The Price of Love
"Hey, Sirius! Come in." Remus greeted his godfather who was sufficiently blocking him from view. He couldn't explain why he was so apprehensive about meeting with Remus. It was an inborn reaction, he supposed. Plus the fact that he was – or would be – the only person who knew of the abuse besides the abuser, and even then…
"Thank you Remus. I trust you're doing well. Lets sit down, shall we? We have a lot to talk about." Remus hesitantly sat down on the couch.
"I'll put on tea." Harry said quietly, trying to fade into the background. Unfortunately, it wasn't quite that easy with only three people in the room.
"No, Harry. You can sit down on couch as well." He told him, conjuring up tea and biscuits that quite obviously wouldn't be touched.
"Hello Harry." Remus said with a small voice as he sat down at the end of the couch.
"Hi." He said, looking at his elbow resting on the armrest.
There was silence, and when Harry looked over to Sirius, what he saw didn't look too good. There was something scary in Sirius's eyes as he looked towards Remus, pacing in front of them.
"I guess you know what this is about Remus."
"N-no… What's going on?"
"Don't play stupid with me, Moony!"
"Tell me what you're talking about, Padfoot." he commanded bravely in a tired voice.
"You knew! He told you and you didn't say anything!" Cutting right to the chase.
Remus breathed out with exhaustion. He put his head in his fist, placing it on the armrest. "Oh, God."
"What were you thinking, Rem? How do you hear someone tell you that their guardian's abusing them and not do anything?"
"I'm so sorry, Sirius…"
"I'm not the one you should be apologizing to, Remus!"
Harry, who had been hoping that they would continue to yell and leave him out of it, edged away as their eyes turned on him.
"You were telling the truth, Harry?" Remus asked shakily.
"Why the hell would we be here if he wasn't, Remus!?"
He nodded, almost invisibly.
"Harry… I'm so sorry, Harry."
He leaned forward, arms open. It was a true sign of what kind of day he was having that he wasn't sure what Remus was doing until he was uncomfortably wrapped in a hug.
"Don't touch him Remus."
The thought was in all of their heads, but no one, probably not even Remus himself, though he would actually come out and say it.
"I shouldn't touch him, Sirius? Me?" he asked, getting up, walking over to face him.
There was a long silence as Sirius steadily turned more and more red.
Harry watched with fear as they circled each other, noting the bitter irony that they were acting quite like their counterparts; two canines fighting to assert their territory.
Finally, when Harry almost couldn't bear to see such a bright shade of red plaster on Sirius's face, he pushed Remus in the chest. It wasn't too hard. It was a silent challenge.
Remus pushed him back, responding with an equally soundless but clear acceptance.
He stood slowly, realizing what he was walking into, but doing so anyway.
In his adrenaline, the coffee table magically moved itself left and out of the way, spilling the contents of the tray across the floor, but not drawing any attention, surprisingly.
Being only fourteen, he hadn't reached his maximum height, and despite Remus being on the shorter side, when Sirius aimed a punch at his rib cage, it hit Harry squarely in the shoulder sending him crashing backwards into Remus. Upon experiencing his weight, little as it was, they both fell into the moved coffee table.
Besides the initial pain in his shoulder, and the back of his head cracking against Remus's jaw, Remus's body had absorbed the rest of the shock.
"Remus!" he shouted in concern, rolling off him.
"Rem…?" Sirius asked in concern after pulling Harry to his feet and checking him over. But he was unconscious. "Enervate."
Remus groaned. Sirius extended a hand to help him up, but he ignored it, and climbed to his feet, swaying.
"Nice, Sirius." Remus growled.
"Are you all right, Harry?" Sirius asked him, ignoring Remus.
He nodded his head, stopping when he felt dizzy.
"Sirius, look… I don't think you should have Harry in your custody." Remus said when his head had stopped spinning.
Harry had almost given up hope of ever seeing – let alone living - with Sirius again.
"What do you suppose we do then, Remus? Should we dump him in an orphanage?" He backed up into the couch with fear, feeling himself going numb.
"You- you wouldn't do that, would you?"
Remus turned to him with compassion. "No! No, of course not, Harry."
Sirius gave him an apologetic smile.
"Look… I don't see what the big problem is! Sirius says he's going to quit." He told them, not missing the look that both Sirius and Remus shared.
"You… are going to quit, right? You said you were!" he said, automatically let down.
Remus rubbed the back of his neck, and Sirius lowered his eyes and looked at the ground. "Harry… do you know how hard it is to quit an addiction?" Remus asked him.
"Well… my uncle used to smoke… and he was really angry for like… two weeks following that…"
"Drinking is, like, ten times harder than that." Sirius tried to explain.
Harry looked at the ground, angry with himself for having to put Sirius through that.
"Maybe I should go back to the Dursleys." He announced in his smallest voice, as if he didn't want to be heard.
Sirius sighed. "Harry, get this through your head. I don't care what happens! You're not going back to number 4 privet drive, okay? You're not going back there!"
He almost breathed in relief.
There was silence, until that relief turned back into bubbling fear as he realized he wasn't safe yet.
"Then… what are we going to do?"
"Remus… would it be asking too much of you to… stay with us for a month until I'm past this? Maybe then… Harry will be safe with me. If I can't do it… than I fully resolve to do whatever I need to get Harry away from me. Will you do it for me, Remus?"
"What about the full moon?"
"Remus…" Harry snickered. "We live right over there." He said pointing in their house's general direction. "We've got plenty of guest rooms. And Sirius's 'girlfriends' haven't shown up yet, so I don't think that will be a problem."
"I don't know why. I would think they would be knocking my door down by now with my ravishing good looks."
Remus and Harry pretended not to hear his comment. "Will you do it?"
Remus sighed. "Yeah, sure. It's not like I have a job or anything."
Moving in Remus wasn't hard as he was only there for a month, and he was lacking on the clothes front. Sirius resolved that he was taking him shopping 'one of these days' but Harry doubted it was going to happen.
By the third day without alcohol, Sirius was trying his hardest not to act like a nut job. However it wasn't working out exactly as planned.
Harry came down to breakfast the fourth day to find it all ready on the table. As much as it ticked him off that Remus had taken over all of the stress relieving jobs he had taken to doing, he had had a rough night. He had stopped having his violent nightmares that caused him to scream bloody murder, but now most of his sleep was taken up by sweaty uncomfortable dreams. As scared as they made him, he had stayed in his bed the entire night. By the time he had actually gotten back to sleep, Sirius had awoken him with a shout.
He had taken over waking the house up with violent nightmares as a mixture of horrible memories from Harry's pensive, and withdrawal that was plaguing his subconscious.
Remus was dealing with it the best he could, not being used to such circumstances.
Sirius came down, still in his dressing gown. "Coffee." He said almost angrily. Remus scowled at him from the kitchen at his impoliteness, but motioned for Harry to sit down while he got it.
"Harry. Is it really necessary for you to breathe so loudly?" he snapped. Harry raised his eyebrows. This was the worst he seen Sirius yet. Remus told him that it would last a few weeks, probably.
"God, Remus! Could you take any longer with that coffee? How hard is it to pour?"
Remus clenched his teeth with anger; his hand shook as though trying not to drop it in Sirius's lap.
"What the hell is up with the attitude? I just asked you for some friggin coffee!"
Harry gave him a look, telling him not to respond.
There was silence until: "You're still breathing loud, Harry."
Remus gave him a look, ordering him to keep his mouth shut, though he wouldn't have spoken anyway. "What was up with the look, Remus? What? Am I not in a good enough mood for you? Do you have a problem?"
Remus kept the annoyance out of his expression as he shook his head.
"What about you, Harry? Do you have a problem with the way I'm acting?"
"So, what did you want to do today?" he asked, as if he had just had a mood swing.
He and Remus exchanged looked. "Uh… did you want to do anything in particular?" Remus asked him.
"We could go to Diagon alley."
"Sirius… are you sure that's such a good idea?"
"Why!? What, you don't think I can handle it? There's nothing wrong with me!"
Harry was worried that this was how Sirius would be acting for the next month, but realized that it was a much better alternative than being beaten every night.
"No. Uh…" he saw Remus struggling to come up with an excuse.
"Well… you know, London is supposed to get two inches of rain today, and… it's not supposed to stop for the next week. I read it in the paper."
"HA! You're lying! You don't read the paper!"
"What he means is that I told him that I read it in the paper." He held it up as proof. They had both seen him reading it every morning that week.
Sirius looked at them suspiciously. "Let me see that."
They eyed each other nervously as he scanned through it. He put it down, looking disappointed. "Fine. But next week, we're definitely going!"
He disappeared to the living room as they scrambled, looking through the paper.
They gave each other incredulous looks "Thank God we live in Britain."
AN: Oh, God, where do the apologies begin? First, I would like to blame Johnny, my computer, for getting all screwed up. Secondly, I would like to blame myself (hear that, May? Myself!) For getting too involved in other things before my computer was broken. It was a stupid mistake, and I hope to update as again as soon as possible. I am so so sorry, everyone.