Who: Severus Snape, Remus Lupin, Dimpy the house-elf
Where: Snape Manor
Summary: Severus takes a very decided turn for the worse
Severus sighed, staring at the ceiling of his bedroom. If I somehow manage to recover, I swear to Merlin that I am changing rooms. Or at least having a mural of something interested painted on the ceiling of this room, he thought idly as his gaze traced the now-memorized pattern he was looking at. Wincing slightly, he turned his head as much as he could without assistance, his dark eyes landing on the form of his mate, who was asleep in the chair beside the bed.
It was rare for the Potions Master to be awake when Remus wasn't, especially lately. It seemed as though every time the dark haired wizard opened his eyes, he was met with the loving and concerned amber-colored orbs of the werewolf.
Not that he was complaining, of course. He just also enjoyed the chance to study his mate openly.
He looks far too tired, was the first thought that came to mind. It was true, of course. Dark circles were quite present under Remus' eyes, and his skin had an unhealthy color to it that worried Severus far more than he was willing to admit.
He's dying, was the second thought, which was also quite true. Severus wasn't an idiot. He knew every step closer to death he took, Remus did as well.
However, it was much more painful to see it on his mate than himself.
The faint rustle as Severus moved his head on the pillow took a moment to penetrate through his exhaustion, but it finally did, summoning Remus up from his uneasy rest. Opening his eyes, he saw his mate's onyx gaze on him, read the concern in those eyes and through their link, felt the pain that Severus couldn't hide from him. Not just physical pain, but the emotional pain. The awareness of what was happening to both of them, and was beginning to seem to be unavoidable. Their deaths.
The normally pale skin of his mate looked almost translucent, and Severus' pulse was painfully visible in the sunken flesh of his neck. It was hard to see the vital, seemingly indestructible Potions Master - the most feared teacher ever to walk the halls of Hogwarts - physically laid so low. It wasn't fair, and part of him railed against it. His death he had come to terms with from the moment he had realized they were mated, but somehow Remus couldn't accept the unfairness of Severus having suffered everything that he had, and now dying in a way that was not valiant, not heroic, not as passionate as the man himself. It was as though fate had conspired to kill Severus in the most degrading way it could for a man of his pride and spirit.
At least I'll die when he does. At least we'll be together. If I can't save him, at least I know that I won't have time to miss him, to mourn him, to be lonely without him....
But there was no changing it, and no sense letting it show; so he summoned up a smile, gently squeezing the pale, long-fingered hand he refused to let go of. "Hullo, love," he said lightly. "Sorry, didn't mean to doze off there. Do you need anything?"
Severus shook his head slightly, even that small amount of movement causing pain to shoot through his entire body. His hand clenched against Remus' of its own accord. By the time the tremor had passed, the dark haired man was panting slightly, his eyes glistening with tears that he blatantly refused to let fall.
"Do not apologize for falling asleep, Remus," he finally said when he was able to compose himself a bit. "You look far too tired as it is."
He knew the statement was ludicrous. After all, they were both dying. Who really cared how tired either of them looked? Still, it pained him to see his mate not taking care of himself and he felt almost normal if he commented on it.
A silence fell over them for a second as Severus struggled to get his ragged breathing under control. It was taking his lungs longer to catch up after each episode he had and he idly wondered if that was what was ultimately going to be his undoing.
Will I be hit with such a large wave of agony that I simply stop breathing all together? Or, perhaps, my lungs will collapse from the strain they are under...
Forcing his thoughts away from an area where he didn't wish to visit at the moment, he spoke once more to Remus. "How are you feeling?" he asked, his tone still far more breathless than he would have liked.
Remus had to stifle a groan of frustrated sympathy, and tears were in his own eyes as he watched his mate suffer the pain that nothing helped any longer. Potions, spells, even his own touch that had seemed to once sooth Severus, none of it offered any relief, none if it could buffer Severus from the failure of his own body.
Listening to the painful breaths as his mate struggled against his agony, Remus felt the wolf stir, whimpering in frustrated sympathy. He had to clench his jaw against allowing the sound in his soul from passing his lips, from letting the wolf take over. Undoubtedly then all he would be able to do was curl up next to his dying mate, and howl in pain and sorrow.
"Me? I'm fine," he lied. He knew Severus would know it was a lie, but still, the illusion must be maintained. Reaching out, he brushed the black hair tenderly back from the pale face, a gesture that had become something of a habit, before letting his fingers trail over Severus' cheeks, and brush lightly over his lips. The end was coming with almost breakneck speed, he could feel it. The wolf knew death better than it knew anything else, and death was written on his lover's face with painful clarity.
But Remus wasn't frightened. Not happy, certainly, but not frightened. And a small part of him, which Severus would no doubt call the stupid Gryffindor part, refused to totally abandon hope. He had faith in Hannah, and he had faith in Severus as well. Summoning up a chuckle, he raised a brow at his mate. "It's hard to see you lying there and not want to climb in with you, you know," he said suggestively. Of course, there would never be that kind of intimacy for them again, much to his sorrow. But still, he realized it was the truth. But Severus was in so much pain that he couldn't bear to think that even holding him in his arms would cause unbearable agony to his mate.
Severus gave a faint smile at his mate's words, eternally grateful that Remus was more than willing to maintain the farce that everything was going to be all right. There were times, such as now, when that illusion was all he had to hold onto. When the pain was too great, and the knowledge that he was going to cause the death of his mate too much to take, pretending that it was all okay was a welcome relief.
The only problem was, it didn't last very long.
Severus had always been a man of fact. And, although he often allowed his anger and hatred of things to show, rarely did they force him to act in a way that wasn't suitable to whatever situation he was facing. So, once the worse of the pain subsided and it was back to a level that he could tolerate, if only just, the mirage disappeared and he was forced to face reality once more.
"Remus," he murmured, pausing when the face of his mate began to blur. Blinking his eyes, he felt a small rise of fear when his vision didn't clear as it usually did. In fact, it seemed as though it was getting rapidly worse, almost like someone was dimming the light in the background.
"Oh, Merlin," he whispered, not even positive he'd actually said it out loud. For some reason, he could feel the next wave of pain coming before it actually struck, and he was able to prepare himself a bit more.
However, it didn't do any good.
It slammed into him with enough force to arch him off the bed so only his shoulders, head, ankles, and feet were touching the mattress. His eyes were wide, yet unseeing, and his mouth was open in a silent scream as his lungs ceased working.
Remus... his mind called out as his grip on the bond they shared began to slip. An instant later, his body dropped back onto the bed and his hand went limp in the werewolf's grasp as darkness began to envelop him.
"SEVERUS," Remus cried out, shock and pain slamming down their bond and into him with brutal force as Severus' body almost arched off the bed. He could feel his mate cry out for him, and felt the howl of the wolf.
As Severus' lungs seized up, Remus could feel an answering hitch in his own chest. The bond... it's pulling me with him... he thought frantically. But then he felt Moony snarl, anger rising at what was happening. Remus might be resigned, but Moony did NOT want to die.
Drawing in a deep breath, Remus leaned over the limp body, and pressed his lips to those of his mate. Tilting the dark head back, he exhaled into Severus' mouth... and with a surge of victory he felt his mate's chest expand. Moving his mouth to take another breath, he called out for Dimpy, watching Severus' chest deflate... then he once again filled the lungs of his lover, while mentally grasping the bond and willing his mate to respond.
Hang on, Severus. Not yet. Not yet. Hannah won't forgive us if we die on her...
Dimpy appeared directly beside the bed only seconds after Remus called for her. She gave a gasp of terror as she watched him attempt to breath life back into the dark haired wizard on the bed.
"Master Severus," she whispered, her entire body trembling. However, she wasn't certain what she could do. It was clear Remus was in control and she wasn't about to come between a werewolf and its mate.
Yet, she also knew that, if the werewolf stopped fighting, all was lost.
"Please," she murmured. "Please don't die."
Severus felt as though he were floating. Darkness was around him, and he was only slightly aware that there didn't appear to be any light at all for him to head toward.
However, there also wasn't any pain.
That's it, he thought, </i>It's over...</i> Yet, he couldn't help but feeling as though something were missing. Something that was important, something he should find before he went any further.
Remus! he realized with a start. Looking around, he tried to peer through the darkness that surrounded him. Where was his mate? Why wasn't he here?
No. This is not right. He should be here. Together in death as we were in life.
And that was when he felt it. Something was pulling on him, drawing him back. Suddenly, he could sense his mate once again, could feel the connection they shared and the terror and anger of the wolf.
He could also feel the pain again.
"Remus," he murmured softly, his own voice sounding distant. As though it were all some sort of dream. It was difficult to stay focused and he felt himself drifting off, although he instinctively knew it wasn't death he was moving toward.
However, it wasn't sleep, either.
Remus wanted to cry when he felt Severus responding in their bond, and when he felt his mate draw a shallow breath on his own. He gently removed his lips from those of his mate, but kept his head bent, listening intently lest the inhalation was to be the only one. However it wasn't. Another followed, and then a third, and then the next exhalation carried a single word to his ears, spoken so low that were he not a lycanthrope, he wouldn't have heard it. But he did, and tears ran down his cheeks as his mate spoke his name.
"Severus," he responded, before his eyes widened again, as he felt Severus drift away once more. However this wasn't death, it was unconsciousness... although how long it would last - if, indeed, Severus would ever wake again - was something for which Remus had no answer.
It will be soon, he thought bleakly, despite the brief respite. He turned to Dimpy, summoning up as much of a smile as he could. "Dimpy," he said, voice very gentle. "Can you please tell Miss Hannah that Severus had a seizure, and that... I think he's in a coma now. After that, please summon Poppy Pomfrey, and Draco, if he isn't with Hannah." He paused, looking at her with sadness, knowing how much pain she was in, watching Severus suffer... watching him die. "I promise, Dimpy, I'll keep him here until you return... I won't let him go without you getting to say goodbye to him. I swear it, a Wizard's Oath, that I will."
He knew Severus was feeling no pain, might not feel it again... and so he gave in to Moony, feeling that this time the wolf deserved to have what he wanted - to be with his mate. Kicking off his shoes, he crawled into the bed, pulling his mate into his arms, cradling the thin body against his chest. He waited until Dimpy left, not wanting to alarm her.... but the moment she vanished, Remus relinquished control... and Moony howled in pain, in grief, in agony for his dying mate, before Remus buried his face in Severus' dark hair. Closing his eyes, the wolf began to whimper softly, begging for his mate to answer... but the man knew all too well that he would never hear Severus' velvet voice again.