AN: OMG! I wrote slash. It’ll take a while to get over
that one. This sprang out of my sordid imagination after a break up with my
boyfriend, which I suppose explains some of the angst, but I have no idea where
the rest of it came from. Enjoy. Miss Pince
low at Lupin's for a while, I'll contact you there."
I wonder if he knows how much that one sentence could affect me. Lie low at
Lupin's. At Lupin's. Lupin's.
My head has been spinning like that since those words were spoken. At Lupin's.
That encounter, now more than a year ago, was so brief. That embrace so short,
the words exchanged so few. I wonder how he really feels, but there's no way I
can know. I even wonder how I really feel.
The surroundings are getting familiar. I wonder how many summers I spent here
with Remus. Running in this field. Having a waterfight in that river. Climbing
in that tree.
As my destination comes nearer my heart gets heavier. My feelings... they all
feel so new after the endless repetition of guilt over the years. The
disappointment and letdown fourteen years ago feel still so near. The sense of
betrayal I felt... the disbelief...
The house comes into view. There is an air of disrepair about it, yet my heart
starts to fly and I realize that this feels like home, like I'm coming home
after fourteen years of absence. I wonder if I'm welcome.
At the gate to the garden I stop, almost unconsciously. My eyes sweep the house
for a sign of life, my nose perks up trying to locate a familiar smell. The
smell is there, but it feels almost old - like Remus never comes out in the
garden anymore. The garden speaks of that for itself, though, fallen into
decay, overgrown with weeds, still a few flowers from old stick their petals
out of the growth.
I'm startled out of my reverie when the back door opens. The scent of Remus
wafting on the air is strong and familiar. Home says my heart. My
conscious mind tries to backpaddle; you're a guest Sirius. A guest.
"Well, don't just stand there looking at me like you want a biscuit. Come on
A guest, I remind myself as I trot the rest of the way up to the door where he
is standing. There's uncertainity in his eyes as he steps aside to let me in.
He's nervous, I can smell it.
The kitchen has hardly changed over the years I've been absent. The tiles on
the floor are gleaming, the smells of soap and coffee still remain. Everything
is clean and well taken care of, but I see the damp in the corners and the
flaking paint above the stove. A guest, I have to remind my heart again. Maybe
not even a welcome one.
got to be hungry. Do you want me to get you something to eat? Drink?”
He looks at me and for a split second I gaze into his eyes. For a split second
I remember those eyes full of disappointment, betrayal, contempt, towards me.
For a split second my mind plays back the image that was played again and again
through my head for twelve years - the sunlit corridor, the mass of dementors,
the cold shackles around my hands and feet, Dumbledore, Crouch, Moody, Fudge,
their faces showing disbelief and dissappointment. Everyone except this man,
whose features were closed but whose eyes spoke volumes, this man, turning his
back and walking away. This man, who showed no disbelief, not even in his eyes.
I change back into my human form I make sure that my face is expressionless and
my eyes turned to another direction.
"You don't have to bother for me any more than you want to."
Whoops. Probably a little bit harsh for a greeting. Remus' face went right back
to expressionless. He's on his guard.
"It's no bother, there are leftovers since yesterday. I had a visitor.
There's no trouble involved in summoning them out of the fridge and heating
them up with a charm, you know."
"Thank you. Thinking about it, I could eat a hippogriff." I make an
effort to sound more friendly.
"So how was Arabella? I hear she just got her eighty-seventh cat?"
He summons my meal and heats it up for me while I get a plate and cutlery from
the drawers. I still know my way around this kitchen. It still feels good to
remember things that aren't horrible memories.
"Maybe not eighty-seventh, but I believe there are around thirty. I find
it amazing that the neighbours haven't started complaining yet, but then again
she seldom lets them run loose, so they might not even know how many they are.
The rooms in the apartment are magically enlarged so they have plenty of space
inside, and her back yard has wards around it so they can't get out of
We stay on the safe topics while I eat, discussing old friends and meaningless
gossip. As I finish my meal, he asks me the question I've been waiting for.
I've even constructed a careful answer to it in my mind.
"So how's Harry?"
"You mean apart from having having one of his schoolmates killed right in
front of him, being instrumental in the rebirth of Voldemort, having seen the
ghosts of his parents, and then almost getting killed in the process of
escaping? You mean apart from the fact that he's been injured, hurt, and
abused, and still he has to go back to these damn relatives of his because I'm
not a free man to take care of him??!"
His eyes widen at my violent answer, and I wonder what happened to the more
modest response that I'd planned.
He can get no further because I interrupt him with a sneezing fit.
"Bless you!" he says, rather surprisedly.
"Uh oh, sorry. I must be catching a cold or something. Had to cross a few
rivers back there..."
"You mean you crossed a river, came here and haven't yet changed
He crosses the floor to where I'm sitting, and touches the shoulder of my
"Still damp! Such typical behaviour
from you! You're going to catch your death. Aren't you the least bit
I start saying 'no' when I suddenly realize that I am rather cold.
"Well, maybe just a bit..."
Remus grabs my shoulder and starts pulling me to my feet.
"Well, then you better get up and have a hot bath and change into
something... less wet."
His fingers touch my hand and he starts.
"Merlin and Morgan LeFay, Sirius, you're burning hot!"
He puts the back of his hand on my forehead and I see his eyes widen in shock.
"Come on Padfoot. I think you’d better get straight to bed."
I try to stand up but suddenly my vision swims out of focus and bright red
stars dance before my eyes. My last coherent thought is that I must tell Remus
that twelve years in Azkaban made me almost immune to physical discomfort but then the world fades to black.
It's dark when I return to consciousness. There is a candle on a bedside table,
and outside the window a waxing moon is shining.
"Are you awake, Sirius?"
The words are spoken softly, in a familiar voice. I force my eyes to focus on
Remus and try to answer but my voice seems to be lost.
"Here. Drink this." He lifts my head and brings a glass of water to
my lips, allowing me to drink. I try to thank him but he smiles at me and tells
me to stop talking.
"Go back to sleep Sirius. It'll do you good." The last thing I sense
is a touch on my forehead. Maybe he just brushed back a stray lock of hair, or
maybe, just maybe, he leant down and kissed me goodnight...
My head feels strangely heavy. I'm lying in a soft bed in a white room. The
curtains have been pulled back so the sun shines in and the glare is making it
hard for me to open my eyes. Where am I?
"Good morning Sirius. Awake at last?" I mumble something incoherent
in response. Suddenly the curtains are drawn shut so the light is not as
Remus. I'm at Remus'. And I'm sleeping in a bed. How long has it been since I
last slept in a bed? Thirteen years? Fourteen?
"You've been sleeping with high fever for days. Five days, to be precise.
That's what you get walking around in wet clothes!" The man is obnoxious.
"Remus, I only have one set of clothes. I'm not a rich man, and I
could hardly walk into any shop and buy something. I'm on the run,
"Yes, but I have more than one set of clothes. I could have lent
some to you." Suddenly at the subject of clothes I realize that under the
duvet I'm hardly wearing anything but underwear.
"Did you get me up here? And nurse me? And... erm... take off my wet
clothes?" The sly smile those words bring onto his face is very
"Oh, don't act like such a virgin, Sirius.
Besides, it's not like it's anything I haven't seen before." This is
getting uncomfortably familiar. A guest, I remind myself. Just a guest. You
know him, he would have nursed any sick guest that had stumbled across his
threshold. He probably sees how uncomfortable I'm feeling because his smile
"Well. I'll let you dress then. There are fresh clothes in the drawer.
Then come down for breakfast. You must be starving."
I find a pair of faded jeans and a black T-shirt in the dresser. I dress
slowly, finding it luxurious to wear Muggle clothes. I always preferred them
over robes, but robes were all I had to wear after the escape. Those are Remus'
clothes, and they smell like him, of dust, wax and coffee.
Remus. So much confusion, conflict, difficulty, in just that one name that
meant so much to me once. Remus. The only person I've got left. Remus and
Harry. Still, I do not know how to feel about him. I don't want to be the one
keeping old grudges alive, yet I have to admit to myself that I don't want to
be the one taking the first step to mend those grudges either.
And yet again, as it has so many times in the past, my mind takes me fourteen
years back, to replay those few moments that were the last before I was thrown
into the living hell that is Azkaban. The sunlit corridor. The disappointed
faces. Remus. And myself, straining against my shackles to get to him, knowing
that he would set it right, that he would believe me and he would prove me
innocent if it was the last thing he did. Trying to shout through the gag,
trying to wade through the white fog the presence of the dementors awoke in me,
trying to get the message across that I knew he’d figure it out - and that look
in his eyes when he looked at me. That look that made me realize that all was
lost - that I'd rot in Azkaban forever. Then he spoke, just a mere
"Why?" but his eyes met mine and I saw all the other things he was
thinking. If this were only a bad memory - not one of a meagre selection that's
been played through and through in my head - I'd not remember the way his eyes
were bloodshot. I’d not remember how the sounds of the world around me seemed
to fade, what it felt like to slump against my bonds when I stopped struggling,
nor how the sun flashed off his hair when he walked away. If this were only a
bad memory it would stop at the moment I looked into his eyes.
Aren't you coming down soon? Breakfast is almost ready!" Remus is
hollering at the top of his lungs at the bottom of the stairs, waking me out of
my painful daydreams.
"On my way!" I yell as. I give
myself a mental shake. I'd fallen into the trap of the past. What was the point
of escaping the dementors if I dwell on ugly memories all the same? Sighing I
open the door and prepare to face Remus.
The smell of bacon and eggs fill my nostrils as I make my way down the narrow
staircase. He was right. I am starving. Still, I feel a sense of foreboding. I
cannot allow myself to feel at home, no matter how carefully Remus feeds me or
nurses me. It wouldn't work and I couldn't deal with the rejection. Again.
The awkwardness of the first meeting over a week ago still lingers. Any
outsider would think that we are two men forced by circumstances to aquaint,
not childhood friends and old comrades. He has not yet asked me about any of the
things that really matter, nor have I asked him. We both tow an invisible line,
but as time passes it gets harder. I keep forgetting that he knows me.
Not just knows me, he knows everything about me. He went to the town a few days
back and came home with clothes for me without even asking if I wanted him to.
Not only did he remember what size I use, but also what cut I prefer and what
colours. Suddenly there is marmalade in the cupboard, my favourite, and my
preferred brand of tea. I tell him not to bother, that he doesn’t have to spend
his money - which is already scarce - on me, but he just looks at me, in
that way he used to look at me and I can’t say a thing more. It's almost like
he wants to bother.
Still, I cannot trust this. It's simply too good, to come back after all these
years and slip right back into this sort of familiarity. Too good to be true.
In the long run all it can lead to is pain.
While I'm around Remus, I can sense things from him that I had thought might be
lost to me forever. It amazes me to be able to sense feelings other than my
I always know when he's feeling nervous or uncertain. Maybe it's because we are
both nervous and uncertain a lot these days. Also, the moon is waxing,
and I can feel its hold on his mind increase. It is stronger now that I'm with
him than it was when I was without, but that was at least one thing that
was never lost to me. I remember sitting in Azkaban, in my cell with that
excuse for a window, sitting in the moonlight and remembering... the pain, the
discovery, the way the Shrieking Shack looked when we first came there after a
transformation, the blood on the walls, the torn apart furniture and the creature
standing there. The realization that he tore himself apart every full moon. His
scars. His agony. His certainity that no one could ever love him because of
what he was. For what he was.
I catch him looking at me when he thinks I won’t notice. He always turns away
with a strange look on his face, like he was watching me against his better
if he’s forgiven me. For what I did and did not do. For all the pain that might
have been spared if I had not been so bloody suspicious. Harry’s pain. My pain.
expect him to have. How could he forgive something I cannot even forgive
The sun is shining outside. Remus decided to try and do something about his
garden and I wish I could help him, but I can't go out except as a dog, and I'm
not a lot of help when my paws can't distinguish between a flower and a weed.
We both try to keep ourselves busy most of the time, it relieves the
awkwardness of everything a bit, and besides, we’re both trying to pretend that
neither of us knows that tomorrow night is a full moon. The second one of this
month. A blue moon. Of course I have to keep myself busy inside which
means that the house is gleamingly clean. I feel like a middle-aged housewife,
insisting to clean up after breakfast so Remus can go outside into the garden
and enjoy the sun.
set to work at the sink, deciding not to use magic because the last time I
attempted to do that with Remus' wand I broke an awful lot of crockery. There's
a window over the sink where I can see right into the garden where Remus is
working, sitting on his knees, bent over a flowerbed, the sun scorching the
back of his neck. Suddenly he sits up, stretches and turns to look behind him.
He looks straight at me through the window and then suddenly, he blinks!
Now what the heck was that all about? Really and....
There’s someone in the living room. I can sense it, rather than hear it, and on
pure instinct, I lift my hands out of the soapy water and change, just as a
voice calls from the direction of the fireplace;
dear, where are you? Remus?” There are footsteps coming closer, and a young
woman appears in the door. I back away and underneath the kitchen table. She
looks around and spots the whisps of steam coming up from the sink. She
approaches it with a quizzical look on her face, obviously wondering why the
dishes aren’t doing themselves, and then suddenly, she steps on my paw. I can’t
help it, I yelp in pain. She looks down at me and her eyes widen in fright as
she backs away.
Remus...” she says uncertainly “where are you? And are you aware that you’ve
got, like, a Grim in your kitchen?”
chooses this moment to step through the garden door. He’s dishevelled, and
there’s mud almost up to his elbows. He looks tired, like he always does just
before a full moon.
“Oh, hello Fanny. I wasn’t expecting you quite so soon. I was just trying to do a little
work in my garden. I see you’ve already met Snuffles.” The girl has backed away
as far as she can get from me, but she looks at Remus and takes in his
appearance, from the wisps of his hair down to his dirty hands and then to his
muddy shoes. She’s obviously not stupid and a look of suspicious puzzlement
creases her face as she glances towards the sink, where a few dishes have been
neatly arranged into a drying rack, while others lie in the cooling water.
Fortunately she’s looking away when the realization hits Remus, because you can
almost see the light bulb appearing over his head.
“Oh, damn. I knew there was something I forgot to finish this morning.” Even to
me that sounded fake. With a flick of his wand Remus sends the dishes to finish
the job I started, then another flick to clean the mud from his hands.
The girl looks back to him with a worried glint in her eye. “Have you been
forgetful lately? Might that be a side effect?” Remus laughs easily.
“Nah, I’ve always been like that. I’d forget my head somewhere if it weren’t
attached” Too true, I think. “Now, what brings you here so early in the
morning?” The girl, Fanny, shoots one last worried glance in my direction but
then turns her attention back to Remus.
“You, of course, the light of my life, who else?” Her smile brightens up her
face, and for the first time I notice that she’s rather attractive. Long, blond
hair, heart-shaped face, although a little too wispy for
Remus, at least if his tastes haven’t changed.
I give myself a mental smack. It’s been fourteen years. Of course his tastes
might have changed. Actually it would be a wonder if they hadn’t.
them into the living room where Fanny sits Remus down onto the couch, almost
carefully, as if he were made of glass.
“So how are you feeling, dear?” She leans towards him and looks into his eyes.
“You look tired.” She lifts a hand and pushes a wisp of hair off Remus’ forehead. I dislike her already. Too much sympathy. Remus never liked
sympathy, he wanted to be treated like a normal person.
“I am a bit tired -” he admits. I stare at him in surprise. Now that’s a
first. He would never admit anything of that sort to me, even if he
almost fell asleep into his breakfast. “ - but at least I’m not aching as much.
That part seems to be working.”
“Oh, well, that’s nice to hear. Then we’re making some progress. You’ve
started taking it, of course?” Remus nods, and she smiles, again one of those
really bright smiles. “That’s good, not that I expected you to skip it. Now,
this time I’ve added some Cochlearia, I think it might ease the ache
somewhat, and I decided to try Capsella instead of the Bistorta
for the blood loss and since you thought it was the Achillea millefolium
that had such a great effect last time I went to some lenght to get fresher
ones. I also added a bit more of those. Now as for changes in the really vital
ingredients...” Remus holds up his hand.
“Fanny, I don’t want to know. I don’t need to know. I know the rules, and I
abide by them. I’ll tell you how it worked, but I can’t distinguish the
ingredients like you can. Potions were never my forte.” Oh, I remember how
Snape gloated when Remus blew up his Shrinking Solution and we had to spend
half a lesson looking for him.
course. Sorry. I know that I’m just speaking technical jargon. Now, for more
important matters; you will take care of yourself this time, now won’t you? I
can’t be here and I’m so sorry, but it’s a weekday and all... Promise me you’ll
have someone look you over first thing in the morning. We almost lost you last
time.” The worried puppy dog eyes she’s making at Remus are making me
irritated. He hates sympathy. Doesn’t she get that? Still, to my surprise, he
looks at her with warmth in his eyes, and doesn’t seem to be feeling
uncomfortable at all.
dear, I’ll do that. Snuffle’s owner will be here to pick him up, he’s quite
skilled in healing. Don’t worry.” Fanny looks at me with suspicion in her eyes.
she mutters under her breath.
just last week someone warned me about big black dogs. Said they might not be
all that they seemed.” Remus nods, but I can see he’s trying to suppress
laughter. What’s so bloody funny?
would it be possible that the someone might be Professor Snape? Because
he doesn’t like Snuffles, nor his owner very much.” I can’t help but growl.
Remus looks at me with laughter in his eyes.
“And as you can hear, the feeling is mutual. Don’t worry. Snuffles is almost
totally harmless.” Almost??? What does he mean almost? Fanny girl is
obviously thinking the same as she shoots a worried glare in my direction.
“Now, I, uh, must get going...”
“Don’t worry, dear. I meant almost, as in, he's harmless unless you're
Snape. You needn't worry - you're much prettier than he is." Fanny blushes
scarlet and looks at her toes, obviously not used to compliments.
“Thank you Remus. And just let me stress again how much I appreciate...”
“Stop it Fanny. I’m the one that should be thanking you. It’s not like
what you’re doing is any direct good for you, quite the contrary, you’re not
getting a lot of credit for it. You’re using your talent for the good of me and
people like me and I think more people should thank you for your efforts.” Uh,
oh. She doesn’t stand a chance. He’s using what James used to call the
‘Sirius-grow-up’ voice and I know from experience that one can’t argue with
“Oh, Remus...” Fanny suddenly throws her arms around Remus and buries her face
in his shoulder. Remus looks a bit surprised but then she starts talking very
“It’s been horrible, everyone around me keep saying I’m wasting effort on
something that’s not worth it...”
The piercing stare Remus sends towards me
clearly indicates that he wants me out of the room. I just huff. He hardens the
That’s the bad thing about Remus, I muse to myself as I trot out of the room,
the door being magicked closed behind me. Arguing with him is like arguing with
I yelp when suddenly the door slams into my head. I try to look a bit wounded
when I look up, like I was just passing by and Remus should stop throwing open
the doors like that, but he sees right through me, I can see it on the smirk.
were you? She’s gone, so don’t worry, you can change and answer for yourself.”
bloody eavesdropping! I was just passing by!”
honestly think I believe that?”
I try to look hurt. It doesn’t work. He keeps smirking.
she? Why didn’t you tell me she was coming? I could’ve cleared out of here for
a while, let the two of you have the place to yourselves to be all lovey
don’t go jumping to conclusions Padfoot” Remus says warningly.
didn’t jump. I took a very small step and the conclusions were there! Why else
would she know all about you? You’ve got to trust her a great deal if she knows
that you're a werewolf, oh and why does she go around brewing you painkiller
potions, why does she fawn all over you like that, sobbing in your arms? That
sounds...” Remus cuts me off with a look of mixed amusement and disbelief in
his eyes. Why do I keep looking at his bloody eyes?
“Now Padfoot, stop it with the conclusions. You don’t know half of what’s going
on and I’d like to explain to you before your imagination runs off with you to
God knows where. First, the reason I trust her is because I knew her older
brother. He was a werewolf, like me. Second, she confides in me because since
her brother died there aren’t many for her to confide in. Third, I didn’t tell
you she’d be here because I’d hoped to hold off an inevitable explosion on your
better sit down.” Uh, oh.
is Fanny Maybury. She’s a Raveclaw, only a few years younger than we are. She’s
an excellent Potions Master. She outsmarts Snape in several fields, one of them
being medicinal potions.” Can’t help but smirk at that.
well, as you can guess, Snape doesn’t like her very much. She was an intern for
Nathan McMahon, the man who developed the Wolfsbane Potion. She’s not brewing
painkiller potions for me, Sirius.”
He can’t be saying what I think he’s saying.
“You’re... wait a second! You’re letting her experiment with you!”
“To put it bluntly, yes. There will be no further developments of the Wolfsbane
Potion unless someone is willing to try them out.”
got to be kidding me. Have you gone mad?!?”
haven’t, we’re hoping to inch towards the cure for lycanthropy.”
“I don’t want to hear another word, Sirius. This is a decision I’ve made. It is
a matter of importance to me. Don’t insult me by saying something demeaning.
Poor Fanny gets a lot of that from her colleagues. That’s why she was so
distraught. Most of them seem to think Werewolves are not worth the work of
finding a cure.”
I’m speechless. This is somehow so typically... Remus. Sacrificing
himself for the greater good, thinking nothing of himself. Or those who love
him. Then suddenly it hits me. “We almost lost you last time.”
she mean they almost lost you the last time?” He sighs.
they added neutralized the effect of the Wolfsbane. I didn’t go docile. The
wolf has been enclosed for so long that it was... very angry when it finally
the blood leave my face.
“It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make, Sirius.”
Well it’s not a sacrifice I’m willing to make. I want him to live. I
need him to live. He's the last that I've got.
It wasn’t an argument, really. Like I said before, you can as well go outside
and argue with the trees. It is almost impossible to get to Remus unless he
lets you, and that’s rare, even if, before Azkaban, he sometimes gave me the
privilege of seeing beneath the surface.
Because it wasn’t an argument, really, there’s no real need for us to make
Because it really wasn’t an argument, it shouldn’t be this awkward.
Because it really wasn’t an argument, there’s nothing I can say when I watch
him gulp down his potion just before dinner, both of us knowing full well that
it might not work.
When I wake up the next morning, he’s not there. I pace around the house,
immensely worried until I see him coming through the garden gate just before
noon. I have to fight the urge to embrace him. You’re a guest, Sirius, I
tell myself. He looks pale and drawn, and tired. Mostly just tired.
“I brought something for you.” He hands me a long narrow box. There’s some
anxiety in his eyes. “Of course I don’t know if it’ll suit you, but it worked
for me like your old one did... I told Mr. Ollivander that I needed a spare, but
he probably suspected something because this wasn’t the one that suited me the
I open the box. Of course I’d known what it was since I saw the shape of it,
but Remus’ thoughtfulness still baffles me, although I might have known.
I whip out the wand and try a simple Alohamora at the door. It works
perfectly. Like I’d chosen it myself.
rowan. Thirteen inches, phoenix feather. I know your old one had a core of
dragon heartstring, but Ollivander said that wands choose the wizards differently
as they age. There aren’t that many with phoenix feathers. I thought it was...
well, appropriate. After all that you’ve...” It’s like he doesn’t want to
finish the sentence, but I know what he’s implying. Harry has Phoenix feather.
Voldemort has Phoenix feather. Now I have Phoenix feather. It’s quite simple,
really. Rising from the ashes.
Arguing with trees. I’m arguing with trees.
“I don’t want you down there, and that’s final. With these changes to the
formula we never know what’s going to happen and I don’t want you to be at any
risk. You stay upstairs.”
“Remus, if the wolf comes out you need me in there with you! I might be able to
keep the violence at bay!”
Sirius, you might. That’s exactly the point I’m trying to make here. You
might. You might not. I’m not about to risk it.”
listen to me. If it comes out tonight it’ll rip you apart. I know it’s been
long but I do remember the last blue moon I spent with you. I’m more than
willing to risk it.”
what makes you think it’s your call?”
must understand; how do you think I’d feel if I hurt you!”
hurt me before. No matter what you do to me you cannot hurt me any worse.”
That was uncomfortably close to that invisible line. His eyes are flashing,
with that strange yellow tint they get close to the full moon.
It’s more like a snarl than a spoken word, and for the first time since I
learnt how to be an Animagi the Wolf frightens me. Our eyes lock, and I see the
intensity in his. The madness. The tug of the moon. The agony. How can I not
I did what he asked me to do, even if it broke my heart. I took him down to the
cellar, put a bowl of water in the corner in case he’d be okay, and get
thirsty, and then I locked the trapdoor behind me. I set silencing spells on
the house. Then I waited for what would become. I had hoped he’d be okay. He’d
keep his mind.
The cries that still echo in the house are proof of that. I’ve heard him
transform before. I’ve even seen him transform. Yet I’ve never heard anything
Those cries cut through my bones, my heart, my conscious mind. They were
inhumane, like the cries of someone that’s finally lost trace of what he is,
and is battling against what he’s about to become. They lasted for about an
hour. Transformations have never lasted for about an hour. They’ve never
sounded anything like this.
Then there was silence. And then - the floor shook. The Wolf was running up the
trapdoor ladder again and again, trying to break through the very floor, and
all I could do was sit in silence and wait for it to be over, knowing that my
best friend, the man who I loved even beyond how I’d love a brother was caged
inside a beast that was trying to kill, not only him, but everything he could
I had strict instructions. It would be safe when I’d see the first sliver of
the sun over the horizon. Throughout the night I waited, willing the sun to
hurry on its passage, watching as the sky lightened, listening to the unearthly
silence that filled the house when the stars started to disappear from the
Then the cries started again. They continued until the sky started to blush in
the east, died away, and still I waited, glued to the kitchen window that
looked into the east. When I saw the first rays of the sun over the treetops I
couldn’t wait any longer. I raced into the hall, lifting the protection spells
as I ran, flung open the trapdoor and turned on the light.
It was carnage. From experience I know roughly how much blood one
transformation can produce, but this looked like Remus had been taken and every
drop squeezed out of him. I’ve never seen so much blood in my entire life, and
I’ve seen plenty. It was everywhere, even splattered on the ceiling.
Remus was lying there, curled up in fetal position
in the furthest corner. I ran to him, noticing the gashes in his back, his
legs, everywhere the claws of the beast could reach. He was deathly pale when I
gathered him slowly into my arms, but the look of ecstasy on his face took my
by surprise. While I was carrying him up the stairs to his room, thanking God
that I finally had a working wand so that I could heal him, he opened his eyes
and looked at me, his face full of joy.
“Sirius...” he whispered “we almost made it. I almost won.”
It took Remus a week to recover after the transformation, a week in which I
nursed him to the best of my ability. Fanny looked in on Remus in the evening,
surprised at first that I was still there, but immediately concerned when she
found Remus still unconscious in bed, musing about irresponsible friends that
left their pets to be a burden on ‘people that needed no more burdens’ and then
not keeping their word to look in when they said they would. When Remus woke up
half a day later she poured the entire speech on him, which
resulted in him letting her in on our secret, thus making a lot of things a
great deal easier.
Today he’s up and about and Fanny dragged him out into the sun with the promise
of telling us news of the world. After informing us on a lot of things to do
with the ‘Secret war’ as we’ve begun to call it she turns the talk to more
personal matters, talking about friends and family and old times with her
brother, Edward, which I’ve begun to like, even if I’ve never met him, and
won’t ever get the chance to.
Fanny shoots an uncertain glance at Remus, then looks at me where I’m
lying as Padfoot at his feet.
“You see, Snuffles, Edward was one of the werewolves that died during the
development of the Wolfsbane potion.” I perk up and I shoot a glance at Remus.
He looks back and laughs.
don’t look at me like that. We made an enormous leap last week, and they need
some time to work out the results. Also, my body needs rest, so I’m just taking
the regular potion for the next two months, at least. I’m not going to die on
you just yet.” Just yet???
let’s not talk about that now, please! I came here to get away from work and
visit my two favourite canines.” The smirk on Fanny’s face is priceless. “Besides,
who cares about work when I’ve got such exciting personal news to tell?”
news? Pray tell!” Remus is immediately interested.
let's just say I’ve met somebody nice that doesn’t try to tell me I’m wasting
my time working on the Wolfsbane.”
Remus looks smug. “So who’s the lucky guy?” She blushes a bit.
he’s a bit younger than I am, but he’s a fellow Ravenclaw. His name is
Derndingle. William Derndingle.”
think I’m familiar with him! Rather tall and blond, right?”
fit the description, yes. He works at the Ministry. For the Magical Law
And he knows you’re working on the Wolfsbane?” Fanny smiled sweetly.
it was about time that someone tried to do something for the werewolves.
Apparently he worked in the Regulation Department for a year as an intern.”
“Well, it’s nice to hear that some people think nicely of us, even after
working in that department.”
is, isn’t it? He’s very nice. We have a date tonight.” Fanny stood up. “I’m
just about ready to melt out here. This has been such a hot summer. I’m going into the kitchen to get us something cold to drink.” I look up
at her with longing in my eyes. “Don’t worry Snuffles, I won’t forget you”
returns soon after with a pitcher of lemonade, two glasses and a bowl. Pouring
the lemonade she turns the talk to Remus’ affairs.
“So, Remus, my love, how’s your love life going?”
love life, Fanny?”
come on. There must be someone! Remember back in the days when I was still
trying to get you out on a date... the way you turned me down.” Hah! I knew
there was something between the two, although I can’t bring myself to dislike
Fanny for it anymore.
do you mean?”
wasn’t like you weren’t interested in me... it was like there was someone else
you were waiting for. You practically said so.”
know what you’re talking about, Fanny, my dear. I think you should cover your
head, maybe the sun is doing this to you.” Remus said it playfully but I could
detect a slight note of panic in his voice, which roused my curiousity.
come on, Remus. Even Snuffles wants to know - don’t you Snuffles?”
I can’t deny that, so I bark once.
Fanny, leave me alone.” The panic is more obvious now, and Fanny notices,
looking at him with a strange look on her face.
Remus. I shouldn’t have asked. I was just curious, that’s all.”
The silence lasts for a long while, and Remus strokes my head absently,
looking, but still not, at the glass in his hand. Then finally he speaks,
surprising both me and Fanny.
“It was a long time ago. I think I may have lost it forever. No doubt due to my
They’re taking me away. The white fog thickens in my head. My hope is gone.
Dementors all around me, clouding my senses, taking away my happiest memories.
There’s a sunlit corridor and a man I know very well, walking away from me....
There are hands on my shoulders shaking me awake, shaking away the fog and the
cold that has settled in my stomach. When I open my eyes Remus is leaning over
me, whispering; “It was only a nightmare, it’s over, Padfoot.”
There are tears in his eyes, and the realization of what I shouted out from my
sleep jolts me awake. He didn’t need to hear that. I should have remembered to
set silencing charms on the bedroom. Wait... I did put silencing charms on the
bedroom. Which means...
could you hear me, Moony? I’ve got silencing charms.”
He looks away from me with a strange look on his face - was it guilt?
“I... I was already in here. I was watching you sleep. Because I couldn’t
“I’m sorry about what I said in my sleep. It was a nightmare.”
“You were reliving that day. When they took you away. Was all that you said...
was that what you were trying to say through your bonds?” He turns his head to
look at me, an unreadable expression on his face.
“I said more than just ‘Moony - No’?”
“You said a great deal more.” He turns away to look out the window, and as he
does the scarce light flickers off something on his cheek. A silver streak.
He’s crying. The man who practically rents a Gringotts vault to lock his
feelings in is crying.
“You said... you said that you knew I’d figure it out. That you knew I’d search
for the truth until I found out what really happened, and that you knew that
once I knew the truth I’d set you free.”
“You weren’t even pleading. You didn’t even try to tell me what really
happened. You just declared your absolute faith in me to help you get your freedom
back. To help you get justice.
"And I... I just...” His voice falters.
“Moony don’t... really you don’t need to...”
“Ever since that night... that night in the Shrieking Shack... I’ve wondered
what you must have thought of me. I just deserted you to a fate that is too
cruel for any man to bear, let alone an innocent man. I believed what was
easiest to believe, refusing to give in to the senses that told me you were
innocent. I never questioned your guilt. I hated you, Sirius. For almost
thirteen years, I hated you with a passion. I forced myself to believe
you’d broken my heart on purpose. The man who had accepted me for all that I
was from the very moment he found out."
keep my eyes on that silver streak, watching as it creeps down his cheek.
"Moony, it's okay, really. I would have hated myself if I'd been in your
turns to look at me and our eyes meet for a few moments. The pain in his gaze
is intense and for the first time since meeting him again I have no visions of
the betrayal I felt when he cut the strings between us those fourteen years
ago. The only thing I see is how he must have suffered, that day and ever
since. He looks away, out the window again, and keeps speaking, as if something
compels him to continue.
"Then I found out that you were
innocent. That night in the shack, the only thing I felt was joy, joy that I
was mistaken about your guilt. It wasn’t until later when I realized that I’d
never been mistaken. In my heart I always knew you couldn’t have done what they
accused you of. Yet, still I refused to give in to my heart, for in my
loneliness I believed that my heart had betrayed me before, giving so much of
itself to a murderer. Since that night I’ve thought endlessly about what it was
that you were going to say to me in that corridor, all those years ago. I’d
expected something like ‘Moony, don’t let them take me away’ or ‘I’m innocent,
it was Peter, you’ve got to believe me!’, nothing like what I just heard you
want to say something. I want to say something to make it all better, to make
it be all right, but no matter what I say I know that I'll never be able to
take away all the pain, no more than I'll be able to turn back time and live
life differently. So I stay silent, and listen.
"All those years I believed I had trusted you and you had let me down,
when really it was you who trusted me and I let you down.
I just let them take you. I looked at you with all the hatred I could summon in
my heart for you, and then I turned my back while they took you away. I can’t
help but wondering what you must have thought of me at that very moment, when
you realized that I wasn’t going to help you.”
a low splattering noise, and I realize that a tear has trickled off his chin
and fallen on the duvet. I’ve seen Remus vulnerable before, I’ve seen him sad
and lonely and hopeless - but I’ve never seen him cry. His hands are clenched
so hard at his sides that it looks like they’re going to break.
And suddenly all my doubts have vanished. This is my home. With this man,
who is all I’ve got left of my past. I reach for one of his clenched hands and
take it in mine. His face, when he turns towards me is tear-streaked.
“Don’t just walk away from me.”
“What I was thinking, in that corridor, fourteen years ago. Don’t just walk
away from me Remus Lupin. Because I love you.”
He gives a dry sob and slumps against my shoulder. I can hear him saying
something into my neck.
“I’m sorry, Sirius. I’m so sorry. I know you can never forgive me but I really
“Stop saying that, Moony. It doesn’t need to be said.”
“I want to say it.”
“Well, I don’t want to hear it. There’s something else I’d much rather hear, so
why don’t you say that to make me happy?”
I can feel his face on my shoulder, I can feel the way he starts to smile, and
I can feel his warm breath on my chest when he asks me:
“Do you really mean that?”
He pulls away slightly so he can look me in the eye, and in all the years I’ve
known him I’ve never seen his face look anything like this.
“I love you too.”
The way he settles into the crook of my arm. The way his hair feels against my
skin. The way he slings an arm protectively over me. The way he curls a leg
around one of mine. The way it feels to lower my lips and kiss the top of his
I don’t think either of us will sleep much, if at all tonight. We are too busy,
reveling in the familiarity of each other.
Home, says my heart, and I finally allow myself to agree. Home.