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Slow Dancing in a Burning Room by ButterflyRogue
Chapter 4 : a place to stay safe
 
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prompt 07: saviour



[that place you can't remember and you can't forget]

Word count: 446



"D'you have a woman out there, Remus?" someone had asked him the other night. He'd responded negatively, immediately and without hesitation. Being cautious, of course, as a first. You don't just go to a pack of werewolves and start counting off your loved ones. Secondly, she wasn't even his to begin with, regardless of the complicated state of their "relationship" (in lack of a better word). At last, he knew what the others meant under the term "woman" and even if she were his, he'd never allow her mentioned in such a context.

She was constantly on his mind, though. The thought of her loving him, waiting for him, soothed and disturbed him at the same time. It's what kept him going, her loving smile and tender gaze like a beacon in the distance, something to hold on to in the darkness that surrounded him. So even though he kept telling her to move on, it was done so half-heartedly, so unwillingly. He couldn't expect her to take him seriously, being like that. It was no wonder she was so persistent still. And the thought that scared him the most, was this realization that he actually wanted having her keep coming back to him.

And still, he had trouble accepting he didn't have to live his life like this, in obscurity and isolation. He refused to believe she just might be his salvation. Every monster is supposed to be vanquished in the end of a fairy tale, it's only right. It isn't entitled to a happily ever after.

But she wasn't much of a damsel in distress to begin with. She was strong, she was self-sufficient, she didn't need a knight in shining armour to save her from anything. She was the true hero of their story. Persistent and true to herself and with more guts than most men he knew. More guts than him, in any case.

That was the continuous contrariety of her that somehow never ceased to fascinate him; layers and layers of brazenness and nerve and attitude smothering all that is delicate and feminine because heaven forbid anyone should see her as such. But he knew better. He was acquainted with the meek, gentle woman she could be as well. And he yearned for that woman more and more with each passing day, yearned for every single part of her wonderful persona.

Yes, Remus Lupin did have a woman "out there". A woman he loved more than himself (though, that wasn't much of a feat anyway), more than anything. A tough, brave woman who didn't need anyone standing up for her. And a woman he was determined to save nevertheless – from himself.



she'll lead you down a path, there'll be tenderness in the air

she'll let you come just far enough so you know she's really there

she'll look at you and smile and her eyes will say – she's got a secret garden

where everything you want, where everything you need will always stay a million miles away...

Bruce Springsteen – Secret Garden



prompt 08: deeper



[stay safe tonight]

Word count: 656



Number 12 Grimmauld place was just as dull and dreary as ever. Wasn't any different even when there were people around, actually. As if there was perpetual despair etched deeply into the tapestries, in every gruesome article of family heirloom, dark as their name and making her shudder as she went by. She doesn't even know why she came here in the first place.

She couldn't quite remember how she had come to stand in the parlour on the first floor, poring over a stray slip of parchment, a list of items scribbled upon it. A grocery list. She recognizes the handwriting. He must have been in a good mood the day he wrote this. He even remembered the trivial things such as 'candles' and 'soap-the good kind'. She can almost imagine him going through the drawers and cupboards. The last word is written in capitals and underlined twice. Liquor. Her throat suddenly feels tight. She wonders where the hell she was when he was writing this note, desperate in trying to make his imprisonment in this dreadful house even remotely bearable. They could've gone through the house together, mocking the hideous antiquary and plotting to furnish one of the rooms-the one directly opposite to the portrait of Sirius' mother-entirely in Muggle fashion just to piss the old hag off. Why was she around mainly when he was drunk or frantic or sulking in one of the rooms upstairs? The fact that she knew the answer to that question made her feel disgusted with herself.

It must be her punishment, this. Loving someone who was constantly walking away from her-into darkness, danger, into the unknown, and all she could think of day after day was whether he was even still alive. All she ever wanted anymore was to have him back from the underground. Even if he never accepted her love.

Yes, a punishment. She was sure of it.

Tears prickling her eyes, she drops to the sofa-the one he usually occupied, stretching lazily and teasing Remus who'd be right over there, in that overstuffed armchair by the bookshelf, trying to read. She'd be perched on a windowsill and they'd all be sipping firewhiskey, telling dirty jokes and swapping Hogwarts experiences. It was funny how everything seemed so easy with Sirius around. It was when he died that things suddenly turned awkward.

"I thought the place was empty."

She recognizes his voice upon the very first syllable and suddenly, she wants to be anywhere but here. Alone. With him. Stupid, actually, seeing that catching him on his own was her main objective for the past months.

"Sometimes I sleep here," he mutters again from the doorway, obviously compelled to supply an explanation.

"I didn't know. I'll leave."

"You—you don't have to," he offers quickly-a bit too quickly-but she dares not to hope. Not anymore. She sits back, though, and watches him from the corner of her eye as he drags himself to the armchair and crashes into it. He's thinner and looking more worn than ever. Yet, he is here-safe, unharmed; at least tonight her mind would be rid of anguish. Instead of relived, she is surprised to feel numb, sore, her head aching dully. She feels like she could cry and digs her nails into a cushion instead.

"I'm sorry."

His voice is hoarse and muffled and she can see him without looking, hunched over in his chair, head in his hands. And, as if they are connected on another, deeper level, she knows he feels the same.

"I'm sorry too," she mutters back, a tear finally slipping on the mouldy cushion.

She is not quite conscious of what followed and can only vaguely remember someone laying her down and wrapping a blanket around her before drifting to sleep. It was, for once, deep and dreamless. The note is still on the floor where she'd dropped it last night. Remus is, once again, gone.



and if the darkness is to keep us apart

and if the daylight feels like it's a long way off

and if your glass heart should crack

and for a second you turn back - oh no, be strong...

U2 - Walk On


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