Lost to Torment

by She's a Star

Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to the divine Ms. Joanne Rowling. Sometimes, I must admit, I like to pretend that I'm that brilliant, but alas . . . am not.

Author's Note: Well, this is a first for me. Yes siree, ladies and gents, She's a Star is entering the world of . . . slash writing. [Collective gasp here.] Of course, this is quite mild, and barely even qualifies as slash, but it seems pretty clear to me that Remus and Sirius' feelings for one another are romantic rather than platonic in this, but who knows? Maybe I'm a bit biased, as I wrote it and that's what I was thinking.

Anyhoo, onto the actual fic stuff rather than the fascinating ramblings of the authoress. This is set a few days after Sirius is taken to Azkaban for 'killing' Peter. (Grr. Am rather resentful toward the detestable little rat.)

But I shall shut up now.

Honest.

Oh, yes. And this is for Milla, Dia, and Storm, just because . . . well, I wouldn't be nearly as corrupted as I am without them. ;-)

*

"I didn't do it."

I knew that this was going to happen. I'd predicted it, prepared myself against it, and yet it still strikes me with an unnerving intensity.

There is such a desperate pleading, a sincere aching in his voice.

It seems so genuine.

So real.

"Don't," I request softly, hating how apparent the weakness is in my tone.

There is no doubt that he'll know now. He will know that this has destroyed me, that I'm being torn apart.

He always knows, and I find myself hating him for it.

I never thought I'd hate him.

"I didn't," Sirius repeats, desperately. "You know I didn't, I wouldn't. Dammit, Moony, look at me!"

I don't.

I can't.

He killed them, I have to repeat constantly, like some sick sort of mantra, They're dead, all of them, and it's because of him.

I still can't bear to look at him.

"Remus," he says, quietly. His voice aches, and I wish I could somehow block it out, pretend the sound doesn't mean anything to me. "I wouldn't. You know it, you know I wouldn't."

"There are witnesses," I reply, and my voice trembles. "People saw you. People saw you kill him. And you gave them up."

I can feel his eyes on me, piercing, and it's all I can do not to look at him, because I know if I will I'll believe anything he says, even though his words are worthless lies, even though the people I love are dead because of him.

"I didn't," he says, begging, "God, Moony, you know I didn't. Please believe me. Please get me out of here."

I shiver, and try not to take in this dark, sad place, because even though I should, I don't want him here, not here, not in this purgatory amongst lifeless, haunted beings, where the very air seems to steal your soul away.

"I can't believe you," I whisper, studying the cold stone floor and then the cold stone walls, and wishing that he could be anywhere else, anywhere, even if he has destroyed everything, even if he has caused the perpetual misery that's surfaced.

"But you want to," he argues, lightly. "Come on, Moony, you know I wouldn't. I loved them. I love them, I love you. I wouldn't do this to you, any of you, you know it."

"Don't," I request, a quiet insistency lurking in my voice. "Don't use words against me."

"Moony--"

"They're just words," I cut him off, trying to convince myself.

A silence falls between us - lately, there have been so many silences that I always hoped would dissolve sooner or later, but this one is forever and I know it and there's no chance of evanescence.

From somewhere, a too-close sort of somewhere, a strangled yell fills the air, pleading without words, without phrases, just a scream, and yet it's pleading, and I know it's pleading, and it scares me because this could be him, this could be Sirius. This will be Sirius.

"Don't let them do this to me," he whispers now, pleading.

I want to hate him, I want to hate him so badly because maybe that way, I won't feel guilty, like I'm throwing him away into this hell even though there's nothing I can do to save him anyway, and we both know it.

"They'll take my soul," he says, louder, and there's a wild insistency in his voice, and the guilt seems to press into me, to smother me, and I can't breathe anymore and all I can remember is the words, so many words, insincere, some of them, and they can't possibly know how I feel.

'Oh, Remus, I'm so sorry . . . it's such a shame . . . they were so young . . . That Sirius Black, no one was expecting that, he always seemed like such a nice young man.'

"The dementors," he continues, and I can hear a shiver in his breath. "God - oh, God, Moony, they're going to destroy me. You haven't been here, you don't know what it's like--"

"I don't know what it's like?" I repeat, incredulous, and suddenly there's so much anger, anger from nowhere, and it all swells up inside of me and I want to ruin him, to kill him, to do to him what he did to us. "I'm haunted, you know that? D'you think this is wonderful for me? D'you think I can remember happiness? I'm suffering just as much as you are. I don't need to be here to feel awful. I don't need dementors." A pause. "I have you."

The words echo harshly against the stone walls, entwining and swimming around my head before sinking into the darkness, lost to torment just like everything else in this damnable place.

He's stopped breathing. I know the words sting - it hurt me to say them, even, and I know instinctively that I shouldn't have.

He killed them, I tell myself, in an attempt to brush away the guilt, He killed them he killed them he killed them.

"God," he says in a raspy whisper, a bitter sort of laughter to his voice, "It really is over, isn't it?"

He says it as though it's out of his power; as though he didn't willingly bring forth everything that has ruined both our lives.

Let him go, a tiny voice from nowhere tells me, He doesn't care. You're a fool. Let him go.

'When,' I want to ask, so badly, 'Did you start pretending? When wasn't it real anymore?'

But it's real now, and somehow, that's all that seems to matter.

"Goodbye, Sirius," I say, and it's unsettling, how coldly the words escape my lips.

I leave then, suddenly, telling myself that it's because I don't care how he's going to reply, but secretly knowing that there is nothing more to say, or else I would have stayed there forever, waiting for something, anything from this man who has destroyed us all, and yet I still can't give him up.

"I'm sorry, Mr. Lupin," says Cornelius Fudge from where he waits at the door; we step outside, and the sunshine seems so dry and mocking against my face.

Fudge continues. "He insisted upon seeing you. Screamed himself hoarse about it. We finally decided it might be best to humor him."

"It's all right," I say, but those three words are lies because I know with a painful, crystal certainty that nothing will ever be all right again.

"What did he say?" Fudge inquires curiously, and at once I feel foolishly protective, not wanting to share anything because the words were ours and it's the only thing I'll ever share with him again, and now to this foolish man it will seem like nothing.

I swallow. "He said he didn't do it."

Fudge laughs - he doesn't understand, and I find myself detesting him for it so easily, effortlessly, in a way I should detest Sirius but can't somehow.

With the foolish self-assurance of a man who thinks he knows it all, he replies, "Yes, yes. Well, that's what they all say."

I remember him and it's cold and it's painful and the sun is everywhere but not there, not in there, not in that cold, dark place where he's bound to spend the rest of his life, and there's nothing to make it better, no relief, no mercy, just pain and remembering and crying and grief and it never leaves, never, and a kiss that should be mine, not theirs, because I'd never steal his soul away.

"That's what they all say," I repeat, and I leave him, once and for all.

Caged.