She kisses him outside his small cottage, the wind whipping her pink hair in his face and her hand holding tight to his. Her eyes are wary when he pulls away, he did not react well the last time she did this. So he smiles until she does too and he tucks her hair behind her ears before kissing her again.

He hasn't paid the heating bill, so they huddle under one blanket in front of the fire.

"Good thing it's summer," she says. "You'll have to come to mine next time."

The dementors drifting through the sky make it feel like winter, but all he can focus on is next time.

She cries on his shoulder at Albus' funeral.

"It's okay," he whispers into her hair. "He didn't die for nothing. It's going to be okay."

He's in love, which excuses the uncharacteristic optimism.

000

She argues for a larger ceremony.

"Harry should come at least, he's your best friend's son!"

Remus grips the edge of the counter and breathes through the pain the way he's learned to. The thing about Dora is that she's never actually been in a war before, she's never actually lost anyone.

"It's too dangerous," he says, for the dozenth time. "James wouldn't thank me for putting his son in unnecessary danger."

It's how he argues against the Weasleys, Hermione Granger and most of the Order. By the time they're picking at their dinner that evening, they've narrowed it down to her parents, Mad-Eye and Professor McGonagall. He tried to cut McGonagall out as well, but her eyes had become wet with tears and she'd told him if he wasn't going to invite anyone for himself then they weren't going to get married.

"You make me feel like this is just for me," she'd said quietly. "Do you even want this, Remus?"

"Of course I do," he'd said. And he does. He wants it so much his heart aches with it. But. But he is alone, as he always feared (knew) he would be. He is not good enough for her, and no matter what they say he can see in their eyes that everyone else knows it too. They will come and they will smile, congratulate and dance, but they will be disappointed for her. They'll be confused. He can only stand so much of that on what is supposed to be the happiest day of his life.

When he kisses her at the alter, he's happier than he's ever been. But he is also (always) ashamed. He's being selfish when he kisses her, and that's easier to bear with just four people looking on.

000

She shows everyone her ring with such pride that he can't help but smile, wind his arms around her waist, kiss her head, her cheek, her neck, anywhere he can reach. Until she laughs and turns to kiss his lips properly.

000

"I was late, Remus, so I thought I ought to check," she says. For a moment he can't put it together, the words and the box of tampons next to her on the bed and the little white stick in her hand. Then. Oh.

"But you're on something," he says, rushing and panicked. "You said you were on something. You said-"

"I am. Things go wrong, sometimes, though."

He clutches at the doorframe, the sound of his own heart in his head, not able to suck in enough air.

"Remus."

She starts toward him, anxious hands outstretched, and he flinches away. He runs out of the house, past the apparition barrier, and then he's on his knees in the woods far away, gasping and trembling, the world spinning around him, terror seizing him with greedy, familiar fingers.

000

"Remus, please," she whispers through the dark. "Please just talk to me."

He keeps his eyes closed and his breathing even.

000

He catches her with her hands pressed to her belly. It's not swelling, not yet, but it will. He can't look at her all day. He can't look at himself in the mirror when brushing his teeth that evening. He's sick with himself.

000

Her mother's knuckles are white around her mug. Her father tries unsuccessfully to fill the stretching, suffocating silence.

000

She finds him zipping up the last bag.

"So this is it?" she says, voice breathless with rage. "You were going to leave without telling me like a- like a- Coward!"

It hits him like a blow and he takes it. He deserves it.

"They're for you," he says. "You need a place with heating and your flat is too close to the Ministry. I already called your mother-"

"You called my mother?" She's really shouting now, her face red, her hands clenched into fists at her sides. "I am not a child, Remus! You have no right to make these kinds of decisions for me!"

He loves her so much. Her curiosity, her humour, her bravery, her boldness, her intelligence, her integrity, her loyalty, her passion, her fierceness, her bright pink hair. He has no right to make her decisions for her, so he leaves her with the bags and he removes himself from the situation.

Her mother is kind enough to let him know Dora has come to stay with her after all. She is also angry enough not to tell him anything else, not to tell him he is needed.

Harry is the one who tells him that.

000

Dora's hair is brown when she opens the door. It doesn't go pink again for almost a month.

000

Teddy's hair begins changing within an hour, and they sit watching him together without saying a word.

000

It's Teddy that makes him go to Hogwarts, despite Andromeda's pleading, despite Dora's tears.

"I have to fight for him," he says, and for the first time he's telling the whole truth. This is not about him. This is about creating a world where Teddy will be safe, with his Muggle blood and his magic blood and his werewolf blood.

000

He doesn't see his son grow up. He doesn't see Dora finding his body and screaming. Shaking him until a curse hits his corpse, setting it aflame. She has no time to put out the fire before she's fighting Bellatrix. Before she's falling down beside him.

Someone else puts out the fire and adds two more to the growing list of the dead. The person doesn't know Dora, but they recognise the best DADA teacher they ever had and they see the rings. They're happy for Professor Lupin, happy he got to be happy for at least a short time.