A/N: The verses quoted are from Cymbeline by
Fear No More
He could not see
the walls or the ceiling—the lights were out, and the dusty velvet curtains too
thick to let in any stray glow from outside. He supposed it was better that
way. As there was no light, there could be no shadows, no dark specters lurking
around his bedside and exciting his most childish fears.
He wondered how he could have endured
this, during his childhood: sleeping in this room all alone while the
gray shapes flitted around mockingly. But his capacity for endurance had
always been high.
Sirius. Remus finally said the name in his
mind, then forced his mouth into unwilling submission and said it aloud.
“Sirius.” His voice
was wobbly and weak, and his whole body shook. The name brought to Remus’s mind
the idea of a gust of wind, boldly overturning everything in its path, wild and
free and fearless.
Everything that Sirius had not been permitted to
His mother’s shrill hectoring and his father’s
sneering indifference eating away at him, acting as corrosively as an acid
poured on his heart. His sheep-like brother, the chilly Narcissa and the
ferocious Bellatrix, too well-schooled in the lessons of arrogance,
thoughtlessness and hatred to provide him with any love. Kreacher’s scraping
servility and thinly-veiled resentment. Kreacher’s mother’s execution; her head
mounted on the wall to stare dully at him along with the others. The grim-faced
portraits, ceaselessly watching his every move, never allowing him an escape. The
dark walls, invisible at night. The thick curtains, shutting out the light. Shadows
pursuing him throughout his formative years, forbidding him blissful solitude,
bleeding him of all joy.
A gust of wind, trapped within a tiny bottle and
And then--a short time in what must have seemed
like Paradise, after he ran away to live with the
Potters and before the hovering cloud of Lord Voldemort descended upon them.
Then there was war, terror and hysteria.
And after that, Azkaban.
Remus had often wondered at what it must have
taken for Sirius to survive Azkaban with his sanity intact. After coming to
live at Grimmauld Place, he wondered no longer. Dementors,
after all, were merely the old shadows made manifest.
And Sirius had fought them, trying
tirelessly to exorcise the shapeless figures that haunted him in his very
And he won, thought Remus with a surge of
relief—there was, after all, a healing thought for him to cling to as he
flailed about in his poisonous abyss of grief.
The shadows had never left Sirius in peace, but
they had never conquered him, either. They had nibbled away at his joy in
existence, his capacity to feel, but it had always replenished itself. Sirius
had stepped out of the darkness of Azkaban, blinking and stumbling in the unexpected
light, but welcoming it with open arms and brimming with…with…
Love. A hard feeling for Remus to think
about, let alone express or act upon.
Sirius had never had this difficulty, for all of
the crippling demons that chased him all his life and tried to make him forget
that such a thing existed. Sirius had resisted, and remembered.
And now…Remus choked back a sob, then gave up and
let the tears flow freely down his face. It was dark, after all, and the walls
were impenetrably thick. He was unseen and unheard.
Now, Sirius was behind the veil, where the
shadows could no longer follow him and he could finally rest.
Fear no more the heat o’the sun…
A Muggle verse sprang unbidden into Remus’s mind;
he had found it in a book of plays, in his father’s library, many years back.
Nor the furious winter’s rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done…Sirius
would never build a home for Harry the way he had planned, never do anything
grand and heroic to help the Order…
Home art gone, and ta’en thy wages…
But he was safe. Safe
from the ravages of the monsters within and without.
…Fear no more the frown o’the great;
Thou art past the tyrant’s stroke…There was another relief, in all of
this. Sirius was dead—a part of Remus rose up in anguished rebellion at the
thought—but he had escaped the fate the shadows wanted for him, the fate worse
than death. He retained his soul, in all senses of the word. Whether Fudge was
willing to accept Dumbledore’s word that Sirius was innocent or not, it didn’t
matter. The dementors couldn’t reach him now.
No more leeching of the heart for Sirius. No more
fear. He was beyond all that now, in perfect and total darkness where shadows
could not form.
Remus buried his tearstained face into his pillow
and tried to be thankful that Sirius was free at last.