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Chapter 27 : Bittersweet Moon
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“Did you know you had an uncle, Luna?” Remus asked. He'd just finished telling Luna about Patrick Mosley's death, and Luna seemed frozen in place in the chair in front of his desk.
Luna nodded. “Mum never talked about him. She said he died a hero, fighting against Voldemort, but that was it.”
“I never met him,” Remus said. “But your mum spoke very highly of him. They were very close.”
“Dad never meet him, either,” Luna said.
“What your mum said about him, about him dying a hero. That's very true,” Remus said, leaning back in his chair.
“I just wish she told me more stories about when they were little,” Luna mused. “Do you think Voldemort will ever come back?”
Remus sighed. Dumbledore certainly did, and Remus was very inclined to believe what Dumbledore believed. Yet he was unsure whether it was appropriate to tell a twelve-year-old about Dumbledore's theories. “What do you think?”
“Dad says it's possible, and I think I believe him. That's why Sirius Black escaped, isn't it? To try and bring Voldemort back?”
Remus glanced at the Marauder's Map, sitting on the corner of his desk. “That's one theory, yes.”
“It'd be scary if he did,” Luna said quietly. “I think that's why my mum never talked about the war. It was too dark and too scary. I don't want to have something in my life that I can't talk about like that.”
Remus nodded. He wished that for Luna, too.
Dumbledore disappeared from the castle following the raid, much like he had after the Hogsmeade attack. Four days passed with no sign of him, or anymore owls from Addy. Remus sent her one owl, giving his condolences, but he hadn't heard back. He tried not to feel anxious about her lack of reply, telling himself that she was busy and grieving, but he couldn't help but worry.
Addy had been scheduled to patrol with Lily Thursday evening and Remus agreed to take her place, mainly so he could be alone with Lily to talk about Addy.
“Have you heard from Addy?” Lily asked shortly after they started patrolling.
“No,” Remus answered. “I meant to ask you about that. Do you think it's odd?”
“No, I don't,” Lily said. “Everyone grieves differently, Remus. Remember how Peter hardly spoke to you after his dad died?”
Remus nodded. “She hasn't told me when the funeral is. Should I ask if she wants me there?”
“I think if she wants you there she'll ask you. You haven't met her parents yet, so it might be better if you don't. I don't think the best time for parents to meet their daughter's first boyfriend is at their son's funeral.”
Remus hadn't thought about it that way before. Lily was right. It'd be weird for him to go. “I suppose you're right.”
“She'll come to you when she's ready. Don't worry so much, Remus.”
“Your sister's wedding is soon, isn't it?” Remus asked, changing the subject.
“A week from Saturday,” Lily muttered. “James is going with me, thank God. I think I'd go insane if he weren't.”
“Is that a good idea? With Vernon?”
Lily sighed. “It's going to have to be. I don't think we'll stay long at the reception. Just until dinner's over.”
Lily didn't say anything else and Remus didn't probe. But as they continued, Lily began to sniffle and Remus noticed that she'd begun to cry. He suddenly felt very uncomfortable. It was bad enough when Addy cried.
“Er, Lily?” he asked cautiously.
“Sorry,” Lily said, wiping her eyes. “It's just hard, you know? And I can't really talk to James about it because he just goes off about what a complete tool Vernon is. And I know Vernon's a tool, but it's not really about Vernon, is it?”
Remus nodded in agreement, despite the fact that he really didn't know what Lily was talking about.
“Petunia and I were so close when we were little,” Lily continued. “We did everything together. She watched over me constantly, always worrying about me. I miss that. Then I came to Hogwarts and she got jealous and started to hate magic, just because she wasn't a witch. And I guess her getting married just means that things really never will be the same. She'll have a life with Vernon and I'll have a life as a witch. It's like there's no more hope for us to be close again.” Lily sniffled and burst into tears again.
Remus stopped walking and tentatively wrapped his arms around her. He was expecting it to be awkward, but it wasn't. She hugged him tightly and cried on his shoulder for a full two minutes. When she finally pulled away, she was smiling through her tears.
“Thanks, Remus,” she said and began walking down the corridor once more.
Remus stood stunned for a few seconds and then jogged to catch up with her. He was unsure of what he'd done, exactly. Whatever it was, it must have helped, because Lily was quite cheerful for the remainder of the patrol. But she didn't bring up Petunia again.
Remus received an owl from Addy Friday night, while he was attempting to study for Charms in the common room. The impending full moon was hindering his studies, though, and he'd dozed off on top of his book. He jerked awake as the owl attacked his left ear, sending his ink flying onto the floor.
James, Sirius, and Peter burst out laughing. Remus glared at them and cleaned up the ink with a flick of his wand.
“You could've just told me I had an owl,” Remus muttered. “How long did it sit there before it started attacking me?”
“Five minutes,” Sirius said. “We thought it would be funnier if we let it wake you up. We were right.”
Remus grabbed the envelope out of the owl's grasp and ripped it open. This one wasn't damp with tears, but the handwriting was shaky.
Sorry I haven't written you.
Things have been crazy here.
I think I'm numb, mostly, and
I can't cry anymore. The funeral
is Sunday at two at the Kennilworth
Chapel. You can come if you want,
but I don't know if we'll get to
spend any time together. My parents
are overwhelmed and they haven't met
you. It's okay if you don't come.
I'll be back at Hogwarts sometime
next week. I miss you.
Remus folded the letter and looked up to see Sirius, James, and Peter staring at him. He sighed. “She seems better. The funeral is Sunday-”
“You can't go,” Sirius interrupted. “That's-”
“I know, Sirius,” Remus snapped. “Of course I can't go. Lily said it would be weird, anyway, since I haven't met her parents yet.”
“She's not better, though,” Peter said quietly. “It hasn't even been a week.”
“I know,” Remus said. “But it's a start. That's really all anyone can hope for right now.”
“It's going to be our last one, isn't it?” Sirius mused.
“Last what?” James asked.
“Sunday,” Sirius said. “Our last one.”
“Oh, right,” James said. “That's weird.”
Remus had been thinking about it all day. His last full moon at Hogwarts. Their last full moon at Hogwarts. That was the right way to put it. After all, ever since fifth year, the full moons had belonged to all four of them, not just to Remus. Remus smiled, thinking about that. For the past two years, he hadn't had to do it alone.
Sunday arrived with cloudy skies and rain that developed by the afternoon. The weather was fitting, in Remus's opinion. As much as he hated his lycanthropy and having to transform into a wolf every full moon, full moons at Hogwarts were so much more than just transformations. They represented his friendships, his innocence, and his time at Hogwarts. He'd transformed in the Shrieking Shack once a month for the past seven years and now, all of a sudden, there was only one left. And it was today.
Remus spent the day in bed, not wishing to share his nostalgia with anyone. He was probably crazy to think of his last full moon at Hogwarts as bittersweet, anyway. His friends seemed to sense his desire to be alone and didn't return to the common room until after dinner, which Remus skipped.
“Usual plan tonight?” Sirius asked as Remus got up out of bed.
“The forest, I think,” Remus said. “Not Hogsmeade.”
“Forest works for me,” Sirius agreed. “You okay, Moony?”
Remus shrugged. “I guess. It's just the last full moon here. It's just hitting me that this really is going to end. Everything's going to change.”
“Nothing can stay the same,” James said quietly. “We're going to get everything worked out. You're not going to have to transform on your own again.”
Remus nodded, wishing he could be as sure as James. It was easy to say that now, but they'd get busy. All of them would. James and Sirius would be off on Auror missions soon enough and Peter would be busy with his new job. The interview he'd had the day of the raid had been successful.
Sirius rummaged in his cloak and pulled out a crumpled piece of parchment. “I was going to wait until tomorrow, but I think now is good. I bought that house.”
“You what?” Remus asked.
“The house. The one we all liked last weekend. I owled Gringotts and had them send the money over. I bought it in full. This is the deed.”
“Sirius, you're mad,” Remus said.
“I may be,” Sirius said. “But we live in mad times. Look at Wormtail's dad. Addy's brother. None of us knows what'll happen tomorrow. I like that house and didn't want anyone else buying it. We need a place we can all go after graduation. It's mine now and there's no turning back.”
“I get it, mate,” James said, clapping Sirius's shoulder. “We'll move in after graduation.”
Remus glanced at his watch. “I've got to go. I'll see you soon.”
“Until we're furry,” Sirius said, giving Remus a wave as he left the room.
Remus walked slowly through the castle and across the grounds. He ignored the dull throbbing in his joints and thought about the very first time he'd done this at Hogwarts, as an eleven-year-old.
He'd been terrified out of his mind, nearly in tears, as Madam Pomfrey walked him across the grounds to the Whomping Willow. It wasn't the transformation that scared him, since he'd done them since he was five. It was the thought of letting Dumbledore down. As a first year, he'd felt immense pressure to do well and make Dumbledore proud, since the headmaster had risked a lot to allow him admittance. Since then, Remus had learned that Dumbledore enjoyed breaking rules, especially ones the Ministry set into place.
But the question still lingered. Had he made Dumbledore proud? Remus was no longer the shy eleven-year-old he'd once been, but he still worried about that one question. The same question went through his mind on his last trip through the hidden tunnel to the Shrieking Shack as the first trip.
Remus climbed the stairs to the bedroom where he transformed and sat on the bed. He squeezed his eyes shut and tears leaked from them, not from the pain of the impending transformation, but from the knowledge that this was his last transformation at Hogwarts. It really was ending. He hated transformations, but his friends made them bearable, and the thought of transforming without them for the rest of his life terrified him.
The moon shined through the window and its light hit Remus hard. He let out a scream as the first pains of the transformation hit him. All thought left his mind as he gave himself over to the wolf. Minutes later Remus was gone, replaced by a sandy-colored wolf. The wolf turned its head to the ceiling and howled.
The wolf perked up his ears at the scratching sounds coming from the floor below him. His friends. With a slight wag of his tail, the wolf bounded off the bed and ran down the stairs, where he knew his friends were waiting.
Clouds partially obscured the full moon and a soft drizzle rained down upon the grounds of Hogwarts. A werewolf, a stag, a dog, and a rat ran toward the forest, the dog leading the way. The werewolf followed his friends, cocking his head every so often in slight confusion. His friends were giving off a vibe that he couldn't quite understand. It was a sadness of some sort, but the werewolf didn't understand. Pausing at the forest's edge, the werewolf let out a low, mournful howl. He didn't know why his friends were sad, but he took his cues from them, and if they were sad, he was, too.
When Remus awoke the following morning he was hit with the same bittersweet feeling he'd had prior to his transformation. It was over. He and his friends would no longer prowl the grounds during full moons in their animal forms. On this side of the last full moon of Hogwarts, there was far more sadness than happiness. It was far more bitter than sweet.
The hospital wing was empty, which Remus was grateful for. He wanted to be alone with his sorrows. But instead of thinking too hard about the last full moon of Hogwarts, he rolled over and fell back asleep.
“Moony, wake up!”
Remus startled and sat up too quickly, aggravating his sore joints. He blinked a few times and saw James, Sirius, and Peter staring at him.
“What time is it?” he asked.
“Noon,” James answered. “How are you?”
Remus shrugged. “Fine, I guess. It's just weird. It's my last time being stuck in the hospital wing.”
“Unless you have a run-in with a few Slytherins,” Sirius said, grinning.
“Don't even joke about that,” Remus muttered.
The hospital wing doors opened and Remus gave a quick glance to see who it was. Seven years of Hogwarts transformations had taught him that there were some people who he just didn't want to deal with while recovering. Severus Snape being the main one. But it wasn't Snape who entered. It was Dumbledore.
“What's Dumbledore doing here?” James whispered.
“I didn't even think he was in the castle,” Sirius added.
Dumbledore nodded to Madam Pomfrey and strode over to Remus's bed. He had that familiar twinkle in his eye and he was smiling. Remus couldn't remember the last time he'd seen Dumbledore smile.
“Ah, Remus, you're awake,” Dumbledore said. “I was hoping to catch you on my way to my study. How are you feeling?”
“Fine,” Remus said, curious as to why Dumbledore was visiting him. He hadn't visited Remus in the hospital wing since the previous year, after the incident with Snape and Sirius.
“I'm glad to hear it,” Dumbledore said. “You've come along way, Remus. I still remember your first transformation as a first year. You were terrified. Hard to believe you're graduating in a few short weeks.”
Remus nodded, unsure of what to say. Dumbledore was very hard to read.
“I'm very proud of how you've dealt with everything,” the headmaster continued. “I am not sure if you've given much thought as to where you will transform after graduating. I presume that will depend upon where you are living?”
“I've bought a house,” Sirius announced. “James, Remus, and I are going to live there.”
Dumbledore smiled. “Ahh. That is wonderful. Remus, I wish to offer you the Shrieking Shack for all your future transformations. Anytime you wish to use it, it is yours.”
Remus was slightly taken aback at Dumbledore's generous offer. It was one thing to have a werewolf who was a student transforming in the Shrieking Shack, but to have an adult doing it? That was quite risky.
“Are you sure?” Remus asked.
Dumbledore smiled again, looking slightly bemused. “If I wasn't, I would not have offered.”
“Thanks,” Remus said. “I really appreciate it.”
“Now, changing the subject slightly, I wish need to meet with all four of you, along with Miss Evans and Miss Bramley prior to your N.E.W.T.s. I have business outside the castle for the remainder of the month, but how about the evening on Saturday the third?”
Remus, James, Sirius, and Peter nodded.
“Excellent,” Dumbledore said. “I will see you then. Seven o'clock.”
Dumbledore turned and nodded once more to Madam Pomfrey before leaving.
“I don't think I'll ever understand him,” James said, shaking his head.
Addy stayed home for another week following her brother's funeral. She owled Remus once, to let him know that she'd be returning on Sunday, but that was it. Remus distracted himself by studying for his N.E.W.T.s, which were quickly approaching. He and his friends (even Sirius and James) spent every night in the library, only deviating for prefect patrols.
When Sunday arrived Remus couldn't concentrate. He sat in the library at a table with his friends, but he stared at the same page in his Herbology book for an hour, not retaining any of the information. He didn't have a clue as to when Addy would be returning or even whether she'd want to talk to him once she did return.
“Moony, you've been tapping your quill for ten minutes straight,” Sirius said. “It's driving me mad.”
“Sorry,” Remus said, setting down his quill.
“Remus, she's here,” Lily said, nodding toward the door.
Remus turned in his chair and saw Addy standing near the doorway. She looked unsure of whether she wanted to come in, but she smiled slightly when her eyes rested upon Remus.
“I'll see you later,” Remus said as he shoved all his homework into his bag and went to meet Addy by the door.
Addy didn't say anything when Remus reached her, but instead wrapped her arms around him and hugged him tightly for a full two minutes. After receiving a menacing glare from Madam Pince, Remus peeled her off and the two left the library.
“Want to go outside?” Remus asked.
Addy nodded. “That'd be nice.”
The weather was beautiful, yet very few students were enjoying it. This close to exam time the library was a far more popular place. Remus was grateful for the quiet and solitude of the grounds, though. He doubted Addy would appreciate a lot of other people being around.
“Er, how are you?” Remus asked, tentatively, once they began to walk around the lake.
“Don't worry, I'm not going to cry,” Addy replied. “But it's awful, Remus. It really is.”
“You can cry if you want to.”
“I don't want to. I've been crying for two weeks straight,” she said quietly.
“I'm sorry I didn't come to the funeral.”
Addy slipped her hand into Remus's. “It's okay. I told you you didn't have to. I'm just glad it's over.”
“Was the funeral bad?”
Addy sighed. “No, I suppose not. It was beautiful, really. But everyone made Patrick out to be this hero who was fighting against Voldemort and that's not the Patrick I knew. Even my parents talked about how proud they were of what he was doing. And it just pissed me off. Because you know what the worst part is? He didn't have to die! It wasn't like he was ill or in some sort of freak accident that he couldn't have avoided. He chose to join that organization. He chose to fight. If he hadn't, he'd still be alive.”
Remus said nothing. He was more inclined to believe that Patrick had died a hero, and that he had to do what he'd been doing at the time. But then again, Patrick wasn't his brother.
“I didn't want him to join!” Addy exclaimed. “I even told him, but he didn't listen. I don't know what to do. He's my big brother. I've never lived without him and I don't know how to start now.”
Remus stopped walking and looked at Addy. Her eyes were glistening with tears, despite her not wanting to cry anymore. The anguish was all over her face and she just looked so lost.
“You keep going,” Remus said quietly. “That's all anyone can do. And you keep working against Voldemort. He's the reason your brother died.”
Addy shook her head. “No. I refuse. I don't want to risk my life and I don't want anymore of my family members risking their lives either. And I don't care if that makes me selfish.”
“You're not selfish,” Remus assured her. “You just lost your brother.”
“I miss him so much,” Addy said, sniffling. “And I don't think that's ever going to change.”
“It won't, because you loved him.”
“I'm so glad you're not becoming an Auror,” Addy said quietly. “I don't know what I'd do if you died.”
Addy burst into tears and hugged Remus once more, holding him tight. Remus hugged her back, glad that he didn't have to say anything to make her feel better. All he had to do was be there. There was nothing he could say, anyway, because if he had the choice, he'd be out there risking his life, too.
“I love you, Remus Lupin,” Addy whispered.
“I love you, too, Addy,” Remus said, without hesitation. Because he did. He truly loved Addy.
A/N: It's nearing the end! Only three chapters left. Thanks so much for all the lovely reviews!
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