Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or its characters. They belong to JKR and I'm just playing with them for a bit...
A/N: I haven't had a chance to write anything for a while because of uni work, but I finally got a minute to myself yesterday and I decided to jot down a little something. The inspiration for this short fic came from a beautiful piece of Lupin/Tonks fan art which I found on one of the fan sites I like on Facebook, and is apparently credited to Popcorn Illustration on tumblr (go and check it out, seriously, it's gorgeous!)
A/N Take Two: Reviews make me a very happy bunny, so please let me know what you think! Enjoy!
Marriage is meant to be the everything, isn't it? The fulfilling of your life and the most important part of your continued existence. In comparison, the wedding day means very little, except to those who aren't really in love. Remus Lupin was very much in love, but he felt unbearably guilty because of it. He was an old werewolf, in love with a beautiful young witch who had her whole life ahead of her, and he just felt that he was pulling the rug from underneath her feet; cutting her off in her prime and taking all that wonderful potential away from her. Potential that he could never have had. And yet, there she was: Nymphadora Tonks, standing in front of him and all of their friends, telling him that she would never, and could never love anyone but him.
There was a war, great and terrible and all but in secret, raging in the shadows of the wizarding world; curling into the foggy doubts of half-convinced minds, lurking in the whispers of dangerous conversations, latching on and sticking through terror and despair. As if Voldemort even needed the Dementors on his side. But there was hope too. It was not the first of such wars, and Remus had lost three brothers during the previous one; his three Marauders, his three best friends. One, he lost through prophecy and betrayal; the second, cowardice; and the third, through madness and easily believed lies. The hope lay in the regaining of one and the rebuilding of another. In Harry Potter, he had again found all of the brilliantly admirable qualities of his friend, James; his courage, loyalty, and solidity. And Sirius. Sirius had been lost to the will of those who, including Remus himself, had believed too quickly to be the purist killer that his family had always hoped that he would be. But he had returned, not quite cleared and not quite whole, but back into Remus' life as though he had never left.
With war comes loss. That, Remus knew all too well, was a simple inevitability. The complications came when that loss hit for a second time. After Sirius' death, Remus had been lost, losing all sense of feeling, or light, or laughter. Dora had made him smile again, although even that smile came with complications and reservations. She loved him, and he loved her, but he never felt that it was deserved; he had never done anything to deserve her joyful love, the love that lit up a room, and she had never done anything to deserve the love of a man who was not quite a man and who would never be able to give her a full and happy life. But love, it seemed, worked in mysterious ways, and the feeling that Dora gave to him never really went away and before he knew what he was doing, he was down on one knee. Proposing. Promising. Like there was no war, and no Fenrir Greyback, and no ridiculous rules to hold them back.
So, that brought him to the wedding. Not theirs, but an old auror friend of Dora's. A lavish affair, with all the luxuries, good food, and company that her friends could provide with their meagre savings. It made Remus think. He had already been told that it would be impossible for himself and Dora to have a proper wedding with their friends and family around them, and that night seemed to simply confirm everyone's theory about it. So many marriages in such a short space of time; how could anyone stay safe in an atmosphere like that? Because where there was joy and hope, there were Death Eaters.
It was Dora who first suggested the idea of eloping. A no-fuss, shotgun wedding. A wedding for wartime. And it had seemed to be the perfect idea at first; hardly any risk to them, no risk to their families or friends. No need for any money to be spent, either. Marry in secret and live a life together. Why not? But whenever he looked at her, in that flowing knee-length evening dress that she had bought especially for the occasion, and she smiled at the happy couple dancing together for the first time as husband and wife, he knew that she had to have that. A lot of people would have said that they should marry quickly and that there would be plenty of time to do it again properly when the war was over. But Remus knew, better than most, that things didn't always work out with a happy ending; that loss and destruction could come much faster and much more easily than happiness and best wishes ever could. It was then that he decided to do things properly.
Planning was a rush, just a few days of running around and organising, relying on the accommodating nature of their wonderful friends. He left the dress until last so that Dora wouldn't suspect anything. Molly Weasley worked wonders with it, and soon, he knew, his beautiful bride-to-be would be walking towards him wearing his mother's wedding dress that had been altered perfectly to fit her shape and taste. Before he knew it, that moment had arrived. He dusted off his best suit, fiddling with the lapels of the jacket as the doors opened and the music swelled. There she was; his Dora. The dress was backless and hung on her body beautifully, and her mauve hair was tied up freely, hanging in loose curls down her back, and pinned into place with a single red rose. She was breathtaking, and once again, Remus couldn't believe that she could ever want to spend the rest of her life with someone like him. He had to be the luckiest werewolf in the world…
When it was over, he turned her around to face the hoards of friends and family who had made it out to celebrate their wedding at the shortest possible notice. Surrounded by the faces of those who loved them, they began their first dance; one hand on her naked back, the other clasping one of hers. He never took his eyes away from her face. She never stopped smiling.
All of that seems an age away now… There had been a perfect few months after Dora had given birth to Teddy, their miracle blue-haired baby, when everything had seemed so right and so impossible to crumble. When it looked like they really would have the rest of their lives together. It was stupid of them to believe that that was really going to happen…
Standing at the top of Hogwarts, watching the sky burn, Remus felt it all slipping away from him. Launching himself into battle once again, he flicked his face to one side for just a second and saw the one thing he had dreaded seeing in the midst of the fray; his beautiful wife, duelling. He had left her at home with strict instructions to stay with the baby no matter what, but there she was, shooting sparks at her cousin Bellatrix, who seemed more determined than ever to end her precious life. He started to run towards her but was caught in the chest by Dolohov, who pushed his wand into Remus' side, shoving him backwards and forcing him to duel.
As he threw spells at Dolohov, he kept darting around to check on Dora, dodging spells in the process and all the while leaving only half his concentration on the hulking Death Eater who was attacking him. He momentarily managed to stun his opponent with a weak stunning spell that had been far more good luck than good management, and as he turned, ready to run and defend his wife, he saw it…
The jet of green soared through the air, followed by Bellatrix's shrill cackle, and in that second he knew it was over. Dora turned her head for a split second as he shouted her name, hoping that she would realise that she should jump out of the way of the deadly light, but she knew too, and the last thing she did as she waited for death to hit her was to mouth two words at Remus as he screamed her name:
He knew immediately what she was talking about. 'Thank you for promising; thank you for saying 'I do'; thank you for giving us that perfect day to cherish forever; thank you for being mine.' Not for one second did he ever regret the day he had risked all of their lives to give her a perfect wedding day. Perhaps he had even known then that it would be the only one either of them would ever have. He spent what felt like an age staring at her lifeless body, her sweet smile forever painted on her peaceful face. When he finally heard Dolohov stirring behind him, he turned around, positioning himself so that when he crumpled like a marionette with its strings cut, his hand would fall into Dora's.
The Death Eater's wand pointed directly at his chest, and he welcomed Death like an old friend.