[identity profile] q-tip-continuum.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] remix_redux
Title: A Photograph of a Boy (Out of Eden Remix)
Author: [livejournal.com profile] leiascully
Summary: None of them looked anything like that photograph.
Fandom: Harry Potter
Characters: Remus Lupin, Sirius Black
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: All characters are the property of J.K. Rowling and Scholastic; no infringement is intended.
Original Story: A Photograph of A Boy by [livejournal.com profile] secondsilk
Author's Note: Immense thanks to my darling betas, [livejournal.com profile] uarazy2 and [livejournal.com profile] queenzulu. You two are excellent.

+ + + +

It wasn't as if Remus didn't know about the journal. Sirius, though gifted in many areas, was not particularly subtle. He also wasn't terribly concerned about drawing the curtains of his bed: he would lie on his side facing away from Remus, but Remus knew the certain tilt of the head and the awkward occasional hitching up on one elbow that meant Sirius was writing again. Now and again after the full moon, Remus would catch Sirius throwing him a speculative glance before turning back to the journal.

Once Remus stole the book while the other boys were in Astronomy class. You shouldn't, whispered his conscience, but his sense of self-preservation was stronger. What if he knows? it said, you've got to keep the secret, and if he knows, you’ve got to make him keep the secret somehow. So Remus slipped his hands into the drawer and flipped the journal onto Sirius' bed where it lay dark and ominous among the rumpled covers. It was a handsome thing with heavy covers and gilded pages, with the Black family crest embossed into the front. Remus ran his hands over it, half afraid it would sense the curse in his blood and burn his fingers or something (these pureblooded families were proprietary about their things, and what he'd heard of the other Blacks made his skin come out gooseflesh), but it lay solid and quiet under his fingertips. He turned the pages (lists of pranks, lists of supplies for pranks, lists of things to call James, lists of girls: Sirius wasn't keeping a journal for the ages) to find his name.

+ + + +

Dead or dying relatives of Remus Lupin:
his aunt
his other aunt with the nut allergy
his other other aunt
(Remus Lupin only has two aunts and they are both alive)
his grandmother (died in the Muggle war)
his other grandmother (sent him a fruit basket last month)
his grandfather
his other grandfather
his other other grandfather
(how many relatives does one lad need?)
his uncle (lies!)
his second cousin once removed (healthy as a hippogriff)
his ten thousand other cousins

And a note in Sirius' bold, angular handwriting: Where is Remus Lupin going each month?
secret tryst? sport competition (Remus Lupin is crap at all sport that does not involve learning) some kind of freakish girl-hybrid? perhaps some kind of cousin-epidemic

+ + + +

Remus sighed and ruffled the pages under his thumb. A photograph slipped out and fell onto the bed. Remus picked it up. It was a younger Sirius, or possibly that brother he'd heard of, Regulus (and he'd shake his head about nobility and their naming habits, but his own name wasn't any better, especially not now). Either way the boy was clearly a young scion of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black. Dark hair, grey eyes, that straight nose, and the arrogant expression that had vexed Remus at first, before he saw the loneliness under Sirius’ aristocratic veneer. The child was sitting, grinning and waving, amidst a heap of well-wrapped presents in the middle of a huge bed. Christmas morning. It would have been a happy photograph except for the looming furniture and the rows of sneering portraits on the walls, all with the same long nose and the same air of total disdain.

Remus replaced the photo carefully between two blank pages and smoothed the cover of the journal. He didn't have long before they would figure it out and abandon him. Sirius was clever and so was James, and so was Peter in his way. They would find him out. No one wanted to be friends with a werewolf. Especially not purebloods who could trace their families back to the beginning of time like the Potters and the Blacks. It didn’t matter how liberal Sirius and James seemed. They would figure it out and they would shun him. He had no way to stop them. He put the journal back into Sirius’ bedside table and curled up under his duvet, but there was no comfort in it, and he was awake long after the others returned, yawning.

Months went past and Remus held his breath each time he caught Sirius giving him thoughtful looks. Oh, Merlin, he thought, it's over, they know, they’ll never speak to me again. But all that happened was that Sirius started writing again, and Remus breathed, but cautiously.

+ + + +

He kept watching Sirius, even on the nights when it was clear that Sirius was just staring at the pages of the journal and not writing anything. The night that Regulus Black, with his dark hair falling over his grey eyes, stood up in the Great Hall and called Sirius a blood traitor was one of those nights. Sirius was up for a long time, his candle guttering on the bedside table, but the tight line of his shoulders didn't change.

I should say something, Remus thought, but there were things about Sirius that he would never understand. He looked for a while longer at the tense curve of Sirius' side under the maroon pajamas, and then he rolled over and went to sleep, leaving Sirius alone with whatever lonely thoughts he was having.

+ + + +

It wasn't until fifth year that Remus actually saw the journal again. Sirius rocketed into the Tower, clutching a couple of library books, which was surprising, given that Sirius had never been known to spend any substantial amount of time in the library that actually involved books instead of rampant snogging. Remus leaned back from his revising as Sirius dropped the books on his bed and dove into the night table for what Remus thought of as the black book of Black, but he was startled when Sirius flipped open the thing and ripped a handful of pages out of the middle.

"I've only gone and done it!" Sirius yelped, triumphant. "Sorted it, Remus, completely and utterly sorted. No more moon worries."

"Sirius," said Remus in alarm, "Sirius, shut up." On the stairs there was the sound of thundering feet.

"No one else here, mate. I mean, James and Peter, soon enough, but no one you have to worry about." He came close and sat on the edge of Remus' bed, leaning in close. "'S all right, Remus. I mean, we can't unmake you as a moony lad, but we can at least be there for you." He thrust the pages under Remus' nose and Remus took them unthinking, looking hard into Sirius' eyes, which were bright as opals.

"It has to be a secret, Sirius," he gritted out, "do you absolutely swear?" We can be there for you, he thought, and a weight lifted.

"I swear," Sirius said, "on the dubious honor of my family," and James and Peter burst through the door, panting. Remus looked at the pages, covered with notes in Sirius' spiky handwriting, and slowly the knot of tension in his chest eased.

"You're really going to do it? All three of you?" They nodded. "This is...dangerous and illegal and outrageous and a dozen other adjectives and...and...thank you."

Sirius ruffled his hair affectionately. "There you are, Moony. Look at those manners, lads."

They sat close together on Remus' bed and pored over logistics for a while. Remus pointed out a few details to streamline the spells.

"Told you we should have let him in on this earlier," said James, with his chin pressed into Remus' shoulder and his arm slung over Sirius. "Remus' spells are always the cleanest. No fancy aristocratic flourishes, unlike some people I could name."

"You love my flourishes," Sirius said, waggling his eyebrows.

"Only when you're blotto," Peter joked. "All right, so Potter and I have got double charms this afternoon. What have we got to steal to make this work?"

Remus felt the corners of his mouth pulling up until they hurt and wondered if his smile wasn't bigger than the grin of the child in the photograph.

+ + + +

Years later, after they’d finished with school and started with the war, Remus thought of the book from time to time. He was living with Sirius, because he was away doing things for the Order most of the time anyway, and Sirius had said grumpily that there was no point in keeping a separate flat when you don't have any money anyway, Moony, you’re never home, and there's plenty of room here for your skinny bones. Sirius was lonely, Remus thought, after the final split with the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black, after the murder of James’ parents, after James had moved in with Lily.

Bellatrix had sent a Howler with a photo of Sirius’ name burned off the family tree. Sirius had crumpled it in one negligent fist, but since then, Remus had noticed a broken look in Sirius’ grey eyes. Family was family whether you liked them or not, and Sirius suffered by himself, without even the semblance of relations anymore, without Regulus sneering at them in the corridors at Hogwarts. Remus had never been social or needy the way Sirius had, but at the same time, he understood a little. So he sent letters while he was away on missions and imagined Sirius tucking them between the pages of the book that Sirius had packed into his trunk, the book that Sirius had put into the wardrobe between the oldest, rattiest sweaters.

When he heard about Regulus, it felt as if he'd been punched in the stomach. He breathed shallowly, his whole body aching like the moon was full. He knew Sirius hadn't seen Regulus for years, not since Hogwarts, not that they had spoken at school. They were two years out of school and too many years into the war and they were suffering. Sirius had been strange for months, unhappy and snappish, kept too close to London by his work for the Order. Sirius needed space and Sirius needed people and Sirius needed light and love, and all of those were in short supply with the war going on all around. Remus knew that hearing about the death of his brother would be the last straw for Sirius. Before he went home (Not home for long,, he thought), he rented a room in the best hotel he could afford: at least there was a bed.

Sirius opened the door surly. Remus wanted to start the conversation some other way, to soften the impact, but he couldn't find the words. "Regulus," he said.

Sirius stared at him, face expressionless.

"They killed him," Remus said, the words scraping out of his throat.

"Why?" Sirius said, his hip propped against the doorframe. He was all bones, Remus saw, both of them really, bones and exhaustion and messy hair. But with Sirius it was more than just the exhaustion of the war. His voice and his eyes were colder than Remus had ever known.

"We think that he betrayed them, or tried to." What Remus wanted to say was, Look, Sirius, it was redemption, it was an effort, he betrayed them trying to get back to you, forgive him, forgive me. None of us are innocent anymore. But Sirius backed away and the door closed on Remus. He was glad that he was wearing something warm; it was a cold day and all of his spare clothes were in Sirius' wardrobe with the detritus of their vanished childhood. He could get the books and things later. Someday. There had to be a day of reconciliation some day.

+ + + +

Instead of reconciliation, what Remus found was himself in front of Sirius' door a few months later, facing Sirius' (and mine once, he thought) empty flat. He hadn't wanted to come, but the heaviness in Dumbledore's voice had compelled him. James and Lily were dead. Peter was dead. The photographs of Sirius laughing in the rubble of the street were on the front of every paper and they had made Remus’ heart burn. He had gone and drunk himself into a stupor and showed up at the headquarters this morning feeling nothing. For the good of the Order, someone had to riddle through Sirius’ affairs to discern the depth of his betrayal. Of everyone, it ought to have been him, Remus, himself, last of the Marauders, the one who should have known Sirius' secrets, and, as a matter of practicality, he still had a key, so he wouldn't have to break through any jinxes Sirius might have put on the place.

So it was Remus, and he stood in front of the door and felt nothing. He should have felt something, surely, but there was just cold blankness there, like the last look he remembered in Sirius' eyes, and he wanted a drink, and that was all.

He opened the door and moved into the apartment. It was familiar, still the same smells of burned curry and wet dog, the same stains on the walls. All the things were still in the same places. Remus found a couple of boxes and sorted through the books. His, Sirius', James' that they'd never have to return now. He thought about crying, but the prickling in his eyes and nose was only dust.

In the bedside table he found the black book of Black, as he'd known he would. It was like seeing an old enemy who had been an older friend. He picked it up, ran his fingers over the crest on the cover. It burned his fingertips. Maybe there was silver in the embossing, or maybe it was just the ache of memories. Even after all this time, he still didn't want to open the thing. He didn't want to see Sirius' handwriting and remember the thousand essays he'd corrected and the hundred thousand notes passed in class. But that was over. Sirius was a traitor, worse than a blood traitor, and he was the reason that James and Lily and Peter were dead and the reason that little Harry was an orphan. Remus opened it and turned the pages. The same old lists and notes. Sirius had grown discreet over his years at school, or had been discreet from birth, growing up as a noble scion. There was nothing incriminating in it past a list of pranks and a lot of notes on Animagus spells. Remus forced himself to skim the personal entries, but there was nothing dire in them, no signs of the heartbreaking misery Sirius had caused. He found a few letters from James and Peter and left them wedged between the pages. That part of his life was over.

Something fluttered to the floor and Remus bent to retrieve it. It was the photograph of the boy on Christmas morning, squinting and smiling. Remus studied it for a long moment. It was Sirius, he thought, because he'd never seen that kind of joy on Regulus' face. One choked sob escaped from Remus' throat and he coughed to drive it away and put the photograph in his pocket. He hadn't been able to save Sirius or James or Peter or Lily, not from themselves and not from the war. The photo would be his reminder. Mooning again, Moony? he heard Sirius say in that low teasing tone, but that Sirius was gone, and instead there was a different Sirius in Azkaban, traitor to his friends but no longer to his blood.

Remus tossed the journal into the box with the rest of Sirius' things to give to Dumbledore and packed up his own things to take back to his own dingy flat. When he got home, he pasted the photograph carefully into his photo album alongside the photographs of James and Lily's wedding and the odd assortment of school photos, and then closed the album and put it out of sight.

Out of sight, out of mind, it was said, but Remus was still paying penitence for sins of omission and sins of commission. He had the histories of four happy schoolchildren heavy on his shoulders, and their smiling faces pressed together under a stack of moldering books. They were ghosts now. None of them looked anything like that photograph of a boy.

Fic: A Photograph of a Boy (Out of Eden Remix)

Date: 2007-04-22 10:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] secondsilk.livejournal.com
You are absolutely wonderful.
There are things in this that I forgot were in my fic, and you've turned them round to something new and fascinating.

This is a wonderful story.

He could get the books and things later. Someday. There had to be a day of reconciliation some day.
Someday yes. Oh, my.
and he'd shake his head about nobility and their naming habits, but his own name wasn't any better, especially not now
Ha!
And all the other bits.

Thank you very much.
From: [identity profile] stephantom.livejournal.com
Hey! Just wanted to tell you that I read the original of this and it was absolutely wonderful! Very nice. I enjoyed it a ton.

I love how the Remix gives you two stories for each fic. :)


The remix of this was excellent as well, mystery writer! Beautiful job. I love the entries in Sirius' diary. And Remus' reaction on finding it, and the photograph. Beautiful job! Both of you!
From: [identity profile] secondsilk.livejournal.com
Thank you very much.
I do love reading the stories together.
From: [identity profile] leiascully.livejournal.com
I was so nervous about remixing this because I'd never remixed before, but I enjoyed it a lot, and I'm so glad that the result pleased you!

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-22 10:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] roga.livejournal.com
Absolutely lovely. And Sirius's list is hysterical.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-05-01 01:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] leiascully.livejournal.com
That was my favorite bit to write, I think. And then you went and changed all my HTML to Word format for some reason! I was thinking ahead!

But you were great anyway. ♥

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-23 12:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] penknife.livejournal.com
Oh, this is lovely -- so funny at first, and then so sad.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-05-01 01:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] leiascully.livejournal.com
Thanks! Glad you liked it!

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-25 02:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] secretsolitaire.livejournal.com
This is devastating and beautifully written. Gah. The Marauders just break my heart.

It was familiar, still the same smells of burned curry and wet dog, the same stains on the walls.

For some reason this detail really struck me -- just a little thing, but perfectly apt, and all the more poignant for it.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-05-01 01:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] leiascully.livejournal.com
They break my heart as well. Thanks for reading!

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-25 07:07 pm (UTC)
such_heights: amy and rory looking at a pile of post (MWPP)
From: [personal profile] such_heights
Oh... *sighs* That's beautiful and heart-rending and all-round fabulous.

Sirius needed space and Sirius needed people and Sirius needed light and love, and all of those were in short supply with the war going on all around.

My favourite line, I think.

I love the shifting focus of this, and the progression. A lovely story!

(no subject)

Date: 2007-05-01 08:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] leiascully.livejournal.com
My favorite line too. I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-26 02:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sambethe.livejournal.com
Oh. This was lovely and sad and just perfect.

Enjoyed!

(no subject)

Date: 2007-05-01 08:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] leiascully.livejournal.com
V. glad you enjoyed!

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-26 06:59 pm (UTC)
paranoidangel: PA (Default)
From: [personal profile] paranoidangel
This was so lovely and sad.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-05-01 08:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] leiascully.livejournal.com
I do my best to break hearts. Thanks for reading!

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-28 03:23 am (UTC)
ext_38381: (done this before)
From: [identity profile] melandry.livejournal.com
Wondeful. I couldn't have guessed where this was going from the very amusing start, but it all segues just right.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-30 11:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] leiascully.livejournal.com
That's the way I love to do it! Make them giggle and then punch them in the stomach. And fortunately, I had a remixee who suited me just right. *g*

Thanks for reading!

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-28 12:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dorrie6.livejournal.com
I enjoyed this very much. It is quiet and touching, and just lovely.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-30 11:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] leiascully.livejournal.com
I am so pleased that you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-29 08:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] riko.livejournal.com
God, what a feat! Wrapping so much history into such a tight, flowing story? You are very, very good!

I love the idea of Sirius's journal (and your reluctantly - but inevitably - aristocratic portrayal of Sirius). I love Remus's desperation about keeping his secret and how it slowly shifts to weariness.

All together, this was touching and brilliantly done.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-30 11:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] leiascully.livejournal.com
Thank you very much! A sense of history is exactly what I was trying to put into it. That and a sense of how wonderful the boys are together. Oh, boys.

Thanks for reading!

(no subject)

Date: 2007-06-22 08:15 am (UTC)
ext_150: (Default)
From: [identity profile] kyuuketsukirui.livejournal.com
I liked this. :)

(no subject)

Date: 2007-06-22 10:06 am (UTC)

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