Who: Harry Potter, Remus Lupin and Dobby
Where: 12 Grimmauld Place
Summary: Lupin delivers the cure to Harry. Raise the band and sound the rumpets?
For the first time he could ever remember, Remus looked at the edifice of 12 Grimmauld Place without a sick coil of dread tying his stomach into knots of tension. He had always considered the place cursed, and since Sirius' death, the place had become a symbol to him of all the losses he had ever suffered in his life. The last time he had faced the house he had honestly thought that he might never see it again; now, however, things had changed, and it was with a feeling of excitement that he approached the front door.
In his hand he carefully held a vial, one that contained the potion which Hannah Abbott had perfected, and which she had administered to Severus to such great effect. Not only was his mate recovered from the physical effects of the repeated exposure to Cruciatus which had brought him to the brink of death, but now Harry could be cured as well. For Remus, it was suddenly as though life had turned around completely, hope coming through just when things had seemed at their worst. For that, he was grateful - and he hoped that Harry would be, as well.
He couldn't help the smile that curved his lips as he mounted the front steps, and lifted the knocker to announce his presence.
The door knock was answered promptly by Dobby, who swiftly disarmed the multiple wards that Hermione had painstakingly set up with a wave of his fingers and the shimmer of magic. His usually large eyes looked even bigger against the shadows that lingered in the foyer of the house, though he looked delighted to see the werewolf. "Remus Lupin!" he exclaimed. "Dobby is so happy to see you."
"I'm happy to see you again as well," Remus replied, his smile widening as he greeted the house elf. "I am here to see Harry, Dobby. Is he at home?"
The House Elf wrung his long fingers nervously as he backed up to allow Remus entry. "Harry Potter is home, sir," he said in a hushed voice. "But Harry Potter is not taking visitors. Harry Potter has not been out of his room in a week, Master Lupin."
The werewolf's smile dimmed slightly in concern, but he stepped into the foyer quickly, then headed briskly towards the stairs. "I'm not here as a visitor, Dobby. I'm bringing him a potion which will reverse what has happened to him." He looked back over his shoulder at the house elf, inclining his head. "Perhaps you had best come with me, Dobby."
It wouldn't have seemed possible, but Dobby's eyes grew even larger at the news. "That is wonderful news," he breathed, quickly redoing the wards before scampering up the steps behind Lupin. "We are all worried for Harry Potter. Harry Potter must live to fight the new threat!"
"He will live, Dobby," Remus replied, mounting the stairs with determination. Whether he will fight the new threat or not, however, must remain to be seen. The last battle took a great deal out of him... he may not be up to another war.
Reaching the door to Harry's room, Remus raised his hand and knocked loudly. "Harry? It's Remus. I need to see you right now."
There was no reply from within, no sound at all. In the small crack between the door and the ground, there was no shaft of light to indicate that there was anyone inside - or at least up and moving.
Dobby came up behind Remus and peered anxiously at the closed door. "He has not answered for days now," he whispered.
Remus felt a jolt of fear go through him, and he turned to the house elf, eyes glittering. "You haven't gone in to check on him? Or Hermione hasn't? What in Merlin's name do..." Forcibly the werewolf stopped the flow of words. Incriminations were not what was needed now, action was. "Bring down his wards right now, Dobby. If you won't do it, I'm going through anyway."
"Dobby did check and clean, against Harry Potter's orders," the House Elf whimpered. "Dobby had to hammer his toes!" He wiggled said misshapen toes as proof, but at the werewolf's further quailing look, he made quick work of disabling the wards and opened the door.
The room was dark, with only what weak sunlight that filtered through the moth-eaten curtains to act as light. The air was stale but not too much so and the room was meticulously tidy. Had it not been for the still figure on the bed, this could be any empty room waiting for its owner to come back.
Remus stepped in, crossing to the bed in a few long strides. His heartbeat sounded loud in his own ears, but he held down the feeling of panic. It's not too late. I don't smell death, and I can hear him breathing, faintly. Peering down at the young man on the bed, Remus drew a hissing breath. Oh, Merlin...
He'd lost weight, to the point where he looked gaunt. His skin was pale against the shadows and looked paper-thin, with blue-tinged veins visible under the surface. His robes, which he hadn't bothered to change out of before last falling into bed, were voluminous on him and his glasses were hanging on by an ear. But in repose and on the edge of death, he looked as he never would awake and alive: young and at peace.
"Harry," the werewolf said, bending down over the young wizard and shaking his shoulder slightly. "Harry, it's Remus. Wake up, Harry." Not getting a response, Remus shook him harder. "Harry! Come on, Potter, get off your lazy arse and wake up!" Perhaps if soothing words wouldn't rouse him, a Severus-like taunt would.
Harry was floating. He was weightless, untouched by anything or any sensation; no pain, no worries, no responsibilities. All around him, the gaping darkness reached out to embrace him. In the distance, he could hear a voice, but he ignored it, preferring to stay in the comfort of this limbo. It grew sharper, though, and louder, until he couldn't disregard it anymore and he fell with a thump onto a hard mattress, with a lined face hovering anxiously over him and the distinct feeling of being caught in a washing machine around him. "P-Professor?" he rasped.
Remus almost sagged in relief when the green eyes opened and looked at him with dazed confusion. "Thank Merlin," he sighed, offering Harry a slight smile. He brushed back the unruly black hair from the younger wizard's face, much as he would have done to Harry's father twenty years before.
"Harry, I have wonderful news... they did it," the werewolf said, his smile becoming wider. "Hannah found the last ingredient for the cure. Severus..." He faltered for a moment, tears pricking his eyes. "Severus has taken it, and he's fine now. So I've brought it for you." He held up the vial so that Harry could see it. "No more pain, Harry. It's over."
Harry simply stared, his sleep-fogged mind not quite comprehending. Lupin looked happy…he was saying something about Hannah, about a cure, about pain. Wait. A cure.
He tried to push himself up on his elbows, but found that his arms couldn't support his weight. "The cure," he repeated dumbly. His mouth felt dry. "For this?"
"Yes, Harry," Remus assured him. "The cure for the physical effects of repeated exposure to the Cruciatus. What was killing Severus, and what is still killing you. Once you drink this... it's all over. Severus himself was in a coma yesterday, and today he's conscious and once again complaining about me forcing him to rest."
Sitting carefully down on the edge of the bed, Remus leaned down slightly. "Would you like me to help you sit up, Harry? Or Dobby can do it if you would be more comfortable. But the sooner you take this, the sooner your pain will be gone, and you can start living your life again."
Harry wasn't quite sure of the exact point in time when he'd resigned himself to a slow and painful death in obscurity, but somehow the idea wasn't as abhorrent to him as it might have been in his youth. He'd even gotten used to the idea and found some comfort in it. Lupin's announcement came so suddenly, and what he promised was so drastic, that Harry had difficulty fully comprehending it. He just stared at the vial as if he'd never seen such a thing before.
Remus frowned slightly at Harry's continued silence, wondering if perhaps there was something more wrong with the younger wizard rather than just the physical pain he had been suffering from for so long. He shook his head slightly, realizing that it was probably just too much for Harry to absorb very quickly. Well, demonstration is the most effective route in any case, he thought with dry amusement. So let us proceed directly to the lesson.
Reaching down, Remus grasped Harry's shoulder, lifting him into a sitting position. Wrapping one arm around the green-eyed wizard's shoulders, he opened the vial with his free hand, and pressed the opening to Harry's lips. "Drink this, now," he ordered firmly, in a voice which brooked no argument.
Even if Harry hadn't trusted what Remus was giving him, he wasn't in much of a state to resist. Without much struggle, he swallowed the contents of the vial - and immediately started to sputter. "Dear god, Remus," he burst out, wild-eyed and with much more energy than he'd shown in the past few months, "what is in that thing?"
"Be quiet and swallow," Remus said, watching carefully to make certain Harry received the entire dose. "As to the ingredients, it contains Dittany, Belladonna, and St. John's Wort, among other things." He quirked a brow at the younger wizard, before smiling slightly. "I've heard the taste is rather objectionable. That's probably because of the blood."
Are you trying to cure me or poison me?" Harry gasped, both from the taste of the potion and from the list of ingredients. He lifted a hand to wipe his mouth and then froze, realising with surprise that he had the strength to lift a hand to wipe his mouth. He could feel his fingers. He could breathe without developing a stitch in his side. He'd forgotten how good that felt. He could think clearly.
Stunned, he looked to Remus. "It worked, then."
"So it would seem," Remus replied gravely, before pulling Harry into a hug. Chuckling, he released the younger wizard, and grinned at him. "I trust you're happy about the fact, then?"
Harry only hesitated a beat before returning the grin. "It'll be good to get out of this house again, that's for damn sure." He clapped the werewolf on the back before studying him. "You're all right too, then?"
The werewolf nodded, gripping Harry's shoulder for a moment before releasing him and rising to his feet. "Oh yes, very much so, now that Severus is well," he replied with a wink. "Although I'm sure you don't want to hear about that."
He looked around the room briefly, then back to Harry. "I don't blame you for wanting to get out of this house, but you might want to have someone with you, just in case. Severus hasn't suffered any ill effects from the potion, but better to be safe."
Harry nodded and swung his legs to the floor with the intent to stand, but realized in short order that having been bedridden for so long, his legs weren't quite back to top form just yet. "Yeah," he grunted as he tumbled back onto the bed, "Especially since I think I've forgotten how to walk."
"It will come back to you," Remus assured him. "The cure doesn't make up for you not having eaten in who knows how long, either. You may want to have Dobby bring you food, and give it a few hours before you get up to any mischief."
He smiled again. "Is there anything else you need, Harry? If not, I should probably get back and report to Severus that you have been successfully cured, before he takes it into his head to come looking for me."
Was there anything else? Harry considered. He would have liked to talk to the werewolf longer, to talk about what had happened since he'd grown too weak to keep up with the news. He would have liked to know just how close he'd come to the brink and how Lupin felt about it all. He might have even discussed his ambivalence over the states of life and death. At the moment, though, one wish prevailed over all those. "Can you send Dobby? I'm really hungry."
"Of course," Remus replied quickly, nodding. He moved to the door and opened it, before turning to look back at Harry. "It's good to have you back, Harry. We have a lot of catching up to do, I think... why don't you send me an owl tomorrow, or at whatever point you'd like to get together and have a talk. How does that sound?"
This time, Harry's smile was immediate. "I'd like that," he said quietly, hands on either side of him to keep himself upright. "It's good to have you back too, Remus. Talk to you soon, I hope."
"Very soon," the werewolf said, nodding. "I'll send Dobby right in. Take care, Harry." With that, Remus gave the younger wizard one last smile, before leaving the
Harry stayed where he was for a few minutes after Lupin closed the door behind him. Then, exhaling slowly, he lowered his head into his hands.