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Summer Haze (Remus/Sirius, PG)

Fic: Summer Haze by XLcatloveress and writing partner
Title: Summer Haze
Rating: PG (-13ish)
Word Count: ~6000
Genre(s): Marauder Era (pre Sirius running away to the Potters), written in a format that might appear a bit jumpy between characters at times since each writing partner wrote one character and there might be slight back-tracking between the paragraphs at character switches
Warnings: pre-slash

Summary: A lazy summer afternoon at the Potters', with aching realizations that are being pushed far down by both the boys.

Remus yawns in a chair by the big bay window that looks out on the fields beyond Godric's Hollow. The sun falls across the big book in his lap and the afghan resting across his legs. It always feels more comfortable to read with a blanket of some sort. He looks over at James, sprawled across his bed and snoring gently, and vaguely wonders where Sirius has gotten to. He glances over at the big grandfather clock in the corner and sighs. It's one of those silly clocks that is currently set to "nap." So instead, he reaches into his pocket and... groans. How long has he been reading in one position anyway? He has no idea. What was his last meal? Again, no idea. With a stifled groan, he sets the book aside on the small table next to the chair and stretches gingerly. He's hungry, or probably will be once his body catches up to him. "Sirius?" he looks casually around the room. "Where have you gotten to?"

Sirius has watched first James, then Remus nod off, and has been uncharacteristically quiet (after dissuading James from a game of Exploding Snap which wouldn't have been conducive to Remus' reading and the general peace prevalent on this hot summer afternoon). Even the flies have been too lazy to buzz about much, and so, as his friends slowly succumbed to their naps, he had shifted into Padfoot (less fidgety energy that way) and had guarded their slumbers. Not that it was necessary, what with Godric's Hollow being the most peaceful, serene place he could ever imagine, the kind of place where nothing ever happened outside of a gnome infestation in the neighbor's backyard or the friendly small-town rivalry between two amateur (and rather impromptu put-together) quidditch teams. It was, in essence, quite a boring little town, especially when you were a teenaged boy with more money to spend than was good for you and more than your fair share of freedom-loving adventurous spirit. But for once, Sirius wascontent to just .. be. He had arrived at James' place only yesterday, had slipped away with the help of Alphard, and there were things ..

When even Padfoot's form (whose existence they had before accredited to 'some neighbor letting their dog run free' when James' parents had stumbled upon him in that form and had inquired as to the sudden presence of a giant dog in their house) hadn't been enough to shield him from thoughts and memories, he had risen in one swift move and trotted forward, only to shift as he reached the window, the side-panes of which were flung wide open. From here, you could see the fields and meadows that surround Godric's Hollow, abuzz with critters the city-boy in Sirius wouldn't have been able to name had someone forced him at wand-point, and if you squinted just right, you caught glimpses of the rippling water of a small but always cool lake behind some trees on the far fringes of the Potter land. Quietly, on bare feet, Sirius had climbed out onto the roof and had settled there, comfortable, eyes closed as he dropped his head back, his dark hair already sticking to his temples and shoulders as he began to bake in the hot sun. He had long since tossed his shirt and was only clad in an old pair of James' pants his mother had cut off below the knee when he had outgrown them in length. Elbows firmly planted against the roof, he stretched out his long legs before his slender body on the slanted surface, and let the hot sun drive all thoughts, all worries, all memories from his mind.

It must have worked, for he startles when he hears Remus call out to him. Opening one eye, he lazily glances towards the window he climbed out of. He knows that Remus will hear him without yelling, so he replies quietly " 'm here, sleepy-pants."

Remus hears Sirius, but is at first confused as to where the voice has come from. He looks out the window, and a breeze catches his nose. With a suppressed groan he realizes that the light scratching sound from above is Sirius. On the roof. He sticks his head out the window and looks up into the blinding sun. Perhaps not the best idea he's ever had. He winces at the light, then reaches almost blindly for the edge of the roof and grabs it, testing it for its sturdiness. Of course it's sturdy. Why wouldn't it be? He slides himself out the window and clambers up, more or less gracefully. He pauses on the edge for a moment, then climbs up a little higher to sit next to where Sirius is reclining. He sits there for a moment, and then says with a wry smile, "I wasn't sleeping. I was... reading."

After answering, Sirius closes his eyes again so as to not be blinded by the .. well .. blinding sun, and he misses Remus' antics as the other boy joins him on the roof. He grins as he hears Remus refute that he slept. "Uhuh, right.", he intones. "Sure you read. For about 5 minutes after James dozed off." A fly bumbles by and situates itself on his nose so he reaches up to dislodge it and scratch at the itch it leaves behind. It is then that he notices something. "Err .. ouch?" Sitting up, he blinks his eyes open and looks down his front. "Uh .. double-ouch." For all the dark complexion running rampant in his family's hair colors, they are all a pasty lot, and usually well-covered ("It does NOT behoove a Black to be gallivanting about half-naked. Not unless you want to end up like poor unfortunate great-great-uncle Ignatius." Who was locked away in a very exclusive, very private and very pricey institution for being untenable in society due to his fits of madness -- or rather, fits of sanity amidst rampant bouts of insanity -- far outside the scope of even such an inbred family as the Blacks were in general) -- and Sirius is already starting to show just why baking in the sun for what could have been hours on his first day out of murky London and even murkier Grimmauld Place is a very bad idea.

"Accio broom.", he calls, reaching out his hand for the broom marked as 'his' for the duration of his stay at the Potters. He isn't concerned with doing magic, has grown up not being concerned due to living in a household where magic is constantly in use and it is nigh impossible for the Ministry to ascertain who was the one wielding it. It's the same in the Potter household. The broom arrives steadily in his firm grip and he swings it around. "I'm going for a swim to cool off. Coming?"

Remus was just getting to the point where he thought he could be comfortable on the roof when Sirius decides that he has another idea. He doesn't fight the idea of having taken a nap over his book--after all, it isn't exactly all that uncommon for him to do. But he doesn't feel quite ready to... oh. Okay then, swimming it is. He frowns slightly at the use of magic, but dismisses it. He doesn't need to be worried about that here. But... well, the fear doesn't go away just because he wants it to. The breeze picks up again, and he gets a strong whiff of... he swallows, and looks at Sirius hovering there on the broom. Sweaty and sunburnt. And... he swallows again as he reluctantly gets up and approaches the broom. Bathing seems like a very good idea. Very good.

"Alright then," he says, joining Sirius on the broom. "But first..." he draws a pad of paper and a fountain pen from inside his robes. Then, with a slightly mischievous smile, he uses Sirius's back as a writing surface. "Lazybritches--at the pond. When you wake up, bring food." Then he folds the note into an airplane and tosses it aside, where it flies smoothly through the window to land on James's bedside table. Maybe a little magic won't hurt. He puts his writing supplies away and smiles sweetly. "There, all set. So how's your first day in the sun, Padfoot?" He taps Sirius's shoulder.

Sirius manages to stifle a wince when Remus begins scribbling with a scratchy fountain pen on a scratchy piece of parchment right there on his back (of which he now feels that it is at least partially burned, probably from the sun streaming in side-ways as it moved along the sky). He loses the battle against the wince though when, moments later, a hand claps on his shoulder. An indrawn hiss of breath later he growls out "FABULOUS, why do you ask? Lovely sun. Lovely day." He looks over his shoulder and his smile turns positively angelic. "PERFECTLY lovely day for doing some lovely flying in the lovely sun, wouldn't you agree?" A raised eyebrow issues both, a challenge and a warning to hold on tight -- and yeah, that too will probably bring some wince-able tenderness in the form of OUCH, but he can't bring himself to care as he kicks the broom into what has got to feel like terminal velocity to any passenger.

Remus is still smiling at his innocent little mischief when that dark head turns around and a wide grin splits the red face. Remus's eyes go wide with the realization of what's about to happen and his stomach drops out even before takeoff. He grabs at Sirius's waist just in time to not topple backwards off the broom. And now, pressed against the sweaty figure of Sirius Black, there is no... not... smelling... those... aromas. But at least he is somewhat distracted by the breakneck speed at which Sirius seems to think they need to be cutting through the air. He isn't even looking around, only trying to hold on for dear life. "I surrender!"

Sirius laughs, a sound filled with whooping joy and all the bonds and boundaries falling off of him, freedom invading his heart, as he flies and dips and has Remus clinging to him and is out in the sun, surrounded not by walls and regulations but fields and happiness. He laughs again as Remus' words reach his ears, almost blotted out by the wind of their rapid ascent on the small lake the Potters own as part of their estate. He dips them once, twice, three times into the water, skimming the surface with his bare feet in between bounces, kicking up a wake behind him that should splash Remus further. At least already soaked, his friend won't get to chicken out from swimming once again as tends to be his wont. Then, right above the middle of the lake, he turns the broom upside down and stops its flight mid-air. As part of the move, he simply lets go, dropping himself from about 2 feet above the water into the lake with a splash.

Past the initial moment of panic at the breakneck speed and maneuvers, Remus is almost willing to admit that he's enjoying this flight. At the very least, he enjoys Sirius enjoying. It makes him happy to see Sirius this... unrestrained and buoyant. He's been growing darker and broodier, and it seems criminal to have a boundless spirit like Sirius Black oppressed by anything. Although that glad attitude is forgotten as he sees the water coming at them fast. Too fast. He's going to crash them into the lake! He gives a shout, and is rewarded with a mouthful of water in Sirius's wake, and then a few more splashes. Remus is only just catching his breath when the broom suddenly stops, leaving them hanging upside-down.

Remus's eyes go wide, and he clutches for a handhold on the broom, on... anything, really, but as Sirius lets go, Remus goes tumbling in with him as his fingers scrabble in vain at the broom. With a hasty breath, he goes under, tangled up for a moment with Sirius. His foot gets caught on something, but he kicks up at the surface and emerges, sputtering. His expression is a cross between amusement and annoyance, though the grin quickly wins out. He treads water, freeing his foot from what was wrapped around it, and a moment later, Sirius's borrowed pants float up next to him. He laughs.

The water closes over Sirius' head and he feels Remus right there, with him, around him, a tangle of too many arms and legs and closeness, and he knows without a doubt that, even if he COULD have breathed, he, well, couldn't have because there is entirely too much Remus entirely too close and ..

Remus kicks, moving himself up and away from Sirius, tearing on Sirius' pants in the struggle of the moment, and they come right off at the pull. Too light, too slender he had become, compared to James' Quidditch physique, too bony.

He doesn't mind the sudden near-nakedness, now only wearing the boxer-shorts his parents hate so much, lets Remus' motion push him down and away as he floats further downwards, weightless, suspended in the cooling water, all sounds cut off. Peaceful. It is with a pang of .. regret that he eventually starts kicking and swimming towards the surface, breaking the water just as his air has completely run out. What he breaks the surface TO is the sound of Remus' laughter and the sight of mirth on his friend's face. The regret transforms into gladness. "Oi, Remus -- how's about getting rid of some of your own clothes as well? Gotta be cumbersome, swimming with so much sodden weight pulling you down." Also, they are far from where anyone might see them so that Remus need not worry about people staring at any exposed scars.

Not having much success at the surface, Remus ducks back under and executes a neat spin under the water, slipping out of his robes. He loves the feeling of being suspended in water as he peels off his socks and shoes as well, leaving him in only his light, long underwear. He surfaces again with a grin, spraying water in Sirius's direction as he flings the robe, socks, and tied-together shoes over the broomstick. And then, with a feeling of total abandonment, he tears out of his undershirt as well, reveling in the freedom of movement this affords him. With a joyous shout, he grabs a hold of the broomstick, swings himself up on it, deposits the undershirt over the bundled twigs, and dives off the broom into the water with a smooth motion, circling deep underneath to tickle Sirius feet, careful to keep his face and other parts away from flailing limbs.

It is rare to catch Remus in a moment of such .. abandon. There might be glimpses when he's caught up in a good book, or when, during their marauding, a plan of his comes through perfectly and without a hitch, utilizing great feats of magic he thought up all on his own. But it is still too rare for words, and so, Sirius enjoys being made privy to it, feels special for being given this moment all to himself. For that special treat, he doesn't even scold when Remus totally, utterly and completely mistreats the broom. A BROOM, as CLOTHESLINE! Soon though, all that is forgotten when Remus' fingers begin tickling the most ticklish part of his body -- his FEET!

"NOT FAIR!" he whines as he flails and kicks and twists and splutters on all the water he swallows, which is a substantial amount. He begins coughing, then draws a deep breath in between coughs, then ducks under water, utilizing the breath he has in his lungs to lunge for Remus, reaching for his fingers, for his hands, for his arms, for anything and everything he can reach, and suddenly, there are his arms around Remus' midriff, pulling him close to constrict his movement and pin his arms against his body. Just as suddenly, the amount of air Sirius still has in his lungs is no longer enough, what with his heart thudding in his chest as if it might want to burst (exertion, of course, only just exertion), and he kicks his legs to guide them both back to the surface.

Remus grins under water, feeling... safe. Feeling at home. He feels untouchable and wonderful and weightless. Granted, this pond isn't anything compared to the ocean he's used to off the coast of Wales, but it's still... He notices Sirius' coughing distress and swims closer, concerned that he might be swallowing too much water, might be in danger, might... but then, Sirius is reaching out, and Remus feels himself caught. Caught against Sirius, pinned, and his heart hammers in his chest. He feels himself pushed upwards again, and as their heads break the surface, Remus tries to squirm out of Sirius's grasp. "Breathe, mate," he sputters. "I don't feel like playing lifeguard in my underwear, alright?" But he can't ignore the... the touch, the... "And while I could still beat you all in a treading contest, I'd like my arms back please. It'll be easier to save you from drowning that way." He grasps at anything... normal to say, anything to drown out that thudding in his chest.

"Oh, right.", Sirius says sheepishly though it takes another few moments until his arms actually follow through on the thought of letting go and giving Remus the use of his arms back. "And I'll have you know that you need not rescue me, unless of course, you make attempts on my life first and try to drown me through tickling. Which is just unfair -- you are like a fish in the ocean whereas I'm just .. " He laughs as he remembers James teaching him how to swim. If not for the timely intervention and ultimate patience of James' parents, Sirius might have actually drowned in the process.

He catches sight of the poor misused broom again and motions upwards by means of raised eyebrows. "Let's get out for a moment and reposition your clothes to a more appropriate space -- before James blows a casket, seeing his poor broom so mistreated!" Secretly, he hopes that Remus will join him back in the lake again afterward -- it is so great to see Remus .. like that. So relaxed and .. happy! Back at Hogwarts, he barely even dips his toes in the lake, if anything. It's sad to think that he too would like to join them for a swim but cannot let go enough to permit himself such frivolities. "You can try and drown me some more right afterward, ok? And perhaps I can even recall off the top of my head the spell for the swinging rope James and I tried and tried and tried for at the lake a couple of months ago." He grins, remembering what it had been like. They had had a whole weekend of oblivious-to-the-world fun then. It was just a few weeks before he had to go back home .. but he really does not want to think about that now. And so, he ruthlessly pushes down any thoughts of that dreary, dismal place he is forced to call 'home'.

"Well," if you're going to be the one saving my life from James when he gets out here, you are welcome to. But personally, I'd just like to see him catch me in the water to commit the murder.", Remus laughs. But good-naturedly, he acquiesces and begins swimming towards the shore, leaving Sirius with the problem of getting the clothes and the broom back on his own. He's enjoying the water too much to want to get out, so he simply pauses in the shallows, with less than a foot of water between his feet and the bottom to wait for Sirius.

Sirius solves the logistics problem by launching himself up and grabbing a hold of the broom with first one hand, then the other, letting himself be pulled by it through the water as it slowly lurches towards the shore. It's not easy to steer it, but he's learned enough from playful Quidditch games with James to be able and brachiate his way through the moments it takes him to actually reach the shore. He passes Remus who is languishing in the water and splashes a bit of water in his direction by kicking his feet. "Come on, lazy -- those are YOUR clothes that need removing from the broom." There's a bush right at the shore that should be perfect to place Remus' clothes if he ever wanted them dried. "How about right over there?" Now it's his chin that nudges that way since he has no hand left over for pointing.

Reluctantly, Remus follows Sirius out of the water. He hates this moment, when he has to lift himself from the water into reality. When he goes from weightlessness to... other things, and his body reminds him once again of what his mind can never fully let go. "I'm coming," he says with a sigh, tripping up the bank and pulling his clothes from the broom. He lays them carefully over the large bush, feeling... exposed. And... there is Sirius in all his glory. Too thin, really, but... still... beautiful. "Here are your pants," he adds, tossing the wet garment at Sirius's head. His throat feels dry, and he tries not to look. "I... well... I think you had a spell to show me?"

As Remus moves out of the water and on to the shore, Sirius glances his way and .. suddenly, a pair of wet cut-offs wraps it itself around his head. He peels it off, giving a slightly wonky chuckle. Where did THAT come from? And how had he missed it heading his way? He drops it in a crumbled heap next to Remus, careless and in an absolutely typical Sirius-fashion. He glances back at Remus when he speaks up and gets his glance once again caught in the sight of Remus' rail-thin body, the scars that wrap around his body, the strength that is hidden so well underneath his meager frame. He wants to .. .. .. wants to show Remus the spell James and him perfected. Except that .. right now, he cannot even remember what the spell was meant to DO, and all he remembers to say is "Err .. "

Remus feels the wet pants slosh into a pile at his feet, and as he bends over to pick it up, he can feel Sirius's closeness. With slightly trembling hands, he drapes the pants over the bush with the rest of the clothes. "Rat got your tongue, Sirius?" He speaks in a soft, wavering voice. Sirius is... close. And his scent is strong, even after a dousing in the water. "Or did James lock you into the secret of your rope-swing spell with an unbreakable vow?" He stands there in the sun for a moment, enjoying the feel of the warmth on his back, almost forgetting the scars there. But a soft breeze plays across that expanse of skin at the same moment, like some cruel joke. "I... I'm starting to dry off. And... that would... be a waste of water..." Where is his brain? Maybe he's just... hungry.

Sirius .. watches, and he catches the exact moment when Remus gets self-conscious about himself, and he wants to tell him .. something, something to make it better but .. maybe a rat really DID get his tongue because once again, he cannot find one friggin' word to say. "I .. no .. no vow. Just .. uh .. gathering my wits. It's a .. a flinging motion, as if you are flinging a rope from your wand, but remember not to pull all the way through or else, there will be a rope but you won't have its end to grab and swing from. Here, at the end, abort the motion with a circular point, as if you are tying a knot in the air." He demonstrates as he speaks, his motions sure and fluid, a strong spell-caster in his own right. On cue, the rope materializes, flings itself out over the lake where it attaches itself to an invisible point in the air. The end closest to his wand-tip ties itself into a large knot which remains within arm's reach, hovering in mid-air. It's an easy enough spell but it took a lot of trial and error and laughing and getting wet before it was absolutely perfect for their needs.

Remus turns around as Sirius approaches closer, and he wants to tell Sirius to keep his distance, but... he can't. He never could. "I... right. No vow." He leans into the bush, and feels a wave of relief as Sirius begins teaching. It's a mercy. And the old shame boils up inside. Sirius isn't his to have. He can't... be thinking these things. About his friend.

"Right..." He watches for a moment, and his brain begins to catch up. "Right," he says with more confidence, drawing his own wand to mimic Sirius's movements. He begins the movement, hesitatingly and cautiously, then pauses, turning to his teacher. "So is it a temporary charm of illusionary force and matter, or does it have an actual transfigurative element? Wouldn't that waste a lot of rope and energy? Is it centered in the caster's mind with the accompanying illusion or cast outward as a physical representation of a proper rope? Does the rope's strength have anything to do with the strength of the spell, or does it have set parameters? Arbitrary measures? Random, set, or pretedermined? Does it..."

Sirius, surprisingly enough, KNOWS all the answers to all these questions because in their years of researching one particular spell they learned how to study ANY spell, and how to categorize, and which parameters to explore in order to make stuff .. work. Knowing the answers though and letting on that he does so aren't one and the same -- he does have a reputation to uphold after all -- and so, instead of replying, he crosses his arms, taps his feet and affects a put-upon expression -- and when THAT doesn't manage to shut Remus up, he grabs the knot and pushes it into Remus' hands. "It's a rope, it swings above a body of water, you cling to it and then, you let go. End of teaching, class dismissed." A grin breaks over his features though and there is no denying the boyish excitement that brightens his eyes and chases from them the last remnants of darkness and cold chill he arrived with when he got to James'. The other two didn't even comment, so normal was it for them to see a different Sirius returning from vacations than they sent off beforehand, one that is more closed off, withdrawn, but obnoxious and loud at the same time, one that is leaner, meaner, harder, physically and emotionally, one that is more suspicious, less jovial, more bitingly sarcastic than good-naturedly teasing, one who wolfs down food as if it was likely for him go without soon while at the same time vigorously exhausting himself with flying at any and every chance he got, a more regal and tight-arsed Sirius rather than the goofy, laid-back Marauder he cultivated throughout the school-year.

"Go ahead, give it a try!" He calls forth a second rope right next to the one Remus is holding, quickly explaining the motion needed to call back the rope for another round of swinging once you had dug yourself out of the lake again. Then, with a hollered WHOOP and a mad dash, he takes a flying leap at his rope, causing it to swing wide, and with another WHOOP, he lets go and cartwheels head over heels into the lake. Moments later, he breaks the surface as he comes up spluttering and laughing. "Come on! Try it!"

Remus blushes as Sirius abruptly puts an end to his rambling questions, but acknowledges freely to himself how they break the whole mood of boyish jubilation. He watches as a student as Sirius puts the rope in his hands and then conjures another one... Aha! It's a temporary measured matter conjuration, most likely with a limited time... Remus's musings are interrupted by Sirius barreling past him and leaping onto his rope with a Tarzan-like cry. And with a warm feeling of contentment, Remus realizes that the mantle of darkness that Sirius has been carrying around with him seems to have... dissolved. At least for now. And he's glad. It has happened much earlier and faster this time, though he can't quite figure out why. Perhaps its...

No. Laughing at Sirius bobbing in the water and splashing about, Remus puts it aside for now, steps back several yards, and runs at the rope. He stumbles on a rock just before hitting the rope, causing him to catch it and swing out just a little... where he dissolves into laughter as he simply slides down the rope into the shallows. Oops.

Sirius nearly DROWNS as he doubles over in laughter, mid-water, after watching Remus fumble his first rope-swinging attempt quite badly. He flails a bit helplessly as he attempts to tread water, swim, breathe, laugh, keep himself from going under, hold his belly, wipe tears of laughter from his eyes -- and all of that at the same time. He manages not to sink to the bottom of the lake like a stone, but it's a close call. "Might wanna .. work on that .. trajectory.", he wheezes, slowly making his way back to the shore. "How 'bout an added challenge?", he adds the moment he has crawled back onto the shore-line, still giggling as he gets swept up again and again in Remus' own laughter. "Furthest into the lake, best trajectory. Best out of 10 -- and winner gets to .. call in ONE favor from the loser over the course of this stay at James'. What do you say? Of course .. in case you accept the challenge, you might want to actually start trying."

When Remus finally manages to get back to his feet and breathe, he leans against a small tree by the waterside. "A challenge?" His eyebrows rise into his fringe. "Err... you realize, of course, that there isn't much of a challenge? Why don't I just owe you a favor now and be done with it?" Though, even as he says this with a wry smile, he goes back to where he started to run in the first place, his hands smarting from their initial slide down the rope. "But even so... let's see how quickly I learn." And he takes off with his uneven gait and leaps at the rope with gleeful abandon. He doesn't holler, but a peal of boyish laughter accomplishes the same effect as he allows the rope to get to its furthest point and then releases it in an ungraceful plummet into the sparkling water

Sirius is tempted to let Remus win, just .. because. But midway through the 10 attempts, his competitive streak reasserts itself and he gives it his best effort to actually win the self-proposed challenge. In the end, between the earlier slack he was cutting Remus and the other boy's added strength and leaping capabilities, it is a neck-to-neck result that nevertheless Sirius claims as a win for himself. He is mellow though, feeling delightfully tired out and cooled off, so if Remus should challenge him for the win, he would easily grant victory. 10 jumps done though, he feels ready to just kick back in the shade under the trees for a bit, and so, he crawls back to the shore and climbs out. Utilizing a shift into Padfoot, he shakes himself as dry as he can get, then shifts back into Sirius and summons a towel to dry off the rest. Placing the towel as a blanket on the ground, he then flops down on it (managing to even FLOP gracefully, not a mean feat) and stretches out with his head pillowed by his arms. It really is a beautiful day, he muses, as he watches Remus approach. .. Beautiful. Utterly beautiful.

"So, I believe I am owed a favor?" A dangerous thing to submit to a Black, a blanko favor. Though in Sirius' case, it probably will have less to do with Dark or Blood Magic, and more with maraudery sneakiness.

Ten jumps into the water. With raw hands and a sore body from the impact, Remus is certain that he couldn't have made it eleven. Even so, it was fun, and he gracefully acknowledges Sirius's victory. There is just... a simple and elegant beauty in the way Sirius moves. In the way he just... lives.

He follows Sirius up onto the bank, vaguely wondering where on earth he'd acquired a towel. But it doesn't really matter. He's tired. And hungry. He lowers himself gently onto the ground beside Sirius, not caring if he gets dirty or stained for once. He even almost manages to forget about the scars crossing over his body. He stretches out, folding his hands on his chest and closing his eyes. And then Sirius speaks. Without opening his eyes, Remus smiles. "A deal is a deal. But if you want it now... you may be out of luck." He pulls his wand and lazily erects an invisible sunscreen shield. He has no desire to look like a lobster, and he left the far more effective cream in the house, which he is definitely too lazy to go back to.

Sirius glances over at Remus as his friend speaks, and the smile, exhausted but happy, nearly melts him into a puddle inside. Or .. it might be the heat, scorching him from without and from within, between the sun and the sunburn. Speaking of sunburn -- Remus has definitely just erected a shield, and Sirius wants some of it. Enlarging the towel he is resting on (which, incidentally, is one out of the Potters' linen closet), he then nudges closer to Remus, at once offering the towel to lie on and whining about the unfairness of not being included in the shield. "Come on, mate, scootch over, I've got room to spare and you've got a screen to share. And no, in case you were wondering, that is NOT yet the favor you owe me. That will be something FAR more spectacular!"

Remus chuckles as Sirius whines a little. But he was expecting that. Expanding the sun screen is an easy task, and he shuffles over onto the towel, feeling incredibly lazy. And sore. But mostly lazy. "I know," he says simply as Sirius says that this is not the favor. "I expect you to ask me to do something completely bonkers." He closes his eyes again, feeling content and so far away from the moon. Vaguely he is aware of just how close he is to Sirius. Very, very close. And somehow, it only makes him feel more... comfortable. "I'm not blowing anything up though."

"No blowing up." Sirius promises with a hand-wave and yawns. "Potters' home. Wouldn't." And just like that, he goes out like a light, flopping over in the process of falling asleep, the formerly hand-waving hand coming to rest on Remus' exposed tummy. It settles in place as if it belongs there, involuntary twitches and muscle contractions after the exertion making it as if he is scritching Remus lightly, running his fingers over undamaged skin and scars alike. With another mumbled "Wouldn't.", he huffs out another breath which already turns into a snuffled snore. And still his fingers are scritching ever so lightly, leaving trails of warmth and dampness where they come to rest.

Dear flist - you are AWESOME!

It's almost impossible for me to find the proper words to express the emotions you guys evoke within me - hugs, encouragement and .. 530 Euros in addition to the 500 Euros I managed to gather from relatives and RL friends.

Guys.. GUYS. Do you know what that means??

I got 1000 Euros to withdraw and drop off at my husband's office tomorrow, just in time for him to not lose his job!!!

I'm .. blown away. Absolutely thunderstruck by the generosity people have extended to us. To .. what basically amounts to total strangers. I can't thank you guys enough - everyone who has extended their offer to help has brought hope, and tears of joy to me and my family. From the bottom of my heart, thank you all.

I am not going to name names of those of you who helped out specifically - I am not certain everyone is comfortable with me posting up their names. But I will be sending out personal messages or emails to thank each and every one of you directly (just .. not right now - I am still catching up on the sleep I missed from all the stress :( ).

If I could, I'd hug you all - for your lovely words, your hugs, your support, your ideas, your help offers and EVERYTHING! As the title says - flist, you are awesome. No doubt about it.



To those who care and left a message to my previous post - thank you. It helps to know that people are out there.

I haven't been online in a few days now, just haven't had the nerve or .. I dunno, the drive, but to answer a few questions/ suggestions that I remember being posted: Taking up a loan at our local bank isn't an option since we are still paying off a loan we took out for remodeling/building an addition to our house a while back and they won't secure another loan against our belongings. At least we won't be homeless, even if my husband gets booted - the house we live in belongs to my in-laws and they have gone back on rent for us.

Right now, I have secured about half the amount we need (and with secured, I basically mean begged, stole and borrowed from various people), but don't know where to get the remaining 500 from yet. Desperate times over here in Germany too - people don't have that kinda money just lying around, ready to hand out to anyone who comes by and asks. Fuck.

Yesterday, my husband got the official note, giving him until the middle of the month (I guess that means Sunday, the 15th?) to cough up the money. Right. I'm down to praying for a miracle.

And of course, all of you who told me to not do the 'what if' dance or the guilt tripping, I know intellectually that you are right. But what my heart says is a different matter altogether. I might just have cost my husband his job and that feeling? Totally sucks.

I'm gonna try and be online again tonight, if only to sort out my bigbang matters and other online-related stuff. I realize I'm leaving people hanging right now, and I'm deeply sorry. I just .. can't do it. I can't sit here and write as if my life isn't falling apart around my ears. I'm sorry.

I feel like a failure right now, all around, and please, you don't have to tell me I'm not, I'm not fishing for that. I just .. feel it. And figured that some people would care enough to even want to hear it.

I'm sorry, world. I fucked up.

The 'Why I'm Screwed' Post

Dear flist,

life is shit right now. And when I say shit, I mean shit.

As I'm sitting her, typing, I'm at once shaking in rage and crying in misery. At the same time. Not a pretty picture, I am sure. But the cause seems sufficient:

My husband might not have a job come next Friday. And .. it's all my fault. Sorta.


I got into a hit-and-run IN MY HUSBAND'S COMPANY CAR and now he has a week to cough up 1000Euros that we don't have or he'll be out of a job. *cries*

Ok .. backing up, for those of you who care but don't know how to make sense of my ramblings. Find long-winded long-windedness below .. sorry, I guess I just felt the need to .. write it all down *sigh*

I'm a stay-at-home mom for our two (may I add 'beautiful') boys aged 6 and 8. Over here in Germany, staying home is somewhat encouraged and since I really wanted to be home for my boys as long as possible, I took that option. That was made possible by my husband's fairly comfortable job at BMW. Yes, the car manufacturer. They are, all in all, a good company to work for (with its faults but .. as far as employers go, there could be worse). As it is though, he's our sole source of income. Since I am a teacher (for the Hearing Impaired and Learning Disabled), I could easily go to work (since teachers like that are always in demand), but our decision was that I should wait until our younger one had completed his first year of school (which would have been September 2011 - German kids don't start school until they are 6). Down here in Bavaria, if you want to work as a teacher in September, the application window is in April - which means for September 2010, I would have had to apply in April of this year. So .. too late for that.

Now to the reason for why my lovely husband is in big-shit trouble at work: Last weekend, my kids had their first weekend off for the summer holidays (yeah, we start them late down here in Bavaria). Their wish was to see my parents who live about half an hour away. I was just going to take them there, drop them off and leave again. My father and I don't get on so well, or at all, and I try to spend as little time as possible around him. There are a lot of things about him that I don't much care for, not the least of it being his bigotry when it comes to homosexuality of all types and flavors. Being bisexual myself, I try to teach my boys openmindedness, whereas he .. well .. I don't know what brought it on last weekend, perhaps he had seen a newscast about Proposition 8 or he had heard from my (lesbian) cousin through my aunt or something, but he was very much on a preaching high against homosexuality from the moment we walked in the door. When my son said something about 'loving his best friend', my dad .. launched into a speech. A lecture. A diatribe. I cut him off, told him off and .. wouldn't leave the boys alone with my parents. Instead, heavy-hearted, I decided to stay with them (they had been looking forward to sleeping over at their grandparents' for so long now *sigh*).

My car had had some erratic noises for a while, and since my husband's a mechanic, the plan for his weekend had been to look it over and get necessary repairs done. Now, with me staying at my parents .. 'No problem,' he said after I bugged him senseless about it. He'd just come and get it, and leave me with the company car he was driving instead. It's only supposed to be driven by him, but .. 'who's gonna know?'


I know *hangs head* I should've known better than to jinx myself by saying that.

On the way home from my parents on Monday, we were victim to a hit-and-run. I was so worried for the children that I didn't have the presence of mind to get the other person's license plate number. Aside from the scare, a bump on my older son's head where he smacked against his window and a bruise on my knee where I smacked it against the dashboard, all we walked away from the accident with were dents and scratches in the car.

The company car.

The car that I'm not supposed to drive.


Police was called (because it was a hit-and-run with [slight] injuries) by an eyewitness (yeah, no luck with the license plate there either *sigh*) and they took down the course of events, what little her and I could remember about the other car, license and car registration information on me and my car ..

I mean, the company car.

The care that I wasn't supposed to drive.


Tuesday, Eike (my husband) took it in and somewhat .. meekly tried to explain the issue. He was told someone would get in touch with him the following day or so.

Wednesday, he was told the car was in the shop and he'd get a verdict before the end of the week.

Thursday, he was called into his bosses' bosses' office. He got a lecture. He was also told to expect a formal letter on Friday.

On Friday, he got the letter. It contained an estimate of the damages to the car. The amount is 997.78 Euros. He was told he has 1 week to make the payment and then, he'll get off with merely a demerit logged in his files. If he fails to make the payment, he will be 'released' and can count himself lucky that they will not press charges against him violating company policies as signed by him when he signed his work contract.

We don't have 1000Euros lying around. FUCK!!!!!!!!

And this is why we are screwed.

And why it's all my fault. I know 'if onlies' don't make anything better but .. there are so many 'if onlies' in this I don't even know where to begin.

And so, all I can do is shake in rage and cry in misery. I thought people might want to know why I haven't been around since I signed off last weekend at my parents'.

I also thought I might feel better for writing this all down and getting it off my chest. Can't say that it worked.


I'ma gonna go and cry some more. Because lately, that seems to be all I can do.
Just a really quick ('not-even-supposed-to-be-here-right-now') post but .. I CAN'T believe that in a contest of hotness, David Tennant is winning over Zachary Quinto. Seriously? I mean .. SERIOUSLY?!

Puhlease, flist, let's go and remedy that, shall we? Go vote. Ask your own flist to vote. Tell total strangers to vote. Just .. no. No. Just no.


Through the Desert of Grief

A/N 1: This is not a WIP! It is merely broken apart for better readability and to make posting easier. Unfortunately, my internet connection is pure crap right now (don't get me started on the dial-up fail rant or else, I won't ever stop ;) ) and lj is also behaving like a bitch (for the umpteenth time, the damn cut isn't working! I'm ready to scream in frustration, fall asleep over trying or just give up and subject my flist to the lengthy post .. I am thinking, option 3 is the one I will go with, sorry, flist! EDIT: o_O Or then again .. I might just be too drunk to have seen it right? 'cause it's showing up as cut now when I didn't change a DAMN THING to before. Wtf, lj?!). It's 6am here now and I've been trying to get this posted/ put together since I got back from Sonnwendfeuer at 11pm last night - needless to say, I will NOT bother with the other parts right now. I'll link them in tomorrow. Apologies to the trekreversebang mods and my artist. Also, apologies for leaving it so long to begin with, sometimes I think I'd lose my brain if I didn't have it contained within my head :P

A/N 2: I'd like to thank my put-upon beta Rose for her help with this. Also, a great thanks to stereowire for letting me play with her artwork and create a fic for it despite the fact that she had to drop out! I was, and still am, highly intrigued by the image you created and was glad to envision a story for it!

Title: Through the Desert of Grief
Artist: stereowire
Author: xlcatloveress
Rating (both art/fic): Art: gen, Fic: R (though not in this part yet)
Genre/Pairing: nuTrek, K/S
Word Count: 4300 in this part
Warnings: nothing for this part
Fic Summary: When Jim Kirk wakes under a scorching sun, surrounded by an arid mountain area, and cannot remember how he got there, things start out weird - and get weirder still at every turn.
Link to Art: Work of Art

Onwards!Collapse )


found through tinocka

i found this quiz through tinocka's journal:

Your rainbow is strongly shaded violet, indigo, and brown.


What is says about you: You are a deep thinking person. You appreciate cities, technology, and other great things people have created. Friends count on you for being honest and insightful. You are patient and will keep trying to understand something until you've mastered it.

Find the colors of your rainbow at spacefem.com.

Q&A Meme

I should be sleeping - or alternately, finishing up a beta read-through I've promised to get done .. but that whole promising thing? Ain't working so well for me lately. It's like that old adage of life being what's happening when one is busy making other plans. So, yeah, I had other plans, and then life happened. Meh. It all started with me having taken a 2 week, well-planned-out vacation. In the States. Just me. Leaving my kids with my husband, his parents and my parents in a well-organized dance of fun for the boys so they wouldn't miss me terribly. They didn't. Then came the ash cloud, and a 'uhhh .. mommy'll come back .. sometime, maybe. We hope. Can't tell you when exactly but .. soon-ish?' From there, everything went to hell - and while I'm back in Germany now for 2 weeks already, only just 1 week later than planned originally, 4 major 'incidents' have hit in those 2 weeks alone. And with 'incidents', I mean plain old catastrophes like 'oh, did you think your little one was going to start school come September? We need to re-think that .. perhaps if we put him into an integrative class, we might be able to condone that but ..' Excuse me, but whut?! Just because you stupid school psychologist saw him for 30 minutes the DAY after MOMMY was SUPPOSED to be HOME but didn't ARRIVE, with no DATE given for when she WOULD be BACK, and he was QUIET and RELUCTANT to PARTICIPATE? Seriously? So .. yeah - here, my plans, there, life interfering.

Anyhoo .. bitching, moaning and complaining isn't what has brought me here. Instead, I figured I'd do this cute little meme ('cause, ya know, I actually like staying in touch with people on my flist a little, it gives me a not too small amount of satisfaction!) that I saw at nix_this' journal:

- Leave a comment saying "Beam me up Scotty!"
- I'll respond by asking you five questions to satisfy my curiosity.
- Update your journal with the answers to your questions.
- Include this explanation and offer to ask other people questions.

nix_this asked me the following questions:
1. Have you ever gone somewhere and had culture shock?
2. Red or white wine?
3. Who's your literary hero?
4. What's your favourite thing about the Star Trek fandom?
5. What skill do you possess that you think, taken to the EXTREME, could one day save the world? (Alternatively - what's your superpower in the X-men universe? XD )

Here we go:
1. Have you ever gone somewhere and had culture shock?
*snorts* Ok, picture this - li'l 16-year-old me, ready to take on the world (or not, 'cause my knees were trembling so badly they must have been making a noise, being knocked together), arriving in the US after a trip of about 12 hours. It's late, about 11pm, hot and humid in a way that makes you feel like a wet towel slap, stumbling down the gangway out of the plane and into the terminal. Two well-meaning, jovial people await you and you know that they'll be your stand-in parents for a year. You feel sweaty, kinda sick from the airplane food, tired to the bone, out of your comfort zone - and they .. talk. At you. A lot. And some more. And then some more. About .. uh .. what now? Cops and donut shops? What the ..? And that's just the part you think you actually understood. Uh. You get to their place, dying for a shower - which you end up taking .. not at all 'cause a thunderstorm knocks out the power about 2 minutes after your arrival there. The heat is stifling, but the fan they put up for you doesn't work 'cause of the power outage. You go to bed miserable, unable to even call home and tell your parents you got there 'cause .. there is no friggin' electricity. Flop onto the bed, cue unexpected tidal wave of one-chambered, free-flow waterbed dumping you unceremoniously onto you back-side which makes you feel like an idiot, especially 'cause the well-meaning people come running to check up on you. After trying to figure out the configuration of sheets, sheets, duvets, liners and blankets (serious bed-building is serious business in the US, apparently!) and failing miserably, you settle gingerly on top of the amassed sheets, always fearing that one quick move will rupture the bed and it will spill all of its water .. all over. The night was spent in fear of movement, in a constant state of vague sea-sickness, in sweaty over-heatedness and .. oh, yeah, when the electricity returned eventually? With 2 bedside lamps burning that you couldn't figure for the life of you how to turn off (uh .. yeah .. touch-me-lamps? Never even heard of them before coming to the US.). The next morning brings a quandary in the form of 'HALP! I am clueless of how to ever return this bed into its 'made' form!' and .. 'Oh shit, their cat died.' Seriously, over-night, my hostmom's cat of 18 years had passed away. Auspicious beginning? *eyes all of the above* I would say 'not so much'. And that was before I encountered much of anything 'real' American even. So .. the answer to the question would be - oh yeah. Yup. Culture shock eventually struck big time - and over little, silly, stupid things too that would suddenly drive me nuts, little idiosyncrasies that were unexpectedly grating. Seeing how America and Germany are both Western countries, it's easy to forget that there are, nevertheless, cultural differences that will hit you unprepared (whereas if you were going to, say, China you'd expect things to be VERY different) - and it can be these little differences like the way a bed is made or needing a hall-pass to be allowed to go to the restroom during class-time or how people can't seem to use fork and knife 'the right way' that then totally set off a feeling of 'omg, barbarians, the lot of them!' and make you scamper for the bathroom in search for a safe haven to retreat to and sniffle into your sweater a bit in abject homesickness.

2. Red or white wine?
While I'm more a connoisseur of harder stuff like rum, vodka or Bailey's (the first 2 in any amount of girly and not so girly drinks, the latter preferably pure or on the rocks), I do love me a glass of wine to go with a meal. For that, I then prefer red or rose.

3. Who's your literary hero?
Hmm .. literary hero. Well, that's actually a good question and one that isn't easily answered. I gave myself a few minutes to consider, and silly as it may seem (and contrived as it may sound), my two most revered literary heroes with definite staying power are 2 I encountered in my favorite children's books - Frederick and das kleine Ich-bin-Ich (the little I-am-I).
Frederick: Frederick is an artistic and imaginative little mouse. While his family gathers food for the winter, Frederick sits around observing. The other mice criticize him for being lazy, but Frederick insists that what he's doing is important - he's collecting words and colors. When winter finally comes, of course, the food Frederick's family gathered sustains them. But eventually the food runs out and it is Frederick's vivid memories of the colors of spring, as well as his poems and stories, that take the other mice's minds off their troubles and get them through the winter.
The little I-am-I: A small, colorful animal is asked who or what it is, and when it can't answer that question, is laughed at for being different. It goes to search for its identity, asking any animal it meets along the way if it is like them, but while there are always similarities, there are also always enough differences to make it impossible for the little thing to mask at the animal it's trying to fit in with. Eventually, it realized its identity in just being itself, unique, not a dog, not a horse, but a simple I-am-I - and with new-found self-assurance, it returns to announce its realization. Now it is no longer shunned but its confidence gains it the other animals' recognition despite its continued difference from them or their norm.
Seriously, these 2 characters have stuck with me through the years, and I still used them as something of a moral compass or guiding light from time to time. I bet there are worse idols to model yourself after ;)

4. What's your favourite thing about the Star Trek fandom?
That would be, hands-down, the people, closely followed by the fact that Star Trek invented slash *chuckles* It's amazing to think that there are people out there who have been writing slash-fic for as long as I have been alive and longer even, and that there are kids who could almost be my own kids these days who are still taking up the mantel of being a slash writer with the characters I've loved since I first encountered them. The age diversity is amazing, the general feel of the Star Trek fandom is one of 'banding together' against the 'cool kids' and not much 'fitting in' is demanded, basically all kinks are 'pandered to'. Also, Star Trek and the fandom is one thing that connects me closely to my brothers and to my mom, and I know that being a part of the fandom will always remind me of the good moments shared over the shared love for a TV show. As such, if nothing else, Star Trek will always be a part of 'us'.

5. What skill do you possess that you think, taken to the EXTREME, could one day save the world? (Alternatively - what's your superpower in the X-men universe? XD )
LOL My super-power, huh? Well, I can weave threads of reality and threads of fiction into tales that are sometimes believable, sometimes disturbing, sometimes inspiring, sometimes crazy - as such, my power would most likely be that sort of 'reality manipulation' *chuckles*

All right, I've just see this side of 4am, and despite everything, it's time to hit the hay and try to get some sleep. I'm beyond making new promises, but please, flist, everyone who is waiting for something from me, know that I'm trying. Working on it, even, but at a snail's pace. *sigh* I wish it wasn't so. I really wish.


'You make my day' Award

I got chosen by the two wonderful ladyblahblah and nix_this for their very own 'You make my day' award - d'awwwww! Thanks, you guys!

In the spirit of any good meme out there, this one too wants to be propagated by its recipients and as such, the guidelines state:
Pick 10 people and give them the "you make my day award". If you're picked, you are charged with picking 10 of your own (you don't have to do this, actually, just if you want to).

Nowhere does it say that link-backs are discouraged so .. here's to linking back and choosing 8 more people off of my wonderful flist for tagging :)

So, here are the people that more often than not make my day, by means of their sweet comments, their never-ending encouragement, their utterly amazing writing abilities and by being the epitome of the loving community I have found particularly K/S slash fiction to be:
ladyblahblah, for the wonderful writing that she does. It never fails to amuse me and cheer me up when I need a smile. Oh, and it's also HAWT!
nix_this, who is a wonderful author and artist and never ceases to make me jealous with her awesomeness.
heeroluva, for having become a great friend and my own personal cheering committee whenever I need some behind-the-scenes encouragement. Oh, and also? Love her writing! :D
tracionn, my fellow German slasher whom I am hoping to meet sometime soon and with whom sharing my excitement over K/S is even possible in our mother-tongue (even though we tend to just default to English, 'cause we are weird like that ;) )
kradie, for her absolutely wonderful TOS stories, which never stop touching my heart and filling it with renewed love for characters I have been adoring for about 30 years now. Can't wait to meet you in July!
afallenseraphim, for the times she has taken my suggestions for her art and just run with it with her absolutely mind-blowingly skills! You never cease to amaze me!
13empress, for 'holy crap can that girl WRITE' moments that I get whenever I read your fics!
abe_kroenen, for the most hilarious on-going web-comic out there. You gals crack me up!
All you lj users who make me squee whenever I see a new post of your in the comms I'm watching but who I sadly enough haven't gotten around to friending yet (corpus_invictus, triwislinthis, mullenkamp, kylieselle and others I'm forgetting now *chuckles* I'm bad about friending people, sorry!)
and last but not least, takhallus, for being willing to show a Euro-Con newbie the ropes in London!

You gals are all amazing! Thanks for making my day, one way or another, whenever I need it!



Happy (pre-dated) birthday, ladyblahblah

So, I know it's bad form and all to wish someone a happy birthday a few days before the actual event but since I have long since promised to make this and since I didn't want it sitting around on my hard-drive, gathering virtual dust, I figured I'd put it up here right away and attach a tentative 'Happy Birthday' to ladyblahblah for whom this present was created in the first place. I know I'm a few weeks early .. can you forgive the social blunder?

All right .. without much further ado (but some more running commentary below), I present to you

The Boy Who Cast No Shadow and the Man of Golden Light

written by ladyblahlah
read by xlcatloveress

A fairytale pod fic because fairytales deserve to be told, not just read :)

on Rapidshare (no paid account required. If it asks for a password or some such, leave a comment or send me a PM and I'll check into it for you) Edit: The link is http://rapidshare.com/files/368457846/The_Boy_who_cast_no_shadow.mp3 , just in case it's not working and you need to manually copy the actual link and paste it into your address bar.

on Megaupload (again, the link should just work without anything else needed) Edit: Not sure why this says 'temporarily unavailable' sometimes. *kicks megaupload* Uhm .. keep trying? Or .. use rapidshare? Sorry for the technology fail :(

Reader's Note: The pod fic is ca. 30MB in size, an mp3 file that should be i-Pod compatible (I hope. My first time ever creating/uploading something like that).
In some spots it was unavoidable that my German accent shone through, I apologize for that. Also, if anyone finds my reading voice grating, my tone too mumbling or anything else of the matter, I'm sorry?
If anyone's interested in a list of the musical pieces I used and/or the lyrics I chose them for, I will provide them upon request. Again, if someone feels I have made poor choices, I apologize, and I do hope heartily that the music fades into the background enough when I'm actually reading.
Like I said earlier, this is the first time I ever created something like that so .. there was some cussing involved (though all of it was cut from the final version, don't worry ;)
Over all, this is just to worship the awesomeness that is ladyblahblah whose writing I enjoy tremendously and who I wanted to do something special for. I hope you enjoy, bb!