15 & 17 July: The Aftermath Who: Remus Lupin & Sirius Black What: Dealing with the fact that one of your best friends is a traitorous bastard. You know, everyday things. When: 15 July and 17 July (before and after the full moon) Where: The Potter-Evans safehouse, and then another isolated Order safehouse. Warnings: Language. Werewolf inflicted injuries. Blood. Discussion of murder.
BEFORE Peter Pettigrew was a death eater.
Wormtail was Marked.
His first friend had betrayed them. He had possibly been betraying them for a while.
All Remus needed was to get out of there, out of that room, out of anywhere he’d been waiting in limbo for the past week. Anything to silent the pulsing thought of I should have known or something worse. He really didn’t trust himself not to do or say anything stupid, not with the ebb of the full moon far too close.
He wanted to go home. Except the flat was still off limits.
“I just can’t.” That was the sole utterance before Remus ran back into the bedroom. He could focus on simple thoughts and actions, let the others make their own choices. It wasn’t running away, not quite. But there was a tangible relief to shoving clothes into a rucksack.
There was a buzzing in Sirius’s ears. Or maybe his head. He recognized the rage. He’d certainly felt that enough times. But there was something else in there, roiling with the fury in his stomach, something familiar but which he couldn’t place. Or didn’t want to place. One or the other.
It would come to him.
Before he could focus on it- or focus on avoiding it- however, there went Remus, flying off into the bedroom they shared, and that was a much better thing to focus on, surely. If he could just worry about looking after Remus, protecting Remus, he wouldn’t have to think about whatever was going on in his own stomach and head and heart.
It wasn’t even a choice. He just followed, and found the werewolf throwing clothes into a pack. Which was not what he’d been expecting, if he’d been expecting anything.
“Going somewhere?” he asked, meaning for it to come out arch, but it just sounded hoarse and a little choked. Another thing not to think about too hard.
Remus finished with his clothes, looking up. “I need to go now because if I don’t…” He just shook his head. It was too much. Should have known. “We were planning the night away for tomorrow anyway, why not leave now?” Before Sirius had time to respond, Remus starting to pack his clothes. Better to keep moving really. “Before I do something I regret.”
"I could do it," Sirius volunteered, quick and dark. "I'd love to do it."
Though love wasn't the word, not really.
Flat-mouthed, he reached down and handed a shirt to his boyfriend.
Remus took the shirt. He closed his eyes and breathed deeply. Now, there was an idea. A bad idea, tempting in all the best and wrong ways. The poor shirt really didn’t deserve the mashing it was getting.
“Or you can be with me?” And fuck, didn’t that sound more pathetic than he meant.
That drew Sirius up short, mouth open on the repetition of the angry offer that he's been about to make. He wanted to kill Peter. Wanted to viscerally, to beat him into a pulp and feel the blood on his hands, to watch his soul leave him and know that he'd been the one who ended the miserable unworthy life. He was angry enough, dark enough in his anger, Black enough.
But. The choice between Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew had never been a hard one for him. (Maybe that was the problem.) It wasn't going to start being one now.
"With you," he echoed, reaching to take the shirt back before it got torn. If anyone was going to furiously destroy his things today, it would be him. "You know that, Moony."
There was a reply waiting there, filled with more bite than he meant. But not toward Sirius, and he caught it before it escaped. Today was the ultimate test of his control. He would choose to be good. Even when it was easier to be the monster.
Remus reached out, letting his fingers press just a little too hard into Sirius’s wrist to feel his pulse. “I do.”
That would bruise, Sirius thought, but he didn't pull back. If Remus needed to hold on too hard to know that he was here, he wouldn't stop him. He could appreciate the feeling.
"We'll go, then," he said, firm and fierce. "Tonight. Now. If that's what you need."
It was a mission, a purpose, and if it wasn't as satisfying as killing the little rat would have been, at least it was something.
From that hold, Remus tugged Sirius toward him. “I need you.” He chased those words with a kiss, none too gentle, but raw and a little desperate.
A day ago, Sirius would have said that there was never really a time he wasn't in the mood. Ten minutes ago he'd have said 'the mood' wasn't even an option. But this...this was less about any mood at all and more about finding something good to hang on to.
Sirius returned the kiss, desperation bordering on violence, all sorts of feeling going into it and not all of them the sort that ought to.
“Fuck. Yes.” Bodies were marvelous things. This was good for forgetting, for letting energies be directed elsewhere. Far more human he supposed.
---- AFTER Despite its intended use, the little cabin was lovely. Just the right size for two people to hide away. It could have been a nice place for a holiday, miles and miles away from civilization. It could make a good alternative to the Shack and the Forbidden Forest. Remus didn’t want to recreate or revisit those paths on a foolish hope that physical space might calm the beast.
He was wrong.
Remus was wrong about a number of things, but this one exceptionally. Nothing would soothe the beast. Not when pack, when a member of his family hurt him. Apparently the wolf did have some sense of memory from the man.
But he survived. They both did. That counted for something.
“Please, please, please tell me we have more silver and dittany.” Remus had just moved the wrong way and pulled open one of his barely healing gashes. At least the pain and exhaustion provided another distraction from the extent to which Sirius might be hurt as well.
Sirius was not without his own wounds, souvenirs of a night during which he’d failed in his function (another of his functions, along with protecting his real family, the Marauders, from the cold touch of his false one,) of keeping the wolf calm and secure enough not to tear into anyone who was really a person regardless of the skin they wore, most especially itself.
In light of that, he rather thought he deserved them; and while with anyone else and in any other circumstance he was the sort to whine and play up any small injury to buy himself attention and petting, this morning he’d been ruthless in ignoring his own hurts to tend to Remus’s. They were worse, of course. The dog might skip out of the way of angry claws if he was quick and lucky and willing to. The wolf could hardly run from itself.
“We’ve got enough,” he promised, hoarse voice as soothing as he could make it as he reached for the jar. “I’ve got you, just try to rest, yeah? How bad is the headache? D’you want something for that as well? You can answer without moving, so don’t try it.”
Remus sighed, trying not to move. It was good advice, but it went against instinct. “Yes, might as well try it.” It probably wouldn’t hurt. As grateful as he was for Sirius, there was always that guilt. “Maybe more water? And the biscuits?” He leaned back onto the sofa, trying to find a position that was more comfortable. “And then you. And you’re going to tell me how you’re doing, please.”
"Mmm," Sirius grunted, non-committal. He took his time getting the requested items, ate a few biscuits himself in the meantime, and made sure he had everything gathered before returning to actually sit with Remus. He didn't fancy getting up again once he'd sat.
"I'm sore," he admitted in the end against every instinct to minimize and deny that there were ever any negative consequences of the full moon for him. He hated making Remus feel guilty when it wasn't actually his fault. "It was a rough one. Next'll be...less rough, yeah?"
“I don’t know.” Remus took the dittany and silver jar. He liberally slopped it on a few of his wounds. There was little glamorous here. “I hope so, because I’m not sure we can take many of those. I think the Wormtail bullocks is still too raw.”
Sirius made a noise that was more growl than anything else. One more thing Peter had done to them. Bad moons on top of everything. Fantastic.
"Less raw in a month," he said, sounding wearier than he meant to. Whatever strain he was under, it was nothing to what Remus was feeling, he reminded himself doggedly. "We'll get through it."
“James should be back then too.” The biggest thing stopping James from being there last night was Remus’s own worry and doubt. Certainly another mistake against him. “But are we? Going to get through it?” Now that sounded terribly dramatic. Remus set down salve and turned to more carefully tuck into Sirius’s side. “Where is your head at, Padfoot?”
"Nowhere good," Sirius replied, shifting til he was wrapped as comfortably as possible around Remus. "Is yours? Doesn't mean we won't get through it."
Remus reached over for a biscuit, not so much that he was hungry, but more so that he knew he needed to eat. “Fuck if I know. Mostly just trying to stay in this moment because I don’t have the energy for much else. But good thing we’re stubborn bastards.”
There was that. Sirius mustered up a smile, grim though it was. "We're pretty bloody great at getting through shit, Moony. Lots of practice. Haven't failed yet."
“Although, it would be nice to not have to test that.” Remus broke off a small piece of the biscuit to pop into his mouth. “I never thought, well a lot of things, but definitely not this, that after everything Peter would…” He waved his biscuit welding hand.
There was uncharacteristic silence as Sirius ran a hand over his face. "That he would sell us out to the Death Eaters, take the Dark Mark, hide it and lie about it for months, double down on the lying when confronted to try to get away with it, and give us all another lifetime of trust issues to haunt us?" He asked dryly. "Yeah, no, I can honestly say that no one could've seen that one coming."
“There are some things you get to come back from.” Remus offered Sirius the other half of his biscuit. “I don’t think this is one of them.”
Sirius took it and stared at it for a few seconds before eating it listlessly. Hunger was not on the list right now, but it gave him time. It also brought the smallest smile to Remus’s face.
"If he hadn't lied," Sirius muttered after swallowing. "If he hadn't fucking lied when we got him back. If he'd just told us what had happened, we could've...we might have understood. At least we'd have had the chance to. To try."
“Since August.” Almost a year. How did they not see this coming? Should have known. “I mean, there are lies,” and Remus certainly had his fair share, big ones, or really just one big one, but the only life on the line there was his. “Then there is this. So much for blood oaths.”
Sirius snorted, humorless and harsh. "Y'know, I've had three brothers, and so far only the one is left. Maybe it's-" He cut himself off inelegantly. That was a thought that didn't need to be uttered. Certainly not today.
“Not you.” Remus nudged Sirius. “Definitely not you. Otherwise how would you land such a catch?”
“Maybe just one or two things.” Of course Remus squeezed back, leaning further into Sirius, less mindful of his injuries. The physical touch far more important than his wounds. He didn’t mind the quiet so much, not when it was just the two of them, but there was a question hanging in wait. “Do you think you’ll go see him?”
Uncharacteristic silence as Sirius bit back the snapped response that rose naturally. He actually thought about it for a minute and then chuckled. "I think if I see him I'll kill him," he said quietly, finally. "And he's not bloody worth me having to live with that, yeah? He's done enough."
Remus nosed Sirius’s shoulder. “No. I don’t think we owe him anything. Definitely not blood on your hands.”
Looking down at those hands, Sirius was quiet for another few, strange moments before he glanced sideways at Remus. “What about you? Would it help, seeing him?”
Sirius really didn’t think it would. Who knew what Peter would say, to try to weasel his way out of what he’d done, to try to blame it on anyone but himself? (Would he try to blame it on Sirius, on the animosity and resentment that he himself hadn’t known existed between them until it was far too late to fix?)
But it wasn’t his choice.
“He has his chance, didn’t he? When we kept him in the flat.” There was a whine in the back of his throat. He didn’t really want to think it through. Even when he knew, he still took Peter into his home. “I don’t think I have the energy or headspace to face him. What is there left to say? I don’t even think he could explain it because it is never going to make sense to me.”
They all made their choices. Remus made ones every day. Sirius too. Difficult and against most odds, to be good. To do the right thing. “So no. I don’t want to see him.” That part was quieter. The thought still not settling right.
"And any explanation would be a lie," Sirius pointed out, sounding more weary than angry. Though he was that, too, it felt further away now. Too tired to access it fully, maybe. Anger took a lot of energy, and usually he had that to spare, but not after a night like the last. "Or it could be. And we'd never know. One more thing to wonder about. So what's the point? What would it matter, anyway."
Remus hummed, reaching for another biscuit. Again offering half of it to Sirius. “We have enough to sort through already.” It was at least reassuring to know that he and Sirius were on the same side of things. Now, just to check in with the rest of their family. “We should check in with James and Lily.”
Sirius took the biscuit and ate it without thinking about it, his throat dry when he swallowed. "Yeah. We should. But we should sleep first. Or at least rest a bit. I'm a bit tired to try to Apparate right at the moment." Splinching was no fun in the best of times. It would be worse now.
“Yeah, sleep sounds about right,” Remus said amount of a mouthful of biscuit. He’d add a proper meal to the other side of things. But for now there was just one big question remaining: “Here or the bed?”
"Oh, how I wish that was a sexy question," Sirius mused with a mournful little sigh. "C'mon. Bed. It'll probably be worth the effort when we get there."
“Give me a man bun and a few days. I’ll be sure to ask again.”