NA: It's been a while, hope you don't hate me too much. I had some trouble getting into character and was quite busy. And the attempted fluff/Marauders-hanging-out didnt really work, but oh well. Enjoy anyways.
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter and am obviously not making any money for writing this crap. I'm doing it out of loyalty to my wonderful readers. Sort of.
Warnings: Um, mentioned suicide attempt, dark themes, blood, stuff like that. Good luck reading.
Wetness streaked down his cheeks, meeting his lips with the sting of salt. Remus wiped them with the back of his hand, then reached out to shakily touch Sirius' face. His friend's eyes cracked open, took a glance at the world before closing them once more, as if he couldn't bear the sight of the world staring back at him.
Trying not to gag at the heavy stench of blood, Remus reached with trembling fingers for the quill embedded in Sirius' wrist. He stifled a sob when he yanked on the feather, then chastised himself. He wasn't the one who had tried to commit suicide, yet here he was, weeping like a child.
Sirius' head, thrown back against the wall, jerked forwards, lids splitting open, leaving grey orbs lingering behind them.
"You-You almost killed yourself." Remus' words were choked.
"I was...supposed...supposed to die," Sirius muttered, voice painfully blank, as though it were an inherent truth.
"Give me your wrist." He felt fingers flutter against his cheek, sweeping away the tears. Leaving a smudge of blood under his eyes. Remus caught Sirius' arm, hastily rummaging through his book bag, fingers grasping onto a small brown bottle. Dittany. He yanked it out, squeezed a few dots onto the raw, gaping cut Sirius had carved into his own flesh. The skin pulled itself together, weaving into just another scar adorning the pale wrist. Sirius only hissed Remus' name when the stinging pain the healing brought shot up his veins.
"Big on stating the obvious, aren't you?" he snarled, nose scrunching in anger; eyes sharp with agitation.
"I don't much feel like analyzing your motives right now," Remus replied, trying to keep his voice in control, and waved his wand so that the blood that had soaked into both their robes faded away. He took Sirius' hand in his own, lacing them together, fingers tracing each other's scars. Sirius' controlled cuts, wildly jagged, deep and broken, but always thin, always intended; Remus' a thick, ragged tear in his skin, long since healed, a feral mark. Both made by a monster they couldn't stop.
Sirius hunched into himself, anger seeping from his vulnerable position, and he squeezed his friend's hand tighter. But Sirius' face was too pale, long lashes resting once more on skin, chest rising ever so slightly, falling in the image of a shallow breath.
Dammit, he's lost a lot of blood...Merlin, what's that blood-replenishing spell!?
"Res-Restituere sanguis," Remus casted, gripping his wand hard to ease his trembling fingers. Warmth flooded into Sirius' face and he shivered, eyes opening once more. His friend embraced him, hoisted him up gently, wincing when he felt Sirius' protruding ribs. He's much too thin.
Remus wiped at his face before leading his friend to the door of the abandoned classroom he had found him in.
"Padfoot, I need to take you to Madame Pomfrey."
He shook his head vigorously. "She'll see them, Moony. I don't want her to see." A note of panic rung in his words.
Remus sighed. "You feel alright?" He twisted around to see Sirius staring at the stone floor. "Physically."
Another sigh hung on the edge of the werewolf's tongue. "C'mon, Pads, let's get to the dormitory and I'll get a bath going for you."
The walk upstairs and to the bathroom was slow, the air between them tense. Remus filled the tub with water, stepping back and motioning for Sirius to get in once he was finished. The teenager merely stared at him awkwardly, and Remus' eyes were drawn to Sirius' hands, fiddling with the buttons on his collared shirt.
"Do you mind?" he asked pointedly, cheeks red, to which Remus blushed and exited the room.
The werewolf was still reeling from shock when he sat down on Sirius' bed. His mind stuttering, refusing to believe the obvious, pain clenching in his heart. Hurt spiraling through his body like coils of red-hot fire, tightening on his throat and slivering into his mouth.
I don't know what to do.
Remus felt invaded, cut open and left splayed out for all to see.
"Rem," Sirius' voice called, as if it couldn't decide if it wanted to be a yell or a whisper.
He scrambled off the bed, muttering his friend's name over and over under his breath, fingers shaking when he yanked open the bathroom door in a flash of panic.
Water almost up to his collarbone, Sirius was leaning onto the edge of the tub, his legs seemingly curled beneath him. His grey eyes, those Remus had come to love fiercely, looked up at him with desperation, as though the boy in front of him was a savior standing just out of reach.
He dropped to his knees and reached out to cup Sirius' chin in his hands, brushing back stray raven locks.
"I-I'm sorry," the teenager murmured.
Remus shook his head. "You don't need to be."
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry." Sirius trembled with each broken word, burying his face into the other's chest.
Wrapping his arms around his friend, Remus rocked them gently, hoping the rhythm would soothe Sirius.
"Moony, please," he pleaded, lifting his head, dead eyes glazed over with raw, carnal hurt. His words were softer than a whisper, distant and weak. "Forgive me."
"I already have."
Sirius merely squeezed his eyes closed and pulled away, little ripples forming on the surface of the water as he did. Remus let his eyes wander over his friend for a moment before stepping out of the bathroom and closing the door quietly behind him.
The oak swung its colossal branches above the Marauders, spraying dusts of snow onto their heads. Lily, who was walking with them to the frozen lake, smirking when Sirius shook his head like a dog in a half-hearted attempt to rid himself of the white powder.
"My hair!" he complained. James pulled off his own hat and shoved it onto his friend's head. Sirius glowered and muttered to Remus about his ears being smooshed, but James merely laughed.
"Wait up!" called Peter as he tottered through the snow, tripping over some object buried deep beneath it. Lily kindly offered him a hand up, feeling slightly sorry for the pink-faced boy.
"We can skate!" James enthused as he neared the lake. Lily could, indeed, see that a thick layer of ice coated what had once been water. Her heart fluttered at his brightening grin and she chastised herself for her foolishness, but her reprimand couldn't take away the joy that buzzed in her.
Remus shrugged. "I've never skated." Lily nodded, adding that she'd only tried once before.
"We never had a lake in London—not that Mum would let me and Reg go there," Sirius said.
But Peter, apparently perking up at the thought that he was, for once, one step ahead of his friends, excitedly told them that he'd skated plenty of times before. "My cousins live close to a lake, we go there every Christmas."
"Well, we've got to get you skating," James told Remus and Sirius, taking it as a personal challenge.
"I don't have skates!" Lily protested. "How am I supposed to do this?"
"Lily," the werewolf next to her laughed. "You're a witch." With a swish of his wand he had conjured a pair of brown, slightly tattered, skates. Sirius, who had on black skates adorned with glistening silver, smiled adoringly at his friend.
After fastening her own, Lily stood up shakily, unaccustomed to the shoes. She looked up to see that James was already sliding across the ice, long limbs flowing after him, messy hair ruffled by the wind. She almost lost her balance.
In a flash, Sirius swept onto the lake, speeding towards his friend in a dash of elegance, leaving a sharp, curving indent in the ice beneath him. Lily looked over at Remus and saw him staring at Sirius with the same expression James had planted on her face moments before. He glanced at her and they shared a guilty grin.
Peter was the third to make his way onto the ice, and he seemed to keep his balance well despite refusing to go as fast as the two before him had. Seeing now that James was coming back to the edge of the lake, Lily cautiously stepped onto the ice. He caught her hands and eased her forwards, her cheeks burning the entire time. She saw that Remus was carefully skating, calling out to Sirius who was spending half of his time gracefully twirling around and the other half falling considerably less gracefully onto his backside.
Skating turned out to be a pleasure when Lily got the hang of it. The Marauders held races across the lake and showed off their elaborate pirouettes, always ending in huddled heaps of twisted limbs and joyous yells.
Finally tired out, they settled down to rest on firm ground, replacing their skates with boots and their raucous laughter with tired smiles. Remus strung up a conversation with Lily about their favorite Muggle books, James and Sirius excitedly blabbering to Peter about, no doubt, another prank they were concocting.
"I'm guessing all this planning will end us up in Professor McGonagall's office," Remus pointed out dryly.
"Moony, mate, have more faith!"
James nodded earnestly at Sirius' remark as the boy tousled Remus' hair playfully. "C'mon, you know you love it."
"Getting in detention? I'd rather not," he said, voice both amused and affectionate.
Sirius leaned his mouth close to Remus' ear as though it were a secret, hot breath clouding the air before it melted. "Rem." Lily noticed Remus cross his legs firmly and uncomfortably readjust his position. She barely held in a laugh. "We're going to turn everybody hot pink."
"Isn't that getting a bit old?" The werewolf's words were breathless.
"And give them antlers." At Remus' conflicted look, Sirius added, "It's for fun, Moons. They'll wear off in a few hours." The other still said nothing. "We don't have to do it." He looked almost guilty, scanning his friend's face anxiously, but Remus shrugged him away, a jerk of his head indicating that it was a conversation for a later time.
A flash of movement at the corner of her eye made Lily peer around her shoulder, gaze settling on the forest.
"It's a deer!" she gasped, hands flying up to cover her mouth. It was, indeed, a doe, her coat a soft, white-speckled cream, ears twitching as her large brown eyes met Lily's own bright green ones. "It's adorable," cooed Lily, standing up carefully.
She approached the doe slowly, hand outstretched, sinking down onto her knees so she wouldn't appear threatening.
"Come here, girl," she urged. "I won't hurt you." The doe stepped forwards, nose nuzzling Lily's hand. Smiling, she rubbed its soft ears. "You're pretty, aren't you?"
Sirius gave a sudden howl of laughter, causing the doe to flinch, gentle brown eyes growing ever wider.
"Oh shit," he gasped between peals of laughter. Remus muffled his own chuckles in his sleeves as to avoid the glare James had given his friend. Giggling, Peter turned to look at Lily; she shot the boy a confused look.
But Sirius was rising into hysterics, shaking silently, laugh edged with a frightening craze, bubbling sharply from his chest.
"Whoa, Padfoot, calm down," Remus said, his own amber eyes dark with concern.
Sirius gasped for breath, choked on the crisp air. Lily had turned from the deer, frozen with indecision, vision raking over the teenager's huddled, embarrassed form. Despite having an arm around Sirius, Remus looked just as helpless as she felt.
The long-haired boy pulled himself hastily to his feet, wheezing a "I'm gonna go, see you later" to the others. He almost ran away.
"That was sudden," James commented, but his face was a mirror of Lily's own distress. He looked at Remus, narrowing his eyes suspiciously.
Remus replied with a confused shrug.
"Do you know something?"
"For fuck's sake, Lupin, answer me!"
"I don't know any more than you should." Remus' voice was tinged with cold.
Lily hadn't noticed the doe had fled until she moved to seek a wisp of comfort, of calm, and her hand touched nothing but empty air.
"What's that supposed to mean?" seethed James, fists jammed into his coat pockets.
Remus pressed his lips together tightly and refused to say another word.
Often called by her friends the peacemaker, Lily was at loss for how to respond to the situation; the Marauders, in all her time at Hogwarts, had never been seen fighting so sharply, voices dark and serious. Sure, she had witnessed James and Sirius grow angry at Peter or Remus blow up and tell them to go away and stop bothering me! or Sirius, wild with too much to drink, scream at his friends—but never such cold words. It had always been fire, a burning spark crashing through the moment like a strand of lightning, an urge to yell and berate and become furious at their most trusted companions. Never ice.
"How about we go inside?" Peter offered timidly, seeming just as puzzled as Lily.
Both James and Remus obliged without a word, rushing to follow Sirius into the castle and up Gryffindor tower.
A strangely high-pitched, terrorized scream reached Lily's ears and she winced. "What on earth is that!?" An agonized, guttural yell echoed.
They bolted up the remaining stairs and burst into the hallway that lay before the common room portal.
Her heart leaping up into her throat, accompanied by bile, Lily stumbled backwards, back into the stairwell. Out of the corner of her eyes she saw Peter squeak and cover his eyes desperately. Remus had gone white. James' cheeks, in contrast, reddened.
"Snape!" he choked out.
Sirius was on his knees, hands splayed out in front of him, blood oozing around the spasming fingers. One of his hands held his wand. His shoulders were hunched over the prone figure of Severus Snape, who was bleeding profusely from a rip in his chest.
"Sev!" Unable to stop the overwhelmed tears bursting from her eyes, Lily rushed forward and put her hands to his face, hastily feeling for a pulse in his neck. Gasping half-words turned into outright sobs as she shook her former friend by the shoulders, her lips hysterically forming a whisper of his name.
The fat lady kept screaming.
It seemed to all merge together, Severus' palid face and her tears and Lucius Malfoy shouting, "Black did it!" and Professor McGonagall dragging them away from the teenager's body.
Her next memories were of a boy with messy black hair tipping a cup of bitter liquid into her mouth and murmuring about pepper-up potion and dreams and how the world was okay. And she wasn't sure if she believed him, but as stress flooded out of her aching body, Lily relaxed into pillows that looked vaguely like the ones in Muggle hospitals and decided, for now, to sleep.