Title: Part of that Star
Summary: "I'm going to be part of that star," he told you, hours later. "Mark my words, Remus Lupin. I'll make it."
At the time it happened, you couldn't deal with it. You had promises that you'd made to him that needed to be kept. You were supposed to deal with the godson that was perhaps the only person he loved as much as he loved you, of those left alive, but in a different way. So, since you always made good on your promises, and you had your own fondness for that child, you did.
Not such a child anymore, is he?
You remembered long conversations over that summer, before he was dragged to that cursed house of his youth. His long body had been sprawled beneath you and your hands rubbing and caressing knots from his neck and back while his head just hung over the edge. You were talking of this very topic, of when Harry would discover all the little truths and react. There was a low, wry chuckle that reached your ears, and an admission -- yes -- that he wouldn't want to be anywhere near when that happened.
So he wasn't. So he had been gone, far beyond reach, and it left a gaping wound behind that would not heal. You had to face that anger and grief with a firm spine, with the certainty that you had done the right thing. That he would have wanted that.
It's only now, only after, that you can sit and contemplate, hurt and grieve for all that's been lost. There's the feeling in the air around you, a feeling of a storm building. The second war had begun, and for all your promises that you and he would meet it together, there was this emptiness. Never again would you see that carefree smile, that intensity that burns like only the brightest of stars. You stare at the sky at night and that star only seems to burn brighter than it did before.
Did it take him in? You wonder, as nobody knows what happens when one passes beyond the veil, so you're left to your endless questions. Did that bright star take that brilliance and that energy that never seemed to fail him, even in the worst of times? Did it just take him in and made itself something more with that addition?
He would have wanted that, you think, remembering a conversation from when you were young. It was when you and he were still merely friends, if any time spent together could be thought of as merely.
First year, it was. Exams were over, and there was only the merest shadow of the fear that would lead you and he and the others to choose their sides. James was away somewhere. You, who knew him best, had flippantly commented that he was off on his broom somewhere, and you knew that Peter had said that he was going to go and sleep for a week. Just you and he, and neither could bear to stay inside, so out of the castle it was, with the moon and stars rising above you.
"I'm going to be part of that star," he told you, hours later. Cloaks were beneath you and both faces were pointed at the sky. He nudged you and pointed upwards, where that star seemed to glint with blue and silver, then he smiled and continued. "Mark my words, Remus Lupin. I'll make it."
Time seems twisted and slippery as you can't tell whether you're there with him, or here by yourself. Still with a cloak beneath you, and still looking up at the stars. You should be inside, making plans for the future, as it all starts tomorrow, and you'll have to meet Harry at the station with the rest of the Order, but right now, you need this moment. To think, to remember, to grieve for all that was lost.
I love you, you whisper to the sky. I won't forget.
Then, feeling so much older than your thirty-seven years, you rise and you head back into the house. The house that you swear still has his scent clinging to the air, despite that he was taken to that house ages ago. You don't think to question it, although you're certain it shall fade. After all, even magic cannot keep this from fading in time.
You close the door and hang the cloak up, almost feeling a ghost of a whisper about how you're always so proper, always so neat.
Few things about Sirius Black were neat, from the workings of his mind to the space in which he lived to how he sat in a chair. That was knowledge that was gained over the course of a lifetime, over the course of a few years, you correct yourself. You never did have enough time. There was school, then there was war, then you lost him to doubt, fear, and Azkaban for twice again the years you'd been in love with him.
These are the thoughts in your mind as you pull away the robes of the day and wearily climb into your bed.
Tomorrow's another day. Tomorrow's a day you'll need your wits about you.
It doesn't matter in the slightest that you can almost feel the pressure of his arms around you, the whisper of "Moony" into your hair. It just drives you deeper into sleep, snuggling deeper into that familiar, comfortable caress.
In the morning, you'll explain it to yourself somehow, but for now, it is the very thing that allows you to sleep without dreams.