Chapter 1 : Pas de Deux
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A/N: This story was written in response to VampireKissesí Symbolism Challenge. I gutted an old piece of writing, and came up with something almost unrecognizable. Itís evolved quite a bit, but Iím pretty happy with the result. Enjoy, and remember to leave me a review! Oh, and just a quick note: 'Pas de Deux' is French for a form of ballet that is performed by two.
Gorgeous chapter image by SiriuslyInspired @ TDA.
Pas de Deux
ďAnd those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.Ē
Ė Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
It wasnít something I had ever seriously pondered, or dwelled upon. Losing the one you love never is. It just happened, like the blinking of an eye or the flashing of wings as a bird takes flight. In one unfathomable second, my life was altered beyond restoration. And now, nothing makes a modicum of sense. What I once knew to be true is suddenly false, and everything has been rendered unrecognizable. Even myself.
What follows that one, destructive second is nothing like the stories say, however. I am not filled with a sense of emptiness, nor do I fall upon my knees and cry as my heart shatters into millions of shimmering fragments. That will come later, I expect. But in these first unreal seconds following the realization that I will never again see her smile or hear her laugh, I am faced with nothing but an overwhelming sense of doubt.
Is she happy? Has she found eternity? Or is she nothing but a silvery shadow, chained to her own regret?
This doubt floods in, uninvited. It swells in merciless waves, overtaking my thoughts. I begin to question whether she is truly and eternally gone from this world, or if her death was only a trick of the light. Perhaps I have lost my mind out of sheer exhaustion and overwhelming fear. Have I not worried for countless long weeks and months, praying that this circumstance would not come to pass? Her death may have been a creation of my rattled mind, formed from half-forgotten nightmares.
Even now, as the seconds tick by, the doubt steals more and more of my memory. Suddenly, I canít remember her death. My mind ceases to replay those final seconds, when the soul I had grown to love was suddenly gone, and the light behind her youthful eyes was extinguished.
I look about at the scene of destruction laid out before my eyes and wonder if she was ever standing beside me, giving me the strength to fight. I search frantically for a sign that she ever truly existed, my lover and partner in this pas de deux.
Please God, I have to remember.
Nymphadora, I donít know who I am without you.
Flashes of color. Twirling dancers upon a dance floor of death.
Itís almost too much to remember. It would be so much easier just to give up now, to put my hands over my eyes and let the doubt consume me. But I canít let that happen. Although you are not beside me, my love, I must find the will to continue this tango with the devil. I cannot forget your death, just as I will never forget your life.
Your hand in mine as the monsters circled us. They were wolvesÖ and us? We were the helpless sheep. But you were my energy to keep up with this cruel dance. We could not lose as long as our hands were joined, as long as our hearts continued beating as one.
Your heart beats no more. Oh God, how I want to forget.
There were five of them. Five hideous, blood-thirsty animals, fangs bared and claws exposed. They danced around us, taunting us with words. ĎLook at the two lovers. Pity they have to die.í
I felt sorry for them. They knew nothing of love. They had never seen the delicate angel that swooped down upon me every time I laid eyes on you, my love. The angelís golden-laced wings fluttered across my face like a breath of warm air every time my hand touched your heavenly skin.
Itís coming back to me now. Iím afraid, my love.
The pain comes, too. It consumes me slowly, submerging me in a pool of fire. It licks at my bare skin with unrelenting passion. I want it to stop, but the memory of your face urges me onward. For you, Nymphadora. Always for you.
You will not have died in vain.
I stumbled. My foot hit something hard, and I lost balance, reeling out of step. Your hand clung tightly to mine, but it wasnít enough. I fell, just as a jet of green light shot from one of the monsterís wands, flying over my head and colliding with something beyond my sight.
Iíve never felt horror as I did in that second. As my hand fell from yours and my body collapsed to the filthy, debris-strewn floor, I felt every thought drain from my mind. Every thought but you. I nearly gagged on the image of your lifeless body lying beside me, the image that swam across my panic-stricken mind.
But they had missed. You were still standing, in the middle of their ring of fire, ready to waltz Ďtil the end.
You were always so strong, my Nymphadora. You had strength enough for the both of us. I will never know how I came to be blessed with such rarefied support and love. You were my glimpse of paradise, my love, and my one true happiness.
The relief was short-lived, but it was beyond perfection. Seeing you alive was pure euphoria. I had never known such a wonderful sensation outside of your touch.
I groped for my wand, anxious to stand beside you once again, to protect you. But it was gone, nowhere to be found.
It had flown from my hand just as you have flown from me.
Your hand hovered across my face, and I saw sorrow in your eyes. Beside me was a fallen dancer, the empty, lifeless eyes so familiar. He was the reason I had fallen, what I had stumbled over. Although it tormented me to do so, I had to close my eyes. Every time I looked at him, I imagined you in his place.
You wrapped your hands around the front of my robes, pulling me to my feet. A sad smile lingered upon your lips, and my entire life flashed before me, intricately weaved into just a few seconds. It was the last time Iíd ever see you smile.
Nymphadora, I need your strength now. Stand beside me and whisper words of encouragement into my ear. Please give me courage to remember.
Your gaze was ripped from mine by the disgusting sound of cackling. Its malevolent echo rattled around in my skull, and I looked up to see one of the monsters raising her wand. Her mouth moved as she pointed the wand at you, those blood red lips curling upwards in sadistic pleasure.
I canít see her face, itís too painful. The silent fire grows and grows as I struggle to remain cognizant. I need to remember.
The jolt of green hit you square in the chest, before I could stop it. Your eyes aligned with mine, and I saw the youthful glimmer slowly fade, until it was gone forever. I felt you go limp in my arms. That fleeting moment in time will haunt me always Ė when your dance ended and the curtain closed.
I wanted to cry out, but I couldnít. The blood-thirsty monster had raised her wand at me, and I was tossed under the surface of her curse. I could just barely feel the convulsions of pain, my mind was so consumed with thoughts of you. It was enough to send me to the ground, though, where I laid beside you, my fallen angel.
I can see the monster now. Her silhouette is blurry, and Iím fighting to fill in her ghastly features.
As I fought for control, my eyes remained glued to your face. I wanted to touch your cheek, to tell you that everything was going to be alright, but I couldnít escape the monsterís spell.
Dark, ratty hair. Sunken eyes. Ghostly pale skin. Her face is burned against my retinas, and it will be evermore.
The pain subsided, but my muscles continued jerking in rhythm to the music of that terrible dance. For a time, I felt nothing. I couldnít think. I couldnít breathe. But I could see you, only you, twirling before me. Your skin was glowing white and your eyes were clearer than air.
You were calling out to me.
You are calling out to me.
Your soul pulls itself from it fleshy prison, and you float beside me to whisper in my ear. What are you saying, my love?
ĎRemember, Remus. Donít be afraid.í
Your smile is weightless. The raging flames of heartbreak are subdued by the knowledge that you are at peace, and I feel you lifting me up. My energy is dwindling, but I stand for you.
As I stand shakily, blood mingling with the sweat on my forehead, I feel your fingers intertwine with my own. They are ethereal, yet warm. I can feel your strength flooding my veins. You coax the memories from their hiding places in the recesses of my mind. Although I am fearful, I allow them to emerge and, with time, they explode before my eyes.
It doesnít take long to put a name to the sallow, devilish face scorched into my mindís eye.
The words tumble from my mouth, dripping with malice. She hears her name and turns towards me, raising an eyebrow. I feel the anger rise in my throat like bile.
The hall is littered with demons. I can see the hellish, hooded figures everywhere I look. They vault here and there, in dizzying patterns that make my head spin. But she is the most hideous monster of all. Sheíd stolen my best friend from me, and now my partner in this foxtrot of life.
Is she sorry for her pestilent samba?
I walk towards her on shaky legs, finding strength from within. But it is not my strength. It is Siriusí. It is yours. It is the cumulative strength of all the lives she has suffocated. They are alive within me.
I see the fiend whisper something to the man standing beside her. He is a tall, thin man with brown eyes so dark, they almost seem black. I can find no feeling in them, and I give a visible shudder. But I do not hesitate. My gait is slow, yet steady, and I am almost upon her. I am closing in upon the devil herself.
I donít need a wand to make her suffer. Iíve got fists.
The souls of the departed urge me forward.
Before I know what is happening, the black-eyed, emotionless man takes a step towards me. His wand is at my throat in an instant, stabbing at my Adamís apple. My throat constricts and my heart beats in double time. It is conducting an upbeat death march, and I can see myself stepping along. Right, left, right. But I am not afraid, for I can see your face.
I am fully aware that this man will be the death of me. While I thought I would be angry, I find that my enthusiasm to sway at your side once again leaves no room for distemper. Iím so sorry that your death will not be avenged, my love.
The curse comes, as I knew it would. It leaves his wand and fills my body with a warm liquid as smooth and thick as honey. It pours down my throat and into my lungs until Iím drowning in it.
So many faces dart across my mind as I fall into that warm, dark place in the corners of my own existence. I see yours, my Nymphadora. I see Harryís, and Siriusís, and Jamesís, and Lilyís, and everyone I have ever loved. They smile back at me with undying respect and allegiance. I know in that moment that I have lived a good, honest life, and have left behind my own share of a great legend that will be passed on for centuries to come. My promenade was not performed immaculately, but it was worthwhile nonetheless, and I have no regrets.
All at once, the faces fade, and I am left with only one. My son.
He does not smile at me, as the others had done. Instead, he stares at me with longing, and I realize that I will leave this earth with one single regret:
I will not be able to be the father he needs.
ďIím sorry, Teddy,Ē I hear myself say as the darkness moves across my vision. The dance floor of death fades into the shadows, as does my sonís sorrowful face. I see you and only you, my love, standing before me once again.
Her arm reaches out to me, a smile hovering across her pale lips. Before I, too, reach out to take her hand, I pause, for I have noticed the dance shoes strapped onto her delicate feet. Although she has never worn them before, they do not seem out of place. In fact, I am sure they were made for her, and that she has always had them. I search my memories, and cannot think of a time in which she was without them.
Nymphadora is impatient. She interrupts my thoughts by leaping forward into my arms. There is no trace of anguish on her features.
ďHere I am, love. Right beside you in life, and now in death. Let us dance on.Ē
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