This was not the way James had envisioned the conclusion of his week of adventures with Sirius. For one thing, there were no banners or fireworks or Firewhisky. For another, they had already seen a stretcher being flown to the hospital wing. And perhaps most importantly, in his fantasy, Sirius did not change colors every few minutes. At this point, James had counted at least three distinct shades of red, two of purple, a green-ish yellow, a yellow-green, and a truly frightening pale white. Any illusion that this was anything even vaguely like the finale they had planned was shattered when a ragged and rather forlorn looking group of Gryffindors trundled into the common area and Sirius launched himself at one very terrified Peter Pettigrew.
"What… did… you… DO?" Sirius grunted through clenched teeth as he slammed Peter against a wall, his hand at the chubby boy's throat.
Peter flapped his hands wildly and gestured to his throat. "Sirius…" James ventured slightly closer, eying the dozens of staring students.
"Everyone out NOW!" roared Sirius, pulling his wand from his pocket without removing his hand from Peter's neck. James had to admire the tone of authority that, despite being Head Boy, he could never quite manage. Within moments, the common room had cleared. "You have five seconds to start talking," threatened the black haired boy, gesturing with his wand.
"I… just asked where the boathouse was." Sirius loosened his hold on Peter's throat slightly as the boy began to talk. "But… I think I did it wrong. Because they got all angry-like and started to swat at me with sticks and stuff. And then some more people came out of huts with knives and stuff. Moony came over and tried to smooth them out all, Moony-like, but they just started yelling real loud. And I grabbed him and asked him to apparate but he didn't and-"
"You IDIOT!" yelled Sirius as he threw the frightened boy to the floor and kicked him in the stomach. "Moony… hates… apparating… Feels like… the bloody… change!" He punctuated each statement with a swift kick to Peter's torso as the boy tried to crawl away.
"Pads!" James grabbed his friend's arm, only to be thrown into an arm chair that went flying across the room. As he tried to recover his bearings, he noticed that the objects of the room were, in fact, shaking. "Sirius…"
"I didn't mean for anything to happen! I just! The boathouse! I couldn't stop them! I'm sorry!" The sandy haired boy fled to the nearest corner as the older boy advanced on him, the shaking in the room becoming more noticeable.
"Do I look like I care what you MEANT to do to Moony?" He grabbed a handful of the boy's hair and hauled him to his feet.
Peter's round face twisted into a snarl. "Well at least I didn't-"
"Excuse me!" The normally peppy female voice cut through the air like a knife. "Mr. Black!"
Sirius threw Peter against an end table and turned to face the woman. "Yes?"
Nurse Pomfrey tried her best not to look intimidated by the raging fire in the boy's eyes. "Please come with me."
Sirius nodded wordlessly and followed the round woman into the hallway. "If you're going to be upset with me for that you had better know that-"
"Hush," cut the nurse. "Mr. Lupin warned me not to be unnerved by whatever… situation I found you and Mr. Pettigrew in." She ventured a glance at the boy, who had mellowed considerably upon hearing his friend's name. He seemed rather pale, in fact. "Not that I would normally condone such behavior," she continued briskly, "but under the circumstances-"
"What circumstances?" asked Sirius, coming to a halt. He brushed the long black hair from his face and then knit his fingers in front of him. Nurse Pomfrey had never seen such a dramatic change in demeanor.
"Remus," Sirius corrected.
"Remus," she amended, "has been very badly hurt. I wish I could tell you more but he has refused to let me or anyone treat him until he sees you and-"
"HE WHAT?" Without waiting for an answer, Sirius took off at a full run towards the hospital wing. Nurse Pomfrey tried to keep up, but could only watch as the boy took off taking the stairs so fast his feet didn't seem to touch the ground. All things considered, there was a good possibility his feet weren't actually touching the ground. Pomfrey knew the Black boy had more magic in his little toe than some of the teachers at Hogwarts, even if he hadn't realized it yet. Frankly, she was glad Peter Pettigrew was still breathing.
"Remus, what are you-" Sirius stopped dead as he stared at his boyfriend. The body in front of him looked like a preschooler's water color painting, purple and green and yellow and blue and red all sickeningly smeared together. Even Remus' hair was covered in dark mud and darker blood. Sirius sank to his knees in front of the hospital bed. "But you have special healing-" His eyes began to water, but he tried to blink them away, out, anywhere but where they would blur his vision of Remus.
"He looked worse before," said the nurse, putting a hand on Sirius' shoulder. "Which suggests he will be alright."
"No," the boy whispered, "it will take years before it is anything near alright." He reached out to take his lover's hand but pulled back, afraid to cause the boy more pain. "Baby."
The beaten boy's eyelids fluttered. "Hey."
"I'm here," whispered Sirius, afraid too much breath might hurt. "And Nurse Pomfrey's gonna start fixing you up now." He nodded to the woman beside him, who seemed to have been waiting for some signal to begin her magic. "I'm staying right here. I'm never leaving you alone again. Ever."
The corners of the werewolf's mouth twitched before he winced at the movement. "Is Peter?"
Sirius stiffened slightly. "The little scum's alive and well enough."
"Then let's go with your plan. I don't want to be alone again." Remus let his eyes close and held out his hand as the tension drained from the room.
Sirius grasped the fingers lightly, desperate to alleviate the pain he saw in Remus' eyes. "Yeah. That's the plan and nothing's gonna change it."