By The Light Of The Moon
By Chrmisha

Summary: After book 5, Remus Lupin acts in desperation when faced with the loss of his best friend. A strange turn of events finds him with a woman he's never met before, a woman who challenges all of his beliefs. Faced with a chance at true love, will he allow himself to take it? (Romance)

Chapter 1

NO!!!!!

Remus watched in horror as his life evaporated in front of his eyes for the second time in his life. He watched as Sirius was taken from him again––this time for good. The part of him that was still connected to his body reached out to stop Harry from following Sirius. That part of him tried to comfort Harry, but the real Remus was locked away in a prison of pain. He thought things couldn't get any worse. He couldn't have been more wrong. When he was sure Harry wasn't going to follow Sirius through the Veil, he'd loosened his grip. Too soon. Harry went after Bellatrix instead. Some part of himself wanted to chase after Harry. The other parts of himself were lost in grief and remained frozen to the spot. Harry was no match for Bellatrix. And very soon, if he hadn't already, Harry would be joining his godfather.

The bone chilling realization that he was now totally alone in the world swept through him. He looked around, observing the tangled mass of bodies strewn about the theatre. He wished he were one of them. His eyes met Dumbledore's only briefly. He knew he'd failed; he failed to save Sirius, and now he'd failed to save Harry Potter. The boy who lived, now the boy who'd surely die. He learned long ago that emotions got in the way of fighting. But Harry hadn't and his emotions were going to get him killed.

The unreal scene around him began to move as the remaining members of the Order started to collect the bodies of their fallen comrades and the Hogwarts students that had joined Harry. A better man would have stayed to help, a better man would have done a lot of things. But he was none of those. He studied each member of the Order and realized he didn't know them and they certainly didn't know him. The only person who'd known him, who'd cared about him, was Sirius. And Sirius was dead. Harry was dead. He himself was dead, in spirit if not in body. But that could be rectified.

His heart in his throat, he Apparated back to 12 Grimmauld place and gathered his belongings in a small bag. He'd never stayed in one place long enough to accumulate much––just a couple of robes, a few mementos, a toothbrush, comb, razor, and deodorant––the bare necessities. He could no sooner stay at the Black house than he could in his own body. The full moon was only a few days away and he had no intention of spending it alone. He'd spent it without Sirius for 13 years; never again.

An urgent owl had arrived first thing that morning bearing a Port Key. She looked at the chalice with a mixture of dread and anticipation. Why was he summoning her now? She almost picked up the phone to call and cancel all of her appointments for the day but realized that her vet clinic was still being rebuilt from the fire that had ravaged it the week before. Her days had been relatively empty since then, and she relished the thought of wandering the grounds of Hogwarts and reminiscing about the semester she'd spent there. When she arrived in his office, he was waiting for her. The grim look in his eyes made her want to turn right around and go back to the safety of her own home where whatever news he had her couldn't touch her.

"Thank you for coming on such short notice, Ms. Perkins." Dumbledore's voice was somber.

She took a deep breath and closed her eyes. She could hear the doctor's voice, "I'm so sorry, Ms Perkins, your mother passed away during the night. We did everything we could."

"Who is it?" she asked, fear gripping her chest.

"I'm afraid it's Sirius. I'm so sorry."

She didn't remember the rest of the day, nor much of the next. She didn't know how she'd gotten home. She didn't know if she'd ate or slept since then either. On Friday night, she dug out the bottle of wine she'd been saving to celebrate. To celebrate life, not death, but what did it matter now? Pouring herself a glass, she fished out the box of letters she kept in the top drawer of her dresser. Sirius, she cried, We were just getting to know each other. We were just beginning to make up for lost time. Time. It's always about time. Not enough time.

She read the letters late into the night. She laughed with him over the silly things the Mauraders had done in their youth and cried with him over the heartbreaking trials that had raked his short existence on this planet. With only a few letters left to go, she curled up in her bed, exhausted. She'd read them in the morning if she was still in the mood.

As morning dawned and sunlight poured through her windows, she stretched and looked about the parchment-strewn floor. One of the unread letters seemed to be glowing. Must be a reflection from the sun, she thought. But when she picked it up, the parchment felt hot to the touch. A rush of nervous energy coursed through her body. As she opened it, a tuft of gray fur floated to the floor.

Amera,

I must beg your forgiveness for this maudlin mood I'm in. Lately I've
been having bad dreams. Nothing unusual, really, but they got me to
thinking. I have a favor to ask of you. There's only one other person on
this planet who knows more about me than you do and that's Moony. If
anything happened to you or Harry, Moony would be there for me. And if
anything happened to Moony, I'd have to stick around for you and Harry.
God forbid anything should happen to all of you.

That's what got me thinking. Who would be there for Moony if anything
happened to me? Harry has his friends, you have your work and your
family; Moony has no one and nothing. Amera, if anything should ever
happen to me, I want you to look after Moony. I'm afraid he might harm
himself. If I lost all of you, I'd harm myself. So maybe I'm just
projecting my fears onto him. Maybe. Maybe not. He lost his world once, I
don't think he could stand to lose it again. I told you what he was like
when I first went to live with him a year ago. He was a shell of a man,
going through the motions of surviving, but not really living, not really
alive. He's come back to us now, and the thought of losing him again
terrifies me.

So, just in case, I would feel a whole lot better knowing that if
something happened to me, there would still be someone there who gave a
damn about him. I know you've never met him, except through my letters.
Consider this my last wish. We are fighting a war and I am an escaped
convict. One never knows.

The letter was several pages long, the longest he'd ever written her. She'd been so worried after receiving it, she insisted on meeting him for lunch. When she'd finally seen him, he was in good spirits and didn't once mention the letter. At the time, she thought it must have just been something he needed to get off his chest. Now his words stunned and scalded her. Consider this my last wish. The last thing she wanted to do was go traipsing around the Wizarding world searching for a man who didn't want to be found. Dammit! She threw the letter on the floor and curled up under her covers. My last wish, Amera. His voice echoed mercilessly in her head.

Dumbledore was waiting for her when she arrived. She didn't know how much to tell him. She didn't know Remus Lupin at all. Surely he was grieving; Sirius had been his best friend.

Dumbledore contacted Order Headquarters to see if someone could round up Remus for her. No one had seen him since that fateful night, but Remus was known to be a bit of a loner, and considering what had happened, no one blamed him for holing up in his rooms. A very distraught Tonks reported back that not only was Remus not at Headquarters, but his belongings were gone.

Dumbledore looked troubled. Amera found this unfamiliar disposition of his quite unsettling. He was supposed to be all powerful, all knowing. She found herself being the scared teenager again; the doctor was supposed to be able to make her mother all better. But she had died anyway. Alone, afraid, and in pain. Amera was not there. She would not let another person die that way. She'd failed her mother in life, she would not fail Sirius in death; she would find Remus Lupin.

As Amera left, she found herself bereft of the comfort Dumbledore sought to give her. His promise of having the members of the Order find Remus Lupin wasn't enough. It'll be too late by then, she had lamented. She knew what she had to do, she could do no less.

She hoped she was wrong. But just in case she wasn't, she went through Sirius's letter one last time, memorizing his instructions. She laid out all the supplies she might need. She hoped there would be no need for them––because Remus was alive, not because she was too late.