The Sugar Quill
Author: Lone Astronomer (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Promise  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.

A darkfic, not too long, just waiting for someone to come along and read it. Slashy undertones, that's all. Sirius/Remus is a pairing I don't necessarily agree with, but the Plot Bunny took over and something black and twisted came out. Oddly like the two, I think.

Thanks go to Zsenya for beta-reading.

Harry Potter belongs to J. K. Rowling.

The four of them sat on the bluff one summer evening, oblivious to everything around them. The wind howled mercilessly through the trees, whipping leaves and dirt into their faces, and a new moon hung in the sky, ominous.

None of them noticed. They were far too absorbed in their own very complicated minds to ponder why their eyes stung and their bodies shivered. Two sat rather side by side, shoulders touching, the third sat alone some way back from the edge, and the fourth rested between.

This last was perhaps the strangest of the four of them, and his thoughts, however convoluted, were not the darkest.

There was a tattoo of a white flower on his left upper arm, burning brightly against tanned young flesh. His eyes were deep brown and haunted, his figure hunched over; his smile was bitter and did not reach his eyes. He thought only of his young wife, hidden away with their infant son where no one would find them, wishing for a more normal life. His was a life lived in fear, and he knew he should not have chosen to share this existence eked out in the consternation that was the world at that point. How to protect his fledgling family and their closest friends he knew not, only that it had to be done and that he could not do it.

Without a change in expression, his gaze turned to the smallest of the four.

Off by himself, the round and forlorn member of the group stared pensively off into the trees, searching for something that, perhaps, wasn't there.

Occasionally his eyes would flicker over to the other Two, and he would grimace to himself and return to watching. It had hurt him deeply to discover what they meant to each other, for it left him alone; if James had his flower and the Two had each other, what was to be done with him? He was not special, not remarkable in any way, not powerful, not entertaining, and he had no striking physical appearance. He was lucky that the Two would never be together; each was far to afraid, be it of or for the other, even of himself. Peter was plain; it seemed to him that he had been created for the sole purpose of following the others around, cleaning up their messes. He was good at that, at least, he admitted to himself; they had been prevented from discovering the other's true feelings by the ease with which he had separated them.

Yet he was still alone, and they were still together, in their own way, and it still hurt.

His eyes flickered over to them once more, and so they were seen: both tall and lean and muscular, one somewhat tragic in profile and the other heroic, although usually his comedian's mask was all that showed. Both were devastatingly handsome in a ways so unique that they could not be described. One had his eye on the moon with an uncharacteristic expression of longing on his face, hating it with all the passion his most secret soul would allow. Beside him, his friend also had his eye on the sky; Sirius was rising in the east, by far the brightest of all the other celestial objects excepting, of course, the slice of the glowing orb that had captured the other's attention.

The man with the flower tattoo gave them his full attention, studying their mixed profile in the sudden stillness that meant dawn was coming. The atmosphere between the Two was thick and teeming with life; pain was the most easily sensed emotion along with a fear so intense that neither could bear to think about it.

James felt their combined auras like no other could, after all, hadn't he been just like them, once? It broke his heart to know that they would never have happiness like he had, only the fear that they all shared, only the pain that was solely theirs because of what they missed. The unspoken tensions made him want to scream with remorse for his friends.

So the Two sat, their outlines blurred and crossed to where one could not be told from the other, and ignored the cold and the wind that didn't exist and the thunder that rolled in the distance. So Peter watched the shadows as James fought to protect what was his, and so the other Two loved and that was all.

The storm that had been building finally broke in one magnificent flash of green lightning, and everything changed. Soon little Peter was gone and James lay dead, a look of absolute terror in the brown eyes that had been so soft and comforting. This last one averted his gaze from the one he loved, knowing that the shackles the man wore now would affect the rest of his life. In one frantic moment, he grabbed at the bindings, but found that the silver burned his hands. He howled in pain; was nothing sacred? Was there nothing he could do?

Staring down at the burns that marked his hands, he knew what he had to do. He stepped to the edge of the bluff, pausing only briefly for one last glimpse at the love that could not be his. I will be back for you, he thought grimly to his friend, then turned to face the rest of the howling tempest. That is my promise.

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