Chapter 16 : Chapter sixteen-Illness
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AN: I do not own Harry Potter, he belongs to J K Rowling along with all the glitter and sparkles that go with him
Remus struggled out of bed with just an hour and three quarters to spare before dinner. He rushed through a shower trying to wash a lingering feeling of wrongness from his skin and forcing down his shivers through sheer will power. Dressing quickly he sat down and began to pen a missive to the lady who had destroyed the little peace he had found since the nightmares and yet given him so much hope at the same time. He smiled involuntarily as he remembered her brilliant mercury eyes and sweet smelling waist length hair. Shaking himself and forcing his still slightly feverish mind to concentrate he put pen to parchment ignoring her statement of them never seeing each other again with years of Marauder experience. He watched the dark green ink filling up the creamy-yellow parchment in his neat, curling handwriting. He simply explained he had done as she wished and informed the headmaster. He explained simply and without detail of his dreams, merely stating they were the reason he actually believed her and did as she asked. He described Dumbledore’s responses to her warnings. He finished simply with a wish for her good health and a statement of respect for her wishes. He placed the quill down gently on the table gazing unseeingly at the simplicity of her address. The Voice of Hellavan, he had written simple on the outside of the scroll. He hoped an owl could find her. Strangely he had had no argument from the wolf from not hunting her down, he supposed the wolf had to care for her as much if not more than his human side. He shook his head again realising how he had signed the letter. It was signed simply as Moony. It struck him in that instant that his human and wolf side were no longer separate entities. Grinning widely despite his discomfort and still feeling rather unwell, Remus pushed cautiously to his feet. He carefully pocketed the scroll and paused to check the time. Yelping he slowly made his way down to the Great Hall, realising he would have to send his missive later. He hadn’t realised it would take him so much time to write, he must have been daydreaming. Pausing just before the doors he plastered a smile on his face and forced his shoulders back. Confident he would pass muster with his other whys distracted friends he strode carefully into the Great Hall, unable to stop him self he walked with a prowl and attracted the eyes of many of the females present in the Great Hall. He ignored the waves of lust he could now smell, a gentle wrinkling of his nose an only indication he knew people were regarding him differently. He couldn’t help himself when he caught his head of house’s eye, she was looking seriously amused despite how tired she looked and Remus couldn’t help himself. He looked directly at her and threw her a large wink and a cheeky grin. She smirked back at him, seemingly brightening and he saw for an instant the shimmering of a glamour slip for a second over her features. She hitched it back into place effortlessly and he raised an eyebrow at her as he flopped into his seat, momentarily distracted from his general feeling of feeling unwell. She merely raised an eyebrow back at him and he chuckled, as he realised he was more like his Head of House than any one could or hopefully would ever guess. He shifted uncomfortably on the hard wooden bench, where he was sitting between his friends. They looked at him curiously and looked ready to launch into an inquisition there and then. James was definitely still focused on missing and ill Remus. Sirius looked torn between that and wondering at the change in his friend, the hall’s reaction to him and the subtle interaction between Remus and Professor McGonagall. Remus made a careful show of pilling his plate high, ignoring his rolling stomach as he did so, and the rest of Gryffindor seemed appeased that things were turning to normal and so turned back to their own conversations.
Resisting the urge to roll his eyes, as he didn’t think his stomach could take it, Remus kept his head ducked and pretended to wolf down his food, while systematically casting a wandless, silent vanishing charm. Think he was trying to escape them and give an explanation Sirius and James returned to eating. Taking a break from pretending to shovel food into his mouth Remus glanced up and noticed two Slytherins watching him with concern. Waggling his eyebrows Remus tilted his head towards the door, internally banging his head off the table at the annoyance of it all, but secretly proud of his pack. He waited only until he received recognition from one of the pair before returning to pretend to inhale his food. He caught Professor McGonagall’s eye again as he did so a choked down a laugh at the surprise he saw was written clearly on her face and was sure would be on his as they both noticed the other doing the exact same thing to the food on their plates. Remus furrowed his brow as he noticed his poor charms teacher sitting with his head on one hand merely poking at his food, and wondered at the incredibility of two Gryffindors being more Slytherin than the head of Ravenclaw house. Through all this he kept an eye out for Lucius and Severus leaving the Great Hall, returning their nod with a slight inclination of his head, he slowly laid down his cutlery and rose. The other two members of the Marauders rose with him and ignoring the staring from the females in the room the three left the Great Hall, following the footsteps of the two Slytherins. Remus stopped at the doors and looked back, he met Professor McGonagall’s eyes one more time, yet again unable to see their true colour through her glasses reflecting the torch light. A gentle nod answered the question only he seemed to be able to read clearly on her face. She smiled gently and he finally left the Great Hall catching Severus’ eye Remus again tilted his head and watched as the dark haired Slytherin linked arms with Lucius and led him down the steps. The Marauders followed behind, at a reasonable distance, to avoid suspicion, and Remus bit back a sigh at the stupidity of all the segregation and hatred. All five were unaware of being watched, and of a small sandy haired boy leaving the entrance hall to head down to the dungeons.
Severus led a very confused but docile Lucius down to the clearing he had been taken to only nights before. Settling the blonde on a rock, he was busy rebuilding the wards and alarms, as well as adding a few powerful ones of his own making, when the three Gryffindors showed up. When he lowered his wand Remus shoved James and Sirius to sit beside their mates, to busy keeping up a front to show his usual subtly. Standing in the middle of the clearing, bathed in silver moonlight, Remus braced his feet against a wave of dizziness and nausea, placed his hands in his pockets and stared at the four boys in perched uncomfortably in front of him. Checking he had their attention, and heedless of his similarity to Pan once again Remus began. It was an image the other four boys would remember later, with a mixture of bitterness and guilt.
“I apologise now to Lucius and Severus for being dragged into this, but you did both fall for Marauders.” He grinned wryly at them, “Now I am not sure if I am supposed to tell anything to any one, but Dumbles didn’t say I couldn’t. I think the old coot might be loosing his marbles slightly,” Remus stopped pondering something, missing the looks of shock on the faces of the other four. “I really don’t want to deal with him more than I have to so if you would kindly keep it quiet that I have told you I will try to tell you all the truth, if an abridged version since it took me nearly all bloody day the last time. Now any questions before I start?”
Sirius and James were looking at him with wide eyes, but they slowly relaxed and leaned against the Slytherin duo. Severus was opening and closing his mouth with no sound coming, with Lucius sitting beside him looking at him so shrewdly the Remus raised a questioning eyebrow at him fighting down the inappropriate laughter threatening to bubble up at the sight of a stupefied Severus.
Lucius cleared his throat, “I am not complaining that you want to trust us, although that is such a novel experience that I was going to ask why you do so, but I strangely find myself not caring. It is…” Lucius paused and smiled warmly at Remus, “It is nice to be trusted.”
Remus’ smile disappeared and he closed his eyes as if in pain, causing Lucius to wonder what he had said wrong. When Remus opened his eyes again everyone noticed they were pure shining gold, the green flecked amber completely irradiated. The Slytherins jumped as in sink Sirius and James took a sharp, unsteady breath and James grabbed Lucius’ arm in a death grip and Sirius grabbed Severus’ hand in both of his. The two Gryffindors were leaning towards Remus a question in their eyes. While the Slytherins mere sat looking confused and a small bit worried. Remus took a deep breath and started to speak. “Thank you Lucius but you may wish to hear me out first. I need to tell you something about myself for you to understand part of the story. I need to apologise to Pads and Prongs though.” Seeing the looks of confusion on the faces of Lucius and Severus, he elaborated. “I hid this from them for three years in the end they had to resort to researching it. They have spent more time in the library because of me than they would ever like to I think. In the end they confronted me on it and have sworn to find a way to help me. Maybe James and Severus can use this for their potions project.” Remus nodded at the two boys who were sitting gazing open mouthed at him, both obviously wondering how he knew about the yet unaccepted offer. Remus smiled weakly, “Sorry guys, getting ahead of myself a bit there. I don’t even know if the two of you will want to talk to me when you know.” Remus bit back another wave of nausea and bile, and turned his head slightly to avoid the two accusatory and two confused but interested looks he was receiving. “Now to avoid being yelled out loudly and for a long time because really guys it is getting annoying and you can stop looking at me like that because I have accepted it. I am Moony we are who we are and I don’t particularly care what the rest of the world think at the minuet I am only worried what our two friendly Slytherins think.” There was silence in the clearing as Remus paused for breath, he could feel the admiration and thanks coming from Sirius and James. It gave him strength and he really hoped he was not about to ruin the best thing that had happened to them with this announcement. “You two being Slytherins have probably noticed I am not in classes at least one day of the month. Severus has probably noticed how much I hate making certain potions and how I really, really try not to breath deeply during that class.” He stopped again seeing realisation replace the confusion in their eyes, they didn’t run away screaming, sneer at him or look at him in pity. They merely sat and looked at him, waiting patiently for confirmation. Remus was pleasantly surprised, but continued never the less, “I am a werewolf.” He looked at confusion at the two calm Slytherins, there was no smell of fear, disgust or deceit on the air, “and I really expected telling people to be harder than that. Anyway if you two want to leave I will understand.” Remus stopped again to allow them time to leave and noticed them both glaring at him. To his great surprise and relief Lucius slid to the ground to sit beside James, while Severus merely made himself more comfortable on Sirius waving a potions stained hand to tell Remus to continue. Remus merely stared at them all in shock feeling the pride for his pack and their mates well up in his heart. Then Lucius wave a well-manicured hand as an impatient indication to continue, Remus composed himself, feeling light-headed. Taking a deep breath he began to explain his missing twenty-four hours.
“Paddy and Prongs will back me up when I say I have had nightmares for years. Sorry guys,” he added seeing Severus scrunch up his nose in confusion, “Sirius is Paddy, Padfoot or Pads. James is Prongs. Right nightmares. It was different this time round though as I can’t say I have ever had recurring ones. Similar themed ones, yes. Recurring ones, definitely not. They started about four moons ago and the first month before the moon was not to bad, far enough I was freaked out more than normal but things didn’t start going wrong until the night after the full moon three months ago. I’ve been freaking Poppy out since forever, but this was bad. Yes Pads I call Madame Pompfry, Poppy, please get over it and let me continue. The first dream I had I though I was awake, but Poppy swears I couldn’t be woken and my vital stats were all over the shop. I had the nightmares or more precisely dream shadows every night between that and the next full moon, always on the same theme yet never a full-blown dream. The next moon was worse- I didn’t tell Dumbledore or anyone else up until this point, and neither did Poppy- but I stopped breathing for two minuets. I didn’t get much sleep between that night and the next full moon, people started to notice something that month I think.” Remus shivered at what was to come and was glad he wasn’t going into details. He eyed James and Sirius warily. From the looks on Severus and Lucius’ face they weren’t liking this either. “the full moon just gone was horrendous. I nearly broke all my restraints, I did snap my leg. It is a good job Argus Filch was there or I could have seriously injured Poppy. As it was I broke the poor man’s arm before Poppy could tranquilise me. I still cannot believe he forgave me for that.”
Remus stopped as his voice broke and he dropped to his knees feeling some of his forced strength leaving him. He was surprised when Lucius Malfoy of all people put a comforting arm around his shoulder. He leaned in to the embrace momentarily drawing strength from the warmth and support of his pack member. He controlled himself enough to meet Lucius’ eye and the blonde Slytherin merely scooted back to lie against James when his questioning glance was met with a nod.
“Sorry,” croaked Remus, his voice not liking the physical strain he had put on it over the last two days. “I just hate it when people I care about get hurt. It is even worse when it is because of me. The dreams stopped after that and I was so relieved they were gone that I pushed them to the back of my mind. Then on Saturday night,” he eyed Severus and Sirius beadily, “after you two fell asleep cuddling,” the other two boys eyed them with subdued grins. Glad of the minor lightening of tension the two raven-haired boys merely blushed and ducked their heads. “I stayed up after you two had, well I think passed out in an alcohol induced haze. As Paddy knew I would. About three in the morning I noticed something was wrong, I smelt wood smoke again and shortly after we had a visitor to the clearing. I’ve still got bruised shoulder blades to prove her reality.” Remus blushed slightly perking the interest of the other four even higher and shook his head, “she gave me a message to give to Dumbledore. Something about a storm approaching and that the people of Hellavan have finally understood their prophecies. She also said the old man would know what it meant. Before either of you two ask and since you don’t know I will say this I do not like Dumbledore, but my reasons why are my own. Prongs and Paddy don’t know anymore than that either.” Remus stopped feeling more exhausted than he had that morning, but he shoved it down, focusing on getting the story out, his steel backbone coming to the fore. He shook himself and focused on the other four through his headache. Now he was looking at them directly he could see they all looked puzzled. “I told Dumbledore that she only visited me in a dream. I really didn’t want to tell him she actually existed, I don’t know why.” Remus was surprised again when the other boys didn’t laugh but nodded in understanding. The interrogation gleam was in the eyes of the two Marauders so he wearily decided to give them more information, unable to face his too hyperactive friends at the minuet.
Remus flushed deeply, in fact his blush was so obvious that Lucius and Severus lost what little was left of their Slytherin indifference and leant forward. “When I first noticed her in the clearing I tackled her and she managed to flip it back on me. I have never been outclassed in a fair fight, especially not one in which I used my full strength and speed and I was intrigued as too what she would do next. We must have both been drawn to each other, I really don’t know any other way to describe it with out sounding sappy. Yet she has to have known what I was, that I have a wolf in may, nay I am a wolf. My eyes had changed and no human should have been able to detect her through her spells. I still want to know how she got through my wards.” At their disbelieving looks Remus again expanded, “The blade she was carrying was an alloy very rarely used. Enough silver added to the mix to make the weapon deadly to a werewolf or other lycanthrope, but not enough to soften or weak the actual blade. She also cannot have been fully human, but she was no wolf. Her strength and speed easily matched mine, if not outstripped it. Her eyes were also not human eyes, molten mercury eyes with cat like pupils. Yes Sirius we did kiss, no James it did not go any further. I don’t know if I will ever see her again Siri, yes she was my mate James I could tell by her smell. She smelt of honeysuckle, wood smoke, port, dark chocolate and old books, so I would imagine that is what I would smell with that love potion that Lily girl is forever going on about Severus. She tasted of dark chocolate and port Siri. No Lucius I really have no idea where she is now.” Remus smiled across at them, stamping down yet another laugh at their gob smacked expressions when he had predicted their questions. “Any other questions class,” he quipped, “or do you want to take the chance to grab some alone time?” He winked roguishly at them, wishing they would take him up on his offer so he could climb up on his branch and sleep. The four others stared at him for a moment before chuckling. They clambered to their feet, wincing as their joints cracked. As each boy left they clapped a hand onto Remus’ shoulder. Sirius chucked him a roguish wink in return as he left the clearing.
Left alone Remus could feel his façade slipping. Shivering he dragged himself to the base of his tree. His breaths came in sharp pants and shakes rattled his frame. He clenched his jaw against a scream as his powerful muscles clenched around his bones. He could feel his heart hammering in his chest, feel the pounding in his head, his hands clawed the ground, closing on a small sting of beads hidden in the leaf mould. The weakened fracture line in his right leg couldn’t stand the pressure of his contorting muscles and with a loud crack drove him into blissful oblivion. As the hours crept on, a sickly moon shone down on the unmoving and broken form of Remus Lupin. The clouds rolling across the sky not yet obscuring the sickly light and the wind whipped the trees causing the to cast twisted shadows, so like those in the boys dreams, around the clearing. The hours lengthened and the air grew damp, soaking his clothes and cooling his burning skin.
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