Perhaps you'll remember
What the days were like in September
When everything seemed green
Oh, how could we have foreseen?
In a rare moment these days, Molly Weasley gets around to doing some knitting. The house is quieter than usual and the clock's nine hands continue to point almost single-mindedly to "moral peril", but with the needles and yarn in her hands, things feel calm, quiet, cool and collected. Just for now she can believe that the war doesn't exist and that the cooling weather is about to lead into a happy season of Christmas holidays.
She knows that if it weren't for Nymphadora Tonks sitting on a chair opposite her, Molly could very well forget all her problems in the world for a few, precious minutes when no one comes to call, when no one comes to say that someone else is dead and the outlook is bleaker. But Molly, ever the mother, does not begrudge those who look to her for comfort because comfort is her primary function. She is not a warrior, a strategic planner of battles, but something more important, perhaps: the moral support.
The younger woman is off her shift and she sits near to the window, her eyes staring out at the moon's full disk with such an obvious wistfulness that Molly feels her heart tighten in her chest.
"Dumbledore's too harsh on him," Tonks says quietly, kneading the hem of her robe. "Going and transforming with those other werewolves, going on their hunts and romps… It's ripping out his soul."
Molly's needles click pleasantly against each other and she thinks of Arthur, her paranoid dear, who has more and more people answering to him these days. They've fallen back to seeking passion to steady their hearts, and Molly can see that Tonks seeks a similar sort of relief from a man who is too deep in his Dantesque journey through Hell to realize it. Unlike Dante, though, there is no one to guide Remus, no Virgil to tell him that he stands separate from the damned, no caretaker to help him up when he falls alone.
"You should see him these days, Molly. He needs me just as much as I need him. His wounds… oh, Molly, he tells me they don't bother him, but I know he's just neglecting himself."
Hunger, yes. Molly doesn't look up from her knitting, but she nods. She's seen the look cross over Remus' face many times in past few months. Hunger for something unattainable, deep and dangerous exhaustion, and just certain alright, damn it all, I'm not going to go through with this anymore; I'm giving this up right now! expressions—all of them had flashed into the werewolf's eyes before being immediately replaced with a blank sort of resigned nothingness that was worse than anything else.
"I heard him talking to Dumbledore the other day. He thinks… Oh, Molly, he's had to kill people to gain their trust. You should have heard his voice. He was begging Dumbledore, begging him to believe that he was still a good person. Dumbledore was trying to reassure him, but it really wasn't Dumbledore he was trying to convince. Remus is convinced he's dangerous and worthless. It's all in his head, and no matter what Dumbledore says, he believes he's just like the other werewolves. It's killing him, Molly. It's killing him from the inside out."
Molly remembers what it was like to be in love. At that time, the Weasleys were still accepted in some of the pure-blood circles, and Arthur had been a bright albeit slightly strange boy who made her laugh and sincerely liked her sweaters. Their romance had been sweet, a little risqué as they grew older, and she had always been told by her friends that she was so lucky to have someone like Arthur who loved her so truly.
But Arthur, she guesses, isn't crippled in the same way Remus is. He is crippled by his love for muggles, yes, but Remus has been effectively crippled by society, by law, by life. Remus is younger than Arthur in years, but he acts as if he is hundred and five; he is always the one to mediate arguments in the Order, always ready to be the whipping boy.
It hurts Molly somewhere so deep inside of her to know that every smile she's ever seen on Remus Lupin's face is another façade. All part of a mask, an intricate act, a shield against the world that would take any opportunity to hurt him and toss him out on the street—and yet Remus keeps up the act even as he screams inside, even in these dark days when the refusal to believe he can be just like everyone else is killing him.
"I don't…" Tonks sobs, quietly, just slightly, "I just don't think I could stand myself if he dies, too."
Molly sets aside her knitting and reaches over to hold Tonks. Molly understands that love can be a bumpy ride; she understands the way that war makes people need other people to be by their side. That's why she could never be angry at Tonks for disturbing her knitting moments. Molly is a mother and she understands when people need her to care about them.
"But—oh, Molly!—I think he wants to die. Somewhere deep inside of him, he thinks it would be better. What can I do to help him when he won't listen?"
And Molly gives her a bit of advice, advice she knows will probably not help because she is a mother and cannot stop the strategies from being planned, the battles from being fought. Mothers are powerless creatures in war.
"Stay by him, dear. Don't let him alone for too long… He needs to know someone is there for him no matter what."
Because, it seems, in war, no one cares at all.
2005 August 8