The amazing fabledtruant has been wonderful enough to join forces with me for a series!
Series: Going Underground. (AU)
Summary: What if the Death Eaters and Voldemort had got inside the Ministry in the first war? The war would have been fought in a very different way. Take Harry Potter's first war and throw in 1984 oh, and then add puppies.
Chapter 1: The Clang of Boots on Metal.
Rating: PG13(Art rated similarly)
Summary: The Marauders have been in an underground base for weeks and it's starting to show. But spirits are still high and aching shoulders don't change much...
A/N: I'd just like to say myself how BEAUTIFUL fabledtruant's art is. Please leave comments about it. Also, AU so No DH spoilers.
For: crooked for her birthday, though it's been forever. All the love I have is lavished upon her in a slightly violent way.
The Clang of Boots on Metal
He feels broad, strong fingers slide over the curve of his shoulders and, if he’s honest with himself, that’s the end of his working day right there. In a dirty grey room with metal walls and grease in the corners, the feel of those familiar digits pressing into the stiffened muscles of his shoulders is like an anchor to the real world.
No-one could resist it, not even him.
“You’re working too hard,” the familiar voice that accompanies those perfect hands is soft to stay beneath the whir of machines on the far wall and the whispering between two men at a table on the left. But it’s not just that way through necessity, Sirius’ voice is always like silk running over calloused hands, trained through childhood into perfect pronunciation and roughened around the edges through habit.
Remus hasn’t been working too hard.
That would be too simple a way of putting it. He’s been working way beyond hard, he’s lost his marbles, he thinks dully, but it’s still kind of funny in a way, in the same way that black humour leaves your tongue clicking but your belly tight with sniggered laughter.
“Nah,” he smiles, beyond himself and he leans back a little, relaxing into the firm fingers as they press into the muscles that are making his shoulder blades shatter. “I’m doing alright.”
“Cracked it yet?”
“What do you think?” Remus tips his head back and stares at Sirius from the strange angle, letting Sirius stoop down slightly and press a gentle kiss to his lips. It’s delicious and, though the angle is unfamiliar, it is becoming more and more natural as the weeks pass and this becomes to norm, the work dictating where they are, what they do, how they live.
“Shame,” Sirius falters for a moment, his fingers on Remus’ shoulders stilling and Remus watches him curiously. “Want to see if we can find something to eat?”
Remus smiles and sits up, feeling his neck crick just a little on the right as he stares at a poster plastered onto the wall before him. The happy face of a man with piercing blue eyes stares back at him and Remus feels the muscles in his belly untighten, caught in the smile above a bright white beard. Dumbledore’s face is the kind of face that can leave you feeling calmer because Remus knows, they all know, that when it comes down to it, at least Albus Dumbledore knows what to do.
The Order Of the Pheonix.
He catches the blocked red letters half way down with his eyes as he stands and turns to Sirius. The two men at the table nearby look up from their conversation and nod to him politely. Prewett and Weasley, their heads huddled together over a map, immediately forget he was there in the room as he shifts the coding papers into a bag and gets up, his legs wobbling just a little as he stands and lets Sirius drag him from the room.
As they trudge noisily down an underground corridor of grey steel walls, drips of water that don’t quite look clean drop onto their clothes and leave little smudges in the colour. Remus tugs playfully on the back of Sirius’ huge black trench coat and grins at him as their eyes catch.
They don’t speak through the passage at all, making sure to keep their footfalls as quiet as possible, even with the heavy boots on both of their feet. But nobody speaks on certain passages, underground or not. Because any risk is a big risk and the only risks taken are those that are approved by Albus Dumbledore, the head of the order, the leader of the revolution.
Finally, they step through a large door and into a room of dirty tables, spread out only a little so that the place acts as a makeshift cafeteria in the growing gloom. Everything here is dirty, but neither Sirius or Remus really mind that much. As twenty one year old boys they don’t mind too much if Hagrid complains about rats in the shelter or if Molly Weasley thinks the food isn’t nutritional enough. They’re both still reeling from the fact that they have a bed of their own in their own room and so who gives a damn if they can’t walk around in bare feet?
They grab some food and slide into the seats on either side of one of the tables, feet grappling for a place beneath while above the table the two boys smile at each other brightly.
“James thinks I’m a bit nutty,” Sirius is saying, as animated as always with waving hands and quirking eyebrows. This is why Dumbledore lets him go up into the world and speak to people. This is why Dumbledore lets Sirius and James lead the rallies against the Ministry and against Voldemort. They have a sparkle in their eyes, a way of speaking that would keep anybody’s attention and a way to make you feel something when you’re afraid to know what to feel.
“You are a bit nutty,” Remus laughs, picking up his ham sandwich and biting into it with a grateful sigh of pleasure. Work and cold and dirt can all make for a very hungry twenty year old boy.
“True,” Sirius grins, eating himself. “But James isn’t really one to talk is he? Anyway,” he suddenly frowns and Remus raises his eyebrows in a subtle question mark. “You okay? You’ve been trying to de-code that crap of Dumbledore’s since breakfast and---.”
Remus gives him a warning look and they both glance around. In a time where everybody relies on one person to lead them somewhere great, speaking ill of that person can have bad consequences. And Remus really doesn’t want to stand and watch Sirius have another argument with Frank Longbottom or Gideon Prewett because he knows his boyfriend doesn’t mean it the way it sometimes sounds.
He couldn’t. Because Sirius is as loyal as he is.
“You’ll become a cripple,” Sirius continues after a moment, frowning at Remus across the table even as his booted foot slides a little up Remus’ soft calf, hard and real against his trousers but reassuring none the less. “You’re already too pale, I worry. It’s not right for him to be treating my Moony so carelessly.”
Remus smiles in a way that gives Sirius no ammunition and shakes his head, watching across the room where Lily has suddenly entered from the other door and is crossing the room in purposeful strides.
“Oh dear,” he mutters, his eyes causing Sirius to turn around and see her coming, echoing the same sentiment in a much harsher tone.
“Sirius Black, you utter tosser,” Lily barely misses a beat as she comes to a halt beside Sirius and slaps him on the back of the head. Remus can’t help but want to smile at the affection that is laced in the action. Four weeks underground and Lily has become attached to Sirius in a way none of them thought she’d ever be. Remus had always said he became more loveable with time. “Did you think I wouldn’t hear about it?”
“Lily,” Sirius began, cautiously holding up his hands and leaving the palms up in a sign of peace. “Really, it’s not as...”
“Not as if what?” Lily scowled and, suddenly realising everyone in the hall is watching her, sliding grudgingly into the seat beside Sirius before continueing in a heated whisper. “Sirius, you know it was against orders to go out after the rally. And I don’t care if it was just one pub or not, you could have been killed and you could have got James bloody killed as well.”
“It was James’ bloody idea!” Sirius protested, a little louder than he’d obviously wanted to. He coloured slightly and went back to eating his sandwich, throwing Remus a look before he took a big bite.
“You just wait until Dumbledore hears that you were out drinking and didn’t come straight back,” Lily is muttering, picking at the nails on her left hand with a habit born of stress, her eyes flicking over Remus across from them as though trying to gauge if he’s on her side. Lily has never really been the kind of person to be able to relax. “Honestly, it’s not like you two aren’t known either, is it? You’re the ones who do speeches and read out leaflets and people will know you more and more as time goes on, alright?”
Sirius just shrugs and Remus thinks, in truth, that he’s not careful enough. It’s been seven months since Voldemort and the Death Eaters, as they soon established themselves, went into the Ministry. Seven months and the whole world changed as though it had never really had much order to begin with.
Then again, Remus thinks to himself as Lily shuffles up and walks out of the room in a huff, red hair swinging fast over her too-stretched jumper, it never really had order to begin with.
The Order itself has survived little more than three months and, in the last four weeks, underground, the members hidden in a world where propaganda and whispers in corners are the new wands.
Remus isn’t sure if he prefers it this way. He’s glad Voldemort has stopped having wars in the street by daylight, but even those are coming back. People are dying and it’s their own government that is killing them and the thing that worries Remus most is they just can’t shelter everybody. They may be hiding muggle borns and their families all over the country but they certainly can’t hide them all. And they certainly can’t protect all the muggles out there.
They can barely protect themselves.
“I think she’s right,” Remus mutters, eventually coming out of his own thoughts when Sirius slides a hand beneath the table and strokes his knee. “It’s too dangerous to be doing things like that now. You know that..”
Sirius sighs and thuds an arm down the table, resting his chin on his palm and for a moment he looks almost beaten. Or he would do, Remus thinks with a sense of warmth, if it weren’t for the way that his hair catches in the light or the way that his eyes still sparkle.
“I know,” the fact that Sirius admits he’s wrong immediately is a bit of a shock to Remus but he doesn’t have the chance to smile. “The world has gone to the dogs. Or the snakes, I suppose.” His eyes flicker up to Remus’ and Remus is glad he’s just swallowed or he knows he’d likely choke. This boy is so beautiful. “I just wish there was a way to come out of the other end now, you know. I’m sick of this. I want to take you for a picnic.”
Remus laughs, really feeling it, even in this grey room with rubbish lighting and the strange metallic smell that’s on the whole of the base. Sirius is all the sun he needs really, regardless of the fact that he hasn’t seen the real sun in weeks.
“A picnic?” Remus shakes his head and finishes off his lunch, dusting his fingers together to get the flour off them and smiling at the soft, grainy feel of his fingertips. “Honestly, you’re such a ponce sometimes.”
Sirius just glares at him, trying and failing to keep the affection from his eyes.
“It’s only been about half a year, Pads,” he mutters, taking a moment to think for himself how he feels. “It’s not forever. We’ve got the rest of our lives to do all that..”
“Unless we lose.”
“We’ll lose some things,” Remus mutters, nodding thoughtfully and taking a sip of the bland orange squash handed to him in a small glass cup. “But then we have to lose sometimes. We wouldn’t recognise winning if we never lost.”
“Sometimes,” Sirius grins, standing up with a loud scrape as his wooden chair protests against the stone on the floor. “I can’t help but wonder if you’re the nutty one.”
“That’s the problem with you and James,” Remus grins, following suit and picking up their plates automatically as he stands. “You’re all talk, talk, talk. Some of us actually have to listen every once in a while and, heaven forbid, think with the parts of our brain that have nothing to do with sex or drinking or anything else.”
It’s a silly thing to say really and he knows it. The part about the work is right, Remus works as a code breaker, going through intercepted correspondents and working out who’s doing what and where. Arthur Weasley helps though and occasionally Lily, though she often gets too stressed and impatient with the endless lists of numbers and coded letters. Sirius only sees the glorified, thrilling and utterly more dangerous side of the revolution that is taking place around them, protesting in the streets, dodging spells and preaching to rooms of people to change their minds to suit their hearts.
But the truth is, both of them know that Sirius thinks about other things. Like who’s going to die first, him or James? When is Dumbledore coming back from Durham and when he does what will be his new plan? What if the base in London is compromised and Remus found, dragged out into the street and pierced with silver bullets until he burns inside and his face goes blank?
They both know that the war may be taking place in the dark at the moment but that doesn’t stop it being well and truly in their home.
Remus doesn’t like to dwell on the fact that home is metal and beneath the ground and a secret to all but those who live in it, an operation centre for the Order, full of machines and papers and men who are going pale from lack of sunlight.
But Sirius doesn’t dwell too much, doesn’t allow himself to. And so Remus finds it hard to when he’s around.
“Did you just say sex?” the black haired boy mutters naughtily as they squeeze between the gap in chairs where a dozen people are sitting frowning at a map of Britain.
Remus tries not to flush with colour, knowing that everyone knows about them but still hoping no-one heard that little remark. He cuffs Sirius around the ear in the second tunnel and, even though they walk in silence through the dull, metal light, they both know that they’re going back to their room for a reason.
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