He lay against the headboard of his bed, maroon curtains drawn and knees curled up to touch his chin. He stayed deathly still, determined to remain unseen in the dormitory—even though it was his own room—and keep his privacy with him.
He twiddled his fingers subconsciously where they stayed latched around his shins. Wisps of black hair lay in his line of vision, obstructing any kind of visual aid he could have used.
The twiddling of his fingers stopped as the door opened and sets of feet tromped in. The door slammed closed again. He breathed in. His acute nose caught the scent right away and he crashed his eyelids together, resolved not to see or be seen.
Inside his dorm room was the last person who would ever want to see him again.
"You know he's sorry," Said one voice. He identified it as his best friend James. "He's said it enough."
"I don't care what he's said," The other voice had an unnatural amount of anger in it. "He should have thought of the consequences before he did it. He's lucky he didn't get expelled."
"You're being a bit harsh."
"Okay, so he can be a bit rash and hard-headed at times. And this time was more so than usual."
"More so?" Uh-oh. Remus was getting steamed. "I could have killed Snape!"
"And the fact that it happened almost two weeks ago hasn't cooled you down yet?"
"Prongs," Remus—obviously the other voice—sounded slightly frustrated. He could hear the springs of the werewolf's bed creak as Remus sat. "I just want to hate him for a while, okay?"
"All right," James hesitantly conceited. "Just be careful. Sirius has a way of blowing things way out of proportion.
I do not, said person thought ruefully. Sirius stilled his breathing.
"He'll be fine." Remus insisted. With that, the door reopened and closed once again.
Sirius sighed, burying his head in his knees. The pits of his stomach dropped heavily, as if he'd just swallowed bricks.
"I just want to hate him for a while."
Remus hated him. Great. Sirius dug his nails into his shins, biting his lip to keep from crying out.
He felt horrible. He thought if he could feel any worse, the bed he was sitting on would crack open and swallow him whole. He'd done something terrible; he might never recover from it. Remus might never recover from it. He'd done the one thing he swore to his family he'd never do.
He'd betrayed a friend to try and hurt another person.
This is what his family did. His family made friends to exploit them; they made friends to find out all the ways they could use them to their own selfish ends. Sirius had sworn at the age of eleven that he wouldn't turn out like them. He'd sworn that he wouldn't ever betray James or any of his other friends he was bound to make. Ever.
Well, look at you now. Sirius' mind screamed at him. You've done your family proud.
Sirius' throat closed up at the thought. What rubbish he was!
His stomach growled at him, reminding the boy that he hadn't eaten in a while.
That's fine, he told himself. I don't need to eat. If I'm a Black, I might as well treat myself like I treat my family. He didn't skip a beat. Like garbage.
Sirius drudged out of bed, nearly falling down the stairs and crashing onto the couch. He then picked up his bag and opened it.
"Come on, don't be daft—"
"I'm not!" James defended. He ran a hand through his dark hair, adjusting his glasses as he went. "I know she'll accept this time!"
"What makes this time any different?" Peter asked, pushing open the portrait and walking inside.
"This time I'll say 'please' instead of going ahead and planning a specific time and place." James theorized.
"Yeah, that'll help." Remus grinned.
The three laughing boys stopped short as they stared into the Common Room. It looked normal enough. The fire was going nicely, the winter outside was nearly obsolete to the Gryffindors inside. The large, red-and-gold shield hung just above the hearth, shining with pride over all who walked past. It was a standard Gryffindor Common Room.
Except that Sirius was lying on the couch with a book settled on his legs.
Sirius hated studying.
"Padfoot?" James asked. He slowly walked toward the boy. Sirius looked up, his eyes sunken in slightly and his hair hanging limply at his sides. "Are you okay, mate?"
"I'm fine," Sirius snapped, turning his head back to the book.
"What are you doing?" Peter asked quietly, following James just as gradually.
"I'm studying. What does it look like?" Sirius growled.
"But our O.W.L.S. are months away, and our homework isn't due for another three days." James countered. "And why weren't you at lunch?"
"Same reason why I wasn't at breakfast." Sirius said. He didn't look up from the book. "And I'm not doing homework. I finished that hours ago."
"Did you get any sleep?" Peter inquired. Sirius shrugged.
"Who needs it?" He said, a hint of finality in his voice.
Remus looked on the spectacle with a look of surprise. Sirius hated studying. He hated studying, he hated homework, and he hated being hungry.
"I'm worried, mate," James said as they entered the dorm, leaving Sirius on the couch to finish reading the last chapter in his Transfiguration book. "I don't think he went to sleep last night."
"He went to bed earlier than the rest of us." Remus pointed out. He brushed his tawny hair out of his face, tucking it delicately behind an ear.
"But he didn't sleep." James insisted. "How could we have known? He keeps his damn curtains closed all the time. We can barely tell when he's in the room or not."
"Maybe you're just looking for something to be wrong with him," Remus argued. "He's fine, really."
"Still," James rubbed his chin. "Let's keep an eye on him. See if any behavioral changes pop up." He continued after a wary glance from Peter. "Uh…. Any more behavioral changes."
Three weeks, five days, two hours since it happened. Forty three minutes thirty two seconds.
Not that anyone was counting.
Sirius scribbled uselessly on his parchment, frowning. Why wouldn't his hand stop shaking? It made his already hard-to-read handwriting look completely unintelligible. Damn, why couldn't he do anything right?
He finished his last words and stood, rolling up the parchment and stumbling to the front of his class. Stupid feet. They wouldn't work right.
Sirius slammed his already-finished Potions homework onto Slughorn's desk. The act was done with much more force than the Animagus had meant to use, and the noise made everyone jerk their heads up. It sent a jolt through Sirius' arm, and he had to fight to keep from falling over.
Sirius was the first one done. Even Slughorn was shocked.
"My, my, Mr. Black!" He exclaimed. "I'm rather surprised!"
"Can I leave now?" Sirius dully asked. He swayed on his feet. "I have some other things to get done."
"Go ahead," Slughorn sent a careful glance toward Remus—as if he knew what was happening—and waved his hand to the door, which Sirius immediately took and disappeared.
Remus received a sharp kick in the shin, causing him to bite his tongue to stifle the cry. He looked over to James, who had apparently done the deed.
"What?" Remus whispered sharply. He caressed his shin with his other foot.
"You didn't notice anything wrong with that?" James growled.
"He turned in his homework."
"The homework that's not supposed to be due for another two days." James clarified. "The homework that's going to require reading ahead in the bloody Potions textbook!"
"You can't say nothing's wrong with him now," Peter put in.
"Nothing is wrong with him."
"Have you even seen him lately?" James asked in disbelief. "When's the last time you've seen him in the Great Hall for any meal?"
"When's the last time you've actually opened his curtains and seen him asleep?" Peter added.
"When's the last time he's pulled a prank?"
"When's the last time you've seen him without his nose shoved in a textbook—which he hates?"
"All right!" Remus said it a little bit too loudly. The scratching quills quieted and stared. Remus turned a deep red. "All right, so maybe something's wrong with him."
"I tried to tell you last week, Moony." James whispered. "He's gone mental. He has a way of punishing himself way more than is necessary."
"You think he's doing this because he feels sorry for hurting me?" Remus changed his mind instantly. Sirius was fine. Nothing was wrong with the boy.
"Yes." James insisted. "And if you're not going to do anything about it, he's going to hurt himself."
Remus snorted. As if.
Full moon tonight.
In fact, it was rising swiftly over the edge of the horizon. Sirius watched it. He gave it one last glance before he subdued the Whomping Willow and slipped into the Shrieking Shack.
"You shouldn't be here," James whispered, rushing to help the stumbling boy through the doorway. "If Remus—"
"Remus only remembers flashes of what happens on full moon nights," Sirius explained. It was the first time he'd actually spoken outright to anyone in full sentences in a few days. "I can't let him do this without me."
"If he remembers—"
"The most he can do is yell at me," Sirius had a depressingly sad tone to his voice. "Which I no doubt deserve anyway."
James opened his mouth to reply, but was disturbed at the sound of Remus crying out. The three Marauders changed into their forms and met the fully-transformed werewolf in the middle room.
James in stag-form looked on at Sirius in dog-form and almost changed back to drag the dog outside. His ribs showed clearly from around his long fur. James resolved to try and fix this.
The werewolf, however, took a look at Padfoot and began sniffing the dog, inspecting him for signs of recognition. Sirius stood still, almost becoming a statue. James could see his muscles relax in case the werewolf threw him up against a wall—as he sometimes was prone to do.
But tonight the werewolf nuzzled the dog, allowing him into his pack for the few precious hours he has out of human form.
James could see the confused look on Padfoot's face. He knew that the Animagus dog had expected to be torn to pieces by the still-conscious part of Remus' mind.
James flattened his ears sadly as he noticed Sirius' ears compress into his head and his tail hang between his legs. The dog lay down covering his nose with his paws. James knew what the dog was thinking.
The werewolf accepts me because I gave him fresh meat.
Great, James thought angrily as he leapt out of the way of werewolf claws. Apparently the werewolf decided the one who'd taken away the meat in question wasn't in good standing with him this month. Now I've got something else to worry about.
Six weeks, four days, thirteen hours since the horrible deed was done. Fifteen minutes and twelve seconds.
Not that he was counting, of course.
Sirius stared out the window, swiping at his eyes. His pajamas hung limply at his sides, barely able to cling to his hips. He'd been reading too much; his eyes were too blurry to see much of anything.
How he hated reading.
The voice would have made Sirius jump at one point in time. But he had no energy to lurch from his spot. The Christmas holidays would be starting soon—three weeks, three days and yes, he was definitely counting—and he would have plenty of time to himself to gather up energy.
Remus stood at the bottom of the staircase, staring at Sirius as the boy threw himself onto the couch. Remus squinted.
"Sirius?" He asked. "What are you doing up at this hour?"
"What are you doing up?" Sirius offset. "It's got to be three in the morning."
Remus frowned. For a while there was silence between the two of them before Remus elected to speak.
"You were there, weren't you?" He started. Sirius scrunched his nose, thinking. "At the full moon, I mean. I remember seeing a black dog every now and again." Sirius' face dropped and he crossed his arms. "I didn't hurt you, did I?"
"Go to bed, please." Sirius pleaded. "There's classes in the morning."
"Why aren't you in bed?" Remus asked. Sirius didn't move; kept his gaze to the ground. "You haven't slept, have you? How long has it been?"
"It doesn't matter," Sirius tried to sound as harsh as he could. "Go to sleep."
The coldness in Sirius' voice stabbed at Remus. He grimaced, turning to head back up the stairs.
"Fine," He snarled. "Starve yourself to death and don't sleep at all. I don't care."
Sirius stared at the ceiling, a single tear trickling down his face.
"I don't, either."
Remus glanced up from his parrot, cocking an eyebrow at his Transfiguration teacher. He'd been in the process of putting his pet parrot back inside the cage, after successfully turning the poor bird into a quill and back. The rest of the students filed out of the classroom, Sirius among the first of them.
Lately it seemed Sirius had been much more feeble than usual. He'd been prone to fall asleep and knock himself to the floor at miscellaneous times, and he'd been seen less and less by the rest of the Marauders. Remus had heard James say just yesterday that he hadn't seen Sirius in over two days.
"Yes, Professor?" Remus asked.
"Come here, please." Professor McGonagall beckoned. When Remus reached the desk, he sat in the chair conjured for him. "I'd like to talk to you about your friend." She folded her hands together and sat them atop her desk, just behind a large, beige-colored folder.
"Which one?" Remus knew perfectly well which one, but hoped to avoid the inevitable. "I have many."
"Sirius Black." The Transfiguration teacher said bluntly. "Do you notice anything different about him?"
"A few things, yes." Remus admitted.
"Do you know how long these changes have been going on?"
"Seven weeks, two days, seven hours." Remus instantly said. He glanced at the clock in the room. "Nineteen minutes and…. thirty seconds."
The look the Professor gave him unnerved the werewolf.
"Not that I'm counting."
"Of course not," McGonagall's face pinched into an expression Remus could only call a half-smile. "Anyway, have you noticed how—extensive?—these changes have been?"
Remus shook his head.
"He's surlier than usual," He said casually. "And he keeps falling over. James and Peter insist that something's going on; but it's just him in denial."
"Oh, I don't think it's denial." The professor opened the file all the way and sat one photo in front of Remus. The boy looked intently at the picture. It was a picture of Sirius, smiling and waving at the camera as if nothing had ever happened.
"This was taken of Sirius around eight weeks ago. By yourself, I might add."
"All right," Remus said warily. It was true that Remus himself had been the one to snap the photo before him. The boy in the picture looked cheerful, happy and content. It pulled at Remus' heartstrings.
"And this," Professor McGonagall placed another picture in front of the werewolf. "Was taken yesterday by our very own Black Fan Club."
Remus had to focus not to turn away. The Animagus in the picture was very skinny. His face was sunken in from lack of sleep and sustenance, and he wasn't smiling. He had to concentrate to keep himself up. His hair hung limply at his sides, and didn't ripple when he walked like they always did. Remus missed the ripple of Sirius' hair.
Finally not being able to take the sight of it anymore, he focused more on the file behind the photos. Inside laid a report card with Sirius' grades in it. From what he could tell, the boy's grades shot up within the last few weeks.
"I see from your face that you see more than surliness in his eyes." The professor pointed out. Remus opened his mouth as if to talk, then closed it.
"Professor," He started. "He couldn't be—"
"Oh, he couldn't?" The professor leaned back in her chair, sighing. "As much as I hate to admit it, he most certainly can and is."
"I don't think I should tell you." The professor insisted. "You will never work this out yourselves if I tell you the answer. You're going to have to figure out why he does what he does yourself."
"That doesn't help, Professor." Remus glared.
"I know," The professor stood, ushering Remus out of her room. "But now that I've planted the idea into your head, you can get started on what to do about it." She pushed Remus outside the doorway and said calmly before slamming the doors, "well, on to Potions!"
Sirius was a bit angry. Why wouldn't he be? They'd practically thrown him out of Potions class. So what if he fell over three times trying to remember where he sat? It wasn't like he'd passed out or anything.
So when the Potions Master and his fellow Marauders—two out of three, anyway; Remus was no where in sight—told him to get up and scram, he'd barged into the dorm room, throwing his robes on top of his trunk and rolling up his long sleeves so they were above the elbow.
Sirius sat on the floor with his back to his bed, his hands firmly in his hair. Every now and then he gave it a rough yank, as if he was trying to rip it out.
Why should anyone worry about him? He was an awful person. He didn't deserve anything. Or anyone.
The last thought chilled him. He doesn't deserve anyone. Why did this last concept break his heart so fully? Why did it anger him beyond all belief?
Giving an angry sigh, Sirius slammed his fist into his nightstand, succeeding in knocking the lamp which sat on top over the side. It lurched to the floor and shattered, cutting a deep gash into Sirius' forearm.
"Great," He said to himself as he spelled away the broken shards. "Now I look like a cutter."
He stood up and went to the bathrooms, retrieving a towel and pressing it onto the bleeding incision. The red and gold towel became very bloody, soaking through one side and into the other. Sirius had to pick up another towel and run the cold water onto his arm before the bleeding stopped.
Holding out his arm to inspect the slash, he decided it would arouse too many questions if seen—especially by James. The boy was sure to go ballistic. Without another thought he rushed to his trunk and pulled his robes back over his shoulders, successfully covering the long wound.
He felt light headed. Maybe he'd lost more blood than he thought. He staggered down the stairs and plopped onto the couch, curling up with his head on the armrest. Maybe if he just lay there for a while, he would feel better.
After a while he could feel his frustration ebbing away and a dull sleep dropped over him. He refused to let it pull him down completely, however. Sleep was something he could not handle. The only times he could sleep were when he had no energy left to do anything but give up and crash into a hazy, nightmare-filled dream world where Remus hated him and everyone still acted like Sirius wasn't at fault for anything that happened.
Once staying perfectly still for half an hour, the portrait door opened slightly. Sirius frowned. If Potions was over, that meant dinner was starting. Potions class was the last class of the day. Anyone who was anyone was at dinner at that point.
Obviously Sirius didn't count himself as anyone.
Somehow it didn't take him by surprise that it was Remus who came through the door, followed by James and Peter. They took a paused look at the boy lying on the couch before storming up to him. Sirius shrugged, changing his gaze to something else—anything else—in the Common Room.
A soft clang told Sirius that something had been set down in front of him, resting patiently on the coffee table before him. He looked down, a bit confused. There, sitting on the counter, was a plate of food.
Good-smelling food, the dog inside Sirius told him. How long had it been since he'd had a decent meal?
Seven weeks, two days, seven hours. Fifty-five minutes and twelve seconds. His mind sang to him. Not that I'm counting. His mouth almost began salivating at the sight of the steak in front of him.
"What's that?" He asked dumbly, if only to take his attention from it.
"Eat it." Remus ordered. Sirius frowned, shaking his head. The mashed potatoes next to the meat looked almost perfect. Merlin, he wished he could eat it.
"Not hungry. Sorry." He shrugged once again, trying to divert his attention.
"Now, Sirius." James stipulated, a hint of anger mixed with stubbornness in his voice. He crossed his arms and waited.
Now Sirius sat up, shaking his head again and attempting to stand. He wobbled for a moment before hanging onto the back of the couch to keep his balance.
"No, James." He responded. He turned to walk away. Remus latched a hand onto his shoulder.
"We're giving you a chance to do this calmly and nicely," He whispered dangerously. "We will force feed you if need be."
"I'm not hungry." Sirius shrugged the hand off of his shoulder, desperately trying to man the stairs. He reached the dorm room and paraded inside.
The others followed, plate in hand.
Sirius was hit by two bodies, both colliding into him with precision and accuracy. He toppled onto his bed stomach-down and was flipped over. Then he was restrained as Peter and James each held down his arms by the shoulders.
Sirius was vaguely aware of the fact that Remus had crawled on top of him, so he was sitting on his abdomen, straddling him.
"Sorry, Padfoot." He shrugged aimlessly. "I didn't want it to come to this."
"Let me go." Sirius pleaded, scrunching his eyes shut. He tried to lunge upward, to shake James and Peter off. He tried to get Remus to get off of him. He tried to repress both the confusion at being talked to by Remus and the blush that found itself creeping up his neck.
"No," James held fast, repositioning himself so he could press down harder on Sirius' shoulder. "You haven't eaten a sufficient serving of food in almost two months; you've only been eating enough to keep yourself from dying. You're going to eat this food and you're going to go to sleep, damn it. And if you get up before we deem you to get up, we'll have Poppy shove a Sleeping Draught down your bloody throat. So just eat the food!"
"But I'm not—" It was too late. While James had been telling Sirius all the threatening stuff they were forcing upon him, Remus had already cut off a sizeable amount of steak and shoved it into Sirius' mouth while he tried to speak.
"If you spit that out we'll glue your mouth shut until you swallow so just do yourself a favor and save time." Remus warned. Sirius growled, obviously not happy, and began chewing the food.
I don't need to be fed to, his mind snapped as he swallowed. I have the ability to do it on my own.
"Oh, this is so demeaning, guys. Let me—" Another forkful was shoved unceremoniously into Sirius' mouth.
"He might have been giving in, Remus." Peter theorized. Remus shook his head.
"He wasn't." He insisted. "Sirius doesn't give in so easily. He's unscrupulously stubborn. He thinks he can decide what he can and can't do; how he's punished from his mistakes and how he isn't."
"What?" Sirius obviously didn't understand how Remus was getting food into him, as he'd spoken again. Remus took the opportunity to heave yet another heap of food into his mouth.
"That's right," Remus continued. "Because that's what you think you're doing. Even if it's subconscious, you're just punishing yourself for the mistake you made."
Sirius swallowed again, this time just giving up and opening his mouth, unwearyingly waiting for another shovel of food to be propelled into his mouth. He didn't have to wait long.
A bit of food missed his mouth, sitting just around his lips. Remus grazed his index finger along Sirius' lips, getting rid of the spill.
"I thought you were just sulking for the longest time." Remus asserted. He frowned at himself, and Sirius thought he could see a flash of remorse on his face. "But then you started getting thin and we started noticing you disappeared for long—long periods of time. I stole a look at the file that Minerva had laying blatantly open in front of her—I'm sure she did it on purpose now, the woman's way too much like Dumbledore for her own good—and it looks like your grades are way better than before."
"What's that got to do with anything?" Seeing that Sirius was talking, Remus sent another mouthful of food toward the boy.
"It's got to do with everything, now stop talking and let me rant." Remus continued. "Now, you hate studying. You hate doing homework. Why would you do both of those things to the point where your grades almost leveled mine?
"The answer was simple, really. It was just so subtle no one thought to look for it until now." Remus paused long enough to shove more food to Sirius, who had long since swallowed. "Your grades had become great because you were studying and doing your work on time. But you hate doing that stuff. You hate it to the point where you procrastinate until there's no more time before you have to turn it in and you end up copying off of me. So why were you studying so much now?
"Because for the simple fact that you hate it."
"You're making no—" Remus silenced Sirius once again with more food from the plate.
"Quiet. I'm not done yet." Remus took a deep breath before starting up again. "Of course it makes sense. I just haven't gotten through all of it yet. The point that I'm trying to make is that you're doing all of this to punish yourself; to make yourself miserable beyond comprehension because you think you deserve it.
"You want more proof? We haven't seen you in the Great Hall for meals in weeks. Every now and then we'll see you sneak off, obviously to the kitchens. We've followed you on the Map. Yet you never get any bigger. You're only eating just enough to get yourself through every day."
The realization of what he heard himself saying struck Remus harshly. He hadn't thought of it as Sirius only eating enough to not die. He stared down at the ebony-haired boy, his eyes slightly widened at the thought of Sirius dying. He gingerly brushed the fringe out of Sirius' eyes, giving himself a much better look at his deprived friend.
"Why is that?" James prodded at the silence which had seemed to engulf the werewolf. Remus blinked, shaking his head roughly. Instantly he pushed the horrible thoughts he'd been thinking from his mind and instead focused on making the Animagus beneath him see reason.
"This is because you're punishing yourself." Remus explained. He sent another mouthful of food Sirius' way. "You think you don't deserve to eat. You love eating. So to punish yourself you took it away."
"Buth why wult I—"
"Don't talk with your mouth full, Sirius. It's rude." Remus reminded. Hastily Sirius swallowed, desperately trying to speak. Remus hoisted another forkful of food into his mouth before he could start. "You also haven't been sleeping. Now, I don't think you're doing this one intentionally. No matter how much you love to sleep, it's literally impossible to make yourself not sleep because you don't think you deserve to. Sooner or later you're going to let yourself go to sleep." Remus hesitated before continuing, tucking his auburn hair behind his ear.
"I don't think you're purposely withholding sleep. I'm almost positive you have insomnia." Remus guessed. "But that doesn't mean it doesn't have anything to do with your little mistake. I'll bet you're feeling a right bit guiltier than you should be feeling, and it's causing you to have nightmares. Therefore, your psyche decides that if you can't sleep, the nightmares won't come."
Sirius gulped down the chewed food quickly and talked as fast as he could, before Remus could shovel more food to him.
"But why would I do that—"
"Quiet." Remus stuck the last bit of steak into Sirius' mouth. "I'm not done. You also haven't pulled a prank in over seven weeks. I'd wager you haven't even thought of pulling a prank." He smirked.
Sirius frowned. Really? Had he really not tried to pull a prank in over seven weeks?
"Ah, the look of realization," Peter announced. James sighed, loosening his grip ever-so-slightly and lowering his head, obviously relieved.
"At least we got through to him before the Christmas vacation started and we all left; something was sure to happen, then." He commented.
"See?" Remus finished. "You've been punishing yourself for nearly two months for betraying me."
Sirius' eyes darkened and he averted his gaze from Remus' penetrating, golden eyes.
"Can you let me up, now?"
Remus exchanged glances with Peter and James, all of them considering the notion. They had gotten him to eat the food, and they'd also managed to get him to comprehend what he was doing to himself.
"All right," Remus conceited, getting up from Sirius' abdomen. Peter released his hold on Sirius' shoulder.
James pushed himself up from Sirius, accidentally grabbing a hold of his arm as he went. Sirius hissed, cringing as James curled his fingers in a tight grip around the rather long cut he'd recently made.
"What is it?" James asked. Sirius wrenched his arm away, trying to stop the shaking appendage. He rolled over and off the bed, standing on his feet and wobbling slightly. Remus caught him by the elbow to hold him steady.
"It's nothing." He lied. James glared, instantly snatching his arm back and pulling at the robe sleeve.
Obviously his attempts to clean the wound hadn't helped. It hadn't coagulated much and still trickled a small amount of blood up his arm, and it was turning yellow in the middle.
Three mouths dropped open. Peter's eyes portrayed the utter disgust he had at the sight; he'd never been one for open wounds. Heaven knows what would happen if he ever got his arm cut off. Remus stared blatantly, and his eyes flickered in guilt, as if he thought he was the cause of it. James held an expression of fury. His grip forcibly loosened, but Sirius could feel his hands shaking, working to control himself.
Sirius looked away, closing his eyes.
"It's not what you—"
"Is it?" James yelled. "Because it sure as hell looks like you're bloody cutting!"
"I'm not cutting." Sirius insisted.
"Don't you lie to me, Sirius!" James roared. "Did you do this?"
"Well, of course I did it, but not intentionally!" Sirius answered. James growled vocally.
"And what did you think I would do when I—"
"Leave," Remus cut in.
"What?" James bellowed. "He's got a cut on his arm the size of a hippogriff claw and you're saying I have to—"
"Leave, yes." Remus answered, pulling James away from Sirius. "You and Peter both." He got close enough to James to whisper in his ear. "Let me talk to him."
James' eyes ended up in conflict, as if he was deciding whether or not to leave Sirius alone with Remus. Finally, he pointed a finger squarely at Remus' nose and said in a hushed tone.
"Five minutes," He seethed. "If both of you aren't back by then, I'll come up and drag you both to Poppy." With that, he turned and stormed out of the dorm, dragging Peter with him.
Wow, Remus thought. I've never seen James that angry.
Once the door closed, Sirius spun around and kept his back to Remus. He closed his eyes and ran a hand over his arm, wondering how exactly he could explain to the werewolf it wasn't his intention to hurt himself.
"Did you do it?" Remus asked. Sirius eyed him cautiously.
"I didn't do it on purpose," Sirius explained after hesitating for a moment. For the life of him he couldn't figure out how the one person who hated him more than Snape would care if he was hurt. "I hit the nightstand and the lamp broke over my arm."
"You're not lying, are you?" Remus took a step closer. He laid a hand on Sirius' shoulder.
Sirius jerked, spinning around and sitting on his bed.
"Why do you care, Remus?" He asked, meaning for spite to come out of his voice. Instead his tone was laced with panic and apprehension, making Remus frown. "You should hate me. You shouldn't care if I don't eat, or if I don't sleep, and you definitely shouldn't care if I get good grades or if I cut myself, however accidental it may be."
Remus cocked an eyebrow. Is that what Sirius was being so depressed about? He thought Remus could actually hate him?
"Padfoot?" The familiar name sent chills up Sirius' spine. Remus sat next to his friend. "I can't hate you." He gently gripped Sirius' wrist and pulled his wounded arm to himself. With tender fingers he examined the cut. "It's not infected yet, but if we don't get it cleaned and bandaged it might get uglier than it already is."
"Why can't you hate me?" Sirius asked, trying to tug his arm back. Remus kept his hold. "I was horrible to you. You should hate me."
"I thought I did, for a while." Remus elucidated. "I was so angry at what happened, I just couldn't think of anything but hate." Sirius looked away. "But I can't stay mad at you. I know sometimes you act without thinking, and this time you just… acted a bit more rashly than usual.
"And when you started becoming more distant, I thought it was because I wouldn't forgive you right away. I never thought about what you were doing to yourself." Remus smiled sadly. "So really, I should be the one apologizing."
"W-what?" Sirius stammered. "You did nothing wrong."
"You were harming yourself." Remus claimed. "And I didn't notice. I know everything about you, Padfoot. I should be able to tell when something's wrong with you."
"You were angry. You—"
"I was acting like your family!" Remus argued. He fell backwards, hitting his back to the bed; not unlike Sirius had been moments before. "And that's the last thing I want you to see me as."
Sirius knit his brow together in deep thought before leaning over Remus, clutching his fingers to Remus' chin, holding his head up to look Sirius in the eye. Their faces became incredibly close and Remus could feel his cheeks redden.
"That is the last thing I would ever think to see you as." Sirius whispered. He lightly pressed his lips against Remus'.
It was light at first, a simple kiss of exploration; a chance for the two to test each other out and see how they liked the feel. Remus could feel his heartbeat speed up as Sirius gently caressed his lips, and for a moment he couldn't really remember anything but the taste of steak and the feel of another pair of lips upon his.
Sirius' lips, to be exact.
Remus moaned, giving nonverbal permission for Sirius to continue. Sirius licked Remus' bottom lip, and the werewolf instantly opened his mouth to let the other in.
A sound emitted from the back of Remus' throat, a sound which Sirius could only interpret as a lusty growl. It drove him on. He deepened the kiss, delving into the orifice being offered to him. He left no place undisturbed, searching every nook and cranny proffered.
A loud bang at the door scared both of the boys out of their actions. Sirius tore away from Remus, falling on the ground, yelping as he landed on his damaged arm.
"What are you two doing in there!" The voice of James carried into the room gruffly as he slammed his fist into the door once again, throwing open the door and staring at the two out-of-breath people. Remus sighed, helping Sirius up off the ground. "Don't just sit there; we've got to get you to the infirmary!"
"We're fine, Prongs." Sirius huffed.
"You two have been in here for ten minutes!" James fumed. "I've been knocking for about seven of those minutes."
"We're fine," Remus repeated. He held Sirius' arm out to inspect for any more harm. "Are you okay?" The question was directed at Sirius.
"Never better." Sirius grinned. He slid an arm protectively around Remus' waist.
"Whoa," James' eyes widened in shock.
"What?" Remus asked.
"That's the first time I've seen Sirius smile in… in…."
"Seven weeks, two days, eight hours. Twenty-five minutes and nine seconds." Remus and Sirius said at the same time. James cocked an eyebrow in a curious annoyance. The two boys exchanged knowingly glances. Sirius gave Remus a small hug around the waist.
"Not that we're counting, eh?"
I felt like it had to be written, since I tend to act like Sirius did in this situation at times; I just haven't had the hard-ass friends to notice and pull me out of it in a long time.
I'm not too sure about this one, either. I like it, I mean. It's Sirius/Remus, so what's there not to like? I couldn't really pick a genre other than Romance, though, since I know it's dramatic a bit…. But I couldn't differentiate between drama and angst in this fic. So I guessed and put drama. There might be angst.
I started out writing this in an angsty mood, but toward the middle I started getting out of that and got into more of a forceful, get-the-hell-out-of-my-way mood. Hence the force-feeding that I think fits so well. The ranting was a bit cute, too.
I swear…. I have like three one-shots going on at the same time; they're driving me nuts. I hope this one doesn't suck too badly.
Harry Potter is not paired with Draco Malfoy. Sirius Black is not together forever (and VERY MUCH ALIVE) with Remus Lupin. Therefore, I do not have the extreme pleasure of owning these characters.
Flames will definitely be laughed at and showed to friends. They faze me none. Don't bother, because if you didn't like the stuff you wouldn't read the whole thing to get down here in the first place. That's why I put these down here
Criticism is nice and always welcome, and I have no doubt I'll probably get (more than) a few of those pretty reviews, but flames don't do anything but demoralize the one griping at the writer.
Have a good day!