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In Lieu of Flowers

by Halrloprillalar

[Story Headers]

Posted: Thursday, July 31, 2003 9:40 PM

There was a memorial service at Grimmauld Place. Afterwards, Molly hugged Remus and Moody shook Remus's hand and even Snape nodded and said something that could be construed as sympathy.

After the memorial there was tea and after the tea, everyone else left to go back to the other part of their lives.

In the hall, Kingsley put his hand on Remus's shoulder. "You don't have to stay here tonight, if you'd rather not. I have a spare room; you're welcome to use it."

But Remus shook his head. Kingsley opened the door. It was twilight and everything seemed grey, inside and out. "Owl if you need anything," Kingsley said. "If you want to go for a drink or you change your mind about staying here."

Then the door closed behind him and Remus was alone. They'd put a charm over the portrait of Mrs Black, to keep her quiet for the afternoon, and Remus could see her screaming silently. The charm would wear off soon.

Remus went upstairs, to the room that he and Sirius had shared. He got into bed and put his head on Sirius's pillow. Remus had a wolf's memory of Sirius's scent and he imagined he could smell it now, if he concentrated very hard.

He didn't sleep. He could almost see Sirius beside him, dark hair spilling over the pillow, his arm reaching out in sleep to pull Remus against his chest.

At dawn, Remus got up and made a cup of tea.

There was work to do for the Order. And the house. Kreacher was dead, his head mounted beside the others in the hall. Remus didn't know how he had managed it.

The days slipped by somehow. Remus was fine. They had meetings and people spoke to him awkwardly, asking him how he was doing, always asking him. "Fine," he told them each time. He was fine.

Molly brought him food and told him he should eat more and whispered to Arthur when she thought Remus wouldn't notice. When they talked, Moody looked away in two directions. Snape didn't say anything at all.

Only Kingsley met Remus's eye and held it, talked to him as though nothing had changed. He brought Remus a bottle of Firewhisky. "For the damp," he said. Remus thanked him and put it away in a cupboard.

Remus stayed in the house. Someone had to be there. The others picked up the travelling he used to do. Kingsley took to stopping by after work every other day. He'd clap Remus on the shoulder, talk for a minute, then suggest Remus come out for a drink or a meal.

And Remus was always glad to see him, but he never really felt like going out. He'd smile at Kingsley and chat and see him out the door before getting back to his research.

Harry owled him a few times and Remus put the letters in a pile to be answered sometime when he didn't have so much work to do.

The house wasn't quiet. There were creaks and groans that were either dark magic or the plumbing. And Mrs Black took to screaming half the day, whether he was in the hall or not, blaming Remus for everything that had gone wrong with Sirius, and castigating them for being "unnatural".

One day, Remus conjured a load of bricks and mortar and slowly walled her in. He hung a curtain over the bricks. His hands were blistered and he'd tracked mortar over the carpet.

It was quieter after that. Remus went up to bed and put his head on Sirius's pillow.

"You should get out of the house," Kingsley said. "You're looking very pale."

So when the moon was full, Remus Apparated out to the country. He took his potion and then he ran all night. In the morning, his limbs ached and the blood of a rabbit was in his mouth.

"I meant you should get out and see some people," Kingsley said. He'd taken to inviting himself in some evenings, sitting at the table where Remus was working. He'd sit and talk until Remus had to get up and make tea and talk back.

When school began, the Order saw the children off on the train. Remus didn't go. Harry had been asking after him, Molly told him later. Remus nodded and said he was sorry that he hadn't been able to spare the time.

Kingsley had to go away on Ministry business and Remus didn't see him for a fortnight.

Kingsley brought Remus back a bottle of a foreign liqueur. It was green and glowed faintly in the dark. Remus put it in the cupboard beside the Firewhisky.

"Are you all right?" Kingsley said. He touched Remus's arm.

"I'm fine," Remus said. He was. He was eating, he was sleeping, he was working. He was fine.

But Kingsley didn't let him alone. "No," he said, "I don't think you are." He took Remus by the shoulders. "Remus, it's all right to be sad."

"I'm not sad," Remus said. And he wasn't.

"You're not?" Kingsley's eyes narrowed a little. "Not at all?"

"No," Remus said and tried to step back. But Kingsley kept hold of him. Remus was beginning to churn inside; he didn't like it. "You should go. I'm fine."

"You're not fine," Kingsley said. "You're not sad, you say." He leaned in and looked Remus in the eye. "So, what are you?"

Kingsley's fingers were hurting Remus's shoulders. Remus pulled himself backwards, but Kingsley just followed through and all Remus got was a doorknob in the small of his back.

The pain jarred something loose and he couldn't stop it. "I'm angry," he said. "I'm furious." He was beginning to shake. He raised his voice. "I'm angry at that bastard Snape for not doing his job. I'm angry at that idiot child for running off where he had no business to be."

He wrenched himself away and Kingsley let him go. "I'm angry at Dumbledore for letting this happen, I'm angry at all of you for not saving him." He slammed his fist into the wall and felt the plaster crumble. He did it again. He felt like he might be sick. "I'm angry at bloody Sirius Black for leaving me for the second bloody time."

Remus slumped against the wall. "I'm angry at myself for not being here to stop him. I should have been here." He was close to tears. "I should have been here."

"And it's all right to be angry."

Remus looked at Kingsley and smiled weakly. "If you say so." His insides were churning less.

"I do." And before Remus knew what was happening, Kingsley pulled Remus up and hugged him.

Kingsley's hands were on Remus's back and his breath was hot on Remus's neck. Remus put his arms around Kingsley held on for as long as he dared, letting the warmth of Kingsley's body into his bones. It felt good.

When they stepped apart, the space between them was full of awkwardness. Kingsley smiled a little. "Feel like coming out for a drink?"

Remus smiled back. "Tomorrow."


Remus nodded.

"Okay, then. I'll come by for you." Kingsley touched Remus's arm one more time, then let himself out.

Remus went upstairs and slept in a different room.

The next night they went out to the pub.


Halrloprillalar "Hal" FIC:

Weasley is our King.

Please post a comment on this story.

Fandom:  Harry Potter
Title:  In Lieu of Flowers
Author:  Halrloprillalar   [email]   [website]
Details:  Standalone  |  PG  |  *slash*  |  6k  |  02/11/04
Pairings:  Sirius/Remus, Remus/Kingsley
Summary:  Remus is fine.
Notes:  Written in 100 minutes for the contrelamontre character development challenge.
Distribution: Archive anywhere. Email forwarding allowed.
Disclaimer: Rowling, not me.

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