A/N: This story is slash with a R/S pairing. You are warned, please do not review me to tell me how much you hate this pairing. Secondly this is rated only T. As an avid believer in gay rights I refuse to believe that the presence of a homosexual relationship is immediate grounds for the story to be rated as an adult. It is, however, rated T for some swearing, drinking, and angst. Again, no emails whining about it. I think that's all. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: Harry Potter is not mine; he was created by JK Rowling, who I am not and is owned by lots of people and companies who are not me. I don't mean to make any money from this story, and probably couldn't if I tried, so please do not sue me.
Remus knew something was wrong from the moment he walked in through the door. As he approached he thought he'd heard upraised voices coming from the lightened windows, but when he walked in a hush fell over the house. Even little Harry, who Remus distinctly heard wailing a moment ago, took a hint from his elders and fell silent as he walked in the room where they were sitting.
Sirius was slouched in a chair scowling at the fire; he didn't even look up when Remus walked in the room. This shocked him for a moment, then saddened him. He remembered a time when every time he walked in a room Sirius looked up with a broad grin on his face. Remus sighed, wishing that their love had been the only casualty of this war.
Peter was perched on the edge of a comfortable armchair; he shot Remus a wary look and slid down to sit on the cushion. He began studying his nails, only looking up to shoot Remus nervous looks every once in a while. Lily's eyes were red, only a second after Remus walked in the room she stood up; muttering something about needing to put Harry to bed, she quickly left.
James's behavior seemed to be the most peculiar, while Peter and Sirius were looked everywhere except at him - James was in full fighting stance, looking at him like he expected Remus to bolt at any moment and was determined to stop him. It was the look someone might give a caged and dangerous animal. Remus swallowed hard and tried to push that particular metaphor out of his mind.
"What's going on?" he finally asked his stomach clenching nervously. "Did someone we know…" Even after years of war he still found it difficult to ask about the casualties.
James shot Sirius a meaningful look; Sirius nodded and stood up to face his lover. Remus was staggered. Sirius's face was etched with disgust and hatred.
"Where were you all day?" Sirius asked harshly, his eyes narrowed.
"What?" Remus asked, startled. "You know I can't answer that… Dumbledore…"
Sirius swore and threw himself down in his chair.
"What's this all about?" Remus asked, his temper rising. "And as long as we're asking questions where the hell are you? You're gone most of the day too, you know, and yesterday…" he stopped suddenly, remembering he'd decided not to mention it.
"Yesterday what?" Sirius asked in a low dangerous sounding voice.
"Yesterday I found blood on your clothes… how exactly did that get there?" Remus snapped, his frustration at the whole stupid situation brimming over. A feral light shone out of his eyes.
"Sirius was with me," James interrupted. "We got in a fight…"
"Don't try to make this about me," Sirius snarled, jumping out of his chair. "I would never…"
"But I would?" Remus growled in return, "I thought you knew me better than that." The two were suddenly standing very close to each other.
James shoved between them. "Look Remus, there's a spy."
Shock registered in his eyes for just a minute. "What?" Remus said, not wanting to believe it.
"Someone close to Lily and me, they're passing information to Voldemort."
"And you think it's me?" Remus couldn't believe what he was hearing.
"Who else would it be?" James demanded. "I know it's not Sirius, and we all know Wormtail wouldn't be brave enough… sorry mate…" He cast an apologetic look over to Peter.
"S'alright," Peter mumbled, reddening slightly
"And we all know you're a…" James at least had the grace not to go on.
"A werewolf." Remus's voice was dangerously quiet. "Of course, I'm a dark creature, of course it's me," he said sarcastically, his voice masking the fact that he felt like he'd been punched in the stomach. He took a step closer to James, who flinched and drew his wand. Twelve years of friendship shattered in an instant.
"I'm going home… James… Peter I'll see you tomorrow." Sirius muttered. With that he strode out the door, carefully avoiding even the slightest touch with Remus as he edged past him.
Remus stood awkwardly for a moment. James wasn't even looking at him.
"I think you should leave, Lupin," James said harshly.
Remus stood, shocked. Without saying a word, he turned and walked out the door. He barely saw the steps in front of him for the tears in his eyes. How had all of this happened? His friends, the one's who hadn't shunned him, who'd been friends with him despite his… condition. Who hadn't let it affect their friendship…
Or had they. The thought made him stop suddenly. He felt like folding right up on the sidewalk and crying. After everything they'd been through, after everything they'd done for him, helped him through. Could it really be that in the end he was just another Dark Creature to them? When had everything changed? Why had everything changed?
Remus started walking again, dimly he heard Sirius Apparating somewhere ahead of him. He smiled, lazy Sirius. Couldn't be arsed to walk the couple of blocks to the apartment they shared. He froze again. He'd have to go home, Sirius would be there. What could he say? What would he do? Grimly he squared his shoulders and walked the rest of the way home, trying to prepare himself for the confrontation he knew was coming.
"I think we should break up."
The words rang through the air, reverberating like the sound of death itself. Remus could only stare as Sirius looked down at the kitchen tile, an ugly beige and maroon floor covering that resisted all attempts to magically change its color.
"I suppose you're right." Remus tried hard to keep his voice light, all the while he was silently begging Sirius to relent, to say it was all a joke, even just to look at him. But Sirius keep his eyes firmly fixed on the floor in front of him.
"It's just not working anymore. We are both so busy… we just can't," Sirius mumbled his voice trailing off, stopping short of saying what both were thinking. They just couldn't trust each other anymore.
Remus sighed and ran his hands through his hair. Merlin! He felt old. The Order had taken everything out of him. It was only a few weeks ago that Sirius started teasing him about his grey hair. Now Sirius never teased him. They sat in tense silence and made love in even more awkward silence. Each wondering where the other spent his days… wondering whether it was for the Order or if they person the loved more than life itself had sold his soul to an even darker lord.
"Right," Remus said flatly, still staring at Sirius. "I'll just get some things and get out of your way. I'll be back in the morning for everything else." Finally, tearing his eyes away from his first love, he turned and began walking out of the tiny kitchen.
"Remus!" a hoarse cry came from behind him. Remus hesitated a moment then turned around with a tired expression. Sirius gripped the counter in front of him and stared at him with a haunted expression. His eyes were rimmed with red and a wild look shone from their depths. "We can't do this, please don't pretend it doesn't mean anything…."
"It does," Remus replied. "But you've made it clear you don't trust me… and I don't know… I just don't know anymore." Now Remus stared at the ground, ashamed of the tears welling in his eyes. "But you're right. This isn't working anymore... maybe after all of this is over…." His voice trailed off, a lump closing off his throat.
"Yeah…. Right," Sirius replied, dropping his eyes to the floor in front of him again. He shoved his hands deep into his pockets and glared at the floor.
Remus waited just a second, halfway hoping that Sirius would say something else, something that made sense, any rational reason why he shouldn't leave. But he didn't say anything. Wearily he turned and walked out to the bedroom in the back(.) Keeping his eyes averted from the bed they shared he hastily grabbed the few items he needed for the next few days – only vaguely aware of what he was packing.
He had to pass back through the kitchen to get to the front door. Sirius was still staring at the table and didn't look up as Remus walked out.
"What is your report, Wormtail?" Peter shuddered at the hissing sound coming from behind the drapes. He hated that the Dark Lord called him by that name… the name his friends had given him... the name he was betraying them under.
"The Potters believe that Remus Lupin is the spy, my Lord," he said, keeping his head bowed reverently. "He will no longer interfere with your plans for them."
"And what of Black?" The Dark Lord hissed.
"He's convinced them to make me their Secret Keeper." His voice trembled, firmly he told himself that he didn't have any choice… they'd brought this on themselves. Chosen the wrong side in this conflict. None of this was his fault.
Remus's hands were curled tightly around his mug, he stared down at it with red rimmed eyes. He'd been staying at the Leaky Cauldren for a week, ever since he left the flat. He wasn't employed, so the days stretched on until he thought he'd go mad with anxiety for James and Lily and longing for Sirius. He knew that Voldemort was after the Potters, he only hoped that Dumbledore's Secret Keeper plan would work out.
"But what if Sirius was the spy after all?" a nasty voice in his head taunted him. "He'd betray them the same day they did the ritual." He shook his head slightly. There wasn't anything he could do, he knew Dumbledore was the one who originally thought that there was a spy that was close to the Potters, surely he would be able to convince them not to use Sirius. If Dumbledore couldn't convince them there wasn't any way that Remus could.
"Particularly since they aren't even speaking to you." The voice reminded him. He frowned. He'd tried to contact James the next morning, first by sending an owl, then over the floo network. But his owl came back without a reply and his head was magically shoved back out of the fireplace when he'd tried to floo them – much to the amusement of everyone in the Leaky Cauldron. Next he'd tried Peter, but still no answers.
Tears sprang to his eyes, quickly he dropped his head so his hair covered his face while he got himself back under control. It was hard enough losing Sirius, but now he felt as if everyone who ever loved him despised him. He felt more miserable and lonely than he had those first few months at Hogwarts, when he was too afraid to risk making any friends.
"It's over!" a voice shouted across the pub.
Remus looked up, a little blearily, at this echo of his thoughts.
Far from being melancholy, though, the voice was excited. Remus saw a little witch with a beaming face pushing her way through the crowd. Everyone had stopped talking. "You-know-who is gone! He's dead!"
Sudden excitement coursed through Remus, Voldemort… gone. That meant no more secrets from each other… no more hiding. He could prove once and for all that he hadn't been a spy and get his friends to trust him again. Remus felt himself beaming; he knew he was grinning like an idiot. Could it really be true? All the worrying, the fighting, the hiding. Could it really be all over?
"How did it happen? Are you sure?" Questions poured in at the little witch from every angle.
"Little Harry Potter defeated him!" she shouted, "I heard it from my uncle who works in the Ministry."
Remus frowned. Harry? How was that possible? Clearly she had had too much firewhiskey.
"You-know-who went to his house to kill him and his parents, but he couldn't kill Harry Potter! He lived! The boy lived! And You-Know-Who is gone!" She exclaimed, her face red with excitement.
"What about James and Lily Potter?" a somber voice came from the back.
Everyone turned to look at the speaker, Remus flushed under their stares.
"Oh. The Potters?" She stopped, some of the excitement leaving her face. "They're gone. You-know-who killed them."
Remus felt himself falling. On reflex he grabbed the table edge causing his knuckles to turn white. James… Lily…. How could they be dead?
"Friends of yours?" a kindly voice said behind him. Remus turned and saw a tall man behind who he vaguely recognized as an auror. "If it's any consolation we captured one of his Death Eaters tonight." His face darkened "But not before he blew up a street full of muggles and a wizard named Pettigrew."
"Peter Pettigrew?" Remus gasped.
"Another friend?" The man looked horrified.
Remus nodded weakly, suddenly the pub was stifling. He muttered a hurried thank you for the information, before bolting out of the pub. Outside the night was cool and moonless, a gentle breeze ruffled Remus's hair as he leaned against the side of the building. James… Lily… and Peter all in one night? How was that even possible?
"Are you alright?" The kindly voice of the Auror came from behind him.
"I'm fine," Remus said without turning around.
"Look I feel terrible, I should'nt've have told you like that…"
A horrible idea suddenly occurred to Remus, he began to sway, "Are you sure you're okay?" The Auror sounded anxious now.
"The Death Eater," he gasped out, ignoring the question. "The one who blew up those muggles. Who was it? What was his name."
"Sirius Black." The world spun alarmingly. "He was sent straight to Azkaban, may he rot there!" He spat on the street.
Remus felt himself stumbling back, "Hey! Steady there?" The Auror put a hand on his shoulder, "Can I get someone for you?"
"There's no one to get." Remus whispered before he Apparated away.
He reappeared, not even knowing precisely where he was. He had a single instant to be relieved that he'd managed not to splinch himself before he realized where he'd unconsciously gone.
"The Shack," he whispered.
He'd landed downstairs, where most of the furniture was still intact, he'd only been downstairs in the company of the others – usually simply passing through on their way out to the village or back to Hogwarts and the secrets of the forbidden forest.
It's over. Remus shuddered as the thought ran through his head. It's over. They would never transform together… there would never be anyone else in his life who would accept him so readily, who would risk so much for him. He fell to the floor, not even noticing the small cloud of dust the rose around him as his knees hit the hard wood. He buried his head in his hands, feeling the sob rise in his throat and the tears begin to dim his eyes.
It's over. It was all over. Everyone who'd ever loved him was gone, one way or another. His greatest love had betrayed them all. He sat like that for a moment before raising his head from his hands. His eyes caught a pattern in the dust a few feet in front of him. He shuffled forward awkwardly to look at it and gasped.
There, outlined perfectly in the dust, was four prints, two sets of distinguishable padded footprints – the werewolf's was only slightly bigger than Padfoot's, a hard circle of hooves, and tiny tracks made by little feet. Reverently he reached his hand forward to touch the tracks, amazed that they were still there. Instead of touching them lightly, as he intended, his hand jerked and he smeared them violently. Suddenly, he was laughing as he smudged the dust around obliterating the footprints. He heard his laughs echoing wildly around the shack.
He jerked to his feet and grabbed a nearby wooden table. Still laughing, tears streaming down his cheeks he smashed the table against a nearby wall and watched in splinter into pieces. His laughter became more and more frantic as he ripped and tore everything he could get his hands on, he caused as much destruction as he'd ever managed in wolf form. Finally, he couldn't stop laughing until he was standing in a room that was filled with nothing but splinters, tufts of furniture stuffing, and broken glass.
It's over. He collapsed. They're gone. He curled into a fetal position, his laughter dying. He lay there for several minutes, wanting desperately to weep, to scream, to even move. But his frantic energy of a few moments was gone, leaving him drained. He could only lie there, his head resting where the prints of his three friends had once been and remembered.
They were the only ones. He's been so certain they would leave him. They'd accepted him, chose to become animals themselves just to be with him. And poor Harry, he would never know what parents he'd had, never hear Lily's laugh, or play Quidditch with James… Thoughts chased themselves around in his head, taking no cohesive order and he was content to simply let them swirl. It didn't matter now. Nothing mattered. He wished for nothing more than to die there, his head on the cold floor.
It was over.
A/N: Thank you so much for reading! Please review with your criticisms or compliments, I like either. Also, if you enjoyed this, please read its companion piece "Moonlight and Kisses." About how Remus and Sirius got together. Much love and thanks goes out to my beta, Dana (A Hard Days Night), any mistakes left in this piece are my sole responsibility and probably parts that I messed with after she looked at it last.