Title: Dream of Me
Author: Busaikko Baby
E-Mail: busaikkobaby at yahoo.com
Beta-Reader: Once again, the brilliant Vaughn
Disclaimer: I own nothing, JKR everything else
Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairing: SS and RL, pre-slash
Spoilers: Not really, but reading the books helps
Rating: R (for sqicks and sexual content)
Summary: For Master and the Wolf Fourth Wave, Challenge 174: Remus is having nightmares about Severus and finds out the nightmares are coming true (not prophetic nightmares about actual events, but literal nightmares that are inflicted on Severus)
Dream of Me
He wasn't wearing underwear. Again.
This time, though, his robes didn't blow up in the Quidditch stands, exposing him to the entire student body and faculty.
This time, he was standing in front of a room full of serious, in-fighting academics. They were just waiting to tear him apart.
He kept talking to cover his nervousness. He had to do well. It was a test.
He had to piss.
Not just a little, an all-encompassing need that loomed over him like a tidal wave.... He pressed his legs together so hard they trembled, he buckled at the waist, folding over from need, but still he could not move from the dais.
And he felt the warmth trickling down his leg, pooling on the floor, saw the looks of revulsion and hatred on the faces that drew back, censuring him.
Remus Lupin woke up, panting, grateful not to be lying in a wet spot. It had been a nightmare. It had even been, in its own way, disturbing, he thought as he staggered to the loo.
But it simply wasn't his nightmare.
Remus Lupin, frankly, was the sort who could smile at a room full of academics and politely excuse himself. Even in his dreams.
And he'd gone for far too long in his life with nothing on under his robes to be especially bothered by a lack of undergarments. Didn't worry him.
So the question was: whose nightmares were these that had been waking him nightly for the past week? Whose fears of humiliation and exposure were being foisted on him?
At least he knew how it was done: it was a simple charm that almost no one thought of as an offensive weapon.
It was usually called 'Dream of Me'. Most often it was used by lovers and suitors. The name really said it all.
But Lupin's particular talent was to twist things in his mind, to see how even the most inoffensive bit of magic could be manipulated into a weapon. Lupin knew thirty-seven ways Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans could be used to kill someone. That was what the Dark Arts were, after all: a perverse use of ordinary magic for evil ends.
Not that he practiced dark magic. Many people are born with talents that for one reason or another don't pan out into careers. A great lay may not want to be a whore. Someone with a flair for the ax may not want to be an executioner. And an excellent Dark Wizard may not want to sell his soul.
But sometimes that natural talent can be redirected: a commitment to a lover, the Highland Games, a Defense Against the Dark Arts position. And Lupin was very, very good at Defense Against the Dark Arts because he was very, very, very good at creating Dark Magic.
He knew how to protect himself against a Bean-wielding assailant.
And he knew how Dream of Me could be tweaked to make someone dream of... anything, really.
Even to make every dream a nightmare.
But whose nightmares? And why?
Remus borrowed Dumbledore's Pensieve and took the nightmares out. He sorted them by theme: humiliation (in front of witnesses, usually peers but sometimes students), being disemboweled by a beast (in front of bemused teenaged witnesses), and of cruel rejection by a shadowy lover (sometimes with witnesses, sometimes not). This version of the spell might well be called Dream of Your Own Worthlessness, Lupin mused, as he watched once again as the dream-self's performance in bed was met with cruel laughter (and the sheets kept sliding down and away, leaving him nothing to hide behind).
Whose nightmares were these? A teacher, not a student, in black academic robes. A man, that narrowed things down. Someone afraid of being eaten. A male teacher with an enemy who wanted to make him doubt himself... to lose his mind, perhaps, or his self-control, for while Lupin was not bothered by many of the disturbing images (if they were truly Lupin's nightmares, the beast scenario would definitely be backwards) he suspected that to the man they were intended for they were terrifying.
Lupin had a fair idea of whose dreams he was looking at.
But how to rectify the situation? How to make it known that he was an ally and not complicit in the tormenting of Severus Snape?
He gave it some thought. He cast a few spells and slept on it.
Then he invited Snape to his rooms after dinner.
Snape was punctual and irate. "What is this all about, Lupin?"
Lupin shut the door and warded it automatically. "Who cast Dream of Me on you, Snape?... Don't look at me like that. You should have come to me in the first place instead of trying to take it off yourself. There is a reason I teach Defense. At least I know how to remove a spell and not redirect it onto someone else."
What blood there had been in Snape's face drained. "What do you mean?"
"I mean I've been seeing your damned nightmares for the past week." He waved a negligent hand at the Pensieve. "You're welcome to take a look if you want, though I daresay you've seen them before."
"This is a... a violation. Of my privacy."
"Did I ask to be woken up every bloody night with malicious laughter in my ears? You haven't had my dreams, by any chance, have you? Only I'm missing seven days' worth."
Snape glared at the Pensieve with fear and loathing. "Tip the damned thing out." He looked at Lupin, avoiding his eyes. "I suppose now I'll be able to conjure up a brand-new nightmare, of you having a good laugh at my insecurities."
Lupin snorted. "Do you see me laughing, Snape? Look at me! Am I laughing?"
Snape's reply was so quiet that Lupin nearly missed it. "No."
"I'm angry. I'm disgusted that someone would stoop to this kind of underhanded manipulation of you; I'm annoyed that you didn't come to me in the first place; and I haven't been sleeping well. I'm looking for blood, Snape, so all I want to hear is the name. Who sent this?"
"Voldemort wants me to doubt myself. To make mistakes. I guard myself too well. My... best guess... is that the spell was cast by Malfoy. He knows me well. Well enough to create--" he waved at the Pensieve, "those."
"With friends like those...." Lupin smiled in a way that displayed his very sharp teeth. "Come here. I have one more thing I'd like to show you."
Snape approached the Pensieve slowly. "I'd really rather not have to look at those."
Lupin fished a thought out of his head with his wand. "Oh, this one's not yours. It's something I dreamed up last night." He dropped it into the Pensieve and took Snape's hand, pulling him in close... and then they both watched the nightmare unfold.
Severus Snape laughed, a wickedly amused silken purr that made Lupin's toes curl with pleasure. "I want to see that again."
The third time around he started to add critiques, things that Lupin could see would definitely raise the terror of the nightmares to unbearable levels.
"How did you deduce that it was Malfoy?"
"It seemed logical. Plus I really, really hate him." Lupin shrugged lazily. "If I'd been wrong--well, it would still have been therapeutic."
"The bit with the house elves is good."
"And the hair. I've always hated his hair. A monstrous Lockheartian vanity on his part."
"I've always been jealous of his hair."
Lupin's eyebrows shot up. "I can't believe you'd say that."
"Why? It's true. So. Deferring to your self-professed expertise in spell-hacking, what do you propose we do with that?"
Lupin sat down in one of his threadbare armchairs. After a moment, Snape settled into the other. Lupin waved his wand lazily and a glass of something alcoholic appeared on the side table, ice tinkling softly, just within Snape's reach. Another wave, and Lupin was holding his own drink, swirling the contents absently.
"I propose that I send the spell right back and make Lucius Malfoy's nights a living hell."
"He's married to Narcissia."
That feral grin again. "True. More of a living hell than they already are."
Snape leaned back in the chair. He looked relaxed. Drinking from Lupin's treasured bottle of Old Black Magic probably had something to do with it, but Lupin liked to think there was something... companionable about it.
Never one to let sleeping dogs lie, am I, Lupin thought. "So. I am curious about your nightmares. What makes them so... terrible. I assume that I was your slavering beast? The whole Shrieking Shack thing?"
Snape sighed. "Those aren't, technically, my dreams. Any more than Lucius really dreams about waking up as a house elf getting buggered by Godric Gryffindor. We just think that'd bother him."
"So, the beast doesn't bother you? Not anymore?"
"Those were not the nightmares that I most dislike you seeing. No."
Lupin paused. "You can tell me, or I can go watch them again."
"Didn't curiosity kill the wolf?" Snape took another long drink. "The sex dreams. Lucius must have laughed himself sick. Surely you noticed your own not inconsiderable role in those."
"So Lucius thinks you want to fuck me?" When there was no reply, Lupin continued, "Odd, if he thinks I want to devour you. I didn't see a face on the nightmare lover. I assumed it was fill in the blank. That's how I'd design it. Which would mean," he said, staring into the glass in his hand, "that you think you want to fuck me. And that I'd laugh at you. I wouldn't, you know."
Snape stood abruptly, his hand slamming the glass down on the table hard enough to crack it. He strode to the door in a swirl of outraged black, ripped through the wards, and slammed the door behind him hard enough to make the candles across the room flicker.
Lupin smiled into the fire. "Good night, Severus. And dream of me."