Hiya! Happy Halloween! We in Australia don't really celebrate the occasion - at least we don't in my town - although my daughter did ask to go trick or treating tonight. I asked her why - she told me she wanted some lollies. I think she may be missing the point.
Anyway, I've read a few Halloween fics lately and after reading 'Cinderemus' by fuzzyalligator last night, I decided to give it a go and this is what came out. It is set on the first Halloween after Sirius' escape from Azkaban (during GOF to be technical). Hope you enjoy.
WARNING: Sexual content. Angst you could drown in.
Disclaimer: I wish I had sexy pups writhing on my kitchen floor, but sadly, they aren't mine.
Today I begin to understand what love must be, if it exists.
When we are parted, we each feel the lack of the other half of ourselves.
We are incomplete like a book in two volumes of which the first has been lost.
That is what I imagine love to be: incompleteness in absence.
Edmond and Jules de Goncourt
Remus stood in front of the window, staring unseeingly out the grimy panes. The wind had picked up as day began to turn into night and the accompanying chill fit Remus' mood. Halloween. The night the boundaries between the living and the dead dissolved. It was certainly true tonight - the spirits that Remus thought he had managed to lay to rest years earlier had come back to haunt his every waking and slumbering hour this day.
The day of their literal and figurative deaths.
Thirteen years ago today, he'd lost everything - his friends, his lover, his life. Now, the knowledge that everything he thought he knew was false was still sinking in, and he felt the grief as freshly as if Dumbledore had just told him the news that his world had collapsed. Some things remained tragically real - James and Lily were still dead, Harry was still an orphan, but Peter and Sirius…
The man he thought was a traitor, his lover whom he'd believed guilty of betrayal, had not been responsible for the deaths of those Remus loved after all. That had been the assumed dead Peter. Little underestimated Peter who was always trying to impress had finally found a way to gain the attention of someone bigger and more powerful than himself…and he had sold his friends out as payment.
Sirius, the man he had loved desperately, completely and, at times, reluctantly, since he was sixteen, was innocent of everything Remus believed him guilty of.
Merlin! Shouldn't I have known? Was I too quick to accept the evidence? Too hasty to believe that Sirius was capable of such a thing?
Even as the stricken thought crossed his mind, he reminded himself of how he had struggled to accept what the entire wizarding world insisted was the truth: that Sirius Black had betrayed his best friends and delivered them to the Dark Lord - killing a brave Peter Pettigrew who had hunted him down for retribution in the process.
But they weren't in love with him. They had no reason to disbelieve. I did. I knew him inside and out.
No one outside of their tight knit circle knew that the relationship between the two young men ran deeper than that of friends - they had been lovers since their Sixth Year of school and shared a bond that was elemental. Complete opposites, they somehow managed to compliment each other rather than allowing their differences to irritate. They were each other's other half - Sirius used to joke that together the prefect werewolf and pure blood rascal made one normal person. It had always felt so corny, even to them, but they truly completed each other. Together, they were whole.
Remus hadn't felt whole in a very long time.
So how had things between them deteriorated to the point that they suspected each other, that they doubted each other?
Drawing in a shaky breath, Remus turned from the window, deciding to take a short walk to try and clear his troubled mind. Tugging on his worn and patched cloak, he stepped out onto the rickety porch of his ramshackle cottage. It was in the middle of nowhere - no chance of any stray trick or treaters emerging from the surrounding woods to interrupt his solitude. As he walked, he instinctively bent against the strengthening wind, his cloak whipping around his legs as the sky turned ever greyer.
He recalled the last weeks he and Sirius spent together before that fateful Halloween - the fights, the unspoken blame, the final fuck before Sirius walked out. Because their lives had crumbled into arguments and resentments and fucking by then. They were silently pointing the finger at each other, accusations of 'traitor' barely even whispered but as loud as a scream in every interaction.
He truly believed me a traitor too. I wasn't the only one who betrayed our relationship.
Now they both knew the truth, knew just how badly they had let the other down. Remus shivered - the tremor not entirely due to the every cooling evening. Seeing Sirius again just over three months earlier had been…what? Painful? Exciting? Depressing? Thrilling?
Remus didn't know. So much time had passed - neither of them were the same men they had been. Time had temporarily healed the wounds their doubts had created - seeing each other again had ripped apart that scarred flesh on their hearts, their souls, once again and they were both bleeding pain and bitterness and fear.
Remus knew he'd never stopped loving Sirius. His feelings towards the brunette had run the gamut over the years but love was something they had never had trouble finding for each other - no matter how much they tried to deny it, or suppress it or fight it.
Love, for them, was easy.
It was everything else - trust, respect, forgiveness - that was hard.
The werewolf sighed and turned on his heel, heading back to his shack. As a dark creature, he was shackled by many laws and regulations, and still he had more freedom than the pure blooded Sirius right now. The wizarding world still believed his former lover guilty of his apparent crimes and he'd had to flee back in July before Remus could tell him how sorry he was for his betrayal, for thinking him capable of what he was accused of. Azkaban had been cruel to his lover - the appearance proud boy he'd known was wasted, his grey face a waxy mask, eyes dead…except for that one moment when their eyes first met in the Shrieking Shack. Remus had seen the flash of…dare he think it was joy?… that made him hold onto the hope that Sirius might understand, that he might forgive Remus' treachery.
Remus cursed the wind as he wiped his streaming eyes, well aware the icy breeze had very little to do with the hot tears coursing down his hollowed cheeks. Halloween had always been difficult for him to get through, but this time…knowing the extent of his own betrayal of the man he loved, the weight felt heavier than ever, the old ghosts more restless.
As he neared his home, a familiar scent, one that would never be forgotten, assaulted Remus. It was buried beneath grime and decay and sweat, but it was still undeniably him. Remus looked up, his heart pausing before it began a frantic new rhythm when he laid eyes on the large black dog on his doorstep.
Joy and fear fought equally as hard for control of Remus' soul as he automatically continued the journey to his front door. Conflicts waged battles over his mind and heart and body; mind racing yet frozen, heart singing yet fearful, body heavy yet as light as air. Only Sirius had ever been able to pull such range of emotion from him, such confusion, and even after all this time, he was still capable of both tearing Remus apart and healing him with one look.
Sirius had always said that he didn't feel the same range of emotions as a dog, but the grey eyes staring up at Remus now revealed the conflicts the other man was experiencing and Remus couldn't think of anything to say that would ease the Animagus' mind - he couldn't even calm his own. His voice was surprisingly calm, though, as he opened his front door.
'Come in. I'll run a bath.'
The dog obeyed, not transforming when he was safely behind the closed door, instead padding after Remus and watching as the man conjured a warm bath. Remus held his hand under the running water, mind whirling. There were so many things he wanted, needed, to say, but not one word of his apologies or explanations or declarations would force itself past his lips. He flicked the taps off and turned, avoiding the dog's gaze.
'Leave your clothes outside the door for washing. I'll get you some fresh ones.'
The dog lowered his head in acknowledgment and Remus left the room, shutting the door softly behind him. He was glad Sirius had stayed in dog form, if truth be told. He needed to be stronger before he saw his former lover again, though he wasn't sure he'd ever be ready. A trembling inhale giving his shaking limbs strength as Remus gathered clothes robotically then banished them to the bathroom before waving his wand at his kitchen cupboards. His meagre rations wouldn't stretch to two, but Remus had no appetite, sure he would bring back up anything he tried to put in his churning stomach. With a meal preparing itself, Remus took up his vigil next to the window again, trying to gather his troubled thoughts.
What did Sirius want? Shelter? Revenge? Atonement?
Remus wasn't sure he could offer him any of these right now, or if he could find the courage to ask for the same for himself. He leaned his forehead on the cool glass, closing his eyes too late to halt the progress of a tear that trickled slowly over his cheekbone.
'Your soup is burning.'
Remus started then turned away from the voice, eyes fixed on the stove top as he hurried to turn off the burner. He stirred the liquid, then reached for a bowl only to find one being pressed into his hands.
'You keep them in the same cupboard you did at our place.'
'I'm sorry I'm so predictable.'
'Predictability is good. It was one of traits I most appreciated about you.'
Or was it predictable that a dark creature would turn to the dark side?
The words remained unspoken - hanging between them. A brush of a finger on his jaw made Remus jump and instinctively turn towards the touch. Sirius - still too thin, still more fragile than Remus had ever seen him - held up a finger - a droplet balanced on the tip.
'Not for me, Remus? I'm not worth your tears.'
The two words acted like a dagger, Sirius bending at the waist, his face pained, as they sliced deep into his flesh.
'I didn't…I knew it was close but…Gods.'
He staggered back a few steps then stumbled to the kitchen table, falling heavily into a chair. The anguish in his face was obvious and Remus regretted speaking so bluntly. He forgot in the maelstrom that was his own pain and confusion that Sirius lost every bit as much as he had that Halloween night thirteen years ago. Then, he'd lost his freedom as well, something Remus had enjoyed for all this time. Granted it was with limitations, but he hadn't been locked up in prison with only the knowledge that he was innocent stopping him going insane as Sirius had. Suddenly the words came tumbling out of his mouth.
'Sirius. P…Padfoot…I'm sor…'
'Don't! Don't you dare apologise to me, Moony.'
The sound of their nicknames in the air eased some of the tension and Remus sat down in the chair next to Sirius, food forgotten by them both. Sirius' grey eyes met Remus' blue orbs, holding them, refusing to let Remus look away.
'We were both too quick to betray each other, Remus. It could have been either of us in that cell…I just drew the short straw. It was me James asked to be their Secret Keeper first.'
'I should have known you'd never…'
'So should I. I should have known you wouldn't be disloyal. I should have known you'd never do anything to hurt me. Bloody Peter!'
Sirius stood up abruptly, striding across to the window Remus had been staring moodily out of earlier.
'We discounted Peter so quickly. None of us thought he would ever had the brains or the balls to pull off being a double agent. And then we believed his whispering, his recitation of the evidence…we let him do this to us. God, Remus! If Harry hadn't stopped us from killing that little bastard…'
'Harry did the right thing, although I wish everything had turned out better. It's my fault he escaped…'
'No. Moony, stop blaming yourself for this. I should have trusted you more. I should have asked you, confronted you about my suspicions. I should have talked to you when you wanted to discuss what was going wrong…'
'Stop, Sirius. Just…stop. We can't change what's happened. We can't change the fact that we didn't trust each other enough.'
There was silence and Remus' eyes fell on the saucepan. He moved to the stove and pointed his wand at the thick, pumpkin soup, heating it until bubbles appeared on the surface. He could feel Sirius' eyes on him and as he ladled out the soup, his hand shaking under the close scrutiny. He resisted the urge to laugh hysterically, to allow his nerves and emotion to get the better of him as he tried to stay upright on his trembling limbs.
Sirius always made me quiver one way or another.
He felt rather than saw the other man move closer and warm breath ghosted over the back of his neck as Sirius spoke.
'I missed you, Remus. They couldn't take all my memories of you…not all of them were happy, but…I missed you every day, every hour.'
Vibrant orange splashed over the counter as the ladle slipped from Remus' frozen fingers. He struggled to breathe, to hold back the tears of regret and sorrow and longing, and when he heard Sirius whisper his name, felt his hand on his shoulder, he couldn't stop himself.
Spinning around, he grasped the other man's startled face and crashed their lips together. Teeth clicked and lips messily moved as Sirius immediately responded just as fiercely, sinking his hands into Remus' greying hair and clutching the soft strands, moaning when the sensation sparked old memories of sweat and skin and sex. Their tongues fought momentarily for dominance then settled for moving around and over each other as they reacquainted themselves with the taste of the other.
Their trembling legs gave way and they sank inelegantly to the ground, not removing their lips from each other's for one moment to untangle their limbs. Sirius somehow ended up sprawled over Remus and he rocked his hips against the werewolf's, desperately seeking friction to ease his almost painful arousal. Remus rolled them over, propping himself over the brunette and fumbling with the other man's fly. His rough hand found Sirius' throbbing member and in just three strokes, the other man arched up, crying out raggedly as he spilled over his lover's hand.
Concave chest heaving, Sirius watched Remus raise his hand and lick it clean before he shoved him hard in the chest, pushing him over onto his back. Remus let out a startled gasp then smiled as Sirius crawled up his body, kissing him hot and hard, tongue tasting his own essence on the other man's lips as his hands unsteadily unbuckled the werewolf's belt. No time was wasted - Sirius lowering his head as the pants were shoved down and taking Remus' cock into his moist mouth, moaning around the hard flesh as familiar smells and tastes and textures assaulted his senses.
It was less than a minute later that Remus let out that half groaned version of Sirius' name that he'd heard time and time again and that a thousand Dementors couldn't make the Animagus forget. The hot, slightly bitter offering was eagerly accepted then with one final swipe of his tongue over the other man's softening shaft, Sirius released him.
Hands pulled him upwards, lips met his and for long moments, tears mingled as soft messages of love and apology were whispered into each other's mouths. Food was forgotten as they feasted on each other through the night that had so many years earlier held so much sorrow for them.
Thirteen years ago, Halloween had been an ending.
This Halloween was about a new beginning.