Music: Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
Disclaimer: I own nothing!
Summary: Very few knew why Alastor Moody was so adamant on constant vigilance. It was a sorrowful lesson learned.
Very few knew why Alastor Moody was so adamant on constant vigilance. It was a sorrowful lesson learned. He'd been young once. Handsome and carefree, in a world where the likes of Voldemort had not yet tainted everything he touched. He'd been an Auror in his prime; a father and a husband, before it was all taken from him. He'd married a beautiful young woman who was more brilliant and powerful than any witch he'd met before her. A level head, a strong dueling background, a desire to fight the darkness in the world. She was twenty-three when she appeared before him in some odd magical mix up that had her stuck in a place she didn't know. At twenty-seven and the hardest working Auror there was, he was always one for sussing out the truth and nothing but. However, there was something about her honestly lost expression that told him she wasn't making up some rot on the spot. Time travel. Even in his day and age, it was still unlikely. Then again, she was apparently from the future.
With no job, money, or home, he offered her a place on his couch. It wasn't much and he was even shocked with himself for doing something so… unlike him. But she accepted and was oddly comfortable with him. Somehow, her being there on a daily basis, cleaning and cooking and looking after him after he'd returned from work, scathed and angry, changed his feelings toward her. She was always gentle with him, but not so much so that she was a doormat. She told him to stop being a baby when he growled at her as she cleaned his wounds with Muggle antiseptic. She was strong willed and confident in herself and she never backed down when he got mad. He grew fond of her quite fast and when one late evening she'd been changing his bandages, he noticed how soft her mouth looked, he didn't turn away and pretend it hadn't happened, but instead took the opportunity to kiss her. She was far more responsive than he expected and from then on, she never slept on the couch, but curled up next to him in his bed. It was a no nonsense relationship and he liked that. Too often he'd met witches who complicated things, but his little time traveler didn't like complications. She liked order and rules and he agreed with that assessment.
Of course, her reason for being there was never far from his mind. If she could go back in time, couldn't she return to her own at any given moment? And how far ahead was she? Did they know each other? Did they like each other? What did it mean that she was there? He didn't know much about time traveling and she'd been quite tight lipped about the subject, choosing instead to ignore her current position in time. Still, curiosity eventually got the best of him.
He asked her once, "In the, uh, future… We ever meet?"
She shifted around, eyes turning away sadly. "Yes. We were acquaintances, I suppose."
It was hard to wrap his mind around; that he could only be a passing person in her life, when here, now, in this time, she was his life.
"So your being here then, it'll mess things up?" he wondered, lifting a brow curiously. "What if you meet yourself? What happens then?" There were so many questions. But the answers weren't something he was sure he wanted to know.
"I don't think I'll ever run into myself," she murmured quietly. "And as for the timeline, I have no idea. Time is complicated. There's a chance that… That the you I knew then already met the me you know now." She shook her head. "I suppose we were fated to meet."
"Fate," he scoffed. Bollocks, he wasn't going to get into the deep heavy subject anymore. "You interested in fish for dinner? Got a few down at the lake this morning."
"Sounds great," she replied, letting him change the subject.
He wasn't the type of man anybody would like to see her with. Sure she was confident and stubborn and stood her own ground, but she had a gentle appeal to her that he had a hard time coping with. He'd grown up rough around the edges and they'd never really smoothed over. He was straight to the point, almost callous in a way, and he didn't bother with tears or feelings. But she made him feel. She simply smiled whenever he growled his impatience or frowned at her excitement over anything. She loved to read while he enjoyed hunting down dark wizards and beating the bleeding hell out of them. She was the soft to his hard; the emotion to his restraint; the feelings he buried and locked away.
It was barely a year before he asked her to marry him, in a very unromantic way he supposed. He was degnoming the garden outside of the small cottage they shared; something he'd bought a couple years prior. It was rather isolated from the rest of the world and he liked the extra safety precautions she'd helped him put up. It was fairly small, large enough for a couple and perhaps a child one day. She was reading a book, researching a new potion for her job at the Ministry. It hadn't been easy to make up fake credentials – well, they were fake in his time, but not hers – but they had and she was quickly put to use.
"You busy Sunday," he asked her, yanking out a particularly nasty little gnome as it tried to burrow deep beneath the carrots.
"Not really," she replied, turning a page in her book. "Why?"
"Figured it was a good day as any t' get married," he replied, lifting his broad shoulders in a shrug.
"Alaster Moody, is this your way of proposing?" she asked in an astonished whisper.
He winced. He really hoped his rather unsophisticated way of doing it wouldn't be the final icing on the cake that made her realize she could do far better. He wasn't the most handsome bloke around. Sure he had what Hermione referred to as soft strawberry-blond hair and piercing green eyes, and perhaps he was a little on the sturdy side what with all of his work as an Auror. He was tall, lean, and well muscled. But he wasn't particularly nice or even all that warm. He had a hard time admitting his feelings, choosing to pretend he didn't really have any, and he often forgot that she did. But he loved her. By the Gods, he did. Her thick, lustrous brown locks and her soft smile that made his insides turn to mush. He'd never admit it – sneer and scoff at anyone who talked that pansy shit about him. But he felt it. He loved holding her early in the morning, before either of them had to go off to work. He loved going to sleep with her. Her natural scent lingering around him; like ink and old books and often sweat, seeing as they'd just put their rickety old bed to good use. He loved lathering her body in soap and washing it from her curves as they showered each morning. Kissing her soft, unchapped lips, smooth against his cracked, weathered mouth. And he loved how she didn't try to change him; she never forced him to show more emotion or say the things he was thinking. She accepted his gruff appearance and attitude and simply loved him for it.
"Depends on your answer, doesn't it?" he replied uncomfortably, throwing another gnome across the yard, refusing to look at her.
He could hear her steps as she walked up behind him and a moment later, her hands fell to his shoulders. "I'd like that very much. Sunday is a great day for a wedding," she murmured.
He half-grinned before clearing his throat. "Good. It's settled then."
She squeezed his shoulder and a moment later, he felt her press a kiss against his neck, just below his ear. His hands stilled in the dirt, forgetting entirely about anything else but her. It was a sharp bite from a gnome that drew him out of his wistful stillness. She chuckled as he cursed the little bugger, ripping it from the confines of its small hole and throwing it as far from their house as he could. "Nasty little…" Brushing his hands off, he decided he was done with it. He walked over to his fiancé and tugged her up from her seat by her hands.
She smiled at his dark frown and wrapped her arms around his neck. "All done then?"
Instead of replying, he gripped her waist and lifted her up from the ground. A few minutes later, their clothes were shed and the rickety old bed in their small little cottage was worn thin as they celebrated their soon-to-be nuptials.
They were married two years before she became pregnant. They'd been careful, often using potions and charms so they could enjoy their time alone together. His job was hard enough; he didn't want to add another name, another life to the list of people he had to worry about. He was well known as one of the most accomplished Aurors alive and he took the title quite seriously. But he paid the consequences for it. His family had been threatened more than once and while most of his coworkers told him it wasn't out of the ordinary, he didn't like ignoring the possible harm of the only two people that mattered to him.
His son greeted the world on a bright Sunday morning; Ezekiel Jonas Moody. Zeke for short. He had a shock of blonde hair atop his small, round head, and brown eyes like his mum. He sounded like her when he hollered too. He was stubborn and smart and unbelievably good at getting into things he shouldn't. He was Alastor's pride and joy from the moment he set eyes on the boy. But the happiness Alastor felt was soon to be taken away. His job was becoming more high risk by the day. Scars that would never heal marred his body and the stress was taking a toll. Threats came in on a daily basis; all telling him to stop searching for dark wizards or they'd come looking for him and they wouldn't leave him unscathed.
"Comes with the job, mate," people would tell him.
And then those threats became very real. He returned home one night from a late evening at work. He wished they'd figure out a quick charm to do his paperwork for him. He found her lying face down in the field, her robes torn and bloody from head to toe. Her hair was matted so much not even the harsh wind around them could pick it up from the ground. And lying dead just fifteen feet from his beloved wife was his son. Zeke had only learned to walk a few months prior, but it looked as though his wife had hoped a miracle would have their babe run for safety away from the house. It was obvious a very nasty Reducto had reduced her to the bloody mess on the ground and he felt his body shake from head to toe with rage. With a shuddering scream to the heavens, he fell to his knees at her side and dragged her limp body into his lap. His calloused hands ran over her hair, the crusted blood keeping him from threading his fingers through it like he usually did. Her eyes were closed tightly, her face a pale white, her mouth stained with blood.
He didn't cry. He screamed and yelled and hollered and cursed but not one single tear escaped his eyes. He didn't know who alerted the authorities, but one minute he was holding his beautiful wife and son in his arms, rocking back and forth as the sun set far in the distance, and the next he was heavily sedated at St. Mungo's. It was weeks before they let him out, with no choice really as he wasn't a threat to anybody, or so it appeared.
His family had been taken. Killed and buried and forgotten; just another casualty of the job. He couldn't accept that. He stepped up his work against dark wizards and he tracked down each and every one that had a hand in their deaths. He had a hit out on him that was not to be taken lightly, but he was more powerful than ever. After an incident involving poisoned firewhiskey, he learned never to take anything from others. No bars, no pubs, he brought his own drinks everywhere. He sealed off his cottage; made it impenetrable. Nobody would ever set foot on his land again. Their graves sat as a reminder in the field outside of their home. He picked the same wildflowers she used to replace with fresh ones each morning in a vase on the table and put them down by their headstones each day. He'd apologize for not being a better husband; for not being there when she needed him; for not saving her and doing his job as he was supposed to.
"Constant vigilance," he'd tell her dark grave each day. He learned too late.
He'd dress in his Auror robes then and he'd go out and fight for her memory; always on the lookout, always wary of all who passed him.
Years later, as he battled the dark wizards of the world, over and over again, a seemingly unending battle, during the second war against Voldemort, he finally met his end. He'd lost limbs and his eye and a deep piece of himself over the years. He'd lost his family, his heart, and the only really true and gentle part of him. He lost everything but the job and the ache and the persistent need to prove their deaths didn't go unpunished. He fought and he dueled and he put all of himself into taking down the darkness of the world. And in the end, he was happy to go. To leave the ravished world around him, to go down fighting and attacking and winning. He was much older, much wiser, but far too jaded to keep going. As the light faded from his eyes, he grinned. He knew where he was going; he knew who he would see.
In the distance, there standing in the field of wild flowers stood his beloved wife and his handsome son, running free with his strawberry blonde hair shining in the sunlight.
"Took you long enough," she told him, smiling gently.
"Had some business to clear up," he replied gruffly.
Hermione Moody reached out to him, taking his worn hand into her own and squeezing. He felt like the young man that first met her. On a warm Sunday afternoon, where she appeared out of seemingly nowhere, knocking him flat onto his back while he had been deep undercover. He drew her up close to him and inhaled the natural scent he'd so mourned the loss of over the years. She felt just as soft and pliable in his large arms as she did the morning he left her, never to hold her the same again. She kissed the underside of his jaw just as she always did and rested her head against his shoulder. "Your business is done then?"
He sighed, nodding jerkily.
"Good," she said. "You have much to catch up on."
With that, she motioned toward their little boy as he came running back toward them.
"Daddy!" Zeke cried, arms spread apart. "You're home!"
This time, he did cry.
A/N Very different from my usual pairings, I know. But it came to me and so here it is. Pstibbons is always telling me to expand my horizons, so here I give you the oddest pairing I've ever written. There'll never be another Alastor/Hermione, but I'm happy with how this turned out.
It's my 21st birthday tomorrow! Yay me!
Hope you enjoyed this. Please review; it's very appreciated!