Written fo the 2012 Hogwarts Games — shotput (Your OTP, approx 1200 words).
Also for the OTP bootcamp for the prompt jagged.
Also for Amber's Seven Fics Challenge — Pairing: Remus/Sirius.
Billions of thanks go to Sam, for coming up with a Wolfstar plot I haven't written yet :D
Set sometime in GoF or OotP.
The breaths that escape his nostrils are ragged, sharp, pained. Shallow. A rib is cracked, and he knows that breathing too deeply could puncture his lung. He makes his way slowly through the trees, every movement painfully careful. Everything aches. He wants nothing more than to down a pain potion and collapse on his bed and not wake up until tomorrow, but he knows Madam Pomfrey needs to look at that rib. Everything else can wait — he's had worse — but that rib needs to be looked at.
He limps into the small shack on the forest's edge: his checkpoint, his safe house. Gingerly, he dons the set of robes he'd left the night before. Before he knows he's decided to, he finds himself sitting on the only piece of furniture in the small shack — a plank propped on two stumps. He shouldn't sit, he knows — he needs to get help — but he's just so exhausted.
Just for a moment, he thinks, and his eyelids slip closed.
He awakes much later than he intends to, sunlight streaming through the window. He swears and then sucks in a sharp breath as he newly recognises the sharp pain in his abdomen. He's amazed he slept through it at all, but his body is completely drained, weary. He's torn between desperately wanting to never move and seriously needing medical assistance and a painkiller at this point.
With a great deal of effort, he stands, pain tearing through him as the cracked ribs shifts. He grits his teeth firmly and takes the two steps across the shack to the pile of rubbish in the corner. He sorts through it for too long — there's a brief moment of complete panic as he wonders if it's there at all — until he finds the napkin from the Hogs Head. He grips it in his hand and forces all his muscles to loosen, knowing that a Portkey with a broken rib is going to hurt no matter what and knowing that it will hurt more if he's tense. Either way, it will hurt less than Apparation.
"Grimmauld Place," he murmurs, his voice a raspy whisper. The jerk at the back of his navel nearly causes him to cry out, but he clenches his teeth together and swallows the cry out of habit. As it is spelled to do, the portkey deposits him in the sitting room of Grimmauld Place, where he lands on his feet with a grunt and a stagger. Sirius jolts up from the couch like he's been hit with a Stinging Hex. His arms catch Remus at the elbows and immediately guide him to the couch, eyes running up and down Remus's frame. He doesn't say anything, but Remus can see it in his eyes.
"I'm okay," Remus says softly. "I'm okay."
"You're late. Very late."
"Fell asleep in the house. Didn't mean to. Sorry."
He watches as Sirius notes the rasp in his voice, the fragmented sentences, the pain in his eyes, his hunched posture and the hand that flutters uselessly over his abdomen.
"Don't apologise." The reprimand is sharp, but not really a reprimand at all — Remus hears the unspoken concern bleeding through. "Rib? Madam Pomfrey?"
Remus closes his eyes and nods wearily. His sharp ears catch Sirius' rapid footsteps out of the room and the dull thud as his knees hit the floor in front of the fireplace.
The next thing he registers is Madam Pomfrey tapping his cheek softly. "Up now, Remus. I know you're tired, love, but I need to check your reaction time."
Remus stirs, biting back the wince. "Hello, Poppy."
"Sirius said ribs, is that right?" Remus nods. "Anything else?"
Remus sighs heavily. "Nothing sleep and time won't take care of."
He can't meet her gaze, because there's too my pity, too much sympathy in it. She knows as well as he does that if a body is healed too many times it stops taking.
She hums and flashes wandlight in his eyes, checking pupil dilation as she nods at Sirius and says, "The blue one, if you would." Sirius sorts through her bag and pulls out the potion with a blue sheen, passing it to Remus. Remus downs a dose in a precise swallow, grimacing at the taste. He recaps it and sets it on the side table.
He slips in and out of oblivion as Madam Pomfrey waves her wand in intricate patterns over him.
When he wakes, the sitting room is dark, the curtains drawn, the sun gone down. Everything aches with a new ferocity, and sleeping on the couch probably didn't help. He stretches absently and notices the hand on his shoulder tighten briefly before relaxing again. Without his saying anything, the vial of blue liquid is at his lips. He shifts into an upright position, lifting his head off of the pillow on Sirius' lap, and he swallows.
He hears Sirius swallow. "Course," he murmurs in reply, but there's a note of strain in his voice.
Without even thinking, Remus curls into Sirius' side and rests his head on Sirius' shoulder. "I'm sorry," he murmurs in reply to what's gone unspoken.
And Sirius' reply is extremely pained. "You shouldn't be apologising."
Remus takes a full breath, reveling in the fact that he can. "It hurts you."
"It hurts me to see you hurt, but that doesn't make it your fault."
And Sirius knows that he could ask. He could ask Remus to stop, and Remus would. But he can't. He can't do that, because he can't take this from Remus. For the first time, Remus feels like he's doing something, like he matters. This, recruiting other werewolves to the Order or even just trying to keep them away from Greyback, is the only thing that Remus can do that makes him feel like he's helping.
So even though it kills Sirius to watch Remus come back torn apart, even though it kills him to not be there just when Remus needs him most, he doesn't, can't, ask that he stop.
"I don't deserve you," Remus whispers into Sirius' shoulder.
"Don't you ever, ever let anyone tell you what you deserve. You've got me, and that's that. You're damned well stuck with me, you are."
Remus laughs weakly, and it morphs into a cough. Sirius wraps an arm around his shoulder in a gripping hug that makes Remus want to wince, but he won't because then Sirius would pull away, and Remus doesn't want to let go of the familiar warmth. "Why, Pads?"
And Sirius knows immediately what he's asking, and fire lights his silver eyes. "Because you are beautiful and kind and sneaky and innocent and perfect and you, dammit," he says fiercely. "Because of everything and nothing all at once. Because I love you."
Remus will never, ever tire of hearing those words. Still, he cannot help but murmur, "I am broken."
And Sirius laughs darkly, only the slightest trace of mirth lacing it. "So am I."
And then he kisses him, and Remus notes absently that the jagged edges of broken men fit together like puzzle pieces.