Disclaimer: Sirius and Remus aren't mine. If they were, OOTP and DH would have had altered endings.
Remus stared down into his half-empty glass. He wasn't sure how many he'd had, which wasn't common for him. He wasn't the type to go out and get completely smashed, but everyone had to do something out-of-character once in a while.
"The man who taught me to conjure a Patronus - a coward." Harry's scathing words rang through his head and in response, he tossed back the last of the liquid in his cup and signaled for another.
"Oh, sure, drink yourself under the table, Moony, that'll really help," said a sarcastic voice on his left.
"Go 'way, Padfoot," he mumbled, his words slightly slurred. "You're one t'talk." Bryn's spell had worked, and as happy as Remus was to have his friend back, he wished Sirius would leave him alone.
Sirius scowled at his friend. True, he had indulged in a bit more drinking than was wise during the year he'd been cooped up in Grimmauld Place, but still. He wasn't too pleased with Remus right now anyway.
"I went to see Andie and Tonks. They're worried about Ted, and Andie's worried about her daughter as well."
"I don't want t'talk about this."
"No, I guess you wouldn't. I guess you just never how people will turn out."
"What's that s'posed to mean?" Remus' words were getting harder to understand as he downed yet another glass. As he raised his hand to signal for another, Sirius grabbed it.
"Don't. And it means, I never thought you'd be one to get a girl pregnant and walk out on her. Especially if she was your wife."
"Sirius, leave me alone. You don't know..."
"Don't know what, Moony? That you're letting your own self-hate get the better of you again? That James, Lily, and Jaz are probably watching from somewhere right now and screaming their heads off at you?"
"Don't... don't bring them up. I can't... Harry..."
"Harry what? Told you off? I heard about that too, Remus. What the hell are you trying to do?"
"Trying... trying to get drunk, right now."
"I noticed. Sobrietus." Remus glared at him as the Sobering Charm reversed the effects of firewhiskey. "We're getting out of here."
Remus didn't follow him when he stood, and Sirius sighed, grabbing the other man's wrist. "Come on."
"Sirius, I'm not your kid. If you want to play dad, go find Harry and Bryn. If you can, it's more than anyone else has managed."
"I'm not trying to be your father, or I'd've kicked your ass already. I'm trying to be a friend. Now let's go."
"If you're trying to be a friend, then listen to me. Leave. Me. Alone."
"No." They glared at each other, blue-gray eyes and smoky gray ones locked on each other. And Remus remembered a similar scene, from long ago.
"What do you mean, you're worthless?!"
"I'm a werewolf, Paddy."
"You know how people -"
"I don't care! None of us care? D'you see me or James or Peter running away because you've got a problem you can't control?"
"No, you guys are... a miracle, but the rest of the world's not like that. You know that, Sirius, and you know most people will look at me and see a monster. I am a monster."
"No, you're not. And you've got as much right to have a fantastic life as anyone. More, because of the bad stuff from before."
Remus looked away. "I told you before, I'm a monster, and that's how the world sees me. Even Andromeda and Ted were horrified when they found out Tonks and I were married. If that baby is like me... I can't... don't you see what I've done to them?"
"Don't you see what you're doing to them by walking away?"
"It's better, better for that child to grow up without a father than to have a werewolf for a father. And Tonks... She can find someone else, someone young and whole, like she deserves."
"If she wanted someone else, she'd have someone else. She wants you, old friend, and you're breaking her heart. And yours, or else you wouldn't be trying to drown yourself in firewhiskey."
"Sirius... I can't just go back. If I could... but I'm right. Besides, after I left the way I did, she'd be a fool to forgive me."
"Yeah, but anyone in love is a fool. Try, Remus."
"You mean you're afraid to."
"I'm not a coward!"
"Who said you were? I said you were scared of this. I would be too - I was, once."
Remus looked away. "Harry," he muttered. "When I went to see them at Grimmauld. I offered to go along with them. Harry... he was furious with me for what I was doing. I suppose... he's lost so many adults, parental figures in his life, he thought what I was doing was awful. So do I, but I don't see any other choice."
"Do the right thing. Go back."
"Sirius, what if the baby is a werewolf? How can an infant survive the transformation?"
"Why do you think he or she will be?"
"I just feel that... your daughter says she and her friends did research on werewolves, though she didn't say why, and that there was no proof that would happen. But I..." He raked a hand through his hair. "If the baby is a werewolf, I will have passed this, this curse on to a child, Sirius! An innocent child! How could I live with myself?!"
"How can you live with yourself if you pull the same thing your own father did?" The words hung in the air. Sirius hadn't planned to bring that up. The father who had incurred Greyback's vengeance had not been Remus' biological father. That man had walked out on a pregnant girlfriend and had never even laid eyes on his son.
"I... I left for a reason! He didn't!"
"You don't know that. Maybe he had his reasons. Maybe he was afraid he couldn't be a father, who knows? But do you really think your having a reason will make it any easier for that kid to understand why Dad's never been there?"
"Sirius, why are you doing this?"
"Because someone's got to. Remus, if you don't go back, you're going to regret it. I know that, and deep down, so do you." Sirius sighed. "Remus, it's your choice. But think about it. And, if your kid is a werewolf, wouldn't be better for him or her to have a father who knows what it's like? If not, then I don't see how anyone is better off without a father, and, Remus, 'furry little problem' or not, I think you'd make a great father. If you don't run away from it."
Remus stared at him, eyes filled with a deep pain, something Sirius had seen before, if not quite this strong. The two men held each other's gazes again, for a long moment, before Remus nodded.
"You're right," he whispered. "You're right, Harry was right. I was wrong. But I only meant..."
"Don't tell me. Go tell Tonks." Sirius smiled. Remus gave him a frightened look, before smiling slightly himself. God, he'd been a fool. But maybe, just maybe, he could fix his mistakes and salvage the brightest thing in his life. Maybe.
A/N: Well, I've been writing multiple one-shots set in this universe, but all of them are set after Colors of War, so I can't post them yet. So I cast around for an idea of one I could post, and this came to me. The whole Remus running from his family thing in DH was very personal for me, and the only time I found myself temporarily hating one of my favorite characters - in canon, that is. But he realized his mistake, which I was really happy to see. I just wondered exactly how his epiphany came about. I'm sure Harry's words were part of it, but as I don't intend to write anything Order-focused in CoW, I decided I had to write something with the returned Sirius in it before the closing chapters of CoW. So it's Sirius who gives Remus a kick in the pants. I think, had JKR not killed him (oh, no, I'm not at all bitter, I don't have anything against OOTP or the DH deaths, not at all...), he would have done so in canon as well. Anyway, R&R!