Of Werewolves and Love
Remus was in shock. Partly because this was Hogwarts, this was where people were meant to be safe. Partly because he had just escaped a killing curse, which had killed a deatheater. Partly because Greyback had been there, and done... this. He was helping Tonks to carry the injured to the hospital wing, Remus levitating Neville Longbottom ahead of him, Tonks carrying the heavily bleeding Bill Weasley. Tonks kept looking at him, hoping, expecting him to know what's would lie in the young mans future.
"Well?" she rounded on him, as soon as they had handed both over to the extremely flustered Madame Pomfrey. She didn't need to actually say the question they both knew she was asking.
"I have no idea" Remus sighed as he let himself fall into a chair. He had run into the invisible barrier earlier, the same one that had left Neville unconscious, and Neville had been on liquid luck if what the panicked Ginny who had originally found him was to be believed. There was a rib or two broken at a guess, but nothing compared to anything else the werewolf had been through. At least there wasn't any blood.
That was it, blood!
He dragged himself out of the chair, and went to Bill's side. He waited until Pomfrey turned away, before wiping his hand over the young mans face. He suddenly felt even worse, and quickly returned to his seat before Poppy noticed, and demanded he take a bed instead. Tonks looked at him questioningly, and he looked away. Even though he knew she was worried about a friend this was the first time he had seen her since that day at the Burrow, and he couldn't quite bring himself to look at her for too long.
He was saved from answering by the arrival of Ron, Hermione, Ginny, and Luna. He shot to his feet again, although he regretted it almost immediately. Tonks grabbed his arm, steadying him, standing reassuringly by his side.
"Harry?" He asked, "where's Harry?"
None of them knew the answer to that.
"Is he okay?" Ginny said, eyes on her brother in the bed.
"Alive, and stable" Madame Pomfrey replied, "but it's going to be hard to heal these, werewolf wounds don't heal by magic."
Everyone's eyes turned to Remus again, and he nodded, not sure if he was expected to confirm the fact, or do something else.
"Okay," Ginny turned on her heals and started to head out of the room.
"Where are you going?" Ron asked her, as if appalled that she was even considering leaving their brothers bedside.
"To find Harry. Bill will live until we get back Ronald." There was something in her eyes that reminded Remus of Lily Potter, which startled him.
After she had left the five of them stood awkwardly, while Madame Pomfrey bustled around them. At one point Tonks leaned in and muttered in his ear.
"I take it you need to visit the Ministry?"
"Yes, but I definitely need to Dumbledore first, I have no idea how I could explain this, and how much he wants to be public knowledge."
She sighed when he said that, but from displeasure about the system, or something else he could not tell
The moment Ginny and Harry walked back through the doors Remus started forwards. No matter how the last sixteen years had gone he still considered Harry his cub on some level.
"Are you alright, Harry?"
"I'm fine... How's Bill?"
Everyone looked at the man lying on the bed. Remus could still not believe that Greyback was not contented at ruining lives at the full moon, had found a way to do it anyway.
"Surely Bill won't be a - a real -?" Ron was stuttering.
They all looked at Remus.
"No, I don't think Bill will be a true werewolf, but that doesn't mean there won't be contamination." From the slight nod Tonks had given him, he knew that she understood. He was sure Dumbledore wouldn't have worded it as such, but between that explanation, and Remus's certainty now, she understood. The registry monitored human blood, and werewolf blood was not deemed important. You could kill as many werewolves as you wanted, it wasn't as if they were real people.
Now Ron was talking about Dumbledore, but from the look on Ginny's face when he mentioned that, there was something wrong.
"Ron - Dumbledore's dead."
"No!" It couldn't be true. He looked from Ginny to Harry in the hopes that one would contradict the other. He fell back into the chair.
Albus Dumbledore had been the first person who knew, to treat Remus like a human being other than his own parents.
Albus Dumbledore had been the only person to every provide Remus with opportunities. Everything that had ever happened to Remus was thanks to the headmaster - the chance for schooling; the chance to join the order, and do some good with his life; the chance for the only job he had held that had been worthwhile; the chance to make things right, with Sirius, and with Harry.
By the time he looked up again, McGonagall was there, collapsing into a chair, just as he had.
"Snape. We all wondered... But he trusted... Always... Snape... I can't believe it..."
"Snape was a highly accomplished Occlumens. We all knew that." Remus replied, not able to keep the raw emotions out of his voice.
His thoughts now turned to the man who did this. He had always had more reason than most to dislike the man, particularly after how his year of teaching had been ended, but before that, at school when Severus had always tried to pick on him, and Peter, if they were without the other two, as a form of revenge. But he, like Dumbledore, had given the man a chance, and believed in him. Wrongly, it seemed.
"Then Snape told Dumbledore he hadn't realised what he was doing, he was really sorry he'd done it, sorry they were dead." Harry was talking
"And Dumbledore believed that? Dumbledore believed Snape was sorry James was dead? Snape hated James..." Remus couldn't stop himself interrupting.
"And he didn't think my mother was worth a damn either"
A voice in the back of his mind told him that Snape hadn't always thought that about Lily. Maybe he had genuinely been remorseful about her. But no, he had killed Dumbledore. He had fooled them all.
The whole tale of the battle was told then, so many people blaming themselves for their tiny mistakes. Logically Remus knew he was just the same. But it didn't help.
Soon Molly and Arthur arrived, with Fleur, Bill's fiancé close behind. Remus let Molly sit in his seat, and retreated to perch on a nearby bed.
Again the questions were asked. Again the looks to Remus for understanding. He repeated that it wouldn't be a full contamination. But beyond that he really had no idea.
He watched as Molly and Fleur spoke, and came to an understanding, after the last year of tension.
"You see! She still wants to marry him, even though he's been bitten!"
Again all eyes were on Remus, although for a very different reason this time. This was really not the time, and he definitely would not want this conversation with so many witnesses.
"It's different. Bill will not be a full werewolf. The cases are completely -"
"I don't care either, I don't care! I've told you a million times..."
The worst thing was that he really wanted to say yes. But he couldn't. He wasn't being ridiculous either.
"This is... Not the moment to discuss it... Dumbledore is dead."
"Dumbledore would have been happier knowing than anyone to think that there was a little more love in the world." McGonagall said curtly. But in that look she was saying more to Remus. She knew what he had been like after James and Lily. Had commented to him how much better he had coped after Sirius. She was telling him he needed Tonks. He needed to feel.
Fortunately Hagrid walked in at that moment. Distracting everyone but the woman in front of him.
As the group round the bed disbanded, she pulled him away with her. "We need to go to the ministry." Not that anyone else would understand why.
Once they were out of the room Remus staggered and almost collapsed, but she held him, and suddenly, he held her back.
"What can I tell them now? I can't ask Dumbledore... "
"The truth. It's all we can do, and if they had any sense they would give you a medal, not another brand." She said.
The ministry worker was still eying him suspiciously, even though Remus had explained it several times. Whether it was the fact that he was claiming to have been at Hogwarts, or that the headmaster was dead, or the fact he had actually given his name in the hope that recognition might help his story, or simply the fact that he had a pink haired auror by his side, but the guy just didn't want to believe him.
The worker lost the staring contest they had been engaged in, and looked away. "Okay then, let's just get this over with."
Remus almost smiled, as the pressure on his body that the brand had been causing was relieved. He looked at the young woman by his side.
"While I'm here, what paperwork would I need to fill in to register a marriage?" He asked on impulse.
The man's expression turned to slight disgust, and Tonks gave a start by his side.
"It's down the hallway on the left." He spat.
"I'm not sure what I'm more bothered by, the fact that you actually have to register to get married, or the fact that you never asked me first!" She said as they walked through muggle London away from the ministry.
"Sorry, impulse. You're the one who has been asking for the last year. But I understand if you don't want to. I just wanted to know while I was there, I don't have to fill these in" he waved the forms in his hand. "I won't mind if you don't want to, now you know I have to register it. With your career and so on."
"That was the most awful proposal ever Mr Lupin. I want a proper one soon okay?" And with that she kissed him- their first kiss, but definitely not their last.
"Come on, I know just the pub I want to celebrate in." And Remus lead her to a pub which he hadn't frequented for sixteen years.