Title: You Never Can Tell
Author: Neral Idazmi
Archive:Sure,if you want too but ask me first (email@example.com) Master and the Wolf have it till September 31st ‘05
Beta: The wonderful Hes, and Claire also
Challenges: 38) Remus didn't realize that he was in love with Snape. Until he instinctively took the hit that was meant for the snarky Potions Master.
128) One lies in a coma. The other talks to him, not knowing he can hear.
Author’s Note: I realise there is a fine line between cute and corny, and I would be extremely grateful if you’d review and tell me which side of the line I ended up on, you can e-mail me at the address above. Thanks J
Disclaimer: Not mine.
You Never Can Tell
“Remus!” It was only years of training that stopped him from turning reflexively when he heard his name, only years of practice that made sure he concentrated on the Death Eater currently trying to curse him “through the nearest gateway to hell”, and sent one last hex that made sure he could turn his back in relative safety.
“Petrificus Totalus!” Only then, as said Death Eater fell to the ground did he turn. What he saw almost made his heart stop.
Severus Snape was desperately battling two Death Eaters. In that moment Lupin realised that when they had been ambushed they had been outnumbered. Everyone else was locked in a one-on-one duel with their chosen opponent, but Snape had inadvertently taken on two. As Remus rushed forward, they seemed to finally gain an edge on Snape, and as he dodged one Death Eater’s curse, retaliating with one of his own, the other was taking careful aim, about to send yet another. Knowing he was too late to countercurse, Remus ran in front just as the words “Comisit Exanimatus!” rang out, accompanied by a flash of light from the Death Eater’s wand.
When the light hit him Remus felt strangely unharmed, but everything seemed to be getting further and further away, swimming in a pool of darkness. The last thing he saw before he collapsed was Severus’s face. He heard him fell the man who had blinded Remus with an unaccustomed fury, he heard the Death Eaters realise they were now outnumbered and, grabbing their fallen companions, apparate in panic. He heard all the others surround him and was thankful nobody else had been hurt. He heard Tonks gasp and Kingsley try to assess his injuries, and although he wanted to tell them he was alright he couldn’t seem to move at all. Everything seemed to be fading, and when he felt himself held against a warm body it seemed the most natural thing in the world to sleep. So he did, barely feeling the jerk that meant apparition
Suddenly....suddenly he was five years old again, playing hide-and seek, shoving his way through the undergrowth laughing happily. Only to come across a werewolf. A pair of great eyes, gleaming with feral hunger, above a huge pair of fangs rushing towards him. It was like a creature from a nightmare. And he couldn’t move. That was the worst part. He stood there in shock not even able to run away as the werewolf lunged across the space that separated them, to sink its teeth into his shoulder. Only then did the paralysis relent. Then he screamed till his throat was raw.
As soon as that memory faded it was replaced by the next…he was 11, and worrying about going to Hogwarts…he was 14 and his friends had succeeded in becoming Animagi...he was 16, and hid behind a book while its friends tormented Severus…he was 21 and being refused work because of what he was. Flashes of memory, each superseding the last. Yet in-between he heard voices; segments of conversation; Severus frantically asking what was the matter with him, why would he not wake up; Madam Pomfrey beginning a reply before his grasp on consciousness slid away completely.
Finally the flashes of memory finished, and Remus slid into a dreamless “sleep”. When he “woke up” after that he felt far more awake. Then he began to think. Oddly enough, the first thought on his mind wasn’t how he was injured, or even if he was going to survive, it was Severus.
He wondered why he had saved him. Of course he would have tried to save any member of the order in danger, but when he saw that it was Severus his reaction was instantaneous. In that one second, when he thought of what it would be like to lose Severus he froze. Severus…Severus had called him Remus. Only now did the significance of that strike him. Not once, in the seven months they had been playing chess and “socialising together” had Snape ever called him Remus. He hadn’t called him Remus since before the shrieking shack. Little did he know, Severus was wondering the exact same thing...
Why? Why had he called out for the werewolf? He knew in his rational mind that he needed help. As much as it pained him to admit it, he did sometimes need other people. So why not shout “help!” or something similar? Why did he have to call for the bloody werewolf? By first name no less! Remus...who was now lying unconscious in the hospital wing because of him. Pangs of guilt shot through him as he thought about what he could have done differently. If only he’d been a bit faster, or chosen his curses better. Enough! He thought. Berating himself would not help anything. He tried to ignore the fact that he was using the thoughts of guilt to distract him from the real reason he had called for Remus. That reason he knew was true, deep down.
In the hospital wing Remus had approached his problem from all angles and had come to a conclusion that surprised him. He loved Snape. No. More than that. He was in love with Snape. When he thought of what might have happened to him he was overcome by icy dread. He certainly seemed to care more about Severus’s welfare than his own. Severus had been the first thing on his mind when he woke up. It all fitted. And there was the fact that he had just realised he found the slender body, dark hair and onyx eyes an incredibly appealing combination. Now that he thought about it he knew that if he had considered the idea before he would have realised immediately. Now that he had realised he was stricken with gloom because he knew that there was no way in hell Severus Snape loved him back. He knew (or rather hoped) that under duress Snape would admit that he was friends with Lupin, maybe even that he enjoyed playing chess or discussing new magical developments with him... But he would never think of Lupin that way. And who could blame him? There was simply nothing attractive about a poor, prematurely grey werewolf. And Lupin had bloody well gone and fallen in love with him. It really was too bad.
He couldn’t say how much time passed till the man himself walked into the hospital wing. It might have been one day, two days, or even three days. It was hard to tell when you couldn’t see whether it was day or night. Suffice to say, since his realisation, Remus had had ample time to contemplate his injuries and apparent paralysis. He’d heard Madam Pomfrey mention a coma several times, and was aware that it was thought he was in one. It was incredibly frustrating, and he desperately wanted to tell them that he was alright, that he could hear them. But he couldn’t move a muscle. He was trying not to think about the possibility that he might remain like this for the rest of his life, trapped inside a living corpse, unable to let anyone else know that he was conscious. No. Not when he’d finally figured out that he was in love.
And he was terrified of what would happen when the full moon came. Would the wolf’s form be paralysed as well, or would it be able to break free, to kill. Although he didn’t want to remain unable to move or communicate forever; injuring, possibly killing innocent bystanders was too high a price.
When Severus Snape walked into the Hospital Wing Remus was surprised to notice that he could tell almost exactly where he was, as he walked through. He hadn’t realised how much his other senses had started to compensate for his blindness. Although he was focusing on this person more intently than any other…..
He heard the squeak of his shoes on the floor, the creak of the chair he pulled up, the swish of his robes as he sat down, and the quiet exhalation that signified some emotion he couldn’t comprehend without seeing Snape’s face.
Still, he took comfort in the fact that Severus could be bothered to visit, even if it was because he missed playing chess, rather than that he actually cared about Remus. Somehow lost in his thoughts yet acutely aware of the Potions master’s presence at the same time, he was startled when Snape spoke.
“So…..I….” he snorted “Apparently you might be able to hear my voice….though I still feel bloody stupid talking to you like this” Despite himself, somewhere inside, Remus laughed. No matter what happened Snape would always be Snape.
“Well. If you can hear my voice I bloody well hope you can’t hear what I’m saying… According to Poppy it’s very likely that you will come out of this coma soon. Although I almost suspect she’s simply trying to “comfort me”….gods…is it really that obvious?” He laughed self-derisively. “You know, I bet you never knew that I fancied you at school. I thought I hid it rather well, although I always suspected Black knew. I thought that was why he hated me so much. That and the fact that I was an “ugly snivelling greasy little git of a Slytherin” who dared to try and encroach upon his territory.” He sighed. “Well….it’s nearly 11 o’ clock, and comforting as Poppy is trying to be she will have my hide if I stay here too long. Goodnight, I…hopeyouarewellagainsoon.” And with that, Snape departed, leaving Remus’ mind reeling with questions, the most prominent being “HE FANCIED ME???” Well… obviously Snape had thought of him that way… a very long time ago. Gods. Poor Severus...he had harboured feelings for Remus, yet spent his entire school career being endlessly tormented by Remus’s friends. But now…now they had put all that behind them and had actually formed a kind of friendship. What, he wondered, had been so “obvious”? What was it that Poppy had seen? Still wondering this, he fell into a deep, dreamless sleep.
The next day when he woke up he was still puzzling over Snape’s statement. He found himself wishing he would visit again. It was a very pleasant break from the monotony, and last night’s visit had certainly given him something to think about. He hoped very much that Severus would enlighten him if he came.
Later, almost 24 hours from the last visit, his hopes were rewarded. Snape swept into the hospital wing exactly as he had done the previous night, sat down and after a moment of awkwardness began to talk.
“I said last night I fancied you in school. I did. From 2nd year all the way up till the shrieking shack. That shocked me out of it.” A pause. “I….thought it had anyway. Then after we left school we went our own separate ways.” At this Remus could almost see the grimace that must be decorating Snape’s face right now. “Then, suddenly, 16 years later you came back. I didn’t know how to act. I was mistrustful. I thought you were in league with Black… I….” He sighed softly “I should go”. And he did. He had not answered Remus’s question perhaps, but he had given him some hope. It looked as though Snape had finally got over the shrieking shack incident. Although they had touched on that subject in the confrontation that had finally cleared the air and let them behave normally to each other, they had not mentioned it since. Each of them was careful not to pry too far during their talks.
Snape had certainly helped give him an insight to his actions in Harry’s third year. He must have been angry and confused, and had obviously covered it up with a mask of bitterness. Inside himself Remus sighed. It was as plain as day that Severus’s usual nastiness was a defence mechanism to hold the world at bay. Well some of it anyway. And yet...and yet he had opened up to Remus, had let him become friends. And He said that he had thought the shrieking shack had stopped him feeling for Remus...he had thought….
The next day Remus was in a good mood as he waited for Snape to visit. As far as he could tell, he had been visiting at roughly the same time every night, after the hustle and bustle of everyone going to bed, curtains being drawn, friends chucked out, and the last round of the beds. He didn’t know why Madam Pomfrey had relaxed the rules for Severus. She probably knew how much he would hate to be seen expressing emotion for someone else, and there was the fact that she was apparently trying to be “sympathetic” to him.
As he waited to see what revelations would be divulged that night he suddenly felt the lethargy that had descended on his body since the attack lift slightly. He almost felt he could move. He lost these thoughts however when he heard Snape’s customary greeting to Madam Pomfrey.
Snape swept in, sat down and said without preamble:
“I love you” At this statement Remus’s heart rose in his throat and inside he exploded with joy. Severus loved him! Severus loved him!! He wanted to shout it to the moon and back!
Snape however, sounded utterly miserable. “I’m in love with you. No matter how I try to deny it, it still remains true. It was when you came back, to teach again. When you sought out my company, when…” He sighed in exasperation “Oh, it doesn’t matter how or when. All that matters is that it is a foolish notion that you will never hear whilst conscious. I know you will never have he same feelings I have towards you, but bloody hell I - I -” he croaked “I love you.” Suddenly Remus felt the lethargy lift completely – he could move! As his eyes snapped open he simultaneously reached out and managed to latch on to Severus’s hand. Only to feel him pull away in shock, and scramble ungracefully backwards out of his chair. Remus managed to prop himself up on one elbow, in time to see Snape passing into Madam Pomfrey’s office, and to hear his muffled shouts before he sank down again and fell asleep.
Snape made his way back to his quarters, shaking. Even though he knew it had been a coincidence Remus waking up then, perhaps… just perhaps he was responding to his words? Although he was thrilled that Remus appeared to have recovered, he couldn’t help but miss the way he had been able to tell him everything without being afraid of his response. Most likely Lupin hadn’t even known Snape was there when he woke up. And with this somewhat comforting thought he managed to get to sleep.
The next morning he was rudely awakened by a loud knocking on his door. If he had known who it was he would have simply stayed in bed, instead of cursing to himself, grabbing a dressing gown and running to the offending noise, yanking the door open quickly.
“Re…Lupin” He sniffed self consciously, and tightened his dressing gown round him. “May I ask why you are trying to hammer my door down at this ungodly hour of the morning?”
“Severus, it’s 10 o’clock!”
“Listen- I heard what you said.” If possible, Snape became even paler, and his jaw dropped.
Remus stared at his worried face. A face he had missed seeing for so long. His dark eyes were large in surprise; his mouth had unwillingly fallen open.
“Remus, I-” He stopped talking in surprise as Remus lunged forward and kissed him, slowly and softly.
“I love you too.”