Who: Bill Weasley, Remus Lupin
Where: St. Mungo's
Summary: Bill and Remus have a serious, and sad, discussion
His periods of sleep were getting shorter and shorter - but the pain wasn't getting any less, Remus thought as consciousness once again returned. He could still feel the pull of the moon, however, coursing through his blood even through the silver which poisoned it. The pull which called to the wolf, telling him it wouldn't be long until the beast would spring forth from his flesh, unsubdued by the wolfsbane for the first time in years.
And, he was positive, this time it was going to kill him in the process.
Turning his head, he was unsurprised to find Bill sitting next to him once again. His throat felt tight as he looked into the face of his lover, caught unawares. Bill looked exhausted, lines of stress and worry marring his face, and it was obvious he hadn't been taking care of himself at all in the last few days. Why now? Remus thought. Why do I have to die now, and hurt him? Just a month ago, and he would have grieved me as a friend, not as a lover... I was so afraid of causing him pain, I just never thought it would be like... this.
Swallowing around the lump in his throat, and blinking to hold back the tears, Remus squeezed the hand that held his. "Hey," he whispered, smiling crookedly. "You look like you are on the verge of being admitted, too. Think they would let us share a bed?"
Caught unaware by the squeezing of his hand, Bill jumped up and looked around him. The source of the squeeze was Remus. He gave him an apologetic smile for having dozed off - with his eyes open - and squeezed the hand back. Remus was looking better. He came out of the sleeps and conversed with Bill, but he still looked in pain, and it tugged at Bill's stomach. Bill felt rather protective of this man, and would do anything to help him out.
He snickered at Remus' question. "I don't think they'd admit me just yet, and I think they'd get mad if we shared a bed... but it's not like we couldn't give it a try. I'd be grateful for a lie down - especially if I can do it while being able to hold you - all of you, instead of just your hand. Not that I'm complaining." Bill squeezed the hand again.
"Would you lie down with me?" Remus asked. "Bill... I'd like for you to hold me because... we really need to talk." Wincing in pain, Remus lifted himself slightly, shifting over to make room on the bed.
Bill frowned while Remus winced. He really didn't want Remus to be in pain, especially at his expense. He nodded and climbed next to Remus on the hospital bed. He gently lifted up Remus' head and slipped his arm underneath him and wrapped his other arm around Remus' waist. He wanted to pull him close, but refrained, for fear of causing him more pain. Bill placed a small kiss on the side of Remus' face, just in front of his ear.
"Talk? Talk about what?" He spoke softly, his mouth quite near his lover's ear. It was almost how they were back at Remus' home, except for the fact that Remus was incredibly sick and they were lying in a hospital bed. AND they were fully clothed. He grabbed Remus' hand with the hand that was wrapped about his lover's waist and gave it a squeeze.
"Talk about how much I love you? Because I love you quite more than I can express. You don't know how happy I am to see you awake, to see you talking." He smiled and kissed that area once more. "Thanks for letting me lie here. If it causes you any pain, tell me, so that I can move or get off."
Oh, Merlin, Remus thought, a searing, unbelievable agony knifing through him that had nothing at all to do with the silver in his blood. He closed his eyes, unable to hold back the tears. Not fair, it's just not fair to him! Remus wanted to scream, to shout at the whole damned universe. Bill was telling him that he loved him... and now Remus had to tell Bill that he was quite likely going to die.
Turning his face into Bill's chest, he clenched his jaw until the spasm of grief passed. I was all right with dying... really. I had made my peace with it. But... now...
"You... aren't... hurting... me..." Remus said, clenching his teeth. "Bill... Oh, Merlin..."
Surprised, Bill held Remus to his chest and let him cling to his shirt. "What's the matter, Remus? Are you alright?"
It took Remus a few moments to compose himself. He swallowed painfully, clinging to Bill with what strength he had. "Bill... this is hard. So very hard for me to say, but... you have to hear it. You have to... be prepared."
Taking a deep breath, he lifted his head enough to look into the depths of Bill's beautiful blue eyes. "Bill, tonight, it's the full moon, you know that? And... I still have silver in my blood. A great deal of it. And while it hurts me as a human... it... you have to know... there's a good chance... that when I transform, it will... kill me."
Bill laid back against the pillow in a daze. His gaze tore away from Remus' eyes and instead, went to the ceiling, clouded and unfocused. The air felt torn from his lungs as his chest squeezed painfully. He couldn't breathe, couldn't speak, couldn't bring himself to look at Remus. A tear stole from his eye and seeped down his face, rolled from his cheek, and fell onto the pillow.
He laid there for a few long moments, quietly battling the demons that slowly filled into his mind. More tears fell from his eyes before he could speak again, and when he did, his words were wracked with sobs. "Why? ...How can you say that? You don't know if that'll happen or not!"
Turning his head, Bill looked Remus squarely in the eyes. Sobs wracked his body. "Don't say that, Remus, don't ever say that. You can't and you won't. I'm not going to let you." He moved a little and pulled Remus onto him. "Never... you can't. Don't even speak of it. It's just... wrong. I can't think of you in any way except for living and lying in my arms and if it comes to that... it won't, it can't."
Remus closed his eyes, feeling the grief wracking his lover's body and aching for it. But... Bill had to know. He had to be prepared. He had thought about it, and if the situation were reversed, he would have wanted to know.
"Bill... I'm so sorry..." he whispered, holding tight to the other man's body. "But... the mediwitches agreed that it's the most likely outcome... and so did Severus. You have to be prepared... just in case."
"It's not going to happen, Remus... it just can't." Bill's voice was barely audible, spoken in a very soft whisper. He cried, feeling his heart twist itself in knots. Sure, he hadn't been with Remus for very long, but they connected, and it was like they went together like two pieces of a puzzle. Bill clung to Remus and held him close, not knowing what to say. The thought... oh, the thought had run through his head so many times, with so many scenarios - especially when he had first been poisoned. He had envisioned how it would be, but never like this. Bill squeezed his eyes closed.
He would die when he transformed? Bill's heart sunk into his chest. He wouldn't be able to be there, wouldn't be able to hold him and cry and squeeze and give him a kiss. Remus would be by himself, trapped like an animal behind bars. Bill's face contorted with his sobs. Remus was always so alone... so alone, and it hurt him so much to think about it.
Remus wasn't certain how long they remained like that, just clinging together in pain. But he finally drew a breath, wiping the tears away from Bill's face with his hand. "I'm so sorry, Bill. I would rather rip my own heart out than hurt you, you know that?" The grief had driven the physical hurts away for the moment, and Remus sighed, moving slightly so that he could drop a tender kiss on Bill's lips. "You mean so much to me... and... you've made me happy. I just wish..." he sighed, and kissed Bill again, trying to express in the gesture all the things that he couldn't say.
"I know... I know." He kissed Remus back and held him close. It was painful, just lying there with him, holding him in his arms... and knowing that it would all fade away and wouldn't be there come the morrow. Bill felt the sobs coming on again, and then the anger. Anger pulsated through Bill, along with his tears and feeling of sorrow. Oh, sure. Have another person in my life swept away, claimed by death. Take everything away from me, but leave me standing... leave me here with the pain. Bill cried angry tears, tears of frustration.
"Why does this always... happen... to me?!"
Holding his lover close, Remus kissed the tears from his cheeks, letting him grieve and rage. Merlin knew, Remus had been there himself, more times than he wanted to remember. James... and Lily... and Sirius... and Albus... The litany of his own lost friends, and his lost love caused a swell of grief inside of him, answering Bill's pain. But he pushed that aside, stroking Bill's cheeks, murmuring endearments in his ear, kissing him desperately as though to pull the pain from his lover and take it into himself.
"Bill... gods, I wish I could make it better... I don't want to die, I want to stay with you," Remus sighed, kissing him again.
"I know... that this isn't your choice, Remus," Bill said after pulling out of the kiss. He felt like he was a pumpkin, being hollowed out from a large cut somewhere near his heart. He took a few hard, harsh breaths, trying to calm himself down. "But it still hurts. I know that you've been on the other end of the rope quite a few times - you've been in my place - and I know you know how this feels." He sobbed again. "So I know you can't blame me for feeling the way I do."
Again, the sharp breaths he took to calm himself overcame his speech. "Then don't die, Remus. Stay with me." He knew it was out of his power to ask, but he felt the need to do so anyway. "What if I hide the moon for you? What if I make the moon go away? Blacken it out? Then you can't and you won't die."
Remus smiled lopsidedly, understanding the impulse that made Bill ask. "You know it doesn't work that way, Bill. I wish that it could..." He let his head fall back onto Bill's chest, but his hand threaded through the silky red hair just behind Bill's ear, caressing him, trying to sooth away the pain. "All we can do is wait, and... hope, I suppose. Hope that my body is strong enough to fight it, and that enough of the silver is gone so that it doesn't... kill me." He shuddered involuntarily, squeezing his eyes closed. "I'm told... it's a very, very unpleasant way to die, for a werewolf."
Bill wrapped his arms around Remus and held him close. He gave Remus the same, tender affection that Remus was giving him. "Silver... I'm going to rid the world of silver, one day, Remus. If you live past this... I'm going to get rid of every last scrap." He smiled sadly and clung onto Remus all the more. "To die... as a werewolf... would you change back to a human, or would you stay a werewolf?" Bill felt bad for asking the question, but it was just something he felt he had to ask. He had wanted to see Remus in his wolf form, but not if that meant that he had to see him through death. "I can't believe that you have to face that time alone. I want to stay here with you and take care of you until then. Until the very last moment that I can."
"Thank you, Bill... that... helps. I want you to stay, too, but only so long... as it's safe," Remus sighed, feeling the tiredness creeping over him again. "As for the other, if I die a wolf, a wolf I remain," he said, shivering slightly. He kissed Bill once more, holding on to him with all the strength that was left in his body. "We joked about a throw rug for the Burrow," Remus said, again with his crooked smile. "Actually, that's not a half-bad idea, is it? Then you can keep me forever."
"That's horrible, Remus!" Bill gently pinched the back of his lover's arm, careful not to hurt him, but enough so to get the point across. "How can you say that? Skin you?!" An unsupressed shudder ran through him at the simple thought. He would stay a wolf when he died. Bill felt the weight of that answer press down on him uncomfortably. Bill wouldn't be able to kiss Remus goodbye when everything had been said and done, then.
"I'm going to keep you forever. In my heart. Then I'll never be able to forget you and you'll always be with me."
Remus felt tears gathering in his eyes again, and he sighed, nestling close to his lover, placing his ear over his chest to listen to the reassuring rhythm of his heart. "Thank you, Bill," he responded softly. "I can't think of any place I'd rather spend forever."