Summary: Remus is depressed. Harry and Snape help him out. Remus/Snape/Harry/Draco slash, darkfic.
Dedication: For Darkangel Rose's birthday, who's a fantastic fanficlet and fanpoem writer herself (ljbluerose16), and who requested a Snape/Lupin fic with the Casablanca quote "Tell me, who was it you left me for? Was it , or were there others in between? Or aren't you the kind that tells?"
Noble House on Fire
Tonks has about as much luck as she has grace, and it had run out along with her patience. Remus is alone in the house now, the Order having abandoned it after Sirius's death. Others come in after that, like drips from a tap, trying to drain into him but all the pipes are blocked. He lies on the dirty carpet with his eyes travelling across the ceiling and his fingers soaked in his own blood. From under the carpet the stone floors move like water as if he is floating on a raft to the end of the world.
Harry's visits become less and less frequent. "Lupin," he says bitterly, because Remus told him off for calling him Moony, "I hate this house. Sirius hated this house, why are you still in it?" Remus is still on the floor, so Harry stomps away. He comes back again and again. He tells things to Remus as if Remus if a self-writing diary. Harry is shagging his Potions teacher, Professor Snape. Snape likes it when Harry calls him 'Sir' while Snape fucks him over his desk. Harry has a crush on Draco Malfoy and once Draco showed Harry his Dark Mark. Remus will not let Harry call him Moony because it looks like James is talking instead, with Lily's disapproving eyes shining through. When Harry tells him about his sex life a rare coherent thought comes into Remus's mind.
Holy Merlin, what have I done?
Where was Remus when Harry went to Snape of all people? Where was Remus when Harry went to a couple of Slytherins and asked them for sex? Remus has betrayed Sirius, James and Lily this way, because he's the only one left and he has done nothing so far to guide Harry down the path of Teen Street and through the Forest of Adulthood. Except for the Patronus Charm, but only because Harry begged him for it.
The sun rises, the rats crawl over him and sniff and nibble at his toes. They sense his lycanthropy and know he is a predator and scurry away, but they come back because rats have bad memory and forget what he is. Under the house on Grimmauld Place is a basement. Remus takes himself down there during full moons. He stays there for days afterwards, because he cannot be bothered moving. There is nowhere else to go but upstairs and it is just as bad as down. He keeps the sores on his body and he likes to keep them open so he feels the pain, because it is the only thing he can feel anymore. He plays the game of letting them scab over, just a little bit, and then he scratches them off to bleed all over again.
Tonks no longer comes. Snape arrives baring the gift of the Wolfsbane Potion. Remus refuses to take it, but strangely enough Snape still takes the time to brew it and bring it to him every few days. If Remus were to think on it more, he may find that perhaps Snape actually cares.
Remus lies at the bottom of the stairs. Blood gushes like a river from the top of the stairs and down, running over each step, splashing over each sharp angle and it is like that movie, The Shining. And just like that, it stops and disappears before it can touch him. The ceiling is on fire. Then it is not, and spins instead. He looks to his left and sees Sirius standing there, gaunt and grey. He thumps his foot a few times, and counts each thud. Finally after the hundredth thump, the curtains spring apart and Mrs Black starts shouting at him. Her vitriol is directed at him but every word bounces off his shield of indifference. Sirius sits next to him sometimes and listens to her for him.
The next time Harry comes he brings his new boyfriend. Draco Malfoy stares down at Remus stoically. But there is emotion in Remus now, because Harry is holding Draco's hand. It is like James and Lucius to Remus. It makes him both nostalgic and nauseous.
Harry pulls Remus up into a sitting position. He leans Remus against his chest, so Remus is stuck between Harry's hard, quivering thighs. Draco and Harry look at each other over Remus's shoulder and Draco leans forward on his knees, whispering dirty nothings to Remus while Harry seductively bites Remus's ear. They are trying to wake him up, unlock the attic door in his head where his conscience is hiding, but the ceiling still spins and his wrists still bleed. "I want to suck your cock," says Draco with a sneer. "I want to mount you and ride you and I'll be raw and dry, and you'll make me bleed but I'll still love it, and I'll beg you for more. And afterwards, when I'm bleeding and quivering, I'll thank you for it." He continues like this while Harry pulls Remus's shirt up to play with his nipples, and Draco pulls Remus's trousers down. Draco licks at Remus's soft cock a few times, then gives up. Harry gets up too, so Remus falls back on the floor and hits his head. Before her falls asleep, he sees Harry and Draco leave through the front door. Sirius stands by and watches, a pearly tear running down from his eye and over his cheekbone.
If there is one thing steady about Severus Snape, it is that he is persistent. Snape is not one to give up easily, proven by his constantly saving Harry's life even when he gets no thank yous in return. He comes for Remus one day, uses the Mobicorpus spell to pick him up, and shoves him into a shower, clothes and all. He rips them off Remus's skinny frame once they are wet, and goes about washing him with soap, his movements quick and precise as if Remus is just another Potions ingredient Snape wants to skin. After, Snape dresses him and Remus is as pale and compliant as a doll.
Remus goes out into the sun. Snape is dragging him along Knockturn Alley. They had floo'd, spinning around like madmen and falling into a world of magic. "It's about time you got out and about, Lupin," he says, speaking with such disgust that his words sound like poison on the tip of his tongue, waiting to be spat into the gutter. "If you're going to insist on feeling sorry for yourself, you might as well do it in public where people can see you."
"I'm alright," says Remus softly. To his very mild surprise, he feels he wants to mean it.
"What was that?" demands Snape sharply.
"I said, I'm alright."
There is a pub on this road that sells almost any drink you ask for. Its main customers are vampires and hags, who like a good drink of fresh human blood before going out for the real hunt. Snape and Remus sit at a little table and Snape orders Remus Wolfsbane, and gets something for himself that is thick and green and crawling with what looks like worms.
Snape raises an eyebrow. "Not as good as my own blend, of course," he says softly, indicating the Remus's drink, "but it will do for now."
Remus stares down at its smoky essence. He glances up. "You hair is longer," he comments.
It is. It is greasy too, as always. Snape's nose is still large and hooked, though, and his nostrils flair in annoyance as if Remus has just said something disrespectful.
"Did you know Harry is going out with Draco Malfoy now?" Remus ventures, his voice getting a little stronger. He feels a charge of frustration and sadness, suddenly. "He's not so keen on you now, is he?"
Snape clenches his sharp jaw in an effort to show as little emotion as possible. "It's none of my business," he hisses softly. "He can fuck whomever he likes. We were never in a relationship of any sort and we never will be."
Remus finally lifts his goblet and drinks to the unwritten rules of fucked up gay relationships, or lack thereof. Besides, Remus and Sirius had never had a relationship; they had never even shagged and yet Remus is as miserable as shit, because he was in love or something close to it, and Sirius left him to have a special correlation with the Grim Reaper. Remus asks, "Who else have you slept with recently?"
"I will not dignify that question with a response," Snape sneers.
Remus and Snape, however, have shagged before. Their history goes all the way back to even Hogwarts. When Sirius found out, he tried to get Snape killed. "Tell me," Remus asks, "who was it you left me for? Was it Harry, or were there others in between? Or aren't you the kind that tells?" And then, Remus feels his face muscles squirm and tug uncomfortably, and he realises, quite dazedly, that part of him is trying to smile.
The quote is from the movie Casablanca, but predictably Snape does not catch it. "I left you," Snape drawls easily, "because you've been lying on the floor in your own mess for the past year."
Remus does smile then. "I'm alright," he says again.
Later Snape makes Remus stay at Hogwarts. It is the summer holidays, anyway, and there is no one about except for Dumbledore and a crop of house-elves. When Harry turns seventeen, he is legally allowed to do magic and Apparate. He sends an owl to Remus, asking him to meet him that night at the old Headquarters. He goes but it is strange, really, because it has been two weeks since Remus has been here and the place is dark and it smells and Remus feels no loss for this home.
The four of them meet in the Drawing Room. Harry and Draco draw sigils on the carpet, then they light a fire in the middle of the room, using the old desk for firewood. Harry talks to Remus about the purging of evil and the ridding bad spirits. Draco mentions something about ancient wizarding magic and Remus notices the pride in the silver boy's face. Snape puts a thin fingered hand into his pocket and brings out a fist full of leaves. He blows them into the fire and the magic vibrates from the fire in heat waves.
"Sirius hated it here," Harry announces loudly, "so we shall burn it. We will burn the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black to the ground, until there is nothing left but ashes, and we will scatter them into the wind and the sea." The house groans in protest, its veins pumping with hate through the walls and the windows rattling like teeth. It does not want to die, even though it has been thriving only on Mrs Black, Kreacher and Remus's insanity for the last few decades. At one point its soul had been fed by pride and happy ambition; now it still tries to live on any mind that enters its belly and bowel. Harry steps forward, a dagger in hand. "Sirius," he says to the fire, "from your almost-brother and godson, I give you Love." Then he pushes the blade of the dagger into his palm and cuts his hand without a wince. He sprinkles blood into the fire, which flares a little brighter. He passes the dagger onto Draco.
"Sirius," says Draco softly, sighing a little, "from your blood relative and cousin, I give you Respect." And he too slices his hand and drips blood into the fire.
"Black," says Severus with a twisted scowl, "from your enemy and rival, I give you...Peace."
Remus uses the dagger to cut into a scab on the back of his hand. "Sirius," he breaths, "from you closest friend and lover, I give you Freedom." Freedom from the thoughts and prayers of the living which travel to you. From the curses from the people who hate you, from the loved ones who say they are sorry. From the stream of memories coming from the minds of the people who knew you, the thoughts that roar and sit heavily in your soul, where ever you may be. Freedom and relief from that burden of having to listen to their messages, freedom to truly leave the lives you left behind and travel to the next plane of existence.
They burn the house from the inside with Incendio hexes. The three of them are Harry's only family now, and they and Harry stand on the sidewalk and watch the house burn, the crackling of wood and the explosion of glass like an orchestra playing for them one last time. The house is dying and soon it will go to rest, and from this Sirius's hate is lifted, just as the thick black smoke twists itself into the sky.