Title: You Don't Remember |
Author: Juxian Tang (email@example.com)
Disclaimer: These characters and places belong to JK Rowling. I am making no profit
Challenge(s): # 8. Either Severus or Sirius gets amnesia (Tasogare)
Archive: Intimate Enemies, Thin Line and my site http://juxian.slashcity.net
Beta: Huge thanks to Lady Nutmeg (http://www.livejournal.com/users/ladynutmeg)
for the really stunning beta, for improving this story more than one can imagine possible and for being such a wonderful, considerate person! I adore you. Thank you.
Note: Written for Intimate Enemies - The Severus Snape/Sirius Black Fuh-Q-Fest
which can be found at http://jeantarin0.tripod.com/intimateenemies/
YOU DON'T REMEMBER
I see my reflection in your eyes.
In the ink-black pupils my face is small and pale, disappearing for a split second when your eyelids fall down; and then you look up again, your stare wide, unguarded and absorbed in me, nothing but me.
Your wrists are so thin in my hands, veins on the inner sides like blue lines of water on a map - and your pulse under the heels of my palms flutters softly. Your fingers are clenched on mine, holding fast, with frantic force that you probably aren't even aware of. As if you're afraid I'll leave, as soon as you let me go.
Don't fear, I won't go. At least not tonight.
Your hair is moist with sweat, clinging to your face, and your mouth is half-opened, letting out shallow, ragged breaths. I can feel how your ribcage goes up and down, under my chest. Your narrow body, bones like twigs under the skin, strives towards me, so desperately as if you're trying to merge into me.
Your Dark Mark is pressed against my forearm, a spot of unbearable heat even though your skin is burning. I can feel how swollen and sore it is. But I know it is not pain you feel or if you do, you ignore it - letting nothing else exist for you apart from my body leaning against yours, my knee spreading your legs.
You gasp and arch as my thigh brushes against your groin - and I shiver too, sensing, for a moment, heat, silk and the hardness of your shaft. Your mouth distorts briefly, as if in torment, and you struggle to free your hands from my grip, to make me do something, something more, pulling me closer, your legs opening for me.
Shh, just wait a moment... But I barely can wait myself - and I let your hands go, and cup my palms around your face - and you plait your fingers into my hair, into the strand that falls onto your eyes.
I see how your lips tremble, in a half-smile, brief and unsettlingly timid, under the scrutiny of my gaze. You squirm a little, uncomfortably, trying to hide behind your hair, but I push it away. I want to see you.
Your face is smoother, younger as the lines on it, left by experience and the past, are gone - gone the same way as your memory is gone. It's quite strange, really - your features haven't changed, angular and far from comely, as always. But your gaze, open, unshielded - no walls built behind it - makes everything different.
It makes you look open for everyone to reach and take. Open for me.
I know you would consider the irony of it killingly rich - that you might open for me willingly, that you might find such joy in doing so. But you can't appreciate the quirkiness of it. You don't know you should protect yourself from me.
You remember nothing.
You turn your face and press your lips to my palm. Your mouth is warm, kissed puffy and tender. Who could imagine, even weeks ago, that I would know how your mouth tastes - that I would know how you take a short hitching breath when my tongue slides past your teeth? I know I couldn't. All I thought about then was contempt, and thinly veiled animosity, and desire to wound to the quick - and so did you.
But now you won't believe me if I tell you about it. You won't believe you have reasons to hate me; you think I've always been like that to you - kind and caring, my hands gentle, my voice saying your name in such a way that makes you writhe and press to me tighter.
I couldn't imagine it would be like that. Yet when your hands cradle my face, I never want it to stop, I want to keep holding you forever and feel your body melt into mine.
The look in your eyes makes me dizzy - because no one before has looked at me as if I am the center of their universe, as if nothing else in the world matters as long as I'm here. Isn't it absurd that it's you who let me experience it? And it makes me feel pained too - because unlike yours, my memories are intact.
I know what I've done to you and what you've done to me. It isn't possible to escape it.
* * *
I remember the broom-shed, and you on your hands and knees, in the body-bind that you try to break, struggling so frantically that it seems your bones might snap. But it's all in vain - the spell holds you, and the hem of your robe is pulled over your head, covering your face and hiding our faces from you. Of course, you know who we are - we don't leave you any doubt of that.
"We told you we take off your pants, Snivellus."
Outside, there are noises and laughter, students getting ready to board the carriages, to go home for summer vacations, and McGonagall's strict voice berating someone. I know you can hear them, and if you cry for help, they'll hear you. But you don't. You swear and curse, your voice muffled with the cloth of the robe. You fool, what good will your hexes do when you can't use your wand? It's kicked well out of your reach, and you can't move to get it.
Your thin legs scribble on the floor, as much as the body-bind allows, and your knees must be scraped raw but you never stop trying to break loose, no matter how hopeless it is. I suppose you realise that it's hopeless - there is a hitch of despair in your cursing voice, now and then. But you manage not to cry. So far.
Perhaps if you broke and cried, we would take pity on you.
"Cowards. Shitty bastards."
"Tut, tut. Language, Snivellus."
It's me who tracked you down - on your way to the broom-shed. I knew why you went there: the school broom you got so attached to - you inherited it from the Slytherin keeper who graduated, and it was good and nearly new, by school standards. I saw you so many times polishing it - not even polishing, running your hands over its handle, as if it was something to be caressed and cherished.
Well, it did give you the opportunity to join the Quidditch team this year - but still, you're so pathetic, getting attached to a stupid thing like this. And the broom is ugly, so much worse than the ones James and I have - and you even can't part with it on your last day, like you don't have one at home. On the other hand, very probably you don't.
And anyway, it was your mistake to go there alone. We followed you soundlessly - and you were so engrossed in looking at the broom-rack that you didn't notice until the door clicked shut. You whipped around, grabbing your wand - but it was too late: a joint 'Stupefy!' from the four of us sent you slamming against the wall.
And when you come round, you're already like this, on all fours and helpless - and did you think what James did to you at the lake was the worst we can come up with?
I look down at you - your pathetic, squirming, skinny figure. Your robe is thin and worn-out, the hem tattered - similar to the way Remus' robe is frayed, but what in him is a sign of poverty, in you is a sign of neglect. After all, you *are* greasy and untidy - and can't even take proper care of your own clothes.
"Do you need a stick, Prongs," I ask, " to touch something so filthy as his undies?"
You shiver violently when James's fingers tap on your backside. I hear a faint sound and realise it's your teeth chattering - and it makes dark joy rise in me. We've managed to scare you out of your mind, you slimy git. Sweet retribution.
"You fuckin' sneak," James says with contempt. "Our House lost the Cup because of you."
At the lake, the Head of Slytherin House, Tannenbaum, ran into us - and took enough points from James for Slytherin to get the Cup without a problem. The Cup that should be ours by rights.
"No one will save you now," James says. "We're going to teach you a lesson."
Peter laughs, high and piercing. His cheeks are flushed; his eyes glitter as he looks at James adoringly. Remus, with his arms crossed on his chest, leans against the wall at the door, to warn us if anyone comes. There is a faint expression of distaste on his face, and I reason that this distaste is directed against you, miserable, cowardly wreck.
James's fingers, tips roughened from Quidditch play, hook against the waist of your underpants and pause there. I see you shivering, greatly. Your breath is rattling, wet.
"You Mudblood-loving scum!"
"You shouldn't have said what you've said," James says with reproach.
Perhaps if you didn't, we wouldn't go further.
Very deliberately, James pulls the waistline of your pants down. Peter laughs shrilly. I feel a little trickle of cold sweat running along my spine. James is so much braver than I am; I'm not sure *I* would be able to bring it to the end.
You shudder, as if feeling cold more deeply - and you're very quiet suddenly, not a sound, almost not a breath. And then, breaking the silence, James gives out a whistle - and a moment later I understand what he sees.
It's a net of thin scars, old but badly healed, covering the exposed skin on your legs, up to your waistline and higher, where your robe hides them.
For a short while no one says a word. Peter is staring at you, and even Remus moves closer from his position at the door. The expression of distaste on his face becomes far more obvious. Finally James says carefully:
"Looks like we're not the only ones who think you deserve punishment, Snivellus."
And it's the right thing to say. It puts everything in its proper place - and makes you again what you really are: a sneak, a bastard, a pathetic shit. It becomes easier to breathe.
You make a painful, hoarse sound - it might be another curse, but you flunked it. James holds a parchment in his hands. It was the idea, yes, to leave you like that, with the parchment with written 'Stinky sneak' pinned to your underpants. He crumples the parchment a little, his hands moving a bit too slowly. Suddenly I know James doesn't want to do it - and I'm not sure I want him to do it, either.
"Fuck you, Potter," you yell suddenly - and your voice is distorted, high-pitched. I can hear clearly that you've lost your fight to keep away from sobbing. "I'll get you expelled, I promise! You and your fucking friends, you'll pay for everything."
"Shut up," I spit. You're too loud - someone might hear, and we'll be in trouble.
"You'll die, Black, you son of bitch..."
I kick you in the thigh and your voice breaks, turning in a hiss of pain. A wave of heat rushes through my body, feeling strangely like shame - but it feels so good. I don't realise I try to hit you again until Remus's hand touches my shoulder.
"We have to go," he says, "we'll be late for the train."
My rage is abruptly gone, and I nod, feeling strangely grateful. James still holds the parchment.
There is a faint sound, something wooden scraping against the floor. I look in wonder and suddenly understand what it is. The broom; you dropped it when we Stupefied you. When we put you in a body-bind, its handle got under your palm. And now your fingers, white, their tips potion-stained, are clenched around it so tightly your knuckles are bluish.
James drops the parchment on the floor and says: "Let's go, indeed."
We walk to the door - and the only sound I hear is your odd, choking breath.
We know you won't be in time for the train - and you aren't. Much later, in September, we find out that it was Hagrid who found you that evening. You accuse us - but when McGonagall asks, "Did you see them?" - you wish you could lie but you know she and Dumbledore wouldn't let you.
"Then how do you know it was Gryffindors?" she asks. "Did they call each other by names?"
We were very circumspect about it - that's why we came up with nicknames, after all.
"Then there is nothing to talk about," she says. "Of course, I'll ask my students when they come back from vacations whether they were involved, but you aren't going to act on the basis of groundless accusations, are you, Headmaster?"
Next year you don't play Quidditch - and I never see you touch a broom again.
* * *
My hand slides under your thigh, feeling almost imperceptible traces of those old scars - and finding much harsher, ropy ones, that appeared only recently, months ago - when you didn't come back from one of the meetings with your Dark Lord.
It's me who found you, six weeks after your disappearance. I remember it.
I remember you on the brink of the Forbidden Forest, standing stiff and straight, a small stone bowl in your hand and your other hand wrapped in bloody rags and pressed to your chest awkwardly. I transform from Snuffles and yell:
"Snape, you bastard, there you are. Dumbledore is killing himself over you..."
And then I stop short, seeing the strange, vacant, slightly puzzled look in your black eyes.
You walk with me to Hogwarts, agonisingly slow. I can smell blood on you, and the deliberate carefulness of your movements gives away that something is wrong. But you don't make a sound, you don't say a word - and it's so creepy that even I, who's seen more darkness than probably anyone else, death including, feel alarmed.
In Albus's study, he rushes to you and presses you to his chest - and I feel a twinge of envy because he never was happy to see me, never embraced me, even when I broke free from the Veil.
"Severus, my child, you're back," he says. His voice trembles almost imperceptibly. That's when you speak for the first time, ask in a small, quiet voice, looking at him with wide eyes:
"Are you my father?"
And I feel something in my start breaking. Albus looks as though he's been hit, and it takes him a few moments to pull himself together. He sounds pained
"No, dear boy. I'm Albus Dumbledore, the Headmaster of Hogwarts."
"Then," you say quietly and hand him the stone bowl, "it's for you. From my Master."
I take you to the infirmary at Albus's wordless request, as he dives into the Pensieve you brought him. You follow me in the same quiet, submissive way of yours. You limp heavily now, and blood has soaked through the bandage on your hand - but I find your silence much more disconcerting than anything physical.
Did you lose your mind under Crucio? Did Voldemort do something else to you - to turn you into this restrained, frail shadow... to make you call him your Master?
I've hardly ever seen Poppy as angry as she is when she scans you with her wand. She doesn't need to say much - I can guess most of it. I hover uncertainly in the doorway, hesitating, in case she might need my help. You're completely subdued and placid as she fusses over you - until she tries to make you lie down.
You raise your face then - bloodless-white, your lips bluish - and whisper, almost in disbelief:
"Don't I need to go back to my Master?"
A few hours later Albus comes out of his study, pinching the bridge of his nose wearily.
"I thought it was Severus's memories in the Pensieve," he says. "They are not. They are the memories of what was done to him... a present from Voldemort to me."
I look at you as you sleep, sedated by Poppy. Your face is tired and haggard, with huge circles under your eyes. Your right hand, the one with the fingers broken and fingernails torn out, is bandaged tightly and lies quietly on the blanket.
I might've hated you, I might've doubted your loyalties - but I wouldn't wish what happened to you on anyone, not even you. There is too much darkness, both before death and beyond, to wish to multiply it. It might have taken me a trip beyond the Veil and back to understand it - but I do understand now.
Sometimes I think that's why the Veil let me come back. It changed me. Death does it to you, you know. Ultimate cold and emptiness - like Azkaban, only worse.
Being behind the Veil made me lose a part of myself. But you've lost more than me. At least my memories are with me. You didn't deserve it; no one does.
So for my brief pity, I get you on my hands to look after you.
I should have expected it - who else would do it anyway? Albus has to deal with the business of the Order, and Poppy leaves for vacations, it's summer, after all. And everyone else is doing something for the Order as well - apart from me. I'm cooped at Hogwarts. It's the only safe place for me, my own house doesn't accept me any more, considering me dead and crumpling down slowly. And the Ministry is still looking for me because they were never notified of my death; a conundrum, of sorts.
"Please keep an eye on Severus," Albus asks - but Merlin forbid you to assume you can say 'no' at his request. "I don't want to send him to St. Mungo's. I know your antipathy to him, but it is only temporary, I'm sure we'll find the way to reacquire his memories."
I snort at the word 'antipathy' - the understatement of the century - but I agree.
You need someone to take care of you.
Bad enough you lost your memory - but you also lost your recollections of how to use magic as well. You know, your awed, frightened look is priceless as you gaze at the walls of your own quarters lined with jars of various strange things. Albus thought it would do you good, to move back to your rooms. It does you nothing. You just don't remember.
For days after arrival you are weak and apathetic, as if the solid ground has been taken from under your feet. It's probably true, for everything you knew during the last weeks, since the loss of your memories, is gone, even if it was only pain, and rape, and more pain. What's left is exhaustingly unfamiliar for you. You lie in your bed, staring at the ceiling - and I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do.
Should I talk to you? We've never talked, thank you very much, otherwise than to drive each other out of our respective skins - but now even that is not possible. Should I leave you alone? Dumbledore will never forgive me if something happens to you - and it might, with the moving stairs of Hogwarts and occasional bursts of your wandless magic that are much stronger and much more devastating than a child's.
So I start reading to you. Potions books at first, the ones you read and reread, I can see it in the notes in the margins, left in your tiny, neat handwriting. They leave your gaze vacant now - which makes me glad, because I can't understand a word in them, either.
And then I find a book in the library - a book I haven't read for decades, left it at home when I ran away and never saw it again - my mother probably burnt it, together with all other mementoes of me. I can't resist when I see it; I grab it and start reading. For us both.
It's about two boys, Casper and Rasmus, who are lured by leprechauns' gold and get trapped in the underground caves. Casper is a poor but noble boy and Rasmus is a rich spoilt brat, and they are enemies in the beginning - but in order to save themselves they have to cooperate and end up as friends.
Well, it seemed much more fascinating to me when I was ten years old. But it's still fun, and I enjoy it, and when I see your cautious stare from behind the fringe of tangled hair, I know you're listening.
And when I finish, two days later, you ask - the first thing you ask me - "Which one did you want to be?"
"Casper," I say. "Of course."
Who else? Casper is strong and noble and brave and everything a boy can dream to be. I bite my tongue at saying that, waiting for a sharp retort, for you jumping at the chance to make a joke at my expense - and I prepare myself to lash back, to answer twice as bad at any ridicule you send at me.
It takes me a few moments to realise that you aren't laughing, that you won't sneer at me. You're just not like that any more... and I don't know if it makes me glad or sorry.
There is a wistful expression on your face - and then you ask quietly:
"May I be Rasmus, then?"
"Certainly," I say.
And when, days later, you call for me, "Casper," - I turn and look at you, open-mouthed, and I recall it was something I dreamed about for all my childhood, for someone to live my fantasy with me. I used to try to involve Regulus into it - but he always whinged and ran to our mother to complain. And at Hogwarts, I was too proud to admit I liked a child's book... and soon we took different nicknames for the four of us anyway.
Prongs and Moony and Padfoot and Wormtail... It's quite strange, you know, to walk with you in the places where I used to spend time with my friends: the lake, greenhouses, the Whomping Willow...
Do you know why I sent you to the Shrieking Shack then? You never knew; apart from obvious 'because you always got on my nerves'.
I've found out something about myself - and it's the fact I'm not interested in girls. There is one particular boy I'm interested in but I'd sooner kill myself than admit I fancy James. He's my friend, the best one, the one I'll chew my right hand off for - and he'll never know I'm a poof.
It's frustrating, and it makes me angry all the time - and then... I think you didn't even notice me - I see you in the greenhouse, with that Ravenclaw girl. You're picking up some plants for your potions - you're always picking up something for potions - and she stands, twirling her braid, and looks down at you. And you look up, your face sweaty and flushed... and Merlin, how I hate you at that moment.
You, Snivellus, always have been the lowest point for me, it wasn't possible to fall lower than you. And here you are, with a girl - and I... I'm a faggot.
I want to destroy you more than anything else in the world then.
And when I see you follow us, next day - I think you want to catch us on something forbidden, as an eye-witness, to get us expelled finally - I talk to Peter deliberately too loudly, reminding him about the secret of the Whomping Willow. He stares at me incomprehensibly: after all, it's him who makes it stop moving every time. Then he sees you, and nods, and smiles - and the trap is set.
I even forget it will be Remus there, what will happen to him if he harms you.
You're quite shattered, after everything, after finding out Dumbledore isn't going to expel Remus and me. He takes my promise that I'll leave you alone, though, and in a way, I do.
I never see you with that girl again; I know she starts dating another classmate soon, and very possibly it had never been romantic between you two anyway, just something I imagined. For all I know she was the only girl in your life.
And I learn to live with liking men - and even almost get over my crush on James with time.
But how am I going to get over what I feel to you now, I don't know...
* * *
When does staying with you turn from a responsibility into something I don't mind? I don't know and I don't like to think about it. I'm lonely, true - Harry isn't there and Remus is with Tonks. No matter how wonderful he is, how willing to spend time with me, I know he'd much rather be with her. And you're here, with me. But it's not just loneliness.
You're not bitter, or cruel, nor do you lash out at everything around you, as you used to. Perhaps you are what you could be if different events shaped your life.
You're dependent on me. You look up to me, letting me lead, take decisions. It's a heady feeling; your dependence, your trust. You inch your way into my heart, little by little - and something inside me starts aching for you.
I can't hate you; you're not the man I knew and hated.
You are amused and awed when seeing me turn into Snuffles. You like dogs, you tell me. How do you know it if you don't remember anything? Or is it something that was buried so deep in your mind before that you didn't know it existed?
And once, on a fine day, we're outside. I transform, and you throw a stick for me. I fetch it, and you throw it again - your right hand is still clumsy, the fingers haven't healed completely. I run belly deep in warm, slightly moist grass and bring you the stick - and you brush the tips of your fingers over my head carefully.
Later we sit under the tree and you bury your hands in my sleek fur, scratching my sides - I can't help wagging my tail - and then you press your cheek to my head - and I... I lick your face.
Crazy, isn't it? I lick the face of the greasy bastard. You taste warm and slightly salty and very human - and I like it.
I like you... I wish I could keep denying it, could keep believing that this is nothing more than a brief truce between us. But it isn't, you're not my enemy anymore - how can you be, with the way your eyes look so lost sometimes, as if you aren't sure what and where you are?
I know this feeling, it happens to me too - even if I haven't lost my memory... just my life, once, and didn't manage to stay dead.
And then, it is a bad evening of a bad day - when bones ache and old wounds remind of themselves. When the feeling that something is missing is especially acute. You and me, we feel the same - and maybe no one else understands. I find you in your room, on the floor in the corner. You are fighting for control; I can see it in the desperate expression on your face. I talk to you, and sit down on the floor, and finally lean with my back against your chest. You put your arms around me and hold me, combing your fingers through my hair. And when the room is completely dim, and I move to wave my wand and say 'Lumos', you stop my hand - and make me turn - and your lips are on mine. I can't resist, I want to, but I... I want you more.
You say you know it can be different from what 'your Master' did - and you trust me.
You trust *me*.
I should've stopped it, should've pushed you away, should've told you it was wrong - but in desperate clinging of your hands, in your thin, hot body pushing against me, in your mouth half-opening for my lips - there is a desperate intensity I can't reject.
At that moment, what matters isn't even how *you* changed - but how I changed. I hated and despised you for so long. But everything that happened to me - loss and regret and wrong decisions and death - seemed to scrape my soul raw, take off its upper level, leaving what's under it, tender and hurting.
And finally I can accept what I denied for nearly all my life. I can accept you - my dark twin, my mirror reflection - my idea of everything I hated in myself, incorporated.
I don't want to push you away.
And as I take you to your bed, and enter you, you shiver and gasp - and I promise I'll never hurt you again. I will not let anyone hurt you.
You become mine at that moment and I become yours.
* * *
You're still mine, tonight. Your long arms and skinny legs wrap around me, in an unabashed manner that I couldn't imagine in you. Your groin pushes against mine, your cock butting into my belly - and as my hand slides along your shaft, you make a small, hitching sound through your teeth that makes
little hairs on my arms stand on their ends.
In pleasure you sound almost like in pain - and that sound I should've known well, but I never paid attention. All to the good; I want only to remember your pleasure. I want to hear you again, and I run my fingers over your nipple - and here, you respond to me, your face looking almost rapt, your body taut.
You smile at me.
How could I know I'd be happy seeing you smile? How could you know you'd want to smile to me?
It's me - Sirius Black, for whom you brought the Dementors - and joked cruelly about them being so glad to see me they'd even kiss me. It's me you used to hit unfailingly in the most painful place, driving me out of my mind as surely as being locked in my house, with Kreacher and my mother's portrait, drove me mad. Azkaban couldn't hold me but so couldn't the Veil, and when I returned from behind the Veil - I don't like to recall it, it was hell in Azkaban, but it was worse there - you said, curling your upper lip in your familiar sneer:
"How is it to realise that even Death doesn't want to have anything to do with you, Black?"
You don't remember any of it - I do. But I learned to live with it - I left it behind for the sake of being with you.
Something you won't do for me, I know.
It will all be over soon. Yesterday, breaking into one of Voldemort's safe-houses, we found a Pensieve with your memories. Tomorrow Albus will give them back to you. They all are there - the broom-shed, the Whomping Willow, the Shrieking Shack, your lost Order of Merlin, our hatred and our contempt.
You'll get them back - and you'll never lean into my caress again. I'll never see your body flushed in arousal. You'll never whisper my name - never say it at all, because for you I'll be 'Black' or 'mutt', just like you'll be 'Snivellus' for me.
So it's our last night. It's the last time I will hold you in my arms - kiss your nipples and ease myself into your body, inch by inch. Your legs clasp around my waist desperately, as if you're trying to make sure I won't leave you even if I try. I'll leave you - you'll be the one who'll want me to, who'll
drive me away.
Never again. There won't be your lips for me, not your mouth, not your warm breath mixing with mine - not your hand - new fingernails grown ugly and deformed - trembling as I kiss it. There won't be hardness of thin bones of your shoulders under my kisses, nor your careful, gentle hands running over my
And this thought makes everything in me clench in such pain that it's a wonder that it doesn't do anything to my erection.
How am I going to lose you? When you're already wedged into my heart so deep that removing you will leave an un-healing wound there; will leave my heart split in two and unable to be whole again? How will I be able to live without you?
Merlin, if I only knew I would be asking it, would feel that my life is worth nothing without you - Snivellus, my enemy, the pathetic bastard I spent so many years trying to wound as deeply as possible.
It's retribution... and it tastes bitter.
I will lose you. I know it - and you don't know it and won't believe me if I say it now.
So I say nothing - and I hold you, close, as close as I can, because I know it's the last time I can do it. I won't forget it - this night, and this bed, and your body pushing towards me, and your fingers entwined in my hair, and the helpless, passion-swept blankness of your face as you gasp and come.
If only I could believe it would matter for you, tomorrow, when your memories come back to you - that you'd choose our new-found closeness over our live-long enmity. But I can't hope for it - I know you too well. I hated you for far too long not to know. You'll discard me as you discard everything that is less than a necessity in your life. Maybe you'll even laugh at me, at my weakness. You'll be strong and self-sufficient and distant again.
That's why I caress your face and feel how you lean into the touch of my fingers. I need something to remember.
I'll remember it. Even when you forget everything.