'It takes a minute to have a crush on someone, an hour to like someone and a day to love someone – but it takes a lifetime to forget someone.' Anonymous
'Love starts with a smile, develops with a kiss and ends with a tear.' Anonymous.
The Gallery of Heroes in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was cold and dark when I stepped into it. The walls were lined with the heroes of the second war against Voldermort.
I paused at one beautifully crafted painting depicting the Great Harry Potter in final battle with the Dark Lord. I recognised the figures of Hermione Granger and Ronald Weasley at their friend's side but my eyes were drawn to others. The wolf beside the women with the changing hair.
Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks, one of the many love stories of the second war. It runs the same as the others; one woman, one man find solace in the arms of the other while war wages around them. But their tale is different, it has a twist.
I pull my eyes away with great effort and continue down the gallery. The portraits around me are deep in slumber but I know each by name. There is Albus Dumbledore the best headmaster this school has ever had. A little further is Hermione and Draco Malfoy draped in each other's arms, the knight and his lady. Opposite them are the fallen heroes Ron Weasley and Neville Longbottom who stood bravely to the end. At the head of the gallery is the Boy-Who-Lived with his love Ginny. He looks so much like his father and his wife puts many in mind of Lily Potter. I don't need to see these paintings. I just need to pass Dumbledore to find the ones that so captivate me.
One shows a man with long black hair falling around his face that is pale and waxy but still handsome.
"Sirius," I whisper resisting the urge to reach out to him because I know he is not there. His portrait is just that, a portrait still and unmoving.
The next along shows a tall man no older than thirty-five but already his hair is shot through with grey. He is the most beautiful creature I have ever laid eyes on. His face though lined is handsome, his jaw strong. His eyes are closed but I know if they open they will be striking amber. Silhouetted in the full moon rising behind him is a fountain, the centrepiece being a nymph.
Yet he is dead, along with all the people in this gallery. Dead for more than a hundred years.
Remus Lupin is finally free from his curse of the wolf. He no longer has to face the agony of transforming into a werewolf and the fear of hurting the ones he loved. But he was gifted for as much as he was cursed. Being that werewolf allowed him to save so many lives, gave him strength even find love.
It seemed that he and Tonks were destined for she was also gifted with the ability to change her appearance at will. One of the rare true Metamorphmagi, the magic in her very blood. But she was also cursed by this blood, the reason why her kind were so rare. She was immortal, still is.
I felt my pink hair lengthen and darken to straight glossy black that befits my heritage as a member of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black.
"Wotcher Remus," I whispered in my true form. The one I married you in.
I remember when you proposed that night so long ago. I had kept my secret until that day.
"Nymphadora?" Remus said. I grimaced at my name. I mean what kind of loony mother expects me to keep the name 'Nymphadora'. Remus and I were sitting in the kitchen of No 12 Grimmauld Place.
"Nymphadora, I have a question I want to ask."
I suddenly became very aware that the house was completely silent. We were utterly alone. Don't get me wrong I love being alone with Remus but I still haven't told him the 'deep, dark secret', I suppose I'm scared.
"Remus, I have…" I began but he cut straight across me.
"No don't. I need to ask you this before I bottle it."
From a pocket of his shabby robes he drew out a ring box and snapped it open to reveal an engagement ring with a diamond at the centre surrounded by an emerald, a sapphire and a ruby. I don't know how the hell he could afford it. Part of me was screaming yes, Yes, YES! And the other was filled with dread. I jumped out of my seat and started backing away down the hall.
"Nymph?" Remus inquired stepping after me. "What's wrong?"
I fell backwards over the table. For a second I stared up at him before apparrating away to outside my door. I burst into my room, slammed and locked the door. Then I just sat down and cried as I heard Remus stumble up the stairs.
"Nymphadora!" Remus shouted, banging on the door. "I don't understand. I thought you loved me. Nymph open the door, we need to talk about this."
"I don't deserve you," I sobbed.
"What!" the brown haired wizard stopped pounding.
"I lied to you," I cried, tears streaming down my face. I heard a pop. Remus had tried to apparate into the room but being the Auror that I am, I had put a ward up to stop that. I heard a second pop as he came back.
"I don't care. I love you," Lupin continued.
"Don't say that," I shouted.
"But its true. Don't you love me?"
"Yes, of course I do but I can't do this."
"Because my kind aren't meant to fall in love."
"What do you mean 'my kind'?"
"Metamorphmagi. This wasn't meant to happen."
"I accepted it, I even looked forward to it."
"I don't understand."
"But then you came and I realised what it meant."
"What what meant?"
"That I'd watch everything that meant something grow old, crumble and fall. But I suppose that's the draw back."
"Of what?" Remus said more calmly than before.
"The price of never growing old."
There was silence. Nothing could be heard except the howl of the wind outside.
"I'm sorry," I wailed edging closer to the door and laying my hand on its wood. "I am so, so sorry." There was nothing. "Say something. Please," I pleaded.
"I don't care," I heard Remus croak. "You are everything to me Nymphadora. Please don't leave me."
I put my forehead against the door, my heart being torn between spending a lifetime with you and the inevitable pain of watching you welcome death's old embrace.
"It is better to have loved and lost," I heard his voice croak. "Than never to have loved at all."
Slowly I stood and pulled back the latch.
I gaze up at you in the gloom. The day we married was the happiest day of my life. And it always will be.
At the Last Battle we stood together and we survived together. Amid the carnage, the blood, the death you were there, my wolf, you were there. We saved each other.
Everyday with you my love grew stronger. I didn't care about the looks we received as we walked hand in hand through London. The ageing man with the snowy hair kissing the young woman. You didn't care that I liked to look young. I remember you saying I always looked perfect, no matter my hair colour.
And then you were gone.
At your funeral I felt eyes watching me as I stood with black hair and pale skin, so much like my long dead cousin. I heard their whispers of age difference but they would never know. They tried, Harry, Hermione even Draco but they could never have understood what it was like to be broken in two. To face eternity alone. I closed my eyes. I wanted to die.
But then I felt it. The wind gently caressing my hair the way your fingers used to. In the sun's rays I felt your warmth. Everywhere I looked I felt you presence, like magic. We are eternal, you and I.
I glanced around at the gallery taking in the faces of the friends that I saw grow old. I remember standing at the their funerals, every last one. I have watched and protected their bloodlines, my last gift to them. The dynasties of Potter, Weasley, Malfoy and Lovegood have grown strong. In them I see the face of their ancestors. In them I see good. Another name I hear so often is that of Lupin. The line that began with us, Remus.
Through our descendants our names, our voices are echoed in the halls of time, never to be forgotten. This is what I'm proud of; this is what we fought for. The future.
I gazed at your peaceful face remembering that it was that face I woke up to everyday. For you I still fight. Though I am dead to most of the world I am always there to make sure no one has the chance to grow as powerful as Voldermort once did. I am ashamed of some of the things I have done but all my actions have been for the greater good.
"I used to be afraid of eternity," I whispered to your sleeping image. "But now the only thing I fear is forgetting." I stretched out my hand and touched your face. I felt a tear begin to trickle down my cheek. "I don't want to forget."
You begin to stir and I quickly withdrew my hand, barely breathing. You settle as I stare captivated. The sound of the clock broke the spell.
"See you soon my love."
I swept out of the gallery. A silent Luna Lovegood nodded to me as I hurried past.
The school was silent as I clattered into the entrance hall tripping over a step as I went. I paused as I reached the statue that now graced its centre. It showed the Order of the Phoenix in life size sculpture of flawless marble.
Harry stood flanked by his best friends wands raised, Hermione's curls tumbling around her like a lion's mane. Behind them, slightly higher stood Dumbledore his eyes sparkling. The other members stood round facing different directions. There was Remus and I sitting on a rock. I stepped closer taking in Remus' chiselled features, the lines and planes perfect.
Hesitantly I kissed his stone cold lips, hoping that somehow it would be him. Nothing changed. He remained the perfect statue.
Movement caught my eye. Above me stood a boy with straight black hair. The light from his wand illuminated me in my true form. But I did not panic. Instead I smiled impishly and winked at him before pulling the entrance doors open and disappearing into the night.
The Gallery of Heroes in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was cold and dark as the Head Boy stepped into it.
He marched determinedly, confident on where he was going. He stopped at the portrait he knew well. After all, the second portrait hung in his family home. Both portraits were that of his namesake Remus Lupin.
Remus smiled to himself. It had not bee the first time he had met Nymphadora. Whenever he was in any trouble she was always there to save him. In first year he had strayed into the Forbidden Forest and she had appeared, fixing his broken wrist and guiding back to the castle. She did not mention her name but he knew it was her. Members of his family often saw her, along with the Malfoys, Potters and Weasleys. She was their Black Guardian Angel.
With a last glance around Remus Lupin returned to Patrolling, dropping his wand and tripping over the step.
Do not stand on my grave and weep I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow I am the diamond glints on snow I am the sunlight on the ripened grain I am the gentle autumn's rain
When you awaken in the morning hush I am the swift uplifting rush Of quiet birds in circled flight I am the soft starshine at night
Do not stand at my grave and cry I am not there. I did not die."
By Robert Hepburn
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