AN- Back at last! This chapter is here to kind of summarize and close off everything for now. It is not in the same format. Actually, this chapter could almost be read independently. I wanted to write it to really prove this ship. It is one chapter with two interloping flashbacks. I lined off the flashbacks to make them clear.
Chapter Thirteen- Epilogue: Contrast
The antiquated drawing room at Grimmauld place had seen many things in its time. It had been a house that was once the so-called noble domain of the Blacks, a pureblooded wizarding family.
Here, politics ruled and a family of prejudice reigned. Under the roof of this house, plots most terrible hatched, secrets most poisonous festered, and alliances most foul were made. Dark times of power it had seen.
And now, the once luxurious, currently peeling walls, were silent witnesses to something that this weathered house had never seen before. Two people, falling in love.
Remus Lupin sat on the couch by the fireplace, calmly reading the newspaper. From the well-worn soles of his shoes, to the silver that prematurely threaded his hair, it was noticeable that life had taken its toll on this man.
The one exemption that did not carry signs of this burden was his eyes. They were light, shining and open, especially when they set on the creature that had just walked in the room.
She ambled in sleepily, wearing bright blue pajamas patterned with absurd yellow ducks, attire entirely in contrast to the man's more serious and dignified browns. She yawned largely, stretching her arms.
Flaming crimson hairs lay stuck to her head at odd angles, she blinked at the man on the couch. "Wotcher, Remus."
"Good morning, Tonks. Nice to see you're up. I thought you were going to sleep the whole day away." A smile crinkled the corners of his eyes as she flopped down next to him.
"Oy, come on. It's the bloody weekend. They were made for sleeping in. You should try it sometime, it's lovely. Gods, you're even dressed already. Have you been out?"
"Yes, Dora. I had an early meeting with Dumbledore. Apparently Harry is having his shortest stay ever at the Dursleys."
"Oh dear. He's not in trouble, is he?"
"Not by his standards. Would you like some coffee, love?"
"Hmm? Oh, sure." It always threw her off when he said that. Love. He never said it to anyone else. Why to her? What did it mean?
He levitated a cup of coffee into the room from the kitchen, and thought to himself, why did he care so much for this girl? She was crazy, from her obscene hairdos to her wild expressions and changes. And yet he loved her dearly. Why?
Because she brought so much light into his shaded life. Prejudice and discrimination he had know throughout his entire life, as he was a werewolf, having received the bite as a small boy. It was a tribulation he was afflicted with against his will that ultimately complicated and limited his life.
Werewolves were considered outcasts, too dangerous to be a part of society, too much of a risk to let into schools. If it hadn't been for Dumbledore, his brilliant mind might have gone to waste.
Loss. That was another fiend he knew too well. The friends he had managed to make, who weren't scared away by his imbroglio, seemed to have been systematically picked off. The people who really cared about him were all taken away.
The loss of James and Lily. The betrayal of Peter, Wormtail, someone he thought to be a friend. The death of Sirius, his last surviving schoolmate had hit him hard, and she had been there for him. She stood by his side and brought meaning into his life, formally one of complete solitude.
Presently, she took the coffee into her hands and drank. Tonks knew that her Mum would disapprove that she fancied an older man, but she didn't care.
She lived a life of danger, and this man had experience. He could help her. He knew so much. He possessed so much patience for her; a gawky young thing. Nobody else had that kind of tolerance that she needed, the guidance that she so desperately craved.
In her mind, she treasured the recent memory of a field mission.
Dumbledore had sent them after a newly discovered Ministry leak. He was the informant that had helped the Death Eaters get close to the prophecy.
It was a sensitive and highly volatile mission. He had practically caused what happened at the department of mysteries, when everything went down with Sirius. He was enjoying his short-lived freedom. There was no way they were going to let him get away.
It was just her and Remus. They followed a tip that he would be in the south part of London; and they followed him there. The situation was tense. They did not speak to each other, each contemplating their own private revenge. They tracked him as he left the building.
After pursuing him for a few mere blocks, Tonks couldn't wait, she screamed out a stunning spell that shot him in the shoulder.
It had been too soon, she should have taken their time. His guard had been up, he was already suspicious of being trailed, and he was ready for it. He turned to face them wounded, but ready to attack. He got her with a nasty spell that knocked her off her feet.
Remus flooded in and disarmed him.
He stunned him with a spell that left the brute unconscious. They were lucky that they had caught him alone, other wise, it might never have been so easy.
He magically bonded their mark, resisting the urge to attack him further. He turned to Tonks, who lay fallen on the ground. She didn't know it, but he cursed himself for not blocking the spell that incapacitated her. He had been too fixed on their mark.
He gathered her up in his arms, after apparating the Ministry sneak to Azkaban, where he would await trial. He held on to her and closed his eyes.
When he opened them, they were home. He lay her on the couch and knelt beside her, praying. He waved an awakening charm over her. As his hearted pulsed in waiting, her eyes fluttered and opened.
"I'm sorry," he uttered. "Are you ok? How do you feel?" He tried to swallow his panic, seeing that she was waking.
She stirred and sat up. "Smeg. Where is he?"
"Azkaban. It's ok, love, we got him. It's over."
"Oh, Remus. I'm so sorry. It's my bloody fault, I acted too fast," she said angrily.
"No, Dora, it's alright. It was a success."
"I could have compromised everything..."
"Shush. You did just fine, Dora. How do you feel?"
"Umm...just a little sick." She tilted back her head and placed a needed hand on her stomach.
"You need some tea," he asserted, and when to the kitchen to mix up the brew.
That man they were after was in part responsible for Sirius's death, and she had flubbed up her part of the mission. Her inaptitude nearly cost them his capture.
Her insides churned with resentment. Yet, Remus was there, sitting by her and comforting her. He'd salvaged the mission, and made sure the informant was taken in.
As she drank the tea, she began to settle down. Was it his immediacy, or his gentle manner that helped calm her choppy waters?
If she'd been paired with Moody, she'd be getting a lecture now that would only have compounded her misery. Remus gave her tea and a hug, a bit of comfort when she needed it the most.
This memory sustained her at times. To know at such a base level that he cared for her had become vital to her wellbeing.
Lupin watched her drink her coffee now. Look how she held the mug with both hands. Look how her sleepy eyes open at its taste. Loving her was for him, inevitable. She was so full of life, so full of that which he wished to remind himself of why he lived; to experience life, that was so precious.
She came to him in times when he was most in need, when he was most quietly desperate for hope.
It was shortly after Sirius's death. He had been alone in his room, sorting reminiscently through old photographs of the ones that had been taken from him.
He drank occasionally from a small flask of whiskey, having taken many pulls of comfort off it. She had knocked on his door and he didn't answer.
He didn't want her to see him in this state; half-drunk and having succumbed to melancholy. If he ignored her, maybe she'd believe that he was asleep. It didn't work.
Some invisible thing had given him away, and she turned the knob unbidden to allow herself entrance into his room.
"Remus? What are you doing?" She asked, her tone was soft. She approached him, knowing she was pushing some boundaries, but she didn't care. It was clear to her that he needed some company, whether he wanted some or not. She sat innocently beside him on his bed.
"Whatcha lookin' at?"
"Just some photographs."
"They look old."
"They are. Look...here's all of us at school."
"Gods...Is that James? He looks just like Harry."
"I think of that, too."
"Is that Sirius? He looks so young."
Remus paused and looked at her, then back at the photograph in question. He heaved a wary sigh.
"It seemed that everything was ahead of us, then. Like the world lay at our feet. How were we to know..."
He stared gloomily down at a picture of the four marauders, waving merrily without a care in the world. Tonks looked at him and turned the page of the photo album.
A photograph of the Potters wedding lay before them.
"Look how happy they were."
"James was the only one who got married?"
"Why?" She asked simply.
"Why?" He repeated. "Well, let's see...Sirius went to Azkaban, and Peter spent the next twelve years posing as a rat." He wondered where was she going with this.
"But you didn't, Remus. Why haven't you ever gotten married?"
As taken aback as he was, he managed to come up with an answer, the most obvious one to him.
"Tonks, I'm a werewolf. There's not much call for..." He could have continued, but she waved at him dismissive.
"Oh, come on, Remus. That's just an excuse." He could believe she could be so light about his lycanthropy. "There has to be another reason."
"I don't know what to say, Dora, I guess I just haven't met the right person."
"Well, then you should get out more. Come on, Remus, I'm starving, and Molly's gone home for the night. Come with me to the Leaky Cauldron and let's get a bite for dinner. I hate eating alone. What do you say?"
And he closed up the old album, put it away, and followed her out the door.
It had been just what he needed, someone to take him outside of himself. She would never let him wallow too long, and she'd never let him drown.
That was why he cherished her. She brought him to life, and reminded him constantly that life, was for the living.
Back on the couch, Remus lowered his paper to look at his young friend. These feelings he had for her troubled him at times. Did they go too far? Did he have a right to love someone so beautiful and vibrant, when he in contrast was old and jaded?
Tonks caressed her mug and surveyed the chipping polish on her toenails. Sitting close to him, she prodded his leg playfully with her foot.
"Hey. Anything good in there?" She asked, referring to the paper.
"Yes, there is, actually. We're to be having a new Minister of Magic."
"Blimey! Does it say who it is?"
"Damn... let me have a look." She scooted over on her knees, placing her arm around his shoulders for balance as she leaned over to read the paper.
The thoughts of an impending change of government were washed completely out of Lupin's mind, and all he could think of was her sudden proximity. She smelled like a buttercup. The soft flannel of her pajamas brushed his skin.
To be honest, this action was not completely unconscious on her part.
She had developed some serious feelings for him over the past year. If it had been anyone else, she would have already started flirting outright to see if it could go anywhere.
But this was Remus. What right did she have to love some one so masterful and mature, when she in contrast was so young and clumsy?
Boldness, however, was in her nature, and she waved those annoying thoughts aside. What could it hurt to simply gauge a reaction? And she did so enjoy just being close to him.
"No, it doesn't say," she muttered, scanning the page. "Damn."
At her malison, she managed to lose her balance and fell over his lap. Embarrassed, she scrambled to regain control while all Remus could do was laugh.
"Dora, if you wanted to see the comics, you'd have but to ask," he chuckled.
It pleased her so much to hear him laugh, her shame slipped away and she slumped beside him, he slung his arm around her.
Suddenly their faces seemed much to close, and the world that existed outside went uncommonly still and quiet. All she could hear was his breathing. All he could see was her eyes. He noted her pupils dilating. She felt the warmth surging from his skin.
Before he could tell himself not to, he put a hand up to her face, and stroked one apple cheek with the pad of his thumb. She inhaled and closed her eyes.
"Remus," she spoke his name while he wrestled with himself. He wanted to kiss her. He wanted to tell her how he felt about her.
"Yes?" His voice was strangled.
"Will you take me apple picking?"
Taken aback, he paused, then said, "Yes, of course." Puzzling, this girl always was. It was part of why he loved her.
They spent the rest of that morning being cozy on the couch, reading the paper and feeling light headed.
AN-Whoohoo! It's done. Hope you liked it. Still planning on doing a sequel, as soon as I can. Review, please! I would love you to review!