Chapter 1 : Friendship never dies
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Sirius Black paced across the polished marble floor. “I’m still here, mate, trapped beyond the veil, watching you. If only you knew. Come on, Moony. You know you’re not allowed to drink when you’re sad.”
Remus fell off the deck, his ears buzzing and head spinning under the influence of the whiskey. He lay there with dirt covering his clothes, his face pressed against the stony ground.
The party was in full swing when Remus entered the common room, his robes ragged and eyes weary. The last full moon had been tough on him, taking its toll on his spirit. His excuses were failing, and pretty soon, his friends were sure to figure out the real reason for his absences.
“Oy, Remus, you’re finally back!” yelled Sirius above the hubbub, pushing his latest conquest off his lap. “Here, have a drink, mate.” He approached Remus with his usual carefree gait, holding out a glass of butterbeer.
“No thanks, Sirius, I’m not in the mood,” Remus told him.
“What do you mean you’re not in the mood? When there are drinks, there is no question of mood,” Sirius replied, downing what remained in his own glass.
“Things aren’t great at the moment with my grandma and everything.” Remus rubbed his bloodshot eyes, unknowingly revealing the jagged cut on his forearm.
Sirius’ eyes followed the path of the raw wound, landing to steadily gaze at Remus’ scar filled face. “C’mon mate, you can’t be unhappy when there are drinks around. And besides- ,” his voice lowered to a whisper. “James and I have the perfect solution for your furry little problem.”
“Wha..?” Remus took in the smirk on his best friend’s face. They knew his secret. And they were still his friends. The sudden burst of joy filled him up, bringing a spring to his step. He took the glass of butterbeer with a huge smile on his face.
“Get up from the ground, mate. Clear your head.”
Remus got to his feet unsteadily, spitting out some loose twigs that had entered his mouth. If Sirius were here, he would be doubled up with laughter at Remus' dirty state, trying to be disapproving of the drinking at the same time, and ending up with one confused expression. Remus smiled weakly, as a memory of their carefree times popped into his head.
“You look like me after an evening stroll,” said Sirius, in between guffaws. “And I thought you prided yourself on remaining clean. Looks like I’m the one in the cleaner place at the moment.” Sirius looked around the spotlessly white room, furnished like the Gryffindor common room. It was a nice place. If you liked white.
“Gosh, Padfoot, you stink!” Peter exclaimed, wrinkling his nose.
“Were you out with the birds again, mate?” asked James, grinning. “Excuse the pun.”
“Yeah, the pigeons were really playful today. They didn’t fly off until the last minute,” replied Sirius.
Remus looked up from his essay as Sirius plonked down on the couch beside him, muddy and smelling of sweat.
“Move aside, Moony,” said Sirius, nudging him.
“Ew, don’t touch me. Can’t you sit somewhere else?” Remus replied, wrinkling his nose.
“No I can’t. So move or face my undeniably attractive male musk,” Sirius said, folding his arms under his head and leaning back against the couch.
Remus quickly gathered his papers and moved to sit on the ground opposite his filthy friend. “Go shower, Sirius.”
“Moony, my love, come give me a hug,” called Sirius teasingly, reaching out while James and Peter sniggered in the background.
“No, don’t you dare,” replied Remus, inching away from the outstretched limbs. Sirius and James glanced at each other, their eyebrows waggling.
“Group hug!” they yelled at the same time, and pulled Peter and Remus into a tight embrace, despite Remus’ futile efforts to break free.
“Ugh, now I smell of wet dog,” remarked Remus when he was finally released.
“We all do, so let’s celebrate!” shouted Sirius, climbing on to the table.
“You can celebrate. I’m going to go clean up,” muttered Remus, stalking off in the direction of the dormitories.
“Moony, you need to learn to get dirty!” yelled Sirius after him.
Remus brushed the grains of soil off his clothes and pushed his hair out of his face before proceeding to remove the little dirt stuck under his nails. “I’m always cleaner than you,” he murmured.
The light breeze carried the loose leaves into the air, blowing them across Remus’ face. Tears brimmed in his eyes, refusing to fall. Goosebumps erupted against his skin as the chilly air caressed him. Remus lifted the liquor bottle to his lips, in defiance of the words Sirius had spoken over a decade ago. His hands trembled, his misery overcoming him. He threw the bottle aside, letting the dark liquid seep into the ground.
“I can’t believe you left us all,” whispered Remus into thin air. “You were the only one left. All those years you were in Azkaban...I thought I finally got you back.”
The wolf howled in glee. No human would have recognised the joy in his tone. But it was true - Moony was happy. They were in the woods behind the Lupin residence. Just the two of them. A werewolf and a shaggy black dog, running around in complete freedom under the moonlight. It was the only time Sirius got out of Grimmauld Place. He slipped out, determined to make Remus’ night bearable. With the Wolfsbane, Remus’ thoughts were clearer; he was in control of his body.
Padfoot barked and playfully nipped Moony’s tail. His expression was clear as he wagged his tail, challenging Moony to a race. They sprinted through the trees, weaving their way across the roots and under the hanging branches.
“I win,” barked Padfoot, leaning back on his haunches.
“No way,” Moony howled back, sharply. “You were over four paws behind when I reached the finish.”
“Liar,” replied Padfoot, pouncing on the wolf. They tussled on the moist floor, just as they had when they were kids; too soon, it was almost morning.
Remus turned back to his human self, elated after a full moon for the first time in years. Padfoot brought fresh clothes, clutching them in his mouth, drool dripping all over them.
“I guess it’s a small price to pay,” Remus said, sighing as he accepted the damp clothes from the Animagus. They retreated farther into the forest and lay on the forest floor, Sirius back in his human form.
“It’ll all be over soon,” Sirius muttered. “I can feel it.”
“Dumbledore does have something up his sleeve. I just hope he knows what he’s doing,” Remus replied. “I just want to put everything behind us. Get you cleared. Get a real job that doesn’t involve spying on the werewolf groups.”
“Don’t worry, mate,” said Sirius, thumping Remus on the shoulder. “Once I’m cleared, I’ll take care of those pesky werewolves for you.”
Remus laughed. “Just keep yourself alive until everything’s over. I don’t want to lose you again.”
Silence fell between the two, as they sat amidst a cloud of unspoken feelings..
“Don’t think you can get rid of me that easily,” said Sirius, his bark-like voice cutting through all their worries.
“You broke your promise. You weren’t careful. You didn’t stay alive.” Remus thought, the tears breaking free. He dropped to his knees on the front porch, his sorrow overcoming his senses.
“Like I said then, you can’t get rid of me that easily.”
Remus stared into space, his mind filled with memories of laughter and happiness. Sirius seemed to mock him, those gray eyes filled with mischief daring Remus to let go. To let go of all his worries and inhibitions, and to just live.
A warm sensation settled in the graying wizard’s heart, and he knew. His best friend would never leave him.
A/N: Wow, the House Cup has really got me trying out new stuff. This was my first attempt at a bit of humor and some fluff. Thank you for reading! I'd love to know what you think, so just scroll down to the little grey box which is hungry for your review!
A huge thank you to Leonore for beta'ing this for me. :)
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