He Would Never

Author: Holly
Rating: PG
Archiving: All FQF will be archived solely at this site until September 30th, 2004. At that point, the author may post the fic elsewhere or may be contacted to have this fic archived at different sites if they so choose.
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. I do not own Harry Potter, its characters, or anything associated with it. I'm not making any money from this story, and I don't intend to.
Challenge & Summary: AU#5: The spy for Voldemort was really Remus. Torn between his loyalties, Remus makes a decision that will haunt him for the rest of his life.
Author Notes: Oh God, the angst. I'm so terrible!  I'd like to thank my personal muses (and grammar-nazis) Emily, Jin and Lori--even though Lori thinks R/S is rubbish, we can forgive her.

    Remus lay awake staring at the ceiling of his single-bedroom flat. The white popcorn paint was chipping, and there was a large brown spot in one corner where water seeped through every time it rained. It wasn’t raining tonight. However, Remus would have welcomed the sound of raindrops—anything to distract him from the murderous silence.
    Absently, he rolled over to embrace Sirius, but the other half of the bed was cold and empty. Sirius had gone out again. Like he had last night. Last month. When was the last time he had been home? Ten weeks ago. He had come to get some things and drop an accusatory remark in Remus’ direction.

    “Oi, I forgot my books,” Sirius announced as he walked into the flat. Remus had been sitting at the small table in their kitchen reading the Daily Prophet. “Left some documents. Wouldn’t want them to fall in the wrong hands.”
    The fairer man quietly seethed. He took a breath, smiled, and looked up. “They’re in the bedroom on the desk,” Remus said.
    “Looked through them, did you?” 
    Remus’ smile faltered, and he returned his eyes to the paper. “If you haven’t forgotten, I’m in the Order, too,” he said. “Will you be home Saturday?” 
    Sirius shrugged and disappeared into the bedroom. He returned moments later with the books tucked beneath one arm.
    “I’m training Saturday,” Sirius said. “Being an auror an’ all.” Childish. Remus was proud of Sirius’ accomplishments, even if the Ministry barred Remus from any wizarding occupations. Sirius almost wanted to take the jibe back, but when Remus did not acknowledge him any further, he left the flat, letting the door slam behind him.

    Perhaps it had been that conversation that had finally convinced Remus. After all, if you’ve already been found for a crime, why shouldn’t you commit it? Remus laughed. It was loud, forced, and hurt his chest. That was a very Sirius way of thinking—a belief he had subscribed to since before Remus had first met him. 

    “What are you doing?” Remus asked James and Sirius as they sat huddled over something in the corner. Peter was not far off, working on an essay for Transfiguration. Remus was supposed to be helping him, but he couldn’t help being distracted by the devious whispers coming from his two other friends.
    “Protecting our Karma,” Sirius said proudly. Remus raised one eyebrow.
    “Trust us, Moony, it isn’t anything we’ven’t done before,” James said.
    “Why does that worry me?”
    James and Sirius looked at each other and grinned.
    “Filch accused them of poisoning Mrs. Norris. She kept walking into walls,” Peter answered for them. “So now they’ve got a week of detention.”
    “We didn’t really,” Sirius added. “At least, not yet.” He began to get up to show Remus what he and James had been working on, but Remus shook his head.
    “I don’t want to know. You can keep your chemistry experiments to yourself, thank you very much.” And at that Remus had sat on the cushion beside Peter and submerged himself in their Transfiguration notes, leaving Sirius and James to their mischief.

    Remus turned his head to the clock on his beside table. 11:11. He might as well get up, do something, if he wasn’t going to sleep. 
Peter got home from his job at the Ministry at 11:30. He made himself a small dinner, took care of his paperwork, and then went to bed at one. Sometimes Meredith Wheeler would be waiting for him, but had been called out of the country on Ministry business. Peter would be all alone.
    The dim light of a waning moon shone through the window of the bedroom. Remus ran one hand through his dirty blond hair and then rubbed his eyes. He turned and slipped his feet into the old, fraying slippers on the floor beside the bed. I ought to organize my files, he though grimly. Dumbledore’ll want my report.
    Part of Remus screamed, “Why?” It pounded in his chest, begging him to forget it all. Forget it all and stay home. If they kill you, so what—you said you’d die for them, once. Prove it.
    “It’s too late, now,” Remus mumbled to no one in particular. “There are worse things than death.”

    Soft music floated across the lush common, to the white patio chairs. Remus watched, his eyes both happy and melancholy, as James twirled Lily and let her fall into his arms. She shrieked with laughter when she found herself not in James’ embrace, but in Sirius’, who sent her spinning once more while happy wedding guests looked on.
    Fortune kept a fair eye on the Potters, Remus noted. The weather was gorgeous, and Lily glowed in the afternoon sunlight. A pang of jealousy struck the young man, ever so slight and ever so sad. Remus lifted his glass to his lips but found he had already finished his wine.
    Catching Remus’ eye, Sirius began disco dancing. He wasn’t very good, but James soon joined him, sending Lily into fits of laughter once more. She forced herself to stop and approached Remus, taking an empty chair beside him.
    “Why don’t you show those boys how to really dance?” she suggested playfully. 
    Remus shook his head. “I’m tired,” he said. Lily nodded.
    “You cou—Sirius Black! You leave my grandmother alone!” Lily shouted, and in a hurricane of white taffeta raced back to the dance floor, where Sirius had escorted a small, elderly woman. He was dancing around her, doing his best impression of Elvis, and the lady’s face was slowly turning a bright shade of pink.
    Sirius feigned disappointment and blew the dear old woman a kiss as Lily dragged him away. Remus laughed softly and stood up.
    “What on earth do you think you are doing?”
    Remus whirled around to see who had addressed him.
    “Excuse me, sir,” he said to the rich looking man who stood before him.
    “Don’t sir me. Gerrout!”
    “Out! I don’t want yer type near my niece on her wedding day!”
    Remus’s eyes widened. Did this man, a muggle, know about his condition? Then, Remus saw the mug in his hand and smelled the bitter taste of alcohol in the air. He relaxed for a moment and approached the man, his hand extended, but the man took it as a threat and swung out his arm. Remus ducked. Unfortunately, the man had punched lower than he anticipated and his fist grazed Remus’ cheek.
    By now, the other guests had caught sight of the scene and began to form a wide circle around the grappling men. James pushed past the small crowd and faced the older gentleman.
    “What is the meaning of this?” he asked.
    “This, this vagabond has attempted to disrupt your wedding, Mr. Potter!”
    “I’m not—“
    “What?” James looked horrorstruck. He clenched his fists. Lily suddenly appeared beside him and took his hand in hers. 
    “James,” she warned softly. She then turned to her uncle and smiled. “Uncle Tommy, this man is a friend of mine.”
    “What? He’s dressed in rags! You are so kind to be charitable, Lily, dear, but allowing bums to run amok at your wedding? I won’t have it!”
    Remus looked down. His tuxedo was hardly brand new, but he would never have considered it rags. Looking once more he realized that, perhaps, with that rip there and the worn seams, he wasn’t the most appropriately dressed.
    “Please, Uncle Tommy, this is Remus Lupin, an old friend.”
    “Maybe I should leave, Lily,” Remus said softly. “I am not feeling too well.”
    “No! You’ll stay,” she said firmly, taking her uncle by the arm. She whispered something fiercely in his ear before leading him away. With relief, the small crowd began to dissipate.
    Taking this as his cue, Remus took his coat and slipped past the murmuring wedding guests. Humiliated and ashamed, he walked towards the dirt road outside the manor. It would be an hour before Sirius, as Padfoot, dragged him back to the reception.

    Remus flinched at the memory of Lily’s wedding. It had been a happy memory, really. Save for the one incident, he had had a wonderful time. But why couldn’t he recall other points of that evening? Hadn’t Sirius and James finally persuaded him to dance with Lily, and hadn’t she looked so beautiful and happy as Remus led her through a waltz?
    Shaking himself away from his thoughts, Remus found himself in the small kitchenette filling a tea-kettle. His sleeves were wet from the overflowing water. Remus poured the excess into the sink and placed the kettle on the stovetop. Absently, he performed a heating charm and we searching for the box of teabags. His hands brushed a stray ribbon, placed there accidentally or on an absurd whim, and another memory flooded his thoughts.

    “Sirius, you really ought to go to dinner with Rudolphus and I,” Bellatrix suggested one summer when the two crossed paths in Diagon Alley. She was elegant, as always, even amongst the claims of her association with he-who-shall-not-be-named. No one dared voice those claims, anyway.
    Sirius did not answer.
    “I suppose you could even bring that pet of yours. What is his name? Luper? Leper?” Bellatrix smirked as she spoke, glancing at Remus for just a moment in order to make sure he felt every derisive remark.
    “Remus and I have other plans, thank you, Bellatrix.”
    “That’s a shame. He’s a smart one, isn’t he? Does all sorts of tricks.”
    Sirius’ fists clenched, and Remus quickly laid his hand over one. “Sirius, please,” he begged. “Let’s go home.”
    “You bitch!” Sirius yelled. He launched his other fist toward Bellatrix’s face. Deftly, Remus caught it and pleaded for Sirius to calm down.
    “No, Sirius, dear, I’m afraid that would be you.” Bellatrix laughed as if she had made a very witty joke and disappeared into a crowd of passersby. 
    “She does it to get a rise out of you.”
    Sirius fumed. “One day, she’ll be in Azkaban, and I’ll be the one laughing.”
    “Not here, Sirius. Let’s go home.”

    11:29. Only eighteen minutes had passed since Remus last looked at a clock. He sat down in the kitchen and held his head in his hands as the tea steeped on the counter. In the poor light, Remus was only vaguely aware that she had bewitched him with her wiles, her grace. It didn’t matter anymore, did it? “It’s not as if there is much for you to live for, is there, Remmy?” The words echoed in his head.

    Remus looked up into Bellatrix’s kohl outlined eyes. Bellatrix Black was the most beautiful woman Remus had ever met. She was enchanting, charming, and sophisticated. She rivaled Remus in intelligence and could carry an evening conversation into the morning hours—traits Remus and Sirius hardly ever saw. This evening, she had even looked past Remus’ condition and, finding him alone in a London pub, had attempted to comfort him. Bellatrix pushed a drink towards a very grateful Remus and repeated herself, “It’s not as if there is much for you to live for. Help me, Remmy, and I’ll make sure you have everything you could ever need.”
    “A job?”
    “A job, a home, anything--even a family who loves you.”
    “But they are my family.”
    “Oh, Remmy, what sort of family is this? The Potters abandoned you to save their own lives. Peter—he never did thank you for helping him all those years, did he? If not for you, he wouldn’t be working for the ministry, and he would never have met that little girlfriend of his. But not even a thank you card!” Bellatrix paused and placed one hand on Remus’. “And Sirius, he’s quite the playboy, isn’t he?”
    “No!” Remus choked back his drunken tears. The image of Sirius kissing that woman replayed in his mind. Sirius said it was an accident; he was drunk and tired—but was it really?
    “There, there, Remmy. I know, it hurts. Sirius never loved you, he pitied you. And now, he spies on you—he thinks you’re a traitor simply because you’re cursed.”
    “But I am the traitor.”
    “But not because you’re cursed.” Bellatrix stood up and walked to the other side of the table. She helped Remus to his feet. “Why don’t you go home, Remmy, dear, and you can think about it. Think about all the hurt your family caused you. Even if they win, Remmy, dear, you’ll still be poor, jobless, and cursed.”
    Remus hiccupped.
    “I can take care of you, Remmy, better than my cousin ever could.” Bellatrix led Remus to the door of the bar and kissed him on the cheek. She hailed a muggle taxi and set Remus on his way. 

    But Sirius had welcomed him home with chocolates, Remus recalled. Seeing he was intoxicated, Sirius had sent Remus off to bed and played nurse the next morning, bringing him toast (slightly burnt) and orange juice in bed. He was happy and relieved to see Remus was okay--and he explained that the woman was a complete stranger and he was sorry. And Remus had forgiven him, right?
    Three days later Sirius and Remus had argued again about the Potters and the Order. That night, Sirius left.
    Remus pulled on a pair of slacks and rummaged through the closet for his shoes. He grabbed a scarf and hat, too. It was chilly outside. Within minutes, the fair haired man stood on the front steps of the building. He tucked his hands in his coat pockets and sighed. A misty, white cloud appeared and disappeared by his lips. Purposely, Remus stepped down off the stoop and onto the London sidewalk. It was October 30th, 11:52 p.m.

    At 12:26 a.m., Remus knocked on Peter’s door. The stockier man answered moments later, surprised and confused. Remus explained, calmly, that something was terribly wrong.
    “What happened?” Peter asked, wringing his hands together.
Remus looked around the hallway and stepped inside Peter’s small flat. He closed the door behind him before answering. “Peter, Sirius has been abducted by Bellatrix and her husband.”
    “No!” Fumbling, Peter scurried past piles of old papers into his living room, still nervously wringing his hands.
    “Peter, I need to speak to James.”
    “Couldn’t I—“
    Remus shook his head, very slightly, and Peter became very quiet. He sat down on the sofa; Remus remained standing.
    “If you were to tell James, he might do something rash. He might try to rescue Sirius. For the sake of Harry,” Remus faltered, but Peter did not hear the slight pause, “and Lily, I must speak to him.”
    Peter agreed, however timidly. If he ever wondered how Remus knew that he had been secret keeper, he made no sign of it. Perhaps he assumed that the fights between Sirius and Remus were an act? Why shouldn’t Remus know? Peter had trusted Remus since their time in Hogwarts. He would never guess that Remus had slipped veritaserum into Sirius' mug one night several weeks ago as they sat drinking tea, no.  Remus would never have betrayed Sirius.
    Peter paused and looked deeply into Remus’ eyes. He saw the sadness and anger, and he attributed it to the captured Sirius. But part of him, a tiny voice in the back of his mind, doubted despite his deepened trust, and he felt a choking feeling in the back of his throat.
    “Please, Remus,” Peter said slowly, “don’t let me regret this.”
    Remus smiled, weakly, to assure Peter. Then he sat down on the sofa beside his old friend, and Peter told him the location of Godric's Hollow. Several minutes later, Remus stood up, placed a sorry hand on Peter’s shoulder, and left the flat. 12:58.

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