kiss such flesh red, living.
And oh, how he wished Sirius wasn't so untouchable, so like the sky.
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