Somehow, while I've written more Remus/Sirius than I can even keep track of, I've never written anything like this. So we'll see how this goes :D
For Shot Put in the 2012 Hogwarts Games. Your OTP.
Thanks to teddylupin-snape for unintentionally giving me the idea for this fic!
It doesn't count as a gravestone.
That's because it doesn't count as a grave. A grave requires a body. A corpse. Some evidence that a person once existed, but no longer does.
No body. No grave. Thus, no gravestone.
He swallows. It isn't really fair. This little plaque with its simple engraving in the middle of a cemetery in the middle of nowhere that few even know exists.
17 September 1959 - 18 June 1996
He deserves so much more. Remus chose the epitaph himself, but he still doesn't think it's enough. It doesn't express all that Sirius was — but how do you express a man's entire life in so few words?
How do you put the fierce sort of bravery that it takes to leave the only home you've ever known on a memorial? How do you explain the sort of optimism it takes to go through hell as a childhood and still manage to laugh? How do you explain the sort of idiocy it takes to not think about consequences for long enough to endanger lives with your words and the sort of loyalty it takes to put up with four months of stony silence and unspoken rage in return?
How does he explain the night after his mum died, when Sirius held him tightly while he cried and then let him pretend it hadn't happened the next time? How does he explain spending his first year terrified of them finding out his secret only to have Sirius casually ask one day, have you even gotten fleas? As though it didn't even matter — because to him, it didn't. How does he explain unconditional acceptance that he never could have asked for and never deserved in twenty words or less?
How does he explain that cocky grin, those aristocratic features, those emotive grey eyes? How does he explain broad shoulders and long fingers and the way all of it made him feel? How does he explain how much it hurt to think he'd betrayed them all, and how much it hurt to find out they'd spent twelve years in pain because of a mistake? How does he explain how it physically hurt him to see those newly haunted grey eyes?
"I loved you, you know?" he murmurs to the plaque, aware it's crazy and too tired of it all to care. "I never told you, because I was a coward and it was better to have you as my best friend than to lose you for a chance, but I loved you more than I ever thought possible."
He kneels — though it's really more of an unintentional collapse — not caring about the rain-soaked grass. He brushes a few stray drops off the plaque, despite his logical mind telling him that he can't battle the elements so why bother? But it makes him feel a little bit better when the memorial is clear.
"Every once in a while I'd catch a look in your eyes that made me wonder if maybe it was mutual, but that could have been hope talking, and the thing was, I was happy. I was happy just being your friend — I never needed anything else. That's mostly why I never told you; I never needed anything to change."
Remus sighs, placing a hand on the plaque. "There are so many things I never said. Too many things I regret not saying, despite those that I don't. I don't regret not telling you that I loved you as so much more than a friend. I do, though, regret not telling you that I loved you, period. I assumed you knew, but you didn't hear it enough." Remus bites his lip.
"I regret not telling you that I forgave you. For everything. Then, and now." He sighs. "I was stubborn, and proud. I'm sorry." He swallows.
"I regret never mentioning the difference Padfoot made to Moony. You saw it, I think, because I saw the look on your face after the first moon with all of you and you looked like you knew, but I never thanked you and I never told you that it made a world of difference."
A deep breath shudders through him. "I love you, Pads. You're my world, and I don't know how to do this again, because it killed me to lose you once, and at least then I knew that you were out there somewhere, and this time I don't even have stole a piece of me, made it a part of you, and I need it back if I'm ever to function properly."
It's only then that Remus notices that his cheeks are damp, and not from the recent rain. "Why did you have to go?" he asks brokenly. "Why you? I only just got you back. It isn't fair, and I know life isn't fair, but why does it have to be so cruel?"
Remus feels like he ought to be too old to be ranting about the unfairness of life to a plaque that will never hear it, but at this point he really can't bring himself to care.
"I miss you, you know?" His voice is raw. "I feel like I've spent half my life missing you, only this time there's no possible end to it."
He runs a hand over the words Mischief Managed. "It isn't enough, nothing could ever be enough, but I hope you like it anyway." He smiles softly, a sad twist of the lips that doesn't reach his eyes. "I thought it was appropriate. More you than some stuffy old quote from another dead guy, anyway."
He swallows, and then he nods sharply, as though having decided something. "I'll always love you, Sirius. I hope you know that. Somehow."
And he stands, attempting to dust off his knees briefly before realising they're hopelessly soaked. He nods again at the memorial, and then he turns sharply, swallows again, and walks slowly out of the cemetery.