A/N: There are lyrics in here. I rarely if ever do that with fics (except, obviously, I do so occasionally). In this case, I've been listening to the album "Fear of a Blank Planet" by Porcupine Tree and I have a fic in mind for three of the songs. This is the fic for "Way Out of Here". The lyrics are included in italics, not to be confused with memories, which are also in italics.
"Albus, it can't be true," Remus announced cheerfully as he burst into headquarters, bag slung over his shoulder. Dumbledore was sitting in front of the fireplace in the sitting room and did not turn to look at him. "The wolves are scarpering, they said the Dark Lord's defeated but won't tell how… have you finally done it?" He approached the chair eagerly.
It was Dumbledore's eyes that made him stop dead.
"Ah, Remus," he whispered, a single tear rolling down his cheeks. A man as old and wise as Dumbledore got only this affected when a terrible tragedy had occurred, Remus knew. Dumbledore sat slumped in a chair in front of the fire; he looked truly defeated. His eyes were red, the brandy in front of him a beautiful amber.
Remus dropped his bag on the floor, though he did not realize it. "What? What's happened?"
Dumbledore closed his eyes and shook his head very slowly, from side to side. "James and Lily are dead."
A cold hand closed around Remus' throat, then extended down to his heart. He staggered backwards and sat down hard in a chair conveniently placed behind him. His hand gripped at the wood until his bloodless knuckles began to ache. "Are you sure?" he asked at long last, breathless, thoughtless.
"I am afraid there is no doubt," Dumbledore said in a stronger voice. He stared through his glass into the fire. "If you Apparate to Godric's Hollow and find the remains of their home, you will see what I mean."
"Their…" Remus' heart skipped a beat, and a wave of nausea nearly overtook him. "Their home? But…"
"Voldemort himself killed them." Albus picked up the glass in front of him and swilled the liquid, giving no indication that he knew he had just interrupted. He did not look at Remus. "At their home." He took a drink. "It was not a chance encounter. He had full knowledge of where he was going ahead of time."
There was no need for Dumbledore to spell it out any further.
Remus had gone looking for him, even though Dumbledore and countless others he encountered told him that he had already gone away to Azkaban. It was this way that Remus found out that Peter, too, was dead, along with fourteen Muggles.
All at the hands of Sirius Black.
Remus went looking for Sirius for a full twenty-four hours before he felt the pull of exhaustion finally penetrate his unfeeling shell. He stumbled back into headquarters and felt the strange sensation of relief when he found no one there. There were countless glasses in the kitchen, clustered on the table and lining the countertops, which suggested to Remus that there had been some kind of wake for the Potters, for Peter.
Remus conjured himself a glass of brandy and sat heavily down at the table, sticky with firewhisky and tears. He stared at the wall as he drank.
The distance Remus had felt with Sirius for months beforehand – was that indicative? They had broken up in August because of it. Things had been awkward between them since then, but cordial. Sirius had still been firmly Sirius, joking with James and flirting with Lily. He asked after Harry and gave Peter one-armed hugs in abundance.
All an act.
Sirius had joked politely with Remus, too. But then, Remus realized, draining his first tumbler, there had been that dark look when the joking was done, the one that Remus had begun to see a little over a year ago. The manifestation of that look had been the beginning of their distancing. After the awkward jokes, James and Lily had exchanged not-so-subtle expressions with one another. Remus had wondered at the time if they knew about the break-up. They must have, he reasoned. He just wished they'd known why. He wished he'd known why, too.
Sirius' head floated tauntingly in Remus' head. He was possessed with memories he didn't want anymore. Sirius laughing. Sirius kissing him. Sirius pressed up against him on hot summer nights –
A deafening shatter broke Remus out of his reverie. He looked up and realized he had thrown his glass against the opposite wall. He stared at the broken glass unblinkingly. Time kept passing. Finally he rose from his chair and walked unsteadily over to the mess.
His wand was pointed at the broken glass, but nothing happened.
The wand twitched feebly. The glass remained broken.
Remus stared at it for a moment as though tempting it nonverbally to clean itself up, then shrugged. He stumbled over to the closet, grabbed a broom and dustpan, and swept up the mess himself. The glass made a beautiful tinkling sound as it tumbled into the garbage can. He thought vaguely that glass in the garbage wasn't terribly safe, but he couldn't magic it out and he wasn't about to reach in there, so there it would have to stay.
He was standing now and he didn't feel like sitting anymore. His friends were gone and his lover was evil. He picked up a few glasses from the table and trudged toward the sink. He thought he would do some dishes. That always relaxed him.
"You have a wand, Remus."
"Thank you, Sirius, I am aware." Remus had kept scrubbing at the sink. "I like washing them by hand. It gives me a chance to think."
"You're thinking all the time!"
"Yes, but it's different with dishes."
Sirius had snorted. "You're barking."
"No, I'm howling. You're barking."
Sirius' grin had been broad. "Very clever, Moony!" He'd thrown the magazine aside and gotten up from the chair with the sort of grace Remus could never muster. Remus had found he couldn't keep his eyes off Sirius as he'd sauntered over and snaked a hand around Remus' waist. Then Sirius had been standing between Remus and the sink, his hips pressing into Remus' and his breath tickling Remus' lips. "I still think you could be doing something more productive with your time."
"Is that so."
"It is." Sirius leaned forward and kissed Remus' nose. "Thinking never got you anywhere, did it?"
Remus had hummed. "It got me here."
"Well then, I guess it isn't all bad." Then Sirius' lips had been on Remus', soft and full and –
Remus' lip was curling. The four glasses he had been holding lay shattered at his feet. He had thrown them down. He had not done it on purpose. He stared at the glass only for a moment before reaching beside him and grabbing two more glasses. He threw them at the floor. They shattered, too.
Something in Remus broke and he tore through the kitchen, grabbing every glass on every surface, throwing them across the room down to the floor, into the corridor, everywhere he could possibly get them, and they shattered, each and every one. As he smashed he felt his heart shatter too, and he screamed as it happened. He screamed again and again and he upturned the table and when he came to himself he was standing in the middle of a field of diamonds, chest heaving, feet bleeding, sobs racking his shoulders because his lover had killed his best friends and he had been too fucking blind with love to stop it.
and i'll try to forget you
and i know that i will
in a thousand years
or maybe a week
"You should be out celebrating, you know," Arthur told him softly as he magically swept up the glass. Remus was seated in an armchair in the sitting room, feet wrapped in toilet paper because he couldn't be rutting bothered with doing anything more, the last unbroken glass a bottomless pit of brandy. "He's gone. The terror is finished."
"The terror is finished?" he asked Arthur thickly. "I'm bloody happy for you and yours, Arthur, if you can celebrate this. In case you haven't noticed, I've lost everything I had." He looked over and saw the picture of the four of them, Remus and James and Peter and Sirius, on the wall near the door of the sitting room. His eyes managed to focus on Sirius with much difficulty. He was young and laughing and beautiful and Remus ached with renewed longing. He kicked the table in front of him and revelled in the pain that shot through his foot. He looked into his glass and forgot Arthur was there. "I've lost everything I ever loved."
burn all your pictures
cut out your face
Remus had staggered up well after dark and tried to grab the picture off the wall. He pulled and tugged and wept and pounded the wall but it would not give. It took him until the sun started to peek through the windows and Sirius' dark eyes began to penetrate his own to realize that someone – probably Sirius – had put a permanent sticking charm on it.
He wondered dimly if Sirius did it expressly for the purpose of torturing him.
Then he took out his wand and blew out the wall.
and i'll try to forget even your name
and the way that you look
when you're sleeping
dreaming of this
When Remus found sleep, it was fitful. Sirius floated in his head. He seemed to dream in memories, except in some of them, Sirius was clearly evil, clearly plotting to kill his friends, and Remus tried to stop him but he killed them all anyway. And in all of them, he turned to kill Remus, but couldn't. Something in the way Remus looked at him made Sirius stop and let himself be dragged off by Dumbledore and Arthur to Azkaban.
Other dreams were perfect memories. They were perfect. They were lying in bed on a Sunday morning, Sirius having come back from a mission the night before and Remus having come back from another stint with the wolves. They'd survived the debriefing meeting and then dissolved into a tangle of limbs and lips and groans as soon as they could politely excuse themselves. Then they'd fallen asleep in each other's arms, giggling about life and love and all its wonders.
Now Sirius' hair was matted to his face; sweat that hadn't had a chance to dry between being fresh from the fight and fresh from the shag that Remus had been rather persistent about. He had one arm splayed over the head of the bed, his head resting upon it, the other arm still hanging lazily over Remus' hip. His mouth was open and his eyes were closed. The way the sunlight crept through the window meant that the layer of his hair not plastered to his head glowed in the morning. Remus reached out and ran the back of his index finger along Sirius' hair, his cheek, his jaw, his lips. Then Remus had kissed him and Sirius was kissing him back, not quite awake, but the arm glided over his hip and into the small of his back to bring him closer.
He was perfect. They were perfect. They were –
"Why, why," Remus said aloud, and was surprised to find himself awake. He opened his eyes and stared out at the room over his knees, tears falling over the bridge of his nose and onto the sheets below. He wondered why Sirius had lied about everything. He wondered why Sirius had made him believe he loved him, why Sirius had pretended to love all of them while he quietly plotted their demise. He wondered why Sirius hadn't killed him too. Maybe he knew this would be worse.
Remus stayed in that position for a long time, asking the same questions.
No one offered him an answer.