The Sugar Quill
Author: Starbuckx  Story: Worthy  Chapter: Default
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Worthy

Worthy

 

And since I have no gold to give

And love alone must make amends

My only prayer is, while I live –

God make me worthy of my friends.

   

The silence that surrounded them was eerie, and still neither one of them seemed in any rush to break it. Outside of the small cabin, the cold morning air made the wizards standing by the door shiver and wrap their cloaks tighter around their bodies, but inside a couple of well placed spells prevented the two men from feeling the cold.

 

Remus had placed the warming spell, a testament to his knowledge of his old friend’s dislike for cold temperatures. Sirius was responsible for everything else, including the silencing charm, for he was sure that what he had to say to Remus would bring out the worst in them. The rest of the wizards that were supposed to be protecting Remus were waiting outside, but Remus didn't seem overly concerned by it. In fact, this was the calmest Sirius had seen him since the war started.

 

Sirius shook his head, and willed himself to stare at the fire and not be the first one to talk, already knowing the battle was lost. He had managed to beat Remus at a number of things during their school years, but he had never managed to win battles of patience.  In fact, he was sure Remus could just stare at the fire for the next three days with that calm expression without saying anything, while Death Eaters looked everywhere for him. And he was also sure Remus knew that he wouldn’t be able to stand it.

 

“You do know we need to talk about this, right?” Sirius asked minutes later, because he was unable to stand the silence. “As much as I enjoy your company, we can’t just sit here and stare at the fire forever. We need …” he paused at this as his eyes focused on the window. “You need to make a choice.”

 

Calm, grey eyes stared back at Sirius as his friend replied. “I believe I already did that, Padfoot.” He replied simply, ice in that simplicity. “And I don’t intend to change my mind.”

 

A growl of frustration escaped Sirius’s throat before he could do anything about it, and he was up in one swift movement, his fist clenched. “And I believe I already told you it was not to be, Moony. You need to make an intelligent choice, and you need to do it now.”

 

The calm expression did not waver and the voice held now a hint of amusement as Remus remarked wryly, “If you intended to hit something Padfoot, might I suggest you stay away from the walls? This place looks about ready to fall down.”

 

“Damn you Moony,” Sirius exclaimed as his fist connected with the stony floor. He bit down on his lips, drawing blood while trying very hard to keep his pain hidden, but Remus was at his side before he could blink, and he looked like he was trying very hard to keep from laughing as he examined his hand. “Nothing serious,” he declared and with a few taps of his wand the pain was gone. “But next time, I suggest you take it out on the sofa. I am quite sure it won’t hurt this much.”

 

A small smile was threatening to appear on Sirius’s lips, and he fought against it. When he managed to talk, his voice came out soft and filled with concern. “Why are you being so bloody difficult with such a simple thing Moony?” he had to ask, even if he already knew the answer. Remus stared into his eyes, and then looked away, focusing on the fire “Just because the damn thing didn’t work once doesn’t mean it won’t work this time.”

 

“I am glad you’ve finally convinced yourself of that.” Remus replied simply as he went back to his place in the sofa, the wand hidden into his cloak once again. “If I am not mistaken, you did express some doubts when Dumbledore first told us about it.”

 

“How do you expect me to feel?” Sirius was up from the floor, and if it weren’t for the silencing charms he had placed, the entire wizarding population of Kent would get to hear about his feelings. “I’ve already lost two friend thanks to this stupid charm, and I’ll be damned if I am going to loose the only friend I have left because Dumbledore thinks this is for the best.” He turned around and rested his head on the wall before whispering. “I’m staying out of this.”

 

“Sirius, look at me,” Remus pleaded as he stood up and went to stand behind Sirius. The almost full moon cast its light on them through the window, but neither of them payed attention to it. Remus stood there, silent, until Sirius finally turned around and looked at him, his eyes haunted.

 

“I know how you feel about James and Lily, Padfoot, because they were my friends too. And just the thought of using the Fidelius Charm again brings back all these memories I’d rather not think about now. But you can’t stand here in front of me, and tell me that you don’t agree with Dumbledore and that’s the reason you’re staying out of this, because you and I both know that this is for the best.”

 

“How can it be for the best if we lost them thanks to this charm, Remus?” Sirius was asking, a terrible ache in his voice. “How could it be for the best if the thought of it happening again, of losing another one of my friends keeps me from sleeping at night. Tell me, how?”

 

“Peter is gone, Sirius.” Remus’s hand grasped Sirius shoulder and he held on tight, staring at his friend. “He is gone, and it won’t happen again. You are not Peter. You will not betray me.”

 

“How can you be sure of that, damnit!” Sirius yelled, stepping away from Remus as he did so. “How can you still trust me with your goddamn life when I was responsible for what happened to James and Lily? I, for I was the one who talked them into choosing Peter! How can you even consider me a friend when I was the only reason James even considered for a moment you might be the spy.” He stumbled onto the floor, unshed tears shinning in his eyes, his voice broken. “How can you still call me a friend, if I was responsible for taking it all away. How?”

 

“Ah, but there lies the problem, my dear Padfoot,” a voice said from besides Sirius and when he opened his eyes he noticed Remus was sitting right beside him on the floor. “I don’t believe any of that. And in your heart, you must know that.” He shook his head as he stared at Sirius. “We’ve had this conversation before Padfoot, and I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again every time you ask me about it. It was not your fault.” A small smile appeared on Remus’s lips as he concluded,  “You are a bloody narcissist, Sirius Black.”

 

“I think you mean egocentric,” Sirius corrected with a slight smile.

 

“Probably,” Remus admitted, “But I always liked the word narcissist better. Any idea why? Maybe it had something to do with one of my old roommates who was just in love with his reflection and kept hogging the bathroom.”

 

“Me? I never hogged the bathroom. That was James!” Sirius protested, a shadow gone from his eyes. “Besides, I wasn’t the one that talked in my sleep.”

 

“I do not talk in my sleep Padfoot,” was Remus’s ever-quick response.

 

“Of course not Moony, of course not. James and I made that up. You certainly never revealed anything about a certain blonde Ravenclaw in your sleep. Never.”

 

“I am glad you’ve got it right. It never happened.” Remus said as he stood up and extended one hand to Sirius. “Now, come on, get up, and let’s see if we can discuss this like two rational adults instead of the twelve-year-olds we still think we are.”

 

Sirius had to laugh at that, but laughter was gone once he looked outside the window and remembered the precarious situation in which they lived. A decision had to be made, and it had to be made soon. “I still think you should ask one of the Weasley boys, maybe Charlie, or Bill. They’re trustworthy.”

 

“I am sure they are, Padfoot, I am sure they are. But I don’t need to ask any of them. I’ve got you.” Remus didn’t look any closer to changing his mind that last time Sirius had discussed this with him, and he couldn’t help but let out a relieved breath. Maybe he meant it.

 

“Do you really want me to be your Secret-Keeper, Moony?” He stared at his friend for a moment, before looking out, his eyes focusing on the moon. “Lots of things could go wrong. And there’s no way that I could make it during the transformations. I just want you to be sure of what you are doing.”

 

“There is nothing to be sure about, Padfoot.” Remus was now staring at Sirius with a rather comical expression. “I thought you had finally understood this. We do it my way, or we don’t do it at all. Period.”

 

“Your life means more than that Remus,” Sirius protested, still looking unsure. “Your secret would be safe with one of the Weasleys, or maybe even Harry. You don’t have to choose me because of some misguided feeling of pity. I’ll understand.”

 

“Understand?” Remus said, and the intensity in his voice made Sirius take a step back. It was difficult to make Remus lose his temper, and even during their school years, Sirius had witnessed it only rarely. James had joked that only Sirius possessed the gift, but right now, Sirius considered it more of a danger, as Remus looked ready to pounce..He tried to speak up, but a look from Remus was enough to shut him up. It was his time to listen.

 

“I’ve been blabbering for about and hour, and you haven’t understood a thing I’ve said, Padfoot. We’ve had this conversation thousands of times. I am not choosing you as my Secret-Keeper because James would have done so. I am not choosing you to make you feel better because of what happened all those years ago with James and Lily. I am choosing you because you are my best friend in the world, and I trust you more than I trust anyone. I wouldn’t choose anyone else. Are we clear on that?”

 

A silent tear rolled down Sirius’s cheek as he listened to Remus. All he could do was nod as he embraced his friend in what other people might consider an uncharacteristic display of emotion, but for Remus it was simply a glimpse of the Sirius of old.

 

“I’m sorry for being such a prat,” Sirius finally managed once they had dried their tears and straightened out their cloaks. “We are doing this?” he asked, because even after five years outside of Azkaban the warmth and comfort of friendship seemed almost unreal.

 

“Yes, we  are,” was Remus’s  categorical answer,  a small smile on his face. “Together.”

 

And if Sirius’s expression was to be considered an answer, it was obvious that their friendship would help keep them walking onwards, helping each other with their load.

 

The End

A/N: This little outtake is the proof of how big a mess you can get into with a single line. Because once some people figured out Mr. Weasley was not the only one using the  Fidelious Charm, they demanded to know what happened with Remus. And who his Secret Keeper was. And this little piece was born. Siriusly, who else? I dedicate this to Annick, for all those debates, to Kat, for our long ramblings about Remus that manage to drive everyone away. And finally, this one goes to my dear cyber-sister Ami, for I asked her so much for Remus in her story she deserved to get a bit in mine.
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