The Sugar Quill
Author: Jack Ichijouji (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Mourning  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Disclaimer: Harry Potter and Friends is the property of JK Rowling, who is distinguished from myself in many different ways. She is British, while I am not. She is shorter than I am. Her naughty bits are completely different from mine.


I assume.




There was no body to bury, but they lowered a casket. This was a waste, in Severus' considered opinion. Darker parts of his mind implored him to point out that they would be needed for those who left bodies, those who deserved monuments, but the rest of him wouldn't allow it. Not here, at any rate.


He stayed long after most of the other... after most of the mourners had left. It was strange, in a way, how he wanted to leave but couldn't, as if he expected something else to happen. For Black to jump out from behind one of the marble statues laughing at him, crowing, “I knew you loved me, Snape!” or something to that effect. But it was silent, aside from the sounds of the few who lingered behind.


But still, he found himself stuck there, glaring, as if offended, at the monument.


SIRIUS BLACK

1960-1996

“Only in tragedy can you find the best laugh.”


He snorted quietly. Those were not Black's last words. They'd probably been something far more childish, such as “You can't get me, nya nya!” or the like.


“They were actually, 'Come on, you can do better than that!' I believe,” a voice behind him said. “But Sirius decided a long time ago that his famous last words were going to be 'a lot more impressive than whatever I say when I'm dying,' so he said that.”


“I hadn't realised I was speaking out loud, Lupin. And even if I was, I certainly wasn't speaking to you.”


“I don't recall caring, Severus,” Remus replied.


Severus turned to say something nasty, but upon seeing Lupin's face, stopped himself. He was smiling, but in an odd, lethargic way that suggested he was only smiling because it was easier than frowning. “Good God, Lupin, you look awful.”


“Do I? I hadn't noticed.” His eyes were bloodshot and his voice was hoarse; he looked like he wasn't too far off the grave himself.


Severus felt a momentary pang of concern, which he quickly snuffed out. “You should visit a Healer sometime soon.” Unable to help himself, he added, “Or a veterinarian.”


Lupin let out a laugh that was more like a cough, then kept coughing. Finally, when he was able to speak, he said, “Would that I could, Severus. But the free clinics won't accept me, and I can't afford any other kind.” He smiled again. “I'll probably just visit Madam Pomfrey sometime next week.”


“Good. And make sure to stop by my office. I'll have your Wolfsbane ready.”


Lupin nodded, and walked away. With a faint pop, he was gone. Severus took one last look at Black's headstone, and he too disappeared.


~*~


The werewolf appeared out of nowhere beside Severus, who had no idea why he was where he was. He'd never really believed in paying respects to a dead body, and in this case there wasn't even a body to pay respects to.


“You found the potion, I trust?” he asked without taking his eyes off the monument.


“Yes, and the Pepper-Up Potion. Thank you.”


“The potion's effects are limited if the taker is ill. I don't want to be responsible for a beast on the loose.”


A few moments passed in silence. Finally, Lupin said, “Severus, why are you here?”


“I've been wondering the same thing myself, Lupin.”


There was more silence, then Lupin spoke. “A rival and a lover are often indistinguishable. One builds his life around both, one lives for both, and one is pushed beyond his limits by both.”


“What is that tripe?”


“I don't know. I read it somewhere.”


Severus turned to look at Lupin for the first time in their conversation, and saw that he was smiling. Not that damned infernal smile he wore at Black's funeral, but one with emotion behind it. Severus couldn't tell what the emotion was, but it was there. Or perhaps he merely enjoyed the sensation of smoke coming out of his ears. “So what is it you're trying to say? That I need a new rival to get over the old one?”


“Perhaps. But rivalries aren't the healthiest expressions of emotion, Severus,” Lupin observed. “Besides, I think Sirius set the bar rather high.”


“Making a joke at a grave, Lupin?”


“At Sirius' grave. I think it's appropriate. And as for your problem, I think you should deal with Sirius before anything else. But that's something you'll have to decide.” And he disappeared as quickly as he'd appeared.


“Damn you, Lupin.”


~*~


I'm here again. I barely remember deciding to come here.


He read the words over and over. “Only in tragedy can you find the best laugh.” But he found nothing funny about Black's death, though truth be told, he'd only recently found a reason for it to be tragic.


“A year ago, I would have killed you myself given half the chance,” he found himself whispering to the air. “A month ago I was glad to hear you'd been killed, you hear me? I was glad. It was all I could do to keep from dancing through the halls. And now that you're gone, really gone, there's something wrong.


“I miss you. No, that's not right. I wish you were alive is closer to the truth. I hated you for so long, I just got used to it.”


Suddenly Severus became very angry. “You coward,” he said, his voice rising in volume as he went on. “You have the nerve to die now, in the middle of a war? Potter needs you! Lupin needs you!”


“You need him.” Lupin again. Severus could tell by his voice that his most recent transformation had taken its toll, but he'd still found the energy to follow him. “You're not the only mourner, Severus.”


“No.”


“No?”


“No, I'm not. But it's not as if I can stroll up to Potter and cry on his bloody shoulder, now is it?” Severus snapped.


Remus walked over to Severus and put a hand on his shoulder, and both parties were surprised to find that Severus didn't jerk away from it. “No, you can't. But I can help you. If you want me to.”


They stood in silence for a while, then Severus walked away. “I'm not one of your projects, Lupin. I've seen a lot of death, and I'll see a lot more before my time is up. Black is no different.”


But just before Severus Disapparated back to Hogsmeade, Remus heard, just barely, “But thank you... Remus.”


End
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