A/N: Sirius and Remus are friends, no slash. If that's what you want... pretend. This is kind of rambly, and definitely not my best, but bear with me. Please, take your time to review at the end? I think if you have time to read the story you'll have time at the end, no?
Disclaimer: I wish I owned a stag. They're gorgeous and majestic and graceful and – oh, you meant Harry Potter? No, I don't own that, either.
"Well, the Prophet's at it again," said Remus, sitting comfortably in number 12, Grimmauld Place's drawing room while Sirius stalked around, gazing at leftover trinkets his parents had collected over the years that had not been thrown out. "At least Rita Skeeter's hushed herself up."
"Why are you reading that rubbish anyway?" Sirius snapped, easily angered nowadays by the slandering the Prophet had been doing recently. He didn't quite take kindly to anyone who insulted his godson. His godson who, in fact, had just returned to Hogwarts quite recently, despite nearly being imprisoned weeks beforehand. Something he, Sirius, was... more than slightly disappointed towards, to say the least. Not that he would ever admit that he felt sadness towards his godson not being expelled....
He shook his head. People might say he compared Harry with James all the time, but how could it be helped? The boy didn't seem to agree, or at least he didn't fancy being told it everywhere he went – but he was like his father, in too many ways to count.
"Boredom? Curiosity to see if they actually have any real news?" Remus glanced, slightly bemused, at Sirius over the top of the paper. "It's just mostly rubbish, not all of it." Sirius snorted.
Ah, there had once been a time when they would all be sitting there, the four of them. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs. Joking over such matters as the lighter news in the Prophet, looking grim over the rest.
Although, in this hypothetical time, he would now much prefer it if Peter wasn't there.
Oh, Peter. Every time that foul name came up Sirius' eyes would narrow, his fist would clench, and he would feel every regret, every pinch of anger that he had felt in Azkaban and out. That bastard of a traitor, who thought it a good idea to betray some of the closest people he had ever had. Apparently at the end, his closest were the Death Eaters. If only he, Sirius, had killed him on the two golden opportunities he had had – one before Azkaban, one after.
Once again, Sirius tried to shake off his thoughts – he wasn't living in the past, he kept telling himself, though it really proved to be some sort of twisted denial that had him in its clutches.
As Remus still pondered his paper. Sirius stalked over to a window, staring out of its gradual shade of grime to look outside. There were some places in this house that just wouldn't clean, no matter how many times Scourgify was used on them.
He was about to open a window, get some air into his system since he knew his trip to Platform 9¾ would be his last trip out in while – but then he saw something. Something that made him take quite a gasp, something that would have departed too quickly for his taste had he slammed the window open as originally planned. Something that made his mind flash back to old memories, both painful and those he was grateful for still having.
It was gorgeous, its handsome brown fur sitting atop its skin gently, antlers looking heavy, though really just a feature it had long grown accustomed to. It stood in a graceful manner that he recognized, its dark eyes one of the only features different from the hazel eyes he hadn't seen in so long. Those eyes he had loved, because they were a part of his brother.
It had been so long indeed. In all his wandering in the wild, be it at Hogwarts or elsewhere, not once had he seen a beauty like this. Not once in so long had he seen something that bore such great resemblance to his best friend, not even Harry.
"Remus..." he said softly, as though afraid the stag would hear him from where he stood, behind a closed window on the first floor of an unwelcoming house. "Remus, come here."
"What is it?" He heard the unmistakeable concern in his friend's voice far too easily.
"Look at this," he said, moving slightly to let Remus peer out the small window, but not far enough that he had to tear his eyes away from it. For a moment, silence vibrated between the two. The second later, he took a glance at Remus.
Remus. He really could be unreadable when he chose to be. Between the emotions Sirius had to choose from, it could either be reminiscence, sadness, or even pity. In the end, however, Sirius decided on knowing.
Remus knew. Knew how Sirius must have felt, right then, at that moment. He knew it because...he felt it too. Sure, he had never remembered most of his nights as a werewolf, but he had known too well the animals with which he had run around in his old days of Marauding. Sirius' thoughts and his were identical: this stag might as well have been nicknamed the Second Prongs.
"It looks like... isn't he beautiful?" Sirius said, gazing at it like it was something out of this world, like it was the most gorgeous of Veela, like the most beautiful of nights with the full moon, no clouds, and stars speckled as far as the vulnerable, naked eye could see.
"He definitely is, Padfoot," Remus mused, using Sirius' nickname for this situation delicately, whereas he had been saying it far less than in the old Marauder days.
"Moony...," Sirius said sadly, looking at his friend straight in the eyes, showing a mixture of vulnerability and depression that even James had only seen on rare situations. Prepared to gaze at that stag a bit more – or for however long it took to satisfy him – he turned his gaze back outside without another word, and felt Remus do the same.
However, the second he turned back...
It was gone.
Vanished, it seemed. And this isn't the first time, Sirius thought, bitter thoughts mingling with those of grief.
A/N: Not really sure how I feel about the end. How about your comments in a review?