Title: Between Dreams and Reality
Disclaimer: Artwork is Forgive Me Sirius by Satine Black ( satine- black. deviantart )
Chapter One: The Glass Barrier
There was nothing but thin glass separating them. It looked almost non-existent: clear and spotless; almost as if Sirius could grasp whatever was on the other side if he just extended his hand towards it. Not even light seemed to reflect on its surface, passing through into Sirius's eyes. Yet, he didn't find himself squinting like normally would; the light seemed not painful, but inspirational. He felt that if light could so easily pass through this barrier then perhaps he could too.
If he reached out, then perhaps the person on the other side would smile. This person who always visited him with amber eyes, haunted and dull. Sirius found him beautiful, which in itself was ironic, because he never saw beyond the eyes. It was as if this person had no outline; apart from those amber pools, he was but a bleed of colours, and the pale light of his skin spread beyond human structure. Sirius found himself wondering if it was an angel. Yet, it seemed almost sinful to call it so, when Sirius could clearly make out the bleeding red of his lips as they parted to speak.
Unable to hear him, Sirius moved closer, one hand pressing against the cool glass. The figure startled from Sirius's sudden boldness and just like that, Sirius lost sight of the light. He became engulfed in darkness momentarily, before it returned, an alabaster hand pressing against his from the other side. It almost felt as if they were really touching, because the glass was no longer cool. It was warm, like the heat of skin touching skin. Sirius moved his fingers in a circular arch, watching in awe as the tips of their fingers moved together in a slow dance: left and then slowly penduluming to the right, before coming to a stop palm pressed against palm.
Red lips moved again and Sirius pressed closer to hear, until his nose was touching the glass.
'I love you.'
'Another one of those dreams?' James asked, settling beside Sirius at the dinner table. 'You look terrible.'
Sirius did look terrible. He could see his distorted reflection on Lily's metal stove and it looked little short of a disaster. His grey eyes were shadowed by darkness, limp hair flopping haphazardly over them. He hadn't really had time to wash his hair these past few days and his face hadn't seen a razor in what seemed like weeks. Lily had already pointed out, quite tactlessly while preparing dinner, that Sirius was a "dirty slob who has been wearing the same clothes for the last three days and until you clean up, you can forget about dropping by for dinner". Under normal circumstances, Sirius would have brushed off Lily's comment about his appearance with a grin and a joke about temperamental pregnant women. Today, however, Sirius could tell from the grime collecting underneath his fingernails that perhaps a hot shower would do him good. He wondered if Lily would chop his head off if he asked to borrow the bath; he hadn't quite gotten around to fixing the heater in his.
'It's always the same one,' Sirius muttered, looking away from his reflection. 'Down to the very last detail, except that…' He hesitated, watching as Lily set the last of the food on the table and looked at him curiously. 'Except that I feel he's getting closer. With every single dream that passes, I feel like I'm almost there; I'm almost going to touch him but I don't…'
'Right,' James gave a confused sigh and started piling salad on his plate. This was James's way of saying he was done trying to understand this conversation and would really rather eat.
Sirius didn't feel like letting go that easily. The Potters were all he had in terms of family and the only ones he could rely on for conversational therapy, because he was far too poor to afford any other kind. 'Do you think I'm dying?'
'Sirius Orion Black!' Lily scolded, her fork pointing threateningly towards his face. 'Don't you dare say something like that again, dinner table or not!'
'I'm just saying,' Sirius protested. 'Remember that rubbish show we saw the other day on the telly? They were talking about these people with near death experiences and what not. Some of them knew they were dying because they saw a white light or an angel of some kind. Maybe that's what's happening to me!'
'Heaven is the last place you'll be going to, Sirius Black,' Lily scoffed. 'Now, eat your broccoli. I don't want to see you pushing them to the side of your plate or vanishing them. You're not five. Pregnancy gives you three eyes, Black, and I can see you with all of them closed.'
'Your woman is out of control, Jamie-boy,' Sirius commented, stabbing at his vegetable with contempt.
James glanced at Lily and kept his mouth dutifully shut, when she shot him a stern look. Whipped, was the only way Sirius could truly describe his best friend. Or perhaps "beaten down" would be a more appropriate term. Lily was thoroughly enjoying pregnancy because not only did it give her bigger knockers, but also an excuse to unleash her legendary rage and temper on poor civilians with a ridiculous excuse of "hormones". Bollocks, is what Sirius thought of, because men had hormones too and all it got them was a desire to have sex.
'He told me he loved me, you know,' Sirius persisted, blushing brightly at the incredulous looks he received.
'Are you sure this isn't another one of your wank fantasies?' James asked with a snort. 'Sounds an awful lot like one. Maybe you have a thing for bright white lights and what not.'
'Wasn't doing a very good job if it was one,' Sirius replied sourly. 'I was about as flaccid as Lily's morning toast.' He artfully ducked the slipper that Lily flung at his head and grinned, getting back to his dinner. 'Thing is, it isn't a bad dream. It doesn't shake me awake and I sleep peacefully until morning. It's the minute I wake up that the bloody lethargy starts. I feel utterly worn out afterwards and I don't know why.' Sirius bit his lip, staring at his plate. 'Worst part is: I want to go back. I want to see him again.'
'Sirius,' Lily placed a hand over his softly. 'Why don't you come over to the hospital tomorrow? I'll have someone run over a few tests for you. Maybe I can prescribe you a few potions of Dreamless Sleep. You'll be feeling better in no time.'
Sirius nodded, occupying his mouth with chicken to avoid saying that he didn't want any potions. He didn't want to stop dreaming.
The next few minutes were followed by silence, only punctuated by the scraping of forks against plates and Sirius finding openings where he could possibly get rid of his broccoli without actually having to eat them. It was all in vain, because every time he tried, he received a swift kick in the shins from Lily and sniggering from James. If he were to be honest, Sirius wanted answers. He wanted to know what these dreams of his meant and perhaps even if it really did mean he was dying. Sirius wondered, if given the choice, would he accept death so easily. Then again, given the circumstances and the turmoil the Wizarding World was in, death wasn't so far off a concept. Voldemort was expanding his reigns all over the country, perhaps beyond. Even purebloods were no longer safe; not unless they joined his ranks. There was war brewing, Sirius could tell.
'You need to clean up before you get thrown off the training, mate,' James clapped him on the back after dinner. 'Even Moody was complaining about the smell today and he's got only half a nose.'
Sirius hummed distractedly. 'About that…I don't suppose you could spare me a towel and some clean clothes.'
Sirius leaned back with a groan, the warmth of the water seeping into his sore muscles and rickety joints. He had nearly forgotten how brilliant it was to have a hot bath and he settled back against the cold ceramic, head falling to rest at the edge. While admittedly a little girly, Sirius could not deny that Lily's well kept bathroom beat Sirius's by a far stretch. For one, the hot water didn't look green. Also, the perks of living with a woman guaranteed that everything had a pleasantly flowery scent to it. It almost made Sirius rethink his preferences, until he found himself pouring large amount of orange scented bubble bath under the taps and realised how much of a fruit he was.
'Merlin, this feels good,' Sirius muttered to himself, closing his eyes.
Suddenly, he felt all his lethargy and exhaustion catch up to him in a rush. The rigorous training, the War that he constant tried to ignore (ignore, ignore, ignore and it will disappear just like little Reggie did). Sirius felt so tired of everything around him; so fed up of how hard it was to even just to wake up in the mornings. Even now, every time Sirius tried to force his eyes open, he saw black spots flashing haphazardly across his vision. The more he blinked, the more they spread, like an epidemic of blindness across his eyelids. He should be panicking, was Sirius's first thought. If he was going blind, then he should be scared out of his mind. But for some reason, Sirius found himself too tired to.
So he closed his eyes.
Closed his eyes yet again.
And opened them.
Closed his eyes.
Opened them, only to see a pair of bright amber eyes staring back at him from within the darkness.
Sirius jumped, trying to push back and found himself underwater, his screams of panic bursting out in silent bubbles. Don't breathe! Don't breathe or you'll die! He pushed against the surface, only to find it barricaded by the same thin glass that featured in all his dreams. It was hard, like steel, and made a dull clunking noise every time pushed against it, his hands banging a desperate Morse Code for help. He was like a fly, trapped inside, bumping against the glass again and again despite the pain it caused. His eyes stung, as he forced them to stay open; forced them to see beyond the glass where the amber eyes still stared back at him in what appeared to be confusion. It was almost as if the man behind the glass could not fathom Sirius's struggles, could not see his face paling from the lack of air, or the ways his hair floated and limped against the waves his body caused.
'You can breathe,' a voice whispered.
Sirius stopped struggling when he realised that he could. His hands immediately went to his neck, searching for any signs of gills. There were none. But there was no water rushing into his lungs; only the slight sting of chlorine in his eyes.
'Why are you here?' Sirius asked. His vocal chords made no noise, but the shine behind those amber eyes told Sirius that he had been understood nonetheless. 'Tell me why you're here?'
'I have nowhere else to go,' he replied, sounding almost sad. A forehead rested against the surface of the glass and Sirius could, for the first time, see defined features: the curved lines in the middle of his forehead, the thin bridge of his nose, and wispy strands of light brown hair. The voice sounded clearer than in Sirius's other dreams, as if it possessed more strength than before. It was a soft sort of voice; the kind that was deafening in its serenity; raspy from disuse.
'Am I dying?' Sirius asked, pushing closer, until his forehead touched the glass, parallel to the one outside. Just like before, he felt the comfortable warmth of skin.
There was a laugh, small and a little condescending. 'No.'
And just like that, the glass shattered.
Dedication: For Victoria Humblydum, who wanted a longer chaptered story, and also to all my long time readers, who have kept by me. Hope I didn't disappoint!
A/N: Whoa, I'm back with another AU chaptered story. Not a very long one, but perhaps just a little twisted and complicated, with all the romance and drama going on. So, to set things straight, Sirius doesn't really know Remus. This chapter was sort of like a pilot, but as always, I will probably lengthen the chapters as I move along. So, hope everyone likes the start and do let me know if you would like to read more! Thank you and cheers!