Warning: This next chapter gets a PG13 rating. You’ve been warned.
She was there beside me, but not for long. One stroke of her thigh, one caress of her palm and she was on my lap. Our kisses were feverish. I needed to feel more.
I couldn’t help myself when my hands moved to feel her skin, tracing my fingers down her back and slipping them under her shirt. They crept up her back toward her breasts, caressing her through the cotton fabric of her bra.
I couldn’t help but let out a sigh combined with a smile. Cotton. How very practical of her.
“Wait,” she said.
I paused in my ministrations, removing my hands from under her shirt. “What’s wrong?” I asked. “Are we still moving too fast?” I hoped with all my might her answer would be no.
“No,” she said, a smile in her voice. “No, we are moving at a perfect speed.”
Good I thought and moved to kiss her again, perhaps begin where we left off but she pulled back again. I wouldn’t be stopped so easily though. Her neck looked just as enticing as her lips. But she wasn’t responding.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, only slightly worried.
“Tell me Remus.”
She said it as a statement, not a question. But I was still confused.
“Tell you what?”
“You know what.” She said in a breathy voice, then paused and continued, “Tell me your secret. Tell me what you are not telling me.”
I froze, tensed, looking directly at her neck, not moving my gaze. “I can’t. You know I can’t.”
“There’s no such word,” she corrected, no doubt thinking about our earlier conversation.
But right now, there was such a word. I really couldn’t tell her. If she knew, we’re done. There is no way she would want to continue our late night meetings let alone hold her hand while we walk through the hallways. Our relationship would be over. She simply didn’t understand that.
I moved to get up, feeling rather than seeing her move her leg so that I could go. As I stood, she grabbed the hem of my shirt.
“Wait,” I heard her whisper pleadingly. “Please.”
I couldn’t help it. My hands raked through my hair before I could stop them and sighed at the unconscious gesture as much as the enticing note in her voice. Would it really be that horrible to tell her?
Yes, I thought. It would be. She will never want to be with me after she knows. She’ll only see a monster.
“What do you want from me?” I asked.
“I just want to know,” she answered as if it was the simplest thing in the world.
After a minute she walked in front of me, but I couldn’t see her right now. I sidestepped her and moved toward my staircase, intending to ignore this situation until it went away.
But she placed a hand on my shoulder, and, try as I might, I could not leave her touch. She turned me around, but I couldn’t look at her.
I was suddenly angry. I couldn’t tell her. Why couldn’t she just understand that? Why couldn’t she just accept that and move on? Why couldn’t she just let good be good? She had to go screw it up with her questions. She had to go end it.
“What?” I said louder than I had initially intended, but I was frustrated.
“Why can’t you tell me?” she asked, refusing to back down, holding my hands in hers.
I couldn’t tell her, I couldn’t because, “You won’t want to be with me anymore.” It took me a moment to realize I said that out loud. It’s in my thoughts constantly. She won’t want to be with me anymore, “And I can’t lose you.”
“Remus,” she began, and I readied myself, thinking she would not want someone so weak as to think such things, “I’ll always want to be with you. No matter what you say.”
I laughed lightly. How naive.
But she moved her hand to my cheek and caressed me so tenderly that I couldn’t help but think there was love in the gesture.
“I won’t leave. I promise,” she said, and I believed her.
If James, Sirius, and Peter could stay, why couldn’t she? If Dumbledore could accept it, why couldn’t she? Maybe if I tell her, maybe if I tell her, it will be ok. I swallowed heavily. Looking at our hands, moving the pad of my thumb across her palm, noticing how she managed to intertwine our fingers, I whispered, “I’m a werewolf,” and waited for her reaction. Waited for her to yank those small, beautiful hands away from mine. Waited for her face to contort in anger and disgust.
Just as she took away one of her hands, I was prepared for her to step away all together. Instead she moved that hand to my face and gently made me look at her.
“Tell me again,” she said but not in a disbelieving way, simply in a way that stated she needed to hear it again.
I looked at her resolutely. If she was going to leave me, I wouldn’t let her last memory of me be as a small, meek man. “I am a werewolf.”
She looked me right and eyes and let out a breath she seemed to be holding.
I looked at her a bit confused as she put her arms around me. What was she doing? I needed to leave.
But then said calmly to me, “Remus. I love you. No matter what.”
I couldn’t stand it. Not if it was a lie. I pushed her off me but grabbed her arms before she could truly leave. I needed to feel her. To know she was still next to me. That she wasn’t pulling away. That she proclaimed herself to me in a way I thought no woman ever could. I needed to hear it again.
“Tell me again.”
She smiled slightly, “Remus,” she began, “I love you,” I smiled at her too, “no matter what” She finished with my favorite part. No matter what.
I don’t know if it was accidental magic or if it was my imagination but the fire in the fireplace blazed, and I couldn’t help but kiss her. I wanted her now, in that moment, more than anything else in my life. I broke the kiss, but she grabbed my hand.
“I love you too,” I said softly but with conviction. I took her up the boys’ staircase. We both knew what came next.