Nox 3: Memories of silence
"This" is when someone casts a spell.
"This" is when someone speaks.
'This' is when something is written down.
This is when someone is thinking.
~~~ This ~~~ is a flashback.
A/N: The third installment in the 'Nox' series. It's not necessary to have read the other two, but it would probably make more sense. As for the end of this one... hehehe. It's not the original one, but it works better. Also, there is very little dialogue. I found it easier to write the flashbacks like that this time. Here goes nothing.
Dedication: To John Henry, also known as Muse... among other things. ;P This whole thing is your fault. You always get my creative juices flowing. Thanks, sweetie.
Remus stared out across the river. He knew the other would come - even though it had been a long time since they had talked, or even seen each other, the man had never been able to refuse Remus anything. It was something he had counted on many times, tonight included. He held an oblong package in his hands - something he had 'borrowed' from Harry's room earlier.
At the sound of someone approaching, his ears twitched. He inhaled gently, then turned around to look at his companion.
The smaller man was not looking his best. The years had been especially harsh to him, and Remus couldn't help feeling sad about it. He looked back down at the package in his hands, then wordlessly held it out.
His friend gently picked it up, as if he couldn't quite believe what he was seeing. He looked up at Remus, unsure of what was happening. When Remus nodded at the book, he lowered his gaze, and traced the lettering on the front.
The man looked up again, understanding how much this album had meant to the Marauders. It was their memory-keeper, the thing that held them together during the seven short years at Hogwarts, and the years after. When he opened it, the pages fell open to a photo of a much younger Remus, his arm around an equally young-looking Peter Pettigrew. On the other side was Sirius, also with his arm around Peter's shoulders. The smaller boy was smiling weakly, and the two men could see that there were fading bruises on his arms. The young Remus was smiling broadly, while Sirius was obviously saying something that he found amusing. Remus remembered the occasion well.
It was from the summer after their second year. It had been the first time Remus had used his knowledge of the healing arts on another person.
~~~ Remus and Sirius were walking together along the road into a small village. They had opted to hike from Remus' house to Peter's, where they were staying for a few days before going on to James'. They had all visited the Pettigrew house the previous summer, and fondly remembered Mrs. Pettigrew's cooking.
As they turned into the lane leading to Peter's house, Remus frowned. The full moon had passed not long before, and his senses were still heightened. Something was wrong. There was a faint trace of fear and blood in the air.
He broke into a run, suddenly scared. The other thing he remembered from his previous stay was that Mr. Pettigrew had a fierce temper, especially where his son's grades were concerned. Peter had never been a genius, but he had done particularly badly this year - the only thing that stopped him from failing was the fact that Remus had forced him to cram each night before exams.
Sirius ran after him, at first thinking it was a race, but when he saw the look on Remus' face he knew this wasn't a game. They were at Peter's house in a matter of minutes, and Remus went straight to the back yard.
There was a large tree in the middle of the garden, which Peter loved to climb. It had always been his safe place. The two boys skidded to a halt at the bottom, and Remus looked up, searching the branches for the smaller boy. He finally spotted him, halfway up the tree, huddled into a fork between the trunk and a large branch. Sirius looked at Remus, then started to climb the tree. He was far more at ease with his feet off the ground, and Remus' injuries prevented him from being as agile as he usually was.
Remus watched as Sirius gently woke the sleeping Peter, and helped him climb down. As they grew nearer, Remus could smell the blood again. He helped Peter down the last few feet, and put a hand on his shoulder. Peter flinched unconsciously from the contact, then looked up, an apology in his eyes. Sirius looked almost ready to murder someone.
The three boys went down to the bottom of the garden, where Peter showed them his injuries. He kept insisting that it wasn't too bad, that it didn't hurt any more. Remus knew better. As Sirius talked to Peter, distracting him, Remus gently applied some of the healing ointments his mother had given him before he left home, knowing that the boys were likely to hurt themselves at some point.
When they had finished fixing Peter up, they all went into the house. Remus and Sirius reluctantly agreed not to interfere - it was Peter's life, Peter's family, and they weren't to meddle. But they talked about it later with James, and they all agreed that they would keep Peter's grades up, even if they had to do the work themselves.~~~
The smaller man looked up, and Remus was taken aback by the expression on his face. It was half-way between a question and an accusation. Remus nodded. They had been good friends... but not good enough.
The only sound was the lapping of the river at the bank as the other man flipped through the pages. His gaze lingered on the picture of Remus and Sirius curled up together reading, and on the picture of the four covered in mud. His fingers traced the lines of the drawings scattered throughout the pages, and he smiled at the picture of Lily teaching James to ice skate.
The next photo he paused over was one of James and Peter, drawing equipment scattered around them. They had evidently just been playfighting, as James had splashes of paint on his face, and there were unusual streaks of colour in Peter's hair.
Remus smiled. James had told him about that day. Sirius had taken the photo, as Remus was in the hospital wing, recovering from a transformation.
~~~ Peter was sitting on his bed drawing when James came in and flopped down behind him. He looked over Peter's shoulder, watching in unusual silence as the pencils danced across the page, bringing the drawing of a large tree to life.
When it was finished, and Peter had signed his name at the bottom, James finally asked him about the tree, learning that it was an old oak that had been planted as a sapling not long before his house was built, over a century ago. It was Peter's favourite place to sit and draw, as he could see for miles from the upper branches.
James rested his chin on Peter's shoulder as the boy started a new picture, this time of James. Peter kept looking sideways to make sure he got everything right, and James found it hard to keep still long enough for the drawing to be complete. James then pinned the drawing on the wall next to his bed, joking about how this way, everyone would be able to see his handsome features even when he wasn't in the room.
Next, Peter moved to the windowsill, retrieving his paints on the way, saying that he was going to paint the view of the lake. James had nothing better to do, so he continued to pester Peter about his painting techniques, and how to mix colours properly, and anything else that crossed his mind. Eventually, Peter stopped answering, instead bending over his work in an attempt to block out the messy-haired prankster. With Peter's head bowed in front of him, James couldn't resist. He picked up one of the paintbrushes, dipped it in the bright blue paint, and gently painted a streak of Peter's hair.
The other boy didn't notice at first - nor when James added a green streak, then an orange one. When he added the magenta, however, he pressed down too hard. Peter's head shot up, making James paint a streak down his face. He stared at the bigger boy, then grinned. He grabbed a handful of paint and wiped it on James' hair and face. James then pounced, knocking both boys and all the painting equipment to the ground. Neither of them noticed as they rolled on the ground, laughing and trying to paint each other.
As the fight was winding down, Sirius stepped into the room. He'd just been to visit Remus in the hospital wing, and was surprised to find paint all over the room, including its other two occupants. He grinned evilly and grabbed the camera from Remus' trunk, snapping a photo before diving in and jump-starting the fight.~~~
The men continued to stand in silence, as the smaller turned pages, remembering the time when four boys had vowed to stand together no matter what happened. He wondered what had happened to drive them apart. Neither of the men could place a finger on when exactly things had changed, but neither
could deny that the vow had been broken.
The last photo in the book jumped out at them. It showed Sirius with a bruise on his jaw, robes splattered with blood, standing in front of a trembling Peter. At first glance it looked like the boys had been fighting, but upon closer inspection, it was evident that Sirius was defending the younger boy. Both men smiled at the memory. Sirius was always willing to spring to the defense of his friends, even if it meant getting hurt in the process.
The other man shook his head sadly. It had been a day he would never forget... no matter how hard he tried.
~~~ Peter had been walking back to their dormitory after sneaking down to the kitchens for supplies. Remus hadn't been eating lately, and Peter was worried about him. It wasn't like him to refuse food, but he hadn't even been going into the Great Hall. He knew the reason - Remus didn't want to see Sirius. They still weren't talking, and any appearance by either meant the other would leave the room.
As he rounded a corner, Peter walked straight into a pack of Slytherins. He gulped - this was definately bad news. He knew that this particular group had been waiting for a chance to pummel any of the Marauders, for although Snape had kept his word about not telling anyone that Remus was a werewolf, the news that Sirius had pulled a prank that almost harmed Snape had quickly travelled around the school. As a result, Sirius had become very unpopular, and the Marauders had had to fend off several attacks. This time, however, Peter was vastly outnumbered. The fact that he was a bad fighter didn't help him either.
To his amazement, they didn't attack immediately. Instead they backed him into a corner, and made him a proposition: If Peter passed information on to them, they would leave him alone. Peter wasn't sure what to do - he could accept, but that would mean betraying his friends. If he didn't accept, he was going to get the spit beaten out of him. The only way out he could think of was to accept, but not follow through - that way he could warn his friends.
As he opened his mouth, however, Sirius appeared at the back of the crowd, one eyebrow raised. Peter couldn't help himself - he squeaked Sirius' name, pleading with his eyes. Sirius took in the situation, then faced the leader of the group.
Rosier glared at Sirius - there had been bad blood between the two boys ever since their first year. There was silence for a moment, then before anyone could blink, Sirius had punched Rosier in the face. Blood spurted from his nose, splashing Sirius and the other Slytherins. He dived at the Gryffindor, but Sirius was quicker - he dodged all attempts to grab him, throwing punches as he went. To Peter, it seemed as if he was dancing. One of the other boys managed to strike a glancing blow off of Sirius' jaw, but the boy kept moving. Suddenly Sirius was at his friend's side, and in the confusion Sirius grabbed Peter's arm and pulled him away.
The boys ran, keeping time perfectly, always just ahead of the gang behind them. They kept running, even after they had lost the pursuing boys, until they reached the Fat Lady. After they gave her the password, and an excuse for Sirius' appearance, they fell through the portrait hole and staggered up to the dorm. Remus and James were there, and as the four came together again for the first time in over a month, there was silence.
That was the night the reconciliation began, when Remus was finally convinced that Sirius wasn't going to betray his secret again. For the first night in a long time, they all stayed up late, talking and joking, and Remus finally ate again.~~~
Remus put his hand on his companion's shoulder, smiling. The man looked up and started to smile in return, but froze when he saw the look in Remus' eyes. He then looked over his friend's shoulder at the rising moon - it would be full tomorrow night. Too late he remembered that Remus' strength and reflexes were especially heightened on the nights surrounding the full moon. Peter then looked over his own shoulder... at the Aurors who had suddenly Apparated.
Before Peter could draw his wand, Remus was holding it up to his old friend's face, slowly shaking his head.
"He was willing to do anything for you... We all were," Remus said with an edge to his voice that the other man had never heard before. The werewolf snapped the wand he held in half, and dropped the pieces at their feet.
One of the Aurors stepped forward, reading from a long scroll. "Peter Pettigrew, you are under arrest for multiple counts of murder, use of Unforgivable Curses...
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