Written for the Hermione's Nook (fb group) Kissmas Fest!
My assigned kiss: The Last Kiss
My holiday prompt: Fireworks
Remus moved swiftly through the house, buttoning his jumper as he stepped into the narrow hall by the front door to pull on his shoes and cloak. His heart was racing, hammering against his sternum as his stomach knotted and churned, pushing acid into the back of his throat. His eyes burned and he blinked rapidly, trying to rid the brightness of unshed tears before he went back to face his wife.
He stood in the doorway, watching her cry into Teddy's tiny shoulders as she pressed kisses into the side of his face. Remus' heart clenched as he listened to her try and calm the wailing of their son, her despair overwhelming the boy. Even tear streaked and blotchy-faced, she was beautiful. He took in a shaking breath in a weak attempt to quell his own emotions, allowing himself a few more seconds to just look at her, to commit every bit of her to his memory.
The moment the charmed Galleon warmed inside his pocket, he knew this was it-that he would be walking into battle and he would fight alongside the Order again. Dora had begged him to stay home, or at the very least, allow her to come with him. Remus had fumed at the suggestion, that she would even think that he would be okay with her coming with him… He shook his head. Now was not the time to dwell on the bickering or to debate any further, he would not budge on this. Dora absolutely had to stay home with Teddy. Remus had been fighting this war for so long, he had to see it through to the bitter end. However, he would absolutely not watch his wife- the mother of his child- walk into that war beside him.
"Shh, shh. Teddy, it's okay. Mummy's here. Daddy will be home before we know it, shh." Dora tried to soothe him, whispering words that the crack in her voice and the salt stains on her cheeks proved to be lies.
Remus would not be home soon-they both knew it. He knew that the moment he walked away from the front of the house and disapparated to Hogsmeade, the second he stepped foot into the Hog's Head and entered Hogwarts through that passageway behind the portrait of Ariana, that was it. He would more than likely die tonight, leaving his son without a father.
But at least Teddy would have his mother.
So Remus watched her. He tried to filter out the shake of her shoulders and the raspy, thickness in her throat as she cooed words to their son. He looked at her the way he'd always looked at her. Not as if it were the last time he'd ever see her, not angry, or with sadness. He looked at her because he simply just couldn't look away. Because from the moment Nymphadora Tonks quite literally tripped into his life, he hasn't been able to take his eyes off of her.
"Staring," Dora said, her voice broken with emotion. "Always staring."
Remus managed a weak smile, one he knew did not reach his eyes, and stepped into the room. "I just can't look away from you."
Dora huffed a laugh, a sob tearing through her throat on the end of it. "Remus, please. Teddy needs you, I need you! You can't… I can't just stay here and watch you walk into battle. I-I'm the Auror! I'm the one who-
"You're Teddy's mother. And you will tell him what I fought for- what we fought for."
"You're going to come back," Dora said, her voice clearer now, firm with resolution. "You're going to come back to us and I'll make a big roast- all the trimmings! And we'll listen to that bloody old muggle music that you love and when he's old enough, we will tell him what we fought for. Because you are going to come back to me."
Remus smirked, closing the space between them and rested a hand on her lower back. He pressed his lips into her hair and he felt her sag against him. "Don't be silly, Dora. We both know you can't cook a roast with all the trimmings."
Dora burst into laughter and it was music to his ears. The sound filled his chest and flowed through his limbs, saturating every cell in his body with the melody of it. He was too old, too poor, and had too much baggage for her… but he could make her laugh. And the wrinkling of the skin around her eyes and the twitching of her nose as the symphony of chuckles erupted from her throat was worth every sickle he had to his name. He knew he had never, and would never, be enough for the whirlwind that was Nymphadora Tonks-but Merlin he would never stop trying. Even as he walked to his death, he would die knowing that he had, at the very least, been able to see her eyes light up one last time.
She turned in his arms, Teddy still held to her chest, his wispy hair matching Remus' own honey coloured curls, and wrapped an arm around his waist. Remus pulled her closer, pressing his lips to her forehead and then bent to gently kiss the top of his son's head. Breathing them in, savoring the comfort their scent brought him, knowing this was the last luxury he would be awarded.
"You will come back to me, Remus Lupin."
The conviction in her voice and the fire in her eyes, broke his heart clean in two. He felt his resolve waiver as her fingers bit into his waist and her breath hit his neck. The tightness in his chest swelled into a lump in his throat and choked him into ragged, unsteady breaths. Teddy made a sweet, soft sound that made him feel nauseous with grief. Anger flared inside of him at the injustice of it all. Finally, he had everything he had ever wanted in his arms, and he had to leave it all behind. But it would be worth it, he reminded himself, to ensure his child would not have to continue this fight when he was gone... Teddy deserved a happy life, a better life, a life without war, fear, and famine.
Remus' eyes prickled, his vision hazy from the hot tears that clung behind his lashes. He looked up to the ceiling, focusing on the stucco pattern as he blinked rapidly, begging them not to fall. Everything he cared about in his life was held to his chest, in his arms and for a moment he couldn't breathe. He swallowed hard, shoving down the sob that threatened to tear from his throat. He had to stay strong.
"I love you, Dora." He whispered into her skin as he pressed his lips against her, the strain in his voice finally cracking. "Lock the doors, don't leave the house, and don't let anyone in."
She moved her arm from his waist and clenched the fabric of his jumper, pulling his face to hers to crash her lips against his. Her kiss was everything. Every time their lips connected, it was magnetic, a pull that Remus had never been able to understand from the first time that cherry flavoured pout pressed against him. She was a brilliant burst of explosive colours, vibrant and awe inspiring as fireworks in an otherwise dull and grey life. The living embodiment of sunshine and springtime- of buzzing energy and bubbling happiness. She was everything. Bright and blinding, but he could never look away.
Remus dropped his arms from around his wife and son, and looked down into her eyes- blue today- and pushed forth a watery smile. Her sparkling irises were still wet, but she returned the gesture. Her pink lips curled up at the sides, her cheeks dimpled and she looked at him as if he were the only thing on the planet that would ever matter to her. Remus stooped down and pressed one last chaste kiss to her lips, breathing in the final pops of radiance sizzling on her soft skin. He cupped Teddy's head with his hand, smoothing over the now ginger strands and finally stepped back.
He took a deep breath through his nose and moved through the house to the front door. He could hear Dora as she moved, setting Teddy in his pram and setting the little broomstick and snitch mobile to turn above him, playing a soft song to lull him to sleep. As he pulled open the door, looking away from the lovely little life he had barely had time to know, he stepped onto the shrub-lined cobblestone and he could hear Dora's voice call from inside...
"I love you."