Story Title: Human Voices
Story Summary: "It is not that war creates monsters, it is that war brings out the monsters that are already hidden inside." Hallucinations. Inner voices. Lots of black coffee. Some wars need a different kind of weapon. Remus/Hermione
Foreword: If the first couple of chapters look familiar, you've probably read the "Coffee Spoons" One-Shots. Somehow, what were intended as a series of stand-alones all started to fit together, so I've decided to post them as a collection along with a couple of other viewpoints that can also stand alone (five altogether). The overall series is Remus/Hermione, although individual stories may or may not focus on that romance.
Chapter Summary: Some wars are fought in restaurants with a cup of black coffee.
Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to J.K. Rowlings.
Warning: Rated R for language and violence.
For I have known them all already, known them all:
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.
-T.S. Eliot, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"
He drinks his coffee black. Today, it's in a muggle café in a sketchy part of old London, people running past the window, heads down, hurrying, hurrying away. Three years today. All of these scurrying people have no idea. There, where that woman is chatting on her cell phone, there Tonks fell to her knees, screaming until her throat was raw. The drunk with the gouged cheek is lying where Shacklebolt exploded like a giant firecracker.
Once, in a different lifetime, he took cream and two sugars with his coffee. In that life, he celebrated Christmas and made airplane noises for a baby with emerald eyes.
Three years. His hand shakes as he lifts the cup to his lips. The tremors are permanent. He was lucky, they said, that he could still feel his hands. Luck, as he knows all too well, has nothing to do with it.
It is not that war creates monsters, it is that war brings out the monsters that are already hidden inside. He knows something of hidden monsters himself. That, more than luck, more than fate, more than fucking manifest destiny, is why he has survived. His monster isn't ready to die yet.
He would have never gotten to know her without the war. She was so young, a friend of his ward, glowing with an energy he had long since lost. She promised him warmth and excitement. He promised her whatever was left of his heart.
Black coffee is the color of her eyes in passion. He has no pictures of her, no other way to hold on to her memory. While he is drinking his coffee he can remember her laughter, her all-embracing love. He can forget the image of her jumping, then falling, in front of him, her eyes as wide and blank as a china doll's.
When the cup is finished, he lays down a tip and quietly leaves. He turns, one last look at the place where his world ended. 'No fear darling,' he whispers. 'I promised that I would live and I always keeps my promises.'
A man walks into a restaurant and seats himself at a small table by the window. He drinks his coffee black.