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Chapter 32
The Long Good-bye



The heart is easily fooled. Listen for truth’s whisper; it resides in your soul. If you do not heed its warning, beware, for your heart may break.
Master Tong, Teachings: Sayings of a Master Dragon, Wizard Edition. Foreward by Albus Dumbledore, 1920. London, England.





Remus had traveled back and forth between Wolvin and London for most of the springtime. It was not going well in the fight against the Death Eaters. Though they’d generally been quiet except for the attack against Wolvin, everyone knew that sooner or later Voldemort and his followers would try something big. They were determined to steal the secret in the Department of Mysteries, just as the Order of the Phoenix was determined to stop them. Remus feared, more than anything else, that they would hurt Harry somehow. He agonized over it. He knew that the secret at the Ministry had something to do with Harry.

“Severus will protect him,” Felicity told him impatiently. They were strolling around the edge of the forest as the sun was setting. It was the same walk that they had rushed along to find Barnabus the night Felicity had stopped him from going to Voldemort. It had become their nightly ritual to spend time in the evening alone together whenever Remus was in Wolvin.

She put her arm in his lovingly. She was feeling instantly guilty for being impatient with his constant worrying. He was so caring and kind. “He’s sworn to protect him, dearest. Severus might be self-serving at times, but he has no choice. He’ll protect Harry Potter with his life.”

Remus grimaced. “You’re too trusting of him, Felicity. Let’s not forget that I was there at Grimmauld Place when Harry told us what sort of protecting Severus was up to. Dumbledore ordered him to teach Harry Occlumency and he’s refused. Harry must keep Voldemort out of his mind and Snape has purposely put him in harm’s way by refusing to teach him. He’s just being spiteful. Snape has always been selfish and scheming. I’m sorry, my dear, but you don’t know him as I do.”

Felicity frowned. She knew Severus better than any other. They didn’t understand him at all. They were all too busy suspecting him and hadn’t the faintest idea what drove him. And when it came to the young wizard, Harry Potter, none of the Order was very sensible, at all. It was as if the teenager were some essential piece in a puzzle with several parts missing. Certainly, Harry was significant and yes, he had a connection of some sort to Voldemort, but most of the Order treated him as if he was their savior. They were ridiculous to put all their hopes in an untried young man whose only real credentials were that he’d escaped Voldemort’s wrath on more than a few occasions. He was just a nice young man who was caught up in Voldemort’s mess like the rest of them.

“I’m sorry, dear,” she said sweetly. “I don’t want to fight about it.”

Remus smiled down at her. “Are we fighting, dear? I can’t imagine ever bickering with you.” He stopped and drew her to him. She felt that magnetic pull and love that made her melt into his arms. She loved him, madly.

He kissed her lips. She was beautiful and charming. Hugging her toward him, the two stood in the dying light for several moments embracing. “I love you,” whispered Remus.

“I love you more, I think,” answered Felicity. She winked at him and laughed impishly swatting him on the backside. They resumed their walk, linking arms.

“You’re a brat sometimes, my dear.” Remus looked down at her trying mightily to stifle a grin. “I do believe that I should take you over my knee and spank you, sometimes.” He pretended to be very interested in the bench that they always sat on and flicked a few forgotten spring flowers off of it. He sat down, crossing his long legs and holding the back of his head nonchalantly.

Felicity laughed out loud. “You smug prat. I think that I should sit on you and squash you like a bug.” She threw herself onto him hard enough to knock the air out of his lungs.

“Cor! Felicity, you’re not a light one!” Remus laughed and struggled to shift her over onto the bench. She fought his efforts and instead rose onto her knees straddling him in triumph while flipping her braid behind her.

She ran her fingers through his long hair, a look of coquettish victory on her face. “You know that we dragons cannot be defeated, my love.” She kissed him tenderly on the forehead. “We are a superior race.” She laughed lightly.

Remus’ face darkened suddenly. She panicked at his look. “What’s wrong, Remus?”

He buried his face in her chest and hugged her to him with such need that her fear intensified.

“I haven’t been honest with you, my darling.”

“Don’t be absurd.”

“No, I haven’t, I’m sorry.” He looked up at her miserably. She was tempted to enter his mind rather than wait for him to articulate his feelings but held herself in check. She vaguely sensed his struggle.

Rising up, she settled herself next to him on the bench, looping her arm in his and patting his knee. “Tell me, dearest. You must.”

He looked at her silently with concern and then turned his head to the dying sun. “They talked about you at the meeting,” he began. “Mad-Eye insisted that we discuss what he called ‘the dragon problem.’ He acted as if you weren’t even human.”

“But I’m not, darling,” she said being helpful. “I’m not very human at all, not really. He’s partly right.”

Remus let out a sigh. “He said that you were a danger, that you were too uncontrollable and that if Voldemort were to capture you, then it would be the end of our fight.”

“Well, that’s partly true, isn’t it?” She sat back satisfied that Remus was just worrying too much again. “Voldemort could never capture me.”

“Are you so sure?” Her greatest love looked at her with grave doubt.

“Well, mostly sure. Albus must have told them about me. He would have told them that Voldemort couldn’t turn me. He knows.”

Remus looked away. “No, it was Severus, who did.”

“Severus?”

“Yes, he defended you. Not Albus,” he exhaled his regret, “and not me.”

“You feel guilty for doubting me, don’t you?”

“I do, my darling. I should have been the one to stand up for you. I should have told them all that you would die before Voldemort would turn you, but I didn’t.

“Because you weren’t…aren’t…really sure, are you?” She cocked her head, watching him.

He was hurting, she could tell. It was killing him to admit that he doubted her ability to defy the dark wizard. “Don’t be so upset, Remus,” she said soothingly. “It’s human to wonder and question. But you’ve seen my power as a dragon. You should know that Voldemort couldn’t persuade me. I would fight him to the death.”

“That’s what Severus said.” Remus looked wounded. He ached to be her hero and yet he’d held back. He’d seen her attack a nearly defenseless Barnabus and then turn her back on him when she could have saved the boy.

“Remus,” said Felicity sternly. “You haven’t betrayed me because you didn’t defend me to your friends. You have doubts. I can see that and it’s okay. I’m a dragon. Very few wizards could possibly understand us. Please don’t beat yourself up because of it.” She smiled bravely to reassure him. He was such a worrywart. Gads.

“Mad-Eye said that we should send you packing. He said that you should be told to return to Tibet. He’d done some reading up on the so-called Dragon People, he said, and that in war, their allegiances shifted like the wind.”

Felicity giggled. “Doesn’t sound like he likes me much, does it?”

“It wasn’t funny, Felicity. It was a very sobering lecture.”

She clucked her tongue. “He’s right, really, he is. The dragons are war creatures when they have to be but they won’t serve from any sort of human loyalty. We love strongly but we won’t support human frailties. I wouldn’t lift a finger let alone a talon for the ministry. I’m not loyal to Dumbledore because I have to be. I owe him a debt, yes, but I’m helping him, all of you, because of me, because of my family and those that died long ago. I’m helping because I want to rid the world of Voldemort but that isn’t because I don’t understand or even sympathize with him sometimes. He’s evil, and corrupt because of the human, however small that’s left in him. His power, his magic, those I understand more than you realize, it’s how he uses it that he must be destroyed for.”

Remus looked stunned by her. “You should have been there to defend yourself. They would have listened. I’ve failed you.”

Felicity rolled her eyes. Really, Remus was such a serious soldier, sometimes. “What did Severus say? How is it that he defended my so-called honor when others did not?” A breeze had come and she pulled her cloak closer with petulance.

Remus smiled. “He said that we were being ludicrous and that his old granny had had more gumption than the lot of us.”

“Ha! Good old Severus. Always a surprise when you least expect it.” She laughed at her other love. Dear Severus whom no one liked. Her heart yearned for him, if only to talk to him. She relished the image of everyone hating him as he defended her. “Most likely, he only defended me because it gave him an opportunity to call you all old ladies.” She laughed at that. “What else did he say?”

Remus laughed, too. “Well, he said that you had stood up to the Dark Lord twice to save his life.” He lowered his voice to a whisper. It was as if he was afraid that someone might hear his words. “He said that you had bound him with magic, that you would never betray him or the Order. That you would die, first.”

Felicity doubled over with laughter. “Ha, ha, ha, ha,” she couldn’t stop.

“It’s hardly that funny, dear,” said Remus alarmed. “Everyone was shocked.”

She caught her breath and patted him again. Poor Remus, he was such a good man. “Darling, I’m sorry but Severus is so funny sometimes that I can’t help it.”

“I don’t understand.” Remus was frowning. “Snape was hardly saying it to be funny and I think you should be worried about what was said. He was being honest with them and it only made them more alarmed.”

Her eyes were twinkling. “And you don’t think that Severus wouldn’t have known that? You don’t really believe that he was telling them all that I had saved his life, which they loathe, and bound him with magic, blood magic, mind you, in order to alarm them further?” She shook her head. “No, my dear Severus knew exactly what he was doing and it wasn’t defending me.”

Remus paused. He mulled over what she’d said. “They told Dumbledore that you should be sent away after that.” He looked down at the ground. “That’s when I finally found my voice and told them that they were wrong. That we needed you and that you could be the very power that might turn the tide in our favor.” She leaned over and kissed his cheek. “I said that you were protecting the werewolves of Wolvin, that you had fought bravely and that we might not have chased the Death Eaters away if you’d not been there.”

Tears were in his eyes. She reached up and pulled his face closer, kissing his cheek tenderly. “You defended me, dearest.”

“Only because I couldn’t bear to lose you.”

She found his eyes so full of remorse. He really felt that he’d been selfish rather than noble and he hated himself for it. “Remus, darling. You defended me. You are my hero.”

He smiled weakly. “I want to keep you with me always. I love you more than the world. When they started to talk about sending…”

She put her hand to his lips. “Remus, no, stop.” She sat up straighter and turned him to her by the shoulders. “Darling, you cannot keep me,” she said as sternly as she could muster in the face of his love. She had to tell him the truth. He was too good a man and she loved him too much. “I’ll have to go someday and it may be sooner rather than later, my love. You might never see me again, or I might be your eldest child’s godmother, I just don’t know. I must return home at some point. I will not ever be any more than your lover,” she stroked his cheek, “or, your dearest friend. I cannot be a wife and I cannot be a mother. I am a dragon. If we get through this and live, then I will be there at your death, I will see your children’s children grow old. You cannot keep me, luv. Even if I wanted to be kept, it’s not in my nature.”

“Felicity, I…”

“Our love is a hello and one long good-bye, my darling.”

“How can you say that? I…”

“Yes, you love me and I love you, but I’ll be a memory someday.” She smirked, more at her self than him. “A fond memory, I hope.” She turned away and looked to the ground, now. Suddenly, she felt a shame of self wash over her as she’d never felt it before. She’d been so selfish. Severus and she had that in common, certainly. “I love you more than I’ve ever loved anyone, if I must put it in human terms for you to understand then know that you mean more to me than my life.” She kicked a pebble and looked out at the now darkened evening. “I always knew that our time would be temporary, darling. It was I who pursued you. I, who risked Albus Dumbledore’s trust to be with you. I was brought here to protect Severus and I defied my oath to my people, and my promises to both Severus and Dumbledore in order to hold you close.” She dared to look at him. He did not believe her. She could tell. His face told her that he only loved her more. He still felt he’d had free will and had chosen her. “You fell in love with me because I wanted you to, Remus. You, the man, the werewolf, had no choice.”

He smiled lovingly. He pulled her to him and hugged her. She buried her face in his chest, wrapping her arms around him and breathing in his scent. She reveled in his strong arms. “That’s all love ever is, darling,” he said. “You made me want to love you. You forced me to against my will and I did fall for you, gladly.”

Felicity began to cry. She cried, as she hadn’t in a long time. Had her heart broken like this before? She couldn’t remember. Had she felt this way when she’d taken Severus’ memory? She hadn’t a thought. All she could think about was that Remus didn’t understand what she’d said to him. That he would never understand that she’d seduced him with her dragon’s magic. She knew that he would love her always, as he did not, unless she was brave enough, dragon enough…to let him go.

She cried from the very heart of her. It was a chasm deep and dark that she’d found herself in. For she’d realized, as surely as she loved this man, that he was more human than she would ever be. Suddenly, in the comfort of his arms, she knew just how dangerous she really was to all of them. Mad-Eye Moody had been right to voice his fear of her. They should be afraid. Severus was right to tell them what she’d done, even as he’d said it for his own reasons. Severus knew, as she did, that only love separated what she was from the Dark Lord. She remembered Voldemort’s inhuman eyes and voice and shivered. Embraced as she was in Remus’ warmth, her blood ran cold. She had bent them to her will because she’d wanted to and they’d been powerless. She and Voldemort shared that in common. It was all too awful to think about.

Master Tong had warned her not to be selfish and headstrong. He’d warned that she would hurt others and her self in the process. He’d told her that to love is to give and give without want. She felt the bitterness of her foolishness and mourned for all them.

“Don’t cry, my love,” comforted Remus patiently. “It’s not your fault that you are what you are.”

But it was, dear Remus, it was her fault. More so than she’d ever realized.

The night sky had darkened except for the winking of the stars. It was a clear night and the moon was rising. There was such beauty in the world. The lovers clung to each other as lovers will do, lost in each other, desperate for each other, living in the moment that would soon pass much too quickly.




*******
I’ve been trying to write this chapter in one form or another for ages. I’ve finally done it. Tell me what you think, as I always ask. Thanks to you all, Pru



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