builtofsorrow: (hp | lupin | you smell like moonlight)
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Now that the reveals are up, I can finally claim my fic from [livejournal.com profile] hp_holidaygen. I mentioned before that I wasn't particularly fond of it after I first wrote it. It's grown on me since then, and there are bits of it I quite like, but I am well aware of the fact that it's not my best work. That said, it's not the worst either, by far. (Not to frighten anyone off, or anything. -shuts up-)

title: Acclimatisation
character(s): Remus Lupin
rating: G
word count: ~1,500
notes: Remus in the inter-years.
Originally written for the [livejournal.com profile] hp_holidaygen fic exchange.
Title from Czesław Miłosz's Notes on Exile.
As much thanks as possible goes to [livejournal.com profile] lexiedoh, who got me through my ridiculously angsty phase of writing this, and to [livejournal.com profile] trinsy_fics, my canon expert.


Remus goes into exile after Everything. (James and Lily and Peter gone, and Harry left with those horrible relatives of Lily's, and Sirius, Sirius – he cuts off there, and from then on, he thinks of it only as Everything in his head, because it hurts less.) Perhaps it's a self-imposed exile; at the very least it's pre-emptive. The barriers that the others had built up against the world to protect him had been destroyed along with them, and he's not sure how long he'll last on his own in normal society. So he moves back in with his parents.

Exile is dramatic, he knows, but with Everything, there's no one about anymore to over-dramatise the events of his life, so he's got to do it for himself. (Sirius dwells in bits in his mind, still, and he can hear the echoes of conversations leading up to their leaving Hogwarts: Sirius had wheedled and prodded and debated with a flair for the dramatic that few could replicate – 'Imagine the shame, Moony, of living with your parents; I will die if you don't get a flat with me' – until Remus simply gave up on attempting to point out the flaws of a werewolf in a flat in the city and gave in. Sirius, to his credit, didn't gloat – much – when Remus's concerns proved to be easily overcome: but then, there wasn't much time to gloat as events began to escalate and distrust began to seep in and build itself up around all of them.)

In spite of what Sirius had said back then, if Remus feels shame, now, it's because he's burdening his parents, who are hardly in an ideal condition to deal with him. But there are few – if any – other options (they're as unwilling to send him to a colony as he is to go), so he packs all his belongings in a detached sort of manner, and he doesn't look back as he climbs into the backseat of a cab and rides away from the building he's called home for the past three years or so (though it feels like three months in parts and three decades in others).

---

He takes a Muggle train, because a bit of him dreams of travelling the world by relying on Muggle modes of transport, and this is probably the closest to a chance he's ever going to get. (More than the bit of him that dreams is the bit resigned to the nevers of his situation: he'll never have enough money, and mostly, he'll never have the freedom of movement that others do.)

Little by little, he fills his room and other rooms in the house with books, and he grasps at the words on pages and pages and stuffs them into the gaps of his dreams. He reads instead of travelling (ignoring the cliché inside of that), and every time the moon changes, he changes location, and every several months, he changes eras or centuries. He reads poetry and plays and essays and novels from whatever worlds he can find.

Three months are spent reading different stories about the moon because he happens to find a copy of a book called Selene in an old bookshop, and there's something about it that seems familiar. (He remembers why the minute he opens the cover: once, back at Hogwarts, he was alone, studying in the library, and an odd-looking, nearly cross-eyed Ravenclaw boy, whom he knew only vaguely, approached him earnestly and handed him a book, all black leather and gold script and thick pages. In a voice as wispy as his blonde hair, the boy commented, 'I thought you might like this', and when Remus opened the book a few moments after the boy left, he found that an X. Lovegood was the only one who had ever taken it out.) He meant to read it, back then, but never did; so now, he buys himself this newer copy – full of myths and tales of a goddess and love songs to the moon.

He's not entirely sure why, but he doesn't read it until the full moon is two nights away. Then he reads it all in one night, sprawled on the floor underneath his window, though he still has to use his wand for light, and he's enthralled most by the tale of Endymion, locked in an eternal sleep for Selene's pleasure (eternal sleep instead of eternal months and transformations). Next night, the one directly before the full moon is due, he sneaks out and lies in his mother's garden, arms flung out over the dirt and open in worship to the goddess, wondering if she'll take note of him and rescue him from his own curse. Not entirely unexpectedly, she doesn't.

---

Rescue comes years later, in the form of a potion invented by one of his old schoolmates (he only remembers the name because Lily had mentioned the boy several times), though it's not really rescue as much as hope. But hope is something he hasn't felt since… Everything, and he's not entirely sure where to place it. He's managed to build up more walls around himself now, and there isn't room for hope, isn't room for aspects of a life outside of what he's known for the past decade. He's almost glad for his lack of potion-making talent, but that's quickly squelched by the guilt he feels over his mother, who nearly kills herself learning how to make Wolfsbane potion for the son who didn't inherit her skills (she teaches him too, out of the necessity of years, but he never can make it as well as she).

The years pass more quickly now, somehow, though Remus is still caught in the place to which he's exiled and resigned himself; he doesn't know how to move forward and where he would go if he did. He stays on with his parents, and he's the one caring for them now, in many ways, and this reversal of roles is enough to tamp down the reservations he feels about grasping at the strand of hope offered by Wolfsbane. (Then a winter comes and his father goes, and the spring takes his mother, and the world shatters (again and more and horribly).)

He receives Dumbledore's invitation the following summer, and he sits and stares at it for several minutes before he places it on the kitchen table and walks away. It sits there for three days before he finally picks it up once more to reference it as he pens his reply. Soon he's packing up his things and closing up and placing protective charms about his parents' house, and this time, he turns back and stares at the structure as the cab drives him away.

---

Remus's head spins as he steps through the barrier onto the train platform to board the train to Hogwarts. He wonders if this is what refugees or émigrés feel when they, if ever they have the chance, at last return to their native land: and he decides that perhaps it is (because the intervening years have made him as much of an exile as anything, no matter how over-dramatic the term might have been in the beginning).

He's early; there are no crowds yet, and he boards the train and takes a seat in a compartment before they begin to form. He watches as students come through the barrier, followed by their parents, their siblings, and there's something in the air of the platform and his compartment, in the chill of concrete and brick and steel, in the cool of a compartment on a not-yet-moving train, in the bustle of conversations being shouted and whispered and words being set out into the air and colliding with each other in sometimes-mirror images of the people speaking them.

It's difficult to define, but he thinks that perhaps he has been unconsciously searching for it for years, this something, this feeling that pervades the spaces around him. It's not a feeling of homecoming and it's not quite relief and it's not a belief that the world is not dark and against him and full of worries; it borders on all of these and none of these, and mostly, as Remus settles more deeply into the cushion of the bench, he is able, for the first time in over a decade, to begin to imagine that outside of the cities and worlds and universes in his books, everyone has a place to dwell in the world which is his own.

Date: 2008-01-13 12:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] faeriemaiden.livejournal.com
Nelle, your writing makes me think of beautiful things. That's nearly all I can think of to say, because your writing is just so good and rightly worded and lovely that I never know what to say about it. And the grey years, as they have named themselves for some reason in my mind, are such fantastic story material, and...

You underestimate yourself, is what I'm saying, because this is beautiful and simple and quiet and the sort of thing that sneaks up on you and is, perforce, extremely bedimmed wonderful. ♥

(Also it's got REMUS in. Which may or may not cloud my judgement. ;))

Date: 2008-01-22 02:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] builtofsorrow.livejournal.com
Thank you. That's one of the best compliments I've ever received.

(And I love that: The Grey Years. And they do make fantastic story material, don't they? I don't know why it never occurred to me before this, but it didn't.)

Again. Thank you. ♥

Date: 2008-01-15 03:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wanderlight.livejournal.com
He reads instead of travelling (ignoring the cliché inside of that), and every time the moon changes, he changes location, and every several months, he changes eras or centuries. He reads poetry and plays and essays and novels from whatever worlds he can find.

I love this all, but I love that most. It's a simple, beautifully-expressed sentiment that Remus finds solace in books -- paints a very Remus picture, ties the entire fic together, for me. Lovely, dear. ♥

Date: 2008-01-22 02:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] builtofsorrow.livejournal.com
Oh, I'm so glad; that's probably my favourite paragraph, and I'm glad it worked so well in that way. Thank you, darling. ♥

Hello my friends!

Date: 2009-09-17 03:28 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Hello my friends!

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