Rating: PG-13 for eventual mild slash, bad language and big scary werewolves
Summary: Remus and Severus are signed in for therapy to improve their platonic relationship and through the torturous experience grow closer. Eventual slash. Expect snark-fests, psychoanalysis and group-hugs aplenty!
Disclaimer: The characters of Remus and Severus and the Wizading World in which they reside are sole property of J. K. Rowling. However, Doctor Aesclapius Van Dalen belongs to me which is no great consolation as he is quite ugly and smells of cabbage.
AN: The author would like readers to please note that she has never met a Dutch person in her entire life and therefore hasn't much of a clue when it comes to the accent. However, if any readers are offended or amused by her shoddy attempts at one, they should bear this in mind. (With Parselmouth's advice I've done my best to rectify the dialogue so that it sounds vaguely convincing.)
Please feel free to take the time to stroke my ego or offer constructive criticism/corrections. I really do appreciate any reviews.
"Today, we are going to examine your memories of de attack and how dey haunt you to de present day, yah?"
Doctor Van Dalen- a middle-aged, balding, pot-bellied Dutchman with a wardrobe to rival Hagrid's and a fondness for Kneazles bordering on obsession has been selected by Albus Dumbledore to cure me of my fear of werewolves. I and a certain lycanthrope have been participating in Van Dalen's counselling sessions for three weeks now and I can officially say it is working- I now feel more dread at the sheer mention of therapy than at having to interact with Remus Lupin.
This all came about as a consequence of someone having slipped silver powder into said lycanthrope's porridge, coincidentally the morning after a somewhat heated quarrel between him and me over such varying subjects as my teaching methods, his affliction, my personal hygiene and his parentage. Dumbledore decided that if we are to ever work alongside each other comfortably and professionally as both colleagues, since Lupin's return to Hogwarts, and members of the Order, some form of intervention was necessary. This, I could deem reasonable, but not in the form of counselling sessions with Doctor Van Dunderhead.
I cast a distasteful glance over the by now all too familiar room. Van Dalen bangs and rifles through the rickety old oak desk in the right hand corner of the room on which are heaped piles of books ('An Exploration Of The Magical Mind', 'Confronting Fear: A Guide To The Use Of Boggarts When Treating Phobias' and 'Korina Cantaloop's Catalogue of Anti Depressant Potions' to name but a few), parchment and Kneazle statuettes. Behind the desk are bookshelves housing more books, parchment and Kneazle statuettes. The decor is a ghastly magenta and forest green with a clashing royal blue carpet strewn with more books, more parchment and yet more Kneazle statuettes. The overall look is one of absolute chaos. Opposite a dark olive armchair is the matching couch where Lupin has already made himself comfortable.
My sneer broadens- one glance at him and my fingers itch to seize my wand and cast a well-placed slug vomiting hex. Oh, how I despise the beast. Doctor Van Dalen spins around, eventually having found our case file and treats me to a crooked, nauseatingly cheerful grin.
"Really, Doctor, I must protest, we focussed on me last week. Isn't it time you began analysing Lupin's deep-seated guilt and fear of killing and maiming the innocent?" Lupin flinches. Van Dalen takes this as a reaction to my mention of his 'issues'; I assume it to be the sheer thought of having his psychological profile poked and prodded by this nut case.
"Zeverus, dat was insensitive! And you know what de punishment for being insensitive is." I groan in protest. Rictusempra for a full three minutes. The spell hits me for the seventeenth time in three sessions. Special exceptions ought to be made for inherently sarcastic individuals.
Minutes later I stagger across to the couch and sit as far away from Lupin as is physically possible. Van Dalen smiles- it is a disturbing sight. With a flick of his wand the seating shrinks and I am crushed between a green velvet cushion and a werewolf.
"Doctor, what is the meaning of his?" I feel violated; I have this man-beast's elbow digging into my hip.
"Tcha, you two are going to learn to sit within five metres of each other whilst being civil!"
"I'd rather sit on the floor-" I reply and move to rise but find my body bound to the chair.
His expression, which for the barest of moments had been frankly unsettling, is now as sunny and zany as ever.
"Remus, how does it make you feel when Zeverus refuses to even share a seat with you for fear of what you become at de full moon?"
The werewolf glances sideways at me, "Actually, I'd rather he sat on the floor, as well."
"You feel threatened by his behaviour towards you?" I roll my eyes.
"Er, everyone feels threatened by his behaviour towards the world in general."
I smirk; yes I'd like to think so too.
"Dat is interesting, most interesting. So, Zeverus, you feel dat you can combat your own fears by making de world fear you? Interesting, most interesting..." Van Dalen mutters, proceeding to scribble notes down into our case file. Our case file, shared between us, because Doctor Van Dalen believes it is integral to our treatment that we share all aspects of our therapy and most aspects of our everyday lives. Needless to say he was quite sure after five minutes of our first session that we were not to be the most co-operative pair and therefore to monitor us back at Hogwarts, Dumbledore has been enlisted to keep a watchful eye on us. We have been designated a sofa near identical to this one in the staff room to further torment us throughout the week- naturally, this has lead to both of us seldom appearing in there at the same time. We have been forced to share various other amenities, as well as being coerced into sitting next to each other at meals. Thankfully, neither Dumbledore nor Van Dalen has had the ingenious idea of having us share a bed yet- for which I am sure we are both mutually grateful.
"So, back on topic: Zeverus, what do you remember of de attack?"
I blink; Van Dalen is under the illusion that by making me relive the attack I might somehow come to terms with it and find the whole ordeal much less mortifying when, in fact, the adverse is true. "Gnashing teeth, slavering jaws, bloodthirsty yellow eyes, hot odious breath on my face, vicious snarling and growling," I drawl, in my most deadpan voice.
"Yah, yah, good, good- and dis made you afraid, yes? Dis made you fear for your life?"
"Of course it did," I snap at him. "A great hairy werewolf with its snout in my face, of course I was scared, wouldn't you be?"
"Did you experience nightmares after de encounter?" Van Dalen asks, all the while bobbing his head up and down whilst fervently writing notes.
"I was fifteen, I was nearly murdered!" I cry defensively.
"Did you find yourself excessively tearful or aggressive as a result of de attack?"
I sigh, exasperated, "I suppose aggressive, maybe slightly." Lupin snorts at this but Van Dalen ignores him and continues while I glower.
"Did you at any time soil yourself or de bedclothes in de immediate months after de attack?"
"No!" I feel heat rise to my cheeks, outraged by the audacity of it all. Lupin, the bastard, sniggers. "And he's not allowed to laugh!"
"Mister Lupin, please."
"My apologies, Doctor," the beast mutters, straightening his face with considerable effort.
"This is unfair!" I growl, beating a cushion for emphasis. "If I so much as smirk in here I get hexed. He is deliberately rude and offensive and he gets away unscathed! This is exactly what used to happen at school- they would get special treatment and I was discriminated against! It's bloody favouritism!"
"So, you feel Remus has always been treated comparatively better than you?"
Finally, we're getting somewhere. "Yes."
"Are you jealous of Remus, Zeverus?"
"Don't be ridiculous."
"Are you resentful dat his life seems to you of better quality, when you believe he is undeserving, being what he is?"
"Better quality of?" The man can barely afford to eat properly. "I simply commented that throughout our lives, whenever an opportunity has arisen, the Golden Gryffindor was always favoured above me in whatever the stakes might be."
"Give me an example of when dis has happened."
"This year, and three years before that, he has been appointed Defense Against The Dark-"
Lupin begins to laugh. "Not in the slightest bit jealous are we, Severus?" I scowl at him but he carries on regardless. "Besides, that has nothing to do with me. Albus just doesn't want to lose his Potions Master or," he pauses, "...well, you get a better deal when I'm teaching the subject anyway, what with being able to cover the lessons once a month."
He gabbles on, attempting to brush over the fact he knows more than he is letting on. I am not deterred. "Or what?"
"Nothing. Nothing at all."
"Why hasn't Dumbledore given me the job before?" I round on him. "Even when threatened with Dolores Umbridge? He's told you, hasn't he?" Told him, when he has never given me a reasonable explanation.
The werewolf becomes very interested in looking at his paws.
"He only thinks," he mumbles, "that if he gave you the job it might... Might be like employing a reformed alcoholic behind a bar."
Anticipating my mounting urge to hit him, Lupin shrinks away from me and visibly attempts to fade into the sofa. I begin to grind my teeth and flex my fingers irritably. Van Dalen is scribbling away. "What are you writing?" I snap.
"Zeverus, do you believe dat given a job where you would be exposed to de temptation of de Dark Arts that you might revert back to your old habits?" Dumbledore informed Van Dalen of my 'history' before our first session.
To say that I am offended by this would be a grave understatement. "No! The notion is bloody ridiculous; I am in complete control of myself at all times, dammit!" Ignoring this momentary slip which sees me leaping to my feet, seizing the nearest grinning Kneazle and hurling it against the wall. I sit back down, unapologetic.
"I would never use Dark Magic against a single one of those insufferable brats," I mutter angrily.
An awkward silence falls while Van Dalen writes another note on my apparent mental instability. "How has dis made you feel, Zeverus? Betrayed? Angry?"
"How do you think I feel?" I exclaim- as if my little demonstration just now hasn't been sufficient in displaying exactly how I feel. "I'm sick to the back teeth of talking about how I'm feeling. Let's discuss something else. Lupin! How does it make you feel knowing 98 percent of the wizarding world fears and despises you?" Lupin looks affronted, and slightly hurt. Ha! Serves him right.
"Zeverus!" I tumble off the sofa squirming and giggling, and remain on the carpet until the effects of the hex wear off.
"You have applied for de position of Defense Against The Dark Arts instructor on a number of occasions, I believe, Zeverus?" He continues as though nothing has happened.
"Every year for the past fifteen years," I hiss through clenched teeth.
"Tell me what happened last time Mister Lupin was teaching at Hogwarts."
"You know very well what happened."
"What's the matter, Severus?" the werewolf interjects. "Attack of conscience? Can't bring yourself to repeat how exposed my nature to your students, forcing me out of the one place I've ever thought of as home?" The infuriating thing about Lupin is his ability to remain completely impassive whilst accusing me of wrecking his life/attempting to end his life/making his life a living hell...
"Exposed your nature, Lupin? Would that be your irresponsible and impulsive nature? Your deceitful nature? Precisely why ought I to have concealed the fact of you betraying the Headmaster's trust and your decision to go frolicking in the grounds with Black less than an hour before moonrise? I have absolutely no regrets over warning the children of the danger they were in," I counter.
Van Dalen interrupts, "Zeverus, why do you believe Remus to be dangerous?"
I roll my eyes, "Really, Doctor, even you could take a stab at it and stand a chance of guessing close."
"Nevertheless," he beams insincerely (Van Dalen's job requires him to exercise unconditional patience whilst dealing with cases such as myself) "I wish to hear it from your own lips."
I am beginning to believe that rather than addressing my 'deep-seated issues' this therapy is endeavouring to give me double the amount I began with. I breathe deeply, "Because," I start slowly, "Remus Lupin is a werewolf, a lycanthrope, a loup garou, a lobisomem, a ihmissusi, a lupo manero, an irrinja-" (1)
"And therefore is only remotely dangerous one night each month and not at all when under the influence of the Wolfsbane which I believe you yourself brew for him?"
"Which he forgot to take!"
"I understand that extra precautions have been taken to prevent this sort of thing from happening again," Van Dalen remarks calmly.
"Magically tagged like a proper animal, aren't you Lupin?" I sneer derisively. "Not that you deserve to even set another foot in the castle after your negligence. People might have died that night."
Lupin looks uncomfortable.
"Had I not alerted the students and, indirectly, their parents of the dangerous situation in which you had placed them, I knew the Headmaster would not have taken the appropriate action and your little moonlit venture would have been covered up. Your recent reinstatement at the school is proof of Dumbledore's unwarrantable softness when it comes to his particular favourites."
Lupin swallows hard, and grimacing asks in a hushed voice, "But why tell everyone? Why not go to Dumbledore, or to me first? I was prepared to resign. I was mortified by what danger I had placed you all in. Why make my condition public knowledge?
"Revenge? Was that it?"
I sneer at him. "Revenge for what? Running amok in the Forbidden Forest and shredding the school's supply of sneezewort? For failing to devour Harry Potter and Hermione Granger? Both of which are certainly unforgivable but no, Lupin, my primary reason was that had I concealed my knowledge of your conduct my conscience would have been blighted. I was simply ensuring justice was well served. I'm afraid the relish I felt at finally, after twenty five years, being able to reveal to the world what affable, good-natured Remus Lupin really is was just an added bonus."
"Zeverus," Van Dalen says after a moment of silence, "I have trouble seeing what agitates you more about Remus, his lycanthropy or his own character and de history between you?"
"Both in equal measures," I reply, one eyebrow raised since I would have assumed this was perfectly obvious.
Scribble scribble goes the quill and I strain my neck to better read his untidy scrawl: 'Remus' condition impedes development of their relationship and causes communication difficulties. Severus uses it as an excuse to distance himself from Remus and fuel their mutual dislike.'
(1) Here, Severus is demonstrating either his extensive linguistic skills or his obsession with lycanthropes. He'd probably prefer the former.
Loup garou- French for werewolf
Lupon manero- Italien
Irrinja- native Australian for devil dog