A Sirius Mistake

Chapter 2- Sirius

            Sirius Black lay awake on his four-poster.  He had pulled back the bed hangings closest to the window an hour ago and watched now as the sky shifted from purple to pink.  "Madam Pomfrey is probably patching Remus up right now."  Part of Sirius wanted to run to the hospital wing right away.  However, the experience of many mornings after the full moon had taught Sirius that Madam Pomfrey would allow no one to see Remus until he had several hours of rest.  He wouldn't be allowed in until mid-afternoon at the earliest, and after supper was more likely.  Sirius felt some relief at that thought.  He still didn't know what he would say—what could he say?

            "Wake up!   You missed breakfast.  Transfiguration's in ten minutes.  McGonagall will kill us if we're late again."

            Sirius blinked in confusion as James's words sunk in.

            "Typical," Sirius growled to himself.  "Awake all night and fell asleep at dawn."  He changed as quickly as he could, ran his fingers through his wavy hair, grabbed his book bag, and ran down the stairs.  James and Peter were waiting for him in the common room, but none of them said a word as they hurried to class.

            The morning sped by.  In Transfiguration, Sirius was too busy to think.  In History of Magic, he was too bored to think.  At lunchtime, he chose to sit with his back to the other houses' tables.  He didn't want to see Snape glaring at him, but he could feel it all the same.  The silence between Sirius and his friends became overwhelming.

            "Double potions with the Slytherins this afternoon," said Sirius finally.

            "Yes," said James.

            "Well, I guess sooner is better than later."

            "Are you going to apologize to Snape?" James asked.

            The question was still unanswered when Sirius picked up his book bag and followed James and Peter to the dungeons.  When the Gryffindors reached the Potions classroom, the Slytherins were already inside.  Sirius saw that Snape was sitting near the back, surrounded by his friends. Even if Sirius wanted to apologize, he couldn't do it with others around.  To do so would risk revealing Remus's secret.

            When he began to prepare his potions ingredients, Sirius returned to the question that had nagged him since lunch.

            "Do I want to apologize to Snape?"  It was a complicated question.  Of course he had been wrong, but... "It's Snape's fault too," Sirius thought angrily as he ground beetles into dust.  "If he hadn't been spying on Remus, I never would have said anything.  Besides, I didn't force him to go down there." Sirius felt Snape glaring at him again.  He turned around and glared back.

            At the end of class, Sirius and James lingered as their classmates left.  Sirius watched tensely to see if Snape would leave with the other Slytherins, or if he would stay behind and give Sirius a chance to speak.  Snape stayed.  "Time to apologize to the slimy bastard," Sirius thought as he walked toward Snape.  Snape looked from Sirius to James, hatred for both in his eyes, and swept out of the room.

            "That went well," said James as he put a hand on Sirius's shoulder.  "Should we go see Remus now?"

            Sirius nodded.  "You'll come with me then?"

            "I shouldn't, but I will."

            "Madam Pomfrey, is Remus awake?"

            "Yes, but...I'm afraid you can't come in Sirius.  Remus said that he isn't ready to see you.  James, you may come in if you wish."

            Sirius felt as if he had just been punched in the stomach.  He looked down at the floor, unwilling to let the pain and confusion in his eyes show.

            "Well, I...I guess I'll wait for you in the common room, James."  He left quickly, not waiting for a reply.

            Remus stayed in the hospital wing through the weekend.  Sirius didn't try to visit him a second time.  He felt it best to wait until Remus indicated that he was ready to see him.  Sirius wanted desperately to speak to Remus, but he also dreaded their next meeting.  For now, Remus was his friend, a friend whom he had hurt badly.  Sirius feared that when they met again, he would learn that their friendship was broken beyond repair.

            On Sunday evening, James was destroying Sirius at chess.  Sirius had hoped that the game would distract him from his fears.  It didn't.

            "Checkmate," said James.  "It's not much fun winning this easily, you know."

            "Now you know how I usually feel when we play," replied Sirius with a slight smile.

            "Funny.  Why don't we..."

            When James broke off abruptly, Sirius looked up from his angry chessmen and followed James's gaze.  Remus was back.

            "Welcome back, Remus," called Peter from the table where he was doing his homework.  "Your timing is perfect.  I was just trying to do this Defense Against the Dark Arts assignment and  ..."

            "Ask James, Peter."  Remus spoke to Peter without taking his eyes off Sirius.  The intensity of his gaze made Sirius flinch inside.  Remus then crossed the room and disappeared up the boys' staircase.

            "He's going to kill me, isn't he?"  Sirius stared at the staircase knowing that he had to go up.

            "No, he said that he wouldn't leave the hospital wing until he was sure that he wouldn't kill you."

            Sirius felt a prickle of fear as he realized that James was being quite serious.  He laughed nervously as he rose and walked to the staircase.  As he climbed the circular stair, jokes came unbidden into his mind.  "Hey, Moony.  Sorry I almost gave you indigestion with Snape.  Next time I'll send you a nice tasty Ravenclaw."

            He entered their circular dormitory and closed the door behind him.  Remus stood near the foot of his bed, one hand holding on to a post.  To some, it may have appeared that Remus was perfectly calm.  Sirius, however, noticed that Remus's knuckles were white.  He seemed to be trying to anchor himself to one spot, away from Sirius.

            "I'm so sorry, Moony," said Sirius, knowing that his words were inadequate to express his feelings at that moment.  "I was angry at Severus and I didn't think."

            Remus lost his inner battle to stay away from Sirius and crossed the room with surprising speed.  He pinned Sirius to the wall with a strength which was belied by his thin build.

            "No, you didn't think."  Remus's voice was steady but hard.  "I could have killed Severus.  I could have killed James."  Remus released Sirius as suddenly as he had pinned him.  He went to a window and looked out, his body tense.  "Do you have any idea how terrified I was the next morning?  I could only remember that a person had been in the tunnel.  I thought that I might have killed or bitten someone."

            Sirius nodded dumbly at Remus's back, and then he found his voice.

            "Yeah, I do know.  I felt the same way when I realized what an incredibly stupid thing I'd done.  I was afraid for Severus, and I was afraid for you. By the time I got outside, James had just gotten Snape out of the tunnel.  I don't know what I was thinking.  I guess I just thought he'd get a good scare.  I'm an idiot, Remus.  I'm glad James is smarter than me."

            Sirius saw Remus's shoulders relax.  He knew that Remus was no longer furious with him, but he did not know if Remus was still his friend.  It pained him that his own actions had driven this wedge between them.  He asked, "Will we be OK, Moony?  I mean, eventually?"

            Remus nodded and turned to look at his worried friend.  "Give me a couple of weeks."

            "Week of the new moon," Sirius thought automatically.  Then he said aloud, "Well as long as you forgive me before three and a half weeks are up.  You'll tear my throat out otherwise."

            "No," Remus replied with a ghost of a smile on his face.  "If I kill you, Padfoot, who will protect Prongs?  After all, James is the one who kept me from my kill."

            Just then, the opened and James came in glancing worriedly from one friend to the other.

            "Yum," said Sirius smiling, "venison."  He began to laugh, saw Remus smile, and laughed all the more.

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