this is worse than dying, isn't it? i'm sure of it. because at the end of dying, there's light and happiness and a rainbow over golden gates with people waiting for you who have been waiting for a long time, always loving you. –Win
--Dedicated to Win—
Remus dangled his hand over the rails of the crib, just above the infant's reach.
Teddy made strange gurgling noises as he stretched his chubby arms higher, concentrated on capturing that mysterious thing.
The thing that held him, fed him, changed him, and tickled him.
Remus moved it up and down, offering entertainment for his son, smiling as he watched the boy giggle at the prospect of this fun, new game.
"You're the best thing that's happened to me for a long time," he said in a hushed voice.
It was true.
It had all started falling apart on that cursed Halloween. Before that night, his world had remained relatively untouched, as he was safe behind the illusion of friendship that was created by the Marauders.
He had been tricked by his own eagerness into a false sense of security where nothing could ever happen to him.
The morning after it had all happened, Remus was devastated. He had awoken to these unbelievable whispers, these harsh rumors. He wondered why people would lie like this, why they would tell such cruel tales.
'You-Know-Who was defeated.'
'Yes, only the boy survived.'
Both deaths had been a blow to him, stealing a portion of his soul; the part that knew how to be happy.
"You make me happy," he confided in his only son, "not much can do that anymore."
Of course, rediscovering his friendship with Sirius had made him happy. Yes, not even four years ago he had learned the truth and gained a friend. He had gained the ability to trust again.
Naturally, as Remus had learned, fate had a cruel sense of humor.
The rekindled friendship was dangled before him, much like Remus's hand above Teddy, only to be snatched away. It seemed to have sent a little bit of Remus along with Sirius spinning into oblivion.
Teddy gasped in surprise as he managed to grasp a long, thin finger, and was particularly pleased to find that something shiny encased it.
As the baby began to gnaw on the fascinating wonder, Remus chuckled appreciatively watching the ravenous beast attempt to eat his slightly tarnished wedding ring.
"Yes, that made me quite happy, getting married. I never thought it would happen, to be perfectly honest."
Just like he had never thought betrayal would happen.
Same as he had never thought death would happen.
Remus heaved a sigh, making for a quite disgruntled Ted.
"No, it's not you," Remus said hoarsely, admiring the kid's perception, "I'm just remembering. Your old dad does that a lot, you know."
Teddy continued to poke and prod the banded finger, preoccupied with his exploration.
Remus was hit hard with a realization.
"It's worse than dying, isn't it?"
Teddy raised blue eyebrows, breaking away from his mission for a fraction of a moment.
"Watching everybody else I mean," Remus explained, "it's worse than dying yourself."
"I'm sure of it," Remus decided, "because at the end of dying, there's light and happiness and a rainbow over golden gates with people waiting for you who have been waiting for a long time, always loving you."
Teddy gave a small shriek, almost insisting, "But you have me!"
Remus couldn't look at his son.
"It's awful, wanting that, I know," he told the floor shamefully, "But I can't help but wish they needn't have waited so long, that I was on the other side of those gates."
Remus jumped slightly as he felt thin arms snake around his stomach.
He watched familiar hands form themselves to the shape of his emaciated chest and felt a face nestled into the middle of his shoulder blades.
"You belong on this side of the gates," Dora insisted, her voice muffled in his back.
Remus recovered his hand from the forgotten game of catch and placed both of them apologetically over Dora's.
"I know I do," he admitted, turning to face his wife and trapping her in his reassuring hug.
"I know I do," he muttered again, this time softer and less audible as the secret was lost in her hair.
The small boy let out another shrill chirp at the sudden end of the game.
Both parents snapped their head back to the child where he grinned haphazardly at them, pleased with the returned attention.
"Even Teddy thinks so," Dora let out a watery laugh.
"Well he's right," Remus said, his arms still around the woman, secretly reminding himself that she was really his; that she was really there.
He rested his tired head atop her spiky crown, "I love you."
She nuzzled her head into the space between his shoulder and chin, "I love you too."
A/N: The quote that inspired this was said during a rather intense discussion about death between me and one of my closest friends. I always find she is deeply profound, and often the things she says inspire the author in me.
This was one of those cases.
It's actually ironic, because she's probably the person I've complained to most about not being able to write Remus…and here comes a fic, inspired from her words!
Anyway, I was rather fond of the ending to this…yes it is fluffy but at the same time I thought it tied things together well and has actually been the first fluff I've written that seems so in character for both characters.
If you disagree, think that my friend is brilliant, or by chance happened to like this oneshot REVIEW!!! It isn't that hard and is so deeply appreciated!