Fandom: Harry Potter
Word Count: 1,200
Summary: We all know Sirius fell through the veil. We all know Remus died in the Battle of Hogwarts. But there are an infinite number of ways their stories could have ended.
Content Notes: I guess this is technically AU? Kinda sorta ish? It probably depends on your definition of 'AU'. Six double drabbles of 200 words each. Character death, both canonical and non-canonical, including the death of a child, some of them gory. Major, major angst—you have been warned.
Author Notes: Because apparently, I'm masochistic as hell. I think the next one will be 'five ways it should have ended' and it will be LIGHT and FLUFFY and there will be PUPPIES and RAINBOWS and JOY.
Beta: Unbeta'd; my apologies for any mistakes, and please point them out!
Archiving: Crossposted at The Quidditch Pitch and Harry Potter FanFiction
Disclaimer: I am to the Harry Potter series what Voldemort is to the Elder Wand.
What they don't tell you about lycanthropy, what isn't in the textbooks or Ministry-approved pamphlets about werewolves, is that the bite doesn't take hold straight away. Even though they're infected during the full moon, it takes a full lunar cycle to ingratiate itself in the victim's bloodstream. Many of those attacked by werewolves die of blood loss before it ever sets in.
Little Remus Lupin, just four years old, wakes up suddenly in the middle of the night at the sound of a howl. He is not yet old enough to temper curiosity with caution; he hears the noise and, rubbing sleep from his eyes, sets out in bare feet and pyjamas with snitches on them to find the doggy.
It’s Remus' father who finds him, broken and bleeding in the light of the full moon, his limbs twisted at an unnatural angle, the flesh stripped away from his jugular; his breathing is harsh and shallow. Lyall Lupin takes one look at his son and knows that taking him to St. Mungo's is out of the question—Side-Along Apparition will kill him before they reach the foyer. Little Remus Lupin, just four years old, bleeds out in his father's arms.
Walburga Black pulls her oldest son out of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry after his first year, horrified by the friendships he has formed in Gryffindor House; mudbloods and blood traitors and half-breeds (Sirius doesn't seem to have worked out what he has shared a dormitory with for nine months—idiot child—but she has, and she won't stand for it). So she takes him out of Hogwarts, away from that muggle-loving idiot Dumbledore, and she sends him off to Durmstrang. Oh, he rages and he screams and he curses the walls of his bedroom, but Walburga is a Black by birth, not just marriage, and by Merlin, she will have her way.
Both her sons, the two beautiful Black boys, enter the service of the Dark Lord together. They receive their Marks at the same ceremony; she could not be more proud of them.
She cannot know, of course, that in 1980, Sirius Black and Remus Lupin will face each other on the battlefield. There will be a flicker of recognition between the two—almost as if they knew each other once, a long time ago—before the curses start flying.
Remus will return home. Sirius will not.
In second year, they figure out that Remus does not, in fact, have a terrible curse placed upon his family that makes them ill and kills them all in premature and outlandish ways—sometimes several times—but is actually a werewolf. James thinks it's awesome, Peter may have actually soiled himself, and Sirius is just worried about what it does to Remus. They're going to talk to him about it just as soon as he comes back to the dormitory; tell him that they know, that it's all right, that he's still one of them and he doesn't need to keep secrets.
That's the plan, only Remus never does come back to the Gryffindor common room. Instead, it's Professor McGonagall who climbs through the portrait hole after dinner and leads the three of them to their room.
An accident, she says at first, and Sirius is the one who speaks up. "We know he's—he was—a werewolf, Professor," he says, tripping over tenses and feeling sick. "What really happened?"
All alone in the Shrieking Shack, the werewolf, with nothing to scratch or bite, had turned his rage on himself as always, finally impaling himself on a broken chair leg.
Sirius tells Snape how to freeze the Whomping Willow. He says there's a passageway that will lead him into Hogsmeade and if he really wants to why Remus keeps disappearing, well, there's his answer.
He heads back up to the common room, intending to tell James and have a good laugh about the whole thing, but James is nowhere to be found. Instead, Sirius flops down into an armchair and thinks about how funny it will be when Snivellus comes face to face with a werewolf, when he... oh, fuck, oh Merlin, he did not think this one through very well. Sirius flings himself out of the chair and sprints out of the common room, heading out of the castle before the wolf does something that will haunt Remus forever.
Snape is almost at the end of the tunnel when he catches up—the greasy bastard is fast—and he has seen what Remus is. He's backpedalling; Sirius grabs him, shoves him roughly back towards the castle. "Run!" he screams, and Snape does exactly that.
Snape makes it out of the tunnel alive. Sirius, so preoccupied with making sure Remus doesn't harm Snape, does not. Unknowing, Remus rips him apart.
The War pits friend against friend, brother against brother; there is no trust left. The Order are dropping like flies and with each death, the list of possible traitors becomes smaller and smaller.
After each meeting, Sirius takes Remus back to their flat in London and fucks him hard and fast—against the table, on the floor, in their bedroom. They don't say, What if it's you? There's no trust left but they trust each other anyway, too many years of friendship and love between them to do anything else.
The Potters go into hiding and Sirius is made Secret Keeper; he asks Remus in the dead of night, when they're sated and drifting off to sleep, if he's the best choice. He's the obvious choice, and that's what worries him.
"They can't torture their location out of you," Remus replies sleepily. "You'd have to give it up willingly, and you never would."
As it turns out, they can't force the location out of him, but they can break him in other ways. The Death Eaters get Remus, Crucioing him for thirty-seven hours.
He tells them where the Potters are, silently begging James to forgive him.
They kill Remus anyway.
Even in the midst of battle, even while trying to shield six foolhardy teenagers from the worst of what the Death Eaters are capable of, Remus is aware of Sirius' every move. He shouldn't have come, Remus knows that—months locked up in Grimmauld Place, after twelve years of Azkaban and a year on the run, have left him slightly unstable at the best of times—but his godson's in danger and wild Hippogriffs couldn't keep him away.
Sirius is fighting with Bellatrix; he knows that, to Sirius, she is the embodiment of the Black pureblood mania and that this fight just went well beyond personal for him. He is fighting alongside Harry when he hears the laughter, when the whole bottom falls out of his world—for Sirius has been knocked through the Veil, and he does not come out the other side.
He holds Harry back; he holds on to James and Lily's son, this boy who has seen so much death already, and he focuses on that, though he wants to scream and rage. He lets Harry anchor him to the floor rather than letting himself follow Sirius through the veil, follow him into death and beyond.