sam_storyteller: (Default)
sam_storyteller ([personal profile] sam_storyteller) wrote2005-07-15 09:59 am

Belong, RL/LP/JP; NC-17. Written Pre-HBP.

Summary: Remus wishes he were invisible. James and Lily know better.
Warnings: None.

Also available at AO3.


It wasn't that Remus was ungrateful. No, never that. He knew his place and knew the proper gratitude he owed. And it wasn't that James or Lily wanted gratitude, either, or even paying. The paying bit rankled, because he did have some pride, but James wouldn't even discuss it and Lily had this way of refusing without actually saying anything...

It was just that it was difficult, living with a married couple. He wasn't offended by James kissing Lily in the morning, when she wore sensible white pyjamas and James wore only a towel; he wasn't put off by the way Lily curled up against James after dinner while he read the paper and she made notes in books Remus slyly pinched and read once she was done with them, because Lily had impeccable taste in books.

It wasn't that he slept on the couch, transfigured into a bed, or lived out of the trunk at the foot of it; hadn't he lived out of a trunk for seven years at Hogwarts?

It was the feeling of being an intruder, almost a voyeur on the domestic bliss the two of them shared. The feeling that sooner or later they were going to resent his presence (perhaps already did). The thing Remus least wanted to be in the world was an annoyance.

In the sping of their nineteenth year, Remus had been out of work nearly since graduation, and had finally in desperation given up the small flat he'd scraped together to rent, abjectly throwing himself on the mercy of his friends. Two years had taken their toll -- two years of rejections, of suspicious looks his way, of supervisors saying gently that if he could just be absent a little less, they could make allowances for his weak constitution.

He resolved, over those first few weeks on James and Lily's couch-bed, that he would not give them reason to send him away as well. He didn't know if he could handle James throwing him out.

So he made himself scarce; there was usually work at the loading docks in the early mornings, on days he felt up to heavy lifting, and in the evenings he could often get a couple hours' work waiting tables at short-handed restaurants near Diagon Alley. Neither job paid well, but they kept him out of the house, and during the day he looked for work. Sometimes, when looking-for-work overwhelmed him and he felt if he had to speak to one more person for any reason he would scream, he hid in the deepest darkest corner of the Wizarding Library in Lytter Alley, and slept for an hour or two. Once he'd helped an ape -- he assumed, an Animagus who'd gotten stuck -- find a book about Chaos Astronomy, and been rewarded with a loose-lipped smile and half a banana.

He came home only to sleep and bathe, and was usually gone again before James and Lily woke the next morning -- sometimes if he heard them stirring he started the tea first. He made sure that when he left there was no sign that anyone other than James and Lily lived here; blanket folded over the back of the couch, trunk locked and covered with a table runner so that it looked like an odd piece of furniture, any spare clothing or belongings stored away.

He didn't know any of the people he worked with, as he rarely worked the same place twice; Sirius was off in Europe exploring the world on his uncle's inheritance, and Peter, poor bastard, was stuck at home with his invalid mother much of the time, and couldn't get away. Aside from the ape, nobody had smiled at him in months.

He had never been so lonely in all his life.

Still, one had to make the best of things, and at least he had a roof over his head and plenty to eat (it had taken him nearly a month to realise that the reason his supply of tea, crackers, and fruit never ran out was that Lily had been subtly re-filling them while he was gone.)

He was doing all he could, and yet his dreams still disturbed him; in some of the less-real, less-well-remembered ones, he would be forced to listen, unnoticed, while James and Lily discussed how best to get him out of their house. The ones he remembered more were a bit better; hushed conversations he could hear, in the darkness, about whether or not he was eating enough, whether or not they ought to add another room onto the house, or at least cast an enlargement spell on the linen closet.

There was one that was particularly clear, perhaps because he remembered scents, as well; Lily's perfume, James' cologne, a faint trace of alcohol, a hint of the night air.

"I don't know what to say to him, Lily," James' voice, slurred a little with alcohol. "He only comes here to sleep -- I hardly see him at all, except on full moon nights, and then you know -- it's not really us. Well, it is, but it's not like we can get coffee somewhere and have a chat."

"At least he still comes home," Lily answered, and he heard the rustle of her dress as she moved; it sounded as though they were sitting together, somewhere nearby.

"Yeah, after we go to bed, and he's gone before we wake up. It's like living with a ghost."

"I do wish he'd stay for breakfast, but you know he has early work."

"Not every day."

"He's trying to make a living, James."

"I know that -- and don't tell me there-but-for-the-grace-of-god-go-we, Lily, I know that too. It's as though he doesn't want to be here, and I want him be here. I miss him."

"You could tell him that."

"If I could catch him."

He heard Lily laugh. "Well, perhaps we ought to lay a trap. He's not only your friend, I miss him too. I like Remus. He always has something intelligent to say."

"When you can get him to say anything."

"Yeah, know how it is, James. When he goes quiet you just think he must be thinking about something. It's not like when Peter goes quiet. Then it's sort of creepy. I wouldn't want Peter living with us."

"No fear of that, he's attached at the hip to his mum right now, isn't he. Peter's harmless, Lily."

Remus heard Lily sigh, as though she had something she wanted to say, but didn't know how.

"He looks much younger, when he sleeps," she observed. "Like he's actually nineteen."

"We should get to bed too."

"Listen, James...please. Think about it. Talk to him."

"We'll talk to him. Together. Once we know what to say."

"All right." A pause, and Remus felt he must have drifted into another dream. "What's it like, James? Being an animagus?"

"I'll teach you, love, if you want to be one yourself. We'll turn you into the prettiest siamese cat anyone's ever seen."

"What if I don't want to be a cat?" Remus thought he heard Lily say, but the voices were getting quieter, and he was very tired...


It was at least a week after the peculiar dream, and Remus had long since put it out of his mind, when he came home from a job charming a new cataloguing system for Flourish and Blott's -- finally, some decent wages, even if it was a short-term position -- and found that James and Lily weren't out, or asleep; they were sitting at the table in the dining room, talking.

Candles were lit. He could smell food, and though he was hungry, he immediately stopped.

"Sorry -- " he said, when they looked up and saw him. "I didn't realise -- I'll be out of your way in just a minute, just want to take a book with me -- "

"Remus," Lily said, as he crouched by his trunk and lifted the lid, rummaging for something to read. "Don't go."

"No -- honestly, it's no trouble, the cafe near the Leaky Cauldron's open late," he answered with a cheerful smile, as he passed the doorway again on his way out.

"Moony," James rumbled, in the Serious Voice that even made Padfoot cringe a little. "Come in here, please."

Remus, startled, leaned in the doorway to the dining room. "Really, James -- "

"Sit down."

"No -- look, you've done up candles and everything," Remus said desperately. "I don't want to intrude."

"You aren't," Lily said, and gestured to the side of the table nearest him.

There was a third place setting. A third plate, third knife, third fork, third wine-glass, full already with wine.

"Are you sure?" Remus asked.

"If you don't sit down, Moony, I'll tie you to the chair," James replied, not entirely jokingly it appeared. Remus set the book down on a nearby lamp-table, and pulled out his chair, sitting as if he might be required to bolt at any minute.

James lifted one of the covered dishes near his elbow, and began to serve out food -- roasted chicken, baked new potatoes, green beans, hot rolls, more food than Remus had seen in quite a while, living as he did on cheap groceries and the late-night two-Sickle-special at the kebab shop.

"James and I wanted you to stay this evening," Lily said, with a warm smile. He smiled back, and waited until they'd begun eating before he did. "We wanted to talk to you."

Chicken? Sawdust.

They were throwing him out.

"Merlin, Moony, don't throw up," James said quickly. "Talk, that's all. Not about anything. Just talk."

Remus tried to swallow, and washed his mouthful down with some wine. The sudden tight tension in his shoulders eased a few degrees when the wine hit his empty stomach.

"It's just we never see you anymore. Isn't that right, James?" Lily said, giving James a significant look.

"It is," James agreed. Lily gave him another look, then rolled her eyes and continued.

"And we miss you. We don't want you to think you're not welcome here, Remus."

"I don't think that," Remus said faintly.

"Or that you're some kind know," James said. "Like you have to earn your keep somehow. I mean. My house is your house, and all."

"It's not normally meant literally," Remus murmured.

"If you're unhappy here -- "

"What he means is," Lily said, "We want you to be happy here."

"Oh -- I am," Remus said quickly. "I mean. Not that I'm going to be here forever -- "

Lily rolled her eyes again. "You see? That's the problem, Remus. We don't mind if you're here forever. It's all right."

"I hope to god I won't be. It might get a bit awkward. Though it would mean a built-in babysitter for James Junior, some day," Remus said, with a weak smile.

"The thing is, Remus..." James began, then looked hopelessly at Lily.

"The thing that James is too cowardly to say, is," Lily said, looking vaguely annoyed at her husband, "that I love you, and James loves you, and we don't think you know that, do you."

Remus stared at her.

"Er..." he said, unsure how to reply.

"Eat your chicken, Moony," James said, blushing furiously. Remus, grateful for the distraction, looked down at his food. After a few seconds of silence, except for the scrape of silverware on plates, Lily cleared her throat.

"James says you mentioned something about a job at Flourish and Blotts," she said, sipping her wine.

"Oh -- yes. It's just temporary, but they've had me recataloguing their inventory. It's not difficult," Remus said, on much more secure ground here. "There's just a lot of formulas to work out. Spells nested inside spells."

"Yeah?" James inquired, and launched into a series of questions about technique and organisation. The conversation came easier as the level of liquid in the wine-bottle dropped, and moved on to Lily's job, and James' recent reading. By the end of the meal, Remus had relaxed enough to smile at James' jokes and crack a few of his own, as they moved into the living room for coffee -- Irish coffee, as it turned out.

"So," James said, flopping down next to him on the couch. "This wasn't that painful, was it Moony?"

"Painful?" Remus asked.

"Eating with us. For once."

"Oh -- no, but I don't want you to do this sort of thing just to -- "

"Will you shut up, Remus?" Lily asked, sitting on his other side. He turned to her inquiringly. "If we didn't want you here don't you think James is rude enough to have thrown you out by now?"

Remus grinned. "He's rude, but he's never done wrong by a friend, even if it means risking his own neck."

"Well, it's not my neck nor my pocketbook, and if you'd swallow a little of that pride you'd know that," James answered. Remus, leaning forward and cradling his coffee cup between his hands, confusedly felt James' fingers smoothing his hair, short but growing shaggy around the ears. Remembering Lily's admonition, he kept quiet.

"You do understand us, Remus, even if you don't believe us?" Lily asked, her hand resting on the back of his neck, below James. The world was pleasantly fuzzy, but something was definitely up. James had that quickness to his voice which meant he was up to mischief, and Lily had given him one too many knowing looks at dinner.

But oh, it had been so long since anyone had touched him other than to get his attention or brush him aside...

He let his head fall forward more as Lily's fingers kneaded his neck gently, working down to the little bump of bone just above his spine.

"Yes," he said. "I do understand..."

"Good," James said, and surely whatever stray locks of hair he'd shook loose must be smoothed back by now, but James was still stroking his head, sliding fingers along the ridge of his ear. Remus felt oddly like purring. "Now what do we need to do to make you believe, as well?"

Lily was working her knuckles against his spine now, and he could feel the vertebrae pop as they aligned themselves under her touch. James had secured the back of his head in a light grip, and was rubbing small circles just behind his jaw.

"Dunno," Remus mumbled, skin tingling, breath coming slow and even. His shoulders dropped a little, and he heard James chuckle, sliding a hand down to splay across his lower back as Lily's fingers moved to brush his shoulderblades, stroking slowly.

"Lily knows," James answered, in a voice that was lower than usual, though Remus didn't bother to wonder why. Lily reached over and tilted Remus' chin up and sideways, until he met her green eyes calmly.

He hadn't thought much about how kissing Lily would feel, as she'd always been off-limits to the boys who knew James; she would have objected to the distinction, but it wasn't about her as much as it was humouring James' one consuming insanity. She had a small mouth, but clearly she knew how to use it, and for just a second he enjoyed the lips gently pushing his apart, the tongue exploring his --

"Lily, no," he said, pulling back, jerking nearly into James and dropping his empty coffee cup. It tumbled to the carpet, unbroken, as he turned to James, opening his mouth to apologise --

He had, actually, wondered what it would be like to kiss James, but mostly because he knew James and Sirius had screwed around once in a while back at school. He'd wondered what Sirius thought, since if he'd been attracted to men (and the issue had never come up in anything more than a theoretical sense) James wouldn't really have been his type.

James was just as talented as Lily, though the similarity ended there. His jaw was larger, skin rougher, lips thinner, and he kissed more aggressively, holding Remus in place with a hand on the back of his head. As usual, he ignored Remus' attempts to object or escape; kissing, as with all other activities, ended when James decided it ended.

When it did end, Remus gasped for breath, and tried to bolt from the couch, but Lily had hooked her fingers in his waistband, and her other hand had somehow found his stomach and was pushing him back.

"It's all right," she whispered in his ear, right before she bit his earlobe gently.

Clearly this was the most disturbing dream to date, and he wished desperately -- though half-heartedly -- that he might wake up. James' hand was covering Lily's, pushing him back, and James held him there with a warm hand, while Lily slipped to the floor and rested her chin on one of Remus' knees.

"See," James said in his ear, as Remus tried to breathe, escape, and get James to move his fingers two inches to the left all at once, "Lily told me she fancied you a bit in school," he said, breath warm against Remus' temple. His fingers did move, and Remus sucked in a sudden breath as his nipple hardened under his shirt. "And Sirius and I used to seriously consider inviting you along -- "

"James, please," Remus begged. "Let me go -- "

"Do you really want that, Remus?" Lily asked. "Don't you want to belong here?"

Remus drew a deep breath, but Lily had slid her hand up his thigh, and he had to let it out again in a soft moan. James took Remus' hand and lifted it to his face, sliding both their fingers into his perpetually-windblown hair, where Remus' fingers twined out of instinct.

"We want you to share our house," James was working on the buttons of his shirt, delicately. "We talked about this, Lily and I. We want you to share our bed. To know you belong here."

James slid a warm hand inside his shirt and along his skin, exploring each ridge of scar and rib, as Lily gently ran her thumb over his erection, through his trousers. Stars danced in front of his eyes.

"Say yes, Remus," Lily urged, as James bent to kiss his collarbone. "You can have anything you like if you say -- "

"Yes," Remus gasped, involuntarily, as James' fingers covered Lily's where they caressed him. "Yesyesyes..."

James chuckled against his skin. "Good boy," he murmured, grasping Remus by his unbuttoned shirtfront and pulling him upright. Lily caught him as he tumbled forward, unsteady on his feet, and their bodies pressed together in ways he'd never dreamed he'd touch James' wife.

Or James, he realised, as James pressed against his back, kissing his neck and rocking his hips gently. Oh -- that was James --

He wasn't sure how they made it to the bedroom, which he'd only seen twice in all his time with them -- that was their place, and he had no business in it.

Until now.

He felt cool air on his skin as his shirt was pulled off by James, who seemed fascinated by the line of his shoulder-muscles, wanting to trace each one with his mouth; Lily took care of the rest, and by the time he realised he was on their bed -- James and Lily's bed, the bed they slept together and made love together and talked together in -- he was naked, his hand resting on Lily's head, where it was pillowed on his hip. She looked up at him along the length of his chest, and giggled a little.

James, standing at the foot of the bed, reached for his belt-buckle and Remus watched, fascinated, as he undressed. He started when he felt Lily's hand touching him, exploring the length and width of his cock, cupping his balls gently while James climbed onto the bed and curled around his other side.

"Ours," James whispered in his ear, rubbing his stomach in slow, soothing motions in time to Lily's strokes of his cock. "Part of us."

He felt Lily's mouth slide over him, teasing, licking a little as she went, and he moaned just as James kissed him again, stealing his breath.

Dizzily he thought, they really mustn't mind me too much.

Then James was lifting his shoulder, rolling him to the side gently and rubbing against him again -- James' cock sliding up the cleft of his arse, as Lily seemed to crawl up his body and settle with one leg over his hip, mouth comfortably near to his. He shied away from James when he felt fingers pressing against him, but James made a hushing noise, kissed him and assured him he'd enjoy it.

"Relax," Lily said softly. How could they simply -- how could they take him in like this? Into the most private thing they had, a thing James had always protected against all potential invaders.

James' finger slid inside him, slickly, and Remus realised James was muttering charms in his ear, charms he must have learned from those school nights with Sirius.

"James..." he gasped, as the charm's warm slickness spread inside him, and James' fingers found somewhere that made the stars dance in front of his eyes again. Only for a moment, however; then James was pushing his hips a little, and Lily was pressing against him, and he was slipping inside her -- inside Lily.

She gasped and her fingers clenched on his shoulderblades, and he felt James bend to kiss her hands before he was there, James was, inside him, god, oh god, and the sparks were now full-blown fireworks. He could hear Lily's soft, sharp gasps, and James' deeper and less controlled ones; he was aware he was silent, but something seemed to have stolen his ability to speak. He could feel James' arms around his chest, and realised that James was stroking Lily's breasts, apparently something they often did to judge by Lily's appreciative arch.

Remus buried himself in Lily's kiss, feeling the pair of them making love to him and through him, though the thought didn't, oddly enough, bother him in the slightest; if he was here then he was welcome, they'd said so, and he didn't have to be afraid. Not in this place. Not when James said his name ragged and low, and Lily's body trembled, and his orgasm pulled him down into blissful blackness as the other two kissed over his shoulder, their bodies holding him in a tight embrace.


He woke to the feel of Lily curled around his left side, nuzzling along his chest, and James' arm flung across his stomach, James' chin resting on his shoulder. He didn't alter his breathing, or open his eyes, too lazy and boneless to be bothered. Perhaps it was another dream.

"Are you all right?" Lily. He wondered idly if she was talking to him.

"Course," James answered, voice scratchy after sleep. "Why wouldn't I be? Are you?"

"Brilliant," she sighed, and a hand curled possessively over his skin. "This was a good idea. I just...worried about you, seeing me with Remus..."

"Nah. He's a mate," James answered easily. "I mean. If you'd gone off and knocked boots with some stranger, or we hadn't agreed, then I'd have gone to Azkaban for homicide."

"Knocked boots?"

"It's an expression. Besides, it wasn't like you didn't see me with him as well."

"Yeah. That was..." Lily sighed, but it sounded like a happy sigh. "I wish I'd let you do that thing with Sirius we talked about at school."

"Wouldn't have been the same."

"I suppose not." Fingers twining together across his abdomen. "Sirius doesn't need."

"Need what?"

"Just need. Not like Remus does. He needs us. He needed this. After this it'll be all right. He'll be all right, I mean, won't he?"

"I should just think so," James replied, righteously indignant. "If he pulls that not-belonging act again, I'll just have to -- "

"Hold him down on the couch and snog him senseless?"

"Well. You could help, of course," James replied. Remus felt a light kiss on his shoulder, and then another on his neck.

"This is where he belongs," Lily said, as Remus slid back down into contented sleep. "Our house. Our bed. Us."

"Us," James agreed, and Remus felt them curl closer before all was darkness again.

ext_29684: (Peter Hippie)

[identity profile] 2005-08-22 04:58 am (UTC)(link)
You. Are. Brilliant.

(Anonymous) 2005-10-13 05:22 am (UTC)(link)
ohhhhhhhhhh that was so couldn't write one about james and sirius could you? *makes puppy eyes*


(Anonymous) 2005-10-18 04:16 am (UTC)(link)
The cat in me says meow!


[identity profile] 2005-11-06 06:40 pm (UTC)(link)
Wow ...... That was good. Really, really, good.
ext_343663: (It's cold (can you feel it?))

[identity profile] 2005-12-11 08:54 am (UTC)(link)
I've been trolling through a lot of your stuff tonight, and hopefully some day I'll go around and make comments on all of it, pointing out all the things I like. For now, however, I'd like to say that when I read

"No -- look, you've done up candles and everything," Remus said desperately. "I don't want to intrude."

My stomach did that twisty thing, because oh Moony, trying so hard.
ext_13504: Kara Thrace, Starbuck, BSG (Default)

[identity profile] 2006-06-13 02:02 am (UTC)(link)
Oh. Oh. Ohohoh. Oh.
*dies* I love your fics, Sam.

Once he'd helped an ape -- he assumed, an Animagus who'd gotten stuck -- find a book about Chaos Astronomy, and been rewarded with a loose-lipped smile and half a banana.

is it just me, or should that be orangutan? ;D

[identity profile] 2006-06-13 02:05 am (UTC)(link)
Well, orangutans are apes, you know, not monkeys :D

(Anonymous) 2007-02-10 11:53 am (UTC)(link)
Ho ho, Discworld references are luff. <3

This story is luff also. It all fits together very nicely, James with Remus with Lily, the generous friends taking him needy into their home. His borderline masochistic humility. Candles. Mmm.

Anywhoodiddly, thank you for providing such good reading in your fics. <3

-Ianthe Nox

[identity profile] 2007-01-25 06:32 am (UTC)(link)
I'm going through your nc-17 tags right now and I'm loving it. This story in particular gave me butterflies, goosebumps and got me all hot at the same time. Much love!

[identity profile] 2007-10-29 05:11 am (UTC)(link)

it's great! i adore it. XD i adore you! *glomps*

[identity profile] 2008-03-11 08:09 pm (UTC)(link)
Peter's harmless, Lily.

Don't assume things, Prongsie. (that line makes me sad, seriously....)

And, the ending, just... awwwww. Sweetest thing I've read in a very long time.

[identity profile] 2009-04-22 03:44 pm (UTC)(link)
I love it! And all the other stuff of yours I've read over the last couple of days and probably should have commented on too :-) I love the Librarian cameo too.

[identity profile] 2010-03-28 03:41 am (UTC)(link)
Oh -- lovely!

(Anonymous) 2010-10-25 02:20 pm (UTC)(link)
wow. Seriously, wow. I'm currently trying to read every HP Fanfic you've ever written. You are wonderful. No other word for it. Thanks.

(Anonymous) 2011-08-27 07:03 am (UTC)(link)
I know this is an older work, but I thought you should know that I just spent the last two days desperately looking for this story. I had read it a long time ago, and I just suddenly had an impossibly strong craving to read it again. I couldn't remember the name or author. Of course, I should of known this awesome piece of work was yours! *facepalm*