Title: Existence

Disclaimer: Artwork is by uppuN ( uppun. deviantart art/ Remus-and-Sirius- 136379719)

Rating: M

Warnings: Dark AU

Hello, everyone! Looks like I'm on a roll this holiday (for some reason or another). I noticed that all my fics have that same sort of style of being very cutesy humour/romance, so I wanted to try a kind of darker romance. I'm not sure if I can pull if it off, so this one's something like a trial chapter. I should mention: it is an AU, but everyone's still magic and all. The war was a little earlier and Voldemort was defeated by Dumbledore instead, but these things don't play a lot of relevance in the fic itself. Hope you enjoy it! :)

Chapter 00 : Amber Heat

There is never an end to James's worries. He thinks Sirius needs help, and Sirius does. But not the kind James brings him; not another doctor. Another one with her stiff hair and stony expression. Another one with too many questions and not a single answer.

Why is Sirius like this?

Why? Why? Why?

Can you figure it out, doctor? Can you tell what's wrong? Can you?

'Do you masturbate, Sirius?'

Sirius stares at the ceiling stonily. 'Sometimes. When I feel like it…'

'What do you think about? Can you tell me?'

'Nothing really,' Sirius shrugs. He doesn't look at her because she doesn't look at him. No, that's not right. She looks, but she never sees. 'It's mechanical mostly. Sometimes there are eyes.'

'Eyes? Whose eyes? Is it someone you know?'

Sirius blinks when spots begin to appear in his vision from staring too hard. 'They're beautiful eyes,' he explains, closing his eyes as he relives the vision again. 'Like ambers gems.' He feels his breath getting shallow, heat coursing through him. 'Like fire from the very depths of hell.'

'Do you like being watched, Sirius?'

Sirius feels beads of sweat trickling down his spine and blood pounding in his ears. 'Only if they're amber eyes. Only if they're the ones I want.'

'Do you know what colour amber is?'

Sirius doesn't answer. He knows, but he's too far gone to humour her. He wants those eyes that gaze so fierce upon him. He wants that darkness, and he wants that fire that scorches the shadows in his soul. He wants to burn.

'Humans don't have amber eyes, Sirius. It's impossible.'

'Maybe they're not human,' Sirius chuckles, then bursts out laughing.

James breathed in deeply and smiled. 'Nothing like the smell of fresh popcorn to lift the mood! How long has it been since we've come to a carnival? We should play some games before going in.'

'Not interested,' Sirius replied, brushing back his hair with his fingers. It had been raining all morning and the Floos had been jammed because of bad weather and traffic. They'd gotten caught in the rain, and multiple drying charms later, Sirius's hair was still wet. No amount of popcorn could lift the post-rain chill and the dark clouds looming overhead, despite it only being three in the afternoon. 'Let's just get this over with.'

James sighed with disappointment. 'You know, Sirius; when we were younger, you'd always be the first to jump into puddles and crash into the Fortune Teller's tent.' James smiled sadly. 'How things have changed, eh? No one would believe you're Sirius Black, if I ever told them. They'd all wonder what happened…'

Sirius shrugged, pulling the hood of his cloak over his head to keep the wind out of his ears. 'You wonder yourself, don't you?' Sirius laughed bitterly when James kept silent. 'I've already told you, but you ask again and again. Is the truth so hard to handle?' James's silence grew heavier, inducing manic laughter from Sirius. 'The war's over, Jamie-boy, and fighting and killing was the only thing I knew since the very beginning. Now that we have peace again, I've lost the meaning of my existence.'

James's gaze was fixed on the giant Ferris wheel, slowly lighting up, panel by panel. 'It really hurts when you talk like that, Sirius.' Stuffing his hands in his pockets, James turned slowly to look at Sirius. 'I've told you this before, but we'll always be brothers and you will always have a place with us. I want-'

'Masters Potter and Black!'

'Fallon,' James greeted with a firm handshake.

'So glad yeh could come. I hope you've enjoyed what you've seen so far,' Fallon smiled, revealing three missing teeth. He looked more like a clown than the owner of the carnival, with his bright orange bow tie and yellow suit. Sirius assumed he was being formal, given that this was a business meeting. Despite appearances and s strong cockney accent, Fallon had, what many would describe as, a silver tongue. 'We're havin' new 'dditions this year and as yeh can see, 'spite the weather, we already have a good crowd pilin'.' He led Sirius and James towards a darker area, away from all the brightly lit rides and games. 'We've been comin' to London for a while now, and we're hopin' to settle, wit' yer help. A travellin' circus is all fun an' games till yeh reach a certain age, yeh know?'

'Are you planning to murder us in a dark alley, Fallon,' James joked, as they took a right turn, away from the trailers and closer to the row of larger tents. Unlike most carnival tents and trailers, these tents weren't brightly coloured and seemed darkened by the very aura surrounding it. There was a horrid smell of carcass and faeces permeating the air around them; not strong enough to choke on but lingering like bad breath.

'I'm takin' yeh to our newest section, Master Potter,' Fallon explained, 'we haven' opened it yet to the public, but we're hopin' yer kind donation will put us through with wha' we need to manage this place. Yeh see, we found a long time ago, that our audiences look for a thrill. Somethin' that will make their 'earts stop and their 'drenaline rush. That's why we decided this year would be special. This year, we would push the boundaries and bring them this!'

Sirius's breath caught as Fallon pulled back the tent.

Beasts. Scores of them in tank and cages; and Sirius finally understood why it smelled so vile in here. They were stashed together, invading each other's territory, with barely enough space to keep them from clawing each other bloody through the bars. It was like being in a mad house, surrounded by angry screeching, deafening beast calls and whimpers. Many of the beasts here were ones Sirius had only ever seen in textbook, and had a feeling were endangered and protected by the Ministry. Most of them, Sirius knew, were not residents of London, or even England for the matter.

'We've gathered 'em in our travels over the years,' Fallon said, surveying the tent with pride. 'Our dragons had to be kept separately, o'course. It's a terror tryin' to restrain 'em. As yeh can see, each beast has been enclosed in cages made 'specially for 'em. We take safety very seriously and-'

'There are bloody humans in here!' James yelled, pointing out to the cages at the end. Sirius quickly followed James, and sure enough, there were humans. Lined up in two isolated cages and dressed too threadbare for the cold. 'What is the meaning of this?'

'Don' be alarmed, sirs,' Fallon laughed. 'Appearances are deceiving. These beasts may look human, but they're one of 'em most vicious creatures we have; these werewolves.'

Sirius stared. He had never seen werewolves before. Two of them, a female and a male, were kept in one of the cages. A family or a couple, Sirius figured, from the way they were huddled together. The other cage hosted only one beast, smaller than the other two and seemingly weaker. His face was hidden underneath a bush of overgrown hair and beard, a thin film of wool over his flimsy body. He was huddled onto himself; and like the pair in the other cage, Sirius noticed that he, too, kept away from the corners.

'The bars are made of pure silver, yeh see,' Fallon went on. 'A werewolf's strength is unimaginable. Even the female over there is able to snap metal bars when transformed. But silver, it burns 'em like fire. It took us some time to…'

Sirius wondered if Fallon was even remotely aware of the growing disgust of James's face. Not that James had much say in the final decision; he needed Sirius's consent. Sirius tuned out Fallon and watched curiously as one of the caretakers approached the younger beast's cage with a large hose. He was waving his wand around the mouth of the hose, muttering what was definitely a spell, though Sirius couldn't quite read which one. With practiced ease, once done, the caretaker turned the hose and a strong blast of water gushed out, stray droplets flying to Sirius's face and catching him by surprise.

'What the fuck are you doing?' James yelled over the sound of the water. 'What the fuck? Turn it off right now!'

'Calm down, Master Potter! It's just bein' cleaned; it's standard procedure.'

The full force of the water was hitting the beast, forcing him to uncurl from his earlier fetal position and fall on his stomach. His light brown hair flew to the front, as his muscles spasmed from the struggle of getting up. He seemed used to this, Sirius thought, as he fought the water torrents and pushed himself up forcibly.

'I asked you to stop it! Right now!' The water stopped almost instantly, as an astonished caretaker and Fallon stared at James. 'What the fuck is this? What the fuck do you think are you doing?' James growled, stashing his wand into his pocket. 'How can you just fucking watch while this-'

'Yer confusin' yer emotions with what yeh see, Master Potter,' Fallon interrupted, signaling the caretaker to leave. 'Remember these are beasts that yeh see, and not humans. Beasts that could rip out yer throat without batting an eyelid; 'specially this one. This one is the most unpredictable. We've yet to train it to even eat when given food. It lashes out to anyone that even comes close, and we're even plannin' to put it down. So hold yer sympathy, sir! I assure yeh…'

Sirius stared at the beast in the cage, as he caught his breath. He was hypnotising in ways Sirius couldn't explain, but had Sirius moving dangerously close to the cage. Surprisingly, the beast paid him no mind, moving back his wet hair out his face in a swift, almost animalistic motion. It was when the beast finally opened his eyes that Sirius's heart skipped a beat.

Amber. Like heat.

'I want him,' Sirius whispered, feeling the blood pounding in his ears.


Sirius turned to James. 'I want him sent to Grimmauld Place by tonight. Sign the contracts and acquire any other legal documents necessary, but I want him.'

Both Fallon and James stared at him in shock. 'Sirius, are you out of your fucking mind? Do you want to die that bad? Didn't you hear Fallon? This one's is unpredictable and dangerous!'

Sirius raised an eyebrow, feeling suddenly irritable. 'This is Fallon's present to me, as a thank you for not reporting him to the Ministry.' Sirius smirked to himself, as he ran a hand down a single silver bar. 'Remember this Fallon, not all us purebloods have fallen to the same level of corruption. Did you honestly think I was going to partake in something like this?' Sirius laughed, hood slipping off as his head fell back from mirth. He looked at the beast one last time before turning to Fallon. 'Don't belittle me.'

I've found you.

So, should I continue? Does it sound interesting enough? Do let me know! Cheers and lots of love!