Remus sat down in the French settee, surrounded by tapestries and portraits and furnishings that remained musty despite constant use. He supposed it was late at night, but then he never entered rooms with windows anymore, which would show the time passing. He supposed it was late only because the room was empty.
People would be in the upstairs rooms then; Molly curled at the edge of the big bed, Kingsley pacing the attic room, or tucked in close against Hermione in the rare hours that he slept, Bill standing or sitting or lying mute out on the terrace. And the others as well. Remus didn't even know who they were; people came and people went and he always seemed to remain, each day the same as the last and the next.
The house was filled with these ghosts, who drifted from room to room, from day to day. All the more haunting for the fact they were flesh and not vapour. The world was bright and new outside, a place wizardkind could live without fear. But not for those who remained too shattered by the war to face it.
There was a noise outside his empty room, a crackle and a shatter and a softly murmured incantation. Remus thought Tonks, until he remembered that it couldn't be.
He hoped that Molly wouldn't hear, and come downstairs and force him into conversation. Molly could hear a child sneeze from half a mile a way, Bill had once said. Back when Bill was still speaking, that is.
"It's too dark in here. Lumos." Remus squinted into the sudden light. "Hello, Professor. I'm looking for a place to stay."
He didn't know her for the first moment, until he recognised light frizzy hair falling out of its bun and past her shoulders. She had one hand pressed flat against the doorframe; the other held a large carpetbag. She was unexpectedly lovely.
"Welcome to Grimmauld Asylum," he said, and gave her a tight smile. "Luna. I thought you were in Argentina."
"I was," she said. "And now I'm not. May I stay? I've broken a bit of porcelain in the other room."
"The lion?" said Remus. "It's broken nearly every day." He paused to listen again, but there were no footsteps on the stairs, no sound of Molly's voice calling down to him. Luna dropped her bag to the floor and tucked her still-lit wand into her hair. Her face glowed. "Haven't you some place better to go? Luna, you're so..."
"I like it here," she said. "I've missed you." She hiked up her spring-coloured robes in one hand and crossed the room to tuck herself into the empty space next to him. "You've missed me as well, Professor."
"Luna, you shouldn't..." She looked at him with wide eyes, tucking a piece of hair behind her ear. He cleared his throat. "You shouldn't call me Professor. And you shouldn't--"
"I'm not afraid of you," she said, and pressed a kiss to his temple. "And calling you Professor is so delightfully naughty."
The last time he'd been touched like this had been before the final battles. Knowing what he was had been one thing, watching him shatter and regrow and become a beast had turned out to be quite another. He had a room to himself that night, and every night since.
"How did you know..." he began, but he didn't want to know the answer, or didn't want to know if there was one. He didn't know why she'd come back now. Maybe she didn't either. So he just smiled at her again, and this time it didn't feel as though it was stretching his face so harshly.
"I wanted to come home." She kissed him just the corner of his mouth and ran her hand through his greying hair. "I needed to come home. What are you doing here?"
"What am I...?" He kissed her this time, trapping a few strands of flyaway hair between their lips.
"Remus, what are you doing here?"
"I live here."
"This isn't living." She fingered the high neck of his robe, tugging it away from his throat. Her cool fingers lay across his pulse point for a moment before she kissed it as well. "You can live here if you like, all of you, but you have to live."
'Like you live?' he wanted to ask her, moving from place to place, from country to country, never staying in any one place for very long. But he didn't, because Luna wasn't in Argentina or Belarus or China, but in the drawing room of number twelve Grimmauld Place with her lips at his throat and her hand on his ribs. And maybe, if that was what she'd chosen, that was what she meant by live.
"I always meant to," he said finally. "Luna. Luna."
"Yes, Professor?" she said, and pulled his robes off his shoulders, letting them fall to his waist. This wasn't what he meant to do; he wasn't even sure he understood. There had been a moment once, when this might have happened, but he'd thought that moment was long past.
"You shouldn't--" he began, but she stopped him with another kiss, pressing her hands into his shoulders, pressing his body back into the chair. He didn't see her move, but she was over and around him now, knees to either side. He must have closed his eyes.
"I always did like you, Professor," she said, smiling against his throat. She had just begun to push his robes past his waist when she paused and stared over his shoulder, to the right. "Oh," she said curiously. "We're being watched."
Molly would never have been so silent, so Remus imagined it was a portrait, waking and taking in a painted-lungful of air to start screeching. But it was Bill, leaning comfortably against the doorframe.
"He's not saying anything," said Luna. She watched him for another moment, then turned back and kissed Remus's eyebrow.
"He never does." Bill had watched three of his brothers slaughtered in front of him, and as far as Remus knew, hadn't spoken since. Not even when he watched his mother in the kitchen or Kingsley in the yard or Remus in the shower. "It's all right."
She took him at his word and continued stripping him, and though she could have pulled her wand from her hair and gently banished his robes to across the room, she didn't. Remus didn't want her to. He liked the feel of them pooling around his feet, liked the look on her face when he kicked them away.
"Luna," he said, and settled his hands around her waist and tasted her throat. Dry and sweet, a hint of road dust and floo powder and rosemary. "Luna."
He lifted her off him easily and laid her out on the floor, pushing the spring-coloured robes up her calves, up her thighs. He would know what she tasted of everywhere.
Bill just stood there as Remus pulled her knickers off, tossed them aside with his robe where they gave off a sharp spark as the fabrics rubbed. Remus found he didn't mind his presence. Especially not once he buried his head between Luna's thighs, and forgot about everything else.
"Professor," she breathed, and it was just as naughty as she'd said it would be. It made him want her more, and just wanting something again felt so terribly good. She tasted lovely, lovely, sharp and alive. He thought he could stay there forever.
"Professor!" she said again, louder, harsher. Her thighs tensed and shook under his hands and Remus didn't stop, didn't stop until she shuddered and cried out and groped for him. He kissed her flat belly and let her find his hand.
Maybe things weren't meant to carry on forever. Maybe that was what she'd been trying to say.
He pushed her bunched robes higher, let them pool beneath her breasts, next to skin alternately flushed and pale. Her chest heaved and she squeezed his fingers tightly.
"Lovely," said Bill.
Remus felt a hand on his shoulder. After a moment, he remembered to breathe. "Yes, she is," he agreed, as calmly as he could.
Bill kissed his lips, his throat, his collarbone, his shoulder, his lips again. Remus felt Luna move, heard her robes rustle and then, he thought, come off entirely, but he didn't see.
"Yes, he is," she said after a moment, and as Bill kissed him for a very heavenly long time, she took his shoes off, then his underpants with a flick of her wand and a softly uttered incantation.
"What would your mother think?" murmured Remus when he finally could. Bill didn't say anything more, just moved on to Remus's throat again while Luna's hands moved up his calves. "We're sure to wake her..."
"Hush," said Luna, and kissed the back of his knee. Remus hushed, and nudged Bill's chin out of his way so he could taste him as well. Sweat and soap and raspberries.
He'd thought about Bill once, a long time ago when they'd been defending the Ministry. Thought about what he'd feel like beneath him, what he'd sound like, what he'd smell like. Most of all, as with everything in Remus's world, what he'd taste of. He wondered, if only for a fleeting moment, if this was still the same Bill.
Remus ached for this. He thought maybe he'd been aching for this, or just for something for a very long time.
Bill was already bare, stripped while Remus's face was still buried in Luna. Remus would taste him, too, taste everything he saw, the stubble, the throat, the dark nipples, the hard cock bobbing against Bill's belly. Everything.
Bill leaned back on his hands, legs spread and knees splayed wide. Baring himself to anything. He tasted dark and hidden, sour and fresh. He tasted different every place Remus licked and sucked and sometimes, very carefully, bit.
Remus didn't mind that he was hard and tight himself, a throbbing ache between his legs. To be satisfied would be to bring this to an end.
Bill came, finally, in a spurt that hit Remus's chin, his neck, Bill's thighs and belly. He said nothing but he growled, low and loud. When that didn't rouse Molly to see what they were doing, Remus was sure nothing would.
He felt hands wrap around his ankles, felt them tug, and for a split second he was tense, alert, ready to fight, as he was handily flipped over. Luna knew how to manhandle a prone body as well as any of them. She looked fierce and competent and very, very naked.
"I won't leave you wanting."
Her communication with Bill was entirely wordless, a serious of looks and nods and blinks. But Bill knew to hold on to Remus's arms, pull Remus's head onto his lap, while Luna straddled him and sank straight down onto his cock. He gasped and tugged his arms upward but Bill had him held firm.
Luna closed her eyes, eyelashes fluttering against her cheeks as she started to move. Remus hadn't ever let himself imagine her like this; hadn't done more than just imagine anyone in so long now. And Bill... a shock of red hair fell into his field of vision and Bill kissed him upside down, licking his lower lip.
He couldn't seen Luna any longer but he could feel her, oh damn he could feel her. "You shouldn't--" he tried to say but Bill stopped him with another kiss before sitting upright again. Luna's skin was so pale with flushes of red over her belly, her breasts, her thighs, her cheeks. Remus longed to taste them all.
He must have looked it, mouth open, tongue peeking out, desperate and hungry; Bill slipped two fingers into his mouth, and Remus licked-sucked-chewed them until he came, bucking upward and letting out a strangled howl.
Luna looked positively blissful, hips rolling, riding him slowly right up to the point where he couldn't bear it one more moment and then slid off to curl up at his side. Remus just let out a gasp and would have slid the rest of the way to the floor had Bill not hoisted him up gently and propped him against the settee before taking his other side.
"You look better," said Luna, and leaned across him to give Bill a soft kiss. "Hello, Bill."
Bill just tucked his head into the curve of Remus's neck, and Remus was happy just to have him there, whole and breathing and interacting again. "This is life," he murmured. He remembered.
"And isn't it brilliant?" said Luna. "You certainly seem to enjoy it."
"You're so loud," Bill blurted out.
"Oh hush," said Remus, and for once he wasn't afraid that he would.
When Molly did come downstairs, two hours later, she found all three of them laughing.