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[personal profile] velvetfiction
Title: All's Fair
Author: [ profile] velvetmouse
Written for: [ profile] minnow_53 in the Holiday 2008 [ profile] rs_small_gifts exchange
Rating: PG for mild swearing
Prompt: 2. Fic or art (not songfic) based on 'In Joy and Sorrow'
Summary: After Remus is killed in the Battle of Hogwarts, he doesn't quite get the reception one might expect.
Any other notes, warnings, etc.: Obviously, spoilers for DH; I hope this meets with your approval - I think I've got the 'new twist on an old theme' part covered, at any rate! Many thanks to my husband, for selflessly throwing himself between me and this plot bunny and helping me beat it into submission.


Remus was awakened by a cuff to the back of his head.
"What the HELL were you thinking, Moony?" a tantalizingly familiar voice asked. It seemed to be a rhetorical question, for the voice did not pause for an answer, but continued on in the same vein. Remus let the sound wash over him as he tried to recall what had happened.

Last he remembered, he had been fighting. At Hogwarts. Part of him remembered that he shouldn't have been there at all. There was something else he was supposed to have been doing. Or taking care of. His mind skittered away from those thoughts.

With a sigh, Remus tried to refocus. Fighting. At Hogwarts. He had been helping someone. Protecting someone he cared about very much.

The voice in the background rose in volume and in pitch. Certain words began to penetrate the fog that seemed to have taken up permanent residence in Remus's brain. Words like "idiot," "irresponsible dunderhead" and "thought you were smarter than that."

Remus smiled to himself. It was a familiar litany, one he had heard from James many times before, although it was usually directed at Sirius.


Remus scrunched his eyes up tightly, resisting the urge to let them fly open. Maybe if he could remember what happened, and figure out where he was, then maybe he could understand why he could hear James ranting. He hadn't heard James go off like this since the time in sixth year when Sirius had accidentally nicked all of Lily's unmentionables and put them on display in the common room. The fact that Sirius had been intending to grab Lisa's things, and picked the wrong drawer, had done nothing to mollify James.

Thoughts of James and Sirius logically led Remus to thoughts of Harry. Harry. That's why he had been fighting, to help Harry. The fog in his mind seemed to ebb and swirl, and then perhaps thin a bit.

He had been helping Harry fight Death Eaters. Voldemort had come and Harry had to face him. Images came faster now, and more clearly. Many people had fought, including some of his former students. He had been facing a Death Eater, a high ranking one. Bellatrix? No, his opponent had been male. Dolohov. Yes. They had fought. But try as he might, the last thing Remus could remember was a flash of purple coming towards him.

Satisfied, now, that he had a pretty good grip of what had happened, and at least a reasonable guess of where he might be, Remus forced himself to slowly sit up and open his eyes. He automatically focused on the first thing in his line of vision, which happened to be a face. James's face, wearing an expression that was a mixture of annoying and amusement. Quintessential James, really.

"So I guess this isn't the hospital wing, eh, Prongs?"

James's expression softened a bit. "'Fraid not, old man. How much do you remember?"

"Fighting at Hogwarts. Fighting Dolohov. A purple curse coming at me."

James nodded solemnly, but his eyes crinkled in annoyance again. "Why where you there, Remus? It wasn't your fight. You had a wife and child to think of."

Remus winced. He didn't want to think about that yet. Desperately, he tried to dodge the question. "So this is... after? Not much to look at, but maybe there is more - " He was cut off by a fierce glare from James.

"Shut. Up. Remus. You're not changing the subject like that. Now answer the damned question. What the hell were you and Dora doing out there? You know you've now orphaned your son? It wasn't your fight, dammit!"

"The HELL it wasn't!" All of Remus's grief and anger and frustration came bubbling to the surface. "I was there for YOUR son, James. I couldn't be there for so much of his life, I had to be there for this! What would you have me do? Run away and hide?"

"Yes! To protect your wife and child!"

"Oh, because that worked so well for you and Lily."

"Low blow, Moony. Low blow. At least we died protecting our son!"

"And just what the hell do you think I was doing out there? What sort of world would Teddy have if Voldemort won?"

"That wasn't up to you, and that still hasn't been decided yet. You know damn well that Harry is the only one who can end this. Everyone else should have stayed away, their deaths were -"

"Don't you dare say it, James Potter! Don't you dare say our deaths were meaningless or pointless or anything like that. Without us your precious son would never have gotten as far as he has. What the fuck is your problem, Prongs?"

"You know," another voice interjected, "I can't remember the last time I heard Remus swear this much." Both men snapped their heads towards the newcomer, and Remus was unsurprised to see Lily emerge from the swirling whiteness that seemed to surround the area. "James, calm down," she continued, laying a hand on her husband's arm. "Remus made his choices. He can't change them yet. Remus, James is just frustrated and you happened to be the first target he could take it out on. We've been watching, and if you think you felt helpless down there, imagine how we felt up here."

Remus force himself to relax his hands from where they somehow had clenched at his sides. He smiled weakly at Lily. "I'm sorry, Lils. Just all this" he waved one hand, trying to encapsulate everything "is a bit much right now. Forgive me?" He was answered by a hug from both Potters. James opened his mouth to say something, probably unpleasant, given then stubborn set of his jaw, but Lily cut him off swiftly.

"We missed you, Remus," she said softly. "We have a lot to discuss. But first I think there's someone else who has a prior claim to speak with you."

Remus turned in the direction that Lily was looking, to see another shape emerge from the whiteness.

"Sirius?" Remus moved towards Sirius, face alive with conflicting emotions. Sirius, however, held himself stiff and straight, and Remus could almost see him drawing the "Ancient and Noble House of Black" around him like a cloak.

"I would speak with you, Remus," Sirius said formally. He nodded to James and Lily, spun on his heels, and began walking off without a backwards glance to see if Remus was following him.

"Sirius? Siri? Sirius! Sirius Black!" At the last call of his name, Sirius stopped suddenly. He looked around at the whiteness, then down at his hands or shoes; anywhere but at Remus. Finally, he looked up again.

"I would speak with you, Remus Lupin," he intoned formally. Taken aback, Remus tried to remember the formal replies that James and Sirius had drilled into him; he hadn't understood at the time why he might need to know the pureblood ritual formulas, but he had trusted his two best friends when they said it might be useful for him to know.

"I would hear the words of Sirius Black," he replied hesitantly, unsure of the phrasing, unsure of the reason, hell, unsure of just about everything at this point.

"I would speak with you about the matter of a bonding."

"A bonding?" Remus replied stupidly. Then he back-peddled, trying to formulate the proper response. "I would hear your words on the matter of this bonding.

"The House of Black wishes to know why-" Suddenly Sirius slumped, pureblood arrogance vanishing in an instant. "Why, Moony? How could you do that to me? How could you forget what we had like that? We were bonded, for Merlin's sake! 'My magic for yours, my life for yours.' Does that sound at all familiar, Remus? I know we couldn't do the big formal ceremony that we always talked about, but that doesn't make the bond any less valid. You promised you'd never forget me."

"Wha-what do you mean? You died, Sirius! I never forgot you, but you went and got yourself killed on me! By your bitch of a cousin!"

"I know how I died, Remus! And you might be interested to know that the same bitch killed your wife." Remus paled. James's words came back in a rush now: 'You know you've orphaned your son.' Oh Merlin, Dora! Teddy!

"Yes, that's right," Sirius continued relentlessly, "you're two for two. Dora couldn't stay away from the fight either. Two lovers, both killed by Bellatrix. Impressive, wot? Dammit, Remus, wasn't I good enough for you? You couldn't even wait a decent amount of time before moving on? I die and the next thing I know you've taken up with Dora!"

"I - we - Dora and I - that is - you see -"

"Oh I saw, alright. What, you couldn't have one Black so you settled for the next best thing?" Sirius barked a mocking laugh. "I guess I should just be glad you didn't take up with Bella or Cissy."


"Save it. I don't want to hear your excuses, I don't want to hear you apologize."

"Then what do you want from me?"

Sirius sighed. There really wasn't a good answer to that. "I don't know. A promise you won't do it again?"

"Somehow I don't think that's an issue, Padfoot."

"You never know, Moony. You never know." He gave Remus a half smile, which Remus tentatively returned.

"Are we - okay then, Sirius?" Remus asked quietly, hoping desperately to put this conversation behind him. Who knew being dead would be so exhausting.

"Sirius gave the little half shrug that meant I'm still bothered by something but I don't want to talk about it anymore and it was Remus's turn to sigh. He had seen that motion far too many times.

"Tell me what you want me to do or say. I don't want to spend all of eternity with my best friends mad at me. James already had a go at me, and I bet Lily is just waiting her turn."

"Let's drop it for now, I'll think about it, okay? Part of me knows you didn't deliberately set out to hurt me, but it was tough, ya know? Watching you and Dora."

"I can only imagine." Remus tentatively held out his hand, and was relieved beyond measure when Sirius reached out to grab it and squeezed once.

"Guys?" Lily's voice cut through the whiteness, followed by her form. "Harry needs us." Her eyes were red, as though she'd been crying, and there was a hitch in her voice.

"Huh?" was Remus's intelligent reply. Sirius grabbed his hand and set off after Lily.

"I'll explain what I can. You ever heard of the Deathly Hallows?"

Bemused, and still a bit confused, Remus trailed along behind, listening to Sirius's half-coherent explanation of the Resurrection Stone. Dumbledore had always said that death was nothing but the next great adventure; he'd failed to mention that it was just as hard and complicated as life had been.


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