Author's Notes: This story is a WIP, but chapters should be submitted regularly. Feedback is always appreciated in any form. Email me with suggestions, pleas, or criticism! The basic beginning premise of the story was vaguely borrowed, with permission, from the lovely Lady Feylene's story "Beautiful Stranger."
Taming the Beast
By Lady Grey
“Remus? Oh hell, REMUS!”
“Wha?” Remus stuck his head into the room, foam on his lips. “I’m jus bwushing ma teeth,” he explained around the toothbrush.
Charlie dropped onto the bed in relief. “I was afraid you had left.”
The sandy-haired man ducked back into the bathroom to rinse. “I’m supposed to be the one worried about that,” he said mildly as he returned to the bedroom.
Charlie smiled at him from his reclining position. “Can we agree that neither of us has reason to worry about it?” he asked, a small plea in his voice.
“Oh Charlie.” Remus sank onto the bed beside him. “Are you sure? You’ve seen what it entails now. Every full moon that has to be dealt with, not to mention the prejudice and general distrust... Are you sure you want that?”
The redhead pulled him down and wrapped his arms around the werewolf. “Love, I would do anything, suffer anything, to be with you. I’m never leaving, I’m afraid you’re stuck with me.”
Remus smiled and kissed the nearest available bit of skin, Charlie’s neck. Neither of them said anything, they just lay pressed together, skin to skin, heart to heart.
“Charlie?” Remus said finally.
He was interrupted, however, by the sound of the cottage door bursting open. “Is it safe to enter the bedroom?” Sirius bellowed.
The twosome in the bed laughed. “Come on in,” Charlie invited him.
Sirius traipsed in, shooting the couple a sly grin at their betangled state. “Well you two look like you’re having fun,” he teased. Sobering quickly, he added “But what I wanted to tell you was that I have to leave this evening, as soon as it gets dark.”
“What?” Remus sat up. “But you’ve only been here a day!” He glanced out the window at the late afternoon sky. “And I slept most of it! Sirius!”
Sirius sighed and sat down heavily on the end of the bed. “I know, I wish I could stay longer, but Dumbledore beckons and I have to go.”
“I wish you could have stayed longer too,” inserted Charlie. “Will you at least stay long enough for some dinner?”
“Sure,” said the escaped convict with a smile, “I never turn down a good meal.”
Charlie grinned back and hopped out of bed. “Let me just throw something in the oven, then.” He tactfully left the two old friends alone as he headed into the kitchen.
They sat in silence for a moment. “Sirius,” Remus finally said, “Come here.”
The black-haired man crawled up the bed and collapsed gratefully into the strong, waiting arms of his friend. Remus kissed the top of his head. “Sirius, be careful,” he whispered.
Sirius nodded silently.
“And come back soon, will you? I refuse to have you finally, just to lose you again.”
“Promise,” he swore hoarsely against Remus’ chest.
Remus closed his eyes. When he opened them again, he saw Charlie hovering uncertainly in the doorway. “Come in, Charlie,” he smiled. “It’s okay, really.”
Charlie hesitated, then stepped in. Remus extended a hand, which the redhead took automatically. But when Remus pulled on it, Charlie balked.
“No,” he shook his head, “I don’t want to intrude.”
“You’re not intruding,” Remus and Sirius said simultaneously. They laughed.
“Aw c’mon, Charlie,” Sirius protested. “Think of it as a pile of puppies. You’re one of the pack now, you have to be part of the snuggling too.”
Charlie and Remus chuckled. “Snuggling? How fierce you are, Remus,” Charlie teased, but slipped into the bed. He cuddled up to Remus’ shoulder and the werewolf happily encircled each of his bedmates with an arm. Shyly, Charlie reached out for Sirius’ hand, and the black-haired man took it with a smile.
“This really ought to feel much weirder than it does,” Charlie finally announced after a long silence. Everyone laughed.
“Yeah, well, I promise not to infringe too much on your blissful state of coupledom,” Sirius explained, “but I’m not giving Remus up entirely, and I figure I may as well adopt the new fixture as well.”
“You’re always welcome,” the fixture assured him.
“As long as we get some time to ourselves,” asserted Remus with a significant look at his devious schoolmate.
Sirius grinned. “Don’t worry Remus, you won’t have to remain sex-starved for much longer.”
Charlie was the one to blush at that comment. “Guys!” he protested, then changed the subject. “I have to finish dinner,” he said decisively.
“And I’ll set the table,” Sirius chimed in.
“And I,” added Remus, “shall sit in my nice, comfortable bed while you two do all the work. Oof!” Twin elbows poked into his stomach. “Hey, I’m supposed to be resting!”
“Uh huh, sure, that’s what they all say,” Charlie laughed.
“All who? You have more than one lycanthropic lover?” Sirius questioned, deadpan.
“Oh, I have loads of them.” The redhead replied loftily. “Can’t get enough, really. It’s becoming quite the collection.”
Remus stuck out his tongue. “Both of you, kitchen,” he commanded as he waved an imperious hand.
“First you want us in bed, now you want us out,” sighed Sirius.
“You’re terribly contrary today, Remus,” Charlie added before they both levered themselves up and fairly skipped into the kitchen.
Remus closed his eyes and smiled, curling up into a ball in the nest of sheets. He could not remember himself ever being this happy. He had his best friend in the world nearby, if not with him at all times, for the first time in over a decade. And somehow, by some lick of fate, he had a delicious new lover who loved him beyond doubt or reason. Remus’ lips curled up in a smile as he heard the two now in the other room.
“Oh, Sirius, are you sure you want to use that…knife? It just seems so big!”
“Oh Charlie, you’ll soon see there are many uses for a…knife…of this size.”
“Really? Why don’t you show me?”
“Certainly I will, just bend over to take the pot roast out of the oven first…”
“Sirius, are you sure the table can stand up to this abuse?”
“If you can, I don’t see why the table would have a problem.”
“You make ever so good a…point…Sirius.”
”I always do!”
Remus laughed to himself. Gods, they were quite a pair. He was surprised they had hit it off so quickly; he had realized they would get on alarmingly well, but hadn’t expected it so soon. In small doses, they were amusing; together, they were over the top with their lewd innuendos and bad jokes.
“Ah, there, we’re all set,” announced his lover’s voice.
“Why don’t you go wake Sleeping Beauty then?” Sirius suggested.
In a fit of inspiration, Remus threw himself over a pile of pillows, arm flung dramatically behind his head, eyes closed and lips pursed in anticipation.
He heard Charlie chuckle when he came in. “I’m supposed to wake Sleeping Beauty with a kiss, is that it?”
“That was the idea,” murmured Remus, trying to stop his smile from spreading to a grin.
“Mmm, works for me.” Charlie’s long hair tickled the sides of his face as the redhead bent down and placed a chaste kiss on the werewolf’s lips.
Remus was not to be placated with that. Reaching up, he wove his fingers through the lush hair and pulled Charlie in for a deep, passionate kiss. He finally released his lover, who lingered longingly on his lips.
“Well, Sleeping Beauty,” he said finally, looking down at Remus, “not the demure maiden, are you?”
“I’m eating without you if you don’t get in here soon!” Sirius’ booming voice interrupted. The lovers shared an amused grin and Remus managed to haul himself out of bed.
“Coming, coming!” Remus called as they duly reported to the kitchen.
They sat down at the table and as Sirius, complete with apron and oven mitts, presented the pot roast and accompanying vegetables.
“Mmm, smells wonderful!” Remus praised.
“Thank you,” Sirius replied modestly. Remus sent him a facetious glare.
“That was directed toward Charlie, the one who actually made dinner.”
Charlie chuckled, and Sirius struck a pose, hand on hip. “It’s all in the presentation, Remmie dahling.”
Remus made a face. “Ugh, don’t call me that.”
“Call you what, Remmie?” Sirius teased as he sat down.
“Don’t you dare, Snuffles…” Remus threatened.
“Okay, okay!” Sirius placated him hastily. “Let’s eat then, and forget the dreadful nicknames. Pass the ketchup, would you Red?”
It was Charlie’s turn to glare. “Oh no, nicknames are out for me too. Well, except for Charlie. Just Charlie, not Charles.” He shuddered. “I’m only grateful I wasn’t one Weasley later; I don’t think I could have handled being called Percy.”
The men laughed at this as they served themselves. “It’s not so bad,” Remus tried to object. “Not as bad as Remus, that’s for sure. I mean, really, where did my parents come up with that? Inspired by Romulus and Remus, the twins raised by wolves, no doubt. It must have struck them as terribly ironic when I was bitten.”
Sirius snorted. “Not nearly as ironic a coincidence as my name and animagus form.”
Charlie looked questioning.
“Sirius is known as the dog star,” Remus clarified.
“Ah, thank you our resident academic,” Sirius mocked.
“Glad to have him,” Charlie defended warmly. “I was truly awful at Astronomy in school. Too close to Divination, I think.”
“Remus,” Sirius confided conspiratorially, “was simply mad for Astronomy at school. I used to make fun of him all the time for liking that god-awful subject, until one day he bothered our professor one too many times for after-hours access to the closed part of the tower to do research. The professor just threw up his hands and gave him a copy of the key and all the passwords.” He paused dramatically. “That was, quite simply, the beginning of more than a few late evenings spent ‘studying’ in the tower.”
Charlie laughed out loud at the mental image of young Sirius and Remus sneaking up to the Astronomy room, with its staid desks, charts, and telescopes, to screw. Remus chuckled too at the memories.
“Do you remember that time we almost got caught?” he asked Sirius.
“Oh gods, of course I do!” He turned back to Charlie, sneaking a bite of meatloaf before beginning the story. “Remus and I were up there one night, um, well, not studying when James and Lily came up to spy on us.”
“They didn’t come to spy on us,” Remus objected. “They just didn’t know what we were up to and wanted to find out. No one knew about our relationship at that point,” he explained to Charlie.
Sirius waved a dismissive hand. “Well, they may have had the best intentions, but they ended up spying on us. Of course, they were a bit shocked when they discovered what we were doing, but instead of retreating and talking to us later, they stumbled through the wards that Remus had carefully replaced once we were in the room.”
“So of course,” Remus continued the tale, “the wards sounded this awful alarm and Sirius and I jumped up, throwing on our clothes haphazardly. James and Lily were under his invisibility cloak, so we had no idea what was happening until they sheepishly pulled it off. I sent Sirius running with them and stayed behind to wait for the professors, who showed up shortly. I explained to them that I had been researching and tried to leave, forgetting I had put the wards back. I must have looked less than convincing, being as rumpled as I was, so the Astronomy professor asked what I had been studying. Of course the only thing I could think of to say was ‘the movement of the dog star, sir.’ He frowned and pointed out that Sirius was below the horizon tonight. I stammered some inadequate excuse about the stars nearby and some such thing, but I still got detention, ostensibly for waking the teachers.”
”But,” added Sirius, “did I or did I not more than make it up to you?”
“That you did,” Remus acknowledged with a faint blush. Charlie laughed at both of them.
“I wish I had been around you then,” he said. “You two sound like you were into way too much mischief for your own good. So whatever did you tell James and Lily?”
Sirius rolled his eyes. “When we got back to the common room, they ganged up on me and demanded to know what was going on. With Remus, always the smarter one, still dealing with the teachers, I launched into a technical description of what we had been doing at the very moment of their untimely arrival on the scene.” He stifled a laugh. “I can still remember their faces; Lily just looked extremely alarmed at my recital but unsure how to interrupt, and James looked like he wanted to run away. Luckily, Remus returned just before I got to the really kinky bit and cut me off. Then he sat everyone down and calmly explained our unorthodox relationship and the reasons behind it. By the end of the night both Lily and James were absolutely supportive of us, which I attribute entirely to Remus’ composure and powers of persuasion.”
Remus shook his head. “Honestly Sirius, a technical explanation? I’ll never know what you were thinking.”
Charlie smiled at them both over his last bite of carrots. “I bet you two were terribly adorable together. Do you have any pictures of you together?”
Sirius and Remus looked at each other. “I might have a few in my vault at Gringott’s,” Remus suggested cautiously.
Sirius shrugged. “I know I have several, but I can’t very well waltz in and ask for them right now.”
“Well,” Charlie said, “if any of them ever see the light of day I definitely want to set eyes on them.”
“You’ll be among the first,” Sirius promised. He glanced outside at the dusky sky. “I should be going soon.”
“Coffee?” Charlie suggested hastily. As much as he wanted to be alone with Remus, he liked Sirius a great deal and didn’t want him to go just yet.
“Oh, I suppose it couldn’t hurt.” Sirius conceded.
Charlie stood up to clear the dishes and to make the coffee, waving Sirius and Remus back to their seats when they tried to help. “No, no, it’s easy to make, just relax.”
The two friends settled back into their seats and regarded each other thoughtfully.
“So where are you going, Padfoot?”
Sirius shook his head. “Can’t say, it’s not safe for you to know.”
Remus grimaced. “I worry about you, Sirius. Don’t get yourself killed.”
“Or, worse, caught,” the convict added grimly.
The werewolf looked pained. “Sirius…”
Sirius waved away what Remus would have said. “No, let’s not talk about it.” He forced a smile. “This is a time for friends, not for bad memories.”
“Indeed,” Charlie said, setting cups of steaming coffee on the table. He returned to his seat and propped one knee casually against the table’s edge. “Sirius, you’ll have to come back for another visit, this one was far too short.”
Sirius smiled, looking pleased. “I’d love to, if I wouldn’t be intruding, that is.”
“Not at all,” Remus contributed, with a nod of encouragement from Charlie. “We’ll transfigure the kitchen table for you any time.”
The trio drank the rest of their coffee in silence, each absorbed in their own thoughts and enjoying the security of their company. Finally Sirius set down his mug and stood. “I should go now,” he announced firmly.
Charlie and Remus immediately stood as well. “Sirius, it was lovely to meet you, I hope we’ll see you again soon,” he said warmly as he held out a hand. Sirius took the proffered hand and pulled the redhead toward him, crushing him into a hug.
“Be good to him,” he whispered in Charlie’s ear.
“I will,” Charlie murmured back, readily returning the embrace. Sirius released him with an affectionate peck on the cheek, and the redhead stepped back tactfully.
Remus took a tentative step before throwing himself forward and into Sirius’ arms.
“If you don’t come back, I’ll kill you myself,” Remus threatened softly.
“And if you don’t have a mate when I come back,” Sirius returned in a discrete whisper, “I’ll have to beat some sense into you.”
Remus blushed, then planted a firm kiss on Sirius’ cheek. “One month, no longer,” he said in a louder voice. “If we don’t see you by then, I’m going to Dumbledore.”
“Agreed,” Sirius acquiesced, returning the kiss affectionately. “Goodbye for now.” He nodded at Charlie then strode out the door, transforming into Padfoot when he was halfway across the clearing.
Remus watched sadly until the dog entered the thick forest, then shut the door and turned to his lover.
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