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Chapter 6 : Chapter 6
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Remus had awoken the next morning: battered, bruised and bleeding, but the real horror was in his mind…images flashing before his eyes: last night, last night he had nearly killed someone…last night he had been so close that his own acute werewolf senses were hardly needed.
He had been able to drink the fear from the two that had been in the tunnel last night, one he recognized as James from scent, the other had been Snape, he had been sure that he had heard James call out ‘Severus’. But he wasn’t sure he could trust his memory, even now. The images and sounds of last night were floating to him: surreal and untrustworthy…he could not trust his own body or mind, last night he hadn’t looked at James with a tender affection, he had seen him as prey, as blood waiting to be spilled, as flesh waiting to be devoured…no, he could not trust his mind.
He lay on the warped floorboards for awhile, unable to move for fear he might break. He looked around at the damage he had caused last night, saw the large gouges in the walls, the floor, saw the smashed furniture, felt the deep gashes in his own skin.
He shuddered as he retraced their familiar paths, a daily reminder of what he was, what he would always be.
He eventually managed to find his feet, and he stumbled around, trying to find his clothes in the early morning light.
He’d found that he’d done a lot more damage to himself than he’d originally thought…or maybe it was that he had grown so used to having his friends with him, he had forgotten what damage he could actually do.
He winced as he pulled on his t-shirt and pants, feeling the effects of a rather deep cut in his side…it seemed to be bleeding quite profusely and now his shirt was soaked blood red.
He needed to get out of here, he needed to get up to the Infirmary: to heal, to rest.
He pulled himself back down into the tunnel, leaning heavily against the walls as he descended. He felt a rising feeling when he caught his first glimpse of sunlight, streaming in from the outside world and he took a few more limping steps when he heard a crunch beneath his feet.
He lifted his foot gingerly to see what he had trodden on.
The shards of glass glistened in the early morning light.
Remus bent down, exhaling painfully and he picked up the bent wire frames, a sort of strangled scream escaped his throat, he wracked his mind to make sense of the pollution that was last night’s memory, but he could not.
Don’t let him be hurt, don’t let him be dead… he chanted, as if it might make a difference.
He lunged forward, scrambling out of the hole and up into the sunlight, he did not bask in it’s warmth, the touch of his saviour from the moon, the heat didn’t begin to touch the cold that had now sunk into his skin.
He staggered as fast as he could, desperate for someone, anyone to tell him what had happened last night, whether or not the bent glasses clutched in his hand meant something as sinister as he thought they did.
His side was burning now, and his legs felt somewhat numb, blood was dripping from scratches on his face, obscuring his vision.
“Remus?” came a concerned voice, a familiar voice.
“James…” Remus said gutturally, “You’re not dead,” he was crouched over, holding his side, James comes to his aid, wrapping his strong arms around his shoulders, he could feel the blood, sticky and wet against his own fingers.
“You’re bleeding,” he stated in a low voice.
“I thought I’d k…k…killed you,” he stuttered, his voice barely a whisper.
“I’m alright mate,” James had assured, but there was a tautness in his voice, “ You’re the I’m worried about, come on let’s get you up to Madam Pomfrey, she’ll kill me if I don’t,”
Remus was leaning heavily against James’, unable to express the relief he felt he grasped at his robes, hugging him with all the strength he could muster.
James felt sick again, right now he wanted to make Sirius see what he had done, just how far he had gone…what he had done to Remus.
James heaved him silently back to the castle, Remus’s clutching his neck as if it was the only thing tethering him to the earth.
They made it up to the Hospital Wing, Remus had lost a lot of blood, James had bandaged him the best he could with the healing spells that he knew…but he couldn’t remember a time when he had seen Remus that bad.
Madam Pomfrey nearly had a coronary when James finally dragged him through the doors, she immediately took over, leaving James, blood splattered and exhausted but determined, to watch as she fussed over him, letting out little gasps as she discovered more and more injuries on his pale, wasted body.
James simply stood back and let Madam Pomfrey do what she could, but he would not leave, he would not leave.
Remus could see him, through tired eyes, he could see James standing just beyond Madam Pomfrey, could see the way his hands were balled into fists, could see the expressions that flitted on his face: anger, remorse, regret, pity, concern…all of the things he had expected to see there, except maybe anger…
Remus had remembered that when James had first found out he was angry, but not with him, it was more like he was angry with the injustice of it all: angry that kind, sensible, intelligent, studious Remus could be dealt such a cruel blow. He remembered seeing that look on his face then, but now…why now?
Remus continued to watch him, he was hoping to perhaps pull a clue from his stance, his posture…but he gives nothing away, Remus is almost shaking with impatience, he needed to know, he needed to know why.
His wounds hurt but they are nothing compared to waiting, he wished that Madam Pomfrey would just leave, Remus is all too familiar with this routine now, he could do it himself. In his sleep. Tied to a tree stump.
After several thorough examinations of his torn body, Madam Pomfrey saw fit to leave, though she went with a sigh and a pitying look towards him, which Remus did not appreciate: he was tired of being seen through the eyes of his lycanthropy. It was either pity, disgust or disbelief and none of them were very becoming to him.
For a while neither of them said anything, James looked as though he was struggling with himself, trying think of the right way to say it.
“For Merlin’s sake, James, just say it,” Remus said quietly.
James offered him a staid smile and he looked down at his hands, “How much of last night do you remember?” he asked.
Remus watched him, his heart already pounding: this can’t be good.
“I remember…I remember you and Snape, in the tunnel, I remember I smelt you and I heard you tell Snape to get out of there,” he told him, his voice shaking slightly, “What happened?” he asked, but his tone was pleading.
James sighed and ran his hand through his hair nervously, “You didn’t hurt anyone,” he said quickly, alleviating Remus’s fears, “But Snape knows,”
Remus cocked an eyebrow, Well, that was obvious he thought sarcastically.
James looked as if he was struggling with himself again, Remus could almost see the silent battle in his eyes, “Sirius told him how to get to you,” he said finally, and for the first time, Remus understood James’s expression…he was sure that it now mirrored his own, James continued with a heavy sigh and shaking hands, “Dumbledore has put it right, Snape’s forbidden to tell anyone what he saw and Sirius…” he trailed off, Remus waited expectantly, “Sirius isn’t going to be expelled,” there was something in his tone that made Remus think that he was not exactly in agreement with this fact, but he didn’t say anymore.
“Fuck,” was the only thing that Remus could think of uttering. He rarely swore, but now it seemed highly appropriate, if not entirely inadequate.
Of all the times he had imagined his secret being revealed, he had never once thought it would be one of his friends, one of the Marauder’s; he had never thought that Sirius would betray him.
Never thought that Sirius would use him.
Remus had only been made feel like he was a monster by others 2 times in his whole life: once by the people at the werewolf registry, once when his parents had tried to enroll him in Hogwarts and the current Headmaster, Armando Dippet had refused him, he never spoke to him, he just had to see the look on his father’s face when he read him the letter of rejection, the words ‘highly dangerous’ and ‘unacceptable risk’, still frequented his thoughts.
But this was different; from their second year onwards Remus had come to trust James, Sirius and Peter with his secret, he’d been grateful, relieved and overjoyed at their reactions, they had not treated him any different, not looked at him as a dark creature residing in a human body, instead they had tried to make him feel better about it, made him feel normal, not some tragedy, not some delicate weakling in need of their help, not some freak of nature, just a guy, just a friend, nothing special.
He didn’t mind walking in James’ and Sirius’s shadows, feeling normal and overlooked was something that he treasured.
And Sirius had shattered that.
Sirius had used him as a means to an end, or, an end to a means. The point was he had used the fact that he was a werewolf to get back at Snape.
Remus felt the hot flush of anger, and he looked up at the other boy, he could see his own anger reflected in James’ hazel eyes, usually so calm and full of laughter, now they were cold and steely…there were bags under his eyes and Remus suspected he hadn’t slept at all last night. He had never seen James look so old.
“Get any sleep last night?” Remus asked casually.
James snorted, “Yeah, slept like a log,” he said sarcastically. There was another very pregnant pause and the spoke up again “He’s an idiot,” he said quietly.
Remus didn’t have to ask who ‘He’ was, he just nodded and waited for James to continue, “He didn’t even realise what he’d done was wrong, couldn’t distinguish the fact that it was murder and he really didn’t see that you would be the one who would suffer the consequences of his idiocy, the idiot,” he growled.
Remus was inclined to agree, his throat was uncomfortably dry, right now he could hardly think of Sirius without his muscles constricting all over, tensing up as though he would quite like to hit him, which he would, he wanted to hit Sirius until he understood, until he got the message through his thick skull.
Remus suddenly remembered the cracked and broken glasses in his hand, “Oh, I forgot, I found your glasses…they’re a bit, er, smashed,” he said apologetically.
“Yeah, I know, trod on them last night, can’t see a bloody thing with out them…I’m as blind as a Bartles Bat,” he said, taking them from Remus outstretched hand, he muttered ‘Reparo’ and slipped them back on his face, grateful that he could see again.
“How are you taking this so well?” James asked exasperatedly, noting that Remus had said barely said a thing, and hardly anything about what had happened last night.
Remus raised an eyebrow at him, “You think I’m handling it well? I guess I just don’t know how to react…plus I’m exhausted, but if he was in the room right now I think I’d kill him,” he said honestly.
James exhaled again, “I nearly did, last night I nearly did,” he was staring at something o the floor, his hands fidgeting restlessly, “I slammed him into the wall a couple of times and I swear I would have killed him, I was so caught up, so angry with him, I forgot that anyone was in the room…I wanted him to bleed, to feel pain, I wanted to make sure he was human…I was so angry with him, I still am I guess,” he looked up at Remus with a guilty smile, “Guess I’m not half as angry as you are,”
Remus grunted, feeling a twinge of pain shoot up his body, a very literal, painful reminder of just how angry he should be, “No, I guess not,”
Madam Pomfrey bustled back in, noticing for the first time that James was there.
“Mr Potter! Last night you refused my attention, I trust you’re not stupid enough to do that this morning?” she glared at him, he smiled his slow, handsome smile.
“Well, I am stupid enough, but I value my life, you may as well give me the works, Poppy, I’m due for a service,” he said brazenly.
Madam Pomfrey shook her head and laughed affectionately at the boy, whom had seen his fair share of injuries in the past 6 years.
“Honestly, I’m fine, though, nothing broken, just a bit bruised, should heal up in a couple of days…I recall you telling me the last time I was here with a bruise from the Whomping Willow that it would ‘Serve to remind me not to be an idiot,’”
Madam Pomfrey obliged him grudgingly, seeing as she had others to attend to, she put Remus into an enchanted sleep, even though he fought it, but James stayed, eventually falling a sleep in a chair beside his bed.
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