Everything hurt but was numb all the same.
Both physically and emotionally.
He felt dirty, diseased.
He felt like a monster
He was a monster.
Fresh scars lined his lanky limbs, chest and face—small slices scattered like freckles along broken, pale skin, nearly transparent over his bulging veins.
There were traces of deep wounds that had recently been sealed shut; Madam Pomfrey couldn't always leave no evidence of harm. The main concern was keeping the boy alive. Rushing and hoping seemed to be the only thing that woman would do these days.
Music was playing, but he didn't hear it. His thoughts were too loud, drowning the cheerful tune out until it was nothing but a buzz in the back of his pulsing head.
He wanted to scream. Sob. Yell.
But his lips didn't even twitch at the thought, his faded green eyes that stared at the ceiling absently remained dry, not even a tear present.
God, couldn't he just die?
How could any of this be worth it?
Pain. Pain that had become routine. Pain that had become inevitable.
His friends hadn't even visited, never mind accompanied him that night prior.
He didn't blame them; they weren't obligated. The sandy-haired boy was surprised they had lasted so long without recoiling in disgust.
Finally, the teen's mind fell silent. He felt like he was floating, the points of pain holding him to the ground like chains.
He sensed movement to his right but thought nothing of it. It was probably Madam Pomfrey
"Your mother was there for me at a time when no one else was."
"Remus?" A familiar voice chimed softly; he turned at that.
"Lily?" The boy started from his place in bed, eyes roaming over the figure. She was wearing a rich burgundy dress that complimented her tumbling hair furiously; she had just come from the ball, no doubt. "Why are you here? You should be out there, having fun."
The redhead kept walking towards him, her heels clicking against the stone below her. "You know balls aren't my thing, Remus." A hand came to put a loose strand of hair back in place before continuing. "Besides, I gave quite the bolocking to the boys for leaving you here to have fun." Remus felt his insides melt within him; they really were having fun knowing he was hurting.
"I don't blame them.." He lied, "It's a wonder they lasted this long, I'm surprised you haven't run away screaming yet, come to think of it." His sandy hair hung across his features as he sunk further into the mattress.
"Remus…" Lily had reached the bed and was now helping him sit up, fussing over him in a way that could challenge his own mother. "You're my best friend," She said sincerely, green eyes flashing. "I think no different of you."
"But they…" Remus tried, weakly, only to be cut short by a freckled hand.
"They'll come around, and they'll be morons until they do." She addressed the remaining marauders, shaking her head. "I won't leave, Rem." The prefect said affectionately, ruffling his tangled bush of hair.
"Thank you, Lily– For coming I mean."
"Well," A playful gleam sparkled in her eyes, "I'm not quite finished yet." She mused, reaching for his bruised hands and carefully pulling him out of bed.
The teenage boy grunted in pain at the movement, starting to protest. "Ah– Lily, what are you– Ahh–" She held him still, carrying almost all his weight with no issue. Hearing her mumble a spell under her breath, he suddenly felt lighter, the pain that had previously been overwhelming his senses had halted, he gave her a curious look.
"Numbing charm." Her voice was like silk. "Only lasts around five minutes, that's why Healers rarely use it, but it gives us more than enough time. Listen." She instructed, gesturing towards the door.
The werewolf tuned his ears, still sensitive from the previous night of hunting.
The music he had been ignoring began leaking through the walls once more, enveloping the two in their own little world. Though already nearing the end, the tune started filling Remus with newfound hope.
… O' Children…
Lift up your voice, lift up your voice
The pair had retreated to the centre of the room, Lily still gripping Remus' hands. He turned away. "You know balls aren't my thing," he voiced sadly, echoing her previous statement. Yet she insisted, silently.
The girl in front of him pulled his arms back and forth, swaying to the music lightly. Remus rolled his eyes, but this only pushed Lily further, a smirk threatening her lips.
Reluctantly, Remus allowed Lily to drag him around the floor. This was stupid, oh so stupid, yet he found himself beginning to smile.
A few laughs were worth looking like a fool for a few minutes.
Hey little train! Wait for me!
I once was blind but now
I see Have you left a seat for me?
Is that such a stretch of the imagination?
Remus twirled Lily, laughter bubbling out of the ginger in response. She yanked him forward, the two stumbling about clumsily, both grinning like children.
Hey little train! Wait for me!
I was held in chains, but now I'm free
I'm hanging in there, don't you see
In this process of elimination
They stepped on each other's toes, twirled one another, laughed, mocked as many dance styles as you could count, and insulted various dance enthusiasts with their sloppy moves.
It seemed absurd to feel such genuine happiness after so much suffering, but that boy didn't care.
Remus really didn't care.
He felt whole for the first time in so long.
He felt human.
Hey little train! We are all jumping on
The train that goes to the Kingdom
We're happy, Ma, we're having fun
It's beyond my wildest expectation…
The song began to fade, as did the playfulness bubbling between them. The skinny boy's face grew white, and his limbs slowly fell weak.
The two were swaying, embracing one another loosely.
A wave of emotion leaked through his body from his heart; he didn't notice he was shaking until he heard Lily whisper once more.
There, he began to weep, his remaining strength evaporating as the pair sank to the floor, his body shaking with long, racking sobs.
She never let go. She never complained, she just held him, her best friend, for as long as he needed.
If only she knew how much that night had meant to him,
He wished he had told her.
Though telling him, the boy with her eyes was the closure he needed.
Especially when he comes to hear of a Horcrux hunting tale from a young Hermione Granger, and how much a similar gesture had meant to her.
"Tell him." He said easily. "Tell him how much it meant, while he can listen."
He hopes she did.