Ad Sanandum (to heal)
If JK Rowling can endorse time turners and screw with my decades long belief of cannon, well then I can make Remus live through the final battle.
This is Post War AU
Disclaimer: I don't own HP.
Thank you to everyone on tumblr that gave me positive reinforcement to encourage me to post here. Follow me on tumblr at mags0607.
Minutes after the last vestiges of the full moon waned, Hermione carefully brought down the elaborate wards surrounding the cellar at Number 12 Grimmauld Place. She suppressed a small smirk as she watched them fall in a spark of magic. It had taken 11 months, but now, for the first time she could be with Remus the second the moon met the horizon, and not have to spend hours pacing the rickety basement stairs worrying about the state in which Remus would finally emerge.
And what a state it usually was.
The months after the battle of Hogwarts had not been kind to Remus Lupin, and every time Hermione thought about what was lost in the war, she couldn't help but feel Remus' loss even more keenly than her own. She may have lost her parents to a permanent obliviation charm, but at least they were still alive.
There were days where she was sure that if it wasn't for Teddy, Remus would have joined Tonks willingly on the next great adventure. Some days the look in his eyes suggested that he still wanted to.
Hermione felt the smirk slide from her face as she recalled stumbling upon the Lupins in battle. Tonks was already gone from the killing curse, but she had been just in time to save Remus. She remembered the feel of his blood on her hands and her frantic chanting to mend the wounds and close the gaping hole in his chest. She remembered the desperate relief as she heard his thready heartbeat and felt his exhale against her wet cheek. She remembered weeping with relief as she put him in stasis, one more life spared; one more person they wouldn't have to mourn.
She had been the one to save his life, and she was going to try her damnedest to make it a life worth saving. If only the stubborn old wolf would let her. In the months since the battle, he fought her every step of e way.
The first three moons, Remus refused the wolfsbane. He barely talked -almost ceased to exist- and instead he'd gone into that forsaken cellar and let Moony howl at the tradegy and claw out all of his frustrations upon Remus' flesh. Moony felt the loss of Tonks even more keenly than his human counterpart, and the wolf inside him was not shy about inflicting wound upon wound as he trashed into the night. Remus had belatedly choked out that letting Moony wreak havoc on his body and soul was his penance for failing to protect yet another member of his pack. That it was his fault for letting them all die, especially Tonks.
Hermione could still clearly remember the way the smack she delivered echoed across his face.
On the approach to the fourth moon, she had used Teddy to try and reason with the distraught werewolf to take the potion. When that seemed to be failing, she had switched tactics and asked if he trusted her, or if he refused the potion because he believed she would fail. Guilt was a powerful motivator for Remus Lupin, and she triumphantly watched as he dutifully downed the wolfsbane with only a glare and a grimace.
The fifth moon ended in a screaming match. One day Remus found Hermione and Harry in the Black library pouring over animagus books. Even a full week away from the moon, his eyes flashed amber and he snarled that there was no way he was going to let ANYONE else sacrifice to be with him during the moon. A week later, Hermione was still bitterly complaining about the rejection and the werewolf was snarling even as he erected wards that tingled with so much malice and energy that it prevented her from even descending the stairs.
The sixth moon, she made a small amount of headway. She was sitting sentry at the top of the stairs as he emerged hours after sunrise from his warded prison, still looking much worse for wear than he should have. He was bruised and beaten but not broken, and for the first time since the battle, it looked like Moony had not been the victor in the clash of wills. She wordlessly handed him a vial of pain relief potion as he collapsed on the stairs beside her. He'd started talking, in halted breaths, telling her about how hard it was to move on; how much it pained him to leave Tonks in the past, how much it hurt to be the one to survive again. Hermione sat in silence, one hand covering his and vowed, not for the first time, that she would do anything in her power to continue to help heal this man of both his physical and emotional pain.
The seventh through tenth moons saw a bit of the old Remus return. He still erected the wards and silencing spells, but the difference was that she could wait right at the door. She was determined to count the gesture as progress. He'd even shot her a wan smile as she handed over the wolfsbane and gripped her hand for just a few seconds longer than normal. When she walked downstairs on the tenth moon, she found a cushioning charm and a blanket on the bottom-most step and smiled as she settled in and studied the arithmancy books, determined to break through his warding.
After the moon, she still waited endless hours for him to emerge. He was still limping, and she swore that sooner or later, she would be able to be there for him the moment the moon ceased its hold on him. On this eleventh moon, she supposed it was sooner.
Hermione pushed the creaky door open with her foot, carefully surveying the damage. Remus, in human form, sat propped against the stone wall in loose fitting pants and bare torso, staring straight ahead at seemingly nothing. She could feel his preoccupation as he didn't notice the light approach of her footsteps He jerked at her touch upon his shoulder and she knew that she might face his ire for barging her way in, but that it was a price she would willingly pay.
"I thought wards would be a sure indication that I didn't want to be disturbed," Remus said with a churlish attitude as he leveled his gaze upon her. She didn't hesitate as she started to smear bruise paste on his tortured shoulder.
Moony didn't do quite as much damage as normal, but the man left behind still flinched slightly at her touch. She tried to tell herself it was the pain, and not the feel of her fingers on his skin, but she was never sure with this private man.
Pushing away her insecurities, she tried to keep it light replying, "They weren't even that hard to dismantle Remus, it only took me four months."
The sound of his slight chuckle was a balm to her soul.
"Four months," he scoffed, "those were some of my best work, and Death Eaters couldn't even get through them."
She leveled a tentative grin at him as she finished applying the bruise paste and reached to hand him a shirt, surreptitiously ignoring the small flutter in her chest as she realized how fit Remus still was, scars and all.
"Brightest witch of my age and all that," she smirked, and ignored the flutter as he looked at her with warmth in his eyes.
"Here, I brought you some water and a pain potion, and…"
"Hermione," he cut her off sharply. "I don't need you to take care of me. I'm perfectly capable of patching myself back up, did it for years. I can do it again."
The bitterness in his voice was unmistakable, and it urged her into responding more sharply than intended.
"You are not perfectly capable Remus Lupin," her voice rising even as she thrust the pain potion in his face. "You sit and you stare and you barely speak, not even to your son most times. If breaking down your wards and plying you with potions, salves and human interaction can remind you even a little that life is worth living, and that you still have people to care about you and who will look after you, then I will do that as long as it takes." She plopped down gracelessly as he stared at her and then averted his gaze, picking at the imaginary lint on his jumper.
His voice was softer this time as he spoke; still looking at the ground and not at her face or the hand she splayed on his arm. "I don't need you to look out for me; surely you have better things to do."
"If I don't look out for you, who will?" She placed her fingers under his chin, forcing him to meet her eyes and she could see the pain and loss swirling in his amber depths.
"It's not your job." His voice was soft and regretful as he tried to pull away.
She tightened the grip on his face slightly, forcing him to maintain contact with her. "I'm making it my job, if not for you, then for my Godson. He needs you to be okay." She took a shuttered breath and then whispered out, "I need you to be okay."
She felt his exhale as he leaned in closer, amber eyes locking on her chocolate ones.
"Why, Hermione? Why does someone like you worry even one second for someone like me?"
"Because I care about you, you arse," she paused to take a breath, "and I will continue to care about you no matter how many times you push me away. You are my friend, Remus. You have been since I was a swotty fourteen year old who barged in your classroom and demanded to borrow books. I've see you at your worst, and I have seen you fight tooth and nail for what was right and for what you believe in. I've seen the best in you Remus as well," she said softly, "in the way that you love Teddy, how you support Harry." She was mere inches from him now, and it took everything she had not to lean forward and close the gap between his mouth and hers. But she knew it was not the time, and so she released his grip and lightened the mood.
"Besides, you are the only one around here that may be even as remotely smart as I am and you know how much I crave intellectual stimulation." She wrapped an arm around his waist refusing to lose contact and gently leanied against his side as she added more seriously, "I'm not going anywhere."
She felt his breath hitch, as any teasing dying in her throat as she watched him shift, "You can't promise that." He fell silent and she felt his voice break with emotion as he stopped.
"Oh Remus, I know I can't make promises like that, the war taught us all that much," she intoned solemnly. "But I know that I will try like hades to be there for both you and Teddy for as long as you will let me."
"Really Hermione, you don't need to take care of a grouchy, bitter, broken-down wolf."
She always hated when he spoke of himself as more of an animal than man, but she figured now was not the time to fight that particular battle. So instead she pushed away from him slightly, using his chest as leverage to propel herself into a standing position.
"Oh please," she scoffed with a smirk, "if I can spend months on end with Harry while he wore a piece of Voldemort's soul around his neck, I can handle you just fine."
She extended her hand out to him and tried to ignore the feeling in her chest as he took it and thrust himself forward. He was still a little shaky, and she wrapped her arms around his waist, ignoring just how well he fit against her.
"Now let's get you some hot chocolate and a nice warm bed. You don't want all my potions to go to waste now do you?"