"He's gone, Harry. There's nothing we can do."
Afterwards, he managed to congratulate himself on how calm he'd sounded, how whole he still seemed, on convincing Harry that there was nothing he could do and that it was over. Harry hadn't listened, of course - he had bolted out of the room after Bellatrix with what seemed to Lupin sincerely murderous intent. It was the second time he'd seen him that way, and the first time it had been over his parents - after that it had vanished, and the murderous grief replaced by the joy of regaining *some* family, however fleeting and absent, and now--
-- Remus reflected that perhaps now it was worse.
Mostly, he was just impressed he hadn't collapsed right there on the cold, blood-soaked floor, because he'd wanted nothing more than to fly through that arch after him. And for hours afterward there was a cold, heavy weight in his chest, and at the same time something was writhing around in his stomach like it was eating a hole in his middle, into which he was sure he'd disappear if he could only get a moment to himself.
But there was no time, and the other children were ranged about the room in various stages of serious injury, Ginny Weasely's being the least severe and the Lovegood girl losing out on first place only by her strange, dazed air - though he was told later that she was always like that. So he helped to patch them up so they could be moved, and wondering what had happened to Harry but not up to going after him, just barely managing to keep moving, mechanically, until everyone was on their feet or in someone's arms, and by that time he was told it really was over, again, and that Dumbledore had come, and...
After that it faded into a haze. Looking back now he wondered how he'd seemed, working in a daze, eyes unfocused and blurred with exhaustion and unshed tears, and was glad only that neither Ron Weasely nor Hermione Granger were in any condition to offer sympathy, and that Ginny was otherwise occupied, helping with the others. He didn't want anyone's sympathy. It was a little like one part of him was doing what it was supposed to be doing while the rest of him was gibbering to itself in confused agony about how it would *not* be all right, and how it really was over, but not the way he'd meant when he'd told the same thing to Harry.
He didn't even remember leaving the Ministry, passing through the Atrium past a crowd of astonished faces - though he vaguely recalled the overall sense of terrified astonishment and the whispers as people watched the bloodied crowd of the Order and the D.A. pass by them. But then somehow he was at the Burrow, physical injuries remedied, and Molly was pressing a mug of hot tea into his left hand and ordering him to drink it in a tone that brooked no objections, and he was staring into the cup and the surface of the liquid, feeling the steam rise into his eyes and having the first clear, intentional thought he was aware of for what might have been a full day.
::She forgot the sugar,:: he thought, and suddenly wasn't sure if the moisture in his eyes was from the steam, or not.
He was alone in the kitchen, but heard voices in the next room - only Arthur and Molly, as the Weasely children were back at the school on Dumbledore's orders. He looked up and his eyes fell upon the Weasely clock. Two hands rested squarely on "school", four on "work", and there was a twisted metal stump where a hand seemed to have been torn off. Arthur's quivered on "home" as if it wanted to spring around the clock to "work". Indeed, moments later Arthur flew through the kitchen, briefcase in hand, waving to Lupin as he went. "Must be going, the Ministry's in an uproar - see you later..."
The door slammed behind him, and a moment later Molly entered, came partway in, and stopped, looking at Remus uncertainly. A moment later, she moved again, crossing the kitchen and attacking the sink full of dirty dishes with a vengeance.
He tried to think of Harry - how he must be feeling, how painful it must be to lose family, regain it, and lose it again - how he must be blaming himself, how angry he must be... tried to imagine everyone's timid sympathy and people tiptoeing around him as if he might crumble any second - tried, but couldn't do it. Something kept intruding, pulling him back to Christmas day, and Sirius singing carols and smiling at him, really happy as neither of them had been for a long time, and the distance between the remembered warmth of Sirius's presence and the reality of *now* seemed staggering, debilitating. He couldn't move, suddenly couldn't think past the weight in his chest, past the look of desperation in Sirius's eyes as he fell, the darkness closing around him, his own cry of desperation as he'd tried to cross the room in one leap and falling just short -- the thing writhing in his stomach gave an especially painful twist and he gasped with the pain of it.
He was gone. He really was gone and he was alone, completely --
Mad-Eye Moody's magical eye had nothing on Molly Weasely's maternal instinct - an instant later she had her arms around him, and just held him silently as his insides twisted and waves of something cold rolled through him, formless, nameless pain threatening to tear him to pieces and he couldn't stop it, couldn't decide if he wanted to, because what was the point now...
It was a while before he realized that the agonized howl filling the kitchen was his own voice.
I think I'm calling it Only the Moon. Don't know quite what else to do with it.
And now I want some Willow-style vengeance, bad.
I thought the angst would help, but it did not. :(