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sam_storyteller ([personal profile] sam_storyteller) wrote2005-07-15 12:50 pm
Entry tags:

Forgive

Rating: PG-13
Summary: Forgiveness is part of the cure.
Warnings: Mild drug abuse.

Also available at AO3.

***

It was always dreams with him, of course, he was the dreamer -- there was one in every group. James was the leader and Sirius was the daring one, and Peter was the clown, and Remus was the dreamer. He did his work hard and well -- not like James and Sirius of course, they didn't need to work hard, and he had so envied them on the OWLs when he saw them sitting, done, while he was still agonising over the words of his final essay.

He didn't like the dreams that came in the Shack, the first few years, the dangerous, almost drugged dreams of a deep sleep borne of exhaustion from the transformation. Even after, with Pads and Prongs and Wormtail along, he was so tired in the morning. He'd no idea how they ran with him at night and then went off to classes the next day, leaving him behind. He knew that Peter, at least, always had dark circles under his eyes when they greeted him after his return from the Shack, when the moon began to wane.

And then graduation, and it had been just him and Pads, or just him and Prongs, or maybe they'd get together, all four of them, once in a while, but mostly James and Sirius traded off spending the moons with him.

And then it was just him, and the biting and scratching and torment of being a caged animal came back, and in the morning he was so tired and the dreams were so vivid again, such nightmares of Sirius' face and James and Lily's bodies and Peter's...remains...

Dumbledore knew. He saw him from time to time, and he came to notice that Dumbledore always managed to catch him just after the full moon, when he looked his worst. It went on that way for three, four months, measured in the unique time that only werewolves measure, where it is laid out not in weeks or days or years but in spaces between the change.

Dumbledore brought him a sack of tiny vials, each sealed with wax, each containing a dusty grey powder.

"Phoenix ash," he said. "From Fawkes' transformations."

Remus cocked an eyebrow at him. "Did you want me to...to make you some kind of potion? I don't understand."

"It's not for me. They're for you."

"That's...a very abstract sort of gift, I'm afraid," Remus answered, still not understanding. He shook one, watched the dust fly around in the sealed tube.

"The properties of phoenix ash aren't known to many," Dumbledore continued, as if guest-teaching a lecture, in Remus' small bed-sit. "It is...restorative. Especially to those who undergo regular changes. Such as yourself."

That had been twenty-five days ago.

Remus lay across the bed, cuts healing, bruises slowly lightening after the first night of the change, eyelids drooping heavily. Dumbledore had not told him, he thought, the words trickling into his mind like molasses, that phoenix ash was a euphoric.

He closed his eyes and stretched, the pain a distant echo. His cuts felt as though they healed faster than normal, though the trickles of blood from them were pleasurable, like hot water on cold skin. The duvet beneath his naked back felt like thousands of tiny fibers, rubbing away sensible thought.

His eyes rolled back in his head, and the empty vial fell from his fingers to the carpet, mingling there with small drops of blood.

And he dreamed of giant black dogs, and delicate brown rats, and the shadow of the king stag, falling across the forest floor.

***

Bloody hell. It would have to be that, wouldn't it? Of all the things that'd solve it. Of all the things that'd end it. Fucking, this, of all things.

I just about passed out when Arthur came to me and said look, we're working on this, well, I'm not, but you know how it is, the Ministry's one big incestuous mass of idiots --

And I said Arthur, please, I'm tired, it was a full moon last night, and he said oh -- of course it was. Molly sent soup.

He gave me the soup. He looked at me for a while. I didn't dare stand up for fear I'd fall down. It'd been all I could do to get to the door to answer it. Hadn't eaten properly beforehand -- the books say, large amounts of protein before a Change, but protein is expensive.

Soup'd help.

And then he did that thing, the same thing Ron does, pushed his hair out of his eyes even though it wasn't in his eyes to begin with and said They think they've a cure.

For what? I asked, like an idiot.

Lycanthropy, he replied.

A cure?

They think. They...they haven't found anyone to test it on, yet.

I remember laughing until I wept. And every time I think of it the hysterical laughter comes back for a while, and especially now that they've sent me the papers that are being written on it, the research being done -- research being done on my blood, blood I've been sending them for the past month, though it's made me anaemic and even on a good day it's hard to spend more than a few hours active. They're paying me a bit for it.

Blood money.

Ahahahaha.

And they've got people in to talk to me, people who study the emotional side of magic, state-of-mind wizardry they call it, like Muggle psychology. As if it wasn't obvious how I feel about it.

Bitter.

Not much one for forgiving, at least not this. Not this thing which has gripped my life and kept me from doing anything I really wanted to do, marry, have children, have a normal life, how do I forgive that?

That's the spell. Forgiveness. A charm, and a potion, and a conscious act. My father tried to kill the one that bit me but it got away, so it's not as though I'm forgiving a ghost. I'm forgiving a monster who's out there and has probably done this again and again --

A monster.

Like me.

They say there's a chance I might lose my magic if I try it. I might be a squib. My family's not wizarding, not for a few generations back, and they think the lycanthropy might have caused it in me.

And who should I forgive if my magic gets taken away from me? And will it help?

I've done it over and over, you'd think it would be easier. When Sirius and James almost let me kill Severus, I forgave them, when I thought Sirius was the traitor after two years of hating him I forgave him, too, and a good thing when I finally saw him face to face again. Harry forced me to forgive Peter. It's never seemed worth it, not when compared to the little hatred right down my spine whenever I think about another werewolf, and especially about that one, the one who bit me.

A charm, and a potion, and a conscious act.

Would I rather be a monster or be ordinary?

Would I rather lose my whole world just to be human, whole and fully human again?

Say the charm. Latin came easily to me, it's such a succinct language.

Drink the potion. Sickly-sweet. A little gagging.

Close my eyes and tilt my head back. The potion's acting quickly on an empty stomach.

And I see the wolf so clearly in my mind's eye, huge and powerful, graceful too, but the snout is too long the teeth are too sharp and the pain is so overwhelming as they rip into my body --

You are no more a monster than I am.

You are just more unfortunate.

***

He hadn't moved in two days, and Arthur was beginning to worry. Lupin was supposed to wait until the Ministry wizards arrived to watch the ritual, but he was a private man and Arthur knew all too well he performed for no one. So he'd up and done it on his own, and when they'd arrived they'd found him passed out on the floor, spilled potion from the cup in his hand oozing over the rug.

There was a soft gasp, and Remus' eyes opened. His skin was dark compared to the sheets of the bed in St. Mungo's, but still he was too pale.

"Lost," he said, and Arthur stood, knocking his chair over, leaning over the bed.

"Lupin, it's me, Arthur," he said.

"Gone..." Lupin moaned, closing his eyes again. "Is it gone yet?"

"Is what gone?"

"The wolf, it was here -- "

Arthur frowned. "There wasn't any wolf, Lupin. You're in St. Mungo's."

"It's gone," Lupin said, with a sigh of relief. He opened his eyes. "It was in my head. How...did....did it work?"

Arthur bowed his head, and heard Lupin moan softly.

"They're not sure what went wrong," he muttered. "They weren't there to see you do it."

"Have I still got..." Lupin's hand rose, searching for something. "I want my wand."

Arthur picked it up off the table, pressed it into his fingers. "Be careful -- "

Red sparks flashed on the tip. Remus let it fall.

"Well, at least I didn't lose that," he said, turning his head.

"Lupin, they think...they think they can still get it right."

The other man shook his head against the pillow. "Not using me."

"Why not? Don't you want...?"

A small smile curved Lupin's lips.

"Because I forgave him," he said softly.

"Who?"

"Him," he repeated, and then, with a small shrug, and a barely audible voice, "and me."

END

[identity profile] rubymiene.livejournal.com 2006-07-28 11:16 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, absolutely love this. This is exactly what Remus needs.