Author: Bow (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Summary: The days go on and Remus gets by.
Pairing: Remus/Sirius, vaguely
Notes: Oh, how could I have forgotten to thank supergrover24 for her insightful last-minute beta? Thank you!
Author you were assigned: rosawestphalen
Memories assault him at any moment of weakness. He fortifies himself with the work of the order. He barricades himself with endless tasks. Yet in moments just before sleep, some slight scent or gentle sound will morph into devastating attacks he cannot parry. Lily's laugh, James's scent, Peter's snicker. When he's weakest, when he thinks one more memory will finish the job, a whisper of breeze will bring him Sirius. Sirius touching, stroking, holding. He pulls his loss closer, knowing he's powerless against such guerilla tactics, unable to deny Sirius, even in death. Even if it leads to his own.
To Get By
Remus Lupin carries a piece of parchment in the pocket of his robes at all times, now. This parchment is part of the rhythm of his new life. It’s a list of all the werewolves in Wizarding Great Britain: names, ages, addresses—even professions, if they have them. Dumbledore copied it himself from the Werewolf Registry, charging Remus with the task of seeking them out, of speaking to them of the coming war and convincing them that Dark creatures, too, are welcome on the side of the Light.
The work is thankless and slow, and so at first Dumbledore’s list had catalogued only the werewolves of Scotland. But Remus had shaken his head. “My life belongs to the Order now,” he said, “let me go to them all.” So Dumbledore returned to the Werewolf Registry to retrieve the rest of the names.
The days are manageable because Remus is a person who manages. He stays busy, and it stills the swell of memories, and it’s how he gets by. Dumbledore’s monthly allowance is enough to pay for a run-down flat in Cavenham, in a building owned by an elderly Squib, and that’s where Remus spends most of his nights. It’s no worse than what he’s used to, even if it does smell of cats. If he doesn’t quite sleep soundly at night, he sleeps well enough, and his dreams, when he dreams, are at least finite.
* * *
And such dreams he has, of full bellies after Hogwarts feasts, of jaunts through the Forbidden Forest and of second chances. He dreams one night of winter while they were all still at Hogwarts, the year Zonko’s was transfigured into a giant ice castle to celebrate their two-hundredth year in business. It was nearly fantastic to look at: sculpted turrets stretched themselves skyward, and the frosty sheen on the battlements was nearly blue in the low light of evening.
With the cloak and the map, the four of them were invincible, and they snuck out to Hogsmeade at night like they always did. They crept around to the back of the building so Sirius could melt his initials into a block of ice with the heat of his wand tip. James followed suit, writing his full name with a flourish, and in two clean strokes, Remus drew the outline of a thin crescent moon.
Peter carved “P.P.” in tiny letters close to the ground. “Imagine if we were caught,” he squeaked through chattering teeth, his tone somewhere between amused and frightened.
“We won’t be,” snorted Sirius. “You’d never notice unless you were looking for it. Unless you wanted to find it.” He stepped back a few paces and cleared his throat for show. “Tell him, Moony.”
Remus reached over and traced the indentations with his index finger, gliding along the exuberant curves of Sirius’s S until his finger began to tingle.
“I reckon that’s so,” said Remus, “and who’d come looking for it, anyhow?”
Sirius took a snowball to the head before he could reply, pitching several back at James and one at Peter for good measure. James stuffed snow down the front of Remus’s robes, and Remus fell against the building, laughing and panting as the cold seeped through to his bones.
* * *
Remus wakes with a jolt to see that the bedroom window has sprung open, cold air whipping across his face like Dementors’ breath. Sweat chills the back of his neck. It takes him a moment to remember why he’s alone in a too-large bed, and that split second feels like cramming one of those ice blocks into his head—the idea is too square and heavy, too frost-bitten to fit inside of him.
He lies there in the space between sleep and waking and wonders whether this could mean something beyond the fact that the latch is broken. The hissing of the wind is almost like whispering, after all. It’s a step away from human speech, and hadn’t Sirius practically asked Remus to come looking for him?
But in the end Remus doesn’t really believe that, doesn’t listen too closely to the whistling and howling. He reaches for his wand on the nightstand and mutters a sticking charm in the direction of the window, shutting his eyes again and shutting it out of his mind. Already he has wasted too much time struggling to understand things that can’t be understood.
* * *
The next morning, Remus wakes as dawn is breaking. He puts on the same robes he wore the day before, foregoes his usual shaving charm, drinks his tea black.
He pulls out his parchment and runs his finger down to the next name on the list, then Apparates to Dublin in search of Jacob Summerbee, age 28, carpenter when he can find work.
Summerbee is tall and wiry, with hairy arms and long fingers. Remus is busy explaining Dumbledore’s kindness in employing him at Hogwarts when Summerbee lays a hand on Remus’s shoulder and smiles.
Remus freezes there for a moment, with that hand on him like a tether, just to make sure Sirius won’t come storming out of the sky now, bellowing in sacred, furious tones—but all Remus hears is his own heavy breathing.
So when Summerbee leans Remus up against the wall, warm belly against warm belly, Remus lets him. The hooks of his robes fly open, and he thrusts his hips in rhythm. He opens his mouth, he closes his eyes, and he gets by.
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