As Certain Dark Things Should Be Loved
Fandom: Harry Potter
Warnings: Slash; some sexual imagery; mentions of character death.
Summary: Set after the end of the (second) war with Voldemort. Haunted by the last days of the war, Remus finds that helping one young survivor may give him a way to fight his own demons.
Notes: This was actually written quite a few years back, and was then completely and utterly Jossed when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out. It's probably sanest if you think of this as an AU.
Word Count: 990
It was not so strange, sometimes, that Remus still thought of him as the boy. After all, there was still a certain delicacy to the high cheekbones, to the fresh-cream pallour of the skin, that remained unchanged despite the hardened contours of muscle that so many years of playing Quidditch had put on the young man’s body. And it was the way the whispers of their world still described him. The boy who this, the boy who that… the boy who had survived more than anyone thought possible, survived even the final fall of the Dark Lord.
And, Remus had to admit, from time to time, when he stole a lingering glance down at the frost-pale body twined around his – the boy still didn’t like being looked at for too long, the legacy of too many stares in months after the victory, some accusatory, some adoring, all intrusive – that the lithe arms with their peculiar grace, and the half-wary, half-possessive way that those long fingers clutched at his arms, even in sleep, reminded him irresistibly of the black-haired boy he lost so many years ago. There was even the faint echo of Sirius’ smile – even if it was only the fragile, haunted, too-old Azkaban smile – about the boy’s mouth, every once in a while, when he would rake that pale gaze over Remus’ face and the afternoon sunlight would strike the upturned corner of his mouth in that particular way.
There was little enough else that seemed young about the boy – his boy, Remus realised. Merlin, when did that happen? Sometime in those last few awful Order meetings, the handful of them who remained all screaming at each other, trying to sort out who’d been killed, who’d turned to the Dark Lord’s side, who might have turned back, and Remus’s strained voice breaking in – For Merlin’s sake, can’t you see he’s exhausted, you won’t get anything more out of him tonight. Let him be for a while, everyone let him alone. Dull, practical Remus, too sensible for any of them to bear, always pushing a cup of tea and a good night’s sleep when their entire world was crumbling around them; but for just a second, such a relieved, grateful light had broken across the boy’s expression that Remus had caught his breath. And from that moment, Remus became his defender. It surprised and dismayed him how animal it was, the almost visceral instinct – whisker-quivering, he thought wryly – about the boy’s mood, the way he’d whirl and snarl at anyone who treated his charge harshly or demanded too much. Stalking the corridor outside the boy’s bedroom with his nervous, loping stride, Remus might as well have been in wolf form. It won him that look, though, that tremulous, cautiously trusting glance, and Remus found it difficult to get by without that.
He hadn’t been expecting the rest, the soft knock on his bedroom door in the horribly quiet days after Voldemort’s fall, the way the boy had pushed Remus back inside when he answered and locked the door behind them. And then that strange and startlingly beautiful young man had run his fingertips over Remus’ arms, almost harshly; brushed a lock of hair off the older man’s forehead; opened and shut his mouth several times without being able to form even the first words of an explanation before simply pushing Remus up against the wall behind him and kissing him, the boy’s lips shut tightly, oddly chaste in comparison to the greedy, pressing heat of his body. And it made sense, Remus had told himself, even as a low, ragged gasp had escaped him, even as he had shivered and twisted his hands in the back of the boy’s shirt, pulling it half off him, but not too far, because Merlin, he’d looked like a schoolboy still with his collar and cuffs wrenched open and the white skin around his collarbone flushed, looked like Sirius pinned against the wall of the prefect’s bathroom and moaning as Remus sucked him off all those years ago, looked like the incarnation of all the warm, languid, torturing thoughts Remus had tried so hard never to let himself have about his students…
It made sense, Remus reminded himself again now, because the slick heat of the boy’s skin and the astonishing intimacy of their murmuring, gasping voices shut out the images for both of them, for a while. Terrible pictures, flashes of silver and blood, from those last hours at the gates of Hogwarts, the embattled defenders swarmed by Voldemort’s troops. Hagrid grabbing Death Eaters by the throat with his massive hands as their curses scorched his skin; Hermione, momentarily disappearing under the swirling cloud of dementors; Snape writhing on the ground as Lucius Malfoy stood over him, a savage sneer painted across his face. Remus, looking out of the wolf’s eyes in horrified satisfaction as his transformed self tore Bellatrix Black to pieces.
And Harry, both hands clutching a wand that was pouring out golden light, driven to his knees with the effort, locked with the Dark Lord.
Harry crumpling to the ground, surrounded by the last scream of the destroyed Voldemort.
Remus winced, the memory of the too-slack body, the frozen green stare, the hideous brokenness of the form Hagrid gathered in his arms as if Harry were a baby somehow worse than everything else.
The afternoon sunlight seemed momentarily cold, and then the sleeping boy stirred against Remus’ body, lifting a hand to brush lightly over the older man’s mouth.
“We’re never going to stop remembering, are we.” It wasn’t a question. Remus glanced down, and ran his fingers fondly, lingeringly, through the sleep-warmed blond hair.
“No, but there’s a perverse kind of comfort in that, isn’t there?”
Grey eyes regarded him skeptically.
Remus shook his head, closing his own eyes, and after a moment his mouth softened into the ghost of a smile as Draco Malfoy kissed him.