Leave Me Now

'It was for the better,' they said. 'It was for the best,' they agreed. If one of them were to end up in the hands of Death Eaters, they wouldn't want to have information that would betray the other. They left out the part about if one of them was a Death Eater, but it didn't need to be said. It hung heavy in the air.

Remus watched as Sirius carried a box of various belongings out of the bedroom and into the kitchen. His breath stuck in his throat. So this is it. It hadn't hit him that Sirius was actually leaving. It hadn't seemed final until he set that box down onto the kitchen table. The kitchen table where we last made love.

"So," Sirius said. He stood awkwardly with his hands in the pockets of his jeans.

"Yeah," Remus said. It took all of his practised emotional restraint not to ask Sirius to stay. "You can leave your key over there," he said instead, motioning towards the blooming mimosa plant that Sirius had bought him last Christmas.

"It's really grown," Sirius said with a faint smile as he set the key beside it. He reached out and touched the leaves. They curled in on themselves immediately at the touch.

The leaves curl in because of ion changes. This has no relation to your life, Remus told himself, but he couldn't help but feel like curling in on himself when Sirius came towards him.

He came close enough for Remus to smell the shampoo in his hair; Close enough to kiss, if Remus were to close that extra fourteen centimetres.

"You should go," Remus said quickly, his voice coming out hoarse.

"It's probably for the best," Sirius said slowly, carefully. Remus could tell he was trying very hard to control his emotions, whatever those may be.

"It's for the best," Remus repeated. If he said it enough times, would it make it true?

Sirius backed up towards the kitchen table and leaned against it, studying Remus. Remus wished desperately that he would just leave. It was hard enough to be in the same room and know that he couldn't reach out to him. He had a sudden thought to tell Sirius that it was all a joke, and that he did really want him to stay with him, Death Eaters be damned. Please just go, he thought again.

"Do you have everything?" Remus asked when Sirius picked up the box.

"Yes."

"Are you sure?" Remus asked. You better have everything. I can't stand to see you here again.

"I'm sure," Sirius replied, his voice sounding uncharacteristically flat. He looked down at the box of his belongings and wouldn't quite meet Remus' eyes.

"Well, then," Remus said, trying to sound pleasant and failing.

"Yeah," Sirius said and raised his eyes to meet Remus'. Remus was surprised to see the amount of hurt that lay in those usually clear grey eyes. It's for the best! He shouted in his mind, but deep down he knew they were fooling themselves. How could anything that hurt this bad possibly be the best course of action?

"You should go," Remus said for the second time.

Sirius nodded and swallowed visibly. He picked up the box and made his way to the door, not turning to look at Remus as he passed him. Remus stayed in the kitchen until he heard the door open and close with a heavy click.

Breathe, just breathe. Count to ten. You'll be fine.

"One one-thousand. Two one-thousand. Three one-" A sob broke his ritualistic counting. He sank to the floor against the kitchen wall and rested his head in his hands. As the tears came, he knew no amount of breathing or counting or any other stress relieving technique was going to help him this time. This time he had to let it out.

He raised his head abruptly when he heard the door open.

"Moony, I'm sorry. I forgot my- " Sirius stopped abruptly as he strode into the kitchen. Remus tried to wipe his eyes, but not fast enough.

It was only a moment before Sirius was on the floor beside him, holding him, shushing him, telling everything was going to be okay.

Remus tried to apologize profusely, but Sirius was having none of it. He shushed him and kissed his forehead.

"This is for the best, right?" Remus asked weakly as he wiped his eyes with his sleeve.

Sirius didn't answer right away and Remus wondered if he heard him.

"Sirius?"

Sirius got up suddenly and kicked the kitchen counter hard. He ran his hands feverishly through his hair. Remus sat wide-eyed on the floor. He knew better than to approach Sirius when he was angry.

"I'm not leaving," Sirius said suddenly.

"Er… You're not?"

"No." Sirius shook his head hurriedly. "They've made it so James and Lily can't even take Harry to the park anymore. They've made people afraid to leave their houses. They've almost taken our freedom from us, but I'll be damned if I let them take this away from us! I won't have it."

Remus stood on shaking legs. "You're staying?"

"Is that okay?" Sirius asked, suddenly unsure of himself.

Remus smiled for the first time in days. "Of course its okay you daft wanker. Go get your stuff."

Sirius left down the hall and Remus collapsed into a chair. A few minutes later he felt familiar hands on his shoulders, sliding down his arms, and then a kiss on his head.

"But what about the Death Eaters?" Remus asked.

"We'll be careful," Sirius answered with a confidence that Remus was pretty sure he didn't possess.

"But if one of us-" Remus started to protest but Sirius cut him off.

"We'll be careful. We have to be, Moony, because I can't stand it otherwise. If I'm not with you then Death Eaters might as well be torturing me for all the good its doing me."

"We'll be careful," Remus repeated, forcing himself to believe it. He was reminded of when he was ten and asked his mother how to break eggs. Carefully, she had replied with a smile which was quickly replaced with a frown when Remus smashed them by accident. I'll be careful this time, Remus thought as Sirius ran his fingers through his sandy hair.

I have to be careful, because if I'm not… He didn't let himself finish the thought, and instead kissed Sirius, letting the others' warmth and confidence sink into him like a warm blanket. In this embrace, he could almost feel safe. In this embrace, he could almost pretend that being careful was enough.

Leave Me Now
Jann Arden

leave me now, don't hang around
just close the door and leave the key
under the plant outside
the one you bought me years ago
look how it's grown

go away, you cannot stay here
take your heart off of your sleeve
and let me catch my breath
i hope you haven't left a thing
it's hard enough
to be here without your love
it's hard enough

move along, you don't belong here
wipe yourself off of my floor
and let me get some sleep
i cannot keep you in my heart
it's hard enough
to be here without your
to be here without your
to be here without your love
it's hard enough

it's hard enough
leave me now, don't hang around
leave me now, don't hang around