Remus stiffened, even as he was replying to another of Severus' notes. Hurriedly, he shoved all the remaining ones into the box and tapped it twice to lock it. "Why?" he called back, mouth dry.
Sirius shrugged, though he knew Remus couldn't see him, and resumed staring at the parchment. "He signed this letter, 's all. That who you've been writing to?"
"You've been reading my mail?" It took every ounce of strength Remus possessed to prevent himself from either running out screaming into the snow never to return, or running into the other room and snatching the letter from Sirius, burning it on the spot. Instead, he stood and calmly walked over to see what Sirius had found. "That's a bit rude."
"You left it lying about, I didn't realize it was your mail." This was a lie--the parchment had not, in fact, been lying about as much as it had been lying atop (a table, by a quill). Still, the principle held.
"So, what's this bit at the end, here?"
"That bit," Remus said slowly, carefully, "Is somewhat personal. May I have my letter back now?"
Smirking, Sirius dangled the letter tantalizingly between his fingers. "Not until you explain, Remykins."
"Explain what? It's fairly self-explanatory, isn't it? Look, I'll arrange for your portkey home or whatever you want, if you will just give it back and don't tell anyone." He tried to keep the pleading out of his voice.
Startled, Sirius dropped the letter. "Portke--Remus, I don't want you to send me home! What the bloody hell are you on about?"
Remus set his jaw. "You know, now. I figure you don't really want to be around.... around someone like me."
"You great bloody prat." Sirius grinned, and then laughed, throwing his head back. "You honestly--Remus, I didn't care you were a werewolf, you stupid sod, why would I--"
"Yeah, well, this is a bit different, isn't it? It's not a disease, it's a... it's unnatural and I should just resist it, shouldn't I? It's..." Remus voice cracked horribly, but his expression remained stoic. "It's dirty..."
"It's not dirty! Don't say that!" Sirius realized he was being rather too defensive, but he didn't dwell on it. "Just because you happen to like boys sometimes is no reason to be ashamed! It's just part of life! THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH IT."
"Would you keep it down?" Remus hissed, horrified, clapping his hands over Sirius' mouth. "D'you want to give my mother a heart attack? She can't know, she's holding out for grandchildren as hard as she's holding out for the bloody cure..."
Scowling, Sirius shoved Remus' hands away. "Just nothing to be 'shamed of, 's all."
Remus frowned, and took a step back. "Yeah, well, that doesn't mean it needs to be shouted from the rooftops. A little bit of tact and subtlety go a long way."
Sirius twisted his mouth in an attempt at a grin. There was no point getting angry, again... "Never been good at tact an' subtlety, Moony."
"Yeah, well... just don't get me expelled or arrested for it, if you can help it. Why d'you call me that, still?"
"I dunno. I liked it best, in the letter. Seems more Remus-y then Remus."
Sirius closed his eyes and leaned back against the wall. "They're stupid bloody laws. But I'd get chucked with you, so no worries, mate."
Remus blinked, completely thrown off anything that had once resembled a coherent train of thought. "Wait, what?"
"I dunno, Remus just seems so...you know. The same. Moony's more you."
"What do you mean, you'd get kicked out too? You're... and... and you didn't tell me?" Remus sputtered.
"You didn't tell me either." Sirius bristled and then calmed rapidly, looking at his nails. "Besides, 's not a big thing. 'M just open-minded, that's all."
"Yes, but I... you..." Remus' mouth flapped uselessly, and he felt very much like a fish, mainly in that he suddenly had no idea how to deal with air. He choked, then sputtered a bit more. "But what does that mean?"
"Nothing." Sirius flashed a quick grin. "Except that I'll be known as the best shag around on both sides of the game."
"You..." He swatted Sirius upside the head lightly, "are incorrigible!"
"Maybe so," Sirius said, grabbing Remus's arm and quirking his eyebrows, "but you're only encouraging me."
Laughing, he shoved Remus forward. "Think you can take me, Lupin?"
With a laugh that came out more as a lame snort, Remus flipped Sirius easily onto the floor. "I'm not sure that's the relevant question, Mr. Black," he smirked. "Can you handle the awesome might of my noodly arms?"
Sirius grinned, rolled over, and lunged. "Of course I can. Noble and Most Ancient wrestling powers, you know."
Remus hit the ground with an amused whuff of air, and quickly grabbed Sirius' shoulders in an effort to roll them over again. The angles were wrong, however, and it somehow resulted in an absurd tangle of limbs and extremely close proximity, of which he was suddenly aware.
"Yes, normal people would term that as hereditary madness," he panted, trying to wriggle out of the tangle.