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Shades by dragongurl
Chapter 2 : Remus
 
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 1


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Red.

The color of light when eyes are clenched shut.

Remus didn’t know where he was or what the wizards in green robes were doing. All he knew was that something was burrowing through his bones from the site of the monster’s bite.

And it hurt.

He had been sleeping quietly, dreaming of the birthday soon to come, when his slumber was broken by the sound of shattering glass. Shards had rained down upon his bed, followed by a heavy weight that landed on his legs.

He screamed, panic and disorientation clouding his mind as he struggled under the growling form.

The creature snarled, lunging toward his face and Remus managed to wiggle to the edge of the mattress, tumbling to the floor. His movement caused the creature, which looked frightfully like a large wolf, to fall also, becoming tangled in the sheets and blankets.

Remus continued screaming, scrabbling backwards to the corner, where he grabbed his toy broomstick.

With a loud rip, the wolf clawed its way out of the blankets and stalked toward him. More than the dripping fangs and sharp claws, it was the faint glimmer of intelligence in its eyes that scared Remus the most.

Trembling, he swung the broom, sending it flying toward the wolf. The creature dodged the toy easily and gave a growl that sounded eerily like a chuckle.

Tears poured down Remus’ cheeks as he pushed himself farther in the corner, screaming as the creature crouched and pounced.

White-hot, ripping, pulsing.

Pain that was nearly indescribable exploded from his leg and shot throughout the rest of his body. He felt the wolf drag him from the corner and clamp down harder on his leg.

Black edged his vision as the pain began to sabotage his consciousness, pulling him further from the scene.

Dimly, he was aware of his father bursting into the room and shooting multiple bright spells at the wolf, which caused it to release him and flee through the open window.

He felt his father gather him into his arms, weeping and shouting for his wife, before he fell into the darkness.

Now, he was writhing on a bed as witches and wizards pointed bright lights in his eyes and poked needles into his arms. Every part of his body hurt and the pain only increased every time he was touched.

Concern was etched into their faces and Remus caught snatches of words as they rushed him down a stark white corridor.

“...heart rate is through the roof! Need to...”

“...pupils dilated...”

“...anyone get a name? We should I.D...”

“...stop the pain and the screaming! The poor boy is...”

Suddenly, one voice rose clearly above the others.

“Stop all this speculating! We need to examine the leg wound and find whatever is causing his vitals to be so abnormal.”

With murmured assent, the wizards and witches ceased their proddings and probings and waited as the authoritative witch who had given the command unwrapped the hastily tied rag wrappings from his leg.

When the last of the cloth was removed, there were gasps of shock and horror. Instantly, the murmurs began anew.

“Could it be?”

“No wonder we didn’t get a name...”

“But the child’s so young...”

“Not really a child anymore, is he?”

Remus whimpered as the group seemed to shrink away from him and the pain throbbed. He just wanted his parents and his cat.

And to stop hurting.

The head witch appeared to steel herself as she looked around at her colleagues.

“You know what we must do.”

With nods and murmurs of agreement, the group set to work, some removing the monitors and other equipment while others began moving the bed with renewed haste.

By the time they reached their destination, Remus was writhing and screaming so much that he had been lashed to the bed. His bones felt as if they had been filled with molten metal and he was inexplicably angry with every person in sight.

He could hear a door opening and was taken into the room a moment later. It was small and bare, with a dirt floor and no windows. A single, flickering torch was the only adornment.

He howled with pain as two wizards removed his restraints and dumped him carelessly onto the floor.

There, Remus watched as the wizards quickly exited the room, leaving only himself and the head witch.

She looked revolted and cold as she watched him scream and scrabble at the floor, his bones feeling as if they were breaking apart.

“Please,” he managed, tears coursing down his face. “My mum and dad, I just want my mum and dad.”

The witch sniffed contemptuously as she stepped back through the doorway.

“If they still want you, they will come collect you in the morning. Good day.”

And with that, she slammed the heavy wooden door. 

In the feeble light, Remus could see that the door was covered in scratches and gouges, intermixed with large brown stains. Though he didn’t know what the marks were from, they gave him a bad feeling.

He was distracted by another surge of pain, feeling as if sharp needles were poking through every inch of skin as his body was stretched and changed.

Struggling against his body’s affliction, he pulled himself to the door and banged his small fists against it, not understanding what was happening to him and why he was left so alone.

“Please! Help me!” He sobbed. “Mummy! Dad! Somebody, please!”

He gave a hopeless wail and collapsed against the wood, giving in to whatever came next.

“Please...”

-~-~-~-

Red.

The color of curtains hanging around a bed, trimmed in gold.

Remus stared around the room, trying to wrap his mind around the reality that he was actually there. At Hogwarts. Sorted into Gryffindor of all places.

Ever since he had boarded the Hogwarts’ Express, he had fully expected a barrage of wizards to come and take him to Azkaban for having the audacity to think that he could become one of them. If he was honest, he was still waiting to be thrown out, sure that his condition was written across his forehead for all to see.

“Um, you ever gonna move, mate? I think we’d all like to get in, too.”

Remus started and jumped out of the way, having been unaware that he was blocking the doorway to the dorm.

“Sorry.” He mumbled to the other boy, Sirius, if he wasn’t mistaken, as the others entered the dormitory.

A quick scan of the room revealed his trunk waiting at the end of one of the beds. He shrugged his robes off, folding them neatly and placing them in his trunk, before pulling out a set of pajamas.

He began to unbutton his shirt, listening to the excited chatter of Sirius and James as they explored the room and adjoining bath. He had met both of them on the train ride in and sat with them during dinner. They seemed agreeable, but he had learned to treat possible friends with care, never knowing when they would turn on him. He was tempted to join in the conversation, but the full moon was in four days and he was already feeling the exhausting effects of his coming transformation. 

As he worked the third button through the hole, his fingers brushed the edge of one of the many scars on his torso. He froze, suddenly aware of the questions the marks were bound to produce. Carefully sliding the button back into its slot, he gathered his pajamas and walked to the bath.

Pausing at the door, he watched as Sirius and James argued over who could use the space first. 

Clearing his throat, he caught their attention and said, “While you two work it out, do you mind if I use it?”

The boys stared at him, seeming to contemplate his words.

“Fine,” James said, shrugging and walking towards the door. “And then I’ll come use it after you.”

“Oh no, you don’t!” Sirius protested, continuing the argument as the two pushed past Remus.

With a sigh of relief, Remus shut the door. He changed quickly, brushed his teeth, and left the room, his clothes bundled in his arms.

James, already dressed for bed, had apparently won the argument, flashing Remus a triumphant grin as he passed.

Remus shot a questioning look at Sirius, who was upside down and hanging off his bed. The young wizard grinned.

“I filled his pajamas with itching powder while he was gloating.”

Just then, James let out a yell, sending Sirius into gales of laughter. Remus hurried to his bed as the bathroom door flew open to reveal a madly itching James. The sight was apparently too much for Sirius, who fell off the bed in his laughing fit.

Shaking his head with a smile, Remus folded his clothes and placed them neatly in his trunk. He climbed onto his bed, preparing to draw the curtains to block out the noise of James and Sirius’ scuffle, when he was hit with a thought.

“Wait a second,” he said, sliding off his bed and addressing the other two. “There are four beds in here. Isn’t there supposed to be another boy in with us?”

James, who had vanished the itching powder, and Sirius also looked around the room in surprise, getting up from the floor and joining Remus in the center of the room.

“Do you think we should go ask someone? Like, a prefect, maybe?”

Remus nodded his agreement with James and moved toward the door.

“Yeah, maybe they can-”

He was cut off as the door was pushed open by one of the Gryffindor’s prefects. A small, mousy boy hung sheepishly behind the disgruntled fifth year.

“Here you go, Peter,” the older boy said before turning towards the other occupants of the room.  “One of your dorm mates got a little turned around on the fifth floor. You’ll probably want to help him find his way about the castle if you can.”

After pushing the blushing boy into the room, he left, closing the door behind him.

Peter fidgeted awkwardly in front of the door until Remus took pity on him.

“Well, welcome to our room, I guess,” he said, with a kind smile. “I’m Remus and those loons are James and Sirius.”

“Hullo!” James crowed as Sirius waved maniacally at the newest member.

Peter smiled weakly.

“Hi.”

Remus paused a moment, waiting for Peter to do or say something else. Instead, the silence stretched into awkwardness again and he felt obligated to help the other boy out.

“It’s quite late and I think we were all heading to bed, so...”

“Oh,” Peter said. “Okay. Um, do you know which bed is mine? Do we just pick one or...?”

Remus raised an eyebrow and glanced at the beds.

“I’m pretty sure that it’s the one with your trunk at the end.”

He noticed that Sirius was smirking and James was suppressing laughter at the question. Peter seemed to be oblivious of the obvious answer and nodded a relieved thanks at Remus as he walked to his bed.

The other two sniggered quietly together as they brushed their teeth and climbed in bed.

Remus sat quietly, watching as Peter hastily finished his nighttime preparations and got in bed. Realizing that no one had turned the light off, he reached for his wand and pointed it at the light fixture on the ceiling.

Before extinguishing it, he looked around the room again. It now looked decidedly lived-in, with dirty clothes already piled on the floor and various items thrown haphazardly from trunks. James and Sirius had begun competing to see who could make the loudest snores and their exaggerated noises filled the room. Remus was sure that the two of them would make their Hogwarts’ years a fantastic adventure.

The notion that he was going to spend the next seven years in this room with these boys was something that he had never even thought possible.

Yet, here he was.

Grinning in excitement, he focused on the light.

“Nox.”

-~-~-~-

Red.

A line of blood seeping through a bandage that was peeking out of James’ shirt.

Remus stared at the bright color, guilt and dread forming a knot in his chest. He was sure that he had not been meant to see it. In fact, he was sure he wouldn’t have seen it at all if Lily Evans hadn’t walked into Transfiguration after them, prompting James to unbutton the top buttons of his shirt while running a hand through his hair.

Anger and frustration at his friends and himself plagued him through the rest of class. He was sure that McGonagall would’ve reprimanded for his lack of attention on any other day, but she seemed to think his transformation the previous night was to blame, giving him sympathetic looks every so often.

He waited impatiently for the period to end, grateful that they had lunch next, as it would give him time to confront the others. 

Once McGonagall dismissed the class, he shoved his books, quill, and parchment into his bag before turning to James.

“We need to talk.” He said, before turning to Sirius and Peter, seated behind them. “You guys, too.”

The three of them exchanged confused glances but followed Remus into an empty classroom down the hall.

He waited until the rush of students had ended before speaking.

“What happened last night?”

The other three immediately tensed. Sirius recovered almost instantly, relaxing his posture and donning a blank expression as he leaned against a desk. James grew fidgety and attempted to act nonchalant while Peter froze, nervousness written all over his face.

“Nothing happened,” Sirius drawled. “Well, unless you count almost getting caught by Filch on the way in. I thought we were gonna end up-”

With a huff of annoyance, Remus cut him off.

“You’re bleeding, Prongs.”

James’ eyebrows lifted as he stared at Remus.

“What?”

“Your shoulder. It’s bleeding through the bandage.”

James pulled aside his shirt as he looked, cursing at the sight of the blood. He looked back at Remus.

“It’s not a big deal.”

Remus rolled his eyes and walked to James.

“Show me.”

James shook his head and pulled his robes further over his shoulders, but Remus wasn’t having it.

“I have a right to know what I did. Now show me.”

James shot a look at Sirius, who shrugged helplessly. Sighing, he pulled his robes off and unbuttoned his shirt, shrugging out of it before carefully removing the bandage.

“Merlin’s beard.” Remus breathed, collapsing onto the desk behind him. He felt the blood drain from his face as he stared at the wound.

It was long and deep, stretching up from James’ chest and disappearing over his shoulder. Blood began seeping from it, stark against his skin.

Remus gaped at it before weakly asking again, “What happened?”

“We got too close to Hogsmeade.”

Remus looked at Sirius in horror.

“I didn’t-!”

“No one was hurt! We think the human scent was too strong and you got a little...upset. I was able to distract you before it got too out of hand, but you didn’t like it when Prongs kept you from going down to the village.”

Remus buried his head in his hands as all the possible scenarios played through his mind.

“It’s really not as bad as it looks,” James insisted. “We just didn’t want any questions from Pomfrey, so we tried to handle it ourselves. Obviously, Padfoot isn’t the best of nurses.”

“If I was supposed to be a nurse, I wouldn’t have been born with such raging good looks and skills. Face it, I’m way too attractive to be a nurse.”

“Would you focus?!” Remus snarled at them. “I could’ve attacked somebody last night and I practically mauled you, James! I’ve let this go too far. We can’t do this anymore. I’ll just transform in the Shack, like I’m supposed to, and-”

“Hey!”

“No way!”

“Come on, Moony!” Peter protested with the others. “We should have a say in this, too.”

“No. I’m the one who’s responsible for what happens and I can’t run the risk of hurting someone. We’re done.”

James threw his hands up in exasperation as he paced in front of Remus.

“It won’t happen again! We’ll keep to the Forbidden Forest, stay away from Hogsmeade-”

“It’s not about Hogsmeade!”

“Then what’s the issue?”

“I could’ve turned you into a monster!” Remus cried, his voice cracking, and he covered his face with his hands.

James’ steps faltered as he turned toward his friend with the others.

“I could’ve bitten you or-or killed you. And if I did, I couldn’t...”

James strode to Remus and placed a hand on his shoulder.

“Listen to me,” he said, waiting until Remus raised his head. “You are not a monster. You can’t control what happens during the full moon because it’s not you. If you think we are gonna let you tear yourself up while we sit and twiddle our thumbs, then you’re crazy.”

Sirius nodded, looking solemnly at Remus.

“We all knew what we signed up for, and I think I speak for all of us when I say that we would do it a million times over.”

“After all,” Peter spoke up. “We’re Marauders. Danger’s what we do.”

“Yeah,” James agreed with a slight grin. “And where would we be without you to keep us in line?”

Remus gave in with a small smile.

“Other than dead, you mean?”

Sirius smirked and pushed his hair away from his face. He jerked a thumb towards the door.

“So, now that this is all sorted, can we get some lunch?”

Remus shook his head as he stood and grabbed his wand.

“Hold up, Prongs,” he said as James turned toward the door. “Let me fix that first. Don’t want Lily to see you bleeding through your shirt. Though it might help...”

James grinned widely at the mention of Lily as he submitted himself to Remus’ healing spell.

“I don’t know, maybe she’s the battle scar type. Or...” His face lit up with his characteristic ‘Lily Idea’ face. “Maybe I’ll ask her to heal me! Don’t most women have some kind of bonding motherly instinct?”

The room filled with a chorus of groans and laughter.

“Motherly instinct? What is it you want to be, her boyfriend or her kid?”

The boys continued ribbing James as they walked to the Great Hall.

Even after six years, some things would never change.

Or so Remus hoped.

-~-~-~-

Red.

The color of a rose, beautiful, yet so inadequate to express the gaping wound in his life.

Remus stood at the edge of the double grave, staring at the twin mounds of dirt and wondering how his life could’ve fallen apart so completely in one night.

He had been on an Order mission, attempting to recruit werewolves, when he had received the news. By that time, James and Lily had been dead for four days and buried for two; Sirius rotting in Azkaban for the murders of Peter and a dozen Muggles. Remus had missed the Potter’s funeral, left to say goodbye without any others to give comfort.

For the first time in his short life, he was left truly and completely alone.

He’d thought he knew what grief was, after his mother died only a year out of Hogwarts and he had said a last goodbye to his father, determined to spare him any more inconvenience and harm. But he’d had his second family to help him through the grief. He’d had his best friends to pull him from his pit of despair and remind him that there was still reason to keep pushing through the bleak existence known as life.

Now, he could only stare at the tombstone, wondering when everything went wrong and why he couldn’t have seen it in time to fix it.

A strong breeze gusted past him and he shivered in the cold November air. The graveyard was awash in dreary colors of grey, white, and black, which seemed fitting, as it matched the state of his soul.

“I’m sorry.”

The sound of his voice surprised him, partially because he hadn’t spoken to anyone in four days and also because he hadn’t realized he was going to speak. But, as he already had begun, he felt as if it was the right thing. The needed thing.

“I didn’t know about...all of this until it was too late. They wouldn’t let me take Harry, said he was better off at the Dursley’s, though how that would be good for anyone is beyond me.”

He winced as he realized he was speaking badly of Lily’s family, but reasoned that she probably would’ve agreed with him. James would’ve anyway.

“I just-I don’t know what to do anymore. Before school, I had this vision of what life was going to be-lonely, empty. Just doing what I had to do and moving on. But then I met you guys, and you didn’t push me away. Even when you learned about my lycanthropy. You showed me that life didn’t have to be cruel, that people didn’t have to be cruel. And I could deal with those who were because I knew that the ones that mattered didn’t care.

“But now you’re all gone. Gone and...and I don’t know what to do.”

He realized that he was crying and he couldn’t stop rambling, but he didn’t care.

“We were supposed to last forever. To go down in history as the Marauders. Me and you and Peter and Sirius... Merlin, Sirius!”

He angrily kicked at a rock near his foot. Everything he had ever felt about the world and life was pouring out of him and he couldn’t find the will to stop it.

“I knew something was up. He wasn’t acting himself, always avoiding me and never returning my owls. I thought he was just in a funk over you having to go into hiding, but I couldn’t imagine...”

He fell to his knees, clutching handfuls of dirt in his fists.

“I failed you. I failed you and Harry and Pete and all those people he killed. But I won’t do it again. I swear it. I know I can’t do much now, but I promise that I’ll look out for your son in every way I can. And I’ll tell him about you, about the parents he deserved to have but didn’t get. And I’ll make sure he gets every chance, the way you did for me.”

Pushing himself off the ground, he wiped his face and took a deep breath.

“Goodbye James. Goodbye Lily. I love you. You were the best thing to ever happen to me. Thank you for believing in me when even I couldn’t.”

Bending down, he placed the rose in front of the stone. There it rested, stark against the bleak grey of winter.

Alone alone alone.

Just like him.

-~-~-~-

Red.

The hair of the boy who, along with a bushy-haired girl, had been by Harry’s side since the train ride. Hard as he tried, he had found himself unable to stop watching the trio, thinking back to his own days as a student with the other Marauders.

When Remus had first met them on the train during the Dementor attack, he had instantly known his best friend’s son. The resemblance between Harry and James was so strong that it had taken his breath away. After making sure that Harry was recovering from the attack, he had gone to talk to the conductor, needing a moment to regain his composure.

He had known that he’d run into Harry, after all he was going to be his teacher, and he’d heard rumor of the uncanny resemblance, but nothing had prepared him for Lily’s bright green eyes to stare at him beneath James’ unruly hair.

He had been slightly concerned when the boy had been late to the feast, but McGonagall had quieted his fears when she came in behind Harry and the girl, Hermione, and stopped at his seat.

“Don’t worry, Lupin,” she had said. “I just sent him to Pomfrey to be certain he had no aftereffects, but your chocolate seems to have done the trick. Good thinking on that.”

He had smiled gratefully at her, glad to be back with his old professor, who had always treated him kindly.

“Thank you, professor.”

“Minerva. And it’s good to see you back.”

“It’s good to be back,” He had replied. 

And he meant it. Despite the judgmental looks and remarks he had already received from some of the staff and students, he was relieved to be back at Hogwarts, the only place he had ever been truly sheltered from prejudice and discrimination.

When he had received the letter from Dumbledore, asking if he would fill the position of Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, he had been shocked. Sure, he could, and had, fought Death Eaters and other Dark Wizards, but so had many others.

Others who didn’t turn into monsters once a month.

But then he had begun thinking about the ramifications of the position. He would be back at Hogwarts, a place that held the best memories of his life, and he would get to be around Harry. He had kept his promise to Lily and James, visiting the Dursley house a couple times a year to check on Harry, but had never before had the chance to actually interact with the boy.

After a few hours of arguing with himself, he had sent his acceptance with the waiting owl and begun to ready himself for the new position.

Now, as he sat at the staff table, enjoying better food than he’d had in months and ignoring the death glares from Snape (some things never changed), he was certain he’d made the right choice.

-~-~-~-

Red.

The color of the small inked letters that formed an impossible name.

Remus had been watching the Marauder’s Map all evening, waiting for Harry, Ron, and Hermione to sneak off to Hagrid’s as he knew they would.

Once he saw the dots moving back to the castle, he had lifted his wand to close the map, satisfied that they had stayed, remarkably, out of trouble.

‘Mischief managed’ was on the tip of his tongue when he noticed the fourth name in the group and his wand clattered to the floor.

It was impossible.

Wholly, completely, irrevocably impossible.

Horror was added to his confusion when he saw the name ‘Sirius Black’ on the dot racing swiftly towards the group.

Snatching his wand from the floor, he sprinted out of his room, determined to discover the truth.

If Peter was still alive, and he had to be because the map never lied, then why hadn’t he shown himself sooner?

And why in Merlin’s name was he at Hogwarts?

And how did Sirius know he was here?

Whatever the answers were, Fate seemed to have seen fit to reunite the remaining Marauders at last and Remus needed to know why.

Even if it meant confronting the best friend he had spent the last twelve years hating.

-~-~-~-

Red.

The crackling flames in the fireplace of 12 Grimmauld Place, which was now bereft of its unwilling owner.

Remus sat staring at the flames, wanting simply to stop thinking and feeling because those things hurt too much.

He had always prided himself on being level-headed and rational, especially when compared to James and Sirius while in school, but sometimes his heart was just stronger than his head.

Rationally, he knew that he should be grateful and content with the two years he had had with his best friend when they shouldn’t have had any, but those years did nothing to make up for the twelve years lost before Sirius returned or the countless years lost to his death.

“It doesn’t seem fair, does it?”

Remus head jerked up as he realized that he was no longer alone. Turning his head, he saw Tonks give him a sad smile as she sat beside him.

Instantly, he grew tense, discomfort and apprehension bubbling from his gut. It had been weeks since he had been alone with her and he feared that his current emotional instability would lead to words and actions that he would regret. Their last meeting had been one of the most exhilarating and depressing days of his life. He had inadvertently revealed his feelings to Tonks on an overnight Order mission as they lay surveying a Death Eater’s home. He had expected her to run away in horror, but she didn’t.

Instead, she told him that she had fallen for him.

And it was the most wonderful and frightening moment of his adult life.

He had feigned misunderstanding, pushed through the rest of the mission, and then spent the last weeks avoiding her in every way possible. He had been confident that he could deal with it in his usual method - running as far away as possible - as soon as the war was over.

And then Sirius died.

It was, as Tonks had said, hopelessly unfair and destroyed the hopes he had been harboring for a normal life. But then again, he was a werewolf. 

What did he know about normal?

“Remus? Are-are you alright?”

He jumped at Tonks question, so lost in thought that he’d nearly forgotten she was there.

Nearly.

“Yes,” he responded, avoiding her stare. “I was actually just about to leave. Arthur and some others are going to the pub and I thought I would join them. So...” In any other circumstances, he would invite her along, but even good manners couldn’t push the words out of his mouth.

Feeling her gaze on him, he stood and turned toward the door.

“So you’re still running away.”

He froze, the mix of resentment and pain in her question causing a shiver of regret down his spine.

Sighing, he closed his eyes and rubbed his face wearily.

“Look, Tonks, it’s nothing against you. Just - not tonight.”

She was silent for a moment before answering.

“When then?” she bit out. He turned back to her as she growled, her face creased in frustration. “I didn’t mean- Can we forget about our...stuff, and just be two friends who need some comfort tonight?”

He looked up at her, surprised to find tears rolling down her face. Tonks was tough, she had to be as an Auror, and didn’t cry easily or often. This show of emotion revealed how upset she was and it hit him like a hammer.

Groaning in frustration, he sat beside her and pulled her into his arms, letting her snuggle into his chest. His heart thumped hard and fast as he struggled between his desperate desire for her and his need to be as far from her as possible.

Despite his apprehensions, he felt himself relaxing into her warmth as the time passed, the weariness and grief of the past few days lessening the longer they sat.

“Can you honestly tell me this doesn’t feel right?”

Remus closed his eyes at the question, but didn’t move.

“No,” he replied honestly. “But relationships rely on more than feelings, Dora.”

Tonks pulled away from him and he opened his eyes to find hers narrowed at him in defiance.

“Is there something I did wrong?”

“What? No!” he protested, astounded. What could ever give her that idea? “You’re wonderful. You’re beautiful, smart, talented... It’s not you.”

“Okay, so then, what is it? And don’t say you’re not interested because I know that’s not the case. So tell me why.”

His eyebrows lifted and he blushed. Had he really been that obvious?

“Why? I would think it’s apparent.”

Apparently not,” she scoffed. “Or we wouldn’t be having this discussion.”

“I’m far too old for you,” he said, sternly, feeling as if this was fairly evident. “Thirteen years is a long time and much too far a gap to breach...”

“I think I should have a say in that.”

“And you’re Sirius’ cousin, for Merlin’s sake!”

Both faltered at Sirius’ name, but Tonks pressed on.

“Age makes no difference to me and it shouldn’t to you, either. As for being Sirius’ cousin, well, he’s not here to care anymore and, even if he was, I don’t think he would. Am I right?”

Remus scowled at her question because he knew it had been a weak point and that Sirius hadn’t cared. In fact, he had been the first one to encourage a relationship between the two of them, even ribbing his friend like they had at school. When Remus, horrified, had asked if Sirius thought his cousin was too young for him, the wizard had shrugged.

“After losing everything for twelve years,” he had said. “I’ve learned to take everything life gives me. You’re both adults and you both deserve someone to be with. If you want it, then take it, Moony. Life doesn’t often give us the luxury of choosing later.”

Shaking the memory off, he continued his argument.

“I barely have the money to take care of myself, let alone a family. You need to be taken care of and I can’t do that!”

“Money is also unimportant,” she said earnestly, placing a hand on his arm. “Anyway, I’ve got a job that would take care of us if needed. We could do this, Remus, really. I-”

He jumped up, pulling away from her and pacing before the fire.

“No, Tonks. No, we couldn’t.”

“Why won’t you listen to reason?” she cried, eyes shining wetly in the firelight. “Why won’t you just accept the possibility of some happiness in your life instead of pushing everyone away? I know you fear losing your loved ones again, but if you’d just give it a chance, it might-”

“No, it can’t ever work.”

“Can’t or won’t?”

“Can’t!” he cried, his voice strained as he turned to her. “I’m a monster, Tonks! You know that as well as everyone else in the Order does. I’m too dangerous to... And I’m poison. Everyone I love dies, just as you just said. My parents, my friends... Even after getting Sirius back, he died too. No one deserves that. No one deserves, or wants...”

“You?” Tonks stepped closer to him, her eyes not straying from his. “I know you have the hardest time accepting this, Remus, but that’s not actually your choice. You’re not a monster and you’re surrounded by people who care for you - Harry, the Weasleys, me - but you can’t hold them at bay forever.”

She stopped a breath away from him, reaching up to cup his face.

“As for being poison, which is rubbish by the way, that is a risk I am very willing to take.”

And then she was kissing him, sweetly and hesitantly, but kissing all the same. His rigid posture softened, giving into it for a moment before he realized what he was doing.

Pulling away abruptly, he pushed her back, already hating himself for the hurt written on her face.

“I’m sorry. I can’t... I’m sorry.”

He avoided her eyes and strode quickly from the room, trying to convince himself that he was doing the right thing and wishing his heart would stop beating so bloody fast.

-~-~-~-

Red.

The angry, squalling face of his newborn son.

Remus cradled the infant carefully, sure that the wrong amount of pressure would harm the child in some way. It had been three days since the birth, but he still wasn’t completely comfortable holding his son. Especially now, when nothing seemed to calm the infant.

Desperate to end the wails and let his wife sleep a bit, Remus began talking to Teddy, wildly hoping that it would work.

And, to his great surprise, it did.

Relieved, Remus kept up the hushed monologue, saying anything that came to mind.

As Teddy quieted, settling into his arms with little whimpers, Remus spoke of his life and the expectations and realities of it. He told his son of the Marauders and the best seven years of his life. He spoke of missions, his marriage to Tonks, the war; words pouring from his mouth as he watched his son relax.

Eventually, he was left without words, watching as Teddy slept, making soft noises in his sleep. He had moved to the window and watched as the child’s green hair seemed to glow in the moonlight.

He ran a gentle hand over it and chuckled as it lightened to turquoise with his touch. Even after knowing Tonks and her abilities, the baby’s transformations still astounded him and filled him with apprehension.

Because if Teddy could inherit such strong genetic traits from his mother, he could do the same from his father.

The fear of having doomed his child to a life of pain and discrimination still lurked beneath his exhilaration at becoming a father. 

The day of Teddy’s birth, when the Healer had handed him his son for the first time, Tonks had smiled up at him tiredly.

“See, Remus,” she had said. “No claws, no fangs, no hair covered body...”

“Dora...”

“He’s perfect, my love. Perfect, whole, and wholly human. You have nothing to fear, Remus.”

He had looked down at the sleeping infant and then at his wife, tears filling his eyes as she laid a hand on his arm.

“He’s not a mistake,” she had whispered softly, and no other words had ever affected him so much.

Now, as he gently stroked Teddy’s cheek, he knew that he would do and give anything to make sure that that was true. That his son’s life and existence would never be a mistake and that he would never know the pain of rejection based on who or what he was.

He would make the world a better place for Edward Remus Lupin.

No matter the cost.

-~-~-~-

Red.

A flash of light that shot past his face and slammed into the wall behind him. Jerking back, he ducked another spell and sent an answering shot at the Death Eater. A Killing curse came flying from another direction, striking the Death Eater just after his own.

Turning from the prone figure, he continued to fight his way through the Great Hall, casting spells in aid of his allies as he moved.

He dueled four Dark wizards in as many minutes, successfully defeating his opponents with only a few injuries.

He had just saved Arthur Weasley from an Avada cast by Rodolphus Lestrange, dispatching the Death Eater with a Stunner, when he heard a voice that coated his insides in ice.

Whirling around, he saw his wife, only feet away, working with Neville Longbottom to defeat a masked and hooded Death Eater.

Her face was fixed in fierce determination as she worked, blocking and sending spells with incredible skill. Even as he watched, she killed the wizard, blocking Neville from his last spell with the same breath.

Ducking another dueling pair, he made his way to her, pressing his back against hers as the scanned the Hall for more opponents.

“What are you doing here?” he demanded exasperatedly. “I thought we agreed that you would stay with your mother and Teddy!”

She shot a spell across the room, reaching back with her other hand to grasp his, before answering.

“I couldn’t stay! Teddy will be fine and I couldn’t just sit there when I could be protecting you!”

He gripped her hand tightly, wondering for the millionth time how he could be so lucky, while worry squeezed his throat painfully.

“Well, my love,” he said. “I can’t say that I am happy you’re here, but there’s no one I would rather fight beside.”

She met his eyes briefly, giving him a quick smile before resuming her vigilant stare.

“Me either.”

Giving her hand another squeeze, he released it and pointed his wand at Antonin Dolohov, who was approaching him with a malicious smile.

He felt his wife’s warmth leave his back as moved forward to meet the Death Eater.

The duel was intense, but quick, and Remus could feel his lack of practice begin to take its toll.

He ducked a spell but couldn’t avoid the next one. It struck him in the stomach, lifting him and slamming him into the wall behind him. Fireworks burst across his vision, Dora’s name on his tongue, as his world exploded in...

Red.


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