Heya everyone! I am a HUGE fan of Sirius/Remus, so I couldn't help but take a shot at a fic centered around them. This is the first part in a series of one-shots, so I am planning on writing more. They will all be slightly AU and will be spin-offs of this one, so technically, this is the prologue.
Warnings: This contains slash between Sirius Black and Remus Lupin. Constructive criticism is welcome. Flames will be laughed at and used for better things, like making toast for example!
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter, for if I did, a certain werewolf and a certain Animagus would have their own little "Chamber of Secrets".
As the Hogwarts Express rolled out of the station, rain began to pour vigorously upon the locomotive, staining its opaque windows with tear-like streaks. Seated in one of the cozy compartments within was Remus Lupin, Hogwarts newest Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. Prior to that year, Remus had never set foot in the magical school. Though he had every right to attend Hogwarts and become a great wizard, he had instead taken lessons from his father and various tutors in order to protect his most horrible secret: he was a werewolf.
Despite his affliction, he had been permitted to teach at the school. He had even been given a place to safely transform: the Shrieking Shack. Musing over the kindness he had been shown, Remus pressed his forehead against the train's rain-streaked window, wishing already that he could return to the school. Soon, though, he began to relax, and the rain's pattering melody lulled him into sleep.
Remus' cat nap quickly morphed into a near-comatose slumber. In fact, when the train finally arrived at Platform 9¾, it took a forceful shove (compliments of a brilliant young witch named Hermione Granger) to wake him. Tiredly, he exited the train and trudged through the Muggle train station. Once out of sight, he summoned the Knight Bus and began his journey home.
Little did the werewolf know, at the same moment he was on the road, zooming to his house, an unexpected visitor was arriving at Remus' humble dwelling. This guest, a large black canine, limped toward the residence and plopped down on the shabby wooden porch, whimpering as a jolt of pain shot up his leg.
But, this furry creature was no ordinary canine: he was none other than the escaped convict, Sirius Black. Releasing a low growl, Sirius curled into a partial ball and tended to his wounded leg, licking it roughly.
He had been arrested for a crime he hadn't committed. A rat, quite literally, named Peter Pettigrew, had framed him, and Sirius had been locked in Azkaban, the wizard prison. It had truly been a miracle that he had escaped. Thankfully, he and a friend named James Potter had explored the world of Animagi. At first, they had merely wanted to prove they could master the technique; how was Sirius to know it would aid his escape? Even luckier was the fact that no one knew of his canine form. Because of that, Sirius could remain in the dog's body, and he wouldn't be recaptured.
When Sirius had completed his task to the best of his ability, he huddled up against the side of the house, wet and cold. At the moment, he didn't care who lived at the broken-down or what they would do when they found him. He could only worry about how tired he was, and soon he had drifted into a dreamy void.
While he slept, Remus reached his destination, his shabby dwelling outside of London, and he sloshed through the rain toward the house, dragging an old trunk behind him. Drowsily he splattered up the mildewed stairs onto his porch, retrieving a key from his coat pocket. As he reached for the doorknob, a blur of black pierced the corner of his eye. Whirling toward the previously unseen blur, he spotted the sopping canine. He quickly noticed that the poor dog was emaciated and had dirty mats in his wet fur. Remus also noted that the canine was elevating his tender back leg as he growled weakly.
Remus abandoned his trunk and stepped closer, oblivious to the fact that the dog was, in fact, the now famous Sirius Black. The nearer Remus came, the more teeth Sirius flashed, but the werewolf didn't hesitate. Quietly, Remus crooned, "Come here, boy…"
He dropped slowly to his knees and held a reassuring hand out to the dog. Reluctantly, Sirius sniffed the hand, trying to determine whether Remus was a friend or foe. After a moment, the dog slowly inched forward, staying low to the ground.
"That's a good boy, come on," Remus cooed. When Sirius had crawled close enough, Remus stroked his massive head gently, and, after a minute, the canine yipped happily, wagging his tail. "Poor boy… I wonder who you belong to. You don't have a collar, so I suppose you're a stray?"
Remus stood and unlocked the front door, holding it open for Sirius. "Well, I'm a bit of a stray myself. As they say, birds of a feather flock together, eh boy?"
To this, the bear-like canine yipped in appreciation and pranced (though actually it was more of an awkward hop, thanks to his leg) into the weather-worn dwelling.
Never before had Remus attempted to bath a dog, but in in the case of Sirius, it was a necessity. To make matters worse, the mutt seemed to sense the werewolf's inexperience and was determined to give him a hard time. As the lupine professor filled the bathtub, the canine barked loudly and playfully shoved him into the water.
Remus came up sputtering, "Bloody…pfft! Mongrel!"
This amused Sirius greatly, and he began to run three-legged circles around the room. Of course, the festive rampage ended when Remus grabbed the dog and dragged him, kicking and barking, into the tub.
"Now," Remus growled. "You are getting a bath even if I have to stay in this tub to give you one." Sirius splashed fiercely, thrashing as best he could with his injured leg, but eventually he settled down and placed a sloppy smooch on Remus' face. The thin professor grumbled in frustration, hoping the dog would remain calm.
And, indeed he did. Sirius had decided to show his gratitude to the tired man and behave for the remainder of the bath. He stood obediently as Remus grabbed a bottle of shampoo (albeit the kind for humans, but it was all he had) and scrubbed his matted black fur. Then, after the suds had been washed off, Remus located a brush and raked through the dog's fur until it was mat-free.
When bath-time was over, Sirius leapt from the tub and Remus drained the dirty water, praying that the pipes wouldn't become clogged with black hair. Sirius shook himself dry and gave Remus a thankful bark.
Once the tub had been drained, Remus decided to take a shower himself, noticing the soaked dog hair on his drenched clothing. Not bothering to let Sirius out of the room, Remus began to peel the wet clothes from his body, oblivious to the thoughts running rampant in Sirius' mind as he stared at the werewolf's lithe, scarred body.
Sirius wondered where Remus had acquired such awful scars until his eyes rested on a large tear on the professor's stomach. This mark looked much different than the others. It seemed to glow, even against Remus' pale flesh, in an almost inhuman manner.
Suddenly, Sirius knew exactly what the mark was: a werewolf bite. He concluded that Remus had most likely given himself the other marks. Whimpering, Sirius nudged the man's creamy thigh then leaned up to lick the wolf bite sympathetically.
Remus flinched, gazing fearfully at the canine. Wildly, he gasped, "You don't know what that mark is, do you?" Then, he mentally slapped himself. "Of course you don't… Even if you did, you aren't exactly going to tell anyone, are you?"
Sirius laughed to himself at the irony of the situation as Remus patted his furry head and turned on the shower. The fawn-haired man smiled at him and said, "Well, boy, if you must know, I was bitten by a werewolf a long time ago. I must look horrible, even to you. But it's alright, I'm not really dangerous."
Sirius barked in what Remus guessed was comprehension. It amazed the professor slightly that the dog was so intelligent, but he never would have suspected Sirius of being anything more than a canine.
Remus shrugged and stepped into the shower, pulling the curtain shut behind him as Sirius eyed him intently. The Animagus noted that despite the scars and somewhat tired appearance, Remus was rather attractive. Sirius thought himself lucky to have ended up in the home of such a perfect and yet damaged wizard.
His thoughts were cut short when Remus' honey-sweet voice echoed through the bathroom, "What should we name you, boy?"
Suddenly, Sirius formulated a risky plan. As Remus hummed in concentration, Sirius morphed back into a rather naked human and peeked around the shower curtain at the werewolf's water-streaked back. Remus asked, "How about… Midnight, maybe?"
"Actually I'd like to keep my own name."
"Oh alright," Remus replied quickly, his mind not locking on the fact that a dog wouldn't be speaking back to him. He began to speak again, but froze, realizing that he had actually gotten a reply from the bear-like dog, who had turned into a human without his knowledge. Remus whirled around, his eyes meeting with the unshaven face of the other man, who was still gazing around the curtain at the werewolf.
In shock, Remus stumbled backwards, slipping on the water-slick bottom of the tub. He fell over the edge of the bathtub, ripping the curtain from its rod as he toppled to the ground. Remus braced himself for an impact that, shockingly, never came. Slowly, the wolf's eyes fluttered open, and he found himself cradled in Sirius' arms.
"You should be more careful," Sirius laughed, setting Remus safely on his feet.
The professor eyed Sirius, frightened. Before, Remus had been shocked only because there was a man in the room with him. Now, realization dawned on him. The pale, starved man in his bathroom was none other than Sirius Black.
Remus gasped in fear and pressed himself against the wall. "Y-you're Sirius Black!"
"That's right," Sirius said cheerfully.
"You escaped from--you're a--"
"Don't say 'murderer', 'killer', or anything else of that sort," Sirius whispered sadly.
"But you are! You were in Azkaban!" Remus cried.
Sirius retorted, "Yes, but I was framed!" He moved close to the smaller man, causing Remus to press harder against the wall. The Animagus noted that Remus was trembling with fear, and, for some unknown reason, seeing the lithe werewolf that scared inflicted more pain upon Sirius than any Dementor could.
"I don't believe it," Remus whispered. "You're lying."
"No! I'm not lying!" Sirius exclaimed. He wanted to refer to the other man by name, but, unfortunately, he had yet to learn it. Instead, he said, "Look, little werewolf, I'm as much a killer as you are!"
That comment seemed to hit Remus hard. Apparently, he hard taken it the wrong way because he cried, "I don't intentionally hurt anyone! I have no choice!"
Sirius slapped himself mentally, wishing he had worded that last comment better. "No, no! I don't think you're a killer! What I meant was… was…" He gazed down at the terrified man. "You and I are the same."
"No, we aren't! I told you, I--"
"We are the same!" Sirius cut. "Both of us are actually good people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time!" He clutched Remus' shoulder with one hand and traced the luminous bite mark with the other. "You didn't want to be a werewolf but you are, and people hate you because of it. They never give you the benefit of the doubt because the narrow-mined wankers who run this world say that werewolves are evil."
Sirius pressed his forehead to Remus', becoming desperate. "The same applies to me. The night I was accused of murdering those Muggles, my best mate and his wife died. A man named Peter Pettigrew had led Voldemort to them. Peter, that bloody traitor, was one of mine and James' friends, or so we thought. I met up with Peter when he was running away, and I would've killed him if he hadn't killed all those Muggles."
"No…" Remus said. "The news said they only found Pettigrew's finger…"
"The coward cut it off and then turned into a rat!" Sirius yelled. "He was an Animagus, too. We all were. James was a stag, Peter was a rat, and I… well I'm a dog, you know."
Remus was silent, absorbing the information. Sirius' alibi seemed flawless, as though he really were telling the truth. Slowly, the professor asked, "And what about Harry Potter?"
"I'm his godfather," Sirius said without hesitation. "James made me his godfather. When I left the scene of the murders, I had already been branded a killer, but Hagrid didn't know it. Hagrid was sent to get Harry. He wouldn't let me take Harry myself, so I gave him my motorcycle so they could get away faster."
Sirius shuddered, as though another thought was eating at his insides. Remus pressed, "What else?"
"Peter's after Harry now," Sirius mumbled. "He's hiding in his rat form."
"Rat…" Remus trailed, a sense of déjà vu washing over him.
"Yeah," Sirius growled pulling away from Remus. The other man blushed as his gaze drifted unintentionally toward Sirius' crotch. Remus forced himself to look back at the taller man's face. "Bloody ugly rat. He's missing a toe and has bald patches. I saw him in an issue of the Daily Prophet that was brought into Azkaban. On the front page, he was. Sitting on the shoulder of a boy about Harry's age. Ronald, I think was his name."
Remus, pushing aside thoughts of his and Sirius' nakedness, gasped, "Ron Weasley, you mean!"
"Yeah. That sounds right!"
"Oh god, that's boy is one of Harry's friends," Remus stated, horrified. "He has a pet rat. Are you saying his rat is really--"
"Pettigrew…" Sirius seethed. "It's him! You have to take me to the school! If I show the Ministry of Magic that Pettigrew is alive, my name will be cleared. I'll be free." He stared pitifully at Remus. "Please, you have to believe me. This isn't even about revenge anymore. I want Peter to get what he deserves, but even more I want to be free so I can be there for Harry."
Sirius gripped Remus' shoulders again, his eyes becoming watery. "Harry's lost so much. He deserves to get something back. I could tell him all sorts of things about his parents, that he wouldn't know otherwise. Please, you'll help, won't you?"
Remus couldn't speak. He was convinced the Sirius was telling the truth, but he simply couldn't respond. Remus held so many lives in his hands. He could help uncover the truth about Pettigrew and Sirius. He could help Sirius regain his freedom. He could give Harry a godfather who truly cared for him, help him escape his Muggle relatives.
Still trembling, Remus nodded. "I'll help you."
"You will!" Sirius cheered, a tear actually escaping his lashes. He hugged Remus tightly. "Thank you! Thank you so much!"
For a strangely blissful moment, Remus was pressed against the warm body of the other man. No one other than his parents had ever so freely shown him affection of any kind. The strangeness of the flesh-to-flesh contact sent a warm rush throughout Remus' body, tingling in the pit of his stomach. His mind was swimming with intimate thoughts that he soon scolded himself for.
Little did he know, the same feelings and thoughts were washing over Sirius. But, swiftly, the two shied away from one another, feeling cold as they lost the contact. A long silence followed.
Remus was the first to speak. "You'll need to wait for only a few weeks. The students are on their Christmas break. Harry remained at the school, but Ron went home to his family and took his rat with him."
"We should go to his house and get Pettigrew!" Sirius said a little louder than he should have. "What if that rat escapes during the break and captures Harry while everyone's got their backs turned?"
The thought sent a chill down Remus' spine. Sirius was right. If they didn't make a move as soon as possible, the results could be catastrophic. If they wanted to assure the safety of Harry, and his friend Ron for that matter, they would need to act immediately.
After the two of them had calmed down, Remus properly introduced himself to Sirius, and, unknown to Remus, the Animagus nearly melted upon finally hearing the other man's name.
Then, for a while, the two when there separate ways. Sirius shaved his straggly goatee and brushed his teeth in an attempt to look less like a convict. While he occupied the bathroom, Remus dressed himself and brought Sirius some old khaki pants and a sweatshirt. He quickly shot into the bathroom, planning on leaving just as fast so he wouldn't have a chance to look at Sirius' nude figure, but Sirius prevented him from exiting. The Animagus had snatched Remus' arm, forcing him to face him.
"How do I look now?" Sirius asked innocently, pointing to his now-smooth face. Remus' eyes widened as Sirius flashed a clean grin at him. Though the other man's cheeks were sunken from his long time in captivity, Remus still noticed that he was very handsome. He didn't notice in a "person noticing the attractiveness of a stranger or friend" kind of way, either. It was full blown love first sight. The kind of feeling that made Remus' heart ache for more.
The werewolf stuttered, "You look… g-good."
"You really think so?" Sirius wondered. "I figured I had a skeleton look about me, what with the pale skin and bony figure and all…"
Remus shook his head. "No, you look really good."
"Good enough to snog, ya think?" Sirius said halfheartedly. He ached inside upon saying it, knowing that Remus would say 'no', but also knowing that he wanted so much for him to say 'yes'.
Much to Sirius' surprise, the werewolf slipped up and said, "Yes…"
Just as soon as the words had left his mouth, Remus gasped, clapping a hand over his offensive lips. He hadn't meant to say that out loud! Quickly, he pulled away from Sirius and tried once again to leave the bathroom. But, again, the taller man caught him and pulled him back, shoving him against the wall.
"Remus, did you mean that?" Sirius asked.
"No…" Remus whispered, feeling as though he was stabbing his own heart.
Sirius shook his head. "You're lying."
"…yeah," Remus admitted, hoping he hadn't just imagined the needy tone he thought he heard in Sirius' voice.
Grinning, Sirius swooped down upon Remus, tenderly locking lips with the smaller wizard. Remus melted into Sirius' warm touch as the black-haired man mapped out his mouth wantonly. The werewolf groaned and pressed into Sirius, the contact making him tingle blissfully.
When the two finally separated, Remus flushed brilliantly, and Sirius chuckled. "So, Remus, have I won you over yet?"
The fawn-haired man smiled at him. "Yeah… I think you have."
"So, Remus," Sirius said as Remus unearthed his broom from a closet, "how exactly are we going to do this?" As Remus walked past Sirius, broom in hand, the ex-convict touched the professor's hair lightly, causing the smaller man to shiver a bit.
Remus composed himself then said, "Well, the Weasley family doesn't live too far from here. We'll fly there together and contact the Ministry when we get there. I'll tell them I have proof that you are innocent." Remus pondered something a minute, then said, "actually I'll have Arthur tell them that bit. They would be more willing to believe him."
"I remember Arthur form school," Sirius mused, hugging Remus from behind. "Are you going to tell him we're coming?"
"I already have," Remus replied. "Well… I didn't say anything about you, but I think it would be best if they didn't know about you until you explain everything."
Sirius squeezed the werewolf tightly, kissing his neck. "Remus, love, you're brilliant." To this, Remus blushed lightly.
"Oh, I wouldn't say that…"
"No matter," Sirius chided. "We should get going."
The two, mounted atop Remus' broom, flew as quickly as possible to the Burrow, hoping that their plan would go without any problems. Soon, they had arrived and Sirius landed like a pro. Remus guessed that he had played Quidditch when he was in school.
The men dismounted the broom and headed for the front door. Remus entered the Burrow first, coming face-to-face with Molly Weasley. She chirped, "Remus, come in, come in!"
Arthur soon appeared beside her, grabbing Remus in a quick hug. "What brings you here so suddenly?"
Remus tried to think of an easy explanation, and eventually said, "It's complicated, Arthur, but I promise you'll understand soon." Sirius, who was still standing out of sight outside, was waiting for his cue to come in. "Molly, are you children all in their rooms?"
It was fairly late at night, so Remus assumed all the Weasley children had been corralled into their bedrooms. Molly nodded. "Yes, why?"
"Because, I don't want them to be frightened," Remus said, causing Arthur and Molly to exchange worried glances. "There's nothing for you or them to worry over, but you won't understand why until the full explanation is given. No matter what, Arthur, Molly, you must listen to everything you are about to hear without panicking."
"Molly," Arthur said. "Maybe you should go upstairs and make sure the children stay in their rooms. I'll come up after Remus says his peace, alright?"
"O-okay," Molly said before disappearing up the stairs.
Arthur turned to the werewolf, ready to hear what he had to say. Remus nodded and began, "Now, I don't want you to panic, but Sirius Black is right outside." Arthur gained a startled expression, but Remus continued, "I brought him here because he is innocent, and he has proof."
Sirius took that as his cue to enter the room. He stepped inside, waving. "Hullo, Arthur. I'm sure you're surprised to see me."
Arthur now looked more angry than surprised. "Remus, how dare you bring him into my home!"
Remus held up a silencing hand. "Arthur, as I said, Sirius is innocent. He has proof. That is where you come in."
"I need for you to go get your son's pet rat," Remus explained.
"My son's…! Remus, are you mad?"
"Arthur, you know I would never endanger your family," Remus assured. "I promise you, if you bring us that rat, we will give you the proof that will clear Sirius' name."
Arthur trembled in anger and fear as he turned away from the two wizards and ascended the stairs. Moments later, he came back down into the living room, gripping the poor-looking rat. "This better be for real, Remus."
When the rat's gaze locked on Sirius, he began to squirm in a frantic panic. Arthur almost lost grip on him, but managed to hold him still. Sirius drew out his wand and warned, "Just hold him still a minute."
Sirius aimed him wand and, in a flash of light, the rat began the change shape. Arthur dropped the morphing rat as he took the form of a chubby, balding, human: Peter Pettigrew.
Arthur stood, mouth agape, staring at the cowardly Animagus, as Remus commanded, "Arthur, would you go call the Ministry and tell them they've made a terrible mistake."
Within the hour, the Ministry had arrived at the Weasley house and apprehended Pettigrew. After discovering the truth, they apologized frantically to Sirius, who had been declared innocent. The Minister of Magic, Fudge, had been contacted and the word was being spread that the Ministry had made a horrible error, one that had taken twelve years to discover and repair. The Daily Prophet had plastered the story on the front page, and the news was being circulated throughout Muggle news stations as well.
Sirius was free.
Only a few weeks after Sirius had been named innocent, the Christmas break at Hogwarts had come to an end, and Remus had to return to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts. Sirius, however, had decided to accompany Remus to the school, to meet Harry face to face.
Upon arriving at Hogwarts, Dumbledore proposed that Sirius stay at the school and work as an assistant Quidditch coach, an offer the Animagus could hardly refuse. After all, it would allow him to be close to the two people he cared about: Remus and Harry.
Perhaps, Sirius thought, the three of them could become a family!