Fandom: Harry Potter
Spoilers: Up to HBP
Summary: Sirius responds to certain events in Half Blood Prince.
Crossposting: fanfiction.net, remusxsirius
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters or settings in this story.
“Sirius. Hey, Sirius.”
Sirius glanced over at James with a narrow, suspicious glare. After fifteen years, James seemed to be compensating for lost pranking time. Since his arrival in this strange afterlife, Sirius had been victim to no less than one hundred and forty-two pranks at the hands of his so-called best friend, James Potter. Not to say that Sirius hadn’t gotten his revenge. He had, in fact, gotten it one hundred and forty-three times to be exact. So now he reckoned he had every right to be cautious.
“Look at this.” James said. He sat by the window in the kitchen of the little house Sirius shared with him and Lily. Unlike all the other windows which showed their garden and, beyond that, a twinkling deep-blue void, this one showed the world they had lived in. James spent hours there watching Harry (and the occasional Quidditch game). Sirius, on the other hand, rarely looked through it. Not after that one night when he’d watched helplessly as a drunk and grieving Remus had single-handedly destroyed the interior of Number 12, Grimmauld Place. Not that the destruction of the house had bothered Sirius in the slightest, but seeing Remus in so much pain and being unable to comfort him had been more than Sirius could take and he’d spent the night crying out in the garden.
“If it’s Snape in the shower again, I don’t want to see it.” Sirius said, flipping the page of the Quidditch Weekly magazine he was reading.
“No, it’s not that.” James said, smirking at the memory, “Come here, quick. Or as quick as a geezer like you can.”
“Fifteen years, Potter,” Sirius protested as he reluctantly stood up and joined James at the window. “Fifteen bloody years and they made me a whole lot more mature than you.”
“Bullshit.” James said, “Look at this.”
In the polished glass of the window, Sirius could see Remus and Tonks. “I’m sorry.” Remus was saying, “I’m flattered, really, but it’s just too soon.”
“I figured it would be.” Tonks said, “But I had to tell you. Who knows what tomorrow brings, right?”
She was trying to smile, but it looked forced and her face was bright red. A strange feeling bloomed in Sirius’s stomach as he watched her walk away. He turned to James with an eyebrow raised.
“She, um, she just told him…” James looked as though he was having second thoughts about calling Sirius over here. “She’s in love with him.”
The strange feeling disappeared along with the rest of his stomach. “She did, did she?”
“No, no, she’s right. You never know. Hell, I woke up the morning I died worrying about a doxy infestation. She may as well tell him.”
He stood up and walked outside. The cool air of twilight caressed his face as he walked among Lily’s flowers. Lily herself was on the other side of the small pond, her rear end sticking up through her perennials. Normally Sirius would have catcalled, but now he merely sat on his rock. All three of them had a rock with their full names, birth dates, and death dates carved into them. More rocks were scattered around them. James had explained that whenever somebody died, a rock outside the house where they would first dwell would bear their inscription. That was how Lily and James had known Sirius would be coming even before he realized he was dead. Lily had found his rock, they’d prepared a bed for him, and he’d appeared in it an hour or so later.
So Tonks loved Remus. It had never even occurred to Sirius that another person could fall in love with Remus. Not that he wasn’t a lovable person but ever since sixth year it had been Remus and Sirius. Even when Sirius had been locked away in Azkaban, Remus had not had anyone else and Sirius obviously hadn’t. He wondered how long Tonks had felt that way. Since before he died?
Did Remus love her? Sirius felt a blast of jealousy as the thought crossed his mind. He’d said it was too soon. But eventually, it wouldn’t be too soon. Then what? Would he forget about Sirius?
Eternity continued to pass as it always did here. Sirius continued to make his usual trek out to the stones to look for the names Harry James Potter and Remus John Lupin. James continued to watch as the war intensified. Tonks continued to argue her point to Remus who eventually moved from, “It’s too soon.” to “I’m old, poor, and dangerous. Find someone better.” James didn’t call Sirius over to the window anymore, but more often now, Sirius joined him on his own. The first time Remus’s argument changed, Sirius had felt embarrassing tears slide down his face.
“Maybe…maybe it’s for the best.” Lily said one night over supper.
James and Sirius both looked at her. “Well, you want him to be happy, don’t you, Sirius?”
“Yes.” Sirius replied without a moment’s hesitation.
“They could be happy together.” Lily said, “And it’s not like he’ll forget about you.”
Sirius nodded and excused himself. He found he was no longer hungry, not even for chicken legs. He walked out into the garden and lay down against his rock. Maybe Lily was right. Remus and Tonks. Sirius could think of worse mates for his Moony and the only better one was himself, which was impossible at the moment. And Remus was unhappy right now. That was perfectly clear. And it wasn’t just because of Sirius’s death. There was something else wrong too. Loneliness, perhaps? Maybe Sirius was being selfish by not wanting Remus to be with her.
But what would happen when Remus died? Would he still be with Sirius or would he be with Tonks? Sirius still wasn’t sure about all the rules of the afterlife.
He glanced around the beautiful garden into which Lily had poured her heart and soul. It was a perfect reflection of her. With a start, Sirius realized he loved Lily as much as he loved Remus. Was he doing the same thing, falling for another because his first love was on a different physical plane?
But he loved James in the same way and didn’t feel any urge to snog him senseless. This was all so confusing. He needed somebody to explain it to him. Somebody wise, somebody Sirius could trust with a matter like this.
Sirius blinked. Surely he had just imagined that. There was no way he’d just seen Dumbledore’s name on that rock.
But it was still there after three blinks, one eye rub, and a rather hard slap across the face.
Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore
Lily was screaming for him. He flew into the house yelling, “Dumbledore! Dumbledore’s coming!”
James and Lily were both looking out the kitchen window at what Sirius recognized to be the Hogwarts astronomy tower.
“It was Snape.” James said, his voice shaking, “Snape killed Dumbledore.”
Sirius felt a rush of hatred, the first he’d felt since his death. Lily had tears in her eyes. “We need to go set up a bed for him.” She said.
Sirius followed her up to the new room that had appeared beside his own. In silence they layered on sheets and quilts, finishing seconds before Dumbledore appeared within them.
“It’ll probably be a little while.” Lily said, “It was nearly a day before you woke up.”
Sirius stared at the prone figure of the only man Voldemort had ever feared. What was going to happen to the world now that he was gone?
Dumbledore woke about an hour later. He knew immediately what had happened, in opposed to Sirius who had spent another day in denial. They all ate dinner together that night. Dumbledore told them all the details of what had happened at Hogwarts and afterwards, asked them to tell him about the afterlife, the one thing that they knew more about than he did.
After dinner, Sirius and Dumbledore sat alone in the living room. Dumbledore had asked Lily and James to give him a few minutes alone with Sirius.
“Remus is doing better.” Dumbledore said, “He was nearly destroyed after you died.”
“Sirius nodded, remembering watching the destruction of the Order headquarters. “Molly tells me Nymphadora Tonks has given him some unsurprising news.”
“He keeps refusing her. What do you think about that?”
“I want him to be happy.” Sirius said, “But sir, if he does love her, what will happen with us when he comes here?”
Dumbledore looked mildly surprised. “I thought you would have figured it out by now.”
“Due respect Professor, but this is Sirius Black you’re talking to.”
Dumbledore chuckled. “You’ve felt it already.” He said, “How do you feel about James and Lily.”
“I love them.” Sirius said, “I love them as much as…oh.”
Dumbledore gave him that wise, benevolent smile he remembered so well from his life. Sirius realized suddenly that he felt the same way about Dumbledore. Not a physical attraction (which, he reasoned, would be a particularly terrifying side effect of being dead) but a love so great Sirius thought his chest might explode from it.
Later that night Sirius was walking in the garden when Lily joined him.
“I want Remus to be with her.” Sirius said, “I want him to be in love again.”
Lily smiled, touching a rose petal as they walked. “I just wish I could tell him so. What if he thinks I don’t want him to?”
They stopped at the pond. “Lily,” Sirius said, “There’s a way back, isn’t there?”
“Yes there is.” Lily said, “I used to go back and sit with Harry at night.”
“Can you tell me how?”
“He probably won’t know you’re there.”
She took his hand and led him around the house, to the part they would have seen through an ordinary kitchen window. There was a gap in the small wooden fence surrounding their house.
“Just go in there and concentrate on where you want to be.” She said. “The light will bring you there.”
“And how do I get back?”
“Through the veil.”
Sirius gulped. Lily smiled, kissed him on the cheek, and walked back into the house. Taking a deep breath, Sirius stepped through the gap.
He felt as though he had stepped off a cliff and in the shock of it, forgot to concentrate on his destination. Since he didn’t know where Remus was, he simply concentrated on him. Every detail, perfect in his mind’s eye.
Then everything stopped and he was in blackness. But not the blackness he’d originally felt upon death. This was ordinary nighttime. In the weak moonlight coming in a small window, shapes began to appear. A wardrobe. A bed. Remus in the bed. Sirius slowly sat down beside him. Remus was asleep, snoring softly.
“Hi love.” Sirius said, “Miss me?”
Remus stirred, his hand groping out for Sirius’s as it often had in the middle of the night so long ago. Sirius grasped it.
“If you want to be with Tonks, be with her.” Sirius continued. “I want you to be happy. I love you so much and it kills me to see you miserable. Or it would if I wasn’t already, you know, dead.”
He smiled wryly. “We’ll be together again. Wait until you see the house. Lily’s a goddess, honestly. The roses…”
He paused. “Dumbledore arrived earlier tonight. Nearly the first thing he did when he arrived was solve my problem. Great man.”
“Dumbledore…” Remus murmured, his face contorting slightly.
Sirius couldn’t tell if Remus was responding to him or having a nightmare about Dumbledore’s death. He stroked Remus’s graying hair as he continued.
“I’ll still be watching you and when you arrive, you know I’ll be ready to leap on both of you and slobber all over you. And not necessarily as Padfoot.” He smirked, squeezing Remus’s hand.
The sun was beginning to rise. That meant that Remus would be awake soon. He was always up at the crack of dawn, much to Sirius’s annoyance as he always tried to get Sirius up with him. Now Sirius wished he had at least occasionally gotten up with Remus to see the sun rise.
“I love you.” Sirius said, leaning over to kiss him lightly. He let go of Remus’s hand and turned to leave.
“Love you Padfoot.” Remus mumbled, turning over and snoring again. Sirius smiled with tears in his eyes and stepped out of the room.
Instead of the stairwell of Remus’s flat, he was now in the Death Room at the Department of Mysteries. Well, that solves that problem, he thought as he stepped onto the dais. Then he walked straight into the veil.
He opened his eyes to the early morning sun and the sound of muffled voices. Standing up, he realized he was back in the garden and James was calling for him.
“Padfoot, come here and look at this!”
A/N: Yeah, so I, like the rest of the R/S shipping community, was horrified and heartbroken at the end of HBP. But I suppose it could be worse.
Inspiration for the fic came from several different sources.
The new Harry Potter book. (Duh)
Discussion with friends in an RPG.
The Twilight Zone episode “The Hunt”
And a certain religious parable that asks the question about marriage after death.