Summary: Sirius doesn't remember everything, but that doesn't mean he's forgotten what matters.
Fandom: Harry Potter
Spoilers and/or Warnings: None
Title, Author and URL of original story: Joyful Music Lifts Us, by topaz_eyes. Portions of dialog were taken directly from the original story.
A/N: Sincere thanks to my accommodating beta, midnitemaraud_r. The song referenced is “Hymn to Joy,” music by Ludwig von Beethoven; lyrics by Henry Van Dyke.
Drive Away the Dark of Doubt (The Song of Life Remix)
Grimmauld Place had never been what one would describe as a festive home. In actuality, very few people would have described it as ever having been simply a home.
However, as the tree fairies fluttered about the Christmas tree, singing as if this particular Christmas was the best that had ever been— and possibly the best that ever would be —Remus couldn't help but feel as though perhaps they were right. Sirius, after all, was here with him, and Remus had the pleasure of listening to him hum along with the fairies, out of tune as usual.
Remus sat down on the floor beside Sirius. Strong waves of affection and nostalgia were tugging at his mind.
“Padfoot, remember when we used to sing this song at Hogwarts?” He asked, bumping his shoulder against Sirius'. Remus was only slightly surprised at the feeling of playfulness that accompanied the memories of their youth, for as much as Remus had dreaded the Christmas breaks at Hogwarts— the separation from friends and the relative sense of stability and safety —he had, nevertheless, loved the celebrations leading up to the holiday.
The tree fairies, normally flitting about and between Hogwarts' twelve trees, had been known to dart out suddenly and decide to decorate various students' heads instead, steadfastly refusing to return to their assigned trees. They were especially attracted to the fanciful hair accessories many of the girls took to wearing during the season. Remus recalled one memorable year— fourth, he believed —when the fairies had decided it appropriate to decorate Sirius' hair. He'd been utterly embarrassed by their chattering presence, and irritated at his inability to convince them that the magicked snowflakes falling from Hogwarts' ceiling and gleaming so brightly against his black hair were not jewels.
The decorations, the food, the jolly antics of even Hogwarts' ghosts- there was little about those days at Hogwarts that Remus didn't remember fondly. Best of all, however, had been his love for the carols and hymns that filled the air. The lyrics were always so hopeful and, well, joyous. They described a world that, while not perfect or without hardship, contained endless love and hope and charity. Even someone like Remus, afflicted as he was, couldn't help but allow the contagious and uplifting emotions to take hold. Hadn't he, after all, been gifted with love and hope in the form of Padfoot, Prongs, and Wormtail? And hadn't he been given undeserved charity when Dumbledore had allowed him to enter Hogwarts in the first place?
Despite how bloody horrifying things had turned out after those magical— yes, magical —years at Hogwarts, this Christmas, with Sirius at his side, Remus was simply happy.
“No, I don't.”
Remus looked over at Sirius, a bit confused by his words, so engrossed in his thoughts he'd been. “What—?”
“I don't remember, Moony.”
Sirius' eyes were bright and honest. The meaning of his words sunk in, and the childhood wonder Remus had been revisiting slunk away in shame. Sirius was not gifted with the memory of joyful Christmases past, but with the horrors of Azkaban, betrayal, and pain.
Remus looked away from Sirius, unable to meet the wide open look in his eyes. He didn't want Sirius to see the guilt that certainly reflected in his own. How stupid he was, losing himself in happy memories when all that remained for Sirius—
“But it doesn't matter,” Sirius said.
Remus suddenly felt the warmth of Sirius' arm around his shoulders and the tenderness of his lips on his brow. There was strength in his one-armed embrace, and the same affection and playfulness Remus had felt, when he'd first sat down next to Sirius to watch and listen to the tree fairies, was in his kiss.
“It doesn't matter,” Sirius repeated. “It's still beautiful,” he continued, looking straight at Remus, his gaze clear and joyful. “Even if I can't remember it.”
Remus reached out and gently traced the creased skin around eyes that showed no pain or horror, but instead reflected simple love and hope. The tree fairies continued singing, and now it was Remus who found himself tempted to hum along.
“I could... remind you,” Remus said, concentrating on all the good in their history together, and how much better their future could be. If he could only help Sirius remember what had been; the good, not the bad. The—
Sirius shook his head and smiled, taking Remus' hand in his own. “No, Remus. That's not necessary. I'd much prefer to make new memories with you. Sing new hymns, so to speak.”
New hymns, he said, and with such conviction in his voice that Remus knew he meant it. New hymns....
Perhaps Remus was too lost in the past? Perhaps the future, his and Sirius'— his with Sirius —didn't need too many reminders of times gone by in order for them to appreciate what they had now.
Remus realized that Sirius had a damn good point, because his grey eyes shone with love and hope, but not an ounce of the charity Remus had appreciated during his time at Hogwarts. Charity at this point in their lives— and especially between the two of them —was not only unnecessary, but would have been unbearable. Love and hope, however, were more than welcome.
Whether or not Sirius remembered the details, the past was always with them. If it hadn't been, if the emotion of it hadn't remained, then touches and tangles and kisses under the Christmas tree would not have been a part of their present. As for their future...
One of the tree fairies flew down and alighted on top of Remus' head. It continued singing in its own strange language, a familiar tune with unfamiliar words.
Remus leaned forward and kissed Sirius' lips, much to the consternation of the tree fairy who had been unprepared for the sudden movement, and who chattered angrily before returning to its brethren on the tree. Sirius returned the kiss eagerly and smiled fondly when they gently broke apart.
“What was that for?” Sirius asked.
“Unwritten lyrics, Padfoot. Unwritten lyrics.”
Ever singing, march we onward, victors in the midst of strife;
Joyful music leads us sunward, in the triumph song of life.