- Story Summary:
- Two boys go camping with one sleeping bag and Sirius gets a lesson in Muggle resourcefulness.
The cold made Sirius's eyes hurt, his neck cramp and his nails gouge the skin of his palms. It was awful. He wondered whether it was after midnight yet, and whether it would be possible to freeze to death despite his sleeping bag and clothing. Nothing was worth this: not getting to see the spectacular view that Remus assured him was half a morning's hike from their campsite, not getting to spend a weekend with his best friend away from Hogwarts.
"Your teeth are going to fall out if they keep chattering like that."
Remus' sleeping bag muffled his voice so much that Sirius couldn't tell if he was amused or annoyed. How in Merlin's name could Remus hear him through twelve layers of thermal fabric, anyway? "Shut up and go to sleep," he grumbled.
"I told you that bag wasn't going to be warm enough." Yes, Remus had warned him, but it wasn't as if Sirius knew anything about shopping for Muggle camping gear -- he wasn't a halfblood, he hadn't gone on trips like this before, and the idea of his mother sleeping with nothing but slippery fabric between herself and the ground was laughable anyway. Peter had offered him a self-warming magical thermal sleeve, but Sirius hadn't wanted to borrow that; they had agreed to do this without magic, and anyway Sirius didn't want to think about what Peter probably did in his thermal bag, if the noises Sirius could hear from Peter's bed when he forgot a silencing charm were any indication.
Moony, naturally, had gone to a Muggle store and bought a cold weather bag rated for high altitudes with a little picture of Mount Sagarmatha sewn onto the tag. Inwardly Sirius cursed James for going off with the Evanses and making it impossible for him and Remus both to visit the Potters during the holiday in lieu of this torture. "It's not fair that you won't let me turn into Padfoot," he whined. "I could curl into a ball and be comfortable..."
"The idea was to go on a camping trip the way I did with my Muggle relatives," Remus reminded him, still muffled. "If you're unhappy, we should solve this the Muggle way. We could put our bags together."
"Mine's wider than yours. They won't zip."
"Then we'll put mine inside yours."
That was a silly enough idea to make Sirius smile. "You're daft. We're not both going to fit inside your sleeping bag!"
"It's tight, but I know a spell to make it possible."
Remus spoke like he'd done it before. Had Sirius's extremities not been numb, that might have made him curious, Remus and one of his cousins snuggled together in a sleeping bag; as it was, though, it only made him grateful. He'd have done anything to get out of the cold, including sharing a bed with a Slytherin -- though preferably not Snape. "You'll be able to sleep like that?"
"I'm not going to be able to sleep with your teeth chattering all night." Already Remus was crawling free of his bag, putting his bare feet on the ground as if it were carpet. Werewolf toes must have been tougher than those of ordinary mortals, Sirius thought. He couldn't make himself move any further than sticking his neck out of his bag.
He forced himself to uncurl and push out into the freezing night air, where he danced around yelping while Remus wrestled his padded sleeping bag inside of Sirius's spacious, useless one with the zipper that wouldn't pull all the way up. "Help me straighten the other end out," Remus demanded, calm and unruffled by the fact that they were moments away from frostbite. "Good, now get in and I'll squeeze next to you."
Sirius slid into the thick cocoon, forcing his legs to remain straight despite the urge to curl into a ball and transform into a creature with fur. A moment later, Remus squirmed in alongside him, turning so that his back was against Sirius's chest. Because the bag tapered at the bottom, their legs ended up tangled together. That might have been uncomfortable had Sirius not been frantic for contact. "Still frozen," he groaned.
"You'll be warmer if you take your coat off," Remus suggested. "The vinyl shell isn't going to absorb any of my body heat."
Grumbling, Sirius shucked the jacket, which wasn't easy to do in such a tight space. He shoved it under his head to use as a pillow. Remus' body seemed impossibly radiant -- even his feet were warm, despite having been bare on the ground minutes before. Must have been another werewolf metabolism thing. Sirius wriggled his arm under Moony's until his friend took his icy fingers into his hand, rubbing feeling back into them. Remus chafed him with his legs, too, scissoring back and forth over Sirius's deadened feet.
"You owe me for this, Padfoot," came a low chuckle.
Agony faded slowly, until Sirius might even have been able to move off a bit had there been any room to sprawl. They didn't have space to spare and one wrong move might have ripped the stuffing out of the bag. Cold air still crept in from the opening at the top, which was probably necessary to stop them from suffocating; the sack wouldn't have closed over both of them anyway. Nudging Remus' hair aside with his nose, Sirius pressed his chilly forehead against the side of the other boy's neck.
Remus shivered and undulated in a supple wave. His hair fell backward, brushing Sirius's cheekbone, and a bit of exposed skin surged up against Sirius's mouth. "Ticklish there," Remus murmured.
And Sirius realized that certain parts of him were thawing, heated by the flesh just beneath the soft fabric of Remus' clothes. How did Remus stay so warm wearing so little? In the knot of bone and muscle they had formed with their limbs, they both had to squirm continually to keep from losing circulation in whatever parts were crushed underneath them. Friction had edged the temperature from arctic to sultry.
Sirius felt his pulse hitch and speed, which might have been from his frozen blood melting in his veins. Whatever the cause, it made him start breathing raggedly. Made his hands itch to move. Made pressure start building deep inside him that made him want to roll his hips, made him want to adjust himself in his pants and maybe leave his hand there, maybe keep touching himself, maybe...
Bloody hell! "What?" Too breathless, and if Remus had felt him twitch like that, just from hearing him say his name...
"Are you all right?"
"You're rocking like you're in pain."
"Just trying to keep warm." He tried to be still, but his groin was much too close to the curve of Remus' bum, and there was really nowhere else to put it. Sirius tried and failed to imagine how James would deal with the situation. James wouldn't get hard this fast, he wasn't a dog like Sirius that way, and it was a good thing Prongs had a sense of humor anyway because a couple of times when they'd had to share a bed because the Potters had company, Sirius had practically humped his leg in his sleep. "Just relax," he snarled to himself, then blushed furiously when he realized he had spoken aloud.
"I am relaxed."
"Then just sod off."
"You want me to leave?"
"Oh, don't be such a wanker!"
"Who," said Remus, pressing back against Sirius very deliberately, "are you calling a wanker?" Sirius' mortification was nearly complete. At least Remus wasn't bothered -- he had the impression that his friend was holding back giggles -- but the blackmail value, the threats of public humiliation, were going to be hell.
While he was struggling to think of a bribe he could offer Remus never to tell James and Peter, or to figure out if he could blame it on Padfoot somehow, Remus spoke again. "You need some help with that, too?"
His best friend hadn't just said that. Couldn't have. Must have been an hallucination. Or at least he couldn't have meant it. He lay in Sirius's arms shaking with suppressed amusement, his head half-turned toward Sirius' with a grin so big that Sirius could feel it pressing back the skin of his throat. Helplessly Sirius started to laugh, the heat of embarrassment flooding his entire body. Remus joined him, and the awkwardness floated away like chill mist in the sun.
Somehow Remus managed to turn over, banging and bumping with elbows and knees until Sirius was sure they would both have bruises. Oh -- Moony was just as hard as he was. And maybe just as embarrassed; he giggled like a maniac, slipping his arms around Sirius' back.
"You're not shivering anymore."
"Not really." Remus' weight was crushing his lower leg, though Sirius was still much more comfortable than he had been before they put the sleeping bags together. He was warm now in all kinds of ways -- his cheeks were afire, his armpits prickled and he felt radiant all over from having Remus pressed up against him, comfortable as a big shaggy wolf. Which made Sirius realize something else. "I'm happy though." He said it with a little bit of surprise, like he hadn't been sure until he heard himself speak the words.
"I'm happy too," Remus said quietly, his voice catching, which gave Sirius pause. Had Moony wanted this? He might have guessed they would end up sharing ever since he'd seen Sirius' ineffectual sleeping bag rolled up among their gear. A grin pushed its way across Sirius' face; he tried to hide it against Remus' shoulder, and ended up getting a mouthful of hair.
"What?" asked Remus suspiciously.
"I didn't want to borrow Peter's self-heating thermal sleeve thing because I was afraid of what he did in there."
Remus chuckled again. "You know that mine's brand new."
"Not anymore. You'll be lucky if it doesn't tear at the seams."
"And it hasn't even been christened properly."
Quick as a hex, there came a mental picture of a grinning Moony toasting him with a bottle of foaming butterbeer, spilling its contents over the bag and over Sirius. The image morphed, ceased to include butterbeer. Sirius groaned into Remus' hair, feeling so warm. So close. They were both wearing old tracksuit bottoms and worn shirts, so easy to push out of the way. Then there would just be skin, so easy to touch. And so easy to fall asleep afterwards, flushed with contentment.
Half-kidding, he said, "Let me know if I can help you do the honors." He figured that if Remus wanted to laugh it off, he could, with a line like that, but Remus let out a little thoughtful hum and stretched against him as best he could in the cramped sleeping bag.
"You won't have trouble looking me in the eye tomorrow?"
"I won't if you won't. It doesn't mean anything, right?"
"Actually, it means that my plan worked. But if you don't want it to mean anything, it doesn't have to."
It was too dark to see Remus' face, but Sirius heard his breath catch again. He felt a flutter in his abdomen that had nothing to do with being hard or sharing space. "You planned this, Moony?" he asked hesitantly. "Not just the trip...being like this?" Silence, only the other boy's uneven breathing, which might have meant that he was scared or it might only have meant that he was as excited as Sirius, who was a little frightened himself but that was because he was so excited. He knew he liked boys as much as girls even if he'd lied and told James he'd been dreaming about Aurelia Johnson that one time, but Moony was his best friend and oh Merlin he'd had a plan...
Abruptly Remus pulled his shirt up over his head, depositing it somewhere above them. "You've warmed up nicely," he observed, though his voice was almost defiant. Struggling in the confined space, Sirius got his own shirt off and stuffed it near the other one. Suddenly this was all very real, not just the skin and hands which were familiar -- he'd been naked with Moony after the transformation many times -- but the longing and the anticipation. Sirius couldn't remember why he had ever thought he might not want to do this. He started shoving at Remus' pants and Remus did the same to him, until they both had them halfway down their legs and their erections dueled in the middle like swords. Remus was laughing in little gasps, but Sirius couldn't spare the breath for it.
"This doesn't need warming up at all," whispered Remus as his fingers closed around Sirius, who took hold of him in turn even as his hips thrust forward and a sigh escaped his throat. They both groaned when their hands began to move on each other. Remus' strokes were slower and covered more territory than Sirius usually used on himself. He tried to imitate the rhythm but it wasn't the one he was accustomed to, and he found that his arm kept pumping harder and faster even though he didn't want to rush.
It occurred to Sirius that Remus was awfully good at this -- for a moment he was jealous, but Moony had said he planned this whole thing, he wanted Sirius, and if Sirius had had any doubts that he wanted it too, they disappeared when Remus squeezed a hand around their crushed chests to tilt Sirius' face up from the ground so he could kiss him. It wasn't like with any girl Sirius had ever kissed, even though the mechanics were the same. Remus kissed like he wanted to know what Sirius's lips felt like, and how he tasted, and whether he wanted to kiss Remus back, which Sirius did, hesitantly at first because it was so overwhelming and he knew he must be revealing as much as Remus, whose fingers threaded through his hair while his other hand sped up on him, its tempo spurred on by the hot urgency of their mouths.
Fingers traveled, bodies twisted and Sirius found himself with a handful of his friend's bum, sliding against sweat-slicked skin and matted curly hair, using his legs as pinions. Moans burst from both of them as their mouths broke apart while they pumped against each other, pressing and rubbing the ridges and crevices...close, so close. "Coming," Remus breathed almost soundlessly. The jerking pulses and slick flood were hotter than anything Sirius had ever imagined...hotter than anything except Moony gasping his name. Erupting in pleasure, Sirius called back to him as his body shook with tremors too immense for the confined space which dissolved around him in a sudden rippling rush.
They lay panting like Chasers after a tough Quidditch match, drenched and slippery, hearts pounding. Distantly Sirius remembered that he had been chilly once, but he couldn't recall how it had felt, as if someone had cast a spell to drive all the cold out of the world. Remus reached over their heads and tugged until a breeze wafted over their faces. Trailing his hand over Sirius's cheekbone, he wiped away moisture with a smile.
"Warm now?" he asked.
"You should come with a warning label -- 'Flammable'," replied Sirius. "It's a good thing your sleeping bag isn't."
"My sleeping bag..." Remus felt around with his feet. "There's a big rip behind your leg, here. And another one all the way up the side."
"Oi, Moony, I'm sorry..."
"Don't be. I got my money's worth." So much warmth in the laughter and the soft kiss that landed against the side of Sirius's mouth. He turned to catch it, realizing as he did so that his ankles were free to twine around Remus' legs.
"I think I might have ripped my pants, too."
"Actually I think you kicked them off. They're under me." Remus made moves like a Quidditch player ducking and bouncing from a bludger until Sirius felt soft material rub his lower leg. "Might not be worth putting them back on, they'll just get wet. Then when you get up, you'll be cold again." His hip shifted as he spoke, making a squelching noise in the wetness underneath him, which made them both laugh. "I think I was robbed on this bag. The lining's supposed to be moisture-proof."
"Maybe it's got a guarantee of quality. You could take it back and see."
"Will you come with me and help explain what happened to it?"
"I think I'd rather buy you a new one. If only I had Muggle money!" Still chuckling, Sirius stuck his foot into the hole at the side of the bag, bringing his skin in contact with the cooler material of his own sleeping bag outside it. Instantly he jerked back. They might have been slightly less crowded in the bigger bag, but Sirius had concluded that crowded wasn't really a bad thing.
"Are we going to sleep like this, then?"
"Can you think of a better way?"
"Now that you mention it..." Remus reached overhead, pulling his wand from inside his jacket. "Engorgio." Instantly the sleeping bag expanded to nearly twice its size, giving Sirius room enough to stretch his cramped legs, though he still didn't let go of Remus, who breathed a laugh onto his skin before angling the wand against his skin and muttering, "Scourgify." The slick wetness vanished, leaving them warm and dry against one another. "Reparo."
"You could have done that any time," realized Sirius. "Made the sleeping bag big enough for two. Or made mine warmer." He shoved at Remus. "You said we were going to do this trip without magic! The way your Muggle relatives would have done it! Wanker!"
"Well, I lied." Remus was still laughing softly. "I've never done this with my Muggle relatives. I've never shared a sleeping bag before."
"But you've done *this* before, haven't you?" Sirius asked. Even though Remus didn't reply, he could feel the answer in the blush that heated his face.
"It was stupid," mumbled Remus. "I just wanted to make sure."
"That you liked boys?"
"That I liked you." Remus scrunched down so that his head was right under Sirius' chin, one arm folded between their chests, the other thrown over his ribs.
"How come you didn't tell me, Moony?"
"Didn't think you'd want to know."
The hitch in Remus' voice was back. Sirius wrapped his arms tighter around him. It was bitterly cold outside, and he had no doubt that before morning they would need all the shared heat they could get.
"Well, I did," he said softly. "I do."
Hours till sunrise, and even longer till the icy air began to thaw. Maybe they'd sleep late, thought Sirius. Maybe they'd wake up like this, and smile at one another, and keep each other warm.