“No, Wormtail. It’s not funny. It’s not fucking funny anymore. Tell me the truth!” His eyes had turned black, his lips stretched in a hateful snarl. It was terrifying for Peter to see one of his best friends so shaken with rage, so shattered with grief. In his fear, he recoiled sharply from Sirius and looked to the floor. Remus spoke up from beside him, as if stepping into his place.

“He’s telling the truth, Padfoot.” His voice was downtrodden and honest, in a way that made Sirius so angry he could barely see straight. It couldn’t be the truth, and the idea that Moony could lie to him so easily—it made him furious. Remus simply frowned, and Sirius flung a book off the table.

“Stop it, Moony! He’s lying. He’s got to be lying. Where’s Prongs? He’ll tell me what’s going on. Where is he?!” Blackened eyes and long black hair swung around as Sirius surveyed the room, praying to see his brother, his closest friend. James would fix it all. James would appear from behind the door and laugh; they would all laugh.

“He’s with Lily. Sirius…it’s not a lie. She’s gone. Her whole family is gone. It’s not a lie. This is what’s happened.” It was Moony again, his voice so quiet and apologetic, so infuriating, so maddening. He looked at his friend with such an overwhelming sense of compassion that it made Sirius want to hit him. He didn’t need compassion. He just wanted them to stop lying.

“I-I’d never lie to you, Sirius. Not me. I’m one of your best friends. I’m Peter. I wouldn’t li-” Peter’s voice was so quiet he felt ashamed to even speak, embarrassed that he couldn’t sound strong even now. He was never the strong one, but this should have been an exception. He should have been able to sound strong, just for now. But his voice squeaked and stumbled and cracked, and Sirius raised his hand as if to strangle his small friend before he fell back and stared at the floor, his voice booming.

“STOP IT. I can’t hear this anymore. I just can’t.” He was gone as quickly as he’d come, running from the room as if there were no air left in the building. The two boys were silent for a very long time, and even though his voice squeaked and stumbled and cracked, Peter was the first to speak.

“…I-Is he going to b-be alright, Moony?” Remus noted, with the tiniest of heartbreaks, that Peter’s voice shook with tears. Tears for his friend, tears for Marlene, tears for the war. When he managed to answer him, his voice was heavy with exhaustion.

“There isn’t much Padfoot can’t recover from, but this…this was different. He loved her.”

“He…he what?” Peter’s eyes were wide—it was something that had been once mentioned and always denied. He’d never thought—well, he’d never thought of Sirius as being in love with anyone but himself.

“You didn’t know?” Even as Remus said it, he found it wasn’t that surprising. It wasn’t as if Sirius had ever told any of them.”Padfoot’s always cared more about people than he’s been willing to let on. She meant a lot to him, even if he wouldn’t admit it. It was there.” He thought of Dorcas, her bright eyes and her golden hair, and he thought of how Sirius glowered at Marlene when he thought no one could see, as if blaming her for making him have a heart. “It was definitely there.”

“Oh. He isn’t going to be okay then, is he?” For once, his voice was clear. Remus looked up, and then glanced out the window.

“I don’t think so.”

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