Painted Black

By Rit Globe

Pairing: Sirius/Remus

Summary: Sirius takes a serious look at his friendships, his life, and his love.

It started when we met. At eleven, I thought I ruled the world. Still do, depending on who you ask. It was our first trip to Hogwarts on the Express and he stood there in patch-worn, ill-fitting robes with that shy smile and those oversized amber eyes. He was hugging his parents goodbye. His mother was crying and clutching at him and his father stood behind him with a proud hand on his shoulder. When no one was looking, the man slipped him a couple of galleons for the trolley.

My parents were lost in the sea of bodies, probably hobnobbing with the Malfoys. Their son, Lucius, was starting his fifth year. From the lecture I received on "keeping up with the Malfoys," he was named Slytherin prefect and was on his way to being Head Boy. Mother had been throwing the two of us together for years, trying to create a friendship between "two heirs of the most prominent wizarding families." She certainly didn't lack modesty.

Boarding the train, I lost track of the boy but quickly found him in an empty room.

"Hey, d'ya mind?"

He reassured me he didn't, so I flashed him one of my beaming smiles, sat down, and held out a hand.

"Sirius Black."

He smiled back and nervously took my hand. His hand was bigger than mine but his grip was so loose I barely noticed.

"Remus Lupin."

Four years later, his hands were still bigger than mine and his grip was as flimsy as ever. His amber eyes were still too big for his face and his robes were still patched together. His mother had let out the hem all she could, but they were still a good four inches too short. I liked that nothing really changed about Remus. Aside from the obvious symptoms of puberty, he was still the same boy I met on the train: shy, awkward, and full of secrets.

He was made prefect in fifth year. After, he was more hesitant to join in our pranks, but he could never say no to us. To me. I realize now how torn he was between duty and friendship and my actions only served to hurt him. Fear kept him loyal to us and we, James and I, took advantage of that.

"Dungbomb ready?
"Guys," Remus said. "I don't think this is a good idea."

"C'mon, Moony! Its just a laugh. McGonagall won't know what hit her!"

"I don't think she's liable to mistake a dungbomb. And she'll know it was us!"

He was biting his bottom lip. McGonagall was his favorite professor and he hated the way we always pranked her.

"Don't be such a prude, Moony."

He never fought against us. Never would and probably never will. Even now, in seventh year, he's on our side. Always. I used to think we were the Marauders! One for all, and all for one. Now I realize Moony had our back, but we never had his.

The incident with Snape caused him to snap. He hasn't spoken to any of us in weeks. He acquired special permission from Dumbledore to stay in the library after hours to study. He sits far away from us in class.

But the incident didn't just change Moony. It changed us all. James and I grew up that night. The innocent prank turned into something ugly right in front of my eyes. I'll never forgive myself for it. I understood Moony's need to distance himself from me. I understood James' sudden need to prove himself.

They didn't understand that I needed them. I needed their support. They left me with nothing. And suddenly, I was nothing. James and I ruled the school just weeks ago, and now I'm nothing.

So here I am, standing in front of the Whomping Willow. I briefly notice that it's raining, and probably has been for awhile judging by how wet I am. I take note of the patterns the willow makes against the night sky. Every so often, lightening will flash behind the tree branches. The sound of thunder rumbles through me, and it's as though I can feel the energy under my feet. It's raw and I'm awestruck but this amazing power.


I blink but don't turn around. It's Moony.

"You're going to catch your death out here."

I don't respond. I think about it. But no, now's not the time. Death isn't as easy to catch as Moony thinks.

"C'mon inside, Padfoot."

I cringe when I hear that name. The Marauders…what fools we were.

"I don't blame you."

I blame myself.

"I did, at first, but not anymore."

I tell myself it doesn't matter. Moony's forgiveness comes from the same place as always: fear. I cannot accept forgiveness out of fear. Not anymore.

"Grow a backbone," I growl. My voice is scratchy from disuse. Or from the rain, I'm not sure. "I can't take this weak shit of yours anymore Remus."

He doesn't say anything, but I know he's still there. I can hear him breathing.

"Fuck you, Sirius," is all he manages to choke out.

I laugh.

I laugh hysterically.

I fall to my knees and feel the mud seep in to my trousers. I have to wrap my arms around me because sides hurt. I laugh and laugh. My vision goes blurry and I'm gasping for breath but I'm still laughing.

"You've lost your fucking mind, Black."

Even then I don't stop. I keep laughing. Laughing and laughing.

And then I start to cough.

And then I throw up.

I keep throwing up until everything is expelled from my stomach. At some point, Moony walked over and held back my hair and rubbed soothing circles on my back. By the time I finished, I was just a rag doll in his arms. He whispered calming words and hummed old nursery rhymes that must be muggle because I've never heard them before. He rocks me back and forth as he hums and for the first time in weeks I feel content.

"Better?" he asks.

Am I better? Perhaps. Perhaps not. I just nod into chest and hope it's the right answer.

"I'm sorry." Its just a whisper, but those wolf ears of his can pick up anything.

"About what?"

"Everything. Everything I've ever done to you. Or didn't do for you."

He stiffens for a moment.

"Don't be."
I nod again.

And again.

"What made you sit with my on the Hogwarts Express?"

I blink. I want to tell him about his eyes and how entrancing they are. I want to tell him about his patched robe and the lipstick on his cheek from when his mother kissed him goodbye. I want to tell him.

"You looked lost."

I won't.

"And you found me."

But I think he knows anyway.

I move away so I can face him. He's as wet as I am now, and all I can see are those eyes—the eyes of a wolf, the eyes of a predator. I always thought Remus weak. We all did. In that moment, I know I'm wrong. I know he's the strongest person I've ever met. Just like the lightening beneath my feet, I feel the strength radiating off him in waves. I'm awestruck. He's amazing.

My body gravitates toward that strength. Lightening strikes and lights up his entire face, and I strike. I've kissed a lot of people before. James used to joke I'd go through half the students before graduation. I used to joke it'd be more.

This kiss is no joking matter. His lips are warm, so warm in contrast to my own. The chill of my body causes him to gasp and I don't waste the opportunity. I realize a little too late that I should have charmed my mouth clean. I realize a little too late that we're both going to be sick for weeks after this.

I realize a little too late that I love him.

But I think he knows that, too.