By: Shania Nowhere
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or any of its wonderful characters, especially the clever kitty, Crookshanks. This story was written for the fanfic100 challenge about the character Crookshanks so enjoy and comments are very much appreciated!
Note: Being the main character, Crookshanks will be thinking a lot (cause obviously he can't talk), so anything in italics is his thoughts.
The war was getting intense, many witches and wizards had died fighting Voldemort's oppression and still many more fell everyday. Yet amidst the chaos and insanity, love still managed to thrive in the hearts of the hopeful. It was a gloomy summer in the Black family house, also known to few as the Order of Phoenix headquarters. Many had gathered here to debate what to do in the upcoming battles to defeat the Dark Lord's growing armies but their differing opinions soon turned it into an argument.
"We need to keep our relations with the werewolves secure, I've got a 3rd of the population willing to help us, just give me time!" Lupin insisted, his face showing the stress he was under more than his voice was.
"We have no more time, Remus, a 3rd is nothing compared to the rest that have already joined Voldemort's side and we can't risk losing you! If you go back there, They'll eat you alive, and I mean that literally!" Moody argued in a gruff, aggravated tone.
"He's doing so well, let him try!" Tonks begged, knowing the hours Lupin had devoted to recruiting the werewolves to their cause, "He's worked so hard, don't let his efforts go to waste!"
"We appreciate what he's done so far but I'm afraid we can't wait forever for them to change their minds. The liaison mission is a lost cause, there's no more time and Lupin's skills are needed in the field." McGonagall said sternly, "We lost 3 of our best Aurors last week, there just aren't enough trained magicians left."
"But I…" Lupin tried to come up with a good excuse but the grave looks he got told him nothing would keep him on his mission. With a sigh, he said, "I guess…I have no choice, do I?"
"Please understand, Remus, we need you. It's not that we don't care about them anymore, it's just that…" Mr. Weasley said sympathetically, trailing off as Lupin resigned himself to a chair in silence for the rest of the meeting.
Afterward, Lupin wandered upstairs to the second floor family room, falling into a chair and resting his head on the back cushion limply.
"What am I going to do now? I can't just give up hope for my own kind…" Lupin muttered to himself, staring at the ceiling in dismay. A sudden weight hit his lap and he looked down to see a fluffy mass of orange fur staring up at him with large yellow eyes. Smiling, he pet him gingerly as he said, "Hello, Crookshanks. Life must be a lot easier without any responsibilities or commitments, just lounging around sleeping and eating all day."
It's not as easy as it looks, Wolfy, Crookshanks purred, But I do my best.
Gazing into the distance and absent-mindedly petting the cat, Lupin said, "Just once I'd like to have a voice that isn't ignored merely because no one else understands my desires. The only one who does understand is Tonks but…"
You don't wanna look like a whiny baby in front of your sugarbuns? Crookshanks yawned and curled up on his lap.
"Maybe I'm being childish, wanting to do what I want to do…what I think is right…what do you think I should do, Crookshanks?" Lupin asked.
Well, you should stop talking to cats, that's for sure. Crookshanks thought, swishing his tail idly.
With a sigh, Lupin leaned back again and closed his eyes, muttering, "I don't feel like I'm man enough for anything, not even for…her."
You're too hard on yourself, just swipe at them when they get snippy and bingo: instant control of the situation.
"I sure don't have any right to ask her to marry me, that's for sure." Lupin chuckled softly in a quiet whisper, not wanting to be heard.
Woah, I've heard that word before, it makes people crazy. Crookshanks raised his head and stared at him. Meeting his gaze, Lupin smiled, saying, "You didn't know? We've been seeing each other on a more…intimate level for several months now. It's not exactly the best setting for romance but I suppose love comes at the most unlikely times."
Who wouldn't get turned on by a war? It's absolutely scintillating. Crookshanks purred sarcastically, bathing his face casually.
"I was going to ask her in a couple weeks on the day we first met but…" Lupin's expression saddened and he said, "It's not exactly the best of times to be getting engaged."
I say go for it, you're not getting any younger.
"I'm not even in the position to be supporting her, I can't get a job because no one wants to hire me and I don't have a home. This is my home now, I have nowhere else to turn except the werewolf underground colony and that's not safe anymore. What am I going to do?"
Heck if I know, sounds like you need a gallon of ice cream and a good chick flick. At least that's what Hermione does when Freckles gets on her nerves. Crookshanks purred, flicking Lupin with his tail. The movement seemed to remind him of something and Lupin reached into his pocket, pulling out a delicate gold ring with a single glittering stone in the middle in the shape of a heart. Turning it slowly in his fingers, he said, "This used to be my mother's, it's all I have left of her now and I was going to give it to Tonks when I asked the question. I know it's not much, my family's never been rich so I don't have much to offer her besides my love and devotion. I still don't feel like I deserve her but she loves me despite my affliction, I can't keep pushing her away because I'm too afraid to let her into my heart. I love her so much, it hurts…why can't I be as brave with love as I am with life? Why can't I be more like a normal person…"
"Cause that's what I like about you, you wouldn't want me to lose interest, would you?" A sweet voice broke the silence and Lupin stood bolt upright, sending Crookshanks tumbling indignantly to the floor.
"Tonks, I-I didn't hear you coming!" Lupin stuttered, trying to pocket the ring quickly before she saw it.
Well if you hadn't been sulking in self-pity, you may have noticed her ogling you for the past 30 seconds! I'm out of here before you two start making out, ugh. Crookshanks growled before bounding out of the room past Tonks. Walking in slowly, Tonks said quietly, "So…you were going to ask me something on the 13th?"
"You remember when we met?" Lupin blinked in surprise.
"Of course I do, it was one of the happiest, most embarrassing days of my life!" Tonks giggled, "I was fresh out of Auror school and nervous as heck to be working at the Ministry of Magic for the first time. It was around 2 in the afternoon and I was carrying a stack of books and paper work to my cubicle when I tripped and began to fall down the stairs. Lucky for me, you were there to catch me before I broke my neck!"
"I was there to debate some of the rulings on werewolf regulations and I saw you hauling all that literature by yourself, I was coming up to offer my help when you fell. What kind of man would I be if I just let you fall?" Lupin smiled softly.
"And you did help carry my things, which wasn't necessary but you did it anyway because that's the kind of person you are: always helping people in need or not. That is what I love about you, Remus, your compassion for people no matter who they are or what they are. Nothing will ever change that, not even a war." Tonks said, her eyes sparkling with tears as she edged closer, her heart racing to meet his.
"But I can't even stand up for what I believe is right, how can I ever be the man you need me to be?" Lupin asked with a frown.
"You're every bit the man of my dreams, have faith in yourself and my belief in you…I will always see you as the strongest man that ever lived."
"Nymphadora…I don't deserve you." Lupin whispered.
"Haven't we been through this before?" Tonks smiled as she wrapped her arms around his neck, tiptoeing to kiss him. Cautious at first, he put his arms around her and leaned into the kiss, succumbing to the longing that stirred within him for her.
Ah, young love…well, half young, I guess. At least he's not whining anymore. Crookshanks thought, smirking at them from the doorway.