sam_storyteller: (Gen Fic)
sam_storyteller ([personal profile] sam_storyteller) wrote2005-07-15 01:26 pm
Entry tags:


Summary: Harry sees more than Remus gives him credit for, and fills his own need for occupation. Gen, angst.
Rating: PG
Warnings: None.
Notes: Written Pre-HBP.

Also available at AO3.


Withdrawn and silent; there's no one around, no need to be anything else.

Remus could almost hear the skritch of a Healer's quill across parchment, analysing him, taking notes; when he was a child he had to see a Healer once every six weeks to talk about how he was adjusting, as a condition of the secrecy his parents had managed to arrange. Not that they ever took very close care of the secrecy, his parents. Moving every year or two to be closer to wherever they were looking into cures, taking him away in the summers to try to find cures not available in England...

The Healers were very nice men and women, four of them between the ages of eight and eighteen. Eighteen, when he said no more, and that he was a grown man, and that no Healer who wasn't a werewolf could understand and were there any Healers who were werewolves? No, it wasn't allowed, was it?

He was young and keen, then, and thought perhaps he would study Wizarding Law, when the war was over, if he was still alive then, which was a pretty good bet. He'd study Wizarding Law, and he'd change the world for people like him, people who had to hide. Change the laws; stand up in public courts and argue for his own rights. Convince people by rhetoric, like the great Muggle civil rights activists had. After all, why not? Someone had to stand, sooner or later, and Remus was a smart boy with a gift for intelligent argument, honed razor-sharp by the company of James and Sirius, who took perverse delight in picking apart his theses.

And somewhere it had gone so wrong. A generation was destroyed in Voldemort's war, such as it was -- more guerilla terrorism than anything else. With a sharp jerk, like hooks in his ribcage, Sirius and James, Lily and Peter and Harry were gone. Words on paper made no more sense to him and he fumbled for speech, and the company of people made him hide. He could no more have stood up in public and spoken than he could have slit his own throat. The hostile stares, the pitying stares, it made no difference.

No Law studies for Remus Lupin. No civil rights. Just a quiet dark place to lick his wounds for years on end, and a brief stumble into the sunshine of Sirius, prison-ravaged but still bright and still weirdly full of dreams for himself and for Harry, dreams where there was room for Remus to rest, to stop being so weary.

And then Sirius was gone again.

Molly said what a rock Remus was, especially for poor Harry, how solid he stood in the face of Sirius' death and the rising war around them, and Dumbledore said Lupin had always been dependable, and they went on being normal.

It was a relief to have people around him, because then he could put on the mask and smile, make jokes, ruffle Harry's hair, show Hermione a clever trick with an advanced charm. When people left, the wind blew hollow through his insides, and he spent most of his time sleeping, or sitting at his desk, staring down at a book whose pages he never turned. It was as though a switch went off, one he couldn't control, and when the light and noise died down there was nothing left of him.

He thought he'd kept it hidden well enough, but apparently Harry was quieter and more observant than he let on, and after a while the boy came to him and sat on the other side of the desk.

"There's dust on the pages," he said.

"Sorry, Harry?" Remus asked, looking up with a smile.

"You've been reading page ninety two for almost three weeks," Harry answered. "And I wake up when you go to bed at night."

"I'm sorry, Harry, I can move to another bedroom -- "

"You don't sleep until you're exhausted. You stay up talking with Tonks or Bill so that you don't go to bed alone until you know you're going to fall asleep."

Remus tilted his head. "Harry, you have enough to be concerned about without worrying for me."

"But I can fix you," Harry said. Remus blinked. "I can't fix Voldemort or Sirius being dead or Snape being a bastard or everyone walking around looking worried all the time. It's nice to worry about something that's not so big I'm afraid it'll eat me if I even think about it."

"Harry, I don't need fixing."

"Yes you do. I see you. As soon as people leave -- "

"This isn't any of your concern," Remus said sharply, but Harry was sixteen, and of an age where defiance is built into the biology.

"It is so," he snarled back, and they stared at each other over the desk for a minute. Harry looked away, but he spoke first. "You're the only one who treats any of us like adults, the only one we can talk to. And you're my dad and mum and Sirius now. When you die they die with you."

Remus breathed deeply. Normally the facade wasn't this hard, but then normally no-one saw through it. He stood and circled the desk, leaning against it, facing Harry and crossing his arms. "You can't fix me, Harry."

"I'm likely to come closer than I am to fixing anything else."

"And just what do you propose to do about it?"

Harry pushed back his chair and stood up. He touched Remus' crossed arms, tugged one hand free, and Remus let the other fall. Harry held his hand, palm up, and examined it like a fortune-teller; Remus bit back a laugh at the oddly wise way in which Harry studied the lines before releasing it.

Then the boy reached up and wrapped his arms around his neck, pulling him forward, away from the desk. He was confused for a second; then he realised that Harry was giving him a hug, for god's sake. And he did laugh, though his arms automatically went around the scrawny shoulders as well.

In fact, the more he thought about it, the funnier it was; Harry, a fucked-up kid if ever there was one, thinking he could fill the great gaping icy chasm with a stupid hug. Like patching a damn bicycle tyre. It was hard to breathe, he was laughing so hard --

And then he realised, as his chest heaved, that Harry's hair was wet under his cheek, and that he was crying, hysterically.

He let go of Harry so quickly that the boy almost fell, and pressed his hands to his face, breathing, breathing.

"Merlin's sake, Harry, you're a kid," he said, using the backs of his hands to clear his cheeks, because it seemed like it was probably less noticeable that way. Which was so stupid it almost made him start crying again. "I'm supposed to be looking after you, not the other way around."

"I thought we looked after each other," Harry said. He dug in his pocket and produced a grubby handkerchief. Remus accepted it, and this time the laugh was a laugh, not a sob in disguise.

"That's not precisely how it's supposed to work, but then I suppose nothing is, with you," Remus answered.

"Not usually."

"I wish that weren't the case, Harry."

"I haven't poisoned it, you know," Harry said, nodding at the handkerchief Remus was carefully folding without having used. Remus smiled.

"I remember," he said.

"You weren't asleep, that day in the train, were you."

"I had been, until you noisy bastards came in and woke me."

"Why'd you pretend?"

"What would you have done, in my place?"

Harry considered while Remus blew his nose. He shrugged. "The same."

Remus nodded, and let silence fall; Harry was waiting expectantly, but he wasn't sure what for.

"Grief is a part of things, I learned that early on," Remus began. "It's not something one fixes. It's something one endures, and slowly you come through the other side. There are more important things right now than my unhappiness; if we all screamed and tore our garments like in the Greek plays, nothing would ever get done."

"So when we win, will you start eating because you want to and not to please Molly?" Harry asked. "When we win, will you stop fake-smiling in front of people and then staring into space when they leave the room?"

Remus looked at him appraisingly. "You are your father's son, Harry. That's how he found me out at school, just by watching. Though he'd have choked before hugging a mate, you know."

"He wasn't perfect."

"None of us are."

"You didn't answer my question," Harry said, and before Remus could formulate another dodge, he continued. "I'm going back to school in a week. Sixth-years don't have to have chaperones, we can go to Hogsmeade every weekend if we want. I''m taking tons of NEWTs-level classes. Hermione and Ron and a couple others are, too."

From the same pocket as the handkerchief, Harry produced a piece of parchment with fifteen or twenty names on it.

"I've been sending around owls," he said. "There are a couple of other students who think you might be able to help them with compositions and stuff. There's even two Slytherins on there, though I think they might be doing it as spies for Snape, so you can boot them if you want to."

"Are you asking me to hold some kind of weekend school, Harry?" Remus asked.

"Saturdays, mostly, because there's Quidditch on Sunday. We'd pay. Well, Ron'd be on scholarship, but a lot of the Hufflepuffs just squeezed by and they'd probably pay more for extra sessions before final exams this year."

Remus examined the list. He remembered most of the names; there were a few seventh-years as well.

"Is this your idea of fixing me, Harry?" he asked quietly. "Hugs and week-end employment?"

"Well, I'm planning to make up some more bits as I go along, but I thought that might be enough to start with. Does that mean you're going to take the job? Only, I've also asked Madam Rosmerta and she says we can use the back room of the pub, and she says there's free beer for you, because she fancies you."

"Come again?"

"Madam Rosmerta. She told me so in her letter. So, free beer for you, and well done," Harry said with a slight grin. "Does that mean you'll do it?"

"Well, if nothing else, it's kept you out of trouble," Remus said. "This means I'll actually expect you to be there, you know, on Saturdays. You've set yourself up for extra school."

"It's a process," Harry said.

"What, school?"

"Fixing you."

Remus glanced down at the list of names again.

"It isn't that simple, Harry."

"I like challenges," Harry said. "Are you going to snot on me again if I hug you?"

Remus grinned. "I never snotted."

"You did snot."

"Well I promise I shall never snot on you. Though I did not snot."

Harry hugged him again, this time the traditional one-armed Manly Hug well known to teenaged boys everywhere, and ducked out of the room to send off Hedwig with replies to the waiting inquiries about the weekend tutoring sessions.

It was a full two minutes before Remus realised that not only had he sat back down, he'd actually smoothed out Harry's list of names and begun making notes, and that the abyss wasn't quite so deep or wide as it had seemed.


(Anonymous) 2005-08-20 10:09 am (UTC)(link)
Oh my, I do like this. It's so ingenious. And sweet and funny. Very nice.


[identity profile] 2005-08-20 11:55 am (UTC)(link)
Yay! Teh Angst ish killed by teh fluff!

[identity profile] 2005-08-21 07:01 pm (UTC)(link)
Harry's fixing thing. Sigh.

I enjoy these little vignettes so. I always want more.

[identity profile] 2006-06-22 04:52 am (UTC)(link)
I laughed, I cried, I "snotted" and !I wanna join the weekend school! (pouts like a 3 yr old) (but something would have to be done about Rosemerta.... fancying Remus, BAH!) As always, well written and I love your characterization :)

[identity profile] 2007-04-29 04:31 am (UTC)(link)
"Are you going to snot on me again if I hug you?"

Remus grinned. "I never snotted."

"You did snot."

"Well I promise I shall never snot on you. Though I did not snot."

That's a sweet ending to a very deep short. Lovely.

[identity profile] 2007-06-19 11:05 am (UTC)(link)
I really like this. Harry's all mature. He accepts the things he cannot fix, and does what he can. You have somehow managed to capture what we all should try. One would think you really believe in the Serenity prayer (which is absolutely a good philosophy, so I hope you know that). And you make this so matter of fact. And there's levity. Because without laughter, the universe would crumble, I think.


[identity profile] 2007-07-29 01:30 am (UTC)(link)
You kill me so, it's not fair. *sniff* Literally.

the sunshine of Sirius, prison-ravaged but still bright and still weirdly full of dreams for himself and for Harry, dreams where there was room for Remus to rest, to stop being so weary.
And then Sirius was gone again.

That bit killed me, where there was room for Remus to rest, and then you kind of finished the job with

"It's a process," Harry said.
"What, school?"
"Fixing you."

*nods* I love the way you write, plain and simple. The angst just kind of killed me slowly. *sniff*

[identity profile] 2007-10-12 04:55 am (UTC)(link)
People fixing each other in horrible canon situations is my favorite fanfic subgenre ever.

Loved it!

(Anonymous) 2007-10-30 09:58 pm (UTC)(link)
and fluff beats angst in yet another round of our beloved characters' miserable lives... woot!

[identity profile] 2008-03-30 02:30 am (UTC)(link)
Okay, so this was wonderful.

[identity profile] 2009-07-07 03:45 pm (UTC)(link)

(Anonymous) 2010-11-03 07:05 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you for the wonderful things you do with my favorite character(s). :)