Request: Something happy and uplifting.
Fandom: Harry Potter
Genre: Angst and romance
Rating: PG for sexual references, I guess.
Comments: This is really a combined birthday-and-Christmas gift fic for Mel, who got to read it in hard copy before I even posted this, and I worked hard to make it stretch the double duty :) Between the requesting of this fic and its writing, she rediscovered a love for Sirius/Remus, and although it’s a pet ‘ship I had never actually tried my hand at writing it. The fic is shorter than most of the others, actually, but the style didn’t call for length. It’s not the brightest ray of sunshine, either, but uplifting? I hope so.
I like this style a lot, but damn if it isn’t exhausting to carry on for long. All the little tricks and repetitions take thought and careful prodding to make them fit. So: warnings for oddness, also for a few ideas that I lifted from the geniuses over at shoebox_project to make it fit into the Sirius/Remus world in our heads; poetry and commas, mostly. Any feedback at all would be welcome, because I don’t normally write things like this and I’d like to hear any comments.
(Beautiful banner courtesy of copinggoggles, who also served as beta on a moment’s notice. Much love upon her.)
This: is where the rain comes from.
Remus sits under a window curled into a letter G, knees up against his chest and a book about to fall off them. Libraries are for silence; and yet here, he thinks, the rain is loudest. It calls against the glass; slides down; slides up. His eyes jump and glide over words, finding it hard to hear their meanings over the hissing rat-tat of water and the pounding of his own heart.
He feels alive, and he is happier than he’s ever been.
(because everything has its counterbalance)
Sirius’ hair is very Black against the pillow.
Which is to say elegant, of course, and dark, and put artfully into place because impressions are everything even when there is no one around to impress. His face is buried and it’s glorious. He’s not asleep. He listens to the rain and lies there, all boy-arms and a dog’s sheer inert lethargy.
Cloud-filtered light comes through the window as though spat out by smoky quartz.
Sun peeks through the fractured clouds at a world that is still wet; that reflects the sky, really, (and the earth was made in the image of heaven) which is glossy and tearful and almost too bright to look at.
James: It’s a waste of good flying time, really.
Remus: looks at the horizon and wonders how you can fly in such a heavy thing as air
Kissing is like a game of chess.
Which is to say: slow.
Which is to say: unique every time.
Which is to say: Remus is always surprised when Sirius wins of his own accord because of the small proud part of him that knows that he is better, but he still lets him win to see the insane smiling whoop he gives as he sees two moves into the future and drapes himself mentally in wreaths and champagne.
Remus always sees at least six moves ahead, but it never spoils the game’s spontaneity.
Sirius has a lovely mouth.
James went to Scotland in the holidays and Peter went to Calais and Remus went to the room behind the bookcase where no-one can hear you and Sirius went to Egypt. There is sand in his shoes, and a tan on his back.
He tells them about the Nile; he even shows them on a map the small wobbly triangle at the top of the country where all the tiny rivers that have come together to form this force of nature split apart again, running their separate ways over the sand and dumping everything that they have gathered in their journey.
Remus is good at: history, geography, anything that he can pick up from his books.
Sirius is good at: everything else, it seems.
“Were there mummies?”
“Here, look at this photo; I’m bright pink.”
“So you are.”
“Look at me scratching my shoulders. Bloody sunburn.”
“Who’s the girl?”
Is everything all right?
This: is where ideas are born.
(on a slow day one could almost imagine that the clock hands are pausing just to spite you, moving through molasses and never quite reaching their destination)
They are a slow descending incline of attention, sitting in a row. Remus blinks and frowns and his hand moves almost without his having to glance at it. Peter is smaller and bobs up and down, torn between jotting down notes and looking over at James, who may as well be comatose on his desk because when has Professor Binns ever cared if you pay attention in class?
Sirius is the tallest of all, which does not fit. He leans back and links his hands behind his head and stares at the clock, making a mockery of the system with his laziness and height.
They breathe in time with the seconds that tick by, without end.
One could narrow one’s eyes (Peter thinks in images that he finds hard to voice, and so he says little) and see thoughts drifting from ear to ear like cotton candy, flimsy and ethereal and faintly pink. James will plan a brilliant prank which will whip across to Sirius – one can almost see his ears twitch and prick like Padfoot’s would – and then curl an afterthought of a tendril around Peter. It hovers over Remus guiltily before descending; hesitant, apologetic.
Close one’s eyes further still and see exclusive crimson between two people only (because maybe Peter sees further than people think).
It’s odd, because if anyone is joined it’s Sirius and James. Joined at the hip, people say, neat invisible stitches down the seams of their jeans.
But during the night Remus lies as close as he can to the warmth of Sirius’ body and there are no clothes for a convenient seamstress’ needle. The thread bites into their flesh, closer and tighter and far more dangerous.
Is it worth it?
(Sirius talks in his sleep)
Remus reads in the strangest of positions; curled into the smallest spaces. He lies on a couch that is too short for his limbs, one arm tucked behind his head and the other turning pages, one leg bent up and the other tucked away under him, somehow. It is a small couch, but Sirius thinks there is more than enough room for him to slip behind and drape an arm over Remus’ side and rest his chin on Remus’ shoulder and just lie there.
He tries to read the words, but gives up. He wants to talk, but it’s obvious that Remus wants silence. So he lets the black marks on the white page flicker in his vision and he smiles a little and he tries to guess what Moony is thinking and sometimes he thinks like this without breaks or commas because Padfoot has never seen a need for mental punctuation (any punctuation) and there’s no difficulty in keeping up with his own thoughts and no audience so why bother?
(a scene in time)
Remus somehow manages to smell like herbs, mixed in with the dust and leather, like a sharp snatch of parsley sage rosemary and
(a scent of thyme)
Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Sirius hums gently, his throat buzzing where it lies on the cloth of Remus’ robes, and thinks once she was a true love of mine.
They fight about families, of all the things never to bring up. It begins with blood. It ends with stars. But then, outside on the Astronomy Tower is a good place to argue, if you’re going to.
(Peter laughed once; no one can hear you scream)
It is very strange how beautiful you can find someone when they are digging their (claws) nails into the smallest deepest cracks of your soul and trying to make you scream and succeeding because nobody knows those cracks like they do, nobody.
One would think that Remus would be no good at fighting; but then, one might not have seen the moon rise full and bleeding light into the sky. He snaps and glares and shifts and tilts his head back and can see only clouds with a few lonely stars trying to find the gaps.
I wish I’d had the sense never to sleep with you in the first place.
I wish I’d had a choice.
Back and forth, and back and forth. They move very little.
Best of my worst, Remus thinks.
And the worst of each other is what they coax out, in the end; the pride and the obstinacy and the sullen looks and the cold cold knowledge of a heart and a mind closed off. The air swallows everything.
(no one can hear your heart
And then there is no bright laughter and no Sirius and no stars at all, in fact.
Remus has never been a good navigator without something to steer by.
That which came together comes apart (at the seams) and flows slowly over the rough sand on its way to the sea.
One river dumps its troubles on James, who is surprisingly good at listening and hopeless at advice, which is just what the river needs.
The other dumps everything on its books, which absorb everything noiselessly into their pages and give back nothing but the words that have been read a thousand times.
Sometimes it’s enough.
From the poets:
It is not in the storm nor in the strife
We feel benumbed, and wish to be no more,
But in the after-silence on the shore,
When all is lost, except a little life.
Like a long-legged fly upon the stream
His mind moves upon silence.
This: is somehow worse than a silence could be.
They are talking but they are not talking and when they open their mouths and the words come out it is, again, a game of chess. Remus stares helplessly at Sirius’ lips and wonders why everything is a beautiful game where they are concerned.
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.h3 Nb8 10.d4 Nbd7 11.Nbd2 Bb7 12.Bc2 c5
(white moves before Black)
“Gone down already.”
Pass the butter, watch out for that coffee mug, how’d the essay planning go last night, I’d like some juice, I said move your elbow away from my coffee, shift up will you, nice day, shame about the forecast of rain, anyone for more bacon, that was my newspaper, Potter. I told you to be careful.
“Here’s a handkerchief.”
“Don’t mention it.”
“It’s got coffee…”
“It doesn’t matter.”
Is everything – ?
Don’t mention it.
And then there crept
A little noiseless noise among the leaves,
Born of the very sigh that silence heaves.
(Remus has always been fondest of Keats)
This: is where the rain knocks against the library window, boisterous and insistent, and shadows curl around the room.
Sirius ducks his head and shifts his feet and looks agonized, as though he is waiting for a lecture or a blow or a deduction of house points.
And then he remembers who he is, and he gives Remus a Black look that is full of light.
He says, “They did forecast rain.”
He says, “What were we fighting about?”
He says, “I think I have forgotten.”
He doesn’t say, I need something to steer by too, but Remus has always had senses for smells and sounds and even sentences that aren’t apparent at first glance.
Remus is not sure, but he might be crying. There might be salted water on his cheeks, running down and down like rain. He touches Sirius’ hair.
Remus says only, “I love you.”
The saltwater merges into a whole.
And the rain stops.
(but only where they are)