Remus knew it would happen eventually, but he'd hoped it wouldn't be anytime soon. He and Damien often engaged in casual, playful banter that never escalated—but it had escalated, this time. It had escalated quickly, their meaningless back and forth swiftly turning into words fueled by spite, the ringing in Remus' ears growing ever louder as he yelled until…
He didn't know where any of it had come from. It had just slipped out, without his permission, and he certainly hadn't meant it. He felt his blood go cold, saw Damien's face twist, saw the tears begin to well up in his boyfriend's eyes as the terrible words he'd just screamed across the ever-growing gap of their emotions echoed in the empty space between them.
Remus saw Damien take a step back, saw him turn to leave, heard his own desperate cries of Damien's name as Damien fled out into the stormy, wet, cold night. He fell to his knees, distraught. What would he do now? Damien gave him a purpose, a reason to be . Without that reason, Remus would be completely and utterly lost. Damien was his map of how to live… how to be happy.
It felt like almost two hours later when Remus finally stood. He stared down at his shaking hands through blurred vision, wishing he knew what to do, how to fix this.
Oh God… could he fix this?
His hands curled into fists. There was no time for this. He just had to believe that he could fix it and set out to try.
Remus stared blankly out into the rain, trying to think of where Damien could have gone. It was probably best to start with their friends.
With every call and every person who told him they hadn't talked to Damien in weeks, his worry only grew. What would he do if he couldn't find Damien? He shook his head. He would find him… he had to.
Where could he possibly be? Remus racked his brain for anything Damien had said that might give him a clue.
Wait… the roof of Damien's old apartment building, where he'd lived until they'd moved in together. " I come up here when I'm feeling down," he'd said once. " I just sit on the edge and look out over the city. It helps to remind me that even if I'm alone, I'm not really alone, you know? There are plenty of people out there and some of them probably feel the same way I do."
Remus ran to his car, turning the keys in the ignition. Almost immediately he had to deploy the windshield wipers. The rain was coming down hard and fast, not to mention it was dark out, both of which made it very difficult to see, let alone make out anything more than four feet away. He'd never been a big believer in God, but as he drove, he frantically prayed to whatever higher power might be listening.
He prayed that he'd make it, that Damien would be there, that they could talk, that everything would be alright. After all, it was the only thing he could do.
Remus pulled up outside the towering apartment building with three minutes to midnight. Mercifully, the doors weren't locked yet, and, running up to the front desk, he demanded to know if previous resident Damien Chase had shown up. The shocked secretary informed him that Damien had, in fact, run in here maybe an hour or two ago, bee-lining for the elevator. He hadn't gotten a good look, but it had appeared to him that Damien had been crying.
Remus yelled a panicked thank you to the secretary before sprinting over to the elevator himself. He quickly pressed the button with the highest number and the elevator began its ascent to the top floor.
Now that he was alone with his thoughts again, Remus couldn't stop the tears that threatened to spill over. Every possible bad thing that could and could have happened to them or Damien flooded his mind all at once, and he blinked back tears, willing himself to stay together, to not fall apart.
As soon as the elevator arrived on the top floor with a ding, Remus ran for the staircase. One couldn't access the roof from the elevator, but the stairs had a door.
And so Remus arrived on the roof, panting hard, heart beating in his throat. Sure enough, there was Damien—but he wasn't sitting on the edge this time, he was standing, and it looked an awful lot as though he were contemplating jumping.
"Damien!" He let his shout ring out over the sounds of the pouring rain.
Damien turned to see who'd called his name, and Remus realized with a start that those were tears rolling down his cheeks and mingling with the torrent of water raining from the heavens.
"What are you doing here?" Damien's voice was cold, and even with the rain covering every inch of his body, the sound of his voice so emotionless was what had chilled Remus to his very core.
"I came here for you!" Remus cried, attempting to control his shivering as he took a hesitant step closer.
"Are you sure you want to be with a 'backstabbing bitch' like me?" Damien remarked bitterly, and Remus stiffened at the memory of the thing he'd said that had started this whole mess.
"Please, I didn't mean it," he pleaded, hoping Damien could hear the despair in his voice.
"It's okay, I understand. You can leave. They all do." Damien had turned back to look out at the city, and Remus could no longer see his face.
"Why would I leave? I love you." He took a second step forward, but almost immediately he heard Damien's voice again.
"Don't come any closer. I'll jump." And that scared Remus, it really did. He'd almost been hit by a car, twice now, but even with seeing that car coming head-on, that near-death experience, nothing had scared him as much as those two words. So he stayed back, no matter how badly he wanted to go to his love.
"You deserve better than me," came Damien's voice again, dull and yet somehow still dolorous.
"Stop lying!" The words were torn from Remus' throat by the strong wind now barreling across the rooftop at great speeds. He couldn't stand to hear Damien talk that way about himself, and couldn't imagine that he'd actually meant it. He'd never acted like this before, and the guilt that he hadn’t noticed Damien was in pain was suddenly an incredibly heavy weight on his heart.
"Lying?" Damien laughed, a dry, poor imitation of the bright, airy sound Remus was so used to hearing.
He was reminded of how nobody else but him had, apparently, heard from Damien in weeks. "Stop pushing everyone away! They care about you too!"
"Don't make this harder than it already is." Damien dangled a foot over the edge, and Remus' heart almost stopped.
"Why are you doing this?" he begged.
"Because nobody cares about me!" And he could've sworn he heard Damien sob, from all the way out on the edge.
"I care about you!"
Damien froze, and, after a moment, turned back to look at Remus. His eyes were wide, their respective green and amber filled with pain.
"You…?" He couldn't even bring himself to finish before another sob was ripped from his throat.
"Please. Come off the edge," Remus begged, holding out a hand that he hoped Damien would take.
Damien took a slow, wobbly step away from the edge, and Remus, only able to watch, was petrified that Damien would slip, and that would be it, and he'd be gone, just like that, but after a few seconds he was able to take another step, and Remus found himself approaching to meet him in the middle.
Remus only let out the breath he'd been holding when Damien was safe in his arms. He felt almost loopy with relief, and he laughed at the absurdity of it all, burying his face in Damien's hair.
"I was so scared," he admitted.
"I'm sorry," Damien replied, voice muffled by Remus' jacket.
"I love you. I didn't mean any of what I said earlier, and I'm so sorry. You know that, right?"
"I do," said Damien quietly.
"Marry me," Remus blurted. Well, that wasn't how he'd planned it, but really, what could possibly be a better time than now? They'd cheated death and came out the other side even more in love, and he’d realized just how badly he needed Damien in his life.
"What?" Damien lifted his face, astonished.
"I don't have the ring on me, but I have been planning this for a while. It just… hit me, just now, how mortal we are, how short human lives are. And I guess I wanted to make the most of what little time we do have." He'd pulled back to look his love in the eyes.
Damien was speechless for a moment, then... "Yes, yes, yes, of course," he murmured against Remus' lips. "You could ask me a million times and I'd always say yes."
They pulled away, and Remus was suddenly very aware of how sopping wet they both were. "Why don't we get out of the rain? It's unlikely that one of us won't get a cold, with how wet we both are, but it couldn't hurt, right?"
"That's probably a good idea," Damien answered, and Remus was oh so happy that a smile had replaced his previous expression. "Let's go." He interlaced his fingers with Damien's, and they went inside.