Earnest Grasping
by Jain

Written for Inell for Merry Smutmas 2005.

Though finding Sirius and James in a crowd of excited Hogwarts students was usually less like finding pins in a haystack and more like finding a pair of fireworks in the night sky, on this particular occasion Remus wasn't having much luck. He scanned Platform 9 3/4 again, and a flash of shiny, dark hair caught his eye. No wonder he hadn't seen Sirius before; it was surpassingly rare to see Sirius stand still for even a minute, let alone ignore the chaos milling around him in favor of gazing off into the distance.

"Sirius," Remus called, pushing through the crowd of students.

His friend didn't even twitch.

"Sirius!" he said louder, laughing a little, and the dark head turned towards him with a startled shake.

It wasn't Sirius. "Oh, sorry," Remus said. He shrugged half-apologetically and offered a rueful smile. "You grew rather a lot this summer."

A flicker of emotion crossed Regulus's pale features. For a moment, he looked almost...vulnerable, and then he drew himself up and sneered at Remus. "You didn't," he said pointedly.

"Never do," Remus admitted, unwilling to show how the words stung. The mediwizards had said he'd likely never reach his full height--monthly transformations were too taxing upon his body--and now it seemed that he might make 5'8" if he were lucky. "Have you seen where your brother got off to?"

Regulus's face turned wintry. "No," he said, and turned his back on Remus once more.

His growth spurt obviously hadn't translated into a newfound maturity, Remus reflected. Not that Sirius's ever had, either, so that was only to be expected. He shrugged it off and resumed his search for his friends.

"Oi! Remus!" James shouted from behind him, and Remus turned to see James and Sirius waving their arms at him from across the platform.

He had to dodge several large carts of luggage to get to them, including one that appeared to have a caged parrot balanced on top. He sincerely hoped that it didn't belong to anyone in Gryffindor, before reminding himself that he wasn't prefect any longer and didn't have to worry about students' inappropriate lifestyle choices anymore. That was James's job now.

Both James and Sirius slung their arms around him as though they hadn't seen Remus in a year, pounding his back with manly affection, and he withstood the assault patiently. "Where've you been?" he asked Sirius, once they'd let go of him and let him breathe.

Sirius frowned in puzzlement. "I just got here with James."

"What? But Regulus has already been here a good half hour."

"Sirius, you prat. You didn't tell him?" James said, his voice oddly gentle, and looking at Sirius's white, stricken face, Remus could understand why.

"Didn't know what to say, did I?" Sirius mumbled, staring at the ground.

"You could have written him a note: Am staying at the Potters'. Bloody stupid family didn't know a good thing when it saw it and disowned me."

Remus's mouth dropped open, only to close it with a snap when Sirius peered at him with suspiciously bright eyes. "James is right," he offered quietly.

Sirius nodded, blinking a bit rapidly.

"Not that we should let it go to his head," he added, and Sirius let out a shaky laugh while James said, "I'm right here, you know" making a halfway decent pass at sounding irritated.

Peter chattered merrily in the background about visiting his cousins in Swansea--a topic that James and Sirius didn't give the attention it deserved--but Remus was already half-asleep and couldn't ask his own questions. The sway of the train always made him drift off.

As he dozed, he found himself picturing the expression on Regulus's face from earlier. That quick moment of startled recognition, followed by the reproachful flash of dark, wounded eyes...or, no, was he confusing that last expression with Sirius? It was too hard to separate them, though Remus had never thought that the two brothers looked similar before.

"When did he turn into such a grind?" Sirius asked in a tone more suited for the Quidditch pitch than a library.

Remus turned to see Regulus sitting at a far table, bent over his books, and he shrugged. "Dunno. He's here a lot, I think. Why, wasn't he before?"

"No," Sirius said. "Last year he got three Ps and a D. I didn't think he knew what homework was."

"Well, maybe his bad marks are what has him coming to the library," Remus said reasonably.

Sirius shook his head. "He's up to something."

"Yes," Remus agreed. "Arithmancy."

"Plotting evil," Sirius insisted.

"Plotting coordinates," Remus countered, hiding a grin when Sirius groaned and thumped him over the head.

Regulus's dark head raised at the commotion, and he stared at the two of them. Remus smiled at him. After a moment, Regulus smiled back briefly before he once again buried his head in his notes.

"Are you done with that?"

Remus jumped slightly, and turned to see Regulus standing over him. "Sorry, what?"

"Asiatic Anti-Venoms," Regulus said, pointing. "Are you still using it?"

"No, I've just finished. Be my guest."

"Thank you." Regulus scooped up the book and headed back to his usual table; Remus tried to remember if Sirius had ever thanked him for anything in his life.

"He's here again," Sirius said, dropping into the chair beside Remus.

"Studying again," Remus said. He scribbled down a paragraph that he might quote in his History of Magic essay later.

"Maybe he's researching ways to detach our limbs from our bodies."

"For three months?" Remus asked incredulously.

"Well, he has to be doing something devious."

"I don't think so," Remus said. Regulus had had trouble meeting his eyes when he'd asked Remus for help with his Astronomy homework the previous week. Given what he knew of him, Remus couldn't imagine that Regulus would falter at carrying out his nefarious purposes, if that were really what he was up to.

Of course, the more sensible explanation was also something he really didn't want to discuss with Sirius, especially when Sirius's own younger brother was the subject of discussion.

"Do you have Spellman's Syllabary?" Regulus asked.

"Yes," Remus said without thinking, and then actually looked at the books strewn across his table. "I mean, no. I just returned it to the stacks."

"It's with the other Runes texts, right?"

"No, it's down the third aisle, maybe halfway...here, I'll just show you."

Regulus stepped back to let Remus slide out of his chair, and then followed him into the stacks.

"It's somewhere over...there it is." He reached past Regulus to pull the book off the shelf, his hand brushing against Regulus's sleeve. When he handed it over, Regulus had gone red in the face and was looking at the floor.

"Thanks," he said.

"You're welcome," and Remus pressed against him, crowding him into the bookcase.

Regulus sucked in a sharp breath. "What are you doing?" he asked, voice cracking halfway through.

"Do you want me to stop?"

His mouth opened, closed. He shook his head--two quick, sideways jerks.

Remus fumbled with Regulus's robes, tugging the hem up above the waist, and God, he'd known the Blacks were traditionalists, but Regulus wasn't wearing anything underneath. Regulus made a choked sound in his throat as Remus groped smooth, hard flesh and coarse hair. He was already wet at the tip, and the slick warmth spread easily over soft skin as Regulus shuddered into his grasp. Remus slammed against Regulus's body, aching for him. His stiff prick, swaddled in layers of robe and trousers and underpants, rubbed against Regulus's thigh.

He wrapped a hand around the back of Regulus's neck and pulled him into a kiss. Regulus froze for a moment, and then he moaned and opened his mouth to Remus's tongue.

They arched against each other, and the silky feel of Regulus in his hand offered a strange counterpoint to the warm, firm body pressed against his. Remus growled deep in his throat and leaned forward to lick Regulus's neck.

There was the faintest moment of hesitation, and then Regulus tipped his head to the side. Remus mouthed the delicate skin with his teeth, pressing deeper until Regulus came in his hand. Less than half a minute later, Remus's hips stuttered against Regulus's thigh as he came in a warm flood inside his pants. He gave the sore spot on Regulus's neck a final lick before pulling back slightly.

They stared into each others' eyes, still gasping for breath. Each inhale carried the scent of sweat and sex, and Remus felt himself getting hard again.

Regulus licked his lips. "Is that it?"

"That wasn't enough?" Remus asked, eyebrows arching into his hairline. All right, so they hadn't even gotten their clothes off, and their orgasms had been attained with more desperation than finesse, but still... From where he was standing, that had been brilliant! How much more experience could Regulus have, to leave him disappointed after all that?

"It's fine," Regulus said quickly. His face burned red beneath Remus's gaze. "Just...if you ever reconsider, I might not mind doing that again."

Oh, Remus thought, and felt an odd ache in his chest.

Regulus fidgeted against the bookshelf, and Remus reached out to hold him still for a kiss. Regulus's mouth dropped open with surprise when he pulled away, and Remus smiled. "We could do that, I think," he said, and kissed him again.

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