Chapter Thirty - And I'm Saying Goodbye
Disclaimer: I do not own the song Say Something by A Great Big world.
A/N: I've added a song in this chapter, I hope you guys don't mind. If you want to play it when you get that to part, the tile and band name is in the disclaimer above.
The sea breeze hit Harry in the face as he and Severus landed on the sand near the shore. Severus pocketed the portkey they used as Harry stared at the view in front of him. There was nothing but blue, clear water as far as he could see. White birds above him were screaming and diving in the water. The sun was shining down, warming his skin. He breathed in the air which smelled heavily of salt.
"Are you going to stand there all day?" Severus asked in amusement, already walking down to the shoreline.
Harry shook his head and followed him. He was dressed in red swimming shorts and a black t-shirt. Severus was dressed in black swimming shorts and shirt with his hair pulled up into a ponytail. His skin was shallow as ever, and Harry thought that maybe the sun would give Severus a nice tan.
It was the early morning before term started the next day. Severus had kidnapped Harry from Madame Pomfrey's clutches, saying he needed Harry's help in gathering potion ingredients at the beach.
Harry knew Severus didn't need to find potion ingredients, he knew Severus was using that as an excuse to just bring him to the beach. Harry decided not to say anything and just let Severus have this one.
He ran after his dad, who was now walking further along the shoreline. Severus then paused to scoop up some seaweed in a flask. Harry ran past him straight into the water, then turned around and made a beeline back to the shore.
Severus, noticing this, laughed, "the water too cold?"
Before Harry could reach the shore, a wave came crashing down from behind him and smacked him from behind, sending water over his back and shoulders.
Harry yelled out in shock as Severus laughed.
"The water is salty!" Harry exclaimed in surprise.
"I forget you're a complete novice to the ocean," Severus smirked as he walked into the water that swirled around below his knees. Harry glared at him and went further in until the water was above his waist. "Don't go in to far or you'll get stuck in the current," Severus had warned him.
Harry respected his wish and did not go in any further, instead he floated on his back just like when he was back at the lake, when they were camping….when it seemed to Harry as if everything was falling apart, and he so much wanted to die. He was glad he didn't… he would had missed out on this. He would had missed out on Severus being his new dad and spending the last day of summer at the beach with him.
It wasn't long until Severus joined him.
"Enjoying yourself?" the professor asked.
"I am," Harry said as he righted himself up, his feet touched the wet sand underneath the water. Feeling a bit reckless at the moment, Harry splashed water at Severus who shouted out in surprised then chuckled and gave him a mock glare and sent a huge wave of water coming his way. Harry splutter as the water hit his face. He was about to send another splash when suddenly a huge wave began to form. Severus laughed and said, "swim over it!" Harry had no idea what he meant so he just followed Severus' lead and followed him until they were on top of the wave and then it floated back down as the wave crashed beneath them.
That was the strangest thing Harry had ever done. They spent a few hours battling the waves and Severus teaching Harry more swimming techniques to help him.
"Ahhh! Something touched me!" Harry suddenly shouted. Something slimy and long had wrapped around his ankle.
Severus turned to him as Harry swam in a panic to him and lifted his foot out of the water, completely freaking out.
"It's just seaweed!" Severus bursted out laughing as he got it off of him.
"Let's get back to the shore, I feel like I've been beaten up by the ocean!" Harry said and they made their way out of the water.
Once they were settled on towels and finishing the last of their lunch, Harry couldn't help but look at his dad. It was so strange. It still surprised Harry sometimes that he was forever away from the Dursleys and now he had Severus, who used to be nothing but an evil Potions Master who hated him. He would never had dreamed that one day they'll be here eating lunch together at the beach.
Severus had sacrificed so much for him this summer. He given Harry a home, a room of his own and much needed support, and all harry had done in return, was put his life in danger. That last thought made Harry feel so guilty, he lost his appetite and suddenly he couldn't enjoy the day anymore until they talked about the fiasco with Greyback.
Severus had woken Harry up at the crack of dawn and brought him straight here. They had no time to talk about Harry's kidnapping and the foolish actions he had acted upon. He couldn't wait any longer. This was the last day of summer and he didn't want to end it with that guilt hanging over his head.
"Severus...," Harry said hesitantly.
Severus turned around to look at him. "Yes, Harry? Did you finish your lunch?"
Harry nodded, "yes, thank you… it was very good. Can we talk about what I did to get kidnapped by Greyback? I'm tired of waiting for my punishment."
"Your punishment? I hope you're not expecting your uncle's version," Severus' deep voice was full of disapproval for the Dursleys.
Harry shook his head "no. I trust you enough not to hurt me… you're my dad…," he said shyly, still not quite used to calling Severus dad out loud.
A shadow of emotion flickered in Severus' eyes.
Harry looked at him and then blinked. The emotion was gone. He would had thought he imagined it, if it weren't for Severus' change of demeanor. He almost looked guilty… but of what?
"Are you sure you don't want to wait until we are home?" Severus asked and then his mask was on again. Harry thought that was very strange and added it to the list of things he wanted to ask Severus later.
"I really just want to get it over with."
Severus studied Harry's face until he nodded, "very well." He wrapped up his left over sandwich and along with the trash, he vanished it away with his wand.
"To be honest, child, I was angry at you when Granger and Weasley brought me the news, but I only felt that for a second, because what I felt more strongly was fear. I was so afraid that you were hurt, that you might had been…killed... I was afraid I lost you." Severus' voice was full of hurt, giving Harry a small taste of what the professor had felt that day. The guilt in him becoming worse, Harry only looked down, his cheeks burning in shame.
"We have rules for a reason, Harry. We took precautions that day, we established guards for you, all so you could be safe."
"I know, sir, but Malfoy was up to something!" Harry protested, he couldn't take the guilt any longer. He felt suddenly like he had to justify himself and then Severus could see that he had wandered off for a good reason. And plus, maybe, Severus would know what to do about Draco possibly being a Death Eater. He was worried for his friend. He missed Draco, despite how rude the Slytherin was at Diagon Ally. Harry knew it was only a mask but the scorn in Draco's voice sounded so real. It was hard to tell if he was still pretending, and it hurt to see his friend going down the wrong path. He wished there was something he could do to help him. "Can I tell you why I wandered off," Harry asked.
"You may, but it won't change anything, Harry. You have to understand that no matter what happens, your safety always comes first."
Harry blushed, "I know…just hear me out, okay."
Severus nodded, not saying anymore and allowing Harry to speak.
Harry took a deep breath. Well here goes nothing, he thought. "I think Draco might be a Death Eater."
Severus frowned at his words. It was silent for a moment until the professor asked, "and what is your proof?"
"When we ran into him at Madame Malkin's, he yelled at her when she was close to his forearm. Why else would he do that unless he has the dark mark?"
"That could mean anything, Harry, and it could also mean nothing…," Severus sounded doubtful.
Annoyed at Severus' doubt, Harry just continued on, "later, Hermione, Ron and I, saw Draco giving Narcissa the slip through Fred and George's shop window! Why would he do that knowing he was guarded by Aurors at the time? It's a pretty big risk for him, unless he was planning on meeting someone important, someone the Aurors or his mother could not know about. So we followed him all the way to Borgin and Burk's. He was talking about fixing something big and he had Greyback in his company, as if the werewolf was a part of this whole plan he was talking about."
Severus was deep in thought and again Harry had the feeling that Severus was hiding something.
"We couldn't hear what they were saying very clearly and we couldn't see what the object was, but this all seems rather strange, doesn't it?"
"Very strange, indeed," Severus muttered then looked at Harry. "Listen, Harry, everything you've just told me, I want you to forget it."
Completely taken a back, Harry stared at him. "What? Severus! Malfoy is a Death Eater!"
"And don't you think I would've known that by now? I'm the Dark Lord's most trusted servant. If he did make Draco into a Death Eater, I would've been the first to know!"
Harry scowled and crossed his arms to his chest. "And what if he didn't?! You really don't know until you see his bloody arm for yourself! I could be right, I know what I saw! Draco is up to something, Voldemort gave him the dark mark!"
"Harry, I'm telling you now to drop it!" Severus snapped, his eyes glaring at him, warning Harry to drop the subject or else.
Harry bit his lip and looked away, clearly hurt at Severus' reaction. He had really thought Severus would believe him but he was wrong. He wished Sirius were here, he would have believed him.
"If it makes you feel better, Albus has ordered me to watch over Draco. If I see anything out of the ordinary, I will take care of it. I don't want you to get involved with this, Harry, if there is chance you are right. For now, I want you to focus other things, the start of school for instance…."
Harry sighed and picked at his bandaged up arm. Severus had casted a waterproof spell on his bandages to keep them from getting wet.
He just wanted to change the subject now. Severus didn't believe him, and it was depressing to think about the friendship he lost with Draco.
"I was scratching myself yesterday after I woke up in the hospital…," Harry muttered, not really sure why he chose those words. He guessed he just really wanted to stop hurting himself.
Severus looked at him calmly, eyes giving nothing away as usual. "You woke up afraid?"
"I thought I was back there…,"Harry said softly, flashing memories of pain and fear raced through his mind and the urge to cut was there, small …but there. His fingers twitched but he didn't give in to his desire to scratch at his skin until it bled and the pain inside temporarily faded away.
"You'll never go back there, child, your home is with me. During the school year if you ever feel like cutting, come straight to me. If you ever feel overwhelmed or stressed and need to be away from your dorm mates, know that you'll always have your room open to you in my quarters if you can't sleep in Gryffindor tower."
Harry nodded, "I will, Severus, I really want to stop cutting myself. I was so stupid to start that habit and not it's so hard to stop. I don't want to resort to hurting myself every time I have a freak out or I'm stressed or something… I don't want to live like that… I want to be happy."
"I know, Harry, it's something we have to continue working on. It is going to take time and it's not going to be easy, you know that already. We just need to be persistent. We will get through this and I'm being honest to you by saying I truly see a day where you will stop completely."
"You have so much faith in me that I will stop," Harry frowned, looking down at his old scars that faded to white thin lines thanks to the balms that Severus made Harry apply on his arm during the summer to help the angry pink ridges go away.
"I do have faith in you, even though it seems like it will never happen right now," Severus answered and then gently nudged him. Harry looked up to see Severus smiling down at him. "You're not giving yourself enough credit. I am so proud of you, Harry. You have come so far in a matter of months. When I took you in this summer, I honestly had no clue what I was going to do with you. You were so lost, in pain and with this bad habit of self-harming. You've improved so much. You're healing, kid, slowly, but you're getting there."
Harry shrugged, "I guess you're right. I can't believe I once felt like dying would solve everything... Now I see how much people I would be hurting and the life I'll leave behind, a life with you and Remus as my family," he said shyly, not believing how cheesy he sounded at the moment.
Severus sighed, "That is why when you disappeared, I was so afraid that I lost you, just when I got to know you and care for you enough to call you my own son. I didn't want to lose the chance of being a family with you, even if I had to tolerate the werewolf. I would've done it all for you, Harry. You deserve to be happy, surrounded by family and friends. I hope you understand how much you are loved. Not just by me or Lupin but by your friends, the Weasleys, the Order and even your professors. I just want you to value your life, I wish you could see much you mean to them."
"I do, Sev, I really see it now," Harry said feeling guilty again for being so reckless in Diagon Ally. "So are you going to ground me still?"
"I'm not going to ground you. I think getting kidnapped by Greyback was dramatizing enough for you. I hope my words aren't in vain when I say that I trust you won't do something so reckless again."
Harry bowed his head in guilt "I'm still very sorry, Severus. I didn't mean to scare you. Next time I see something suspicious I promise I'll come to you first."
"Words can sometimes be meaningless, it is your actions that I'm waiting for. I shall wait until that day arrives," Severus said, his black gaze now staring straight at the ocean.
"You talk as if I'll get into more trouble again," Harry smirked.
"Humor me, child, tell me one year where your life wasn't in danger."
Harry for the life of him couldn't answer. "I'm a magnet for trouble I guess," he grinned sheepishly.
Severus shook his head, lips turning upward a little at the corners.
"Dumbledore said he'll be giving me lessons during the year. He was very vague about them what do you suppose they could be?"
"Perhaps something to do with the Dark Lord. I believe he told you not to tell me what they are about once you start?"
Harry nodded "I'm sorry, Sev, I wish I could tell you but he made me promise."
"It's understandable. Don't worry about it."
They were both quiet for a while as they stared out into the ocean. The only sound that filled their silence was the crashing of the waves and the screaming seagulls.
Harry glanced again at Severus, wanting so much to ask him what was wrong yesterday. He seemed like he was in pain, and he was quiet, as if something terrible happened. At first Harry thought it was because of him going off to Knockturn Ally, but Severus told him he wasn't angry at him. It had to be something else that happened. And then that look Severus and Dumbledore shared, and how Dumbledore looked so relieved to see the Potions Master. Had Severus returned from a meeting with Voldemort after Harry had woken up yesterday? Was Dumbledore afraid Severus wasn't going to come back? Then Harry realized that while he was asleep in the hospital wing, Severus' life was in danger. He could've lost his dad and not know why. And yet, this shouldn't have surprised Harry or worry him because Severus' life was constantly in danger. He was a spy for Dumbledore and it was only a matter of time before Severus couldn't keep his cover any longer.
With that last thought in mind, Harry decided to just ask his dad if he was okay. He had to know at least that. "Sev, are you okay?"
Severus tore his eyes away from the ocean and looked at Harry with a quizzical expression. "Why do you ask?"
"You were acting… I don't know… different yesterday… you were quiet and guarded…."
Severus sighed, "I was hoping you wouldn't notice."
"You were called yesterday were you? He hurt you!"
Severus nodded, "It was nothing I couldn't handle. I'm okay now, I took a few potions that healed me."
Harry nodded, still worried, yet sensing that Severus did not want to talk about his meeting with Voldemort. He wanted to ask what went on in those meetings and why Severus was called. Maybe it had to with him escaping from Greyback. There was so much he wanted to ask but Harry could still see that Severus was reserved about the subject. Remembering the Dursleys' dislike to too many questions, Harry didn't dare ask. So he just said, "If there is anything serious going on or if you're in danger, you'll tell me right?"
Again there was a flash of pain in Severus' eyes and then it was gone. "Of course, Harry…, it's getting late… if you want to arrive at the Weasleys on time we should get going." The professor stood up and began to pick up the towels.
Severus changed the subject deliberately, Harry knew it and it worried him but he trusted Severus, he trusted that whatever was going on he'll let harry know, he'll solve the problem and that right now, maybe, Harry didn't have to worry about it. So he decided to drop the subject.
This was the very last day of the summer holiday. Tomorrow his peers and classmates will be returning to Hogwarts. Harry was surprised to find himself a little sad that the summer was ending. He never had a summer like this, a summer of camping, having friends over, playing Quidditch at the Burrow, celebrating his birthday and ending the summer by going to the beach.
Severus who was dropping Harry off at the Burrow right after the beach, did not fail to remind Harry like a jillion times that it was alright to change his mind that he didn't have to take the train to Hogwarts. He could just join his peers at the Great Hall, but Harry was dead set against changing his mind, for he only has two years left of Hogwarts now. Only two more chances of riding the Hogwarts Express at the beginning of school with his friends. So they were on their way to the Burrow where he would spend the night and travel with his friends to Hogwarts. Of course there would be extra guards, but Harry was willing to go along with it for once and he hoped Tonks was part of the guard, the witch was always good for a laugh.
Severus held out the Portkey ready for him to take, but before he could reach it, Severus gave Harry a hug, a big hug.
Harry wrapped his arms around his dad. "I'll only be gone for a night, Sev."
"That doesn't mean I won't miss you, my quarters are too quiet without you. Just take care, son, and please stay out of trouble. I expect to see you whole tomorrow during the start of term feast."
"I'll be careful, dad….."
"That's all I wanted to hear."
They both let go and feeling ready to end this perfect summer, Harry touched the Portkey and felt himself get pulled away from the salty air and the crashing of the waves.
The sun was setting as Remus limped passed the window of his office. He was still banged up from his fight with Greyback. He was healing smoothly at least and hoped that he would be recovered for his first morning classes. There was so much to look forward to this year. He was finally able to teach at Hogwarts again, a career that he wanted to do his whole life. Being a teacher was a passion of his, all he wanted to do was to help contribute to the wizarding society by passing down all his knowledge to the young witches and wizards. He should be happy that Dumbledore was able to give him another chance, despite all of his reserves that he might put the students in danger again. Honestly, if things were different, if Remus had not almost lost his life at Greyback's clutches this summer, he would had turned this position down. Being a werewolf was something he could not forget, Greyback made sure of that. It was foolish of him to try and live a normal human life because he knew he was not human, he was a werewolf. This summer had taken a lot out of Remus. His body was not as young as it used to be. The torture he went through took its toll and he knew he would not be able to survive for very long out on the streets, so he had no choice but to accept Dumbledore's job offer.
Remus stopped pacing, his leg began to ache so he sat down. Papers were piled neatly on his desk. He was ready for the new school year, however, Remus was still stuck in the past. His hand slowly found its way to his chest where underneath his robes, burned into his skin right over his heart was the werewolf brand. Remus hated it. He hated being branded a monster. He already knew he was one but to have it permanently labeled onto his skin made it so final. Greyback took Remus' humanity away. He took everything from him this summer, his dignity, his sanity and his happiness, now everything was different. His life was not the same anymore, he couldn't go back to the person he used to be before Sirius died and before Greyback tortured him.
Nightmares still invaded his conscious at night. He thought after the fight with Greyback, his nightmares would go away but they did not. Nightmares that were full of pain and fear and hunger and sickness, nightmares of Greyback's rotten breath and bloody fangs with evil red eyes. Nightmares of Kaylie, her skin as a pale as the moon and lips as blue as the lake outside his office window. He didn't deserve to live when she had died…it wasn't fair. He had promised her and he failed. And the worst nightmares that left Remus shouting out in fear at night, night mares that left him covered in sweat and afraid to go back to sleep was of Sirius… Sirius falling through the veil….
During those tortures weeks in that cellar, Remus always felt Sirius' presence with him. He knew Sirius was with him the whole time, watching over him, giving him strength to go on, but now as the summer days came to a close, Remus noticed that he hadn't felt Sirius around anymore.
At first, Remus thought maybe Sirius was upset at him for leaving Harry or because he and Severus had kissed. He knew that would make Sirius turn over in his grave. The memory of that kiss made his skin feel warm. Remus had to admit, he wouldn't be lying if he said he enjoyed it. The feelings he had for Severus was a mystery to Remus right now. He couldn't ignore the tension between them and the way his heart seemed to leap out of his chest whenever the potions professor walked by him, but Remus couldn't act on those feelings. He felt so guilty for even feeling them. He was supposed to stay loyal to Sirius. The night after Sirius had died, Remus had promised to wait for him until they were reunited in the afterlife. The memory of that night was just a couple of months ago, it seemed like years had passed.
Remus picked up Sirius' old guitar. Besides the small fortune Sirius left him, to get Remus by for another two decades, this was the only thing Sirius left him. He must had known how much this thing meant to Remus. This old guitar represented so many memories of him and Sirius, and even the Marauders. Everything they went through in the past, this old guitar was always there in the background. Sirius was always playing it for either a laugh or to cheer them up or to make Remus feel loved. Music was so important in Sirius' life. His childhood was not a happy one and before he found is passion in playing the guitar, Sirius was on a downward spiral. This old instrument that Remus was holding in his hands saved Sirius, music saved him, it let him express the pain or joy or whatever emotion he was going through as a teen.
Who do you think you are, Sirius, to come into my life and make me feel so happy and then you just go…?
Remus began to strum the chords, and closed his eyes hoping to feel Sirius' presence once more. It was all he wanted. He had to know that he wasn't alone and that he was on the right path. He wanted Sirius, needed to be held by him, needed his warmth and his breathy chuckle against his ear. Remus closed his eyes tighter, praying for a sign but there was nothing…always nothing. And it hurt Remus so much, for the first time since Sirius' death, he felt so truly and utterly alone. He knew Sirius had moved on, leaving him behind.
You were supposed to wait for me….
Instead of crying, which he felt like doing, Remus began to strum the guitar in a slow pace, until he found a tune. To be honest, no matter how broken he was feeling at the moment, the knowledge of Sirius' spirit moving on had sort of freed Remus in a way...maybe this was a sign that Sirius wanted Remus to move on with his life, to find happiness. Perhaps he did not want Remus to wait for him.
Remus sighed in frustration wishing in vain for a bloody sign. "I don't feel you around anymore, Sirius…, what are you trying to tell me? Is this your way of telling me that you want me to move on?" he felt awkward speaking to nothing in the room and just as he expected, he was left with silence and nothingness…maybe it was time for him to just let go….
After dropping Harry off at the Burrow, Severus decided to take a walk through the castle, enjoying the empty and quiet corridors before it was filled with chattering brats tomorrow evening. Through the windows he could see that the sun was low in the sky. Severus stayed in the shadows, his mind on his son, wondering if he was having a good time with his friends before term starts. The boy deserved to have one last night of fun before worrying about his classes. Harry deserved to be carefree for the rest of his life in fact, especially after the rotten childhood he had, the adults he lost in his life and the prophecy weighing over his head. That thought led Severus to Lily. He wondered if she was watching over Harry right now and if she could see what Severus had done for her son. Severus hoped she knew that he completely changed his ways and his side of the war. He wondered if she knew the sacrifices he made for Albus and for the greater good, and how he was able to open up his heart to her son, to Harry, and gave him not only a home but a family.
Severus had so many chances to turn the boy away, but he somehow found the strength and the heart to help Harry through his depression, a depression so dark and deep, that Harry almost took his own life. Maybe at the beginning of the summer, Severus decided to help Harry because he remembered long ago when he was Harry's age, Severus had gone through the same thing, accept he had no one to turn to for help. At that time, Lily was no longer speaking to him, Albus mistrusted him, his father was as abusive as ever and his mother was dead. At the time, joining the Dark Lord's ranks seemed like the perfect way to fit in and become powerful… and now that Severus looked back, it seemed more like the perfect way to end his life.
Severus stopped walking to peer out into one of the large windows, lost in thought as he thought of Harry's progress. He was at the same spot he found Harry a few weeks ago in a puddle of his own blood. The boy was lost and now…Severus was so happy to say that Harry was going to be okay. As long as they worked through therapy and ending that habit, he knew Harry would mentally heal and that was all Severus hoped for Harry.
I hope you're watching over us right now, Lily, I hope that you are watching over your son and that you know I've changed. I am not that lost teenager who was so obsessed with the dark arts… not anymore, that was never who I truly was but only a facade to deal with my troubled life. I am now the person that you've always seen in me, even when I didn't see it myself. I was so caught in the darkness and I was so stupid to choose that over you. You were what saved me in the end. It took your death for me to open my eyes. So this time I'm choosing you by choosing to help Harry and to do that, I'm choosing to follow Albus' plan. It is for the greater good and if I have to choose a world where Harry hates me for betraying him to aid in his success of defeating the Dark Lord and a life where he has a bright future, then so be it. I'm doing this for him. Please give me a sign that you are listening, because I know in the end that I might not have to the strength to follow through with it….
Severus stopped his prayer, his throat choked up, unable to go on...and that was when he heard it… that soft melody coming from the other side of a portrait door. A certain portrait door that he kept finding himself in front of lately. The music was coming from inside and he noticed the portrait door was slightly opened. Despite his entranced state of the music, Severus couldn't believe how idiotic the wolf was to leave his door open. Anyone could just walk in, for obviously the wolf was having a private moment.
The melody suddenly stopped. Thinking he really should go before he was seen, Severus heard Lupin's voice.
"I don't feel you around anymore, Sirius…, what are you trying to tell me? Is this your way of telling me that you want me to move on?"
Severus could hear the raw grief in his voice along with acceptance. Severus marveled at that, knowing the werewolf went through hell and back this summer after he lost Black. And still he was able to let go of Black. Severus couldn't help but look up to the werewolf who was able to do that after a couple of months of grief, whereas Severus was never able to let go of his grief for Lily. But that's the person Severus is… a person who holds on to grudges, holds on to pain. A person who does not let go, but maybe it was time to let go…maybe he should take Lupin's example and just let Lily go….
Severus was about to turn away when he heard Lupin play a new melody. It was soft, slow…. Severus could imagine feathery, light, yet confident fingers, playing the chords on Black's old guitar. Severus gently pushed opened the door another crack, still hiding inside the shadows so Lupin wouldn't see him. He could just make out the werewolf sitting behind his desk, his body was at an angle, blocking Lupin's view from Severus. And to his surprise, Lupin began to sing….
"Say something, I'm giving up on you
Severus had forgotten how beautiful and entrancing Lupin's voice was. He remembered the first time he heard him sing, followed by the first kiss they shared, causing his stomach to ache at the memory.
I'll be the one, if you want me too
Those words were so familiar. They pulled at Severus' heartstrings as his pain became one with Lupin's, for he knew they were both going through the same type of loss. He now understood why Lupin turned him away. He had to let go of Black before he could ever start something with Severus.
Anywhere, I've would've followed you
Grief spilled out at Lupin's words. They reminded Severus of Lily telling him the same thing during their fallout, after he called her that name all those years ago and suddenly he could feel her.
Say something, I'm giving up on you
Severus pushed the portrait door open, and he could practically see her standing over Lupin, her voice mingling with his. Was this the sign he asked for? Was she telling him to let go as well?
And I'm feeling so small
It was over my head
I know nothing at all
Their voices collided into a whirl of emotions that caught Severus off guard. He knew Lupin was singing to Black, knew that the wolf could see Black as much as Severus could see Lily.
And I will stumble and fall
I'm still learning to love
Just starting to crawl
Lupin was pouring out his grief and loss, the same emotions Severus felt since Lily's death. Not wanting Lupin to stop, Severus stayed in the shadows and just listened as he felt himself letting go of his best friend, the girl with the bright green fire in her eyes. The one who saved him.
Say something, I'm giving up on you
I'm sorry that I couldn't get to you
Anywhere, I would've followed you
Say something, I'm giving up on you
The voices rose, raw grief pouring out, and Severus noticed that he was holding his breath. Lupin had his eyes closed, strumming the guitar as if his life depended on it. As Lupin's voice rose higher, Severus suddenly knew what he wanted.
And I will swallow my pride
You're the one that I love
And I'm saying goodbye
He'll always love Lily, like Remus would always love Black, but Severus could not deny his feelings for the wolf any longer. He was so eternally grateful for Remus' bravery for fighting against Greyback to save Harry. Remus was someone he could always rely on to protect Harry and Severus was stupid to turn away from him, stupid to be angry at him.
Say something, I'm giving up on you
And I'm sorry that I couldn't get to you
And anywhere, I would've followed you
He knew there was something between them, something he didn't understand before, but now seeing Lupin so vulnerable, so much in pain and letting go of Black, Severus understood. He had feelings for Lupin, strong feelings that could turn into love if Remus would let him in.
Oh oh oh oh say something, I'm giving up on you
And he knew somehow that Black was okay with it and so was Lily….
Say something, I'm giving up on you
Without a doubt, as if Black and Lily whispered it to him themselves, Severus knew this was right. It was time to let go. It was time to move on and be happy, time for a new chance at love.
Lupin drew the song to a close. His fingers strummed the last notes and he hung his head.
The room was filled with a gloomy silence. Severus had no idea what to do. If he should go in and say something or maybe he should just leave, after all he did intrude Lupin on a private moment. Before Severus had a chance to decide on his actions, a quiet voice broke the silence.
"When I was in that cellar, I thought that was the end of me. I was prepared to die if only the torture would stop…." Lupin didn't say anymore for a while, his face was still turned away from him but Severus could tell he was deep in thought or rather lost in his memories, so Severus stepped inside the office, curious of what else the werewolf was going to say. He didn't have to wait for very long as Severus closed the portrait door behind him and stayed standing in front of Lupin's desk. Lupin turned to face him but his head was still bowed, not able to look at him.
"They treated me like an animal. They chained me up with a metal collar around my neck. They used the Cruciatus Curse and silver chains to make me submissive. They hated that I fought back. They burned a Ministry label on me to let the world know I was nothing more than a werewolf….a dark creature. I think he did it so I wouldn't forget what I am." Remus chuckled bitterly. "Greyback wanted to break me so I could join his ranks. He had this obsession with me, seemed to think I was his son. He was so malicious...cold and lost in his own insanity. He made me…." Remus stopped and Severus could see his body trembling and his breathing became rapid.
Severus was sure Lupin did not remember that time when he had to pull him out of his wolf state of mind and was forced to see a few memories from Lupin's time with Greyback. Severus also had to see those memories once more. That time the memories were more vibrant, clear and full of pain when he entered Lupin's wolf mind as he held Greyback's neck between his jaws. Severus had a taste of what Lupin went through but he knew there was more. He knew that the few memories Severus was granted was only the beginning.
Severus didn't tell Lupin that there was no need to go on because he already had an idea of what happened to him this summer. He knew Lupin had to talk about what he went through. This was the first time he tried since he woke in the hospital wing. This surprised Severus immensely. It was a sign that Lupin wanted to get through this. He wanted to heal from the emotional damages Greyback inflicted on him. And Severus figured if he was able to help Harry, then Lupin shouldn't be of too much trouble.
"What did Greyback make you do?" Severus whispered to Lupin who was still struggling to finish the sentence.
Lupin lifted his head slowly, half of his face was hidden in shadow as the sun began to fully set. For the first time since Severus came into his office, Lupin looked at him. Green eyes full of pain, guilt and self -loathing bore into his own obsidian black eyes.
"I killed children…," he whispered. "I almost killed Greyback too... If you weren't there, Severus, I would had done it. Everything Greyback told me, of how much of an animal I am, how much of a monster I am, and how I have no right to be living among humans as if I belong in their world, I think…maybe...he was right..."
"No, he was wrong, you idiot!" Severus couldn't help but snap out. He wanted Lupin to come to terms with that happened, not wallow in his self-pity.
Lupin flinched and glared at Severus. "He branded me, Severus! The label Dark Creature is branded into my skin, over my heart! Who would want to be near me now? I am what that label says. I am a Werewolf, a Classified Dark Creature! I've killed others, so how could you say I'm wrong when I have blood on my hands?!" Lupin shouted in frustration, he eyes glowing a soft amber color.
Severus scowled at Lupin's foolish stubbornness. He stalked his way to the desk and grabbed Lupin's face between his hands. "Because I know you, Lupin!" he snapped. Lupin tried to fight out of his grip with a growl rumbling in his throat but Severus wasn't afraid, he trusted Lupin to keep himself in control. "You are not a monster, you are not a dark creature! You are just a person who had the misfortune to come across a werewolf, a werewolf who is ten times a monster than you could ever be! I've seen those memories, Lupin, you had no choice! They bloody drugged you, they took everything from you!"
"Let me go, Severus!" Lupin growled, his now amber eyes growing darker.
Severus shot him a deathly glare before letting go of the werewolf who rubbed at his cheeks.
"I just want you to see that you are not a beast. You are a human and one of the bravest, most self-righteous humans I've ever met…." Severus muttered, feeling a little ashamed of his actions.
Lupin just shook his head and ran his hands through his golden hair. Severus noticed the grey strands taking over, the lines on Lupin's face. This full moon had taken its toll on him.
"I don't know what to think anywhere," Lupin mumbled as if he didn't want Severus to hear him. "I lost myself and I don't know how I could be that person I was at school or before I lost Sirius…before Greyback…."
"You know…," Severus said quietly. "You remind me of Harry."
Remus looked up in shock, unable to believe what he just said, "how… I…." At a loss for words, he just shut his mouth, looking at Severus and waiting for him to explain himself.
"When Harry first came to me, he was feeling as lost as you are right now…and now look at him, Lupin, he's come a long way. I took him to the beach this morning, he was so happy today, far from the depressed boy he was when I first took him in. And the things he told me before I dropped him off at the Burrow, he told me himself that he does not want to cut. He told me he wanted to get better. And I believe he will. I honestly think he will be okay. Take an example from Harry who gone through fifteen years of hell. You know he saw himself as a freak just like how you see yourself as a beast. You are both wrong. And Harry is finally able to see that, and I know you will too... you just have to give your self time, you have to heal ,and I will help you, Lupin, if you ever feel like you need to talk to me, don't hesitate to do so."
Lupin looked at him and smiled, "why are you being so nice?"
"I haven't thanked you for helping me rescue Harry the other night. It was because of you I was able to get him out of there."
"Is Harry okay? He visited me yesterday but I was pretty drugged up from all of Madame Pomfrey's healing potions and when I woke this morning, I learned you taken him out for the day."
"He is okay, just a bit scratched up. So far he hasn't shown any werewolf behavior. Madame Pomfrey said so herself that there was a very small chance of that happening."
Lupin nodded. "It was my fault he was kidnapped, Greyback was trying to lure me to a trap."
"That wasn't your fault, that bloody werewolf is the only one to blame!"
Lupin only shrugged and didn't say anything else. Severus sighed and decided not to say anymore for now. Like Harry, it was going to be awhile before Lupin could come to terms with what happened and stop blaming himself.
"Would you like some tea?" Lupin asked. Severus nodded. Lupin stood up and placed the guitar back in its stand in the corner of the office.
"That song you were singing...," Severus said as he watched Lupin prepare the tea kettle. "It was for Black?"
Lupin did not answer until the tea was ready and they were both sitting down with hot steaming mugs, Lupin behind his desk and Severus on the chair that was meant for students.
"Like I've said, when I was in that cellar, I was losing myself and the only thing that kept me going was Sirius. I know this sounds crazy... but no matter how lost and in pain I was in, I could always feel him there with me. When I was in too much pain to move or when I could feel myself losing conscious I swore I could hear his voice whispering to me, I could feel his presence next to me. I knew I wasn't alone, I knew he was there with me and sometimes I wanted to die so I could join him." Lupin paused for while, blowing at his tea. Severus waited, sipping at his own scalding tea.
Lupin looked at him with a sad smile. "As you can see, I'm still here… I did not get my wish and now I have to live a life without him. I couldn't let go of him, Severus, even after you rescued me. I refused to let him go. I even thought of taking my own life, but I knew he would be angry if I did and I couldn't leave Harry."
Severus opened his mouth to what Lupin just admitted but the werewolf shook his head. "No don't worry, I won't think about that again. I can't selfishly take my own life when Harry is depending on you, me and Dumbledore to get him through this war."
"I'm glad you came to your senses then," Severus growled.
Lupin chuckled, "I'm glad I did I too… and back to what I was saying about how I couldn't let go of Sirius… that was the reason why I turned you away after we kissed. I really felt something there..." Lupin blushed but kept going. "Despite my growing infatuation for you, I could not give into those feelings when I was still holding on to Sirius. I couldn't do that to you, it wouldn't be fair."
Severus sighed as he put down his mug on the desk. "I'm sorry for pushing you into something you weren't ready for. I'm not very good at relationship stuff… I didn't expect myself to suddenly take an interest in you. It…." He didn't know what else to say….
"It just happened?" Lupin suggested.
Severus looked at him, and met those forest-green eyes. "Exactly," he said. "Do you still feel Black with you?"
Lupin shook his head "I have not. That song you heard me singing… I was letting him go. I know he wants me to move on, as much as it pains me... I feel like I have to respect his wish, as if I promised him I would…somehow…."
Severus wondered if he should share with Lupin how that song made him realize it was time to let go of Lily also. He finished up his tea as he thought against it, because it didn't matter if he shared it or not. Lily was his best friend. She was the one who saved him and without her, he wouldn't had been here. Now that he accepted she was gone, he had to stop thinking about her.
Lily was gone and there was nothing he could say or do to change that. And for the first time ever, Severus felt as if he were at peace. He felt free to be happy. The guilt of being the cause of her death had went away and now he was free to raise Harry, free to start something new with Lupin….
Then that happiness disappeared.
Was it wise to start something with Lupin after he promised Albus he'll be his murderer in the near future? Would it be selfish of him to let Lupin fall for him and then betray him? Was it right for Severus to hurt another person besides Harry? All these questions he could not answer. He had no idea what to do or how things between them would end up, so he decided to not worry about it for now. He was tired of this task weighing down on him, preventing him from being happy, but these were the sacrifices that he must take for the greater good, sacrifices all for this war to end….
Severus looked up and realized he had missed what Lupin had asked him.
"Has Voldemort called you yet? I was wondering because of what you told me about being ordered to take Harry to him the next time he did."
Severus nodded, "yes, however, I didn't take Harry. I managed to lie my way out of his wrath."
"Did he torture you?" Lupin quietly asked.
Severus looked away, not wanting to answer, but Lupin took that as a yes... annoying werewolf!
Lupin got up from his desk and knelt down in front of Severus so that he was eye level with him.
"You did what you had to do."
Severus shook his head. "It was the worst physical pain I've ever felt... and yesterday when I returned, Harry could see that I was in pain... I couldn't tell him... I didn't want to worry him."
"And you were right to not tell him yesterday. He has a lot on his plate and Hogwarts is starting tomorrow, however, you can't hide your pain forever, Severus, you have to let him in sometime…. You have to let me in also. You don't always have to be the strong one. We could be strong for you too, if you would only let us."
Severus looked at him, "you have to let me in too…," he whispered. "No more pushing me away either, promise me, Remus."
Remus smiled at him. He was so close to Severus, he could feel his breath warm against his cheek. "I promise, Severus."
And before Severus realized, soft lips closed the gap between them. They kissed slowly, exploring each other's mouths. Severus ran his hand through Remus' hair as he leaned into the kiss and he swore he saw bloody fireworks. Whatever this was, Severus wasn't going to stop it. He knew Remus was going to get hurt in the end but he justified himself into thinking that like Harry..., maybe Remus would understand and if not, then he'll rather have Remus hate him than live in a world that was dark and full of bloodshed.
After a few seconds, they parted, looking at one other with red lips and both out of breath. Remus' hair was a mess from Severus' hand running through it and Severus couldn't help think of how cute Remus looked with messy hair.
"I think we should get to bed...," Remus said. "We have meetings tomorrow morning before the students arrive."
Feeling a bit disappointed at Remus' obvious dismissal, Severus nodded and stood up, only to be stopped by a gentle hand on his shoulder. Remus was standing so close to him, he reached up and kissed him on the cheek. "I'll save you a seat tomorrow," he whispered. "Goodnight, Severus."
Severus left the office in a daze. He was not sure how he made it back to his quarters so fast.
Before heading to his bedroom, he silently made his way to Harry's room and opened the door to an empty bedroom. The bed was made, all of Harry's school books and robes were gone, along with his firebolt and Hedwig's cage. Severus couldn't help but feel a little sad that Harry would now be residing at Gryffindor tower. He was going to miss the annoying teen lazing about on his sofa.
This summer was so unexpected. He hadn't expected to gain a son when he first took Harry in. He hadn't expected much of anything, only arguments and hate between them, but everything changed and Severus was not sure how that happened. Only that he was glad things changed between him and Harry, he was happy that he got the chance to get to know him as he took one last look at the empty room. He hoped Harry was okay for the millionth time that night and remembered the last words they spoke before Severus left him at the Burrow.
Severus and Harry were standing inside the Weasleys' living room. Harry had his school trunk resized, along with Hedwig's cage and firebolt that were leaning against the trunk.
"Thank you for today, Sev, it was really fun."
Severus waved away his thanks as he pulled out Harry's wand from his pocket and handed it to him.
"I imagine your friends have your cloak?" Severus asked.
Harry nodded as he examined the holly wand. "Do you think I'm ready?" he asked, surprised that he was granted full wand privileges once more.
"I trust you," Severus said."Plus, you'll need it for school. I won't be with you every second of the day, so I want you to promise me that you'll come to me when you feel like you have to cut."
"I promise," Harry said.
"Don't be afraid to floo me if you need anything," Severus said, feeling like a new parent leaving his newborn alone for the first time.
Harry laughed at Severus' stress "Sev, I'm only going to be gone for one night and day, I'll be coming back home to you. It's not as if I haven't stayed here before."
Severus had only hugged his son, those words Harry had spoken…I'll be coming back home to you... a sentence he never thought he'll hear Harry say to him.
Severus sighed and left the room, closing the door behind him. Tomorrow Hogwarts was reopening, the start of the new school year was beginning and he forbade himself to think about the end…only deciding to enjoy the year with his son...before it all went to hell.
Once Severus was dressed into his night clothes, he climbed into bed. As soon as his head hit the pillow, thoughts of Remus invaded his mind. He had no idea how that happened, how Remus' lips were suddenly on his. That was the last thought he had before falling into a deep and peaceful slumber, his dreams containing a certain werewolf with forest-green eyes, soft lips and that husky voice that made Severus' legs go weak and his heart race. And in his dreaming mind, he knew that he was falling for Remus Lupin, dangerously falling, with only Remus to catch him.
A/N: So this the end of Already Home ='(
I hope you guys all enjoyed my story and I look forward to all of your reviews. I'm anxiously waiting to hear what you think of this chapter, I worked on this for days and hours lol…
So don't be sad readers, I'm still reediting past chapters for you and I'll be writing a sequel for this soon, just keep checking my page for it! And special thanks for every review like and follow, for the people that stuck with me from the beginning. I appreciate your phrases and support! Thank you so much! –Chase'sGirl19