Chapter 1 : Cold
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He had locked the door with meticulous interest. He had checked every possible exit, and he had assured himself that they were all barred. The last full moon he had nearly escaped, and while escape was the only thing he wanted, he knew he could never have it.
When the sun set and the loathsome moon rose, he tore at his robes and grated at his skin. He bore his teeth, throwing his entire body weight at the sides of the shack, hoping to break through and fall onto the cool, damp evening grass. Yet every attempt met with failure, until all he could do to keep from going crazy was to turn on himself. He lashed at his own paws, his teeth bearing down on his flesh in futile despair. Not every night was like this. Most nights, even the nights of the full moon, he spent with a companion. He amused himself with his own pain, biding his time until the sun would rise.
With every miniscule entity, with every piece of dust that settled on his wounds, he drew a pained breath. That same air he was breathing was stinging his exposed tissue. Every time it happened he went through the same exercise: the closing of his mouth, the hand firmly clasped over his nose, seeing if he could make it stop. Every time he let go, he gasped helplessly for air, as if apologising for having turned his back on it, and begging for its forgiveness. He felt so weak, so dependant, and so foolish.
The sun had risen after that first painful night. He had spent the entire day in the confines of the shack, sitting in the corner, naked, cold, and wondering why his best friend had not wanted to help him pass the horrible time away. The sunlight had not reached him yet. He was counting in his head, trying to measure how long it would take to get to him. Once it did, on the count of four hundred thirty nine, he started again, this time waiting for the darkness. The numbers turned into words, into a name. Sirius.
Would he come tonight? Would he dare show his face to me tonight?
He looked at his hands in the faint sunlight. They were getting older, even though he was so young. Dirt and skin were caught underneath his nails, the result of having tried to rip himself apart, both while he was transformed and afterwards. Even in human form he had wanted to rip himself apart. He put a finger to his mouth, biting the nail until it bled and he could taste the dirt and iron on his tongue. The hours were steadily passing.
I want him to come tonight. I need him, I never needed anyone, but I need him.
Outside the wind grew strength and the wooden boards of the shack creaked in anticipation of a storm. Small drops of rain echoed pangs off of the tiles on the roof before dripping solemnly down the windowpane. The darkness had fallen again.
If I say his name again and again, he will come.
He looked into the corner over his bent and stiffened knees. The name hissed through his lips. He stared into the corner, waiting for anything to emerge from the obscurity. He looked for a pair of eyes, the glowing yellow eyes of a dog. Man’s best friend. He listened for the clack of claws on the wooden floor, the panting breath. He stretched his legs out, the joints snapping from lack of use. He put his hand on himself, squeezing gently. He let out a warm breath, and the warmth of it pierced the cold air around him. He leaned his head back; his mind was delirious with pleasure and disappointment. He let go, his hand falling to his side and his eyes closing. He slept.
The dog’s presence went undetected for two hours. The dog sat in the corner, watching the sunlight creep into the room and waiting for it to reach the man, his friend. It would get to his toes first, and then illuminate the beautiful skin of his legs, up his thighs until it bathed his entire body. When he was sleeping he was a different creature, an innocent and unscathed creature.
The dog approached the sleeping body. It licked the warm toes and then sat in wait for their master to wake up. The man opened his eyes, turning his head slowly and seeing the black dog at his feet. “Sirius,” he whispered.
The large black dog stepped back a couple of feet and within moments had transformed into a grown man, a man with black hair coming down to his shoulders and a firm and hardened face. “Remus,” he said.
Remus was suddenly aware of his nudity. He reached for the robe that was lying next to him, and he pulled it over himself. Sirius put his hand on his friend’s, the hand that was resting on Remus’ lap. A shudder ran through each body, a shudder of expectation and sorrow.
“Can you forgive me?” asked Sirius, squeezing the hand in his.
The time spent alone in waiting was lost in Remus’ mind. The face that was in front of his own had been there the whole time, if only untouchable. He could now reach out his hand and touch something that was not a delusion. He stroked Sirius’ face, the rough hair on his chin and the soft, yet slightly cracked skin of his lips.
Sirius bent down and kissed his friend on the forehead, lingering for a few seconds before pulling away. He looked at the fresh scars on Remus’ body; they were a glistening bright pink. He wanted to touch them, to press them to his lips, but he refrained. He knew the feeling of disdain that must be in Remus’ heart.
“Again,” said Remus. Sirius stared at him for a moment, and then bent down again, leaving a longer kiss on Remus’ forehead. He breathed in his friend’s scent, the scent that was so obvious from miles away and exuded such a sense of desire. He put his hand behind Remus’ head, in that thick and already greying hair. He pulled it against his lips, shutting his eyes tightly and not wanting to let go.
“Let go,” said Remus. “Enough.”
Sirius drew his lips away from Remus’ skin, leaving a small ring of moisture there. He still had his hand behind his friend’s head, and he looked him in the face. “Enough? Have you ever had enough?”
Remus did not answer.