Everyone in the Potters' manor was invited to the Order meeting after the funeral dinner except for the Evans parents and Narcissa. She didn't complain, rather relieved to have no Order secrets to hide if her family took her back, And anyway, it gave her quiet time to read the book Lily gave her about soul bonds.
In the ballroom, Dumbledore himself led the meeting, welcoming everyone in spite of the tragic occasion. They spoke of the infiltration of the Ministry with Death Eater operatives, Lily's theories about the Potters being deliberately infected with a variant of Dragon Pox fatal to the elderly, and the vital need to protect the soulmate pairs, both James and Lily's and Alice and Frank's. One of the couples would someday bear a child who could defeat Tom Riddle, and Riddle knew it.
The meeting appeared to be ending when Dumbledore cleared his throat and launched into new trouble. "If I may add another consideration, my friends. We have learned that our soulmate pairs are not the only ones in play. The dark always mimics what is best in the light. Riddle has been working to force a counterfeit soulmate match among his youngest members in order to challenge ours. It's a desperate ploy and he has nothing but superficial, outward appearances to guide him in it. These have led him to match the Malfoy heir and the youngest of Cygnus Black's daughters, the sister of his lieutenant Bellatrix Lestrange and of our Andromeda."
Remus's posture jerked painfully straight. Dumbledore had already warned him in private of what was coming, but hearing it announced was still shocking, painful. Remus's eyes went to Andromeda Tonks, who had been sitting on the far side of the group staring coldly at him since the meeting began. She nodded at him, as if to say, "Yes, you little fool. Listen to this."
Dumbledore went on. "Both young Malfoy and Miss Black are from wealthy, land-owning families Riddle considers important. They are healthy, young, handsome, physically well-suited for one another and - as far as Riddle knows - well-behaved and willing."
Remus was visibly sinking into agony, his head in his hands, his face white.
"Riddle is acutely interested in their future heir," Dumbledore said, "hoping to bring to life a chosen one to rival the true one. He aims to conjure a miraculous child out of pride and fear, when only love and sacrifice can do it."
The room fell quiet at this. Peter was staring miserably at the back of Alice's head. Sirius sat between him and Remus with his arms folded defiantly across his chest, but his head now heavy and bowed. Remus bent forward at his middle, his elbows on his knees, as if in pain, while James patted his shoulder.
"What Riddle hadn't counted on," Dumbledore resumed, "was Miss Black's admirable willfulness. Many of you will have noticed her here in our midst today. She has left Malfoy and chosen her own way. When Riddle learns of it, he will be incensed."
"Then send her out. She makes this house a target," someone said.
"It was already a target," James called back. "I'm liquidating it, setting up house somewhere secret. Until then, we're all going back to school, where we'll be safe at least until the summer."
"So he speaks," Alastor Moody said, rounding to face James. "Young Potter, possible future father of the chosen one - he finally has something to say for himself."
James blushed, his usual confidence flagging for a moment under Moody's manic eyes. They seemed to search the entire room even as he looked James full in the face.
"I've been speaking all along," James managed to say, Lily taking his hand. "I've been asking, begging to know what Lily and I are supposed to do. We got married like everyone wanted. We sat helpless while my parents died. And for what? Someone tell me what for? And what's next?"
Dumbledore took the floor again. "The truth is we're not sure how to proceed, at this point. We monitor Riddle and his agents. We mitigate harm where we can. In my way, I feel as you do, James. It's as if Riddle is stalling, working away at something while keeping his violence below the level where we could convince the authorities to act. We likewise search for answers, gather strength, and protect each other as best we can."
"What about Narcissa Black?" Remus said, a quaver in his voice as it broke the grave tension of the meeting.
"What about her indeed?" Andromeda answered. "She ought to be persuaded to come to me when she leaves school. Ted and I can keep her safe."
Moody scoffed but she ignored him and carried on. "No one else need be involved. Especially not anyone marked with a vendetta by Fenrir Greyback. No, Narcissa is my responsibility."
Peter twitched in his seat, "Is she?" he huffed, speaking to the lads but loudly enough that everyone heard. Sirius hushed him.
Andromeda's voice softened. "My sister is spirited and romantic, but what she needs is the shelter of a private, uncomplicated life - no husbands, no heirs for now. Not for years. Until the rage and violence of this Death Eater crisis passes, we help her and our entire movement best by leaving her alone with what's left of her family to protect her."
The meeting had ended and everyone was eating again when Remus filled his hands with biscuits and a yellow apple and trudged up the stairs to Narcissa. Words played over and over in his mind, Dumbledore's and Andromeda's. But also Peter's.
These words rang truer than the rest. Narcissa's sister no longer had any responsibility or claim on her. No one did. She was a grown woman. No one was tied to her but Remus himself through their creature bond. It was true, but...
Narcissa's disaster of an engagement went back to Tom Riddle himself. It was all so much darker and more dangerous than they had known. And Fenrir Greyback was allied with Riddle now too - Remus's own cursed, vile connection, almost like a dark family curse.
And what guidance had Dumbledore given Remus during their private meeting? Nothing but the usual very scant, very cryptic advice.
Remus bit back his distress and continued down the corridor to Narcissa's room. She didn't yet know what she meant to Tom Riddle. How could they have ever guessed the peril they were in, that there was so much evil and venom hidden within the forced connection to Malfoy? She must have thought their engagement was about a transfer of money and land, a preservation of family bloodlines, but this - this was beyond vulgar, beyond horrifying.
Remus was about to tell her all of that. Dumbledore said he should. He would tell her and then he would do what he had to: let her know she could leave him if she agreed with Andromeda and the rest of them that it was the best thing for her future. But he wouldn't go quietly. If she would let him, he would wait for her even if she left. It would be painful, and she might never come back to him. But the truth was there was no one else he would ever want but her. He knew it. He would beg her to let him wait, knowing she might still let him go, dooming him to sit alone and watch the mark on his wrist fade to nothing.
He shuddered as he approached her bedroom door, hearing his own nerves in the too-fast, too-hard rapping of his knuckles against the wood. She was slow to answer. Maybe she had already decided to accept Andromeda's offer to take her in. Maybe they were already gone. And why not? Narcissa was rash, but not stupid.
The door opened just a crack at first. The light was dim behind a slim silhouette, burning from the fireplace and a single lamp.
"It's you," Narcissa said, her voice high and soft with sleepiness. "Come in then."
He closed the door, stifling his sigh of relief as he set the snacks he'd brought on a dressing table. She was walking away from him, returning to the warm bed where she had tucked herself away to read Lily's book on soul bonds hours before.
Remus drew a deep breath, preparing to start in on a difficult but cool-headed and reasonable discussion about their future. He had found the courage and the composure to do it. But then he turned to face her, and fell into a very different plan.
"What - what are you wearing?" he choked.
She glanced at him over her shoulder, which was bare except for a thin black strap running over it. Each of her shoulder straps were attached to a small, fitted black dress just a little shorter than the dress she'd worn to the funeral. From the way it reflected the light, Remus assumed the fabric must be satiny, smooth and filmy. There was movement in the skirt but she would have tailored the bodice herself, and it now fit as well as something painted onto her skin. And here she was, meeting him at the door like this was completely normal, unremarkable.
"Oh, this?" she said, her voice still high. "This is the slip I found in old Madam Potter's closet this morning. I've had it on under my dress all day. It makes fabric drape nicely and gives an extra layer, for modesty."
"M-modesty," was all he was able to mutter. Nothing she'd said explained why she had met him in what she admitted was a kind of underwear. He felt like he should say something more, but he could hardly blink, let alone speak.
"Slips are old fashioned, I know. That's my traditional, pure-blood family backwardness showing," she said, turning in a circle as he continued to gape at her thin white legs, her graceful arms and shoulders, the pale décolletage bared by the low neckline, plunging to give more than a hint of her chest.
"Backwardness," he managed to stammer, shaking his head as she went on.
"Yes, my mother raised me to always be fully dressed underneath my clothes. Anyway, I'm glad I have it since it's doing double duty today. I didn't bring anything to wear to bed, and this slip has done the trick nicely. It's rather like a nightgown. Light and comfortable - Lupin - Lupin what are you doing?"
He had taken off his own cotton, button-up shirt and was standing in front of her in his white t-shirt, taking her wrist and trying to cram her arm down the length of his empty sleeve. "Cissa, you can't - I can't - please, we need to talk. But when you're - look, whatever your mother told you, you are not fully dressed, not at all, you mad thing."
She laughed at him, letting him get the shirt over one of her arms, hanging it across her shoulder. She made no move to begin a serious, earnest talk nor to help him cover herself up.
He kept arguing. "Honestly, I have never seen you so scantily dressed."
"You certainly have."
"Not untransformed, I haven't," he insisted, taking her limp arm and working it toward the shirt she was still only half wearing. "Not even at the Yule Ball, in fifth year, when your dress bodice was made of that silvery blue lace that was sheer in all but - but the most vital places."
She laughed louder. "Why in the stars do you remember that? We weren't even friends in fifth year."
He grumbled, still fumbling with her arm. "You may not have noticed me being in the same ballroom as you that night. But you made a profound impression on me, apparently."
She closed her arms around his neck, one wearing his sleeve, the other cool and bare. "Everyone notices Potter and his loud, show-off friends. And if you noticed me that night, you should have asked me to dance. Think of all the wasted time."
He scoffed, giving up trying to dress her and letting his arms fall around her waist. "Fifteen year old me? With you? Right. One of those bad seed friends corrupting your cousin, the cursed and maimed one, creeping up on you, stunned half speechless at how pretty you are, asking to take you in his lanky arms and dance you around a room full of gawking schoolmates."
"Why not? As soon as I touched you, I would have known how special we are."
"But you wouldn't have touched me," he said. "You would have laughed at me and refused."
She gave a sly smile, tutting but not denying it. "Well, then hold me in your lanky, uncannily strong arms now." She began to sway, resting her head against his chest. "Dance with me here. Don't you refuse me."
His sigh was noisy, blowing her hair. "There isn't any music."
"Move your feet anyway. Just a little, with a bit of rhythm. Follow me. We've been robbed of a normal school romance. Let's take this one thing back. Isn't it nice?" she asked, nestling her cheek against him. "Close your eyes and imagine it's just an ordinary love story."
He muttered as he took one of her hands from around his neck and held it in something like a waltz position. "Yes, it is nice," he admitted as he turned with her, spinning slowly in the bedroom, as if they were on a ballroom floor. But he kept his eyes open and didn't dare imagine their love story any differently. It was too delicate and unlikely. It had to unfold exactly as it had, and mad as it was, he wouldn't change it.
She hummed softly, a song he couldn't make out. At the back of his neck, her fingers ruffled his hairline, and her motion echoed in his own hand in the small of her back, stroking the satin of her slip, finding it just as slippery smooth as he'd imagined. As they continued to shuffle through their quiet dance, she raised her head and lifted her arm closer to his face, showing him the mark he'd made on her. Dumbledore was right. It was getting harder to see. But it was still visible, even in the near dark.
"There, remember this?" she said. "Our bond mark means whatever we see of each other is chaste. There's no need for you to be stodgy when it comes to how I'm dressed when we're alone." She was rising onto her toes, her cheek pressed to his, half whispering, half kissing his ear. "It's all chaste, and I'm all yours."
With a groan he stopped dancing and detached her arm from around his neck, holding both of them wedged and pinned between their bodies as he kept her close, warm and curving. He cleared his throat. "It's not about stodginess. It's about how much I can bear before I…" He didn't finish, distracted, indulging in looking down at the whiteness of her skin against the black of her slip.
She cut off his view, leaning forward, the tip of her nose outlining the neckline of his T-shirt, nuzzling past it, breathing on his collar bones. "Before you what?" she said, her lips brushing his skin, taunting. "We're not at before anymore, Lupin. It's done. We're in the after. There's nothing more to bear."
"By the stars, woman," he said as she laughed at him. Admirably willful was what they'd called her downstairs. Spoiled brat was what Sirius had called her at breakfast. Lupin adored both. "What's this?" he said, tracing the fine silver chain of her new pendant with his middle finger, the light touch descending in a delicate V along her sternum. "It feels enchanted."
Her breath caught but she said. "It is. From Andromeda. It can be disguised as Malfoy's ring and placate my family if it comes to that. It could help us."
Remus blinked as he lifted the pendant. "Us? But she wants to care for you herself, without me."
"She does. But I wouldn't let her decide our future. No one can decide it but us. And in giving me this, she showed that she might be able to accept that."
Remus lay the pendant against her skin, sighing, his fingers trailing away over her shoulder. "You need to tell me what she and Dumbledore said to you in private today."
She was groaning now, rolling her eyes. "Andromeda told me to come hide at her place until everyone has forgotten all about me, even you."
"Yes, that's almost exactly what she told the Order."
"Well I wouldn't hear of it," Narcissa said, eyes closed, shaking her head. "And don't you listen either. At my age, Andromeda left home with Ted Tonks without a thought to her safety and I'm entitled to do the same."
"But it's different with us - "
"Yes, it is," she said. "They didn't have a beautiful creature bond to honour between them. And about that, I told Dumbledore everything, and he told me nothing. Well, except for that our creature bond won't bind us for long unless we accept it while we're not transformed."
Remus was nodding, as if he'd been told the same.
She went on. "I made the mistake of threatening to find out how to accept the bond another way if Dumbledore wouldn't tell me how himself. He is, apparently, fine with that and so I've been reading this book on soul bonds that I got from Lily, trying to sort it on my own - "
He was shaking his head, interrupting. "You're already that far along? Ready to accept it?"
"Obviously," she burst. "If I wasn't, I'd have answered the door dressed in one of Euphemia Potter's floor length flannel nightgowns instead of slinky lingerie. Because that's how it's done, Lupin. I found it in Lily's book. I accept you by having my way with you as my untransformed self. Creature magic isn't complicated. So let's have done with it," she said, grabbing his T-shirt in both hands and straining toward the bed.
"Wait," he said, not letting her move him. "Stop and listen to me. And don't be angry."
"Stars, Lupin, what now?"
"There's more you need to know. And before I came up here, I struck a compromise with Dumbledore. I promised him that before we make a decision about our bond, I'll sleep on it." He loosened his grip on her, expecting her to flounce away, annoyed or worse.
But instead, she took advantage of her wider range of movement as he let go, and slid her arms underneath his, gliding beneath the edge of his T-shirt, up inside to touch his stomach, the pressure of her hands insistent, warm and greedy on his bare skin. "I see," she said, her mouth on his neck as her hands roved. "So we pit your obedience to a school teacher against my capacity to seduce you, is that it?"
Remus was fighting for breath as her hands trailed over his torso, no barrier between his skin and hers as she kneaded his shoulders, before dragging her hands back down to his waistband. "Cissa," he managed to exhale. "Please. Keeping my word isn't even half of it. I don't want to look back on this as an accident, as something based on creature appetites, or," he paused, swallowing hard, "as a reaction to finding yourself more alone than you've ever been."
Narcissa's hands stopped moving and she leaned away from his neck, a sadness stealing over her face, tearing at Remus's heart as he watched it come. He was quick to slip his hand inside his shirt to hold hers, his grasp warm and sure, his voice low and tender. "I don't want you to ever remember tonight and wonder if I came running up here for any reason other than the real one. And the real one is that I'm happiest when I'm with you - happier than I ever believed someone like me could be. I love you. For as long as you can stay with me, for as long as I have to wait if you go, I'll love you."
Her head tipped forward, her forehead on his shoulder. He kissed her hair, waited a moment, and jostled her lightly, as if to shake the new sadness loose.
"You love me," she said, raising her head, her lip thrust out slightly, in that pout of hers.
"Yes, you know that," he said, smudging her lip with his fingertip. "Wear all the flannel housecoats you want. It doesn't matter. I'll still love you. But I need to tell you everything before we decide how to do this. So listen. And then let me sleep on it, like I promised I would."
She sighed and put her bare arm in the second sleeve of the shirt he'd been trying to get her to wear. He smoothed it over her shoulders and rolled the cuffs to shorten the sleeves. "Fine," she said as he worked on it. "But I'm not buttoning this up. Now do your talking."
They sat on the bed and ate what he'd brought. Her bare feet were cold so she wound them in the blankets. Her shivering worsened as he told her what Dumbledore had said about Riddle's plans to force her into a dark soulmate pair.
"They wanted me for a Death Eater chosen one breeding plot?" she said. "And my father agreed to it?"
"No one said that," Remus rushed to say. "It sounded like the arrangement had more to do with Bellatrix Lestrange."
Narcissa scoffed. "Bella. Of course. If she had a thousand sisters she'd happily give them all to Riddle. Well, that engagement was even more of a near miss than I knew."
"Is it a miss though?" he asked, handing her the apple now that the biscuits were gone, clearing the crumbs from her sheets with his wand. "Or might they still come find you and drag you back? The stakes are higher than we knew. When they come, it won't just be pissy Malfoy. It might be Riddle himself. And since I'm involved, maybe Greyback as well."
"Greyback," she echoed. "Do you remember him? You were so young. Dora's age."
Remus stared past her, into a nightmare that never quite left him. "Yes. I remember it all. I remember him as huge, and strong. He reeked of blood - my blood."
She took his hand and held it against her cheek. "We should be terrified, shouldn't we?"
He smoothed the tip of her nose with his thumb. "That's exactly what they want. Which probably means we should fight hard not to be terrified."
She glanced up at him, coy. "Good. Because I'm too distracted to be very scared tonight. All of this plotting can wait, can't it? There are other things I'd rather settle first."
"Like getting your dowry out of the bank?"
"Remus Lupin - no," she said, tossing his hand back at him, her voice rising. "What I mean, of course, is that, now that it's started, I want to complete my bond with you. None of their dour arguments against it dissuade me at all. I swear, you play dense just to make me say these things out loud."
"Say what things?" he said, lying on his back against her lacy pillows, blinking innocently at the ceiling, his hands linked behind his head. There was a hint of a smirk at the corner of his mouth.
She fell onto her stomach beside him, nestled close, her head and shoulders propped up on one elbow. "You're trying to get me to tell you that I love you," she said. "And I do."
He rolled toward her, his hand on her waist over that shirt of his. He moved as if to kiss her but he was still smirking too much, so she covered her mouth with the apple and bit into it instead. He veered to land the kiss on her cheek and took the apple from her as he drew away, biting into it himself.
"So Malfoy and the Death Eaters didn't just want me," she said. "They wanted my Draco too."
Remus raised his eyebrows, swallowing a jagged mouthful of apple. "Your what?"
"Draco," she said, as if it made sense. "That's the constellation I've chosen to name my future son after. I had to claim it ages ago, before any of the other sisters and cousins of my generation used it. Surely you've noticed how we name ourselves for stars in our family."
"Yes, Sirius tipped me off," he said.
"Right," she nodded. "My Draco's been in my imagination for ages. He'll be tall, long arms and legs. Not lanky but not bulky either - the kind of boy who could just as easily dance ballet as play quidditch."
Remus breathed a laugh. "Dreamy."
"He's mine so he'll have to be fair. Hair no darker than," she twisted her forefinger into Remus's wavy mop, "no darker than a light, sandy brown but maybe as light as mine. Gorgeous either way."
"Is he spoiled though? I hear pretty babies get spoiled," Remus said, bumping his nose, doglike against her cheek.
"Terribly spoiled. That personality of his," she shook her head. "The more I love him, the more insufferable he'll be to everyone else. But he'll survive, Lupin. Whatever this ridiculous society throws at him, my wolfish little boy will be clever and he will have me and a father who truly loves him and he will get by. No one will trade him to a Dark Lord, like my sister has done to me."
"Wolfish," Remus repeated, reaching over her, setting the apple core on the bedside table behind her. With the same motion his torso came to rest on top of hers. He pushed her hair from her forehead, looking down into her wide eyes, tracing her brow with his forefinger. "I've been meaning to ask you. The metamorphagus quality that your little niece has, where her hair keeps changing colour - I'd like for my future son to have that. Is it a trait of your family's or is it the Tonks's?"
She settled underneath him, savouring the weight of him holding her down, shifting to urge him to cover her completely. He wouldn't, but he did lay his head on her shoulder. Her hand rose to comb through his hair. "That must be from Ted," she said. "Though it's hard to tell with a Muggle-born."
"My mother's a Muggle," Remus said, lifting his head and closing in, face to face, a breath away from kissing her. "Maybe we could be lucky with our son's hair too."
Before she could react, he fit his lips into hers, inhaling deeply to take in her smell, and then her taste as she opened up to him. He'd held himself back too long and the kiss was hotter than he intended. His skin felt electrified, vibrating with the energy of their bond and their feelings, maybe even their future. He didn't mean to lick and strain and paw at her, ravaging her face and throat, his knees on either side of her as she lay fully beneath him now. His hand was inside the shirt, fingers threaded beneath a black shoulder strap of her slip, about to shove it aside, clearing everything between them. Her hands were inside his clothes too, her fingers in the patch of downy hair at the base of his spine, pushing him closer.
Sliding deep into kissing her was so natural and necessary now, he didn't realize how far he'd gone until she broke away, reaching back at what he'd said. "We could be lucky with our - what? Lupin are you - "
"Hush, Cissa," he said. He wiped her glistening lower lip with the pad of his thumb and pushed himself away, sitting up with an uneasy grunt. "Sorry. I nearly forgot. I need to sleep on this."
"Sleep here," she said, sitting up quickly, righting her shoulder strap and covering herself in the shirt. "Stay in this bed. I won't touch you. I'll turn my back and read this book until I pass out. But don't go. Please. I need you with me, lying here doing that puppy-dog snore of yours. I need you to stay with me tonight in case - in case we never…"
She couldn't finish, her hands twisting in her lap, finally looking scared. Remus couldn't bear it. He bobbed forward to kiss her quickly and firmly on the mouth.
"Right then," he said. "You can have all the snoring you want. Goodnight, love."
It was three o'clock in the morning. In two hours, the Sunday Daily Prophet would begin to circulate the story of the Potters' funeral and things would become much more complicated. But for now, Remus Lupin was waking up next to Narcissa Black in the Potters' manor. He could see her next to him by the light of the still nearly full moon, its rays clawing after him, as they always did, white and revealing, shining on the bed.
Even with her back turned, she was almost painfully beautiful to him. He liked her best when she was awake and active, but in her sleep, she was lovely as well. He liked her. He loved her. He wanted her so much, but not if it ruined her life. How could she want him too? It was ridiculous. But here she was, following him, waiting, asking.
He had fallen asleep beside her while she read a book about how they could stay together. It lay on the sheet behind her, along with his shirt, which she had taken off for sleeping. It might have been warm enough for her to sleep without it at first. But now the room's fire was a bed of ashy grey coals, and he was almost certain he could feel her shivering with cold in her sleep.
The memory of her body joined to his was muddled by his creature brain but alive inside him, not a dream but real, magically pure - everything. And the creature in him needed to warm its partner. Without any more thought, he eased his arm around her waist and pulled her to where he lay on his side, her back against his front. Her bare shoulder was cold, and he breathed hot air onto it. She stirred and stretched, her voice soft and wordless. He waited while she drifted back to him.
She hummed sweetly as she wriggled into the bend of his body. "You're up early," she said. "And so warm."
He rubbed his palm along her arm. "I don't know why this fire can't tend itself properly. These old houses. Sorry."
She sniffed a laugh. "I'm not sorry. I was hoping we'd see each other again before the night was over."
He found her wrist, the one he had marked, and lifted it to kiss it. Over her shoulder, into her ear, he whispered again that he loved her.
She answered with another high, contented hum. "Everything is chaos. But even so, I'm not sure I've ever been happier. Stay with me. Please, Lupin."
Remus had done his talking and his sleeping. Still holding her wrist, he turned her to face him. She opened her eyes, no longer tired, sliding both her hands inside his T-shirt, pushing it up to his arms. He moved to help her pull it over his head. And when he laid his arms back down, his palm was on her hip, smoothing the silky fabric of her slip, descending all the way to its hem, his fingertips on her thigh, barely grazing her skin, eager but trembling with nerves.
This close again, her nose on his bare chest, Narcissa's Veela was stirring. But she reached past her, wanting to feel Remus as herself, rushing toward him. Her face moved over his chest, following the lines of the hard, raised scars she could sense with the tender skin of her cheeks and lips.
"I won't rush you," he said even as she hooked her leg around his, urging him closer. "But I'm ready. I want you to know. I want everything in your life, even if it kills me. While we're alive, I want to be the father of your Draco. When we're dead, I'll want you in the stars."
She held him tight, speechless, her face against his pounding heart.
He went on, "So, will you accept our bond? Cissa? Narcissa Juno Black?"
She broke away from his skin just far enough and long enough to say. "Will I? I've been willing all day."
He brushed his lips over her forehead, smiling. "I'm sorry for the long night. I needed to be cautious with this. It's too precious. It's you."
She linked her arm under his, gripping his shoulder and rolling onto her back, inviting him to bring all of his weight, everything he had, and lay himself on top of her. "Remus John Lupin, I accept."