Written for the QLFC, Season 5, Round One.

Title: Wolf Trap

Position: Captain

Team: Wigtown Wanderers

Position Prompt: Keeper's NOTP.

Pairing: Wolfstar

Word Count: 2,997

Beta(s): VanillaAshes, DinoDina, Aelys Althea, Kage Kitsune (Thank you!)

Go Wanderers!

I'd like to dedicate this to the team, and to I Am The Colour Of Boom: a fellow writer and Captain of the H.M.S. Wolfstar.

The summer evening brought on the sort of lethargy that only sunshine could. A chessboard sat abandoned on the coffee table surrounded by multiple books with pages marked halfway through. Two friends were attempting to pass the last of the daylight by competitively searching the Prophet for the most outrageous lie.

"Here's a good one," Remus said, his voice hoarse: "'Fudge to host celebrations for the thirteenth year of peace without tyranny: This year on July the 31st the Wizarding community of Great Britain remembers the irrefutable defeat of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named'."

"You're kidding!" Sirius exclaimed, pulling the paper from Remus's hand. Their fingers brushed and Sirius swore the other man smiled, but neither addressed it. "They're going to hold a nationwide effort to discredit Harry on his birthday?"

"They already did," Remus clarified. "It's nearly September."

"Right, I know," Sirius huffed. They were sitting close on the couch, the flirtation between them seeming to ebb and flow, just like old times. Always something there: a constant, delicious reaching.

"Have you got anything?" Remus asked.

"Just an article claiming that I managed to secure a Time Turner. It's a transparent ruse to explain why the Auror Office reportedly found evidence that I committed crimes on opposite ends of London at the same time last Wednesday." Remus laughed in reply to this and Sirius grinned. "What, you don't think I could?" he challenged, and smiling amber eyes met his. It was a moment of flowing, where Remus felt close enough to touch.

"I know you could. I've known you to do worse." Sirius tried to ignore how Remus's words entered his head all jumbled, having lost focus in the way his mouth moved when he spoke. When Remus stood, Sirius attempted to add something interesting that would slow him down.

"You're leaving again?" He asked, hoping to be corrected. Immediate sourness arose at having their revelry interrupted. Upon second glance, the quiet evening summoned images of visits to his elderly Uncle Alphard in St. Mungo's. Like the old man: Sirius was trapped among board games and ex-bestselling novels, relying upon people to break the monotony. Sirius was tired of watching Remus go, of the moment when his enforced solitude came crashing back down around him. Tired of being visited by Remus, never sure if it was all some horrible misreading of the fact.

"It's a straightforward intelligence run," Remus explained, picking up his coat. Sirius attempted to look dashing as he dropped the paper and lit a Muggle cigarette.

"Wait, an intelligence run?"

"I just have to meet our contact from the Auror Office. We have a pre-agreed rendezvous point." Remus tapped his pocket, confirming that his notebook was set in place. "D'you've a quill?" he asked, all trace of the desire Sirius was so sure had been there falling away.

"A contact?" Sirius pressed, ignoring the question. "Why are you talking to me in code? I'm not Harry or one of his little mates: you can't just keep me in the dark because it suits you."

Remus seemed to detect his mood for the first time. "Because you're so good at helping us keep the children safe from dangerous information," Remus challenged, rising to it. It was no secret that Sirius was firmly on the side of keeping Harry fully up to date with the goings on within the Order, with or without Dumbledore's go-ahead. Remus began to move items on the mantelpiece in search of a spare quill.

"Do you ever get tired of accusing me of leaking information?" Sirius said, taking a deep drag. "Have I not been punished enough on that assumption?" The words escaped him in a plume of smoke. Remus abandoned the search and faced his friend.

"Merlin, is there nothing I can do to convince you that I'm sorry for what happened?" Remus's rush to leave was interrupted by the reopening of this old wound.

"Who are you meeting?" Sirius quizzed, pressing the advantage. Remus's tongue darted out to wet his lips nervously.

"Nymphadora," Remus revealed, with a measure of bravado. Sirius swallowed.

"Ah." He nodded stiffly, flicking the stub of his fag into the empty fireplace. "Who else? Who else would you be meeting in secret on a Friday night?"

"Are you actually annoyed? You do know that this war needs to be navigated around something bigger than what suits you."

"I'm well aware and I'm sure, brave soul that you are, you were the first to volunteer for anti-Voldemort date night. Taking down the Pureblood supremacy one Halfblood rendezvous at a time."

Remus gaped for a moment and then closing his eyes, he took a breath. "I refuse to humour this." He pulled his wand from his robes. "Accio quill." The item flew from the desk across the room into his hand. "I can't stop doing what needs to be done because it bothers you," he said, his mouth set.

"Can't or won't?" Sirius pulled another cigarette from the packet on the table. He could hardly bear how bitter he sounded. He lit the end with his wand. "You can't be spared, and I'm expected to just stay home while you go off and fight this war with your pet Auror."

"It's not my fault that you're stuck in this house. I'm not responsible for this manhunt the Ministry is conducting, so don't take it out on me." Remus shoved the quill into his pocket and headed for the door. It annoyed Sirius more than anything that Remus refused to confront him on his issue with Tonks. He didn't stop when Sirius stood, pointing accusingly.

"You never are, are you, Moony? It's not for you to stand up to the Ministry, is it?" Sirius's voice was booming. He followed Remus into the hall.

The curtains on Walburga's painting flew open: "Silencio!" Remus said without breaking his stride.

"It's not like you've ever felt the need to speak up for me before," Sirius continued. "How convenient that Dumbledore is even more hesitant to trust me than last time, as if nothing bad has ever come from the Order shutting each other out."

"You're being completely unreasonable," Remus said, attempting sternness.

"And you're just going through the motions. I hope at the end of this you still believe the ends justify the means," Sirius countered. He stormed toward the stairs, prepared to chain-smoke in the attic until Remus returned.

Sirius stared at Buckbeak and the great brute stared back. It had been days since Remus's mission had finished but he hadn't returned; he'd simply rolled directly onto another bloody obligation. In the filthy attic of Grimmauld Place, Sirius replayed each moment he'd had with Remus on a loop. He pressed his forehead against the Hippogriff's beak and received an affectionate nip at his hair for his trouble.

Footsteps creaked up the aging wood of the steep staircase to his cell- to the room. The fugitives turned to the door, and it swung forward gently.

It was Remus, huffing a little from the climb.

"Didn't happen to bring a picnic on your hike, eh?"

Sirius knew immediately it was the wrong thing to say, dinner was probably ready downstairs. Sirius would be expected to go down and eat with whoever showed up to get a look at him. It was like being bloody fourteen all over again.

"There's food downstairs if you're hungry," Remus replied. Sirius gave no indication he was listening, suddenly very focused on pulling a thread at the corner of his jumper. Both of his sleeves were partially unraveled, as was part of the garment's hem. Remus uncrossed his arms and pulled his wand from his trouser pocket. He pointed it at Sirius and said: "Reparo."

The string tugged free of Sirius's grip and wove itself back into its original position. The two men paused and watched it. Sirius chose to look up then, squinting at Remus as if he had only just moved into his light.

"Are you pleased with yourself?" he asked, and Remus shrugged. The scarred man looked the same as always, and it made Sirius feel frighteningly normal. That false feeling was a reminder of one more thing that had been robbed of him.

"Do you ever actually do anything, Padfoot?" Remus asked, glancing around the room with undisguised distaste.

"Sometimes I get taken for walks." His thumb was already running along the hem of his worn jumper again as if he'd just realised how easily he could pull it apart for the first time.

"Come downstairs," Remus said.

"Is that woman still here?" he asked instead of the countless other questions running through his head.

"The woman who cooks your dinner every night and offered shelter to your Godson when you couldn't? Yes."

"Oh Jesus, you've defected." Sirius's face fell into his hands. Remus wheezed.

"Don't be dramatic."

"Life is devoid of all justice and mercy."

"Here we go," Remus said.

"Here Sirius goes, you mean? Here I go?! I'm not the one who is justifying the actions of our sworn enemy."

"Molly Weasley?" Remus asked, a smile still tugging at his lips.

"Oh, let me have something to fill my days," Sirius griped, only more irritated by Remus's good mood.

"You could try actions. Actions are known to pass the time."

"Is that why you're up here? Looking for some 'actions'?" Sirius wasn't even looking at him.

"Grow up."

"Grow up? What do you expect me to do? Get a job? Drop Harry off at the station with the whole Order having a conniption? Get married to my estranged… you? What? I may as well stay locked in this attic like I did when I was a bloody teenager waiting to matter to someone. It's fine for you to move on. To work with the Order rather than be babysat by them, to go out and enjoy your precious actions with her." Sirius was pleased with himself for saying as much as he had. They were drawing closer to it all the time. The tide was coming in, for better or worse.

"Molly?" Remus asked, still playful.

"No, her, for Godric's sake. Your poxy child bride. I take it she's the reason you're up here in such a good mood."

"As far as growing up goes, letting go of your petty jealousy would be a good start. Me and Dora are just working together. I was looking forward to seeing you, actually, though Godric knows why."

"Dora?" Sirius repeated, completely happy to run with his petty jealousy while partly shocked that it had been acknowledged. "I remember when I would pass you information in Muggle pubs after attending those savage Ministry events, and you would sigh over what a shame it was that I never dressed so well just to please you. I remember what it was like to work with you."

"It's different." Remus was blushing

"Why? Because you let yourself want her?" Sirius was approaching the dangerous side of confrontational. It made him feel so young to speak to Remus about this, like this.

"I don't let myself do anything. My circumstances haven't changed." Oh, that old show tune.

"But you want to. Good to know that the battle you waged on what could've been between us wasn't anything personal." He was doing it, talking about them. It still excited him to think of it as something tangible, even in retrospect.

"You still blame me?"

Buckbeak nudged Sirius's shoulder, and Sirius carded a hand through the Hippogriff's feathers.

"What does it matter? It's too late, and you won't change. You're still free: free to love, or live, or bloody go outside, and I'm this prisoner. You tie yourself to every bloody obligation except me. You just let yourself forget me all over again, and I can't be rid of you."

"I-" Remus blinked, stowing his wand and shaking his head. "I was never free of you."

Sirius barked out a laugh, thinking of the years abandoned in his cell. Of the past months of Remus's visits, always tinged with a sort of pity. "Well, you could've fooled me."

And Sirius knew that on this occasion it was his own fault that the chance had ebbed away.

"Why are you sitting like that?" Sirius asked him, hardly looking over to where Remus was seated across the kitchen in Grimmauld place. Sirius stood in profile, leaning against the counter and scratching a quill over the crossword. The heavily tattooed skin of his hand was so pale where it clutched the Prophet that it nearly camouflaged into the newsprint; a mark of his months of isolation.

"Like what?" Remus replied, stirring his tea absently, the clink of his spoon against the edge of the mug filled the room between them. They had just returned from King's Cross, and Remus was worried that this breath of fresh air may be the beginning of a fixation for Sirius.

"Oh, I don't know, like you've swallowed a live toad? Is your tea so vile? Or does it just need to be stirred four hundred more times?" Remus's let go of the spoon. Sirius's words of the week before whirled in his mind: what could've been… too late now.

"I didn't realise there was a way a Wizard sits when he eats a toad," he replied, blithely.

"Maybe it's a way a certain wizard sits when he has something on the tip of his tongue that needs spitting out," Sirius said, punctuating his statement with a particularly vicious strike of his quill over the paper.

Remus picked up the tea, and took a sip. "Are there biscuits?"

Sirius turned and practically pulled the press door off its hinges to look inside. He pulled a biscuit tin from the cupboard and slammed it shut. He pried the lid off the biscuit tin and glared inside. "They're all bloody jam."

"Pass them over."

Sirius cut through the space between them in two sharp strides.

Remus pulled the tin from Sirius's hand possessively.

"You're exhausting," Sirius told him after a beat, watching him jostle the container to see if there was a chocolate digestive hidden at the bottom. "You ate them all."

"Excuse me? I'm just trying to drink a cup of tea. You're the one who's trying to turn a crossword into a three-act Greek tragedy! You're as bad as Dora." Remus placed the tin on the dining table, perhaps with a modicum of unnecessary force. Sirius reeled, stepping back as if he'd been struck.

"Honestly, I pity her," Sirius said then, his poorly shaven chin tipped down. "I remember when I thought we were going somewhere. When I believed that we were just taking our time. Before I was this wreck, this ghost. All used up." Remus wanted to laugh at Sirius's analogy, at the insinuation that the years had been somehow cruel to his handsome visage which regained vitality with every one of Remus's torturous visits.

"You think I'm so unaffected? That what I felt for you is anything like my feelings for her?" Remus asked, and Godric help him, he stood.

"What you felt for me," Sirius scoffed, running a hand through his stupid, perfect hair. "Exasperation? No, I think you're as deeply exasperated with me as ever."

"Well, you're not wrong, but Sirius..." The Pureblood looked up, his pale grey eyes as shocking as ice. Shocking as ever, but for once Remus didn't freeze. They weren't children anymore. "I'm so sick of fighting this," Remus would be surprised if Sirius could make out the words. His voice always rasped, so hoarse from countless moons of screaming. Remus stepped closer, and in a move neither could've predicted, Sirius stumbled back.

"I'm not like you. I haven't lived like you," Sirius said, but he looked at Remus like he was starved for him.

"It all felt so inevitable then," Remus confessed. His voice gained some volume, perhaps even some authority. Sirius was back at the counter now. He placed a hand behind him for purchase and it slid on the paper.

"Don't do this," Sirius whispered, and Remus froze, barely a wand length away. "Don't give me anything that I can't keep, Moony."

Remus was taken back to the Gryffindor dormitory: to a young boy waiting to lose his friends to the monster they'd found within him.

"D'you remember what you said to me the night after we'd submitted our classwork on Werewolves?" Remus asked.

Sirius rolled his eyes. "I told you that I wasn't afraid of you."

"And what's changed?"

"For me? Nothing," Sirius said, and he released a shuddering breath.

"Then why are you shaking?" Remus asked, and he stepped closer, pressing the length of his body against Sirius. He felt the pit of his stomach coil like a spring at the contact. Sirius lifted a shaking hand to Remus's jaw and it quickly stilled on his scarred skin.

"You. You changed. I used to know what direction you were headed. I used to recognise it."

"And what do you see now?" Remus's eyelids already felt heavy, his hands clutched at the back of Sirius's shirt and the clash of their chests pushed the air out between waiting lips. Sirius's brow furrowed, and he cleared his throat.

"Oh," he mumbled, low and warm, and Remus caught it in his mouth when he covered Sirius's with his own. Remus knew even before it had started that he should stop, but he was lost to it now, lost to a path Sirius had been dragging him down for years. Inked hands pulled at his hair, and slipped under his shirt. In what seemed like no time at all, a wicked grin had appeared and the years evaporated in its wake. There was nothing between them now, only too many layers of cloth.

"Never free of you," Remus told him again. Sirius barked out a laugh in reply as he began to work on the buckle of his belt.

"Never free without you," he grumbled against Remus's cheek, and the Werewolf smiled.