and then they answer
by Losselen

If we stand quietly enough evenings
there grows a whole company of us
standing quietly together


He didn't say anything when he woke up to the owl hooting impatiently on his windowsill. He didn't say anything when he snatched from its leg the headline, reading: The Dark Lord Defeated by a Child! with the dark subtitle: Harry Potter, son of James and Lily Potter saves the Wizarding World. He had grabbed his jacket and stepped out then, saying to himself: I'll go for a walk, that's all.

He'd kept the thing, of course, lodged between one volume or another; its leaves yellow now with age and handling and fleshy words. He had kept the note too.

It was raining when he came home.

That was something he had remembered only in the morning after when he lay in his bed and listened, drop drop said the gutterdrains and he imagined the ground opening a mouth, eager and hungry and dark. Feather-rain, he called it, in between the sheets; rain like birdwings whose cold crawled over his back and stayed there.

He also remembered something Sirius had said the day before: "Bring something, it might rain." Rain tomorrow. And for the longest time he couldn't remember where he went that day or what he did or what had really happened.

Remus took the polaroid camera Sirius left behind and framed the rain, in black and white and grey of the window, raindrops and glass against a pot of flower. He shook it dry afterwards, although he remembered none of that. He remembered only the elemental flash and the picture appearing from white paper, then lightly penciled in the back feather-rain: november second of 1981.



They sleep twice, once for the one who is gone,
once for themselves.

Sirius was lying on the bed, chest rising and falling in this alternation between deeper and shallower breaths. The fire flickered and cracked before Remus' feet and he gripped his tea mug harder.

"I know you're not sleeping."

"I know you're not sleeping either," Sirius answered.

"That's not the point."

It was the second time he had said it that night, and Remus knew it had lost all authority by then.

"What is the point?" Sirius had turned to the ceiling and smirked in a beautiful way, the gleam of the fire catching on his face.

"I don't know."

Remus had to pause.

"How's Harry?"

"Right, you don't-He's fine. A bit edgy 's all."

"Good, I thought-"

"I think he's lonely."

"Oh. He must be." There was a pause there, and Remus wasn't sure how to break it. "Just be careful."

"About what?"

"He's not James you know."

"I know that." Sirius turned away then, face to the wall.

Remus didn't want to push it but did anyway, out of habit. "I'm not sure you do, Padfoot."

"Remus," he said with a slight ire in his voice, and Remus realized then they were no longer Padfoot and Moony, but Sirius, and Remus. "I know, Remus, I know."

The next morning, Sirius had mumbled something about a dream last night; when Remus asked him about it, he said that he didn't remember.



The gash in Sirius's arm was from a particularly nasty Expelliarmus gone awry. He claimed he was ambushed by a band of Death Eaters of a considerable number, but Remus suspected that it was probably Bellatrix.

"I'm planning to move soon." Sirius said as Remus bandaged him.

"Why? I thought you liked this place."

"It's-I don't think-We're supposed to hide, you know. I think it'll be safer if we didn't hide together."

"So where are you going to go, then?"

"Dumbledore is arranging a flat in Birmingham."

"Oh. All right." Remus held something back, though, some minor accusation, nitpick, he didn't remember anymore.

That evening, when Remus came back from a mission, he found a piece of paper pasted to the inside of the door, saying: Moony, I'm going for a visit to the Potters. Pads. PS: I'm sorry about what I said this morning, I want to make it up to you. Please come tomorrow when you're done with the duties. Oh. Bring something, it might rain.



Sirius didn't want any tea, so Remus made some just for himself.



Remus was doing map work when suddenly there came a loud bang from outside the room. It was Sirius, calling out for Remus with a pained laugh, after Flooing into the living room and crashing into the couch.

"Christ, Pads."

"Yes, yes, take a picture. It would be so lovely." Sirius was gasping through his gritted teeth, clutching his bloodied arm.

Remus glared. "Stay here and try not to move."

Remus went off to get his wand and a clean towel.



Remus bit back something under his stomach when Sirius showed up, a casual mail package by his door. He had nodded then, gravely and patiently, and then shivered a little with the sodden fabrics clinging onto him. For a moment Remus forgot all about moving and he stood there, almost dumb and almost afraid.

"Want to let me in?" Sirius said with a brilliant laugh.


His shoes were muddy and dribbling and Remus had to cast Scourgify after the brown footsteps. "For Merlin's sake, wipe your shoes."

"Which I did on your nonsexist doormat and now the carpet."

"That's hardly the point," he mumbled and went into the kitchen to make drinks.

Sirius sat down into one of the chairs that creaked horribly.

Remus clearly remembers the way it rained when Sirius came back.



It had been a particularly cold summer, so autumn came with no surprise. Leaves fell like mad-golden things with red rims that hissed and crunched. There were always people sweeping the streets-swoosh swoosh-lonely sounds. Remus sat on the browning couch with the last remnants of summersun pouring into the pages before him.

"Oh Moony, oh Moony, always reading bad novels." Sirius crooned, a spoon dangling dangerously from his mouth. "Will this be what I'll tell the grandkids?"

Remus snorted, and with an arched brow, said incredulously, "Grandkids?"

He grinned. "Just an expression."

"O pray tell, wise one, how are they bad?"

Sirius's voice grew solemn then and he turned to the window, a deep shadow between his brow and eyes. He was there next to Remus, his face pale and glowing from the pearly light outside. "Well, see, I think they all tell the same story."

Remus had set his mouth silent afterwards, but he refused, then, to believe that Sirius had somehow grown grave.

They dream thickly,
dream double, they wake from a dream
into another one, they walk the short streets
calling out names, and then they answer.


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