I was a taller girl too, once. (regala_electra) wrote,
I was a taller girl too, once.
regala_electra

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The Philosophy of Breathing (Remus/Sirius, NC-17)

The Philosophy of Breathing
Author: Regala Electra
Email: regala_electra@yahoo.com
Pairing: Remus/Sirius
Rating: NC-17
Summary: After the war has ended and Remus is the last Marauder standing, he must get on with the business of living. Wherein Remus meets many so-called philosophers, lives in a flat of the wrong size, remembers a far more innocent time when arguments ended in sex on a table, defaces ancient statuary, and tries to outrun his own philosophy of survival.
Author’s Notes: Thanks to ignited for acting as a soundboard and for patching up some loose areas in the story.

*

If he were to travel all over the world, which indeed he would not do, nor has he any inclination towards such a venture, he fears he would carry trace elements of Sirius. It would be like some unfortunate miasma, too ephemeral and weak to cover the full moon, just a few wisps streaking the sky but marring the deceptive lull of a clear night sky. For, as he has painfully learned, when the sky is at its clearest, it’s easiest to believe that the truth has been laid out, bare and raw, for all to see.

It’s a trap he mustn’t ever find appealing again.

Sirius loved a good clear sky and Remus has slowly trained himself to feel only a detached appreciation for the aesthetic quality of the expansible testament to the magnitude of nature. And he only stated such a pompous declaration when getting a bit sloshed with a group of wizarding students abroad, most of them very interested in the synthesis of Muggle philosophy and traditional magic theory.

It was oddly enough, despite the telling of it, not as out of sorts as it should have been. Many of them were pretty much professional students, from a broad spectrum of ages from ‘old’ (roundabouts twenty-seven years of age) to young (freshly out of wizarding school). Remus being in the middle of this age group, despite the lines slowly etching their way across his face, found himself well suited, regardless of his contrary beliefs in the potential of theoretical ideas. It was something of a lark to witness the always pointless arguments of any subject that crossed their fancy.

He meets them due to work. It will be some menial task of destroying or banishing some dark creature or clearing away the residue of a mildly perplexing spell that more often that not, only ended up causing more aggravating mischief. The pay’s terrible, the living quarters tend to be on the dreadful side of horrid, but there’s something to be said for a good guarantee of amusing company.

And his guarantee resides in the constant succession of overtly pretentious intellectuals who desired to solve all the mysteries of the world with a lot of talk and several good bottles of alcohol. A noble endeavor, but all the planning usually was forgotten by the next day, when the pounding of a hangover wrung out all the virtuous intentions from the mind.

They remind him of hope and of lust and of passion. They looked to the stars and tried to find words big enough for their simplistic awe of the grand scale and shape of things. Best of all, they were so busy analyzing the unknowable that they rarely noticed just when he was missing from their erratic symposiums.

Remus tries not to think about how the personalities of these wizards - self-involved, egotistical, and arrogant - remind him of another person he thought he knew so well. The haughty bearing, the distant, but self-satisfied gleam shining in eyes, yes, there he was. The overbearing explosion of vast personality is somehow embodied in these inexperienced self-professed scholars of the universe. Yet when these so-called wizards of the new philosophy surround him, he doesn’t have to worry about carrying around distorted elements of Sirius.

Instead, he is able to ignore the ache of memories and sensations and finds something else lurking so close to the surface that he can grasp it, skimming the edge with just his fingertips. It is the memory of déjà vu – fuzzy and comfortable and odd, and those moments are precious to him. He finds them now and greets them instantly when they arrive, a company of unlikely brethren, those who did not come to understand the world through the harder paths in life.

He is always polite to these wizards and politeness is sometimes enough to scrounge plenty of invites without having to ask. He charms them not by magic, a sparkling personality, or acerbic commentary. He keeps his counsel and his wit to himself, and this aloofness charms them. They know him as a nice fellow and this confounds them, because he appears to them too nice. They long to crack the surface and ask his opinion on things, which only serves to let them ramble on with their own discourses and manifestos on the varied subjects. He almost fades into the woodwork, an amusing decoration.

That way, when he must move on, when the temporary post ends and the money’s nearly gone and he’s searching for new placement, the parting of the ways is brief and without any false reluctance on either side. Sometimes they offer him jobs or a connection towards gainful employment by contacting a dear something-or-the-other having a terrible time with boggarts, don’t you know, just because you graduate from Hogwarts and snatch plenty of O.W.L.s doesn’t mean you retain those practical skills, which is why there has to be a relationship between the erosion of the sublime and the beautiful in the world and the deconstruction of the world after the fall of...you know - Him.

And Remus would say a few short words of thanks, perhaps agreeing or politely disagreeing about the theory without giving any inclination towards his own thoughts on the matter. If he thinks about it enough, he might have a sharp opinion on the drunken theoretical ramblings, but he has learned that there’s not one theory in the world which will make him understand why Sirius betrayed them all.

He cannot survive this world alone by being an obsessive deconstructionist.

However, because he is not a fool, he says in response to these job offers that his services and his wand are always at the ready. This invariably leads to a discussion of the resilient nature of the human condition in the pursuit of happiness against the emotional impulse of survival. A witch fascinated by the combination of Muggle psychology, magical theory, and Muggle law as practiced in Western civilization charters this theory.

Remus had said his brief goodbye and leaves the group just as another lengthy debate begins, his shoes kicking up the dust in the long corridors as he makes his way outside.

There is a surprisingly decent job for him in Sevilla and he finds his studies in Defense Against the Dark Arts have been spotty at best while he battles the particular problem. He enlists the help of some trustworthy local wizards; several of them he knows have been ‘restricted’ with regard to employment. He might not have kindred allies in this world, that may have been ripped away from him, but he knows the taint of that restriction engendered by being an ‘other.’ So he tries as best he can to help with what little resources he has in his possession.

When they exit the dark chamber (of course it had to be a dark, secret chamber, it’s a peculiarly favored hiding place of dark wizards and their dark creatures), they are all covered in a mess that Remus prefers not to think about too closely. Making their ways down streets that are thankfully emptied of Muggles, one of the wizards asks if Rèmus would care to join them for tapas and sangria. It is intended to be a post-victory celebration of sorts.

He looks at these practical, hardy, and determined wizards, flushed from the exuberance of the fight, and tells them how grateful he is, but alas, he must decline. If they had asked him why, he would have to answer a bit cryptically: it is because he respects them far too much.

He has made it a point of seeking the company of foolish wizards; ones that have never lifted their wand in a foolish attempt to deflect a powerful curse intended to maim the recipient. He makes it an unofficial crusade in a way. He finds the ones that are young and idealistic, and most of all, will not speak of the Dark days beyond a mere philosophical slant. Their distance to horrors outweighs his nightmares and in that, there is a most wondrous balance. There is a name to it, he knows, and he calls it sanity.

These wizards, trudging off to a nearby restaurant, they have lived and breathed the horrors of the War, they no doubt have lost loved ones and have splintered families and when they get drunk, they will not comment on the beauty of sea mist reflected in a window at early dawn. No, they will get nostalgic and recall the very worst they suffered to be here today, and they will swear that maybe tomorrow, they will forget and get on with the business of living.

Remus cannot let himself be deluded that they will talk of anything beyond that. It is the open wound shared by all, all but the self-important, and these wizards are selfless. They are good. He no longer wants to seek out good people, he wants those who are unintentionally cruel, who do not comment on his prematurely lined face or shabby clothes with false sympathy. No, they very nearly ignore his appearance, beyond saying he is making a statement on the transitory nature of life.

His real transitory nature of life is traveling from one place to another, hoping to outrun old ghosts while seeking to mend the past into his shambling present. When he walks down narrow streets to the old second-story building, the old-fashioned cast-iron gates before the tall windows and the old wooden door with the numbers painted a peeling golden-brown present him with a deceptive belief. He can almost believe that he is home. But there is no place for him that is truly his.

The flat is dark and sparse and appears to be little more than a few cramped rooms that bumped into each other one day and decided to go at it as a residence. Someone had tried to magic the various rooms together, so as to make it appear luxurious and comfortable in a space intended to be much smaller. The spell has begun to wear and the flat’s beginning to decline, shrinking back to its original size. It makes the place incredibly stuffy and there’s a gust of warm, dead air on his face, an incredibly unpleasant sensation, as he opens the door.

He keeps his windows open all night and listens to the noise of a breezy summer night. There is life out there, but he has no desire to touch it. He closes his eyes and wants Sirius there, mouth curving proudly in the dark shadows, a ghost-smile as invisible as the body he wants pressing against him.

The limbs stretching out, trying to own all of the cramped bed, and Sirius would have encouraged the decline of the room’s spell. It would have been a lark to him, making everything compacted and forcing Remus to be closer to Sirius in the bed. Remus would complain if Sirius’s arm snaked across Remus’s chest, with every intention of staying there. When Sirius would drift off to sleep, Remus would have been left wide-awake, the arm a heavy foreign object firmly planted atop his chest.

Sirius liked getting into bed completely naked, throwing the blankets off of Remus and pressing just fingertips against the nape of Remus’s neck. There’s a casual inelegance to the motion. Remus always shuddered under the touch.

Those fingers would stay in place if Remus didn’t make a noise and often, Remus didn’t, forcing himself to be quiet. He let himself be selfish for a few moments, stretching out time as much as he could.

Time is after all, just a unit of philosophical measurement, as one philosopher opined.

Sirius took Remus apart by touches and by kisses, slowing down just when Remus wanted it to go faster, tracing Remus’s jaw line with the briefest brush of lips. If he wasn’t sure that Sirius used finesse when he didn’t care and was reckless when he was devoted, this would have meant a great deal. Instead to Remus, it was merely stolen time, a break from reality.

It was the insistent, hard pressing of cock against his thigh, that’s when he was almost-sure it meant something. But he mustn’t think about meanings. There is no such thing as a true answer, it’s all just pretense, and Remus cannot let the lie go on. But it does, the memory of Sirius’s cock so hard against him, Sirius taking Remus’s hand, bringing it to his mouth, playfully nipping each one of his fingertips.

Remus had sucked his breath through clenched teeth, only half-watching the spectacle through lidded eyes. He brings his hand to Sirius’s cock and Sirius moans, loudly without shame, because Sirius barely understands the definition of shame.

It was too slow then, it would have been too slow now, but now, now it can’t be. Pushing Sirius back into the mattress, switching positions, hips pressed against hips, aligning just right and it’s like they’ve discovered a private philosophy, one that can only be told through action, through friction.

Remus should break under the tension, waver under the scrutiny in Sirius’s eyes, and most of all, he should regret the way Sirius knows him all too well, their bodies joining together in a well-remembered pace.

His head was bowed and he bit the inside of his cheek, because he refused to scream. Even now, awash in the echo of a memory, he will not scream. The screaming only comes during full moons and even then, he has learned to restrain the awful shrieking.

The breadth and scope of being there in the moment, unrestrained and reveling in chaos, it is too frightening to contemplate, too preposterous to be an explanation of what he yearns for. How can he miss Sirius when that was all a lie? Ah, he’s drowning in rhetorical questions. The rhetoric of the body was a finer thing, the desperate air to make that one time count more than anything else.

He wants the companionship and the complicated beauty of it. He is not a philosopher, despite his pretenses at the informal wizarding conferences, so he does not try to explain it in theory.

Everything’s gone missing. There’s a lack of clutter. Sirius’s half-empty pack of cigarettes isn’t there on the table. It was never half-full, mind, it was always half-empty. Always missing a cigarette or so, which disqualified the pack’s half-full status.

Sirius had once lectured Remus on that important distinction when Remus dared to mention the ‘half-full’ cigarette packs littering their loft.

Afterwards, they’d had sex on the kitchen table to end the argument. They’d barely yanked off each others’ clothing when Sirius shoved Remus face-first against the cool table top. One hand firmly gripping cock, the other steadying Remus for that first odd sensation as Sirius slid home. Right there, halfway in, Sirius had asked, in a cheeky, too-cheerful tone, “Now that would be half-full, yeah?”

Sirius had lit up afterwards, a wry curve of satisfaction on his lips as he smoked, ever the image of the certain winner. Remus had watched the smoke obscure Sirius’s face and wished he could have captured the pride of his expression, the familiar gleam of his eyes half-hidden in cigarette smoke.

Later on, Remus was left with the task of cleaning up the mess. In his own small way, he achieved a victory at a later date when he finally tossed out all the packs into the trash.

Oh, that row. Sirius had threatened to hex Remus’s head into a giant blob of gelatin and they both had to repair the bedroom after their lengthy romp there.

Sirius was thrown down on the bed, Remus climbing on top of him, nearly shoving Sirius’s head into the mattress. He would have, but he didn’t think suffocation was the right way to off Sirius Black. It simply wasn’t dramatic enough.

He had nearly torn off Sirius’s clothes, ruining what was probably expensive, personally tailored outfits, all in the name of proving a point. When Remus fucked Sirius (and there was no mistake that night, that was fucking, as raw and primal as Remus had even been), They were all noises, caught in the joy of reckless abandonment.

Afterwards, it was something of much amusement to Sirius. They’d forgotten about charming the flat so that their voices would not carry outside the walls. Oh, their neighbors always gave them an earful because of that night.

Sirius had laughed from a bone-deep place when they rested on the floor of their ruined bedroom. He declared a truce, only to break it the very next day, something that should have been an unforgivable failure. To Remus, it was more like clockwork; it would have been more surprising if the promise has lasted two days.

Promises to Sirius were like atoms of air: elemental, invisible, and frankly nonexistent. If Sirius paid no attention to something as minute as air, then he certainly could not deign to pay attention to something as paltry as promises.

There isn’t the faint, acrid smell of motorcycle oil. Remus misses the slightly metallic scent coming out of Sirius’s pores when it was hot and Sirius was too impatient to use a cooling charm. Remus had joked that if he kept on getting covered in that black sludge, eventually Sirius would turn as grey and pieced together as his precious motorcycle.

Sirius always carried in bits of motorcycle parts along with the oily smell, leaving them around as randomly as his packs of cigarettes. It was not absent-minded, Sirius had insisted, he knew exactly where everything was and where it would eventually go, it just wasn’t time yet to put things where they belonged. There was a trace of philosophy to the argument and Remus remembers how he’d responded just as he responds to philosophy now: he’d neither agreed nor disagreed, and merely said enough to stop the argument before it began.

The silence in the flat now is reserved; it is his choice alone in deciding the amount of noise. He opens and shuts the windows of his own accord.

He prefers leaving them open. It is, he is sure, an aftereffect of having spent too many nights during his transformation in closed quarters.

Sirius’s moods varied and he’d often have the windows open during rainstorms and bitterly windy days. Then, for no apparent reason, he’d shut all the windows on the stuffiest days. Remus never complained and if he felt sick, he never let it get the best of them. There had been an uneasy imbalance growing between them, as though their whole relationship was a game of Exploding Snap. At some point, it was bound to finally detonate and vanish right before their eyes, leaving only a mess of ruined cards on the table.

“Wands Crossed,” Sirius had intoned very gravely one memorable night when they’d had nothing but hours to waste and a good bottle of wine to drain. “That means you’ll have extraordinarily perverted sex with a dark-haired, attractive wizard.”

“Hmm,” Remus had responded, trying to remember how the Divination teacher had insisted the cards were actually to be read and failing miserably, “It is rather fascinating how my fate always seems to involve perversions and a dark-haired stranger.”

Sirius’s eyes had flashed, a little bit of annoyance coming out before he brought out his usual pompous demeanor. “No Moony, it just means that the cards decree that it’s time we tried out that one position where-“

“It’s physically impossible,” Remus had protested, because it was. He’d never thought himself one to fall back on the physical restrictions of the body, considering his own body changed once a month into a violent beast. But it had worked so far in preventing him from making a very embarrassing visit to a Healer with a sex-related injury.

There was a flash of teeth, a very doggish smile. Strands of black hair fell over his grey eyes. Sirius knew exactly what that look could to do a person, regardless of gender and sexual identity. “Can’t prolong destiny, Moony.”

He’d chuckled at the awful line, reshuffling the cards before Sirius had leaned across the table, attempting to steal a kiss. Remus had ducked it successfully and finally said with great resignation, “Fine. But you’re the one that had better to explain just why I ended up spraining that.”

They’d left the windows open and it had rained that night and the cards were damaged beyond repair. Sirius, wincing with each step as he walked over to the waterlogged stack, threw them in the trash before collapsing back in bed. “Seven years bad luck,” he’d mumbled against Remus’s neck.

“That’s mirrors, Pads.”

“Know that. Never let me have an idea again, perverted or no.”

Remus had said something of comfort before they drifted back to sleep, but the words do not come to him now. It is a blank space in his memories and he lets it stay blank. Perhaps the rest of it will wash away and all that will be left is a sharp tinge of something profound which was lost.

He remembers now, laying in his bed, unable to sleep but refusing to open his eyes (for that would admit defeat), a particularly exuberant wizard declaring he’d charmed a pack of Tarot cards (of Marseilles, he added, as though it was an important distinction) so he’d be able to play Exploding Snap.

When asked what was the point of that activity, the wizard had said after a triumphant swig of his glass, “Not only does it prove the fragile nature of destiny and choice, but that all that we hold dear - magic, mysticism, our belief in the ability to govern ourselves - it is all made of things that can be destroyed with the simplest of actions! It explodes, and in that, it proves we are all just a series of explosions, some great, others small.”

He had been congratulated for his brave study in theoretical self-awareness and was toasted for the achievement. Remus silently believed the wizard had in all actuality lost his regular Exploding Snap deck and used whatever deck he had lying around.

Sirius enjoyed a good game of Exploding Snap, but like most things, it was for the outcome. He played wizarding chess to enjoy watching the pawns attack one another. The real reason that he loved pranks was because of the outcome, the mixed responses of anger, admiration, and fear.

He’d never think that in the process of getting there, that someone would really get hurt or that he could actually garner negative consequences besides the pleasant consequence of his own amusement. He was terribly entertained by the constant threat of disciplinary action because he felt he’d always win in the end.

And, as Remus lies there in the dark, a series of abstract recollections pooling in that half-empty place where the conscious and unconscious touch, he remembers that while Sirius had loved fucking, he loved the afterglow so much more. It was that warmth of being sated and completely satisfied. If there was any doglike quality Sirius embodied the most, it was the satisfaction of a mission well accomplished.

Yet that all must have been careful lies.

It had been a pretense to the world. No, damn it, it wasn’t, and Remus opens his eyes to the black of the room. He can faintly make out shapes and if he got up to walk around the room, he probably wouldn’t stub his toe or trip over some little warped board of the wooden floor. There is no interest in using his wand for Lumos nor will he create flickering flames in the palm of his hand. He enjoys the solitude of stark blackness too much.

Sirius liked to talk of the future, and that was one of the major signs that things were going to be okay. It is one of the things that Remus doesn’t want following him around, that temptation, the taste of possibilities.

He’d speak of endless celebrations, extravagant gifts and reckless vacations, and say what he’d do with little Harry once the war was over, and here, Remus feels sick knots twisting inside and he has to force himself to breathe, to stop worrying. Harry is safe.

Now his concentration is broken, and the distorted voice of Sirius speaks up, like a warped record.

He’d say to Remus, we’re going all over the damn world, just you and me. James is an old married man and Peter would wear some of that awful white gloppy nonsense on his nose, which completely ruins the point of going to a beach, so it’ll just be you and me, Moony. There will be girls wearing coconuts and grass skirts and lots of drinks with those little umbrellas that always tickle your nose. And we’ll even go to places of great stodgy history, so you can look at old moldy buildings and maybe we’ll go into museums and confound the Muggles by hexing moustaches on some of their most precious art pieces.

For some reason in Sirius’s decided plans, he and Remus were always somewhat straight as there was always some intrigue and scandal relating to the coconut-wearing women. Worst of all, Remus had to listen to the exaggerated and fussy version of himself as seen through Sirius’s distorted vision. He was the one forcing them to look at historical monuments for cultural appreciation and Sirius was happy to jump into the role of bemusing anarchist to bring in some excitement and flair to their adventures.

Remus had dryly requested an addendum to Sirius’s plots of mayhem at museums: if there was a possibility for public sex, then by all means, they should go for the shag. It would be something of a competition.

Sirius had looked at him in shock, as though Remus had just betrayed a very set and decided image of Remus’s core personality. The expression declared in no uncertain terms, that by saying such a thing, Remus had shattered all of Sirius’s illusions with one fell swoop. The daydream trips around the world slowly faded away and if Sirius wasn’t going to bring it up, then Remus wouldn’t either.

Besides, Remus has already experienced firsthand the role of anarchist. While it had been certainly eventful, he hadn’t been able to fulfill his addendum.

It had happened in Italy, because as one wizard/philosopher/appreciator of classical antiquity declared, everything that has happened, has already occurred in the classical world and if it has not, it will start there and then spread out to the rest of the world.

What had happened was rather simple. One of his fellow philosophers declared that art was not a testament to the beauty of humanity, but to the beauty of frailty. After several rounds of drinks, they had gone out with every intention of blowing apart bits of ancient statuary to prove this theory, until a Muggle guard politely stopped them from entering one building, saying that it was closed and tomorrow was not a good time to visit as several classes brimming full of students from abroad were arriving just to see these works.

Sobering up rather quickly, one of the would-be-iconoclasts said that the destruction of art would only be construed as a violent act against the spirit of achievement and by doing this, was a way of denying the populace a vessel to commune with the divine. It was a murder of the soul, which the philosopher-turned-iconoclast-turned-back-to-philosopher argued was a direct violation of the plight of the philosopher.

There began a heated debate on the steps of the building, which the guard attempted to break up by stating that actually, the students were going to just take notes and maybe draw copies of the works, possibly take some pictures. No one, he shouted over the speeches that were then loudly being debated, was planning on having any mystical vision, at least he hadn’t been informed of one scheduled for tomorrow.

This hadn’t stopped the argument, but it did delay any action in favor of determining the true metaphysical purpose and intention of a guard. Fortunately for the guard, this took place at a home of one of the academics, as they’d run out of alcohol and the scholar promised he had ‘loads’ of drinks at his home.

So there had been no destruction of priceless historical artifacts and Remus wasn’t in the mood to pick up one of the wizards for some casual, very dangerous public sex in front of one of the many historical statues littering the city.

He had charmed a moustache on the face of an impassive figure on a fountain as they’d walked back to the villa. As the spell was relatively easy to break, he didn’t revel in the anarchy.

There are too many hours to a night, he decides. Too many hours of memory.

Too many little things that have gone missing, and there’s just too much to ignore. There shouldn’t be the anticipation of a Sirius-shaped body beside him or the hope of a Sirius-shape taking up all the space that hasn’t been eaten by the too-large rooms. He’ll have to move on shortly, and that means leaving without finding a group of philosophers dead set on making specious claims on what everything means.

He won’t have the delightful banality to look forward to, or even a debate on fairytales and their relation to the reality of magical creatures, and how that proves that the imagination is the fuel actually powers the sun.

Only once had he ever heard a sensible argument from a very reserved witch who looked completely out of place and while tipsy, she managed to cement her argument quite nicely. If breathing is an involuntary action, then isn’t remembering and believing just the same, and if breaths are necessary, but can be taken in varying measures, is not the same true of memories and faith? And should there be no faith or memory that you possess, does that not prove that life has abandoned you and you are past the point of living?

Remus had asked her to further explain her position, something he never done before, “Then you are dead?”

She had looked at him in shock as though he’d broken the delicate balance of their symposium. No one ever expects the décor to speak. A fellow wizard, listening intently, answered for her, “No, you are beyond life and cannot touch death. You are not alive.”

The witch added, as though it were very important, “You are then experiencing complete and utter peace. That is the point of breathing, it is to keep you from the nightmare of peace.”

“The nightmare of peace,” the wizard had said, losing the plot, but tasting the words on his tongue, and appreciating the poetical turn of phrase. “Whatever do you mean?”

But Remus understood, grasping it slowly and hating that he’d found the answer, “Peace is an illusion.”

“More than that,” the witch insisted, spilling her glass over the white clothed table and taking no notice of it. A stain of red blossomed along the edge of her sleeve. “Peace is not what we want it to be, it is void. It is just there. It is the state of not being. Nothing is at peace in the universe, magic is never at peace, it is at rest and it is living when it is used. Magic breathes, people breathe, nature breathes, even destruction breathes. Everything breathes, but it never can be at peace until it is made null, until is sapped of life.”

Contrary to his usual stance of never choosing sides in an argument, he questioned, “But what if one tried to gain that ‘nightmare of peace?’”

“Well,” the witch said, attempting to go for an allusion, but perhaps her remark was far more pointed, “one would only have to wait for the full moon. Every day, there is a change and one only has to react against change. That is breathing.”

He begged pardon and left shortly afterwards, never to return.

Her theory was good, the only synthesis of ‘New Wizarding Philosophy’ that ever made even the slightest bit of sense. But he had found certain holes for sure, he’d found ways to stop breathing, he’d seen what peace looked like, it was absolution. Perfect and profoundly awful.

Had his fears been wrong, had Sirius not betrayed James and Lily and murdered Peter and all those innocent people, perhaps it would have been different. But it is too complicated: the memories of Sirius when they’d been reckless and now, the attempts to find that darker side of Sirius that he missed. He’d been oblivious to Sirius’s true character, yet when he tries to recognize that he failed, miserably, there is another part of him that protests. It is difficult to squash that opposing thought, try as he might.

Yet, to not breathe, to refuse to live, that’s something he could not master, despite his scattered attempts. He needs air because it is of so little consequence that it matters more than all the grand concepts in the world. He’ll survive by continuing to breathe.

When the morning light begins to seep into the dim flat, he watches the sun rise over the cityscape and while he knows this is only a temporary reprieve, he does not think about ‘what ifs.’

He shall abandon philosophy and let it contend with the memories of Sirius, one force driven by logics and thoughts, one by impulses and physical senses.

Takes a steady breath, exhaling regret, forgiveness, and all that has been wasted.

Not all is lost. He has seen more of the world that he ever intended. He has found his way in society despite being blacklisted from the promise of a regular life. In the small aspects of life, in the little things, that is how he makes his way.

Dressing in his last clean outfit, leaving off the robes so that he might walk freely down the streets, there is almost too much life. Life - that which he had attempted to deny. His time of mourning has ended.

There’s an excellent little café known for its coffee just down the street. He decides to go down there for breakfast.

The ghost-memory Sirius does not follow him and Remus doesn’t meet any philosophers along the way.

End.
Tags: fic, hp fic, remus/sirus
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