The Sugar Quill
Author: SweetSirius  Story: After The Order...  Chapter: Default
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After the Order…

Author’s Note: This missing moment takes place after “Chapter Five: The Order of the Phoenix” in the book of the same name.  The subtle nuances playing between Sirius and Remus during the scene in the kitchen made me sure there was a subsequent fallout between the two.  I like to think that they leaned a lot on each other during this time.

 

 

After the Order…

 

How do you STAND THAT WOMAN!”

 

Though his wand was out before they entered the room, Remus’ reflexes weren’t enough to cast a Secrecy spell in time to mask Sirius’ enraged exclamation.  Though the charm was in place before the sentence had been completed, Remus was fairly certain that the gist of it had reached downstairs.  Sirius, it would seem, didn’t care.  He was already pacing the room, fists clenched, seething.

 

“Calm down, Sirius,” said Remus in a warning tone.

 

“Calm down?  Calm DOWN?!” Sirius rounded on his friend, throwing a trembling arm towards the door.  “Did you hear any of that down there?”

 

“You know I did,” Remus said, keeping his voice quiet and even, with a hope that some of it might rub off on Sirius.  He should have known better.

 

“You’d think she was the only one who cared at all about Harry!”  He was pacing again.  “But she doesn’t care enough to realise the kid’s been shut up in Muggle hell for the summer, and all he wants is a few answers!”

 

“You know what Dumbledore said –“

 

“Even Dumbledore thinks he deserves to understand a bare minimum!” Sirius roared.

 

“Yes, and you did your level best to overstep that boundary tonight,” Remus noted, to little effect.

 

“And that crack about James!!  How would she even know? How would she KNOW!?”  Remus jumped, as Sirius punctuated his roar by wrenching a chair off the ground and throwing it with alarming force into the opposite wall.

 

“Sirius!”  The shattered remains of the chair clattered to the floor.  “Look, I know,” Remus said anxiously, as Sirius began pacing again.  “But Molly and Arthur have been more than good to Harry over the years, of course she’s going to be-“

 

“No, you’re right,” said Sirius, with sudden and unnatural calm, fists still clenched.  “Really, you are.  And let’s face it, I haven’t been much help, have I?  No, I’ve been off GALAVANTING with the DEMENTORS, instead of TAKING CARE OF MY GODSON!!!”

 

These last words were shouted with a fury that Remus had only ever witnessed from Sirius, who had wheeled around and let fly an almighty punch that drove straight through the plaster into the wall. 

 

Sirius seemed to lose momentum in the echoing silence, and then quite suddenly deflated.  He dragged his hand out of the hole he had made in the plaster, and allowed his forehead to fall forward onto the wall, his back heaving, shaking hands resting either side as though holding on.  Remus stepped closer.

 

“Sirius...” he said softly.

 

“Doesn’t she know I’d take it all back...all of it...” Sirius whispered in such a small voice that Remus winced.  He reached out a hand to Sirius’ shoulder.  The hand Sirius had put through the wall was streaked with his own dark blood, now dripping down his arm and onto the floor.  “I’d do anything for that kid...”

 

“I know.  And so does Harry.”

 

The proud shoulders seemed to slump a little, and Remus heard the quiet expel of a shaky breath.  He tightened his grip on his friend’s shoulder, while Sirius raised a hand to pinch the bridge of his nose, taking a deep breath.  Abruptly he turned and slid down the wall to the floor.  Remus sat next to him, and for a long moment neither spoke.

 

“I never thought I’d be back in this place ever again,” Sirius said, barely noticing as Remus muttered a healing charm on his fist.  Remus looked around the dismal room.

 

“It certainly hasn’t lost any of its charm.”  He double-checked Sirius’ wrist, but healing charms were still, apparently, a specialty of his.

 

“I hate it,” Sirius growled, in a voice that conveyed just how true this statement was.  “I hate being here.”

 

“I know you do,” Remus said, sadly.  “But Dumbledore-“

 

“Dumbledore thinks it’s best,” Sirius snarled.  He bent his head into his hand and screwed up his eyes.

 

Remus looked at him, helpless, wishing he knew what to say or do, wishing he knew how to begin to understand.  Part of him wanted to do anything - anything - to get that look off his friend’s face, to see him free of the fourteen year old weight dragging at his conscience, to see him breathe free air, even if it was under cover of darkness.  But the rest of him knew this was not safe.  Not yet.

 

A loud screech from downstairs heralded the awakening of Sirius’ mother, and conversation in the little room was suspended until the cursing died down.

 

“…filthy, half-blood, half-human monstrous traitors!” 

 

Remus raised an eyebrow.

 

“I don’t think your mum likes me much.”  He turned to grin at Sirius.  It wasn’t his custom to be the playful joker, but these days lines were blurred ever so much more than they used to be, and quite often roles would be thrown in reverse, in ways completely surprising, like Sirius ducking his head between his knees and hugging his legs tightly.

 

“Hey, what-?”

 

“I know he’s not James,” Sirius said abruptly, not looking up.  “She think I’m crazy?”  It occurred to Remus to wonder how someone could sound so confident and at the same time so unsure of himself.

 

“No one thinks you’re crazy,” Remus said gently.  The unspoken “but” was hanging in the air, and Remus knew it.  So did Sirius.

 

“But she’s right,” he finished.  “That’s what you think, isn’t it?”  He turned his head to lean on his knees, looking up at Remus now.  Remus hesitated.

 

“Losing James was…”  Even now, 14 years later, it was no good.  He tried again.  “Maybe we all want to believe it at some point.”  He went on quietly, “But maybe it’s worse for you.”  Sirius shook his head a little at this, frowning as he set his jaw, reined his expression back a little.

“He was your best friend, more than that, and I think… I think you never got to say goodbye and it’s killing you.  I think…I think if I were locked up inside a dark reminder of my past I’d be willing to let myself slip back to happier times.”

 

They were silent a moment.  Sirius leaned his chin on his arms, eyes deliberately dry, looking thoughtfully into space.

 

“I think I forgot how much I hated your perceptive side,” Sirius said finally with a wry smile.  Remus sighed.  Typical Sirius...

 

“How much do you remember?”  Sirius frowned.

 

“Bits and pieces.  It comes back every now and then – sometimes more than others, but…sometimes it’s a little hazy.”

 

“Did you forget everything?”

 

“No,” Sirius said at once.  “Couldn’t.  Unfortunately I’ve had quite a few of my less quiet moments to keep me company,” he grimaced.  “That business in sixth year,” he said, and for the first time he hesitated.  “Remus I’m-“

 

“Don’t apologise,” Remus said at once.

 

“You never let me apologise.”

 

“So stop trying.”  Remus smiled, but he was the only one making an effort at this.  Sirius nodded, and they fell into silence again.

 

“So...you’re on guard duty tomorrow?”  Remus closed his eyes briefly.  He barely knew whether to laugh or cry; Sirius was trying so hard not to sound envious.

 

“Yes,” he said quietly, as Sirius continued to feign indifference.

 

“How long until the moon?  Four days?”

 

“Three.”

 

“Ah.”

 

“I’ll have the Wolfsbane potion,” said Remus, deliberately avoiding Sirius’ eyes.  “I’ll be fine.”

 

“You shouldn’t be by yourself.”

 

“Sirius, I’ve been transforming by myself for over a decade.”  As soon as the words were out, Remus wanted to cringe.

 

Sirius went unusually still, his dark eyes fixed deep into nothingness.  Remus tried desperately to read his friend’s face, noticing uneasily how Sirius’ eyes seemed to withdraw into a different plane of sight.

 

“You shouldn’t be by yourself,” Sirius repeated, but quietly.  Remus blinked.  The withdrawn expression had disappeared.  Or been buried.

 

“I’ll be all right,” he replied absently.

 

“So stay here and change.”

 

“You know I can’t, Sirius, what if –“

 

“It wasn’t your fault he got away.”  Remus looked up sharply, saw Sirius’ dark eyes fixed on his own.  He wasn’t used to people being able to read him.  It had been…Well.  He remembered now, with force, how much more human he had always felt around his friends. 

 

“Did I mention I’ve missed you?”  Sirius grinned.

 

“Not for at least five hours.  And I don’t think you appreciate me nearly as much as you should.” Remus smiled to himself as Sirius yawned, just the way he had used to, his mouth wide open and very much like a certain black dog.  “I should get to bed.”

 

Sleep, thought Remus, please let him sleep tonight

 

“Try not to start tearing down the dining room if you can’t sleep,” Remus said mildly.  “It only upsets Kreacher.”

 

“Gormless little –“

 

“Do something constructive.  Like baking.”  A moment later a grinning Remus had been tackled to the ground by a big black dog which put its paws on his laughing chest and glared at him with half laughing, half indignant eyes.

 

“All right!  All right, I give!”  The dog barked into his face once, then jumped off and transformed back into Sirius, whose expression sent Remus into fits of laughter again; this, in turn, set Sirius off, until tears were streaming down both their faces.

 

Subsiding, Sirius hiccuped.

 

“Git,” he sighed. 

 

“Mutt.”

 

“I missed you too,” said Sirius with a chuckle, closing his eyes briefly.  “Come on,” he said.  “Past our bedtime.”  He stood, pulling Remus to his feet.  “See you tomorrow?”

 

“Tomorrow morning,” Remus nodded firmly.  Sirius opened the door.  “And I’d better not hear any familiar footsteps in the direction of Molly Weasley’s room,” he added, in a reproving voice.

 

“Yes, Professor,” Sirius shot back, closing the door behind him.

//
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