Title: In Dreams
For as long as he has been transforming, he has had the nightmares. It began after his First Time, seven years old and locked away from his family like a wild animal. When the door closed, hiding the equally disgusted and pitying eyes of the Healers and mediwizards, he came into the knowledge that the life as he knew it was over. At seven years old, Remus Lupin grew up.
The nightmares are not a part of the Changing, but come after. The night that follows the full moon is horrible in its own way, and physically exhausted he has no choice but to sleep despite the awful dreams he knows he cannot prevent. His body needs time and rest to recover after the trauma of unwilling transformation, forcing him into inactivity. While the Wolfbane allows him to keep his mind, it makes the lethargy worse and does nothing to about the dreams.
In some ways, they are worse than the transformation itself. In the nightmares he is the Wolf, overcome with bloodlust and rage, but worse, he keeps his mind. In his dreams it is Remus who wants to kill, not the uncontrollable beast. As a child it was his parents he saw himself hunting, his family in the terrible visions. Later it became his friends. The victims changed; sometimes mid-chase. James becoming Sirius was not uncommon. Sometimes either of them become Harry.
But for several years now he’s predominantly been dreaming of killing one person: his wife.
They’ve always started the same—reliving the First Time. The bars close in, their shadows leaning in on him. The door shuts and the hinges screech. The pain, the Change.
He dreams she hates him and finally sees him for the monster he truly is. She flees at the sight of him, but this only intensifies his desire. He gives chase, catapulting through darkness after her, faster and faster as the Need grows stronger. She stumbles, fingers clawing uselessly as she tries in vain to make one last escape, a final effort to run, but he is on her and in the moonlight he can see the horror and revulsion in her eyes. She is screaming, trying to fight him off and calling his name in an effort to appeal to the man inside. But her cries fall on deaf ears. He doesn’t care. Baring his teeth he leans in ready to--
And then she’s there. Not the dream her, but her. Minerva. Hear me, Remus. Hear me and come back. With soothing words she coaxes him from the troubled sleep and pulling him into awareness where he finds her straddling him, pinning his desperate, thrashing limbs against the cool sheets. Come back. Reality still blurred, in the half-life between sleeping and waking, he feels her lips against his, gently prying him from the dark visions. Come back. The too-real agony fades from his consciousness. Stroking his hair and kissing his face, his eyes, his forehead, she commands a pursuit of her own, chasing away the shadows of reality from his thoughts. In her arms he is safe, is human again, and he mumbles a sleepy endearment knowing the danger has passed.
He’ll never be cured. That much he knows beyond a doubt. But for tonight at least, he’s been saved.
[/junk-ficlet posting spree]