Title: Coping With Life
Characters: Sirius, mainly. Remus, Buffy, mentions others.
Rating: FR15 for heavy angst
Disclaimer: I own nothing and seek no profit from this story. Rowling owns the Harry Potter characters, Whedon owns Buffy. No copyright infringement intended.
Distribution: My site, twistedshorts on lj, TtH; all others please ask first.
Summary: Sirius has to learn to live again, but it's especially hard to do when all he can think about is her
. Written for twistedshorts (on lj) August Fic-A-Day event. Warnings: Spoilers (see author's notes for specifics), Angst, mentions character death (sorta).
Feedback: Yes, please.
A/N: Spoilers for Order of the Phoenix and 6th Season Buffy. AU from there on. There are hints of Half Blood Prince, as in there's a couple of pairings mentioned that happened and/or were danced around in the 6th book.
If you consider that a spoiler and do not want to be spoiled, don't read this story. Simple as that.
A/N2: If this still has a few tense issues, please tell me politely
. I'm really not used to writing in this tense, and still have no idea why the story insisted on coming out this way.
Thanks to Gabrielle and Missy for doing what they do.
He doesn't know how long he was gone, or how he got back. He knows he's been told what happened, knows it's been at least a few years, but . . . remembering the details never seems to matter. What matters, he supposes, is that he did get back. For so long it was what he wanted. Now, though, he's not so sure, because he's here and she's not
. And didn't he say that she would have been his reason for living, had they been alive?
He thinks he remembers saying that, though he's not entirely positive. Things have been confusing, fast-paced, and really rather too loud for his taste since he was returned to life. Returned to life. That has an interesting ring to it, doesn't it? He thinks that he should be used to it by now, adjusting to change. First there was life, with friends and fun, then the absolute hell of Azkaban. Next had come the freedom of hiding, of living a shadow of a life, and then -- too soon -- death. Adjusting should come as easily to him as breathing now, but he sometimes forgets to do that, too.
The little human things he never thought about, the things he never thought he took for granted before, he’s well aware of how much they matter now. Eating, sleeping, reading, bathing, walking; a person really does not need to do those things when they are dead, and remembering to do them now that he is alive again, well, that's been a bit of a challenge. He doesn't know where he would be if it wasn't for Remus. Probably dead -- again -- by now, he thinks bitterly, and he tries not to wonder if that wouldn't be such a bad idea.
Sometimes though, all he wants is to feel her arms around him again. Sometimes, it's all he can do not to cry. Not just over losing her, no, it's much more than that. He's lost something so great, he cannot even find the words to truly describe it. A place so peaceful, so right, so perfect . . . his reward. He tries, every day when he wakes up and he's here and not there
, to live. He tries to picture Harry's smiling face, the look in his eyes when they're together -- family -- and he tries to be happy. At least a little bit happy. Sometimes it works, but most of the time it doesn't. He often wonders why he doesn't feel guilty about that, about not being happy.
"Yes?" he calls out, his voice still surprisingly hoarse.
"Are you coming to breakfast?"
'Oh,' he thinks. 'Is it morning already?'
He knows Remus is standing there, waiting on an answer, because he has not heard anyone walk away. Taking a breath, Sirius says, "Sure. Breakfast sounds good. I'll be down shortly. Just need to dress."
He is sure Remus replies. Remus always replies. He's a good man like that. Sirius, however, is already thinking of what he is supposed to do next, too busy to pay attention to what his friend is saying now. He knows he's supposed to know what to do next. Supposed
to know. It occurs to him suddenly that Harry will be by today, or so his owl informed him yesterday. That little bit of knowledge spurs him on, helps him focus on remembering that, in order to get dressed to attend breakfast, he must first get out of bed. And he does. It is in getting dressed that he encounters the first real problem of the morning.
It comes upon him suddenly, her memory. Just a little fragment this time, instead of a full sensory experience that would no doubt leave him gasping, and that has to offer some relief, though he does not have the presence of mind to realize it now. He can hear her, laughing, as she wraps her arms around him. Laughing as her fingers find the buttons on his shirt. Laughing as she pulls the shirt from his shoulders. For the briefest second, he thinks he can feel her breath, warm on his skin, just before she kisses that spot on his neck that she loved so much. Loves.Loves
He forces himself to use the present tense as the memory fades. He cannot think in terms of loved, he reminds himself. She loves him. She swore to him that she would love him forever, and he swore the same to her. He loves her still; he has to believe she still loves him. He is still telling himself that she has not stopped loving him, despite the fact that they're separated, when Remus comes back to his bedroom door. Sirius looks up at the sound of the knock, shakes himself out of his thoughts, and says, "I'll be down in a moment, Remus. You go ahead and eat breakfast, mate."
The door opens at that. Remus comes inside, and Sirius can't help but cringe at the look of concern on the other man's face. "Sirius? All right, there?"
He nods hesitantly. He knows that look. "Sure. But I missed breakfast, didn't I?"
He knows he did, and does not need to see Remus nod in the affirmative to confirm it. He sighs heavily. "All right, then. I'll get dressed now, and we'll have lunch. It is near lunch now, isn't it, or have I gone and missed an entire day?"
A small, ghost of a smile slips onto Remus' face. "I wouldn't let you do that. Harry's coming 'round today. He's bringing Ron and Hermione."
"I remember." It's good, he thinks, that he remembered Harry's visit all on his own. Progress. It means he's getting better. "Remus?"
"Can we . . . can we eat lunch outside?"
"Of course. I'll go set it up. You'll be down soon?"
He nods. "Yes, but come and get me if I'm not."
Lunch went well, he thinks. As did the visit with Harry and his friends. It's nice hearing about their lives, even if he can't understand why some of it matters so much. So many trivial things dramatized into huge ordeals when they don't need to be . . . it just makes life more difficult in the end, he thinks. They should be making the most of what time they have, not bickering with each other over the little things. And, he wonders, why are Ron and Hermione still refusing to admit that they should be -- that they are -- more than friends? And why in the hell is Harry alone, wasting precious time he could spend loving Ginny? Because he wants to keep her safe? She's not safe where she is, and he thinks everyone should realize it. They are fighting a war. Does Harry think it will hurt less if she dies a hundred miles away, somewhere where he can't even try to protect her, than if she dies at his side?
They don't know. None of them, they just don't know. He knows.
. He waited his entire life to find love and he never did. Then, when death granted him peace, he finally -- finally -- found someone. All sunshine and light, she was. Is
, he tells himself. She is
sunshine and light. That has not changed because he isn't with her anymore. He has to believe that. He just has to.
He stretches out on his back in bed, not even sparing a glance for the darkness outside his window, and lets his mind wander. It would be easy, he knows, to let memories of her touch overtake him, to let the memory of her hands guide his, just to ease the pain slightly. He refuses, though. He knows that, if he does that -- if he gives in to the desires his flesh craves -- her memory will dull ever so slightly, and he does not want that to happen. Not yet. Possibly never. He hasn't decided yet.
He knows it's impossible, knows they will never be together again, but he cannot stop himself from hoping that whatever brought him back will somehow bring her back, too. He knows it cannot be, though. It can't ever be. She is not a witch. She is something, that is for sure. A . . . slayer, he thinks she called it. But, he is sure, whatever brought him back had something to do with magic . . . something (he's almost sure) to do with the war still going on within the Wizarding world, and nothing at all to do with her. Why else? What else could it possibly be? She had told him her life story when he told her his. She, of all the people he has ever met, deserves her rest. Yes, he has been returned for some reason . . . to help Harry or something
else equally worthwhile. Something that is worth -- that justifies -- him leaving paradise behind.
Her face drifts into his mind as it often does in the quiet times of the night. Beautiful, she's so beautiful, he thinks. Her hair, her smile, her laugh; she's everything beautiful, the very definition of the word. Light and love, she was his. He had given himself to her completely, and he knew she had given herself to him. Her whole heart, she said. Her wonderful, perfect heart. Oh, how he misses her. He can barely breathe from missing her.
It isn't fair, he thinks suddenly in anger. It isn't fair at all. He had lived his life, hadn't he? Sure, it had not always been a great life, but he'd lived it. What has he ever done to deserve this? He had been so happy with her. He can't even remember how many days they spent walking, just talking. He can't remember how many hours they spent holding each other. He can't even remember how they met. None of that matters, though. What matters is that they had met, they had spent all that precious time together, and they had loved. He had held her in his arms. He had touched her. He had gotten absolutely beside himself lost in her kiss. He had loved
He would love her forever.
Sirius does not know how long he has been there, silent except for his harsh breathing as he tries to force himself not to cry, but he does know the very instant Remus sits down on the bed next to him. It is the same every night now. He always shows up now when the memories get too heavy. Always. Sirius looks over and tries to smile, even though he knows his effort is in vain. Remus says nothing, simply reaches out. Sirius meets his hand halfway. Simple comfort, human contact. It is supposed
to warm him up. Sirius knows that. Why then, he wonders, is he never able to get warm?
"You can tell me, Sirius. No matter what it is, no matter how horrible you think it is. You can tell me."
He closes his eyes. It's the same every night. "I know."
And he does know. Remus would understand. But to tell him would be sharing her, and he doesn't want that. Not yet. Maybe never. She is his. She was his as soon as he saw her. His from that very first moment, and right on to the end. They had been making love when the magic came, when he was brought back here. And that's what hurts most of all. He didn't get to tell her good-bye before he was torn from heaven and returned to the life -- this life -- he was supposed to love. He didn't get to tell her good-bye.