A/N: Hey y'all! This was written for the QLFC and Hogwarts. :) Writing Club prompts are listed below.
Chaser 2: Write about someone's will
(setting) a graveyard
Assignment 5: Healer Studies 1: Write about someone being attacked by a magical creature
Word Count: 3025
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. Those rights go to JK Rowling.
Thanks to Lucy and Kim for beta'ing!
WARNING: Character death, language
The night was cold and black, surrounding Sirius like an oppressive cloud. His lit wand was held loosely in his numb fingers as he stared blankly at the tombstone in front of him.
Here lies Remus John Lupin,
Beloved friend, son, brother, and partner.
10 March 1960 – 11 December 1980
It was official; his lover was dead. Gone. Six feet under. No matter how he said it, it didn't ease the pain of losing the only person he'd ever loved.
Silver eyes gleamed with unshed tears as he gazed at the epitaph. Lily Potter had been sure to make it clear that Remus had been much more than just a friend to them—and more than just a boyfriend to Sirius.
Blurry images flashed through his mind—amber eyes filled with mirth, a quiet laugh, slender fingers littered with scars… Sirius shook his head, his black hair flying about his face. His hands were shaking, threatening to lose hold of his wand. He was in denial; part of him believed that when he returned to his flat, Remus would be sitting on their bed, reading a book and waiting for Sirius to join him.
But it just wasn't so.
He felt a hand on his shoulder and jumped. He turned around to find James' hazel eyes, heavy with sorrow, peering worriedly at him.
"I'm sorry, Sirius," he whispered, his voice cracking. "But… you can't stay out here all night."
Sirius' eyes blazed with anger. "And if that was Lily? Would you be leaving?"
James didn't even wince. "Then you'd be in my position, telling me to get some rest. And I would be saying the exact same thing to you."
Sirius deflated, feeling his anger drain out of him; all that was left was his grief and hurt. "Prongs, why didn't he… why didn't he tell me about the mission? Why did I only hear about it when he—when he—"
James pulled him in for a bone-crushing hug, and Sirius could feel the other man's shoulders shaking. "Padfoot, I don't know. I just don't know. But… there's no way for us to know, and wouldn't you have rathered he keep the secret instead of putting himself in more danger?"
"It didn't matter in the end," Sirius muttered bitterly. "And God help me, I haven't forgiven him yet."
James was silent for a long moment. "Padfoot," he said softly, "you don't really want to be angry with him. Not when he can't explain."
Sirius looked away. "I know. But I can't help it."
Remus blew gently on the parchment he was writing on, trying to dry the ink. He looked at the neat words with solemnity. This wasn't a letter to friends—this was his last will and testament.
He heard the door open and close. He scrambled to clean up his supplies; he knew Sirius wasn't ready to see this yet.
He was too late. "What's that?"
Sirius' voice was oddly detached, and Remus didn't like it. He turned towards his lover slowly. "We're in a war, Sirius. I want to make sure some swot doesn't end up with my Defense books."
It was much, much more than that, and both of them knew it. Sirius' grey eyes hardened. "You don't need that. You're not going to die."
Remus closed his eyes, running a hand through his brown hair. "I don't want to argue about this again. Padfoot, you know that Dumbledore asked me to complete a special mission for him—"
"I know. You won't tell me what it is," Sirius grumbled.
Ignoring him, Remus continued. "—and you know it's dangerous. This isn't pretend. The threat of death is very real, for all of us, and I want to be prepared."
"You won't need it," Sirius insisted firmly. "Remus, get rid of it. It's not important."
Remus turned to face his partner fully. "What are you so afraid of?"
He didn't mean to sound harsh, but the war was grating on his nerves. He was scared, and he didn't need to deal with Sirius' stubbornness on top of the stress of everything else. Sirius looked away, his eyes slightly ashamed. "I… I can't stand to think of living in a world without you. And when you talk about your death like it's imminent… I can't handle it. It's supposed to just be you and me—to hell with the rest of the world."
Remus carefully sealed the will in an envelope, wondering how to ease his partner's concerns. The truth was, Remus wasn't sure where his mission would lead him. "Nothing lasts forever. But… even if I'm not with you, I'll always love you."
Sirius' voice was low, but with a small note of hope. "Is that enough reason for you to stay?"
Remus wanted to say yes. But he couldn't.
Sirius sat at a table in the Leaky Cauldron a week after the funeral. He felt as dead as Remus was. It was like all the light, all the color of the world had gone with Remus.
He withdrew a crumpled bit of parchment from his pocket, then unfolded it carefully. James had told him that he needed to look at this sooner or later. So he did. He read Remus' will.
He'd left his entire collection of books to Lily.
All his Defense artifacts and manuscripts were going to Harry when he was older.
James would receive all of his notes on the spells he'd been developing.
Peter would be gifted the small cottage in the countryside that they had used for full moon transformations.
And Sirius was getting everything else.
Remus' jumpers. His photographs. His chocolate supply, furniture, winter boots, and favorite quill and inkwell. He would have all the items that had made Remus who he was; he was left with painful reminders that the true owner of these things was gone.
He wished, more than anything in his life, that Remus had trusted him enough to tell him what his mission entailed.
Remus looked around the crowded pub, sipping his drink. He'd ordered one not because he needed it, but rather because he was attempting to blend in with the patrons around him.
"You looking for someone in particular, darling?"
Remus turned quickly, his hand jumping to his pocket before he realized that this was a Muggle pub, and whipping out his wand wouldn't help his situation.
The woman who had spoken was tall and lithe, dressed in a simple green shirt and blue jeans. She was looking at him curiously, and Remus mentally shook himself for letting his jumpiness get the better of him. He nodded briefly at the woman.
"No, not looking for anyone," he answered politely. Something about this situation seemed… off to him.
The woman stepped forward, her long, dark hair casting part of her face in shadow. "I know your kind," she murmured. "The moon's followers."
In seconds, Remus had grabbed her arm, pulled her through a side door, then Apparated into a nearby alley. His wand was against her throat, and his rough demeanour hid the pounding of his heart.
"How do you know that?" he hissed. This was bad; it could jeopardize his entire mission.
The woman pushed away his wand. "Calm down. I'm not fully human, either."
Remus wanted to protest his classification as non-human, but he kept his mouth shut. "What do you mean?"
The woman's green eyes sparkled with an emotion Remus—who had dedicated his life to learning to read people—couldn't identify. "Loralei Belial. And who are you?"
Remus frowned. "That's no Muggle name."
Loralei grinned widely, and Remus couldn't help but feel a bit more at ease. He was still on the defensive, but she no longer seemed threatening. "Clever, aren't we? I was in Slytherin at school."
Remus took a small step back, but he didn't lower his wand. "I don't remember you at school. And you can't be much older than me."
She tutted. "It's rude to point out a woman's age, you know. And is it that much of a stretch to believe that I'm at least seven years older than you?"
Remus finally lowered his wand, but he was still a bit wary. "How do I know you aren't a Death Eater?" he asked.
Loralei wrinkled her nose. "Why would I ever join the people who make my existence so painful?"
Remus looked carefully, but he couldn't find a hint of deceit in her eyes. She was telling the truth. "Remus Lupin," he said at last. "My name is Remus Lupin."
Loralei smiled prettily; the last of Remus' discomfort vanished. "And what are you doing all the way out here, Remus?"
"I'm gathering information." He was picking his words carefully, trying not to spill too much. "I've been sent to find out whether… certain individuals have joined Voldemort's ranks."
She smirked. "You mean anyone the Ministry considers sub-human. And this place is where Greyback is rumored to be located."
"Yes," Remus admitted, running a hand through his brown hair.
Loralei was silent for a moment. Then she said, "I'll help you. I'll show you where to go to get the information you seek."
Remus raised an eyebrow. "Why would you help me?"
Loralei looked at him solemnly. "I'm tired of being treated like less. Maybe, with you helping the war effort… things will be different one day."
Remus nodded slowly. "Lead the way."
Sirius stared at the Muggle telly in front of him. He was trying to forget the world around him by getting lost in the various sitcoms and dramas. It wasn't working. Everything reminded him of Remus.
Part of Sirius was disgusted with himself for trying so hard to forget the person who had meant so much to him. The other part of him stubbornly held on to the grudge he now had against Remus' memory. It wasn't fair to be angry, he knew, but he couldn't help it. Remus should have stayed. Their love should have been enough reason for him to.
The will sat open on his lap, Remus' signature staring up at him. Sirius took a shuddering breath and turned it over.
The walk through the dark night was long. Loralei had admitted that she wasn't great at Aparating, and since Remus didn't know the location of the beings he was supposed to be meeting, they had to travel there on foot.
Apparently she wasn't one for silence; she insisted on making small talk.
"Do you have a family?"
Remus was a bit startled, but he answered. "No—well, sort of. My parents are both dead, but I have two honorary brothers, an honorary sister and nephew… and a partner."
Loralei's smile turned wistful. "Ah. A lover. Does he know about your lycanthropy?"
Remus couldn't help but smile. "They all do. And they stayed anyway."
"It must have been quite the bombshell," she mused, "when you told them."
Remus laughed. "I only told Lily. The others all figured it out."
Loralei regarded him seriously. "You do realize how rare it is to have that acceptance, don't you? Don't take it for granted."
Remus' laughter was gone. "I know," he said softly. "I've never forgotten how lucky I am."
Loralei tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. "My parents cast me out when I became… what I am," she murmured. "My friends, my lover, they all abandoned me. I was taken to the Ministry, promised help, but my name and information was recorded in a book. Now I've been branded as a monster, and am made a mockery of when I show my face to the magical world. I couldn't get a job, make connections… my life had ended." She put a hand on his shoulder. "You are lucky, to have a lover like that. One who doesn't care about curses."
Remus felt sick. That is exactly what would have happened to him if he'd been registered as a werewolf. "I'm sorry," he said sincerely. "Truly, I am."
She appeared not to have heard. "Your lover is special," she whispered. "It doesn't matter who you are, or what you look like, so long as somebody loves you. If you are loved… then that is enough."
"I know," Remus said a bit awkwardly. "He's special."
"Why aren't you with him?"
Remus hadn't been expecting that question; guilt knotted his stomach, though he knew his decision was the right one. "He doesn't want me in danger, but this is something I have to do. I can't sit at home, safe, when there is something I can do to help the cause. I love him more than anything in the world, but… I want to love him in a better world."
"Tell me your goal," she requested suddenly, after minutes of silence. "What do you hope to achieve by working with the people who have sent you here?"
Remus blinked. "I just want to make the world safer. My mother was a Muggle, and I know many Muggleborns. I don't want them to have to live in fear."
Her eyes narrowed. "It has nothing to do with liberating your people? You, a werewolf with education, fighting on the light side of the war… it could be a monumental step towards equal rights."
Remus swallowed thickly. He didn't view himself as a hero, and he was doing this because he believed it was the right thing to do. "I suppose… if any of that happens, it will be on accident. I'm all for equal rights, but I can't fight two wars at once."
Loralei studied him carefully. "You definitely aren't a typical werewolf."
Remus grimaced. "That's sort of the point. Turning feral won't help anybody, least of all myself."
"You are an interesting person, Remus Lupin," she muttered. "Very, very interesting."
Sirius found himself in a Muggle pub, drinking too much. He had given up on forgetting the past; now he was just drowning for the hell of it. This wasn't, he knew, responsible behavior—he was the godfather of a young child, after all. But all he could think about was Peter three hours earlier, collapsing at Sirius' feet and muttering how it wasn't supposed to happen—that Remus wasn't supposed to be dead.
Maybe he should have comforted his friend, but it had opened up a well of emotions that he didn't know what to do with. Peter had raised no objections when he stormed out the door, and Sirius refused to feel guilty on top of everything else.
There was a television in the corner of the pub that he was watching. He licked the bubbled foam off of his upper lip as he watched a Muggle newscaster discuss the evidence of murder in a park—all that was missing was a body.
Sirius turned away. He didn't need to hear about any more tragedies.
They arrived at a park, which looked more eerie than beautiful in the darkness. Loralei led him into the thick woods, and he ignored the unease settling in his stomach. Any minute now, he could meet someone dangerous—perhaps even Greyback.
Miles into the forest, Loralei stopped. "Here we are," she whispered, her pale skin gleaming in the moonlight.
Remus looked around, but he couldn't see anything. "What—"
He was suddenly thrown to the ground, his head colliding painfully against the ground. He looked up to see a gigantic, leopard-like creature with yellow eyes pinning him down, growling at him.
He immediately identified the creature. A Nundu.
He heard laughter, and Loralei approached them. "Do you like my pet? I'm afraid he isn't fully grown yet, so his poisonous breath hasn't quite developed. But he can still rip your throat out."
Remus struggled under the weight, knowing it was useless. "Why are you—"
Loralei knelt down next to him, stroking the Nundu's nose. "When I was bitten—not by a werewolf, like you—I instantly died. I became one of the undead. A creature of the night."
Remus closed his eyes. "You're a vampire."
She grinned widely, showing off her fangs. "Yes," she agreed, "I am. And no one I knew was thrilled. In those days, people were even worse than they are now. I'll give you a hint; I went to school over a thousand years ago." Her green eyes had taken on a mad glean. "They tried to capture me; I was hunted wherever I went. Nowhere was safe. Until I raised him," she whispered, indicating the Nundu. "He had been ripped away from his home—two creatures, considered dangerous, working against a common enemy. It was so simple to wipe my predators out."
"What do you want with me?" Remus demanded.
Loralei's gaze hardened. "You seek equality. You want to help the very people who have forced us to the shadows. You are the weak link. Once those wizards battle to the brink of extinction, we will strike—and we will conquer."
"That won't solve anything," Remus tried to reason. "They'll still fight back, and no one will win. There will never be peace until there's equality."
Loralei stood up, brushing off her jeans. "Why should you care? You won't be around to see any of it."
Remus tried to reach his wand, but he couldn't move his arms—and besides, it was said that it took a hundred wizards to subdue this beast.
Her words were cold. "Finish him."
Remus had one thought before those jaws clamped down on his throat.
Forgive me, Sirius. Please.
Sirius didn't look at the telly again. The bubbles on his drink were popping, much like the little emotion he had left. His anger? Gone. Confusion? Gone. Happiness? He laughed bitterly. That had been the first to go.
He stood up, swaying slightly, and looked around the bar. One woman caught his eye, dressed in jeans and a green shirt. An odd feeling washed over him, but he ignored it. All he could feel now was empty.
He left the pub, intending to go to James'. Maybe a chat with his friend would help him come to terms with what had happened. He didn't need to be okay again, but something told him that he needed to learn to forgive Remus.
He loved him too much to hate him forever.
A/N: Fun Fact: Loralei means "woman whose singing lures men to destruction" and Belial means "worthless".
Writing Club Prompts:
Character Appreciation: Queenie — (word) bombshell
Disney Challenge: Kaa — write about someone who shouldn't be trusted
Dark Lady's Diabolical Lair: Write about someone being treated in a subhuman manner
Book Club: Brian Thorn — (word) denial, "God help me, I haven't forgiven him yet.", (emotion) hurt
Showtime: Angels of Music — (emotion) frightened
Amber's Attic: "Perhaps our fatal flaw is that we attempt to make forever out of people who are meant to be temporary." (5 point bonus)
Lyric Alley: First you get hurt, then you feel sorry.
Ami's Audio Admirations: Home Alone — (setting) night
Emy's Emporium: Flitwick — write about someone who defies stereotypes
Angel's Arcade: Vector the Crocodile — (trait) confident, (color) green, (house) Slytherin
Lo's Lowdown: Ty Lee — write about someone whose appearance is deceiving
Bex's Basement: The Witches — Alt: (dialogue) "It doesn't matter who you are or what you look like, so long as somebody loves you."
Film Festival: (Item) bubbles