Chapter 1 : Staring at The Sun
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So much to do, and here I am staring at the morning sun like a dumbstruck fool as if I am too weak to move. Itís ironic really, that I am watching the clouds meander across the promise of blue behind them. I have always been guided by the heavens, for they have often commanded my life, and I have been powerless under their influence. The cold, eerie light of the moon has acted like a magnetic force all my life, pulling me ever closer to the edge of madness, though I would fight it with every fibre of my being. Now I sit here, bathing in the flickering light of a glorious summerís morní reflecting on the dawn of a new day. I used to pray as a child: pray to any God that would listen that I would be good, that I didnít understand what I had done to deserve this fate of mine. All I have ever wanted is to be normal. Now she has made me believe that I am.
Iím not sure if itís a healthy thing for a man as old as I to feel as if he were seventeen again, but I do, and just for today I refuse to change or question whether I should be doing this. For the first time in a long lifetime I am filled to the brim with a youthful optimism that somehow got buried inside me long ago, never to be heard of again, until, at least, she reached deep inside my very soul and found it once again. This rush of blood to my head must come from her unremitting hold on my heart, for there is no other logical explanation for how I feel today. I am a learned man, but I have no tangible justification for why I sit here grinning like a fool, drunk on the memory of her kisses, dizzy from the effect of her touch.
There is a part of me that wants to shout out loud from the highest rooftops until my voice goes hoarse and they can hear me below on the pavements no more. The same part of me that desperately wants to alert this growing crowd gathering before me that I have found the very meaning, the very lifeblood of us all. I have found the source of what we all strive for, the pulse and driving force of our being, the mystery that has perplexed many more intelligent souls than I. I just wish I could have the courage to stand amongst them all - all the scholars and the scientists - and tell them of our love. I wish to stand on my soap box and preach to the throng here today. But for now Iíll settle for a coffee and some quiet contemplation, as I have often done before.
So I sit here, alone, basking in the morning sunshine that reminds me so much of her warm touch, with this sanguine mood about me as if nothing matters to me on such a fine morning as this. And it feels so unfamiliar as I watch normality take itís cold-hearted grip around me once more, just like the cold air grips me on a moonlit night. I feel a little guilty to be riding on a crest of a wave while all about me is so uncertain and chaotic. I should be doing more for our cause, whispers that eternal voice of conscience in my head, and yet I continue to take the chance to sit and breathe again, ignoring that uncomfortable voice as if it doesnĎt exist. Itís as if the world is a normal place at last, though I know it has never been so for me. Until now. Until her.
The world passes me by in a wondrous, blissful ignorance as if nothing has changed at all for, of course, in essence it has not. I have no extra powers to right the wrongs of the world. I cannot undo what has already gone before us, though heaven knows I wish I could. The nightmares that run around in my head, night after night, are enough to know that given half the chance I would change so much...so much. And yet, as I witness those empty souls going about their business, ignoring my smile, just looking straight ahead, I know everything has changed from this day forth. She gives me a belief and power that no spell could ever match. I laugh, and then check myself so not to be noticed. I am bewitched by my witch! My witchÖmy Nymphadora, though I know for certain if she was to hear me say that name I would be playfully hit on the arm, as I always am when I dare to call her by her given name. The recollection of our playful games makes me smile once more, as I savour the memory of her touch. It does not bear thinking about how secretly attached I have become to her.
Worried now that I have drawn attention to myself, I wonder if they can read my expression as they pass. Can they see behind the knowing smile as I sip from a chipped coffee cup as stained and worn as I am? Occasionally, one of them will catch my eye and hold my gaze: the woman with dark hair and a tired, worn appearance, ordering two young children to follow neatly behind her. Occasionally she holds my gaze just as she is about to glance behind to see if the children still follow, like a mother duck ordering her young, and I wonder if she knows. Or does the man who passed by just now much older, and probably wiser, than myself notice my change in appearance at all?. For a moment I think perhaps they have guessed, but if they have, neither of them say. And I will not tell them. To tell them might break my delicate spell, and for now I want to keep our love a secret, if I can, though the temptation is great. I smile at the recollection of her mischievous eyes. I doubt if she is so discreet, but it doesnít matter to me now. Last night broke away any doubts I had about what people think. For once I do not care. I genuinely do not care.
The smile does not leave my lips as I glance down at the swirling foam upon the coffee. I pour the sugar slowly from my spoon high above the cup in such a slow way itís utterly childish. Half the grains fall around the table making a flurry of mess. Iím almost ashamed of myself, and for a moment I glance around to see if anyone is watching me. But then I remember this is the way she pours the sugar into her coffee, and I recall the way she smiles as she says it reminds her of snowflakes tumbling down from the heavens, just like Christmas images long since past. And then, what once used to annoy me has become endearing and special. Itís one of the little things that I have found so enchanting about her. One of the many things now, for they are numerous. However much I pretend to concentrate these days, there is a knowledge within me that she has invaded all my senses and I am helpless to change now. Much like the aroma of the coffee teases my senses now, so she has too. I see the world around me through her eyes now, and where I used to see barriers and problems, I see hope and opening doors welcoming me. Iíve even noticed certain phrases that were once never uttered from these lips have crept into my vocabulary somehow, without my prior knowledge. I am truly under her spell.
Iím not sure what sheís done to me. This isnít me - the real me - Remus John Lupin. Iím the sensible one who never over-reacts or does anything even slightly daring. IĎm the one who has had to control my other side for all these years whilst others surged ahead of me, making a name for themselves in a positive way. Iím the one who happily stayed on the sidelines while my friends played pranks in our youth. Did I have a youth, truthfully ? I suppose I did, but it flew by me so fast I must have blinked and missed it. The transition from childhood to adulthood was quicker for me than many others. Becoming a werewolf brought responsibilities no child should ever have to suffer. Without James and Sirius I would have had no friends to speak of, and had no enjoyment through those difficult years. Yes, I have surely been a lucky man to have known all those whom I have loved, but it has been Nymphadora who has opened my eyes enough from the dark to see this new light in which I see my life. I was blessed, and yet I felt cursed until I could allow myself to love and be loved. To trust has always been so difficult to do.
And what would those friends say if they could see me now, sitting here in my moment of relaxed jubilation? Perhaps they can see me, for sometimes Iím sure I hear them sniggering from behind the shadows, as if they still shared my world with me. James would be pleased, but he would have to point out the pitfalls of seeing someone who he would claim is half my age. And then Lily would jab him in the ribs (just as Nymphadora sometimes does to me) for being a fool and kiss my cheek, wishing me good luck and telling me I was made for her. And Sirius? In any other circumstance he would be patting my back heartily, and telling me what a lucky man I was to have a woman in my arms last night who could be anything or anyone I wanted her to be. But she was his cousin, so would things be different, I wonder? Perhaps, though I almost think he knew how she felt about me before even I did, the hints he used to tease me with. He would encourage us for sure, but be concerned at my doubts. Yes, he would bemoan my indecision, and tease me about my lack of experience! How I wish he could have been here to guide me in my moments of questioning and guilt. Ah, Sirius giving me a Ďfatherlyí lecture - what fun that would have been to hear him attempting to be so serious and failing miserably. How I would have paid money to listen to his concerns - if I had money, that is.
I havenít always felt this positive, and sometimes even now it fails me, for I am ever the realist, and I have so little to offer her. There is no money hidden away under my moth-eaten mattress for a rainy day. I have but a small house in the middle of nowhere, and I have little stability in my employment to be able to contemplate supporting a family. I am old before my time, it is true. I have always had to be older and responsible, for the wolf must always be kept at bay. She knows that. The company I have had to keep recently is proof enough. I have never dreamt of a life other than a solitary one, for there was no point in wishing for something I could never have. Or so I thought, though admittedly dearest Lily told me she felt there was a special someone who would take me as I am. I wonder if she saw my love in the visions of our future. Lily was so dear to me, and believed in me in a way no one else would or could. Without her guidance, it took good people like Molly and Arthur pressing me to reconsider, and persuading me to grasp at life while I can before I could start to imagine a loving relationship such as theirs, with family all around me. My conscience has wrestled with my heart. Nymphadora could have the arm of any man, and yet she has finally convinced me that she only ever wanted me. Now I dare to dream like I have never dared before.
But still there are times when I secretly doubt my good fortune. All this hope against the backdrop of a war raging around me makes my heart feel heavy with the burden of guilt when IĎm not surrounded by her positive words and utter belief in me. Am I a risk to the Order as I face such evils in my role if in the back of my mind I yearn to hear her voice? The latent whispers in my head makes me wonder should we really be falling in love at a time when a child, a young boy such as Harry faces such desperate times as these? Is it an insult to the memory of his parents that I should be entrusted to guide him, and yet be behaving like a love-sick fool behind everyoneís back? Should I be relied upon by so many dear friends when I behave like a child myself?
Dear Harry. I have seen the young boy grow and grow, and his voice echoes out to me just as if James were growing up again before my eyes and I were transported back in time. And then I see his emerald eyes, and I realise that James and Lily are here not in body, but in spirit, within their boy. This is now, and I must remain positive for Harry, and so many others, look to me as a certainty in an uncertain world. The weight of my guilt may be burdensome, but the weight of the Wizarding World is upon young Harryís shoulders, and that burdens us all. The people all expect so much of him, and yet from me he expects nothing but advice and reassurance. I cannot afford to fail him. The Order trusts me, Harry trusts me, and yet I trusted the man who deceived us all. I am, indeed, the fool.
Would Albus agree with this late flush of youth? Some seem to think he would, but I cannot be sure. How I miss that man! There are some within the Order that seem to see me leading them to victory, and yet I cannot take his place. There is no other wizard like Albus. There is no replacement. Ironic that I should be guiding the Order, advising them, as negative and reticent as I am. Or should I say was, for I have changed now. The Fates have guided me to my love to give me the strength to fulfil my role. Who am I to challenge their decision? I will try my best, for my best is all I have to give.
So much to do and here I am staring at the morning sun like a dumbstruck fool as if I am powerless to move. I must leave now, but I will take one last look above me as I sip my coffee. And when I look up and recall her touch I wonít see the storm clouds gathering above me this morning, only the promise of blue behind them. I was once commanded by the power of the moon, even when the sun was out, breaking through the clouds above me. It was an ominous presence within my life. And though that is still true, though I have learned to give up the fight, and accept that I can merely keep the wolf at bay, I have chosen to give myself to another heavenly force, the power and warmth of which would rival even the brightest sunshine. Like the moon she pulls me into a kind of madness that takes me to the very edge and pulls me back again. But I will not fight my sunshine. This time I will let her warm rays of light and love envelope me, and unfold her warmth so that we are joined in an eternal madness, whatever may become of us. I have embraced the sun. I have embraced her love, and in my mind, and in my heart, she banishes the moon. For Nymphadora Tonks has a hold on my heart, and I pray that she will never let go.
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