Disclaimer: We have no claim on Harry Potter nor any characters or locations thereof. We gain only amusement from writing this.
Warning: Destined mates, creature fic, angst from the puppies. After the last book only EWE and Sirius and Remus very much alive. Discussion on Snape's creature blood, shape-shifting. Remus and Sirius angst, Hermione friendship and mention/implication of Romione though there's no kissing or other stuff. Possible OOC but not too sure since a free and miserable Sirius probably acts differently than a confined and miserable Sirius. Dumbledore alive and kicking.
AN: Finally here is chapter four of Soulsong. Thank you so much for all the comments and feedback, it means so much to us. This chapter, Sirius breaking down, crying, angst, comfort. Ron and Hermione cuddles.
Hermione sat between Ron's legs in front of the common room fireplace and listened to Harry explain how they needed to do something about Sirius and Remus. She nodded, nestling her head back against Ron's shoulder. "I agree that we have to do something. I saw Sirius and Remus earlier outside from the library window and after Remus walked away Sirius transformed and Padfoot was running away as if he was being hunted by hellhounds. It actually hurts just to see Sirius, I don't see how Remus hasn't noticed how badly Sirius is hurting but he hasn't."
Harry nodded. "For some reason he has missed it. I know Remus, we all do and he would rather cut off his limbs then hurt Sirius willingly." Harry sighed. "We need to nudge him into finding out, we can't just come out and tell Remus that he's hurting Sirius, I don't think that would go over very well. We need to make Remus see it, witness it for himself."
Ron had his arms wrapped around Hermione's waist and he listened quietly as his two friends talked. "Whatever we do I think it's important that we don't play the blame game here." He said quietly. "We have no idea what's happened between them and we want to make it better, not worse." He knew it was easy to get caught up in things when wanting to help a friend but he truly didn't think they would get anywhere if by trying to help one they hurt the other.
Hermione nodded. "You're right. I have to admit that I've been a little...short with Remus the last few times I've been in the library because it frustrates me how he's blind to what Sirius is feeling but you're absolutely right Ron. I guess it just hits home a little too hard for me." She laid her hands over his around her waist and remembered their sixth year and how...horrible it had been to see Ron with Lavender and then she thought of how much worse it had to be for Sirius. "Do you have any ideas for what we can do Ron?"
Ron kissed the top of her head. "Not really no. The first thing we need to do is get Sirius talking, he's bottling up all the hurt inside him and that's not good. I think that if he could just get it out it would be a relief for him. I'm not saying he will feel better but he can at least share the pain with someone else." He turned blue eyes on Harry. "I vote you'll be the one making him talk, you're his godson and can play the family card." Ron gnawed on his bottom lip. "The best thing would be if we could arrange it so that Remus hears what Sirius is saying...No matter how bad it is the truth will be out and Remus will hear it from Sirius' own lips."
"You are smarter then you look sometimes Ron." Harry flashed him grin. "I can try to talk to Sirius and I don't have to play any card...He is family and I do hurt from seeing him hurting."
Hermione tsked at Harry, "Harry that was rude but yes Ron's idea is brilliant. You corner Sirius in the DADA classroom and I'll get Remus there outside the door to hear. Madam Pince won't mind taking over the library again for one evening while we get this ball rolling. Oh Teddy though," she looked over her shoulder at Ron, "would you mind watching him since I know Professor McGonagall is grading the Hufflepuff essays tomorrow evening? She really won't be able to keep Teddy properly occupied while she grades them, she was muttering something about ink colors and why did Helga had to choose yellow," Hermione's expression grew slightly confused, "I'm not really sure what she meant about that."
Harry snorted. "It means that the Hufflepuffs are very House loyal...Even in choosing the color of their ink."
Ron chuckled and muttered something about those puffs under his breath. "I don't mind watching Teddy," He said bringing the matter at hand back. "The little guy is fun to be around."
Hermione turned a bit to peck his lips briefly, "And you've got loads of experience what with Ginny and your army of cousins so he'll adore you much more than McGonagall," she turned to face Harry again, "So we've got our plan, tomorrow you get Sirius to talk and I'll get Remus there so he hears what Padfoot has to say without Sirius having to say it to his face."
"Sounds like a plan, the best we got anyway." Harry nodded. "I just hope I can get Sirius to talk."
"Harry I wouldn't worry, you can make walls talk if you try hard enough. Let's hope that it will actually help and not blow up in our faces." Ron said nervously, you could never be sure of the success of a plan when it involved a Marauder...this involved two.
"We'll have to do it and hope for the best." Harry replied simply and hid his own nerves about the whole thing.
"It will work." Hermione's voice was firm and confident no matter her own nerves on the subject, she would not even entertain thoughts of failure. "Even Remus won't be able restrain Moony once he knows Sirius is hurting and Moony will do anything to ease his mate's pain."
"Remus could need to loosen his control over Moony some...They are both one creature after all and both the man and the wolf want the same thing...I bet that they do." Harry thought about both Remus and Sirius, right now they were miserable. In Harry's mind it was absolutely clear that they were meant to be together and he would do his very best to make that happen, starting with getting Sirius to open up.
Sirius was just putting the last of the graded papers away when he heard footsteps and looked up to see Harry walking into the DADA classroom. He pasted on a wide smile, "Harry, what brings you to my little corner?"
"Well you do." Harry climbed on top one of the desks and let his feet dangle off the edge. "I'm worried about you Siri, you walk around pretending all is well but it's not. You are hurting and hurting badly. You are my friend and let's face it...You are the closest thing to a dad I'll ever have. I love you and seeing you hurt makes me hurt. What's wrong Snuffles?"
Surprise flickered through the animagus' eyes before he masked it, making his smile take on a bemused edge even as his heart beat harder at the thought of someone seeing past his carefully constructed mask. "Harry I don't know what you're talking about. I'm just fine, nothing to worry your head about with me."
"Really? You're really going to try that with me, the master of denial and assurances that nothing is wrong?" Harry's eyes took on a sharper edge. "I thought you respected me enough to not lie right to my face. You are my family, I love you and I hate seeing you go through each day like some sort of inferi when it's clear you're not happy."
Sirius winced at his miscalculation but then again he was a Gryffindor, not a Slytherin. He shook his head. "I...I'll be fine in time Harry." He spoke lowly, trying to get himself to believe it. "Really time is all I need I'm sure."
"Sirius...A long time has already passed and you're not getting better. You fake it well but you are fading away from us." Harry jumped off the desk and took a step closer to his godfather. "For thirteen years I didn't have you, I didn't even know you were out there. Please Siri; I can't lose you...Not you."
"Harry...there's nothing you can do, not about this. It's...complicated and messed up and I don't really think there's any way out of this tangle."
"I can listen." Harry's voice was soft. "I'm not sure about anything else but I can listen and I can be there for you."
Sirius shook his head again, almost whining in his throat. He couldn't talk about it, if he let even one thing out he was sure the force of everything would come out in a rush and leave him broken in the flood. "I...you shouldn't have to worry about this, you should be trading quips with Snape and getting close to your mate. Not trying to fix me and..." he shook his head.
"Oh Siri, if it was the other way around, would you be able to just let it go? To ignore that someone you love is hurting?" Harry wondered if he was pushing too hard, the pain was clear in Sirius' eyes now but he still believed he had to do this.
"No but, there's nothing that can be done about it and talking about him is not going to change anything." Sirius swallowed hard, looked out the window towards the Forbidden Forest where he'd been Recognized and marked, and felt his fingers shake as he found himself almost wishing it had never happened.
"By him I'm guessing we're talking about Remus. What's happened between you? You've been avoiding each other all school year." Harry continued to prod, hoping Sirius would open up. "Don't you care for him anymore?"
"Of course I do!" A brief spark of life lit those silvery gray eyes before it faded, "He doesn't want me." Saying out loud, hearing it spoken was a knife directly in his heart and Sirius finally broke, his knees giving way so that he collapsed on the floor. "He doesn't want me, he never did!" Tears hit the flagstone floor. "I thought, at first, that once it sank in Remus would line up with Moony over it then Pierce Trevalyan asked him out and he accepted! Right in front of me!" He shook, everything ripping out of him in raspy sobs that would have embarrassed him under any other circumstances. "I dated too, to get back at him but it never bothered him. Then after that stupid prank on Snape he wouldn't even look at me, he even snarled at me whenever I tried to apologize and explain. He hated me." One hand rose to his chest and clenched over his heart. "My mate hated me." Pain was a living entity in his voice. "And then after everything with Peter and Azkaban and losing Lily and James, when I thought we might be able to fix things, he chose someone else! My cousin! I had to watch my mate marry my cousin because he doesn't want me! Why Harry? Why did Moony even bother marking me when the man can't stand me? Why aren't I good enough for Remus?"
Harry didn't know what to say. He had started to cry in the middle of Sirius' story and now he couldn't stop. Such pain, such terrible gut wrenching pain. If Severus did that to him then he would die, he honestly didn't think he could survive such a thing. Harry slid to his knees next to Sirius and wrapped his arms around him tightly, hugging him for all he was worth and tried to convey how much he loved and treasured the other man.
On the other side of the slightly cracked open door Remus' face was a white mask of pure horror. No, Sirius was wrong. Of course the man wanted him too. Moony was howling and clawing at his insides, desperate to get to his hurting mate and for once Remus didn't want to push the wolf back down. Everything had turned out wrong, he had messed up beyond belief but he couldn't let Sirius hurt like this. All the hurt should be on him. Without thinking Remus burst into the room, pushed Harry out of the way and gathered his broken mate in his arms.
Harry got to his feet and left the room quietly. He prayed that they had done the right thing.
Sirius jolted as soon as he felt the familiar hold of Remus' arms and he began to struggle, trying to get away. No, he didn't want Remus to ever know about this. He couldn't take the pity or patronization he'd be subjected to so he fought to break the werewolf's hold even as the sobs and tears continued and he longed to just sink into the embrace. He pushed and thrashed. "Let go of me!"
"Never!" Remus replied and held on tighter though he was very careful not to hurt his mate. Sirius could struggle all he wanted but didn't have a chance against a werewolf. "I will never let you go." Remus was crying too and he had no idea how to even begin to fix this but he couldn't let go.
The animagus growled, not caring that it would normally be a sound of pure challenge in the face of a werewolf, and clocked Remus as he tried to get away. "I don't need your fucking pity Lupin so bugger off!" He tried to drive his knee into Remus' groin, missing by a few centimeters.
Remus' eyes flashed and he growled back as he cautiously shifted so that Sirius wouldn't be able to knee him in the bollocks. "I don't pity you; you stupid mutt. I didn't know...I didn't knew that you knew what Recognition meant. I had no idea that you knew." Remus sighed and bowed his head. "I've been a knob and a clotpole, that's what I regret, what I'm sorry for. It's not pity."
Sirius' teeth were grit as he found himself pinned and he glared up at the other man. "Remus Lupin, a bookworm only surpassed by Hermione Granger not knowing that the heir to a pureblooded family would know what Recognition and the fucking mark on my thigh means? Pull the other one!" He nearly vibrated with the hurt, pride, and anger.
"I didn't know! Why would I lie about that?" Remus growled again. "And the only thing I thought the pureblood heir as you say would learn about creatures was how to kill them. I know you're different from them, you always were but I barely knew what it meant myself. We were fifteen and I was scared out of my mind. We were too young; I thought it was best if you didn't know. I was wrong."
Sirius' fists were clenched in Remus' hold, "Best if I didn't know. So you hopped into a date with the first bloke who asked? And any good looking bloke or bird after that?"
"I am not a whore Sirius Black and I've never been one." Remus' tone grew sharper. "I admit willingly that I've been an absolute arse but don't make it sound like I would bugger anything that asked. Seven years of school and I went out with eight people in total. I slept with one of them and I have never regretted anything more than that. And yes the reason I went out with Pierce was precisely because he asked me right after the Recognition. I thought that if I went out to him I wouldn't give in to the urge, the longing to tell you."
The other man snorted. "It worked obviously. Spiffing well too as you've had no trouble keeping it shut for twenty-four years." The sharp tone hid the bleeding of his soul.
Remus slumped. "You have no idea how hard it was to keep quiet. At first I was planning to tell you when some time had passed. Then the Snape thing happened and I was so angry. Then we left school and I was too ashamed to tell you anything. I didn't have a job, I didn't even have a place to live back then and I was too proud to ask for help. Then you went to Azkaban and I died...It felt like it. I did my best to push you out of my mind, to function like a normal human but it was so hard. Then you came back, so thin and worn but you were still you and my soul screamed out for you." Remus cursed violently. "I wanted to do the right thing, to be noble so I backed off. Wanted to let you find a nice girl or boy and get on with your life. Instead Dora came...She was smiles and laughter and acceptance and I wanted her." Remus couldn't lie even though he knew it was hurting Sirius. "What I felt for her was nothing like my feelings for you but I did love her in my own way. I wanted normal." Remus released Sirius, he couldn't keep him captive. "I never wanted you to hurt; I would cut my own throat before I let that happen willingly. I regret everything I did. I messed up I regret it but I can't regret Dora, she was wonderful and she gave me Teddy. I'm sorry, so, so sorry."
Sirius remained where he was. He was just too tired to bother moving. His eyes slid shut, the ache in his heart naked on his face. "I know what happened to you, after I was put in Azkaban you know. There are human guards there too, someone has to bring the food and water after all, and they just love gossiping about what goes on with people the inmates once knew. It took everything I had to keep from seeking you out when I caught your scent after I escaped but I wanted to catch Peter first," he let out a bitter bark of a laugh, "to prove I was worth being your mate even though I knew I wasn't."
"Sirius look at me please." Remus tilted Sirius head up and looked at him with almost glowing eyes. "I have no idea what the guards in Azkaban told you but one thing is certain. You are and always have been too good for me. You're like the star you were named after, always meant to be out of my reach. I have always known that and even though it was killing me it was the reason I let you go. Feel free to perform Legilimens on me, I won't keep you out." He let go of Sirius and leaned back against a desk with a tired groan.
An involuntary whimper escaped the animagus as he felt Remus move away. "I was never out of your reach; all you had to do was crook your finger and I'd have come running. You're all I ever wanted, don't you get that? Even before the Recognition I was feeling more than just friendship for you. I was so stupid happy when Moony marked me, it felt like I was flying under my own power." He didn't bother telling the werewolf about how it had felt when he'd accepted Pierce's offer of a date. "But now...I'm scared. I can't survive another crash to earth if you change your mind."
Remus whined and he couldn't tell if the sound came from the wolf or the man. Moony was thrashing inside him, just as feral and self destructive as he had been those days before Wolfsbane came. "I understand Sirius; I'm coming with too little and too late. I'll do anything you want me to but please don't hurt over me. I'm not worth it."
"Don't you dare say that! By Merlin's smelly socks how can such a smart man be so stupid?!" If he'd had the energy Sirius would have banged his head on the floor. "You're worth everything to me Remus, you could probably tell me that flinging myself off the Tower of London without magic would make you happy and I'd do it. Why the bloody hell do you think I never said anything to you? Me, the bloody twat who's never once before stood aside and let what I wanted pass me by? Because I thought that's what you wanted."
Remus shook his head before burying his face against his knees, feeling the fabric of his trousers get wet with his tears. "It was never what I wanted." The words were barely above a whisper. "All I've dreamed about and all I've longed for is you. I'm a twat and an idiot but that's the truth."
"So what do we do now?" Sirius felt drained and he'd probably not have been able to move had his life depended on it.
"I haven't got a fucking clue." Remus replied in a hoarse voice. "I don't want to be stupid anymore, don't want to let you go. I understand that you don't trust me and I don't blame you." Remus twisted his head so that he could look at Sirius. "Maybe we should take it slow...After all it's only been a quarter of a century. Try to be friends again first, to become close again."
"It's worth a try. I miss you."
"I miss you too Pads. Bloody hell I miss you so much."
Sirius opened his eyes to meet the amber of Remus' and found himself at a loss of what to say. He wanted to go over to the other man and snug his head on his shoulder or sling a companionable arm over it but he really couldn't move.
A throat clearing from the doorway caught the two men's attention, "The two of you are being missed at dinner and your son is pitching a small fit over his daddy not being there, Lupin." Severus stood calmly surveying the scene. "His hair is turning a bright nigh glowing red and Mr. Weasley is at his wits end."
"Oh bollocks, the red hair is a very bad sign." Remus got up off the floor and held out a trembling hand towards Sirius. "I have to go and save poor Ron from being drowned in mushed peas. Will you join me?"
Sirius felt pathetic at the very small shiver of trepidation that went through him at the thought of taking that hand because he knew exactly how it would feel, a warm tingle that swept through him leaving room for very little else. He swallowed that bit of fear, summoned his Gryffindor courage, and grabbed Remus' hand, braced for the shock of contact as he was hauled to his feet and tugged towards the door. He wobbled and almost tripped as they passed Snape, who rolled his eyes and caught his arm. He nearly gaped as he felt the emotional fatigue drain away and blinked at Snape's sneer.
"Really Black, I know you have trouble sorting out those gigantic paws of yours but tripping over air is a bit much."
He bristled as Snape released his arm, "Considering your beak is bigger than a hippogriff's Snape you've no room to speak."
Severus snorted, "Weak but acceptable...barely. Hie thee to the Great Hall."
"Yes your beakyness," he rushed along with Remus towards the Great Hall, unaware of Snape nodding in approval behind his back.
"I WANT MY DADDY AND I WANT HIM NOW!" Remus heard the shout and hurried his steps while he winced. His son had a set of lungs that was for sure. The moment he entered the Great Hall a streak of fire engine red rushed towards him and clung to his legs. "Daddy whewe wewe you? Won is nice and funny but he cuts my meatballs wong...It's fouw pieces to evewy meatball." Teddy's eyes turned to Sirius and his bottom lip pouted out even more. "Doggy man, you said you'ds visit but you havens't. You fibbed."
Sirius crouched down to Teddy's level. "I'm very sorry Teddy, I did break my word but I didn't do it on purpose. You see there's this stack of papers this high," he lifted his hand from the floor to a half meter above Teddy's head, "that I had to read or I'd have gotten into trouble with your Aunt Minnie for not doing my job. But since I did break my promise, I owe you a full day of fun."
Teddy's eyes widened and his hair went from angry red to bright blue. "A whole day?" He bounced in place. "You know Minnie had papews too. Daddy says hew papewowk woud go quickew if some people stopped wasting othew people's time by witing in the colow of pee." Teddy smiled at Sirius as if he had just shared a grand secret while Remus flushed red and groaned.
"Come on little guy, let's get some food in that mouth of yours and keep it busy." Remus picked Teddy up and started for their table. "Will you sit with us today Pads?" Teddy looked over Remus' shoulder and nodded eagerly. If doggy man sat with them maybe they could talk more about their fun day.
Sirius snickered at Remus' blush, which happened to match that of the Hufflepuffs brilliantly, and reached out to ruffle the boy's blue hair. "Sure. We sitting up at the Head Table or Gryffindor?"
"Let's sit at the Gryffindor table...It will make it more difficult for the Puffs to hit me with their hexes." Remus replied and changed their course towards Gryffindor where Ron looked extremely relieved to be off babysitting duty.
"Awww don't worry Remus, I'll protect you from the badgers." Sirius settled in at the table and smiled at Ron, "So you rescued Teddy from boredom of Minnie and the dreaded Papers eh?"
"I did and we had fun, didn't we Teddy?" Ron sniffed and piled more food on his plate.
"Uh huh," Teddy nodded and watched in satisfaction as his daddy cut every meatball into four even pieces. "we played hides and seeks and Won couldn't find me."
Sirius grinned, "Oh ho, and how many of those hiding spots did your Daddy show you?"
Teddy grinned and looked up at his dad before looking back at Sirius. "Daddy showed me all of them, he's the bestest hidew." He scewered a meatball piece and chewed it. "He's told me goodnight stowies about what you did in school."
"No wonder I couldn't find him." Ron muttered. "He has marauder advantage."
Sirius laughed and poked Ron with his fork lightly, "You telling me you didn't learn anything from Fred and George? For shame Ronald." He turned back to conversing with Teddy and Remus.
Hermione took a sip of her pumpkin juice and exchanged a smile with Harry. It wasn't ideal yet but Sirius was looking better already and it was a start.
Harry smiled back and listened to his godfather, he didn't doubt that they had a lot of issues to work through still but Sirius' laugh wasn't hollow and empty and there was life in his eyes. Harry was so very grateful for that. He hoped for a new beginning for them.
To be continued…
AN: Thank you for reading; we would absolutely love to hear what you think of our story. See you next chapter.