Written as a birthday present for Victoria P. (aka, musesfool)
Better Than Real
by Beth H.
(c) July 15, 2005
"What's the matter, Remus? You look as if you've seen a ghost."
Remus stares at the man standing on the front doorstep of Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place.
The man - and no, Remus doesn't think it's a ghost - laughs, tiny lines crinkling at the corners of his eyes.
"Not that I don't appreciate being greeted on the doorstep when I come home for the day," the man says, still grinning, "but I'm beat. I don't suppose this wifely concern of yours extends as far as you making me a cuppa?"
Tea, Remus thinks. The man wants tea.
Still not saying a word - and really, what words could he say? - Remus steps aside to let the man pass into the house, then turns and walks toward the kitchen.
He can feel the eyes of the man on the back of his neck all the way down the hall.
"Ah, that's better," the man says, as he pulls a chair out from the table in the shadowed kitchen and sits down. "Never let them tell you that it's only toddlers who'll run you ragged. Harry and his mates were playing a pick-up game of Quidditch and insisted I join them. I hurt in places I didn't even remember I had."
He understands that. Remus, too, has been hurting.
"So, what about that tea, then?"
Yes . . . tea. He'll make tea.
"Seriously, Moony, you're not looking too good. Maybe you should sit down and I'll put the kettle on."
"No, that's . . . all right."
It's all right.
Remus puts the kettle on, watching out of the corner of his eye as the man skims the front page of the Daily Prophet.
"Has there been any change?"
"No, dammit. He's exactly the same." Harry rubbed his hands over his face, then turned around toward Snape. "Isn't there something else we can try? Legilimency? A potion? There's got to be something."
Snape shook his head, his ever-present sneer for once absent from his face. "There's nothing else to try, Potter. Perhaps if the Headmaster were still alive . . . "
Harry turned away so Snape wouldn't see the tears that sprang unbidden to his eyes. Professor Dumbledore was gone. Professor McGonagall was gone. Ron was gone. Sirius was gone. And Remus was . . .
"What the hell was the point of killing Voldemort?" Harry yelled, unable to control his anger and pain another minute. "What the *hell* was the point?"
"You are a selfish and idiotic boy," Snape spat. "The Dark Lord was an evil force who had to be eliminated for the good of the Wizarding World as a whole, and if you think that you are the only one who suffered a loss during the conflict, then you are far more stupid than . . . ."
Snape and Harry both turned around simultaneously to stare at Remus, who had lain still and silent in his bed for the past two months.
"Did he speak?" Snape asked quietly.
Harry bit his bottom lip, then shook his head. "I thought he did. I thought he said 'Enough,' but . . . oh hell, look at him, Snape. He's never going to speak again, is he?"
"Perhaps if he were to be sent to St. Mungo's . . . "
It was clear from Harry's tone of voice that there would be no further discussion.
"As you wish," Snape said. "And now, pleasant as this little visit has been, I must return to Hogwarts."
"If . . . if anything changes . . . "
"You know where to find me, Potter."
"Enough?" Remus asks, after pouring tea into the cup.
Sirius leans in and lets the steam from the tea warm his face.
"It's perfect, Moony," he says with a smile.
Yes, thinks Remus.
Comments, critiques, chit chat: beth-h @ mrks.org
Back to Harry Potter fiction
Back to the main page