edgewareroad: (Happy Moony.)
[personal profile] edgewareroad
Reposting my RS_Games fic!

Title: Blue
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Some blood and broken bones.
Pairing: Remus/Sirius
Word Count: 2,261
Summary: Three moments during Sirius and Remus’s seventh year Christmas holiday with Joni Mitchell’s Blue as their soundtrack.
Notes: This was written for the [livejournal.com profile] rs_games (Team Canon!). I chose the Indigo word prompt, which was 'Serenity/Harmony.'


***

“It’s coming on Christmas. They’re cutting down trees...”

The sharp, melancholy chords drift from the old gramophone, filling the empty classroom. The light from the moon pouring through the window is not blue, not exactly, and it’s not that Remus can feel the pull in his bones from his place on the stone sill. It’s more that it feels hypnotic. He can’t quite bring himself to look away from the white, purple, yellow, orange moon, waxing full.

He probably shouldn’t be hiding. The vague pull of guilt begins low in his chest, making the tumult worse if anything. He knows that he should stop being stupid. He should go back to the warm light of the common room and pull crackers with Sirius. It’s Christmas Eve, though, and Remus doesn’t want to be here. He forces himself to believe that he is allowed a certain measure of self-indulgence, under the circumstances.

Remus wants out. Just like the song, he wishes that he could tie on his beat-up brown ice skates and glide until he’s flying. He wishes to be light and free and far away. Most importantly, he wishes to be utterly alone.

Instead, Remus is spending the Christmas holiday at school with Sirius or, rather, because of Sirius. Remus couldn’t stand to see the sadness behind his friend’s eyes when he said he just wanted some relaxation and quiet time in which to plot. He knew the truth was that Sirius had nowhere else to go, not wanting to intrude upon James’s family, not having one of his own any longer. So Remus stayed, using the late December full moon as an excuse. He smiled when Sirius’s eyes lit up at the prospect of company.

Now, however, Remus simply feels tired. The strain of keeping that same small smile glued to his face is beginning to wear on him. He’s tired after two full weeks of Sirius keeping him at arm’s length, jumping whenever they touch. He’s tired of conversations drifting off awkwardly because they’ve reached a newly sensitive issue. Worst of all, he knows it’s his own fault. He should have kept his mouth shut. If he had been smart enough to stay quiet, he could have kept him as a friend.

*


"Hey. Moony?" Sirius begins to walk across the classroom, closing the distance between them. Remus jumps slightly at the noise, before turning. He takes in the silly red hat Sirius has pulled from a cracker. It sits jauntily atop his head, skewed slightly to the right, looking strangely out of place in the dark, somber room.

"Hello," he says after a moment, the corner of his mouth turned up in sad attempt at a smile.

"What’s wrong?" Sirius asks, sitting down next to Remus on the cold windowsill.

"Nothing," Remus answers quickly, "I just wanted to…do some thinking."

"Bullshit," Sirius responds, and Remus looks uncomfortable. Silence descends for a moment.

"It’s nothing. Just--I don’t think I ever should have told."

Sirius quirks an eyebrow at him.

"Not about that. It’s not about being a werewolf. I meant--"

"You meant about being a massive shirtlifter. I understood you. Go on."

"It’s just…" Sirius watches him struggle to find the words, "Everything’s different now. Everyone
is…uncomfortable…around me. I know no one’s trying to hurt my feelings, but—"

"Remus," Sirius begins, but stops at the look on his friend’s face.

"Sirius, they are. Even…” Remus fights to make this impersonal, “Even James. It’s like he’s constantly worried that I might, God forbid, look at him the way he looks at Lily Evans every day. It’s like he’s afraid he’ll catch something or that I’ll just jump him in the hallway some day. He…Look, it’s not about James. He’s been really supportive. You all have. It’s just…"

"I don’t feel that way."

"Sirius, you don’t have to--"

"I wouldn’t say something like that if I didn’t mean it. I don’t feel uncomfortable. You never make me feel uncomfortable.” He looks over at Remus, letting his words land. Remus notices that they are sitting closer together than they have done since the holiday began.

This record,” Sirius adds, finally breaking the tension with a laugh, “Honestly, Lupin, has Evans literally been giving you Girl Lessons?”

Remus manages a genuine smile at this. "This is Joni Mitchell, Sirius. It’s like poetry. I wouldn’t expect you to understand. And…I don’t. Just for the record."

"Don’t what?"

"Don’t look at James that way."

"Well, Moony, I did give you some credit for taste. And me?"

"And you what?"

"Do you look at me that way?"

Remus’s eyes widen in fear for a moment before he says, hastily, "No. Of course not."

Sirius smirks. "You do, don’t you?" Remus looks away, a flush coming over his face.

"You’re thinking about it right now, aren’t you?" Sirius pushes, half-joking. "You’re thinking about how devastatingly handsome I am."

"Sirius!" Remus attempts, still looking determinedly at the his feet. "No, I’m-"

"Do you want to kiss me?" Sirius asks.

"No! Don’t be-"

"Moony. Do you? You said you wouldn’t lie to me again."

Still without looking at Sirius, Remus nods slightly. "I’m sorry," he begins, after a moment’s pause. "You can…You can just…Bugger. It doesn’t mean any-"

"What if I don’t mind, then?" Sirius says, cautiously. Remus turns instantly to look at Sirius. His jaw is set, his cheeks are pink with embarrassment.

Before Remus has time to process, time to run, Sirius presses a small, gentle kiss to his lips. When he pulls away, Sirius can see the hurt written all over Remus’s face.

"What?" Sirius presses, panicking, "Moony, what?"

"I don’t want to be your experiment," says Remus very quietly. With these words, he turns and bolts from the room.

The song continues: “Only a phase, these dark café days…”

Sirius hears the last few scratchy bars of mournful piano fade away, and the record comes to a stop. Despite the still, silent night just outside the glass, Sirius is filled with turmoil. No matter how long he sits, he cannot find any peace.

***


The pale blue light of pre-dawn has already begun to creep across the Hogwarts grounds, though the sun has not yet risen above the horizon line. The snow seems almost to glow. Everything is crisp, silent, and frozen, as though the entire world is holding its breath.

A shaggy, black dog sits rigidly still beside a willow tree. Against the snow, it seems merely a shadow. Its eyes are fixed upon the horizon line, where a warm glow is beginning to spread across the sky, pink meeting winter grey-blue.

A sliver of impossibly sharp orange light juts above the tundra landscape.

The dog, as though it had been waiting for this very cue, launches into motion. Suddenly, the tree is alive. Ice cracks as branches shake loose, moving of their own accord.

Dodging violent, whipping tree limbs with deft grace, the dog disappears through a hole at the base of the tree, a hole that one would never have seen if one had not known where to look.

The tree shakes its branches once, twice, as though restless, before it settles back to its inanimate state. All is still once more as the sun continues to rise.

*


"Lumos," Sirius whispers, as he races through the tunnel at a crouch. He can see his breath swirling before him in the dim light.

Moving quickly, skillfully over the uneven earthen floor, Sirius flexes his stiff fingers, somehow much colder than they were as paws. He pulls his cloak more tightly around him, more a reaction to the churning fear in the pit of his stomach than to the bone-deep feel of the underground frost.

When he reaches the trap door, Sirius hesitates for a fraction of a second, listening. Hearing only complete, enveloping silence, he pushes it open and climbs through. The door shuts with a creak and a loud thud behind him, and the eerie silence stretches before him again. Sirius turns on his heel, eyes scanning the room for some form of life. Seeing only broken furniture, he climbs the staircase at a run, careful to jump the cracked step near the top.

The door on the left is open, or possibly off its hinges. Sirius throws himself over the threshold, his panic increasing when he sees no figure lying prone on the floor. He grips his wand tighter, chewing his lip, and turns to leave.

Then he hears a painful, gasping intake of air from the ground on the other side of the bed.

Sirius races around the four-poster to find Remus, curled in on himself, naked and bloodied on the wooden floor. Sharp, stabbing guilt rises in Sirius’s chest so palpably that his breath catches for a moment. He reaches for Remus without thinking.

Remus's eyes don't open, but he reacts like a wild animal, cornered. His upper lip curls back into a savage snarl, revealing teeth covered in blood, his own blood.

"Shhh. Shhh. You're okay," Sirius whispers, desperately. His eyes frantically search the room for someone, something to help. Nothing appears.

"Shh. It's me," he reassures, reaching out again only to receive the same tensed muscles, the same gut-wrenching sound of an animal in pain.

That's when Sirius begins to hum quietly, possibly out of nerves, and then to sing.

"Mmm...So bitter and so sweet. Oh, I could drink a case of you, darling, and I would still be on my feet. I would still be on my feet…"

He doesn't know where the song came from, exactly, but now it's on his lips like a lullaby. His voice feels scratchy, and he's a little off-key, but Remus's body relaxes ever so slightly, and Sirius doesn't stop.

The sound must be reassuring, or else Remus is more human now, because when Sirius places a tentative hand against Remus's ribcage, he relaxes into the touch. Sirius takes stock of the broken ribs, pushing Remus's damp fringe off his forehead as he winces. He counts three. Wand pressed as gently as possible to bruised skin, Sirius murmurs healing spells. He hisses a sigh of relief through clenched teeth when Remus's breathing eases.

Gaining confidence, Sirius traces his wand over the deep gash along Remus’s collarbone until it becomes simply another scar. He heals the wounds around Remus’s ankle and sets the bone with a whispered, “Ferula.” He finally takes the small, corked pain potion from within his cloak and holds it to Remus’s lips until its contents are drained.

It is only then that he notices Remus shivering. Shrugging off his cloak, Sirius eases Remus’s shoulders off the ground and wraps him in the thick material, before placing his other arm around Remus’s knees and heaving him into the air. Sirius ignores the way his arms complain at the weight.

He deposits Remus onto the large bed and pulls the torn blankets up to his chin. Then, crawling into the four-poster himself, Sirius wraps his arms around Remus’s chest carefully, as though touching something delicate, something that might shatter. He presses close to his friend’s side, hoping desperately that his body heat will be enough.

After several minutes, Remus stops shaking and his eyelids flutter open. He blinks twice before looking over at Sirius, a question in his eyes.

Sirius realises that he is still humming and stops abruptly.

"Your girl music is rubbing off on me," he whispers. He doesn't let go.

"T--Thank...you," Remus finally manages. The words sound painful, as though they are tearing his throat, but his eyes convey everything he cannot say.

"Shh," Sirius reprimands gently, burying his face against Remus's shoulder. After a pause, he manages, "I'm sorry I left you," though his voice is choked.

Remus shakes his head, gritting his teeth against the pain of the vehement action.

"Never again," Sirius promises.

As their breathing slows and warmth spreads through their bodies, a peaceful silence descends. Sirius can feel his heart beating in rhythm with Remus’s as he falls asleep.

***


The gramophone sits on the worn, stone roof of the Astronomy Tower , looking like something of an anomaly.

Remus pulls the record from its blue sleeve and places it carefully onto the pin. Tapping the side of the player with his wand, he watches its mustard-coloured label fall and begin to spin as the needle moves into place. The chilly wind whips at his hair, tugs on the ends of his scarf. The sound of guitar begins:

“I am on a lonely road, and I am traveling, traveling, travel—“

“I want the one that’s not about girly woe,” Sirius calls from across the roof, where he is casually leaned against the stone side, his legs crossed at the ankle and his arms crossed over his chest.

A smile splits Remus’s face, and he ducks to hide.

“I know you’re smiling,” Sirius says, unhelpfully.

Shooting Sirius a look over one shoulder, Remus gently advances the needle.

“The wind is in from Africa , and last night I couldn’t sleep…”

“Better?” he asks, fiddling with the volume knob. He jumps when he feels gloved hands fixing his scarf, “You are too sneaky for your own good.”

“You like it,” Sirius answers, helping Remus to his feet. He takes Remus by the hand, by the hip, and begins to move to the music. It is clumsy at first, until Remus lets him lead.

Soon there is an easy harmony to their dance. Sirius leans in close.

“I love you,” he whispers into the shell of Remus’s ear.
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