Master and Wolf Second Wave Challenge #161
TITLE: In This Life
AUTHOR: Bagoas (firstname.lastname@example.org)
SUMMARY: Remus and Severus discover past lives and past loves...will this life end in the tragedy of the former? (Post OotP)
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I've had a soft spot for the male lovers of antiquity, especially Alexander the Great/Hephaestion/Bagoas and Hadrian/Antinous. Their devotion to each other and the fact that their affection has withstood over 2000 years of historical records when so much else was lost is a testament that love, no matter the societal and religious strictures of any age, can be overcome by emotion and romance. Their love stories are as great in history as Antony and Cleopatra or Napoleon and Josephine Bonapart. - This story assumes that the readers have read all five books.
"The course of true love never did run smooth" William Shakespeare The Taming of the Shrew (Act 1, Scene 1)* * * * * * * *
"Though lovers be lost, love shall not; And death shall have no dominion." Dylan Thomas And Death Shall Have No Dominion
The boat rocked precariously. The young man turned in surprise, his arms raised reflexively in a defensive posture. His brown eyes widened, his sun-kissed skin blanched in fear, as he beheld who was behind him. "NO!" he cried out, as he felt the hands of his attacker push him. The boat rocked again, the young man lost his balance, and he felt the cool spray of the water as he fell into the river.
It took him a moment to realize that the river was inhabited by something other than fish. A looming mouth, yellow teeth glinting dully in the dim light that pierced the water, latched onto his arm. The enormous jaws came snapping down into his shoulder. The young man gave a kick to the beast's body and his arm miraculously escaped the bite.
The young man's head broke the surface of the river, his lungs dragging in air in desperation. He felt the beast's jaws clamp on his legs and he gave a cry to the person he hoped would save him. "SINUHE!" As he was dragged below, he swore to the gods he heard his lover call his name in return.
* * * * * * * *
Remus Lupin was never sure when it happened or why it happened. Normally he didn't believe in fate or karma. He preferred to see life as a card game, and he played the hand dealt him best he could. Sometimes, though, he wish there was a way to fold this hand and be sure that he'd be able to play the next. It seemed silly, perhaps, and at odds with the type of man he was, but Remus figured it was pragmatic. He could afford to be pragmatic.
Something happened that night, though, Remus would swear to it on whatever was holy. Something that was revealed by an unguarded moment from a man whom Remus would have sworn hated his guts. Severus Snape could never have been accused of being a believer in fate or karma. He seemed just as pragmatic as Remus; more so, if that was possible. Yet in one word, startled from Snape's mouth, Fate came slamming into Remus with the force of a hurricane.
Fate was making her presence known to Remus Lupin and letting him know on no uncertain terms that he was her puppet and he'd just have to play the part to the end. Perhaps the bitter end.
The evening had started innocently enough. The Order of the Phoenix, a group of witches and wizards that had banned together to fight the menacing evil of Lord Voldemort, had their weekly meeting and, as usual, Severus was punctual. Punctual as in right on time, not a minute early, not a minute late. Remus, on the other hand, was running a bit behind, as was his normal routine. He was supposed to have been downstairs five minutes early to help Nymphadora Tonks greet the other Order members, but Remus had gotten caught up in some reading and had let time slip by. As he rushed down the stairs of 12 Grimmauld Place, he turned the corner and ran smack into Snape.
Snape's black eyes widened; the man had obviously been startled. With this reaction came a name that flipped a switch inside Remus' inner self, almost within his soul.
Remus had stopped in shock. The name had come easily to Snape's lips and had a very familiar caress. It had made Remus want to lean into him for comfort. Shocking indeed!
"No," he had recovered quick enough to say, "Remus." Snape's face shuttered closed, his normal cold mask slipping into place. No emotion peeped through cracks. "Who's Raia?"
"No one you'd know," came the abrupt answer and Snape had turned to enter the room where the meeting was to be held.
Remus knew otherwise. He knew otherwise. Raia was someone he knew, but Remus was positive he'd never met or heard of anyone with the name Raia. It sounded Greek, or maybe Egyptian.
It was then, with that thought, that Remus realized. He understood. Remus Lupin was Raia.
And Severus Snape was Sinuhe.
But who was Sinuhe? And how did Remus know this without any shred of doubt?
The meeting seemed to drag on forever, though in truth it was very short. There was little to report at the moment, considering the war front was quiet for the time being. Each side was gathering supplies and troops. Now that the Ministry of Magic was aware that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named had indeed returned, subterfuge on the Order's part against the government was no longer necessary. Remus was impatient for the talk to die away. He wanted to corner Snape after the meeting. Snape slipped away before he could, disappearing through the front door as Remus fought through the group to get to him.
Remus did the only thing he could do. He cornered Albus Dumbledore instead.
* * * * * * * *
"Albus? May I speak with you in private for a moment, please?" Remus was polite in his request; Albus knew that even agitated, as Remus surely was, the werewolf was always polite.
"Certainly, Remus." The two of them settled themselves into a corner. The demeanor they projected gave no doubt to anyone watching that they did not wish to be disturbed. "What seems to be troubling you?" Albus privately thought many things had to be troubling Remus. To say the young man had lived a rough life was a huge understatement, yet the werewolf bore his tribulations well.
"Tell me about Sinuhe and Raia."
Albus heaved a huge sigh. "Ah. He let it slip, did he? I wondered when he would."
Remus' eyes narrowed suspiciously. "You mean Severus? Yes he called me Raia. *Who* is Raia?"
Albus smiled gently. "A very short story, unfortunately, but first I must ask you something and I expect you to answer me with complete candor, Remus. Do you believe in past lives?"
Remus blinked. "Like reincarnation?" Dumbledore nodded. "I never really thought about it. No, I don't suppose I do."
Dumbledore's eyes telegraphed regret as he answered, "Then alas, dear boy, I cannot help you."
'I gave the wrong answer,' Remus realized. "Then where can I go to find out my answer?"
"Try Amora Valentina's Lovers of Magic." Dumbledore placed a hand on his shoulder in comfort and walked away.
Remus went straight to the Black family library.
* * * * * * * *
Severus Snape berated himself a thousand times for being a fool. The word had just sprung involuntarily from his mouth. At that moment Remus had never looked more like Raia as Severus' distant memories could recall. Remus' brown hair had been tousled, his face lightly flushed from his hurried movements, and his lips parted in surprise when the werewolf almost ran the potions master over were all so much like Raia. It took Severus a second or two to remember that he wasn't Sinuhe and that Remus would not welcome a teasing embrace of a lover from someone like Severus Snape.
It had been their sixth year at Hogwarts when the memories had first surfaced. In the beginning Severus had tried fighting them, believing himself to be going crazy. One evening, returning from a study session in the library and fighting a headache brought on by these internal battles with his memory, Severus had run smack into Barnaby Collier, the Divinations teacher. Professor Collier had taken one look at Severus' swaying form, the confusion in his eyes, and the incoherent muttering and seemed to know exactly what was going on.
Perhaps there had been something to Colliers' abilities after all.
They had talked all night. Professor Collier had given him an excuse to miss his classes the next day and allowed the young Slytherin to pore over the professor's personal library on past lives, reincarnation and suppressed memory. The two of them had dined together in Collier's private chambers; Severus had delighted in the discussions they'd had regarding the possibility that Severus was experiencing past life trauma.
"Do you want to try and bring them out, Mr. Snape?" Collier had asked.
"Yes," Severus remembered replying eagerly.
"It will not be easy. You may not like the person you had been, may not understand him or her." Collier had looked sternly at him, those peculiar gold eyes hard.
"I understand. I want to try." It had been a challenge and Severus had always reveled in a challenge.
He hadn't been ready for that one.
It had been horrible. The trance had been difficult to sink into, as Severus had trouble relinquishing control of his mind to another person. Once that had been accomplished, however, the situation grew worse. The first feeling that washed over the young student had been excruciating pain. Not physical pain, as if someone were being physically injured, but pain in the heart, tapping deep into the soul. It had been unending torture. He screamed a name over and over, desperation almost as intense as the pain. Flashes of bubbling water, birds in startled flight, and water plants assaulted his mind. The smells were sickly sweet of flower blossom, fish, mildew and fungus.
Severus quickly identified the location as a river, a wide and deep one. The source of his agony was the bubbles slowing fading from the water's surface. Something, or someone, of great personal importance was down there...
...and would never come up.
His line of vision had blurred, as if he had turned suddenly. He was dizzy a moment but his equilibrium quickly restored itself as fury made everything go red.
"You killed him." His voice was low, furious, and hoarse with pain. Betrayal burned in his gut as if it were real. The part of him that was Severus had subconsciously realized that the sensations were real. "You pushed him. You know he cannot swim. There are crocodiles..." Severus could feel his eyes widened and he again turned to the water. The bubbles were no longer there.
"Sinuhe, it is for the best. He was holding you down, holding you back." The voice of the person Severus, no Sinuhe, was confronting was smug and self-assured. "You will go far now. It is for the best."
Hands caressed his back, then his shoulders, turning him around, and caressing his chest. Lips touched his cheeks, licked away hot tears of grief, and derisive laughter mocked him. "Ah, Sinuhe, how young you are! He was just a boy! There are so many other boys!"
Severus/Sinuhe shoved the other away. "No! Stay away from me! You are nothing to me!" The ultimate insult sprang from his lips. "You will be forgotten. I will make certain of it." The other was no longer amused.
"You will, will you? We shall see." The challenge was there and Severus/Sinuhe rose to it, but before they could act, the consciousness of Severus Snape was slammed back into his body. Sinuhe was buried once again.
"Who did you see, Mr. Snape?" Collier was startled when the seemingly unemotional youth threw himself into the professor's arms, sobbing in pain and terror. "What did you see?"
"Raia's death," Severus recalled sobbing uncontrollably.
"Ah, I was afraid of that," was all Collier replied.
It had taken several months for Severus to peice together the history. Two young men, soldiers in the army of Egypt during the Hellenistic period, had become lovers. Though male love was frowned upon by Egyptian tradition, it was not by Greek. Though both young men were Egyptian by birth, they had been raised in Greek Alexandria, affording them the convenience of two cultures. Sinuhe and Raia had met in scribe school, learning to read and write. Bored with their studies, they had turned to soldiering instead. First friends and later lovers, they were devoted to one another. They knew each other's hearts, their innermost thoughts, and shared great passion; they were equals in everything but their station in life.
Sinuhe was of noble blood, the son of a powerful priest/wizard in the royal cult and well-trained in the magical arts. Raia was the middle son of small village scribe, magical in his own small way but untrained. Sinuhe was destined to join the ranks of the royal household. Raia's fate was to disappear into the teeming masses, a nobody, an entity to be forgotten. Severus had discovered all of this in the history books he devoted himself to reading. The tragic story of Sinuhe and Raia had been popular fodder for magical love stories in the Dark Ages.
Severus had rejected the pictures of the two lovers found in the driveling romance novels. He knew what Raia looked like. He saw Raia almost everyday. After a dream of Raia and Sinuhe falling into heated passion, Severus had confronted Lupin and his friends in the corridor one day only to receive a jolt to his groin. Remus was Raia. Raia was Remus.
The irony was not lost on Severus. One of his hated enemies in this life was the one person he'd have given everything to have in a past life. Oddly enough, he wanted him even now, seventeen years or so after the realization of who Raia was. Severus had managed to keep the secret this long, through many encounters with Remus Lupin at Hogwarts as a student and a fellow teacher and as a member of the same fighting organization.
They were both soldiers again, but Severus would be damned if he'd lose Remus this time. Remus would live, even if he remained ignorant of the why.
* * * * * * * *
Remus found the book two days later at Flourish & Blotts. It was a disgustingly pink book with all sorts of hearts and cutesy romantic figures prancing across its cover. Cupid, Remus was happy to discover, was a really bad shot with a bow and arrow. He'd reluctantly skimmed the book, finding the reference to two Egyptian lovers, Sinuhe and Raia. He made his purchase and headed straight back to Grimmauld Place. Remus was pretty unflappable but even he didn't want to be seen reading a pink book with hearts and Cupid on the cover.
The tale was tragic, more painfully so than Remus thought it should be. It struck a chord deep down within him, very similar to the way he felt when Severus called him Raia. The question burned in his mind: did Severus believe Remus to be Raia reincarnated? Was Severus Sinuhe reincarnated? The idea was fantastic, almost too much so to be believed, yet something in Remus knew it to be true.
It was time for a confrontation with Severus Snape.
* * * * * * * *
"Severus?" He froze at the voice. "Severus Snape, where in blazes are you?"
"Here, Lupin." Severus tried to infuse some disdain into his voice, maintain the cold attitude that he'd managed to pull off as before. His voice cracked, making him realize that it wasn't going to work now.
Suddenly Raia, er, Remus was standing in the doorway of Severus private lab in the dungeons at Hogwarts. "We have to talk about something."
"My journals are over there." Severus still attempted to keep his distance, though his heart hammered painfully in his chest. He waved a hand vaguely toward a small corner bookshelf that contained all his notes and dream diaries of his past life experiences. "You'll specifically want volumes 1 and 3. I suggest skimming to the appropriate places."
Remus had walked to the shelf and had picked up the first volume, a tattered green leather book. "What appropriate places?"
"You'll know," came Severus' cryptic answer.
Severus continued to work, his nerves stretched taught. The silence was hard to take, broken only by turning pages or the clink of potions bottles. The book eventually snapped closed and Severus felt Remus approach.
"We were lovers." It wasn't a question.
"We were lovers." Severus stilled at the emphasis. He took a deep breath and turned to face the werewolf.
"Yes, we were. It hurt so much when I realized you were dead. I wanted to die too." Severus' black eyes met Remus' brown ones.
"Who killed me?" Remus' questions were clipped, hard.
Severus frowned at him and noticed Remus still held the first volume. "Read the third volume of my notes."
"I want Sinuhe to tell who killed me and why." The tone brooked no denial.
Severus sighed. "A peer of my father's, more powerful than he. He wanted me for his own. You stood in his way. Through him I could rise through the ranks. My father wanted the power I could bring him by doing this. The two of them conspired to remove you from the picture and they succeeded. Montuemhat had us believing he was our friend. One day we went hippopatmus hunting in the Nile River. He was in the same boat as you. I was with my father in another boat. Montuemhat rocked the boat enough to throw you off-balance but when you still did not fall into the river, he gave you a slight push. I believe you drowned. Maybe you were eaten by a crocodile. The river was certainly full of them at the time." Severus shrugged as noncommitally as he could. "I never forgave my father or Montuemhat. I used Montuemhat to rise in the ranks and then I turned on him, accusing him of bribery and extortion. I framed him and he was executed. I then committed suicide, thus bringing shame upon my father and my family."
Remus frowned. "Suicide was not frowned upon in ancient Egypt. That I know."
Severus smiled. "That was the beauty of my plan. I confessed to have committed adultery with many noble wives, which I had. I confessed that I wished to escape punishment by the authorities and then took my life before I could be stopped. I did it in front of a court assembly. From what I've managed to gather, my father was completely humiliated."
Remus just stared at him. The longer he stared, the more uncomfortable Severus became.
"An elaborate revenge because they killed your lover?"
Severus sighed. "No. An elaborate revenge because they killed my love. I had many lovers, before and after Raia. But I *loved* none of them." Severus shrugged. "I loved only you."
"I see." Remus looked thoughtful.
"Do you?" asked Severus a bit snidely.
Remus gave a low laugh. "No, but I want too. Since you called me that name at Grimmauld Place I've been obsessed with it. I can't sleep at night."
Severus nodded. "I understand. I went through that too."
Remus held up the leather-bound book in his hand. "Our sixth year? You've kept this to yourself all this time?"
"Professor Collier helped me a lot. He understood that I was fighting suppressed memories, helped me bring them out and delve into them without being lost forever. The man was a genius in everything except Tarot." The two men shared a laugh. Professor Barnaby Collier had indeed been terrible at reading Tarot cards.
"I don't want to read anymore." Remus handed Severus the book. "What do I do next?"
Severus pondered a moment. "What do you want to do next? Do you want to learn more about Raia? Are you having dreams like I did?"
Remus shook his head and Severus felt his stomach clench painfully. "No. But I want to try and see if Raia is somewhere inside me. How do I do that?"
Severus shrugged. "Sleep on it. That's what I did."
Remus just looked at him. "Or?"
Severus was confused. "Or what? That's all I can tell you. I had to have help going into a trance the first time with Professor Collier. It was painful, uncomfortable, and I never did it again. It took years to gather those four volumes of information, most of it personal research on the people involved, not revelations from dream sequences, Remus. Usually information triggered a scene or a memory, something brief, something almost insign-"
Remus' soft lips closed over his own, blocking further speech. A sleek tongue drifted across Severus' lips, probing gently. Severus immediately responded, his mouth opening slightly, allowing Remus' questing tongue to surge within. Their tongues tangled in a mating ritual that was new, yet so familiar. Remus moaned deep in his throat and Severus felt his head go light at the sound. They broke off the kiss, each pulling in air only to fuse their mouths together once more.
This time it was deeper, more ravaging. Remus felt Severus' tongue skate across his, swirling and sweeping. He opened his brown eyes to find the pitch black of Severus' orbs staring intently at him. There was a hunger reflected in the depths that Remus understood well, for he felt it too.
They broke apart once more, but before Remus could begin a new kiss, Severus stepped out of his reach. "No more," the dark-haired man said with a hitch in his voice. "You're not ready."
"I'm not -" Remus scowled. He glanced down where his male organ was feeling a bit hard and heavy. "I think my body has something to say about that."
Remus was amazed to see Severus give a wry laugh. "Not that kind of ready." He leaned down to pick up the journal that had fallen from Remus' grasp during their kissing. He stared at it a long moment. "You have to be ready here," he pointed to his head, "and here," and then to his heart. "There's more than just Remus and Severus in this, Remus. There's more at stake than the present." Severus looked away and chewed on his bottom lip a moment.
The action was familiar and arousing. Remus growled in his throat at the sight. Severus looked at him, startled at the sound. "Maybe I don't need the past like you do, Severus," Remus said sharply. "Maybe I just need the now."
Severus gave him his trademark scornful look, but instead of amusing Remus now, it burned him. It actually *hurt* to see Severus glare at him in such a fashion. "Just like Raia. Live in the moment. Living in the moment killed him, Remus!" Severus threw the journal at the wall, where it bounced, scattering pages.
"But, to coin a cheesy phrase, that was then, this is now," Remus countered grimly.
"Yes, and the now is so much safer than the then, isn't it? We're soldiers once again!" Severus was snarling but he couldn't help it. Fear was becoming deeply intrenched in his gut.
Remus considered him a moment and then shrugged. "But we're on equal footing, class-wise, now."
Remus smiled. "Why not? Is it because of our bloodlines? I know you don't believe that garbage about wizard purity, Severus. You've seen too many half-bloods or Muggle-borns and the powers they have to believe in that nonsense. Take Hermione Granger, Muggle-born, for example."
Severus snorted. "Or Remus Lupin, half-blood werewolf?" He turned away from Remus to stare at an empty potions cauldron.
"Or him too, yes," agreed Remus. His amiable attitude returned, sensing the need to placate his more volatile counterpart. Remus approached Severus quietly, causing the man to jump when he placed his hands on the potions master's shoulders. "I don't have to remember everything, do I, for us to become lovers in this life?"
Severus swallowed loudly, and with something that could have been a sob, turned in Remus' arms, sealing their mouths together in another kiss. It grew more impassioned, frantic. Both of their minds blanked of all thought except the person in his arms. Remus tugged Severus's dark robes off while Severus fumbled with the tiny buttons of Remus' worn longcoat. Before long, they were down to shirts and trousers.
Severus broke the kiss again, but this time Remus didn't give him time to protest. "No, my way," he growled possessively, and pushed Severus down on the desk.
In that moment, Severus and Remus no longer existed. Hogwarts' potions dungeon no longer existed. The here and now faded to then...
...Sinuhe and Raia were tugging on white linen kilts, fumbling eagerly, awkwardly. As their mouths melded together, harsh deep groans drowning out the sound of hands brushing flesh. Two young men, alit in the glow of love and passion, were soon entwined. Sinuhe on top reached for the unguent oil, an inexpensive herbal oil that could be purchased at any apothecary shop at any marketplace in Egypt. He slicked it on his erect organ and carefully lubed Raia's opening.
"Are you sure?" he panted, hunger sparking in his brown eyes.
Raia arched eagerly. "Yes," he drawled out, his fingernails scoring Sinuhe's back. "It has been so long since we've been together. I cannot wait!"
Sinuhe gently entered his lover but Raia had no patience for gentleness. He shifted and surged forwards, causing two fit into each other almost seamlessly. The two young Egyptians froze for a moment and then began to move in time. Sinuhe's papyri scrolls were scattered all over the tent from their frantic foreplay. The small reed portable desk was creaking with the weight of both men.
Without a word, Sinuhe swept the smaller Raia into his arms and quickly deposited him on the portable cot. As a nobleman's son, he could afford the nicer equipment and furniture no matter his rank in the military unit. Raia bit his bottom lip and then gasped in delight as Sinuhe pulled out of him, only to slip back in.
In and out. In and out. The rhythm was established and they soon were wrapped in nothing but the sensations of their bodies and the passion that vibrated between them. Sinuhe wrapped his hand around Raia's penis and stroked. He wanted Raia to come with him. He wanted them both to scream their release in unison.
The top took pleasure in the exquisite sight of his bottom gasping, pleading, and before either of them knew it, their climaxes exploded. The world exploded...
... and Severus and Remus slumped on the desk, ink bottles overturned, quills and parchment scattered around the area of the desk.
Remus reached up and threaded his fingers through Severus' long black hair. "I love you, Sinuhe."
Severus smiled sadly. "You felt them too?"
Remus chuckled deep in his throat, a sound of reclaimed joy. "Yes, I felt us. We've found each other."
Severus hugged him for a moment. "I am complete once more."
"No," Remus replied, a bit chidingly. "We are complete once more."