26 August, 1994 19:08
Life in Brazil is great. The weather is just as beautiful as the people (don’t worry, I’ve resisted temptation. And before you have a doubt that anyone’s been interested, just remember the Brazilian bloke from that club we met at that coffee place in Soho). Anyhow, you’ll be pleased to hear I’ve only had one run in with a wizard, and I wiped his memory. The disguise spells you gave me have helped tremendously, though I still feel safer in my Animagus form.
Let me know how they’re talking about me back home. Hopefully I can return soon.
24 June, 1995 21:19
Dumbledore looked between us. “Now I have work for each of you. Fudge’s attitude, though not unexpected, changes everything. Sirius, I need you to set off at once. You are to alert Remus Lupin, Arabella Figg, Mundungus Fletcher—the old crowd. Lie low at Lupin’s for a while; I will contact you there.”
“But—” Harry began, trying to sit up in the hospital bed.
“You’ll see me very soon. Harry,” I said, turning to him. “I promise you. But I must do what I can, you understand, don’t you?”
Harry nodded, clearly still shaken by the night’s events. “Yeah. Yeah…of course I do.”
He was as strong as James had been. I grasped his hand briefly, nodded to Dumbledore, transformed again into the black dog, and ran the length of the room to the door, which I managed to open with a paw. I continued to run, not quite registering the incredulous looks of passerby, then the night sky, until I was far enough away to transform back into a human and Disapparate.
I appeared on Remus’ doorstep. Once I had oriented myself, I knocked on the door, fidgeting in impatience. Finally, the door opened.
“Remus.” I hurried past him. “We haven’t got much time. Albus asked me to assemble the Order, but I haven’t seen you in so long, I wanted—”
“Slow down, Sirius.” Remus closed the door and crossed to me. His faced was lined with worry and pain, and he placed his hands on my shoulders.
I held his gaze, breathing hard, until I could no longer stand to be so separate. I wrapped my arms around him. “I’ve missed you. Fuck, Remus, I hated being apart.”
“I know.” Remus rubbed my back, other hand pressing me closer to him. “Christ, you’re in awful shape; I can feel your bones.” He was silent, but I could tell by the edge that had been in his voice that he was holding back what he really wanted to say. “It’s just the same as when you came back from Azkaban a year ago. I thought then that things may change, but I was wrong.” Remus let go of me and turned away; he wasn’t talking about my physical state anymore. “How can I know—why would I put my time, my life, into someone that won’t even be around? I’ve felt like such a fool for pining over you, while you found it so easy to sit in a cave for nearly a year rather than be with me. And before you say it was for Harry, consider how it might seem to me, that you keep pushing me away. First, you suspect I’m working for Voldemort. And after escaping Azkaban, you didn’t try to communicate with me; and when we did see each other again in that shack it wasn’t even on purpose. Then you leave for months to go into hiding, not even considering there may be another way. When you finally do return, you spend a few weeks off an on with me before moving to a bloody cave where you nearly starved yourself to death, so tell me, why should I keep trusting you?”
While I had regained my breath, Remus was now panting.
I stared at him, appalled. “You think I haven’t considered why I have such a problem being with you for a long time? It’s—it’s more complicated than you think. I don’t think I deserve you, for one, I mean how could I deserve you? I fucked our best friend, let myself chase after him for years with hardly a thought that he was using me. Despite everything we went through, I still mistrusted you, got myself imprisoned for trying to kill Wormtail, and would rather live like an animal in a cave than face the fact that I can’t make up for lost time protecting Harry. I spent years alone, not being touched, spoken to, looked at—it was too much to be around people all of a sudden, to have someone love me when I’d hated myself for so long. I don’t deserve you, I never did. And because You-Know-Who is back from the dead—”
“You-Know-Who is alive? How—Is that why you’re here?”
I waved this away. “We have years to talk about him. Just—give me two minutes.”
With a great effort, Remus stifled his concern. “I can’t understand why you insisted on punishing yourself. But I can…” He reached out and touched my cheek. “I can trust you again. If You-Know-Who is back, it can’t be like last time. We can’t suspect each other.”
Remus touched his lips to mine, and I wove my hands into his hair, feeling the shift of his head as he tilted to kiss me with more fervor. Then he pulled away. “We have to talk first. Some of the things you said—you can’t expect them to be resolved because you confessed them to me.” He sighed and pushed the hair out of my eyes. “You should live with me until we find somewhere more permanent.”
19 September, 1995 9:16
I spat out my toothpaste and splashed my face with water from the tap, then said to Remus, “You should move in with me.”
“I don’t want to intrude.”
I scoffed. “Intrude on what? I’m essentially on house arrest.”
“So you aren’t worried people will get the wrong idea? Or the right idea, rather?”
“As far as anyone can tell, we’re just best mates. We just probably shouldn’t have loud, raging sex if the Order is around.”
“Oh, seriously, Sirius, of course you’d jump straight to—”
“Seriously Sirius?” I raised an eyebrow.
Remus pretended to scowl. “I’m going to murder you.”
“You don’t want to do the Ministry’s job for them! At least collect a bounty.”
“I’m serious. I have a point—”
“No, I’m Sirius.”
“For the love of all that is sacred in the world, you need to stop.”
I crossed my arms. “Fine. Get on with it.”
“When are we going to be honest with everyone?”
Hot stabs of annoyance prickled through me. I wanted to brush off the question, dismiss him, but I couldn’t keep running from our relationship. I couldn’t pretend to myself that it was just sex between us, because it never had been, and of course I cared about him, but no one could know.
“Why don’t we focus on making it through the war. We’ll worry about it after.”
Remus scoffed. “You call that an excuse…”
“What, you expect we’ll be able to live a fairytale among all this shit?”
“This ‘shit’ is all the more reason to decide if we’re going to be doing this.”
“Why do you want to be so attached? If one of us dies—and it’s very fucking likely—then it would’ve been for nothing.” I saw the words sting Remus, and couldn’t help feel a twinge of satisfaction, as though I were saving him misery.
“For nothing.” Remus looked at me, expression hard. “Do you think the same thing about James?”
“It’s not the same. Friendship is—you and I are—”
Remus raised an eyebrow. “What?”
My words had already lost their sharpness, it seemed. I tried to reassert myself. “You want something more with me than I ever wanted with James. And, well—he married Lily, and they had a kid, like a normal family. It made sense for people to know because they did what everyone does.”
“Since when have you done what everyone does?”
“Since I wanted people to stay out of my life.”
“People, or me?”
I gritted my teeth. “Look, make it about yourself, or being gay, or whatever, but I already have my personal life displayed for everyone in the Order to see. They feel sorry for me now, but imagine how that pity would turn to discomfort, even scorn, if they knew about our sleepovers. What good would it do? If this was out, would it make you comfortable kissing me in front of the Order? Holding my hand? Can’t you picture it, them either staring or trying hard not to look, and suddenly it’s not about the War but the little drama in our lives. They’d circle us like vultures, sickly fascinated, waiting—”
Remus started to chuckle. I froze, shivers prickling at the back of my neck.
“It’s both of our egos, isn’t it? I want to drag us out of secrecy, you want to assume people’s lives revolve around you.” He looked at me. “But if we both survive this war…”
I met his gaze, then nodded. “If we survive, and win, then fuck it, I want to be with you, Remus.”
4 January, 1996 21:32
I bit his lip and snickered. “What’s wrong?”
Remus shut the door behind us. “If Kreacher sees…”
“It’s been months and he hasn’t found us out. Besides, no one listens to him. If he started muttering about us, calling us fags or queer or whatever—”
Remus crossed his arms. “You forgot fudge packer, fairy, sodomite—”
“…I doubt anyone would notice, or care.”
Remus assessed me for a moment, eyebrows raised. “Wait, you think it’s hot.”
“You like sneaking around, almost getting caught—it turns you on.”
I grinned. “It’s just that, with so many people in the place, someone could walk in. And they’d find it wrong. You and I—two men, for that matter—shouldn’t be fucking.” I locked the door and cast a Muffling Charm.
“I’ll make it quick, then,” Remus said, unbuckling his trousers.
My breath quickened. We kissed, then he pushed me down onto the bed.
“This is the first time we’ve gone longer than a week without sex.”
“You keep track?” He pulled off my pants. “Lubrico.”
“It becomes painfully obvious—ah—if we wait too long. If I have to masturbate three times in one day to tide myself over, I know it’s been a week.”
“You’ve masturbated three times today, then?”
“Twice. I was—”
“When. How.” His words were coming out short now, one per thrust.
I exhaled and reached down. “First, this morning. You weren’t awake yet. I was mid-dream, you were—ah—you were sucking me off. Ah, shit, Moony, Christ…”
“Second, after dinner. You—ah—ah, Merlin, you—touched my leg at dinner. I wanted to—ah—to fuck you then, in front of everyone. So I went into our closet, I used the toy you gave me last month—ah…” I had to collect my thoughts, concentrate on staying on the edge. “That pink one. I jacked off, I thought of you and a Death Eater—”
Remus stopped. “What?”
I flushed. “It’s a fantasy of mine, alright? We help a Death Eater realize he’s gay, and we all fuck.”
“I shouldn’t be surprised.”
“Don’t stop, please. Ah—”
Remus leaned close to my ear. “Did he fuck like me?”
“No. Merlin, no.”
Remus gripped my sides for better leverage. “I didn’t think so.”
“You’re the only one I want to be with, Remus.”
Whatever Remus was expecting, it wasn’t this. After a moment, he said, “You are, too.”
“I wish there was a stronger—ah—word than magic to describe how you feel inside me.”
“After I make you come, maybe you can think of something.” Remus’ expression faltered, and he clenched the sheets. I reached up and gripped his back, moving with him as he came.
Remus shifted back on the bed, studying me, then my hands, which moved slowly, deliberately. “Can I finish that for you?”
I nodded and stretched my arms over my head. “Am I like those other blokes you slept with?”
Remus kept his hold on me, but moved closer. “It’s not as though your cum is green, Padfoot.” He brought his mouth over mine, holding back. “But when I fuck you, I know you. A body is a body, but a person—a person is something else entirely.”
“Like fucking a soul?” My legs trembled, and I pressed the back of my head into the pillow.
Remus kissed me, pausing to chuckle. “Sure.”
“Ah—ah—bloody Christ…” I arched my back, then went limp, sighing as Remus rolled off of me.
He glanced at the time. “That took seven minutes. Quite fast, I think.”
“We should have another go tomorrow night, before everyone leaves. I won’t have it in me after then. I’ll be too depressed.” I kissed Remus’ neck as he sat on the edge of the bed, buttoning up his shirt. “Moony, you make this place less shit.”
Remus glanced down at me. “I don’t doubt it. If I weren’t here, you’d just be left with your hand.”
I kissed his jawline, his cheek, his mouth. “You’re beautiful, Remus.” He flushed beneath my fingertips and pushed closer to me.
A loud crack broke the silence, and we jerked apart. George stood before us, mouth ajar, eyes wide.
Remus stood. “George—hang on, don’t go.” He spoke evenly, as though he were addressing a student.
My heart pounded. I no longer wanted any of the suspense. If I had known this would happen, I wouldn’t have snuck about. “For fuck’s sake, you two can’t keep Apparating all over the house…”
George covered his mouth, eyes crinkling as he giggled. “I’m sorry,” he managed.
Remus glanced at his wand, then back to George. “It’s alright.” He masked an otherwise abrupt move to his wand by sighing and rubbing his temple. “Can you keep this between us?”
George’s expression became solemn. “Course. I can tell Fred, though, right?”
Sensing Remus needed me to stall, I replied, “Well, let’s see. If he promises not to tell anyone, then I’m sure—”
Remus whipped around.“Obliviate!”
George stumbled backward, so I leapt up to grab his arm.
Remus tucked his wand into his trousers and ran a hand through his hair. “Thank you, Padfoot.”
“Yeah,” I said, face numb with relief. “Are you okay? I suppose I shouldn’t have assumed you’d want to erase his memory, and I—I don’t want you to take it personally.”
Remus guided a very dazed George to the door. “He shouldn’t know before Harry. And erasing his memory is better than killing him, right?”
28 May, 1996 16:37
“Sirius, it’s Harry. He’s in the fireplace.”
I furrowed my brow and followed Remus to the living room. “What is it?” I said, pushing my hair out of my eyes to see him more clearly, dropping to the ground in front of the fire, so that and Harry and I were on a level.
Remus knelt down beside me and asked Harry, “Are you all right? Do you need help?”
“No,” Harry said, “it’s nothing like that…I just wanted to talk…about my dad.”
We exchanged a look of surprise, but Harry charged straight into his explanation. He’d seen us harass Snape in an object that could show memories, called a Pensieve. He seemed to think James was as bad as Snape, that it made James a bad person.
I waited for Remus to say something. I could feel Harry’s disgust with me. Finally, Remus said quietly, “I wouldn’t like you to judge your father on what you saw there, Harry. He was only fifteen—”
Harry straightened. “I’m fifteen!”
“Look, Harry…” I searched for the right words. “James and Snape hated each other from the moment they set eyes on each other, it was just one of those things, you can understand that, can’t you? I think James was everything Snape wanted to be—he was popular, he was good at Quidditch—good at nearly everything. And Snape was just this little oddball who was up to his eyes in the Dark Arts, and James—whatever else he may have appeared to you, Harry—always hated the Dark Arts.”
“Yeah…” Harry fished for an argument, “but he just attacked Snape for no good reason, just because—well, just because you said you were bored.”
“I’m not proud of it.” But I didn’t regret it, per se.
Remus looked sideways at me, then said, “Look, Harry, what you’ve got to understand is that your father and Sirius were the best in the school at whatever they did—everyone thought they were the height of cool—if they sometimes got a bit carried away—”
“If we were sometimes arrogant little berks, you mean,” I said. Remus smiled.
“He kept messing up his hair.” Harry seemed pained.
We laughed, then I said, “I’d forgotten he used to do that.”
Remus was brighter than I’d seen him in weeks. “Was he playing with the Snitch?”
“Yeah…” Harry didn’t seem to get it.“Well…I thought he was a bit of an idiot.”
“Of course he was a bit of an idiot! We were all idiots! Well—not Moony so much.” I gave Remus a look, trying to compliment him, but he shook his head.
“Did I ever tell you to lay off Snape? Did I ever have the guts to tell you I thought you were out of order?”
I shrugged. “Yeah, well, you made us feel ashamed of ourselves sometimes…that was something…”
Our excuses for James didn’t convince Harry. “And he kept looking over at the girls by the lake, hoping they were watching him!”
I tried to hide the annoyed edge in my voice. “Oh, well, he always made a fool of himself whenever Lily was around. He couldn’t stop himself showing off whenever he got near her.”
“How come she married him? She hated him!”
I shook my head. “Nah, she didn’t.”
Remus searched my expression. “She started going out with him in seventh year.”
“Once James had deflated his head a bit,” I added.
Remus nodded. “And stopped hexing people just for the fun of it.”
Harry hesitated. “Even Snape?”
“Well,” Remus said, aware that we could lose the argument, “Snape was a special case. I mean, he never lost an opportunity to curse James, so you couldn’t really expect James to take that lying down, could you?”
“And my mum was okay with that?”
“She didn’t know too much about it, to tell you the truth. I mean, James didn’t take Snape on dates with her and jinx him in front of her, did he?” I set my jaw. “Look, your father was the best friend I ever had, and he was a good person. A lot of people are idiots at the age of fifteen. He grew out of it.”
Harry seemed convinced. “Yeah, okay. I just never thought I’d feel sorry for Snape.”
Remus glanced at me, then looked back at Harry. “Now you mention it, how did Snape react when he found you’d seen all this?”
“He told me he’d never teach me Occlumency again, like that’s a big disappoint—”
Rage shot through me. “He WHAT?”
Remus stared, wide-eyed, at Harry. “Are you serious, Harry? He’s stopped giving you lessons?”
Harry clearly didn’t see the big deal. “Yeah. But it’s okay, I don’t care, it’s a bit of a relief to tell you the—”
“I’m coming up there to have a word with Snape!” I said, and made to stand up, but Remus pulled me back down again.
“If anyone’s going to tell Snape it will be me! But Harry, first of all, you’re to go back to Snape and tell him that on no account is he to stop giving you lessons—when Dumbledore hears—”
“I can’t tell him that, he’d kill me!” Harry said, outraged. “You didn’t see him when we got out of the Pensieve.”
“Harry there is nothing so important as you learning Occlumency!” Remus said. “Do you understand me? Nothing!”
It was true. If Harry let himself fall prey to Voldemort, he put everyone in danger. Everyone’s life was at stake.
“Okay, okay, I’ll…I’ll try and say something to him…but it won’t be—” Then Harry fell silent. “Is that Kreacher coming downstairs?”
“No.” I glanced behind me, then said, “It must be somebody your end.”
Harry glanced behind him. “I’d better go!” Then he was gone.
After we stood up, Remus said, “We both know Harry won’t be able to get the lessons again on his own. Snape’s too stubborn, and Harry’s hardly better.”
I bristled. “Are you saying this is Harry’s fault?”
“Of course not, but the animosity goes both ways. If we’d eased off on him, treated him the same as the other Slytherins, perhaps this wouldn’t be a problem…”
I thought of what I could say to argue, but realized Remus had already moved on, lost in thought.
Remus shook his head. “I suppose I still don’t fully understand why you continue to hate Severus.”
I glared at him. “Snape’s an arrogant prick. He’s made Harry’s life miserable all because he wants revenge.”
I knew where this was going. “Fuck’s sake, why do you have to do this now? Harry’s the one you should be worried about.”
“Listen, alright? I’ve found that we most dislike, or we’re most critical of, the people who appear similar to us. People who at the same time reflect an ugly part of ourselves, who compromise our pride and beliefs. It doesn’t matter the scale of evil, or wrongdoing, it matters how simultaneously similar and different we are to the person.”
“Snape could not be further from me.”
“Well, you both wanted to escape your home life. You both felt like you needed to prove yourself in school. You were both outcasts. But with all of these in common, you never followed the Dark Arts. Lily, and nearly everyone, rejected Severus for what was seen as wrong—his involvement in the Dark Arts—but you were accepted. And it’s worse because, well, you both have dark hair, pale skin, but he’s the, er, ugly one, the unconfident one, the opposite of you.”
“I’m okay with hating him, Remus. I don’t want you to—to do whatever it is you’re trying. It’s great that you can forgive him, but I’m not going to.”
14 June, 1996 10:17
“Sirius? You want breakfast?”
I couldn’t bring myself to reply, or move.
“Look, you’ve got to get up some time. I know it’s shitty, being cooped up in here, but you’ve been like this for weeks.”
I kept lying, motionless.
“Fine. You want to waste your life moping, I’ll let you.” Remus hesitated in the doorway. I wanted him to drag me out of bed, to tell me off, to start a row—but he just closed the door behind him.
I fell back asleep.
18 June, 1996 20:32
I glanced at Remus, wanting him to grin back at me. But he was had the same grim determination as Kingsley, Moody, and Tonks. James would’ve loved the thrill of the battle, but none of them did.
Kingsley busted the doors open and we sprinted into the room.
The Malfoy boy turned and raised his wand, but Tonks had already sent a Stunning Spell at him. I spotted Harry as he dove off the dais and out of the way.
I sent spell after spell at the Death Eaters. I had months of pent-up fire in me. I felt…invincible. After I had warded off the offensive long enough, I looked around and spotted Harry just in time to see Dolohov raising his wand against him.
I ran toward them and slammed into Dolohov, sending him careening backwards. Before Dolohov could recover, I shot a Stunning Spell at him, forcing him onto the defensive.
Dolohov drew back his wand. I took a breath, feeling an odd gap where the battle was so unfamiliar, I didn’t know what to do. Just in time, Harry sprang up and yelled, “Petrificus Totalus!” Dolohov’s arms and legs snapped together and he keeled over backwards, landing with a crash on his back.
I ignored the foreboding shivers. “Nice one!” I dove back and forced Harry’s head down as a pair of Stunning Spells flew towards us. “Now I want you to get out of—”
We both ducked again; a jet of green light had narrowly missed me. Across the room, we watched as Tonks fell from halfway up the stone steps, her limp form toppling from stone seat to stone seat. Bellatrix, triumphant, ran back toward the fray.
I got to my feet and yelled, “Harry, take the prophecy, grab Neville and run!” Then I dashed to meet Bellatrix.
“Hello, cousin,” she snarled, raising her wand.
I smirked and shot a curse at her. She blocked it and returned the favor. We battled like this, back and forth, until our faces shone with sweat; a seemingly even match.
Finally, I overpowered her, and she stumbled back. The stunned look on Bellatrix’s face was priceless, and I couldn’t help but laugh.
Bellatrix snarled and yelled,“Avada Kedavra!”
I laughed again as I ducked her curse. “Come on, you can do better than that!” My voice echoed around the cavernous room.
The second jet of light hit me—
2 May, 1998 3:51
It was a peculiar feeling; I knew I had existed since dying but had not been conscious, as though I had been asleep. In the same way as waking up in the morning, I could tell approximately how much time had passed; nearly two years. A dream prickled in my mind—no, it wasn’t a dream, it was memories. I knew now; whatever was left of my being had followed those who kept me close.
After I fell through the veil, Remus held Harry back.
“There’s nothing you can do, Harry—”
“Get him, save him, he’s only just gone through!”
“—it’s too late, Harry.”
“We can still reach him—” Harry struggled hard against his grip, but Remus wouldn’t let go.
“There’s nothing you can do, Harry…nothing…he’s gone.”
“He hasn’t gone!” Harry yelled. He struggled against Remus’ grip. “SIRIUS! SIRIUS!”
“He can’t come back, Harry,” said Remus, his voice breaking as he struggled to restrain Harry. “He can’t come back, because he’s d—”
“HE—IS—NOT—DEAD!” roared Harry. “SIRIUS!”
Then the scene dissolved.
“You okay, Remus?” Molly asked, resting a hand on his arm.
“Still in shock, I think.” He gestured numbly toward the stairs. “I’m gonna get some rest.”
“Alright, dear.” Molly pulled Remus into a hug, then studied him, searching for evidence of weakness.
“I’ll see you in the morning.” Remus didn’t meet her eyes. He turned away stiffly and went upstairs to our room. He sat down on the bed and put his head in his hands, sobs coming readily to him. He sat like this for a long time, then curled up on top of the covers and pulled the pillow that had been mine into his arms, face red and strained with anguish.
I felt a brief, sharp stab of pain, aching and old as though ties from my core had snapped.
The scene dissolved.
Remus was in our bedroom again, but time had clearly passed. He carried an armful of my clothes into my childhood room, then began to hang them up in the closet. When he was finished, he returned to our bedroom and threw all our old sex stuff and any random things I had lying around into a large garbage bag. He carried everything and stuffed it under my old mattress.
He crossed to the closet and waved this wand over the closet, murmuring.
A scent locking spell.
Remus pocketed his wand, then pressed his face in my favorite leather jacket, breathing in. When he turned away, his eyes were red, wet. “I loved you, you stupid, arrogant prick.” His eyes flared suddenly and slammed the closet door. “Fuck you! Fuck! Fuck…” His breath shook, and tears ran freely down his face.
The scene dissolved.
Tonks and Remus were sitting together at a bar when she said, “Sirius is dead because of me, Remus.”
Remus shook his head. His eyes were a little unfocused. “Don’t say that.”
“I was fighting Bellatrix, and if I had taken her out…don’t you blame me, too?”
“Of course I don’t blame you. And any of us could’ve stopped her.”
“Then why have you been acting so cold to me?”
“Have I?” Remus fell into thought.
Tonks scoffed. “Don’t pretend you don’t know I fancy you.”
Remus looked at her, then back at his drink.
Tonks gritted her teeth. “Look, I didn’t let him die, or anything, because I fancied you, if that’s what you think. I knew you two were together, that’s why I’ve blamed myself so much…”
Remus sneered, malice distorting his face. “Who told you?”
Tonks blinked, taken aback by his reaction. “No one. I had mostly gay friends before I joined the Order, and—”
“Well, I’m not gay.”
“I know.” She looked at Remus seriously, indicating she didn’t think him the opposite, either.
“And you shouldn’t want to be with me. It’s impossible for me to be in a healthy relationship. The only reason it worked with Sirius was because he was fucked up, too. And even then, he ended up dead, and I ended up alone…” Tonks’ expression hadn’t changed, so he added, “I’m too old for you. And my condition…”
“You think I care about that?” Tonks shook her head. “Look, it’s not like you’re as old as Albus, or as dangerous as Greyback, that shouldn’t—”
“I know it doesn’t matter to you, but it matters to me. We can be friends, but I’m not interested in you like that.” Remus polished off his drink.
Tonks studied him, her hair unconsciously turning black. “Are you still in love with him?”
Remus returned her look without replying.
The scene dissolved.
Tonks cast a werewolf Patronus to deliver a message to the castle that Harry had been found. Eventually, Snape arrived to pick up Harry.
“I meant Hagrid to get the message,” said Tonks, frowning.
“Hagrid was late for the start of term feast, just like Potter here, so I took it instead. And incidentally,” said Snape, standing back to allow Harry to pass him, “I was interested to see your new Patronus.”
He shut the gates in her face with a loud clang and tapped the chains with his wand again, so that they slithered, clinking, back into place.
“I think you were better off with the old one,” said Snape, the enmity in his voice unmistakable. “The new one looks weak.”
Shock and anger crossed Tonks’s face, then she was covered in darkness once more.
The scene dissolved.
“You thought I would not weesh to marry him? Or per’aps, you hoped?” said Fleur to Molly, her nostrils flaring. “What do I care how he looks? I am good-looking enough for both of us, I theenk! All these scars show is zat my husband is brave!”
After a long pause, Molly said, “Our Great Auntie Muriel has a very beautiful tiara—goblin-made—which I am sure I could persuade her to lend you for the wedding. She is very fond of Bill, you know, and it would look lovely with your hair.”
“Thank you,” said Fleur, lips pursed. “I am sure zat will be lovely.”
And with that, Molly and Fleur burst into tears.
Tonks glared at Remus. “You see!” she said, voice strained. “She still wants to marry him, even though he’s been bitten! She doesn’t care!”
“It’s different,” Remus said, barely moving his lips, looking suddenly tense. “Bill will not be a full werewolf. The cases are completely—”
“But I don’t care either, I don’t care!” Tonks said, seizing the front of Remus’ robes and shaking them. “I’ve told you a million times…”
Remus refused to meet her eyes, staring at the floor. “And I’ve told you a million times that I am too old for you, too poor…too dangerous…”
Molly looked over Fleur’s shoulder as she patted her on the back. “I’ve said all along you’re taking a ridiculous line on this, Remus.”
“I am not being ridiculous. Tonks deserves somebody young and…whole.”
“But she wants you,” Arthur said with a small smile. “And after all, Remus, young and whole men do not necessarily remain so.”
Now Remus couldn’t bring himself to look at anyone. “This is…not the moment to discuss it. Dumbledore is dead…”
“Dumbledore would have been happier than anybody to think that there was a little more love in the world,” Minerva said.
The scene dissolved.
It was night; Remus closed the hotel room door behind him and Tonks. Just after he turned around, Tonks threw her arms around him and kissed him.
They broke apart, then grinned at each other.
Remus pulled off her shirt before picking her up and carrying her to the bed…
The scene dissolved. Another began to form, and I caught a glimpse of dead bodies, but I forced it back. I didn’t want to see. As though waking from a dream, I was suddenly aware of Remus, James, and Lily nearby, but my emotions were focused on Harry as though I were forced to think of little else.
Lily approached Harry. “You’ve been so brave.”
“You are nearly there,” said James. “Very close. We are…so proud of you.”
“Does it hurt?”
I found myself answering Harry, though my words seemed false, detached. “Dying? Not at all. Quicker and easier than falling asleep.” But what happened after I died? I couldn’t say.
“And he will want it to be quick. He wants it over,” Remus said.
I had a vague notion that Harry was walking to be killed by Voldemort.
“I didn’t want you to die. Any of you. I’m sorry. Right after you’d had your son…Remus, I’m sorry—”
Remus, and all of us, did not look away from Harry, drawn like bugs to a light. “I am sorry too. Sorry I will never know him…but he will know why I died and I hope he will understand. I was trying to make a world in which he could live a happier life.”
Finally, a hitch in the monotonous bittersweetness of the moment. I felt my mind tug, desperate to feel.
Harry shivered a bit. “You’ll stay with me?”
“Until the very end,” said James.
“They won’t be able to see you?” asked Harry.
“We are part of you.” Vocalizing it, I knew its truth. “Invisible to anyone else.”
Harry looked to Lily. “Stay close to me.”
We joined Harry in meeting his death. The only feeling in me was a dull love, a fascination with his bravery.
As Harry revealed himself to Voldemort, he dropped the Resurrection Stone—
17 September, 1981 9:56
I woke up feeling like I had been asleep for years. I forced myself out of bed, though every muscle and thought in my body begged me not to move. My chest felt constricted, and though I couldn’t remember dreaming, my heart beat quickly. I had an overwhelming sense that the universe was too big.
Life in Azkaban was becoming more and more difficult.