August 3rd, 2007
|accio_arse||11:27 pm - FIC: Lupin Triumphant (2/2)|
Title: Lupin Triumphant part 2/2 originally posted to slashfest here
Pairings: Lupin/Snape, others
Warnings: dub-con, violence, mild bondage
Beta: schemingreader, dartmouthtongue, snegurochka_lee
This simply can’t be happening.
My pale and beautiful Master, flung around the room, manhandled and pawed at by that… that…
I simply don’t have the words to describe how absurdly preposterous this situation is. That My Lord would for one instant allow such a creature to lay hands on him. No. I must be having a delusion. If this were real, I wouldn’t be able to tolerate it.
At least the disgusting beast is somewhat cleaner now, although I had to perform that task myself. That explains the rank, cheesy condition of his wedding tackle. He’d obviously never dreamt of washing under his foreskin. How could I have put my mouth anywhere near something so rancid? Urgh. How will I ever purge myself of that memory?
Oh, sweet Merlin’s toenail’s clippings. The werewolf is now actually penetrating My Master.
But, no – surely not.
I still can’t believe that My Master is actually going to go through with it, to let him orgasm, to complete the Greatest Servant spell. No, he can’t. He won’t. At the last minute he’ll realise that it’s me, that it’s always been me, that I’m waiting for him here, standing right here.
Perhaps just before the vital moment, he’ll turn around and with one swift slash slice the creature’s balls off. Yes, that would be excellent; a highly pleasing image. The werewolf will shriek like a little girl and dance about with his hand over his groin, spurting blood through his fingers. Then My Lord will turn to me and…
No, damn it, that isn’t any good. I’ll be the one who has to clean it all up afterwards, and My Master won’t let me use my wand in here. I’ll have to think of something el…
What? From where? How?
No! My Master! He’s helplessly trapped underneath that filthy werewolf!
No-one’s going to harm My Master if I’m around. Don’t they know he’s mine, mine alone?
Without thinking, I dive towards My Lord.
But before I ever reach him, an crushing green light blasts into me with the force of all possible agony, and I clench into myself, hitting the ground screaming. Narcissa? Draco? Where are they? Are they safe? But it’s all too late, far too late. The greenness is filling me completely and I’m falling, falling, falling…
A single shaft of orange light cuts through the leaves and comes to rest on the toe of my boot. The sun is setting behind the trees; the day is nearly done. I’ve come to treasure quiet moments like these.
Soon I will have to rejoin the rest of the pack for the evening meal. As soon as I look at the hundreds of faces and remember what I did to them, the lives I’ve ruined, the black guilt will grip into my shoulders once more and settle down into another long, sleepless night. Sometimes I just want to run away from it all, but if it takes the rest of my life, I know that I have to atone for every single individual that I have damaged.
During the war, I was such a good little soldier. I must have been, because every day I unearth more proof of my callousness in stark black and white – the timetables of our planned attacks, the names and dates of our victims, my signature at the bottom of every page. I wish I could burn it all away.
Then you appear from behind a massive oak tree, bearing gifts.
“Remus?” You seem unsure as to your welcome. I don’t enlighten you.
“What’s that?” I point at your laden bags.
“Wolfsbane. Lots of Wolfsbane.”
The Ministry has guaranteed Wolfsbane for every werewolf in Britain, among with a host of other concessions, as part of the terms we negotiated after Voldemort’s defeat. It’s why so much of my days are spent in paperwork; the Ministry does nothing without a form in triplicate.
“And this.” You remove a wide, shallow basin from one of the bags. “Something was stolen from you. I think it’s time to give it back.”
You gently set the Pensieve down, crunching trapped autumn leaves underneath its base. A heavy silver fluid is poured in, coming to rest in a thin layer at the base of the curve, waiting for a memory to follow.
You look up at me from where you’re kneeling on the forest floor. The edges of your black hair catch a brief burst of golden sunlight as the evening wind flickers through the trees.
“Remus,” you begin. “I don’t know if you’ve been reading any of the lies about you recently…”
“Do you mean about the ones about my being a dangerous beast, or the ones about my being Voldemort’s traitorous little pet? Or do they just amount to the same thing?”
“The Daily Prophet! That rag! Come on, as if they ever told the truth about me either. You should know by now that what’s printed there is usually the exact opposite of what really happened.”
“Well, that pretty much makes me the hero of the Wizarding World, then.” My words are heavy with sarcasm.
“More or less. Actually, yes, you are.”
I hadn’t meant to let you rile me like this. For so many years, lliving among your kind, I’ve been the mild one, the good one, the one who didn’t complain at his lot but just did what he had to do. Suddenly tonight, on my own turf, I won’t stand for it.
“I’m sorry, did I miss something? Haven’t you forgotten how I smashed somebody’s face in so I could be King of the Pack? Or perhaps it was the fantastic idea I had to create hundreds more werewolves? Two hundred and seven of them were children - hadn’t you heard? Or maybe it was the toadying up to Voldemort that slipped your mind. Funny, I distinctly remember you bursting in on us, just as we were sealing our union. Didn’t that make any kind of an impression on you?”
“I haven’t forgotten anything. But you have.” You lift up a small blue bottle, swirling with the ghosts of stoppered memories. “Because I took away your memory, although I’m not sorry I did it.”
You tip out a thin wisp of white. For a second it hovers above the liquid, as if nervous, then dives into the bowl with a tiny splash.
“Look into the Pensieve,” you say. “You deserve to know the truth.”
“Look and find out.”
It’s dark again, and I’m falling hard and fast. The ground is rushing towards me and there’s no way that I’ll be able to stop in time and…
…and I’m in my bedroom, looking at myself. I’ve used Pensieves a few times before, but it’s still a decidedly odd experience. I’m trying to place the date from the clues around the room – a blanket on the bed that I no longer use, the state of my clothes, the books on the table. That I’m in this room at all means that I’m already pack leader.
A pop echoes in one dark corner of the room.
“Is that you?” my memory self asks.
I can see the back of the memory-me’s head and I’m surprised at how much grey I have in my hair - even more than I realised, and - I don’t really have a bald spot, do I? Instinctively, I reach a hand around the back of my head to check.
“Remus!” You step out into the candlelight.
“What is it?” I sound worried.
“We’ve found the last Horcrux. We’re going to have to move fast, sometime tomorrow. But there’s a problem – we think he’s onto us. We need a way of distracting him.”
Memory-me thinks, biting at his lip slowly. “I can think of something that might work. Fenrir’s supposed to report to him later today. I could go along as well and reveal our true numbers. That would definitely grab his attention. I could try to make that count for as long as possible.”
“If he gets you, he gets the werewolves. If there’s a final battle after all, we’re done for.”
“Then Harry’s got to destroy that last Horcrux and kill Voldemort.”
You nod, then pause. “That’s it, then. By tomorrow it’ll all be over, one way or another. Remus? I might not see you again and I just wanted to tell you… we appreciate… I appreciate everything you’ve done. I know you sometimes feel forgotten, stuck out here on your own, but you’re not.”
“I’m sure you know all about feeling unappreciated, Severus. I’m not the one who’s a wanted criminal, with my mugshot in all the papers.” Memory-Remus grins at you widely.
“Thank you for reminding me. How very tactful.”
Then memory-me starts to laugh, and it appears to be so infectious that within seconds you’ve joined in, smirking and humphing as if some great joke has been made.
Why can’t I remember anything about all this? About Harry and the Horcruxes and trying to distract Voldemort? They seem like genuine Pensieve memories – except for the part where I’m on such good terms with you. You’re calling me Remus, for Merlin’s sake! Laughing at my non-existent jokes! But why would you have made up memories about me? Why would you have done that?
“You know, I’ve always… well…” memory-me is saying. “All those times I tried to be friendly with you before – why didn’t you…?” Why is my face changing colour?
“Perhaps it’s because we were never both about to die,” Severus replies. He appears totally serious.
The memory-me lowers his head. Damn it, I’m actually blushing! I’m a grown man. I didn’t think I did things like that.
I watch as Remus lifts up his eyes and catches Severus’ dark ones glinting at him across the room. Remus takes a tentative step forward, then another, then suddenly their mouths are on each other.
What? I stumble back from them, appalled. I can’t remember any of this! When did this happen? Don’t I get any say in what happens to me, even in memory?
Remus and Severus are frantically kissing, tongues probing, hands groping each other’s bodies. Severus grabs memory-me’s arse and uses it to pull himself even closer, grinding his whole body against mine… no, not mine… this is just a memory. I don’t even know if it’s real! I want out - get me out!
“Bed,” manages the memory of me, gasping for air, his lips noticeably redder after the onslaught of kissing and sucking. They collapse on top of the blankets and immediately start fumbling with each other’s robes, trying to get them off. Severus has pushed my robe up my legs, all the way past my knees before I’ve managed to turn away, and I’m shouting at the dark empty ceiling.
“No! I don’t want to see this! Stop it now! LET ME OUT!”
I’m back in the stillness of the forest, sitting on dry leaves, grateful to be on solid, real earth again. Several candles have been lit and their warm, flickering glow comforts me in the gathering dusk.
“At least you know that you’re not a traitor now - without you there would have been no victory. The Dark Lord is destroyed, Lucius dead, all the rest of his servants killed or in prison. The plan would never have worked if you hadn’t been distracting the Dark Lord at the vital moment.”
You watch me carefully. I’m not sure what you’re looking for.
“How could you possibly think it was a good idea to show me… all that… just…?”
“You won the war for us. How could I let you go on believing otherwise?”
“And the rest? Couldn’t you have… I don’t know… warned me?”
“I didn’t realise that I was so repulsive to you.”
Bewildered by the bitterness in your voice, I scan your face and am shocked by what I find there.
“What? You can’t…you don’t mean this is all some kind of bizarre chat-up line?”
“No. I suppose not. Perhaps.”
“Which is it?”
“I have been thinking that it would be a lot more convenient to brew the Wolfsbane here, and my other potions as well. It’s isolated and peaceful, just the way I like it. I could stay…”
“…with me? With hundreds of werewolves? Are you out of your mind, Severus? You wouldn’t last the first full moon.”
You stiffen, offended. “Is that what you think of me?”
“That you have a perfectly understandable fear of werewolves, yes, I do.”
You eye me warily, then carefully unravel your long legs from underneath you, like an uncoiling spider. There’s a brief glimpse of pale skin and enough leg hair to coat a yeti, and then you’re sitting in front of me, so close I can feel your breath. I don’t move.
“What you saw in the Pensieve – surely you don’t think that my behaviour looked like that of someone who was frightened of werewolves?” You wait for a response, your head slightly tilted.
“Haven’t you listened to a single thing I’ve said?” Your eyelids flicker against the sheer force of my words whipping against your face.
“All right, it turns out that it was all for the good of the Cause when I brown-nosed Voldemort so thoroughly that my dick ended up his arse. So what? I’ve destroyed hundreds of people’s lives, Severus, and they’re never going to get them back. I developed the bite rotas, I sent my teams of werewolves out with the sole purpose of finding and attacking Muggles, I did it, I did it all – what part of this are you finding so attractive?”
“You’re wrong. Dumbledore told you to develop the werewolves into an army.”
“It wasn’t your plan - it was Dumbledore’s. I was there when the Order discussed it. We had to wipe that part of your memory as well. I don’t think he could ever have dreamt how successful you’d be. Far more than any of us could have imagined.”
I squeeze my eyes shut. Can’t you leave me anything that is my own? Even the bad bits? Just for a little while? I jerk to my feet, but have to shove you away with both hands, because exactly at that moment you’ve inexplicably lunged at me, your sallow face looming.
“Just fuck off, won’t you!” I yell.
My breath is thumping at the base of my throat and churning through my head, and my brain doesn’t seem to work any more. I search for some some polite nothings to stall you, to give me time to think.
“I’m sorry. I don’t have time to talk right now. I’m expected for the evening meal. They won’t start without me. You understand.”
“Of course,” you say, but there are flaming patches high on your cheekbones.
“Could you bring the Wolfsbane back tomorrow? It’s really not convenient now.”
Then I’ve turned my back on you and am striding, almost running, towards the Pack House, which is glowing in the dusk like a warm beacon, drawing me in. I’ll have to make an appearance at dinner, of course, but as soon as I can I need to slip away, bar my door, to be alone.
A sudden panic rips through me. What if you’re right?
If I didn’t have the guilt any more, what would I be left with? Would I be tempted to abandon my pack? I can’t imagine life without the daily struggle to make amends for my sins. The thought of my life’s fragile focus being stripped away so swiftly is absolutely terrifying. After today, what will there be left of the Remus John Lupin I thought I knew?
“Sir, Sir, come see what’s buried in the leaves! It’s a thing!”
Little Edgar runs up to me, stubby arms flailing, extraordinarily excited in the way that only very small children can be. I suspect a hedgehog, trying to find somewhere to hibernate, and warn him to beware of prickles.
The thing turns out to be you - wrapped in a cloak and a warming charm, burrowed into the leaf litter. You poke one eye out.
“Wolfsbane doesn’t travel well, so I had to stay here. I did try to inform you.”
Somewhere between the corners of my mouth and the inside of my chest, my surprise becomes a snort. It blooms into a full-blown, belly-hearted laugh, and I can’t help it, I’m suddenly bent over and shaking. You take my mockery surprisingly well. Your one visible eye is joined by the other, and then I distinctly hear the sound of you being amused, a sort of sarcastic ‘heh-heh-heh’.
Leaves scatter and flutter as you rise from your bed of earth, flapping your mud-smeared cloak in the early morning light.
“I take it you had a good night’s sleep. You appear refreshed enough to find me wildly entertaining.”
“I thought you were a hedgehog!” I think I might be a little on edge; I can’t seem to stop laughing.
“I see. Of course you did.”
You wait until I’ve got myself back under control.
“Severus?” I ask.
You look up, expectantly.
“I want my memories back.”
“Out of my way, Lupin!”
“Sorry, Severus, I didn’t realise that I was in your way.”
Your teaching robes swirl furiously as you snap back towards me.
“And how is Dumbledore’s pity case, the unemployed werewolf? Still missing your little friend, Black? What a pity that he had to be so impetuous.”
The background resolves – ugly, mildewed wallpaper and heavy mouldings. It must be a memory from one of the Order meetings at Grimmauld Place.
You seize one of my wrists between grasping, bony fingers, trying to squeeze some kind of response out of me. I stare impassively over your shoulder.
“You’re wasting your time, Severus. I won’t play your games.”
Your dark eyes dart across my face, searching and puzzled.
“But what else could you possibly be good for?”
I’m waiting at the agreed meeting place. Twigs crack as you creep out from behind a tree.
“Oh, it’s you, Severus. I was expecting Minerva.”
Leaves are in bud and woodland flowers burst out everywhere in little patches – it’s a lovely day, but you’re cowering behind the silver bark of your birch tree, gesturing at the crowds gathered around the Pack House.
“Lupin… are all those werewolves?”
I smile at you. “Well, we haven’t turned into Pet Puffskeins. What were you expecting?”
“I’d heard that you’d taken over the pack but not about that.”
My smile hardens.
“Yes, I’ve made some changes which have increased numbers.”
“Increased! That’s an understatement!”
“I think you were there when Dumbledore suggested it, the year before you killed him.” I manage not to emphasise the last two words.
“No, you misunderstand. For once in your life you’ve actually managed to impress me. This is very good work indeed.”
My smile disappears completely.
“I’m not sure that I’d call turning people into werewolves good work.”
You leave the safety of the tree and set one thin-fingered hand on my shoulder. Your words are earnest and without any of their usual sarcasm.
“Never forget, Remus - there’s nothing more important than killing the Dark Lord. That bastard is going to be blasted out of existence, if it takes a hundred thousand werewolves to do it.”
I lean back, and you let your hand drop.
“I didn’t realise you took it all so personally,” I say.
“Don’t you? What about your friends that he’s murdered?”
“I’m just doing what I have to. Just following orders.”
“What makes you think that things are any different for me?” you reply, and a grim look passes between us, a sudden understanding that I never wanted.
“You again? Isn’t it dangerous?”
“Obviously, I find the danger irresistibly thrilling.” The thin edge of your lips snakes upwards into what can only be a smirk.
“Stop joking, Severus. I know you could have sent Minerva.”
“Are you really so determined to stop me visiting? But how could I resist this mud-infested cesspit you call home?”
“I just don’t want your friends to miss you. Is it so hard to believe that I might be concerned?”
“Well then, Remus, since we’ve established that we’re both delighted to see each other, shall we move onto our business before I really am missed? Or had you anything particular in mind that you wished to delay me with?”
Your lips twitch again. This time I match your smirk with a grin.
I’m back in the memory of my bedroom and this time it’s not so unnerving, because I’ve made the decision to be here. I need to know everything, everything that was taken away from me.
All the time I was watching us talk in the candlelight, I could feel the tension building. I knew that any moment now I’d be taking those few steps towards you, in fact, I’d almost be launching myself at you, desperately wanting contact with mouth and tongue and skin and…
With you. With Severus Snape. It still seems very strange. I’m bracing myself for the still unfamiliar experience of watching myself touch you. I know I’m about to kiss your eager lips, grind my body against yours and tear at your clothing, frantic to grasp at your pale naked body. I think I know what’s coming – presumably, we’re going to have sex. I just hope I can handle it.
We’re crashing down onto the mattress again, licking and kissing, yanking buttons, impatient for more access to each other’s skin. You break away, reach one long hand down and grab the edge of my battered robe, pulling it up past my knees with one swift tug. I grunt my encouragement, lifting my hips so that you can hoist it further, up past my stiff, eager cock which twitches as the fabric brushes it on the way past.
“Ahhh,” you say, and there’s a smile to your voice. Your dark head bobs down between my legs to take me into your mouth.
Before I realise it, I’ve flinched; my head turns away. Malfoy’s white hair flashes before me, bending between my legs, sucking… No! That was a different place, a different time, different person… I’ve obviously chosen to be here with you. It’s not the same thing at all.
Even though I may not remember it, this is my past and it belongs to me. I want to know everything; I deserve to know it all. I open my eyes and look again.
You’re still down by my thighs, licking my prick, sucking it right down between your stretched lips, holding my bollocks and rolling them slowly in your hand. My eyes flicker and my head tips back, my whole body stretching with pleasure.
“Mmmmmm!” I sigh, starting to babble somewhat incoherently. “Mmmmblubleblublublmbull!”
You stop for a second, anxious dark eyebrows pulling together. “Something wrong?”
“No, no no! No! Come back up here.” I smile at you.
You crawl up the bed, but I’ve already taken advantage of your position to start on your robes, grabbing them and working them right over your upturned arse. As the fabric pulls out from underneath your knees you slip and fall over into the bedclothes with an unlikely snort of glee. Then you’re on top of me and our naked, waving pricks finally connect as our bodies crush together. We both groan at the sensation of skin on fantastically sensitive skin. We kiss again, but it’s lost in the mess of your hair spilling over the pillow, over my face.
You start wriggling like crazy on top of me; from your long, lean back all the way down to your slim-hipped arse, which my hands are groping at enthusiastically. It’s as if the spirit of a horny eel has taken over your soul. I clutch at your bum, digging in my fingers, as underneath my legs kick and my toes stretch and curl.
Then, suddenly I sway, tipping the balance until our bodies roll over so that it’s my naked arse now in the air. I pin you down by sitting wide across your legs. You’re surprised at the change of pace; I have a reckless look in my eye.
“More naked!” I shout. I sound so incredibly happy.
Your surprised look turns into a grin, hidden in the shadow of your great hooked nose but flashing through your eyes, and we’re soon both fiddling with our remaining buttons. I finish first and sling my robe onto the floor.
“Huh!” You’ve given up unbuttoning and are trying to rip the fabric around the last few buttons apart. “Damned stupid…!”
I can see memory-me trying not to laugh in case it provokes you into losing your temper. The corner of my mouth keeps twitching with the suppressed amusement. I carefully lean forward and you allow me to help with the final buttons, but you bat my hands away when it comes to taking the whole robe off.
“Did I ever tell you how incredibly sexy you are when you’re angry at buttons?”
You look down memory-me’s body, and your gaze comes to rest on my still extended prick.
Memory-me grabs a handful of your thick dark chest hair and leans in for another kiss, both of us rolling onto our sides so that we’re facing each other. Your prick is long and thin, like you, with a distinct globularity at the end, and it all curves distinctly to one side. I reach for it, grasp it firmly, and hold it next to mine. Both pricks rub their silky hotness against each other. You groan close to my ear.
I pull once, clumsily, both our pricks in my hand, but it’s enough to send us spinning. Each of us exhale heavily, at exactly the same time as my roughly performed stroke. You put your hand around mine and around our joined pricks. Twinges run up and down my groin, just the thought of your hand touching me, touching my prick, of what you did with your mouth, and of what I want to do to your arse.
“Remus?” Your voice is low, the air in your lungs hardly enough for speech. “Have you got anything? Any oil?”
“Damn. I don’t usually… let me think.” I break away to sit up and scan the room. I never use anything to wank with, all the cooking oil is in the kitchen and…
You retrieve your wand, deftly tap it against your palm and recite Oleo. The half-glance you shoot me while the gloopy substance trickles from the tip sends shivers of excitement all over my body. I don’t know exactly who’s going to do what with the oil, but I know I’m going to enjoy it.
You set down your wand with almost undue care before turning back to me. Are you nervous? Because I suddenly am.
“Do you want to…?” you ask, kneeling on the bed and holding out your oily hand.
“I thought you…” I reply, unsure of exactly what you’re asking.
I edge closer to you again and peel back one side of that curtain of dark hair, kissing along your great nose, your cheek, your chin. I finally reach those thin red pliable lips. Your hot sharp tongue steals out to meet mine, reminding me those things you did to my prick. All the while, your naked body starts to tense, your oil-covered hand held between us like a barrier.
I do want to oil myself up and plunge into your arse. But I’m not averse to having your prick inside me either. Oh, bloody hell. As long as we do something.
Breaking the kiss, I find your outstretched hand, dip my fingers in, scoop up as much oil as I can and smear it all over your ceiling-pointing prick. It pulses slightly and appreciatively under my touch.
Almost reluctantly, you pull in a deep, long breath of pleasure. Then, narrowing your eyes, you note the location of my prick, and before I know it you’ve smeared it firmly and thoroughly with the remainder of the oil on your hand. You stare straight into my eyes, fiercely, in blatant challenge. This is absolutely bizarre. I get the distinct feeling you’ve just turned this into some kind of contest.
“Severus…” I begin, and give up, instead just moving over to your kneeling body and placing one hand on your rigid shoulder so that I can kiss you again. At first you are unyielding, your lips firmly closed. I tickle the corner of your mouth with the tip of my tongue and you develop a infinitesimal smirk. Then you open your mouth and you let me in.
I take your oil-slicked hand gently in mine and guide it to my prick. I place mine on yours. We fall sideways to the mattress with a thump, our hands otherwise engaged in slipping and sliding all over each other’s bodies; this time with extra lubrication.
I frantically push myself against you, you writhe against me. Our tongues leave trails over naked flesh and our eager slippery hands on each other’s pricks start to blur. Our movements have a growing desperation to them, our breathing hard and thumping.
Suddenly, I bury my head into your neck.
“Severus, I’m going to…”
Your hand speeds up, if that’s possible, your wonderful strokes encircling me deep and swift and sure.
I grab you by the shoulders as the first twisting slices of my orgasm hit, so incredibly strong, deep from beneath my balls, my muscles contracting and spurting as if they’re never going to stop…incredible feeling… don’t stop…so damn good it’s wringing me out…
Then, all too soon, it’s over. All that’s left is the tingle of afterglow zinging up and down my legs and stomach, and the knowledge that I cannot possibly move or do anything for at least an hour.
Oh, right. Those meaningful, expectant looks – of course, you haven’t come yet. Damn. It looks like I’m going to have to move after all.
I reach over, grasp your eager prick and try to get a rhythm going again. You gasp at the renewed contact, pushing your body back into mine. I really wish I wasn’t so tired now. All those expressions you’re pulling are really fascinating. I could watch them forever.
Ah, there you go. Good job. Now you’re happy too. I think I’ll just have a little sleep now, just five minutes…
You’re lying on your side, head resting on my arm. The rest of your wonderful, awkward body is curled up underneath you. Even your narrow fingers are clenched into your hands and folded beneath your neck, just under the jut of your Adam’s apple. A stray strand of your long black hair tickles at my nose and I fuuft it away, then re-adjust my arm around your bony back. Thoughts pass like clouds across your face.
“What is it?” I ask.
“What do you mean?”
“You’re thinking. It’s making a ridge between your eyebrows.”
Your thin lips twitch momentarily to one side before you answer.
“Remus, the Dark Lord is a superb Legilimens, and with all respect, a lightly grilled kipper would be better at Occlumency than you are.”
“Ah. But I thought you said it was a good idea that I go off to distract Voldemort.”
“Yes, it is. But we’re going to have to modify your mind first.”
“You mean a Memory Charm?”
“No, of course not, that can be broken. Something a bit stronger; it consists of three incantations and some mental suggestion. Remus, you’re not going to like it.”
“Well, I think I’d guessed that part already.”
I roll over, disengaging my arm, steeling myself for what is to come. “What time is it? How long do I have left?”
“It’s half an hour before sunrise. We’d better do it now. Remus, I… I’m sorry.” You get up, walk over to the other side of the bed and kneel so that you can kiss me gently. As your lips withdraw, I feel mine cool in the early morning air.
You pick up your wand and silently send a message out into the darkness. I lie stiffly on the bed, bracing myself. You turn around to face me and I close my eyes.
The first shock of bright blue light slams into the back of my skull.
“Remus, Remus? Are you awake?”
“Wha…? Where am…? What are you doing here? Why does my head hurt?”
“Listen, Remus. Today, at two o’clock, it’s vital that you go to meet the Dark Lord.”
“Oh, sure. At two o’clock. Just in time for afternoon tea. Absolutely, no problem at all. Hey… why are you naked? Why am I naked? Did we… ? No! Oh Merlin, please tell me that we didn’t…!”
“Oh, honestly!” You recover your robe, the fabric around the top buttons somewhat torn, and throw it back on over your head.
“No, really, what’s happening?” I grope for the bedclothes, bewildered, but can’t find them. Why are my blankets all over the floor?
“Remus, just listen to me. You will remember this. Today you have a meeting with the Dark Lord.” You sound tired, as if you’ve already said this a dozen times. “You want to talk to him about… Werewolf Rights. Yes, that’s it. The Dark Lord is eager to adopt the cause of Werewolf Rights and today you must meet with him about it.”
“Severus? You can stop it now, honestly, whatever it is. I give up, you win. Do you hear me? I said you’ve won.”
You take a deep breath, your shoulders raising and dropping with a jerky twitch. You lift your wand and point it straight towards me, right between my eyes. Before the blue light drowns me once again, drenching the whole room in forgetfulness, my baffled face pulls into a scrunch as I ask one last question.
I’ve returned to the real world, but everything looks different. It’s as if I’m seeing everything from one step sideways, and I wonder how I ever could have been so blind.
Not only the times I spent with Severus, but all my recent meetings with the Order had been hacked and stripped right out of my life. My friendships with Minerva, with Bill, with Tonks, with everyone else – they’re all suddenly flooding back. Dumbledore’s kind concern in deserted corridors, memories of Molly making the tea, but most of all – Sirius. Sirius slouching over the table, Sirius grooming Buckbeak, Sirius talking with Harry… for God’s sake, Padfoot! How could I have forgotten him, even under the strongest hex?
So much time has passed since I stuck my head into the Pensieve that the sun has climbed its way high into the sky and is blazing in patches onto the fallen leaves. I find the dazzling new light almost too intense for comfort.
You’re looking at me intently, your eyes unblinking. For the first time I notice the rings under your eyes, your bitten nails, the unmended tear on the sleeve of your robe. You look a lot worse now than you did in memory – but then again, so do I. Everything was flattering by candlelight; those lines around my eyes melting away, even your sun-starved skin took on some warmth by the glow of a candle.
Neither of us is willing to make the first move, to say anything that will break the uneasy silence between us. Your hands keep edging forward, hesitating, and then retreating back into the long black cuffs of your robes.
“Remus. How are you feeling?”
I’m used to hearing sarcasm in your voice, not kind concern. It’s slightly unsettling.
What can I say? Like everything I ever knew is wrong? I feel like I’ve been fucked over royally by both sides? More than that, like someone who agreed to be fucked over, every step of the way? What kind of person would even do that?
“I’m not sure.” I settle for that.
“It’ll take some time to get used to,” you agree, nodding, again being astonishingly nice.
Or perhaps you’re just being polite because you want to get off with me again. You admitted as much earlier, just before you made that strange lunge towards me. Perhaps I should be upfront now and save you hanging around for nothing. I take a deep breath and just get it over with.
“Severus, you don’t have to be nice to me any more. I don’t want to sleep with you.”
Your eyebrows squeeze together in a gesture of distress, just for a moment. Then one dark heavy brow lifts in an almost overdone display of nonchalance.
“Well, that’s a relief.”
“I’m sorry, Severus, really I am.”
There is an awkward silence.
And I am sorry, I really am. I’ve always been inexplicably attracted to you, just a little, only from a distance, one of those things that was far too wrong to ever really happen. I mean, I’ve just seen these memories of us together - joking, talking, laughing, even in bed - but I don’t think any of that was really me. How can it have been me if I can’t remember doing any of these things and had to be reminded by a Pensieve that the events even existed?
Thinking about it makes my head ache, it reminds me of what I did with Voldemort and Lucius and I… I can’t begin to make sense of it all yet.
“Severus, why did you do all this? Keep all of my memories and bring them back to show me?”
“So that I could get a shag out of it. Isn’t that what you seem to think?”
“I said I was sorry, Severus.”
“I’ll tell you why. Because everyone, including yourself, seems to have labelled you a monster and a traitor and the rest of the Order are too cowardly to admit the truth after they saw you with Voldemort. I kept the memories to protect you, and myself as well, I’ll admit it, but I’m showing you them now because I can’t stand you wallowing in your own stupid guilt. And, yes, I was idiotic enough to look at the memories just before I came here and obviously it gave me some even more idiotic ideas. Satisfied?”
I think for a moment. “Yes. Thank you, Severus.”
Damn. How can even a simple ‘fuck off’ from you make me smile like that? Is it the way you say it? I try to hide my reaction, but you catch me grinning. Visibly encouraged, you steeple your hands as if about to deliver a lecture.
“Remus, I meant what I said about the Wolfsbane. The Ministry just awarded me the contract. I made the first batch at home, but seeing as there are over four hundred werewolves, and Wolfsbane doesn’t take kindly to apparition, it really would be better if I had my workshop nearby.”
“…I know you don’t think it’s a good idea, but I can have my brewing finished up and apparate away for full moon if you think I won’t be able to tolerate you… it. I can go to the Leaky Cauldron or wherever.”
Well, I suppose they’ve had stranger customers. Even the odd crone or ogre don’t seem to affect their business much.
“All right,” I say.
“Yes, brew the Wolfsbane here. Yes, come and live with us. Yes, I think you shouldn’t hang around for the full moon, at least not at the start.”
“Good.” You stand up, a dark silhouette against the glare of the full sunlight, brushing fragments of golden leaves from the hem of your robe. “Let’s shake on it, then.” You stick out an arm.
Your warm, thin hand clasps mine for just a few seconds longer than absolutely necessary. In my turn, I look into your dark, expressive eyes for just a moment more than convention normally allows. We both break away, dropping hands and breaking eye contact; the moment is gone forever.
It doesn’t matter. We have so much time ahead of us in which to make all the new memories we could ever want.