Remus vs. Venus: Match Point
Chapter 26 -You Don't Have To Go
"Morning, Mur, you're up early!" Theda came into the kitchen, arms full of parchment as usual.
Muriel looked up from her coffee and smiled. "Morning! Sirius left on another unexpected errand for the Order. He can't seem to get ready in the morning without waking me up!"
Theda laughed. "After a year of marriage, you still haven't learned to sleep through all that?" She asked. She shook her head in mock disappointment. "By the time I'd been married a year I'd bought a second pillow to put OVER my head when the lights went on!"
Muriel rolled her eyes. "Well, what are you doing awake at this hour? And where's Remus? Isn't he usually attached to your shoulder?"
Theda stuck out her tongue and grimaced. "Off again," she said, sighing quietly.
"Off again as in: Out of town on Order business? Or off again meaning that he's decided again that no one can possibly love a werewolf, so you must be playing with him?"
"Bingo. It happens right after every full moon. He's usually over it in a few days, though." Theda smiled. She knew Muriel could read her thoughts, and when they'd first met, that had made her uncomfortable. They had gotten very close in the last four years, however, and Theda was starting to wonder how she ever managed to communicate with anyone else. 'You very nearly don't,' she reminded herself, thinking of Remus' refusal to believe in her love.
Muriel snorted, hearing the conversation Theda was having with herself, and both women smiled. "I told you what I it took to make Sirius believe me."
"Yeah. I'm just not sure I can do that." Theda poured herself some coffee and sat down as Muriel gave her a questioning look.
"If I do, and he still doesn't believe me, I'm the one who'll be hurt," Theda explained quietly. Muriel cast her eyes down to the table. That was very true, but she didn't think Remus would do that. In spite of his insecurities, she knew that Remus loved Theda very much.
"Well, I'd better get these to Dumbledore," Theda said finally.
Muriel nodded. "Why so many?"
Theda gathered the scrolls back up off the table, where she'd set them down to talk. "Well, there were a lot of ways this story could go, and the things we'll have to change to bring everyone home will probably be more drastic than Dumbledore wants. I thought if I had a story with me for every 'What If' he has, I'll be more likely to convince him that every change is necessary."
"You're upset about this one?" Muriel asked calmly. She could feel that something else was bothering her friend.
"Actually, no. I think this will work out fine. I'm worried about something else, but I'm not really ready to talk about it yet. I was planning to discuss it with Dumbledore today."
Muriel nodded. It was hard to remember sometimes that this was war, and procedures had to be followed, in spite of friendship. She watched her friend head toward the fireplace and sighed.
Theda came out of the Headmaster's office feeling thoroughly drained. But Dumbledore had agreed to make the changes that were necessary. He'd fought particularly hard about sending Draco and his amulet on this mission. It meant the amulet would be destroyed, but it also meant that Draco and the rest would come home practically unscathed. In the end, Dumbledore had to agree that their lives were more important than the amulet.
But it was the rest of the conversation that worried her most. In the four years she'd spent with the Order of the Phoenix, Theda had never once finished a story without another one popping immediately into her head. Sometimes they came to her so quickly that she had to stop working on one story to write another before she forgot it. Now, suddenly, it was as if the river had dried up. Dumbledore had looked at her gravely as she explained this. When she was finished, he'd remained silent for quite some time before asking her why she thought this might be.
"I think that I might be about to overlap someone else's prophesy. My understanding is limited, but I believe that any single event can only be prophesied once." Dumbledore had only nodded.
Lost in thought, Theda didn't look up in time to see Severus Snape before she walked right into him. Thankfully, he caught her before she fell, an amused expression on his face. Theda laughed shortly.
"Sorry, Sev," she said, unconsciously using Muriel's nickname for him. Severus had changed a great deal in the time since Muriel came back to Hogwarts. He was no longer required to pose as a Death Eater, and the relative safety of his position at the school and with the Order, combined with her renewed friendship had been good for him.
"In a hurry today?" He asked, an eyebrow raised.
"No, just distracted. To be honest, this is the first day I haven't been in a hurry in years." She smiled up at him, and was surprised when he offered his arm.
"Good, then you can join Mur and me for lunch."
Theda realized she was starving, having missed breakfast while she spoke with the Headmaster. She took his arm and they joined Muriel at the staff table.
It was nearly two o'clock by the time she got back to Grimmauld place, and she felt as if she'd finally come to a decision. As Muriel and Severus had talked quietly over lunch, she'd thought back on Muriel's advice from the morning. Maybe if she really wanted to be with Remus, she was going to have to take a few risks.
She'd hardly entered her room when she heard him knock. It was two days since the full moon, and he'd been distant all that time. She knew this was their monthly fight, and she knew she wasn't going to listen to it anymore. Before she invited him in, she pulled out her wand.
"Come in," she said quietly.
The door opened noisily and Remus stuck his head in. "There you are. I was hoping we could talk."
Theda took a deep breath. "What do you want to talk about Remus?" she asked wearily. After all, she already knew the answer. She sat down on the bed to wait, her hand resting inconspicuously on her wand.
"Well, I wanted to talk about us. You see, I just don't think - "
"Silencio!" she said forcefully, bringing her wand up at just the right moment. "You finally got it right, Remus," she said sweetly. "We've been having this talk every month for the last year, and you finally stopped in the right place." She spoke very slowly. "You. Just. Don't. Think."
His mouth had fallen open and he was shaking his head. She smiled at him again so he would know that she wasn't angry, and patted the bed beside her. He sat down, and immediately she leaned over and kissed him. When she pulled away, she saw the sad look in his eyes. He was shaking his head again.
"Alright, go then if you want to," she said quietly. In response, he took her hand, as if pleading with her to understand. "No, if this is what you want, then go." She had tried. She watched him leave, knowing that Molly Weasley, who had a room on the third floor, where Remus slept, would be able to remove the silencing charm. She sighed. Maybe Muriel's plan was the only thing that would get through to him.
As she did every afternoon, she sat down at her desk to write, but nothing came to her. Instead, she thought about what Professor Trelawney had taught her about real prophesies. They couldn't overlap. Whatever was going to happen next must have already been prophesied. Dumbledore had repeated for her the prophesy about Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort. She knew that her sudden inability to predict might mean that their last confrontation was at hand. It was more than she could take. She needed to talk to Remus.
'But you can't talk to Remus. He doesn't want you.' Her mind seemed to be taunting her. In the end, she decided that an afternoon nap might be best. She wasn't doing anything useful anyway. She undressed slowly and climbed under the covers. Her sleep was uneasy, and plagued by the kind of dreams muggles have: dreams that are scary but without meaning, dreams that can't be remembered and won't come true. The kind of dreams that she hadn't had in over four years.
She awoke suddenly, aware immediately that it was very late. They'd let her sleep through dinner. Not sure what had awoken her, she sat up. There was a quiet knock on the door.
Remus came into the room slowly, a sheepish look on his face. "Did I wake you?"
"Yes, but I've slept long enough." He only nodded. When he came over to the bed, she moved over to let him sit down, holding the covers around her shoulders.
"I just came in to tell you that Dumbledore's sending us on another mission. We're going to leave in a few hours. I didn't want to go without saying goodbye." He looked at the floor as he spoke, avoiding her gaze. He didn't want to discuss what happened earlier. Maybe this time he'd be strong enough to really let her go. He knew it was too much to ask, expecting her to put up with his monthly transformations. He didn't want her to have to worry about all that. There was too much to worry about these days as it was.
"I didn't write about anything today," she said worriedly.
"No, there's been no story about this one." He knew that would upset her. She'd gotten used to a certain amount of control over the fates of the Order members. Honestly, he was a little worried himself. It was unusual for anything really important to happen before she wrote the story for it. And he knew this one was going to be really important. Dumbledore had summoned nearly everyone to Hogwarts.
Theda hesitated. Should she tell him why she hadn't been able to write? Would the knowledge protect him? She didn't know. All she knew was that she didn't want him to go. She sat in silence as he said goodbye. When he stood and leaned down to kiss her forehead, she finally found her voice.
"You don't have to go, Remus," she whispered.
He looked into her eyes. She'd always seemed so strong and in control. Now she just looked scared. "You know I do, Dumbledore and the others are counting on me," he answered quietly. She shook her head.
He left her room quickly, closing the door behind him, and went downstairs. He was surprised to find Sirius sitting at the kitchen table with a brand new bottle of fire whiskey. He hadn't found him here more than a handful of times since the wedding.
He raised an eyebrow. "Not you too?"
"Nope," Sirius said cheerfully. "This is for you." He pushed the untouched glass over to his friend.
"She's right then? I've really done this every month like clockwork, haven't I?" He was amazed to think that his best friend had been able to predict this so easily. Maybe he really was just being a prat.
The smile faded from Sirius' face and he nodded. "Yeah, Moony, you have. Mur says you're putting that girl through hell. How did she take it this time?"
Remus managed a faint smile. "She used a silencing charm. She didn't even let me say it. But she's definitely acting strangely." He paused, watching, as his friend poured him a drink. He downed it quickly. His eyes fell shut as he swallowed, and when he opened them, he caught Sirius' amused expression.
"What did she say?" Sirius prompted. Muriel had told him the advice she'd given Theda. He found it amusing that the girls were ganging up on his friend.
"I told her I'd be leaving in a few hours, and she said I didn't have to go. All these years, she's never said that about a mission for the Order, except the one time you ran into Wormtail. Maybe he has something to do with it." Remus had a revolted look on his face. "I do wish Harry had let us kill him. You would have been cleared when we brought his body back to the castle, and this might all be over by now."
Remus looked longingly at the bottle of firewhiskey as he spoke, not seeing it. For this reason, he was unaware that Sirius was valiantly stifling his laughter. "Moony, go back to that first part. She said you didn't have to go?"
Remus looked up, startled. "Yeah, I got up to leave and - "
Sirius cut him off. "Oh, Remus, you stupid git!" he exclaimed vehemently. "She wasn't talking about the mission for the Order!"
"What?" Remus asked, obviously still not quite understanding. Sirius smirked at him indecently until something clicked behind his friend's eyes. "You don't think she meant - " The look on Padfoot's face was enough to answer the unfinished question. Remus looked back down at the empty glass in front of him.
Sirius couldn't help but laugh out loud at the look of shock on his friend's face. His laughter soon died, however, when he realized that Remus wasn't moving.
"Well?" He asked finally. "Aren't you going to go back up there?"
Remus didn't look up at him. "What would I say? 'Hey I just figured out what you meant, and decided that would be fun?' I don't think that would go over very well." His voice was bitter, and Sirius was surprised. It wasn't often that Remus was anything but mild tempered.
"NO!" Sirius said forcefully. "The first thing you should say is 'I'm sorry.' You can improvise from there."
Finally Remus looked up, a slow smile spreading across his face. "I owe her an apology for this afternoon anyway."
Sirius grinned impishly back at him, and watched as Remus jumped up from the bench and practically ran up the stairs.
AN: To be continued – in another fic (already posted) called "I Would Choose to be With You".
So, this is your last voting opportunity. Who wins? The boys or Venus? Let me know and I'll post the final results with the Epilogue. Thanks again to everyone who reviewed!