|James Potter is an arrogant toerag (prongsed) wrote in the_recruitment,
@ 2012-03-11 18:31:00
|! 03/1977, ! complete, ! log, char: james potter, char: sirius black
Who: Sirius & James
What: Sirius and James have a long overdue talk.
Where: Gryffindor common room
When: 10th March, after the Gryffindor vs Hufflepuff match
Status: Complete log
Rating: PG for some yelling, mentions of self-harm.
I'm gonna keep on holding on
But I don't get no stronger
Please don't keep me wonderin' no longer
Sirius headed quietly down to the common room, thinking about heading to the library to find Remus. He would have to fly down again, since the statue was still right outside the portrait hole, but it was actually kind of fun. He’d taken to just leaving his broom leaning against the large story window in the common room, and he hadn’t been caught yet.
When he saw James though, lounging near the fire with a dreamy expression on his face, his steps faltered. He thought about just going anyway, tossing a ‘hey Prongs’ over his shoulder as he flew off, but he didn’t. Now that the whole mess was at least partially sorted Sirius wanted nothing more than to just get back to normal. But things with James had felt, strained, lately, and they hadn’t actually talked about any of it yet. He didn’t know how much Remus and Peter had told him, did he know what Sirius had tried to do? Did he know that Sirius and Remus were, well, that. Most importantly, did James know how sorry he was, for everything?
He changed course and flopped down next to his best mate, nudging him gently and tossing out a crooked smile.
James hadn't really been there for much of the day. Gryffindor had won the match against Hufflepuff and he'd been in a proverbial cloud of happy thoughts and joy. There were still plenty of things grating on his mind, but he made it a point to shove those things aside to just let himself savour this feeling of rightness after such hardships over the last month. Better still, his proper date with Lily would be tomorrow.
As soon as he felt someone sit next to him, he blinked slowly, turning to see Sirius nudge into him. Starting to shake off the sluggishness of his prior state, James offered a return smile, not quite as enthusiastic as he usually was, but certainly not lacking in genuine affection. Nothing could possibly get him down right now.
"Hey yourself, wanker. Good job today, I've gotta say. Init nice to see that practice had some positive effect?"
Sirius laughed, only slightly forced.
“Yeah, nothing like a little school approved bashing to make the world seem better, eh?”
It took all of his willpower not to blurt out something like ‘are you angry with me?’ or ‘are we all right?’ Instead he just stared down at his shoes, scuffing them lightly on the carpet.
Nodding slowly along with Sirius, James let himself lean back into the sofa, feeling his muscles start to relax slightly. Letting his eyes close, his head rested easily and he could swear up and down that this was the most comfortable place for a quick nap. Yet something about the way that his mate had laughed didn't rub him the right way, so he commented on it nonchalantly, still letting himself remain relaxed.
"Something on your mind, mate?" His voice was deceptively light.
“I, uh.” Sirius rubbed a hand over his face. Ah, to hell with it.
“Are we all right Prongs? I know, after everything, and the things I did, but... Are we... Okay?”
Were they okay? Sort of a packed question, really, considering everything that had happened. James wanted to yell at him for being a prat, for giving Lily to those bloody purists, but that wouldn't solve anything. As much as he hated to think about it, he knew that Sirius wasn't in his right mind. It wouldn't be fair to lay it all on his mate like that. Best mate, his mind reminded. Best mates and brothers, you twat.
"...we're —" James really had to concentrate not to let out what the baser part of him really wanted to say. Hazel eyes opened and stared at the fire dancing in the common room's hearth, drawing out the moment unintentionally while he formulated his thoughts into words.
"... yeah," he said eventually, "yeah, we're okay. Like I said, I know it wasn't really you." He turned his head to glance at Sirius, wondering if he'd see any fleeting reaction on his face.
Sirius could tell right away that it wasn’t all right. He’d known James forever, they were practically brothers, and he could almost feel how badly James wanted to cuss him out. Hell, he couldn’t blame him.
“Prongs,” he glanced over at his friend, then back at the ground. “I know I did some fucking awful things. And what I did to Lily...” He began unconsciously rubbing at the ropey scars on his arms. “I will never forgive myself for that. Not ever. I’d, I’d understand if you wanted to punch me one.”
Before he could help himself, his eyebrows lowered and he was sitting up a little straighter, the good mood of earlier shifting into something that he wasn't quite sure he wanted to deal with.
"Look Pads, let's just forget it all and move forward, yeah? If it were anyone else but you, I'd hex them all the way back to Gryffindor's time. But it's you, and I just want to get past the shite of the last few weeks. Can we do that?" His voice held a note of tension, shoulders stiff and hands starting to clench.
Despite himself, Sirius felt his temper getting the better of him. He’d known James was still angry, but it sounded like he actually blamed him for this shit! Did he have any idea what it had been like, being used like that? Waking up with no memory and blood on his hands? Knowing Lily could die because of something he’d had no control over?
“Let it go? No, we can’t fucking let it go James! Don’t you think I want us to get past this? But if you’re still blaming me for what happened then we can’t just ‘let it go!” He stood, facing James with his hackles up. “Or do you think I haven’t paid enough yet?”
Hazel eyes narrowed throughout the angry speech. Every instinct was telling him to get right up into Sirius's face and give back as good as he received, but something deeper, colder, kept him sitting right where he was.
"This isn't about you anymore, it's about her," he all but hissed, refusing to raise his voice and let Sirius know just how angry he still was about it all. Rationality attempted to grab hold of him and as much as he tried to pry it off, it managed to grab a tentative hold as he amended his retort.
"We're not going to get anywhere doing business as usual. You yelling at me, me giving you hell and punching you square on the jaw, you hexing me, and then making up and being friends again. It just doesn't work like that anymore with Lily in the equation. She's everything to me." He refrained from adding that it had hurt to know that his best mate, the one he'd counted on to always be beside him, was also pulling away. James had his suspicions but he didn't want to give them voice just yet.
“You don’t think I know that?”
Sirius wanted to stay angry, he needed to stay angry. If he wasn’t angry then he was just broken, and he was so tired of feeling that way.
“You don’t think I would do anything to take back what I did?” Shit, he was losing it. The careful control he’d managed to build up was cracking. He turned away, not wanting James to see. “I would do anything Prongs. It’s the worst goddamn thing I’ve ever done, and I don’t even remember it.” He held tightly to his forearms, wishing he could find the right kind of pain to make this go away.
The coldness that had started to consume him was slowly ebbing away, as though the fire in front of him was helping to melt the ice. This was Sirius! his mind screamed at him, trying to bring back some semblance of the close friendship that they'd always shared. The lingering instincts James may have had on the matter were starting to feel really low and dirty.
He stood abruptly, body still tense, but due to a different reason this time. He really didn't want to start berating himself about his behaviour now, not when he had so many other things to think about. However, the words came unbidden with a barely restrained note of remorse in his tone.
"Pads... it's okay, really it is. I'm just being a massive tosser about it all." A hand ran convulsively through his hair as he slowly approached his friend. The hand then sought out Sirius's shoulder, touch light enough to barely be felt, but firm enough to let Sirius know that he wasn't turning away or yelling at him.
When he felt James’ hand on his shoulder, it was the final straw. A single, harsh sob escaped him, and he quickly wrapped his arms around his waist, trying to contain the feelings that threatened to overwhelm him.
“I’m so sorry Prongs. I know how fucked up this is. I just don’t know how I can make it up to everyone. I’ve been such a mess. If it wasn’t for Remus, and, and Peter, I would have...” He pulled in a harsh breath. “But I know I didn’t solve anything.”
James didn't know if he should pull his hand away or if he should hug his friend. This was a fairly rare situation for them to be in. Aside from that bit of conversation they'd had several weeks back when James had hugged Sirius, there wasn't usually such emotional contact between the two of them. A pang of jealousy shot through him when Sirius mentioned Remus and Peter, though. He knew that he wasn't on the best ground with them, himself, but that Sirius was drifting to them instead of him...
"About that. Pete probably thinks I'm being the biggest git in the world for being mad at you, and Remus... well he's... what's with you two, anyway?" And there it was, out in the open for Sirius to act upon as he pleased. His hand was pulled away and he crossed his arms over his chest, still standing behind Sirius, but closing off as the jealousy coursed through him.
Sirius was glad James couldn’t see his face at that moment, though he was sure his ears had turned bright red. He mulled over what he was going to say, wishing James hadn’t sprung it on him like that. On one hand, James was his brother. On the other, this wasn’t only his secret. Would Moony be all right with James knowing about them?
And what did he even say? ‘Remus and I snogged a bit and said we loved each other, but I was going crazy at the time and we haven’t really gotten to be alone since?’ He didn’t even know what they were, so how was he going to explain it to anyone else?
“What’s, with us?” He hedged, wishing he knew what the Hell he was supposed to say. “Well, I suppose you could say I, er, well, fancy, him, a bit.”
"Fancy?" James asked, slightly incredulous. Well, it wasn't really unexpected, in a way. He'd been having inklings about such a thing since he noticed just how close his two mates were getting, but… fancying one another? It almost felt like a betrayal. Not the fact that two blokes were getting on one another, but the fact that they hadn't said anything. James wondered how much Remus had been involved in said fancying and shook his head, taking another step back and gazing at the fire to focus himself.
"Would've been nice if you'd've told me," he said softly, a note of hurt in his voice.
“James,” Sirius turned, not liking the hurt he could hear in his friends voice. “It’s not like that. We just sort of, fell into it. And it was only a few weeks ago, when I was at the height of my crazy. I don’t even really know what we’re doing yet. It’s not that we didn’t want to tell you, more that there isn’t anything to tell yet. I love him, I have for a while, but it’s not like we’ve really done anything about it. We haven’t been able to. The one time we tried, well, it was Hogsmeade, and we all know how that ended.”
James felt his brows lowering at Sirius's words, but he really did try to hold his tongue. It wasn't like this would end well if he continued to play the hurt routine, despite how much he felt it deep within. At times like these, it probably made more sense to give in to reason and assure his friend that he understood the limitations. A little piece of his heart was still clenching in jealousy and betrayal though, no matter how much he tried to set it aside.
"Well, that makes sense..." he trailed, still watching the fire for a moment before turning to look at Sirius. James held himself just as closed off as before, though he actively tried to be a little less stiff than he felt. "I mean, with everything that's been going on, it's been hard. Between me and Lily too, so I can't really blame you." Can't you? The traitorous thought was all over him and he couldn't hold back anymore.
"Why couldn't you just... I don't know, talk to me more? I feel like you're all turning your backs on me, Padfoot. It was never like this before. What the bloody hell happened to us? I mean aside from the obvious." He'd finally released his arms and waved a hand in the air, indicating some general thing that seemed to be between them.
Sirius stared at James incredulously. Turning their backs on him? How the Hell did he come to that conclusion? If anything it was James who was pulling away from him! He understood why, of course he did, the things that had been happening were more than anyone should have to bear. It wasn’t James' fault, not any of it, and Sirius didn’t blame him.
Don’t you? All James has done since this started was accuse you. Even at my worst Remus still believed in me, and even Peter was there, in his way. What has James done? Where was James when things got so dark that I could barely breathe? Where was James...
“I would talk to you mate,” he couldn’t keep the bitterness out of his voice. “If you were ever around.”
"If I were around —" James started, eyes blazing with a hint of the indignation that was swelling within him. He needed to steer this conversation in another direction, but everything he was fighting against seemed so stupid right then. Why did he have to hold back what he was really thinking?
"I was around, if you remember that conversation we had a while back, right after we almost came to blows. Hell, I even hugged you for Merlin's sake, like a bloody brother Sirius, because that's what family does. When one member of the family is having a hard time, everyone rallies around them. Not like you and the other blokes did much of that for me, did you?" He was livid. Angry at himself and at Sirius. Both of them were obviously pulling away from one another; both were to blame. Yet all James could see was the hurt behind it all.
"When Lily and I were going through all of that... when she was fucking taken," the last word came out broken and he gasped with the effort to hold in his emotions. He needed to stop, needed to think. Roughly flinging himself to the sofa, he leaned his head back against an arm and closed his eyes, letting himself breathe before he needed to face Sirius again.
He could see the hurt on James’ face, and knew he should shut up. But he’d been through the ringer lately and his temper was stretched tighter than a violin string. And he was angry at James, furious, that he could lump Remus and Peter up with him in this.
“Don’t you bloody dare James. I may not have been there, but don’t you dare lump Remus and Peter in with me. You don’t think they cared? That’s bullshit mate. Peter would do anything for you, and so would Moony, and fuck it, so would I! And I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you, I am, but I was fucking drowning Prongs! How could I look at you, knowing what I’d done to her! How could I look at anyone! I still regret not dying that day, so don’t you fucking say we didn’t care!”
"Don't," came the ground out request; more of a demand, really. He didn't want to deal with this anymore. It was so tiring having to fight like this.
But then his mind latched onto what Sirius said last, turning it over so many times that he felt dizzy. Dying that day? came the internal question. He looked up from his position on the sofa, a little afraid of what he might blurt out, so he asked quietly, "What? What do you mean...?"
The look in James’ eyes said everything; he didn’t know. He could have sworn Peter would tell him, but somehow they’d all managed to keep it a secret. And now he’d blurted it out in the worst way possible, and he really didn’t want to have to explain it to James and see the disappointment he knew would be there. Not now.
“What? Nothing. I didn’t mean... It’s nothing.”
"Bullshit," he swore, sitting up a little against the arm, but making no other move to face Sirius. He looked his friend over, feeling them drift just a little further apart. The clenching in his heart tightened a bit more and he started to feel nauseous.
James didn't want to know, he kept telling himself that he didn't need to, or that it wasn't what he thought. He can't have, his mind forced out, he's too good for that. Trying to convince himself of this fact, he shook his head, blurting out:
"No, you didn't say what I think you said. You didn't... did you?"
He considered lying to James for about a fraction of a second, but he just couldn’t. James was still his best friend, his brother, and he could never lie to him. Not even when he knew it was probably the right choice.
“Peter found me,” he whispered quietly. “I still don’t really know how. He, uh, saved my life. Him and Remus.”
He rubbed at his arms, as if James could see the scars through his sleeves.
“I thought they told you.”
James started shaking his head before he realised it. This was wrong. Sirius was... he just couldn't do something like that.
"No, I'm calling bullshit. You wouldn't. You couldn't do that to me, to everyone else." Rational thought was pushing at the edges of his mind, begging him to think reasonably through this, not to give in to the warring emotions. He was a big jumble of things that he couldn't stand facing, couldn't deal with all in one go. This entire conversation was grating on his control and he didn't think he would manage making it through the next few minutes if Sirius didn't somehow deny it, or tell him why, or anything really. And yet again, Sirius was proving how much they'd drifted. They'd all kept this from him, if what he said was true. That fucking hurt and it showed in his eyes, in the way that his features twisted up to try to cover everything up.
"I can't do this. You have to — no, forget it, I don't need to hear it. I'm starting to think that maybe… maybe it's not worth it anymore. Any of this." It was so quiet, so barely there, yet felt so strongly, that he surprised even himself with it. James dropped his head to stare at his hands as they wrung themselves together.
Sirius felt like he’d been punched in the chest. He couldn’t mean that, could he? After everything, this couldn’t be how they ended. He couldn’t breathe, watching James reject him like that... It was like the bottom had just fallen out of the world. He took a staggering step toward his friend, wanting to beg him, to plead with him. But the look on James’ face...
He slowly rolled his sleeves up, revealing the four inch long scars that ran the length of his forearms. He knelt in front of James, holding his arms where the other boy would have no choice but to look at them.
“James.” He didn’t wait for him to look up. “I wish I could tell you it didn’t happen. Hell, I wish I had a good excuse for why I did it. But I can’t give you either of those things. I felt... Lost. I thought I’d killed Lily, and I was so scared that I would hurt you next, or Peter, or Remus. I didn’t see any other way out of this. But I am sorry. I never wanted to push you away. No, that’s not true. I did want to push you away. I wanted to push everyone away, I guess. I thought you would all be safer, if I was gone."
Faced with the scars just then, James couldn't deny it anymore. He wanted to turn away, to pretend that he couldn't see them on the edge of his vision, but that rational side kicked in heavy and strong and he turned to look at the scars fully. His breath caught in his chest and he had to just stare, really process it, for a minute before he felt himself suck in a new breath.
"Sirius," he whispered, on the edge of reason and feeling the prickling of tears that he tried desperately to force away. "How could you think… I'd never…" Bollocks, just fucking say it! his mind yelled at him, urging him to answer his friend in the only way he knew how.
Before he lost his nerve, he turned in his seat and knelt down next to Sirius, dragging him into a rough hug that left James breathless again. The need to pull Sirius as close to him as he could was overwhelming. He wanted to tell him so many things, to apologise, to admit what a dumb wanker he'd been, but words didn't come. Instead, as he tucked his face into Sirius's shoulder, he felt tears running over glasses and he dug his face in harder, trying to suppress the gasping sob that threatened to pull free.
Sirius didn’t know what he’d expected, but when James pulled him into a hug and began, began to cry, Sirius felt an irrational surge of joy. James still cared about him. He felt his own tears mingling with James’ and couldn’t help laughing. Pulling his friend tight against him, he cried and laughed and felt more relieved than he had in weeks. He and James were going to be all right.
“Shit mate,” he half sobbed half chuckled. “We’re a right couple of birds, eh?” He didn’t let go though, if anything he held his friend tighter.
It felt more comforting than he'd care to admit, hearing Sirius's voice and feeling it against his chest. Not ready to let go yet, James grinned against his friend's shoulder and let the last of his tears trickle past his specs before lifting his head with an accompanying laugh.
"Right nances, even. Isn't surprising that you went after a bloke. Moony is probably more of a man than either of us. Reckon Wormy'd fancy a girly boyfriend?" It was said in jest, but that alone indicated his reaction to Sirius and Remus pursuing one another. It may have been a shock at first, but once he realised how close he'd come to losing his very best mate without even knowing it, he didn't want anything else to pull him away.
Sirius laughed again, taking the joke in the spirit he knew James meant it. Merlin, he’d missed this. He loved Remus, and Peter and Lily were great friends, but James was... James was his brother. Nothing seemed right when they were out of sync.
“Naw, I think our Petey likes them chesty.” He rested his head against James hair for a moment, then pulled away. “You’re right though, Remus is dead manly.” He raised his eyebrows suggestively. “If you know what I mean. Rawr.”
"Augh!" James exclaimed, making a mock disgusted face as he pushed away from Sirius. Just out of a lingering fear about almost having lost Sirius, he let a hand trail onto Sirius's shoulder, giving it a squeeze before letting go completely. They were both a mess, faces stained with tears and kneeling like they were praying at some sort of altar.
Before he stood though, he let himself smile genuinely at his mate, feeling it reach his eyes. With a hand to steady himself on the sofa, James stood and immediately offered Sirius a hand up.
"C'mon then, let's go work out a prank to get Wormy alone with that bird you set him up with at that bloody dance. The handsy one."
Sirius took James' hand and quickly rolled down his sleeves before slinging an arm around his best mate's shoulders. All was right with the world again. Thank Merlin.
“I don’t know if he’d survive being alone with her,” he winked. “At least not with his virginity in tact. Course, that might not be a bad thing. I’ve always said Wormy could use a good lay.”
James grinned widely at his mate, clapping him on the back and letting himself enjoyed the renewed friendship between them. Everything felt so much better, right, now that they'd figured things out in their own way.
"Reckon he'd be more willing with a bit of encouragement?" The wicked gleam in his eye said all that he needed to: a good plot would solidify the newfound trust between them and might even help to draw James back to the others. Hopefully they'd be as welcome to the renewal of friendly bantering after everything that had happened; only time would be the judge.