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Chapter 1: Say it For the Bones
DISCLAIMER: I own nothing of what you recognize.
A/N: This is the last thing I will squeeze out before adding the next chapter of Deliverance, yes? It's my first try at writing slash and writing in a 2nd person narrator, so please tell me how it went. *laughs nervously * Enjoy! (:
SAY IT FOR THE BONES
There is blood drying underneath your nails.
Imagine the bravery. Imagine your mother’s tears. (Foolish boy; your mother won’t ever cry). Monster, she screams, you’re a monster, Remus.
A truth had been etched into the corners of her face.
You will be the only one left standing in the end.
It is not bravery, nor honour – because frankly, there has never been anything honourable about dying in a war. You can see your own ending, right in front of you, sitting in an armchair by the fire as you take your last breath, the wielding spans of life behind you. You will look back, and remember, not with pride, but with regret all the things that you should’ve done and all the things you did, which proved insignificant.
One last Marauder, one last joker left in the game, yet it is no longer about foolish boyish trends that you used to think filled your lives. There is no joke about dying, no joke about being left alone. You were the passive one, the one who stood by and watched – not the one for action. How did you end up with the job of raising boys? You’ve never known your way. They were the better people. And hence, they died.
You can remember being sixteen with him again. Or fifteen, the first time he kissed you. And held your hand. Laughed oh, Remus, as you blushed.
There had been a sense of wonder to the air – you could have this too. It was a forbidden promise to the world, and it should prove impossible. You know now not to ever trust dreams.
The smirk had been the same one as he had slid past the veil, smiling to the world for all eternity. You don’t like smiles anymore.
The sheets scrape against your thighs and you think about reaching her, kissing her. Dreams set your heart on fire and reality has proven far too ordinary. She shifts and mumbles in her sleep, the linen sliding off her upper body. You eye the deep swell of her naked breasts, the darkened skin that puckers in the cold night air. You try desperately, very desperately not to notice the roundness of her body.
You let a pale finger slither across her forehead, down to her puckered lips which part soundlessly. They create a path, you trailing downwards, down to their beating hearts. Irresponsible, they whisper, and the window glooms behind you, casting shadows on your face.
We might die seems awfully grave.
Imagine you’re the younger one – the one frozen in an endless youth. Imagine you’re the one to die for the love of your life. One last eternal purpose for all that you have lived through. Everything in your life has seemed mediocre, it has all failed to matter – he could not even die properly. Twelve years of hatred and then two of love. To say star-crossed lovers seems too clichéd.
“Let’s not talk about the past,” You could say, head tipping back; retreating with the colours of summer. She could look at you, caress her stomach, the But you promised, palpable in an air filled with regrets and broken smiles.
You are the coward out of all of them.
Another memory of Sirius in his leather jacket, puffing smoke in your face. It’s unhealthy, and jackoff get lost in the smile.
He will be your end. You knew it then and you know it now. If you could have chosen, you would have driven off into the sunset with him on the motorbike. War be damned, love be damned. You would exchange it all for this. His breath between your thighs.
Don’t be an idiot, Sirius hums.
You consider naming him Sirius. Consider yourself a fool. A loveless, rotten werewolf fool, who took too much of what he was given. Life at sixteen seems like the highlight of your entire existence. A crusty heartless love, which you should not have taken for granted. What will you do now? What will fill your life?
You bury your head in your hands, life seeping out of you in deep gushes of air. The this was not supposed to happen rebounds off the walls of your loving home – your perfect home. Dora is in the next room, cooing to the baby. Precious, baby, you are loved, you are -
The regret is stale in your mouth, bitter even, and then, there is no one to talk to, no one who knows of your past. No one was there. The wall is silent against the beats of your fist. Everyone except you has expired for this world. You think you have been off date since the age of eight.
Creatures like you have only ever been meant for warfare.
You reading Muggle magazines. Sirius nodding his head off in an absent manner. There is a ray of sunlight playing in his hair. You can see youth and life - your life - bouncing off him. James is playing with the snitch, Peter is observing, always observing.
“We’ll make a difference,” James is honourable, too honourable. Peter stands, hands clutched, the Yes resounding. The air is warm and the grass very green. The sun casts golden glows upon your faces. You are soldiers, golden soldiers.
You slide your fingers through his, “We won’t be like all the other fools.” Sirius squeezes your hand.
You think about regret. Too often.
Ted is crying in circles again and again. You slip out of the house, onto the grass, stepping down to the water. The moon is fifteen hours away, but right now the sun is scorching your skin. As always, you know exactly where it is hiding. The moon and you are two elements merged together in a perfect union, never one without the other. You can still feel the ripping of your own skin, the tight snaps of bones cracking and the blood splashing onto the floor. Your own hoarse scream, turning into a howl. The sound of your own body betraying yourself - everyone. There is darkness etched into your bones.
You clutch the tree, regret clogging your throat,
You feel breath, cool to the bone, against the hollow of your neck. Your body rolls over without you thinking, and Sirius curls around you, arms resting on your waist. You are in the dormitory, boys snoring around you with the light spilling across the room from the open window. Chapped lips press against your shoulder blades.
“It’s cold,” he murmurs as though to excuse his actions. There is the hint of his usual drawl, the posh pureblood-drawl, which he has tried without success to be rid of. It greets you with the familiarity of summer.
“Using me, are we?” You adjust and grab his hand tightly nonetheless.
Sirius nuzzles his head into your back,
You had summers at sixteen.
And summers at seventeen, the ghost rattles its bones.
It is all it has become. Your own defiance to forget is all that keeps them here, the ghostly touches and words, which no one else will remind you of. You consider writing them down, consider publishing a book. You will do anything to let the words remain spoken. You could collect photos, tell your son about them. Your son, you bastard, the ghosts whisper.
You can see your own footsteps being erased behind you. There's a memory, too. Sirius slurring against your neck, breath tinged with whisky and bad excuses, Legendary, we'll be legendary -
And years fall like burnt paper through your fingertips.
You want to be like the moon. Changing but constant. You sit in your room lit in silver, window fogged up by your warm breath. You sit there, with your lungs burning. Burning like boiling water. You sit there. Until the moon is gone - not gone: hiding. Like you. And the sun is peeking in through the shutters. Blinding you like his eyes burned with anger.
Remembering nights covered in whispered words, his breath less than your own. Mooney - His words are like a kiss of liberation. Lips on lips and hands in hair and the sharp pain of the unyielding wall against your back. The nights are endless, but perhaps lying awake is better than sleeping.
The silence fills the void. The graves have been dug, the scribbles on the walls of Hogwarts have been wiped clean. It's a quiet mournful scream, painted across the star scattered sky. There is nothing but a vague tale of four boys who used to believe they could conquer the world.
You did not conquer the world, the world conquered you and now you’re down on your knees, begging for saviour. Or death.
Nymphadora is staring past you. These days it is the best either of you can do, really. Her body seems lithe without the curve of the baby. She is too square.
You slide your hand behind her and pull her against your shoulder. She struggles for a moment before sagging against your chest. You will remember this. The feel of her hair on your cheek, the weight of her chin upon your shoulder. You don’t want to be lonely again.
“We’ll –“ you begin, but stop. Because who are you to lie? “It’s okay.” You murmur finally, and she lets out a small sigh, her shoulders giving.
“I should tell you I love you, shouldn’t I?”
Sirius’s eyes are kind, his smirk taunting.
You kiss and you taste whisky in his breath, mixed with the unmistakable taste of Sirius – just Sirius. It will always come down to this; like magnets you will remain. He's your very own earthly moon. Your mouth slips,
“I want to love you,”
You’re tugging Teddy in, shaking hands nuzzling across his grey blanket. He stares up at you with wide blue eyes, your eyes. His hair is soft and his lips very plump. You recognize Dora in the curve of his jaw, and he’s sniffing, his bottom lip quivering. A hand caresses his button-nose,
Please be okay.
“Will you make me your kids’ godfather?” Sirius muses against your lips. Your mouth to his throat, eyes squeezed shut, lips form the words,
Memory is a shade, greys shifting into black.
He is all attitude and jutting bones when you meet him again, properly, without the Shrieking Shack and blood smeared on the walls. Your blood.
“So you’ve decided to hate me, Sirius?”
“Twelve years is a long time.”
“Would you believe me if I said I’ve missed you?”
“You don’t really mean that, Remus,” He chides. The space between you is small, and you look up at him, suddenly afraid, defiant, and feeling like your own teenage self, learning how to love again.
He looks at you, his grey eyes eating it all up. There is a wrinkle spreading across his forehead, and lines around his mouth. You had somehow imagined him frozen in a timeless ages, committed him to death. You had never imagined he’d age. You try to join the two people, but it is impossible to merge them. You can still remember him at twenty-one, chin coated in their blood, eyes rolling and laughing manically with his arms outstretched. Madness.
But then his eyes crinkle as his smile expands into a genuine expression, and you can find him in the curve of his smile. You rest a hand on his hollow cheek tentatively. Sirius leans into it, a broken sigh escaping. It feels like it did before, back with hips and laughter, back at nineteen - twenty-one – twenty- the years slip by unnoticed.
You close the distance, hand gripping to his shoulder as everything thrives to stay. A broken sob is caught in the back of your throat as your fingers skim about him. He’s all bones and no warmth. Sirius laughs,
“Took you long enough.”
You lie awake (too) often, measuring yourself against the span of the moon. You remember the feel of his firm body against your side, the weight of his hand upon your chest. You remember sloppy kisses on your cheek.
Your fingers will never wander to the other side of the bed. Your nails will dig themselves into the wooden poster of the bed, drawing blood from your flaky fingertips. You want to reach out and grab him, bury your head in those warm arms. Feel the squeeze of his hands, the laughter rumbling in his chest, the love resounding around you.
You want to get lost in the blink of an eye. Kisses, light as feathers shall breeze about you. His snigger; Mooney, such a mess you’ve made. And all you will say is yes, yes, yes.
The blood will dry, you will rest your head down on your pillow, admitting defeat to a force greater than you. You will greet the silence; commit it all to memory.
Sirius is trying to catch your eyes, his smile still visible. “It was only a stupid prank –“
“A prank?” You sneer, “Please, I nearly killed –“
“But you didn’t,” he interrupts and you shake your head at him.
“You can’t – you’re just using me – as if –“
“You know Snape – he needed a lesson, we couldn’t just –“
“Couldn’t just what? Let him be?” You grit, hands fisted. There is a coldness to the air, Sirius stares at you for a long time. He is wearing his leather jacket, which has been cleaned of the blood. There had been a scream and you can still feel the wildness lurking inside of you. You had wanted to kill.
“Remus – we didn’t mean anything by it, really –“
“You used me like –“ your voice falters and it is all you can do and not meet his eyes, “like they would use me – as if I were a –“
Sirius reaches for your hand, fingers outstretched, but you shy away from him. The hurt in his eyes is heart-wrenching, and you look beyond him, mouth tightening.
“As if I were a weapon.”
Sirius’s hand falls limply by his side.
“You knew my father?”
Harry looks at you with Lily’s eyes and your hand slips, “Yes.” (Murderer, failure, murderer, liar.)
There are no memories other than this.
“Listen, Mooney – um - I don’t – “ he breathes out deeply, scratching at the back of his neck, “I don’t pretend to know what the two of you have going on, but –“
You look up at him from the pile of books at your desk, your fingers busy still, clawing down notes. “James –“
“No,” he shakes his head, “I – I just need to tell you that I – ahem - You have my blessing, if - if that counts for anything.”
James does an offhanded shrug, pushing his glasses up his nose. He smiles nervously at you before looking away. In a breath you are tugging him against your chest, squeezing the life out of him. He laughs breathlessly, “Gods, Remus –“
You pull away quickly, straightening your clothes as if to try and maintain your dignity.
“Cool?” James nods. A smile filters across your mouth,
“I will die soon.”
You are in confession with McGonagall, teeth tearing at your lips. Her smile is kind, and your heart is jamming against your chest. The conversation is awfully adult and yet you feel stuck at sixteen most of the time. Your heart is Sirius’s.
McGonagall sighs, “I can’t stop you.”
There are things you could say: sorry, forget it and bad idea. But your mouth remains shut. You’re not good at this.
You used to share kisses like oxygen. Life-sustaining kisses pressed against the nape of his neck.
You've been breathing underwater for far, far too long.
Memories to be forgotten:
“You’ve been crying.” His eyes are very bright, skies of grey. Beautiful wisps of black cover his pale face as he leans against the door. You look away,
“You don’t trust me.”
Sirius sighs, standing up, “Lately, I’ve been having a hard time trusting anyone.” His voice is faint. You sigh, your hands coming up to frame your mouth,
“I thought we’d be different?”
You struggle with the anger for a moment before looking out the window. Sirius walks closer, entering the room. He sits down on the bed beside you. Your thighs press together and his palm presses against your hand,
“Sometimes people disappoint.”
You look up,
“Did you what?”
You shrug and finger the linen,
“Disappoint.” The word is very big in your mouth. Sirius removes his hand, his lips pressing together, pink to white.
“We all disappoint, Remus.”
Being twenty is young, and you do not appreciate being older than your age. You try to ignore the redness of Sirius’s cheek and the dropping of his gaze. Over the course of months he has become withdrawn – you have all become withdrawn. Trust is a distant stranger whom you’ve yet to reencounter.
Life at twenty is confusing and you feel more lost than you did when you were seventeen, all in love and gay – so gay. You grab Sirius’s hand and press a soft, open-mouthed kiss against his palm in a desperate attempt to right the wrongs that you’ve done.
“I still believe in you.”
You want to believe in something.
“Hold him.” Love him.
The baby is too heavy for arms. You bounce him up and down, as he sobs on. The fear is a tight knot in your stomach and you resist the urge to hand him back. Any touch too long could infect him. Silly Remus, the ghost muses
Teddy quietens slowly, his whimpers overpowered by the sound of the wind whisking outside. Rain hits the window. There’s a memory too; Lily twirling in the air, red hair fanning out, baby giggling from her outstretched arms, her smile holds the world. He’s our miracle, Remus. I’m so in love. There could be days like these.
Arms are wrapping around your waist, the press of warm lips at the corner of your throat. You tried your best is lost in a moan as your mouth folds over hers.
“Be nice, won’t you?”
“I’m always nice.”
You pout skeptically, “That’s not what Lucy said.”
Sirius's laugh is dry, “You shouldn’t believe rumours, Remus.”
Here is a lesson still to be learnt.
The end for you comes subtly.
You stand in your old classroom at Hogwarts, staring at dented named on the desktops in the back. The crooked letters overlap each other and you let a hand brush over the words. Harry Potter and Sirius Black are standing side-by-side, the r and s tugging into each other.
You can imagine them there, amidst the bookshelves holding dusty textbooks and with parchment littered on the floor by their feet. There are angry yells and cries of terror outside the door. Explosions shake the walls from time to time, but you continue sitting in your armchair by the Grand window, looking out on the Grand view of the Grand future.
You think the future looks very bloody and all the empty eyes of students resting in bloody eye sockets will haunt your dreams forever.
On the better days, he avoids your gaze. There is dried blood underneath your nails.
Irresponsible, the Headmaster’s voice is grave. There are 569 lines and 37 dents in the stone floor inside the Headmaster’s office.
“You don’t love me, do you?” Her eyes are very blaming, your lies are very smooth and it has always been building to this, expanding endlessly. Your mouth wrinkles,
“Of course I do, this – you, Teddy – you’re all –“ even your voice fails you.
“You’re all I have.” Your arms spread out to embrace it all. This, your life, her and Teddy, the war.
Her chest heaves, “Sometimes I just think – you - you’re difficult, Remus.”
You step towards her, fingers curling around her waist until you are standing face to face, sharing breaths. You can feel it now, the curve of his lips against yours, the flutter of his eyes. It sends an ache through you, coiling in your gut. Sometimes that’s all it takes. You lean closer,
“I love you.”
(See, Mommy? People can still surprise).
One of the last nights, laced with subtlety, anger and despair.
“We’ll survive this, won’t we?” The question had slipped past your lips, breaking rules 1 and 2: no asking and no mentioning of deaths.
He looks at you for a very long time. You think about joking, laughing it off, you could say never mind or pinch him, kidding! But it is as if you have opened a box and there is no way of shutting this again.
“Of course,” he murmurs, hands threading through your hair and you think of how he was never loved as a child, just as you were never loved after being bitten. All children should be loved. He still wakes up at times in the middle of the night, calling out the name of his dead brother.
Your breath slips, “I want to spend the rest of my life with you - short as it may be.”
His hands crush yours, lips blocking the words, “And I mine - short as it may be.”
You should probably know:
This isn't a tragedy.
It's love -
You walk along the empty hallways. There are corpses, young corpses, children. The paintings are weeping and you let your palm press against the Fat Lady’s empty frame for a moment, despair swallowing you fleetingly.
You listen to the castle, greeted by silence. You will commit this to memory for a final time. The bumpy surface of the painting, the crispy smell in the air, laughter bouncing off the walls in an empty castle. The wind whistles in the air. It is the song of your happiness. The ghosts will remain. You won't. You brush a hand through your hair, fingers grazing your wand, before you straighten up.
The silence is fleeting. You will fulfil your purpose one last time.
Your end had come subtly too.
“Sirius, you can’t go.”
“So, you expect me to let Voldemort kill Harry without a fight?” He snorts, “Yeah, that’s a great plan, Remus.”
He is wearing his leather jacket with the old tattered peace sign on his shoulder as he marches into the room, wand ready. You eye the patch, remembering a history; the smallest anecdote. The blood traitor and curling scream still stand clear in your head. There is a past, twisting in the bottom of this house too. It has witnessed too much. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
You sigh, the regret itching in your throat, “That’s not what I meant,”
“Sounded an awful lot like it.”
“No.” His stance is clear. He then adds, in a softer voice, a better voice – your voice. “You know me – I – I won’t stay here – I –“ his fingers grab at yours. Palm presses against palm, fingers curling. Sirius’s voice is small,
“I am no coward.”
You have both been wrong, life has treated you badly, and there are many things that have been broken. You are older: different. You are the sole survivors. But you recognize yourself in the depth of his stare.
“I love you.” As your mouth slips over his, lips parting greedily, his fingers slip across your jaw, trailing familiar lines and curves. It is a first kiss of magnitude. A tongue slips past your lips and you feel humble again, stirring the universe.
Fingers press against your jaw, feather-light, like a dream, "We'll talk when we get back, yeah?"
His eyes are an endless sea of grey that you'll never finish seeing and as you stand there, folded into his chest, breathing his air, your hands clasped tightly in the impossibly small space between you, it's evident:
"We'll talk." It's a silent breath, holding a modicum of vicious surrender as your lips close the space between you. You can feel the rhythm of your life in patterned beats against his mouth. And really, you're not that lost anymore.
This is your last goodbye but you don’t know it yet.
You will soon, though. It will come as a thundering blow that won’t stop hauling you in until you’ve shattered into a million pieces.
Into love, you mean, Sirius sniggers.
Your love was like fire, burning and wielding. You let the flames ignite your bones as screams fill the silence. The air is clogging up like dried up blood as you toe the familiar path through shattered rubbles of former stairs. Your wand is spinning between your fingers.
You hear laughter, flashes of light ignite the sky and you step over crumpled bodies. You recognize faces; others have been battered beyond recognition, their features a splattered mess. The flash of pink out of the corner of your eye halts you. There is a flash of green, the light freezing for a second and she is falling, her body arching beautifully. It is the most magnificent thing you have ever seen. Her figure is the picture of perfection, frozen in the breath of death. There is a scream, your scream.
You weigh sacrifice for a moment, but succumb to selfishness. Ted rebounds in your head. Dora’s eyes are staring straight through you, her mouth forming the smallest “O”. She looks young.
You swallow your vomit. Step forward onto the bricks of your childhood home which blood has now painted red.
You think of what they will say, who will take care of Teddy. You think of the future, of Harry – his parents and Dora. Sirius. The love lies thick in your mouth. You consider singing, consider running, consider –
You are bathing in green.
Imagine the bravery.