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    Thorn Wilde
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Harry Potter FanFiction Disclaimer - All recognized characters and the world of Harry Potter belong to J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros and their licensees

Severely Moonstruck - 6. Shrinking Solution

In which Severus is kind, Sirius is a dick, and Slughorn is oddly insightful.

 

Content warning: attempted sexual assault

Lily and James’s date appeared to have gone well. So well, in fact, that not only were they now friends, but could be seen holding hands in the common room, and once Remus even caught them kissing each other goodnight in a corner by the staircase to the boys’ dormitories. They still bickered, of course, as James still had a tendency to go easy on pranksters—not just his own friends, but younger students as well. Still, Remus was happy for them, though seeing them together made him miss Sirius, and want Severus even more.

Not much had changed in regards to the latter after their visit to Hogsmeade together, though he seemed somewhat less guarded and more relaxed in Remus’s company. Sirius, meanwhile, hadn’t spoken a word to him since their argument about Regulus, and this drove Remus away from the dormitory and the common room a lot of the time, to spend even more time with Severus.

‘He’s miserable without you, you know,’ said James one afternoon, as they were leaving Potions to attend a Prefect’s meeting.

‘Who?’ Remus asked casually, though he knew very well who James was talking about.

‘You know who I mean, Remus!’ said James impatiently. ‘Seriously, he’s moping. Sirius is moping, and it’s getting downright irritating! We don’t spend as much time together as normal, what with Lily and being Head Boy and all that . . .’

Remus found himself smiling. ‘You and Lily do seem to get along these days. When will it be official, do you think?’

James blushed slightly. ‘Not the point, Moony. Not the point at all. Point is, when we are hanging out, he’s so depressingly whiny I almost want to leave the room. My best friend, my brother, basically, and he’s being so annoying I can barely stand being in the same room with him!’ He stopped and turned to Remus. ‘You have to work it out, for all our sakes. And the full moon is only a couple of days away . . . He’s going to stay behind again.’

Remus sighed. ‘He’s the one who’s being stubborn, not me. I won’t stop hanging out with Severus just because Sirius is a jealous twat.’

‘Look,’ said James dejectedly. ‘I know he’s the obstinate one. You’re the diplomatic one, you always have been. And I don’t know what’s been going on between you two . . . I’d rather not think about it, to be honest. Padfoot’s a flirt, always has been, always will be, and I have no idea how far he takes that, with you or anyone else. But I know he needs you.’

Remus shook his head. ‘I’ve tried talking to him. Now he’s just ignoring me, won’t even acknowledge my presence.’ He felt a tightening in his chest, and a pressure behind his eyeballs that told him he might cry. ‘You think that doesn’t hurt me? You thing it doesn’t feel like being stabbed with a thousand fucking daggers?’ He was losing control of his voice, it echoed shrill and loud off the stone walls of the dungeons.

‘Remus, calm down,’ said James, gripping his shoulder. ‘Come on. I’m sorry I brought this up now, I didn’t realise—’

‘Well, you bloody should have!’ Remus hissed, shaking off his hand. He tried to take a deep breath, but it was as though his lungs wouldn’t take in air properly. ‘Just leave me alone, I . . . I feel sick.’ He set off at a run towards the nearest bathroom.

He knelt before the toilet bowl in one of the stalls, but nothing came up. Instead, a sob wracked his body, and he collapsed back against the door, covering his face with his hands, trying to stop the tears, but it was impossible. He felt like such a child. Or like Moaning Myrtle, which was worse.

‘Remus?’ The voice that had spoken was quiet and deep, and Remus knew to whom it belonged. He tried to calm his breathing.

‘I’m okay, Severus, just . . .’ His voice was thick. He knew he didn’t sound okay at all.

‘Don’t be stupid,’ said Severus from the other side of the door. ‘Let me in.’

Remus hesitated. Then he shifted so he was sitting leaned against the wall instead, and reached up to unlock the door. It swung open, and there stood Severus, looking down at him. He wore an expression Remus didn’t think he’d ever seen on his face before. Empathy.

‘You’re a mess.’ Severus reached out a hand, and Remus took it, allowing himself to be pulled to his feet. ‘Come on. Wash your face. You’ll feel better.’

Remus let himself be led over to the sink. He washed his face while Severus stood next to him, a quiet shadow, but nevertheless a comforting presence. The cool water on his face did help. When he looked in the mirror, his eyes were still red, but he looked a damned sight better than he had. He turned to his friend.

‘Thank you, Severus.’

Severus shrugged. ‘You would do the same for me. Not that you would ever find me in such a state, but all the same.’ He didn’t smile. He never smiled. But there was . . . something.

More than ever, Remus wanted to kiss him. He didn’t. He couldn’t. Even if he thought for a second that Severus would want him to, it wouldn’t be fair to either of them, not with Sirius’s face floating around at the forefront of his mind. Instead, he did the next best thing. He hugged him.

Severus stiffened in his embrace, but Remus buried his face in his shoulder all the same, and after a moment, Severus seemed to relax and gently, hesitantly, raised his arms and hugged him back.

It only lasted for a few seconds, before Severus pulled away, clearly uncomfortable, but for those few seconds, Remus had time to breathe in his scent. It made him dizzy, like it always did when they were this close, but he leaned back against the sink, steadying himself, and took several deep breaths, and then it was over.

‘What was that?’ Severus was frowning at him, and Remus couldn’t help but laugh.

‘A hug, silly. Sometimes people do it to show friendship or affection, or to comfort each other.’ He lowered his gaze to the floor, feeling his cheeks flush slightly. Hopefully, Severus wouldn’t be able to tell, with his eyes already red from crying. ‘Sometimes, Severus, people just need a hug.’ He raised his eyes and was surprised to find Severus meeting his gaze. ‘Is . . . is that all right? Was it okay that I . . . ?’

For once, for a rare moment, Severus smiled. ‘Don’t make a habit of it. But . . . it’s all right.’

Remus wanted to hug him again, but stopped himself. Instead, he smiled back. ‘I’m supposed to be in a Prefect’s meeting.’

‘Hang the meeting,’ said Severus. ‘Let’s go to the library.’

Remus nodded. ‘Okay.’

* * *

After the emotional turmoil of the day, Remus was already exhausted after dinner, and after reading undisturbed in a corner of the common room for a couple of hours (clearly radiating a message of ‘leave me alone’, because no one bothered him, save for James coming over to ask if he was okay, to which Remus replied ‘yes’ and ignored him until he went away), he decided to go to bed early.

He expected the dormitory to be empty, so he could take his time getting ready and be in bed before the others even came upstairs, but there, on Remus’s bed, sat Sirius. He kept his eyes fixed on a point on the wall near a window, and was quiet until Remus spoke first.

‘Er . . . You okay?’

‘No.’ Sirius still didn’t look at him, but at least he had said something. ‘I don’t get it.’

‘Don’t get what?’

‘Why you want to spend time with him.’

Remus sighed, closing his eyes and pinching the bridge of his nose. He felt a headache coming on. ‘This again? Sirius, I’m tired. I just want to sleep.’

‘Why don’t you want me anymore?’

Remus looked up, and found Sirius’s blue eyes looking into his own. He released a short laugh in sheer surprise. ‘Really? Suddenly you care what I want? That’s rich!’

Sirius frowned. ‘What do you mean?’

‘Well, you’ve never much cared before. You’ve never asked me what I wanted. You’ve just gone ahead and done what you wanted.’

‘I didn’t need to ask, I knew!’ Sirius stood up, advancing on Remus. ‘I didn’t need you to tell me, because it was obvious. I knew you wanted me!’

Remus looked away. ‘Sometimes,’ he said. ‘But not all the time. Not every time.’

‘Bollocks! You still want me now.’

‘It’s not that simple!’

‘Yes it is!’ And then Sirius was kissing him, hard, his tongue pressing in between Remus’s lips. He gripped his hips, ground his pelvis against Remus’s, and pushed him backwards against the wall.

At first, Remus was too shocked to push him away. But then Sirius moved his lips to Remus’s neck and began to suck and nibble. It was going to leave a mark, and Remus came to his senses.

‘Sirius, stop!’

‘No!’ Sirius’s breath was hot against his neck. ‘I want you, and I know you want me, so stop pretending! You love me. You’re mine!’

Now Remus tried to push him away, but Sirius had always been bigger and stronger than he was, and he pinned him to the wall, grabbing both his wrists in one fist and holding them above his head. He brought his other hand down to the front of Remus’s trousers and squeezed him through the fabric. Remus couldn’t help the sound he made, a moan forced out of him by the touch.

‘No!’ His voice broke. ‘Stop it! Sirius, stop, please!’ As breathless as he was, it sounded unconvincing even to his own ears, but he knew he didn’t want this. It felt wrong. Sirius’s grip around his wrists was painful. His teeth biting into the side of his neck hurt. ‘Sirius, you’re hurting me!’

He got the feeling that Sirius couldn’t even hear him, that he was too far gone to properly listen. Surely, if he had paid attention to what Remus was saying, he would have stopped? Remus couldn’t believe otherwise, couldn’t believe that Sirius could ignore his pleas.

He raised his voice, not caring now if he could be heard outside the dormitory, struggling against Sirius’s body. ‘Sirius! Stop it! Just fucking stop, can you even hear me? I don’t . . . I don’t want this!’ Tears were coming down Remus’s cheeks now, and he gave up fighting.

Then he heard the door to the dormitory swing open, and James’s voice, loud and clear. ‘What the hell are you doing, Padfoot? Get off him!’

He grabbed Sirius by the shoulders, and physically pulled him away from Remus, flinging him to the floor. ‘He told you to stop, I could hear it halfway down the stairs! What is wrong with you?’

Sirius’s face fell as he came to his senses, and he stared up at Remus, eyes wide and pleading. ‘Shit . . . Remus, I’m . . . I’m sorry! I’m so sorry . . .’

Fight or flight kicked in, and flight won. Remus pushed himself away from the wall, ran out the open door, down the stairs, and raced out of the common room. He didn’t know where he was going, he just had to get away, away from that room, away from Sirius. Tears stung his eyes, blurring his vision, and suddenly he bumped into something solid and human, and fell back onto his arse.

‘Mr. Lupin?’ The voice that had spoken belonged to Professor Slughorn, and Remus looked up at him. Slughorn’s eyes were full of concern. ‘Whatever’s the matter?’

‘I . . . Nothing, Professor.’ Remus looked away, not knowing what to say or think or feel.

‘Well, you look terrible.’ Slughorn watched him as he got to his feet. ‘Come on. Come to my office, I’ll make you some tea.’

Remus hesitated. ‘I . . . I don’t—’

‘You don’t have to tell me what’s going on,’ said Slughorn kindly. ‘You can if you like, but you don’t have to. Just come with me. Have a cuppa. Collect yourself and go back to your common room. Does that sound all right?’

And because Remus had nowhere else to go, and a cup of tea did sound like it might be helpful right now, he went with the Potions Master down into the dungeons.

In stark contrast to the cold stone walls and dim torch light in the rest of the dungeons, Slughorn’s office was surprisingly pleasant. A warm fire roared in the fireplace, the room was furnished in dark mahogany, with Persian rugs covering the floor. There was a comfortable looking settee against one wall, and overflowing bookshelves against another. And all over the walls, and on every surface, there were photographs. They all seemed to feature Slughorn smiling and waving next to a motley crew of more or less famous witches and wizards.

The professor offered him a seat on the settee and went about preparing him a cup of tea. He measured up the leaves by hand, but magically conjured up hot water for the pot. After about a minute he poured the tea into two cups with a flick of his wand. ‘Milk? Sugar?’

‘Er, milk, please.’

Slughorn levitated Remus’s teacup over to a small table next to the settee. Himself, he sat down in a comfy chair diagonally opposite it.

‘Like I said, you don’t have to talk about it, but you seemed rather upset, Remus.’

Remus shrugged one shoulder and looked away. He lifted the teacup and had a sip. The tea was perfect temperature, and perfectly steeped. ‘I just . . . had a bit of a fight, with a friend. This tea is really nice, by the way. Thank you, sir.’

‘A very special Assam. An old student who moved to India sends it to me.’ Slughorn took a sip of his own. ‘This friend wouldn’t happen to be young Sirius Black, would it?’

Remus looked up at him in surprise. ‘Er . . . How did you know?’

Slughorn smiled. ‘You’ll find that I am a rather astute observer, my boy. Seems to me the two of you were thick as thieves last year, and now, not so much.’

‘I don’t . . . I’m not comfortable discussing the details, Professor.’

‘That’s quite all right. And I am sure you’ll work it out.’ Slughorn had another sip of tea. ‘I could contact Professor McGonagall if you like. She is your head of house. Would you rather speak to her?’

‘No, thank you, sir,’ said Remus quickly. ‘There’s really no need.’

Slughorn let the matter lie, and proceeded to boast about the former students in the photographs until they had finished their tea.

‘I should probably get back to the common room,’ said Remus at last.

‘Of course. It is late, after all.’ Slughorn stood when Remus did and shook his hand. ‘I do hope things work out for you. And if you run into the caretaker, just tell him you have my permission to be out of bed. All right?’

‘Thank you, Professor.’

‘It’s the least I can do. You know, I’m told that you’re among the best in the whole school at Defence Against the Dark Arts. You are very welcome to join my next gathering, should you wish. I will send you an invitation.’

‘I . . . Thank you, sir. I’ll consider it.’

They bid each other goodnight, and Remus left the office. He couldn’t bring himself to return to the dormitory, however. He wasn’t sure he could be in the same room with Sirius just now. The Prefects’ bathroom would be empty at this time of night, and there was a very comfortable sofa in there. It would do.

That night, he woke multiple times from nightmares, tears streaming down his face. He almost looked forward to the full moon.

Copyright © 2013 Thorn Wilde; All Rights Reserved.
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Harry Potter FanFiction Disclaimer - All recognized characters and the world of Harry Potter belong to J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros and their licensees

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