A/N: This is my submission for Round 5 of Season 5 of the Quidditch League Fanfiction Competition. I am Chaser 1 for the Caerphilly Catapults.
My prompt for this round was to write about a character demonstrating resilience after a personal trauma/tragedy
My optional prompts are:
4. (emotion) lust
10. (song) "Amnesia" – 5 Seconds of Summer
12. (object) toilet paper
Remus was sure there was a part of him that had died with Lily and James…and Peter. He'd just been starting to worry about Sirius and wondering where he had got to when he heard the news. It was a tearful Hestia Jones who had knocked on the door of the flat he and Sirius had shared, and Remus' stomach had dropped. What if Sirius had been caught? What if he was dead?
The reality was so much worse. He couldn't believe he'd misjudged Sirius so completely, and the thought that he had made him sick to his stomach. He heard Hestia let herself out of the flat while he was still in the bathroom, retching.
He and Sirius had been lovers since just after graduating from Hogwarts. The thought of sleeping in the bed they shared was awful. The thought of staying here at all was awful. He started to think that James and Lily would let him sleep on their couch until he could find a new place, when he remembered, and was sick again.
Time passed. Remus had no idea how much time. It seemed like an eternity, but he was still sitting on his bathroom floor—their bathroom floor—thinking how he could have saved Lily and James, if he'd only…
He gagged and heaved, but there was nothing left in his stomach. The retching turned to harsh coughing, the coughing to crying. And then he sat there, totally alone, sobbing into a roll of toilet paper.
And the dreams you left behind you didn't need them
Like every single wish we ever made
I wish that I could wake up with amnesia
And forget about the stupid little things
Like the way it felt to fall asleep next to you
And the memories I never can escape
'Cause I'm not fine at all.
When Harry told him that the map had shown Peter Pettigrew in the castle, the concept that Sirius might somehow have been innocent came crashing down so hard, he thought he might go mad. But when he pursued the line of thought, things began to fall into place, and the delirious happiness he felt turned into hope—hope that was brought roaring to life by seeing Sirius once again, making amends, if only for the minutes they had together before Snape, Pettigrew, and the rest of that terrible night on the grounds…
Even this feeling was topped, however, when, a full year later, Remus entered 12 Grimmauld Place and heard Sirius' familiar voice talking jovially with the other members of the Order.
Remus stood speechless in the doorway until Sirius looked at him and winked. It was quite a while before they were alone, but Remus couldn't stop smiling. When they'd finally snuck off to Sirius' bedroom under the pretense of showing Remus where he was to sleep during his stay there, Sirius winked again, and a feeling that Remus had all but forgotten bubbled up inside him.
It was lust. For the first time in twelve years, the feeling rushed through his body without shame or regret. Sirius was there, and he was innocent. And they were going to be together again.
They fell on each other like the desperate men they were. Sirius murmured apologies between kisses and tried to explain himself, but Remus didn't care. He knew enough, and he finally managed to distract Sirius sufficiently to stop the flow of words. Their kisses deepened and they lingered in every touch and caress. And Remus didn't care if someone noticed they were missing. He held Sirius tightly and they fell asleep together.
If today I woke up with you right beside me
Like all of this was just some twisted dream
I'd hold you closer than I ever did before
And you'd never slip away
'Cause I'm not fine at all
No, I'm really not fine at all
Tell me this is just a dream
'Cause I'm really not fine at all
Somehow, the second time he lost Sirius was easier.
Remus was never sure if he'd just gotten used to it or if it had more to do with Harry. Inconsolable, and about to jump through the veil after his godfather, Harry screamed and cried, and Remus just held him. There was nothing else he could do, for Harry or Sirius, so he held on until Harry collapsed on the dais before the veil.
Perhaps it was knowing that Sirius had died saving Harry. Perhaps it was because he'd had someone to hold onto when the world fell out from under him again, but whatever the reason, Remus was not sick the second time. He grieved, in his own way. He threw himself into his work for the Order, heedless of his own safety.
One day, however, he was wounded on a routine reconnaissance mission with Greyback's pack, and, without Grimmauld Place to return to, Remus found himself collapsing at the Weasley family's back door. Fortunately, the children had left for school only days ago—Remus hadn't thought of it beforehand, but he was glad to not be disturbing the whole family at once.
Arthur was on watch outside the Department of Mysteries, so Remus was bandaged and sent straight to bed—Bill's old room, he was told—by Molly Weasley. He relaxed as much as he could while she patched him up, and dealt with the pain like he always did—silently. There was no point in making a racket. It wouldn't help.
When Molly stayed sitting on the edge of the bed after she'd finished, he thought that she was worried he was unconscious, or dead. He opened his eyes to show her that was not the case, and found that she had a sad look trained on him.
"What is it?" he asked.
Molly hesitated. "I'm not sure I'm supposed to know, or how much any of the others know, but, well…I know how close you and Sirius were," she said finally.
Without the pain potion he'd been given, Remus probably would have felt embarrassed, or at least anxious about what she was going to say next. As it was, he nodded passively.
"I just…" Molly said haltingly, "I just wanted you to know that we care about you. It wasn't just Sirius."
Confused, Remus mustered up the power of speech to say, "What?" He'd meant to say, "What do you mean?" but that was apparently beyond his abilities at the moment.
Molly seemed to understand anyway. "I know how hard it is for you to let others in. You've been rejected so many times for…being what you are…but we're not like that. And we're not just a team," she said, "We're a family. We're all the family most of us have got, so don't you think for a second that you are expendable, Remus Lupin. All right?"
He nodded weakly and Molly stood up. "I'll let you get some sleep," she said.
He fell asleep moments after she left, but he remembered what she said. As he was lying in bed waiting for his wounds to heal, he thought about what she said.
They accept me for me, he thought, not just for Sirius's sake. That took quite a lot of thinking about to process. And then he began to think about being in a family. Sirius was his family. Sirius and Lily and James and Peter were all, once, his family, and he'd cherished them all deeply. The idea that he could be in a family he didn't know about, that he hadn't put time and effort into making connections and strengthening that bond to feel needed and wanted, was extraordinary.
Tell me this isn't just a dream
'Cause I think I'm fine after all.