G, 900 words
Summary: After Sirius' death, Remus is looking for answers, closure, anything
Sirius has many names. He is Seirios to the Greeks, Sopdet to the Egyptians, Kachina to the Hopi. He appears in the Qur’an and illuminates the Epic of Gilgamesh.
Yet Sirius is dead.
He cannot be dead. He must be. Polar opposites of equal truth tear Remus’ head apart, and he needs to know for sure.
What lies beyond the veil? No one will tell him, although he’s sure Dumbledore knows.
Where is the truth?
Hot sun warms his Apparated bones. A man bustles over and examines the documentation, then waves him through into an alleyway with leaning buildings that could collapse at any moment.
He takes out the map that Bill gave him, and heads toward the sun, leaving the chaos of Cairo behind.
The sun is setting when Remus reaches the Pyramids. He ought to have found some method of transportation, but only walking really appealed.
The tourists are leaving, and forsaken guides linger, conversing amongst themselves. One looks up and breaks away. Remus is already preparing a kindly dismissal, but instead of a hard sell, he merely receives a simple question.
‘What are you looking for?’
It deserves a simple answer. ‘Sirius.’
‘The star. Follow me.’
He strides off, and Remus follows in his wake, feeling a greater sense of purpose than he has in a long time. They reach a side entrance to one of the pyramids, glowing in the embers of the day, and slip inside. It’s dark and dusty, and somehow retains none of the heat of outside.
They spiral upwards in silence, the atmosphere defying sound. A light is illuminating their way – the guide must have a torch. Eventually, they turn off their ascent and enter a small chamber, completely bare but with a narrow shaft dividing the roof. It leads up to the darkening sky, and the guide waves a hand towards it.
‘We must wait. Sirius will come.’
Remus sits down against the stones and does as he’s told. A couple of times, he attempts to form word that might begin a conversation, but nothing comes to mind. He thinks he can sense magic in the air, but he supposes that’s to be expected, remnants of an ancient time.
At length, the last ray of the sun retreats beyond the horizon, and Remus looks up expectantly, but still his mysterious companion says nothing. In fact, his eyes are closed. Remus bites his lip, hoping he isn’t the only man conscious in this place.
The cold slowly becomes more penetrating, and Remus is restless now. This was a stupid idea in the first place – what was he really hoping to achieve? Sirius is dead, and that’s that. He has to accept that, has to stop clinging onto something that no longer exists.
Gradually, the dark begins to fade away. Light is trickling in through the shaft, but this isn’t sunlight. Remus jumps up and hovers underneath, staring upwards – it’s starlight.
Sirius’ star is shining directly onto Remus’ upturned face – this ancient window perfect aligned to the centre of Egyptian astronomy. Other constellations prick at the edges, but they’re pale in comparison.
Star-given clarity shoots into Remus’ mind. Sirius is dead – he’s not coming back. But Remus suddenly realises he hasn’t lost him forever, and his spirit rises up towards the sky.
Sirius is out there somewhere beyond the stars, and one day it will be time for Remus to follow. He thinks he might be able to live with that. Well, he’s going to have to live with that.
‘Sirius…’ he begins, then falters. They’ve transcended words now, and so Remus lets his soul adrift to mingle with the stars, reaching out for something, anything in return.
A desert wind starts up and blows down into the chamber, gently bringing Remus back with it. Just for a moment, Sirius fills his senses – a murmur in his ear, a breath against his neck, a flash of grey eyes and a smell he’s never managed to adequately describe.
The wind dies away, leaving Remus with a hollow feeling corroding his insides.
‘Sirius Black was a great wizard,’ comes a voice from behind him, and Remus nearly jumps out of his skin.
His guide gets to his feet and moves to stand beside him. ‘Too few will know that, I think.’
Completely bewildered, Remus splutters for a moment. ‘How… how on earth do you…’
‘Mr Lupin, do you really suppose Albus Dumbledore has contained his battle solely within Britain?’
‘Well, no, but…’
‘Fate has a way of putting people in the right place, some of the time. You needed me today, so here I am.’
‘That doesn’t make any sense.’
‘Doesn’t it?’ The guide looks upwards. ‘Wizards cannot truly die, surely you must know that. You will see him again. Until then, leave his fate to the stars – they will look after their own.’
He smiles slightly at Remus’ obvious confusion. ‘Come, it will not do to linger here any longer. I think you already had your answers, but sometimes it takes a little light to illuminate them. Here, take my arm.’
The pyramid rushes away, and they land in the alleyway connected to the Egyptian Ministry.
‘Safe journey, Mr Lupin, and good luck.’
It is only as the man vanishes into the distance that Remus thinks to ask for his name.
He steps inside. Enough. Time to start the rest of his life.