|Peter Pettigrew (spinzone) wrote in the100,|
@ 2015-07-05 21:55:00
|Entry tags:||!log/thread, peter pettigrew, remus lupin|
Who: Remus and Peter
When: Oh Thursday, July 2 into early July 3, maybe?
Where: In the hurricane! ... oops?
What: Remus runs away. Peter goes after him.
Rating: Holy Shit for feelings and also for mountain lion death
They're better off without him.
All of this is his fault. He turned the original wolf, he caused a chain reaction of werewolf infections, and now one of those werewolves had escaped the prison in Mount Weather and slaughtered people. A Grounder village had seemed distant and remote, devastating as it was, but this is their home.
And it's his fault.
Remus can't stay. It isn't that he fears punishment — in fact, he desperately wishes they would punish him. He deserves it, for what he's done. But they're not going to, and he knows it. They've already shown him more forgiveness than he could possibly deserve, and if he has to listen to Ruby tell him one more time that he should be proud of who he is, that he should just embrace the fact that he's different, that it's not a disease, he's going to snap.
He doesn't know what these books say about him, but people seem overly inclined to forgive, and Remus doesn't think he can hear someone tell him he's not responsible.
He feigns sleep, and the moment James and Sirius leave him alone for a while to rest, he's leaving. Weak as he is, his forearms and hands scratched and scrapes across his face, he gathers up a bag and shoves whatever he can into it: clothes, the remains of a chocolate bar, a few bits of food, his wand. He's not thinking too far ahead, about where he'll go or how long he'll be gone. Maybe he'll die out there. Maybe he should. He just knows that he can't stay.
With the chaos, Remus finds it easy to leave. People will miss him, they'll notice, but Remus doesn't bother to take his phone and he doesn't leave any notes.
Peter sleeps, but barely. Sera is in medical with Adaar, and he spends some time there, giving Sera as many hugs as she can stand. But in his own room, he sleeps a little, and mostly stays awake and worries about Remus. This is going to be rough on his friend, and Peter knows it. He doesn't not blame Remus, because it all started with him, but there is a level of innocence that no one can deny.
That first moon was supposed to have been safe, no people. But there were, and the ripple of consequences from that first night have been growing wider and ever outward since. This is the natural conclusion, and it makes Peter sick to think about it. Death and destruction and chaos -- and hopefully that first trickle of awareness that werewolves aren't the fuzzy, misunderstood creatures that so many seem to believe they are. They're deadly, and the five bodies in the morgue are a testament to that.
As soon as he can after breakfast, Peter goes to Remus's apartment. He needs to see him, talk to him, but of course he isn't there. The bed is mussed, but things are missing. Remus's room is bare -- too bare. The room is empty, almost echoing in its emptiness.
Remus is gone. Years of knowing him, years of whispered confidences and firsts, allow Peter to understand that Remus doesn't want to be found. It's instinct, then, when Peter lifts his wand, takes a deep breath, and gathers himself into his rat form. Immediately his senses are keener than ever, and he smells Remus, the blood and the sweat and the fear, and he follows. Keep to the shadows, don't let anyone see the vermin crawling on the floor, follow Remus.
Peter is led outside, into the forest. Above, a storm is brewing. The wind picks up and there is a heaviness to the air: a calm before the storm. Peter stops, raising his nose into the air. And then -- yes. There is is. Remus, moving, quickly. Peter goes in that direction, not know how far Remus has gone, and not caring. He'll follow him to the ends of the earth.
Remus doesn't move as fast as he wants to, not when he's so tired he wants to collapse. Traveling by magic is too dangerous, and as upset as Remus is he can't bring himself to risk it. So he walks, and the one thing that keeps him ahead is that he doesn't stop. He keeps moving, knowing that if he goes too far out he'll find the Grounders eventually, or wild animals.
He's on the run for hours, moving slowly and steadily, as the sky grows darker and more ominous. Rain falls; Remus keeps going. Thunder rumbles, and Remus can't get to shelter. The exhaustion and pain from his transformation is catching up to him, and when he can no longer stand he collapses to the ground in a heap. His body feels like it's on fire, his muscles are so overworked that he can't support his own weight.
Then the rain picks up.
Time is strange when Peter is in his animagus form; he's never certain how long he's been in it until the light changes. Today, it grows darker more quickly than usual, and he is afraid that it's nearing night time. He changes, and finds himself standing in dense forest, surrounded by too-tall trees and thick groundcover. It's raining, harder, and lightning flashes across the sky, followed immediately by loud cracks of thunder that cause him to flinch.
You're not supposed to be near trees during a thunderstorm, after all.
He's nowhere near Mount Weather, and Remus is nowhere in sight. He's lost his scent, too. All Peter can smell in rat form is brimstone and rain and wet soil, and a muted, woodsy smell that tells him nothing. He tries not to panic, refuses to take the easy way out and apparate back, and instead yells, "Remus! -- Moony!"
And because he feels like a failure of an idiot just standing there, he moves, more deeply into the wildness that is now the state of Virginia.
Remus isn't sure how much time passes between collapsing and feeling coherent again. He knows that he drifts in and out of consciousness, but it could be for minutes or for hours and he's got no idea. What he does know is that he wakes abruptly with water and mud pooling into his mouth, and it's enough to jerk him awake.
He spits, wiping his mouth with bandaged forearms. The ground is turning to slick, loose mud except where the brush is thick enough where the roots can keep the ground more solid. He crawls into the nearest patch of brush (there are thorns, because of course something has spikes) and tugs his bag close, fumbling for his wand. He slumps up against the nearest tree, already out of breath, and tries to sort through his thoughts to cast an Impervius Charm.
It's not as strong as it should be, but it's enough to cast a protective barrier and keep most of the rain off of him. Eventually it'll fade, he won't be able to keep it up, but it gives him a moment to breathe.
This storm is starting to be far, far worse than he expected.
He can't stay here, even though he feels he can't walk. He pushes himself up to his feet, and at least he's guarded from the rain in his immediate area.
The mountain lion, however, doesn't care nearly as much about the rain.
He doesn't see it coming. He's leaning against trees just to stay upright, trying to find a spot that looks familiar and trying to remember which way he came from Mount Weather. Then there's a growl from behind him and Remus just barely has enough time to turn and see the snarling creature before he's tackled ruthlessly to the ground.
He cries out, his hoarse voice barely audible over the wind, and he struggles for his wand.
The cry of the mountain lion is loud enough -- and Remus is close enough -- for Peter to hear, and he sprint towards the sounds, bursting through brush and branches and an incessant, pouring rain. His wand is out, and he reacts, sending a stunning charm towards the cat. It doesn't do much beyond distract it from it's easier prey, but Peter is fine with that. He yells at it, "Come on, you bastard!"
The mountain lion leaps, and Peter strikes. "Sectumsempra!," and the wind blows rain and blood at Peter, the cat shrieks again, and is dead. It's heavy paw, claws extended, brushes against Peter's leg, tears the fabric of his pants, and leaves a cut across his shin that is shallower than the amount of blood would leave a person to believe.
"Remus! Oh fuck, come on, Moony, don't be --" Peter gathers Remus into his arms, happy beyond belief that Remus is alive. Barely, he thinks, but alive. It's raining even harder now, the wind whipping trees even lower and causing the raindrops to feel like thousands of stabbing needles. "Remus, come on, we have to -- it's too dangerous, we have to -- I'm going to app -- fuck, impervius."
Remus slumps back against Peter. His heart feels like it's going to pound out of his chest, and the bandages on his forearms are torn away. Wounds from the previous night are torn open, there's at least one fresh bite, but it's almost impossible to tell what the hell has happened when his arms were already cut to ribbons to begin with. Blood is pooling in the cuts, now that the rain's not making impact on his skin.
"Peter — Peter, what are you doing out here?" He twists just enough to look up at him, staring. "Go back. What are you thinking?!"
"Shut up, Remus," Peter say, the adrenaline from fighting the mountain lion leaching from him and leaving his fear for Remus behind. It comes out as anger, and he gives vent to it. "You don't get to say anything because you're the one who went out into a fucking storm and tried to get yourself killed. I'm saving your arse, you miserable --"
He shook Remus, gripping his shoulders and leaning over him to be able to look at him. "What the hell is this? That was a fucking mountain lion! It was going to kill you!"
Peter is crying, the charm keeping the worst of the rain off of them both, and he wants to simultaneously hug Remus to him and shake him for being the idiot to beat all idiots. "I couldn't let you do this."
Remus hears what Peter's saying, but he's not listening. He can't. He doesn't want to hear it. He can't let his friends tell him that he's needed, or wanted, or missed, because he doesn't want to go back.
Peter should have just let him die out here.
He shakes his head, unwinding himself from Peter so he can sit up on his own. He's still catching his breath, and he's making no move to deal with the wounds on his arms despite the amount of blood. "Too bad," he says quietly. "You don't let me do anything. I can't stay there, not after what's happened. Not when it's my fault."
Peter stares at him. "Maybe it is, but you're a coward if you stay out here. Just as much a coward as I am when I betray you and Prongs and Padfoot. And that's not you, Moony. I never took took you for one."
It enrages Peter to think that his time spent learning to live with himself doesn't mean anything. That the tenuous peace that lay between him and James and Remus can be so easily torn. Because it will be. Remus is part of the glue that holds them together, and him dying will dissolve everything. There won't be a chance, ever, of forgiveness between Peter and Sirius. And the memory of that friendship and the bonds they shared is enough for Peter to want to at least have a chance to save it. Peter is selfish enough to think of himself. "This isn't just about you, Remus. You die, and everything is over. For me and for you."
By the time he's done talking, Remus is staring at Peter. The comparison bites deep; Remus might settle with being called a coward, but the idea that running away from damage he'd caused is the same as what Peter's done — or will do — is like Peter's shoved a knife in his gut and twisted it.
"Are you bloody kidding me?"
He doesn't have much strength, and the wolf's influence has faded with his transformation, but he snarls. His voice is so dry and cracked that it sounds like it tears his throat apart to speak. "What am I a coward for? For not wanting to look at what I've done? For not being able to handle it when they inevitably forgive me? For knowing you're all better off if I'm gone?"
The shove he gives to Peter's shoulders barely has enough strength to move him. "I am not you!"
Peter moves Remus’s hand out of the way. There’s a roar in his ears that has nothing to do with the storm around him, and everything to do with the one that’s brewing between them. “No, you’re not me. But have you listened to yourself? You sound a hell of a lot like me, though. You fucked up, and people are dead. And here you are, moaning because they’re willing to look past it because of who you are. You’re bloody Remus Lupin, everyone’s favorite fucking professor, running away because it’s too big to handle. Go. Just fucking go, and I’ll explain to James and Sirius that I let you go because I couldn’t let you be better than me.”
Peter gets to his feet, ignoring the storm around them. He has to shout his words over the wind, and when he’s done talking, he spreads his arms wide.
"I didn't kill my friends, Peter!" The truce between them is a delicate one, and all it takes is a little tip of the balance for Remus to snap. He'd defended Peter on his arrival, keeping him safe from Sirius, but when he'd thought Sirius was the one who'd betrayed them, he'd smashed his face in with his fists. Remus has done his best to forgive, he's done his best to try and recapture a friendship and stop a tragedy before it ever happened. If they forgive Peter, if they take him back and keep him safe, then none of this will ever happen.
But it did happen, and it's scarred Remus far more than any bites or scratches.
He drags himself up to his feet, stumbling. Little sparks flicker in his peripheral vision. He needs to be lying down. He needs to be home, asleep, safe.
He shoves Peter again, with far more violence behind it. "Don't you ever say I'm like you! I am nothing like you, I didn't do this on purpose, I didn't get angry and feel left out and decide the best thing to do was to sell my friends to the Dark Lord — I made a mistake, it was an accident, I never meant for…"
He runs out of steam, choking back a sob and turning away.
Peter lets Remus shove him, stumbling back but keeping his feet. He wants to ask Remus if Eddie’s his friend, if Adaar is. If any of the people who died were, but he doesn’t, because it’s not fair and Remus is right. Remus didn’t kill his friends. So he says, “No, you didn’t kill them, but you’re still responsible! You can’t tell me that I’ve got to move on, to live with the choices I made when you don’t do it yourself. That’s why you’re a fucking coward, and you’re not supposed to be like me, damn it! I’m supposed to be the fucking coward in this story, Remus!”
But Remus is swaying and his skin is pasty white and there is blood streaming down his arms. Peter steps forward to catch him. “You’re better than this.”
"I made a mistake," Remus says again. Something in him has broken and it's like a dam being destroyed and everything's flooding out. He's always been so careful. He was told all of his life what would happen if he slipped up, if he made a mistake, if he ever bit someone. He's always tried to be good, to be liked, to be the perfect example of the perfect werewolf — on paper, at the very least. He's a good wizard and a good citizen and he doesn't make mistakes. He can't afford to.
And now he has, and he can't take it.
He slumps forward against Peter with a cracked, painful-sounding cry, sobbing openly against his shoulder. "I didn't mean to do this, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry—"
Peter does nothing more than wrap his arms around Remus to hold him tight, the way he’d wished someone had done after he was told about his own future. He didn’t deserve to have that compassion, and maybe Remus doesn’t, either, but to hell with it. In Peter’s estimation, sometimes compassion is given anyway, out of kindness. He has friends who believe in him, who trust him, who have helped him to start finding his own way, and so he gives that same undeserved compassion to Remus. “I know. I know. I know you didn’t, Moony, I know. It happened, and we deal with it. Yeah? We deal with it. You’re safe, I got you.”
He lets Remus cry against him for awhile, until it’s obvious that the other man needs to be sitting, laying down, resting. He eases them down and has his first good look at Remus’s arms, and he curses. A few muttered healing charms stops most of the bleeding, but it’s not nearly enough. But the storm is only getting worse, and judging from Remus’s pallor, Peter doubts that he’s up to much movement, if any. He shakes Remus’s shoulder. “Hey, we need to try getting back. You up to apparating?”
Remus cries until he can't anymore. Tears are useless and he knows it, but he's so overwhelmed with emotion that he can't do anything else. He's responsible for so many deaths, and until they find out what happened to the Grounder he originally turned, every month would bring more death, more suffering. It had been devastating before, when the Grounder village was attacked, but he'd been able to compartmentalize it, put it away, because it wasn't his home, it wasn't people he knew. Now he can't hide away and ignore it anymore.
He lets Peter work on his arms, mostly because he can barely move. The bites from the mountain lion are easy to heal, but the torn werewolf scars won't close with healing spells. Remus is already emotionally and physically weak, and the blood loss isn't helping.
Apparating is dangerous and difficult as it is; there's no way Remus can handle it, not when his response to Peter is a barely-audible mumble.
“That’s right,” Peter answers himself. “I’m a bloody berk, and an idiot for asking. Good of you to remind me.”
He strips his shirt off and points his wand at it, casting a cleaning charm. It’s as clean as he can make it, and so he tears it into strips and leaves them in a pile. They’re in the woods, and in the woods there are more than enough plants with healing properties, even though it’s a Muggle world. He finds some, but it’s not nearly enough, but it’ll have to do. They taste horrible when Peter chews them up, but it’s worth it when he’s able to spread the paste on the worst of Remus’s werewolf scratches, and using another charm to warm the fabric strips, he wraps Remus’s arms.
He’s been tired for hours, and edges into exhaustion as it grows darker and becomes harder and harder to find what he needs to build a rudimentary shelter. But a large piece of bark later, enlarged to be big enough to cover them both, and some stones that he found a few yards away are enough to do the job. The stones are enough to contain a water-proof fire -- although not necessarily hurricane-proof.
And that’s it. That’s all he can do until the next morning, when he might be able to find a cave as better shelter.
It probably says something about Remus's state of health that he sleeps through any of this. It's not a comfortable sleep, but one brought about through exhaustion and loss of blood, and he doesn't have much choice about it.
The little shelter, with all of its magical protections, is enough to keep them from getting torn apart by the storm as it gets worse, though it seems like the wind is going to tear it to shreds. The night is loud, with the howling wind and the pounding rain, and the ominous cracking and thudding of heavy branches as they fall from nearby trees to the ground below.
When Remus wakes, it's to a branch falling on top of their lean-to. He curses under his breath, patting the ground around him for his pack and his wand. Their spells are only going to keep them protected for so long, but he knows a thing or two about protective charms to keep wood from splintering and cracking under a constant assault, magical barriers — after all, he's had to contain himself for almost twenty years. He can work on keeping things out just as well as keeping things in.
"This is no ordinary fucking storm," he mutters to himself. Why hadn't he brought his phone? Why? And even if he had brought it, there was probably no way the signal could get back to Mount Weather. He had no idea how far off they were.
The branch crashing onto their shelter wakes Peter from the doze he fell into sometime after full darkness found them. He jumps, confused; it’s a moment before he remembers where he is and what’s happened. The fire gives just enough light to see by, and he sits up. “It’s a hurricane, maybe? They have those here. Muggle Studies said that they happen a lot during the summer in America.”
His wand is still beside him, and considering how angry he’d made Remus, he’s thankful that it’s still there. “I’m sorry I said all of that to you.”
Remus's anger has fizzled out by now, and he's leaning up against the tree trunk, looking out into the forest. There's nothing to see. For a long time after Peter's apology, he doesn't speak. He's not sure what he can say.
"Is that how you really think of me?" he asks after a moment. He's not sure it matters.
Peter picks up a dry leaf that’s been miraculously unharmed by their presence and twirls it between his fingers. He doesn’t know how to answer Remus. Finally, he crumbles the leaf and wiped his fingers first on his stomach, and then on his jeans. “No. Not really. I mean, Christ,” he sighs. “You’re better -- a better person than me. You always have been. It’s just -- you not owning your part in all of this is -- it’s wrong. It’s not who you are, I think.”
Telling a person you’ve wronged how they’ve screwed up is never easy, and Peter doesn’t want to make Remus feel worse. But Peter can only see all of this getting worse, if Remus doesn’t own up and take responsibilites for the mistakes he’s made. Peter isn’t perfect, and he will always work to make up for what he did, but he also knows that accepting his actions and allowing himself to move on was the best choice he could have ever made. And, perhaps selfishly, it’s what he wants for Remus. Telling those home truths is never easy, just as accepting them isn’t. “You’re running from your problems, and it isn’t going to solve them. You might be dead, but what the rest of us? I know what I did, and what it led to, even with Harry and bringing the Dark Lord back. But I ran from mine, then, and… don’t be like me. Don’t be stupid.”
Remus frowns, letting his head rest back against the trunk. "So you think I should go back there and tell everyone what I am, and that this is my responsibility, and … what then?" If there's some kind of punishment, he'll take it, but he has this feeling that he'll be told that it's okay as if people still don't understand. People are dead.
"I should be put down for this," he says quietly. Put down, like he's an animal and not a person.
“I think you should go back and own up, and tell them every damn thing you know about werewolves, and how they react. Teach them as much as well as you can how to find them. Talk to Eddie and Moody, too. You join the fight, Moony. That’s what you do. What I should have done. You join the fight,” Peter replies.
He shakes his head, scooting over to sit next to Remus. “No, you shouldn’t. You’re still a person, and you’re not like that Grounder werewolf or Greyback, where you don’t care. You care, and you do everything you can to not hurt people.”
"But I did hurt people," Remus insists. "I didn't do everything I could, because I hurt someone, or I thought I did, and instead of telling the people in charge I hid it. And the next month the new wolf had slaughtered a village and now we don't know how many are out there. I didn't tell anyone because I wasn't sure, and I didn't want to start trouble with the Grounders, and now…"
He runs his hand over his face, clears his throat. He rubs at his neck a little, like giving it a massage will make his voice feel better.
"What good am I to anyone there?"
“You made mistakes. It’s what we do.” Peter takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly. “It takes courage to face what you did. I don’t know what they’ll do, but if they were going to do it, they would have by now. And… it’s done. You can’t change it. You just have… move forward.”
Peter lifted his wand with a murmured lumos, and lifted Remus’s bandaged arm. “Let me see your arm.”
The wounds aren’t great, but they look better than they did. Peter gives a proud huff. Not bad for a medi-wizard who didn’t finish his training, and without any sort of supplies at all. “How many friends have you made? What do you know? You’re my best friend. I need you there, even if you decide that you don’t want to talk to me anymore, I need you there, because then I know you’re safe. James and Sirius need you there, because you’re their best friend, too.”
Remus isn't sure he would have taken this advice from James or Sirius, but from Peter? Peter understands owning mistakes, he understands trying to move on, and this feels more like honest advice rather than lip service. There's a small ripple of bitterness running through his emotions — he is nothing like Peter, he insists, he can't be. Peter straddles the line between his old friend and his enemy, and Remus can't settle on how he feels.
"Am I in bad shape?" he asks after a moment. He feels like he's in bad shape. He barely feels conscious.
Peter hesitates, then nods. “Yeah, you are. You need to be in medical. You lost a lot of blood after that cat attacked you.” He hesitates again. “I did what I could but you could still get infected, and I don’t have anything but my wand.”
He reaches up to feel Remus’s forehead. Despite the chill in the air, he’s burning up. “Yeah, we need to get you home.”
Fear settles in the pit of his stomach -- Remus may not make it home alive. He points his wand at the stones and hits them with another couple warming charms, not that it does any good. “Is that a knapsack? What do you have in it?”
"I…" Remus reaches for the bag with a weak hand, opening up the flap. It's larger on the inside than it is on the outside. "There's some clothes, and … a bit of chocolate I've saved, and a little bit of food. There's a cup for water. I just put whatever I could into it."
Peter eyes Remus, but no. No, his clothes would never fit him. Unless… Peter pulls out a t-shirt and enlarges it. It’s enough that he can wear it, although it doesn’t help him much. He pulls out a button down flannel shirt and sets it aside, and a pair of trousers. It’s enough for now. He helps Remus into the shirt, and rolls up the trousers for him to use as a pillow. He fills the cup with water and hands Remus the food.
“Eat. Please eat.”
Remus takes a small bite, closing his eyes. "We just have to wait out the storm," he said after swallowing. "Our spells seem to be holding up, somehow." It's not safe to travel in this, and spells won't stay strong if they're moving. "It'll… it'll be fine."
He's quiet for a while, taking a couple more bites and listening to the sounds of the storm rage against their little protective bubble. "You saved my life."
Peter shrugs. “You slept awhile. I’ve bolstered them every so often. We’ll be all right.”
Peter thinks about that for awhile, huddled next to Remus and ignoring his own hungry stomach. “I guess I did. I don’t regret it.”
"No, really," Remus says, more emphatically. "You saved my life. If the storm didn't kill me, the mountain lion would have. Even if I'd fended it off I wouldn't have…" The fact that he's talking about this at all clearly means he doesn't want to die. He's grateful for Peter coming after him, for coming through the storm to find him.
His thoughts of leaving Mount Weather and simply seeing how far he would go had been only half planned, and the reality of it was far worse.
"Thank you," he says quietly. They're not out of the woods, literally and figuratively. Remus isn't aware of how bad things can get if they don't get help; he's so used to feeling terrible after the full moon that it all sort of bleeds together at a certain point.
“Yeah… You’re… you’re welcome.” Hesitantly, he reaches out and touches Remus’s head, combing his fingers through his friend’s hair. He’ll try not to worry.