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Chapter Fifty Two

“So, how is he?” Minerva asked as she sat down in a chair in the staffroom. It was early morning and Severus and Tonks sat opposite her.

“As well as can be expected, although I do not believe he is fit to teach,” Severus said quietly. It had been he who had helped Remus shakily to his feet when Harry’s eyes had closed for the last time and it had been he that had been forced to escort him back to the hospital wing where Madam Pomfrey had put him to bed with a very strong sleeping drought. He, Severus, hadn’t been too pleased about this and couldn’t help but wonder whether or not the sleeping drought was enough to kill him, considering his weak state. It hadn’t however and three days later Remus had woken up. That had been yesterday. Since then Remus had been allowed out of the hospital wing and had spent much of his time alone in his quarters.

“I can’t imagine how he must feel… Harry was the last thing he had left to hold onto.” Tonks said as her mind wandered back to the battle of only a few days ago. She could still hear the screams, the shouts and the curses. The green flashes appeared in her vision and then there was the silence. The silence that knelled out as Harry and Voldemort had both fallen. That had been the worst thing of all.

“I don’t think he will ever recover from this, Minerva.” He said quietly as he looked at her, judging her reaction. His mind inadvertently wandered back to the scene after both Potter’s and Voldemort’s deaths – Tonks and Minerva had both sprinted into Death to see what happened and whether they would both materialise there whilst he, Severus, had been left with Lupin. It was all for nothing anyway, later on he found that Voldemort had never gone into Death, owing to the fact that he couldn’t exist even there with no head. Potter had materialised there however and had been taken to the hospital ward to recover from the exhaustion and shock he was under.

“I don’t think he will either.” She replied.

“He is going to commit suicide, one way or another…” Severus said, “The least we could do is to make it a painless one for him.” Tonks gasped as he said this and Minerva’s expression hardened slightly.

“No! You cannot assist him to his death!” Tonks shouted at him.

“But it is what he desires more than anything else.” Severus said quietly, “As I have said, he will kill himself, with or without our aid.”

“Be that as it may, Remus still has a long life ahead of him, we should not take it from him.” Minerva said, “After Lily and James died he was exactly the same and then he was much happier afterwards.”

“Yes, with their son and when he discovered that Black wasn’t their killer!” Severus argued against her, “Both of them have gone and he has no one else. He will not last longer than a week.”

“Then it is our duty to prevent him from ending his own life.” Minerva said softly.

“You cannot watch him twenty four hours a day, Minerva.” He said. “As bizarre as it may seem, I want what’s best for him. His life has been hard enough without unnecessarily prolonging it!”

Not wanting to hear anymore Severus got up from his seat and left the room. There were no lessons that week, partly because the school couldn’t run with only the Minerva, Severus, Tonks, Hagrid, Madam Pomfrey, Sybil, Pomona Sprout and Sabina Sinistra. They were to have more staff from those that had survived the battle next week and the line that the teachers had given the students was that it was a mark of respect to those who had died to close the school for the week.

He walked sullenly down to the dungeons, past a gang of sixth year Slytherins on the way.

“Well Potter got no more than he deserved…” The drawl of Draco Malfoy announced over the large group who sniggered.

“200 points from Slytherins.” Snape said, spinning round on his heel and marching towards Malfoy who cowered back slightly from him. Since the battle it was well known that Snape had fought in it and had done a good thing for the Wizarding world, dispelling all rumours that he had been a Death Eater. “And detention for the week with Mr Filch.”

“What! Professor… You can’t!” Malfoy shouted at him as he turned as if to walk away.

“I can do what ever I want!” Snape shouted at him as he turned his back on the only existing male Malfoy. He felt slightly irritated at his outburst since Slytherin were now down by 200 points, but did points really matter? He shook his head in disbelief as he entered his office. Firstly he had practically defended Potter’s memory against Malfoy, and then he had taken 200 house points for it, from his own house! This was not like him, not like him at all. He could only presume that the battle had hurt his head. Severely.

He sighed as he collapsed into his chair behind his desk. Lupin needed to die. He didn’t mean it in the malicious way that Tonks no doubt thought he meant against him. He couldn’t teach, he couldn’t think, he couldn’t eat, he couldn’t converse, he couldn’t do anything anymore… That boy had been his life. How awful to have your entire life on Potter… of all people! He thought and then scowled at his own thoughts before glancing over the potions an his wall. His eyes met the one that was a deep black in colour and he knew already what it was: Sopor Dormium – the strongest sleeping potion known to wizarding kind. Well when he said it was a sleeping potion, it would put a Hungarian Horntail to sleep with one drop, and it would kill a human with ten. Administer that to Lupin and he would never wake again, and it would be a death which had no pain attached… he would simply fall asleep.

No, it was not his decision to make. He would ask Lupin himself later on that evening whether or not he would take it, and if he would...? Then he would hand him the potion, with no remorse and no guilt. He rubbed his temples and groaned slightly, the last week had brought enough headaches for a lifetime.


***


Remus opened his eyes and stared up at the ceiling. For one moment, one blissful moment he had forgotten everything. Then it all hit him and thoughts of Harry raced into his head. He stared at the foot of the bed and he could almost see him jumping around him trying to make him wake up before they went into Death.

“I’ll hex you if you don’t get up!” Harry told him in his mind. He felt tears spring to his eyes not for the first time in the last twenty four hours. He could hear his laughter, see his face and feel the hurt which came with his loss. He curled up under the duvet and buried his head in the pillow. He knew that in death Harry was there, and there was little he would have to do to join him. A million ways of ending his life entered his mind, pushing away the laughing boy that had filled it before. Glancing at his bedside table he saw the miniature version of Harry sat there, watching him with interest. His own small self sat next to him joking and laughing with him. He couldn’t take this. He needed to escape his life and be with the people who he cared about more than anything. Remus’ mind ran back to the battle and he couldn’t help but wish more than anything that his life had been taken that day. It almost had been on a number of occasions but something had always prevented that. He sighed softly; he was going to have to get up soon. Even though there was still half a week of nothing due to their lack of lessons until Monday, he knew that people wouldn’t tolerate his staying in bed for the whole day.

Unhappily he rose from his bed and entered his bathroom to prepare himself for the day. He emerged afterwards wearing a clean set of robes and a very slight smile which it felt like it would take the world to keep up. How had Harry ever managed it?

“Do you know how difficult it is to try and force a smile for 24 hours a day because you’re never, ever alone?!” Harry demanded of him with a raised voice in his head. It was going to be a long day, if the morning so far was anything to go by. Everything he did seemed to bring some thought of Harry back into his mind and he didn’t know how long he could take this. But he had overcome grief before… Harry was not the first person he had lost in his life, by no means and yet this was so much worse. He had overcome all that grief before and he had finally thought that he could be happy, until it had all been snatched away from him again. But things could get better, now that Voldemort was gone. Then again what use was Voldemort being gone when everyone he cared about had gone before him or with him? He left the confines of his rooms hidden behind his office and entered his room of work. He was glad to be out there in his office, away from all the little people that Harry had charmed for him. Little had Harry known at the time how much they would torment Remus after his death, although at the time he very much doubted that his death had entered his thoughts.

He sat down on the windowsill and stared outside onto the grounds where people walked about, talking and smiling every now and again. No one laughed though. There had been very little laughter in the castle since the battle, especially not from the Gryffindors. Ron and Hermione had been distraught; he knew that from what he heard in the hospital wing, whilst he was conscious. Both of them had been sedated several times when they both became wound up into hysterics. He was not the only one suffering, but he was the only one suffering this badly.

He stared out over the Quidditch pitch and his eyes saw Harry flying about on his broom, racing after the Snitch. He felt misery tug inside of him and he tore his eyes away from the window, but even when he did he saw Harry opposite him on the windowsill, telling him everything about the dream he had had about Voldemort. He wrapped his arms around his knees as he shook the thoughts from his mind and went back to staring out of the window. He had never felt this lonely in his life. A slight noise behind him caught his attention and someone walked into the room. His first instinct was to turn around but he didn’t.
Maybe if I’m lucky it’s a Death Eater… He thought. Remus glanced around to see Severus standing behind him, looking reasonably calm, although there was a vague sense of unease about him.

“Hello Severus.” He said quietly, wondering what the man could want with him. All malicious feelings against him had evaporated when the sword had found Harry’s heart. So had all feeling in general. Now all he felt was a strange emptiness and absence of feeling, there was no happiness, sadness, anger or hate. Just nothing, with a slight hint of loneliness and misery.

“Good morning, Remus.” He said.

“What’s so good about it?” Sirius said in his mind but he pushed it away. Snape had gone to the effort to use his first name: he couldn’t remember him ever having done that before.

“What do you desire more than anything?” Severus asked him quietly.

“Death.” Remus replied, not thinking about his answer at all; it wasn’t necessary.

“I can offer you that.” Severus said, “Sopor Dormium - the strongest sleeping potion known. It will kill you painlessly and quickly.” Remus knew that was what he wanted, but why was Snape offering him death? Did Minerva know he was doing this? The part of him that generally told him to run as fast as he could when he encountered any trouble told him to hold on to his life and that everything would be okay. The rest of him told him that it wouldn’t be… it could never be okay again. “Will you take it?”

“I don’t know.” Remus murmured in reply. He had never looked at Severus; it would only make this more difficult between them. There was a small clunk as Severus put a bottle down on his table.

“I will leave it with you. Three drops of this is generally enough to kill a human, although I would suggest a little more.” Severus said to him before turning away from him and moving towards the door.

“Thank you.” Remus said, barely above a whisper but he knew that Severus had heard it. He wondered whether the potion on his desk would kill him or not. It would be something so very like Snape to fill it with coloured water to discover whether or not he was suicidal. No, not even he would try something like that on him so soon after… He turned and looked at his desk, sure enough a small bottle with a black fluid in the bottom sat there, willing him to drink it.

“Don’t you dare!” Harry’s voice scolded in his head, as he remembered him when they were alone in the woods, minutes before the full moon. But it wasn’t that Harry had been against his suicide, it had been his leaving him alone in life. He sighed softly as he left his seat at the windowsill and walked over to the bottle.


***


“YOU DID WHAT?!” Minerva screamed at the top of her voice. Snape stood before her, his expression calm and at the side of them Tonks looked slightly horrified at the idea that Snape had given Remus the means to end his own life.

“At least he has the choice…” Severus said.

“CHOICE!? HE IS SUICIDAL… THERE IS NO CHOICE FOR HIM!” She yelled in reply and Severus flinched at the noise such an old woman could make. She sat down in her seat, leaving Snape stood infront of her looking slightly afraid and uncertain of himself. She hoped that Remus would not drink it, although her heart told her that he would. He couldn’t bear to be parted from Harry like that, in such a brutal way and with no one else left in his life. Snape had always loathed him and he had finally killed him. Or had he…? She could only hope and pray that he had not.

Tonks watched them both, Snape looking afraid of Minerva and Minerva looking exhausted and miserable. She had been one of the only ones who had not accepted a potion to aid her recovery from the battle those few days ago, she had been the one to organise the school and the staff and the order so that they were functioning again. She had worked so hard to get things back on track but Snape may have just messed everything up by offering Remus a way out of it all.

After what seemed like an age, Minerva rose to her feet after recollecting her wits. Snape and Tonks looked up to her, expectantly, waiting to see what she would do, or have them do.

“Right… follow me.” She said and they all left the room, deserted except for a few lone chairs and cups of coffee.

She felt her heart racing as she ascended the stairs up onto the second floor. She stopped outside Remus’ office and knocked on the door. There was no answer. Severus had said that Remus had been in his office and his not replying was not a good sign. She tried the door but it was locked from the inside. The feeling of unease and fear grew inside her as she pulled out her wand.

Alohomora.” She said, doubting that Remus would have locked the door in a way that would enable such a simple spell to open it. To her surprise the latch inside the door clicked and the door moved open a crack. There was silence on both sides of the door.

“Remus?” Tonks said quietly as the three of them walked inside. Leaning against the windowsill was Remus. Next to him was a half empty bottle, filled with death. The three of them froze, staring at him. There was still some potion left but then there had been no guarantee of what Snape had given him to start with. Snape sighed softly and walked over to the windowsill, to Remus. He put his fingers against his neck and felt nothing. He raised his fingers infront of his nose and mouth, partly hoping to feel his breath against his hand, but again: nothing.

It was all too much for Tonks who began to cry and turned, running from the room.

“Severus, what have you done?” Minerva asked, saddened.

“I have spared him from a lifetime of misery.” Severus replied as he looked down at the man leant against the window.


***


Remus heard Harry’s voice but he didn’t open his eyes. He was afraid to find out it wasn’t real, that it never had been. A gentle touch on his arm caused him to open his eyes. He took in a sharp breath when he found himself staring into Harry’s beautiful green eyes. Behind him stood Lily, James and Sirius, all watching him. He reached out to Harry, afraid that his fingers would simply travel straight through him but they did not, and a moment later he hugged Harry tightly, letting out a shaky breath as he did so. He didn’t want to let go of him, now that he had him in his arms again but reluctantly he pulled away, finding those eyes fixed upon him again. His eyes travelled over him and he noted the lack of his scar on his forehead. Harry smiled slightly before getting up and taking his hand, he brought Remus to his feet too.

“So what happens now?” Remus asked them.

“We go die.” Sirius said bluntly and Lily rolled her eyes. It felt so good to be with his friends again, knowing that everything was over now, all their troubles and hardships of life had finished, and they had only the mysteries of Death to face together.

“I cannot believe you took that potion from Snape though.” James said as they made their way out onto the grounds, “It could have been Veritaserum or anything!”

“Snape wasn’t going to give him Veritaserum right after Harry had died…” Lily scowled at him.

“So, since dying what have you done?” Remus asked Harry, who walked alongside him, over to the gateway into the real Death.

“I’ve been waiting for you to die mostly, and I’ve beaten Dad at Quidditch, of course.” He smiled and James scowled.

“That was a fluke.” James insisted.

“Fluke? You both went into the most insane dive ever and you got smashed by a Bludger, which Harry dodged. You’re telling me that your stupidity was Harry’s fluke?!” Sirius demanded of him and they laughed, even Lily, who Remus guessed had heard enough talk of Quidditch over the last few days to last her a lifetime.

They all stopped still. Infront of them was a stone gateway with a black veil fluttering in the breeze. They looked at each other and then back at the veil, suddenly feeling quite a lot colder. They all huddled together in a small group with Harry at the front of it.

“Last one to die has to do the hand jive with Snape!” Sirius said before walking forwards into Death, followed a moment later by Lily, who groaned at her husband’s constant Quidditch complaints.

“But it was a fluke, don’t you think honey?” He asked her as she stepped through the veil and he followed her a moment later. Remus looked at Harry and smiled.

“I really missed you these last few days.” Remus said softly to him.

“I know you did, and I missed you too.” Harry said, hugging him briefly before pulling away and walking forwards to his death. Harry felt the veil brush over his face slightly and beside him Remus took a deep breath before taking another step forwards, through the veil and away from their lives.

The End

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