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Hemingway

l_stone in shacking_up

Fic: After the War

Title: After the War
Pairing: Sirius/Remus
Word Count: 664
Rating: PG-13
Spoilers: none specific, up to PoA at least (no DH spoilers)
Warnings: language, smoking, general dysfunction
Summary: There is no after.  Only now.  They have come, slowly, to understand this.
Notes: Cross posted to remusxsiriusand my journal.  Also, my first HP fic in probably close to two years.  Written (quickly) before the release of Deathly Hallows.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any of its characters, including and especially Sirius and Remus.


Sirius flips the light switch on and off and on and off again. He still hasn’t mastered the idea of electricity. Remus lies on the mattress (it is dingy and stained) (they don’t have any sheets), and stares up at the overhead light, as it flickers on and off and on and off again.
 
He mutters for Sirius to stop but Sirius doesn’t hear.
 
*
 
They used to talk about an after. An after the war. 
 
They used to make plans.
 
*
 
Sirius is leaning over the balcony edge, dropping cigarette ash onto their downstairs neighbor’s plants. The shoulder of his shirt is torn. An easy fix he will not allow Remus to make for him. My mother paid 50 Galleons for this shirt, he says. As if this were an explanation.
 
Remus staggers through the door and into their bathroom, retches uselessly, ignores the mold growing on the claustrophobic walls.
 
You push yourself too hard Sirius says. It’s too close to the full moon for you to pull shit like this.
 
No sympathy in his voice but Remus doesn’t expect it anymore.
 
*
 
There is no after. Only now.
 
They have come, slowly, to understand this.
 
*
 
Now the summer drips through the cracks in the wall, slips under the door and through the windows that they push open to the harsh city sounds of the street. Even here, Remus can smell it. Death.
 
He knows he’s going mad, only wishes that Sirius couldn’t see it.
 
Moony.
 
Dull voice, dull eyes.
 
They are lying side by side on the floor.
 
Moony.
 
What?
 
His tongue is thick and dry in his mouth.
 
Sometimes I hate you.
 
At least they are not keeping secrets from each other, Remus thinks, and leans over to pull Sirius close to him. He licks the sweat off his skin.
 
*
 
We will always be like this Sirius told him once.
 
But they were in school then. When headlines were only headlines, not carefully worded letters, tied with black ribbons. When war was only another adventure that they hadn’t yet experienced.
 
And Remus twisted his fingers up with Sirius’s and lied back to him. I know.
 
*
 
We will always be like this Remus tells him now.
 
Dusky shadows cloud their faces from each other. Sirius is smoking again. His movements have become quick, sharp. There is a sort of selfish tilt to the way he stands. The lines across his face are those of despair, worry, and rage. 
 
In love?
 
Sharp bark of his voice. Remus winces. Dark gray clouds slide across a light gray sky.
 
No.
 
*
 
Remus is halfway through chapter three when the bulb burns out. Sirius is surprised.
 
He had been sitting cross-legged on the opposite corner of the bed, reading the letter again.
 
When Remus turns the page, it falls out. Fifth one in a row. He sets the book aside.
 
My brother is dead, Sirius says.
 
Neither speaks for the rest of the day.
 
*
 
Dull rain beyond the windows, splattering the glass. Dreams of gray fur and white moonlight, grim laughter sticking to his skin—interrupted by a low and far off crash of thunder.
 
Remus stumbles from bed.
 
Sirius is outside, trying to drown.
 
*
 
Tell me something about you even I don’t know.
 
This, a whisper in his ear.
 
Padfoot.
 
It is enough to say his name, meaning: don’t do this.
 
He had been staring at himself in the mirror, testing the pain of his new scars.
 
Sirius, behind him, wraps his arms around Remus’s stomach and bends down to rest his chin on Remus’s shoulder.
 
Remus closes his eyes before he answers.
 
Sometimes I can’t wait for my own death.
 
*
 
They are twenty-two years old. 
 
On their loneliest nights, they still fall asleep in each other’s arms.
 
*
 
And also, Remus adds.
 
Sometimes I wish I could hate you like you hate me.
 
But Sirius doesn’t hear, because he has left, and the door has closed behind him.

Comments

Thank you very much for the comment. The boys really do have the depressing past, don't they?
This is so painful and beautifully done.
Thank you. I'm glad you liked it--even though S/R do have rather a painful history.
Oh, this is heartbreaking, and the style works perfectly. ♥.
Thank you! It's a bit of an experiment in style; I'm glad you liked it.
Gah. Beautiful and sad. Those last few lines are perfect.
Thank you for the comment. I had no idea how to end it, and I really wasn't sure the ending would work at all. I'm glad you liked it.
i honestly teared up a tiny bit.
so painful and tragic and beautiful, really well done.
and i love smoking!sirius... but i don't know why...
Thank you very much. I'm really touched that this story has had an effect on people.

Smoking!Sirius (and smoking!Remus, actually, though in a different way) is a definite kink of mine. I don't even know why, as I don't like smoking in real life that much--I think I just have very strong, not all negative, connotations associated with smoking that I like to connect with Sirius. Or something. At any rate, he really does smoke a lot in my fics.
This the sharpest kind of pain. Beautiful, and there isn't a word without a edge to it.
Thank you very much. I like that image: words with edges to them.

January 2008

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