chapter uses a few quotes from the text of Harry Potter and the Deathly
Hallows. Those words, and the characters and universe, belong to JKR and
company—I am only borrowing them.
Author’s Notes: Written
for the August 2007 ficathon at rt_challenge
on LiveJournal. This story is set in my “Rookie” fic universe, but no prior reading in that universe is
necessary. Much thanks to my proof-reader, Logical Quirk.
Choices: Part I
"It is our choices Harry, that
show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."
-Albus Dumbledore, Harry
Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Bright sharp teeth flash before Remus’s eyes. He can hear
children screaming, and crying. A woman calls out for help, but the darkness
all around him is so thick that he cannot find her. Rage surges through him. He
sees the shadowy figure of a man before him, and leaps with animal strength to
tackle him to the ground. His fists pound against his unknown victim, and when
he finally pulls back, his hands are covered with blood….
He wakes suddenly, his heart pounding in his chest, his
breath coming in short gasps. He forces himself to take slower, deeper breaths
and focuses his eyes on the yellow glow of the street lamp seeping through the
thin curtains of the room he shares with Dora. At times like these he needs to
remind himself that his days among the other werewolves are done—it’s all in
the past. He has a home now.
He slowly and carefully sits up, doing his best to avoid
disturbing the slumbering form of his wife. The light casts a dim glow across
her smooth face, and he can’t help but smile a little to see her looking so
much at peace. If only he could follow her example.
But he cannot. Just that afternoon—less than two weeks after
their marriage—Kingsley told them of rumors that the Department for the
Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures is pushing to extend the Registry
to include spouses and immediate family of werewolves, and that they are also
agitating to bar those family members from employment at the Ministry.
Why did he let himself get carried away with the passion and
excitement of their reunion? He knew the possible consequences, so why did he
do this to her?
He rubs his forehead, and quietly slips out of bed. He pads
softly to the bathroom, and closes the door behind him before turning on the
light. He splashes his face with cold water, and smoothes his hair back from
He stares at himself in the mirror. The harsh glare of the
electric light makes him look ill. He can see that the grey in his hair has
finally overtaken the brown, and the lines around his eyes and mouth look
darker and deeper than ever before.
Great Merlin, he looks old.
He slides back into bed, and Dora shifts and stirs, moving
to snuggle against him. He wraps an arm around her to hold her close. He needs
to savor this while he still can—before, inevitably,
she realizes what a horrible mistake she’s made.
Remus studies his wife’s face as the light of the
almost-full moon shines brightly through the half-open curtains and sparkles
off the moist tracks of tears running down her cheeks. Her mentor is dead and Bellatrix’s killing curse missed her by mere inches. She is
tired, afraid, and grief-stricken; yet, all he can think about is how beautiful
her dark eyes look shining in the moonlight, and how glad he is that it was Alastor killed and George maimed instead of her. He knows
he is selfish, but right now he doesn’t care.
He moves in front of the window, casting his shadow over
her, hiding her tears in darkness. “I love you so much,” he whispers, pulling
her into his arms, smothering her grief with his kisses.
He makes love to her that night with wilder abandon than
ever before, feasting on her pleasure like a man who, after eating nothing but
scraps for years, is suddenly presented with a banquet. As she arches her back,
crying out his name, the first light of dawn falls across her face. He has
never seen anything more beautiful.
Remus is still recovering from the full moon the day of
Bill’s wedding. He doesn’t want to go, but how can he disappoint Dora when she
looks so radiant with excitement? Their own wedding was nothing more than a
short ceremony followed by dinner with a few friends, and he suspects that she
is going to pretend that Fleur’s reception is her
He can see that he’s right as soon as they arrive at the
Burrow, and her golden curls bounce and shimmer in the sunlight while she flits
from friend to friend with a shining smile on her face. He can feel his own
face settling into a frown of weariness and frustration. This is the wedding
she should have had. It is the wedding her parents would have given her had she
chosen any man besides himself. Why has he done this to her?
He forces a weak smile onto his face for the few friends who
greet them, but is vastly relieved when they finally take their seats in the
cool shade of the marquee, where he can relax away from the glare of the
After the ceremony, he takes her for a few turns around the
dance floor, but he can feel eyes on them everywhere they go. Disapproving
eyes—pitying eyes—disgusted eyes. How could a bright, beautiful young woman
like her ever agree to marry a Dark Creature like him? He can see the question
on their faces. Why has he done this to her?
Once he has taken all that he can stand of those staring
eyes, he mutters an excuse to his wife—he is still too tired for much dancing.
Can they go home, instead?
“Can we stay just a little longer?” she pleads, her eyes
gleaming in the evening light.
He sighs. How can he refuse? He’s taken so much from her
already—how can he deny her this small happiness?
So they sit at a small table in the shadows. She leans
against him, wrapping her arms around his to clutch his hand between her own.
They watch the other couples spinning around the dance floor, shimmering like
sparks in their fancy dress robes. Why is she content to sit here with him in
his dull brown robe, when she should be out there,
out-shining the best of them? He shouldn’t have let himself get caught up in
her enthusiasm and optimism. He should have been the voice of reason. He knew
it was a mistake the instant he asked her if she’d ever thought about getting
married—but the light in her eyes had blazed so brightly, and that radiant
smile had been all for him…. Why did he ever let this happen?
He feels like the most selfish man alive.
Suddenly, another light bursts into the crowd—a graceful
silver lynx, glowing brightly as it brings them the darkest of news.
Remus stares around the dimly lit room, where the Weasley
family and a few of their more unfortunate guests are huddled together in
desperate, quaking clumps. Dora sits stiffly by his side, her blonde hair now
hanging limp and lifeless around her pale face. She has remained strong and
defiant throughout their hours of questioning, as Death Eaters and her own
colleagues worked in dark concert with one another. Despite her show of
strength, the heavy shadows of the deepening night falling across her weary
face cannot conceal the toll this has taken on her.
With every leering comment—with every perversely suggestive
question—the light in her eyes has grown dimmer, and the tension in her jaw
grown more pronounced. It is because of him
that she was singled out for this lewdly abusive treatment. This is exactly
what he feared when he kept himself apart from her for so long—this is exactly
why he regretted his marriage vows almost as soon as he made them. He knew this
would happen to her. He knew his presence in her life would harm her.
Remus looks away from the smirking form of Yaxley as he spits another vulgar insult at Dora, and bites
the inside of his cheek until he tastes the rusty tang of blood in his mouth.
Finally, the interrogators give up in frustration and stomp
out of the Burrow. But Dawlish takes the occasion to
throw a final bit of parting advice at Dora: “I wouldn’t bother coming in to
work tomorrow if I were you,” he says. “The new administration won’t take
kindly to one of its Aurors willingly binding herself to one of those creatures.” He points his bony
finger squarely at Remus.
Dora glares at him and retorts that she has no intention of
continuing to serve an administration that she considers illegitimate and
immoral. She’ll be owling in her resignation first
thing in the morning.
Dawlish only laughs, his face
gleaming eerily in the candlelight, leaving it deeply etched with harsh black
lines around his mocking smile. “What right have you to call anyone immoral?”
With that he exits the house, leaving behind only a patch of
moonlight shining on the threadbare carpet.
Remus sits quietly in a dark corner as Hestia
examines Andromeda for any lasting ill-effects from the Cruciatus
Curse. Dora is holding her mother’s hand, and the yellow glow of the diagnostic
charms reflects off of her wan face, giving her a sickly appearance.
He doesn’t know what worries him more: what happened to his
in-laws, or the prospect of what might be happening to Harry, Ron, and Hermione
at this very moment. Are they safe? Where are they? Do they have any food? Any money? What exactly is this task that Dumbledore left
for them, and do they need help?
He continues to worry as Hestia
hovers over Andromeda. Bellatrix was here, and though they have not said it,
Remus has no doubt in his mind that the viciousness of the attack on his
in-laws was worse than it would have been had he not been a part of their family.
He can see the silent accusation in Ted’s eyes even now. Bellatrix won’t rest
until her family has been cleansed of filth like him.
Why has he done this to them? If he had only followed his
own advice and kept out of Dora’s life once and for all, they might have been
safe. Or, at the very least, safer. He won’t fool
himself into thinking that he is the sole cause of their suffering. But his
absence might have mitigated it. They might not have been tortured. Dora might
not have had to resign from the job she fought so long and hard to obtain. She
could have held on, for at least at little while, and helped the Order from the
inside. But now, it’s too late.
Hestia finishes her exam and
pronounces Andromeda safe. Dora and her mother stand to thank her, and to turn
their attention to Ted. Suddenly, Dora wobbles and pitches precipitously
forward. Remus leaps to his feet, but Andromeda and Hestia
are faster, catching her before she hits the floor.
They shift her to the sofa, where she blinks her eyes blearily
and asks what happened. When Hestia tells her she
fainted, all she can say is “Why?”
“That’s what I’m going to find out,” replies Hestia, running her wand over Dora’s body, and pronouncing
that, for starters, she is dehydrated. She orders Remus to fetch some water,
which he does so quickly that he spills much of it over his hands.
He kneels, trembling, by Dora’s side as Hestia’s
glowing charms illuminate her abdomen in yellow, purple, and blue. Dora tries
to reassure him that she is fine—it was just a long day. All she needs is water
and rest, and she’ll be fine. But the look on Hestia’s
face—almost spectral in the reflected light of her charms—tells him otherwise.
“So, what’s the diagnosis?” asks Dora with a smile on her
“I have some news for you,” replies Hestia.
“Good news or bad news?”
Hestia looks wary. “I’ll let you
decide that for yourself.”
Remus isn’t sure he hears her correctly the first time she
says it. He can’t have been hearing
her properly. Surely she didn’t just say—?
Andromeda repeats it, and then Dora, both of them looking
pale and shocked. Ted is glaring at him with a fierce light in his eyes, and
Remus can feel himself withering. He wishes he was still hiding in his dark
corner, instead of under the harsh glare of the lamp.
His mind is in a haze. He feels as if he’s been Confunded. Pregnant? Now? This can’t be happening…it can’t be. He wouldn’t let this happen at a time
like this—he’s not like James….
While the dark thoughts swirl in his mind, before his eyes
Dora’s shocked face unexpectedly blossoms into a shining grin. “I’m having a
baby!” she squeals with delight, grabbing Remus’s hand and shaking it wildly.
“We’re having a baby!”
All he can say is: “But…we were careful…how…?”
She looks at him coyly. “I can think of a few times over the
past month when we’ve both been a little too distracted to worry about being
He can’t deny that she’s right. What was he thinking? He
wasn’t thinking; that’s the problem. Why is he always so selfish—concerned only
with sating his immediate needs, without a moment’s contemplation given to the
future? A child? Now? His
wife has already lost her job over him; how much more difficult will it be for
their child? And worse—what if he were to hurt it—to infect it? Or could it
even be born like him…? Oh, God. What has he done?
“This is wonderful!” says Dora, squeezing him in a tight
hug. “I’ve hoped for a long time that we could start a family together someday.
It looks like someday came sooner than I expected!”
Thankfully, Remus is saved from having to reply when Hestia speaks up. “Now don’t get too excited, yet,” she
says. “You’re not very far along. Less than two weeks, from what I could tell.
At this point the chances of a miscarriage are still quite high. You’re not
really out of the danger zone until your first trimester is over.”
Remus looks up at Hestia, and the
lamplight behind her shimmers around her hair like a halo. For one dizzying,
terrifying moment his heart beats in exaltation. That’s it! They might lose the
baby! Everything might still be all right….
Then his heart falls into the pit of his stomach as horror
and shame wash over him. What kind of man is he, to wish that kind of pain on
He darts to his feet. “I need some air.” He turns and
stumbles his way through the house to the back door, and out into the garden
where the dark night sky takes him in her arms, holding him softly with the
cool caresses of her breeze.
He drinks the air in deep, shuddering breaths, trying to
slow the panicked beating of his heart. The clouds swirl around the waning
moon, and he watches them intently—studying the subtle gradations of light and
shadow. Anything to take his mind off of what’s being talked
He continues to stare up at the moon, and after a few minutes
he hears someone walking up behind him.
It is Dora. He knows it without looking, even though she
stops a pace behind him.
“Remus,” she says.
He continues to look at the clouds passing across the moon.
“Remus,” she says again. “Look at me.”
He turns, and looks. Her jaw is set and firm,
and her eyes blaze with fiery determination. He knows that look. He’s seen it
“You’re not doing much to endear yourself to my parents, you
know. Dad’s about ready to burn you in effigy for running out like that.” A
small hint of a smile dances at the corners of her mouth.
He forces himself to smile back. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t
have…I was just so…”
“Startled? Shocked? Dumbfounded? And about
two dozen other adjectives all at once? Me too.
But, for me at least, one of those adjectives was happy. I hope it was for you, too.” Her shining eyes hold a note of
pleading as the moon lights up her pale face like a bright candle in the
No, happy is far
from what he is feeling right now. But he can’t tell her that. He can never
tell her that. Instead he pulls her into his arms, and kisses the top of her
head. “I love you,” he says.
“I love you, too.”
They hold each other in the darkness for a few minutes,
before she says. “Mum invited us to stay the night. She’s getting the spare
room ready. Let’s go inside and get a good night’s sleep—give
ourselves a chance to recover from the shock. We’ll sort all this out in the
He nods, and allows her to lead him inside.
She falls asleep quickly, but he lies awake long into the
night, worrying alternately about Dora, and Harry.
By the time he falls asleep, he knows what he is going to
Their stunned silence and shocked faces are almost enough to
make him back down. But he can’t. He’s made his decision, and he’ll follow it
through, no matter what.
Ted frowns, his face dark in the shade of the heavy
draperies of the dining room where they sit eating breakfast. “What the bloody
“Daddy!” Dora cuts him off. “I need
to talk to my husband. In private. Now.”
Remus nods in quite agreement, grateful for the chance to
talk this through away from her parents. Ted will never understand, no matter
what he says. But Dora can be reasoned with.
They leave the room with Ted still scowling. Dora takes him
by the hand and draws him back into their bedroom, closing the door behind
them. She turns to face him, holding both his hands in hers. “Are you doing
this because you’re upset about the pregnancy?”
After all they’ve been through over the past year Dora has
learned not to mince words.
“No,” he insists. “It’s not because I’m upset, but it is
because of the pregnancy.”
She furrows her brow. “What do you mean?”
He gives her the speech that he’s mentally rehearsed since
he woke before dawn. He tells her how, if Harry is captured or killed,
everything that they are fighting for will be lost, and their child will face a
world that doesn’t want it—a world that will oppress it at every turn—a world
that might even kill it for the crime of merely existing. As he talks the glow
in her eyes begins to fade and the entire room seems to grow darker.
When she asks, as he knew she would, why someone else can’t
go, he has his list of reasons ready—he knows they’re convincing, because he’s
managed to convince himself.
“All right,” she finally says. “You can go. But I’m coming
He is ready for this request. “No, it’s too dangerous. If
you were injured now…it could end our baby’s life before it even has a chance
to start.” He feels a slight pang of guilt at the hypocrisy of his words, but
if this is what it takes to protect her, than this is what he’ll do.
Tears well in her eyes and begin to wend their way down her
dull cheeks. “When will you be back?”
He promises that he’ll return as soon as Harry is safe, and
manages to more than half believe himself. Dora pulls him into her arms,
clinging to him with desperate intensity. It is only when he feels her chest
shake and tremble that he realizes she is crying.
He cradles her gently and strokes her hair, whispering
meaningless words of comfort in her ears. He counsels her not to go back to
their flat in Hogsmeade alone, and tells her to move
in with her parents, where she’ll be safe. She nods in quiet agreement. They
hold each other for a few minutes longer. At last, she releases her grip on him
and softly tells him to gather anything he’ll need to take with him—she’ll go
explain to her parents.
Before she leaves the room, she turns back and grips his
hand again. “I wasn’t sure if I should tell you, because Hestia
says she can’t be absolutely sure for another six or seven weeks…but…she has a
really strong feeling that we’re having a boy.” Dora’s smile shines in the dim
light. Remus can feel his heart pounding faster—a son. He’s having a son. She
squeezes his hand. “If she’s right—I want to name him after you.” Her
expression is so eager, and so hopeful, but all he can feel is dread in the pit
of his stomach.
A son—cursed with his father’s stigma—cursed with his
He forces himself to smile and nod weakly in reply.
She slips out of the room, and Remus stares at the dark
doorframe, feeling desperately alone. He’s doing the right thing—he knows he
is. This is right for Harry, for Dora, and for his son. It has to be.
One at a time he visits a list of places Harry might have
sought refuge, and Death Eaters dog his heels at every turn. They first catch
sight of him at the Dursleys’ house—and they do their
best to follow him everywhere he goes. He manages to lose them a time or two,
but since the Death Eaters and their cronies seem to be watching all the same
places he has on his list, they always find him again.
He manages a few hurried, whispered conversations with old
friends and allies, and he keeps track of the news in the Prophet. Things are growing worse with every passing day.
As he dodges the Death Eaters tailing him and slinks from
one dark hiding place to another, his thoughts run wild. He has to find a way
to help Harry, so that they can stop this madness as soon as possible. Whatever
the boy is up against, he’s sure he can help. There are even moments when he
lets himself think that James and Sirius would be proud to see him charging to
He tries not to think of Dora—and he does all he can not to
think of his son—but dark, guilty thoughts still pierce him at unexpected
moments. He tries to shake them off, but it’s not easy.
It is the third day since he left Dora behind, and he has
his list narrowed down to Grimmauld Place and the
Granger home. Of the two, Grimmauld Place seems more
likely, so he is determined to get there before the day is out.
He manages to shake off the lone Death Eater tailing him
that afternoon with a few quick Apparitions, and finally Disapparates
to a street near Grimmauld Place. He
Disillusions himself and quietly makes his way to the edge of the square just
after dark. Two shadowy, cloaked figures stand vigil nearby staring solemnly at
the indiscernible boundary between numbers eleven and thirteen. Alastor’s spells must have worked—tying Snape’s
tongue to prevent him from revealing the location.
Using the greatest care, Remus Apparates
directly to the top step outside the door, and slips inside unseen.
With a feeling of crushing sorrow and weariness he breaks
the charm on the shadowy figure of Dumbledore that approaches him, and watches
it dissipate into a dark cloud of dust.
“Don’t move!” a voice cries from the darkness, setting
Remus’s heart pounding. It is Harry—it has to be.
As the dust clears Remus hears a loud clatter on the stairs.
He calls out for them to hold their fire, and raises his hands in a gesture of
surrender as he steps from the shadowy entryway into a pool of light.
He feels a surge of relief and gratitude as Harry, Ron, and
Hermione come into view and even more relief when Harry insists on going
through security questions to determine a positive identification. He may be
young, but he’s learned his lessons well.
A sense of excitement builds in him as he joins his young
friends down in the kitchen. He sees how eager they are for news, and for help,
and he knows without a doubt that he’s doing the right thing. Dora will be safe
with her family—his son will be safe. And now he can stand by Harry’s side, and
help him rise to the challenge of what lies ahead of him. Together, they can
make this a better world.
He fixes a determined look at Harry, and extends his offer
of help. Harry and Ron immediately brighten, clear relief spreading across
But something is wrong. Hermione looks doubtful. “But what
about Tonks?” she asks.
He takes a deep breath, forcing the images of his wife’s
tears out of his mind, and reassures them that she is safe with her parents.
But Hermione continues to press him. Why is she doing this? Shouldn’t she be
happy for his help?
Finally, reluctantly, he admits that Dora is going to have a
Understanding passes over Hermione’s face like a wave of
light, and she smiles, offering him hearty congratulations, with Ron and Harry
chiming in as well. His heart grows lighter. They understand—they see why he is
doing this, and they agree. Now, he’ll be able to help them.
But even as Ron and Hermione glance over to Harry for a
final confirmation of accepting his offer, he can see a dark furrow growing in
Harry’s brow. “Just—just to be clear,” he says, “You want to leave Tonks at her
parents’ house and come away with us?”
Remus grits his teeth. This was supposed to be easier than
this—they were supposed to be grateful. He firmly reassures Harry that Dora
will be safe with her family, and, on the spur of the moment, adds, “Harry, I’m
sure James would have wanted me to stick with you.” There. He knows the high
regard Harry holds for his father. That ought to do it.
But rather than agreeing, Harry’s face grows even darker.
“Well,” he says, “I’m not. I’m pretty sure my father would have wanted to know
why you aren’t sticking with your own kid, actually.”
Remus feels as if a shadow has fallen across the room. His
tongue feels heavy in his mouth. How can this be happening? They need him. He can actually help them in ways that he couldn’t
possibly help Dora and his child. Can’t Harry see that? But still, Harry
demands an explanation.
Remus can feel his anger and frustration building. He finds
himself stammering about his marriage being a mistake.
Harry glares fiercely at him, looking shockingly like James
in one of his proud rages. “I see. So you’re just going to dump her and the kid
and run off with us?”
The room seems to grow even darker as Remus leaps to his
feet, the sound of his chair toppling to the hard stone floor sounding
unnaturally loud in his ears.
He finds himself yelling—shouting his darkest, most secret
feelings of shame and guilt at James’s only son. He kicks his overturned chair,
and grasps at his hair, pulling at in the desperate desire to use physical pain
to escape from the persistent ache of guilt and regret in his heart. He can
hear himself growing wilder and more desperate, and he can see the expressions
of horror and pity on the faces of the three young people sitting before him, but
he can’t stop himself. “And the child—the child—” he almost chokes on his words
as he expresses the fear that he did not even have the heart to share with
Dora: that the child will be cursed with his malady. “And if, by some miracle,
it is not like me, then it will be better off, a hundred times so, without a
father of whom it must always be ashamed!”
The words hang in the air, hammering him again and again
with their weight. This is the first time in what feels like weeks that he has
spoken the whole, unadulterated truth. Now he sees, even in the midst of his
rage, that it is not Harry with whom he is angry.
Hermione tries to reassure him, but he barely hears her. All
he can see is James’s disapproving specter staring at him through Harry’s eyes.
“My father died trying to protect my mother and me, and you reckon he’d tell
you to abandon your kid to go on an adventure with us?”
Harry’s insight is so close to the mark that Remus’s
stammering reply is incoherent with rage, and the black fire inside of him
blazes even hotter as Harry accuses him of trying to step into Sirius’s shoes.
“I’d never have believed this,” says Harry. “The man who
taught me to fight dementors—a coward.”
The word pierces Remus like a knife, and the black rage
surges through his mind, burning up the last traces of reason. Before he
realizes what he is doing, his wand is in his hand, and he is blasting Harry
backward with a hex. He spins on his heel, and runs up the stairs, his chest
heaving with emotion.
He plunges through the dark hall and bursts through the
front door, slamming the door behind him, and running into the dark square. He
halts in the middle of the square, putting his face in his hands.
What has he done? Oh, God, what has he done?
But he has no time to think—no time to process what has
happened, or what has been said. He hears running footsteps and knows that he
has launched himself from the frying pan into the fire: the Death Eater
sentries have seen him—they are almost upon him.
He throws up a Shield Charm just in time to deflect the
first curse thrown at him, and takes off running, casting Stunning Spells over
his shoulder at the two men chasing after him. Their curses light up the dark
square with bright blooms of red.
As soon as he reaches the shelter of a nearby
alley, Remus Disapparates.
To be continued…
Author’s Note: Part
II is already finished, and will be posted soon. Thanks for reading and