I Love You More Than Myself Part Two

Chapter 5

"When life knocks you down, roll over and look at the stars." -Unknown

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*Remus's POV*

My room had become my prison. Blinds closed, door locked securely, and possessions thrown everywhere. It was a mess. Clothes I'd worn two weeks ago were carelessly tossed over chairs, papers strewn across the room, and dinners I'd refused to eat piled up by the door. There were blood stains on my sheets from stepping on the glass of the picture frames I'd broken because I couldn't bear to see the happy, smiling faces of everyone I'd once loved.

I hadn't heard from or seen Oliver and Alisa since the incident last summer. My nephew was surely almost a year old now, and I hadn't been able to see him. It pained me not to know what was going on with them. What if the little family had been blasted to nothing already? I couldn't answer. It was just another thing that kept me from living. But it was nothing compared to the shame.

Shame is an interesting emotion. In my professional opinion, shame can make you feel worse than sadness, guilt, jealously, pain, I could go on. Shame makes you want to curl up into a ball and cease to exist. Shame makes you want to hide your face from everyone forever. Shame can make you do unthinkable things. I had never felt a shame deeper than what I experienced that summer.

James and Sirius made several attempts to get in contact with me, but I shrugged them off. I didn't want to associate with anyone, let alone them, the people that made me think about… her… the most. I got numerous letters from the both of them, begging me to talk, to come visit them, to let them visit me, and so on, but I would read them and immediately crumple them up and discard them. They meant little to nothing to me.

Eventually, I must have given in to their advances, because one evening, I found myself sitting on the same couch I sat on when we found out Scarlet had been murdered. I was the only one who seemed to notice this, for James and Sirius were too preoccupied on my current situation to talk about anything else. They sat rigidly across from me, staring at me nervously as if I was about to explode. Truth be told, I was.

"It's been almost two months, mate," Sirius says gently. "You're gonna have to get over it some time."

"Two months?" I answer in a monotone voice. "What are you talking about? It's only been a week or so."

"No, Moony," James says, eyeing me cautiously. "It's almost September."

I don't respond, but sit in shock of my ignorance.

"That's not the point," Sirius interjects. "The point is, you need to get out again. You need to start eating again. You need your life back. This depression isn't doing you any favors."

"I can't help myself," I say, still avoiding their eye contact. "I don't have the will to do… anything."

"Mate, I know what you're talking about," Sirius says, and I suddenly realize he's right. "I went through this same thing when Scarlet died… but I got through it. Remus, I firmly believe in the idea of controlling your own happiness. Only you can make yourself happy, and if you don't want to be, then you're not going to be."

I think about what he's said, rubbing my temples. I was starting to get a headache, for I wasn't accustomed to all this light.

"You're right, I suppose."

"Aren't I always?" he responds cheekily.

"Well, this wasn't the only reason we invited you over, Moony," James says. "We have a bit of news for you."

"Well, spit it out," I urge after several seconds of silence.

"Lily and I are getting married."

It is then that I finally make eye contact with them. "What?" I blurt out.

"I proposed… and well, she said yes."

"Wow," I breathe, an odd mixture of emotions rising inside of me. "Congratulations, Prongs."

I get up and give him a warm hug, all the while thinking about how badly I wanted to retreat back to my prison. The jealously was burning in the pit of my stomach like a boiling cauldron, for I was the one who was supposed to be announcing their engagement. But alas, the tables had turned.

"When's the wedding?" I ask through gritted teeth, taking my seat again.

"In a few weeks," James explains, a silly smile having crept onto his face. "Hey, maybe you and Tonks can talk it out there."

I don't respond, for my body had tensed up immensely at the mention of her name. I forgot how to breathe for a second and my hands become fists in my lap. I took a moment to let all my breath out, and to uncurl my fists. I take another deep breath before replying, "Maybe."

I left shortly after that, for the conversation was starting to turn to… her… and I couldn't bear that quite yet. I thanked them for their wise words and kindness, and left in a hurry.

When I returned home, I found Libby sitting alone in the kitchen, picking at a bowl of cereal. I notice how thin and lanky she had become, her once stunningly shiny blonde hair now dull and frizzy. She sits slumped in her seat, her elbows on the table, and her head hung. I step out of the fireplace and just stare at her for a moment, realizing in horror what I had done.

My depression hit Olivia the worst. The fourteen year old was slowly crumbling without her support system there, and kept to herself almost as much as I did. I was so horrified because I hadn't realized until now what a toll this had taken on her. I swallow the tears, and slowly make my way over to the table, brushing soot off me as I went.

"Libby?" I ask kindly. She huffs, and turns her head away from me. "Libby, you can't ignore me forever."

"Like you have?" she answers sourly. "You can't be the one blaming anybody for neglect."

I stand astonished at her sass, and collect myself before continuing.

"Olivia, I'm sorry. You don't know what this kind of shame can do to a person. It-"

"I really don't want to hear your excuse, because no excuse will ever make up for abandoning your little sister."

With that, she stands, her chair scraping loudly on the wooden floor. Without even touching her cereal, she leaves the kitchen and retreats up the stairs. When I know she's far enough away, I slam my fist on the table, letting the tears come. It seems impossible that all this pain can be the result of one stupid decision.

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*Tonks's POV*James and Lily had chosen to have their wedding at sunset, so unfortunately, I couldn't get out of going to the Ministry that morning. It was the beginning of an absolutely gorgeous day, and the last place I wanted to be was being screamed at by Alastor Moody in a small, hot room all day.

"Nymphadora, what are you thinking?!" he yells from his post at the head of the room. Today, we were perfecting our blocking skills, and my partner had unfortunately caught me in the arm. "I told you not to use you arm as a shield."

"With all due respect, sir," I mutter through gritted teeth, for I had completely had it with this day. He makes a face as he stalks over, grumbling something incomprehensible. "If a spell is aimed directly at my heart, I am going to use another body part to protect myself."

The class goes silent, and he just stares at me angrily. I can tell that he knows I'm right, yet won't admit it, for he is too prideful. He grumbles something else and retreats back to his post, where he takes a few moments to calm down before speaking again.

"Thanks to Miss Tonks, you all will be spending the rest of the day with me. No questions asked, no sassy retorts, nothing. Now, get back to work. If you do well, I might let you go before nine."

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Mad-Eye lets us out at precisely eleven. As we leave to collect our belongings, many weary, irritated students with bloodshot eyes shoulder me, or push me as a way of revenge. I keep my mouth shut, anger boiling inside me. I rush to leave, for I wasn't aware of the time and thought I could maybe still make the wedding.

As I apparate to the venue, my heart sinks. Tents are being torn down, tables are being put away, and leftovers now find themselves shoved into Tupperware containers. I sigh, my anger only intensifying. I look hopelessly around for any sign of my friends, and I spot them at the only table left standing. I make my way over, feeling incredibly underdressed, for everyone was dressed to the nines; men in tuxes, and women in long, glamorous dresses. I glance down embarrassedly at my ripped jeans, combat boots, and t-shirt. I straighten the shirt in hopes that it will make me look more presentable.

"Wotcher!" I call when I'm only a few steps away.

"Tonksie!" James calls, standing and bounding forward to give me a gripping hug.

"Ooh, watch it, James," I wince as he squeezes my bad arm. "I'm still a little sore."

"Oh, sorry!" he breathes, looking guilty. I glance over his shoulder and lay eyes on the beautiful bride.

"Lily!" I squeal, stepping around the groom to wrap my arms around my best friend. "You look absolutely gorgeous! Stunning, just stunning, Lils."

"Thank you, Nymphadora," she blushes, and I resist the urge to correct her.

"Where've you been, chickadee?" Sirius complains loudly, obviously joking. He stands and gives me a hug, shortly followed by Marlene.

"Oh, it was a day from hell, I can assure you that," I mutter, annoyed. "Guys, I'm so sorry I couldn't make it. It was entirely my fault. I can't believe I was so stupid to-"

"Tonks," James cuts off my rambling. "Don't worry about it. It's fine, really."

"I just feel bad," I sigh. "I missed your special day."

"Don't feel bad," Lily says, giving me a comforting smile. She wraps her arm around James's. I've never seen the two of them so happy.

"Alright," I say begrudgingly. "I won't, but it's a good story to say the least."

"Enlighten us," Sirius says, pulling up a chair for me as we all take our seats.

"Well… let's just say I'm pretty sure I'm the only person in a hundred years to sass Alastor Moody and survive."

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*Remus's POV*

I left the wedding early, complaining of pain due to the coming full moon. It was a beautiful celebration, really, it was but… I just couldn't bear it any longer.

I couldn't stand the seaside venue, for I knew she would've loved to be wed here. I couldn't stand the endless tables of food, for I knew she would've gone mad at the sheer quantity. I couldn't stand the music, for they kept playing all her favorite songs. I couldn't stand being around my friends, for they reminded me so sorely of her. From Sirius's cheeky smile to Lydia's bubbly laugh, they embodied her in a way that I never thought possible.

I couldn't stand the bride and groom, for I was immensely jealous. I knew it should've been me up there, standing in a well-tailored tux, unable to keep the biggest smile of my life off my face. It should've been her in a gorgeous white gown, her full, red lips parted in a shy smile. She should've been the one being walked up the aisle by her father, and I should've been the one to peel the veil off her flawless face. We both would've taken our last breaths as individuals and our first breaths as one.

When I return home, I immediately retreat to my room, locking the door securely behind me. I rip my tie and tux jacket off, throwing them on top of the pile of clothes that grows by the day. I start to unbutton my shirt as I sit down at my desk, trying to hold myself together.

I take a fresh sheet of parchment out of the cleanest corner of my desk, and have to push garbage around to find a quill for several minutes. I dip it in an ink bottle that's almost empty and begin to scribble mindlessly. I feel beads of sweat begin to form on my forehead as tears well up in my eyes. My hands begin to shake and the tears spill over and down my cheeks, hitting the parchment and creating little, wet splotches all over it.

I throw the quill down when my whole body begins shaking. I slide off my chair and into a ball on the floor, just sobbing. I bury my face into my knees, hoping I could maybe somehow suffocate myself. I lay in this position for a long time, just releasing all the stress and pain from that day. After what seems like an hour, I uncurl myself and sit up. I feel like a dam had been broken, and all my emotions had been drained. I felt strangely empty.

I clumsily climb back into my seat, and look down at the tear-stained piece of parchment laying on my desk. To my complete shock, I see I didn't actually write words. Just a name, over and over and over… Near the end of the parchment, it was barely readable because of my shaking and the tears, but it was distinguishable nonetheless.

Dora… Dora… Dora… Dora… dora… dora… doa… dora… dra… do… doa… d…

I stare at the paper for a good minute before picking it up and tearing it to pieces. I watch them fall to the floor as I wipe away a final tear. For some reason, this simple act brings me closure. I feel oddly at peace, the pain of only a few hours ago now in the back of my mind. I glance down at the papers, like the remains of the life I once had, and leave them.

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Happy two years guys! :D

So, I know I have a ton of explaining to do… yes, and none of my excuses are going to be good enough. I'm terribly sorry for abandoning you guys. I will try harder not to from now on.

I guess you could say I just got busy. School has been absolutely killing me this year. I finally got a boyfriend that I absolutely adore and love spending time with. I've been doing shows… See, none of these are good excuses.

I honestly don't know how many people are still here. This is such a monster of a story, and I know I've lost dozens along the way. But to anyone reading this, I want to send you the biggest thank you I could ever muster.

But I knew I had to post today, and I worked my ass off to get this up in time for a two year celebration! Wow, two whole years. Where has the time gone?

That's all I have to say for now. Merry Christmas guys! Thank you for reading, and please leave a review! (:

~AnM XD

xoxo

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