Chapter 1 : Cold is Outside
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Look how silently
it rains again
dust upon the years
Maybe these murderer’s hands
look for a head to stroke
and feel the weight of the world
(Parts of) Rust by CMX (translated from Finnish by me)
It had been one of those difficult transformations, one of those times when everything went wrong. There had been giant spiders everywhere and Remus the wolf had fought them with all his might.
Now, Remus the boy was lying on the forest floor. Naked. Shivering. And Sirius stood there dumbfounded, unable to move or speak. He had sent the others away, saying that it would be best if only one of them took Remus back.
The last time they’d ended up in trouble, Remus had dashed off into the woods before any of them had a chance to say or do anything to help him. He hadn’t come back until late that night, climbing to his bed like nothing had happened. They never spoke about it, but Sirius knew this was the same.
The boy was covered with green spider-slime. Poison? Blood? Sirius didn’t know. Finally, his legs started working and he took several tentative steps towards his friend. For some reason he was scared, and that wasn’t like him at all. He was supposed to be the reckless one.
It was only Remus.
The boy was lying on his side, back turned to Sirius, breathing unsteadily, but breathing nonetheless. There were bloody scratches across his body and his back was torn open.
"Oh God. Please, Remus, wake up.” Sirius was by his side now, taking his wand out and whispering cleaning and healing spells. He took off his robe and wrapped Remus in it gently. He hugged the boy, trying to warm him with his body.
The cold and damp dawn sought its way under Sirius’ cotton shirt, chilling him to the bone and making him shiver with Remus. The forest reeked of danger and suddenly he was aware of just how vulnerable they were. He needed to get them out of there.
"Wake up,” he whispered in Remus’ ear. ”Wake up. I don’t know if I can carry you out of here. I shouldn’t have sent them away. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” He rocked them both, Remus’ back pressed against his chest and his own mind filling with desperate thoughts. He was starting to panic when suddenly, one brown eye opened.
A smile was tugging the corners of Remus’ mouth. ”Are you taking advantage of my weakened state?” The smile on his face grew wider.
Sirius had the courtesy to blush and he hid his face into Remus’ hair. ”You know me, always sneaking peeks,” he mumbled, his voice betraying his relief.
"Should we go now?” There was a tinge of fear in Remus’ voice but he managed to sound cheerful, too. Even if those bloodthirsty spiders would come back, he was with Sirius, the one person who could keep him safe.
"Can you walk?”
"I’m going to try.”
You know that part in me, the part nobody touches? It vanished when you finally sat down and stopped pacing around like a wild animal in a cage. You’ve been in a cage, haven’t you? In a cage we created when all that innocent trust disappeared. Where did it go? Why didn’t I believe the best of you? Why did you think the worst of me?
I’ve been watching you; the whole time you’ve been sitting on that ancient chair. Sprawling, actually. For a moment I can see you as you were. Picture perfect. Brilliantly beautiful. Sometimes I wish it could have been me sitting in that God forsaken cell of yours, hearing voices and seeing demons. Why wasn’t it me?
I was never that beautiful.
There is so much I want to say, but all I can do is breathe. Even that is difficult. You cut my voice with razor sharp eyes; you don’t want me to speak. There are too many lies between us, too much fear.
I know you’re remembering that moment when I took your hand and embraced you. My friend. Like years of mistrust hadn’t existed. You said then that it didn’t matter, but it does.
It does, because you’re looking at me like that now, like I’m not your friend. I’m one of those people who didn’t question. Why did you give Harry to Hagrid? Why did you give your bike to him? Why were you a wreck when Hagrid found you? Why Sirius? Why didn’t I ask those questions? Why was I so willing to believe that the blood in your veins was thicker than our friendship?
The blood we shared all those times I was injured.
I’m sorry is not going to be enough. You can’t apologise for all the things you did to me. I can’t apologise for all the things I didn’t do for you. But can you still forgive me? Could you forgive? Could I?
It aches to watch you, but I can’t take my eyes off you. The hollow man. Is your heart hollow, too? Or maybe Harry healed it. Can I heal the rest? It’s not natural to be so thin. It’s not natural to have grey, dead-like skin. I want to make you fat. And the thought makes me want to laugh.
Your eyes smother the smile on my face.
Where are you Sirius? What are you thinking?
A croaking sound fills the silence and it takes me a few seconds to realise that you spoke. Your voice is almost gone; the same voice that could whisper shivers down my spine.
I have to ask you to repeat what you said, and it makes me feel embarrassed as though I'm insulting you.
"Twelve years, Remus. Twelve years.” Your voice sounds old and tired.
All I can say is: ”I know.” All I can do is lean forward and try to catch your hand on the table. You shift slightly and I can’t reach you. Of course, I let you speak.
”I know nothing. Everything’s changed. I’ve changed.” You pause for a second and finally lift your eyes to mine. "Will I ever be whole again?”
The question lingers between us like a cloud of moths. I have no answer to give, but I have to try. "You’re not alone.” Again I try to reach for you, but you push me away.
"You weren’t there.” You sound hard and cold.
No, I wasn’t. We weren’t friends anymore. I feel the words on my tongue; I want to say them aloud.
"I’m sorry.” It’s a mere whisper.
"Why didn’t you visit me?” Your eyes shine with unshed tears and it’s hard for me to hold your gaze. You look so broken and it’s my fault.
I feel my heart clench.
Again, my voice is barely audible. "Why did you think I was the spy? Why didn’t you trust me?” Attack is the best defence and I regret it instantly. You withdraw from me and hide behind that cold, dead mask. You look every bit the prisoner you once were.
I can’t take this anymore. I can’t.
I push my chair back and stand up. Fear creeps into your eyes. You must think that I’m leaving, but my intentions are far from that. I walk to you and your eyes widen as though you were my prey. I can smell the fear in you now; it reeks under all the layers of skin and sweat.
You sit upright, back straight, body rigid. How long has it been since anyone has held you? Twelve years is a long time to be alone. I know.
I pull your chair from under the table and turn your body so you’re leaning against me now. I put my arms around you and hold you close. I won’t let go, not even after you start shaking with the silent tears, not even when you try to turn to face me. I'll never let you go.
It’s going to be me next time; I won’t let anything happen to you ever again.
"Have you ever kissed a boy?” Sirius smiled to his friend who was lying on the bed reading. His eyes sparkled with his usual mischief, yet there seemed to be a bit more underneath this time.
Remus was familiar with Sirius’ funny questions. For some reason, the git always questioned him like this when he was reading for a test.
"No I haven’t.”
"Would you like to?”
Remus put down his book and eyed his friend from head to toe. "What is it, now? Are you bored? Where are James and Peter anyway?”
"Detention, remember? The only time I was too busy to play with them and they get detention. Ironic.” Sirius stood watching him with his hands in his pockets nonchalantly .
"It’s not ironic. It’s moronic.” He went back to his book.
Sirius kneeled beside his bed and began to stare at him intently. The mischief was gone, now. His eyes shined with pure curiosity.
Remus growled, "What?” He threw the book to the other end of his bed and stared at his friend, arms crossed over his chest.
"Wouldn’t it be fun to know how it feels?” His voice was full of mirth.
Now he was puzzled. It wasn’t like Sirius to press the matter. "Do you… Are you suggesting…” His voice trailed off. He was starting to feel a bit uncomfortable under Sirius’ stare. The boy looked so determined and a bit dangerous, like he always did before major prank operations, but there was vulnerability in him, too - something Remus had never seen before.
"If you’d like to.” Sirius smiled radiantly and lifted himself on Remus’ bed, never breaking eye contact. "It would be the first time for me too.” Then he seemed to think of something and added, "I’ve kissed girls, of course. Not a first time in that sense.”
Remus swallowed with difficulty, trying to think of something to say, something that would put things back to normal. He lowered his arms to his sides. "Um… I don’t know. Someone might come in and we wouldn’t hear the end of it. Imagine Severus knowing.” But Sirius was too far gone for rational thought. He leaned closer and Remus could smell him, the unique scent of a sixteen-year-old boy, a mixture of grass and dirt maybe even a hint of soap. It brought to his mind thoughts of Quidditch and outdoors. It was the scent of freedom.
Before he could protest, Sirius pressed his lips against his hesitantly. At first the kiss was just ticklish and a bit wet, two shy mouths moving very lightly against each other. It felt weird and funny, and Remus fought the urge to laugh.
Then, Sirius shifted positions, moving on top of him and deepened the kiss. Remus felt hands running through his hair, pulling him closer. His breath seemed to disappear as Sirius slipped his tongue into his mouth. It really didn't feel all that bad, actually. He felt heat rush through his body centering at his groin.
He panicked, pushing Sirius away, breathing heavily. What had just happened?
”What’d you do that for?” came a disgruntled voice on the floor. ”It was just getting good.”
”Maybe for you. Don’t do that again. I’m not like that.” Remus tried to regain himself, slowing his racing heartbeat.
”Spoilsport.” Sirius lifted his head just above the bed, half of his smile hidden from Remus and asked,”Was it good for you too?”
Remus saw a flash of uncertainty in his friend's eyes, but his voice was such a playful one that he had to smile. ”Okay, it was nice,” he admitted slowly and then watched in amazement as a brilliant smile lit up Sirius' face. ”But don’t get any ideas. I told you, I’m not like that. Go find someone else to play with.”
”But I don’t want anyone else,” Sirius whined.
”It’s your problem, not mine.” Remus fetched his book from the foot of the bed and started reading again. He tried to concentrate on Transfiguration, but Sirius’ sighs and grunts were more than effective at distracting him.
It continued the whole evening, even after James and Peter came back. Even after the lights went out.
Remus could hear Sirius across the room.
I can’t believe you’re letting me do this. I remember why you hate getting wet as a dog. You fell into an icy cold river once on a miserable December morning. I thought you’d drown for sure, but you pulled out like you always do.
You’re whining though, Padfoot. It’s such a miserable sound and I know you want me to feel guilty, but I don’t.
You’re one ugly mutt. And sickeningly thin. I wish I could force-feed you, but I know it will take time before you’ll learn to eat again; before you’ll learn to do anything again. But we have time. Finally, we have time.
I’m sitting in the tub with you, clothes on. My trousers are ruined and my white-collar clings to my skin. I’m positively too old for this, but still, there's no other place I'd rather be. Somehow, it feels as though the dog in you trusts me. Is it true or am I only interpreting reality for my own benefit? I need you to trust me. Please.
I wash off all your fleas, using the finest flea shampoo the pet shop has in its collection. I’m pampering you.
After I’m finished, you wag your silly little tail, reminding me of one of our discussions about you being a nicer dog than a person. At least you are somewhat easier. Your eyes shine differently when the dog in you takes over. You look almost happy. Scruffy, but happy.
I find a towel under the sink and start drying myself. I’ve put clean clothes for you on the bowl and there’s another towel for you there, too. You need to be under the shower for a long time; you stink like a sewer.
I smile to you from the door when you turn into the man you are. A shadow of a smile creeps to your face, showing just how much you’ve forgotten, how much they’ve taken from you. But don’t worry; I’m going to teach you. I’ll make you remember.
And we’ll burn your old clothes once you’ve finished showering. I think it’ll be good for you. A ritual of sorts.
”I can’t take you home to meet my parents.”
It should have been a serious conversation, but nothing ever was with Sirius. Remus squealed as the black haired boy tickled him uncontrollably, and then asked with a haughty voice,”Why not? I’m a perfectly respectable Pureblood wizard with a dark and mysterious past.”
”You’re also a boy and my father would skin me alive.” Remus tried to wiggle away from Sirius, but the boy just pulled him back down. They were lying on a checkered blanket near the rim of the Forbidden Forest. Sirius had charmed the blanket so nobody could see or hear them.
”You promised to take me seriously.” He smiled against Remus’ neck, teasing the boy with his tongue. ”And meeting the parents is one step closer to being a respectable couple.”
Remus didn’t know what to say. He really did care about Sirius. He wasn’t sure about love, but he definitely cared about him. It was so difficult to be with another boy, always sneaking around. Nobody knew about them, at least he hoped not.
And what on Earth was Sirius doing with his tongue?
”Mmm… you taste salty. Oh, oh. Could I bottle your fragrance? It would sell millions.” Sirius nibbled his earlobe absentmindedly. ”We could call it Kiss of Lupus or something. People would love it.”
Remus sat up, shaking Sirius off him. ”Why do you have to be like that all the time?” He sounded playful, but part of him felt genuinely hurt. Sirius had a nasty habit of undermining everything he had to say. It was like talking to a brick wall with a very short attention span.
"Like what?” Sirius looked quite innocent.
"If you don’t understand, I'm not going to waste my time explaining.” He hugged his knees close to his chest, trying to keep the cold September wind out. He missed Sirius' warmth.
"You talk like a girl, Moony." His voice held a serious undertone although he tried to sound careless. "I may not be able to read your mind, but I do understand your words.”
Remus turned to look at him, shifting his weight to his knees. "You really want to know?"
"Be quiet then. I’ll show you what I mean.” He brushed Sirius’ hair out of his face, touching his cheek lightly. ”You’re amazingly beautiful, but your mouth just keeps yapping, destroying the beauty.” He let his thumb trace the other boy’s upper lip. ”I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone so courageous, but your arrogance wipes away all your deeds. It’s easy to forget what you just did because you act all cocky.” He kissed Sirius’ closed eyelids gently. ”You’re very intelligent, always coming up with great new spells, but you use your wits for mischief only. That way you’ll never be respected among the wizarding people.”
Remus lay down next to the boy he was beginning to love. ”Give me time and I can make you happy. Give me time. Please.”
A comfortable silence fell between them, their peaceful breaths mixing with the fierce Autumn wind which kept howling around them. Eventually, Sirius nuzzled up to him, letting out a sigh. ”If you insist. You should’ve just said that.”
A/N: This was never meant to be heavily descriptive. It's supposed to be a bit broken. This was my first Sirius/Remus story and many people helped me deliver this little baby. Mostly Melihobbit, forsakenphoenix, Noblevyne and FaymosAmos. This was betaed by my friend, Vickie. Thank you all of you. ^_^
Oh, and I removed all the descriptions I added to the kissing scene afterwards. Now it flows like it was supposed to flow.
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