A/N: This chapter and the next were originally written as one with two scenes (one for Remus, one for Rey) for every day. But at my beta's recommendation, I've split the chapter down into two instead, one for Remus, one for Rey (and a couple of others). Hence these two chapters occur concurrently and anything that seems a bit confusing here should hopefully be explained or elaborated upon next week. :)
47: Pieces: Part OneI want my Mummy!
Three-year-old Remus didn't like this place, really didn't like it, oh no, not at all. The walls were all dull and white and horrible and the bed was all lumpy and the sheets were all scratchy and it smelled like one of Mummy's medicines, all herb-y and potion-y and foul. Where was he? Why wasn't he at home with his own bed and his own toys and books and where was Barks? Barks was soft and cuddly and he liked to hold him as he slept but he wasn't here and he should be here and where was he?
And he felt all wrong. He wanted to go home and see Mummy and Daddy and hear them tell him that the nasty man who'd dragged him off was gone away for good…
A shudder passed through his body. The nasty man. At least he wasn't here, with his horrid yellow eyes and his sharp fingers and horrible growls. Remus could remember clearly his terror as the nasty man had hauled him through the woods and hit him and shouted. And then he had turned into a monster and chased him and chased him and chased him and then…
I want my Mummy! I want my Daddy!
It was no good. He had tried to be strong, tried to be a big boy. But he was in a strange place full of strange people and the nasty man had chased him and he felt funny and everything was all wrong…
Remus started to cry.
He heard the door open but he did not look up, did not want to see what new horrible thing was coming next. Indeed, he did not stir until warm arms embraced him and drew him close, engulfing him in the smell and the feel of someone he knew oh so well.Daddy!
With a half-stifled cry, Remus buried himself into his Daddy's shoulder, clutching at his robes as the fears and frustrations so vivid in his memory finally overwhelmed him. But Daddy was here now. He was safe.
"Shhhh…" Daddy's voice, so soft, so reassuring. "It's all right, son. Everything's going to be all right."
"But… nasty man… it smells… it's all wrong!" The words emerged from between hiccupping sobs. "I want home!"
"I know you do, I know." Daddy's voice sounded oddly creaky. "And you will soon, I promise. We're going to make you better just as quick as we can."
Remus sniffled loudly, his sobs subsiding slightly as his father's hand patted him gently on the back. "Take me home?"
Daddy's fingers tightened against him. "Not yet, Remus, no."
Remus buried his nose into the folds of his Daddy's robe. "Barks?" he asked, more hopefully. "I want Barks."
Daddy's head came to rest softly on top of his son's. "I'll see what I can do."
And then, in spite of all that had happened with the nasty man and the strange place, Remus felt much better.
Daddy always made things right.
"How is he?"
Rey glanced up at Rebekah as he pulled the door to his son's room closed behind him, before running one hand wearily through his silver hair.
"He's sleeping," he replied with a nod, fighting the urge to find a quiet corner in which to curl up in and do precisely the same. "He was very upset when I first arrived but I think I've calmed him down."
Rebekah fingered the vial of a pale pink potion that rested within her palms. "But did he seem normal?" she pressed. "Much as he was before?"
Rey permitted himself an incredulous snort. "As normal as one would expect of a thirty-seven year old man with the mind of a traumatised three-year-old. He knows something's wrong and he wants to go home." He allowed himself a brief flicker of a smile. "But there's no doubt he's Remus. He asked me to get Barks."
Rebekah's brow furrowed with confusion. "Barks? That doesn't sound very normal to…"
The laugh the emerged from his lips surprised even Rey. "It was his favourite toy," he explained, his fond smile tinged with a hint of sadness. "A stuffed collie his Muggle grandfather gave him for his third birthday. He wouldn't recognise it as it is now of course since he hugged all the fur off it years ago and half the stuffing's leaked out; honestly, you've never seen a more woebegone looking thing in your life. But he's still got it in his room in a drawer somewhere. He couldn't bear to throw it away."
A gentle smile flickered across Rebekah's features. "Mine was a teddy bear called Lord Flufflebottom," she informed him matter-of-factly. "He's on top of my wardrobe."
Rey smiled for a moment before seriousness weighed him down once more. "Is it time for the first dose?"
Rebekah's smile died in turn as her eyes darted to the vial in her hand. "It is. If this works according to plan, he'll receive one dose a day and that should advance his memory by approximately three years at a time. In about eleven days, we'll be ready to bring him back to the present."
Rey nodded quietly. There wasn't much else to say.
Quietly, Rebekah reached over and opened the door. Bracing himself, Rey stepped inside.
"Remus," he said gently. "I'm afraid it's time to take some medicine…"
Six-year-old Remus frowned in confusion as he stared at his father's face.
"Daddy?" he said curiously. "What happened to your hair?"
Daddy pulled a face as he reached up and yanked at a lock of his now silver hair with an expression of distinct resignation.
"It was a hex, Remus," he said, an odd note underlying his tone. "Just a hex. Don't worry yourself about it."
Remus giggled slightly. "Did Mummy do it? She said she'd get you back for leaving that dead hinkypunk in her best cauldron."
His father's smile was oddly forced. "I suppose you could say that she did," he offered quietly.
"She always says you'll turn her grey. Not the other way round!"
"That's very true, son."
Remus sat back against his pillows, brow creasing thoughtfully. "Daddy? When's Mummy coming? I miss her."
To Remus' confusion, a look of obscure pain flashed across his father's face. "Yes, Remus," he murmured softly. "I miss her too."
Nine-year-old Remus pulled a face. "But we're so close. Just for an hour or two?"
But Dad was already shaking his head. "Remus, I'm sorry, but you can't leave the hospital, let alone go to Diagon Alley. You're not well, son. You have to stay here."
"I feel fine!" At his father's pointed looked, Remus sighed. "All right, I do feel funny. But I'll be good and they won't know what I am if we don't say so! I might find someone to play with, even make some friends!" His head dropped wearily. "I love you and Mum and I love all the books and the toys you've given me. But sometimes I just want to play with real people!"
To his surprise, Dad closed his eyes, leaning back in his chair as he fingered his cane, just as he always did when he was anxious. "You're right," he said quietly. "We should have let you go out more. It was wrong of us to keep you so isolated."
Remus' eyes widened. This was a new confession. "Really?" he breathed, sudden hope blossoming in his heart. "So once I'm out of hospital…?"
His father smiled gently. "Once you're out of hospital," he said with a strange edge of sincerity. "Everything will be different."
Remus beamed broadly. "It'll be nice to have friends."
The returning smile was warm. "Oh, don't worry, you'll have lots of friends. The best friends a ma… a boy could have. Once you get to Hogwarts…"
Remus' face fell instantly. "But that's two whole years away! If I get to go at all…" he added disconsolately. "Headmaster Dippet is still saying no every time we…"
His father's hand came to rest gently against his shoulder. "Trust me, son," he declared quietly. "You'll get to go. And it'll be the best time of your life."
Twelve-year-old Remus bit his lip as he stared at the quiet form of his headmaster. "They know, Professor. I'm sure they do."
Professor Dumbledore sighed. "And that's what's been worrying you so much?"
Remus nodded quietly. "They'll hate me," he whispered, almost inaudibly.
"Remus, I know that is not true."
"It is." Absently, Remus tightened his fingers around the edge of his blanket. "Sirius gave me the strangest look in Defence Against the Dark Arts when Professor Taggart started describing the effects of a werewolf attack. Last week I saw James checking out a book on werewolves from the library and he looked at me like I'd caught him using an Unforgivable. And when we were talking about moon cycles in Astronomy, Peter started edging away from me…"
"Remus, I am quite sure that…"
"I'm going to have to leave, aren't I?" Eyes downcast, Remus anxiously rubbed his thumbs up and down the seams of his sheets. "Once they know, they won't want to be my friends anymore; who'd want to share their dormitory with a werewolf? They'll tell everyone and I'll have to leave and I'll never have a single friend ever again…" He shook his head morbidly. "I didn't even last a year…"
"Remus." Soft, but firm, Dumbledore's voice finally managed to bring a halt to his student's fearful ramblings. "You won't have to leave."
Remus slowly raised his head. "But…"
The headmaster of Hogwarts smiled, his blue eyes twinkling with a strange mixture of conviction and nostalgic sadness. "Have a little faith in your friends, young man. I think you'll find they'll return the favour."
Fifteen-year-old Remus frowned as he stared at his friend.
"James?" he inquired softly. "What did you do to your eyes?"
Adjusting his rather battered looking glasses with flash of a smile, James ran one hand through his scruffy hair as though he had just spotting Lily Evans through the window. "It was Sirius," he offered with a slightly odd laugh. "He hexed them. He told me if I was going to see the world through Lil…through Evans coloured glasses, I might as well do it properly."
Remus chuckled "That's very Sirius."
James' smile was fond but tinged with a strange sadness that Remus didn't quite understand. "Isn't it just?"
Remus smiled as he leaned back to rest his head against the headboard. "Is Sirius coming too?"
To his surprise, James almost seemed to wince. "No," he declared, somewhat hurriedly and then almost as an after-though added "Detention."
Remus raised an incredulous eyebrow. "And not you too? That's unusual. What about Peter?"
James' eyes darkened so suddenly that Remus had control a sudden urge to draw himself away. The response was brusque and oddly harsh.
"Peter's tied up," he said shortly. "He won't be coming either."
There was no doubt about it; James was really not himself. Remus leaned forward, hugging his knees as he stared at his friend in concern.
"James, is everything all right?" he asked softly. "Only you really don't seem to be your usual self today."
To his surprise, James suddenly laughed, shrugging slightly as he sat back in his seat. "Well, you know," he exclaimed suddenly. "That's kind of your fault."
Remus frowned in bewilderment. "Mine?"
"Yep." James grinned, a sudden infectious expression that was far more familiar. "After all, I still haven't caught up on my sleep from the last full moon."
"Last…" Remus blinked. "What?"
Surprise flickered across James' face. "You know… the four of us out on a moonlit stroll?" He lowered his voice confidentially, his tone warm with enthusiasm. "Come on, Moony. This is Prongs. You know what I'm talking about."
It was the strangest feeling. James was right, he did know, for he clearly remembered the day that he had first been introduced to his friend's three alter egos, he remembered the plans they had made for full moon nights, the discussion about their adventures afterwards. But yet when his memory touched on the nights themselves…
A void. Nothing but a black, empty, disconcerting void tinged with an edge of indefinable loss.
"Moony." James' voice cut into his introspection. "You do remember those night, don't you?"
Remus slowly began to shake his head. "That's just the thing, James," he replied quietly. "I don't think I do."
Eighteen-year-old Remus blushed.
"I…." He stammered, his cheeks burning with what felt like the fire of several hundred volcanoes. "It's… I mean… thanks for coming, I…"
"Remus." Felisha raised her hands with a warm smile. "Look, I already spilled aging potion over myself today. Don't make this day any worse by making me smack some sense into you. Just forget about the Prefect's Bathroom. It was two years ago. Don't lets risk a good friendship over a stupid embarrassment." To Remus' surprise, she pulled a slight face.
"Not again anyway," she muttered softly.
Twenty-one-year old Remus dropped his head into his hands, a maelstrom of fury, sorrow and despair wreaking havoc in the confused confines of his mind.
"They're all dead," he whispered softly, his fingers clutching at his scalp so tightly it seemed they would draw blood. "All dead but Sirius and he's the one who should be…"
Old fingers, thin and frail but surprisingly strong, reached forwards to prise his hands away from fragile skin before damage could be done. But Remus did not, could not look up.
He could not bear to.
"Remus," Albus Dumbledore's voice echoed softly in the small room. "I know it seems impossible now. But believe me when I tell you it will be all right."
"But James, Lily, Peter… And poor little Harry, packed off to those Muggles…" He wanted to scream. He wanted to cry. He wanted to curl in corner and die quietly just to be rid of this pain. Transformations were pinpricks beside it.
"But dwelling like this will do you no good." He felt his old headmaster's hand rest gently against his shoulder. "You will do yourself harm if you continue this. Do you think your friends would want that?"
"I don't know what they'd want. I can't ask them. They're dead."
Dumbledore's grip on his shoulder tightened. "Remus, you cannot afford to do this. You risk losing yourself." There was a long empty pause. "As you almost did on November the second…"
It was like a blow to the stomach but yet… What did he mean? November the second had been a terrible night; he had sat alone drowning his sorrows in alcohol, growing woozier and woozier until…
Until he woke the next morning to find his parents hovering over him, their expressions filled with agony. And they had said…
"Remus." Dumbledore's voice intruded once more upon his thoughts. "What do you remember about that night?
Remember, remember, what did he remember? Drinking and drinking, drinking too much and then vague flashes of Moody, of Dumbledore, a fleeting sense of fear and utter horror…
But nothing solid. Nothing he could pin down. But what they'd said afterwards….
"They said I'd gone feral." The words emerged mechanically, disbelievingly. "But I can't have done. I don't remember."
Slowly, gently, a finger intruded on his line of sight, catching his chin and forcing his eyes up to meet the steely blue of his headmaster. And he smiled.
"That may be so," he said quietly. "But don't concern yourself, Remus. That is all most definitely in the past."
Twenty-four-year old Remus frowned.
"It's just the strangest thing, Dad," he continued, gazing absently up at the ceiling as he sighed. "The last thing I remember is going to sleep in a hostel in Hammerfest. And then suddenly I wake up in St Mungo's! It's like I apparated in my sleep except I know that's imp…"
Slowly, wearily and with deep reservation, Remus turned his head towards the window where his father had been standing a moment before. And as he saw the grin of triumph plastered on his father's face as he peered into a paper cup clasped securely beneath one hand, a very strong feeling that he didn't want to know overwhelmed him.
"Dare I ask what you're doing?" he ventured dryly.
Reynard's grin spread to alarming proportions. "If you want, son. But it's nothing you need to worry about."
Twenty-seven-year old Remus stared.
"Dad, I just lost another job," he stated incredulously. "I'm destitute, unemployed and in hospital. And you've brought me a beetle?"
"It's a very unique beetle." With a flourish, Reynard deposited a large glass jar down on his bedside table. Inside, hunched down on what looked very much like a broken green writing quill, was indeed a fat beetle with strange markings, almost like glasses, around its antennae. "A young lady called Hermione Granger told me how to get hold of it; a lovely girl, very informative. And you don't have to worry – I've soundproofed the glass. Not a whimper gets through this!"
He tapped the glass blithely with the tip of his cane, causing it to wobble. The beetle inside jumped violently and scurried in a flash into its den of quill.
Remus could only blink in disbelief. It's finally happened, just like Mum always says. He's gone completely round the twist... "Yes, because that rowdy beetle partying will keep me awake until all hours," he drawled dryly. "They're almost as bad as those bagpipe-playing midges from the Scottish highlands…"
His father regarded him sternly. "That isn't why I did it, Remus. Honestly, what do you think I am? It doesn't matter if you can hear her! But I had to make sure that she can't hear you."
It was at that point that Remus decided that there could be no doubt about it. His father had definitely gone senile.
Thirty-year-old Remus smiled through his blush.
"This really is such a surprise, Leish," he exclaimed with cheerful awkwardness. "I mean it's been so long!"
Felisha smiled in return as she enfolded his hand in hers, causing his blush to deepen threefold. "Oh, it's not really that long," she declared with a strange air of sincerity. "But we always got on so well, Remus and I've been meaning to look you up for a long time. And then when I heard you were in hospital…" She gestured to the flowers and the bar of Honeydukes Best she had deposited on his bedside earlier. "I wanted to come and see you."
Remus' smile spread. "That's really nice. Thank you."
"No problem." Felisha squeezed his hand again, provoking yet more blushing. "After all, I wouldn't want a silly thing like teenage embarrassment to get in the way of what I know will be a wonderful friendship…"
Thirty-three-year old Remus laughed.
"No, honestly, Albus!" he exclaimed. "I really am enjoying being a teacher. I can't tell you how much I appreciate you giving me this chance. And to teach Harry…" He met the headmaster's fond smile with one of his own. "He's a wonderful boy. James and Lily would be so proud."
"Indeed they would." Albus nodded with a broad smile. "And he certainly seems fond of you."
A flicker of doubt rushed through Remus' mind. "Do you think I should have told him?" he asked suddenly. "That I knew his parents?"
Albus' eyes twinkled. "I think it is best to wait for now."
"I am looking forward to getting back to work though."
"I know, Remus." Albus patted his arm with a nod. "And we're looking forward to having you."
"This is it."
Rey stared blankly for a moment at the little pink vial nestled carefully within Rebekah's hands. Such a small thing. But if this worked…
"He's seemed fine." The words were spoken as much for his own reassurance as anyone's. "All the way through. He's been himself, just with… gaps."
Rebekah's hand rested gently against his wrist. "I know. The outlook's very positive. But we have to remember, that Kiss was a very traumatic experience and there's no telling what effect the recollection of it will have. We just have to hope that…"
The cry drew the instant attention of both uncle and niece – turning sharply, Rey found himself staring at one of the young apprentice healers from the Spell Damage wards.
"What is it?" Rebekah's query was sharp.
The young man breathed deeply. "Have you seen Healer Jones? She's not in her office."
Rey saw Rebekah's brow furrow as a cold fear touched him. No, surely not, not now. That just wouldn't be fair…
"She's in the tearoom on her break." The tone of Rebekah's voice implied similar thoughts had descended upon her. "Why, what's the matter?"
The young man pulled a face. "I think someone had better come. It's Miss Tonks…"
A/N: Many thanks to my lovely reviewers this week: Girl Who Writes, anonymous, morgan, thee-unknown-factor, vieras, Lucy in the Sky, felixgirl, Paloma Patil, elka78, mariyana, moo, jenny starseed, snowfall, Howling-wolf, krumfan, merlinssister, Lunair, Rel Fexive, mo, MollyCoddles, Potter's Muse, KellySquared, Gyllenalv, Lady Bracknell, MrsTater, aurelie1, Jazz, purebristles, vefa, Gilpin, RubyLinkle, Good Morning, Bardlover, eris86, kailin, Eleclya111 and Leonew! Bless you all:)
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