A/N: This story was originally entitled "Remus's Valentine," and posted for me on 2/14/05 by my wonderful beta and cousin akaStrobe (since I didn't have an account at the time, and I wanted it posted on Valentine's Day).

When I wrote this, two years ago, it was more or less canon. Now ... I was very happy about the developments in Half Blood Prince, being a die-hard Remus/Tonks shipper, but I still think this is cute. Call it AU.

Many thanks to Maraie-Poesa and Icy Essence for their reviews! I hope you guys find this version a little smoother.

Warning: this is a first fic, so don't expect a literary classic or anything.


A Werewolf's Valentine

7th year boys' dormitory

Hogwarts

14 February, 1977

Remus Lupin lay on his bed in the dormitory, staring listlessly at the top of the canopy. Such a miserable holiday, Valentine's Day. Oh sure, it was fine for lucky blokes like James who had finally won the girl of their dreams; or Sirius, who could make girls swoon by just looking at them - well, it was all well and good for anybody, really.

Anybody who wasn't cursed with being a werewolf.

It was far too dangerous emotionally to let himself get attached to a girl. Eventually she would have to be told what he was, and then of course she would fear and shun him. It just wouldn't be fair to either of them. And so, he had made a very important decision several years back.

He had only ever had one girlfriend. She was a Ravenclaw in his year, a very bright girl who was his study partner for awhile. They were still very young (only fourth years, after all!), so it took them months to realize and then admit that they liked each other.

The rest of that year was wonderful. They went everywhere together – which was mostly just Hogsmeade and the library – and even kissed a few times, of which they were especially proud. It did seem a little odd to Remus to be away from the other Marauders so much, but he never really minded. Everything was fine until just before exams.

They were in the library again, studying for Defense Against the Dark Arts, when it happened. A conversation about Dark creatures inevitably turned to the topic of werewolves. Remus would always remember her exact words.

"I can't think what I'd do if I ever actually ran into one ... I'd be too scared to remember any of this practical stuff. But I suppose all you really have to know is how to kill it."

"They're only dangerous during full moon," Remus had replied, with an awful sinking feeling. "The rest of the time they're normal people. What would you do if you actually knew one?"

The girl thought very deeply for a moment, before answering. "Normal or not, they're still Dark creatures. I don't think I could ever be entirely comfortable around one."

And with that, his heart had shattered.

It had shaken Remus badly to be so forcibly reminded that most people hated werewolves. Shortly after that he had broken up with her, and that was when he made the vow that he carried through the next three years. He would never allow himself to fall in love. It was too painful.

And so Remus Lupin found himself brooding upstairs on Valentine's Day of his seventh year, instead of celebrating like everyone else. Usually the holiday didn't really affect him, but this year he was painfully aware of just how close he had come to breaking his word.

The fact that she liked him very much was quite clear. He wasn't the only one who had noticed it. She was a Hufflepuff, a year younger than him, and one of the nicest and most caring people Remus had ever met. She deserved so much more than a werewolf. So Remus kept her at a distance, and pretended he didn't feel the same way.

And it was one of the hardest things he had ever done.

Sirius Black chose that moment to come barging into the room, effectively disrupting further thought.

"C'mon Moony, don't sulk up here by yourself! It's much too lovely a day for that!"

Remus merely grunted. Sirius took one look at his depressed friend and knew exactly what was wrong.

"Just tell her already. She won't turn you down."

Another grunt.

"Well, if you don't want her, can I have her?"

Remus shot up, scowling.

"You don't get it, Padfoot! Hestia's the kind of girl I can see myself marrying one day. If it weren't for this blasted curse I'd --" He slammed a fist into the pillows in frustration.

Sirius perched on the edge of his own bed and was quiet for a moment.

"I know you're just afraid of what her reaction will be when she finds out," he said at length. "But what if she takes it well? What if she doesn't care, like us? You should at least try..."

"I'm not going to risk it." The werewolf attempted to shake off his gloomy thoughts. "We'll both get over it. I'm probably destined to be an old bachelor anyway."

"You can always be my Valentine, Moony." Sirius broke out in a rakish grin.

Remus rolled his eyes. "Can't you ever live up to your name?"

"Not likely." He winked as he got up and left the room. "Come on down, it's almost time to eat!"

Remus sighed, and reluctantly got up to follow. He'd see Hestia at dinner tonight, and he would simply make the same excuses he always used. She was no different than other girls who had liked him in the past, he told himself. She'd live. Though she might hate Valentine's Day as much as he did for awhile.


Late that night, as the other boys slept, Remus lay awake. For some reason he couldn't get her face out of his mind. She had looked so happy when she saw him coming up to her, and then – Though she bravely hid it, he could tell she took it pretty hard.

He felt awful.

Remus rolled over wearily, but sleep continued to elude him. Again he cursed his lycanthropy, not for the last time.

A thought occurred to him then. He remembered something James had done several times, after especially bad rejections from Lily. They had teased him mercilessly about it, but still, he did get the girl in the end. Of course, James wasn't a werewolf...

Remus sat up and reached for a quill and some parchment, then pulled his bed hangings shut around him. He lit his wand and began to write.

Dear Hestia,

I'm really sorry about what happened tonight. I didn't want to hurt you,

really I didn't. And that's why we can't be together. You see, I'm a

werewolf. I know I don't seem like it, but I am. I was afraid that when

you found out, you'd hate me for that. Most people do. I'm not dangerous,

despite what they say about werewolves. I would never harm anyone.

It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, when I told you that

I didn't care for you. I do. Very much. I wish I could tell you that, but

I don't know how you'd take it now that you know the truth about me.

I think the best thing for you to do is just to forget about me. I will

always care for you, but if telling the truth drives you away then I simply

can't do it. I'm so sorry.

Remus

He signed his name to the letter and folded it carefully. Quietly, he slipped out between the hangings and opened his trunk. The letter was placed at the very bottom, under layers of books and clothing, never to be delivered.


12 Grimmauld Place, London

February, 1996

Hestia Jones gasped for breath as she finally made it into the bedroom, and set the heavy box down with a thud. She sat down on the old creaky bed to regain her breath, smiling wryly at the box. For someone with so few personal possesions, Remus Lupin sure had a lot of books.

Though Sirius had been gone for nearly a year, the Order of the Phoenix was still able to use the House of Black. To everyone's great surprise, Sirius' will had left it to one Nymphadora Tonks. Tonks, of course, couldn't stand the place, so she had made it more or less communal property for the Order. The only official act she had done as owner was to hang bright pink curtains in Sirius' favourite sitting room. He would have liked that, she said.

As the danger of Death Eater attacks increased, the Order decided to permanently station as many members as possible at their Headquarters, mostly for their own protection. Remus was one of those asked to move in, as there was little for him to do outside. They all knew it had to be hard for him to live in the house of his old friend, but he had agreed. And today they were all helping him move in.

Hestia smiled to herself as she began to unpack the books and put them up on the bookshelf. It was no wonder the man was so intelligent, if he had read all of these books. Most of them were long philosophical or metaphysical works that looked rather boring to her.

At the bottom of the box were a few Muggle fantasy and science fiction novels, some of which she had read before. She chuckled at the memory of how unrealistically they had portrayed magic.

The very last book she came across was a tattered old copy of Hogwarts, a History. Thumbing through it she could see that it had been well used, with many dog-eared pages and some scribbled notes from somebody called Prongs. She was about to put it up on the shelf with the others, when a loose piece of parchment slipped down from the center of the book. Curiously, she opened it to the section about the Sorting Hat, and found an old letter.

The letter had obviously been there for a long time, because the parchment had yellowed with age, but was still perfectly smooth. There was no address on the front, and it was not sealed.

To Hestia, that made it fair game.

Burning with curiosity, she opened it, and was startled to see her own name. The letter was dated February 14th of her sixth year.

Dear Hestia,

I'm really sorry about what happened tonight. I didn't want to hurt you,

really I didn't. And that's why we can't be together. You see, I'm a

werewolf...


Remus made his way upstairs with what he hoped was the last box of his things. Strange how one's possessions seemed to multiply when one moved, he mused.

The door to his new room was ajar, so he pushed it open with his shoulder – and found Hestia Jones sitting on the floor, staring off into space with a dazed look on her face and what seemed to be a letter in her hand.

"Is something wrong?" he asked as he set down the box he was carrying.

She jumped a little at the sound of his voice, and shook her head to clear it. "No, no, I'm fine," she replied. She hesitated for a moment, slightly unsure of what to say. "I ... found this in one of the books ..."

She held up the letter, and Remus' throat went dry as he saw the name at the top and realized what it was. "Oh," was all he could manage to say.

Hestia looked thoughtfully at the writing for a moment, suddenly a little shy. "So," she began, "the only reason you said – what you did – that day, was ... all because you were afraid to tell me you were a werewolf?" She looked up at him curiously.

Remus couldn't quite bring himself to meet her eyes. "Yes, that was why."

She carefully folded the letter again, then dropped it into the empty box and slowly stood up. "Funny, isn't it?" she asked with an ironic smile as she turned back to him. "I know now, and I don't care." With a shrug, she went over to the door.

Remus watched her go, not sure of what to do. For some reason, he felt like he was back in seventh year again. He opened his mouth to say something, but stopped himself. He had rejected her once. He had no right.

"But what if she takes it well? What if she doesn't care?"

"I know now, and I don't care."

"Just ask her already. She won't turn you down."

Remus smiled to himself. All right, Padfoot. Here goes.

"Hestia?" She turned back, at the doorway.

"Yes?"

"What are you doing next Tuesday?"

She grinned. Next Tuesday was Valentine's Day.