Disclaimer: Anything that is in any way affiliated with Harry Potter (I'm talking characters, setting etc.) belongs to JKR. I just like to play with her ideas.

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Nobody said it was easy,

It's such a shame for us to part.

Nobody said it was easy,

No one ever said it would be this hard.

Oh take me back to the start…

- The Scientist, Coldplay

"I'll be seeing you, then," he murmured, almost apologetically.

Harry smiled, hugging him awkwardly, his emerald eyes shining with tears.

"Say – say hi to my parents, for me," he replied, voice wavering as they gripped hands. "And – and Sirius, and Tonks, and Dumbledore… Tell them… tell them I miss them?"

Remus Lupin patted the younger man's shoulder reassuringly. "I'll tell them," he agreed resolutely, before bending down to kiss Ginny's cheek. "You two behave yourselves, then? Harry, I don't care if you're following in James' footsteps, I don't want to hear of any more accidents."

The young Auror gave a dry, emotionless laugh, although Remus couldn't fail to notice Harry's hand clasping Ginny's waist for support.

Ginny gave a short, brisk nod, trying and failing to hide the tremble in her voice. "You know we will," she promised, her voice quiet and uncertain, as if she was still trying to come to grips with this strange situation.

"Promise me one thing," Remus insisted, his golden-flecked eyes compelling the two young people. "Don't grieve for me. This is my decision – and my life, all right? It's not that I don't love you, Harry, Ginny… it's that my family, and friends, and the people I love – well, I can go to them now. And I don't have much to keep me here anymore."

Harry nodded, his throat choked with emotion.

Ginny clasped Remus' hand, responded in a broken whisper, " We'll do our best."

Her kind smile broke Remus' heart.

How could be he so selfish?

Remus looked up, eyes darting toward Ron and Hermione, who stood a few feet away, giving the newly weds and Remus a little bit of privacy.

Upon his look, they came forward, and Hermione threw herself into his arms.

"And you - you take care of yourself," she whispered fiercely into his ear.

Remus smiled. "Of course. And you! You keep this place," he gestured around them proudly, "in tip top condition, young lady. I'll contact you, if I can…. Once I get there."

Hermione nodded shortly, her face carefully blank. He watched her, feeling suddenly old, marveling at how much she'd grown – how much they'd all grown. Remus regarded them all proudly: the next generation, carrying on the good work that the Order had started, all those years before.

They would continue to live, and thrive, and build their lives, and rebuild the world, together. Remus' life lay in the past, a life shattered by too many gravestones. A home with his friends and his love lay just tantalizingly out of his reach. He could move on, now, and leave these young folk. They would be fine without him, now.

He turned to Ron, The redheaded young man eyed him uncertainly, his mouth so twisted that Remus couldn't tell what he was thinking. Not until he spotted Ron's hand, tightly entwined with Hermione's - a dead giveaway to whatever emotions the inscrutable red-head held.

"Minister," he nodded curtly.

Although he would never tell Ron – although he would never be able to find the words – Remus was bursting with pride for the newly appointed Minister of Magic.

The best of them all

Ron rolled his eyes. "Surely – surely we've known each other long enough for you to call me Ron," he complained, gripping Remus' hand with his free one. Ron hesitated before meeting his eyes. "You look after yourself, all right?"

Remus smiled, saluting him. " Yes, sir! Take care – Ron. All of you – Have a good life. I'm so proud. So proud."

Remus bit his lip, blinking his eyes as he attempted to sheath his unshed tears. His gaze traveled slowly from Ginny, to Harry, to Hermione, and Ron, savoring, securing their faces in his memory.

Knowing that it was now or never, Remus Lupin bent down and picked up his old, battered briefcase. Despite Hermione's best efforts, he had refused anything better, saying the bag had always been his faithful companion. He couldn't leave it behind – even if the peeling letters did read R J- up-n now. He tightened his coat against his thin, worn body.

Giving them all one last smile, Remus turned, and regarded his future. The thin, grey material flapped in the invisible breeze, temptingly.

Home, Remus thought. I'm going home.

Resolutely, he took the last few steps alone, before pausing once more, and raising a single hand in farewell. The voices called to him from behind the veil, beckoning, drawing him in…

And with that, and one more step – he was gone.

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A/N: All right:

1. Yes, this was a part of Memento Mori. It was Chapter Two until i decided it didnt fit with the story any more. For those who are curious, there is indeed a brand new Chapter Two up!

2. Yes, this is AU. And yes, I am quite aware that I rarely write AU stories. In my defence, this was thought of long before DH was released, and I love the image it conveys, even if it doesn't fit with canon. The image of Remus walking into the archway with his suitcase is something I feel epitomises the tragedy of death, and I find it very powerful. It's possibly one of the ideas I am most proud of.

3. I am quite aware that Ron isn't minister for magic, and hermione isn't an unspeakable. like i said before: AU!! Also quite aware i neglected to mention Teddy - this was written before DH

4. Please take the time to review. I really appreciate it!

Thank you for reading - Lexie