Astronomy Tower
Remus Lupin Severus Snape
Angst Drama
Multiple Eras
Philosopher's Stone Chamber of Secrets Prizoner of Azkaban Goblet of Fire Order of the Phoenix
Published: 01/27/2005
Updated: 01/27/2005
Words: 1,362
Chapters: 1
Hits: 660

Song of Degrees


Story Summary:
Remus watches and waits, while Severus tries to forgive. Lightly implied RL/SS.


It would have been better if he had been given something to do, if he had been allowed to do proper work for the Order; that would indeed have been better, and though Remus tried to quell the voice repeating the bitter thought in his head, it wouldn't be silenced. He knew why he hadn't been given proper work; it was because the mission after Sirius' death, he had been given proper work, and he'd ended up nearly killing a Death Eater in front of Arthur and Kingsley.

They'd been very kind about it; of course it was to be expected, when one was in a situation where one had to defend oneself, that occasionally a werewolf might hit harder than a human, might not realise their own strength. No matter that he had been schooled in control of that strength since he was seven years old. They excused it, and quietly blocked him from any further missions where he might concievably be called on to attack someone.

He was grateful for the excuses, in a way. After all, if his sins were well and truly marked, he never would have survived this long; he was logical enough to know that this was true of any man, but he wasn't any man. He was more responsible for keeping control, because he was stronger than a human his size ought to be. Dumbledore had forgiven him many times; for the sin of being a werewolf, for the sin of nearly killing Severus Snape, the sins of cowardice and lying, endangering students, or not protecting Sirius -- not even being able to control Sirius...

He smiled a little to himself, in the dark. No, they didn't number his sins. He did that himself.

"It's a loathsome habit, you know."

Remus glanced up from the window of Arabella Figg's upstairs guest room, where he was monitoring the Dursleys' house. This was the job they gave him, now; eight hour shifts watching Harry, until the boy could be taken from his family and brought to Twelve Grimmauld Place.

"What is?" he asked Severus Snape, who had apparently come to relieve him.

"Maudlin brooding. Loathsome and annoying," Snape replied. "Nobody loves a living martyr."

"Thank you," Remus answered, in no mood to humour the Potions master. "When they kill your best friend I'll be sure and remind you of that. Or haven't you got one?"

"You're of no use to Potter or to the Order this way."

"Tell Dumbledore. I only do what he tells me."

Snape sat on the window-seat, facing the door, while Remus moved his legs over to make room, propping them on the other side of the window-frame. He'd cast an obscuring charm over the glass, not that it mattered; the sort of people who lived on Privet Drive generally didn't care to see their surroundings in great detail. Remus had decided that this was probably the reason more of them hadn't slit their wrists out of sheer boredom.

"He's not coming back."

"I know that," Remus said sharply.

"Do you, I wonder. Are you grieving or are you sulking?"

Remus didn't reply for a while; finally he straightened slightly, and brushed some hair out of his eyes.

"I suppose you're pleased," he said dully. "Black finally gets what's coming to him. Very poetic, too, dying at the hand of his madwoman cousin. An old compatriot of yours -- "

Snape moved fast, but Remus was faster; the hand reaching for his collar got within a few inches before Remus grabbed his wrist.

"You were neither of you innocents," he said, low and even, clenching his hand tightly before letting it go, a reminder of the bone-breaking power belied by his thin, not overly-muscled body. Snape rubbed his wrist, sullenly. They fell silent again; Remus closed his eyes, and drew a deep breath.

"Why do you want to know whether I'm grieving for Sirius or not, Severus? Are you honestly that much of a ghoul, or did Dumbledore send you to speak to me?"

"Is it unbelievable that I may simply wish to know, with no motive to either harming or healing you?"

"Yes," Remus said, before considering matters. After a second, he corrected himself. "No. I'd believe that of you. The mind of a scientist, Severus Snape."

"You haven't fulfilled my curiousity."

Remus sighed, leaning his head back, eyes still closed. "Sometimes on a stretch like this I imagine I'm waiting for him. That he's going to show up in a few minutes and take over. I can picture it right down to his eyes -- the way he looks when he's allowed to watch over Harry." He opened his eyes, fixing them on the window of Harry's small bedroom, just visible from here. "If I have to wait the rest of my life, that's all right."

"For him to forgive you."

He glanced sharply at the other man.

"For him to forgive you and return," Snape repeated. "Though you know he never will."

"Well. That begs the question of whether or not I deserve forgiveness. For any of it," Remus added. Snape's nearly-black eyes seemed to darken and change, almost imperceptibly; Remus, who had only ever been attracted to blue eyes, was unfamiliar with what it might mean.

"I am coming to believe that you might," Snape murmured. "Granted, I am not Sirius Black, and I have more to forgive him than I do you. As much as it matters, however..."

Remus tilted his head, torn between disgust at the man's presumption and the little pleased throb in his chest which said he was forgiven -- by someone, anyone -- that he meant more to someone than just another pair of eyes or hands for the Order to use.

He settled on defensive curiousity. "What brought this confession on?" he asked, hoping he didn't sound as petty as he felt.

"Times change."

"Sometimes I wonder."

Snape turned to him. "If you're searching for redemption, look somewhere else. I'm not here to be your saviour. I've made my offer; take it if you please, leave it if you please."

He rose and began to move away; he was almost to the door when Remus spoke again.

"What precisely is it you're offering, Severus? Friendship?"

He saw Snape's shoulders tense. "If that is what you require."

Realisation dawned on Remus, and he was torn again -- this time between laughter and despair.

"Come back," he said, instead, and Snape turned. "It's your shift to mind Harry, isn't it?"

"Eight hours watching a houseful of Muggles sleep," Snape grumbled, but he returned to the windowseat. Remus moved towards the glass, making room for the other man to stretch his legs out, as Snape propped his back against the opposite side of the frame.

"It's worse at night," Remus agreed.

"You may consider yourself relieved," Snape said meaningfully, but Remus remained where he was; after a moment or two, Snape relaxed slightly, and his knee brushed Remus' trouser leg.

"Staying, I suppose?" he asked. "I imagine I'll have to endure your sleeping as well."

"I thought I might keep you company," Remus said softly.

"A distraction, no doubt," Snape muttered.

"I would think distraction would be welcome, all things considered."

Snape lapsed into silence, staring out the window, eyes fixed on the Dursleys' house. Remus leaned his head against the glass and let himself drift into the first real sleep he'd had in ages.

Perhaps, he thought, as he slipped down into dreams -- as he felt a brush of thin, nimble fingers smoothing hair off his forehead -- perhaps forgiveness from the living was enough.


The Oresteia of Aeschylus, Watchman's Prologue:
I pray the gods will give me some relief
and end this weary job. One long full year
I've been lying here, on this rooftop,
the palace of the sons of Atreus,
resting on my arms, just like a dog....

Psalm 130:
I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.
My soul waiteth for the Lord more than sentinels that watch for the morning:
I say, more than sentinels that watch for the morning.....