1995-02-06: The Line Between Guilty and Innocent

Participants:

Lupin_icon.gif Holly_icon.gif

Scene Title The Line Between Guilty and Innocent
Synopsis Remus encourages Holly to get angry, only to point out the fact that her situation isn't as hopeless as she's making it.
Location Holly's house, Hogsmeade
Date 6 Feb 1995
Watch For Holly finally snapping!
Logger Holly

It's early evening, about when Lupin would expect Holly to be home…assuming she went out at all today. He certainly knows he spent a lot of time by himself since everything happened. Lupin has been thinking, and he's thought it's about time to talk to Holly again. The talk at St. Mungo's just didn't cut it for him. Not really. He didn't get in the real good talk he was hoping for. There are no doubt questions to be answered, and possible some matters left unsaid. It is with that in mind that he approaches Holly's home. He stands outside her door for a few minutes before he get up the nerve to knock.

—-

It's not long before Holly answers the door, opening it just a crack so she can see who's out there. A certain smell might be detected, coming from inside the house. It's familiar, albeit in a much fresher state than it is when it's in potion form. Namely, it's Wolfsbane in plant form, sitting in small pots in her living room, ready to be added to the ever-growing garden just outside.

When she sees Lupin there, she pushes open the door the rest of the way so he can come in. Her expression is unreadable, though her posture is somewhat tense, which says volumes. She's still not okay with Lupin - not entirely. "I didn't think I'd see you for another week yet."

—-

Lupin is all too familiar with the Wolfsbane plant. He's smelt it and been in it's presence so many times, and he's had the potion it is made from so many times that it doesn't come as a surprise to him that she'd have it. He attempts to smile at Holly, but the smile is weak and timid. "Well…the next full moon isn't for another nine days or so, but I felt we needed to talk some more. Something like this…when it happens, it isn't resolved overnight between the two people."

—-

It might not be resolved for a long while yet, either.

Even if this wasn't really his fault, since he wasn't in control at the time, it was still him in some shape and form. She watched him change, saw the look in his eye when he recognised her, and yet he did nothing.

Wordlessly, she steps out of the way so that he can come in. The house isn't quite as neat as it usually is, because Holly hasn't had time for its upkeep. There's dust gathering on the shelves, though it seems she's started making efforts to clean it, judging by the rag that's sitting over the arm of a nearby chair. "What do you want me to say, Remus?"

—-

Lupin steps inside gracefully. The appearance of the home doesn't seem to bother him all too much. He's had much worse to live in. For several moments he is silent as he collects his thoughts. "I don't expect an apology. Not now. Not this soon. But…" He sighs. "I just…I want you to be forthright." He says, turning back to face her. "You are most likely feeling a multitude of emotions, anger high amongst them, and I just want for us to be completely honest with each other, Holly. If there is anything you are wanting to tell me, I don't want you to hold back."

—-

She stares at him, eyes narrowed, focused, intense. He wants honesty? Years have passed where she's carefully schooled her emotions because anything less would have been unprofessional. Time has gone by where she's barely batted an eye because of the fact that something happened in her youth that was so emotionally draining that nothing quite seems worth getting that angry over ever again. But if ever there were a time for her to just completely lose it, now is it.

There are a million things she wants to say, but in the end, she just shakes her head. "What would that solve? I mean, I can be angry at you all I want, but you don't — " She pauses, and the statement is laced with a dry chuckle. "You don't even remember what it is I'd be angry at you for. What's the point?"

—-

It would seem that Lupin and Holly have yet something else in common. He often keeps most of his emotions in check. Not usually happiness or anything like that, but the extremes of the ones considered 'bad', or unhealthy to show. Anger, hate, and others akin to those. "No, I don't remember. But that doesn't mean you don't deserve to be angry, and tell me what you wish to. I am angry at the man who infected me. Though he is worse a man than I." He wouldn't want to go into detail, though. "You've got every right to be angry. And the purpose that would serve of you telling me? Well, I don't know if it will lessen what you're feeling, but it can't be worse than bottling it all up! The more you bottle up what you're feeling, the more it eats away at you! It eats away until you explode at someone who isn't even deserving of the anger!"

—-

"You already know," she says. "I want to hate you, but I know I can't." Not without hating herself, anyway. There might be a time in her future where she can't get to a potion before the full moon. She'll have to lock herself up, and in the morning, maybe she won't remember anything, either. "And, you know, I wish you would remember sometimes, because I — I wish you could see it like I do every time I manage to fall asleep. You have to live with it, but not really. Not like I do. And you were so calm beforehand, like… like you knew that even if you did something, you wouldn't actually remember it in the morning, and that made it all okay." By the end of the statement, her voice is breaking, but it's not tears this time so much as it's the vitriol she's managed to store up since being infected. "And just once, I'd like to tell someone that I wish I would have died, and not have them tell me I'm overreacting!"

—-

Lupin doesn't make to intervene while she talks. There wouldn't any point. He invited this, after all. When he is sure that she's stopped talking for now, he speaks up once more. "You want to hate me…and you have every right to. Your life as you know it has changed drastically." He pauses for a quick moment. "I do see it as you do, you know. Maybe not exactly as your experience, but I do. I see the night that I was changed. I was just a young child but I remember like it happened yesterday. Fenrir Greyback, as the werewolf, crashing through our front door. I'd been asleep, but the noise woke me. He broke into my room…you know how children often think there are monsters in their closets or under their beds? He was that monster for me. I had nightmares of it for years afterwards. My once a month transformation didn't help either." He sighs softly. "Even now, I have those nightmares every now and again." He stares blankly at Holly. "That night in the cell…I was anything but calm. I've learned over the years, through all my battles and the losses of close and dear friends and family, to appear calm even through certain turmoil. That night, I wanted to vomit. I was worried and afraid just as much as you were! It was not easy for me one bit. After all these years and all these precautions that family, friends, and myself have taken and it's all undone because of Umbridge. You are the first person I've ever infected. I've been struggling with it every day since!" He takes a deep, shaky breath in. "And I don't blame you for wishing you had died. If I were in your place? I'd want the same."

—-

Holly shakes her head, lost in her own thoughts for the moment. When she speaks, it's not directly to Remus. "It's just, if they would have waited just a few more minutes…" Death would have hurt, and she would have been afraid for the few moments before the peaceful feeling took her down into quiet darkness, but she wouldn't have to live with this. She wouldn't have to figure out how to change her whole life around to fit with this disease she has now - that she's so hypocritical about after urging werewolves to take control of their own lives. It's different when it's her.

She wrings her hands, looking off to one side. "I can't see you as a monster," Holly admits. For a moment, she almost doesn't go on, but he wants her to be truthful. Maybe it'll help him, too. Probably not. "But I think you're weak. I think if you really wanted to, you could have stopped yourself. I think you could have just— held off for a few minutes or— Or after you did it, you could have just killed me, but you couldn't do that, either. And now I'm trapped between here and there."

There's a snort of humourless laughter from her again. "And you know what I'm most afraid of? Right now? At this moment? After I change… Seeing myself as something else. I almost don't want to take the potion, because I don't know if I can stand that. It's stupid. Out of all the things I should be afraid of, it's that."

—-

Lupin shakes his head firmly. "They wanted to save you, Holly." After all, it was more about saving her than saving him that night. He would have been fine while transformed if it had just been him. He takes a sharp breath in as she speaks again. He did ask for it, after all; for her to be honest. "Is that what you think? That I'm weak? That I could have stopped myself?" He shakes his head again, trying to keep calm. "How little you know…would you tell a bear, that was on the brink of starvation, that it could control itself? Or a dragon that it could control it's violent ways and fire breathing? No. A werewolf who has not had a chance to take their potion likewise doesn't have control! It has nothing to do with being weak, but everything to do with the nature of a violent animal! The animal takes over. It takes over both mind and body. If you do not take the potion, your mind thus changes into that of an animal, it is no longer a human brain until you change back into a human. And excuse me, Holly, but you've never changed before. You've no right to actually say that when you've not changed before." He pauses, having talked calmly that whole time. "Look, I'm sorry, I told you to be honest. And I knew to expect this. It's just hard. For both of us." He eyes Holly. "And believe me, it's much easier taking the potion. You don't want to have to deal with the effects of a full transformation."

—-

Holly shakes her head right back. "No, I think it was more about saving you. You know, if it wasn't for me, this wouldn't have happened, and we can blame Umbridge all we want, but we all know that if I wasn't here, you wouldn't have been locked up with anyone. Now I'm just some girl who broke your perfect record." Crossing her arms, she looks stubbornly away as Remus speaks. She knows he's right. "They wanted to save you from killing someone. You're their friend, Remus. I've been here, what, half a year? It was all for you."

How little she does know, but she doesn't care. Holly flops down in a chair next to a pot full of Wolfsbane. The scent of it is starting to reach her as the magic she's been using to deaden her sense of smell wears off. Sitting down so fast was a mistake, as the sudden weight creates a stabbing pain in her side. "No, I've never changed before, and now, thanks to you I get to have the pleasure. What do you want, a gift basket? You want me to — to what, pin a medal on you because you know more about this than I do? I can't help how I feel about this. I can't stop the dreams, or decide suddenly that what I saw in your eyes wasn't recognition, and you're just refusing to admit it."

—-

Lupin lets out a humourless laugh of his own. "Yes, I'm sure if I had been locked up without just cause they would have tried to help me, even as far as breaking me out if need be. But had it not been for the fact that I was locked up with out, it would not have been as urgent! You've made as much of an impact here as anyone else! It's not all about me! I know that, you know that, and they all know that! Jack cares more about you, I think, as well. He's four years younger than Sirius and I! We didn't really know each other all that well, if at all, during school. I saw how he was with you around Christmas! He cares for you." He rolls his eyes. "They wanted to save you too." He takes a few moments of silence to recollect his thoughts. "What I want? What I want is for you to stop making presumptions about this. What I want, is for you to stop for just a moment, stop thinking of all those prejudices against werewolves that I'm sure you've started thinking. Most of all, I want you to just stop being hypocritical about your viewpoint on werewolves. You were supposedly an advocate for them!" There's emphasis on the 'supposedly'. "Either you're on one side of the fence or another, but you can't be on both! I can't stop the dreams or anything like that, but I can say that outlook makes all the difference!" He lets out, once more, a humourless chuckle. "I couldn't tell you if there was recognition in my eyes or not! I don't remember anything. That may seem 'convenient' to you, but it's the truth! There's nothing for me to admit nor refute! There's nothing for me to remember!"

—-

Holly's just about had it. In fact, if she wasn't still in pain, she would likely get to her feet and slug him. She does make it to her feet, but the strain of just that allows her a single extra moment to consider whether or not she actually wants to hit him, and the answer is a resounding 'no.' That wouldn't help anything, even if it would be slightly cathartic.

She has to lean against the chair now, fingers digging into the fabric. "I can't be a werewolf advocate and a werewolf. You think anyone out there is going to listen to me now? Answer that honestly. Because I think that whole thing is just over with. You know how people are - they're going to see what I am before they see me, and that's just going to be the end of the conversation right there. You know that."

With her hand wrapped around her side, she takes several deep breaths as the pain diminishes. She can smell blood again. "And what about Jack? It's not like him and I have any sort of future. He's a friend, that's all."

—-

Lupin shakes his head. "But this is part of what you were fighting for! People won't want to listen to you, but you'll make them listen to you! Look at me…I've been a teacher! Sure, that was because Dumbledore knows me and trusts me, but that opened up the students to seeing that not all werewolves are bad! In fact, I've heard from many that I was the best Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher they've had!" He snorts softly. "One of them is even coming to me for help and advice! If that's not hope for the future of werewolves and their rights, what is?" He narrows his eyes. "You see, this is what I mean about you being hypocritical. You advocate for werewolf rights, but once you become one, you don't believe you'll get any. But that's what the fight is for! That's why now more than ever you need to fight harder, because not only are you fighting for the rights of others, but you're fighting for your own rights! Or maybe you're not quite the empathetic person I thought you were. The mark of a good advocate is to be able to put yourself in the other person's shoes. But I don't suppose you did that, did you?" Is he truly angry at her for this, or is he just coaxing her so she'll get angry and start fighting once more? You be the judge. "You can still have a future with someone and be a werewolf!"

—-

He's right. He's absolutely right, and that, more than anything, just tears her apart. Maybe it's the pain or the tiredness, or the sheer inability to comprehend the fact that she actually can go on, but she sinks to the floor, leaning against the chair, and just stares ahead at the wall. Holly could keep making excuses, or she could try to get back out into the world. Start living again. "I tried. I went to that party Sirius had at the Three Broomsticks." Her voice is quiet and flat at first, but the more she speaks, the more feeling goes into it. "I feel like people look at me differently. It's my fault — I can't help feeling sorry for myself when I'm out there. If I could forget what happened and just enjoy myself for a little while, maybe people wouldn't feel like they have to treat me like a burn victim. I don't know how to be myself again, though."

She finally goes silent, though her eyes turn from the wall to Remus. She can smell him, too. There's wolfsbane, blood, and werewolf - which isn't nearly as bad as the scent of vampire. And that she's thinking about this? Well, it finally makes her break.

The laughter is just a chuckle at first, but then, the more she thinks about it, the sillier it seems, until it's as if she's just heard the funniest joke in the world, and the resulting laughter is leaving her breathless.

—-

Lupin lets out a long, slow breath. "That's just it, isn't it? It's hard to forget what happened. And whenever you go out you feel as if people's eyes are judging you. You feel that they're just being polite to you. But what important is that you try and have fun. You'll never really forget what happened." There's a slightly pause. "No doubt you've even started experiencing the heightened senses. It took me a while to get used to those. Especially smell. Even now, I'm sure you smell the same things as I do. The Wolfsbane, the blood, the mustiness of the dust. No doubt you smell the werewolf in me too. To be honest, you still smell almost completely of human and practically not at all of Werewolf…though I can detect some of the subtle difference between the two. But once you've transformed, it will be stronger. A lot of the more vicious werewolves don't like the scent of humans. Even me, if I encounter any groups of them, they mock me for being around humans too much. They can smell it. It leaves quite the odour behind for a while after you've left the company of other humans. But regardless, you get used to the smells. And of course there's hearing and sight. I adapted to those a lot better."

—-

And Holly just keeps chuckling through all of this. Oh, sure, she'll nod once and again - yes, she's experienced the heightened senses. Amazing, really! Vampires stink, for example. She's craving raw meat, which she can, for some reason, stomach now, despite the fact that she preferred salad over steak once upon a time. It's just funny. Funny and sad, but mostly just funny. "You know, when you look at it from above…" she lays herself down on the floor, and, with her hands, indicates a point somewhere above her. "It seems ridiculous."

Smells. Honestly.

Holly's still searching to make peace with all of this. "Maybe I should join a werewolf colony," she says. It's just a passing suggestion, really. "I wouldn't have to worry about people judging me. Then again, I'd probably never see my family ever again. I wouldn't have access to the Wolfsbane potion. I could end up hurting someone." The laughter finally abates, and she's left with a small smile. "Remus, I don't know where to start. I think I'm ready, but I know I'm not."

—-

Lupin smiles softly at Holly. "Werewolf colonies are not quite as cracked up as they're supposed to be. Believe me." He says softly as well, glad that they're being calm once more (even with the laughing). "No one knows where to start. But I find the beginning helps a lot." Aha! A little joke. Not a good one, but it'll do. "But that's why I'm here, I can guide you through what it is to be a werewolf…a lot better than anyone else you know right now, I'm sure. There's there's a support group for you. Everyone you've met here. I would say, though, the person who knows the most about being a werewolf other than me? Sirius. He has seen me through some pretty hard times in school. He was there before the potion was invented."

—-

"I know. I wouldn't anyway," she said, one arm going behind her head to prop it up just a bit. The other - still affected by the lacerations across her shoulder and chest - rests across her stomach. For now, she feels better again, but Holly knows that it comes in cycles. Pent up anger and rage will eventually become peace.

Somehow, this is different, though. The early stages of acceptance are upon her, and it's really up to her how this plays out. "They should write a book, you know? 'How to be a werewolf.' I'd buy it. Maybe 'Werewolves for Dummies.' I still don't want this, you know. I'm still terrified. I mean, going out and facing the world… Maybe that's doable. But, you know, going through this once a month? What's it feel like?"

—-

Lupin gives a little chuckle. "You don't want this? Imagine me as a five year old not wanting this." He smiles softly. "But no, what you are feeling is absolutely natural. None of us want this. Not really. Some embrace it fully and just totally give into their animalistic sides, like the one who infected me." He says quietly. "Well, there may not be a book about this, but I'll just have to substitute for one." He says kindly. "It's a horrible feeling, the transformation. You can feel your whole body morphing and stretching out, and you know you can't control it. It's unpleasant."

—-

There's a whole lot she needs to know about this even still. What to expect, how to deal with it after, how to deal with people when they're hostile toward her, and to realise that not everyone will be. After all, there are people out there like her who aren't closed off to the possibility that werewolves are people, too. Just occasionally fuzzy ones.

She'll never look forward to it, and she'll never get used to it. Once it happens once, though, she'll at least be more prepared. "I feel like I'm gonna go through this initiation I'm just not ready for," she says, pushing herself into a sitting position with some effort and leaning against the chair. She sighs, and leans her head back against it. "But you'll be there, and we'll get through it."

—-

Lupin smiles ever so gently. "I know there's much you'll want to know. But we'll get through it all. Trust me." And that's all he has to say about that for now. "I have to go now. I've got one or two things to take care of, but I'm glad we had this talk. I am. Just…try to take it as easy as possible before the full moon."

—-

Holly is, once again, content to stare blankly as Lupin makes his exit. There's a nod - she remembers that, at least, but no farewell, and she doesn't think that maybe it would have been polite to offer one until long after he's gone.

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