Posted: Monday, September 08, 2003 9:04 PM
Sirius had always known he'd escape. It was what he did. Escaped his family, their dark legacy, the consequences of his actions -- at least until the night James and Lily died. That night, it all came crashing down on him, and it cost him everything.
He spent twelve years holding firm to three things: his innocence; his eventual escape; and how sweet vengeance would be.
And he had escaped, had proved his innocence to the people who mattered -- Harry, Remus, Dumbledore -- only to wind up trapped again in the old house he'd run away from at sixteen.
He thought he might one day appreciate the irony of it, if he managed to live through the damned war they all knew was coming.
He was ready to go mad, after only a week in the old house of horrors. He didn't know how much longer he could take it. He appreciated the Weasleys coming to stay, and Remus-- he wouldn't have managed to stay sane at all without Remus.
He stood at the window, twitching the curtain back and forth, watching. Remus had gone out shopping with Molly Weasley; Arthur and the kids were off somewhere, leaving him to his own devices. He was torn between being glad to be alone with his irritation, wanting people around to take it out on after so much time by himself and being jealous of their freedom.
When he heard the front door open, he headed downstairs. Molly Weasley entered, Remus behind her, arms full of shopping bags. Remus, ever the gentleman, put down the groceries and took her umbrella while she shook the rain from her hair.
"I realize you were ... together before, actually," he heard Molly say, "but why--"
He retreated up a few steps before they saw him, out of sight. He knew it was wrong to eavesdrop, knew that eavesdroppers never hear well of themselves, but was unable to help himself. He needed to hear Remus's answer.
Trust Remus to state the obvious while saying absolutely nothing of interest. It was nice to know some things hadn't changed.
He still couldn't reconcile the Remus he saw -- worn and thin and looking older than his thirty-six years -- with the boy he'd known so many years ago. And they had been boys, young and stupid and full of bravado. He knew that now. He had the feeling Remus had known it even then. He'd always been the mature one.
"I can imagine," Molly said, and Sirius recognized the attempt to draw Remus into a more personal conversation. "You oughtn't feel obligated. I mean --"
Sirius suppressed a growl, not wanting to give himself away.
"No, I don't," Remus replied, but not quickly or vehemently enough for Sirius's liking. "It's complicated," he repeated.
Molly laid her hand on Remus's arm. "You do have other options, Remus. That nice Hestia Jones--"
Sirius had heard enough.
"How was shopping?" he interrupted, stomping down the stairs.
Remus shot a worried glance at him, but said nothing. They spent an awful lot of time saying nothing these days. It reminded Sirius of the terrible summer before seventh year, when all his letters had been returned unopened, and the train ride to Hogwarts had been filled with tentative conversations as he attempted to regain the ground he'd lost though his own stupidity.
Molly rattled off a list of her purchases and her plans for supper. Sirius managed to avoid talking to Remus at all. He noticed Remus made no effort to speak to him, either. He wondered yet again if fourteen years was too large a chasm to cross.
2. How You Remind Me
They'd eaten a nice supper, and Molly had herded her husband and children out into the back garden since the rain had let up, leaving Remus and Sirius alone in the kitchen. They brooded in uncomfortable silence over a pot of tea. At least, Sirius brooded. Remus was uncomfortable. He knew Sirius had things he wanted to say, and there were things he himself wanted to say, but he had no easy answers and didn't want to start yet another conversation that would end badly. In the few days they'd been at Grimmauld Place, it seemed every conversation they had ended badly.
"Why are we doing this?" Sirius asked abruptly.
Remus raised an eyebrow. "Good triumphing over evil, protecting the innocent, avenging James and Lily." His mouth quirked in a half-grin. "Any of this sound familiar?"
"No," Sirius said, irritated. "Why are we doing this?" He waved a hand between them.
"Oh." Much harder question to answer. "Uh--"
Sirius snorted. "Let me know when you've an answer, all right? Something better than, 'It's complicated.'"
"You overheard my conversation with Molly."
"You've always had a talent for stating the obvious, Remus." Sirius lifted the teacup to his mouth, which curled with disdain, then slammed it down without drinking, sloshing tea on the table. Remus was surprised the cup didn't break. "You shouldn't have even been having that conversation with Molly."
"Sirius." He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, pushed down his own irritation. "I--
"You chose to live here, Remus."
"How could I have refused such an excellent offer?" he answered without thinking, then bit his lip.
They stared at each other for a moment; the unspoken words hung between them.
For the first time in their lives, Remus had somewhere else to go; Sirius did not.
Remus hadn't even thought of it until the words were spoken. He'd gotten out of the habit of speaking freely after Sirius went to Azkaban, a habit it was all too easy to slip back into now they were together again. But it was no less dangerous than it had ever been.
Sirius pushed his chair out from the table with a loud scraping sound. He stood, hands balled into fists so tight his knuckles were white. "I'm going to bed."
"It's only nine o'clock."
The contemptuous look Sirius threw at him sent a chill down Remus's spine. He'd been on the receiving end of it once in a while in their younger days, usually when he tentatively suggested laying off Snape. It had served as an effective deterrent then. Now, it -- and the instinctive, quickly quashed fear it inspired -- just made him angry.
"I'll be up in a little while," was all he said, though. Anger was a weakness, and Sirius already had a whole catalogue of his weaknesses to exploit.
"Don't bother." And with that, Sirius stalked out.
Remus stared down into his tea as if it held the answer to all his problems -- Sirius, the house, the Order, Harry's Muggle relatives and Dumbledore's insistence that he not be removed from their care immediately.
Finding no solutions in the now-cold tea, Remus flung the porcelain cup at the sink, taking petty satisfaction in the way the liquid sprayed, the china shattered.
"Everything all right in here?" Molly appeared in the doorway.
"Fine, Molly," he said, wondering if she could hear the weariness in his voice. He walked over to the sink and pointed his wand at the shards of china littering the floor. "Reparo."
The cup reformed itself and he bent to retrieve it.
"Remus?" She looked concerned. "Are you--"
"I said, everything's fine," he snapped.
She blinked at his tone. "If you say so."
"I do." She held out a hand and he placed the cup on it. "See?" he said. "Just like new."
She closed her fingers around the teacup and with her left hand, took his. She turned it palm up, and he flashed back to Divination for a moment.
She put the cup down on the sideboard and traced a gentle finger over the scar in the center of his palm. "Did you cut yourself?"
He looked down at it, remembering Halloween of seventh year, after he'd finally forgiven Sirius for the Shack incident, and long before they'd started sleeping together.
"Childhood accident," he lied. It had been no accident.
She dropped his hand, obviously thinking it had to do with the wolf, when it was one of the few visible scars he had that had nothing to do with the wolf.
No, not the wolf. Sirius. Sirius had left his own set of scars. Remus tried to forget about this one, but never had.
Sirius had already had one on his right palm. He'd shown it to Remus proudly.
// "James and I did it when we were ten. Blood magic, Moony. Powerful stuff." //
Where Sirius was concerned, Remus had always followed the trails James blazed; Remus came in second to the father, and now to the son.
Not that he begrudged Harry any of Sirius's love or attention. He certainly didn't. He understood that Harry was Sirius's top priority; that was precisely as it ought to be. Harry was his top priority, as well. But sometimes the old resentment welled up and lingered, like the copper taste of blood at the back of his throat on mornings after the full moon.
They'd been old enough to know better, and they'd done it anyway. It was the sort of thing children did -- blood oaths and secret nicknames at the dark of the moon, playing at powerful magic when they had no idea what it meant. They'd known, though, he and Sirius. Yet Sirius had insisted. And Remus had never been able to say no to Sirius.
He closed his hand into a fist and opened it again, letting go of his anger as he recalled how grave Sirius had been about their ritual.
He smiled at Molly, finally in possession of an answer.
"I'm heading up to bed," he said. "We'll probably sleep in tomorrow." He kissed her cheek. "Thank you."
She shook her head, confused, but for the first time, things were clear to Remus.
"Hestia Jones," Sirius muttered. "I ask you, Hestia Jones? And Remus? What is that about? I think those children of hers have finally sent Molly round the bend."
Buckbeak said nothing, golden eyes glimmering balefully in the dim light of the room.
Sirius paced in agitation, unable to get the idea out of his head.
He knew, despite all the myths, that he and Remus were no more mated for life than any other couple. And he reckoned (though he still hadn't worked up the nerve to ask and wasn't sure he ever wanted to know) that Remus had not remained celibate for the twelve years he'd been in Azkaban. Much as Sirius might wish he had.
But to hear it said so plainly, and in his own house, that Remus could do better--
"Of course he could do better, Buckbeak. But Hestia Jones?"
He ran a hand through his hair. He'd never been possessive -- he'd never had to be. There'd been no doubt in his mind that Remus was his for the taking, the way everything else had been. It was one of the things he and James had had in common, one thing that Remus had never had -- the belief that the world was theirs by right
And yes, if forced, he'd admit that he and Remus had become closer because he'd needed someone to fill James's absence once James and Lily got together. James had been his best friend, his brother. He automatically looked at the scar on his right palm. They'd sworn blood brothers at the age of ten, after knowing each other approximately two hours at a wedding where a Potter cousin married a distant Black relation.
And even though they'd been children then, with no notion of the power behind vows sworn in blood, they'd kept to that oath until the day James died.
His oaths to Remus had been sworn much later. Friend yes, and then so much more. He wondered if Remus even remembered.
He looked at his left hand, the thin white scar a reminder of what they'd meant to each other once, even if neither of them could bring himself to say it now.
James had been his brother, and Harry was like a son. He would keep his promise to James still.
But Remus-- Remus was something else altogether.
Maybe they both needed a reminder of that.
"Dammit, Buckbeak, I'm no good at this," he said. "I am discussing my love life -- what there is of it -- with a hippogriff." He laughed in genuine amusement for the first time since they'd moved into Grimmauld Place. "Now I know what Hagrid feels like." He shook his head. "And that's something I'd rather not think about."
He patted Buckbeak, and made his way to their bedroom, determined to create something that the house, his family, and Voldemort himself couldn't ruin.
4. Wherever You Will Go
When Remus reached the bedroom, Sirius was walking down the hall from Buckbeak's room.
"I've been a right bastard," he said before Remus could speak.
"Yes," Remus replied, surprised and pleased. Apologies were not Sirius's forte.
Sirius gave a bark of laughter, and Remus smiled. "It's amazing how much you can learn while talking to a hippogriff." He pushed open the door to the bedroom and gestured for Remus to precede him. "After you, Mr. Moony."
"Thank you, Mr. Padfoot." Remus wasn't sure what had lightened Sirius's mood, but he wasn't going to question it. Sirius had always been the very definition of mercurial.
Remus leaned a hip against the desk as Sirius closed the door and turned to face him.
"I have an answer," he said, holding out his left hand, palm up. "Whither thou goest--"
"I will go," Sirius finished, crossing the room to press his scarred left palm against Remus's.
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Fandom: Harry Potter
Title: Wherever You Will Go
Author: Victoria P. [email]
Details: Standalone | PG | 12k | 02/14/04
Summary: "Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge." 1 Ruth 16
Notes: Thanks to Jen, Pete/Melissa, Dot, and Meg.
Spoilers: Minor ones for OotP
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters belong to JK Rowling, Scholastic etc.; this piece of fan-written fiction intends no infringement on any copyrights.
Archive: Lists, Muse's Fool.
Feedback: Is better than chocolate.
// // indicates memories
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