He never thought he'd be seeing her again. Never dreamed that she would be involved. And yet Albus was sitting at his table, calmly asking him to go find her.
"She's in London right now. On holiday." Dumbledore was saying. "At least that is the message she sent me." He handed a scroll to Remus.
Unrolling the scroll, Remus read it.
Lovely to hear from you. I'm in town
On holiday. I'm hoping my trip will be
Uneventful? "How odd." He handed the scroll back to the headmaster.
Dumbledore pressed his steepled fingers to his pursed lips. "I wish to speak to her, Remus. And I would imagine that a face from her past would be more convincing than an owl." And would call far less attention to her.
He didn't want to do this. He really didn't.
He wondered if she knew about Sirius.
"Of course." He replied grudgingly. "I'll leave immediately."
Dumbledore rose, gathering his cloak around him. "I believe she may be… reluctant." He told Lupin. "But it is very important."
Remus nodded. After the headmaster left, he paused long enough to throw a few things into a satchel. Then he disapparated.
There was a loud sudden crack.
It was a credit to all the years she had spent in Wizarding School that Serena didn't even jump. Instead, she simply leaned back in her chair to study the shaggy haired, slightly unkempt wizard that had apparated into her kitchen.
A little older. And tired, she noted. But he was still the same.
Hazel eyes widened, and his nostrils flared as her scent reached him.
"Serena?" He sounded uncertain as he let his satchel drop to the floor.
She smiled. But there was no warmth to it; it was cool and brittle around the edges. "It's been a long time."
She had changed, he realized. He gazed into the chilly blue eyes that stared back unflinchingly. She had lost weight. Grown her hair long. And has a frigid sort of pride wrapped around her like a cloak. But her scent was unchanged.
She still smelled sweet, wild and… enticing. He smiled, showing more teeth than necessary. Another thing that hadn't changed. The wolf in him still wanted to lap at her in the moonlight.
"It's been too long." He replied. "You look well." Too thin, too cool, but still… she enchanted him.
She tilted her head, a long fall of dark hair sliding over her shoulders. Studying him, she wished she could say the same. But time and recent events had taken a toll on the boy she once knew. His untidy brown hair was now streaked with silver, his face prematurely lined. But, his odd green-gold eyes were the same. Still holding too many secrets and now too much sorrow.
And she still loved him.
She had hoped that fifteen years apart from him would have been enough to wipe away the feelings she had. But now she knew it would take a lifetime.
It took every ounce of control she had to keep from going to him, wrapping her arms around him and willing away his pain.
"So what brings you here?" She said instead.
Remus studied her. She seemed utterly at ease, her pose casual, and her words nonchalant, but there was something not right.
He could smell her tension and nerves.
What was she nervous about? "Albus would like to speak to you. He wanted to invite you to the Order meeting."
The Order of the Phoenix. So. Albus wanted her to join them. "I don't think so. I have no place there." She couldn't see any way she could be of use to the Order, except to deliver messages, like she had to Sirius.
Smiling a little, he shook his head. "Dumbledore said you'd be reluctant." Remus took a step closer. "He thought a familiar face might convince you."
"Me." He replied. He didn't bother to mention that he was the only one of the gang left, really.
"And how exactly would you be able to convince me?" Her gaze slid back to him. "He might have done better to send Sirius."
Pain washed over him. Old hurts combining with new loss. She didn't know. Where on earth had she been that she didn't know what had happened? "Sirius is dead." He told her bluntly.
She blinked once. Slowly. Then her eyes softened. "I'm so sorry, Remus. I didn't know. I've been… out of touch."
He dipped his hands into his pants pockets. He didn't want her pity. He was sick of pity. "It's ok."
She sighed, her rigid composure slipping. "Remus… Truly. I am sorry."
He glimpsed the old Serena, still in the woman in front of him. "I know."
She sighed again, then waved her hand, sending the chair across from her skidding back. "Have a seat."
Remus eyed the chair, then looked back at her. "No wand?"
One elegantly arched brow rose. "I never needed one."
That was a frightening thought. One he decided not to dwell on. He sat, stretching his long legs out under the table.
"Tea?" She offered.
He glanced at the teapot on the stove. "No. Thank you." He wasn't sure he wanted to see how she could handle that.
Her lips curved up. "So. Convince me, then. Why should I go back with you?"
He suddenly had a million reasons, none having anything to do with the Order, or Dumbledore. "Dumbledore needs you." He responded instead. "The Order needs you."
"Why me?" She asked.
"Isn't it obvious?" He countered.
She shook her head. "Why me, Moony?" Her voice was soft and uncertain. Even more like the girl he once knew.
Inexplicably, that annoyed him. "I would assume it's because you've been invisible for so long." He answered stiffly.
She nodded. "I see." Her fingers tapped unconsciously on the tabletop. "Well. That's nice."
He got the distinct impression that she wasn't altogether pleased. But how could he know why Dumbledore wanted her, when he hadn't seen her for so long. He had no idea where she had been or what she'd been doing. In fact, now that he thought about it, he wasn't sure at all if they should trust her.
"Where have you been for the last fifteen years?" He asked none too gently.
She turned away from him, bowing her head, her long hair falling around her face, effectively hiding it. "Around. Everywhere. Nowhere."
"That's nice and vague. Thanks."
She glanced at him, one brow rising haughtily. "What does it matter to you anyway?"
"I'm not certain I can trust someone who's been 'invisible' for that long." He replied in a harsh tone.
She stiffened, her demeanor becoming chilly. "Well. Right then. Let me clear it up for you, shall I? Since you obviously don't care a whit for my privacy."
"After school, I spent some time in Godric's Hollow." Despite his shocked intake of breath, she continued, ticking places off on her fingers. "Two years in America, a few years in Asia, Egypt, Ireland, Romania."
"Of course," she said coolly, lifting her head and tossing her hair back. "There were some gaps here and there, but if I mention that, I'm sure it'll keep you up at night, so we'll just pretend you don't know about that."
She was taunting him. Mocking his distrust. Didn't she see? He couldn't trust anyone, especially someone from his past who was shrouded in mystery. Someone who had been in the same place as James and Lily…
"You were in Godric's Hollow?"
"Yes." She seemed to know what he was asking. "But, I had left the day before… it happened."
He eyed her grimly. "Convenient."
She stared at him. "I beg your pardon?"
"Well, it seems a little... odd, that you left just then."
Her face went blank. "Odd."
He couldn't seem to stop the accusations from coming out. "Why would you leave just then? Or did you know something was going to happen?"
She gave an outraged gasp. He couldn't be serious. "What are you trying to say?"
He was silent, a challenging glint in his eyes.
"How dare you!" She hissed. She flung out one arm, and the dishes on the kitchen table flew off, hitting the wall opposite her and shattering.
Remus leapt to his feet. She was no longer cold, composed. There was fire in her eyes; she was fairly vibrating with energy.
Maybe he had been a little harsh.
He held out his hand, placating. "Serena…" He took a step toward her.
Her eyes narrowed. She lifted her hand slowly and waved it at him, as if swatting a fly.
It felt like a great force slammed into his chest, pushing him back. He stumbled, falling against the wall, his eyes wide with shock. He lifted his hand, absently rubbing at his chest. He started to move toward her.
She shook her head at him, her eyes flashing. "No. Stay away from me."
He could only stare at her. How was it she could do such magic without a wand? It was improbable, yet she did it.
"Lily was my friend. My only friend. How dare you infer that I had anything to do with her death?" She seethed.
"Serena…" He started to apologize, but she cut him off.
"I left the day before, because she told me to."
It would have less painful if she had hit him with magic again. Lily had told her to leave? Had she known what was to happen? He couldn't bear to think of it.
"I'm sorry." He blurted out.
Her face was expressionless, like a mask, but he could see the hurt that his accusations had caused in her eyes.
"I was out of line, and I apologize." It sounded weak, even to him.
She sneered at him. "Out of line. You accuse me of having something to do with their deaths and you were out of line? Maybe you should look at yourself before you blame others, Remus."
This was not the girl he remembered from school. The girl he had known would never have said anything that cold, no matter how true it was. Or how much he deserved it.
"I already know my place in their deaths." He responded quietly.
Shame drained away her anger. Serena turned away. "I should not have said that, I apologize."
He sighed. "I didn't come here to fight with you."
"I know. I know. You came to convince me to join the Order."
"We really do need you." He told her. "We need as much help as we can get."
She pursed her lips.
"Do it for Sirius. For James and Lily." For me.
Her pale eyes fixed on his.
"For everyone Voldemort has hurt." He paused. "For Harry."
She smiled then. "Harry… He really takes after James, doesn't he?"
"More than you can imagine." Remus replied with the ghost of a smile crossing his face.
"For James and Lily, then." She said decisively. "I'll help."