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[personal profile] iambetadraconis
Things always seemed to get worse every time you think it's getting better.

Rabastan knew this, and knew the source of the tension in his heart.

Just as agreed, a more secure place to ride out his change had been found. A room in his house that could be secured, either by lock from the outside or a password that needed to be spoken aloud before he could be released.

The question to that was "which did he prefer".

But that was easy.

He really only had two choices there.

The bigger problem was Elea.

He'd thought that, once he'd assured her he'd be no danger to her or anyone else, now that he'd complied with her requirements, things would go back to normal.

Yeah. That wasn't happening.

Despite all assurances to the contrary, Elea seemed no more comfortable to be around him now than she was over a month ago.

He could see it in her expression and posture, and knew why she insisted upon sleeping in the spare room instead of with him at night.

If he could read her thoughts he'd hear them say "My lover turns into a wild animal and bites people with sickness".

She was sitting in the living room, pretending to read a book while he knitted.

Was she expecting him to transform right then and there?

Of course she was.

She was afraid, and if he didn't do something soon, the fear would create a rift too wide to heal.

And he'd be back to being alone, with perhaps an even more remote chance of finding someone new.

Hell, he might even have it told to everyone that he was sick and a danger to others. Not out of malice, but out of a genuine concern for everyone else on Lunar.

And some of those people would get hostile and try to harm him.

He might even be exiled if the pressure to Do Something About It got too much.

God. His knitting was suffering because he was getting paranoid about his relationships!

He looked up, without raising his head.

She was staring at him, not even bothering with the book.

Time ticked, and after giving up his knitting as a lost cause, headed off up the stairs to bed.

Elea, as was now usual, did not follow.

In the darkness, he stared up at the ceiling.

Well. It would be dark to others.

He saw things just fine.

Not that he cared about improvements in sensory abilities now.

Tracing the little cracks in the stonework overhead he churned the idea of what he ought to do.

He needed to show her he was harmless. Show her that just because he was sick with an illness he'd had thanks to his brother's failed assassination attempt [he never told her that], that he was safe to be around.

Safe for her. Safe for Lunar.

Hours ticked by, and it wasn't until it was half past one in the morning that he finally got some idea of what he'd do to prove himself to Elea.

It might not save their relationship, but it would at least help her see him as the man she'd come to know and love.

With that, he drifted off to sleep.

An hour before dawn, he awoke.

If his plan was to work, he'd have to be the first one up.

Checking in on Elea showed her to still be fast asleep, though her stirrings indicated she would soon be awake herself.

Slipping down the hall and into the bathroom, he ran the water in the tub, disrobed, and slid in.

And changed.

Not to his wolf form, but to his otter shape.

Ooh! Water!

His lutrine instincts kicked in now that he was submerged, and perhaps because of it, he started to splash about a little more than he'd intended to.

Perhaps too much, because he didn't hear Elea get up and head towards the sound of the splashing.

"Good heavens that had better just be you pretending to be five," she whispered, slowly opening the door.

Rabastan's head popped above the water, and when he saw who was at the door, gave an excited "PIP!".

Elea gave a scream in surprise.

"What is that? Rabastan, if that's you, it's not funny."

It is me, love.

"Where did that—"

I'm speaking to you with my mind.

Elea hesitated, then stepped into the bathroom, minding the puddles on the floor.

"What are you? What sort of animal did you become? Don't tell me you have more than one contagious form."

She was getting to like using that word. Contagious.

I am an otter. An animal from my world. Semi-aquatic, and loves fish, water and playing. And it is not contagious.

He dove under the water, causing it to churn with his frantic antics. Then poked his head above water.

Well. Being an otter is. And so is the love for fish.

He swam about the tub, and Elea, despite herself, edged closer to the tub.

Elea, I won't hurt you. I would never hurt you. I promise you that.

"But you... You change. And bite."

And that scares you, doesn't it?

"Why shouldn't it? I'm afraid I'll be bitten. I'm afraid of you getting loose and biting people."

He paddled over to the edge, to get closer to her.

Do you think I could hurt you now?

"I don't know. I know nothing of your animals."

Come closer then. I promise nothing bad will happen if you do.

"But..."

Please?

Hesitation, then compliance.

He hopped up onto the rim of the tub.

Sit down? he asked, knowing full well the rim was covered in water.

Her night things would not suffer. They'd dry out soon enough.

She sat, with much trepidation and time-taking.

"Well. I am sitting. What do you— Ah!"

She almost sent him for a tumble after he'd climbed onto her lap. Both from the sudden sensation of water on fabric, and furry animal on her knees.

Ahhh! he repeated, then steadied himself.

"What are you doing?!"

Sitting on your lap.

"Oh that is very funny." Her tone had no humour.

Are you afraid of me now? Do you think I could hurt you now?

"I— Well. I— I don't know."

He curled up, almost like a cat.

Elea raised one hand, then dropped it. She stared at the creature in her lap that claimed to be Rabastan.

Then raised it again, and, hesitantly, placed it on the damp fur.

He only looked up at her in response.

"Well. I guess... I guess this is not dangerous."

She gave him a scratch.

"So you turn into two animals? One that bites and one that does not?"

Not two. There are six. Including the wolf I told you about.

"Six! How?"

A bit of magic, stored in a place that most wouldn't think to look in.

"Like a room or in your wand or?"

The ring.

"Wait. That silver ring of yours?"

The magic is in the stone. Through it I can assume other forms.

He paused.

Perhaps I could show you?

"Not today. Not... Not right now. Later. This is all a bit much to take."

He snuggled in her lap a little, then hopped off.

"Rabastan," she said, looking down at the furry animal at her feet. "I have learned more about you in five weeks than I have in nearly two years. And some of it terrifies me. It terrifies me greatly. I don't know what I am to make of it. Because now when I look at you I think of what you've told me, and it's hard to reconcile that with the you I've known and loved for so long. And I wish I could go back to not knowing. So that I can look at you and not be afraid when I do."

Please. I promise I will never hurt you. I promise that I will do what you have asked me to, to keep you safe. To keep my home and everyone in it safe. You are not the only one who fears what could happen if... If...

They were quiet for many minutes.

I'm about ready to change back now. It's kind of weird, so if you look away, I'll understand.

"No. I think I need to see this."

Before her widening eyes, the otter changed into Rabastan.

"I assure you. Sickness or no sickness, I'm still me."

With a choked sound, she flung herself at him, and he held her as she cried.

"It's just awful. And I've been awful, too."

"With reason."

She sniffed into his bare shoulder.

"I know, but..."

"Shhhh..."

When she'd stopped, he grabbed a cloth, wet it, and wiped her face.

"It's okay, love. Everything is okay."

She nodded, clinging to him again. Head nestled against his neck.

"Everything will be okay."
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Rabastan Lestrange

April 2016

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