AN: Just a short bit from Remus' POV. If I'm ambitious, have time, and feel inspired, I'll be doing some one-shots from Sirius' POV as well, my first attempt to write things from his perspective having disgusted me. But, here you go. Review, please, if you don't mind.
The carriage ride to London was uneventful. I was left wholly to the mercy of my own thoughts, which were none too pleasant. More than anything, the guilt weighed on me, the guilt of having betrayed so many times over those who depended on me.
First and foremost, I had betrayed Dumbledore's trust. I thought of that with a scowl. I had information he could have used, and I'd kept it to myself for the sake of my own reputation. How thoroughly disgusting of me. The ironic part was I only disgraced myself more by hiding the truth. And of course in all this, I had betrayed Harry as well, when I should have been doing my utmost to protect him. Betraying him was the same as betraying Lily and James. That was four strikes against me.
Then there was Sirius, whom I'd let down in the worst possible way. I didn't feel particularly awful about this, in part because I knew he'd already forgiven me, and also because, well, what else could I have done? Then I thought of Kara and her unwavering faith in him, and in me, and my heart sank.
She was waiting at home for me, no doubt puttering around the flat, or curled up out on the balcony, nose obscured by some book. I smiled at the thought.
Of course she didn't know she was waiting. I hadn't bothered to send an owl. Her reaction would be the same with or without forewarning. A slight raise of the eyebrows, then the book would go down, the apron would go on, she'd bid me sit down while she made dinner, and explanations could wait until the teapot had whistled.
I wasn't sure if I should be grateful at the prospect, or annoyed.
It all went exactly as I predicted, only before the apron came a hug, which I was not expecting. I realized that, even as I considered her to be all I had in the world, she thought the same of me, and I wondered what that past year must have been like for her, all alone at the flat. If I had had any common sense, I would have done something thoughtful, such as send her a kitten for Christmas, but my common sense had run out with my money.
Later we sat, and I filled her in, and she listened attentively at first, then her thoughts seemed to wander, and there was moisture under her lashes.
"Kara...Kara do you hear me?"
The expression in her face was pained, exhausted, even...guilty? But she had no reason to feel guilty. Who had she wronged? She assured me she had heard and understood everything. Then she hesitated before asking another question:
"Do you know where...?"
I shook my head sadly. "No." For her sake, I wished I did. I had no idea how long it would be before they could have their reunion, or even what such a reunion would be like.
With a little sigh, she stood and went to stand out on the balcony. I watched her for some time, wishing for I know not what. Maybe for an easier life for both of us. A happier ending seemed too much to ask. It was unfair that so many people – Kara, Sirius, James, Lily, Harry, and even, selfishly, myself– should lose out. We had all struggled so long. I felt abominably old.
Over the next few weeks I set about getting my affairs in order. My resigning before word of my condition could get out had helped my case a bit, and I was able to find work, infrequent and unreliable though it was. The weeks stretched on, passing into a year that brought its own discomfort and foreboding. You would have to have been a complete dolt not to realize something was brewing.
Every so often, my thoughts would return to Sirius. I marveled at times at how changed he was, a withered copy of the handsome man I had known in my youth. A glance in the direction of the mirror would remind me of my own mortality, and I would chuckle at such foolish materialism.
Kara, on the other hand, looked like a preserved statue. She was thinner, abler, more graceful, and she had tiny crows feet about her eyes, but she was still in many ways the beautiful young woman Sirius had let get away. Some instinct in me warned that any meeting between them would be awkward, for by all outward appearances, one had completely changed and the other had stayed exactly the same. I worried that, even should Sirius prove his innocence, there would be insurmountable obstacles between them. That for all her waiting, Kara would lose out still more in the end.
My heart ached for my only friend.
Then, the following June, I limped home from a transformation. I always went away for these, even with the Wolfsbane. I would not put Kara in danger, though I had learned to welcome her help afterwards.
I opened my front door, wincing at the pain even the tiny movement caused. I shut it quietly behind me, and started to move into the main room. I came to a halt just inside the entryway and stared at the picture in front of me.
Kara lay on her back, head titled towards the man her arms curled around. For his part, he had wrapped himself around her completely, face buried in her stomach. Both slept peacefully, but even as I began to take in what I saw, she stirred, having heard my entrance. She roused Sirius, and then they were both on their feet, moving forward to help me, and I realized it's true what they say.
Some things never change.