A/N:It has been ... forever since I actually sat down and wrote anything. I sort of disappeared from fandom and LiveJournal for a looong time, but I've now come back and I'm writing again. Slowly, but surely and not large pieces.
Big, big thanks to my betas, aggiebell and sherylyn, who worked their beta magic on this and whipped it into shape. I am so appreciative of these two ladies and their help because I am waaaaay out of practice when it comes to writing. They held my hand and made me feel better about this story when I thought it was crap. I can't tell you how much I love these two (and all my PhoenixSong buddies). *hugs and smooches* I've had this idea ever since I first read DH, and I'm so glad it finally had the opportunity to be told.
Everything belongs to the brilliant J.K. Rowling. I just play in this world. No money or profit was made from this story.
Remus landed with a heavy thump, panting as he took in his surroundings, wand drawn. He was thankfully alone in a forest where he'd run with a pack of werewolves the previous year. He hastily cast a Silencing Charm along with a few protective enchantments over the area. He was angry, and he needed time, needed space to work through it all and figure out his next move.
He needed to walk. Yes. He needed to walk off his rage and he knew it. He hadn't been this out of control in a very long time. Matter-of-fact, he couldn't remember the last time he felt this furious. Remus pointed his wand at a large boulder in his path and blasted it with a spell, tearing the rock into small pebble-like pieces. Who would have thought that those he'd loved – those he'd lost – that their son would be the source of this anger?
His strides were erratic, rage boiling inside. James's son – talking to me like that! He blasted another rock, lifting it and throwing it against a large tree trunk. The magic and danger that Harry and his friends were facing – no one could predict what it would be. How would three teenagers defend themselves against that? What was Harry thinking, leading Ron and Hermione into this mess? Dumbledore would not want them to go it alone. He'd want Remus there with those kids, to help defend them while they did their mission.
Remus's thoughts were just as unpredictable as his strides as they shifted towards his wife. Tonks. My Dora. How could he have done this to her? To her family? He'd allowed her to convince him that they should marry, that he, he of all people, should have a chance at happiness, and look what it had done to her? No one talks with her outside the Order because she'd married him! Her family barely talks to her. And once it gets out about the child? She'll be a complete outcast!
And the child – what will it think? A father like him? A werewolf? What if the child is lycanthropic? "I've made my child an outcast before he's even born!" Remus muttered. "What the hell was I thinking?"
His pace quickened as he walked into a clearing, casting, more carefully than before, Silencing Charms and protection enchantments on the area. He needed to think, he needed time, and he needed to be able to do so without detection or distraction.
Questions warred in his mind over and over and over again. What am I going to do? How could I have done this to Dora? How could I be so stupid as to not see what would happen?
He sat upon a large rock in the clearing, thoughts shifting again. James and Lily. Would they have wanted him protecting Harry? He was so sure they would. They wouldn't think of him as a coward for leaving Dora and the baby, in order to protect their only son. Or would they?
He knew the answer before the question was even formed. James would have called him an arse (and worse!) for leaving his own family. Remus was certain they'd be grateful for the offer, but they'd have also known where Remus's priorities should be. Where his priorities are supposed to be. James and Lily would both be appalled that he'd be willing to let someone else protect his own child while he was off protecting theirs. They'd never allow him do it and he knew it.
Sirius. Merlin, Sirius would have chewed him up and spit him out for his behaviour tonight. Leaving Dora to begin with, talking to Harry like that, throwing the boy against the wall... Sirius would have Transfigured to Padfoot and literally taken a bite out of him. And he would have had every right to do it. Remus's anger had got the better of him, and he knew it.
But who was he angry at? What? Was his rage really directed at Harry for what he had said? It was certainly easier to be angry at Harry, angry at what Harry said, than to face what his real problem was.
But what exactly was his problem? Did he even know anymore?
Dora. A small smile crossed his lips before he knew it was happening. That wild bubblegum-pink hair of hers, her heart-shaped face, those lips. The mere thought of her drove him crazy. If one thing was certain, it was that he had fallen inexplicably in love with her, clumsiness and all. And he shouldn't have. He should have resisted and he knew it. But how could he? She was what he had always wanted in life – someone to love, someone to share a life with. But he was really far too old for her, and she deserved much better than an old ragged werewolf.
And why had she fallen in love with me? He had asked himself that countless times. He had asked her countless times. She was young, vibrant, and had plenty of suitors, he was certain. But she insisted that he was the one for her. He would never understand, not until his dying breath, what she saw in someone like him.
And now, she was pregnant. Her parents were disgusted by their marriage before – what must they think now? He had got her pregnant and left her. How could he have ever let this happen? What was he going to do?
Leaving seemed the perfect answer, the only answer as far as he could see.
That was, until Harry made the point about the fact he was abandoning Dora and the baby.
Remus hung his head, placing it in his hands. When he was younger, hadn't he always wanted someone like Dora to love? To be partners and lovers and soul mates like James and Lily? Hadn't he always dreamed of having a family? His dreams dissolved as the years went on. He lost his best friends and his hope of finding someone as loving and tolerant as James and Lily and Sirius had died with them. He became reclusive, actually. Living in his family's home, waiting for the full moon each month, transforming as safely as possible – away from people. His dream was always to find someone like Dora, someone good and kind and understanding. But he always knew that it wouldn't be.
But then she appeared in his life in all her colourful glory and charmed the socks right off him. And he cautiously pushed her away until he could push no more, and she tripped her way into his life and heart. He was a goner the moment they met – at Grimmauld Place – she tripped over the most god-awful umbrella stand, making a heck of a racket and waking the portrait of Mrs. Black.
And then, she smiled.
Remus's world had collapsed at that moment. He would have given her the sun, moon and stars just to see her smile. He loved her on the spot, even if he'd denied it for what seemed like forever. She knew it, too, that she had him the moment they'd met.
She still had him. He still loved her, always loved her. And as much as he tried to deny it, he knew it was no use.
So, what's next?
Remus raised his head and gazed at the forest in front of him. Running away was not going to change the situation – the baby would still come and he would still be the father.
But was Dora better off without him? Possibly.
Was the baby better off without him? Probably.
But Harry was right – he was being a coward running away like he was. He should step up and be a man – a man like James and Sirius. A man that would do anything for their child or godchild, even if it wasn't easy. Even if it meant bringing shame to his little family.
He never thought it possible that he would get married, let alone have a child. His dream had come true. He had a wife and a child on the way. He had his family. And he, Remus John Lupin, was being an arse and throwing it all away.
Remus shook his head. What he needed to do was as clear as day. He had to return to Tonks and make it up to her. And if that meant grovelling and getting on his hands and knees and begging her forgiveness, he would. He would be the man she needed, the man she wanted, the man she believed him to be. He would be a good husband and father, and hopefully, she would take his sorry arse back and forgive him. He'd make amends with her parents as well. He'd show remorse for his lack of judgment. For his stupidity.
Standing, he set his destination in his mind and twirled, disappearing.
Landing firmly on the ground, just outside the Apparition point at Ted and Andromeda's home, he walked up to the door. Taking a deep breath, he rapped loudly, hoping that his Dora would be there and answer the door. He wanted to talk with her first, not her parents. He didn't have to wait long; the door cracked open, and the mousy brown head of his wife peeked out.
"Remus," she muttered, relief clearly etched on her face. She opened the door, standing in the frame.
Remus reached for her hand and fell to his knees, head bowed. "I'm sorry, Dora. I'm so terribly sorry. I can't begin to know what you must think of me. Can you ever forgive me?"
"We need to talk about this, Remus."
"I know, Dora," he said, head still bowed. "I know. I was a fool and an arse. I would totally understand if you won't forgive me, but I ask that you give me a chance."
After a few moments that seemed like a lifetime, Remus felt Tonks touch the crown of his head with her free hand, twirling his hair with her fingers. With her other hand, the hand he held, he felt her slowly begin to pull him to his feet, forcing him to look her in the eyes. She smiled at him, a smile as bright as the sun and relief flooded through him. He watched as her hair slowly turned from brown to its trademark bubblegum pink, as she tugged slightly on his hand and said, "Come in."