lunation (lunation) wrote,

oneshot fic: "wolves" [remus/tonks, 1998]

"We'll find her," they hiss and jeer. "We'll find her, and rip her to shreds."

Night after night, it is the same thing - canine shapes that blend in easily with the shadows cast by the molting furniture and graying drapes, or wind that slips in through the shutters, quietly howling. He wakes to see eyes in the corners, and swears there is moisture on the window, though there is little doubt that no vile breath ever graced the glass.

"She's ours, she's ours," they taunt, and he is out of bed and murderous.

But time and again, Remus finds himself fighting wolves that only nip at his mind, and he winds up sitting at the edge of the bed - ever tired and too old to be so young.

She is sleeping soundly, stretched 's'-shaped curve of her back slightly aglow in the moonlight, safe safe safe.

Lupin crawls into bed but is still cool despite her warmth.

What is he doing? Why does he even try?

He snakes a hand around her thin waist and pulls her closer. She might squeak a half-arsed protest - awake, she is clumsy, but asleep she is always on guard - or coil closer to him, depending, and he hates to admit that it does feel good.

Thirty-eight and still a slave to security, he thinks.

Apart, they hardly weigh enough to leave an indention in the mattress, but pressed together, Remus imagines they make one whole person. It's thoughts like that that allows him to commit, and to give himself wholeheartedly - half-heartedly, some-heartedly, however much fucking heart as he has left to give - to her, and allow affection in return.

When she wakes in the fashion that he sometimes does - ready for a fight, poised for defense, ready for anything that might strike them down, he wonders - with a certain morbid fondness - if she might sometime blast him on accident.

It would be like her, he thinks, smiling into her shoulder.

Some nights she keeps him awake, talking nostalgic nonsense, or anything that doesn't involve The Cause. Sometimes she makes him laugh so hard that she has to shut his lips forcefully, usually with her own. That is when he feels old, when she is squirming against him, small, taut, and unsure of exactly what she wants from him. She wraps her thin arms around him, and he kisses the soft area between her neck and shoulder - she melts against him, and he holds her while wanting to flee to avoid any chance of ruining it.

Other times, he wakes to see her shoulders shaking, tears wetting her freckles.

She is one of the few women he has come across that looks bloody awful when she cries. Honestly - her small eyes scrunch up and her mouth twitches involuntarily. Her altered hair will return to its original mousy brown, and she'll begin to hiccup and then sob harder.

She's still pretty, though, he says to her, though the compliment becomes tangled in her hair and muffled through her wailing.

Tonight, though, it is a dreamless night - the wolves stay away - and she is gone.

Very awake and alone, like he used to be, he wonders if maybe he doesn't need her and her youthful insistence to fix him. Any day the war could take either of them. He feels pressured to come to a conclusion, but is at odds with himself as usual, and she isn't around to tell a stupid joke and ease his steely reserve.

He sits in the kitchen, sock-covered feet cold on the ancient tile, watching the steam rise from his coffee. It spirals in the air near his nose, and he looks through it towards the window, hazel eyes staring at the swollen moon and the spattering of stars - like freckles - that encircle it.
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