Into the Darkness

The summer after Harry's sixth year at Hogwarts, Remus sits in the library of Number 12 Grimmauld Place. The light from the candle flickers, casting shadows around the room. He's holding a photograph in his hand but looks up when Harry approaches with a smile on his lips.

"Hello Harry," he says warmly.

Harry smiles in response, a bit wearily but a smile nonetheless. He looks down at the photograph Remus still holds between his fingers. It's of the four Marauders in their last year. It is a Muggle photograph and they are motionless, smiling brightly at the camera.

"You loved him, didn't you?" Harry asks suddenly.

Remus looks up from the photograph and into green eyes. He pauses a moment but answers without clarifying. "Yes, of course I did. He was one of my best friends, Harry."

Harry sits down next to him on the leather sofa. He looks down at his hands before speaking.

"No, I mean… you and Sirius… you were in love, weren't you?"

Remus stiffens slightly at the soft accusation that no one else has dared to make, despite their pitying looks and whispered condolences.

"Yes, we were at one point," he agrees, "but that was many years ago. Before he went to Azkaban."

"Not after?"

Remus shakes his head, a little sadly. "Sirius… Azkaban really changed him, Harry. I'm sorry you didn't get to know him before he was imprisoned. He was a very clever, energetic, loving person. After Azkaban, he really wasn't thinking of relationships. There were more important things, like the Order and watching after you," he adds and squeezes Harry's shoulder affectionately.

"But you still wanted him," Harry says, looking carefully into Remus' eyes.

Remus looks away. "I did, yes," he says evenly.

Harry sighs and leans into Remus' arm.

"I'm sorry. If it wasn't for me --"

"-- Don't even finish that sentence, Harry. Sirius' death was not your fault. Don't ever think that, all right?"

Harry nods miserably.

"I miss him," he says, and Remus tries to ignore the way Harry's voice breaks.

"I miss him too," he agrees, putting an arm around Harry, pulling him close.

The candle flickers with a soft hissing sound before withering and dying, leaving them together in the darkness.