Harry Potter and the Godfather Crisis
Harry Potter and the Godfather Crisis
Summary: To Sirius, Remus is the love of his life, an obsession, and an unreachable goal. When Light denied him the one thing he really wanted in life, Sirius turned to Voldemort. Now, with the Dark Lord's new demand, Black may finally get what he wanted.
Chapter rating: Hm… a mild M, because Voldemort is a pervert of the worse variety, and Sirius isn't far behind.
Pairing: SBxRL, with minor DMxHP and JPxLE
Warning: yaoi, violence, minor deaths (this story will contain gay relationships, so if you don't understand the implications, please refrain from reading)
Type: AU, romance, adventure, angst (I guess)
Disclaimer: Harry Potter is property of J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, Raincoast Books and others.
Chapter 9: The Blue-frozen Deal
Moony had a decidedly realistic nightmare. He lay in Padfoot's arms in a small house by the sea. He could smell the warm, salty wind. Draco and Harry were racing on Shooting Stars out the window, overtop Prongs and Lily, who splashed and lounged on hot, golden sand. Wormtail sat off by himself on the sand, but he was smiling.
Then the door opened, and Severus stood framed by the light. His face was furious.
"I know what you did, Lupin," he snarled.
"What?" Moony asked, bewildered. "What do you mean, Sev?"
"You and Black," Severus' voice shook. "You… you did that in my bed! Don't even think about hiding it! I know! I know everything!"
Moony felt himself explode with heat. Frantically, he struggled from Padfoot's embrace. His mate's face was tight with anger. Padfoot opened his mouth to speak, but a wild bark tore through the small house.
"That's not-" Remus tried. "We didn't mean- It's just that-"
"And worse of all," Severus snapped. "You didn't even change the sheets!"
So Remus Lupin woke screaming, "The sheets! We've got to change-"
The heavy scent of mold and decay swam over him. Remus stiffened, bare legs pressed together uncomfortably as he took in his surroundings. The scent of sweat and blood and infection filled the room. Dread rose within him as Remus looked down. Instead of Sirius on the bed beside him, it was the great black werewolf, spanning the entire length of the bed. Remus shook as the wolf breathed shallowly, powerful muscles quivering and barely hanging to life. Blood dripped from the wolf's nostrils and from within his ears.
Stumbling backwards, Remus fell off the bed, and the pain in his hip woke him completely.
"Padfoot?" his voice trembled. "Padfoot!" Leaping to his feet, Remus dug his fingers into the black werewolf's coarse fur and shook hard. The wolf's dark eyes opened briefly, glazed in pain. The wolf bared its teeth slightly but was otherwise still.
"What… where-" Remus choked. His breath caught in mid-chest and he could not breathe or see through the fog before his eyes. Frantically, he checked for injuries, finding nothing.
"Look at me, Padfoot," Remus pleaded, pressing his lips to the sprawling creature's nose, trembling against the blood and drool pooled there. Remus' thumb brushed the werewolf's eyelids and sleek ears matted with dried blood. "Please, please! Merlin, what happened? How did this- you-"
His heart clenched as he remembered. Padfoot cried and apologized and loved him. I'm sorry it had to turn out like this. "Is this what you meant?" Remus shouted, shaking harder. "Is this what you meant when you apologized?"
Tears felt hot down Remus' face and his eyes burned. I can't give you what you want. He thought of Padfoot's hot kisses and the laughter in the man's eyes. The deep rumble of Padfoot's voice always unrooted him, made him feel light and dizzy and unstable. The touch of warm hands and the desperation in his voice when Remus left him. It had broken Remus' heart in Hogwarts, and it shattered anew as he remembered. "No! I didn't mean this," Remus pressed his face against hair the scent of decay and rot. "When I said I'd take anything, I didn't mean this."
"I take it back," he whispered. "It's not enough. Padfoot! I- I want years and years. How could you?" Angrily, Remus wiped his eyes. "Damn you, Black! Damn you! I won't let you!"
A click sounded behind him. "Your brats were- Lupin!"
Remus whipped around to find Snape in the doorway, pale-faced and trembling. The bags under the gaunt man's eyes were darker than usual and his face was deep with worry. Snape pressed a hand to the doorframe to steady himself, staggering as he caught sight of the near-dead creature on the bed.
Remus' knuckles were white around the edge of the bed. "Sev…" he cried. "Sev, Padfoot is- Help him, save him! He-"
Snape crossed the room quickly, dropping down beside the werewolf and probing between his ribs. The wolf opened his eyes wearily and tried to draw his lets against himself, pained. Remus slapped Snape's hands away.
"You're hurting him more! Stop!" Remus could see nothing but the tight muscles in the wolf's face and the dullness in those dark eyes. He pressed close to the werewolf's face and could do nothing more than shake.
"I haven't seen this in a while," Snape said quietly. The man's eyes were dark and tired. "Lupin, I can't help him."
"What do you mean you can't help him?" Remus demanded. "You must! He can't- If he doesn't-" He buried his face in his hands. A thunderous wail, more animal than human, erupted from his body. Books rattled in the shelves and for a moment, Snape could hear nothing except the ringing in his ears.
Gritting his teeth, Snape shoved Remus hard, pulling his hands away and giving the man a hard punch across the cheek. A bruise immediately rose on pale skin. "Shut up!" Snape hissed. "Shut up or the whole school will hear!"
Remus paid him no heed, dropping down again, knowing nothing except anger and terror and grief. Snape snarled in frustration and dragged the younger man away from the bed.
"No! No, no!" Remus struggled. Hair swept across his face like an animal's and his eyes were wild. "I have to stay with him! He needs me! I'll kill you!"
Snape punched him again. "Listen, werewolf!" he shouted. "Voldemort's killed him already. Nothing will save him now. If you keep screaming you'll kill the rest of us as well! Shut up!"
"Voldemort…" Remus was momentarily shocked into silence.
"Yes, this is one of the Dark Lord's darkest curses. As long as the dark mark remains on our arms, he can order our deaths and a fever will spread throughout our veins." Snape looked away. "As long as we are men sworn to his service, we will live only by his mercy, little as that is."
Snape's words did not have the desired effect as Remus' head snapped up.
"Voldemort! He can save Padfoot!" Snape took a step back, frightened by the sudden intensity in Remus' blurry eyes. "Right, Sev? Voldemort can save him!"
Snape choked as Remus shook him. "The Dark Lord won't spare him. Are you mad, Lupin?"
"He will." All the insanity left Remus' eyes. He looked to the still form on the bed. Padfoot's eyes met his and Remus thought he saw a flicker of recognition. A flicker of warmth. Remus dried his eyes and stood shaking, biting his lips. He breathed deeply to regain his composure. "He will because I will make him."
Snape watched the hardness overtake Remus' startling golden eyes. He ran an agitated hand through his greased black hair. "You want to negotiate? Voldemort will ask for more than you can give."
"There is nothing I cannot give," Remus said, voice even. He still shook, but his haunted eyes held the steel gleam they'd sported when he held an entire people enthralled. Anger replaced fear. "But I will give that man nothing. Not when he did this."
Remus took a deep breath. "Sev, I need you, will you help me?"
Snape opened his mouth but Remus interrupted. "I was foolish to ask. Of course you would. I shouldn't have doubted. Send Draco to James and let the Order know the situation here. What Dumbledore has planned, bump it up to today. And…" the werewolf's face softened. "Watch over them for me. I trust you."
A strange warmth rose in Snape's chest as he'd realized he'd known Remus Lupin for more years than he could count. Perhaps he did not see what Sirius Black saw, but despite the face that he'd never seen the young werewolf in a romantic light, Remus did make his heart skip a beat, much like Dumbledore did at the height of his anger. A different type of power, but no less potent.
Snape struggled to find words. "You will go to Voldemort naked?"
Remus glanced down, confused. He flushed slightly when he realized his state of undress and hastily ran for his robe. His shirt was a messy tatter under the table. He shrugging the robe on, struggled with the buttons and said, "Sev, if I don't come back, though I know I will, tell Dumbledore Voldemort knows his plan."
Snape nodded. Remus knelt beside the bed kissed the werewolf along his open mouth, cutting his lip on fangs, and headed for the door. He paused at the doorframe. "Severus?"
"What now, Lupin?"
Remus gave a weak smile. "I promise I'll change the sheets when I come back." And then he was gone.
Pulling a chair and sitting, Snape glanced from the door to the dying creature on the bed. He shook his head. "You have no idea how fortunate you are, Black," he whispered. "What if I pointed my wand at you and killed you right now? Would that repay all those years at Hogwarts? Would you regret it then, the bastard that you were?"
"And Potter," he said after a moment. His teeth ground against each other. His clenched fists shook. "The two of you had everything, didn't you? The looks, the marks, the love of the students. They're both so blind. She… You didn't deserve it, not one moment of it. If you have any idea how much I hate… "
But he did not move to reach for his wand. After a few moments, he stood wearily, and left his office to find the children.
As much as he hated Potter and Black, Severus Snape still loved far more than he hated. Always.
Remus calmed his nerves as he strode through Durmstrang's halls. Deatheaters gave shouts as they spotted him and two closed in behind him.
"Werewolf," one growled. Remus vaguely recognized the voice of Sirius' cousin. Bellatrix. Wands jabbed painfully into his back.
"Let's go, werewolf," another spat. "You've evaded us long enough. The master wants to see you."
"Why not?" Remus said lightly. "Shall we go, gentlemen?"
Images of Sirius' dying wolf body flashed in his mind and Remus' eyes reddened. He willed the memory away forcefully and focused on the sounds of his feet across the floor. He smoothed down his hair and murmured a spell to heal the cut on his lip and dim the bruises on his face where Snape had punched. His hand strayed to his neck, where the heat from Sirius' kisses still lingered. Remus let his hands drop and his heart pounded more heavily.
"Voldemort," he said quietly as the Deatheaters shoved him into the office. The Dark Lord was a menacing shadow behind his desk, broad cloak draping down. A dark aura surrounded him, looming above him until Voldemort resembled a hunched, waiting beast instead of a man. He half stood when Remus stumbled into the room.
The Deatheaters piled into the office after Remus. He turned to regard them mildly. "If you wouldn't mind, gentlemen, I wish to speak to your lord alone."
Nervously, the Deatheaters glanced at Voldemort, whose handsome face was pinched and drawn. The Dark Lord waved them away and sat back, watching Remus wordlessly. The Deatheaters glanced at each other nervously.
"But my Lord," one of the younger Deatheaters began. His companions began edging for the door.
Voldemort's eyes narrowed. "Cruc-"
Remus shoved the last Deatheater out the door and slammed it before the Dark Lord could finish his curse. Cold sweat beaded on his back as he forced himself to release the knob on the door. The slow anger and the memory of Sirius' laugh gave him strength.
The office around them was black like despair. Lights lined the corners of the room, but did not light far beyond small patches along the walls. Remus did not bother to grope for chairs in the dim lighting, striding across the room and planting both hands on the edge of the Dark Lord's table.
Voldemort laughed as he looked up. His eyes were dark and the clatter of his nails against wood was a menacing echo in the still, heavy air. His gaze slid down the marks on Remus' neck. "I can feel that your little mate still lives, though it is a close thing. Tell me, how is such a thing possible."
"Easily," Remus said coldly. "Sirius Black the Deatheater swore fealty to you, and was your creature to kill. Sirius Black the werewolf swore no allegiance. His wolf side is keeping him alive."
"Not for much longer though," Voldemort sneered. "Unfortunately for me, tonight is full moon, and once again I've underestimated the strength of the werewolves." He shuffled the papers on his desk and pushed them out of the way. "Though I don't suppose he looks too handsome right now. Not the same man you remembered, I imagine."
"On the contrary," Remus said, taken aback by the unveiled satisfaction in Voldemort's voice. He cleared his throat and hid his imbalance. "He is as beautiful as a dream, as always."
He waited, feeling the soreness between his legs for the first time since he woke. Sirius had not held back the night before. Remus swallowed and kept the pain from his face.
Voldemort leaned forward, eyes gleaming. "And what do you want of me, moonchild?"
Not to be cowed, Remus leaned forward as well. The older man's hot breath across his face made Remus' skin crawl and he tightened his grip on the table to maintain his composure. His voice was calm as he spoke. "I would have you release him from your service."
"I am not interested in letting traitors live," Voldemort said simply. Then a leer stretched across his face. Remus gritted his teeth as the man's hands brushed his wrists and up into the arm of his robe. "Though if you are willing, Dumbledore's pet diplomat, we may come to some sort of agreement."
Remus snatched his hand back, shaken. Voldemort leaned back and reclined on the arm of his chair. "Tell me," he asked. "Were you in such a hurry to see me this morning? Or do you always go about wearing nothing underneath your robes?"
Nearly, Remus' hands shot to the collar of his robes, but he forced down the impulse and stood stiffly in the light. Not only was he too distracted to think of clothes, his underclothes were torn by his partial transformation during the night. They no longer hung on his body with any semblance of form.
Voldemort's face showed smug satisfaction. "Whore," he said loudly. Remus flinched at the word and the Dark Lord pressed on. "Did you come here hoping to trade yourself for your mate's pathetic short life?" He gestured. "Loose your robe and let's see if you're truly bare beneath."
"Did I hear right, moonchild?" Voldemort asked silkily.
"I said no," Remus repeated. His voice grew in volume. Back straight and eyes meeting the Dark Lord's, he approached the table again. He breathed deeply and eased a smile back on his face.
"I don't recall saying that I was here to bargain," he said softly. "I will give you nothing."
Voldemort's eyes clouded. "Then why are you here?"
"I am telling you a simple fact," Remus said. He did not raise his voice, but the weight of his words grew as he spoke. "Let Sirius go, or I will bring your entire Deatheater army down to dust by your feet."
There was a pause. Voldemort laughed. "That is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. How would you go about such a task?"
Remus smiled his polite smile and raised a finger. "It's not what I am going to do, it is what I have already done, with your help. One, you've tortured Lucius Malfoy's son and sent him far away on a mission that could take months or years. Madam Malfoy hates and mistrusts you, and who knows what poisonous things she and her son will tell dear Lucius when he comes home? And if Lucius turns, so will Avery, Nott, Crabbe, Goyle, who knows how many?"
A second finger. "You've nearly killed Sirius. The Deatheaters here are young and scared and they saw Sirius as a hero. Regulus, Peter, Karkaroff, Carrow, Gibbon, Rookwood, Rosier, there are so many in his debt. So many who loved him among your little army… He is a man with no less charisma than you."
A third finger. "You killed Crouch. You may not have seen it, Voldemort, but everyone else knew it. He loved you with everything in him. You tortured him and killed him. How will you conceal such a secret? Something that could waver even the most loyal of your men…"
The werewolf felt his grin grow malicious. "There are so many among your ranks whose loyalties waver, as if balanced on a blade. How should I proceed from here? Tell Dumbledore how undermanned you are right now? Tell Malfoy about his family? If I loose my tongue among your gullible army for five minutes, you will be finished. Friendless, powerless, with nothing. And I didn't set up any of it."
"You'd be dead before you could try it," Voldemort said, truly alarmed now. His hand inched for his wand.
Remus held up a hand. "I wouldn't, Voldemort. If I do not return, someone will owl Dumbledore and the Order will be over this place in hours. Can you evacuate in mere hours without uncomfortable questions?"
"You-" Voldemort's voice shook. His wand glowed green and the wavering tip painted bright shapes in the dim room. "You bluff."
"You're welcome to try, my Lord, see if I'm bluffing." Remus said mildly. He pulled open the collar of his robe. The shredded remains of his white shirt hung off his shoulders. Kiss marks lined his collar bone. He grinned up at the Dark Lord. "See, not truly bare after all. Just in love."
The Dark Lord's expression was one of pure rage. His fingers clenched and unclenched against his wand. His eyes glittered strangely as he stood.
Suddenly, Remus found his back pressed against the Dark Lord's chest. A thick arm was drawn across his throat. Remus choked, clawing at the arm. The werewolf rose inside him at the threat, angry and frantic.
Let loose! Remus found himself screaming. Let me loose! I'll kill him! I'll tear him into pieces!
"You've neglected one important thing, Remus Lupin," Voldemort snarled. "If I kill you, they'll fall upon this place like so many vermin. But I don't have to kill you. I'll pluck out your eyes, your fingers and your limbs and parade you in front of them. Think they'll attack if they think they can save your life? I know that old man Dumbledore too well for that."
Remus pulled the arm away, shaking like a leaf. "You don't know him well enough," he said. "He would attack nonetheless. However, I wouldn't expect you to understand."
"Understand what?" Voldemort demanded brusquely.
"Love," Remus managed, massaging his throat.
Voldemort struck him. Remus gasped and backed away, head ringing. Briefly, he wondered if he should tell the Dark Lord Severus Snape struck harder than he did. He decided against it, settling for a weak grin.
"Don't attempt to deceive me," Voldemort hissed. "I know of your love nonsense. I know that is precisely why he will not attack if you are alive and in my hands."
Remus shook his head. "Not his love for me, though that is strong enough. My love for the man you are about to kill. If you let Sirius die, I will go with him, without fail. If you prevent my death, then Dumbledore will know. To kill me is to show me mercy. He will not hold back."
"Even if you say the truth," Voldemort said. "What if I say you're too late, Black is already dead when we were bickering?"
"Impossible," Remus said. "I would feel it."
"And if I let him go but not you?" Voldemort said silkily.
"Then the snitch is in his court," Remus laughed. "And Sirius, Sirius may not have been the best player on our House Team, but he has never lost a game when it truly counted."
He held his palm against his bruised cheek, breathing deeply. "So choose… Tom Riddle. Let him live and let me go, or go down under, and history will always remember you as the dark wizard who failed to be."
"Mr. Vance," Dumbledore said thoughtfully. "I asked for you today because your people knew of a curse I believe could bring down the Dark Lord." He brought his old hands together and laced his fingers. "This curse brings two souls together, so that if one is killed, the other shall die as well, no matter the cause of death."
The man addressed shifted suspiciously in his chair. The phoenix on his arm burned a little hotter and puffed out its wings. Dumbledore's own phoenix Fawkes squawked and stole a lemon piece from the table, chewing and watching the meeting with disinterest.
Vance breathed deeply and met Dumbledore's eyes. "Why do you wish to know?"
"Because I am not a fool," Dumbledore said quietly. "I know Voldemort will surpassed me. Perhaps I am his match now, but while I will grow older, he will only grow more powerful. His power grows as he thirsts and his hatred builds. Mr. Vance, if I do not risk my life to take him, then who else will?"
"I admit I do not understand your adamant insistence," Vance said, frowning so fiercely his old brows knitted together and he stooped forward. "From my bond with my phoenix, I have lived far longer than you, Dumbledore, though I know you are well aged among your peers. Mine have been around a long time and I have seen other dark wizards and witches come and go. Countess Bathory of Hungary once bred a dark army of blood-sucking demons; tormenting and mutilating vampires she'd trapped until they went mad with the suffering. She was far worse than your Voldemort."
Dumbledore stayed silent, so the old man continued. "Evil will be defeated, in one way or another. They always have been and this time will be no different."
"You're wrong," Dumbledore said. "You all underestimate him. Did you think I've never heard of the infamous Countess? Of Lamia, of Kuei or all the past great evils of our world? Of… Gell… Grindelwald? I assure you, Voldemort is different. If we do not stop him now, Voldemort will set every continent ablaze." He closed his eyes briefly and polished his spectacles. "Please, Mr. Vance. If you do not trust me, trust in Remus, who trusts me. I will not abuse any power you share with me."
"It is not that simple," Vance replied. He gestured vaguely. "Such a bond requires… an affinity in magic, of fate, even. It is a bond used between beings who love each other, to last their entire lives, like the bond between phoenix and human. You propose to turn that into a vile thing, used to kill and hurt."
Dumbledore bowed his head. "Yes. I am sorry, Mr. Vance."
"And," Vance added. "Such a spell does not work when one party desires death. That is the only way to break the spell. In such a bond, if one party desires life and the other death, then the one who commits suicide will die and the other will live on."
"You misunderstand me, Mr. Vance," Dumbledore said softly. "I have no desire to die. I will not commit suicide. I will cast this and then I will fight him. And so, regardless of the outcome, my last thought would be how to defeat him, how to keep my students and the world safe."
"A harsh fate," Vance murmured.
"I've faced worse and triumphed," Dumbledore said firmly. "I will do so again. There will be replacements for me. And if there will be dark wizards and witches in the future, may they look back to this day and realize that good will triumph and there will always be people willing to fight and die for those they love."
The old man stared at Dumbledore for a few moments. "You will get your wish, Dumbledore," he said softly. "But I will not tell you how to perform the bond. Instead, I will take your place."
"Mr. Vance!" Dumbledore sat back, startled. "I cannot allow you to-"
"Not a matter of allowance," Vance said easily. "I have lived long enough, and there are many to take my place as well. My daughter, for one. Or you. If I am gone, you will take care of my people in my stead."
Dumbledore's mouth twitched and his eyes were pained. "Mr. Vance. I cannot thank you. I will carry your burden for the rest of my days. You are most merciless in exacting payment."
"That's why I lived so long."
A knock came from the office door. Dumbledore, headache growing, gestured to it. The door swung open to reveal a giant of a man. He ducked under the doorway and stood stooped in the small office, scraggly hair brushing the blue ceiling and dodging the light.
"Hagrid," Dumbledore smiled tiredly. "Are you rested?"
"Quite well, professor," Hagrid replied. He gestured outside. "The giants have agreed. They will stand with us."
"Good," Dumbledore nodded. "Then we are ready for our attack on Durmstrang."
Sirius woke to a pair of wide green eyes staring at him. For a long time, he did nothing but stare, lips twisting upward. He could feel every bone in his body, each aching in their sockets. The pain in his skull was incredible, pouring like thunder between his ears. He smelled blood and fever in the room, but the scents came to him from a distance. Sirius breathed shakily and tried to concentrate on the scene before him. The little boy reached over the edge of the bed and grasped his thumb. A sparkle entered those eyes.
"You're awake," Harry said. He rested his cheek on the bed and closed his eyes, briefly. "I was supposed to watch you, but you didn't move at all. I got scared a couple times, really. I'm glad you're awake."
I'm awake? Sirius thought idly. I am… how strange. Was he not supposed to be awake? He could not remember.
Even when he opened his mouth, Sirius wasn't sure what he meant to say. "Moon…"
"Just laid his life down to save your pathetic little hide," a voice said dryly from further off. The familiar sarcasm chased away all the remnants of sleep. Sirius sat up abruptly, and the pain struck him face on.
"Ow… Merlin," he groaned, clutching his head. He pitched forward against his knees. Bile rose in his throat. Every inch of him was damp with sweat. Merlin's beard, he stank. He wavered for a moment, between waking and black oblivion. The thought brought him back.
"Snape…" he croaked. "What? What did you mean?"
"I meant that of your merry little band, he was the only one of any worth," Snape said. He stood and folded the book in his lap. With a swirl of his cape, he headed out the door. "He's wasted on you. I simply cannot imagine… Regardless, you are awake, so I can remove myself from your disgusting presence."
"Wait," Sirius growled. When Snape did not stop, Sirius lunged for the side of the bed, landing painfully on his side. His stomach churned and he retched against the ground. "Snivellus!"
"Sirius, Sirius!" Harry patted his back frantically, pushing at his arms. Sirius rested a hand in the messy black hair to calm the boy.
"Well?" Snape said coldly from the door. "Did you insult me just so I would stay behind and watch your disgusting display? Or did you have other insults to throw?"
"Moony," Sirius barked. "Where is he? What is going on? I thought I-"
In a rush, memories of the previous night came to him. The talk with Dumbledore, the battle, the curse, the night with Remus. Remembering, Sirius' heart sped and his chest swelled with warmth, briefly expelling the nausea. And then… Sirius remembered death. The bright fields and listening, waiting, as his heart beat slowed and darkness crawled around him and the warm of Remus in his arms slowly melted in the dull pain.
"I was dead," Sirius whispered. He looked up, eyes wide with panic. "Snape, I was dead! I remember dying… so why…" Why am I still alive?
Snape should've felt satisfaction at the confusion on Sirius Black's face. Instead, he only felt bitterness.
Happiness. The incident only threw his own lack of fortune into sharp relief, taunted him with all that he did not have. If it was him slowly, painfully dying from Voldemort's yellow fever, who would've said with that steely glint in their eyes, "there is nothing I cannot give" for him? And Snape was sure she would've done for Potter, the blasted git.
"You should've died," Snape said numbly. "Lupin went to Voldemort and convinced him to let you go. I do not know how. I did not believe he could do it."
Snape felt his collar snatched and he was pressed against the wall. Hands dug painfully against his shoulder blades. "Where…" Sirius breathed with difficulty.
"Black, do you never look around you?" Snape sneered. "Or has the heat spoiled your brains? Lupin is on the bed next to you. Fell asleep as soon as he returned."
The look of elation and bliss that came over Sirius Black's expression did not make Snape feel better. He was released as Sirius surged to the bed next to the limp form under pale hospital blankets. He tidied his clothes and straightened.
"I'm going," he announced, but nobody in the room turned to him. Breathing hurt his chest as he swept from the room, holding his head high.
Outside, a tired Draco Malfoy leaned against the door to the inner chamber. The small, pale face was downcast and the blond hair drooped a little more than usual.
"You're going already?"
Snape turned to see the boy shuffle his feet. When he looked up though, the silvery eyes were unreadable. A slow second later, the boy crossed his arms and the familiar haughty Malfoy expression returned.
"Since I'm not welcome here, yes," Snape said.
"He's awake then," Draco said. "My uncle, I mean. I thought he was dead. I'd never… I'd seen wizards die before, but that was different. I've never felt so terrible before, when I thought he was dead and Remus was with the Dark Lord. And they don't even know how much I worried. Nor would they care, really. Why should they?"
Snape wasn't sure if it was the mellow mood descended over him, or if it was the boy's expressionless face. He turned back and knelt next to the boy. His robes settled around them. Draco twitched but his face remained passive.
"Mr. Malfoy," he said slowly. "One day you will realize that not everyone is destined to be happy. One day, I woke up and realized the one I love needed me to protect her happiness, and she needed me to give up mine for hers. When that day came, Mr. Malfoy, as it may come for you if you are unfortunate… remember their smiles and tell yourself… you are doing your part to protect that, and that should be enough. Do you understand?"
Draco shook his head. His eyes were livid. "No," he scowled. "Why should I sacrifice myself? I would go in and take whatever I wanted."
"Then why won't you walk into that room right now?" Snape taunted. "It's because you know, isn't it? Just like I do. That… is not the place for us, no matter how much they open their doors. It's for them, for Potter and Black and those hypocrites." He spat the words. "They will always be somewhere I cannot reach, no matter how hard I claw my way up. Her smile is a painful burden, but one I promised to bear."
Ignoring the look of dismay on the boy's face, though Snape's heart sank more at the sight, he turned and strode down the corridor. The echo of his boots against the floor vibrated through the empty hall. Snape clenched his fists until his nail marks were embedded in his palm.
"Sirius?" Harry shook the man worriedly. He had collapsed over Remus' bed, head bowed into the covers and eyes closed. His breathing was long and even. Harry hoped he hadn't fallen asleep again. It was an awkward position to rest in, and if past experience was any indication, an uncomfortable Sirius tended to be short tempered, though never malicious.
"Sirius, you need to wake up," he said urgently.
A low chuckle. "Harry, I am awake. Merlin… I'm awake, alive. It hurts so damn much, but… ugh… it's glorious."
The dark head lifted from the covers. Harry sighed in relief. Laughter had returned to Sirius' eyes, though there was a shadow underneath them. The man regarded him for a moment before picking himself up to sit on the edge of the bed.
"Where's the Malfoy brat?" Sirius asked. His eyes narrowed. "The little snitch isn't in some mischief again, is he?"
"No, no," Harry said hastily. "Draco hasn't come back yet. He's gone to tell the Order about Remus' plan. They both know what it is and they wouldn't tell me. Maybe he stayed behind because mom kept him for a meal. She did that once, and I laughed at him because mom can't cook."
Sirius laughed. "I can imagine, though your mother was a genius at potions, she cannot cook well enough to feed flies. Only one better at potions was little Snivellus, except he was always a chicken about owning up to his own works. Something about letting her win, he was smitten, you know?"
"He was?" Harry wondered. "He's so angry all the time."
"Bitter," Sirius said firmly. "As he'd always been because he was too much of a coward to go out and fight for what he wants."
Harry hummed and looked away. With the subject of Snape settled, the two sat on either ends of the hospital bed in awkward silence. Remus dozed behind them, bruises and cuts down his side, some from his partial transformation the night before, some from recent injuries. Watching him, Sirius felt the first of the anger start, now that euphoria dissipated.
What had Remus done to convince Voldemort. Horror and pride rose in Sirius' chest. He knew if there was anyone who could outtalk Voldemort, it was Remus J. Lupin. He just didn't know how.
Slowly, heart beating, fingers trembling, Sirius slipped his hand under the sheet and up Remus' thigh. Nothing felt out of the ordinary. No broken bones or bruises. But then, did Sirius really know what he was looking for, what he feared?
Sirius snatched his hand back when he realized Harry had been watching him with a frown on his face. "That was clinical," Sirius said, a little too loudly.
"You're like dad," Harry said finally. "He does that at night sometimes. I didn't notice it before." The smile across his boyish face was brilliant. "I'm sorry I was rude."
"That's a little too much information, Harry," Sirius said exasperatedly. "I don't need to know how he felt up Lily in the middle of the night. How would you know anyway, little brat?"
Harry flushed bright red. "No!" he denied vehemently. "Your look!" His voice softened. "You look at Remus the way dad looks at mom, when he thinks she's not looking. I've never seen anyone else with that look before."
"Perhaps you have simply not been looking," Sirius said, not unkindly. He could not help the smile that rose on his lips. Perhaps he was not so different from James after all.
"I don't hate you," Harry said suddenly. "Did you think I did?"
"Yes," Sirius said quietly. "You never looked at me." Harry did so now, and there wasn't a trace of fright or anger in his expression. In Sirius' memory, Harry had never warmed to him, glued to Draco's or Remus' sides and turning his small back to Sirius, as if trying to exclude him. What prompted the change?
"Well I never did," Harry said with a nod. His voice fell. "I was angry. Remus and Draco had never… they'd never been so attached to anyone else before. And I didn't like you and mom and dad always talked about you." Harry bit his lips. "But… I do feel safer with you than anyone, even Remus."
Sirius stared. What could he say to that?
Flushed, Harry changed the subject. "What does it feel like?" he wondered. "To love someone like that?"
"Ask your father," Sirius scratched his head. "I cannot explain. Like something bigger than yourself. Like you'd touched this great realm whenever you see their face, and you could never get close enough."
"I'd felt like that before, then," Harry said suddenly.
Sirius laughed. "Liar. You're far too young for it."
"Am not," Harry huffed. His green eyes glittered and the boy resembled Lily so much in the unnatural brightness in his eyes. Sirius blinked and remembered the girl from Hogwarts, who, to him, simply seemed constantly angry. However, even back then, he knew there was no room for doubt in such clear eyes.
"Who is it?"
Harry glanced away, flushing darkly.
"Now I know you're lying…" Sirius' mouth fell open as realization dawned on him. "That brat? Since when? I'd not suspected once."
"He came through the mirror bleeding," Harry swallowed as he remembered. "I thought he was so much older and rather scary, but he wasn't. He was more scared than I was, and I'd never met anyone so lonely before. He would never tell me anything he was feeling, but I knew anyway."
In Sirius' mind, images of his eleven-year-old self on the train to school surfaced. Haughty, rude, but clutching his suit cases a little too tightly. He was carsick on the train, but hid it with a scowl and terrorizing all who crossed his path. Back then, he had no inkling who the small blond boy he bumped into was. However, hadn't he felt the barest touch of the vast feeling? As if he touched a realm many levels above his life.
Though if he'd come crashing through Remus' mirror, how glorious would that have been?
Sirius stood. His hand trailed down Remus' cheek to his neck and down his chest. The werewolf did not stir, but his breathing was calm and his face was not tensed in pain or discontent. The dark lines under his eyes were like a statue's.
Sirius leaned in for a ghostly butterfly kiss on the other man's lips, fingertips brushing through soft hair, clumped with blood or sweat. Remus needed a bath, just as Sirius did. But first…
"The brat has been too long," he said shortly. "A trip to the Order should not take so long, whether Lily's food killed him or not. He must be back. I will search for him."
Sirius was nearly at the door when Harry's voice stopped him. "Sirius."
He turned back to the boy, checking his clothes. "What? I'll be careful."
"No," Harry shook his head. The boy hopped off the bed and stood near the foot, one hand clutching the railing. He feigned nonchalance, but Sirius could see the boy's hands trembling. "Dad told me once. I had a… um… godfather who was an old friend from school. Do you… do you know who he is?"
Sirius felt a smirk crawl up his face. "I suppose I do, Harry. I suppose I do."
Draco did not know which was worse, looking at the pain in Snape's face or hearing it in his voice with condemning words. Or recognizing that pain.
He supposed he did know. Draco did not belong in that small circle of Harry and Remus and Sirius Black. Or in that small Potter household of burnt food and great posters of Quidditch teams and Harry's childhood drawings. He belonged in Malfoy Castle, that great house of a hundred empty rooms, layers of echoes, and house elves that scuttled out of sight.
Draco strode away from the hidden office, swinging his invisibility cloak over his shoulders. He wanted his mother and her familiar clipped tones. At least those, he knew would stay.
The hallways opened up to Durmstrang's small salt-water pool. A school of tame sharks swam there and Draco knelt to stir the water. He felt a grim satisfaction as the sharks pushed up close. He reached deeper into the water.
"Small boy, are you unsatisfied with life?" an unfamiliar voice asked. "You stick your hand in such danger. Do you trust these tame sharks?"
Draco wrenched his hand from the water and swirled to face the voice. He did not remove his invisibility cloak.
The man removed himself from the shadows of the hall. He was middle aged, Asian, wore outdated jeans and T-shirt, and had a curious white stone clutched in one hand. The man held out a hand to Draco.
"Small boy, I know you are still there." The man grinned. "Did you want to lose an arm?"
"Sharks don't attack people," Draco huffed. "They wouldn't keep them in a school if they did."
"Still, you did not toy with the goldfish pools, and those are abundant in this place."
"That's none of your business," Draco shouted, throwing back his hood. If the man was a Deatheater, Draco didn't care. "Who are you?"
"And that," the man gestured to Draco's hood, "is also unwise. I see family resemblance, little Master Malfoy. You look very much like your father, if a little softer around the eyes. Will you not inform your master that we have reached our decision? We will stand with him in this fight. My comrades will arrive later tonight."
Draco stopped breathing for a moment. The plan! Remus' plan would be ruined if his father came back now. Sweat sleeked his palms. Draco wiped his hands on his robes and plastered a smile on his face. Remus thought Lucius Malfoy would turn against the Dark Lord for Draco, but Remus didn't know Lucius. Draco knew his father was too proud to turn for anything. "You are a Chiyen. We… we do not need your service right now. You can just go back. Where is my father?"
The Chiyen raised an eyebrow. "Your father stressed the situation was dire, so I've hurried here. Yet there is no one to greet me, and I have seen so few wizards worth talking to. I understand Master Malfoy sent a message through his lady wife…"
"My Lord is much too busy," Draco nodded convincingly.
The Chiyen sighed. "Very well, then lead me to my quarters, little master."
Draco had no choice but to lead the man through the halls, occasionally peering up at the man. Finally, he blurted, "What is a Chiyen anyway?"
The man laughed. "You would call them squibs, Master Malfoy."
"Squibs?" Draco wrinkled his nose. "Why would the Dark Lord want help from a bunch of squibs?"
"Squibs do not have magic of their own," the Chiyen explained, "but there is still one option open to them. Your land has not developed it, but both full blooded witches and wizards in our land have practiced this skill as well. Those best at it, however, are the squibs.
"That option is the reflection of magic."
Draco did not understand.
The Chiyan stopped by a window and looked out. "When another witch or wizards casts a spell at you, little Master, the magic is engraved in you. Whether that spell is a Cheering Charm or a Cruciatus curse, the power is harvestable. If a squib receives ten Cheering Charms and collects the magic from all those, he could cast a cheer a hundred times stronger than usual. If a squib receives a dozen Cruciatus, he could cast a torturing spell that would make the strongest of men wish for death and commit suicide."
The man was silent for a moment. "Wizards and witches cannot do this well. If you own magic, your body is naturally defensive. Each Chiyen has had thousands of spells cast on them from birth, breaking bones, healing, cheering, binding… It is a torturous training, but it actually makes us stronger than normal witches or wizards."
They started walking again. "Does that answer your question, little master?"
"Yes," Draco's eyes glowed. "Can you teach me? I want to know how to harvest power." Voldemort had cast Crucio on him before, and the idea of using that dark power against his enemies attracted Draco.
"You will not make a good Chiyen," the man said bluntly. "Your magic is strong. I felt it before I saw you."
"So?" Draco asked. "If they have to cast a hundred Cheering Charms at me before I can cast a powerful one, that's good too."
So the Chiyen explained how to withdraw magic into his skin, how to imagine being embraced by his mother. Draco thought of Narcissa, then settled for picturing Remus in his mind. Immediately, he imagined the young werewolf's thin arms and tilted grin. Remus' eyes glowed when he talked to Draco and he always leaned inward. Draco relaxed. The Chiyen threw spells at him, which quickly absorbed into his skin and he felt them sizzle inside his chest like pent-up energy.
"You have talent," the Chiyen said, amazed. "Whoever you were picturing, they must truly love you. Few wizards and witches I know could expose themselves like this. Though you do not harvest power as well as a squib, you'll do."
"So," Draco frowned. "How long until I can cast a Crucio that makes someone want to die?"
The Chiyen laughed as they reached an empty guest room. The man entered and poked his head out of the door. "Don't attempt it, little master. You'll need to be hit enough times to drive you mad."
The door shut and Draco replaced his hood. He hummed in excitement. Wait until he told Harry!
Abruptly, Draco remembered Snape's words. He did not belong. He thought of Remus when he harvested magic, but he felt like a cheat. Remus had no relation to Draco. What right did Draco have to use Remus' memory? Draco swallowed and wandered. He did not want to go back.
A heavy hand fell on his shoulder through the invisibility cloak. Draco yelped and twirled.
"Where were you going, brat?" Sirius Black asked lazily. "I could smell you from the other end of the school."
Draco shook off the hand and snarled, "None of your business."
Sirius' face darkened. "Hold out your hand," he said. When Draco did, the man struck him hard across his palm. The strike echoed through the hall and Draco felt pain spike up his arm. The boy clutched his arm to him and looked up, bewildered and angry. An irregular bruise formed on his palm.
"That is for being a brat," Sirius said, slipping his own reddening hand back into his robe. His eyes were dark. "It is my business because if a Deatheater found you, your death would be on my head. Your mother will kill me and your father will do worse. Remus would never forgive himself. Harry will grieve forever. It is my business because people care for you and I am one of them."
Sirius grabbed the stunned boy by the robe front of the invisibility cloak and pulled him closer. Draco's seemingly disembodied head trembled. "Now, come with me and stop causing trouble, brat."
Draco ducked his head and Sirius had a horrible suspicion the boy was crying. He scoffed. He had no idea how to deal with such a volatile child. Brats were trouble anyway. He'd leave Remus to deal with them.
Remus woke feeling more tired than when he slept. He groaned and buried his face in the pillow.
"Remus?" Harry's voice sounded too loud by his ears. Remus felt a weight settle on the bed. A small hand touched his shoulders.
"I'm still asleep," Remus mumbled, then blinked into the pillow and sat up. He swayed briefly. He could not believe how tired he was. His eyes fell closed and he eased back against the bed. "Sirius-"
"Sirius went to fetch Draco."
"He woke up then. He's alright."
"Yes," Harry paused, large green eyes worried. The boy fumbled with the sheets and his hands were unsteady. "Draco didn't come back. It shouldn't take so long, right? What if he got lost in the mirrors. There're so many mirrors in the world. What if he's hurt again, like the first time."
"I don't know how Draco's Mirror Walking works, Harry," Remus said softly. "But even when he was lost the first time, he found you. He'd never gotten lost since. Don't worry, Sirius will find him."
"I'm not worried," Harry huffed. He shuffled up the bed to curl beside Remus. "Mr. Snape left you that," he gestured.
Remus glanced at the hissing cup of wolfs bane on the counter and paled. He'd forgotten. The stress of full moon caught up to him. Remus shook at the thought. His first full moon since his mating.
Mating… Merlin… he and Sirius had… Now that the danger was past, memories of the previous night flooded him. Remus flushed so hard he felt dizzy. His lips and skin tingled as he remembered and he keenly felt the ache in his hips. His thighs felt uncomfortable when he pressed them together.
"Remus?" Harry said, alarmed. "Are you feverish?"
Which made Remus feel worse. "I…"
He groaned again when he scented Sirius in the hallway outside. Giving into apprehension and childish terror, Remus dropped back on the bed and pulled the covers up to his chin.
"I'm going back to sleep," he whispered, closing his eyes. Harry looked at him incredulously.
"Remus!" Harry protested.
Remus shut his eyes and feigned sleep. The door clicked open and shut. Draco's scent, like spice and a cold forest, was mingled with uncertainty and unease. Remus felt a brief moment of worry before Sirius' scent overwhelmed him. Sirius' scent was deep and powerful, like the sea, the warm sand and as dark as a moonless night. Remus' breath caught. Warmth flooded him and Remus was sure every inch of his skin was red and hot.
"Draco," he heard Sirius say. There was a scuffle from the children and Remus heard their footsteps retreat into the adjoining back room.
No, he thought, near panic. Harry, traitor, don't leave me.
The bed compressed as a body heavier than Harry's settled onto it. Remus felt Sirius lean over him, an arm on either side.
"Not awake yet, Moony?" Sirius asked. His voice was gentle, but Remus heard a smirk. "I'm not such a good man I won't take advantage you know?"
Remus' heart skipped a beat and he felt terror.
Sirius was faster. He rolled onto Remus, knees spreading apart sore thighs and his large hands diving under the blankets. Sirius' fingers were rough and cool against Remus' skin.
"No," Remus yelped. "I'm awake." He sprang up and crashed into Sirius' chest.
Unsurprised, Sirius caught the back of Remus' neck and pulled him up into a hard, overpowering kiss. Sirius' tongue pushed past his lips, sliding between teeth and roughly tracing sensitive spots inside. Sirius' hand found its target upon too-hot skin. Remus' wrists were caught and pinned above his head. The dark haired man pressed Remus back into the bed, pressing down so hard he made Remus breathless. Remus did not remember what his normal body temperature felt like, he couldn't remember anything but the heat and the sensation. His whimper was swallowed by Sirius' kiss.
When Sirius finally pulled away, Remus sagged against the pillow. He waited till his vision cleared a little and stared at Sirius, who was always panting. A hand still lazily traced along Remus' stomach, dipping into his bellybutton, causing him to gasp.
"My turn?" Remus asked shakily. He pulled his hands free and placed them on either side of Sirius' face, feeling skin as hot as his and the hum of life. "You're alive. Merlin… Padfoot, don't you ever… You don't know how I…" His normally smooth tongue failed him. Remus leaned up to kiss the corners of Sirius' lips, pressing their foreheads together.
"I'm alive," Sirius choked, squeezing him tighter. "I was ready to die, and I was happier than I'd ever been in my life. Yet my heart broke every time I looked at you last night. I can't explain. I had only happy thoughts, yet I couldn't stop crying." He swallowed. "I'm so sorry."
"You didn't think I'd follow you?" Remus asked softly. "You didn't think that if you died, I'd follow you?"
Sirius stiffened. With their cheeks touching, Remus felt Sirius' jaw tighten. Then he relaxed. "I did think that, but I knew everyone would stop you. You love them, the brats, I mean. They needed you. You wouldn't have done it in the end."
"I would!" Remus felt tears again. He kicked out and Sirius grunted. "Draco and Harry may need me, but…" He clung on. "I need you. More than they'd ever need me."
Sirius groaned. His expression darkened. Sirius remembered the way Voldemort had stared at Remus. They kissed again, slower and gentler this time. "This is worth everything. But, Moony… Voldemort? You shouldn't have. Are you so foolish? Did he hurt you? Did he-"
Remus looked away and his lips tightened.
"Moony," Sirius shook. "Look, he can take nothing from you. There's nothing anyone could do to make you shine less…"
Remus was laughing. Sirius drew away a little, stunned. He couldn't remember the last time Remus had laughed so openly. Events before last night seemed years ago.
When Remus looked at Sirius again, his golden eyes were bright and strong. Confidence made his face glow and Sirius felt a love bordering on awe. Confidence made Remus far more beautiful.
"What, Mr. Padfoot?" Remus leaned in to smile against Sirius' neck. "Is sex all I can offer? I am better than that, I think. As for Voldemort, he is no match for me in negotiations. I would be a poor negotiator if I allowed myself to be hurt. I gave him nothing in return for the world."
Sirius felt the last of the tension drain from him. "I am humbled, Mr. Moony."
"As you should be." Remus kissed him one last time before sliding out from beneath Sirius. He leaned against the headboard and rubbed his eyes. "Merlin, I'm tired. But we have no time to rest. What is the hour, Padfoot?"
"Four, last I checked out in the hall," Sirius replied.
Remus groaned. "Albus and the others are attacking at seven. We have three hours to make sure the kids know what to do. Draco has the ability to escape, but he refuses to leave without Harry. We'll have to hand Harry over to the rescuers. And… it's full moon tonight."
"Shit," Sirius said calmly. "We can't just lock ourselves in. If we take wolfs bane, we'll be useless and burdens to the rescuers. The battlefield will be chaotic."
"Now that we are two, a pack and mated," Remus' cheeks heated a little again. "Our human minds should maintain a little control. We'll need to keep the mission in mind. We will fight our way out. We'll defeat any Deatheater that tries to stop us." He leaned forward to take Sirius' hand. "To you and your wolf side both… er… I am your mate. It is a fact. Don't try to reinforce that in the hallways tonight."
"Sex on a battlefield," Sirius considered soberly. "A pity. It would've been a thrill. But I suppose if my mate requests it… I'll have to be selfless." He paused to take a deep breath before pulling away completely. His eyes were dark as he stared at Remus. "You are truly mine then, Moony? After a whole life of pining and sneaking and plotting? It's not just the werewolf bond, but your feelings too?"
"Soul and heart," Remus said. "If you didn't know that since third year Hogwarts, you're a bigger fool than I thought." He grinned, which made the room brighter and softer. "As for my body, that depends entirely on your performance tonight, Mr. Padfoot."
Author's Note: After dying for more than a year, Sirius Black is revived! And er… me too.
Yes I have dropped off the face of the planet and am now writing from outer space. (Weeps). Somewhere in the tip of the Big Dipper, I think… I would say sorry again, but an apology just doesn't cut it, does it? (crawls away into a hole)
The climax of this chapter, which was Remus confronting Voldemort, ended up being a lot shorter and a lot less powerful than I would've liked. But I enjoyed writing Remus at work the way I envisioned him. What I've always found most powerful about Remus in the books was his ability to gently persuade others. His tongue was hurtful sometimes, but always succeeded.
I love Snape, I really do, but deep down, I do not think he is a wholesomely good person. That's actually what I find attractive about his character, that he is a villain with a great capacity for love and a great capacity for evil, and wounds and suffering. When I read the book, I saw someone that was constantly in pain, and still doing his best because of it, and I hoped I was able to show even a bit of that in this chapter.
What Snape said to Draco in this chapter is something I hope will carry on to the sequel of this story, which I am determined to write, but am unsure when I will be able to. I'd like to finish this story first, as there are only 13 chapters… 12 if some of the later ones are short, which I suspect they will be.
I'm sorry there was so little SiriusxRemus in this chapter. However, this is as much an adventure story as it is a romance, so… yeah. Hopefully, there was enough little details, character developments and other stuff to make up for it.
ChibiMewPiku: Thank you so, so much! And you're my latest reviewer and, as always, that means you're one of the main reasons I had for updating. So really, I have to thank you! It's a little ironic because I've been struggling with emotions and descriptions in my writing lately. And thank you for being willing to wait.
Muumuu122: Yes, I'm continuing. (Winces) Just… slowly… There's only two or three more chapters until the end, so I hope that makes up for the slowness, knowing the story is more than halfway finished. Thanks for reviewing!
SilverWhiteDragon: ?? What? What? Sirius didn't die! No, he didn't! I swear! (Points above) See? See? I don't lie. Hm… there's a rhyme in there somewhere.
Vixen-Ra: OOC… That's one of this fic's greatest flaws, isn't it… I couldn't help it with this one. All the characters just seemed to come off differently when I write. I was hoping my other fanfic kept them a little more in-character. Thanks for reviewing again! That people are still reading gives me the greatest thrills ever.
Shinigami: Teehee. That actually seems more like the sort of thing Lily (or at least the Lily from my story) would do. But was Rita Skeeter a reporter at this time? This is at least six years before we meet her in the cannon version. Hm… I'm sure if I do some more research, I'll be able to find out, or find someone who's close enough to Skeeter. The Minister is going down… down… down… down… (sings)
Annaiel: Oh, that's horrible! (Though I've done it too, laugh at funerals, that is. My dad threw me out of the car on the highway and drove off. Didn't come back for like… 20 minutes. (cries)). I definitely got your review, and I'm so relieved I was able to create the right emotion. I was hoping it wasn't just cheesy and cliché. And yes, I should be shot for not updating.
gay for yaoi: Ooh! Support! Support is wonderful! Thank you so much! I hope I haven't driven you off and you'll get to read this.
red eye witch: Thank you! Unfortunately, sometimes I did think of the ideas at 2 am… (It's 2 am right now, as a matter of fact). But you know? Sometimes you can't write down the ideas in your head unless you're so tired you can't see the computer screen, ne? I always look everything over to see if there are holes (which there always are) though, and try my best to fix them. It's great you think Sirius developed. It would be horrible if people thought he didn't change, because he was such a (sexy) bastard at first.
Emerald Eyes of Flame: I don't understand… (is confused) How can emerald eyes be flaming? Unless you mean those scary green fires from ghost movies. And now it's updated… just… 7 months afterwards. (hides)
Sui-chan: And MOAR you shall have. But yes, slowly. Patience is the key. Muahahahaha. I am evil and I will be killed by a superhero dropping a car on my house. Except, you know, all the superheroes are in the US.
Cookie Gestapo: Yup yup, I'm evil and no good, but eeewww, I'm not a pooper scooper! I can barely stand to pick up my dog's poop. Okay, okay, I do and I'm a good member of the community. But erm… I still don't like poop. And sorry, I didn't mean for it to be a cliff-hanger. It actually felt like the natural place to stop because it is the end of something and the beginning of something new. Hm… I sound like a fortune cookie.
Hawk Stout: I'm a greedy, greedy woman. 218 (or 230 now) reviews are not enough. I want MOAR! (sends subliminal messages). Well, unfortunately, the reason why Sirius is still alive isn't as romantic as the one you claimed, but has everything to do with his new werewolf status. I don't think it was explained sufficiently in the story. Maybe I'll have to fix it after the story's finished.
Hannio: I hope you'll like this chapter too. My writing style and form has changed so much that I really can't tell if people will like it anymore. At least it doesn't have as many grammar errors, I hope. That I'm hoping I've improved on.
RoxasIsReal13: (is embarrassed) That's probably because you've read all the best ones earlier. I'm sorry this took so long. It was actually the Chiyen part that gave me trouble. I'm finally coming back to the missions given out in the first chapter.
Kreoff210: You assume right! There's more. 3 chapters more after this, actually, though the last chapter will most likely be epilogue-like. I hope you'll be patient enough to wait that long and finish. (bows)
Crimson Decade: Gahh! (Goes into time machine and hands over tissues). Too late, I know, but at least now you would've gotten over your grief and finally, onto the happy stuff! Like the fact that Sirius is not dead. And yeah, I hate writing tragedies, though I know one day I'll want to write a story that doesn't have a fairy-tale ending. This one probably will, though.
Ice Dragon3: (Laughs nervously) I think the chapter'll have to be novel length (which it isn't) to make up for how long I don't update. Heh, Sirius and Remus are regular fools, like they're still seventeen or something. They suck at communication, no matter how good a tongue Remus has. I hope I haven't disappointed anyone with how Sirius survives, and it wasn't too anti-climactic.
THE sheep: Gosh, really? I admit that one's funnier and has less OOC, but this one's nearly finished and I'm sort of stuck in that one. I really don't know how long I want it to go on for, and so haven't been able to plot on ahead. I know little stuff, like Christmas, why Hogwarts was spared and those kinds of things, but I don't know how Harry and Draco will get together at all.
RegretfullyYours: Yikes! No heart attacks! I've seen them before and they're terrifying. I hope your love for SiriusxRemus haven't waned. And I promise that when this fic ends, I'll clearly mark it with a bit THE END. Hm… honestly, I do think I will only write three stories in this fandom. The two that I have now, and the sequel to this one. I'm moving into original work.
Nightshade218: Hey! In my defense, I left a note at the beginning too! Or were you too eager to get to the story? (Smirks, and then grovels) SOOORRRYYY for the late update!
Suicidal Button: (Runs screaming from sporks) Sirius and Remus and sex, oh my! Thank you so much! And seriousness is over-rated, and the Sirius-serious pun is overused but I simply can't help it. Aw… I hope you did and could wait for this next part.
Faery Goddyss: Wicked spelling! Thank you for such sophisticated reviews! My goal is always to improve and keep telling stories. And on one hand I think working at my own pace is good. On the other hand, I think I'm a bum for waiting so long. And hee hee, I actually like SiriusXRemus better, and also there are so many DH fan fiction out there that I wanted to write this one first, right? I'm a fan of both though.
My grudge against JKR is the epilogue. She RUINED my dreams! (Cries, sulks, emos). And yeah, I often have trouble finding something to read.
I've had trouble being in-character for kid!Draco and kid!Harry and I think they're really OOC, so it's a relief that they're cute. I mean, I've never seen them in the books and JKR doesn't actually have a lot of toddlers to get examples from either. And if you like Remus with a backbone, hopefully you'll love him in this chapter the most.
BabayBunny: It IS spring. Well, spring a year later. My finance is a little easier this time. Last year I had to work full time, hard core, and I think I died a little every day. Nah, I exaggerate, it wasn't that bad, but I'd hate to write when I'm mentally and physically exhausted and cranky. I think I'd just create bitter work. (nods) And oh I think DH isn't just in the background this chapter anymore, Harry admitted he's in LOVE!
Angelike Riddle: EVIL is what I strive to be. Muahahaha. Sirius was dying on that bed for a whole year, I guess, but he has a Will to Live, and so he has come back! And nope, this chapter certainly isn't depressing. It has kisses! Kisses can't be depressing… unless they lead to someone dying that is, or they're from a dementor.
HisBloodyRefuge: Deatheater!Sirius is dead and no-more… Would you still like this story? (Puppy-eyes). I know it has been a while, but hopefully you're still up to reading and I haven't been removed from everyone's alert lists for being a lazy bum…
PaddyWaddy: I keep my promises! I do! And 8 chapters is a lot when there are only 12 chapters in the story, really. I do hope enough happens to make it seem like an adventure as well as a romance, that it feels like the characters went on a journey both physically and mentally. And yes, Draco is the mirror kid. I laugh because everyone portrays him to be such a narcissist, and the mirror's a perfect super-power.
Trendyfishie89: That is SUCH a great name! Cute and catchie and even the numbers seem very design-y. The next chapter wasn't soon, but I hope you'll still be willing to read it.
DrOwNiNg In EbOnY: Your name is always hard to type, but definitely worth it. Send me tapes! Three copies please! Are you charging? And Sirius, dear, you aren't in these things because you two are sneaky. You like being on the verge of being caught but take pride in not getting caught. At least, that's how I've portrayed you in my other fanfic. If you do make a video, it'll just make it too easy, right? And poor Harry, Draco simply doesn't have the same Marauder ethics. And really Harry, you were never the brightest light bulb when it comes to these things. (laughs)
Irish-Mexican: I'll bet you wish now that you'd never found this fic, or found it after it's done. I'm sorry I'm a slow updater. I'll bet many people has given up already, and I wouldn't wish that fate on anyone. But I'm SO happy that it made you read into the night. It gives me such a feeling of accomplishment. And I'm glad you felt sad for Crouch, he was such a pathetic character. Ne, are you of age now? (waggles eyebrows) It's been more than a year, after all. And YES, you were my 200th reviewer, I'm so honored that anyone would notice these things.
I think I write okay, but really, if I was anywhere close to JKR, I'd be a millionaire too, which, you know, I'm totally not. I'm not even living off of writing, though I hope to do so one day. And I will cheer with you! SiriusxRemus 4EVA!
Jka1: Voldemort may be cunning, but he's no match for our Remus. (Nods sagely). Though I hope that part was convincing. Voldemort is such a perverted bastard, I totally didn't intend that. I'm glad you enjoyed the lemon though it wasn't supposed to be entirely happy. I hope this lives up to expectations.
Puinl: They're not so mushy in this chapter, but the true love is still there! If you squint! I've always thought if Sirius and Remus got together they'd be witty, James would be hen-pecked and DracoxHarry would be fighting all the time and alternating between angst and anger and LOVE. Muahahaha. Yeah, I totally agree that people love in different ways, and I'm glad I could find a way that fits. And yes, now they'll be together forever. And I think most of us here are romantics, right?
Sunflower Seeds: This time around? Who knows. I'm sorry, maybe it could be a form of self-advertisement, that I update so slowly and force you all to read my stories over and over again. Gosh, I feel sweaty now, even though I've finished the chapter. It's a lot of pressure.
Ora-shini-gi: They had one moment where they communicated everything, but their problems are still not solved! You've been such a loyal reviewer and I love you all so much. I hope to see people again, but I do have a feeling I'll lose a lot. Purely my own fault though… (Cries)
Rosemary's Granddaughter: Gasp! I LOVED Dumbledore! I loved that old man. Hm… I think 'I'm about to die' sex is actually one of the worst kinds. They're all giving and such, but there's something really sad about it that I'm sure everyone in the scene can sense. Readers too, though to us, hopefully it'd be beautiful as well. I prefer the possessive kind of rescue sex, myself.
Apus-Equuleus: Will you come back? You're the one I'm the most anxious to see, actually, since you've been reviewing all along and I'd cry.
I'm so glad the lemon wasn't disappointing, even if it was sad. I know a lot of people have sexy lemons for their first times but that was never what I wanted. As dominant and angry and possessive as Sirius is, I thought his love for Remus wasn't actually a possessive love, even if it was a little selfish. I just thought he needs Remus' love as well, and he couldn't be like Snape from this chapter, living with unrequited love. Sirius just loves a little bit differently. And Remus is just an idiot and a martyr. So I thought their first time shouldn't be ANYTHING like non-con. And it should mean the world to both sides and it's the moment when, yes, they are truly happy.
Yes, there will be a happy ending for this pair. This and the sequel are plotted out, but I think the people reading Harry Potter fan fiction are dwindling, so I wouldn't be surprised if my sequel is vastly unpopular. (scratches head).
Hm… I'd actually always found Snape somewhere between good and bad. And Voldemort just completely bad, though he is bad in a human way and not in a demonic way, which means there are still parts we can relate to, right?
WhiteWolfCub: Thanks for coming back! I was really nervous about the lemon, so I'm glad! And YES continuations. 3 more chapters to go! Cheers!
Aclytie: Oh, I'm sure my method fails in comparison to some of the possibilities you've come up with. And now you must feel guilty reccing my fic because I am so late! Muahahaha. Erm… I mean, yes, I know it's not something to be proud of. I hope I haven't made Remus react not strongly enough, or made it melodramatic, but you guys'll be the judge of that.
Lilia Black: Everyone's glad Sirius won't die. Then I've succeeded. And really, who comes to fan fiction to read tragedies? They'd be my heroes because I could never stand reading tragedies, especially in fan fiction. Well… I didn't update soon, but I did update, so that's half of your request, right?
Bluudyrabbitofportland: Well, your name is long but it's not hard to type at all! So no worries! You shouldn't thank me for updating. It should be a writer's responsibility to finish, right? And while I'm irresponsible in other ways, I'm always responsible to writing. No luck with scholarships, but I worked and so money isn't so much of a problem now. Thanks for your concern!
Rekahneko: Let's see if you have ESP and still think this story won't be abandoned. And yes, Sirius is rough but he has a gentle side too. I think on some levels, he is very frightened that he would lose the things he loved, just like Draco does right now, except Draco shows it more. Sirius in my version and the original had a bit of a bad childhood, and I think that does influence how he behaves as an adult, though he has grown up to be a very remarkable one, ne?
Jay: Then I've succeeded! Yay! I'm sure some people will think it was vulgar, but if there are people who like it, then I don't mind at all. Is it really your favorite? That makes my heart pound just a little faster. Thank you so much and I hope I don't disappoint!
SPEEDIE22: I'm greedy too! If you aren't too ticked off at my laziness, please review again! Thank you!
Trista: Ooh! You remembered that Remus being sire and submissive part? That'll definitely come up and be solved later. There'll be a bit on that in the next chapter too. And while this story is ¾ over, I promise I'll try my best to make the ending worth it. And then, if you guys are still interested, I'll write the sequel about Draco and Harry, though I can't guarantee how long it'll take. And Acks! You found Voldemort kind? I'll have to try harder then, I thought he was rather cruel. Hm…
Next Chapter: The Flame-Wreathed Onslaught.