A sequel to A Nice Cup of Tea and a Lie Down
by Skull Bearer
Life was hard.
If you were none- or part-human, this summed up your life in a nutshell. Life was hard, survival was harder and resentment bred inside you like maggots in dead flesh.
It seemed sometimes as though everyone was against you, and even those who prophesed to care about your wellbeing did nothing. Oh, Dumbledore promised, his vows and words of comfort came easily, but with little actual action.
After all, promises couldn't buy bread, and empty words couldn't sate hunger.
And you were so hungry.
The Ministry was coming down harder now on magical creatures and half-breeds. After all, the had to be see to be doing /something/ to stop the encroachment of the dark, never mind that the majority of those targeted had not sided with the Dark Lord at all.
At least, not in the beginning, but the wizarding world was good at pushing people into generalisations. Life on the side of light was close to unbearable, so you turned to the only other choice.
The dementors turned first, jumping at the chance. Few could truly blame them, they were so reviled. They were as much prisoners in Azkaban as any of the inmates, being unable to leave it without express permission from a wizard. When Lord Voldemort arrived at Azkaban and offered them freedom, rights and, above all, /security/, none refused.
Then were the giants, a dying race almost obliterated by the wizarding world. They had turned to Dumbledore at first, but the older giants could still remember the past, and that wizards, even those with giant blood, could not be trusted.
Besides, The Dark Lord offered them new land immediately, not 'when the war is over' or 'in the future'. All they had to do was to clear the muggles out of it.
Even the goblins and centaurs found their loyalty teetering, they were not exempt from the Ministry's attacks and what Voldemort was offering was so inviting.
It was harder to be a werewolf than anything else, the other races held together, helping each other survive, but werewolves were on their own.
You couldn't hunt your food, like the giants and centaurs. You couldn't drink emotions, like dementors, and, unlike the goblins, you had no job.
Even in the muggle world, work was almost impossible to find, but it was nothing compared to the difficulties in the wizarding world.
With the Ministry pushing through every decree to control werewolves, there was no work, and no work meant no money. It was also a matter of time before support money for wizards out of work was also banned from werewolves, and no money meant no food.
In such circumstances, even Fenrir Greyback's anger could not be said to be entirely misplaced.
But Greyback had a job now, courtesy of the Dark Lord, another of his promises. Paid work, the option to keep your lycanthropy private, somewhere to live, security.
It neededn't even be work as a Death Eater, that had been Greyback's choice. One werewolf was working as a security guard in the Blade and Rose in Knockturn Alley.
Remus Lupin looked down at the envelope on his desk, as if hoping it would vanish soon. He should throw it away, he /had/ to throw it away, yet it had been sitting on his desk for the last hour.
The envelope was grubby now, the corners bent and the heavy parchment fraying from the many times he had opened it, only to stuff the letter back inside and throw it back down.
No matter how many times he tried to ignore it, his eyes kept on being drawn back. No matter how many times he made to throw it away, to rip it up, he couldn't.
He shivered, not only from the cold (the landlady had cut off the heating last week when the benefit cheque hadn't arrived, Remus had a shrewd suspicion that it never would). Almost by it's own accord his hand snuck over to the letter.
/This time I'll throw it away,/ he told himself, /this time I'll get rid of it./
But he didn't, instead he snatched his hand back as though the letter had burnt him and buried his face in his arms.
/What would James and Lily say?/
But finally the temptation won out over the guilt, and the letter was opened for the fifth time.
He knew what it said, he had read it so many times.
"/...previous allegiances will be forgiven.../"
"/... those who promise but never deliver, leaving the deserving in poverty.../"
"/...fair housing provided..."/
"/...active military service not required, possibility to support in other roles..."/
All lies, but such pretty, inviting lies. Offering hope, and Remus had precious little of that.
He couldn't betray Dumbledore's memory, although a little voice inside him whispered that Dumbledore had already betrayed him simply in letting the Ministry pass all those decrees. If the old man had been on his side, then what had he stood aside as Remus's life because harder and meaner with each passing year?
And now he was dead, and with him died any chance of a better life. No one else had the presence and impact to change the Ministry's policies.
Well, there was someone...
No, he couldn't think like that, every thought was a betrayal of his friends' memories.
But they were dead, surely it was time to think about himself? Surely it couldn't be selfish to want a little money where he had none, a full larder where his was empty, perhaps a house that wasn't infested with cockroaches...
Remus stuffed the letter back into the now very bedraggled envelope, and rubbed his face.
If only for Harry...
Yet he couldn't go one like this...
Slowly he reached again for the letter filled with golden promises, and with his other hand he took a quill.
/James. Lily. Forgive me./