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It's a strange confluence of events that lands Remus on a station in a far off galaxy run by Americans and Canadians two years following Harry's defeat of Voldemort. First there was the job Harry had neigh well pressed on Remus: working Dark Creature Defense for the Ministry. Remus isn't entirely certain how the American government knew to contact the American Ministry of Magic, nor how that Ministry thought to contact Britain's for such a specialist. Remus wondered if the latter had been blind luck, or if Britain had only been one on a list, or. . .well, he couldn't imagine, and when he'd asked, Harry had sheepishly replied, "That's sort of confidential."

"Sort of?" Remus asked. "Isn't confidentiality a bit of a binary state? Either something is or-"

"Stop being difficult," Harry said, a smile on his face. "And take the mission."

Remus took it. He'd been able to Apparate to America, where they had explained to him the basics of Stargate physics and the Wraith problem. To this day, Remus feels far more competent in his grasp of the tall, life-force sucking aliens than he does on the pulsing blue shield that allows for unreal lengths of Apparative travel. Of a sort, anyway.

When he needs to know something about the latter he goes to Rodney. Rodney feels like home, with his snide superiority. The only thing Remus has to miss about Severus is the ambiguity, and since the end of the war there's been a lot less of that.

Rodney is safe, and Remus would give anything to be caught under the mistletoe with him at three in the morning on one of his wanders through the near-silent city.

Rodney would also have the good sense to look up, laugh uncomfortably and move on to more pressing problems.

Lt. Colonel John Sheppard is like a home that doesn't exist anymore, with his boyish air and his cowlick-laden hair. Remus wants to see Harry when he looks at Sheppard, wants to see someone he thinks of with a wave of fondness and a dose of responsibility.

Instead he sees someone he wanted at thirteen and didn't quite ever stop wanting, not for death nor passage of time.

Like James, Sheppard isn't the type to stand back and let him pass, and though it dismays Remus, it doesn't surprise him when--as he's trying to innocently sidle on by--Sheppard lays a prohibitive hand on Remus's chest, quirks his lips, flicks his eyes upward and asks, "Going somewhere?"

If Remus hadn't learned from James and Sirius not to show weakness, the packs would have taught him later. "I seem to have walked off my restlessness. If you'll excuse me-"

"Wizards don't have mistletoe?" Sheppard asks this softly. Most people in the city think Remus is some type of micro-biologist.

"The American military doesn't have certain expectations of their officers?" Remus shoots back, hoping he's remembering right, and it is indeed the American armed forces that has such an odd idea of what constitutes good combatants.

Sheppard's look is wryly amused. "It's an empty corridor, and we're a long way from home."

Rodney will sometimes absently snark about Sheppard's military record and his ability to follow the letter of orders rather than their spirit--and sometimes not even that. Remus figures their seclusion isn't the only reason Sheppard's showing no fear. It was worth a shot. "Colonel, if you don't mind-"

"I kinda do. Is it the ears? People have mentioned they're kinda pointy."

Remus blinks. "I've seen pointier."

"The uniform, then? It intimidates some people."

Remus is really, really hard to intimidate. Just to let Sheppard understand how very much, he presses himself into the hand still resting on his chest and leans forward until his lips crush against the other man's. Sheppard's fingers slip in surprise and Remus is able to take even more control, adding a little tongue to the package, and when he feels like it, a little teeth.

He pulls back then, running his tongue over his swollen bottom lip. "It's your hair."

Sheppard looks a little dazed but answers without hesitation. "My hair?"

"And other things. They remind me of someone."

"Someone you didn't like?"

Remus looks at Sheppard. "That would be less complicated."

The corner of Sheppard's mouth curls knowingly. "Ah."

"Now if you'll excuse me-"

And the hand is back. "I can make you forget him."

"You'd have to erase the majority of my-"

"I can make you forget him," Sheppard repeats, and steps out from underneath the mistletoe.

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Skin by egelantier, photo by microbophile