Warnings: This fic contains abusive BDSM and rough, abusive, sex (not between Remus and Sirius). It also focuses on self-destructive behaviors and contains mild alcohol abuse. Please read with caution.
Great Love Lies Further Deep
Sometimes Sirius doesn't know if he does stupid things because he really, truly, hates himself or because he desperately wants proof that somebody cares about him enough to make him stop. Maybe they're both true.
He wonders, in the end, what sort of difference it makes.
It drives the rest of them crazy, the things he does to himself. He knows that. James gets angry, and Peter gets quiet, and Lily gets concerned, and Remus gets hurt. Sirius isn't trying to upset them, but somewhere along the line he realized that he can't hurt himself without hurting them. Sirius can't stop hurting himself though, whatever it does to his friends.
When it first started, when they were all still at Hogwarts, they tried stopping him. They'd yell and make threats and beg and it wouldn't change anything. At most Sirius would find a new way of letting himself be used and hurt. They did everything they could think of and still he dismissed them with wicked smiles and firm lies that he was fine.
Even Peter, quiet Peter, never one for conflicts, always preferring to let things work out on their own, had talked to him about it.
Sirius had purposefully let a bludger hit him during a Quidditch match against Hufflepuff. He'd swung it back and knocked their Chaser off her broom of course – Sirius may hate himself but he doesn't hate his teammates – but there'd been something so satisfying about feeling it slam into his side, knowing that it would leave a dark bruise, painful to the touch. A mental tally of forgiveness for who he is on a scoreboard only he keeps track of.
Peter had poked his head between Sirius' bed curtains that same night, plopping down on the bed once he saw Sirius was awake. "Padfoot, you're scaring us all to death." Peter, so outside his comfort zone, couldn't look at him. Instead he picked at loose threads on the bed curtains. "I don't really get what's going on, but this isn't the way to handle it, mate. Lily is going to spare worrying about you." He looked embarrassed, but the Marauders had always respected the unwritten rule of sorting things out behind bed curtains at night. Peter knew he had the right to be there however awkward he may feel about it. "Let us know if you need something, yeah? You're head may be thick but even it's got limits on what it can take before it cracks."
Sirius had reached out as Peter retreated off his bed. "You're a good man, Pete." He said, clapping his friend on the back, fingers helplessly curling somewhat desperately on his shoulder. "Don't worry about me."
Peter had laid his hand on Sirius' for a brief moment, and given him a rueful smile that clearly indicated he didn't believe his friend. But he had said his piece and really, there wasn't anything else to say. Sirius watched as he slipped like a ghost back to his own bed, across the room.
"Are you out of your mind?" Lily hisses, wrapping a bandage around his left hand. Sirius had gotten extremely drunk and then picked a fight and let the other man win. The bloke he'd goaded into fighting had a great right hook. Unfortunately for Sirius the same could not be said of his own ability to punch when drunk."You're going to really hurt yourself one of these days." She doesn't seem to realize that's rather the point.
James is sitting in the kitchen ostensibly making food, but really just avoiding Sirius. However angry he may get James cannot stand to see Sirius in pain. Especially, it would seem, pain that Sirius has brought on himself. In his own mind it's all a bit ridiculous. He hasn't even got a black eye, and there'd only been a few jammed fingers and a shallow cut on his palm when he showed up on their porch. Maybe a few bruises on his jaw. Lily had insisted on wrapping his hand though so Sirius sits on their bathroom counter and lets her.
It's not as if the wounds will have time to heal before his next stupid idea anyways. Magic can't fix everything and he avoids being healed whenever he can get away with it.
When she is done Lily leads Sirius to the kitchen where James prods him into eating scrambled eggs and having several cups of coffee.
He can feel them exchange meaningful glaces as he eats. Sirius ignores them, keeps his head down, and eats what is put in front of him.
"Sirius," Here it comes. Sirius hasn't heard this speech for a while, especially not from James. He supposes it is overdue, though some part of him hoped they had just given up. "We're worried about you. What's going on, Padfoot? Why do you keep doing this to yourself?" Finished eating Sirius settles for watching James and Lily's interlocked hands. Suddenly his own hands feel foolishly large and useless lying in his lap. "Padfoot?"
Oh. Yes. He should probably give them an answer of some sort.
"I'm not 'doing' anything to myself, Prongs. I got into a fight at the pub is all, it's not a big deal." Sirius doesn't think he has the energy for this argument right now and so he decides to skip it. "I just had a bit much too drink. I shouldn't have come here though, it was stupid. I'm sorry." He stands up feeling so foolish for coming. They don't need to deal with this, they have their own lives to worry about now without Sirius showing up at their house bruised and bleeding. "I'll make sure to head straight home next time, let Remus deal with me. It's too late at night for me to be showing up unannounced on your door step like this."
"Don't be stupid." James says roughly, the memory of Sirius, 16 and bleeding from a curse his own mother had thrown at him, saying he'd been kicked out, asking if he could maybe stay for a few nights, clear on his face. "You can always come here. We've got the spare bedroom. Marauders through and through, brothers. Remember?" Lily squeezes James' hand and Sirius can't take it anymore. He has to get out. Go to a club, a bar, anything that could hold the promise of soft skin, pain, and a complete loss of control.
"Everything's fine, Prongs." Sirius drains his most recent cup of coffee. "Thank you for stitching me up, Lils." There's always that new club in Knockturn Alley, after all.
He says goodbye, but leaves before anyone can try to hug him.
Maybe it wasn't a good idea to live with Remus, but the others had insisted. They wanted to know someone was there to watch over him and Remus had always had the most patience with Sirius. It wasn't so bad either. Remus has long since given up trying make Sirius explain himself. He settles instead for long looks and small sighs.
He doesn't touch Sirius, ever, anymore unless he's mending his wounds. He said once, when he thought Sirius was unconscious and it's probably surprising that he wasn't, that it was hard to touch something so fragile that should be so strong. Sirius knows he doesn't deserve that casual touch and he tells himself he isn't thinking about it in clubs with other men who do not touch him nearly so gently. The pain Sirius receives is twofold for him. It allows Sirius to be treated the way he so desperately deserves and has even come to crave and need. And then it allows him to carry the wounds home to Remus like some sick version of a cat bringing dead birds to its owner.
It probably looks, to Remus and to everyone else, as if Sirius is asking to be fixed. He isn't. Sirius just wants to show Remus that he's trying to take what he deserves. Sirius is not a bad man by the grace of his friends but the potential to turn is so obvious in his mind even if the others don't want to see it. This is his penance. The merest suggestion of an ability to destroy and Sirius will punish himself however he can.
There are, at least to Sirius' mind, unspoken rules though. Remus never yells and always tries to heal Sirius' wounds even when the other man doesn't come to him and fights him about it. In return Sirius keeps what he does out of the flat. He never brings men home. Instead, he leads them to dark corners in dirty clubs and even darker alleys. Sirius lets them abuse him however they like, but never in the home he shares with Remus. And Sirius never, ever, goes out on the night of a full moon.
It's a careful tension that works for them even if the set of Remus' shoulders, growing higher bit by bit, suggests it won't work forever.
The first time Sirius let's a man he's with give him drugs Remus actually leaves the flat.
It had been dark in the private room on the top floor of the club. Sirius doesn't really remember when he stopped abusing his body himself and started relying on others to do it for him. When pain and sex had become interchangeable in his mind. When did that pleasure/pain become all he knows? He was their plaything and nothing else and he knew that. It's what he was there for. It also makes it easier to ignore the looks the others give him. He didn't put those marks there after all. He can't stop them because he's not the one in control. It's a feeble excuse but Sirius has long stopped caring.
He stumbles into the flat near dawn, eyes wide and unfocused. His thighs are one giant bruise and his back is covered in marks and he is bleeding from sex that was too rough for even him. The man, he had never bothered to tell Sirius his name, had told him to take the tablets. They had tasted horrible but as promised they had also made everything a bit fuzzy – except for the man's earring, a small diamond that seemed unusually bright to him in the dimly lit room. He lasted much longer than usual though and the harsh approval grunted in his ear had made it all so worth it.
Or so he thought.
Remus has some sort of spell that lets him know when Sirius comes home. Light floods their sitting room making him squint against the sudden brightness. He wonders vaguely if Remus had even been asleep, he's in pajamas but he certainly doesn't look as if he has just woken up. "Come here." Remus beckons quietly. Sirius follows him into the kitchen stumbling into the wall a few times and settles for lying down on the floor when the idea of sitting seems too painful.
"Let me get a look at you." Remus says in a low, coaxing voice, knowing the lights hurt Sirius' eyes. When Sirius gives him an unfocused look, hands shaking at his sides, Remus freezes. "Sirius." His voice is still quiet but suddenly so much more formal. His light dusting of freckles seem oddly prominent to Sirius' eyes. "Did you take something, at the club, some sort of drug?"
"He gave me something." Sirius mutters trying to focus on looking at Remus but getting distracted by the floor tiles which suddenly seems a much darker shade of blue then normal. "I dunno what."
"You took an unidentified substance from a man you had just met." Remus' mouth is a thin line. "Right." He gets up, looks down at Sirius one last time, and disapparates. Sirius wonders if he is hallucinating and stays on the floor.
Eventually, it could have been a minute or and hour he has no idea, Sirius hears Lily in their sitting room. "Sirius?" She finds him still lying on the kitchen floor. "Oh, Sirius." Lily says sadly. "Let's get you fixed up."
He should feel bad. Remus may be used to the consequences of his exploits, but Lily is not. Especially since they have turned sexual. She bites off a gasp as she peels his blood soaked pants off and mutters an embarrassed apology as she takes the rest of his clothes off as well. This is embarrassing her and he should feel bad. But he doesn't. Instead he just says her name, "Lily" over and over, what ever's in his system making him smile foolishly up at her.
"Yes, it's me you dolt." She smiles, white teeth flashing – he keeps noticing such strange details tonight. "You're going to be fine." She assures him smoothing his hair back. He lets himself lean into the touch, just this once. "Let's get you to your bed."
When he wakes up Lily is gone and James is sitting in a chair by his bed. He watches Sirius over folded hands with sad eyes. "Moony showed up at our house this morning before the sun was even up, incoherent, saying you were on drugs." Sirius is silent. "Don't do this to him, Sirius." James says trying to be stern but sounding tired. "I don't know how he does this every day, Merlin knows the rest of us couldn't, but you cannot do this to him. It's too much to ask. Okay?"
Sirius nods, wondering how soon he'll be able to get out of bed. He doesn't feel too sore – someone healed something while he was asleep – and he needs to be taken down. He needs leather on his skin and venom in his ear and to be treated the way he deserves.
"Remus made breakfast." Sirius gets out of bed trying to look cheerful. Something about the clothes feels different and he realizes that Lily has put him in Remus' pajamas by accident. James claps him on the back looking hopeful. "Come on, mate. Lily will eat all the bacon if we don't hurry."
For a while, Sirius doesn't come home on nights like those.
He wanders around London until he is sure he is sober and then apparates back to their flat. By that time he is so exhausted from the sex, and the abuse, and the walking, that he usually falls asleep in the sitting room, waking up to Remus muttering healing spells over him. It's his latest offering to the shaky compromise they have going.
Until one morning, on what will be the night of a full moon with Remus looking pale and shaky and trying, as always, to hide it, Remus looks up from his breakfast and says, "You should come home at night. It's dangerous to be walking around the city when you're like that."
Sirius, clearheaded as he always is on these days, looks up surprised. He realizes that Remus must have been worrying himself sick those nights he was gone, must have been really upset, to actually say something, however small, about it. "You're probably right." He says and watches some of the tension leave Remus' face.
"Come on. You're leaving. We need to go." Sirius opens his eyes in surprise, that voice does not belong in this club. He is lying face up on a table, naked, waiting for the man who had picked him to use for the night to inject something into his arm. James stands in the doorway and does not even bother to look at the man next to Sirius.
"What's going on?" The man puts the needle down and looks at them both, his body language turned defensive – clearly he thinks James is some sort of jealous love and is expecting a fight. "I may have picked him but he fucking volunteered to be mine for the night. I'm not making him do anything he doesn't want to do, he chose to be here."
James' lips thin. "I don't doubt it." He says with a polite nod of his head. "But he's leaving. Emergency. These things happen."
"What happened?" Sirius asks reaching for his pants without a second thought. James hates the clubs that he visits and would never come to one unless he absolutely had to find Sirius. "What's wrong?" He hasn't had much to drink yet tonight and his brain is giving him a thousand scenarios of situations gone wrong. He almost has his shirt buttoned when he stops. His Master for the night is giving him a thoroughly unimpressed look.
"I'm sorry, Sir." He says kneeling on the filthy floor covered in the evidence of a thousand other similar encounters and then bowing low. As he sits back on his knees he catches sight of the nauseated look on James' face. "He wouldn't be here if it wasn't important, I have to go with him. I'll make it up to you another night, Sir, I promise. I'm sorry, Sir."
The man bends low grabbing Sirius' face in a way that will leave bruises and kisses him on the mouth. Sirius pushes up into the kiss, desperate but knowing better than to try and control it. His Master pulls away and slaps him across the face. James makes some sort of choked off sound from the doorway, surely disgusted or indignant on his friend's behalf, but it sends a spike of arousal through Sirius. "You're ass is mine the next time you're in here." The man promises. "Get out."
James looks like he's going to be sick as they leave the club but Sirius doesn't care just this minute. "Prongs?" James stares at the old factory across the street. Cold air slaps Sirius in the face making his marked cheek feel even warmer. "What's wrong, James?"
"We're going back to your flat. Are you good to apparate?" Sirius nods, still confused, and pop! James is gone. He quickly follows.
"What's going on?" He demands, noting with relief that Remus is there. "Is it Peter? Or Lily? Who?" Remus and James exchange looks and then Remus, for the first time in months, touches him, grabbing his hand tightly.
"Sirius, it's not them. They're fine. It's Regulus." Sirius knows what's coming suddenly and shakes his head. He does not want to hear what is coming next. He's sure of it. "He died, today Sirius. They just found his body of the front steps of your parents house."
Sirius drops to the floor and so does Remus, still holding onto him. "What happened?" He asks numbly. He hasn't spoken to Regulus for almost four years, and now he never will again. The last time they had spoken Regulus had been 15, calling him a disgrace to the family. At the time Sirius had been so proud to be one, even if it meant his own brother was hurling hateful words at him as he left the house he'd grown up in for good.
None of that matters though, not now. Sirius is flooded with memories of when they were young. When they were still brothers, united against their mad mother in a house where anything could prove to be deadly and nothing could come between them.
"They don't know yet, Padfoot. It was the Killing Curse, but they don't know who cast it." Remus hesitates, exchanges more glances with James, and then plunges on. "From what people are saying, it may have been the Death Eaters. They think he may have tried to get out."
"That idiot." Sirius says numbly. "You can't get out. I told him that, and he never listened."
"I'm sorry, Sirius." Remus says gently one of his hands brushes Sirius' cheek. "Look at me a minute, your face isn't looking so good."
"No." Sirius says, turning to face him anyways. "Don't heal them. Don't!" He screams suddenly covering the blossoming bruises on his jaw. "Leave them alone!"
"Alright." James unpeels himself from the wall and crouches down next to Sirius, a hand on this shoulder. "No one will touch them. Remus just wanted to have a look." He flicks Remus a quick look – nine years of friendship makes it easy to communicate silently. "I'm gonna stay here tonight with you and Moony, alright?" He runs his hand through Sirius' hair carefully. "I know you're upset mate, but you need to stay in tonight. We'll do whatever you like. Peter's trying to find out the burial plans, he'll floo when he knows." Sirius ignores him. His mother would kill him at Regulus' graveside herself if he showed up. "Padfoot, I put anti-apparation wards up. We're gonna go into the kitchen for a minute but you stay here."
He gets up and goes to the kitchen with Remus. Sirius can hear James telling him what he found at the club, but he doesn't much care at the moment.
Regulus is dead.
It shouldn't matter so much, he tells himself. They hadn't really been brothers for years. Regulus hated him, he had made that much very clear when Sirius got kicked out. He had called Sirius all sorts of names for being gay and refused to even look at him by the time Sirius had left Hogwarts. He had let their parents make him into the exact type of person Sirius has spent his life trying to escape becoming. Regulus disowned him like all the others and it shouldn't hurt so bad. But it does. His baby brother, dead.
Sirius' one, desperate, hope is that Regulus didn't see it coming. That he died is bad enough, but to think that he died in pain and afraid is too much. The Killing Curse is supposedly painless, and he hopes so badly that someone just called his name. That Regulus just happened to look over his shoulder, curious but not afraid. Sirius hopes it was quick and painless and over too soon for Regulus to understand what was happening. He hopes his little brother got that at least – a quick death, no agony or sense betrayal. One second he was looking up, the next dead.
The door is unlocked. Sirius could get up and walk out but he's not sure he'll ever move from the floor again. Regulus is dead. He is dead and they are going to put him in the ground. Oh God.
By the time Remus and James come back Sirius is curled into a ball on the floor crying silently, the way he did when he was a child and still afraid of angering his mother. He doesn't realize that he is shaking until James lays a stilling hand on his shoulder. Gently James guides him into a sitting position, leaning him against the couch.
Then his friends sit on either side of him, arms wrapped tightly around his shoulders, and hold him. They don't say a lot. Sirius had never told them very much about Regulus – especially after they ended up in different houses – and they have never had siblings to lose. But they are the Marauders, his family, and they don't leave him either. They pass the night like that, as Sirius cries and shakes and tries to come to terms with a world where his brother no longer exists.
The funeral is two days later.
Sirius is not allowed to attend, just as he predicted. His mother had sent a short letter saying that the service was for family only, of which he was no longer a member. There had been more but Sirius hadn't bothered to read it. All he needed to know was that he was barred from Regulus' funeral.
Sirius copes by getting fantastically drunk.
His friends are all worried but he knows that no one is going to tell him no today.
He spends the hours the actual funeral takes place during in the flat with his four friends.
Lily and Peter are playing some sort of muggle board game Lily has brought over with her. Sirius thinks they're meant to be preforming some kind of muggle healing on the plastic man but he isn't sure. He's also a bit worried that muggles seem to think there are ice cream cones inside of their heads. He is sure that you shouldn't be touching the sides though, something Peter seems to do every ten minutes and which causes the game to make an awful buzzing noise.
James is sitting at the table watching them play and looking just as confused as Sirius feels while Remus reads, eyes occasionally looking up to settle on Sirius.
They had brought a bottle of fire-whiskey along, the idea being to share it. So far though Sirius is the only one drinking much. Lily and Remus each had one glass, toasting Regulus' memory. Peter is still nursing his second, probably too lost in his game to even remember it and James had stopped after two. Sirius is on his seventh shot and has no plans of stopping.
He could tell them about Regulus if he wanted to. They would listen and sympathize because there are his friends, his family, and they love him. But he doesn't. He's afraid that if he shares those memories he'll somehow lose them, they'll become less clear in his head, and Sirius can't afford for that to happen. His memories of Regulus are already numbered, he will guard the rest of them as best he can.
By the time Sirius finishes the bottle he and Remus are alone in the flat. Peter has to go first, apologizing that he has promised to stop by his mother's house because she's been sick lately. Lily and James leave an hour later. Lily kisses his cheek and James pulls him into a hug and Sirius just feels numb. Remus is still reading when Sirius stands up.
"I'm going out." He announces, startled to find his voice is only slurring a little.
Remus closes his book carefully, setting it on the table and looking up at Sirius with worried eyes, "I'm not sure that's a good idea. Why don't you stay in? We can do something if you'd like."
"No." Sirius closes his eyes as the room tilts a little. "I need to go. I'll be back by morning, don't worry. I have to go out." He needs something to take his mind off of the fact that they put his little brother's body, cold and pale and so alone, into the ground. Regulus will never feels the sun on his face again, or the rush of riding a broom. There is no one at his side to help him where ever he is going and Sirius needs to stop thinking about it. There's only one guaranteed way to do that.
"Come here, for a minute." Remus says quietly, holding a hand out. Sirius takes careful steps over to his chair, trying not to stumble, though he's a lot steadier than he expected to be. There is a quick prick of pain and he looks at Remus, confused. "I just took a piece of your hair. I'll be able to track you down if I need to." Remus tells him not looking the least bit repentant. He pulls a small vial out from his sweater pocket and drops the hair inside. "I'd tell you to be careful but we both know how useless that would be." Sirius tries for a grin but he doesn't think he pulls it off well.
"I'll be back by dawn." He promises again. Remus watches him go looking sad and worried, but that is nothing new to Sirius.
Experience has taught Sirius about the different types of clubs.
There are some, like All Wrapped Up, that are clean and respectable. They have rules about what is allowed to take place within the club, and bouncers to enforce them. Clubs like those offer people, usually couples but not always, a place to live out their fantasies in safety. They have memberships, and the people know one another and are friends, and Sirius cannot remember the last time he visited one.
Others are like The Caged Bird. They have rules, but they're much more flexible. A bit of gold here, know a bouncer or two there, and you can do just about anything you want. So long as everyone is a consenting adult the club's management doesn't care. If something goes wrong it's understood you'll take full responsibility and that's that. They are the types of places he frequents but Sirius does not need a place like that tonight.
Instead, he goes to The Demon's Dance where there are no rules and no one to watch over the patrons. Sirius usually only comes to places like this when he has had a fight with his friends and feels selfish and awful. Sirius comes here when he wants to be punished and he rarely comes when he is already drunk. The lack of policy makes it much more dangerous, but it also makes it the only place this side of London that he'll get what he needs tonight.
He should walk around outside for a bit first, try and sober up a little. He knows that. This is a club where he needs a clear head to find a man who will know when to stop even if Sirius is too far gone to say it. Instead he nods to a man who is stumbling out the door, wrists swollen from restraints, and walks inside, adjusting his body language to be totally submissive, looking for a man he knows will not go easy on him.
"Well, look who it is," Yes. Perfect. The man he had left last time, when James had found him, is sitting at the bar with a boy who looks like he was ready to go home three shots ago. "The puppy came to play." No one aside from Lily and the other Marauders know about Sirius' animagus form but people seem to make the dog connection all on their own. Sirius is always eager to please and quick to beg forgiveness and knows who his Master is and so he has been nicknamed a dog. It should sting but instead it feels like one more way of putting him in his place the way he deserves. They see it after all, even if his friends don't.
Sirius kneels next to the bar stool and waits to be spoken to. The man dismisses his current toy with a wave of his hand. Sirius watches the other man stumble off and feels his heart quicken. This is where he belongs. "What do you want?"
"Too make it up to you, for leaving last time, Sir." Sirius flicks an impertinent, inviting, look up. It's a great deal less submissive looking than his normal come on. Sirius wants to make sure that there will be no mercy tonight. "Punish me, Sir." He challenges knowing he will not be refused. Master won't want to lose face in front of his friends, especially not to a boy that every one has had.
"You're asking for it, puppy."
He doesn't see the slap coming. It's probably the lack of "sir" that did it. That doesn't matter. What matters is that he's being pulled by his hair to an upstairs room. Sirius can hear people at the bar calling after them but they don't matter. Not now. All that matters now is making it up to his Master. Taking his punishment and earning his forgiveness, trying to be a good dog, a good boy, a good something.
They're not even up the stairs before Sirius starts apologizing. "I'm sorry, Sir! I'm so sorry. Please punish me, Sir. I deserve it." Master just grunts and shoves a door open. By the time Sirius' clothes are off and he's being tied to a wooden frame the guilt he feels about Regulus' death is overwhelming him. He's sobbing before Master even lays a hand on him.
Master, whoever he is, isn't stupid. Anyone who'd been doing this for a while could tell with one look that Sirius isn't in the right mindset to play and that makes him dangerous to everyone, including himself. That's why he has come to this man though. So long as Sirius listens to him he doesn't care what else is going on and he will not stop. Sirius vaguely remembers having a safe word, years ago now. These days he lets the men who want him do whatever they want. He doesn't deserve to have a safe word. Instead he takes whatever he is told to, his inability to stop things another form of punishment.
By the time actual restraints and pain and blood are involved Sirius should be oblivious to anything else. At the very least he should be comfortably numb.
He isn't. Instead he's got Regulus, 16 and dark and proud and handsome – the last of the Black line with Sirius disowned – looking disdainfully across the Great Hall at him, stuck in his head. Sirius is covered in bruises and bleeding but all he can see is the way Regulus' eyes went wide with betrayal when Sirius came home a Gryffindor, the one thing a Black could not be. How cold his home had felt that summer with his own brother ignoring him. The knowledge that after Sirius had left for the Potter's Regulus had been on his own against their mother is pressing him down. Sirius knew what was like to live in that house and he left all the same.
How could he be so selfish? "You think you're something special, coming in here, talking to me like that." Something, a leather flogger from the feel of it, bite at his shoulder. "Well I've got news for you puppy. You're nothing." Sirius is going to be covered in marks tomorrow. Good. He deserves every last one. Sirius flinches when his Master raises a hand and watches the other man smile. "That's right, puppy. You know who's in charge here."
When he's released from his restraints Sirius takes the man in his mouth desperate for any approval. He loves every thrust that almost chokes him, embraces that feeling of panic and terror crawling through his body, and hates himself all the more for it. Sirius moves his tongue just so and Master grabs his hair puling hard. Sirius knows how to do this, he is good at it, especially after so much practice, and not even a minute later the hand in his hair grows even tights as his Master comes.
He's bent roughly over a table, vaguely hearing a charm muttered to prevent disease. One can never be too careful in clubs like this after all. Sirius gasps as he is thrust into the table, hips bruising on the metal edge. There is burning and tearing and pain and pleasure and the thrill of knowing that he is being punished just as much as he is having sex. Master bends over him, whispering abuse in his ear and biting his back, drawing blood more than once. It's one such bite, where his neck meets his shoulder, that drives him over the edge sobbing as he comes. The man behind him withdraws and lets go and Sirius drops to the ground.
"Anything broken?" Sirius, still sobbing weakly on the floor, shakes his head. "Good." Sirius' temporary Master pulls his clothes back on not sparing Sirius another glance. He gets to the door and then hesitates. "Look, puppy. I don't know what your fucking problem is tonight, but these will help. Make sure you're healed up before you come back here. No one wants to play with a broken dog." He tosses a packet on the floor next to Sirius and leaves.
It's a long time before Sirius bothers to look at it. He puts his own clothes back on slowly feeling dried blood crack and his body protest. The packet is actually a small bag with two pills inside that Sirius has never seen before. He's still holding the packet when he stumbles out of the club and begins the painful trek back home. The flat isn't too far away, and he's not sure he can apparate just now. Sirius watches the sunrise and tries not to think about the fact that his brother will never see another one.
"What's that in your hand, Sirius?" The walk home seemed shorter tonight with Sirius lost in his memories of Regulus. They are sitting together on the bed in Sirius' room. The lighting is gentler and that makes it easier on Sirius' still sensitive eyes, which means Remus is willing accommodate him. At Remus' question he looks down somewhat surprised to see he's still holding the bag, two tiny green tabs inside. Hadn't he taken those pills on the walk home? Once he'd passed the Chines takeout place? Apparently not.
"Dunno, Moony." He mumbles leaning against his friend. Remus stiffens for a second – they don't touch anymore how is Sirius stupid enough to have forgotten that even for a moment? – and then relaxes, allowing Sirius to rest on him. "Master gave 'em to me. He said they'd help. I forgot I had them."
"Master, hmmm?" Remus tenses again and Sirius is suddenly terrified he'll leave and Sirius will be all alone and he can't stand that right now however much he may deserve it. But no, after a second the tension melts away. "Did he say what they are? Did he tell you their name?"
"Calm me down." Sirius cannot help but try and burrow his head into Remus' shoulder. "He said they would calm me down. I've never seen 'em before tonight though."
"So you've got no idea what they are, Padfoot?" Sirius shakes his head. "Right then." He takes the bag from Sirius' hand. "I'm going to take these then. I'll be right back." Remus assures him as Sirius grabs blindly, suddenly terrified of being left alone, even momentarily. "Don't worry, I'll be right back and then we can look at fixing you up some." He goes into the hall and seconds later Sirius hears him flushing the tabs down the toilet.
Sirius is so happy when Remus sits back down on the bed with him that he doesn't immediately notice that Remus is holding his wand. "What are you doing?" He asks sharply, sitting as straight up as he can manage.
"I just want to get a better look at what's wrong with you." Remus says gently. "You're a mess."
"No. Don't heal them, Moony, please." Sirius is shaking and he doesn't know why. "Please let me keep them. I need them." He holds his hands out as if he is warding Remus away, as if he could possibly stop the other man right now. "Let me keep them." He begs again.
Remus looks at him with the most resigned face Sirius can ever remember seeing. When he answers he sounds worried and helpless and Sirius hates himself just a little bit more. "Padfoot. Just let me look." He coaxes. "I won't heal anything without your permission, Sirius. Let me look."
After a long moment Sirius gives a jerky nod. "I'm going to have to take your clothes off to get a good look at you." Remus says gently. "Do you want to lie on your side?" Sirius closes his eyes and nods, lying down with his back to Remus. Gently the other man undresses him, careful of his injuries, and Sirius turns his face into his pillow crying silently and feeling so ashamed. Aside from one quick breath, Remus gives no indication of how he feels about the way Sirius has let himself be treated tonight.
"Padfoot," There's a difference, Sirius thinks, with a head slightly clearer than normal, between 'Sirius' and 'Padfoot'. Sirius is for when Remus is angry or upset and when what is being said is important. Padfoot is for friendship and fun and coaxing. There's a difference but Sirius doesn't know what it means or if it's important and he is far too gone tonight to figure it out. "A lot of these will heal on their own, I won't heal them if you don't want me to." There is the rustle of moving fabric and then Remus is on the other side of the bed, mattress dipping low, a gentle hand in his hair, meeting his eyes when Sirius finally opens them.
"Some of them need to be looked after though." He feels tears welling up again and closes his eyes. When had he become so pathetic? When had he become someone who cried at every show of kindness and mercy? "I need to heal them." The hand continues to stroke his hair. "I don't know what you did tonight exactly, but if you don't let me heal them you're not going to be able to have sex for several months." Remus sounds like he's going to be sick though he's trying to hide it and Sirius wishes there was a way to shut his voice out. "Let me take care of that and your back, and I'll leave the rest, okay?"
He knows this kills Remus. Having to balance what can be left and what must be healed, what Sirius will allow and what needs to be done no matter what. He knows it hurts him. Sirius wants grab at Remus, apologize for who he's become and offer to earn his forgiveness however he can. Instead he nods his head and sits quietly while Remus heals him.
"No. This is not going to happen again. You are not doing this anymore. I won't let you." Sirius blinks in the bright light. When had he gotten home? Where have his clothes gone? He's naked and in bed, but Sirius would never come back to the flat naked. The last thing he remembers is being in the club. Along with the man he knew there had been another man there tonight, one he had never met before but who had promised him the treatment he deserved. The two men had been beating him and fucking him; there was pain, in his arms and his back and everywhere and now, without knowing how he got there, he's back in the flat. Remus waves his wand silently and the room dims, allowing Sirius to open his eyes fully.
"What happened?" He asks, shaking his head like Padfoot and sitting up carefully. His entire body protests the movement but Sirius has learned how to move with pain, how to live with it, after years of abusing his body. "How did I get home? I don't remember..." Sirius trails off looking at his arms. They are wrapped in bandages, as are parts of his torso. In fact, as he moves his body carefully under the blankets biting back yeps of pain, it feels like Remus has healed nothing. Normally Remus heals him as soon as he passes out so that Sirius will have no chance to protest. It's not that he minds, Merlin knows he fights Remus about the healings enough, but he is confused.
"You don't remember coming home," Remus says stiffly "because you didn't come home. It's three in the afternoon Sirius. When I woke up this morning, at seven, you still weren't home. I don't know what I would have done if I didn't still have that hair of yours." He's not looking at Sirius, instead staring at the wall. "I found you, eventually, at one of the clubs in Knockturn Alley. James helped me get you back here. It seems whoever played with you last night left you on the floor like a broken toy." Remus is angrier than Sirius has seen him in years. His voice is surprisingly soft but anger threatens to erupt with every word, every breath.
"What happened to my arms?" Sirius asks quietly, shrinking back against the headboard, instinctively shying away from the other man's anger.
Remus waves his wand again and the bandages fall away. Sirius looks at hims arms wonderingly. They are covered in words. Words that have been burned and cut into his skin by whoever he was with last night. He turns his arms slowly, reading. Slut. Worthless. Useless. Whore. Dog. Bitch. Slag. Disappointment. Toy. Garbage. The words cover his arms, repeating and overlapping. He pulls at the bandages wrapped across his stomach and finds even more words. "I – I don't – They didn't ask – What?" His fingers trace the words, moving with a sort of reverence. Finally someone has spelled out exactly what he is, using his body as a canvas. If they heal naturally, and Remus has not healed him yet so it seems like a distinct possibility, they will scar. He will have permanent reminders, permanent proof, of what he really is.
"Did you ask them to do this to you, Sirius?" Remus is looking at him now and Sirius cannot meet his eyes.
"I don't remember," He answers, still looking at the cuts "But that doesn't mean I didn't. And if they had suggested it, I wouldn't have said no." He pulls the sheet covering him carefully off, trying to take a mental inventory of his pain. "What's wrong with me, what's hurt?"
Remus goes back to looking at the wall. "Your left ankle is swollen from the restraints and probably twisted, your wrists are ringed in bruising and torn skin, you're back is covered in lash marks, you have three bite marks on your neck and shoulders that have broken the skin." Well that explains why any sort of movement is agony. "Both of your knees are bruised and torn, you're lip is split, you're hips and thighs are one solid bruise, there is anal tearing, when we found you, you were covered in your own vomit, and, let's not forget, the words."
"Okay." Sirius says nodding. He is in a great deal of pain but with careful steps he should make it to the shower. There is still dried blood to be washed off after all and he can always lie on the shower floor. Standing is not going to be an option today. "I should go shower, then. Wash up." He has barely moved his legs when Remus' hand shoots out grabbing the only unmarked part of Sirius' arm, his elbow, and holding him in place.
"No." Remus looks at him and now Sirius cannot look away. "You are going to be quiet and let me heal these."
"I don't want them healed!" Sirius exclaims. Why has Remus left his injuries only to heal them now? Sirius has truth written on his arms and he could keep it if only he can convince Remus not to heal them. "Leave them alone, I want to let them heal on their own!"
"You are going to lie here and let me heal every last injury." Remus soldiers on, ignoring that Sirius has said anything. "And then this is over. You will not continue to destroy yourself like this, I will not allow it."
"What?" Sirius cannot believe what he is hearing. "Remus, you can't tell me what to do. I'm a grown man and you can't decide what I do or where I go. It isn't your business."
"It is when you live like this!" Remus yells, letting go of Sirius and standing up suddenly. "It's my business when I, and everyone else who cares about you, has to watch you kill yourself piece by piece. I thought maybe it was some sort of phase, that you would get it out of your system, but no. It's been almost three years of this and you just keep getting worse.
"Well I'm done. And so are you. I don't care if I have to put a full body bind on you every night and hide your wand, it's stopping now. I don't know what about this is so important to you that you don't give a damn about what it's doing to us, but you're done. Your body can't take much more of this Sirius."
"I need this." Sirius protests. "I need them to do this to me, otherwise – "
"Otherwise what?" Remus screams. It has been years since Sirius has seen him so upset, the memory of a full moon and a prank gone wrong crawling up his spine and making him shake with self-hatred. "You can find another way to get off, I don't care, I can't watch this anymore." He raises a hand, probably intending to run it through his hair which has fallen into his face, and Sirius can't help himself. He flinches back, curling up as tightly as his body will let him in a sign of his submissiveness, and watches as Remus pales.
"Sirius," Remus says in a much calmer, more gentle, voice. "I'm sorry, it's okay. I'm not going to hurt you. You know that. It's just the way you let the people your with treat you sometimes, I can't stand it." He turns, looking for all the world as if he may leave and Sirius uncurls, grabbing his hand desperately, ignoring his protesting body.
"Don't leave!" He begs, tightening his grip on Remus' hand. "Please, Remus, don't go. Don't hate me." Sirius is resting on his tattered bloodied knees, holding onto him so tightly that Remus is actually pulled down towards the bed a little. "Do whatever you want to me." He says quickly. "Hurt me – hit me, spank me, beat me, fuck me, I don't care. But please, Remus, don't hate me." Sirius is crying freely, the salt in his tears making the cuts on his lips sting but it doesn't matter. None of it matters if Remus hates him.
"Hey," Remus sits on the bed, cupping Sirius' face with the hand Sirius does not have a death grip on. "I don't hate you, Sirius. I could never hate you. I'm worried about you."
"Punish me, Remus. I don't care, do whatever you want, please, don't leave though." Sirius is actually a little amazed that Remus is understanding any of this he is crying so hard.
"I don't need to punish you, Sirius. And I don't want to." He kisses Sirius' forehead gently. "Whatever's wrong, whatever is making you want to do this to yourself, we can fix it. I don't need to hurt you to do that though. And I won't. Ever." Remus looks at Sirius' arms. "You don't believe the stuff on your arms, do you?"
"It's all true. I deserve it." Sirius says quietly, looking away. "All of it."
"No. You don't." Remus tells him guiding Sirius' face to his. He kisses Sirius' cheek. Sirius has to use all that control he showed his Masters not to press into Remus and try for a real kiss. "You deserve to be shown love, and affection, and to be taken care of, Sirius. And I'm going to take care of you." Sirius looks at him in disbelief. "I'm sorry I've been doing such a poor job of it, Padfoot. Let me make it up to you."
"What do you mean?" Sirius asks refusing to be hopeful after so long.
"I mean," Remus says slowly. "That you're mine. And I haven't been doing a very good job of taking care of what's mine. I'm changing that now though." He kisses Sirius very gently on the lips, probably being mindful of the cuts. Sirius kisses back hesitantly, too terrified to demand more even though he desperately wants to.
"You're mine, no one else's. That means no more clubs, and no more letting yourself be abused by men who don't care about you and don't know when to stop." He touches Sirius' face gently and Sirius starts before leaning into the touch. "It means, that we're going to talk about what makes you want this so badly, and we're going to fix it. It means that I'll love you. It means that not only will I not abuse you, I won't let you abuse yourself either.
"It means that I'm going to understand if it takes you months to stop flinching away from me, and that I'm always going to be here. If, once we figure this all out, you want to try something, within reason, I'll be open to it. At the very least, I'll hear you out, and if it can be done safely, we'll try it." Sirius is trembling, it feels as if one touch could shatter him and he can barely believe this is happening. Remus kisses his cheeks again, sucking his tears away.
"Being mine means that you get a say, that you get to tell me what you want, Sirius." Remus kisses his lips again, gently but with the promise of so much more. "What do you want?" He asks.
Finally Sirius initiates a kiss, demanding control that he knows Remus will give him and trusting that Remus will also take it away when he needs to. And after that it is so easy for Sirius to look up and answer, "You."
As Remus smiles and pulls away, indicating that Sirius should lie down and let himself be healed, it hits him. Sirius has finally found someone who will protect him from anything, even himself.
A/N: This is the first time I've ever written something like this but it's been in my head for ages now. A possible sequel is in the works, so if you liked this be on the lookout. The title is taken from a rhyme in an episode of Doctor Who called 'The Beast Below'. As always, thanks for taking the time to read!