Wrote this last night for the RemusxSirius community on LiveJournal. Strange, despite my varied taste the only fics I ever seem to write are puppyship fics. Also, have you ever noticed how conductive to my muses 1am is?
1585 words long.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, J K Rowling does.
The sun is rising outside. Six, seven in the morning. He wakes on the floor in a pool of blood, weak and sickened. There's a hideous taste of flesh in his mouth which makes him shudder. Crap. I hope that was something, not someone. Quietly, slowly, filled with pain, he levers himself off the cold flags and stumbles upstairs, trailing blood. He'll clean up later, when he's feeling better.
Pale skin gleaming with slick trails of red in the morning light, he goes into the bathroom, not bothering to shut the door. It's not like there's anyone to peek at a thirty-ish man covered in blood taking a bath. He turns on both taps as hard as they go and climbs into the rapidly-filling tub with difficulty, wincing at the stabs of pain.
They took a bath together once, sneaked into the teacher's bathroom and splashed around in the swimming-pool sized tub. Sirius turned on all the faucets so they were both hidden in gouts of steam and puffs of sweet-scented foam. James had a go at them for that for days, but they both knew he was immensely proud of their guts.
This bathroom is rather significantly smaller and nastier than that one. He notices what appears to be an international spider convention in the corner above his head, and once he's in the warm water (stings something awful on his fresh wounds) he hasn't quite got space to straighten his legs out past 85 degrees. It's rather uncomfortable. He rinses clots of blood from his slightly thinning brown hair and wipes off some of the blood oozing from his chest and torso to form gouts of orangey-red in the rapidly dirtying water, and then sits up and, making a container with his cupped hands, pours clean water over his legs, sending dark red tracks down his calves that eventually fade to pink.
Pink confetti and pink glitter. Bloody Prongs, he remembers thinking, no sense of time and place. They had just told the other two Marauders and Lily about their 'special relationship'. Prongs' only reaction was "Well duh." And then he fired various items of a pink and rainbow nature over them. Wormtail, of course, had refused to come within three hundred miles of them for the next two weeks, and, as Sirius wryly observed, he probably only came back because James hung around with them. Of course, Pete was always a bit of a…
No. He cuts off that thought there. Mustn't speak ill of the dead. And after what had happened…to still be taking Sirius' side…
He sighs, sliding back down into the reddened water. Thinking about the past stings worse than the soapy water currently stabbing its way into his myriad wounds.Sirius…
He tried to forget about them once. They were there, behind his eyes, sixteen and laughing. Lily and James. Peter and whatsherface. And himself and…He tries again. Himself and…What do you call a friend who isn't, maybe never was, a lover who doesn't love you, maybe never did? Sirius is too personal. He can't quite bring himself to think of him as Black. And Padfoot? Padfoot was a Marauder. Padfoot was a first love. Padfoot was a friend. Padfoot never was.
Thinking about it, tears seep out from under his closed eyelashes. Selfish tears. Because he'll never be there again, never see their grinning faces, never ruffle James' hair and call him a narcissistic peacock, never point out to Pete again that adding a unicorn hair to that recipe changes it from a rather nasty poison into an effective cure for warts, never sit and play chess with Lily in the flickering firelight while James pours drinks for himself and Pete and Sirius…He wipes away his tears with a sniffle and the absolute knowledge that if any of them were here now they would absolutely not let him be this upset. But he can't help it. Full moon always makes him feel like this, like the memories are a tidal wave, rushing up, threatening to drown him.
Running wolf-form in the silver moonlight, memories half-remembered, half imagined. Rat and stag and wolf and dog. Through the woods.
He misses it all. Everything. Even the bad bits. Holding back Sirius' hair while he threw up. Letting James copy my notes again, because I'm a pushover and he was passing notes to Lily all through Potions. Explaining to Peter that no, actually, the sun doesn't shine out of James' arse.
Because I was with them. The only people in the world who could ever make me feel safe, make me feel normal, make me feel me. And the only person who could make me feel alive.
And the tears are flowing thick and fast now, and he's hugging his bony knees and rocking back and forth as his shoulders shake and fat teardrops splash scarlet coronets into the air from the blood-drenched water. Because he can't ever go back. He can see the twinkle in James' eyes, he can smell the lavender shampoo Lily always used, he can hear Peter's high-pitched voice, he can taste Sirius on his lips, but when he reaches out to touch them, they're gone. Like smoke. He can't ever go back, and even if he could, even if somehow he could make James and Lily and Peter not dead and if somehow he could resurrect the sacred bond he shared with Sirius, somehow trade his own laughing, smiling, hugging, kissing, loving Sirius with the cold liar he knows him to be…even if he could make it never have happened, even if…he can never go back. He's not sixteen any more. He's thirty-five going on sixty. And anyway, he can't. It happened. His world shattered thirteen years ago.
He killed them.
James and Lily Potter…Peter Pettigrew stood in his way, poor boy…all they found of him was one finger…But their child survived…young Harry Potter.
Angrily, he hits the side of the bath, wincing at the pain that shoots up his arm. I DON'T CARE IF HARRY SURVIVED! It's a petulant thought, it passes in a moment, but it was there. I don't care…I just want them back! Tears are still running down his face, more than he'd have thought possible thirteen years ago, but it doesn't surprise him any more. He weeps every month for hours on hours, staring at the rising sun, screaming out silently in anger and pain. …I just want them back…
I just want Sirius back.
Did his Sirius ever exist? It shouldn't matter. The Sirius who killed James and Lily and Pete, the Sirius who's even now languishing in a cell in Azkaban, isn't the Sirius who filled his heart with joy and love. And whenever he thinks about that Sirius, a little more of his precious memories are dragged into the darkness.
Wincing in pain, wiping away the last of his tears, Remus Lupin stands up, bloody water cascading off him, tracking crimson down his body. Somewhere several miles away, a dog barks loudly, setting off a cacophony of dogs, as always. This is, after all, Yorkshire. And as always, despite his best efforts, he strains for that one distinctive bark he knows so well. As always, it's not there. Why would it be? He's in Azkaban, and I'm glad.
He dries himself off, throwing the bloodstained towel into the laundry bin as he walks over to the cabinet to get the plasters. He also grabs a roll of toilet paper, dabbing away the long beads of ruby red. He used to scold Sirius for doing exactly the same thing, when they lived together."How many time, Sirius, toilet paper does NOT equal bandages!"
That was only for a few months, of course, before…
He shakes himself physically, as if he could get rid of the bad thoughts like a dog getting rid of water. Thinking about Sirius makes him want to laugh and cry and scream and shout and hit and hug and…he can't cope with the influx of emotions.
It's almost fully light now. He puts the last few dressings on his wounds, crosses the hallway to his bedroom, pulls on an enormous grey t-shirt and a pair of pyjama bottoms and slides slowly under his mussed-up duvet. He knows he won't be able to sleep, but he doesn't want to think any more, so he rolls over to switch on the radio. That damn dog barks again. He flicks between stations, trying to stop remembering.Sirius jumping on him and kissing him in the library
Sirius standing on a table in the common room, roaring drunk and singing "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" while he does some strange sort of jig-cum-tango with James
Sirius hanging over his shoulder, brushing his face with his long ponytail, reading his book aloud for the viewing pleasure of half Griffindor House
Sirius lying down next to him, cut and bruised, in the early morning light
Sirius running madly through the corridor shouting "I GOT THREE 'O'S! I AM LE KING OF EXTRODINARINESS!"
Sirius smacking him on the back of the head and calling him a swotty moron because he'd got all Os on his OWLs, all the while grinning all over his face like a proud father
Sirius kissing him swiftly on the lips before he went out on the night the world shattered.
"Sirius Black, notorious murderer, has escaped from Azkaban. Last night at…"
Remus sits bolt upright, despite the pain.
Somewhere not-so-far away, he hears a dog bark.