He is a grown manand he should be paying better attention than this.
It is the funeral of one of the greatest men he had ever known (and probably would ever meet), but the sun pouring over the field has settled on his shoulders like a comforting warm blanketand he can feel a pressing need for a nap building up behind his eyelids.
He shakes his head to clear it and makes a real effort to listen to the little man in black delivering the eulogy. It isn’t a eulogy like Dumbledore would have given himself, Remus thinks. At least, had he been forced to deliver a long winded speech of this nature, he could have found it within himself to include the things that were important to him.
Dumbledore might have discovered the twelve uses of dragon’s blood, but he probably wouldn’t have been terribly captivated by a complete and thorough review of them at his own funeral.
The thought of Dumbledore being bored by this, too, makes Remus smile and not feel quite so childish and guilty for letting his eyes peruse the crowd in front of him.
There is quite a collection of people here; most are old.
Old like him?
A jolting thought: Nymphadora doesn’t think so. This is too complicated to consider right now.
Remus would like to think that although he is older, he is not as stuffed as most of the adult crowd in front of him. How many Ministry officials were there? Counting, he loses track when Dolores Umbridge catches his eye.
She is sitting very straight in her little white chair, hair bow sitting jauntily atop her iron sausage curls and fat feet oozing over the tops of her patent leather Mary-Janes. He sees her eyes flick from side to side and her nose raise a fraction of an inch higher in the air when she takes further note of the crowd.
He notices she is sitting as far away as possible from Hagrid and Firenze who are nearest the lake, a couple rows to his left.
He also notices that the person sitting directly behind her is not technically human at all and he wonders what her reaction will be when she realizes a vampire has been eyeing her fleshy neck for the better part of an hour.
He knows he has been with the ferals too long; improvements in wizarding technology used to fascinate him and if vampires could now stay out on an afternoon as sunny as this he must have missed something huge.
Who has time to worry about vampires when there is a war on?
The little man drones on and Remus’ eyes drift again.
They settle this time on a handful of students; there are Seamus Finnegan, Lavender Brown, the Patil twins, Luna Lovegood and Neville Longbottom. Surrounding them is a group of younger students Remus doesn’t know. Their short legs swing beneath the chairs in youthful unrest, small shoes barely grazing the ground. One girl is quite alert and perched on the end of her seat, different from her peers, who, like Remus, are starting to slouch in the summer sun.
He shakes his head, but then notices the discarded shoes and the white toes curling in the longish grass.
In front of them are Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny. Ginny has Harry’s hand in a vise grip.
Lycanthropy has very few perks, but one of them is the greatly enhanced vision. From his seat near the back of the crowd he can tell her knuckles are whiteand that the tips of Harry’s fingers are turning purple.
If Harry notices, he is not giving any sign of it. His head is not facing the speaker either; Remus follows his gaze and finds Umbridge.
Remus is sure that if looks could kill, Harry’s glare would have burned a hole through the crowd and blasted the toad-like witch off her lumpy arse. This thought generates a glow of warm affection for his best friend’s son, and before he starts to grin too widely, he turns his attention to the two people at Harry’s left: the ever present Ron and Hermione.
Hermione has rested her head on Ron’s shoulder and he has a protective arm slung across her shoulders. It is a gesture that might have raised Hermione’s eyebrows at any other event, but this is Dumbledore’s funeral; it isn’t anything but a genuine need to comfort and be comforted in return.
He is proud of Ron. Remus remembers him at Christmas. Something about him had seemed incomplete. There were too many instances where he caught him sitting alone in front of the fireplace after the rest of the house had gone to sleep. It was an action Remus would have expected more from Harry who was given to fits of temper and liked to brood.
Ron’s hair is vivid from the back row and Remus can’t keep himself from thinking that all of this is pointless and senseless. A day like this should be spent teasing the giant squid or napping in the grass. Children who really aren’t children anymoreshould have at least one more summer’s day like this one.
But then again, Dumbledore shouldn’t be dead either.
At that moment, centaur arrows fly through the air;people scream and an unexpected rush of emotion seizes him and his breath catches, causing Nymphadora to turn and look at him, concerned.
He has spent this whole time looking all around him, but never at the girl in the seat next to his own.
Lady. She is a grown woman, not a girl.
He is modifying his thinking.
She smiles sadly and pushes a lock of pink hair back behind her ear. Remus is just thinking that the color is the only thing that seems truly right on this unnaturally dazzling afternoon when she slips her very small hand into his much larger one and squeezes it.
It is over, he realizes. People are slowly beginning to file awayor are turning to their neighbors to whisper and cry.
Nymphadora’s hand is trembling in his own and when he looks at her, he sees she is silently crying. When she cries, her eyes become so dark he expects the tears spilling out to be ebony.
He starts when she touches his face and is even more shocked to realize that she is wiping away his own tears.
He is a grown man. He should have been paying more attention to her.
So he does. And when he wraps his arms around her, the whole bizarre day dissolves until it is just the two of them, clutching each other in a sea of people and faces and white chairs that seem as far away as the burning summer sun.