Sirius was fourteen, locked inside his room for the second day in a row, sobbing into his pillow. Everything hurt, God , everything hurt so much and he didn’t know where to go or what to do. He knew exactly what his parents were doing, yet he couldn’t figure out why. Maybe it made sense, in a way, at least to his parents. Maybe the hits and the screaming had a reasoning, some sick, twisted reasoning. Maybe all parents were like this, and nothing was wrong. Maybe everything was wrong, but only with Sirius. Maybe, maybe, he really was as worthless as they said he was.
Sirius was fifteen, standing in the frozen aisle in the closest Asda to his house, pressing a bag of frozen peas to the side of his head. People passed him, they saw the bruises, the blood trickling down the side of his face. They saw the dark circles underneath his eyes and how skinny he was for being a fifteen year old boy. And they didn’t say anything. No one said anything for a good ten minutes, until an employee came up to him, telling him that he had to pay for the peas he’d ruined with the flood of blood. Sirius was fifteen years old, sitting curled up in a park, wondering how to get out. It didn’t matter how, he had to get out.
Sirius was sixteen years old, and his life, his home, was now packed up in a battered backpack and a duffle bag. He realized, as he passed the rows of townhouses and apartment buildings, that he’d never had a home. He’d been living in a house for sixteen years, but it had never been home. And he thought, as he slumped down on the ground when he was too exhausted to carry on, as he brought his knees to his chest, hugging them tight for some sort of comfort, that he had never had a home. He could have a flat or a house, but he’d never find his way home.
Sirius was seventeen, sitting behind the register at a Tesco, the only place that would employ a seventeen year old. He scanned items mindlessly, bags under his eyes so dark they looked like bruises, skin so pale he could fit in a graveyard. He was tired, so fucking tired, and he felt hopeless. Like someone had turned off all the lights and he didn’t know where the switch was so he could turn them back on. But he was so tired that he didn’t even care anymore. He could sit in darkness and wallow in the hollow feeling in his chest, he didn’t care.
Sirius was twenty years old, and he was still sitting behind that same register at Tesco, wondering yet again how the fuck to just get out. He had a flat, he had James and Lily, he had a stable job, and he still wanted out. He wanted to feel happy, not feel as though he was drowning and floating at the same time, like he was suffocating with every single breath. He wanted a place to feel like home. And he felt stupid for thinking that way, because he had friends and he had his flat, yet he still felt like he never came home . He got to the flat after every day after work, he didn’t get home . It felt as though he could search forever, jump between person after person, trying to find some place that would feel like a home, a safe place, and never get there.
Sirius was twenty-five, and he’d given up. He could remain behind the register, sit there day in and day out, fake smile and chuckle awkwardly, because nothing mattered anyways. The rings under his eyes hadn’t gotten lighter since he was seventeen years old, the hopelessness had been sitting there, and maybe he should’ve taken care of it all before it got out of hand. Perhaps he should’ve taken that offer James gave him about that therapist, perhaps he should start eating and sleeping properly and remember to shower, but it felt useless. He felt useless. So he would remain there, behind the register, eyes drooping and heart heavy, because nothing mattered anyways.
Sirius was twenty-six, and he felt stuck. He was stuck in the flat, at his job, in his own mind, and he didn’t know what the fuck to do anymore. And then he saw Remus for the first time. Sirius felt like shit, and he was sneering at nothing in particular because everything just sucked, but then he looked up and saw him, and his heart leaped up to his throat. Suddenly life didn’t feel as sucky anymore and perhaps he could breathe a little easier again. And Remus kept coming back, every Tuesday, every single week, and every time Sirius felt good. Even on those days when his life felt like too much and nothing at all, he felt a little better after seeing Remus.
Sirius was twenty-eight, and he and Remus were living together. Sirius’ flat, which once only was the flat, was now their flat. And even though it was a little easier to breathe, even though his heart felt lighter and the circles underneath his eyes were beginning to fade, sometimes, some days, still felt like utter shit. Like he was back in the room without a light switch, like he was stuck underneath a wet blanket, like he was stuck and nothing mattered.
And it was hard to verbalise, how even after almost a year of them being together, living together, Sirius still felt overwhelmed and insecure. Like they’d moved too fast, like Remus was going to leave for work one day and never come back. It was hard to explain how Sirius expected everyone to get up and leave, or how he sometimes still saw his mother in the mirror, when it had been twelve years and he didn’t look that much like her anymore. It was hard to explain that even though it was easy to quit his job, or get a new flat, he still felt stuck, and he couldn’t get out.
“Eat,” Remus didn’t ask or suggest it, it was an order. He pushed the plate towards Sirius, who bit his lip. “Eat. Get those nutrients, yum,” he said it in a deadpan voice as he grabbed Sirius’ right hand, prying it open and then slapping a fork down in his palm.
Sirius snorted weakly, “I’m left-handed, you know that right?”
“Wouldn’t you look at that, suddenly you’re ambidextrous. Spectacular, now eat,” Remus grabbed his own fork, then stabbed some pasta on it. Him eating pasta was rare, but he always ate it with Sirius during those days, when Sirius didn’t really have the energy to eat. Remus always cooked up pasta, then forced Sirius to sit down by the dinner table, and kept giving Sirius a specific look if Sirius even as much as considered setting his fork down on the table. The one raised eyebrow and slightly downturned lips-look, a look that somehow managed to say I do pity you, but you’re also being a shithead to yourself by not eating, so eat or I’ll physically throw you in the shower.
So Sirius listened, even though he wanted to crawl back into bed and sleep, he sat and ate whatever concoction Remus had thrown together, feeding Snuffles the occasional carrot or pasta piece. And then Remus would hopefully let him curl up in bed again, or on the sofa with the telly running in the background, let him he just lay there, doing nothing more than just being.
“I’m sorry,” Sirius mumbled once he’d prodded around in his pasta more than he’d actually eaten it. Remus frowned at him.
“What for?” he asked. Sirius merely shrugged, then gave Snuffles another carrot piece. What for? He didn’t actually know. The I’m sorry ’s just sort of slipped out when he didn’t know what else to say. When he felt guilty for feeling like he did, because he knew that he could fix it, or at least almost fix it, but he never did.
“I don’t know,” Sirius mumbled, wiping off Snuffles’ disgusting drool on his pyjama bottoms, even though that was equally as gross. “For… This. That I’m boring. N’ quiet.”
“Sirius...” Remus stretched his arms out over the table, grabbing Sirius’ hand. “Sirius, love. It’s okay.”
“Is it, though?” Sirius wanted to pull his hand back, to curl up in on himself and just shout at Remus to fuck off. He had no idea why, or where the thought came from, so he just remained limp in the chair, his hand clasped in Remus’. “Is it really okay that I don’t go out with my own fucking dog, or don’t shower? Is it really okay that you have to force me to eat like I’m a damn toddler?”
Remus let go of his hand and sat up a little straighter in the chair, but Sirius barely noticed. “It doesn’t really feel okay,” he powered on. “That it’s always you who have to do everything, that I don’t even know what my own personality is anymore because I’ve been so deep in this shit for so fucking long. It doesn’t feel okay when it feels like I’m just something in the way. I’m probably in the way of your own happiness because I can’t be happy, and I hate it.”
He barely noticed the tears streaming down his face, and he just glared down at his pasta, his face screwed up in some weird attempt to stop the tears from continuing to spill out.
Remus stood up, his chair clattering behind him, and Sirius couldn’t help but to flinch. Remus grabbed the dishes from the table and put them on the kitchen counter instead, and everything inside Sirius screamed He hates you. He’s finally had enough. He hates you. Louder and louder the longer Remus was silent, and Sirius just wanted his boyfriend to say it out loud so his mind would stop screaming.
“Sirius,” Remus sat down in the chair next to Sirius and took his hands, holding them gently in his own. “I know that it’s hard, I know that it fucking sucks. And sure, it’s really hard for me too, but I knew what I was getting into, didn’t I? I knew then that some days were going to be shit, some days were going to be hard, but I’m still here,” Remus’ thumbs swiped over Sirius’ knuckles as he talked, and somehow, that simple gesture along with those words made Sirius feel like he could breathe again. “I’m still here because I love you, Sirius. I love you when you’re feeling good, when you’re laughing and go out on runs with me, and I still love you when you’re in bed and need someone to tell you to eat. I love you so much, and it doesn’t just… Go away whenever it’s hard.”
Sirius closed his eyes, tears still streaming down his face, and somehow, he felt hollow and shitty at the same time as he felt his heart burst. Fireworks, almost filling the hollow, heavy feeling.
He took a shallow, rattling breath and turned to Remus, burying his face in the crook of his neck, dampening the skin there. The word Sorry, lay heavy on his tongue, ready to slip out, but he swallowed hard.
“I love you,” he mumbled instead, and he felt the vibrations of his voice on Remus’ skin, telling him, in a way, that Remus was real. That he hadn’t just imagined the speech, and that this, what they had, in their cramped kitchen with their dog and pounds of frozen chicken, was real. It was love.
Remus carefully coaxed Sirius up to a standing position, then wrapped his arms around him, pulling him as close as they would get. Sirius smiled softly, hugging back. He toyed a little with the fabric of Remus’ shirt, balling it up in his hand, then letting go and smoothing out against his back.
“I love you,” Sirius said again, because even though it had been a year, it felt worth repeating, over and over again. It felt worth screaming off the rooftops, muttered to strangers on the bus, mumbled softly between morning kisses. Because even though Sirius felt like sinking through the ground at times, he would always love Remus. And even though it took reassuring and exhausting speeches for him to understand it at times, he knew that Remus loved him too. He knew that Remus loved him, he just needed to believe in it, even when life felt useless and shit.
He pressed an open mouthed kiss to Remus’ neck, tasting his own tears there, then trailed up. He pressed kisses against Remus’ neck, his jaw, his cheek and eventually his mouth, and he found himself smiling slightly.
Remus smiled as well, bringing Sirius impossibly closer. And Sirius, once again, felt how his heart burst, almost replacing the hollow feeling in his chest, but not quite. Just enough.
One innocent kiss somehow turned to something more, and suddenly they were tugging at each other’s shirts, stumbling into the bedroom as they shared sloppy kisses that somehow felt like everything, even though they were slightly gross. Remus felt like everything.
They eventually ended up pressed together, chests heaving as they more or less just panted and let out soft moans into each other’s mouths. Sirius had his legs wrapped around Remus’ waist, wanting to bring him closer,
even though it was impossible. Their hands were intertwined, holding onto each other as if they would slip away from each other if they let go. They were so incredibly close and Sirius just wanted to be closer,
And he thought, with Remus so incredibly close, as he nipped at Sirius’ throat, that after so many years, so many sleepless nights and so many tears, that he’d finally found his way home .