Any Way the Wind Blows
A Sad, and Often Lamentable, Tale
Part VIII: Evidence of Sirius' Inability to Process Thought
Remus had tasted like chocolate. Like chocolate and peppermint tea, and ink and books and parchment and everything that Remus was, all mixed into one. Remus tasted exactly like Sirius imagined he would, and he felt even better. Remus was warm. Warm and lithe and delicate, yet far stronger than he had even realized before.
Now he knew that he'd never get a chance to taste or feel him again, and that was the continuing thought spinning through Sirius' head as he cowered in the dorm, trying to ignore the screaming in his head, the echoes of the dormitory door as James slammed it and ran, the pounding of blood in his ears, and the continuous "Boo-ing" from his inner-audience.
Remus was a werewolf.
Werewolves who kill or maim are locked up.
And most definitely expelled.
But, really, in Sirius' mind, Severus Snape deserved any and all injury that greeted him in the passage under the Whomping Willow.
But Remus. Remus was, well, Remus, which was reason enough to make Sirius wonder why he deserved to be a part of this. That wasn't just a werewolf. That was Remus.
But hate overshadows, and in this instance hate painted Sirius' entire world black, and at this point, hiding from it was all he could do.
Remus would hate him.
If Remus didn't end up in Azkaban, he would hate Sirius.
If Remus bit Snape, he'd hate himself. Sirius was enough of a friend to realize how Remus' mind worked in certain situations.
A door opened, a light filtered in, and James stood shaking and white, dirt on his hands and face, and a gash wound across his cheek. His glasses were bent; the left lens was cracked. "You'd better come, Sirius," he said.
Sirius had never been more afraid in his entire life, and if he had been Padfoot, his tail would have been permanently stuck between his legs.
"Sirius," Remus had said. Sirius hadn't looked up until he felt a hand on his shoulder; jolts of electricity had shot up his arm at the touch. "Sirius, I'm sorry."
"'S okay." Sirius had shrugged, and felt Remus' hand tense; felt Remus' fingers; felt the warmth they left when that hand finally retracted…
"Look at me."
…and found Sirius' chin, tilting his head up. "Please?" Remus' eyes, when Sirius had finally looked up, were imploring, apologetic, and yet guarded, as if he was waiting for Sirius to lash out.
"What's there to say," Sirius had said, and moved his head sharply away as he stood up. Remus had stepped back.
"I didn't mean—I didn't want…I didn't mean what I said," Remus had begun, taking a few more steps backwards. Sirius, though he was turned away, could feel Remus' gaze boring holes into his back. "I was just—Oh, I don't know, maybe I thought it was too good to be true."
Sirius' ears perked up at this. Too good? Why, yes, Sirius had been known as being too good. This hadn't surprised him in the least, and he tried to convince himself that he knew Remus meant it all along.
"Because, and this is really rather trite, but, I've…wanted you to do that. For a very long time." Sirius could feel the air move as Remus moved; could feel him standing closer, and if he concentrated hard enough, could almost feel the warmth Remus projected.
The last bit had been like a whisper – lost in a huff of breath that was more nervous than Remus would like to have known it sounded.
"I love you."
Love. Love is a very strong word. Sirius hadn't known real love, he always supposed, because his family wasn't Love. And the tarts he'd dated, and blokes he'd snogged, certainly weren't Love, either.
But Remus. Remus could be Love.
Remus had definitely been embarrassed by this confession, because as soon as Sirius turned around to say something – though he wasn't sure what – Remus had him pinned to the wall, warm lips on his, and a warm weight against his body.
Yes. Remus could definitely be Love.
"Inexcusable!" Professor McGonagall's voice trilled from the open door to Dumbledore's office, and Sirius was snapped painfully back into reality. There was no more Remus. No more Love. No more potential Love that was Remus. It was gone. Withered and blown away.
And it was his sodding fault.
Sirius would have sulked, had his terror been willing to share the emotional space.
"Both boys are CLEARLY at fault!"
"Mr. Black." Dumbledore's voice ended McGonagall's rampage, but Sirius knew that this was only a temporary occurrence. "Sit." The gleam was not apparent in the wizened professor's eyes; they were hard and cold behind his half-moon spectacles. This did not bode well for Sirius. "Mr. Snape shall be joining you shortly. Until then, perhaps you'd like a lemon drop?"
Sirius would have cried, but he was too busy remembering how to breathe.
Remus was sore, and dizzy, and aching, and the floor was cold, and the wood of the Shack was creaking loudly in his ears. In his mind, fuzzy and numb from the hours of being Moony, and not Remus, fragments of images and smells and noises came back to him. There had been a human here, last night. He could remember the smell. He could remember the hunger, the aching want, and the harsh denial as the door shut, and the smell stayed, but the human was gone.
Remus' throat was sore and dry and cracked, and he was almost certain that his voice would be gone; he must have howled for ages.
He thought it had all been a dream. Or a nightmare, really, which was far more appropriate, anyway. There had been no Prongs, no Padfoot, and no Wormtail. There had just been Moony; trapped in the derelict shack with a source of food brought to him – then taken away.
Stricken with a sudden bout of paranoia and terror over the entire situation, because quite clearly that human had not been one of his friends, Remus tried to stand up, but found that he couldn't. Gashes and scratches and bite marks lined his body, and realized just what had happened after that human had left.
He had turned on himself.
With a silent cry of rage, as his lungs stung with the effort of simply breathing, and shouting was far beyond and out of the question, Remus hoisted himself up onto his elbows, and grabbed hold of one of the posts supporting the ragged canopy over the old bed, pulling himself up into a standing position.
Normally, Sirius or James got him back into bed. Before Sirius or James were with, Madam Pomfrey would arrive at the end of the full moon, and make sure he got there. Since he'd been in bed – fast asleep and quite alone – after every full moon for the last two years, Pomfrey no longer came until the sun rose.
Slumping back onto the dusty bed, Remus wondered where everyone was that was so much more important than being here.
Then he chided himself for being so incredibly selfish.
"Mr. Lupin, I assure you that I wouldn't tell you this if it were not of the utmost truth. And perhaps not even then. But I have heard it from the mouths of the parties involved, and it is indeed true." Professor Dumbledore, looking tired and far older than his appearance ever let on to, was seated next to the small hospital cot that Remus was laying in.
Or rather, sitting up in. Despite the gravity of his injuries, and the fatigue that his slight body felt, he could do nothing. He refused to believe the words that Dumbledore had just spoken. Sirius? Tell Severus Snape? About him?
"But he wouldn't! Sirius wouldn't! He swore to me—he and James and Peter—they swore to me that they wouldn't! And he wouldn't!"
Dumbledore raised up one hand; the long fingers indicating that Remus needed to calm down. "I know it must be difficult to comprehend why—"
"If you'll excuse me, Professor Dumbledore, you don't know Sirius like I do, and I promise you that he'd never tell anyone, especially not Severus—"
"Sirius seemed to use the excuse of protecting you as his main mode of argument."
Remus swallowed, realized exactly why Sirius would do something like this (which came in a flash of blinding white light that Remus had hoped would actually blind him), and moved his gaze from Dumbledore to the wall across the room.
"Albus, do you think you could have this talk with him later? He needs his rest, and—"
"No, Poppy, I'm afraid that I can't! And Severus has given me his word—and his word I trust most heartily—that he will not tell another living soul about you, or risk expulsion. The same goes for Mr. Black. Save for Mr. Snape, your secret remains just as secret as ever before."
Remus made a strangled noise as he fell back against the pillows, wincing as it jarred the fresh wounds on his sides. Since when was the studio audience allowed to tell the protagonist to ruin the life of one of his closest friends? And since when was the protagonist actually supposed to listen?
"What the hell were you thinking, Padfoot?" James, sprawled out on his bed, propped up on his elbows, is staring at Sirius, who hovers near the door, face ashen, hands trembling.
"That much is obvious," James mutters, and flips onto his stomach so he doesn't have to see the look of anger that flashes across Sirius' face. "Love 'em and leave 'em," he adds. Sirius kicks the desk, sending books and parchment and quills falling onto the floor.
"I didn't mean—I thought—It wasn't supposed to happen like this," Sirius mumbles, and it is muffled by the stale air in the room.
James flips back around, glaring at Sirius behind his newly repaired glasses. "What the fuck did you think would happen, eh?"
Exactly what had.
James snorted, smiled bitterly, and got up. "Raiding the kitchens. See you tomorrow."
"If Remus doesn't find me first."
"I doubt Remus will want to have anything to do with you, even your premature death. Ta, mate." The door began to close, but was quickly opened again as James poked his wild head of hair back into the room.
"Oh, and I don't hate you or anything, Sirius, but don't expect the same from Remus, I reckon."
A/N: It. She. That. The thing. The author…well, it SPEAKS! Felt quite compelled to, because I'm a generally wordy person, and I can't resist a moment to be verbose.
In any case, CONFUSION is good for this story. Confusion is good, because nothing makes any sense at this point, and really, nothing should, save for a few concrete things. The prank. The Snape Snog (although that's still foggy – will all be gone over later). The confusion is there on purpose. Don't worry or try to figure things out. You haven't missed anything – I merely haven't provided it.
Also, on the subject of formatting, perhaps this story isn't loading properly on some computers? It's formatted just like any other. Paragraphs, one liners because I'm a sook like that, etc. I can't explain it if it doesn't show up properly, but I link these chapters on my livejournal as well, so you can see them there if the formatting here is fucked or something. (hi1arity.livejournal.com)
(Also, to the journal you will HAVE to journey for future chapters, as the ones posted here will inevitably become "kid friendly," whilst the ones in my journal will be the real, raw, naughty ones. No more on that subject. Don't want to give myself away, though I'm sure I just have.)
Many thanks to all who have reviewed.