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09 January 2011 @ 03:25 pm
Comfort and Joy  
Title: Comfort and Joy
Author: katyscarlett76
Rating & Warnings: PG, AU
Prompt(s): It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, Toys in evr’y store, But the prettiest sight to see, is the holly that will be, on your own front door and Christmas music programme on the WWN.
Format & Word Count: Fic, 2151 words
Summary: The war is over and Remus and Tonks have been through so much, maybe Christmas will bring them some much needed comfort and joy.
Author’s Notes: This is a part of/ sequel to an AU I’ve had in the works for nearly a year now but haven’t yet posted. Hopefully it makes sense without it but all you need to know is that Remus and Tonks survived the battle but Tonks suffered a brain injury and isn’t long out of hospital. Unbetaed as I’m running close to the deadline as usual so any mistakes are mine.

Comfort and Joy

It was late December, the Wizarding World had been at peace for a few months and, after a terrible couple of years, was beginning to mend its wounds. There was still a great deal of pain, for those who were gone and those left behind. The wards of St Mungos Hospital were still packed with those seriously wounded. A lot of families would not be having a happy Christmas at all. But on Christmas Eve it suddenly appeared that a festive feeling had sprung up within the community, as if people wanted to make the best of things, celebrate the season as they always had. A feeling that they had been cheated out of last Christmas by Voldemort and he wouldn’t cheat them out of this one. So the decorations had gone up, lights had appeared in every window, Christmas Trees and garlands filled every room and Diagon Alley was full of shoppers. In most respects it was like every other Christmas, it was only in the visible scars and the sad smiles that there was any indication of the pain the community was still processing.

Amongst this crowd of tentative shoppers, trying their best to make the season merry, strolled Remus Lupin. He was looking forward to this Christmas more than he had any other. It was Teddy Lupin’s first Christmas and his proud daddy was determined that it would be perfect. The war had cost the Wizarding World dear and no-one knew that more than Remus. So many friends wouldn’t be around to share the celebrations with them and he knew how close he had come to being one of their number. He had so much to be grateful for, now more than ever with Dora out of hospital and he was determined to give his family the best Christmas possible. His family, the thought always made him smile. There had been times, in even the recent past, when he had not thought such a prospect possible. The previous year, with war hanging over their heads and the absence of Ted a constant worry, they had had a muted celebration, with joy coming only from the kicking baby in Dora’s belly. This year that kicking bump had become a bouncing, loud and energetic eight month old boy whose smiles light up the whole household.

Remus had completed his shopping in double quick time, anxious to be back with his family, but he hadn’t been able to help indulging himself in the festive atmosphere of Diagon Alley, more so once he’d run into Harry and Ron who’d dragged him to the Leaky Cauldron for a festive pint. The two young men had been shopping for their respective girlfriends and Remus had found himself laughing at their tales of lingerie departments and jewellery stores. Both had a sadness behind their eyes but, like Remus, they were making the best of things. They had grown up so much in the last few years that Remus had begun to see them as equals and he enjoyed their company. There were times, in certain lights, that he could almost imagine he was sitting there with James and Sirius.

He arrived back home to find Andromeda cooking, with Dora sat at the kitchen table cuddling Teddy. She looked so content and peaceful that Remus felt himself tearing up at the sight. That her connection with Teddy had been so re-established was a sign of how far they had come within a few weeks. Whilst still in the hospital she’d barely acknowledged the baby’s existence let alone cuddled him. But now here she was looking every inch the Madonna with child. Andromeda looked up at him from her cooking.

“Hello Remus, did you get everything you wanted?”

He smiled at his mother-in-law. “Yes, I think so.”

Dropping his parcels onto the side, he removed his coat and sat in the chair next to his wife.

“Dora, I’m back.” He said stroking her arm to attract her attention. She turned to look at him dragging her eyes from the baby. She smiled in recognition and then turned her attention back to Teddy.

“It’s so lovely to see that”, commented Andromeda and Remus looked up to see the tears in his mother-in-laws’ eyes. Emotions were always on the surface in their household these days and lately tears of happiness were just as frequent as those of sadness. The loss of Ted and a number of friends was tempered with the joy they found in Teddy and in Dora’s slow recovery.

After dinner, with Dora keeping a close hold on the baby at all times and eating with one hand, like any practised mother, Andromeda left for drinks with friends and Remus put Teddy to bed. When he came downstairs he found Dora sitting in the living room, the WWN’s Christmas music programme playing, and a soft smile on her face. She looked up as he came into the room.

“Is he okay?”

“Yes. He settled down fine. I think it was the cuddle from his mum that did it.”

She smiled and Remus lowered himself into the sofa, enjoying the feeling of being a normal couple discussing their baby. They sat in silence for a while, just listening to the music.

In the peaceful silence, memories began to surface in Remus’ mind of other Christmas'. He remembered his parents' dancing around their small living room together, as a teenager he’d grimaced and been embarrassed but he had also felt a longing inside that one day he might have someone who would dance with him and would love him as unconditionally as his parents loved each other. He remembered also the laughter that had accompanied the celebrations of his friends and the pranks played on each other, despite the dark times they lived in. Once they were all gone, Christmas had become one of those times when memories of the past were more welcoming than thoughts of the present or future. Even his year teaching at Hogwarts had not lighten that load, the Full Moon over Christmas had put paid to any half-dreams of spending part of the holiday with Harry.

It was the year of living with Sirius at Grimmauld Place that re-established his happiness in the season. He had one of his best friends back and despite the darkness of the times they had made the most of every minute they had together. Pretending to be young boys again, playing tricks on fellow Order members and even the reminiscing about old times had a new lighter energy to it. And most of all there was Dora. Beautiful, talented and kind Dora, the woman he was fast falling in love with. He’d had to shake himself so many times at the continuing realisation that she felt the same way. Though Arthur’s injury had shed some darkness on the celebrations, Remus still felt happier about Christmas than he had in years. Sirius had decorated the old house and it had felt brighter and warmer. Brighter still once the Weasleys and Harry arrived and, after being reassured that Arthur would be okay, had added their laughter to the general merriment. On Christmas Eve he had danced with Dora in the drawing room of Grimmauld Place and basked in the glow of her attention focussed solely on him. That night they had confessed their love for each other for the first time.

It was the memory of those moments that kept him warm the following year whilst living with the werewolves. They had been his safe place to retreat to in his mind when the rest of the world felt bleak. He had been forced to leave Dora behind, to end their relationship to protect her, no matter how much he loved her. He had no way of knowing what he would become in the company of other, feral, werewolves and as much as he wanted to protect her, he also had been afraid. He hadn’t wanted to see the love fade from her eyes when she saw what he had become. A selfish part of him wanted to remember always, how she would look at him and how she loved him, without it being tainted with fear or repulsion. Spending time at The Burrow had only made him feel worse not better. He’d missed her so much, especially watching Bill and Fleur so in love. The music only added to his melancholy. With Molly listening with such a sweet smile and Fleur making fun, all of it hurt Remus more than he could say and he found himself lost in memories staring into the fire. It was Harry’s voice that brought him round, that reminded him of the present and the job he had to do. He had never felt so bitter and he was afraid that had come out in his conversation with Harry and Arthur.

That night he’d slipped away to see Dora, even though he knew he shouldn’t, but he just couldn’t help himself. Her room at the Hogs Head was sparse but she had made it welcoming with decorations and the indomitable Dora smell. The spring of holly that adorned her door with the festive message reminded him of the wreath his mother had always made and he felt like he was home for the first time in a long while. Dora had been welcoming, just as he knew she would be, but wary also, as if she knew he was there just to break her heart again. But her loyal heart did not turn him away and for that he was thankful. They spent a peaceful, if charged, evening sitting in chairs by the fire, not really talking and hardly meeting each other’s eyes. He hated that that was how it was with them now but he knew that’s how it had to be. They fell asleep in their chairs and he left before it got light, leaving her with just a kiss on the forehead. He was a coward he knew but he couldn’t face another fight with her. His will was so weak at that moment that he knew if she’d asked he would have given in and not returned to the werewolf camp. He would have let Dumbledore down and let Harry down, just to see the look of love in her eyes once more.

The following year had brought such a change, they were married and expecting a baby. The world was grim but they had made their own peace, Dora had plundered his mother’s decorations stash and had him up ladders put up garlands all over the house. Christmas Day she’d worn a huge bow around her growing belly, laughing about their present to come. Remus had felt more at peace than he had for years. With music playing he’d asked his wife to dance, swaying with her from behind, his hands resting on her bulging baby belly. Reminded of his parents dancing in the same place, he’d smiled and lent forward to kiss his wife.

Brought back into the present by a change in the tempo of the music and, without really knowing what he was doing, Remus had got to his feet, strode over the short distance to where Dora sat and had held out his hand to her.

“Dance with me.”

She looked up at him startled, a look of uncertainty crossing her face which then settled into a smile. She nodded her head and took his hand. He helped her to her feet and into his arms. He held her closely but not too tight, expecting her to bolt at any moment. Instead she lent in further placing her head on his shoulder.

“I love this song. I always think of you when I hear it.” She looked up at him. “Do you remember that Christmas at Grimmauld with Sirius? You asked me to dance, just like this, and I felt like a lady. I always feel like a lady with you. I do love you, you know. Things are so fuzzy sometimes. It’s like I’m not even sure who I am, but I do know that. I love you and I love Teddy and I love Mum. It’s like if I hold onto that then everything else will be okay.”

Remus looked into her eyes and felt his pulse race. They’d had a difficult time since the battle, with injuries and grief. But now standing in their living room with his arms around her, looking deep into her eyes, he could really see her, his Dora, with all the love she’d ever felt for him shining clearly from her soul. It was their own Christmas miracle. He lent in and touched his lips so softly to hers, until he felt her respond, and then deepened the kiss. They stood there swaying in each other’s arms until the clock struck twelve and welcomed in Christmas Day.

The End.
sspring92: tonks/lupinsspring92 on January 10th, 2011 04:40 am (UTC)
this is an interesting post war take. It stands to reason that there would lasting physical and emotional damage. Post Traumatic Stress and all that. I think you handled it very well. Thanks for posting!
katyscarlett76: katyscarlett76 Quillkatyscarlett76 on January 10th, 2011 09:18 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the comments :) I'm pleased that you think this worked. I'm planning to finish writing the prequel to this in the next few weeks so it's good to know that it's a plausible take on the situation.

Thanks again :)
arctic_comet: rtcoloredarctic_comet on January 10th, 2011 08:21 am (UTC)
Harry looking for lingerie to buy to Ginny with Ron there? That must've been awkward :D

Love Tonks wearing a bow around her belly when she was pregnant.
katyscarlett76: katyscarlett76 Quillkatyscarlett76 on January 10th, 2011 09:20 pm (UTC)
Lol yes it probably was! And that's probably what made it funnier for Remus!

I loved that image too! Just sounds like something silly she would do!

Thanks for the comments.
golden_leaves: Remus+Tonks by alicia-changolden_leaves on January 11th, 2011 07:10 am (UTC)
I loved how Remus remembered past Christmases, and how it ended with such a hopeful note :) I like seeing his perspective on the big events in his and Tonks' story. All the little details especially made it seem very real :) And I especially like the last couple of lines.
I like this take on post war Remus and Tonks too. Especially because they do survive :)
katyscarlett76: katyscarlett76 Quillkatyscarlett76 on March 1st, 2011 12:05 pm (UTC)
Sorry it's taken me so long to reply other projects have taken my attention. But thank you so much for the review :) I'm glad you liked it! I love denial!fics too ;)

If you're interested I've just posted the first part of the prequel to this story at my journal HERE
gilpin25: Meta Advent Baublegilpin25 on January 11th, 2011 06:21 pm (UTC)
I'll look forward to reading the prequel to this as I really like the idea of them surviving the war (obviously!), but with there being a heavy price to pay in Tonks being so badly injured. It sounds like you'll be taking on quite a challenge with her barely relating to Teddy, and presumably Remus caring for them both with Andromeda.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. ;) It's reassuring to see here that apparently they're all going to have come a long way by Christmas (yet I like how you haven't told us whether Tonks can morph etc). I think you've made some very good observations on the after-effects of what they've been through: I liked how Emotions were always on the surface in their household these days, especially Remus implying by this that his are as well. That's clear to see when he looks back at past Christmases and how much earlier ones meant to him. My favourite line was the one about him regretting moon timings in POA, and therefore missing out on spending that Christmas with Harry - I've always thought he must have hated that.

The idea of Tonks as the present with a bow round her pregnant stomach is a great one: I rather hope an artist is inspired by it! And the ending to this is such a hopeful one about being home and together, which is what they surely deserved.

So when's the prequel appearing? :D
katyscarlett76: katyscarlett76 Quillkatyscarlett76 on March 1st, 2011 12:13 pm (UTC)
Sorry about the delay in replying a little thing called Winterval took my attention ;)

Thank you so much much for the lovely review, I took a risk with this so I'm really pleased you liked it! I'm pleased you liked some of the themes I've brought in here as they will form a part of the prequel so it's good to know they're working! I do love the stories were they survive but I also thought that it would be interesting to see a story where they survive but not necessarily completely intact. The David Tennant drama Recovery gave me the original plot bunny and it's been swirlinga round my head for a while!

I love that image too, inspired I think by seeing picture of pregnant celebs with sashes on their dresses, lol. I would love one of our lovely artists to be inspired by it!

The first part of the prequel is HERE
jobey_in_errorjobey_in_error on January 12th, 2011 03:51 pm (UTC)
Ooooooh, you've packed so many good ideas into this. I lol'd at Harry's and Ron's shopping stories of lingerie departments and jewellery stores, and I really want to read the story of that first dance that made Tonks feel like a lady... in fact, the way you described the three of them during Grimmauld Place makes me want to write that fic, complete with the pranks and the levity... and the eventual shadows that end it. (Actually, given my prompts, I should have written it, but that's another story!)

My favorite part, though, was This year that kicking bump had become a bouncing, loud and energetic eight month old boy whose smiles light up the whole household. Forgive me if I capslock-squeal a moment: THAT IS TOTALLY WHAT TEDDY OUGHT TO BE LIKE. Awwwwwwwwwww.

The contrast of determined happiness and a sort of exhausted broken-heartedness beneath that was well done, and of course it fits these two so well. Very nice.

Really intrigued about this prequel now. Is that the thing you wrote for the Pulped Big Bang? Can I still read the draft over on that comm??
katyscarlett76: Chalion: katyscarlett76katyscarlett76 on March 1st, 2011 12:19 pm (UTC)
Sorry about the delay in replying a little thing called Winterval took my attention ;)

Thanks so much for the lovely review! :) I'm really glad you liked it! You never know I might get around to writing some of those stories at some point ;) But yes I'm rather fond of the idea of them having fun at Grimmauld Place and love stories like that! I will probably write my own at some point, but your version would be lovely as well!

The prequel is what I started as a personal challenge for the Pulped Pulplympics last year and I've finally polished up the first part as one of my Winterval Mulls and is HERE at my journal!