Disclaimer: Everything Harry Potter related belongs to mightily talented J.K. Rowling and most certainly doesn't belong to me. If it did though, I would have never killed my adored Remus but locked him inside my room for all eternity instead… muahahaha
A/N – I know this had already been done a million times, but this story popped inside my head some days ago and today I have been listening to this one song that just inspired me even more to write the idea down. So, yeah, this is my view on the infamous Lupin/Tonks deaths written mostly in Remus' point of view.
Not so short, yet tragic and slightly fluffy one-shot… And anxious, of course… Where would I be without angst.. I still suck in writing action, though, although they say I'm getting better…
Sniffles… It makes me cry… Why did JKR have to kill my Moony?? She said Lupin and Tonks were killed because she spared Arthur Weasley in OotP book. It's not fair though… I would have survived Arthur, but Remus… cries again
Just to Balance the Stars
Words were my toys.
Ever since I had been a boy I had enjoyed reading, writing. Thus, they called me bookish and artistic, withdrawn and anti-social, a dreamer. In true, I longed for long, intelligent conversations, laughter and an opportunity to express myself. An opportunity for people to see me.
For I have always been unnoticeable, unseen, unimportant. For, even when among friends, I have always felt so invisible.
I was the good boy, silent and smart, well-behaved, with top grades and always the one with the right words to say. And always hiding in the shadows of others because of the sad coincidence I bared no fault for, yet it managed to affect and determine my entire life.
Even though I dreamt of bigger careers, I had always known deep down that staying in Hogwarts to teach would have been my real dream. To toy with terms and expressions, to pass on knowledge packed in an interesting story, to intrigue young minds and affect lives and make impressions.
And become visible, noticeable, memorable. Important and irreplaceable, at least to someone.
And most important, to stay in the only place I had ever considered a true home.
I catch myself reminiscing those times as I sprint through familiar corridors of Hogwarts once again, various spells and curses flashing around me and illuminating the cold darkness.
I wished for loads of things in my days. However, my wishes had been empty ones from the very start.
I was a dangerous, cursed man. Fact.
Dangerous men rarely came into interactions with other people. Fact.
If there were no interactions, there were no words to toy with, there were no witty conversations or heated discussions other than those in my mind. Sad conclusion.
There was no way anyone would get close to a werewolf. Hell, even I wouldn't have come within three feet of myself if I had a choice.
Unfortunately, I didn't.
Still, there were friends. Loyal, trustworthy friends giving up so much for me, understanding me and standing by me even after knowing who I was. Even after being completely aware of the danger I represented. They made me happy, content. They also made me mellow and unwilling to protest or speak my mind because they made me so intoxicated with the feeling of being accepted, cared for, the feeling of my company desirable.
And I had grown weak to reason their tempers, weak to tell them off. If I had lived up to the courage I had been claimed to posses, maybe their fates would have been different.
Because times were difficult, times are difficult, and not even the strongest of friendships could surpass the greatest difficulty of them all that is death.
James, the bravest of us all, always the leader, yet always the first to sober up and get reasonable, had been the first to fall. Laying his life to protect his wife and son, he had opposed the greatest Dark Mage of our times wandless, powerless, yet leaving Harry behind as an eternal memorandum of his persona, making sure the world remembered him just like he had in our school days.
Sirius, cocky and handsome Sirius always so quick-tempered, had lived to end up betrayed by his own wit. His thought to be genius plan to protect his best friend's family backfired and imprisoned his reckless soul for thirteen years. Yet, by escaping Azkaban, he managed what neither before him could, as he always managed to defy all odds. Still, the irony of fates made him, handsome Sirius, the most noticeable of us all and the most impressionable, fall into forgetfulness. To die fighting for his godson, yet his sacrifice living only in the hearts of us witnessing it, for the Veil offered no body for the grieving ones to bury.
And finally, Peter. Poor, untalented little Peter ending his life as miserably as he had lived it. His betrayal had cost him heavily, yet he had managed to find a trace of courage in his cowardly little heart and die while sparing the life of the very person he had betrayed.
This left me. The last of the infamous Marauders and the very secret of our once close friendship.
And I couldn't help but wonder will I be joining my friends anytime soon now.
I had been sent to guide a group towards the castle grounds and try and stop more Death Eaters from entering the castle. However, I fairly doubt we'll be able to reach the front gate. There are too many of them to break through. I catch a glimpse of Neville running close behind me, speeding with the same idea of drawing the murderous bastards away from the Room of Requirement and the younger students that are being evacuated as we speak.
"Neville!" I shout "Lead as many of the group as you can towards the grounds. I'll try to hold them up from your way!"
"But, professor Lupin… I couldn't…"
The boy looked flabbergasted for being given such responsibility. It is funny actually. Regarding the fact that he had been leading the D.A. along with Ginny Weasley and the Lovegood girl for this entire year while Harry was on his own mission, one would think he had become more self-confident. I look into his eyes and behind the fresh scars and matured face and the beginnings of light stubble on his teenage cheeks I can see that same thirteen-year old I had gotten to know, the same shy and insecure boy again whose boggart turned the form of his least favorite teacher.
"I am not your professor anymore." I reply. "Go on, Neville. I know you can do it. You were one of my top students after all." With a gentle smile, I'm satisfied to see determination in his eyes as he turns to gather our little party. I have always believed in the boy, always been fond of him. Always known he was so much more than what others thought of him.
"I won't let you down!" I can hear him yell as they thunder past me and I stop running and focus on returning the force they have been attacking us with.
Looking upon the endless plains of glittering stars was something I used to practice often.
I had always wondered how significant any of us truly were in some galaxy far, far away. I had always wondered would my little light even be missed in such immensity of universe. Still, no matter how hopeless and somber, the idea always seemed somewhat comforting. The idea that absolutely no one, not even the most noticeable ones, mattered among the distant planets. The idea that our lights, both bright and dim, shimmering magically or not, served only to fill up the spaces between the brilliant stars.
The mission ends up being easy, actually. A few well placed jinxes, an occasional handy spell and most of the Death Eaters are either stunned or indisposed. I reckon they were not really some of His best followers and suddenly shudder at the thought of them more vicious, more experienced and much more skilled waiting somewhere further on. I suddenly remember Neville and worry creases my brow as I try not to think of the poor boy running into them.
As I hit the corridors again, my mind drifts towards an old flat near the centre of London and two pairs of deep, expressive eyes, one dark and twinkling, the other hazel and wide, so much like my own.
I have been sitting in the rocking chair for the majority of evening, feeling strangely at peace although a cold and heavy feeling had been twisting and knotting deep in the pit of my stomach for some while. The small bundle of joy by the name Teddy was resting against my chest, his little head in the crook of my neck and his chubby, tiny feet reaching no further than my stomach, one hand supporting his back, his little fist clutching tightly the forefinger of my other hand. I remember I couldn't stop smiling at the sight of him, his previously bright turquoise hair changing into a light brown with a small frown of his tiny sleeping face. I remember imagining 'Dora saying he looked so much like me at the moment and myself laughing a rare genuine laugh only her seemed to manage out of me and say he is most definitely as beautiful as she is.
I would be able to stay like that forever, my son sleeping against my chest, my wife leaning in for a gentle kiss, a broad smile on her face as she commented on how Teddy must somehow find my heartbeat soothing because I seem to be the only one to get him to sleep.
I try to reconstruct the moment and dare to hope the idyll might actually continue, that there would be more such evenings, uninterrupted by the bright silver goat flying towards the large, glass balcony door and bathing the sitting room in iridescent blinding glow.
I try to remember the moment without Teddy's wide eyes squinting and his sleepy little head lifting out of my protection and staring in awe towards the sparkling animal. I try to forget 'Dora rushing to open the door. I try to ignore Aberforth's supposedly angry, yet thoroughly amused voice, echoing over my mother-in-law's home.
"A bloody horde of kids is throttling through my pub and they still have the nerve to order me to send for other Order members. Simply outrageous! But the big battle is apparently about to begin so you might want to hurry, not to miss all the fun."
It's in vain, though. I always knew this day would come. Partially, I am glad. I have hoped for this opportunity to finally stand up for our dream and face the evil once and for all. On the other hand, I just wish I existed in a different time where me and my family could live peacefully and happily because the chances for me never to come back from this final battle are rather large, and although I try not to think about it I am well aware I would be ready to take the hit for any of these brave children if completely necessary.
However, the image of her dark eyes rapidly welling with fresh tears remains burning in my memory and a fire explodes in my chest, finally offering me a reason to survive. Because this time, for the first time since this war lasts, I have something to come back to. I have someone to live for.
It had taken a lot of my will power not to break as I gently handed Teddy to his mother, going for the door the second Aberforth's Patronus dissolved into silver mist. Her eyes spoke volumes, even as her mouth seemed to be at the loss of words. She hadn't expected it so soon as much as I did. But it was my duty, she understood it the best.
"I have to go." I voiced the obvious turning from the sight of tears now falling down her cheeks to fetch my robes.
"I know. We should hurry." She whispers and I spin to face her immediately. Her hold on our son increases as she struggles to keep her voice free of sobs, obviously reluctant to leave him. With a corner of my eye I see Andromeda at the door, her hands gripping the doorframe frantically, her face pale and laced with worry and horror.
The look in my eyes tells her everything. She could always read me so easily.
"No… No, don't even think about it! You are not making me stay behind! I am a part of the Order as much as you are!" her voice is a strained and hushed cry and it takes as much to break me completely. I could never bear to see her cry. Not when she had always been meant for laughter. Only for colors and laughter and light.
"'Dora… 'Dora, please…" I fight with my words. Words I had always put so much trust into did have a tendency to let me down when she was around. Teddy whimpers in her arms sensing the tension in the room.
"No Remus. I might have not been in this war from the very start, but I have a duty as well. A duty as an Auror and a duty towards my beliefs. We both knew this moment would come and we both agreed upon fulfilling our duties."
"I never agreed upon that."
"You never opposed either!"
She always knew how to put me down. As said, my way with words rarely worked with her. As if by some kind of spell, she simply made my mind stop processing coherent information.
"You also have a duty towards your family, Nymphadora…"
"Don't do this, Remus…" her voice is weak and broken and I know I'm aiming low and I'm even addressing her by her full name, but I have to keep her safe by all means.
"…and a duty towards your son, our son. Have you forgotten about that duty?" my voice raises slightly to emphasize the point and my heart breaks at the sight of her eyes red with anger and sorrow and defiance.
"And what about your duty towards Teddy?" her eyes blaze dangerously, full of that same fire I had fallen in love with in the first place. "You would just leave him? Leave me? Leave us both as you had already tried once?"
My heart skips a beat. Does she not understand I am doing this for her, for them? Does she not understand I had not tried to rid them of my painful presence because I don't love her enough, but because I love her too much? Does she not know how much bittersweet happiness had she brought to a man who had never had anything to look forward to?
"You thought I would never know did you now? But I have known. I have known from the start. Ever since I saw fear in your eyes after I told you I was pregnant. And every time you were on a late-night 'Order business' I never knew will I ever be seeing you again."
She lowers her voice to a whisper and for the first time I see how unhappy had my love made her. Hiding behind cheerful smiles and bright colors, she had buried her insecurities and sorrows for only her to see.
Oh, why could I not just love her the way she deserved? Openly and devotedly and without holding back, for she did not deserve my love from the shadows. Why could I not let go of my own insecurities and accept her love?
"But I did come back… 'Dora, I might have considered leaving, but I wouldn't have done it. I couldn't have..."
And I hope she knows it's the truth. And I hope she sees that even though it took a fair amount of harsh insults from Harry, I had finally realized my place is with her, lycanthropy or not.
Her tears had stopped by now and she is that same strong and sassy woman from some years ago, with her flawless, child-like face and bright hair and I see her understand me, accept me without prejudices, like she had from the first time we met.
"Please understand. With you being here, alive and well, while knowing you are alive and well, I have a reason to live. I have a reason to come back. I need you here, being safe…"
The façade finally breaks and a tear slips my composure. I gently brush her damp cheeks and she leans into my touch, soft sobs rocking her body as I take her into my arms. Teddy whimpers again while squeezed gently between our bodies and I reach to stroke his soft hair.
We part and I search her eyes, begging for her to drop the argument. Time is slipping and I am not sure how much more of her tears I can take.
"Please, Nymphadora…" Andromeda steps in and places a hand on her shoulder. "Please my love, stay here with me."
Her head drops as she silently complies, clearly unable to argue anymore. I urge her to look at me and her eyes glitter and twinkle with more unshed tears I can tell she is holding back again.
"Thank you." I whisper before kissing her gently. Than I turn towards my son and kiss his head lovingly. His small hands reach for me, his face spreading in a wide, toothless grin. I manage a smile in return, not completely certain I will ever see him again, yet hoping he will remember me none the less. Hoping he will know how much his father loved him.
I turn and nod towards my mother-in-law who surprises me by enveloping me in a tight hug. I knew she had surpassed the initial displease of her daughter's choice of husband and grew fond of me, but I hadn't expected such expression of emotions from the collected lady.
"Be safe son, and make sure you return to us."
"Thank you Andromeda."
My eyes linger on 'Dora for a while longer, her back now pressed to a nearby wall, her shoulders trembling and tears unable to be stopped any longer with Teddy still squirming in her arms, before I turn once and for all. Another moment longer and I might even consider falling under temptation to ignore the notion and stay safe with my little family even though I know I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I did.
I feel my wand trembling between my fingers as I exit the flat and head out of the building, out of the boundaries of protective charms we had placed over our home. I feel tears hot against the skin of my cheeks as I close my eyes to Apparate to Hogsmeade and place a hand over my heart where the latest photograph of my son lay tucked in a small pocket.
Skipping further through the castle I had run into Antonin Dolohov, one of the oldest and most skilled of them Death Eaters. We have been dueling for some while now, constantly pushing through the crowded corridors while evading spells directed on both sides. His Sectumsempra curse had grazed my left shoulder as I had been slow to evade it due to a sore knee I had gained when a part of wall had collapsed on my right leg some while ago. Aberforth had saved my skin than, stunning another Death Eater that had been sneaking behind my back and I thank him silently. I turn back to my opponent and am pleased he is bearing a similar amount of bruises himself.
However, we soon find ourselves in another crowded hall and I am afraid to aim a jinx at him not to hit some of my allies. Think fast, Moony, what will you do? He is preparing to curse as we speak, not having the conscience of who will it fall upon.
A statue to my left levitates and slams fully into him sending him crashing to a nearby wall. He had lost consciousness and is lying under crumpled stone, blood flowing from a deep gash on his temple.
I do not waste time lingering above him, but hurry further to help my brothers in arms.
Time is rushing as the battle stretches on. I have not seen any of my assigned group ever since I passed on my leadership to Neville and I hope they had better luck than me in reaching the grounds. I stopped counting endless corridors and fallen warriors on both sides and long ago given up in searching the meaning in the paths I have taken around the castle. My feet had taken control and I had been running aimlessly, only following the paths of destruction and rushing in to help wherever my help was necessary.
I have them three against me now.
I have jumped in when I saw them aiming on the tiny figure of little Colin Creevy. The boy must have sneaked in, although underage, and my heart ached as I arrived too late to stop the killing curse aimed straight at his chest. His frail body throttled down the stairs lifelessly, motionlessly, yet in that last moment before the green jet of light had hit him, he sent one of them flying through a nearby window with a wonderfully placed blasting curse.
So I had been dueling them all at once, determined not to allow the boy's sacrifice be in vain, retreating away from the moving staircases and studying my environment in search for something, anything I could use to my advantage. I had managed to cast a full body bind spell on one of them and push him down the stairs, but the remaining two are both aiming at me from different sides and in horror I realize I have nowhere to go in order to evade their attacks. I have backed myself to a dead end.
A wand is knocked from the Death Eater's to my left, Avery's, hand and I can see it flying rapidly towards the other. He loses concentration while trying to evade his companion's flying weapon and it's all the distraction I need. However, my heart is throbbing wildly against my ribcage as I recognize the voice and lift my eyes to see 'Dora running towards me.
"Are you alright?"
"What are you doing here!?"
Our frantic shouts come out at the same time and we simultaneously hurl two stunners slamming both of my opponents to the wall.
"I could not stand not knowing. I had to come, Remus, I had to…"
Her eyes were begging me to understand, not to judge.
As a mother she felt miserable for leaving her young child, no matter how safe he might be with Andromeda.
However, as a warrior, she would not be able to live with herself if she hadn't followed her duty.
And I understood that. It ached deep inside my heart, but I understood it perfectly.
And the next moment we are already in each other's arms, sharing a fierce and passionate kiss. Her fingers linger over my blood-drenched shoulder and I brush some hair from her eyes.
"Let's go." I whisper and she slips her hand in mine and we are off running again.
With her watching my back I suddenly feel a little more confident that it might just end well for us, that after this war finally ends we will be able to resume our own dream of peaceful and happy family life and her small hand tightly squeezing mine is all the reassurance I need. All the insurance I need that she is alive and breathing.
We are involved in another fierce duel on the third floor shortly and we back against one another, moving in perfect unison and covering each other as if our minds shared the same thoughts. It is progressing well and we are most definitely winning despite several fresh cuts and bruises we have earned.
However, our victory is short-lived as I catch a glimpse of green flying our way. I quickly pull 'Dora in a small and narrow corridor behind us and press her against the opposite wall, listening the sudden tensed silence. Dolohov had somehow regained his strength and was now standing and waiting for us to exit our cover so he can finish us off.
From my position I have a somewhat clear view of him and I can see there is no way to escape now. The corridor is a dead end, there is no passage to the other side. The only way is to exit right in front of the awaiting Death Eater because collapsed walls and dust are disturbing me from having a clean shot of him from here.
There is no way for both of us to escape.
"Where to now?" she asks in a hoarse whisper and I take a long look of her.
She had always trusted me without hesitation, even before we had gotten to know each other better. I can see that unconditional trust in her eyes again and find it hard to find appropriate words once again.
Words are my toys…
Twinkling in my head as colorful pieces of kaleidoscope. But there are those untranslatable depths, there are some things in us untranslatable in words…
I loved her so easily, but found that love so hard to express. She was so easy to love and she actually loved me back and, unlike me, never failed to tell or show just how much. And suddenly the spurt of freckles on her face transfigured into stars, endless constellations where I could see our destiny.
Words were my toys, but I never seemed to find the words fit enough to tell her how I feel.
I had agreed that some things were unable to express in words, that some things are meant only to be experienced. I had thought my actions, my sacrifices, spoke enough of my feelings. But maybe I could have made her happier if I ever plucked up enough courage to simply tell her how much I loved her.
"Listen closely now…" I swallow hard as I try to keep a strong face, begging my eyes not to betray my fears. "…We have to get out of here and split, to disguise our trail. On my signal, I'll go first and than you follow. I'll return the way we came and you circle towards the next corridor. We'll meet by the Trophy Room."
She nods slowly and I curse myself for being such a poor liar, at the same time hoping she had not noticed it.
"'Dora…" I continue and it's getting so hard to maintain eye contact. "I need you to promise me you'll keep running. No matter what you hear, no matter what you think happened, just keep running and never look back. And if I don't meet you by that Trophy Room within ten minutes, leave for the Great Hall. Promise me you'll do that."
"I promise…" and she is trembling again, more tears marring her perfection.
I manage a weak smile and lean in to kiss her gently, savoring the taste of her lips probably for the last time.
"Get ready now."
"Is the coast clear?"
I glance past her towards Dolohov's menacing face marred with blood and dirt and notice the sick gleam in the bastard's eyes. He knows well enough we have to appear sooner or later so he had given up on trying to find our hiding place.
My throat is burning, a huge lump constricting it, my heart pounding wildly. It's now or never.
"Yes." I whisper "All clear."
I take another delaying moment to memorize every line of her face before muttering.
"I love you. I just wish I had said it to you more often."
"Remus, why are you…" her voice is filled with panic and I soothe her with another chaste kiss.
"Remember what you promised."
Bolting out of the corridor I give 'Dora behind me an additional push towards the right direction before my eyes meet Dolohov's gaze.
The words he mutters with a twisted smirk, knowing well I have nowhere to run from them.
It's just that, have no intention of running anymore. I have run enough and it is my time now to, after telling her so, actually demonstrate how strong my love is. I grip my wand tighter muttering an incantation of my own, determined to take the heartless bastard down with me.
The words are cruel and menacing and ugly to an ear, though I fail to hear them until green lights envelope my body.
They say you see your whole life flashing before your eyes at the moment of death.
I only saw a frozen moment of some hours ago. A rocking chair, a small gurgling boy in my arms and a pink-haired beauty leaning in for a kiss.
They speak the truth. I did see my life.
With the last reflex I manage before coldness grips me and nothingness envelopes my mind, I reach towards my heart and grip the fabric there, feeling the brittle edges of a freshly taken photograph crumble beneath my fingers.
The light is blinding and beautiful and I swear I can see James grinning at me, Lilly smiling kindly from his embrace, as she always had, Sirius reaching out a hand and winking at me, even Albus standing behind them with that knowing little smile of his and mirth in his blue eyes.
And I know I had somehow found home again.
The words have reached her, though.
And the promise lay forgotten as a bright flash distracted her into turning.
She saw Dolohov flying towards the opposite wall blasted from the force of her husband's attack. And she saw, in slow-motion, it appeared, the final spark of his life as his motionless body fell to the floor in a cloud of dust, sparks of green still lingering in the air around him.
"Remus…?" she whispered and flying to his side, her nimble fingers touching his still face. "No, Remus… please…" her breath hitched in her throat as tears exploded from her eyes.
"Bloody bastard…" a hoarse voice was heard and she looked up from her dead love's body towards an obviously severely injured Dolohov who was trying to get to his feet.
"You… you… monster!" Tonks screamed through tear-blurred vision, her wand trembling in her outstretched hand as a surge of green light stroke the Death Eater down finishing him once and for all. She dropped her wand immediately after, as if burned, and fierce sobs erupted out of her chest that ached in dull pain.
And as if she couldn't have been left alone in her grief, a manic fit of laughter echoed over the stone walls.
"Oh, my dearest half-breed niece, you have really been a bad girl today. Not only striking a man when he is down, but with the Unforgivable curse none the less."
She turned to face the thin and twisted face of her own aunt, Bellatrix Lestrange and inhaled a sharp breath, her gaze hard against her crying face.
Rapidly she felt for her wand on the floor, but Bellatrix was faster.
Both her wand and the one Remus still held clutched in his hand flew towards the manic witch and Tonks' stomach constricted in sorrowful realization of what was coming next.
"I have been waiting so long for this." Bellatrix hissed as she neared her kneeling niece. "Unfortunately, the Potter brat has my little silver dagger that would make such lovely holes on you. But I think I'll manage without it. Crucio!"
She doubled up in pain, yet still remained staring stubbornly in Bellatrix' cold eyes filled with hatred.
"Now scream for me, little bitch."
"Never." She managed to squeeze out before another surge of pain seared through her body.
"Half-breed scum!" Bellatrix was now yelling in fury "A disgrace to my noble family. Werewolf's whore! I'll make sure to destroy both you and your little bastard son so my traitorous sister can see what the price of offending Bellatrix Lestrange is!"
"Don't you dare even mention my son!" maternal instincts gave Tonks enough strength to break from the Cruciatus curse' grip and lounge towards her attacker.
The curse had hit her square in the chest, the force and the proximity of it sending her flying backwards and eventually falling only a couple of inches away from her husband's corpse.
"Annoying little wench. Serves you right."
Bellatrix came to stand above them and kicked her still body fiercely in the gut. Than she dropped the wands she held in her hand and turned away upon hearing the summon of her Master.
And the coldness of death had never looked as attractive to one Nymphadora Tonks as she stepped towards the light into the awaiting arms of her beloved husband.
- I'm sorry I broke my promise.
- It's alright, love. After all, we were only in this world for the balance between the stars…
However, our lights had made a difference, no matter how unimportant it may seem next to the immensity of universe.
It will be important. Some day, it will be important.
Edit: shadowmoondancer - I had noticed the story is rather confusing while re-reading it in Live Preview myself, so I inserted those line thingy's to separate the flashbacks. Thanks for pointing it out though! I fixed a couple of grammar errors as well and reposted the story.
A/N – Well than… there you are… I know it ended up fairly long and utterly heart-wrenchingly pathetic, but I simply thought Remus' behavior during DH deserved some more insight. I tried not to dwell on it too much, though, since the story takes place during those final hours of his life, but I still hope I got my point and I hope the story isn't to cluttered with details or confusing and vague and that's why I would love you eternally if clicking that little button below and leaving me a shout on what you thought of it…