PG-13, 1500 words
Summary: Seven times Remus thought he was invincible.
Notes: For remeciel, who had a birthday over a month ago. A thousand apologies that this is so late, my dear!
Nothing lasts forever, and nothing is invincible. There comes a time when even life itself must fade away, with nothing on this earth to stop it. But still that feeling comes, and still we dare to have such belief, such dreams, to reach for such soaring heights. It is in the very air we breathe, and we cannot shake it.
The four of them huddled close together in breathy almost-silence, and Remus stared wide-eyed as Filch seemed to be looking straight at them, holding up a candle and leaning in so close Remus thought he could smell whatever the caretaker had for dinner. But after a long moment, Filch sniffed in disappointment and started moving down the corridor, Mrs Norris trotting after him. Remus could feel James buzzing with excitement next to him, but none of them spoke until Filch was well and truly gone.
"It worked!" James crowed. "It actually worked!"
"That was so cool," Peter said, clapping his hands together.
"We could do anything, with a cloak like this! James, your dad must be some kind of genius." Sirius was cackling in delight, and it was so infectious that soon all four of them were shaking with mostly silent laughter.
Remus raised his hands, touching the shimmering fabric of the Invisibility Cloak in awe. As far as he was concerned, it was the best piece of magic he had ever seen, and with it, the world was surely theirs for the taking.
"That is completely brilliant!" Sirius snatched the letter from Remus' grasp, grinning so broadly Remus was afraid he'd do himself an injury.
"How is it brilliant?" Peter asked, confused.
"Think of the avenues now opened at our feet! Think of the opportunities we will have to strike at our enemies, reward our friends--"
"Sirius, my being prefect does not actually give you license to run amok around the school," Remus attempted, but from Sirius' fired-up expression he already knew it would be a lost cause.
"I still don't really see what--" Peter began, and James raised a hand to cut him off.
"I have four words for you, Wormtail. Prefects' - bathroom - unlimited - access."
"Oh!" Peter's eyes suddenly went very wide indeed.
"McGonagall will murder me," Remus protested, "I'll be the shortest-lived prefect in all Hogwarts history, I'll be Transfigured into a teapot…"
James was already furiously scribbling a hundred different things they could do this year, but Sirius was still looking at Remus, and now Remus really was afraid those Black cheekbones would be permanently damaged.
"Don't you worry," Sirius said, "this is going to work out beautifully."
He howled at the distant moon, furiously constrained in these four walls, wanting nothing but out out out. Then there were others beside him; not prey, but friends, friends that got him out of his prison, let him taste the air and run on solid ground, the rhythm eliciting a strange kind of peace amidst his instincts, with companions at his side as they sped across the night, the world spinning for them alone.
The day after they left Hogwarts, the four of them headed to London, there to drink into the sights and revel in their new freedom. Sirius had insisted on going to Regent's Park, a trip that had rapidly and predictably disintegrated into James throwing sticks for him to fetch. Peter having mysteriously disappeared, Remus gave up on the lot of them and settled down with the Prophet in a feeble attempt to appear as though he didn't know them.
James had eventually got bored and flopped down on the grass at Remus' feet, though it wasn't long before Padfoot bounded over to him and slobbered all over his face.
"Oh, that's charming," James said grumpily, trying to shift the pounds of solid dog perched on his chest.
"If Sirius is quite done larking about," came Peter's returning voice as he walked over to them, "I have provisions!" He held up a bag triumphantly, bearing so much food that Remus wondered if he hadn't sneaked all the way back up to school to charm cake from the house elves one last time.
Sirius transformed back, pouncing on a package of sausage rolls and devouring them happily while James tried to grapple them away from him.
"Children!" Remus said, laughing. "How on earth are you planning on surviving in the real world again?"
"Mmmph," Sirus replied unintelligibly, mouth full of food.
Peter rolled his eyes, and Remus turned to the back pages of his paper. "Look, see! Job listings. Just imagine, James, you could be a shop floor supervisor in Madam Malkin's."
"To hell with that." James sat up, leaning in towards them. "There's a war coming, you know."
"We're a bit young for that, aren't we?" Peter asked.
"The war's not going to hang around until you qualify for it, mate! Nah, I'm going to speak to Dumbledore sometime soon, see if the rumours are true - and if they are, what we can do about it."
Peter looked doubtful, and Remus frowned. James' tone was light, but the mood had altered now, and the storm that he knew was whirling all around them just out of sight was getting closer.
"Look at you all!" Sirius laughed, leaning back on his elbows and looking around at them all. "Anyone would you think there was a chance we aren't going to save the world!"
Idly, Remus wondered if he should be concerned by just how easily he believed him.
There was a snarl from one of the Death Eaters, and then all of them were turning away, twisting into dark shadows and disappearing from view. Remus' heart was racing a mile a minute, and he could hardly keep still, the adrenaline coursing through him almost too much to think straight.
Sirius was shouting after their enemies in triumph, laughing so loudly Remus reckoned the whole street must be awake. Sirius ran over, face alight, and Remus didn't know how it happened, but somehow Sirius' hands were on his shoulders, and though Remus had never expected this, never dared hope, it somehow seemed as easy as breathing to move his head just so, to lean into Sirius and let their mouths crush together and speak better than words.
Remus could feel Sirius' battle-hardened muscles beneath his palms, still tensed and full of rage pulsing through him. They stood there in that darkened street, clinging to each other to keep themselves upright, as to let go now would be to fall off the edge of the world.
Life had become full of dangers, tomorrow ever uncertain and all their yesterdays rapidly disappearing beneath their feet. And yet still, unfailingly, Remus returned home, and Sirius was still alive to meet him, eyes full of worry and then relief as he pulled Remus close, whispering against his skin. Remus could still see war and death and fear all around him, and so he shut his eyes, leaning into warm hands and a sure touch to bring him to some kind of release, not stopping until his blood was hammering in his veins, a constant rhythm that told him they were still alive.
"How do we keep doing this?" Sirius asked, voice hoarse. "How do I keep watching you go, when at any minute you could--"
"Don't," Remus told him. "We're not going anywhere. We're going to win this, ok?"
"Well then," Sirius said, twirling his wand and smiling, "time to go be heroes again, is it?"
Remus nodded. "Looks that way."
"Wonderful - just what the doctor ordered!"
The same old instincts were kicking in once more, and Remus laughed, oddly delighted to think he might be able to save the day. "You ready?" he asked.
Sirius strode over to the fireplace, sending jet green flames shooting up that seemed to burn in his own eyes too. "Just don't going dying on me, yeah?"
"All right then. Can't say I'm in the mood today."
Sirius hadn't looked so vibrant in months. They'd make it, he told himself. They'd go to the Ministry and rescue Harry and be one step closer to defeating Voldemort. Remus could see a future stretching out before them, tantalisingly close to his grasp. Sirius exonerated, Hogwarts restored, Harry able to sleep peacefully at night.
"Come on then."
Sirius reached for his hand, and Remus laughed, feeling young again, as though there was something in this world to be sure about. He accepted Sirius' grip, feeling the battle spells readying themselves against his fingertips. He looked at Sirius, unsure of what to say, if there was anything he could say.
Sirius nodded and they stepped forward, there to walk through fire, side by side once more.