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sam_storyteller ([personal profile] sam_storyteller) wrote2005-07-15 01:50 pm
Entry tags:

Memory And A Dream

Rating: PG (Gen)
Summary: Remus and Hermione reach an understanding.
Warnings: None.

Also available at AO3.

***

She noticed it, of course.

At the beginning of her stay at Grimmauld Place there was practically nobody there, and when there are only six or seven people, you take note when two of them are at each other's throats. Hermione knew that Sirius and Professor Snape had a History, and that it was more War of the Roses than Pax Terra Marique. She'd seen how unrepentant Sirius was about Professor Snape's near-death so many years ago; it was clear his only regret was getting caught.

Professor Lupin -- just plain Lupin now, or Remus once in a while, after dinners when the adults were more relaxed -- seemed to have forgiven him easily, but then Professor Lupin -- just-plain-Lupin -- usually did forgive easily, no matter the transgression. When the shouting matches happened, outside of Order meetings, he simply got up and left. When they happened during meetings, so she understood, he went very still and quiet, and never spoke.

Hermione saw all of this in a detached way, just as she saw Sirius and Professor Snape goad each other, Sirius because he had nothing better to do, Professor Snape because he could finally get his own back. The problem was that it seemed as though, even for a murder attempt, Professor Snape took it too far, brooded on it too much; after all, at Hogwarts, attempting to hex one's fellow students into the grave wasn't that unusual, and it didn't sound as though Professor Snape had been in any real danger, considering Harry's father had saved him.

It made her curious, and because Hermione never needed an actual reason to satisfy her curiousity, she convinced herself that perhaps if she knew, she could help. After all, she lived at 12 Grimmauld Place too, and had to cope with the all-hours shouting matches as much as any of the other grownups. None of them were doing anything. She might as well try.

Which was how, after dinner one night, she found herself following Lupin up to the library, where he generally retreated to when he wasn't called away on Order business. She'd waited for the proper opportunity; Lupin still thought himself their professor, that much was clear, and was rarely casual enough around "the children" to speak on delicate subjects. Tonight they'd had wine with dinner, though, and he'd seemed more at ease since Professor Snape was out of the house, and Sirius had been well-behaved at dinner. It was worth a try.

"Looking for reading, Hermione?" he asked, already settled in one of the library's wing-chairs as she entered, a glass of brandy on the lamp-table at his elbow.

"I think so," she replied, pretending to scan the nearest shelf -- books on Magical Beasts, mostly.

"Up and to your right," he said, and she obeyed. "Second shelf down. Third book from the left, in the red cover. There," he added, as she placed her hand on the proper book. Thee Totyl Dragyn, 1796, Flourish Publishing. "I think you might enjoy it."

"Thank you," she said, finding her way to another chair. "Will you light my lamp?"

"Hm? Right." He flicked his wand casually, and the flame in her lamp sprang to life, creating a second pool of gold light in the dim library. "Annoying, isn't it, not being able to do anything in the summers."

"Especially when the lamps won't light any other way," she agreed, settling in. She crossed her legs and opened the book on her lap, reading without really paying attention; instead she kept her eye on the brandy glass he sipped from absently. She knew from listening to Sirius discuss it with Mr. Weasley (who was always Mr. Weasley, unlike Sirius or Lupin-or-Remus-depending) that it was good brandy, brought up from the basement for Remus, who had a taste for things he couldn't afford. Like the fine linen shirts Sirius had bought him that Remus was too proud to wear.

He drank Sirius' brandy though, and Hermione thought she understood; the brandy wasn't something Sirius had paid for, it wasn't given to Remus out of pity.

She reflected that she possibly knew entirely too many of the secrets kept by people in this house. But then that was what Hermione did -- watched and learned.

When he'd drained the last of the glass, she closed the book, quietly.

"Remus," she tried, and he looked up absently, his mind still buried somewhere in Tacitus.

"Yes, Hermione?"

"Can I ask you a question?"

He gave her the standard Professors' answer she'd been expecting. "Of course. What did you need to know?"

"It's personal."

"To you or to me?"

"Neither," she said, gathering her courage. "It's about Sirius."

He glanced at his brandy glass, as if just realising it was empty, and dug in the pocket of his coat, slung across the back of the chair, for something. Either he would agree, or he would tell her there were some things not his business to tell; she would know whether to ask from his reply.

"Go on," he said distractedly, checking another pocket.

"I know Professor Snape hates him," she said, as he found what looked like a tarnished business-card case with a slight triumphant noise. "But it seems like he hates him..." she swallowed. "Too much."

"Too much?" he asked, fingers toying with the case. "How do you mean?"

"Well...I know they didn't like each other in school -- " a derisive snort from him nearly told her what she needed to know, "but it seems like if it was just the one time, even Professor Snape wouldn't hold so much of a grudge. And...and Sirius would have no real reason to hate him like he does."

Remus had bent his head over the case and was fiddling with it; he looked up at her, and suddenly she decided she hadn't given him enough credit. After a long moment, he sighed, and opened the case, taking out a small white cylinder.

This was a secret she hadn't known, and she stared as he put the cigarette between his lips and lit it with a flame that leapt up from his left ring-finger. He saw her dismay, and smiled.

"Wizarding cigarettes," he said succinctly, exhaling a small puff of smoke. "A filthy habit, but at least these are odorless, and they don't stain the teeth. There's nothing to be done about the lung cancer, of course, but werewolf lungs -- "

" -- aren't susceptible to toxic fumes," she finished. "I remember reading that."

"Yes, you made me a particular study, didn't you?" he asked, without malice. "If I wanted to die there are much easier ways, though on the whole it'd be very difficult for a werewolf to commit suicide. Perhaps on purpose," he added, and a note of dry humour overrode the teacherly monotone he'd been using. "After all, I couldn't afford enough silver for a bullet. You were asking about Sirius, I believe?" he said, smoothly changing the topic. "And why he and our dear Professor Snape hate each other so?"

"I thought if there was something else between them..."

Remus exhaled another breath of smoke, meditatively.

"There's everything else between them," he said quietly. "At school James and Sirius tormented him, though occasionally he fought back. I never interfered; I began my career as a coward at quite a young age, you see."

"I'm sure you're not -- "

"Don't patronise me, Hermione, it demeans us both," he interrupted gently. She lapsed into silence, and he flicked ash off the end of the cigarette, into the empty brandy glass. "For James, it was always tit-for-tat -- he gave Severus the opportunity to draw first, and usually his vengeances were small enough. Put him with Sirius, though...Sirius was -- is -- a predator. You don't suppose he hates being locked up here because he'd rather be out doing the work of the Order?" He shook his head. "Sirius wants something to hunt. That was why he joined the Order in the first place."

"But why Professor Snape?" Hermione asked, watching the smoke drift away into the darkness.

"Why not? There's usually one, in every class," Remus answered. "Law of nature. Yours was lucky."

"Lucky? We've got Malfoy, that ferret..."

"Yes, but when Draco hits you, you hit back, don't you?" he asked, and there was an almost cynical look in his eye.

"Yes..."

"And even Neville has his defenders?"

Hermione looked puzzled. "Yes. And he can pretty well defend himself, a lot of the time."

"Then you're lucky, aren't you."

She considered things. "Why was Professor Snape the one?"

"Why is anyone ever the one. I suppose he was weaker than us. It wasn't so bad until sixth year, they were on even ground to that point, but -- " he stopped, suddenly, and glanced away.

"Did he deserve it?" Hermione asked quietly.

"No one does."

"No, I meant -- "

"I know what you meant," he said, more gently than the words implied. "What did he do that made us think he deserved what he got. Hard to believe Harry's father would attack unprovoked with malice aforethought, isn't it?"

Hermione was silent, watching the slight flare of red on the tip of the cigarette as he inhaled.

"There was a time they were nearly equals, if only because James was too lazy to put in the effort, and Sirius didn't care much," Remus continued, on the exhale. She glanced up, and saw him watching her, brown eyes sleepy, pupils slightly dilated. "My fault, really," he mused.

"Your fault?"

"Sirius found out, you see," he said, and then snorted smoke out his nose in a dry, bitter laugh.

"Found out?"

"Severus was my study partner -- my tutor, more properly. In Defence Against the Dark Arts, ironically. When one is a Dark Creature oneself, Defence becomes...complicated. I had fallen behind." Remus dropped the filter of the cigarette into the glass, where the dregs of the brandy flared briefly before going out. "I wasn't like James and Sirius were to each other. I was a step above Peter, mind you, but I was still a possession as much as a friend. Sirius doesn't like to share his toys."

Hermione realised quite suddenly that perhaps they were not discussing who was whose tutor.

"And so he punished him. And it grew from there." Her face must have betrayed her feelings, because he shook his head and tucked the case back in his coat pocket. "Don't worry, I'm in no danger of blaming myself for Sirius' actions. I only blame myself for the actions I don't take."

She watched him, wary now that the bitterness was beginning to outweigh the amusement.

"Did I answer your question, Miss Granger?" he asked, voice dropping a little as he fell into his lecturing tone. She nodded slowly, and set the book aside. He rose too, an old gesture of respect he gave Molly and Ginny as well, standing when they stood.

As she passed out of the library, she turned to see him bending over her lamp; he cupped a hand over the top of the chimney, and blew it out, neatly, before returning to his own solitary, well-defined circle of light in the darkened room.

END

Pax Terra Marique: "Peace on Land and at Sea", the peace that reigned while Augustus was Emperor of Rome.

I woke up inbetween
Memory and a dream
So let's get to the point
Let's roll another joint
Let's head on down the road
There's somewhere I gotta go
You don't know how it feels
You don't know how it feels
To be me...
ext_405596: (Default)

Object Lesson

[identity profile] arynwy.livejournal.com 2005-10-27 10:03 am (UTC)(link)
"Sirius doesn't like to share his toys"

Sarcasm, innuendo, and self-mockery... what a dangerous side of Lupin you've shown here. Feral intelligence *shudders*. I wonder if Hermione understood the unspoken lesson he was providing her about discretion sometimes being more important than satisfying curiosity? Then again, I guess she did get it because he went from being Remus back to Professor Lupin in her mind at the end.

Lupin let her step over the line, then made a decision and crossed with her without ever raising his voice. She went from being Hermione to Miss Granger in a rather short span of time; makes me feel as if she almost fled the room at the end. I like the symbolic way Lupin "helped" her back across that invisible line by standing up as a gentleman would for a "lady" entering or exiting a room. Everything in this scenario works so damned well - I'll definitely be sharing this one with my 16 & 18 year=old boys!

Re: Object Lesson

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2005-10-28 03:27 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you! I'm fond of Lupin in this one...he has a bit more of an edge than usual, I suppose, and I like characters with edge. :)

(Anonymous) 2006-03-03 11:07 pm (UTC)(link)
Of all your versions of Remus, I think that I perhaps like this one best. People keep thinking that Remus is just the quiet one. They forget that he was a member of the Marauders too, and was just as responsible for what they did as any other member of that group. He just hides it better than Sirius.

Keep up the brillian writing!

[identity profile] lovelylytton.livejournal.com 2009-02-05 03:27 pm (UTC)(link)
I loved it, thank you for sharing.