Author: Yaeko Nirohmy
Rating: PG-13
Archiving: All FQF will be archived solely at this site until January 30th, 2005. After that, it's yours to do with as you will.
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. I do not own Harry Potter, its characters, or anything associated with it. I'm not making any money from this story, and I don't intend to.
Challenge & Summary: Challenge #2:Sirius and Remus visit the beach (One of the proper, Victorian British beaches like Blackpool or Brighton or Great Yarmouth or something) at Christmas. Must include: a stick of rock, a tacky knick-knack, and an ingenious use of tangerines. Having sex in a rented room for a week was Christmas present enough, as far as Remus was concerned.
Author Notes: None.

I think it should be said: Life isn’t exactly fair.

Your mother really will remind you that you used to do Little Richard impressions in the living room, and you really do lose the people you love. I promise it isn’t biterness on my part when I say that life is actually cruel, short, and really sort of ridiculous. And that’s no great secret, anyway, although it seems that way to the young and love-blind.

If there was anything else to tell, it would be this:

Everyone -- even wry, alone, middle-aged professors -- was once young and love-blind, and everyone -- for a minute, at least -- liked it that way.

We were standing on the beach when it began to snow. The wind blew off the water and the sky was a grey so pale it was almost white. The light was dim and late-afternoon. The clouds seemed dangerous, low and ready to swallow the sea and everything else up.

Sirius was skimming rocks on the docile water. They sank quickly.

I stood beside him, arms crossed over my chest. The wind in his hair made him seem a little more than human, like a movie actor. Our breath hung wet and opaque in the air.

The snow melted in the water, began to spread itself evenly over the smooth sand.

It’s getting late, I told him. He threw his last stone and turned to me. Pushing one hand through my cold hair, he kissed me. My stomach clenched quickly before I kissed him back. Something warm rolled through me like it always did, from knees to cock to ribs, and back again.

He stood back from me and rubbed at his red nose. Dinner? he asked.

All right, I said, and we turned away from the sea, arms around each others’ waists.

We ate dinner, cold dim sum and curry chicken, naked on the bed that night. It was Christmas Eve. We wrapped ourselves in the blankets, watching the glowing boardwalk like a movie screen.

He was close, his chest pressed against my side, and he whispered in my ear. We should live here, Moony, he told me. We should buy a flat and live by the sea until we’re old. And then, one Christmas, we’ll weight our pockets and walk into the sea together and that will be the end of that.

I imagined it, our heavy coats, the North Pier and rollercoasters looming brilliant on the horizon. The city lights would reflect in the water. All right, I said, and kissed him again. He tasted spicy, and like beer, and he moved the take away containers to the bedside table as I pushed him back against the pillows.

We were always making plans for the future then. After we graduate, I’ll get a job with the Ministry, and maybe you could open a little bookshop, and we’ll keep a flat nearby. Maybe we could have a cat.

In fact, no job at the Ministry could ever have satasfied Sirius, and I was hardly capable of running a bookshop. He didn’t really have my measure then, or even his own. We both thought we knew what we wanted, when, really, we didn’t have a clue.

Later that night, we lay, sweaty, curled under the blankets, still tangling ourselves up in each other. We ran fingertips over our skin and said nothing. We kept the television on. The BBC was playing Christmas tapes, but we weren’t paying any attention.

We had sex again the next morning, and then Sirius got up to look out the window. Snowed hard last night, he said.

I was looking at the smooth muscles of his legs. I imagined spreading him out on the white sheets and squeezing the juice of tangerines onto his pale skin. It would roll over his body like rain, and I would rush to lick it off. I told myself I would try this. Later, when I looked, I could only find out of season oranges in the small grocery store near our hotel. They would not peel smoothly and I threw them out unsatasfied, picking orange rind out from under my nails with my teeth. By the time we got back from holiday, I had forgotten about tangerines all together.

Come look, he said, turning his face to me.

Come to bed, I said, and he did.

Christmas Day was spent under the sheets. We had neither of us bothered to buy presents. We said it was fine, that we didn’t really need scarves or history books or ugly porcelain figurines. We had spent most of our money on the trip, anyway, and having sex in a rented room for a week was Christmas present enough, as far as I was concerned.

That night, we put on our warm clothes again and went down to the boardwalk. I talked Sirius out of visiting the Winter Gardens -- let’s go somewhere less crowded -- and we wandered out to the beach again.

We stood on the flat, long beach, shuddering with cold. I’d entertained a fantasy about having sex, or at least slipping our hands into each others’ pants while we stood there, but it didn’t matter, really, that we were so numb that even kissing seemed impossible.

The stars were barely visible in the clear sky, but the moon, new and waxing, was bright. Behind us, the town was a crisp and vibrant, shifting gem.

It would be a good way to die, I think, I said, drowning out here.

He looked at me, his pale eyes distant in the dim light. I think you’re right.

Later, once Sirius was long gone, I would imagine him leaping into the cold North Sea as I know he must have done. I imagined the sea spreading out in front of him interminably as he fell. He met the water alone, didn’t bring me with him like he said he would, but, then, life isn’t exactly fair.

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