Tears of joy well up in my eyes as I hold the hands of the man smiling back at me. A ring sits upon my left hand. My mother and father stand to my left, and a little man in black stands in front of me, speaking words that mean everything to me. "Till death do you part." I will take this love to my grave. "You may now kiss the bride." He leans in to capture my lips, and my parents break into applause. "I present Mr. and Mrs. Remus Lupin."
Three weeks ago, a week after Dumbledore's funeral, Remus had dropped to a knee at the end of an Order meeting. He pulled a ring out of his pocket and asked me to marry him. Everyone cheered and shouted as I stuttered to say yes. We knew we would not have a big wedding; we had expected it to just be the two of us. Then my parents stepped into the picture. I knew my mother was not happy about my engagement. She loves Remus, she really does, but she just does not like werewolves. Therefore, it took three weeks of persistence and begging before they agreed to let us marry. The only condition was they wanted to be there.
So here we are, just the five of us, counting the man doing the service. We are using the same short, stumpy man who spoke at Dumbledore's funeral. Kind of weird, right? He was the only one we could find that was not booked. Since we decided not to have a big wedding, we are getting married today when I am off work, and the full moon is a long ways away.
I am no longer Nymphadora Tonks; I am Nymphadora Lupin, wife of Remus Lupin.
Remus, Mad-Eye, Arthur, Kingsley, Bill, Fleur, Hagrid, Mundungus, Fred, George, Ron, Hermione, and I fly toward Privet Drive to pick up Harry. We have decided to pair everyone with a “Harry”. Hermione keeps insisting that Harry will not like the plan, but he really does not have a choice. We take cover in his kitchen and Mad-Eye explains the plan. I share my good news first, but Mad-Eye cuts me off. It looks funny seeing seven Harrys putting on their glasses and grabbing their fake snowy owls. I am with Ron, who looks less than happy. I believe it has something to do with the fact I am married now. I giggle at his lack of enthusiasm.
“Good luck everyone,” shouts Mad-Eye. “See you all in about an hour at the Burrow. On the count of three. One…Two…Three.” I kick off hard and Ron tightens his grip on my waist. Once in the air, I take off in the direction of Ron’s great aunt. Then, out of nowhere, thirty hooded figures on brooms like my own fly up around us. Leaning forward, left hand on the broom, right holding my wand, I fly fast, breaking through them. Three are in hot pursuit of us. Ron stuns one of them right in the head. It is a wonderful hit.
"Great job!" I yell over my shoulder. I see a green light hurling towards me and turn the broom away just in time. That was close; too close. It surprises me that a Death Eater would be stupid enough to send the killing curse with Harry, or Ron, on the broom with me.
"I see your muggle father taught you how to dodge! Maybe you should take up magic!" A cracking, female voice shouts through the darkness. Bellatrix Lestrange. My blood boils. Gritting my teeth, I send my own spell back at her. I am not a big fan of the killing curse, but I would love to see her fall to her death. Ron yelps behind me as another killing curse lights up the night.
"Bella! What do you think you're doing? That could be the Potter boy! If you kill him-" Ahh...Rodolphus, my blessed uncle.
"I have permission to kill the girl!" I feel my face drain. She has permission to kill me? Oh, Merlin! I feel Ron tense up behind me. You have to be strong Nymphadora. For Ron's sake; for Harry's sake; for Remus's sake. I mutter a spell under my breath and shoot a tongue of flames toward my relatives. I hear Rodolphus cry out in pain, Bellatrix scream, and Ron shout out in glee. I turn my head long enough to see fire spreading across Rodolphus's black robes. My aunt turns to get revenge. Ron and I are both sending every (legal) spell known to wizard at her. Four different times we almost get hit by her attempts to kill us. Suddenly, she turns around and heads east.
"Where do you think she is going?" We are sitting stationary in the night. The stars twinkle innocently above, mocking us. I shrug and check my watch.
"I have no idea, but if we don't hurry, we are going to miss our portkey,” I say. We head westward. My mind is full with worry. Were we the only lucky ones? Surely, Hagrid and Harry had made it to my parent’s house. I know Mum and Dad will take care of them if they are hurt. What made Bellatrix turn away? Did Voldemort call her? Is Remus alive? I shake this last question off. Of course he is. He is strong- no one can hurt him.
“There. That’s her house.” Ron’s words jerked me out of my thoughts. I descend, and we hit the ground rather bumpy. I try to mumble my apologies to Ron for my not-so-smooth-landing, but am stopped by a old lady with a beaky nose.
“There you are, Ronald! I have been waiting! My goodness you are a mess.” Ron has turned back to his tall, redheaded self. She seems to be deaf, because I know the neighbors can hear her shouting at us. Muriel grabs Ron by the wrist and begins towing him inside. “The oil can already left without you. Molly is going to be worried. Though with seven kids, I have no idea how she will notice that you are gone.” I smirk in Ron’s direction. This woman is worse than my mother. Sheesh. I guess I should try to spare Ron the pain of listening to her, so when we reach the front steps, I stop.
“We ought to be going. As you said, Molly is going to be worried sick. I guess we can just fly to the Burrow. Ron, hop on.” Muriel is looking at my hair, which is pink, with a critic eye. I do my best not to roll my eyes. I love it when people look at me with disapproval when it comes to my hair. Mum hates it and that is part of the reason I wear it as I do. Remus loves it. He thinks it shows my personality. It takes several minutes to convince the damn woman that we are fine.
Ron and I hop back on the broom and take off. This part of the flight is easier in a way, but knowing that we will maybe have to face someone’s death when we reach our destination scares me. Right below us, the Burrow comes into view. Six people are standing in the yard, looking up into the sky. My worried mind ceases a little when I recognize one of them.
“Remus!” Remus rushes forward and pulls me into the safety of his arms. His heart is beating fast; I can hear it against my ear. Hermione hugs Ron to my left and I decide I should brag on him a bit. After all, he is a decent fighter.
“Ron was great; wonderful. Stunned one of the Death Eaters, straight to the head, and when you’re aiming at a moving target from a flying broom-“ Hermione’s squeal cut me off. Remus has not said anything yet. Clasping his hand with mind, he buries his face in my hair, taking a deep breath. I know I worried him, and I feel bad.
“So what kept you? What happened?” I can hear the impatience in his voice.
“Bellatrix. She wants me quite as much as she wants Harry, Remus, she tried very hard to kill me. I just wish I’d got her, I owe Bellatrix. But we definitely injured Rodolphus…Then we got to Ron’s Auntie Muriel’s and we’d missed our Portkey and she was fussing over us-“ He nods, pulling me closer to the point I can hardly breathe. “So what happened to you lot?” The others rush into stories, and I learn that Fred is injured and Bill, Fleur, Mad-Eye, and Mundungus are still missing. Molly and Arthur enter the picture, hugging Ron. Molly is in tears, but thanks us for keeping her children safe.
"Don't be silly, Molly," I say. I know that if I ever have children, she will treat them as her own. Bill and Fleur finally arrive, and I can tell something bad has happened.
"Mad-Eye's dead." My heart drops to my stomach and I feel Remus tense beside me. Mad-Eye? Dead? I try to speak, but no words come out. Remus draws a handkerchief from his pocket and hands it to me. It is now that I notice the tears rolling down my face. Mad-Eye taught me everything I know about being an Auror. He is my idol, my influence. I wanted to be like him; strong, tough, brave, and able to get through anything. His "constant vigilance" was something to get used to, but I never pictured him dieing. Voldemort killed Alastor Moody. I just cannot believe it. The only comfort I can find is that he died fighting; killed by a man who had also escaped death. Rest in peace, my teacher, rest in peace.
I take a deep breath before I enter the room. Remus and I are living at my parents. He just got back from duty and is getting a cup of coffee. This is his usual routine. Normally, I do not wait up anymore. I trust that he can make it back on his own. Nevertheless, I do sleep better once he is home. Tonight will be out of routine though. Very out of routine.
"'Dora! You scared me! Why aren't you sleeping?" Concern lines his face.
"Sit down." I sit first, motioning toward the chair next to me.
"Who died?" I laugh at his natural instinct. This is defiantly not about death. Actually, it is the complete opposite.
"No one, dear. Just listen." I take a deep breath. How should I put this? I have spent the last four hours deciding how to tell him, and I cannot seem to remember how I decided to do it. "I'm pregnant." Smooth Nymphadora. Real smooth.
"What?" Did he seriously just ask me that? I know he heard me! I raise an eyebrow. "Sorry, 'Dora. Are you sure?"
"Yes I am sure! You think I would tell you if I wasn't?" I try to keep my voice down so my parents do not hear. I have not told them yet. He looks scared more than shocked. This was not the reaction I thought I would get.
"'Dora...I can't believe...are you sure? Sorry...stupid question..." I fake a smile and take his hand.
"We are going to have this baby. I know we are in the middle of a war, but we can do this. I know you want this baby as much as I do. Please..." I have no idea what I am pleading for. I know he will not leave, I know he will not refuse to have the baby, but I cannot figure out what is on his mind. For a few seconds, his face fills with emotion, but then he draws up a look.
"Yes. Yes we will. I swear to you that we are going to have this baby and he or she is going to have the best life we can possibly provide." I think the swearing thing was more for his befit than mine. We have had this discussion before. He is afraid that he being a werewolf will affect any child we have. I pray this does not happen, but any child of ours will be close to my heart and I will love them anyway. Just like Remus.
Teddy Remus Lupin lies playing with his toes on a mat on the floor. He just discovered them yesterday. I watch my son with joy sitting next to his father on the floor next to him. Remus is tickling him, so he giggles loudly and his hair turns different colors: purple, blue, green, and black, blonde, red. It is so adorable. I swear he looks like Remus in the face; his intense eyes resemble him so much. Of course, my mother and he both think he looks like me, but that is only because of the Metamorphmagus trait he has received from me.
I also see my father in him. I cannot describe what possesses me to think this, but it is more than the name. I miss him so much, especially on days like this, where everything seems so perfect. I wanted my son to know his grandfather and now he will never have the chance. We named him Teddy after my father, and this really made Mum happy. She cried when we first told her the name we had decided on.
Remus is throwing him up in the air and catching him as he comes down now. This makes me so nervous, but he catches him every time and Teddy loves it. His hair is an electric blue and his eyes mimic his father’s. Remus was so worried about having a child at first, but now, he is completely wrapped up with our little boy and so am I. It makes life easier living with Mum, because she helps us out a lot, but Remus likes it better when we try to figure things ourselves.
“’Dora! Remus! It is for you!” I did not even hear a knock on the door. I scoop Teddy out of Remus’s arms and place him on my hip. Bill and Mum are in the kitchen when we arrive. His face is pale and worried. Fear seizes up in me. We have not heard from Harry, Ron, and Hermione is a long time. Did something happen? I pull Teddy in close and prepare myself for the worst. Bill’s voice is steady, but toneless when he speaks.
“You-Know-Who is coming to Hogwarts.”
“What?” Mum, Remus, and I all shout out at the same time. Teddy clamps his hands and mimics the sound since he cannot talk yet.
“Wha! Wha!” I hush him.
“Harry is at Hogwarts. He’s looking for something, but You-Know-Who is looking for it too or something like that. He told McGonagall and the others that he is coming to Hogwarts. They are barricading the castle. McGonagall wants to fight. This is it.” His last three words echo in my ears. This is it. This is the end of someone, and hopefully, our side will win. I figured that if it came to Hogwarts, McGonagall would let us fight back there; she is not one to back down. Bill nods to us and leaves. I hand Teddy to my mother and reach for my coat when I feel a hand on my arm. It is Remus.
"'Dora. Stay with Teddy. He needs you more than the world right now." A lump rises in my throat. What he says is true, but I want to be there fighting along side my husband.
"They are going to need everyone, Remus. Everyone includes me." I did not go through auror training to back out at the last minute.
"I don't want our son to grow up without his parents. I will not put that upon my son." I know he is referring to Harry's case, but Teddy's family is my mother and she is a great mother. "If we need back-up..." However, that would mean we were losing and I would be a last resort. I still have to get my revenge on Bellatrix. I never want her to have the chance to hurt my son.
"Remus...I want to fight." He never said I could not fight, he just said to stay here. Something in his voice makes me want to stay, because he said so. He is pleading with me to stay with our son. I take a deep breath and step back from the coat rack toward Mum and Teddy.
"Thank you." He sincerely means it too. I can tell. To my surprise and his, Mum thrusts Teddy into my arms and gives Remus a hug. She kisses him gently on the cheek, which is the most emotion she has showed towards him since we have been together.
"Remus- I want you to be safe. You have been an amazing husband to my daughter. The most any mother could hope for is to see her little girl fall in love with a man who loves her for her. I see this in your relationship and you two have given me a wonderful grandson. Be safe. People die in a war like this, as you saw with Ted. I cannot loose anyone else that I love, my son. Be strong and fight for your heart. Nymphadora and I are blessed to have you. We will be here when you return." I feel tears in my eyes and I know Remus is trying to hold them back. Teddy is squirming in my arms; he can feel the sad atmosphere, but he does not realize his father might not walk back through the doors from which he is about to leave.
"Teddy, just remember Dad loves you." He took him from me, holding him close. Silent tears spill down my cheeks. He would not be saying good-bye this way if he did not think he would come back. I know he would die for our cause if we asked him to. I just do not want to think about never seeing the love of my life again. Mum takes Teddy and Remus turns to say good-bye to me. He brushes my cheek with a finger and then wrapped me into his arms. Mum took Teddy back into the living room to gives us some privacy.
"Please come back Remus. Teddy needs you too." I need you too.
"You know there is that chance..." I know. He knows. Everyone knows there is that chance. That is what everyone refers to it as. That chance. That chance you might not come home. That chance you could die. That chance you have to be willing to take.
"I love you 'Dora."
"I love you, too." He kisses me good-bye. The kiss is more intense than ever. Like the first time we made love. I watch him leave and turn back to where my son and mother are waiting. Teddy is playing on the floor and Mum had made tea. How in the world she knows I need it is beyond me, and I take it graciously. I know she wants to say something, but I will not ask. The war and losing Dad has taken its toll on her, but she has remained strong. Teddy is silent as I watch him. He must know something is wrong. Mum touches my arm gently and whispers.
"Is this what you want to do?" Is this what I want to do? I want to be there supporting my husband and Harry and the rest of the wizarding world. I want to be there avenging my father, Mad-Eye, Dumbledore, and Sirius. I want to fight. I need to fight, even if it means dieing. I look into the eyes of the woman who raised me. She has seen a family fall apart and she walked away. She lost the love of her life, but is still willing to take the chance of losing her only daughter.
“I have to go.”
“I know.” Mum wipes the tears from her eyes, and we stand.
“Take care of Teddy for us.” I feel myself start to choke up. I may never see my son again, but at least he will grow up knowing I fought for his freedom. His freedom from the fear I was raised with; his freedom from a controlling lunatic; his freedom to become a friend, husband, and father. I love you Teddy.
“I will, I always will. I love you Nymphadora. Fight like the woman I know you are. Fight hard- never back down. I will be here if you return, and if not…Teddy will be safe. At least I know I will have him.” I hug Mum and then Teddy, holding him extra long. I apparate to Hogsmeade and enter Hogwarts threw the Hog’s Head. Ginny and Mrs. Longbottom, the Neville boy's grandmother are in the room.
"Do you know anything?" I ask anxiously. This is a stupid question of course. If they knew anything, they would not be in here.
"Nope." Ginny's voice is full of anger.
"All I know is it is time to fight He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named." Bless the older woman. She looks like she knew You-Know-Who's great-grandfather. There is not much to say. Ginny is mad because her mother is refusing to let her fight and Mrs. Longbottom just wants to make sure her grandson is alright. Is that not why we are all here? Besides to fight of course. Harry, Ron, and Hermione came bustling into the room about five minutes after I arrive.
"Ah, Potter. You can tell us what is going on," said Mrs. Longbottom as if we were waiting to sit down for tea. I only have one thing on my mind.
"Is everyone ok?" The words seem to echo and I realize Ginny has said them too.
"'S far as we know. Are there still people in the passage to the Hog's Head?" What a stupid question. Why do we care? Mrs. Longbottom answers, saying she had sealed it.
"Have you seen my grandson?" Have you seen my husband? I have to get out there. Mrs. Longbottom leaves immediately to help fight. I am about to follow when Harry speaks to me.
"I thought you were supposed to be with Teddy at your mother's?" What did Remus tell them? That I wanted to stay at home?
"I couldn't stand not knowing. She will look after him- have you seen Remus?" My words come out in a rush.
"He was planning to lead a group of fighters into the grounds-" This is all I need. The grounds. I remember how to get there, so I take off towards the stairs. I pass a window and stop short. I have a decent angle from up here. I might as well take out a few before I find Remus. Ginny is next to me, I guess Harry kicked her out of the room. Aberforth Dumbledore came by with a small group of students.
"Have you seen Remus?"
"He was dueling with Dolohov, haven't seen him since." My heart pounded in my chest. I had to get to him. He could be hurt or worse...
Ginny calls for me to stop, but the lover and auror in me tell me that I am doing the right thing. Tearing through the castle I reach the grounds where all hell has broke loose. Several people call my name, but I cannot decipher voices. My eyes only search for Remus. I see him battling fiercely with two Death Eaters, Dolohov with his mask off, and the other still concealed. Somehow, I make my way to the three of them without being hit by any spells. Remus sees me coming, but in his eyes, I can tell he understands that I had to be here. He is not mad, more grateful at the moment. I attack the other Death Eater he is trying to fend off and walk closer and closer to him until we are back to back defending.
I grasp his had behind me and I know that he has my back and my front; my heart and soul; my life and death. All in the palm of his hand. He squeezes it encouragingly. From the corner of my eye, I see it coming, but there is no room to avoid it. I have no idea whose wand it came from or if it is even directed at us. The green light lights up in my eyes. I do not know whom it hits, Remus or me but I feel the life leave me.
They say you see your life flash before your eyes before you die. I had no idea what that meant until I knew that I am going to die. I always thought I would be scared, that it would hurt, or I would feel terrible inside. None of this happened. I see Teddy's face, his laughing eyes. I see my mother's gentle smile and my father's strong features. I see the entire Order of the Phoenix laughing in the good times before everything went bad. I see Mad-Eye's stern demeanor encouraging me. Then I see Remus, holding my hand tightly as the curse hits us, his loving arms, knowing he will be there to hold me wherever we end up. We say that we will love and cherish each other to the end, and I can think of no better way to die than holding the hand of the love of my life.
'Till death do us part, they say.
A/N: I want to dedicate this story to all the fallen soldiers fighting for America. For those of you who live in a country other than the United States, this might mean nothing to you, but to every American (or anyone who wants to) please take a moment for our soldiers. September 11th marks a terrible day, but we fought back with Red, White, and Blue pride. God bless the soldiers, fallen and fighting. You and your families are in my prayers.
To my note above- several parts in this chapter could be related to the war going on right now. Someone destroys what you hold dear, killing your people, and you want to avenge that. There is always a price to pay and every soldier, no matter what country or side, knows this. No matter what your beliefs. Now back to Harry Potter. This is the last chapter, and I hoped you enjoyed it, even if it was a little sad, but its not like you didn't already know what was gonna happen. Thanks to my reviewers, you keep me going!