7 June: Full Disclosure Who: Remus Lupin & Sirius Black What: Sirius tells Remus that Bellatrix knows about his lycanthropy and the animagus secret. Remus shares he has been talking with Snape. And it turns out that Sirius has his own little monster problem to deal with. Where: Their Flat, Hogsmeade When: 7 June evening Warnings: Language.
Remus had arrived to Three Broomsticks with a little under two hours left in Sirius’s shift. He took his seat at the far corner of the bar, content to pass the time reading or drawing in his notebook. Well, at least when he wasn’t worrying looks at Sirius. Although really other that one small detail, today could have been any other day he was bored and didn’t have his own work to keep him busy. He liked having pack close by, Sirius more so than the others. So, it really wasn’t a hardship. Even when the shoe dropped later, he would still be here.
Remus Lupin had long since made his choices. And he was happy with them.
“You ready to go home, pack a bag for the Potters?” Remus said throwing his arm around Sirius’s shoulder. Not entirely irregardless of how Sirius felt, but Remus needed the bodily reminder that Sirius was still here, even if he was moody about a visit from his cousin.
It wasn't that Sirius didn't want Remus to touch him, you understand. It was that he didn't deserve it. Not when he's ruined the werewolf's life five years ago and Moony just didn't know it yet. He shrugged the arm off, wriggling out from underneath it with the excuse of one last table to wipe before ending his shift.
"Yeah," he replied, gruff. "Gimme a sec. I'm- yeah, let's go."
Remus carefully did not pout as Sirius shrugged him off. “Sirius Black, actually having a undeterrable work ethic. I would never.” He didn’t need to make this worse, so instead he grinned as he waited for Sirius to finish up.
It wasn't yet closing time and there wasn't really anything more for him to do. Any good way for him to stall, rather. Taking a deep breath, Sirius nodded toward the door. "Let's go."
He had his hand on his wand. Just in case.
Remus was more casually vigilant as they walked back. It was his default state these days. Still, he breathed a bit easier after trudging up the stairs and then into the familiar wards with his mother’s painting visible from the door. It wasn’t so much that this place was home, but the brooding idiot behind him certainly was.
Tempted as Remus was to make a comment, he would let Sirius settle. Let him make the first move here. “I’m going to get a snack. You want anything?”
"No," Sirius replied as he locked the door and checked the wards. "I'm fine. Just going to get washed up."
He was going to tell Remus. Obviously. In a minute. He practically bolted toward the bathroom in a way that had nothing to do with avoiding anything.
Remus hummed an acknowledgement as he went in search of more food. He was preparing himself to be greeted by a dog in a few minutes. Which was fine. He would be sure to give Padfoot the same amount of kind words and scratches that he might give Sirius. Sometimes Padfoot was easier for them both. Which was only a little bit of a horrible thought. It was easier to arm himself with two large sandwiches and some crisps -- more than enough for sharing -- and take up a spot on the sofa to wait.
It was a while before Sirius emerged from his freshening up, but that wasn't out of the ordinary. He was a vain git as well as an impatient one, and some days the latter one out, some days the former. They could blame the time he was taking on the former for the sake of his ego.
Eventually, though, he squared his shoulders, looked himself in the eye in the bathroom mirror, and nodded. Then headed back to the sitting room.
The sight of Remus and sandwiches that greeted him also was far from odd itself, reassuring in its way, though he didn't want to be reassured. On edge was a good way to be, considering. It was when he got complacent that he generally fucked up.
He sat down, careful to leave space between himself and Remus for once, and reached for a sandwich. Which he did not take a bite of. Chewing seemed like a huge effort and he wasn't hungry, but at least it was something to hold.
"I have to tell you something," he said after a minute. And didn't continue.
Remus turned on the sofa, too aware of the space, and bent his knees up to his chest. The only small betrayal was his foot gently prodding under Sirius’s thigh. A compromise of sorts.
“Okay. You’re not about to run off on me, are you?”
That broke through Sirius's funk long enough for him to give Remus a withering look. "Moony. C'mon. I only run off on evil fucks."
After another beat, though, he deflated a little. "Could go the other way 'round. Fuck."
Remus poked Sirius’s leg with his rather unassuming foot. It was a quiet reminder he was here, and also an offer to stop the pretense of space. “Unless you’re about to tell me you’ve agreed to impregnate your cousin I’m not going anywhere. And even then, it wouldn’t be so simple.”
"Oh sweet Merlin, Moony," Sirius barked. "Now I'm off sex for good, thanks. Christ. That's vile, I'm not my bloody Mum."
“What ever will we do now?” Remus scrunched his nose. With a small grin, he dared to scoot across the sofa, so he was pressing up against Sirius. “Okay, so, if it’s not that, what do you have to tell me?”
Sirius didn't shrug Remus off this time, but he didn't welcome the contact either. If anything he stiffened up. He opened his mouth, shut it again, swallowed, licked his lips. Rip off the bandage, right?
"First of all, I know it's my fault and I'm sorry. Just...fuck, all right. Okay. Just, she knows. Bellatrix. About...she knows you're a werewolf, Moo- Remus. She knows, she literally said it, and if she knows they all must."
He raked a hand through his hair and didn't look at Remus.
For a moment Remus didn’t say anything. There was too much to process all at once. His furry little problem was becoming less of a secret. And that made his stomach roll, but not for himself. So seldom for himself, but rather for all the other people it brought down with him.
“Okay,” he said finally.
Best to focus on the immediate. Sirius was right in front of him, clearly shaken. He had always been his own worst enemy. Yes, they had been here before but under very different circumstances. “Help me understand, how is it your fault?” Instead of moving away Remus got closer, bumping Sirius with his shoulder. “Did you tell her?”
"No!" Sirius replied, quick and sharp, maybe a little stung even though he knew that he deserved the question. "No, Remus, I would never, I swear, not anybody ever again and definitely not her. Merlin. I, I tried to throw her off, pretend it wasn't true, I even- oh Christ I'm sorry, I said some...some shitty stuff, about werewolves, just to try to make her think- I don't think it worked but it was all I could think of to try, I'm so-" he closed his mouth abruptly, aware that he was talking too fast again, letting words tumble over each other and jumble up. One of his less charming habits, surely.
Taking a deep breath, he made himself try again. "She knows about me, too. I'm pretty sure she does. She called me a mongrel about seventeen times, anyway, which is more than usual, generally they, you know, mix up the insults so I think it means she knows about Padfoot. So probably that means Wormy and Prongs too, or she suspects. They all know what one of us does we all do, anyway."
Remus remained calm. He probably should have worded that question differently. “Sirius.” He reached for Sirius’s hand, offering a gentle squeeze, a grounding even. “If you didn’t tell her, then it’s not your fault. And it sounds like you did what you could. Even if that meant saying some not so nice things about werewolves. And there are plenty of rotten werewolves out there anyway.”
The hand Remus took stayed limp, not responding to the offered comfort, and Sirius continued looking down at the sandwich he was still holding in the other rather than at his friend, expression patently miserable. When he spoke it was quiet in a way that meant, melodramatic or not, he wasn't grandstanding for attention right now. "It is, though. Only one person who'd ever tell knows about you, Moony. There's only one way that lot knows, and it goes back to me being a fuck up. And there's only one reason that Bellatrix Lestrange cares about you one way or the other, and it's that I'm their fuck up. At the end of the day, I'm doubly responsible."
“I have never judged you for your family. And certainly not lunatics like Bellatrix. But if we want to go about laying blame, why not blame me for making friends? Dumbledore for letting me go to school? Greyback for attacking me? Or even my father?” Or perhaps society as a whole, but placing blame on such a broad and intangible things didn’t quite hold the same weight. “We all play our parts. And for my part. I pick you. I forgave you. I will pretty much always forgive you, because I know who you are.
“Except this isn’t about me. Not entirely.” He wasn’t intentionally being stupid. Remus was just far more focused on the emotional fall out than trying to put the pieces together. What good did pointing fingers do anyway? “This about your -- well, it’s Snape. Isn’t it? You think Snape told.”
Sirius couldn't help giving Remus something of a withering look at that. "Of course it was Snape. There's no one else it could have been. He's the only one who knows who isn't one of us. And he is one of them. It's the only explanation."
He shook his head and reached to put the sandwich down, finally.
All of that about Remus forgiving him he wasn't even going to touch. Not right now. They'd just argue about it, again.
Now, it was Remus’s return to be a little too quiet. “I’m...well, I’m not too sure that Snape would have said anything. Could have really.” Remus wasn’t exactly sure of what Dumbledore did -- if anything -- to ensure that Snape didn’t tell after The Incident. Remus’s very existence was an ethical dilemma, adding other people to the mix didn’t make it any easier. All Remus had was an accounting of his interactions with Severus. While none of them had been exceptionally nice, they were always civil. “He didn’t seem like he would want to hurt me. The opposite really.”
"If anyone could find a way to tell, it's that slimy litt- wait. Huh?" Sirius stalled out as the last sentence caught up with him. "When? What are you talking about?"
With his free hand, Remus ran it through his hair, scratching his nape. “After the Spring Fete, Severus and I have been sharing correspondences...talking once or twice, about the Belby Trials and what that might mean for me or other werewolves. He was actually sort of decent about the whole thing.”
This information was met with total and uncharacteristic silence, though Sirius's lips pressed into a thin, telling line. He didn't exactly have room to criticize Remus for talking too much to Snape.
Didn't mean he had to like it.
After a beat Sirius reached to take the sandwich again, biting into it this time just to give his mouth something to do besides saying something awful.
“So, I wouldn’t immediately blame Snape for saying anything. For all we know it might have been Greyback. He was definitely one of them.” Not that Greyback as source explained any potential knowledge about the animagus business, but that wasn’t exactly confirmed either.
"Greyback has been dead for months," Sirius pointed out after he swallowed. "You really think Bella would wait that long to come tease me?" Because he didn't.
Though he wasn't going to suggest that maybe renewed contact had reminded Snape to tell his friends about Remus. That might sound accusatory, and Sirius actually did know better.
“I think they’re losing now, and they’re desperate. So why not a few more shots?” Afterall, things had just started to go right. “And if it was Snape. Maybe that was just a matter of time. Regardless. I am not upset with you.” Remus needed that to be perfectly clear. He didn’t find Sirius at fault. “Worried for you? Yes. For us, even? Sure. But that’s not really anything new.”
"Maybe you're a bigger idiot'n me," Sirius muttered, rubbing at his face. "Worrying about me. What the fuck. I'm fine, I'm not- I don't care if she knows about Padfoot. Though," he added with a groan, "Prongs and Wormy will. Fuck. I'm such- fuck."
“Probably.” He agreed, reaching up to run a hand through Sirius’s hair, not quite petting but certainly a comfort. One that Remus wanted and needed to give. “But I’m allowed to worry about whoever I want. Especially for fellow idiots who claim they are fine.” Remus knew better than to mention he was damned either way. That was his lot in life and he’d made peace with it.
"I am fine," Sirius muttered, rebellious even as he leaned in, finally, to Remus's touch. "Whatever she cursed me with didn't even work, obviously. She just wanted to get a rise out of me. Merlin's tits, I hate her so much."
Remus uncoiled just a little as Sirius settled, pressing a kiss to the side of his head. They were going to be okay. “Wait.” His hand paused, but still resting in Sirius’s hair, close. “She cursed you? Bellatrix threatened and cursed you?” Maybe he ought to have led with that information. “With what? How do you know it didn’t work?”
Sirius shrugged. He was far, far more bothered about Bellatrix's knowledge than her failed attempts at hexing him. "Dunno what. She was messing with some water on the bar, then right before she left she grabbed me and got my hand wet and said some shite about monsters. Nothing happened. Obviously. I don't think whatever weird spell she thought she as doing worked. Which, why should it, when it's just a damp counter?"
He squinted at Sirius. The elements simple as they were, could be powerful tools in the right hands. “We still might want to be sure. She is rather unhinged and I am not sure I would like any more surprises. Lest you turn into some water nymph, or sprout gills.” Remus trailed his thumb down Sirius’s jaw and onto his neck, purely in scientific study. And not all because he rather enjoyed the drum of his pulse there. “Is there anything else you can think of? Symbols? Words?”
“You’d like me as a nymph,” Sirius murmured, arching a brow at Remus. “You could sketch me in compromising positions like some sort of latter-day Pre-Raphaelite.” He let that sink in for a few moments and then shrugged again, sliding out of flirtation just as easily as he’d slid into it. “She was drawing something, I think. With the water. I couldn’t really tell what, though, I didn’t realize she was trying to cast something until she grabbed me and by then whatever she’d drawn was messed up by my hand. As for words, no spells, she just told me if I like monst-ow!”
There’d been a sharp little tug on his hair- too sharp to have been Remus’s doing, at least not this far from the full, and even then it would have been strange- and when he turned to look in the direction it came from he saw a flash of blue from the corner of his eye. “What the- did you see that?”
Remus didn’t see anything, his hand still calmly at the nape of Sirius’s neck. “See what?” He was now just a little bit more worried. “And if you like monsters?” None of this made sense, but then again a lot of pureblood society and traditions didn’t really make any sense.
Sirius frowned, then shrugged. "Thought I saw something. Uh, if I like monsters I'll like this."
He glanced around, wary, but when nothing else appeared he chalked it up to paranoia and relaxed again. And a moment later flinched at a sharp pinch to his ear. "Ow!"
Remus startled, pulling his hand back. “What’s happening?” He really didn’t like this. Remus could only imagine any number of bad things unfolding now. “Did I hurt you? Did you hurt you?”
The pinch was followed up momentarily by another tug to his hair, and Sirius ducked and started batting at his head. Not the most dignified of responses, no, but certainly the most instinctive. He was about to respond when he spotted another flash of blue down by his feet, and he craned his neck to follow it. “Fucking- is that a pix- ow, Merlin!”
Remus still wasn’t following, but something was hurting Sirius. And with lack of concrete information the best option here was to cast a shield charm -- although more of a bubble really -- around them both. At the very least he could momentarily stop some outside force from attacking. “Did you say pixie?”
Rubbing at his ear, Sirius nodded. “Little and blue and bloody well pinching me.”
He peered around warily, the bubble having made everything outside of it just a tad blurry. “And fast. And in our flat. D’you remember the charm for banishing one? I don’t.”
Before Remus could ask anything the little pixie slammed right into the protective ward. Hey! At least his wards were working.
“Jack of all trades, master of none. Yeah? I got this.” It was easy enough to cast the charm. The little pixie blinked out of existence.
“We have any other unexpected guests?”
Sirius looked around again and shook his head warily. “No. You can drop the ward, I don’t see anything. I wonder how it got in. We’re not quite in Cornwall, yeah?”
Not that it was entirely unusual for magical pests to turn up, sometimes. This was an all-Wizarding village they lived in, after all.
“Definitely not Cornwall.” Remus agreed dropping the shield. “And I’m pretty sure we’ve been looking after the cleaning.” He wouldn’t expect to find Cornish Pixies just fluttering around the flat.
“You’re usually good about the cleaning,” Sirius agreed lightly, tipping his head back onto Remus’s shoulder. They needed to go to James’s, not least because the other Marauders needed to know the news, but he could indulge for another minute or two. “Which is brilliant, because Merlin knows I’m pants at-” he cut himself off with a yelp and a scramble as there were several harsh tugs on his hair at once, only to be stymied by the fact that the laces of his trainers were knotted together and he couldn’t move his feet properly. He tripped sideways, sprawling over Remus’s lap, a position which he normally would have been more than all right with, to be fair.
Remus did his best to accommodate the tumble. He wasn’t bothered by the physicality of it, but rather the implication. “More pixies? Because otherwise, weird sort of way to get into my trousers.” He rubbed Sirius’s back and all he got a pixie bite for his efforts.
“If I want in your trousers,” Sirius muttered, grumpy now as he bent down to fix his laces, “I will get in your trousers without bloody pixies to help me.”
As he straightened, there was a chattering sound- definitely more pixies- and he looked up just in time to see a glass of water being dumped over his head.
“Right. Never doubted your charm. Now you have to believe in mine.”
It was far less coordinated than he might have liked, but Remus cast a second banishing charm. This one strong enough to get all the pixies in their flat. However, it wasn’t without its consequences. Along with the pixies, it broke a few of the glasses in the kitchen, and knocked some of the pictures from the wall.
Sirius was still spluttering, and shaking water from his hair like a dog when the glasses shattered. He jumped and glared around, but no further pinches or tweaks were forthcoming.
"Thanks," he muttered, going for his wand to dry himself off.
“My pleasure.” Remus ran a hand through his hair.
All of this was a lot. Bellatrix. Pixies. Secrets being less secret. And if he Remus needed something to get himself out of his head, surely Sirius did as well. He gently reached for Sirius’s arm as he went for his wand. “Hey,” he swallowed the lump in his throat, going for something like bold, “why don’t we go shower?”
That was unexpected, to say the least. Sirius paused in his charmswork to peer at Remus in surprise; after a few moments he grinned. "Yeah," he replied, soft and pleased. It had been a pretty terrible day, but Remus really wasn't upset with him, was he? That was something. "Sure. Let's...do that. If you want to."
Remus reached forward to kiss him, grinning. “Well, you do know how serious I am about cleanliness.” And they deserved a moment that was just their own, especially now.