Hey there people, here's chapter two, sorry if the start is a little crap, it wasn't agreeing with me but I just got on with it. As usual, I own nothing. :) xxx
Thanks to my awesome Beta Iymea, you just can't get more awesome :P xxx
Coward. I'd be pretty ashamed of him. The man who taught me to fight dementors is a coward.
Harry's words run around Remus' head in an eternal chain, circling him, tormenting him. He sighs, collapsing into the torn and tattered single armchair in his old apartment. Harry wasn't right, he couldn't be. He's just a child, he doesn't understand.
He should have gone home days ago. He knows, but he can't. He wants to, but he can't. How could he go back to Dora now, after he left her so brutally? There is no chance in his mind that she'd welcome him back; it had been two weeks since Harry had shouted at him in Grimmauld Place and nearly three since he had left Tonks crying on the doorstep. The last image made his heart weigh heavier in his chest, more painful by far. He could still recall her words perfectly from the depths of his mind at will, which he only did so he would never forget them. It hurt to listen to her telling her that she loved him, when he doubted that it was true anymore.
When he'd left, he'd told himself that it was the right thing to do, but what'd happened in Grimmauld Place had stunned him. He'd never believed that he was capable of hurting someone in his human form, certainly not the son of one of his best friends. But Harry's words stung, he couldn't let a boy who had only just turned seventeen tell him right from wrong. Besides, the view they'd had of him had been tainted by the white lies Remus had told, in an attempt to make his story sound worse, perhaps gain some sympathy, but it had backfired terribly, and now, he's lost. Empty, like a man should feel after he abandoned his wife and child.
I didn't abandon them; I left for their own protection.
Then why did Harry call me a coward?
Because I am one.
… Oh great, I'm talking to myself.
Ten minutes later, and he's standing on the doorstep to Tonks' parents' house. He doesn't have a clue what he's going to say, but he knows that he needs to see his wife. His Dora. Nervously, he takes a deep breath, holding it until after he has knocked on the cold wooden door twice, hard. Only then does he slowly let out the air, even though his heart is pounding in his chest, begging his body to be ready to run.
I'm not running this time.
He breathes again, deeply, slowly, preserving the cool night air. Then again, and again and again and again before at last, after what feels like an age has passed, he finally hears footsteps approaching the other side of the door. It opens a crack, held ajar by a magically reinforced metal chain.
"Who's there?" asks a shaky voice, but it isn't Dora. A nervous middle aged woman, he concludes. Tonks' mother. A part of him feels disappointed that it isn't Tonks herself, but reason reminds him that Dora might have slammed the door in his face, whereas although her mother never showed any affection toward him, he may be able to convince her not to lock him out.
"It's… it's Remus," he replies in an equally shaky and nervous tone. When no reply reaches him, he carries on. "Feel free to ask me a security question, in fact I advise it."
"Alright." He is shocked by her suddenly hostile tone of voice, but then again, why should that come as a shock, considering what he did? "What was the last thing I said to you, the night you and Nymphadora announced your engagement?"
He doen't have to consider his answer; he isn't ashamed to admit that her words had frightened him when he'd first heard them, and they certainly were relevant.
"You said 'Light brown, green, small, innocent, scared.' Then you told me that if we ever needed a security question, it would be when that was a relevant description. And I see your point now, but please, I need to speak with Dora, it's fairly urgent."
The door begins to close, and for a minute he fears that he's lost his chance, but then he hears the rattling of a chain, and the door is open, with Andromeda stood in her pyjamas, face like thunder. A thought strikes him suddenly that he doesn't have a clue what time it is.
"I'm sorry; I didn't wake you, did I?"
Andromeda shakes her head. "Lucky for you, we were just heading off to bed." He sighs in relief. "You've got a nerve, showing up here after what you did. If you're about to ask for a divorce or something you can leave now, I'll owl you the papers-"
"I would never—" he interrupted, but she carried on.
"…I won't have you ruining her recovery. She only left her room for the first time last week, and that was only for a few minutes. It's amazing she's even got that far, what with you leaving and with Ted…" She trails off, trying her best to hide the way her eyes are filling up. Filled with a sudden sense of dread, Remus panics.
"Why? What happened to Ted, is he alright?"
"I wish I knew," she sniffs. "Disappeared, the night you left. Of course neither of you knew, did you?" He shakes his head sorrowfully. "Of course not. I mean, we didn't even really think of him as missing until we woke up the next morning and he still wasn't home."
"Do you know why—"
"He was on the Muggle-born Register, wasn't he? Wanted for questioning, but of course he wouldn't risk being removed from this family, risk endangering us, so the noble idiot removed himself. Sent us an owl the next day, told us not to worry…"
A tear rolled down her cheek, and guilt washed over Remus. Dora must have been distraught. He should have been there for his wife when she needed him.
"I'm sorry, Adromeda, I really am, I didn't know." He quickly took out his wand and conjured a handkerchief for her, which she accepted gratefully, wiping the tears from her bloodshot eyes.
"Now," she sniffed, "Why are you here?"
Realising that this could be a very long explanation to Andromeda before he repeated it to Dora, and they were standing out in the cold, he requested to come in, so they moved to sit in the living room.
"I've made a terrible mistake in running from this," he told her honestly. "When I left, I thought I would be doing some good, removing myself from Dora and the baby, but, well I took some advice from a friend, and I know now that nobody should be alone right now, even werewolves and certainly not their spouses and offspring. More to the point, I don't want us to be apart. I know that it's foolish of me to even think that she might take me back after the way I left, what I did, but it didn't take a lot to realise my mistake, and I regret my moments of cowardice more than anything I've ever done before, and I've made a lot of mistakes in life, but marrying Dora is most definitely not one of them.
"I love Dora, and I love our baby. If you ask me to leave, I'll go, but I'll never give up. We're living in dark times, and I can't… If I die, and our child grows up thinking that I didn't love them, well then I'll have failed as a father, because I do. More than that, I need them, both of them, in my life. I need them to keep me sane." He takes another deep breath, and he looks up into the eyes that resemble Dora's so much it hurts to stare too deeply into them. "Do you think…? Is there a possibility, a tiny one, that she might allow me back into her life?"
There is silence. Andromeda doesn't seem to be looking directly at him, but over him, behind him, into the hallway.
Nervous and confused, he glances back, following her gaze until his eyes find what they've been searching for over the past few weeks; Dora. His Dora. She's standing in the doorway, staring at him, her eyes ablaze with something mixed between shock and uncertainty. Her hair is in its natural mousy brown form, hanging limply from her head, and her eyes, though the beautiful green hue that he loves to see on her, are empty and dull, almost lifeless. She is still beautiful in his eyes, however, just as perfect as the day he married her, if a little more fatigued.
"I'll go put the kettle on," her mother mutters, running from the room to escape the awkward silence, leaving Dora and Remus alone in the room. After nearly a minute of uncomfortable silence, he realises that one of them has to speak at some point. "Dora, I—"
"Remus, no." She cuts him off abruptly, walking slowly toward him. Her hands folding reflexively over the spot where, if you looked closely, which of course Remus did without thinking, a very tiny bump was beginning to show. "You can't just turn up here, not after you left like that. You hurt me."
"I know, you would not believe how sorry I am for that. I was stupid, I thought it was the right thing to do, I was being a—"
"Yes! I was being a coward. I thought that by leaving you I would be saving you from a life of social rejection."
"You knew that didn't bother me." Her use of past tense stung, but he ignores it.
"I know, and I should have believed you. Look, I've been—"
"Hurtful? An idiot? A complete and utter git, a noble prat, a terrible husband?" Her eyes widen at her own words, and immediately she tries to cover it up with scrambled words of apology, but he cuts her off.
"No, you're right. I know, that's exactly what I have been," he admits shamefully. "I can never apologise enough for that. I was deluded, I thought that leaving would make you safer, I thought it was the best thing I could do for you, but—"
"I know. And I'm sorry I put you through that. I meant what I said the night I left; I've always loved you and I always will."
He moves to a standing position, closing the distance between him and his wife in two slow strides. Cautiously, he reaches out to stroke the back of her hand with his, requesting permission. Wordlessly, she complies, moving their hands so she is pressing his against her t-shirt covered stomach. His eyes are drawn to the spot, as he is overwhelmed by so many different emotions; shock that she is allowing him to be this close, the utter happiness at being here with her, the sadness that he hasn't been able to do this before now, the hope for the chances in the future, and the fear that this could all go wrong at any moment. All of these emotions were fighting a battle for dominance, and he ignores them all, raising his focus instead to Dora, and the way her head is bowed toward the floor, but a small smile plays on her lips, giving him confidence that she must at least be a little pleased to have him with her again.
As if she has read his thoughts, she starts to back away, dropping his hand, which swings to his side.
"No, Remus. You hurt me; I can't just forgive you like that."
He nods. "I understand that. If you ask me to leave, I'll leave, but I'll come back. I'll come back every day for the rest of my life if that's what it takes. I will never give up on this family. Ever. Because that's what we should be; a real family."
She smiles at him. For the first time in weeks, he sees that beautiful smile of hers. He knows now what he has to say to correct his mistakes.
"Dora, I love you. In these last two weeks, I've changed my attitude, I'm here, and it's a change for the better. I want to make this world a better place for our baby to grow up in, and if I can't do that, I want to make sure they never see the horrors of this world. I want to be there for you both, as part of a family no matter what, and if you let me, I promise that I always will be."
She's starting to cry by now; silent tears are creeping down her face, but she shakes her head.
"Come back in the morning, I need to sleep." She starts to walk towards the front door, and he follows her, resigned and unsure of exactly what she's thinking, and this frustrates him. As she opens the door for him, he turns on the doorstep and reaches out for her hand. She takes his hand in hers, giving it a light squeeze. "I mean it," she offers, "Come back in the morning. Not too early, mind, but tomorrow we can talk."
After one final squeeze of their hands, Remus walks off down the garden path, pausing when he reaches the protective boundaries of the fence to steal one last glance at her, and he finds her still smiling. He tries to turn away, but she calls him back. "Oh, and Remus? I love you. Always have, always will."
He grins, and he's still grinning when he reaches his apartment. Because now he knows, that even through the hard times, there might still be a chance for him to be happy after all.
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