The Sugar Quill
Author: Mincot (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Dreams  Chapter: Default
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Dreams

Summary: Sirius has a long-overdue conversation with Remus

Disclaimer: I do not own JK Rowling’s characters or world. They are all hers. Dang it.   Not mine, nope.

 Author’s Note:  This is just an extremely short (well, for me!) vignette.  It is set concurrently with OoP, in late January of Harry’s fifth year.  Thanks to my team of beta readers—Pelirroja, Gryffinjack, and Alkari!

 

 

Dreams

 

            Remus Lupin stretched, realising that he was chilly.  The fire had died down far enough that he could hear the insistent tapping of sleet against the windows, even through the thick curtains.  Instead of gesturing the fire to life again, he marked his place with one of Buckbeak’s feathers and laid the book on the side table; he had almost finished Ser Jacopo Alberghetti’s discourse on lycanthropy, and had yet to find anything new. 

 

            He heard the heavy library door whisper open.  “Hello, Sirius,” he said.  “I thought you had gone to bed.”  He yawned.  “What time is it, anyway?”

 

            “Almost three.  I saw that there was still a light under your bedroom door, so I knocked; when you didn't answer I came down here; I thought you might have fallen asleep in your chair.”

 

            Remus chuckled.  “Not quite, but almost.”  He nodded at the book on the side table.  “For a blood-and-guts condottiere, Ser Jacopo is singularly unimpressive with a pen.  If I’d been one of his enemies, I’d have been less worried about his sword than about being bored to death.  The deadliest thing about his memoir is the prose.”

 

            Sirius smiled, but instead of sitting down in the other reading chair or leaning against the long mahogany writing table, he went over to the windows and threw open the heavy bottle-green drapes.  “It’s sleeting,” he said, his voice tight.

 

            Mmmhmmmm,” Remus answered.  “That’s not unusual for January, you know.”  He leaned back in the chair, watching Sirius.  Although he would never say so to Sirius’ face, both Padfoot and Sirius had a cat’s knack for communicating their feelings by the set of their heads and backs.  Sirius stood staring out the window.  Remus could see his desperation for open air and movement in his taut neck and the slight, abortive movements of his hands as they touched the window panes.  Remus had no doubt that Sirius wanted to be doing something physical, something exhausting—a hard hike, or a blindingly fast game of Quidditch, or even something as mundane and Muggle as chopping wood.  Instead, he stood stiffly here, bound by an odd tension that held him tight and still. 

 

            At length Sirius turned away from the window, and moved over to the fire.  Idly he poked it to life again.  “Moony,” he said, still looking at the fire, his voice thin with strain, “I have to ask you something.”

 

            Remus sighed.  That was the way long conversations usually started these days.  He tried to keep any impatience out of his voice.  “Go ahead.  But I warn you, if you want to borrow Ser Jacopo, I might say yes.”

 

            No change in Sirius’ posture.  Remus couldn’t tell if Sirius had even registered the joke.  He bit his lip.  There was always a balance between being supportive and needing to be firmly practical.  He suspected the latter tone was called for tonight, and he was getting ready to tell Sirius to get a move on or go back to bed when Sirius spoke.

 

            “You know I apologised to you for … well, for that day in the Shrieking Shack.  With Snape.  And James,” he added carefully, as if there could be any doubt which day he meant.

 

            This time Remus didn’t bother to conceal his sigh.  “Yes, Sirius, you did.  Over and over.  To the point where I told you that I didn’t want to hear any more, if you recall.”  He stopped, remembering the January afternoon he had been alone, studying in one of the disused classrooms, when Sirius had entered and told him about his encounter with the Knight of the Mirrors, and had made what Remus had felt was his first real, heartfelt apology, and then walked away, without requiring that Remus acknowledge it, or accept it, or make it better, or any of the other unspoken riders that he had attached to his other apologies.  After that, Remus had not needed to hear any more, although he and Sirius had been awkward with each other for nearly a year afterward. 

 

When had they truly become friends again?  Remus frowned; after Lily and James’ wedding, he thought….Of course, Sirius being Sirius, he had still apologized several times since then … and in the Shack, that second time …

 

            He realized that Sirius had turned and was watching him.  “Anyway, it’s over.  Well over.”

 

            “Apparently not for me,” Sirius began, and Remus waved his hand impatiently.

 

            “You never do know when to leave well enough alone, Padfoot.”  There was a definite edge of warning in his voice.  A tirade against Snape, or Kreacher, or Grimmauld Place itself would be preferable to this topic, he thought.  He still felt uncomfortable picking at that particular scab upon their relationship; though he had forgiven Sirius twice over, there was still a small nub of anger and fear left at the thought of that night.  And hurt, bone-deep hurt, if he let himself think about it, which usually he didn’t.

 

            Sirius closed his eyes.  He moved forward a pace and sat down on the hearth, knees drawn up to his chest, arms around his knees.  In the soft light of the library he looked like a twelve-year-old.  “I started dreaming, Moony,” he said, his voice slightly hoarse.  “I started dreaming about that night.  I sent Snape down the tunnel, but then I looked back.  And he was already in the room with you, and I thought that that wasn’t right, because he never got as far as the Shack itself.  So I started back, and it wasn’t Snape there with you, it was Harry, and he looked at me with those green eyes, and I couldn’t move, and you were snarling and you started to jump, Moony…. 

 

“And Harry looked at me, and I could see how afraid he was, but … how much he … how much he loved you … and he looked at me and knew I had sent him down there, and I never want to see that look in his eyes, ever again, but I do, when I try to sleep.  And then he looked past me, and I knew James was coming down the tunnel to save Snape --- save Harry, save you – only when I looked he wasn’t there.  He had never been there.  And you jumped on Harry, and I tried to put myself between you, but I couldn’t move, and …” 

 

He stopped, and swallowed hard.  “And you … you killed him, and he lay there with blood on his face and his green eyes staring at me and his glasses broken, and I knew I was going to have to tell you that I failed again when you transformed, and tell Prongs I had let his son die, and then I knew that I had never really apologized to you.”  He swallowed hard again and looked up at Remus, his eyes dark and empty.  “I never really understood what I had done to you, using you like that, not even with what the Knight showed me, until I saw Harry die.”  A pause, and then, “Until I let Harry die.” 

 

Remus sat back in his chair, feeling as if the wind had been knocked out of him.  Dammit, Sirius was making this too real, too immediate.  The scar was nicely scabbed over, thank you; he didn’t want anyone, even Sirius, coming along and ripping it off in one sweeping motion.  “You … you didn’t let Harry die, Sirius,” he said, his voice strangled.  “It was a dream.”

 

“It doesn’t matter.”  Sirius was still looking at him.  “I’m sorry, Remus,” he said.

 

Remus swallowed.  A dozen flippant replies came to mind to diffuse the emotions, a dozen sympathetic remarks to ease the sting of the dreams.  He was practiced at those, after all, all the polite remarks that deftly turned his awareness of his own feelings aside into managing someone else’s. 

 

But he found he could say none of them.  He couldn’t turn that aside. 

 

And when he dared to look, he found that the scar was bleeding—but not as much as he had thought.  Just enough to cleanse.

 

 When he could find his voice, he said, his own voice hoarse, “Apology accepted.”

 

 

END

           

 

 

//
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