Fandom: Harry Potter
Prompt: Fire, loyalty, cemetery (photo prompt), comfort, endings
Rating: PG. For Pretty Gloomy!
Disclaimer: I'm JKR. Oh, wait-- no, I'm totally not.
Summary: He will cross to the cemetery. He isn’t sure what he’ll do next.
Word count: 500
Author's notes: So there was this awesome five scenes challenge at sirius_remus100. And I was a lazy fucker and dragged my feet and didn't finish on time. But I'm posting this anyway! Woo! Rebellion! Kind of! Incidentally, I picked these prompts completely randomly. I think it's convenient that they happened to be really conducive to a cohesive(-ish) story!
“Incendio,” he whispers, and watches as airy plumes of fire gather at his wand-tip. Sirius used to have a trick, back at school, of passing his fingers through flame, pretending it didn’t hurt. Mostly he did it fourth year, mostly when there were girls about. At the memory, Remus almost smiles, and that only makes it all worse. Abstractedly, he twirls his unlit cigarette between the fingers of his free hand.
“Incendio,” he whispers again, and does not look away, does not let his eyes drift to the church across the road, the small knot of mourners at the door.
He raises the cigarette to his mouth at last, lighting it just before the flames die. More people are coming out now; still, it’s a smaller turnout than James and Lily had, a smaller turnout than Peter deserves. Remus would like to be among their number, but he cannot allow himself even that indulgence: he of all people had known what Sirius was becoming. Remus’s silence, his loyalty, is what led them here.
This, then, is his penance. He draws back into the trees, squints across the way. Here is his loyalty to Peter, too late, and after all meaningless.
But when they all leave-- the Order members, Peter’s mum all dry raw eyes-- when they leave, Remus will cross the road. His steps will feel like hesitation, and also falling. His scuffed brogues, the same pair he’s worn since Hogwarts, will snap the rime-white grass. He will cross to the cemetery, and in his coat pockets, his balled hands will shake.
He will cross to the cemetery. He isn’t sure what he’ll do next, when he reaches the stone under which Peter isn’t really buried. There’s nobody left to apologize to, so he won’t. It seems unlikely he’ll cry.
He isn’t sure what he’ll do. For the moment, he settles for taking another drag, wincing against the bitterness on his tongue. He’s not a smoker, Remus isn’t, and the fag makes his head spin unpleasantly. This is nearly his first cigarette, nearly his last. The packet Sirius left behind on the nightstand was close to empty.
Across the road, they’re starting to leave.
And behind Remus’s closed lips, smoke drifts and unfurls. It dissolves, the way things do. Chemical and tart, it is the taste of nothing in particular. It is the lost, the familiar taste of Sirius’s mouth.
Across the road, everybody has gone.
He waits for his feet to begin to move. A gust of wind kicks dead leaves towards the cemetery, and Remus does not follow.
Sirius left the flat Halloween night casual as anything, not even bothering to take his fags, and Remus hadn’t stopped him. Only he hadn’t understood. Nobody told him it was an ending.
Remus, he waits for himself to move. He isn’t bothered what he’ll do next. Endings can be beginnings, he thinks, only first he has to move. The wind stills, like giving up. Any minute now, Remus will move.