Chapter 1: SEQUESTER
"Well I just don't see a way around it, Remus. You will have to choose someone or be sequestered along with the rest." Mr. Weasley concluded, sitting back in his chair.
"It's ridiculous!" Hermione shouted. "Just disgusting, grouping everyone different, everyone they deem inferior together. It's insane. It's like Nazis."
"It's ok, Hermione," Lupin assured her calmly but sadly. "Mankind has been doing this for centuries. Voldemort's followers want to breed a race of pure wizards with some mad dream they will lord over all. Werewolves are used to it."
"It's not okay, though, mate." Sirius told his friend.
"But we have to deal with it either way." The werewolf shook his head slowly, greying hair swishing before his eyes.
"Indeed." Mrs. Weasley nodded assertively. "It's such a shame about you and Tonks, dear."
Remus was obviously embarrassed by the comment, and Mr. Weasley tried to redirect the conversation, but Remus interjected. "Even if things were different, Molly, dating and being married are very different things."
"Well I'm glad you aren't with her!" Added Sirius bitterly, taking a drink as he had been doing a little too often for Harrys liking. Hermione had been on him about talking to his godfather, but Harry didn't feel it his place. Luckily, Mrs. Weasley did and had taken to pulling the glasses and bottles from his hand. Harry had also come upon Remus and Sirius having a rather harsh, hushed conversation by the stairs one morning when Padfoot had smelled more like Mundungus than himself. The dark haired man had looked embarrassed, Remus worried, and they quickly took up conversation with Harry to lighten the mood.
"So glad things are going well with you and Ginny." Sirius had said
This seemed to be the go-to conversation; once it had been 'how are classes', then 'how is quidditch', and now it was 'so glad about you and Ginny'. Ginny certainly was. Harry wasn't so sure. And he wasn't sure why he wasn't sure. And it bothered him. It seemed silly to have so many normal, human worries when such inhuman suffering was happening all around them. But the stress of the war and being the Chosen One was only being added to by worrying about Ginny and Sirius and now Remus…
That poor man had it even worse than Harry. Losing his favorite job and struggling with poverty because of what he was. Losing all his dearest friends at once. Two wars. And his latest discovery, due to a certain unique piece of jewelry he'd given his girlfriend which had revealed her to be changing her appearance to date a younger man. This had been his greatest insecurity in their relationship; honestly, those close to him knew it bothered him even more than his "furry little problem".
It was not rage that frightened Harry, though Remus was uncharacteristically riled when he first learned of the betrayal. Then, it was worse than anger, it was resignation. He said he wanted her to stay involved with the order, that they could not sacrifice the mission. It was too important, he insisted, but she kept her distance in fulfilling her duties. Harry hated to see others make these sacrifices that had been strung throughout his own life. In some strange way, he felt his dating of Ginny was similar to Lupin's civility with Tonks, more because everyone else seemed to need it. Living for their morale.
Though, of course, Ginny was good fun and lovely, and Remus was so not only heartbroken, but spirit broken. And now to literality add insult to injury, the ministry had passed an order, one of many to suppress certain groups. First, there were there were the Squib Acts, but with so few of them and even fewer with their interests, these went over without much noise. Now, it was the easiest to get people to go along with controlling "dangerous sub-humans, including vampires, werewolves and the like…"
They must prove at their hearing a set date that they were taking all listed magical safety measures, not reproducing, working in the magical community, and either married to or in custody of a magical human not of a dangerous breed. The consequences of anything less than full compliance, the order dictated, would result in the apprehension and isolation of all dangerous sub humans; failure to appear at the court date would be seen as direct defiance of the terms.
Those werewolves with families were naturally in violation and had to leave their families or face sequester. It was these people whom Lupin really pitied, not himself. The list of women willing to pose as a werewolf's new wife for their safety was short, and he believed the names on that secret list must first go to families.
The monsters belonging to Voldemort of course found loopholes, mostly wives offered up by followers or girls captured. Fenrir Greyback, it was rumored, was already on his third young wife, having devoured or killed the other two.
Asking Tonks was out of the question. Former students, he maintained, were also out of the question. Argue as they might, not one member could persuade him otherwise.
It was as though he had resigned himself to this suffering. He wasn't looking for a way out any longer. Harry stayed conspicuously quiet during the long debate following the arrival of the order letter and article in the Daily Prophet. Perhaps it was for this reason why Remus kept looking to Harry as his best friend beside him grew increasingly frustrated with Mooney.
Kingsley was surprisingly adamant as well; Mr. Weasley persistent and patient as ever, refusing to accept defeat. Hermione's eyes brimmed with tears so fervently that even Ron, at a loss with the whole situation, put an arm around her once, then on her knee. Once saying her name to calm her when she became so outraged that she stood, "It's his choice, Hermione." Adding in response to her glare, "we all want to help him."
Snape had agreed to make all brews for a safe transformation. The painful tools he would need, Arthur had found a way to furnish having confiscated the medieval devices as Hermione called them, sometime previously. As for the job, they were on the process of finding him one, but everyone pretty much insisted upon Hogwarts.
Options were limited, so Remus took it into advisement.
"I don't understand." Hermione voice broke. "He's not even fighting. Harry, say something. Maybe he will listen to you!"
"Ron's right. It's his decision, Hermione."
And Remus' sad, understanding look made the fury burning inside Harry, not at him but at the situation, boil over. His soft eyes were saying: 'See? You know what I know. There is no point. I'm a waste.'
Harry knew because it was the face he gave people when they sacrificed for him. He did not have the heart to tell them: 'Don't bother. I cannot do this. If I am the chosen one, it was a bad choice. It should have been Hermione. It should have been someone else. I am going to fail and you are doing this for nothing.' But he couldn't break their hearts like that. They put so much hope in their boy-who-lived, and he had to bear that until he was ultimately killed. Even Dumbledore had known that.
The old man knew he wasn't a great student or a brilliant person or an especially powerful wizard. He needed help. He needed an advantage. He had tried to help.
There were the tutoring sessions with Lupin in third year, the occlumency with Snape, the memories with Dumbledore. The late headmaster had even let slip his father's cloak and quidditch and that the marauders were animagi and led him to the map, with hopes to inspire his learning, but he had not achieved what Dumbledore had hoped, only continued to wow him with his bravery. His valor.
But, Dumbledore knew, he would die with that valor. It would be a beautiful death, but an end, so he had sent him to one more person. One more. A letter, a portkey, a time turner, another type of magic he did not understand or recognize, and months later he returned having vanished, it seemed, for only a meal, leaving his friends befuddled.
He was different afterwards, though he kept his new skills hidden, having been trained by the person whose experience and knowledge surpassed her age…her age.
His tutor had been a female. A single female he was pretty certain… who had a special history with werewolves…and if perhaps he could convince Lupin that it would be a partnership, maybe then he would agree to meet her. Maybe that would compel him to just try. And she would of course be willing…He had strangely never thought of it before, but she was attractive…
It was brilliant; he felt a rush of heat and brain cells. This must be what Hermione felt like all the time. He worked to suppress his smile.
Remus was reclining in his chair, sighing tiredly. The more resigned he became, the more energized the others grew in his fight for them.
Harry interrupted the overlapping voices, "May I speak to Remus alone please?" His comment threw them off.
"Alone?" Sirius demanded, drunkenly.
Remus's eyes smiled, staring at Harry with curiosity. Ron and Hermione gapped.
"Well, you heard him! Let's leave them alone.' Mrs. Weasley pushed everyone from the room.
"Being that I can do nothing further and certainly will not marry Remus, I will take my leave." Said Snape.
"I'm not going." Sirius proclaimed stubbornly.
"Just a minute, Padfoot." Harry winked.
Inspired, he left with the same hopeful smile they all had.
"Well, well, well," Remus smiled when they were alone. "Come up with something clever, or are you going to try to con me into it, knowing I have such a soft spot for you?"
"Everyone here has a soft spot for you. But I know what you're doing, what I do."
"Oh, and what is that?"
"You don't want their help because you think it's a wasted on you."
"Surely you can't feel that way, Harry. You're the Chosen One."
He struggled to keep the rage form his voice. "Please don't ever call me that again."
"I'm sorry." He replied in earnest.
"I know what it's like to sacrifice for the good of the group. To suffer for their morale."
"Harry, what on earth," he began, clearly concerned.
"Please let me finish." He held up his hand. "Don't stop now. Do this as well. We need you. We need to know you're not in some werewolf prison camp somewhere. At Hogwarts, you can do some good, teach some students to protect themselves. Offer some normalcy to people's lives. They will have to let you if you are in compliance with all the safety terms and need to work."
"So you want me to take the job then." He sighed, but his eyes were still smiling.
"I do, but that's not what I wanted to talk to you about."
"Dumbledore introduced me to someone. A woman… to help me. Let me finish." He held up his hand again, continuing quietly. "This woman, she was working on special sort of mission involving werewolves. Anyways she'd be older than me, not your former student, and quite able to protect herself. And I believe that her connection to you might lend her some standing with her work as well, you see. And so it would be a tradeoff."
"I don't think it would be fair trade; she'd be saving my life."
"And believe me, she'd like to do that."
He seemed stunned into silence.
"Now this person is entirely trustworthy. As I said, she's Dumbledore's friend and saved my life several times as well. Besides that, I think you'd get along well enough to cooperate, live together. I of course haven't spoken to her, and I'm not asking the two of you to get married, but I wonder if before you give up all hope you'd just be willing to meet her."
His eyes gleamed. "Well, I don't see any harm in meeting her, except that she'll be frightened away by a poor old, mangy werewolf."
Harry smiled, ignoring his comment.
"Good. Now they will have to get off your back for a while at least."
When Harry opened the door to the dining room, he saw no one inside 12 Grimmauld Place had traveled far. He smiled, passing them on his way to the stairs without a word.
"Well?!" Mrs. Weasley demanded.
Lupin leaned against the doorframe and smiled coyly. "I will of course take any job available at Hogwarts. As for the poor woman you are all so quick to sentence to living with me, I think you should leave that to me."
"But you WON"T—" Sirius began.
Remus cut him off. "Harry and I may have an idea. May. Leave it to us."
"Hurrah!" Mrs. Weasley beamed as if that was all settled then.
"Well done, Harry!" Sirius shouted. He smiled down at them, then disappeared into his room.
He'd only collapsed and exhaled before Ginny knocked and entered, looking concerned. The door swung open before see could speak, as Ron sauntered in.
"Oh." He paused, wondering if he was interrupting.
Harry just shook his head. Hermione waited, looking to Ginny, before she entered. The brunette made sure with a quick spell no one would hear them.
"Well, now we need to think of something, don't we?" She began.
"What do you mean?" Ron asked. "Harry already has an idea."
"Don't be ridiculous, Ron. Harry just said that to stop the fighting and get Lupin to agree to something."
Harry tried not to be insulted. "Actually, I do have an idea."
"You're not the only one with a brain, Hermione." He informed her.
"No, I know!" She quickly admitted. "Who?! You hadn't said anything to us…"
"Yeah, mate." Said Ron. "We know all the same people."
"Not exactly." Harry looked down at his quidditch magazine, which was a disguise for his true studies. No need to add any further shock.
"Does this have to do with the training you received?" Ginny asked cautiously. He watched them exchange looks as he nodded, pretending to be absorbed by his reading.
"Harry, are you ever going to tell us everything from that day?" Hermione asked impatiently.
"I told you, Hermione, I can't."
"Right. Dumbledore." She plopped down on Ron's bed next to him.
Harry nodded. Of course, Dumbledore's note never said specifically he could not share what had happened to him with his friends, but he knew he shouldn't. Or perhaps he didn't want to share it; for that, he felt bad. But if his plan worked out the way he suspected it might, they may learn soon enough.
He had, however, a new concern. The more he thought about it, the more he realized, she really was beautiful; he felt quite stupid for never realizing it was so obvious. Remus was probably anticipating meeting someone close to his age, academic, plain. He would absolutely say no when he saw her.
"What is it, Harry?"
"There's a bit of a problem…only I never really noticed before…"
"For god's sake's, Harry, spit it out." Ginny urged him.
"She's rather good looking." He thought he might have seen a flash of jealousy in his girlfriend, which he hoped he was imagining.
"Well that's good isn't it?" Ron asked.
"No, Ronald," Hermione informed him. "Because Remus doesn't have much pride in his appearance. And if she's young as Tonks or as pretty he's going to feel like he's burdening her."
"Oh." Ron realized.
"Is she?" Hermione asked.
"Is she what?" he answered distractedly.
"As young or as pretty as Nyphadora?" Ginny demanded shortly.
"Oh," Hermione huffed, pacing. "What can we do? How will you even contact her? Will she ever say yes?"
"She will do it. I only have to call her, but I don't know….can I ask her to be plainer?"
"No!" The girls responded immediately.
"Why not?" Ron wanted to know. "I'd think it was a compliment."
"Maybe we could get Remus ready. Make him feel more confident."
"Like a makeover!" Ginny wondered aloud.
"No!" The boys answered at once.
"Look, eventually he'd find out she was beautiful anyway. He'll just have to see and get over it." Harry concluded. Ginny left the room quietly.
"What?" he asked Hermione.
"Nothing." She said shyly. "Only…"
"Only what?" Ron demanded, equally perplexed.
"Only you called her beautiful…"
"Well she is!" Harry shouted defensively. "I don't see why it matters!"
"Have you ever called Ginny beautiful?'
He understood his misdeed, but Ron clearly did not.
"So? I never call you beautiful, Hermione."
"Yes, I know that, Ronald." She replied rather tersely.
"So I should go to her then?" he sighed, putting down his book. It was hard enough to make himself study without doing it in secret between constant interruptions.
He stood to leave, hearing Ronald say, "Oi, you know you're beautiful and all though, right 'mione?"
"Oh shut up, Ronald!" Harry heard a smack followed by a wince and hoped that wasn't his fate.
He stood awkwardly outside Ginny's.
"Ginny, I'm sorry if what I said was insensitive. Come on and open the door."
He waited but there came no response.
"Come on, Ginny. Let's not be silly about this. Please open the door."
He sighed exasperated and tried once more. "This is ridiculous. I shouldn't have to tell you you're beautiful. It's obvious."
Someone cleared there throat behind him.
Remus emerged from the shadows. "And I'm supposed to let you play matchmaker for me?" he teased.
Harry sighed leaning against her door. "Hey I'm good enough at getting them. Too good, in fact.' He said more to himself, realizing he said it aloud he opened his mouth to repair it. Lupin's face was concerned again. But Ginny interrupted them, emerging from the bathroom.
"Is there a reason you are congregated at my door?" She asked, hair dripping on her bathrobe.
They both laughed. "I was shouting at it." Harry explained, shaking his head as he stood.
"What did it ever do to you?' Ginny quipped back, pushing it open. He knew they were fine if she was joking, so he turned and went towards the study.
"Harry, I'd like to talk to you in private." Remus requested, following behind.
"I'm not saying anything about her, Remus, you'll just have to wait and see why you will refuse her when she gets here."
"Thank you for the vote of confidence but I meant about you. Normally, I wouldn't pry, but as you have rather been adamant about my personal life recently…"
"Ask away." Harry said, opening the door to the study with his back.
They we alone, his back to Remus, but he wasn't speaking.
"Harry?" he asked. His voice had changed. "Did you just charm this door?"
"Yes." He admitted, without thinking he had locked it and placed a silencing spell.
"But you didn't say a word.'
"And did you even have your wand?"
He shifted, thinking of lying. But he hadn't.
Remus' eyes widened, impressed. "And she taught you this?"
He nodded. "She's a good teacher. Told you, you'd have a lot in common. Don't mention to anyone please, even in confidence."
"You have my word."
"Not Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Sirius."
"So they don't know."
"Well, watch it around Hermione; she will catch on."
"I think she's beginning to….is that what you wanted to talk to me about?"
"Not exactly…Harry, I don't want to pry."
"I wish you wouldn't say that. I don't have parents, Lupin. Someone ought to know what I'm doing. Sorry." He apologized, realizing the insensitivity of his words.
"No, don't apologize; you're right. But Sirius is your godfather. I don't want to overstep."
"I don't think my parents would ever accuse you of such a thing."
"No, perhaps not. It's strange how well you seem to know them at times."
"No," he shook his head. "I don't know them. Only through you…and the others."
"Harry, something you said earlier and then again on the stairs… forgive me but are you happy with Ginny?"
Harry stared a minute wondering if he dare say anything close to the truth. When he opened his mouth to reply, he surprised himself with his own laughter. The sound wouldn't die. It filled the room. He simply could not breathe. Lupin watched him carefully until it abated. The young man's face hurt; his ribs ached.
"I'm sorry, you just asked me if I was happy."
"It's ok Remus; it's ok. I'm alright.' He sat, but Remus had stood, even stepped towards him. He did not seem convinced. "I should be happy. God knows Mrs. Weasley is ecstatic. Ginny's lovely, but to be honest, it's like another burden to me, another thing to take care of, another thing I'm no good at."
Remus knelt at his knees anyway, his soft eyes looking up into Harrys. "Don't put anything else on yourself than you already have, Harry. Please be happy. For your parent's sake."
"Guilt-ing me with that, huh?" Harry teased bitterly, looking away, but surprisingly, Lupin took his chin.
"No." he answered firmly. "Not guilt-ing. How about for me? You allow yourself some freedom, and I'll allow myself to try for happiness too. We'll give each other courage to be selfish."
"They'll hate me."
"Harry," He smiled. "No one under this roof will ever, ever hate you."
"But they will." He thought, 'when I fail them', but he couldn't bring himself to say.
"Harry," He had spied the tears welling that Harry felt burn.
Without thinking, Harry reached forward and grabbed onto Lupin as tight as he possibly could. Embarrassed though he was, he let himself cry, very selfishly and childishly cry with fear and self-pity. Remus said nothing; he simply clutched the younger man's form tightly as well and let him get it out. No pathetic patting, or rubbing his back, no 'there, there' in vain, just a tight clasp.
When Harry tried to pull away, still drawing shuddering breaths, Remus did not let him. Only when his body was still calmer than it had been on quite a long time did Remus let him go. He stood quietly and handed the younger man a bit of chocolate. Harry laughed, sniffling.
"Thanks. I feel like I could sleep ages now."
"Good, you should rest then." He smiled quietly. 'Why don't you go to my room and lock the door? I'll tell them not to disturb you if they are looking for you."
"Would you really?"
The chocolate warmed him pleasantly and he felt even groggier. Lupin nodded.
"Ok. I'll be down for dinner."
"Don't worry about it. You can eat when you're hungry." He shook his head.
Pulling himself up from the armchair, Harry clapped Mooney on the shoulder. When he reached the door, he paused, saying behind him as it opened, "Please be open minded. I'd really love to help you for a change."
"Be open minded about what?"
"It's just … she is beautiful, I suppose."
"Harry," he turned, sudden realization in his voice. "You aren't in love with her, are you?"
"No," Harry shook his head, laughing lightly. "No, not at all. Good night."
"Have a nice rest, Harry.' Lupin offered, retreating into his thoughts by the fireplace he magically lit.
Harry slept so soundly he would have thought he'd stolen dreamless sleep draught. It was about ten o'clock at night when he crept downstairs.
A/N: Thank you for reading; I realize it was a rather long first chapter. I always wanted to see Remus get a happy ending, and while I liked Tonks, I didn't think their relationship developed very realistically and the end was certainly unsatisfying for me. I've been busy working on original works since I wrote Stolen (a Dramione fiction), but I had to give this a go...odd though it is. As always, reviews are welcome as are questions, etc.