Title: Dubious Honours
Author: Girl Who Writes
Word Count: 841
Summary: His scars mark him as a hero now and not a pariah, and he is glad for the others but sorry it came to this for them to be recognised.
Author's Note: I think I messed up the perspective and tense, and for that I apologise – normally I'd go back and proof the life out of it, but I have a cold, and a mass of reading to do for class tomorrow. This story was written as part of rtchallenge at livejournal's February Ficathon.
After the war, Remus Lupin took no shame in his scars. No one took shame in their scars.
Ginny Weasley would hold her forearms up and show people the red marks and long, thick white scars from a cutting curse. Luna Lovegood had a false leg that she took great pride in, wearing it like a badge of honour. The Weasley twins had identical scars from their temple and across their noses, courtesy of Bellatrix and a blood curse.
And then there were the long, thick white lines littering peoples' faces and legs, the normality in spinning, magical eyeballs and replacement fingers that froze up in the Charms classroom.
He has a stool in the bathroom, where he sits whilst she takes a bath. She talks about work, and cleaning up the Wizarding world now Voldemort was gone. He washes and combs her hair, pinning it up for her. Her limbs are sore and swollen at night as she leans back in the warm water, looking up at him with that beautiful smile she reserves just for him.
He helps her stand and wraps her in her fluffy dressing gown. There are potions to drive and salves to rub on her swollen and stuff limbs, the memories of her dearest Aunt Narcissa and the Cruciatus curse in every one of her stiff, pain-filled movements.
She can move like the young woman she was in the morning, unmorphed to safe her energy. Her long hair is braided as she makes tea and bounces around the apartment. She's careful to put his tea on his left side, because his right eye was almost ripped away and he has lost all sight in it. But his left eye follows the thick scars that spiral from her collar bone underneath her clothing, and she kisses him and goes off to work. And he reads and drinks tea, and glances at their Orders of Merlin perched on top of a stack of books.
When he told his friends and the children he wasn't a whole man, apologised for the scars that littered his form, he never meant to drag them down with him. He brushes the thick scar tissue near his eye, and leaves the flat in Diagon Alley, leaning heavily on a cane Tonks bought him, with a silver phoenix at the top, as he limps into the narrow street.
He is recognised as he walks the street, but as a war veteran. His scars mark him as a hero now and not a pariah, and he is glad for the others but sorry it came to this for them to be recognised.
Remus is not ashamed of his scars, and he traces Tonks' with his fingers and she laughs. He takes no pleasure in fitting in like this, in the skin that's stretched and stained, marked and rough. In Tonks' stooped, agonized stance in the evening; in Ginny Weasley's nervous tugging at her sleeves to cover her arms. He feels infinite sadness at the way Luna wears her dresses and skirts, and smiles dreamily at the people who call attention to her leg, the way Fleur Delacour-Weasley cups her left cheek to cover Wormtail's brand.
And Tonks' comes home, stiff but smiling, carrying a book he ordered from Knockturn Alley, and take away for dinner, and he sweeps her into his arms and takes care of her war-torn body like she has done for every moon behind them. She reminds him that everything happens for a reason, and if his freedom and acceptance is that reason, she'll never morph again.
He says he's not worth it, and she sighs. He helps her into a chair, pulling off her boots and taking a seat beside her. She shakes her head, her Black hair tumbling down her shoulders and leans against him, her arms around him.
"Why do you think things are going to change now? I love you as madly now as I did when I met you," she starts to smile but falters, her eyes changing colour in her melancholy, and she touches the knot of scars at her collar bone. "If you don't like them, I can morph them away."
He holds her tighter and shakes his head. "Never, Nymphadora."
"Good. I thought we were a matching set now." Her eyes twinkle with humour, and the smile on her face makes him laugh and stroke her cheek.
Remus Lupin is not ashamed of his scars, or her scars, or the scars of his friends. She is beautiful in her humour, her acceptance, her love and in the way she trusts him to look after her like she looks after him.
And too much time I've been spending with my heart in my hands, waiting for time to come and mend it.