Description: During the week of his father’s funeral, Sirius Black meets an unusual priest and offers to help write Orion Black’s eulogy. At the same time, he’s started texting a mysterious bass player from a pop-punk band that he accidentally swapped phones with. Eventually, the conversations between the two start to blur together and Sirius has trouble trying to decide which one he’s falling for the hardest.
Characters: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive WarningsSirius Black/Remus LupinSirius Black Remus Lupin James Potter Lily Evans Potter Marlene McKinnon Dorcas Meadowes Frank Longbottom Alice Longbottom Kingsley Shacklebolt Peter Pettigrew Nymphadora Tonks Teddy Lupin Harry Potter Mary Macdonald Walburga Black Albus Dumbledorewolfstar modern day AU band au Texting text fic priest fic Father Lupin pop punk references OUT THE ASSSS throat tattoos does celibacy include masturbation? smoking for the aesthetic Moony and Remus as separate entities Sort Of canon is totally irrelevant in this fic literally i just stole the names Catholic Imagery Religious Themes but also SUPER SACRILEGIOUS THEMES i mean it is a priest fic so religion and faith are discussed Implied/Referenced Suicide also this whole fic takes place the week of a catholic funeral and again its a priest fic so a lot of this occurs in church Fluff Angst Smut Eventual Smut its a very slow burn okay Frottage Oral Sex Masturbation Mutual Masturbation Anal Sex Anal Fingering Rimming Mutual Pining Unresolved Sexual Tension Yearning religious trauma warnings include: Eating Disorders Childhood Trauma Childhood Sexual Abuse conversion therapy All of the warnings are PAST references not part of the actual plot of the fic but they are mentioned so read carefully There is also a scene with a racist police officer in chapter 3 If you want to skip this scene it is marked and mentioned in the chapter notes
During the week of his father’s funeral, Sirius Black meets an unusual priest and offers to help write Orion Black’s eulogy. At the same time, he’s started texting a mysterious bass player from a pop-punk band that he accidentally swapped phones with. Eventually, the conversations between the two start to blur together and Sirius has trouble trying to decide which one he’s falling for the hardest.
*WARNING*This fic eventually mentions suicide, as well as childhood abuse, mentions of a character with an eating disorder, death of parental figures, and past religious trauma (including mentions of electroshock therapy and straight camp). Please read with caution. Additionally, if you find something that you think I need to include in this warning, please let me know. ?Thank you to my friends who helped me with editing, @YouBlitheringIdiot, @BlueEagle, and @Rory_justRory – you have no idea how much you helped! <3The song that this fic was inspired by (and the song featured in the first chapter) is Dear Your Holiness by Bayside, which you can listen to HERE! (See the end of the work for more notes.)
Chapter 1: I Don’t Know How They Found Me, Found Me Here
Even under oversized sunglasses, it was noticeable. Hell, it took up half his face. And contrasted against his pale skin, it was like a beacon for attention. It got so bad, he took to waving obnoxiously at anyone who dared to even subtly glanced at it. God damn, it was like nobody in the world had ever been punched in the face before. In their defense, likely nobody had been punched in the face like he had, because Sirius had been punched in the face by his dead father. But these arseholes didn¡¯t know that.It¡¯s not like he was dead at the time. Just ¡ shortly after. The timing really could not have been worse (or better?). Still, it became clear rather quickly that there was no foul play involved. Simply a massive heart attack, brought on by a combination of a terrible diet of rich, fatty foods and high blood pressure, aggravated by poor anger management. Which, of course, Sirius had very recently exacerbated.He wasn¡¯t the one who started the argument (and, obviously, he hadn¡¯t been the one to finish it, since he was the one who got punched in the fucking face), but that rotten bastard had said something absolutely unforgivable, and Sirius had lost his mind. It was about Regulus. It was always about Regulus.It was almost unfair, a heart attack. After everything he¡¯d done to Sirius and to Regulus, for him to just pass away in his sleep, not feeling a shred of pain? It was unfair. It was really fucking unfair. But then again, what Sirius had done to Regulus had been just as unfair. He deserved this black eye. He deserved worse. Maybe he should¡¯ve been the one to succumb to a stress-related demise.Well, no time like the present. And it was absolute hell being back in this shithole after a nearly solid fifteen years away. Even worse was being entombed in his mother¡¯s house for the better part of the afternoon. Worse still was being trapped in his mother¡¯s house surrounded by people he was supposed to call family. This unbalanced collection of inbreeds hadn¡¯t been his family since he was sixteen, when he ran away from this clusterfuck of a childhood home and fell at the doorstep of James Potter, the boy who had been his best mate for half his life, recently separated by what Sirius would then discover was an awkward two-hour drive, cramped in the passenger seat of the Mazda MX-5 of whatever stranger had pitied Sirius and his outstretched thumb, walking through the driving rain on the side of the motorway.The only regret he¡¯d had then, the only regret he still had was leaving his little brother behind. At the time, he had tried to get Regulus to come with him. Every phone call home was a plea to get Regulus to leave, hearing that constant, escalating wheeze in his brother¡¯s voice that meant their negligent mother wasn¡¯t refilling Reg¡¯s maintenance inhaler like she should¡¯ve been. The wheeze wasn¡¯t even the worst thing to hear in his voice. Sirius called every day, begging. Until the day he stopped calling.He blamed it all on this hellhole. He couldn¡¯t very well blame it on his father anymore. Since he was dead and all. God, each little reminder that Orion Black was very likely getting his dick trampled on in hell just brought a blissful smile to Sirius¡¯ face. If only his mother had thrown herself on the proverbial funeral pyre with him, then Sirius could be rid of them both. No, knowing his luck, she would live forever, kept alive in her ancient house by her bountiful spite, surrounded by her collection of towering shrines to dead relatives until the blessed day when they all inevitably collapsed and crushed her to death.But there were things in that house that had once belonged to Regulus, nostalgic things that Sirius had been trying to get back for ages. At one point, he¡¯d even asked his mother to send them to him directly. Being the hateful bitch that she was, she¡¯d refused, of course. That would disrupt the historical aesthetic of her most precious shrine. Which meant Sirius had to resort to stealing them from their miserable childhood home, piece by piece, under the guise of attending his father¡¯s wake, because knowing his mother (which he did), he knew she would start some unnecessary drama (which she had), and he could use the distraction to sneak up to Regulus¡¯ old room (which he had). Of course, there was quite a bit left to steal, but he had until the funeral that weekend to get the rest. With all the people coming and going out of that house, and all the theatre his mother was bound to perform, he could slip in and out with ease. Despite how the bickering between his cousins was just getting good.With both pockets full of sentimental trinkets, he strode down the street to where he¡¯d parked his car, quite a distance away from his mother¡¯s house where he could maintain anonymity as best he could. When he had arrived that morning, his mother had vaguely tried to convince him to stay in his old bedroom, but Sirius would rather make the two-hour drive to his flat and back every fucking day for the rest of the week than spend one night in that abyss. Besides, he had somewhere to be tonight.As his mobile began to ring in the pocket of his wrinkled suit trousers (which he hadn¡¯t worn since the last family funeral), he didn¡¯t even slow his stride as he fished it out, anxious to get away from this place as fast as he could. He slid his thumb across the screen without bothering to look down at it.¡°It took a little longer than I thought it would, but I¡¯m on my way back now,¡± he huffed into the device, picking up his pace a little so James would think he was out of breath in his hurry. A soft, worried sigh flittered through the line, characteristic of James Potter and his infamous worry.¡°Sirius, maybe we shouldn¡¯t ¨C¡± James began, but Sirius interrupted.¡°I swear to God, if you try to back out just because my Dad¡¯s dead, I¡¯ll be attending two funerals this weekend,¡± he said bluntly, and James let out a small, careful laugh. It still sounded concerned.¡°I¡¯m just saying, if your mum ¨C¡±¡°My mum,¡± Sirius emphasized clearly, ¡°is thriving on the undue attention and sympathy of the strangers filling her house and I would rather be anywhere else in the fucking world than near her.¡±¡°Jesus, Sirius,¡± James replied, his sighs growing heavier. ¡°Are you sure you¡¯re alright?¡±¡°Listen,¡± Sirius said with a scoffing laugh as he walked the street, approaching the ostentatious church on the corner. He stifled the rolling of his eyes, trying not to remember the saintly act his parents put on every Sunday morning in this very building. ¡°I haven¡¯t felt this good in twenty years. I¡¯m fucking euphoric, mate. I¡¯d say he got what was coming to him, but he deserved much worse than this.¡±Just as he passed the open doors of the cathedral, lingering at the welcoming breeze of cool air drifting from inside, a contrast to the stifling summer heat outside, he heard an uncanny, familiar melody moving through the stillness. In his confusion, he paused, focused solely on where the hell he knew that refrain from, the phone in his hand drifting inattentively down to his side, James still talking.It was whistling. A single person whistling from within the building, the echo of that song reverberating against the soaring vaulted ceilings. Without will or intent, he moved through the breach of the doors until his battered leather boots fell upon plush, green carpeting, and his pale skin was bathed in the colours of colossal stained-glass windows. The song continued, though no vocalist was in view.The sound of it was haunting, made even more so by its place of origin, by the way it twisted through the rafters of the lofty ceiling and back down again, the minor key of the melody like something from a dream he¡¯d had but long-since forgotten. The harmony that he felt he should have been able to recognize immediately now felt more like a song he¡¯d only heard in some other lifetime.¡°Sirius?¡± As he finally heard James¡¯ anxious voice, it snapped Sirius to attention. Quickly, he brought the phone fully back to his ear, blinking rapidly, as if suddenly awoken from a bizarre dream.¡°James, it¡¯s fine. I¡¯ll be at yours before you know it and then you can let me get blackout drunk tonight, how¡¯s that for therapy,¡± he growled into the line, not giving James a chance to respond before he disconnected the call, stepping out of the gap between the church doors. Ever since Sirius had moved in with him at sixteen, James Potter had sheltered Sirius. Normally, he wouldn¡¯t complain, he loved being doted on and looked after and cared for, especially when it came to James, but he really didn¡¯t want it just now. Not for this. He didn¡¯t want this to matter that much. His father meant nothing to him.As he started on his journey again, he made it a total of three steps before he stopped cold, brows furrowed deeply as he backpedaled, staring into the empty church. The melody had stopped. Abruptly. And still, not a single human being in sight. It took him several long seconds of visually sweeping the interior of the building, so sure that he had heard that song. The tune began to burrow into his skull.With a hazy shake of his head, he returned on his path to his car, making it all the way around the corner and down the street before the realization struck. It was a tune he knew. One he knew well. What he didn¡¯t know was why the hell he would¡¯ve heard it within the walls of a fucking Catholic church.?The melody he knew so well? The first guitar solo from Pink Floyd¡¯s Comfortably Numb.??¡°I never should¡¯ve agreed to this,¡± James muttered, but even his muttering was nearly a shout in order for Sirius to hear him over the feedback of the previous band clearing the stage. With a wildly overcompensating grin, Sirius emptied his whiskey tumbler and set it on the bar, motioning for the bartender to fill it again. ¡°Can you even see through all the swelling on your face?¡± James groaned, leaning in to get a closer look at Sirius¡¯ face, the coloured stage lights glinting off his square glasses.¡°Well enough,¡± Sirius told a half-truth with a half-shrug. The swelling in his face wasn¡¯t all that bad, but he was starting to get a little bothered by the fact that his blurry vision hadn¡¯t resolved yet. Of course, he wasn¡¯t about to tell James that. ¡°Besides, the point of punk rock is not to see, but to feel.¡±He didn¡¯t have to see to know that James was rolling his eyes. ¡°Are you sure you¡¯re not overcorrecting, here? How many whiskeys was that? Four? Five?¡± James asked, and Sirius didn¡¯t bother to point out that James wasn¡¯t exactly restraining himself in keeping up with Sirius¡¯ whiskey intake.¡°Please, my alcohol tolerance is leagues higher than yours,¡± Sirius said, and he almost instinctively rolled his eyes, except it caused significantly more pain than he was expecting. ¡°And it¡¯s not like we have to drive home or anything, we walked here from your flat.¡± He kept his eyes forward.¡°If Lily wasn¡¯t playing tonight, I would¡¯ve forced you to stay home with us,¡± James said, pressing his lips together to show his displeasure. ¡°I¡¯ve barely gotten to talk to you since the wake.¡±¡°If you hadn¡¯t brought me, I would¡¯ve come all alone and found a handsome stranger to take me home,¡± Sirius smiled, sidestepping James¡¯ intended line of conversation entirely so he didn¡¯t have to think about his father or the wake or the list of what he still had left to pilfer from his mother¡¯s house.¡°You can barely see, Sirius, how would you even know he was handsome?¡± James sighed.¡°I¡¯d feel it,¡± Sirius said with an indicative wrinkle in his nose that left a near snarl tucked away within a wildly suggestive smirk, ignoring James¡¯ annoyed groaning as Sirius waggled his thick, dark eyebrows. ¡°Besides, I¡¯ve got a sense for these sorts of things. I can flag a hot bloke by voice alone.¡±Loosening his face into a fond smile, James argued playfully. ¡°Voice is like eighty percent of a person¡¯s hotness already. That¡¯s not all that impressive. The first time Lily sang to me, I proposed.¡±¡°Oh, please,¡± Sirius groaned loudly. ¡°You practically proposed before you even knew her name. It wasn¡¯t the singing first, it was the instrument. The first time we ever saw Fidelius on stage, you leaned over to me and said, and I quote, ¡®I¡¯m gonna marry that babe on the drums someday,¡¯ and that was on the first song, which she didn¡¯t even sing in,¡± Sirius ranted, giving James very strong side-eye.¡°Don¡¯t pretend like the drummer isn¡¯t the hottest musician on the stage,¡± James shrugged.¡°That¡¯s where you¡¯re wrong,¡± Sirius said, poking James in the shoulder before downing another shot of whiskey. ¡°And I¡¯ll prove it. Ten quid says the bass player of the next band is a smokeshow.¡±¡°Why the bass player?¡± James squeaked in his preemptive disagreement.¡°All bass players are hot. It¡¯s a prerequisite.¡±¡°Yeah? Name one.¡±¡°I¡¯ll name five, just to piss you off,¡± Sirius smirked, gulping in a large volume of air to prepare for his loquaciousness. ¡°John Deacon, Queen.¡± But before Sirius could name more, James interrupted.¡°Fair, I¡¯ll give you that one.¡±?¡°Shush, I¡¯m listing,¡± Sirius said, pressing his finger to James¡¯ lips so hard that he forcibly pursed them to one side. ¡°Kenny Vasoli, The Starting Line.¡± James opened his mouth, despite Sirius¡¯ finger.¡°Oh, come on, he¡¯s got a natural cheat with that voice.¡±¡°I am not finished. Mark Hoppus, blink182. Jepha Howard, The Used. Sam Kiszka, Greta Van Fleet.¡± He paused, knowing that James would interject again, but he did nothing but form an expression that showed his relative agreement. ¡°Wait, make it six. I¡¯ve got one more. Flea. Red Hot Chili Peppers.¡±¡°Flea?? You¡¯re really including Flea on this list?¡±¡°Whaaaat, he¡¯s energetic,¡± Sirius drawled lazily. ¡°Besides ¨C early 90s? Total smokeshow.¡± He paused their conversation to drag James from the bar to the stage, inching their way between the people who were in front of them until they were very close to the front, much to Sirius¡¯ delight.As a trio began ascending the stage, a devious smile moved over James¡¯ face. ¡°Alright, fine, I¡¯ll take that bet,¡± he nodded confidently toward the only bloke on the stage, lanky-limbed and copper-skinned and almost every distinguishable feature of his face covered, the lower half of his face hidden by a black surgical mask and his eyes obscured by comically oversized sunglasses (which was unnecessary for a venue so dark and, heyyy, those were the same sunglasses Sirius had on earlier but in white). Even his noticeably dark hair was tucked away underneath a slouchy, maroon knit cap that hung down the back of his neck. The only characteristic thing that was discernable about him were the full sleeves of tattoos covering both forearms and a shirt that boldly read ¡°MEND THE ROADS WITH THE RUINS OF CHURCHES.¡±The guy in disguise picked up a six-string bass guitar, plucking it effortlessly to provide a succession of low, as-yet-unamplified notes that were strung together impressively quickly. With an arrogantly raised brow, Sirius turned to James as if to show that his point had been proven.¡°Just because he can play doesn¡¯t mean he¡¯s hot,¡± James shouted over the tuning and testing.¡°It does mean he¡¯s really good with his fingers, though, so ¨C¡± he shrugged, smiling devilishly.The platinum-blonde girl with the septum ring adjusted the mic stand closer to her burgundy-stained lips, letting her candy-apple-red guitar hang casually from one shoulder, parallel to the hem of her plaid miniskirt. ¡°Good evening, how the fuck are ya, we¡¯re Holyhead.¡± They immediately launched into their first song, impeccably on time with one another without so much as an intro or count.Sirius still couldn¡¯t see for shit, but he could feel. And what he felt was mostly the bassline pumping through the speakers, controlling the rhythm of his pulse, dictating the beating of his heart, in every slide of every note surging out from underneath that bass player¡¯s nimble fingers.For a while, he tried to watch the way this bloke moved ¨C the way he pulled up the long neck of his bass when he hit a specifically deliberate chord, his arm drawn back entirely behind his head in a way that inadvertently showcased all the holes in his careworn green and black plaid overshirt, sleeves rolled up to the elbow to flaunt his elaborate, impressive tattoos. Or sometimes when he was playing a slower sequence, how he bent low to the floor, the floral strap of his matte-black Rickenbacker bass hanging precariously from the back of his neck, his long, tattooed arms making up the distance. In between songs, he would kneel to fiddle with his pedal and Sirius would lean in for a better look, but it made no difference. The blurry vision from his black eye made no difference. This guy wanted to be unseen.Eventually, when the flashing lights and the excessive smoke from the fog machine grew too much for his already throbbing head, Sirius closed his eyes. But he continued to listen, the sharp vocal tone of the blonde singer with the septum ring totally enamoring while still significantly worsening his headache. Every now and then he would open his eyes just to watch the mesmerizing movements of the talented drummer with the multicoloured braids coiled up into a flawless knot on the top of her head with a blue plaid bandana tied just off center around her forehead. Her stick twirling alone was wicked.But his attention, of course, always moved back to the mysterious bass player who kept his face covered. Every time he leaned forward to sing backup vocals on his mic, Sirius closed his eyes again, straining to pick out that voice, almost as low and melodious as his complicated basslines.¡°You¡¯ve been really fuckin¡¯ good to us, we¡¯d love to meet you at the merch table, don¡¯t forget about us next time round, we¡¯re Holyhead,¡± she said her spill all in one furious breath, just like the first time, and Sirius couldn¡¯t help but look over at James and smile, who nodded toward their table.Just as Sirius was about to agree ¨C hot bass player aside, their music was fucking mental and Sirius was absolutely in love with their classic pop punk sound, so he was definitely going to buy a goddamn T-shirt and follow every single one of their social media accounts ¨C the next song started, and it sounded a little different than their previous ones. It started all drums, the guitar coming in loud and loose and heavy with the bass supporting under a tight movement before sliding into the first verse, the bass player¡¯s fingers moving fluidly down the neck and back up again. Sirius found himself swallowing.He looked up just in time to see his hot bass player lean heavily into the mic, his fingers still moving in dedication, but looking like it took no effort on his part at all. And when this mystery man began to sing, his voice and inflection perfectly clear despite the mask covering his lips, Sirius went still.¡°Hey, mom, they left me here alone,¡± he sang with what Sirius could only imagine was passion in his expression, because he couldn¡¯t fucking see it. ¡°Could someone save me? Someone save me,¡± the song went, his emphasis hanging sharply on save me, as he danced between the neighbouring notes.¡°Hey, God, I¡¯m out here on my own,¡± he continued and it sent an unwelcome shudder into Sirius¡¯ shoulders, unsure if it was the result of the haunting, raspy quality of this bloke¡¯s voice ¨C his range somewhere in the glorious middle, not as low as his bass but not as high as the blonde girl ¨C or if it was the lyrical content, faith being one of his own personal prohibited topics of conversation. ¡°So, now will you save me? Now?¡± And Sirius heard a little bit of his own anger and bitterness and resentment toward organized religion in the bass player¡¯s graveled voice, wishing he could see the clenched teeth and the furrowed brows and the lips snarling that he could hear in his voice as he begged for salvation.Suddenly, the driving guitar dropped out, fading into a steady background rhythm of chords, the drums picking up a more impressive trill, and then it was just his voice and his bass as he sang clear, ¡°I think it¡¯s funny you¡¯ve been quiet for so long. When you¡¯re quiet, no one proves you wrong.¡± Both the blonde girl and the drummer joined in on their own mics, providing a three-part harmony to the bass player¡¯s lead. ¡°And dear your holiness, your army¡¯s safe and sound ¨C they¡¯re down here dying for you.¡±There was almost a laugh in his voice as he sang, and he turned his head, as if to look back at the girl on drums, who grinned wildly at him while keeping a precise beat. At once, they all stopped playing in time with each other, each of them holding their hands in the air as the bass player raised his voice high, the girls harmonizing faultlessly with him, ¡°And I don¡¯t know how they found me, found me here.¡±?In perfect time, they all went back to playing their respective instruments in the middle of that verse, without losing their harmony, and Sirius lost all function in breathing or thought, absolutely floored at their impeccable synchronicity with each other. ¡°Well, maybe you can trick the lot of them. Maybe if you fool the best of them, the rest will come around.¡± Simultaneously, the blonde girl on guitar was killing a solo, her fingers flying across the fretboard, madly plucking at the accompanying strings.There was an abrupt break in the music, the drummer holding still in her position, sticks crossed above her head for a moment as the guitar and bass both began to pluck out the same, quirky melody, the bass player singing, ¡°They¡¯re all scared so they dressed you up in all these different names,¡± just as the drummer moved seamlessly back into the melody. ¡°I¡¯ve gotta find peace with myself before I give you all, before I give you anything at all.¡± The was a slight bark in the back of his throat as he sang it.The pace of the song built into a crescendo in the last chorus until it all came crashing to a strict halt, chords strummed out softly on the guitar as the bass player pressed close to the mic again, his tone dropping dramatically as he crooned, voice nearly a whisper, ¡°I¡¯ve been thinking that there¡¯s something more. And that you¡¯d come down and tell me yourself.¡± The tone of his voice was so sincere, so lost, so heartbroken, that Sirius found himself holding his breath just to hear it being sung that much more clearly. Until, with a sharp breath, the music roared back in and he said with an irritated growl, ¡°Now I realise it¡¯s a waste of time, another penny thrown down the well.¡± Sirius¡¯ breath stuttered out between pursed lips, feeling a swell of emotion at hearing someone else admit something Sirius himself felt.The chorus moved on one more time, a little more chaotically than it had the first two, ¡°And I don¡¯t know how they found me, found me here.¡± Despite the harmony of the two girls, the bass player¡¯s voice was almost completely shifted up into a sharp growl, as if admitting a defeat that Sirius understood.¡°Maybe if you fool the best of them, they¡¯ll come around,¡± he sang, holding the note while moving in and out of those surrounding it with impressive ease. As the crowd cheered (Sirius included, louder than most with his wolf whistle, which he thought drew the attention of the subject of his affection), the blonde thanked the audience again, and they traded the stage with the next band.With a heavy exhale, Sirius looked over at James, who was blinking knowingly in his direction. In his peripherals, Sirius kept an eye on the man in the mask, and on a breath that was already leaving his chest, Sirius said, awestruck, ¡°I¡¯m gonna marry that babe on the bass someday.¡± James laughed. Loudly.¡°Can¡¯t say I envy Lily¡¯s band for having to follow that,¡± James said with a slight wince.¡°They¡¯ll be fine,¡± Sirius replied with a clap to James¡¯ shoulder, using the movement as an excuse to look over said shoulder in an effort to see if Holyhead stayed at their merch table. ¡°Lily is a machine on the drums, mate,¡± he assured him, watching the bass player set down his hard-shell case. ¡°While they¡¯re setting up,¡± he glanced at the stage, waggling his fingers at Lily as she settled down behind a kick drum that read FIDELIUS in bold, black letters. She waved back, smiling. ¡°I¡¯m gonna visit that merch table.¡±As he wriggled his way through the packed house, the mobile in his back pocket vibrated and he reluctantly pulled it out to find a text from his mother, telling him he¡¯d better not forget about attending Mass the next morning. With rapid fingers and faster wit, he politely informed his mother that the only way he would ever set foot in a Catholic church (or a church of any kind, for that matter) was if she murdered him and had the funeral there against his dying wishes. She replied that it could be arranged.However, she also replied that if he wasn¡¯t at Mass the next morning (likely because all her so-called friends would whisper behind her back about what a terrible mother she must be if her son didn¡¯t show his undue respect for his dead father), she would donate all of Regulus¡¯ stuff still left in her house to charity. On one hand, Sirius felt himself lit on fire with fury over the fact that she didn¡¯t actually give a shit about Regulus and was only keeping his room intact for the exhibition of it. On the other hand, he snarled with some sort of bitter satisfaction in knowing that his mother hadn¡¯t caught on to Sirius¡¯ plot to steal literally everything out of that room. But the fury returned as he realised she didn¡¯t know because she didn¡¯t care, that she probably hadn¡¯t stepped foot in that room in a decade. It was just a room to her.With a breath to calm his anger before letting it slip out through his open mouth, he set his phone face down onto the merch table a little less than gently, in some effort to keep himself from looking at it and letting the rage light up again. The blonde singer with the burgundy smirk raised a brow at his black eye, then back down at the phone. ¡°Problem with your girl, mate?¡± she asked simply.He pushed a frustrated breath out through loose lips. ¡°My mother,¡± he corrected, eyes rolling.¡°Ah, I feel that struggle,¡± she responded with a sympathetic nodThe drummer looked apologetic as she said, ¡°Can¡¯t sympathize, my mum is straight brilliant.¡±¡°Can she adopt me?¡± Sirius laughed, glancing around for his hot bass player and lamentably finding him nowhere in sight. ¡°Loved the set. That Bayside song at the end was killer,¡± he said, noticing the brief, curious, knowing glance between the two girls, like the song held a secret. But it left quickly.¡°Thanks, mate, really appreciate that,¡± the drummer said under a slight laugh as Sirius picked up a couple of paper-sleeve albums from the top of the stack, gesturing to the T-shirt display behind them.¡°Let me have a T-shirt, too,¡± he said with a tilt of his head toward the black one with Holyhead printed in gold, lower-case lettering, the O struck through with two intersecting faded-white lines, and Sirius couldn¡¯t help but liken it to the cross-shaped ash on his mother¡¯s forehead at the start of Lent.The guitarist handed him a shirt, and he held it up to his frame. With a satisfied nod, he gave them a few notes (well over the stated cost of the merchandise, they¡¯re struggling musicians, after all), picked up his new shirt (and his mobile from somewhere underneath it) and went back to James.¡°Did you get me one?¡± James asked as Sirius squeezed back into the crowd, pocketing his phone, hoping his mother wasn¡¯t going to text him again. He handed James the album he¡¯d gotten him.¡°I got you a copy of their album, but if you want a T-shirt, get one yourself,¡± he said, holding the shirt up to his chest for James to see. ¡°Think I¡¯ll wear this to Mass in the morning. Mother will love it.¡±¡°She¡¯s going to disinherit you,¡± James said, huffing out a laugh through his nostrils.¡°Mate, I was disinherited at sixteen,¡± Sirius replied under an acrimonious laugh of his own. ¡°Any act of disobedience at this point is just for entertainment value.¡± James stifled a grin.¡°What about Reg¡¯s stuff?¡± he asked cautiously.¡°I¡¯ll have every scrap of it out of that house by the week¡¯s end,¡± Sirius said with an overly compensating grin. ¡°You¡¯re welcome to come help. There are a lot of clothes in his wardrobe.¡±¡°I¡¯d be happy to. I can recruit Lily, she¡¯s got more upper body strength than either of us,¡± James said with a gleam in his hazel eyes, biting down on his bottom lip as he looked back at his wife on the stage, and Sirius¡¯ eyes followed to see the bright red of her fishtail braid pulled over one shoulder, offset against her black tank top and her freckled, sculpted shoulders. ¡°I mean, look at that muscle definition.¡±¡°Alright, roll your tongue back into your mouth,¡± Sirius laughed. James gave him the eye.¡°Hey, I let you moon over your bass player, at least I know her name,¡± he cackled. ¡°Speaking of which, was he at the merch table? Did he take his mask off? Did you flirt him into a date?¡±¡°No, no, and no,¡± Sirius said with an exasperated sigh. ¡°Wasn¡¯t even there.¡±¡°Ooh, tough break,¡± James said with a click of his tongue. ¡°Sorry, Sirius.¡±An indifferent shrug moved through Sirius¡¯ shoulders, one at a time. ¡°I¡¯m more upset that I didn¡¯t get to prove my point about the prerequisite of bass players. It was a guaranteed win, that wager.¡±Before James could reply, the singer of Lily¡¯s band, a wisp of a brunette named Alice, moved to the mic behind her keyboard and introduced the band, amid the cheers and screams of their devoted local fan base. Try as he might, Sirius couldn¡¯t help but let his mind drift, watching Alice¡¯s boyfriend Frank on the guitar and their friend Kingsley on bass (which Sirius unsuccessfully used to try to coerce that ten quid out of James, because, as James put it, ¡®the wager was specifically for Holyhead¡¯s bass player, and we both already know that Kingsley is a smokeshow, so I obviously never would¡¯ve taken that bet¡¯).In the middle of the second song, he reached into his back pocket, fully intending to take a photo of Lily, looking like an absolute beast on the drums, cherry-red hair clinging to her neck from the sweat brought on by the combination of physical overexertion and intensely overheating stage lights.At first, he went to blindly open the camera with a single swipe, his phone set to remain unlocked as long as his watch was within Bluetooth range, but when he looked down at his phone, realised that his phone didn¡¯t unlock. Because it wasn¡¯t his phone. On the lock screen of this phone (where there was usually an artsy, black-and-white close-up of James and Lily¡¯s long-haired cat, Crookshanks, asleep upside down with her mouth hanging open and all her adorably ferocious teeth in full view), there was, instead, nothing. A black screen that stated the time with no picture and zero personal information.The screen was cracked across one corner and it was housed in a case that was greatly worn from overuse ¨C both of those things were very unlike Sirius¡¯ own phone, which he upgraded practically every six months. Just as he began to retrace his steps to figure out how the hell a stranger¡¯s phone could¡¯ve gotten into his back pocket, it began to ring. And the number across the top was Sirius¡¯ number.Quickly, he stepped away from James, moving backward through the crowd as he tried to answer. ¡°Hello?¡± he shouted over the thump of Kingsley¡¯s bass and the crack of Lily¡¯s drums. The response that came back was garbled, drowned out by the noise in the venue. ¡°Hello?!¡± he repeated.¡°I THINK ¡ YOU HAVE ¡ MY PHONE!¡± The voice on the other end repeated their reply, slowly and deliberately, and Sirius could only just make out the phrase, barely able to hear the speaker¡¯s voice.¡°Who is this??¡± Sirius called out, as he broke through the back of the crowd, stumbling, and nearly falling face-first into Holyhead¡¯s hot bass player, phone to his ear. If there was a smile there, or anger or annoyance or nonchalance, Sirius couldn¡¯t tell, because he still wore the same black surgical mask and the same outrageously oversized white sunglasses, tinted so dark that Sirius couldn¡¯t determine if the guy was looking at him because Sirius couldn¡¯t even tell where his eyes were behind the lenses.Under the movement of his jaw, his pronounced Adam¡¯s apple bobbing erratically down his slender, tattooed throat, Sirius was certain he was speaking, but with the noise in the bar and without having the luxury of reading his lips to follow the formation of words, Sirius completely lost the message.With barely a pause, the man reached forward and put his hand on top of Sirius¡¯ own hand, where he was still holding this bloke¡¯s phone to his ear. In his panic, Sirius went still as the stranger slipped his phone out of Sirius¡¯ fingers, smoothly sliding it into his back pocket bef