Casualties of War: Remus Lupin: Intro

By Hans Bekhart

Notes and Warnings: Very, very darkfic.  References to rape, character death, violence.  Extreme werewolf agony.  Will contain M/M relationships later in the series.  Theories on Remus' transformation were taken from RagePoint's wonderful thread on a href="; "Traumatic Magic"/a from the Werewolf Registry board, and an gigantic thank you to her for permission to use it.

            Remus Lupin hasn't cried yet.  It's been over three weeks and he hasn't let go of so much of a single tear.  It's the only thing he can still be proud of, the only thing that keeps him even a little bit sane.  He thinks that he's soiled himself a number of times, and can smell vomit on himself almost constantly, but he hasn't cried.  He hasn't screamed, either, he's pretty sure of that, even under Cruatius.  He's gotten pretty accustomed to pain, after all; thirty-odd years of being a werewolf have finally paid off for him.  He doesn't think he's told them anything, but he can't be anymore sure of that than he can be sure that Sirius is still alive.

There had only been a few people at Headquarters, he knew if he stretched his mind back.  Arabella and Tonks and himself and maybe one or two of the Weaselys.  It had been dinnertime.  It was soon after the full moon, and they were thanking their lucky stars that Snape had left a supply of the Wolfsbane potion for him, for he had been incommunicado with the Order for almost a month.  Sirius had been as stubbornly convinced that "Snivellius" had betrayed them as Albus was stubbornly convinced that he was loyal.  He had just gotten out his "special" utensils, the Black family cutlery that wasn't goblin silver and then – nothing.  He remembers nothing.  No explosions or fighting or yelling or even pain.  No warning of any sort.  His memory leaps forward, from staring into cabinets with an idle thought that he'd hunt that spider down after dinner, to this.

            His room has four walls and no doors, no windows.  There is no lamp but he doesn't expect one.  After all, this is Lord Voldemort's domain, and Remus doesn't think there's any kind of Muggle influences lying around.  He's guessed that the light inside his room dims or brightens according to the sun, but has no way of knowing: he hasn't even figured out how the Death Eaters are getting into his room.

They take him out, they put him back in.  He's lost count of how many times they've taken him to Voldemort, or one of his lieutenants (he supposes; how they know who is who behind the masks is anybody's guess).  Sometimes it seems they must come for him twice an hour, other times it feels as though he is left alone for days.  Tonks lasted for three days.  They put her back and Remus gathered her up when she couldn't get off the floor.  She had been beaten so savagely – with magic? With fists?  He didn't know – that she could barely talk.  "I sewed it up," she whispered to him, a faint smile on her face.  "I wouldn't let them get me, so I made it go away and they hated it."  Like Shakespeare's Lavinia she had pleaded to die a virgin, and she succeeded.  He hadn't known she could do something like that to her body.  She died during the night and he covered her with the only blanket they had been left with.  Since then, he had been alone: they take him out, they put him back in.  He isn't as lucky as Tonks, to be able to close up orifices at will.

Sirius hasn't come for him so Sirius must be dead.  It is the only thing he allows himself to think about.  He hasn't been rescued, so Sirius was dead.  It is a simple equation that doesn't include any other people from the Order.  He doesn't want to think about why he hasn't been rescued.  He doesn't want to think about what has happened in the last three weeks, what has happened to Severus and Harry and Hermoine and all the Weaselys and Hogwarts.  For all he knows, it could have been Severus, masked and anonymous, hurling curses at him, wrenching his legs apart last night.

When his eyes are closed someone comes in and leaves a smoking goblet on the floor in front of him.  He can smell that it isn't Severus or anyone he knows, and he can smell that it is the Wolfsbane potion.  So Severus **is** here, wherever here is, and brewing potions.  He's surprised; he had the idea that they were letting him live to serve as a living weapon.  Moony wouldn't know the difference between friend and foe; he'd kill whoever was closest to him, wherever they set him loose.  Remus has vowed to kill himself before he allows himself to be used in such a manner, although in his current situation he wouldn't know how to manage it.  He stares at the goblet curiously, pushing himself up on his elbows and taking a deep sniff.  It smells different, he thinks, than it usually does.  He weighs his options carefully; having no control over his actions, or trusting to fate.  It isn't likely to be poison, after all; if they wanted to kill him, a simple "Avada Kevadra" would do nicely, and if Voldemort had anybody as good at brewing potions as Severus, then their spy probably would have been dead ages ago.  Despite Sirius whining that Remus wouldn't take his side, he was definitely in Dumbledore's camp.  It was hard to mistrust a person who had spent two years brewing a monthly dose of certain death if not made properly.  Remus had been putting his life in Severus' hands for too long not to simply trust him, if only that he was too tired to do anything else.  In any case, the difference might be a change of only one ingredient, and what if it was added to help Remus escape?  Maybe Severus added something that would allow him to see where the exit was.  He fixes that thought firmly in his mind and swallows the potion.

            This scene is repeated the next day, another potion appearing from nowhere when he is sleeping.  He is glad, at least, for something to mark the time.  He rolls the goblet on the floor and enjoys the sound that it makes, the only sound he's heard inside the room since Tonks died.   They take him out, later, in what he thinks is night, and all he can remember later through his haze of pain is the smile on Voldemort's shrunken face, the gleam in his red eyes.  He limps around the room simply to feel the aches in his body, recount the damage done to him. 

            Tomorrow is the full moon.  He can feel it when he wakes, a thrum of energy around him.  He paces all day, and fights the Death Eaters when they come for him.  He is only thrown to the floor and beaten worse than usual for his pains.  When they bring him back he sits with his back against the wall and pants, openmouthed.  It was a habit that he tried hard to break when he first came to Hogwarts, like smelling people.  All he really managed to do was be subtle about it, but he doesn't feel a shred of guilt as his teeth are bared, breathing harsh and audible.  Moonrise was only hours away, he could feel it.  His bones ached for hours beforehand, his body almost yearning for the change.  But when it comes, he is never ready for it.

            It starts with his bones.  He's studied skeletal diagrams of humans and wolves, he's studied anatomy books.  He's learned to count down the changes that take place in his body, more so since he started taking the Wolfsbane Potion and stopped losing consciousness midway through.  There's more pain by far, to be sure, and it takes him longer to recuperate – nearly a week, compared to only one or two days without – but he wouldn't go back for all the Galleons in the world.

            It starts with his bones.  Every bone in his body cracks, breaks and warps as it tries to rearrange itself in a new body.  The mending of the bones is nearly as painful as the breaking, but it doesn't compare to the agony of his muscles tearing off the bones and rewrapping themselves around the new skeleton, the rerouting of the veins, nerves and arteries through his frame.  It takes maybe the span of half a minute.  The part he dreads most is when his heart stops as the transformation hits the cardiac muscle.  His organs come to a shuddering halt and he can feel them shifting in his body, to avoid being punctured by his new ribcage.  The worst part of it, though, is while his heart is stopped, he can do nothing but stare dumbly at the wall, unable even to scream as his diaphragm seizes, unable to contract or relax as the muscles of his chest are stretched or contracted beyond capacity.

            The last thing to go is his skull, an experience he was blissfully unaware of until he began taking the Potion.  He hasn't allowed his mind to cope with it yet, as he has coped with every other aspect of the transformation.  He can't even close his eyes or look away from the horror of it, as extrinsic muscles tear themselves away from his eyeballs.  He becomes able to breathe again just as his skull shatters itself into more pieces than he'd be able to count and his jawbone and nose begin to stretch.  His teeth do not automatically become those of a wolf; rather a new set tears through his gums every month.  He is only able, by this point, to offer a brief prayer that the werewolf is so large, that his brain does not have to undergo the same violent wrenching.  After all of this, growing fur and a tail almost feels like a gentle tickle.

            He ticks it off in his mind, when he can stand it, as he transforms in Voldemort's prison.  The bones break, the heart stops, the lungs stop, his hands shatter and the thumb bones draw up his arm, waiting for the change into paws, leaving the flesh of his thumb hanging grotesquely off of his human hand.  He waits with eyes scrunched closed as he is able to breathe again, until the realization comes to him that he can move his eyes and the transformation is not complete.  Through the haze of agony from every component of his body, he labors to open his eyes.  He is no longer transforming, his body is no longer changing but has halted at the midpoint, still broken and mutilated.  Eyes open wide as he stares down at the ruin of his body, unable to move and feeling the pressure of splinters of ribs against his every breath, Remus finally begins to scream.