In the Present

A HariPo fanfic

by mew-tsubaki

Note: I haven't finished To the Future and already I'm starting its second companion story. AGH! However, J.K. Rowling's characters are in good hands by now, so I hope everyone enjoys this Rena story. But to reach the present, one must glance at the past, where our story begins… READ & REVIEW!!!

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The Ninth Harvest (& the Twentieth Wax)

Remus awoke Wednesday morning, warm, comfortable, relaxed-

-and with his head on Luna's lap.

He sat up, waking her, but he let her rest her blonde head on his chest as he stretched his arms. They had fallen asleep behind his desk. He remembered that she had pulled a chair behind the desk and sat beside him, but his upholstered seat wasn't nearly as comfortable for him as her lap was.

"Remus…?" she asked groggily.

"Shh," he cooed. "Go back to sleep. I'll be right back."

The wizard popped into his classroom to check on his students. The first years were chatting animatedly about young, pre-teen things, oblivious to the absence of their teacher. Remus didn't bother quieting them down. It'd be best if they're left in the dark a little longer, he told himself.

He went to Dumbledore's office next. Surprisingly, the headmaster was not there. The werewolf was pondering where to go next when Dumbledore walked up, Harry at his side. They had been talking.

"Remus, how is your class?" Albus asked.

The brunette wizard almost smiled. Of course Dumbledore would know where Remus had first gone. Albus typically knew everything. Instead, Remus got straight to the point: "What's going on?"

Dumbledore's blue eyes crinkled as he smiled. "They have returned."

News never affected Remus much. Certain messages and scenes had deeply hit him –James and Lily gone, Pettigrew the traitor, years later Sirius fell through the veil. The fact that history had not repeated itself hummed through Remus's bones. He had not lost his last best friend.

Harry nodded to Remus. "Good to see you, Remus," the nineteen-year-old stated. He jerked his head to the side. "I think he went straight to his office."

Remus thanked Harry and bid the two a 'good morning' before continuing on. Yes, he hadn't seen Harry since Christmas, but that was of little importance at the moment. When he saw the door open, he stepped inside, closed it, and looked for Sirius in his room.

Sirius had just reached his bedroom when Mooney caught up with him. He was a sight to be seen: clothes and hair a mess, covered in dirt, dried blood on his hands and cheeks, though he didn't appear to have any cuts, scrapes, or injuries. Bags hung under his gray eyes; he had not slept at all for more than twenty-four hours.

They locked eyes for a moment. In the next, Remus hugged Sirius tightly, as if once he let go Sirius would be gone forever, like James and Lily were. When they pulled apart, Remus saw Sirius's eyes were glassy with tears, too. It made Remus laugh.

"Shut up, git," Sirius spat, but he was smiling. He shook his head. "I dunno, Mooney. Somehow, I managed to slip death again. With Ginny, no less."

The other D.A.D.A. teacher's face fell. "Death? What the hell happened?"

Sirius's mood darkened as he thought back on the past two nights. "It was hell all over again, Remus."

"Continue. My class can wait."

Padfoot raised his eyebrows at Remus's small show of rebellion. He shrugged out of his over-robe; it had been torn in several places and there were holes in the cuffs. "I left the castle Monday night," he admitted.

Remus rolled his eyes. "I figured out that much, funny enough. So did everyone else in the school."

"As usual," his friend chuckled. He draped the ragged cloak on the end of his bed. "Ginny and her friends were planning on going to the Selwyn estate with or without me, so I figured I might as well go with them. Good thing I did, too," he added, sitting on his bed. Sirius cracked his neck, gaining some bit of comfort at last. "We fought a wyvern, Ginny was kidnapped and almost used as a sacrifice-"

"What?!"

Sirius nodded. "Grant, Ginny's best mate, was taken hostage by his own parents a while ago. His parents had their own sect of Death Eaters, and they had come together for Grant's initiation. Each initiation was marked by the willing murder of a close, non-related loved one. Originally, they had planned on Grant's girlfriend, Miraphina, but Ginny had just walked right in." He stretched his legs and removed his jacket.

"But…?" Remus encouraged. So we had been right –somewhat –about Grant Selwyn…

The Animagus unbuttoned his shirt and poked some bruises on his chest. He winced a little at one on his collarbone, but Sirius seemed fine otherwise.

"Ginny's friends and I burst in after it happened. Grant turned his Killing Curse on himself at the last second, aiming for his father. The Death Eaters fell apart at that, but only for a bit. A few more attacks and retaliations, and we gained the upper hand. Ginny called her father and Harry, and they came with Harry's department." Sirius hung his head, shaking it. "Ginny and I made up, but her father tore into me. She told him off, though, and Arthur didn't really like that. I got the chance to speak a bit with Harry…" His lips formed a straight line. "The night Dumbledore caught Ginny and me? And he sent an owl to Arthur and Molly? Harry had been leaving work with Arthur, so Harry and Hermione know, too."

The werewolf cringed. "But you made it through, Sirius. And you got Ginny back."

"And now I just have to stick out the rest of the year until the Charm wears off. Did you know that the Charm doesn't work when not at Hogwarts? I got to snog her again…," Sirius stated with a content sigh and his trademark wolfish grin.

"Yes, yes, snogging's so wonderful," Remus sarcastically muttered.

Padfoot poofed up a damp cloth and wiped down his arms and chest. "You don't mind. I s'pose little Luna slept over, am I right?"

Remus blushed. "Uh! She didn't –Okay, she slept over, but she didn't sleep over, Sirius. While I was busy fretting over the whereabouts of my best friend, she comforted me. I wanted to do something to help, but she calmed me down and told me to wait for you. Besides, Dumbledore thought the same thing, that we couldn't do anything because we didn't know what the situation was." He paused as Sirius put on a fresh shirt. "How did you guess?"

"You smell of the outdoors and fresh soap. Usually, Rem, you smell like mothballs and musty books."

"You're such an arse."

Sirius shrugged, but his expression turned grim. "I almost lost her, Remus. I even cried." He met his friend's tawny eyes. "I couldn't think of being without her. All I could think was that there was no world without her."

Remus's heart tightened in his chest. He felt the same way about Luna, but now he was thinking of the future… Would it be a repeat of Tonks? Would Luna suffer as she had? Would Remus lose her, too?

He looked back to Sirius. The Animagus was waiting for him to say something. What was there to say? Sure, he agreed with him, but…

Remus scolded himself. He had to be strong like Sirius. He wasn't going to lose Luna; he wouldn't let that happen. So he said, "You didn't lose her, though. You have a world with her now."

Those must've been the right words. Sirius brightened at the were's statement, and he even regained his smile. "Thanks, mate."

The brunette wizard stood. "You should get some sleep now. Just promise me you'll pig out at dinner. You need your strength, Padfoot."

"Don't I know it," Sirius spoke into his pillow, his voice muffled and groggy. The next second, he was snoring.

I hope you also know you still snore something awful, Remus thought while he closed the bedroom door. He left the office and went back through the corridors, retracing his steps.

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Her hair was brushed back carefully from her eyes. However, she didn't open them.

"Lune… Lune, wake up… Luna."

She 'mmm'ed annoyedly at his voice. She didn't want to get up right now. She was comfy-warm where she was, and everything smelled like wand wood and coarse, tweed sweaters.

He tried nudging her shoulder. "Lune…"

The witch snuggled into her nap spot. It just felt so nice there…

She heard a half-exasperated sigh. "…Fine. …don't want to get up… …stay then."

The next thing she knew, two strong arms were picking her up off the two chairs she had arranged end-to-end. Her skin rippled with goose bumps, but the arms carrying her were warm, and the wand wood and tweed was most distinctive on his chest. She snuggled into him closer, listening to his heart speed up a little and then resume its calm, steady beat.

He… He felt right. …He felt like home.

She heard a door open and he took a few more steps. Then she was getting away from his chest. Cushions contoured to fit her body, and her head rested on a pillow. Again, his scent flooded her senses, and she gripped the thin blanket he tossed over her.

His voice was gruff from the early morning, and he gave a throaty chuckle. "I love you, Lune."

A kiss was pressed to her temple. His hand covered hers, but she gripped it, too. She didn't want to let go.

"I'll be back."

She squeezed his fingers that interlaced with hers.

"Lune…," he breathed. His damp, hot breath grazed her ear, tormenting her. "Lune," he repeated, "as long as I have you to come back to, I won't go anywhere else."

He squeezed her fingers back and, in her sleeping state, her lips curved up. He left her then, but his warmth wrapped around her, the best blanket he could ever offer.

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The rest of the day played out okay. Remus taught both his and Sirius's classes again, but it wasn't too much trouble. By the time supper came around, Sirius was up and pigging out as Remus had requested, getting his strength back up.

If ever there was a time Remus was glad he had switched seats with Charlie, it was now. Sure, Charlie had been pissed to find Sirius snogging his baby sister, but putting her in danger had definitely signed Padfoot's death warrant.

"I'm more worried," Sirius said in between mouthfuls of mashers, "about what Charlie will do to me than Dumbledore's punishment." Chomp, chomp. "I mean." Munch, munch. "The Weasleys pretty much want to kill me anyway." Glug, glug, glug. "And all because I'm with Ginny."

Neville's eyes bugged out of his head, catching the last of Sirius's words. "Oh my-! You're with Ginny?!"

Sirius rolled his eyes. "Yes, Neville," he answered after swallowing a pasty. "I'm in love with her, she's in love with me, the whole world's against it. Whatever. Those who need to know, know, so you can scream it at the top of your lungs if you wish."

"Well- It's- I- Wow," the Herbology teacher finished. "I never expected it to happen, truthfully."

"Yes," Remus cut in. "Who'd ever expected Sirius to take on a serious girlfriend?" he joked.

Padfoot glared at Mooney. "She's not just a girlfriend. I'm not letting her get away; she's the love of my life."

The werewolf smiled. "How far you've come, Mr. Black."

"Then shut it, Mr. Lupin." Sirius gulped down another gillywater. "'Sides," he said in a low voice so only Remus heard, "isn't that what Lu-Lu is to you?"

Remus frowned at Sirius's codename/nickname for Luna, but the question did make him think. Months ago, he'd told Luna that she was the top priority in his life. He'd do anything for her, even at the cost of his own life. So wasn't that the definition of it?

Wasn't she the love of his life, as Sirius had said?

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New excitement in the next couple of chapters as things take a sharp, downward turn. We still have classes (just a few), exams, & weddings to get through, so Rena still needs a lot of cheering on! Keep on reviewing and reading and vice versa! I love all of the fans that have kept with the story –you know who you are!!! *squeee!!!!*

See you in 21!

-mew-tsubaki