Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairing: Mentions of Remus/Tonks
Spoilers: Through Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Summary: Just a quiet morning after the full moon. Harry understands the importance of caffeine for recovering werewolves; Remus understands the importance of the way Harry looks at him.
Notes: The "Transformations" series is a set of requested fics I wrote for winners of a name-that-quote contest on my personal blog. This one's for Liz, whose request was, "I'm deeply boring and would love something non-slashy featuring Harry and Lupin, maybe on their relationship. Sirius just kind of swooped in and out, but I think Lupin could have had a more lasting impact." Liz is anything BUT deeply boring, but I wrote it anyway. :)
Remus awoke to a reassuringly foul taste in his mouth. Wolfsbane – the last remnants working their way out of his system. The few times in his youth he’d broken loose from his friends and gone hunting – deer, hares, things nightmarishly half-remembered in the morning – he had woken, post-change, to the sweet taste of blood instead.
Pushing himself up stiffly on one elbow, he felt the cot shift beneath him and dimly remembered dragging his brittle body onto it once the transformation passed, up from the floor and away from the musty nest of straw and blankets that the wolf preferred. The wolf’s vivid senses were fading, but not gone; Remus could smell something delicious – hot and earthy, with an alkaline sharpness. Tea. Someone had left him a lifesaving cup of tea in one of those hideous bits of china stamped with the Black family crest. And somewhere, just beyond the blurred edge of his vision (the wolf’s eyes were none too good; colour and clarity always returned slowly), he heard someone shifting quietly, and noticed the comforting scent of James.
The slight differences in that scent – more muddied and subtle than James’ – hit Remus at roughly the same moment as the cold, sour, certain knowledge that James was dead. Long dead.
“Merlin,” Remus swore, then sucked in a painful breath. “Harry.”
“Remus? You awake?” A fuzzy shape loomed up in front of him.
“Harry, you shouldn’t be –” Remus struggled to sit up. “How long have you…?”
“Since after breakfast,” Harry put in quickly. Since well after the sun was up, in other words. Remus relaxed, fractionally. Wolfsbane or no Wolfsbane, he didn’t trust the wolf around humans – other humans. Other humans.
Harry flashed a hesitant smile. “You don’t mind, do you?” He hefted the book he was carrying – the advanced Grimlock’s Protective Charms and Potions, Remus noted with a flicker of pride in his former pupil. “It’s quiet down here, you know? Peaceful.”
Remus nodded solemnly, playing along with the fiction that in all of 12 Grimmauld Place, a house with dozens of bedrooms and a cavernous library, Harry couldn’t find a quiet spot outside the dungeons. Remus picked up the teacup to hide a smile.
After watching Remus keenly for a moment, until the latter had managed a bit of the tea, the boy settled back down against the wall. Harry was oddly soothing for some reason, Remus reflected. Maybe it was that strange teenaged self-containment – always buzzing with thoughts and feelings that wore themselves out, or shifted, resolved, changed, all without reference to anyone around him. That couldn’t be all, though. Remus wouldn’t have been able to stand having Ron, or Hermione, or Ginny so nearby, so soon after his transformation. The very thought made him feel exhausted.
They stayed silent for some time, while the warmth of the tea worked its way through Remus’ aching muscles and he gingerly stretched his limbs one by one.
“This thing –” Harry turned the book to face Remus, one hand splaying the pages open. Remus blinked heavily, and was just able to make out the woodcarving of a serene wizard sketching a protective arc with his wand over a child’s head. Beside it, the title read, “Clientus Charm”. “Does it work like a Patronus charm?”
“More or less. The principle is the same – both spells are powered by a single, powerful emotion. It’s just that the emotion’s different in each case. Your Patronus is so advanced, Harry, I’m sure you’d have no trouble with the Clientus, if you’d like to give it a try. The important thing is being able to channel…”
Remus slid comfortably into instruction, and watched with pleasure as Harry’s eyes lit up thoughtfully, listening. And that was the moment that the thought occurred to him. To say it struck him would have been inaccurate: it unfolded itself lazily, deep in the recesses of his mind, so that it took him a long moment to even feel surprised.
Harry has never thought of me as the wolf.
That was it. Ironic, given that Harry had actually seen him transform, once, under the most terrifying circumstances Remus could imagine. More than that, Remus had never met anyone else who could look at a werewolf and not see the wolf, or at least the shadow of it, lurking somewhere behind the eyes. It didn’t matter to the best of them: most of the Order was unfailingly kind to him, even if they sometimes shot him wary looks the day after the Moon. Hermione, bless her, had been fascinated by it ever since she’d figured it out in her third year. And for James and Sirius back at school, it had been exciting, this unexpected and dangerous thing their shy Remus could do. But no one had ever simply forgotten about it before.
Remus trailed off awkwardly, studying Harry.
“Nothing, I… I’m getting a bit tired, is all. Listen, if you want to practice the Clientus charm tomorrow, I’ll be around.”
“All right, cheers.” Harry sprang to his feet and stretched. “D’you want some food? Mrs. Weasley said she was making sandwiches with the leftover roast; I could bring you some.”
Remus’ gorge rose at the thought of food. “No, thank you. But I appreciate the tea.”
“S’all right. I’ll see you in a bit, Remus, yeah?”
He shut the door softly, leaving Remus sitting on the cot, running his thumb over a chip in the teacup’s rim.
I’ve been a spy too long, out with Fenrir’s pack, living feral. He smiled. Nice to know that at least one person thinks of me as plain old Professor R.J. Lupin still.
Months later, Remus would go to Harry and offer him the wolf – its vicious instincts, its indestructibility – as his protection while he hunted down the rest of Voldemort’s horcruxes. And Harry would spurn him, send him back to be a father, a husband. Send him back – without knowing it – to be human.
And the morning after the following full moon, once his anger at Harry had passed, Remus would lie in bed and feel Tonks next to him, the comfortable heat of her skin easing the aches in his body.
The Clientus charm was a spell of protection.
He wondered where Harry was now, and closed his eyes.