Chapter 1 : Remus In Colour
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Remus muses over the personification of the shades. It’s morning, but he pulls the curtains closed. He does not want to get out of bed, or start the day, or look for another job, or do anything but sleep. His mind continues to wander over the pointless thoughts he never shares with anyone.
If light and dark argue so, do black and white? Do black and white clash so harshly that they are a constant disagreement? And what does gray think of that? Being the medium of black and white, it must be hard to be stuck in the middle all the time.
Remus wonders what his brain is trying to tell him. What are light, dark, white, black, and gray all symbolizing? He looks at his ceiling, noting that it’s white. The walls are white, his headboard, black, and his duvet, a pale gray. Remus wonders if he’s decorated his room this way purposely, although he has no memory of it. The bed was cheap, the duvet warm, and the walls were white when he moved in.
Then Remus thinks of his bathroom.
White walls, white sink, white floor… beige towels? Beige – a mix of white and brown. So what does brown have to offer then? It’s not a shade of black or white or gray, and it comes in many tones of light and dark. Perhaps brown is the referee, holding all the shades, tones, shadows, tints, and colours together. Brown’s the one that steps in when white and black get too hard headed, or the one that brings light and dark together when they swirl, allowing them to fully blend and become one.
It occurs to Remus that there was absolutely no reason to bring the bathroom into the equation at all. The bathroom is irrelevant, isn’t it?
But is brown, as well?
Yes and no. Brown isn’t a shade. It’s a colour. At first we – wait a second… “we?” – were only dealing with black and white, dark and light, and the mix of gray they made when they came together. But do other colours affect the spectrum? Do colours balance out light and dark’s whirlwind rows? Or bring softness to the rough grinding of black and white? Or are colours really just another background thought? Do they need their entire own thought bubble?
Remus then remembers the green sofa in the small living room, the orange soap in the kitchen, and the red paint stain on the counter of the bathroom (which, to the untrained eye, has an odd similarity to dried blood). He thinks of purple bruises, blue ink, and the odd yellow flower growing between the cracks in the sidewalk outside his home.
Are they a part of this debate, as well? What is the relevance of all these different colours with shades?
Neutrals. It starts with neutrals. Brown, cream, beige, off-white, gray, slate, the colour of cement; they’re all neutral. With black and white, they’re the colours that surround us. There are neutrals everywhere. Skin is even neutral.
Remus sees black and white as neutral colours, though his mother saw black as cool and white as warm. He’s always associated white with his mother. She was sweet, kind, caring, and plain. White is very plain. His father was more like black. Hard, strict, and stubborn. Yet his parents came together and got along better than the colours Remus matched them with.
Why do we see colours? Babies don’t see colour for a whole 45 seconds after their birth. What’s the point of learning them? Dogs don’t see colour. They get along just fine. I wish I could ask Sirius what that’s like.
Remus wonders what colour Sirius would be.
Sirius can’t be black. That would be a bad pun. He hated puns. Especially Sirius vs. Serious puns. So, it can’t be a colour that is pun-able.
Pun-able? Remus, what is wrong with you?
Sirius could be purple; passionate, mysterious, yet playful, and always ready for fun – a perfect fix of red and blue, bringing together attributes that would normally conflict.
Or possibly red.
Remus thinks he could see Sirius as a red.
Red, passionate in a different way then purple, full of love – or lust? – and life. A wonderfully good description of Sirius, and could just be a better colour to compare him to than purple.
Now, thinking about it, Remus decides Sirius is definitely not a purple.
Purple is much too secretive. Red is so much more open and full of emotion, exactly how Sirius acted. They’re both dramatic, stained, and affectionate. With just the right mix of another colour, they can grow to be even more powerful than before.
And now Remus is convinced he must find this other colour.
Perhaps James was Sirius’ other colour. The two had always been close, and performed better together than apart. Maybe they are complementary colours – but James as green? That can’t be right. James would never pass as a green. Greens are jealous, envious, cunning, and much too like a Slytherin. But perhaps James is a colour close to green, because he was always quite ambitious. Perhaps he is a yellow. Cheerful, optimistic, and considered by many to be “adorable”. James could very easily be described as any of those words. And yellow and red make orange, a delicious mix of happiness and passion. Together, Sirius and James make just that.
But now Remus is stuck. He is left with one other Marauder to categorize. He swallows hard, and decides to get out of bed before plunging back into this awful abyss in his mind. He pulls on a shirt – a gray one, coincidently – before heading to his kitchen. The room is small, with white walls, white laminate floors, white cabinets, white everything it seemed. The only things that aren’t white are the table and the wine bottle, still half full, perched on top of it. Remus takes note to the fact that the table is black, and the wine bottle is green.
Green. Held up by black.
Remus tries to put them together.
Green. Jealousy. Held up by black. Stubbornness.
Peter is my kitchen!
He is horrified, leaning against the counter as he ponders this realization.
Yes, the kitchen. Peter is just like the kitchen. Mainly white – plain, boring, thoughtless – but with a large obstruction in the center of it, filled mainly with black – hard and devoid of sympathy – and green – envious, ambitious.
Remus looks closer.
But there is something even further underneath. The wine – or the whine? Which wine is it? What a terrible pun…
The wine is a cheap red kind, slightly corked and has a sort of burnt taste to it. Is this a hidden side to my kitchen, to Peter? The red isn’t pure; it’s darker, almost dirty. So Peter has a hidden, tainted passion. But for what? What is he closest to?
Remus doesn’t like to think to those now closest to Peter. He carefully, almost fearfully, approaches the table, pulling out a seat for himself.
He is close to evil.
He takes an even closer look at the bottle.
He may as well be personified completely by this bottle – he’s always been envious of James and Sirius, wanting their charisma to rub off on him. The label, it’s white. Plain white. Almost like it’s pure. If Peter is like this bottle, than he is obsessively envious of power, but tries to cover it with a charade of innocence. Behind it all, he has a deep, corrupt passion for domination. Is this the answer to Peter?
Remus tries to remember the last time he had a friendly conversation with Peter, but the exact time doesn’t come to mind. He remembers several times they sat together and talked, but towards James and Lily’s death, these became more arguments than anything.
Why is Peter built so? Why has his soul, his inner wine, been influenced in such a terrible way? He could have been filled with white wine – genuine, clear, and jovial – yet he took a path that poured this deranged, unsettling red wine into his stomach.
Remus wants to unleash the passion. He wants to rid Peter’s insides of the venal fluids. He wants to get rid of the fake honesty and the unwanted jealousy. He picks the wine bottle up, the innards swishing excitedly. He holds it by the neck, staring at it. The redness inside calms, as if disappointed. Remus decides not to think for a moment, and to unleash the greater good.
He holds the bottle above his head, and brings it down with a sickening crash on the edge of the table. The wine spills out over the surface delightedly, dripping onto the floor, as the glass smashes into thousands of pieces. Remus smiles at its defeat. He is left with only the neck in his hand.
But there is still passion that needs to be unlocked. Where is this passion?
Remus tries to bring Sirius back into the equation. He is red after all.
Blood is red. Blood…
Remus is confused by his own thoughts. He does not want to do what he is doing, but he does it anyway. He wants to let the passion out, to help it escape, but not in this way. Never in this way.
Why am I doing this?
He is outraged at his own actions. Blood is now on the edge of the jagged bottle’s neck, and flowing almost politely from his wrist. Remus wonders if he’s lost his mind, until he realizes what his brain is trying to tell him.
Green is envy, red is passion. Am I to use envy to bring out passion? Or jealousy to bring out love? Is this why green and red are complementary colours? One can bring out the other?
Remus reminds himself that Sirius is red, and Peter is mostly green.
Peter is supposed to bring out Sirius, or Sirius is supposed to bring out Peter? No, Peter did bring out Sirius. Years ago, when he was in Azkaban, Peter was the one who unknowingly lured him out.
This is all finally making sense to Remus.
And green was the one to encase red – Peter was the one who caged Sirius by framing him. Yes, I understand, brain, you needn’t be fretting so…
But there is another feeling coming from the back of his mind, and suddenly Remus is on his feet, panicked.
Oh, no. This is not good. Oh, brain, why would you tell me this? Why would you have me suffer so? Why would you even think of such a thing?
His brain isn’t listening. It is suddenly splattered inside of his head, and Remus feels his skull aching.
No, it can’t be true. Red is brought out by green – like the blood on my arm by the bottle – but green also holds red back – like the wine in the bottle – and then gray – me – brought red out of the bottle…
I killed Sirius!
He is suddenly pacing, his brain is frantic and wine is still dripping lazily from the table’s edge. Remus stares at it, completely abashed. He is suddenly still and overcome with sorrow.
I didn’t mean to kill Sirius! I let him out! I let him out! How could I do such a thing? It’s my entire fault, I should have said no! I was always the one to put my foot down, and I should have this time as well! Sirius knew he shouldn’t have left Grimmauld Place, I knew it too, I should have said no. I should have made him understand.
Remus looks back at the wine on the table, splattered. It no longer looks happy at its freedom. It looks dead, like Sirius.
Look, there he is on my kitchen table. He’s just lying there.
Remus looks back at his wrist, and jumps.
No! No, this is not happening. Sirius is leaking down my arm. Sirius is all over my table, my floor, my walls, and he’s even slipping out of my veins.
Remus runs his other hand through his hair, and then rubs the sudden wetness in his eyes. He thought he had been doing the right thing, and now the remains of his best friend are staining the purity of his white surroundings.
And there is Peter, in his many, many pieces, flickering gleefully in the light at me. Are you proud of me, Peter? You and I have managed a spectacular task. You killed James and Lily, you sly old dog, and I’ve killed Sirius. We make quite the team!
Remus is not proud of this, but he is sure Peter would be if he figured out the same thing. Maybe he’d come around for tea, if Remus asked him to, and he could explain the whole thing. And then they could laugh together for hours about what terrible murderers they are, and wonder why they haven’t been caught yet.
Come over for tea, Peter.
Remus is sure he will never drink tea again, while he is thinking about this particular subject.
Tea is brown. Brown is fair, the center of all the colours, the one that mediates everything. I’m in no way associated with brown. I have killed my best friend. That is definitely not a brown thing to do.
Remus does not know what to make of himself, so he walks to the sink to wash his hands off. They are covered in blood and wine. He does not want to have Sirius on himself anymore, because Sirius is making him feel so guilty.
The sink – dark and steel. Smooth and strong.
Remus scolds himself for thinking more of colours. He does not like where it has gotten him. The soap, he can’t help but notice as he washes Sirius from his arms, is orange.
Orange. Like James and Sirius. Together. Washing what I did to Sirius off of my skin. James and Sirius are washing away the past.
It occurs to Remus that James and Sirius do not blame him for what happened to Sirius, and even though they are not around, they are helping him through it in a silent sort of way.
Eventually the water runs clear, and Remus wanders into his bathroom to look for a bandage for himself. The gauze that covers the cuts, he notices, is white.
Pure and innocent.