Prompts: A knitted jumper. I've put Remus in one of his old ones and not the one Molly has just given him at the Burrow.

Summary: Christmas during HBP. After the Burrow, against his better judgment, Remus goes to Tonks' flat.

Author's Notes: Written for the 2006 Christmas Moon Fic Advent at MetamorFicMoon Livejournal, where it won several awards, including best angst and best achievement in a new style. Thanks, MetamorFicMoon! J For this fic, I decided to play with first person present tense and train of thought from Remus' point of view. It's a dialogue he's having with himself, hence the italics.


Protections unchanged. Calling her name, no answer. Perhaps gone to her parents' after all. The silence

except for the pounding heart

is too much. Turn around and go home.

Breathe.

But home …

Shouldn't be here. Shouldn't be here. Shouldn't shouldn't shouldn't shouldn't …

A series of well-intended shouldn'ts have led me to this: snooping in my girlfriend's

Ex.

flat when she's not here and

hoping she'll –

The bookshelves, all the books I left in her care. Some piled on the windowsill, my oldest and favorites, dog-eared to mark her stopping places, perfectly stacked –

I never thought she'd want to –

Clock ticks. Her place is neat, tidied up. It's as if she –

Does she expect …?

Lurking at the window, expecting hoping longing to see her bounding toward the door, the whip of her robes cracking the air, pink hair lollipop flaming against the snow, snowflakes turning to water on her raspberried lips, thundering up the stairs, tumbling cold and trembling into my arms with salt tears and nutmeg tongue –

Stop.

The kitchen. Spotless. No dishes in the sink. Colored tin canisters of spices I bought lined up like soldiers on the counter, her dad's favorite friendly and exotic persimmon tea that spoiled me for all else, cast iron pan broken and unbroken for our efforts, jug that held maple syrup for the pancakes that first morning with Sirius –

Stop it. Breathe.

Home.

No.

Wavering helplessly in the living room, no tree this year, no hover-above-the-rug dancing smile against smile, no Christmas wishes as wild and hopeful as we dared make them in our eggnogged stupidity, yet the enchanted ceiling still draped with the security blanket of stars that she takes with her wherever she goes, to open up a sky and give her room to –

Breathe.

Home.

No. Stop it.

Home.

Leave now.

Wait. The bathroom, and would she just step through that door right now, with her bubblebath skin and no-longer-mysterious scents and clutch me, keep me, shuddering and sighing and laughing and crying and kissing me kissing me kissing –

Breathe.

Home.

Leave her.

No.

Leave.

Wait. Bed neatly made. Echoes of countless precious stolen naps spooned together like children or animals, fairy tale sleeptalking, morning unfocused innocent eyes as her wish became my command over and over again, sheets tangled and damp and in the way, that particular delicious inhalation of musky sweaty –

Stop it stop it stop it stop it –

Bit of green peeking from under the covers.

What?

That's –

It's my –

Knitted.

Go.

Jumper.

Turn around.

My favorite, ancient, moth-eaten, shapeless, I left it here for safe keeping, her demand, my favorite, hers –

Go now.

No. No. It's under the covers, tucked in, rumpled, and does it –

– smell like her?

Does it –

Breathe.

Breathe.

… breathe …

… … … breathe … … …

… yes …

Fists grasp. Heart stops.

Stop.

More.

Leave.

More.

Can't. You're –

I know I know I know –

And she –

I know.

Then take it. Take it.

Shouldn't.

Take it.

This old blue one I'm wearing, been wearing for three days, she'd want it, wouldn't she want it, I'll leave it –

Take the green one, take her scent, take her –

I need to –

Breathe.

Folding the blue one neatly on her pillow. She'll cry, she'll wish, it's cruel –

She's gone, she doesn't want, don't flatter –

Shut up.

A quill and parchment. Meager. Nevertheless:

Merry Christmas.

– R. xxx

Stumbling into the street, inhaling the wrist of the knitted green jumper I'm wearing – mine, hers –

Stop it.

Breathe.

Come home.

No.


A/N: For those of you who are following my other ongoing fics, A Star Danced and Friend or Foe, I am indeed working on those. The holidays have been rather busy! ;)

Anyone who reviews gets to come home before Remus leaves and talk some sense into that stubborn man.