Rating of PG
I do not own the characters, JKR does. I simply borrow them.
Remus and John Lupin play a game of hide and seek with the moon.
John wipes the tears that are welling in his eyes away hastily. He looks down, with an overly wide smile plastered on his lips, at his young son that is holding onto his index finger with his entire hand.
"Where are we going?" The five-year-old inquires, looking up at him with soft eyes and a lopsided smile.
He nearly bursts into fresh tears at the sight. Luckily, John catches himself quickly and comes up with a satisfactory excuse for a five-year-old child.
"To play a game. We're going to play a game." John's voice is all forced cheerfulness.
The little boy beams and clutches at his had clumsily.
"What kind of game?" Remus asks shyly as they near a bright yellow shed.
The newly built structure strikes John as horribly ironic to be such a sunny color for the purpose it would now serve.
"Hide and seek." His lower lip trembles as he answers. John unlocks the heavily guarded door.
Remus is almost beside himself with joy as he follows his father into the dark shed.
"Really," he reassures, slipping the snug sweater off of his son.
Remus shivers and hugs himself tightly, thin arms wrapping around his body. Burning amber orbs—
They should be green
—observe him. A frown creases Remus' brow.
"What's wrong?" John asks, hoping that Remus hasn't figured out the reality behind this game of hide and seek.
The little boy's answer surprises him.
"Why are you still here, silly?"
John startles and blinks twice. Remus laughs quietly, almost as if it is a private sound that only he and John were meant to hear.
He knows, John thinks, looking at his only child with deep eyes that hide his sorrow. He knows and he wants to keep it from the moon. It'll be the only thing he has left to hide from the moon after tonight.
Remus laughs again and smiles, arms still wrapped around his tiny body as he tries to ward off the biting cold.
"I'm it! You gotta go hide!"
For about the umpteenth time, the tears threaten to fall.
"Yeah. Yeah I do," John whispers with a false laugh backing his words. "Of course I do. Silly me…What was I thinking?"
Remus shivers and shrugs. A minute passes and John hasn't left yet.
John cuts him off by dropping to his knees in front of Remus, pulling him into a deep embrace and kissing his forehead. With a silent prayer in his heart, although John Lupin had never stepped foot inside of a church, he turns to leave without a single glance at Remus for in fear that he would not be able to turn away again.
He hadn't been in a church for the wedding he had shared with Ana, nor the funeral that he had not shared with her.
The door opens and he's on the other side, fumbling with his wand with shaking hands. The first locking charm barely passes his lips when Remus speaks from inside the shed.
John yanks the door back open, glad for an excuse to do something with his shaking hands. The tears finally fall at the look of pure child like innocence on Remus' face.
"Is this gonna be fun?"
It's then that John feels like screaming.
"Yeah. Yeah, lots of fun. I promise," John whispers. His voice breaks on the word promise and he has to restrain from kicking himself for lying.
The sugar coated lie could not be further away from the truth.
"I promise, Remus. I promise to the moo—" He breaks off. The old saying that only the two of them shared struggles to get past his lips, but he holds it at bay.
"Do you promise to the moon, Daddy?"
John nearly chokes. "I do."
Remus looks extremely pleased with himself. He's almost there, just one more syllable left to utter before the locking charms are secure, all six of them.
This time, John can't answer and instead settles for staring at the door. He sees it, but not really.
"What should I count to?"
"Count to," he has to take a deep, shuddering breath. "Count to ten, Remus."
Remus sits down on the plywood floor, covering his eyes with his hands and peeking out of the cracks his fingers make.
He starts to count.
John sobs in full, clutching at the stuffed tiger that Remus will not, no matter what, let him wash.
Remus wonders why it's suddenly so cold and hears his teeth chatter inside of his skull.
His eyes glow like molten, amber gold in the darkness.
Somewhere in the distance, a dog howls.
Suddenly, he cannot control the violent trembling that is shaking his body.
Something in his chest tightens and he cries out involuntarily.
Inside the shed, Remus stutters out another number. Outside the shed, John screams at the orb that's starting its painfully slow trek up into the velvet heavens.
His teeth sharpen and pierce his lower lip. Blood trickles down his chin.
He's screaming for his friends and he has no idea why. The only friends that he has ever had are within the world of fiction.
The moon reaches its highpoint, and suddenly, it isn't fun anymore.