Chapter 1 : Lost in Darkness and Distance
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-Judyth A. McLeod, The Atlas of Legendary Lands
Loving someone doesn't make you want less to grab their shoulders and shake them out of... what? She ponders this question, as she braves the cold and hidden terror to walk to a suitable Apparition point a few streets away. Of course, there is a perfectly suitable place from which one can Apparate to Ottery St. Catchpole nearer to where she lives, but at these times she likes the rare and otherwise loathed quiet.
She is never quiet.
Even now, her thoughts are buzzing frantically with Remus and the shit weather and Voldemort (and, so far in the back of her mind that she does not hear it, whether she will survive this war, and how much more it will take from Remus, and if it even matters any more) and Remus and that annoying Celestina Warbeck song and Remus.
Remus is a constant in her mind, so much so that she can neither tell where she ends and the train of thought that is purely Remusremusremusremusremus begins, nor is she able to even contemplate his not being there, even though he is not there. He will never be there. The animated body of R. J. Lupin may make polite small talk on occasion, but Remus himself is untouchable, unattainable - non-existent.
She reaches the Burrow, finally, and manages to con Molly into making tea and listening to her attempts to articulate the different nuances of the Remusremusremusremus thought which has her held as some sort of mental hostage. She is certain that he is worth her time, and ignores with a subconscious sort of vindictive delight that her cousin would have approved of Molly's sighs to the contrary; she feels uncertain that she is worth his time, though - he's seen so much, suffered so much, she tells Molly, how can I even begin to understand how much?
Yet she knows - the bodily sort of knowledge, the kind that rises from her stomach, making her sit up straight and flex her fingers as if preparing to fight, like her magic but even more innate - that she can heal him: she can erase his grief and isolation, and make him at least marginally happy, given the right set of circumstances. Like, for example, enough of him left to heal, and a general lack of psychopaths who can honestly expect to take control of Britain in a few months' time. But she expects to be able to work with the circumstances she has, she just has to get in first to wherever Remus is.
As Molly says, he probably wouldn't even put up much of a fight, though Molly is referring to a slip of paper, the thought of which simultaneously warms and breaks her heart.
Not to be dramatic, though, she thinks.
Molly's prediction about Remus is true. Therefore, in July 1997, a young, healthy, lively woman named Nymphadora Tonks is promised to be taken to have and to hold, from that day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer - and they will be poor - in sickness and in health, until death, by the physical remains of a tired werewolf named Remus John Lupin (as the man himself could not be present for the wedding) in a small Muggle chapel because it is safer.
It is the saddest day of her life.
He rarely makes tea these days. It used to be a reflex for him, a thousand years ago.
He'd do it because Sirius was there and was shaking water and sneezing everywhere like the mad dog he is - was - and when Sirius was there and he'd slept in the park for some reason and turned up with mud in his hair and spectacular morning breath and when Sirius was there with James and two black eyes and a split lip and the widest smile known to man and when Sirius was there with a massive hangover 'cause he'd got into Auror training through some sort of divine intervention and when Sirius was there and unafraid to cry in front of him because Prongs and Evans're getting married Prongs and Evans' wedding's tomorrow Remus oh sweet fucking Merlin Evans is pregnant can you imagine there'll be a little speccy git on this planet who can kick Prongsie's arse of course it won't be a girl Moony they've both got way too much testosterone for that James and Lily's kid's just been born his name is Harry he's got James' fucked up hair and when Sirius was there and Regulus was fucking dead, Remus, and when Sirius was there and didn't trust him anymore and when Sirius wasn't there and Remus felt first the heavy hurt of unrequited love and then the guilty luxurious love of the betrayed for the betrayer and when Sirius was there minus half his body mass and they could have a shag that lasted for longer than two minutes a feat which had eluded them at seventeen or even twenty-one and when Sirius was there and it was a stupid hour and he'd been having nightmares again and when Sirius was there and the cave was horrible and damp but they made it work anyway and when Sirius was there but he didn't want to be he was endlessly pacing pacing pacing and when Sirius was there and it was a good day it was a bad day Remus made it better Remus made it worse.
The most beautiful woman in the world makes the tea now; a little lukewarm this time, he reflects as he sips it at four in the morning, but at least there is an absence of smashed china.
In a few hours, because Remus is an insomniac and the woman he married is rarely called in until at least early evening - daylight's not really You-Know-Who's style, is it, she had opined when someone inquired as to why - he will wait for her eyes to flutter open.
When they do, her skin will pale even more, her hair will blacken and her features will become angular and boyish. He will squint, and they will make love, even though she nearly always gets the eye colour wrong. He finds it immensely difficult both to care and to not care. She is the most beautiful woman in the world, because she can provide this for him.
Author's Note: That wasn’t an easy read, was it?
So a reviewer – xxxstaindrosesxxx, to be precise – suggested I should briefly explain what this whole thing is about, so I am presently going to attempt to do so. You’re perfectly welcome to skip this if you want.
This is mostly an experiment with blending pure stream-of-consciousness with not-so-pure stream-of-consciousness, whatever the hell that means anyway, and in my opinion – though probably not in yours – it’s mostly a success. That said, thank you to the wonderful teh tarik who suggested I cut the last line.
Therefore, this fic attempts to mimic thought processes, hence erratic grammar and strange diction, which is a bit divisive; some people think that it’s really interesting, while a lot of other people think it’s confusing. So that paragraph-long run-on sentence that could benefit from a comma or a thousand? Totally intentional. It’s like Marmite: you either love it or you hate it, but it doesn’t stop the company from manufacturing it. Or something. I don’t know where I was going with that.
Though if you’re reading this for the first time, you’re lucky: the formatting used to be terrible on this, half-page paragraphs and everything, before I fixed it. (Thank you to everyone who pointed that out to me in your reviews! I really do appreciate it.)
And now, if you’re still reading, I hope you have a wonderful day, and I envy your powers of patience.