Characters: Remus Lupin and Sirius Black.
Summary: Everyone else is in technicolour, while Remus and Sirius are still in black and white and grey. / The metaphorical death of Remus Lupin and his black-and-white world. RemusSirius one-shot.
Notes: Gah. I. Just. Wolfstar.
I've just performed a speech for my English Language coursework that is worth quite a bit of my overall GCSE (OWL, basically) and told I got 100%. I am so happy! I even got Albus Dumbledore in there. So I wrote this as a little present to myself. RemusSirius will forever be my OTP, and this is such an interesting idea/plot bunny that I just had to get it out. I really hope you enjoy!
Remus Lupin hasn't seen colours since he was six.
Everything is in black and white and grey; sometimes he sees a hint of red on Gryffindor robes, but it's only that - a hint.
He thought Lily Evans was a brunette until she mentioned how agonizing being a red-head was when they became study partners for Transfiguration in second year. Remus didn't know what colour her eyes were until fourth year, when James' infatuation began, starting with Lily's "emerald orbs".
He has to refuse to help Peter with his notes, because Peter colour-codes them, and Remus can't really tell the difference. He gives him extra tutoring to make up for it.
The only person he can look at normally is Sirius; Sirius, with his grey eyes and white skin and black hair and black clothes and Black heart.
Everyone else is in technicolour, while Remus and Sirius are still in black and white and grey.
For six years, Remus hides. He hides behind white parchment and black ink, black robes and white insignias. Every question he avoids - every one of Peter's colour-coded notes, Lily's green eyes, James' favourite blue socks - and somehow, he manages. He gets weird looks, of course he does, but Remus gets by. It's worth a lot more than he thought.
"Now, as long as we're careful not to mix the asphodel with the..."
Remus tunes out Slughorn's drone. He doesn't quite know why he took NEWT level Potions - in hope, maybe. Still, though, as he stands behind his charcoal coloured desk, he moves his wrist languidly. The recent full moon was a bad one; his head is still throbbing with the pain of constant medication and painkillers that aren't strong enough.
He hasn't felt himself for a while now.
Remus sighs, and looks down at his empty, snow-coloured parchment. He realises he honestly no idea what Slughorn is going on about.
"We just need - ah, Mr Lupin!" He jolts up, hitting his knee on the desk. He swears under his breath, then looks up with questioning eyes. "Can you just come and pick up the salamander blood, the one with the pinkish hue... You'll be working on the - Mr Lupin?"
Remus has frozen.
He looks at all the identical, unlabelled vials. Normally, Remus can lie himself out of a situation like this - "Oh, I don't feel my best, may I be excused?" "My leg's giving me a bit of trouble, Professor, can James pick it up for me?" "Oh, Merlin, salamander blood. I did that potion last week, Professor, perhaps I could do another one with - this ingredient?"
But Remus is ill and he's halfway to giving up and if he could see it, he would bet that his face is the colour of oatmeal.
"Salamander blood, sir?" Remus repeats, hastily looking at the different crystals that could hold the end of him - the death of Remus Lupin and his black-and-white world.
"Are you alright, Mr Lupin?" Slughorn asks, mainly because the rest of the class is silent, and Remus usually doesn't trouble him in classes, minus the odd exploding cauldron. He's a good student, sir. Honest.
"I don't know which one is the salamander blood," Remus whispers, clutching the edges of his desk shakily. He wonders what colour the professor's robes are this week - bottle green or royal purple, or maybe they're dark grey, like Remus sees.
He doesn't know. He can't tell the difference. And he is tired.
"What do you mean, boy? It's the pink one!" Slughorn booms with an uneasy smile. James shifts restlessly next to him and Remus can see Peter staring at him in the corner of his eye.
He can't see Sirius.
"I can't see the difference, sir. I can't see colours," Remus says loudly. The room echoes his words and he can just hear it in the distance - I can't see colours can't see colours see colours colours colours...
"I... I don't understand, Mr Lupin," he stutters. This was obviously not in the How To Be A Teacher: For Dummies handbook that Dumbledore handed him all those years ago.
"Neither do I, sir," Remus tells him honestly. He looks down at his hands, avoiding the faces that are staring at him, all those colourless faces that don't say anything and scream at the same time. He imagines all those pretty, open eyes that see so much more - brown, hazel, green, blue - and he thinks of his eyes.
Did you know, animals don't see in colour? They see in black and white.
Remus runs from the room, knocking over his dusty textbooks that he thinks are leather-bound brown. His robes fly behind him, like black wings on a creature that doesn't belong in a school.
He runs and he runs - his legs carry him further than they would've usually, but they are fuelled by his hate and his fear and his hope that this. Didn't. Happen.
He pants the password to the Fat Lady, who gives him a concerned glance, but lets him in anyway. Remus runs past the Gryffindor-grey chairs and Gryffindor-grey hangings, and past the burning fire that doesn't look as warm as it should.
Remus reaches the dormitory, slams the door behind him, and stops. Finally, he stops.
He stops pretending and he stops running and he stops hiding, and just fucking stops. Remus collapses against the wall (closest to Sirius' bed) and doesn't blink or sob as tears begin to trail down his cheeks.
He thinks of his friends, who have tried so hard to convince him that he isn't what he is, and he thinks of himself on those twenty-seven nights, so close to believing them.
Sirius peers in through the gap of the door. Sunlight shines onto the room, and Remus hugs his knees to his chest. He pretends again; pretends he wasn't crying, pretends he's alright, pretends, hides from the world, and pretends again. The thought makes him shiver.
"Why didn't you tell us, Moony?" Sirius asks, and he sounds broken, and tired, and Remus thinks, I must sound like that too.
"How could I?" Remus chuckles humourlessly. "I'm not going to pity myself, Padfoot. I have a good life; a great life. How could I tell you that I may not be a monster for twenty-seven days of the month, but I still see like one?"
"Well, that's progress at least." Remus looks up, confused. Sirius shrugs, and joins him on the carpeted floor. "At least you accept you're not a monster twenty-seven days out of twenty-eight."
"I do hate positive people," he comments idly, but the tears stop. He uncurls himself and dries his face with a shaking hand.
"And we love you back, Moony," Sirius replies. "You should have told me. I would've understood. Haven't you always said that I only ever see the world in black and white?"
"That was a metaphorical black and white, dear," Remus says drily, and he swirls a piece of thread round his finger, a black strand that has come loose from his sleeve. "What colour are my eyes?"
"What?" Sirius' head snaps up quickly, and he hovers over Remus, his face uncomfortably, teasingly close. "You honestly don't know what colour your eyes are?" He runs his hand over Remus' cheek, his face almost trance-like. His finger caresses his cheekbone.
"I've never thought to ask, and it's been a long time since I was six. They changed colour, apparently, when I turned. My mum wouldn't tell me what to."
Sirius continues to stare, his hand refusing to stop moving. "I..." He takes a deep breath. "When you're angry - really angry, mind you, not just annoyed in your frazzled little way - they turn so dark they're almost black.
"Normally, they're this kind of amber, and it's really unusual, Moony. Nobody has eyes like yours.
"And when you're happy, really happy, they kind of soften and glow and they're like... like honey, but really light. Like gold."
"I thought they were grey," Remus whispers, and Sirius' hand stops. It travels down and grabs Remus', twining their fingers together and never letting go. "I thought my mum didn't want me to know. But they're amber. Like... like the wolf's."
"No," Sirius argues, and the pad of his thumb moves over Remus' fingers. "No, the wolf's eyes are like yours. The wolf is you, a part of you, and it may be dangerous but it's beautiful. Just like you."
"You're getting girly on me, Padfoot."
"I prefer the term 'sentimental.' And I'm allowed, after all." He presses a kiss to Remus' hand. "Shit. I like you, you know. I might even love you, if you'll have me."
"Sirius-" Remus doesn't know why he's protesting. This is all he's ever wanted, Sirius and technicolour, and he's so close to having one and he's throwing it away because he doesn't want to just see in black and white, because soon Sirius will leave him in his grey world and move onto to brighter things, like Lily-red or Peter-blue or James-gold or even fucking Marlene-McKinnon-and-salamander-blood-pink.
"Shut up. Just... shut up," Sirius says, and he closes his eyes tight shut. Remus breathes loudly. "You don't have to pretend with me, you know. You don't have to hide."
"But I do." His voice catches in his throat. He has to hide who he is or Sirius will hate him and -
"You don't have to hide the fact you like your meat rare the week running up to the full moon, or the fact you don't really know how to talk to people or how to act, because I love that you're so adorably, socially awkward because it's you. You can be fierce and angry with me, and I won't think it's the wolf or any other bullshit. I'll ask what I've done wrong.
"You don't have to pretend to see colours, 'cause you know me, Moony; everything's in black and white anyway."
So Remus leans forward and kisses him - he kisses him and he can almost taste the deep rose colour, and he wants more, so Sirius complies and opens his mouth, and Remus can almost almost almost see in technicolour.
They break away and Sirius is still holding Remus' hand, their fingers twined together in a promise of Sirius, technicolour and forever.
"You don't have to run anymore."
Remus hasn't seen colours since he was six. When he's with Sirius, he doesn't need to.