Title: Acrobat (This Man in the Moon Remix)
Author: busaikko
Summary: This boy and this man are bound by the pattern of the stars. "Of the brightest stars in the sky, Regulus is closest to the ecliptic…. This fact also means that Regulus is regularly occulted by the Moon." (Wikipedia)
Rating: NC17

Fandom and Pairing: Harry Potter: Remus/Regulus
Warnings: bondage; references to child abuse and noncon; mental instability
Spoilers: Through Book 6
Beta: whose patience with crap writing I greatly admire!
Title, Author and URL of original story: This Boy by wildestranger–who by weird coincidence chose to remix When I Burn (Signs of Love (My Skin Should Crack and Peel Remix), proving great minds really do think alike!
Author's Note: A Remix story is where you retell your appointed author's story from a new POV, etc. while keeping the same plot, dialogue, and so forth. They are all archived here. Have a look–the website is gorgeous and the stories great fun!

And I must be an acrobat
To talk like this
And act like that
And you can dream
So dream out loud
And you can find
Your own way out
(Acrobat by U2)

The terrible thing about going mad, he thinks, amongst the noise and lights and bodies and sweat, is that twilight of consciousness when you are still aware enough to realise just how mad you are. He yearns for the darkness, he was marked by the darkness, he is poised to fall. But he still has one last string to cut.

When he lets himself relax he can see the pattern forming, the great celestial dome, each luminary adrift on its crystal orb according to divine law. Perfect and ordained. To imagine that there is no law is blasphemy. To picture his own hand moving and realigning the stars is damnation. He can't think about that, his mind recoils. But it is the fate of his name to be occulted by the moon, and perhaps if his heart never emerges from that shadow… well, perhaps he would be mad enough by then that nothing more would matter.

When he opens to the patterns even the cacophonic trajectories of the dancers in the club form a sigil. The man, the one he has been following, the occluding moon, does not move but watches him even as he himself is watched. For this man he has put on his brother's stolen clothes, has spoken his brother's name as he faced himself in the mirror.

He knows two secrets about this man who knows nothing about him. He is bound to the moon, intractably, and his heart is likewise bound to his brother. When he learnt that, the pattern came so clear that he nearly cried. His boy's body aches: he has let himself be abused one too many times. He finds it so very hard to believe in hope. The best shelter he can find is madness, and in the great celestial pattern this man will show him the way.

He is smaller than his brother, he is delicate where his brother is rough, sly where his brother is bold. His brother was strong enough to escape his preordained orbit: his brother bit and kicked, fought until he was free. He cannot imagine possessing such a will. He has been neither lion-hearted nor serpent-cunning, a failure to his name, a failure to his family for all that he has always done as he was asked. A failure already at nineteen, and he knows he shan't see twenty. The evil he has known has aged him anyway. He will not mind letting the years go.

Go into the dark.

The smile this man gives him is sharp, but he has become accustomed to sharp things, dark things. He beckons–this is part of the ritual, part of the dance, the commencement of the design he is weaving. He moves through the club as through the night, and all eyes are on him. All eyes are always on him, he is always watched. Perhaps, when he is mad, he will not feel stripped bare by the watchers. Perhaps when he is mad the only eyes on him will belong to the dead.

He waits against a filthy wall, rough washes of black paint crudely covering the graffiti beneath. That is how he will look when his heart is gone, he thinks, as the man comes after him in the half-light, with his sharp teeth and rough hands. The darkness will hide him and all the dirty pictures of his life.

He had worried, pacing in his room from the mirror to his bed, touching his hair, his brother's trouser pockets, the scar on his hand, his mother's locket, looking desperately for a stranger in the mirror, hands restless like birds. He had been afraid that what he was now would not be a good enough sacrifice. That this man would call him the names that all the others did, that the betrayals of his body would earn him scorn and rejection. He so did not want to be rejected.

His hands are trapped now, and he has no words to say, no, don't, because of all the things he has been taught, above all the insignificance of his own desires is paramount. He is making noises now, anyway, and he knows what they mean: see, you like it after all.

There is a mouth on his own and before he can figure out if this is a kiss and whether he ought to respond in kind, or whether the man would find that repulsive, the man pulls back, undoes his shirt and binds his hands behind his back. He can see the man cataloguing the marks and scars, and he wonders what the patterns on his skin read to eyes other than his own. They sing to him, music of the spheres, beginning and ending with the black tattoo on his arm, the darkness beneath his skin that screams with a madness of its own, screams in his mother's voice.

For a terrible moment, when the man looks up as if he could actually see him behind his brother's mask, he is afraid that this man will merely take what all the others do. He is afraid of what will happen if he fails, if he has to go mad still carrying the fluttering pain of a heart.

But the man doesn't see him, and he allows himself to relax a little under the seduction of the man's mouth, and more so when he is turned to face the wall. Arms bound, his cheek is pressed against the black wall, and the darkness presses back. He is seeing stars, he is seeing orbits, he is reaching his zenith. He feels a thrill of excitement that has nothing to do with the practiced lines that trip from his mouth or the spells the man uses against him, preparing to fuck him.

And then the man is pushing into him, and he is forced to push back because his hands are useless, pressed hard against the man's heart. His shoulder bones are ground into the wall, and he thinks there is blood spreading out from the scrape of his cheek on the wall. He can picture it, the blood flowing out and the darkness in, and his breath won't come properly, no, not any more. Just a little more and he will break apart. His head is light. One more push, he thinks, and then there are sharp teeth on him and he screams… and feels nothing.

Oh, he thinks, as the man draws away from him as from some unclean thing, oh it feels good not to hurt anymore.

He looks up through the fall of his hair. He doesn't need to pretend that he is his brother anymore, he has given this man his heart, this man will love his brother for him. He probes the thought of love, but there is nothing left there, just an empty place, like the gap left by a milk tooth.

He smiles, and his own voice is clean now of inflection and nuance. All is equal here in the darkness.

“Am I as good as my brother?” he asks, and he means, you should go to him now.

The man finishes straightening his own clothes, and he wonders if the contempt he sees in his eyes comes from his own refugee heart, if it misses him, despises him.

“No, you’re not.”

: :

The air is cold; he waited for an interminable age for someone to find him and untie him, dress him, send him on his way. But he has boundless patience now, and can never be touched again by humiliation or scorn. He sees more patterns now. The words people speak write themselves in colours on the air, and their movements fascinate him. He finds himself copying them, retracing the gestures of hands and head, over and over, because all of these patterns must mean something. It is written in the stars.

The walk back to the house he shares with his parents is long, made even more so by the thousands of steps, each counted miserly, the things that shine that must be touched, the words that are spoken as if he is capable of spinning his own magic out of the patterns he weaves.

As he closes the door behind him, for the first time that he can remember, he feels free.

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