Same story, fewer mistakes (hopefully)

Like everyone, I too was saddened deeply by the death of our beloved Remus and Tonks Lupin. However, may I also point out a very small bit of a theory I have?

This takes place… before Remus and Tonks get together… the whole Remus avoiding Tonks era… mostly told from POVs of Molly and Arthur, but hang in there!

And, as we all know… I do not own HP.

Molly Weasley stood in front of the sink, peeling potatoes and looking out the window at the garden, hidden by fog and mists.

It was funny how things had worked out between the older woman and the young auror who had just sat at the table not ten minutes ago. On their first introduction they had looked at each other and immediately judged. Molly thought her young and rebellious, (never mind that she had a son with a fang earring and long hair) and Tonks had found Molly too nosy and motherly, (never mind her own mum was that way).

Their friendship had occurred by complete accident, a random act of fate. When Remus had been given his mission he had left a small box of personal belongings at Grimmald. Not knowing it was his, Tonks rifled through it and found a stack of letters, from the Arthur and Molly to Remus. When confronted, Molly admitted that her and Arthur were probably the only people (besides Dumbledore) who had attempted to keep in touch with Remus after the first war.

When James and Sirius and Lily and Peter and everyone in Remus' world had disappeared, they alone had tried to contact him. Where he was, they didn't know. But every now and again, they would send a letter, telling him how things were and offering encouragement.

He never replied.

Somehow, that piece of knowledge had turned the tides. Molly wasn't just a bothersome woman with a bad taste in music and a generation gap away from being any kind of 'trendy.' She and Tonks shared one thing in common.

They both cared about Remus Lupin. And, (in obviously different degrees) they both loved him.

So, in the days when Remus had disappeared underground, Tonks would somehow find herself in Molly's kitchen. And, on occasion, Molly would sometimes appear in Tonks' tiny flat above Pokes and Pawn's Potion's shop. There, tea would be exchanged, with hushed words of encouragement, mingled with tears.

Molly sighed. She peeled another slice off the potatoes. Tonks had refused to come to Christmas. Somehow she had picked up on the fact that Remus would be coming, even when Molly had omitted that factor.

The family clock, propped up behind a bowl of pea pods, made a slight clicking sound as Arthur's hand swung around to the HOME. Looking up, Molly could see him fainting moving about in the shadows.

The clock clicked again, and Arthur's hand swung back to MORTAL PERIL. Shakily, Molly reached out and placed the clock face down. She remembered Tonks lined and worried face when Remus had gone underground the first time.

"We can't take much more of this." She whispered.

Arthur was counting his blessings.

After all, it was Christmas. That was what one was supposed to do, was it not?

The last of the children had trooped up the stairs and off to bed. Bill and Charlie too had bedded down, though he could hear their muffled voices through the wall in the next room.

He let out a small sigh of relief. His family and many of his close friends were here, together. There were protection spells all over the house. For one night, everyone would be safe.

Well… except Remus Lupin.

"Remus, you look like you could use more meat on your bones. Come into the kitchen for another eggnog."

The words of the invitation were light, but the tone spoke of a woman determined to have her way. Arthur knew the tone. His children knew the tone. Surely Remus would not be foolish enough to-

"Thank you, but I'm actually quite all right-"

Immediately the tigress came out. Her eyes narrowed and Arthur actually saw her bare her teeth for a moment. Remus' expression looked wary.

"I said, come to the kitchen." She ground out. "Now."

Minutes later, they were seated around the table. Instead of eggnog, Molly was pouring cups of hot chocolate. Although he didn't normally drink it, Arthur also held out his cup. He would need energy for whatever was going to happen.

Despite himself, Arthur could help but smile behind his steamy mug. She meant well. She really did. But did Molly realize what a firecracker she was sometimes?

Remus looked knackered. His cup was full, but he sat with his hands on his lap and his head bowed as if raising it would just be too much effort. The werewolf packs had left him with a lean and hungry look about him, a hunger that ran deeper food. Arthur was willing to bet that he was struggling to hold onto the ties of his very humanity.

A humanity that (perhaps) included a relationship with a certain auror who was, (no doubt) having a most miserable Holiday…?

The liquid had barely settled in Molly's cup before she began.

"So Harry told you about Tonk's patronus."

Remus lifted his head, his expression unreadable. "Yes."

Apparently that answer wasn't good enough. "You said it was an emotional upheaval was what caused it to change." Molly persisted.

"I said…" Remus seemed to wake up a little. He straightened his shoulders. "I said that sometimes it can be… although I know that all the aurors have been pushed overboard, doing double and even triple shifts-"

"It's not the shifts Remus, and you know it!" Molly snapped. "Remus, that poor girl-"

Arthur tried to place a hand over hers, but she shoved it away and continued, "She's killing herself! You're killing yourself! Tonks' patronus is-"

"It's not a chameleon is it?" Remus interrupted.

The tone in which he said it made Molly pause in her rave. Remus had the expression of a man who expected the worst.

"I don't think that's what it used to be." Arthur admitted, sending a warning look at his wife. "However I must admit that would be a perfect match for her. As I recall it was a platypus. Now as Molly said, her patronus changed-"

"To a wolf. Yes… I know," said Remus heavily. "I know."

The kitchen went silent. Remus was now cradling his face in his hands. His shoulders shook erratically every few moments, as though he was shivering. The older couple stared at him, wanting to comfort him, and at the same time not knowing how.

Suddenly a face popped up in the fireplace. Everyone jumped, and Molly let out a small squeak. The knarred face made a swell of panic rise up in Arthur's throat.

"Mad-eye!" He knelt by the hearth. "What's happened?!"

Moody appraised them. "Constant vigilance! Nothing that I know of yet. I was checking to see if Remus had sent his report to Dumbledore…" he gruffly cleared his throat. "And to wish you all Happy Christmas."

They all let out sighs of relief.

"Honestly Mad-eye, you scared us half to death." Placing a hand on her chest, Molly sat back down into the chair.

"Sorry, 'knew you'd be awake and on shift. Death eaters don't take holidays."

Arthur wished he hadn't said that. Especially right after he'd begun to feel safe…

"I'd forgotten all about the report." Remus said, settling back into his seat beside Molly. "I'll make sure he gets it."

They said their greetings and Moody vanished. Somehow the mood had been broken. Arthur drifted lazily off to bed while Molly rinsed their cups in the sink.

"Are you sure there isn't anything else you need dear?" She asked, almost timidly as Remus brought his cup, hardly touched, to be washed.

"No thank you. I think I'll step outside a moment and send the message. Dumbledore won't mind it being a bit late."

Even as he said the words, Remus slipped out the front door and into the yard. Molly frowned, belittling herself. Who was she to scold him after he'd had such a horrible month? And on Christmas day!

Shaking her head at her own foolishness, she crossed the room to place the pieces back on their shelf.

The window to the side of the house was open, letting a freezing breeze into the stifling hot kitchen. She flicked her wand to shut it, glancing outside casually…

…and gasped.

Remus had conjured his patronus. In the past, she had always thought it fitting that his patronus form was a Canadian Goose. James and Sirius had teased Remus, but Lily had said that it was perfect for him… because it was loyal and handsome… and proud. Molly had agreed with her.

Still, that was not the shape protruding from the end of his wand. The form wriggling and spewed out, crawling on it's reptilian legs, before circling back to touch it's master's fingertips.

A chameleon. Molly gripped her wand, her heart in her throat.

The patronus turned and fled into the night, the snow reflecting it's silvery form and making it glow all the more. Remus stood, erect, watching it fade. His face was tired, lined and sad.

Everyone had made the mistake of thinking Tonks was the only one who had suffered through this emotionally. But it's not true that there are people who do not grieve. They just do it... a little more quietly.


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