To Dream, To Wake

I dream of you, to wake: would that I might
Dream of you and not wake but slumber on;
Nor find with dreams the dear companion gone

—Christina Rossetti

Cold. So cold.

Remus curled into himself more tightly, unable to stop shivering. Something rough and scratchy prickled under his cheek, and the hard floor pressed sharply against his bones.

He must have been dreaming again—vague impressions of warmth and colour and Tonks filled his mind. Something about a cosy stone house with a pond and a willow tree, and the small happy family they had made there together.

The shivering grew worse. Dreams might ease his heart while he was lost in them, but they made the cold and loneliness that much more bitter when he woke again, in the middle of a pack of dangerous strangers...

"Oi! What are you doing down here in the dark?"

The sound of that voice shook him out of the last of his sleep. He sat up, blinking, only to see—

Fairy lights.

Outlining a fat little Christmas tree.

"Lumos," came the voice again, and there at the foot of the stairs, glowing in the light of her wand, stood Tonks—Dora—his wife. Laughing at him. "Did you fall asleep in front of the tree? I swear, you're as bad as Teddy!"

Teddy.

Teddy was coming home from Hogwarts tomorrow, for the Christmas holidays.

Remus laughed in shaky relief, running a stone-cold hand over his face. Something pricked at the heel of his other hand, and he looked down to see that he had been lying on top of a package of silver tinsel.

Tinsel that he had been planning to charm a certain shade of bubble-gum pink.

"I think I sat down in front of the fire," he said, sheepishly. "Just for a minute."

"And then you fell asleep, and the fire went out." Dora shook her head at him, dark eyes dancing. "You must be freezing. Come up to bed."

He climbed to his feet, stretched the stiffness out of his shoulders, and started up the stairs ahead of her. A warm hand slipped in under his pyjama shirt and found the small of his back. He breathed an involuntary little sigh.

Dora's voice murmured, just next to his ear, "Never mind—I know how to warm you right up."

A shiver spread through his frame again. But this time, it wasn't from the cold.

He was so very glad to be awake.

. * fin * .