Characters: Remus and Sirius
Disclaimer: They're not mine. I'm just here to play with them. Like Ken and well, Ken.
Wordcount: 3,327 thereabouts.
Summary: Give me just one part of you to cling to, and keep me everywhere you are. It's just enough to steal my heart and run and fade out with the falling sun.
Notes: Written for blanketforts, I've incorporated prompts 11 thru 19 and will continue with the next block of prompts. A huge thank you again to kethlenda for continuing to beta, I really appreciate it.
Part One here
One Moment More
Eva lay on her side, her eyes unfocused as one finger trailed listlessly against the foggy window. The symbols and letters she had drawn spelled one name and when her eyes cleared, she realizes what she’s done. With a grunt of disgust, she wiped the glass clear and rolled over, pulling the bed blankets up around her shoulders.
How could she have been so naïve to believe he would have contacted her today? Why had she been so happy to hear the tap of an owl against her window, hoping against hope the note had come from him? When she realized it was a Hogwarts owl, she plucked an owl treat for the bird and threw the note unread on the table. She’d never acted this way about a man before.
But Sirius Black had been no ordinary man.
I could fall in love with him, she mused as she pushed the blankets back. Her feet hit the wooden floor and she shivered, reaching for her dressing gown. Sleep was eluding her this evening, and her curiosity about the note had gotten the best of her.
After reading it through once, she dropped her hand and stared up at the ceiling. A mission, huh? She could use a three month holiday to somewhere warm.
Due to her position in the Department of Antiquities at the Ministry, Dumbledore was requesting her assistance in an information-gathering mission. She could accept, knowing if she did, she would be aligning herself against the gathering forces spreading their evil throughout the Wizarding community. Her father would most definitely not be pleased if he learned of her position with Dumbledore’s group if she accepted. Dumbledore was not one of his favorite people and all Eva was ever able to learn was how Dumbledore and Hogwarts had been involved in some scandal involving her family thirty years before.
Her eyes strayed to the last paragraph of the note again.
“I must let you know before you decide; there will significant danger involved. Your assistance would help us greatly, as we can use your contacts within the foreign Ministries to gain entrance into the tombs and libraries needed. There is a young man I wish to accompany you on this journey, as he will know exactly what we need and are looking for. However, if you accept, you may be placed into a difficult situation the likes of which you saw during your childhood. I trust you know what it is I am asking and why I am asking you for your expertise and discretion in this matter.”
So he’s a werewolf, Eva thought as she dropped the parchment. How could he ask this of her and more importantly, how did he know? Her father had claimed time and time again it was a secret only their immediate family knew.
But her father’s sanity was beginning to slip and who knows what he remembered or what he said when the wrong ears were listening. Sometimes he would mistake her for his sister who had died years ago. The way he looked at her and called her by the name of the dead girl terrified her. One night he grabbed her wrist and squeezed it until she was sure it would break, screaming at her about someone named Abraxas. Eva wrenched her wrist free and Apparated home before he could see her cry.
Even thought her father seemed more insane every time she visited the family home, he knew. He knew of the disappearances and the murders and he would cackle gleefully as he would recount details she knew had never been published in the Daily Prophet.
Well, there was her answer. She sat down at the table and turned the parchment over as she pulled her quill and inkwell towards her. Hopefully it wasn’t too late to accept.
“Take me for a walk, Moony.”
“What?” Remus asked as he stared at the latest missive from Dumbledore, arrived just this morning. He was going to be traveling with someone from the Ministry; someone Dumbledore was sure would smooth any obstacles he may face.
“It’s snowing again and I want to play in the snow and as I am a grown man, there is no snow playing allowed. But as Padfoot, I can play for hours.”
“I have things to do,” Remus started, looking up at Sirius, who pushed out his lower lip in a very good imitation of a pout. “Fine,” he sighed. “But I’m not staying out there for hours. One hour only, understood?”
Sirius transformed and danced around Remus’ ankles and knees as he pulled on his coat and scarf. “You don’t realize how lucky you are, you know that, right?”
The dog sat back on his haunches and tilted his head as if listening. Remus was never able to get an honest answer when he asked Sirius if could understand English as Padfoot. But he wouldn’t put it past him to understand every word they said when he was a dog.
Padfoot jumped and barked at the falling snow. He rolled and shook, rolled and shook and ran towards Remus who jumped out of the way. This was his favorite part of winter, this, the wet, the snow, white bright on his black, black muzzle and what was he going to do when Moony was gone? Who would take him to the park and let him exorcise his demons as he ran and stalked and sniffed? Something in the trees caught his attention and he froze for a moment before barking wildly at a bird perched high above.
Come down, he barked. Come down and let me play with you! I won’t eat you, I promise! Come down, come down! Let me chase, let me smell! Come down!! Fly little bird, fly! Let me chase, let me run, let me dig up puffs of snow and feel the wind fly against my ears as I chase my freedom!
Then something moved in the brush and the bird was forgotten.
Remus stood at the edge of the clearing, his gloved hands shoved deep in his pockets. The snow whitened his hair and gathered on his shoulders. The world was muffled, silent as if encased in a solid cocoon of cotton. He could hear his blood pounding in his veins and the dog barking in the distance. His breath flagged out in front of him with every exhale he took.
Was he really going to leave? Could he really leave him?
Of course he could, he reasoned. But would he be able to stay away? His mouth curved into a smile as the dog rolled in the snow and then jumped up as if burned, his massive jaws snapping at something only he could see. Sirius Black was never one to build a snowman; Remus mused as the dog burrowed into the snow and disappeared momentarily. The paw prints set before him were slowly disappearing under the weight of the falling tufts of snow.
Hours later, when Remus could no longer feel his feet, he whistled sharply and the dog came running.
Sirius could have used a drying charm on his hair, but went without it and used a towel instead. He scrubbed his hair fiercely as he moved down the hallway, his wet feet leaving a trail on hardwood. He stopped outside of the entryway to the parlor, which was also the dining room and also the kitchen and paused in his frantic rubbing.
Moony sat at his desk, his mouth moving silently as he read. Sirius frowned, knowing he could guilt Moony into staying if he really wanted to. Did he want to? Sirius absently scratched at the top of his head.
Yeah, he admitted. He did want Moony to stay. But if he did, he’d only become more and more miserable as the days moved on. Sirius knew the look of love when he saw it, and Moony had that look on his face all the time now. If Sirius kept him from his first love, the books, and from the mysteries Dumbledore was holding out in front of him like a carrot, there was too much of a chance Moony would start to resent him.
And Sirius could not have that. The idea of Moony hating him was even worse than knowing Moony was going to leave him soon. Three months wasn’t that long, really. But could they trust this bloke Dumbledore was sending with him? He still didn’t understand why Dumbledore wouldn’t allow him to go. He thought it a bit cagey of Dumbledore to insist he had other plans for him, Sirius Black.
But how to go three months without Remus?
Sirius shook his head. What was he, some kind of a poofer? Why was he getting all worked up about Moony leaving? He started to rub the towel against his head again and moved on to the room they shared, putting all thought of his feelings out of his mind.
The day Remus was leaving dawned cold and blue, all traces of the falling snow gone.
Remus opened his eyes to the frost covered window in front of him and the sounds of Sirius banging on the radiator in the hall filling his ears. He reached a hand out to the window and the pads of his fingers melted the frost, leaving four perfect ovals on the glass. In an instant, Remus realized the ice is on the inside.
“Stupid bloody fucking thing!” Sirius raged as he stomped into the room and pulled on another jumper.
“Why don’t you just use a warming spell,” Remus said from beneath the covers. He left the dumb ass part unsaid.
Sirius banged his wardrobe door closed before sitting on his bed across from Moony and pulling on another pair of socks. “What? I can’t hear you, Moony. What did you say?”
Remus brought the covers down from his face and shivered. “Use a warming spell, Pads. We don’t have to wait for the landlord to fix the radiator. We’re wizards, don’t you know.”
Sirius made a face at him. “Of course I know and just for your cheeky tone of voice…” and with a flourish of his wand, the blankets covering Remus flew up and stuck to the ceiling.
A wave of goose pimples broke out along Remus’ bare skin as Sirius burst out laughing. Remus jerked, his body instinctively curling into the fetal position. “What are you laughing at?” Remus croaked out between clenched teeth.
“I don’t know if it’s the fact you sleep in only your drawers in the middle of January or the massive tent you’ve pitched in the center of them.”
“What...” Remus sputtered as he looked down and sure enough, his morning wood was starting to poke through the little hole in his drawers. “I’ll get you for this, Sirius Black!” Remus spat before he launched himself off of his bed and onto Sirius’. They wrestled for a few moments, before Remus suddenly stopped, realizing he was lying pelvis to pelvis with Sirius.
He was lying on top of Sirius and he had a hard-on. And the only reason why he stopped was because a moan of pleasure was about to escape his lips at the delicious friction their wrestling had caused to course through his body. Remus jumped off the bed as if burned and left the room, slamming the bedroom door behind him.
Sirius’ body felt electric in all the places Remus had touched him. And unbidden into his consciousness came the wish that he had been just as unclothed as Remus.
Sirius strived for normalcy when Remus emerged from the WC fully clothed. He put the newspaper down on the table and summoned the boiling teakettle for his friend. “They say the city is crippled,” he said, surprised at how steady his voice sounded.
“What?” Remus asked as he used his wand to gather up his remaining supplies. His traveling companion was due to arrive before the noon hour.
“All the snow. It seems it’s been awhile since London has received a snowfall like we got yesterday. Everything’s shut down. Except the tube of course, because that runs underground and everyone knows it doesn’t snow underground.”
“I’m sorry,” Remus says when Sirius trails off, but he doesn’t turn around when he says it.
“For what?” Sirius asks, but he knows what Moony’s apologizing for but doesn’t want to say so. He doesn’t want to think of it any more today. Not today when Moony is leaving in just a few hours. “Are you imagining you’ve hexed me again or something? What time is the bloke supposed to arrive again?”
Remus closes his eyes as he fingers the spine of the book in his hand. Sirius has done what Sirius always does when faced with something he doesn’t want to think about. He changes the subject and considers the matter not up for discussion.
“My travel companion? Around noon, I believe Dumbledore said.”
“Seriously though,” Sirius stops for a moment the way he always does whenever he uses the word ‘serious’ in a sentence. “Did Dumbledore say it was going to be a wizard or a Muggle? Because if it’s a Muggle, you may not be able to leave today because of all the snow.”
Remus shook his head and with a wave of his wand the trunk closes and locks shut. “Not a Muggle. Someone from the Department of Antiquities. I wonder how you get a job there. I don’t remember it being on the list of opportunities when we went for career counseling. Maybe it’s something you have to be elected to or work your way towards,” Remus says as he sits at the table. “I guess I could ask Arthur, didn’t you say your cousin recently started working there?”
“My cousin? You mean Arthur Weasley? I guess he’s my cousin somewhere down the line, but I’ve only just met him the last time Dumbledore held a meeting, Moony, the same as you. He’s never been to any of the Black family functions, and if he told you he just started working at the Ministry, then he’s probably the one who told you. I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to him before.”
“Oh yeah,” Remus said absently as he sipped his tea. “I think I remember him saying his wife just had another baby, or was it twins?”
“Remus,” Sirius said from across the table. Sirius never called him that.
“You know as well as I do the Department of Antiquities would be the perfect place for you. You know I wish the Ministry would overturn the decree against werewolves working for them,” Sirius said as he folded his newspaper. “I just don’t want to see you get your hopes up while you’re traveling with this bloke, is all.”
Why did Remus feel as if Sirius had dumped a bucket of cold water over his head? Sirius was right of course; he would never be allowed to accept a position at the Ministry. But he was saved from any further thought and answering by a knock at the flat’s door.
James and Lily opened the door walked in, both of them looking very windswept and cold. “I have scones,” Lily announced as she held up a white bakery bag.
“And I have firewhisky!” James said.
“Hot toddies!” Sirius exclaimed as he jumped up to take the bag and the bottle from his friends.
“I’m so glad I’m magical,” Lily remarked as she shrugged out of her overcoat. “I don’t know what I would do if I had to use Muggle transportation instead of Apparating.”
“My friends, the snow is knee high in places,” James said as he fell into one of the kitchen chairs. “And that’s just right outside of your building.”
“I’m glad you came,” Remus said as he stood to kiss Lily hello on the cheek.
Lily kissed him back, her cold lips sending a shiver down Remus’ spine.
“Wild horses couldn’t have kept us away.”
James groaned. “No, Lily. Please don’t.”
“What is that all about?” Sirius said as put down the levitating tray with their drinks in the middle of the table.
“This Muggle singing group Lily keeps going on and on about. She uses her Muggle recorder player and listens to this scratchy-sounding round thing over and over again. Some man wailing about wild horses and knocking on doors. The Rolling Rocks or something or other.”
Lily’s face flushed red with indignation. “It’s not the Rolling Rocks, it’s the Rolling Stones and it isn’t the recorder player, it’s the turntable and you like their music, you’ve said so! Don’t act all high and mighty now that we’re here with your friends, or I’ll tell them how you go around singing Brown Sugar! Even better, I’ll summon my record player and let them listen to the album themselves!”
James watched his fiancée with a silly look of love on his face. “She’s beautiful when she’s riled up, isn’t she? She knows I do it on purpose, but she never fails to take the bait.”
“Is Peter coming?” Remus asked when it looked as if Lily beginning to get angry at James. Getting Lily mad was not a good thing.
“I don’t know,” she said with a sideways glance at James. “We haven’t seen or heard from him since New Year’s Eve. I don’t even know if he knows you’re leaving.”
Remus felt his lips twitch. Peter was becoming more and more secretive lately.
“You know,” Lily said after sipping her toddy and making a face. “I had the oddest dream about him last night.”
“Peter?” Remus asked.
Lily nodded her head as she leaned over James to put her cup down on the table. “I don’t remember all of it…okay, I don’t remember much of it at all other than stars and rain and the moon and snow…” she paused as she turned to glance out the window. Remus thought she was done and opened his mouth to speak when she turned back and faced them.
“And children. There were children in the dream with him. Playing in green fluorescent snow.”
Sirius stood behind Lily and made a face. “Sounds like a cracker of a dream, Lils.”
“I didn’t say it was a good dream,” Lily said defensively.
“I can’t imagine any dream containing Peter could be called a good dream,” James said as he grabbed Lily around the waist and pulled her into his lap. “You are not allowed to dream about any one other than me. Understood?” He dipped her so her long red hair brushed against the floor and dust motes swept up and floated in the sunbeam shining through the window.
“I’m glad you came,” Remus said, clearing his throat. “It really means a lot to me.”
“How could we not,” Lily said as she swatted at James. “You’re family. Besides you have to tell us what part of Greece you’re going to so we have an excuse to come visit. What I wouldn’t give to walk down a white sandy beach right now.”
Remus smiled, but his heart wasn’t in it. Wasn’t Peter family too? How could they have not told him he was leaving? How could Remus not have sent him a note? He’d sent one to James and Lily, but Lily had replied they already knew because Sirius had told them.
Would Peter have come even if he’d known? They had never been the best of friends and Peter did have the unfortunate habit of forgetting things where Remus was concerned. Would he have claimed to have forgotten? Remus liked to pretend it didn’t sting whenever he was shown another way Peter didn’t idolize him the way he did Sirius or James.
But then there was a knock at the door, and Peter was pushed from his mind. His companion had arrived.