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I've had Worse

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Remus knew it was a bad idea to open the entrance to the Subconscious. He knew when it was a bad idea to do a lot of things, but the fear of the consequences had never been enough to deter him.

When there were rules, Remus deliberately found ways to break them.

When Remus was told no, he only heard yes.

It was just who he was.

But this time, Remus wished he wasn't him. It wasn't often Remus felt regret, never, in fact, but just this once, he wished he had listened to the rules and the 'no's instead of his nature.

But, Remus considered, this wasn't too bad. No one could hardly blame him. Remus has had worse.

The moment he opened the door to the Subconscious, he had been taken, gripped by the icy fingers of figments that have never seen the light of day, dragging him down, deeper and deeper until all he could smell was darkness and numbness.

He was back, and he wished he never was.

It had been so long ago.

He could only grasp at the pieces—his mind was going hazy now that he tried to recall—much like how he was barely holding on to pieces of himself physically.

It was after The Spilt.

All he could remember was remembering Roman. Well, he wasn't so much Roman and Remus wasn't so much Remus back then. Back then, Roman was good, Remus was bad. Bad was not good, it was what needed to be rid of. He had been torn apart from himself—painfully, Remus recalled gleefully—because all they ever wanted was a Prince. Remus was not.

And cast away into the Subconscious. Away.

The figments found him, drew him in with those same icy fingers that had once felt like family and like home because it was all the warmth he had ever received.

They liked his demented thoughts and twisted jokes. They wanted him to be bad. After all, they'd punish him if he ever tried to be good. Good meant Roman, and Remus couldn't be Roman, he had to be Remus. He had to be Intrusive Thoughts.

But Remus always broke the rules.

They liked to beat him black and blue, until he could taste nothing but salt and metal and his swollen tongue. They liked to whip him until the skin on his back was like a ragged cloth, full of holes and torn and ripped and scarred beyond repair.

And Remus liked it, too. But he wished he didn't. It hurt so bad. He liked it. He hated the tears and the blood, and had grown to hate the taste of leather and matches. He liked it. The satisfaction of breaking the rules, enjoying it because it was against anyone's expectations. He just couldn't get enough. Remus hated it.

So, again and again, he would be good, just to see, maybe, just to see how much he could enjoy himself. And hate it.

My, aren't I so full of contradictions, Remus thought to himself with an ironic sigh.

Remus wriggled against the metal cuffs around his wrists, turning his pale skin red and raw—like most things in the world he enjoyed. Apples, rotten veal, gums after removing the teeth, and to an extent, buttholes.

Remus cackled as his attempts proved useless, the sharp sound echoing into the darkness and floating away, like a carcass shoved carelessly into a bottomless well full of ink-black water. Remus choked on his own sound, remembering how ruined his voice was, no doubt due to the screaming. Or maybe the choking. Or maybe the glass.

Remus winced. This wasn't bad, he told himself, I've had worse.

Chained, strung up, whipped, one little finger cut away, piles of guts spilled over bloody thighs, bruises on his neck either from the rope or from needy lips—Remus couldn't remember too clearly, everything was so hazy and dizzy and that wasn't because he was missing an eye—, glass shoved down his throat, a gash smashed into his skull that caked his hair with dried blood, burns that were still crisp and now oozing pus.

I've had worse.

Maybe they would've been more gentle if he hadn't escaped all those years ago.

Or maybe Remus shouldn't have let himself open the entrance to the Subconscious. He didn't know why he did it in the first place. How strange, and exciting in a way, it was to him not to be able to understand his own impulses.

But, oh well. Nothing to be done about it now, and no doubt nothing to be done about it later, either. Remus knew his chances of getting out of the Subconscious for a second time were infinitesimal. The figments would never let him go back. He belonged to them, he was a subconscious idea, after all.

Pity.

Remus's body grew rigid when the light sound of approaching footsteps itched his ears. Remus flicked his eye up, the crusty stands of greyish hair falling over his sweaty, tearstained face and sticking to his cheeks. Remus's lips curled into a grin.

"Kept me waiting," his voice scratched, his tone humorless.

There was a dark chuckle and suddenly frigid fingers dug into the tender skin of his jaw. Remus moaned though he didn't mean to.

"Whatchya gunna do to me next, huh?" Remus taunted bravely, knowing full well he shouldn't but doing so anyway. "I have a perfectly good hole where my eye used to be, if you'd be interested in fucking that. And I still have all of my teeth—a shame, really. And I personally think my poor legs have be neglected from this sweet, sweet abuse."

There was a growl and a second hand was at Remus's throat, causing him to hack violently until blood and phlegm dribbled down his chin. Remus laughed hoarsely, gritty like sand, and lapped up the body fluids with his tongue.

"Yes, please, shove your fingers into my throat, I promise I have no gag reflex."

A knee collided with Remus's exposed guts and Remus let out a strangled scream. And then laughed.

Tears were streaming down his face and his body shook, tired and threatening to give out on him.

Remus's pitiful laugh died in his throat when he heard the sound of dragging leather and the smell hit him hard. This time, real tears filled his one good eye and he opened his mouth to beg but-

Crack!

Remus's back arched as the whip licked his skin raw and a grating scream ripped through his throat.

"Please please, please, please," Remus chanted, sounding so utterly destroyed.

"Please what?" growled a disembodied voice from the unforgiving darkness.

"More," Remus begged, "Please more."

The whip came down on him again and again and Remus screamed and screamed and screamed.

I've had worse.