A Lifetime of Sorrow
Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling owns everything, minus Gaelle, who is my own creation.
Summary: Remus Lupin comes to Hogwarts in Harry's third year with a suitcase that reads Professor in "peeling letters." Where did Lupin go after he lost Lily, James, Peter, and Sirius? An attempt to decipher Lupin's past.
The silence after her words was overbearing to him. How could she ask him such a thing? He didn't move a muscle, just stared into those incredible grey eyes; eyes that showed care and love and happiness. Nobody had shown him those emotions in years. He didn't speak, didn't respond to her question; how could he? Those eyes, pleading with him to take her, and he still hadn't told her a secret that was rotting his body from the inside out.
"I…I can't," he stammered, pulling himself out from below her. Her face fell.
"But…Remus," she whispered, putting a warm hand to his face, then lowered it to his shirt and began to unbutton it. He pulled back from her touch, feeling himself begin to perspire.
"You don't understand, Gaelle," he told her, putting a shaking hand on hers. Watching her struggle to hold back tears was making him burn inside.
"What don't I understand?" she said, not bothering to keep her voice low. Remus' eyes shot towards the door quickly. It was shut; Gaelle had shut it when they came in, he reminded himself. She'd shut it in hopes that tonight would conceal something special, and he knew that the only thing that door would conceal would be a fight.
"There's…things," he said weakly. How could he explain this to her?
"Remus," Gaelle said, this time struggling to keep her voice restrained, "Remus, we've been together for three years. Three years. It's an awful lot of time to be with someone. You've told me you love me, and I've told you the same…Why don't you want to?"
He stared at her again. She was right, he did love her. More than anything, more than anyone. The woman inches away from him was the first woman he'd fallen in love with. She took his hands in her own and placed them around her waist, then brushed back her curls and looked into Remus' handsome, lined face. What wasn't he telling her?
"Gaelle, I can't…I didn't even want to tell you how I felt because it endangers you," he whispered, pulling his hands away.
She narrowed her eyes. "Endangers me? How so?" she asked sardonically.
She leaned in and planted a kiss on his neck while toying with the buttons on his shirt. "Remus, I thought you said you loved me." Lowering her eyes, she asked quietly, "Is it because we aren't married?"
He opened his mouth to say yes. The lie to her was burning on his tongue. He lied to her month after month, and she still loved him. One more lie wouldn't make much of a difference.
She looked shocked, "No? Are you sure? I mean, I had those qualms about asking you originally, Remus…but…Well, I love you."
He closed his eyes, wishing she would stop saying that. Love was certainly not supposed to be based on lies. He shouldn't have told her he loved her from the beginning. It would have saved him all of this trouble. It would have turned her away. But that wasn't fair to him. He had wanted to be with someone all his life who loved him for who he was. Gaelle didn't ask questions about where he was every month. She seemed to accept him, just as he wanted.
"Gaelle, I can't do this," he said, trying to stand up from below her. She had him pinned to the bed below and despite his struggle, she wouldn't let him move.
"Don't you love me?" she whispered. Hearing the hurt in her voice made his heart ache.
"Of course I love you," he said softly. "I just can't do this, there's so much you don't know."
"Nobody knows everything when they enter a relationship, Remus. That's the point of one, to find out as much as you can about that person and then love them anyway," Gaelle said, her voice shaking. "I've trusted you about so many things that so many others wouldn't trust you for. I believe you when you say you go to visit your sick mother every month, even though I know it isn't true. I don't know why I trust you, Remus, but I do." She shook her head. "I guess you don't feel the same way."
"No…Gaelle…You…Most woman would be glad that I'm not taking advantage of them," he shot at her quickly, not really knowing what to say, but desperately wanting to say something, anything to keep her from being angry with him.
Gaelle stared at him for a second, and Remus watched her eyes fill up with tears, realizing he had once again said the wrong thing. Was it wrong to want to drive her away for her safety?
"Remus," she whispered as the tears began to fall. Was he hurting her more by keeping it a secret?
"Gaelle, please, don't cry," he said, putting his arms around her and running his hands over her back. "I'm trying so badly not to hurt you," he said.
"Well you're certainly doing a great job of it," she shot back through her tears.
"Gaelle, if you only knew what I'm going through," he murmured into her hair.
"Well I can't know unless you tell me!" she shrieked, standing up and pulling away from him. The dim candlelight illuminated her gently curved body in her dressy, fitted robes. She had done herself up so nicely tonight, hoping for something special, and look what he'd done. "Don't you love me? Don't you trust me? Tonight was supposed to be special!"
He took a deep breath, trying quite hard not to shout at her. Through gritted teeth, he said, "Gaelle, I know you wanted tonight to be special, and I'm sorry that I'm not ready. I don't want to sleep with you without you knowing my secrets," he said.
"So then tell me them!" she yelled, angrily grabbing her cloak and throwing it on.
"I'm not ready to tell you them, Gaelle."
She stopped and stared at him with those steely grey eyes. "If you aren't ready to be honest with me, Remus, I don't think we can have a relationship."
It was the inevitable moment; Gaelle was leaving him because he couldn't tell her his secret. He was confronted with the terror of being without her at once, and he knew immediately that he was ready.
She put her hand on the doorknob.
"Wait," he said, but he didn't look at her. He twiddled his thumbs and stared at the ground.
"Yes," she responded, her voice shaking, but her hands did not leave the doorknob.
"Please, Gaelle, sit down. I don't want you to walk out of here and leave me," he said, his own voice beginning to shake. "I do love you, and that's why I've been keeping this a secret from you."
"Keeping what a secret from me, Remus? What is it? Were your parents Death Eaters? Are you a queer? Perhaps a vampire?" She shouted all this painfully loud. "Oh, wait, I know, was your father Voldemort?"
He took a deep breath. "No, Gaelle, I'm a werewolf."
He had expected a look of shock, but instead received a derisive snort. "I suppose you'll wait until I'm really upset to tell me your real secret?"
Remus looked confused. "Gaelle, I thought you wanted me to be honest with you."
"I did! Telling me you're a werewolf drifts slightly from my definition of honesty, however."
"But I'm telling you the truth!" he said, unbuttoning the buttons she had missed. "See? Look." He pointed down at the scars on his chest from scratching himself. "That one's from when I was-"
Remus immediately stopped and stared at the look on her face which was unreadable.
"IS THIS YOUR IDEA OF A JOKE?" Gaelle shrieked, going scarlet in the face.
"You think that this is a joke? I leave every month during the full moon, I always come back with fresh scratches. I'm pale and sickly and I'm young but grey! Gaelle, I love you, why would I lie?"
She stared at him, then took a step back. "Get away from me," she said, quietly but firmly. Remus took a step back from her obediently, but stretched his hand out towards her.
"Gaelle, I- I take a potion every month now, it keeps me from…Gaelle, I…"
She stared at him one more. "I'm leaving," she said, her voice shaking. "Don't come near me anymore, Werewolf."
Remus looked shocked. "But…" he sputtered, "I thought you said…Don't you love me?" he asked weakly.
She turned the doorknob, still staring at him openmouthed, then left the room.
Remus Lupin was alone. He would always be alone.