Ad Sanandum Part 2
POST WAR AU where Remus survives.
Disclaimer: Unfortunately, Harry Potter does not belong to me.
Many thanks to those that reviewed the first pat of it and encouraged me enough to add a second part. You are all amazing. Also many thanks to Shayalonnie for being nice enough to give me encouragement on this one.
This is unbetaed so all the mistakes are mine.
Remus suppressed a small chuckle as he tiredly leaned on Hermione as they ascended the stairway into the main part of the house. For all of his grumping and grumbling, he was truly grateful for the woman fastened to his side.
He knew he'd become a bit of a pet project for the brilliant witch, and as much as he normally hated pity; he knew that Hermione didn't see it in that light, even if she should. She always was one to champion for the underdog and lost causes.
Ironically, her attention almost made him feel like neither.
As they entered the kitchen proper, he slung himself into a seat and watched her for a moment, taking in once again the capacity of the witch to care for those around her with all that she was. She always saw right down to the soul of a person, and he couldn't help but wonder what she good she glimpsed in the tattered remains of his.
The days and months after the war had taken their toll on all of the survivors in its own way. The Weasley clan banded together in the wake of Fred's loss and even though Hermione and Harry were "almost" like family, they were unintentionally left at loose ends. The pair moved into Grimmauld together, and started to try and move on. It was a week after the war - when Remus was released from Poppy Pomfrey's tender mercies - that Harry had bodily dragged him to Grimmauld Place and declared it home to all of them. Remus was holding himself together until he saw his son firmly encased in Hermione's arms; it was then that he had broken down and completely lost it.
The only thing that registered for days, maybe weeks, was that he was always the one left behind.
He had only just put himself to rights after the loss of Sirius, and there he was mourning Tonks as well. He didn't think that there was anything left to mend back together, until he woke one day to the feel of his son's warm breath against his cheek. Hermione and Harry were curled on the bed beside him, and it occurred to him that at least this time he wasn't the only one that remained. In the days following, he would wake to Harry sleeping in a chair beside the bed Teddy resting on his chest, or Hermione curled in a chair with a book open upon her lap, and it would be the only things that kept him breathing some days.
He was startled out of his reminiscing of the last eleven months by the sound of the mug of hot chocolate scraping upon the wood of the table. He looked up into the cinnamon eyes of Hermione, and wondered just when she had become the glue that slowly mended most of his broken pieces back together.
Over the last year, she had taken on the role of Godmother, healer and therapist; and never asked for anything in return. He had taken that for granted, and it was time to rectify that.
Hermione's eyes met his as she said, "I thought you could use some hot chocolate."
He grabbed her hand once again willing her to understand, "I mean for more than the hot chocolate and you know it. I don't think I've properly thanked you for all that you have done for Teddy and me."
"You don't need to, Remus. I.."
"I know, but I should." His grip tightened on hers as he cut her off. On mad impulse, he ran one finger over her wrist, just wanting to feel something alive, something real. It had been far too long since he willingly let in any emotion other than loathing and grief. It felt good to feel things that weren't laced with pain, even though he was scared to even try and open himself up to anything more than simply existing.
Her hand shifted in his grasp as she sat down beside him, and he was surprised when she just tightened her hold instead of letting him go. He could sense the hesitation in her body language and he cursed the wolf inside of him for making this woman feel like she was the burden when he knew that most sane people would have cut their losses long ago.
He had missed too many opportunities to let people know what they meant to him, and for once in his life he refused to let the mistakes of the past dictate the future. A voice inside his head that sounded so much like Tonks reminded him that even old wolves could learn new tricks. He missed her fiercely even nearly a year later; but he knew that his wife would want him to move on even if he had to let her go to do so. He wasn't sure he was ready to let go yet, but looking at Hermione and seeing her earnest expression made something inside him hope that one day soon he would be able to try.
"I need to thank you for so much. You have singlehandedly kept all three of the Wizards under you care from going utterly spare, and I especially need to make sure you know that it's appreciated. Even though I've been a right bastard for months on end, I am grateful for you sticking by me and taking care of both me and Teddy. I should be relieved that you are too stubborn to ever abandon one of your causes."
"My fighting for werewolves rights Is a cause, Remus. My fighting for you has nothing to do with the wolf inside you and everything to do with the man that you are."
Her words rocked him, and he paused to take a sip of the drink before he could continue. Everyone saw him as Moony first and Remus second, except the woman next to him. She always saw him as Remus and made sure that he knew it.
"Thank you," he replied after a pause and slung and arm around her again and gently squeezed her shoulder, pulling her just a bit closer in what he hoped she saw as a friendly gesture.
"So do I finally get to say goodbye to that bitter wolf who tries to shove me away, or should I expect him to reappear at any moment?" Her tone was again teasing and he hoped that whatever this was between them, that she felt it too.
"Oh, I'm sure he will reappear, but I'm trying to keep him at bay," he teased as she rolled her eyes at the pun. The he added more seriously, "I really am trying Hermione, for Teddy and for everyone else that is barmy enough to stick around." For you- was left unsaid.
"You better, Remus." He heard as she leaned further into him. Then he could hear the tease in her voice as she added, "I have been rumored to know a couple of very well researched hexes and I'm not afraid to use them."
"After being the recipient of one of your famous slaps, I'm even more hesitant to end up on the wrong side of your wand." He spoke the truth, her hand across his face had stung and she packed quite a wallop for someone so tiny.
"Remus, I never apologized for that."
"And you don't have to. I needed it, and it's a good reminder since I would not like to have a repeat." Their eyes locked again, cinnamon on amber and he once again had to remind himself that he needed to take this slow- that he needed to figure out himself still before he got lost in her- because his traitorous mind told him that he could drown in her quickly if he would open himself up.
She nudged him in response and then stood up, placing the cup in the sink as he heard her say, " Harry is out with Teddy visiting Andromeada for another couple hours, so why don't you get some rest while you can."
"I thought I would just go into the Library for a while, there are some new books we received that I still haven't catalogued yet," his tone was hopeful as he thought that the lure of books might halt her in the mission she had to get him to rest.
"As much as it pains me to say, you need rest far more than you need to research more spells. Bed now, books later." He laughed as she gasped at what she just said and then she continued, "I know, I know, it's blasphemy but you still need your rest."
He grumbled behind her as she ascended the steps up to the second floor and their suites of rooms, muttering about bossy witches and arithmancy books. He was still grumbling as they reached his room and she pointed resolutely to the bed.
"Come on old man, don't tell me I have to sing you a lullaby like I do to Teddy so you will settle down and take a nap."
"Oh, I would much prefer you recite passages of arithmancy to me than sing me a song." He teased as he grudgingly made his way to the bed.
He thought it was unconscious on her part that she started following him to the bed, pulling down his sheets and fluffing his pillows. "Oh, you just know a way to a girls heart. Now quit stalling and off to bed with you." Her bossy tone was evident as she patted the mattress.
"Will you stay, just for a few minutes?" His tone was soft as he sat down, and he cursed himself for sounding so vulnerable. Sleep was still something he struggled with, all of them did really, so it wasn't out of the ordinary for them to creep into each other's rooms or fall asleep with the others curled in chairs or far corners of beds.
Still, the fact that he wanted her to stay so badly brought all these doubts to the surface.
It was the tender way she looked at him, that nearly made his heart leap to his throat and chase away any lingering hesitation. He was caught off guard as she responded, "I'll stay with you for even longer than that."
He settled on top of his covers and she climbed in beside him, barely grazing her arm with his as they shifted around, hyper-aware at the space between them, both for it being far too much and not enough all at the same time.
After all the loss, Remus was still getting used to the touch of other people, and warring with the wolf to let himself feel again.
He felt her shift slightly next to him, and let himself relax as she started softy stroking his hair. Touch, he decided as he leaned into her and let her pet him, could maybe be a good thing again. He left out a breath he didn't quite know he was still holding as he let himself drift into the chocolate and potions induced lull, the witch at his side making the aches and pains that lingered from the transformation melt away as if the wounds weren't quite so heavy upon his soul.
They always said that time healed all wounds. Remus thought, cynically that time just made the horrible memories of loss and hurt more distant. The witch methodically carding her fingers through his hair though, she was a different story. He was pretty sure that Hermione Granger had the singular ability to heal everything that he was in a way that maybe no one else had before. Time, he thought would afford him the luxury of finding out.
"Sleep tight Remus, I've got you."
He could feel her words, more than he could hear them, she had whispered so softly, nudging infinitely closer to him as he felt warmth and drowsiness wash over his body.
He shifted closer still, holding on to that feeling of content swirling around in his belly for the first time in recent memory. He was lost in this one, in this woman who knew all of what he was, and stood by him for it anyway. This woman, who he dared to hope even cared for him in a way he had yet to let himself fully imagine.
He felt the tiny whispered wind flit softly over them, and it felt like distant affection and approval.
Smiling, he concentrated on the soft repetitive motion as he let himself relax fully into Hermione's embrace. She had him alright, far deeper than she probably knew.
And with one last murmur, he felt himself slip the realm of consciousness. "I know you do, luv."
He was fast asleep before he could see her smile.