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Chapter 1 : Chapter 1: Life or Love
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A/N: I’m going to get into some serious adult content, not sex necessarily, but violence and many deaths. The theme of the whole thing, though, is love, so you’ll just have to bear with me.
“Remus… I’ve been meaning to ask for awhile about my parents and… how they got together.” Harry Potter studied the man before him, as he sat across from him in the kitchen table in Grimmauld Place.
Remus took a minute so sip his eggnog before he answered Harry’s question. “I suppose it started with James. He took one look at Lily our first year and said ‘I’m going to marry her’ which was a focal point for us teasing him for the next several years. James was adamant though and he never varied or never dated anyone else. He only had eyes for Lily. When we got to seventh year, he knew he had to do something or he would lose his chance. James took her complaints about him and changed, for the better I might add. She saw how much he loved her and they got together. Then they got married right out of Hogwarts and Lily got pregnant with you just over a year later.”
“Wasn’t Voldemort active then?” Harry inquired. He had always wondered why anyone would choose to bring a child into a war torn world.
Remus sighed and ran a hand over his aged face. “Voldemort started killing people long before we knew what the real threat was but yes, by the time that we were in sixth year, he was terrorizing everyone.”
“Why did they get married and have me then? I mean, why take the risk of losing someone and why bring a child into the world if that world is a living hell?” The seventeen-year-old asked gruffly.
Remus studied him for several moments before answering. “I suppose that it does seem irresponsible and foolish but James and Lily did not want Voldemort to win.” Harry looked at him quizzically as Remus continued. “They wanted to live and be happy and they wanted you like nothing else. You were a blessing for them and they wanted to protect you as best as they could. But if they had let fear dictate their lives then the enemy had already won.”
He reached out a placating hand before placing it on Harry’s shoulder. “I don’t want you to think badly of them. They were amazing parents, especially since they were only 20 when you were born. They loved you so much.” Remus’ eyes took on a reminiscent look before he continued. “James’ face would light up whenever you smiled at him. He loved holding you and showing you off to everyone. Lily used to sing to you… all the time. You made them a family and if they would have lived, you probably would have had more siblings than your friend Ron.”
Harry looked uneasily at the man across from him. His face was aged way beyond his 37 years and his hair was completely gray now. He knew that life was hard on his mentor and that there was a good chance that Remus would not live through this war. he was like Sirius in many ways, the most prominent was always willing to be on the front lines. The thought choked Harry up but he still managed to blurt out his next question. He needed to know, he needed this advice from a father figure in case he lost him. “Do… do you think I should try to find love?”
Remus looked startled. “Of course you should! Why would you even ask?”
“It’s just… I’m probably going to die with the way things are going with my training. I’m just not making any real progress!” He slammed an aggravated fist flat onto the table. “I’m not sure I’ll be able to defeat Voldemort at all and hundreds of innocent people are already dead… there isn’t going to be much of a world left if I don’t start improving soon.” Here he paused to steady his breathing. He also wanted to choose his next words carefully. “I am concerned about if I should love someone and then die, would it be wrong? I mean… would it be unfair for me to love someone when I’m pretty sure my days are numbered? Also, is it right to make someone else a target for Voldemort?”
Remus studied him pensively. “What would your life be if you never find love? What would happen if you died without knowing a woman’s affections?”
He shrugged indifferently. “I suppose no one will be hurt.”
“Wrong answer.” The older man sat up straight and glared hard into his eyes. “Everyone will be hurting worse if you do not succeed in killing Voldemort. Your friends would miss you, that is true, but your success means peace in our world.” He paused before continuing. “What would happen if you never love someone and you spend the rest of your life alone, however long that may be, until you face Voldemort and you die? Or a better question is, what happens if you succeed, fulfilling the prophecy, and killing him? What would your life look like then?”
Harry contemplated a life like Remus was describing. “It would be… well, lonely and I suppose that I would just be fighting for everyone else’s happiness and not my own.” He sighed dejectedly. “I wouldn’t really have any direction to turn after I was done with him. I mean, I wanted to be an Auror but now… I guess I’m tired of fighting. I’m not sure I want to be doing this for the rest of my life but then, what would be my purpose for living?”
Remus was obviously flabbergasted. He had apparently not thought that Harry would come up with that answer. “I’m impressed. Yes, Harry, I would venture to say that without friends or even a wife in your life that it would be lonely and when you do reach the end, and beat Voldemort, I would not be surprised if you did feel like you did not have a purpose to your life.” He took a small sip of his eggnog. “I also think you need to realize that you are an amazing young man and a woman would be lucky you be loved by you. You could be part of making someone happy. I am sure that Ron would say that he would rather have a few happy months with Hermione as his wife, than not at all.” He winked conspiratorially. I also think that someday you might find a job that you love in teaching. You seem enjoy running the D.A. But I’m curious, why the sudden interest in your parent’s love life?”
Harry blushed at Remus’ compliments. He brushed them aside for the moment and focused on the other part of their conversation. He knew that Remus’ assumptions about Ron were correct. Ron would take whatever time he could get with Hermione. Then he thought about Remus’ last question. “I just… I want to know. I don’t have anyone else to ask and since I know very little about my parents…” his voice faded out.
“I see.” He looked up at the ceiling for a moment before returning his haunted eyes back to Harry. “For a moment there I thought you were about to tell me that you might have fallen in love with someone.”
Harry laughed derisively. “No. I have avoided relationships after my two failed attempts. I actually think that I am cursed and it’s always the same vicious cycle. I get together with a girl who seems to be great, good looking, smart and whatever and she turns out to be not anything like what I thought she was.”
“You’ve only had two girlfriends?”
“Yes.” Harry answered definitively. “Why?”
“You were always so popular, I’m just surprised there aren’t more girls throwing themselves at you.”
“Oh they do I suppose or they did my sixth year. The one I dated about a year ago was Lisa Turpin. She’s was a Ravenclaw in my year. Padma Patil brought her to the D.A. and introduced me to her and we hit it off, or I thought we did. It turns out that she was mostly enamored with my fame. She just wanted… well never mind, it doesn’t really matter anymore. I’ve been ignoring girls since because the only two in my life who don’t see me as the ruddy boy-who-lived are Ginny and Hermione and a fat lot of good that does me.” He raked a hand through his disheveled hair. “Ginny had a crush on me and wised up in time to get over it and Hermione and Ron just got engaged.” A look of horror crossed his face. “I wasn’t supposed to say anything. Mrs. Weasley doesn’t think they should be getting married.”
A look of understanding crossed Remus’ tired and lined face. “Ah, so this is where the conversation about your parent’s marriage really started. Hermione and Ron are getting married.” He sighed and smiled benignly at Harry’s panicked face. “Don’t worry, I won’t be saying a word. Let me see if I understand this. Molly thinks that they are too young and that their lives are too uncertain to be getting serious about each other. Does that about sum it up?”
Harry nodded. “When I look at them sometimes I can catch a look, you know, and see how much they love each other.” He felt his cheeks get a little hot and knew that he was blushing. When he looked at his tall, red haired best friend, holding his fiancé, it always gave him a slight pang of envy. He hated admitting it though because they deserved to be happy.
“And you’re just a little bit jealous, am I right?”
“Yes, how did you know?”
“That’s how I felt about your mum and dad sometimes. I wanted to be in love the way that they were. But unlike you, being a werewolf means that I’m not likely to find it. You have lots of opportunity for love and relationships.” Remus continued before Harry could protest. “I’m not saying that it’s going to be easy because you are right, many women will only see you for your fame but I have faith that you’ll find it some day.” He ran a hand over the stubble on his chin. “When did they get engaged? I didn’t see a ring on Hermione’s finger.”
“About a week ago. She found a charm that would hide it from everyone but her and Ron.” Harry contemplated his next words carefully but decided that honesty would work better than tact. “I just wish that women weren’t so damn confusing. I always feel like a prat when I like someone.”
“Oh yes, we have all been there.” A light went off in Remus’ head and an idea came to him. “I think you need some professional help.”
“Wonderful.” Harry snorted derisively. “So now I need a therapist because I can’t talk to girls?”
“No, I think that you need the help of a girl that you trust to acclimate you to the way a woman’s mind works.”
“Hermione’s already tried to explain girls to me and I’m still lost. Actually most of the time she tries to explain something to me, I get confused.” Hermione, with her bushy brown hair, and warm smile, was always trying to help, but he had come to the conclusion that it was probably hopeless. After her parents were murdered in their sixth year, she had taken up permanent residence at headquarters and he had come to look on her as a sister but despite her wealth of knowledge, she just could not get Harry to understand girls. Harry had decided several months ago that the task was probably impossible.
“I was actually thinking about someone who has more experience than Hermione. Someone who had a lot of older brothers… someone that you already trust.”
Harry smiled realizing whom Remus meant and he had a point. Ginny did understand blokes, had dated some and she was not like Lavender Brown or Pavarti Patil. She did not obsess about her clothes or her hair. She was an amazing dueler and was always straight forward. He appreciated her honesty, intelligence and sense of humor. She was tiny, easily the shortest girl in her class, with brilliant, thick red hair that went down to her waist and bright brown eyes but she was a force to be reckoned with. She had become one of his best friends in the past year while they had hung out together after Ron and Hermione had started dating, and he had found her to be an amazing friend and companion. “I suppose I could ask her for some advice. I don’t want a relationship to dominate my life because I really need to concentrate on training to defeat Voldemort but still… you’re right, I am jealous of Ron and Hermione and I want what they have… I think I’ll go and find Ginny.”
Remus’ smile was smug, as he said, “You do that.”
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