Sirius has always wanted to taste the moon, which is not made of green cheese.
I have always wanted to taste the moon. Certainly it was not made of green cheese; I could never understand how anyone could think so, when it was so clearly white feta, and sometimes red cheddar, even, on very clear nights, a pock-marked Swiss cheese. Someone was obviously more than just colour- blind.
It's not that I didn't know it was nothing but a lot of ice and rock, and the sparkling stars were glamorous fiery spheres in empty space, yet...
As a child, I often crept from my bed to watch the stars. I did nothing so banal as count the innumerable grains of distant fire, knowing it for a lost cause even then, but I made up wonderful stories to tell myself, stories that were nothing like the endless boring myths of love and death. Orion took his two frisky dogs into the heavens to hunt, and there they chased such fantastic beasts as the hydra and the pegasus. Running along the sea, they saw leaping fish and met two young children who were delighted to play with the dogs.
Everybody was great friends with each other, since obviously Orion never actually killed any of them, so they all raced through the night together, occasionally taking a ride on the great ship Argo to see the centaurs and the phoenix with all the other starry birds. The moon was a great wheel of cheese they all snacked on, which periodically renewed itself so they would never have to go hungry no matter how long they played.
I wanted to join them in the sky and taste the moon, even though it was a story of my own making.
Do you still stare at the moon like a besotted fool, Moony? With your gaze so rapt by Diana, tracking her passage through the firmament every night, one would think you moonstruck, your features blanched silver by the pale light, the flex of tendons tightening skin over bone in your fine hands, white teeth meeting on tender lips, barriers impenetrable by daylight shattered by the sun reflected. Do you still keep your nightly vigil, enduring the gravity pulling at you in blood and bone, waiting to see if just once, you could cling to your vaunted reason and be more man than wolf when she reached the fullness of her strength?
I used to watch the sky with you, a secret unspoken promise between us kept each night and broken only by the full moon. You were moonstruck, struck down and brought low from your lofty altitude above our trivial concerns with Quidditch and petty House rivalries, but I welcomed the fall, that made you so humanly vulnerable, close enough to touch and taste.
I remember the way you lifted your face to the full moon that hung low in the false sky of the Great Hall, oblivious to the anxious crowd waiting to be Sorted into their Houses. I used to wonder about your fascination with the moon. I wanted you to look at me like that, eyes wide with holy awe, always aware of her whatever her phase and position in the sky, regardless of clouds and storms, like she was your world and religion, like nothing in the world mattered beside her.
I read about all the lunar bindings I could find, about Mooncalves and Endymionitis, about fairy rings and any other enchantment that could enthral anyone, any creature so. You let me, tolerating my presence and endless questions, even seeming to welcome the diversion, listening to my childish stories of celestial adventures.
But our moonlit trysts continued in secret, night after night. You kept your own counsel still, until I stopped asking you, telling you to keep your secrets, if you would stop feeding me lies. And you smiled then, looking at me with that fey light in your eyes, the way you looked at the moon, as if you knew I lied before I did.
I was happy, never understanding until the day we walked into the Boggart in Peter's cupboard, threatening him and James. You dispatched it easily enough, but a glimpse was all I needed. It was no lunar charm but a lunar curse, and from there the rest of the lies were easy to unravel.
I lied. I wanted to know the truth, but I wanted to know that you tolerated me because my company was welcome, because you liked to hear my stories and enjoyed my teasing, not that you didn't know what to make of my intrusion, and any distraction from your inexorable affliction, any other perception of your nemesis was kinder than your own.
Yet I persisted. I brought in James, and inevitably Peter followed, to find you a cure, a spell, a salve or potion of some kind that would ameliorate your suffering. We met in darkness still, and worked in darkness, played in darkness until we accomplished the Animagus transformation for you, illegally. From then the nights were ours.
Still we remained apart by day, as if you were ashamed of us. On the lips of outsiders there was never James and Remus, or Peter and Remus, only James and Sirius, and sometimes James and Peter, or James and Sirius and Peter.
Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs were lawbreakers and Marauders, and you cultivated your daylight distance, yet you were not above civil discourse with the slimy Slytherins, even Snape, who continued to bear his unreasonable ingrate enmity for James even after James' dangerous, stupid heroics in saving him from his own bloody idiocy. You should have killed him, treacherous liar, and instead you continued to smile and speak with him even after he had all but declared himself on Voldemort's side.
Who should we suspect of perfidy then, when our friends and allies began to fall, betrayed from within, but the one who was never one of us, the Dark Creature who would not own us? We said we trusted you, that your curse would not be held against you, but we lied, because you held it against us.
The moon is nothing but ice and rock. In Azkaban, I watched it, perhaps with you, remembering that. It remains constant in its changes and qualities.