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All other image and content © Deirdre Riordan 2004. All rights reserved.

Title: Of Sugar and Shattered China
Author: Deirdre Riordan (deirdre.riordan @
Rating: PG
Pairing: Past SB/RL, future RL/SS, both implied.
Summary: It's the one-year anniversary of a very important date for Remus.
Disclaimer: Nope, not mine.

Of Sugar and Shattered China

 You stare at the pile of unwashed dishes in the kitchen sink, scrubbing spell on the tip of your tongue, but your arm unwilling to raise your wand. You just grip your teacup tighter and ask the sugar bowl why. You would have thought that today of all days, someone would at least give you a fire call to make sure you aren't hanging yourself, at least owl to let you know you're not entirely alone. But no, it's the same as always. The fire burns uninterrupted, no hint of a face in sight. The only owl you've seen was the one that brought you the Daily Prophet, and no one's come to your door in so long that you've all but forgotten what the bell sounds like.

The low growl in your blood adds insult to injury, informing you that the full moon draws near. You wonder if perhaps Severus will bring your potion today. But no, he knows the significance of this date only too well. He'd sooner have you maul all of Hogsmeade than have to deal with you today. He'll wait until tomorrow, not that you'll be much better by then, but at least his pureblood etiquette won't obligate him to offer empty condolences.

It's not so much that they don't care; you know that. It's more that they can't understand what you went through that day, what you've gone through every day since. They can't understand, and they're afraid to try. Even Harry, your comrade in mourning for so long, began to back away when you told him the truth at last. He keeps his distance now, writing to you only occasionally. His letters always keep to "safe" subjects. You can't say you don't mind, but you understand. One scarlet letter of otherness is possible to look past, but two is out of the question, you suppose.

It's just you and the sugar bowl. You begin to wonder if it might answer back. The delicate blue of the china makes you think of his eyes, and you begin to hate it. The hapless object meets a sorry end against the door. Take that. You vow to excise that shade of blue from your life. It's really too bad you can't break the sky so easily. Not that you've seen it in the past few days. But you know it's there, and you hate it too.

You loved him. And then you hated him. You'd only just got to where you were falling in love with him all over again, and then.... And then. It all came crashing down. The bastard.

And you hate yourself for feeling this way. You know it's childish, feeling sorry for yourself for an entire year without respite. You know it doesn't do any good. You know that you have to go on. But the thing is, you don't much want to.

"What you need is a rebound," Tonks said to you a few weeks ago.

You sneered at her and informed her that what you needed was a Time-Turner.

But you've since wondered if maybe she was right.

Your tea's gone cold, and it's getting late. You shuffle off to bed, not sparing a glance for the mess by the door. As always, you hope that tomorrow, it will hurt just a bit less.

Tonight brings sleep plagued by images of big black dogs and schoolboy pranks, of laughing blue eyes and stolen kisses. Tomorrow brings dampness and a mercifully grey sky. You resume your place at the kitchen table and drink your tea without sugar.

Yes, today's date seems to have lifted some sort of taboo. Today there's a dinner invitation from Molly Weasley, along with one of Harry's awkward missives. Today you muster the energy to charm the dishes to wash themselves, and your teacup trembles just a bit less in your grip. But you leave the sugar bowl where it is.

Today Severus Snape is at your door. He comes in, whether you were going to invite him to or not. He looks at the pile of sugar and shattered china that is now attracting ants, and then he looks at you.

"Lupin, you look like hell," he says, but his tone lacks venom.

 You sigh and pinch the bridge of your nose. "Hello to you too, Severus." And you look at him now. As haggard as you know you are, he doesn't look so sharp himself. His face is drawn and hollowed, and his hair is carelessly pulled back. You've never known anything about his appearance to be careless.

 He hands you your potion, and your fingers brush slightly in the exchange. You freeze and lock eyes for a moment, and you'd swear that there is the smallest hint of a smile playing at one corner of his mouth. Whatever expression he was about to betray is quickly extinguished, though, and he leaves without another word, only a sound of acknowledgement at your almost-whispered thanks. You watch out the window as he billows down the garden path and disappears.

 You mutter "Reparo" at the sugar bowl and hide it away on the top shelf of the cupboard. Your tea's gone cold again, but you've found that you don't much care.


© 2004 by Deirdre Riordan. Contact me at deirdre.riordan @ gmail . com (remove spaces).


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