Take Her in Your Arms

Chapter 8

And tell her that you love her

"Do you really need to know that, Nymphadora?" He rolled over on his side, facing her, both now somewhat covered beneath the bed sheets.

"As your current lover, I think I have the right to know."

Sighing, "I can assure you that I've been with enough women to guarantee my manhood, but not so many that I would ever be referred to as a 'lady's man'." Then tucking the sheet around her, "I've had girlfriends in the past, but none so adventurous or so lovely."

Okay, she could live with that. "Ever a one night stand?" She asked, her dark eyes sparked curiously.

He didn't look up at her, "Just once."

"Wow! Really?" Her face lit up. "I'm really surprised! Was she a friend?" Was it Lily?

"Of sorts."

Did you love her? "Did you draw her picture in your book?"

His eye flicked up, "No, and if you're referring to Lily; I never slept with Lily." His voice was loud and firm.

Obviously, Tonks had hit a sore point, but why? "I wasn't implying that it was Lily. Is it somebody I know?" Then pulling back away from him, "Don't tell me it was Emmeline Vance, I swear! Is she the town bicycle or what?!"

Remus laughed, tension releasing, "It wasn't Emmeline, although I guess there's a bit of history there?"

Tonks plopped back against the pillows, "She slept with the guy I was dating during auror training, it was rather a soap opera."

Lupin laid back against the pillows, pulling Tonks to his chest and she, in turn, naturally curled up against him. He sighed as she did so, and Tonks knew she was going to get the entire story. "After Sirius escaped Azkaban, well, it was also at the same time I had started teaching at Hogwart's, in a way, I regretted ever taking that job, but then again, who can say no to Albus and in truth, I needed the money. But, it brought back so many painful memories...I was very lonely and not feeling very good about myself and then--"

Tonks wrapped her arms tightly around Remus.

"I'm not the kind of man to—well, to sleep with a woman who I'm not involved with emotionally."

Tonks shielded her widening eyes from Remus's view. Whoa! This was seriously personal for Remus.

"But I did; on three occasions with... Rosmerta."

"Ah! Madame Rosmerta. Well, we'll certainly not be visiting The Three Broomsticks again anytime soon. But I'm not too jealous, I mean, Madame Rosmerta is very sexy, if not very old." She did feel a little twinge of jealousy, but then again, she didn't have a very clean record when it came to men.

Lupin raised an eyebrow. "I suppose she is old compared to you, but it's not everyday that I have young aurors throwing themselves at me."

Tonks flipped her violet hair, "Praise Merlin!"

"So what about you? Anyone notable on that long list besides me?"

"No one worth remembering at this hour," Tonks replied and planted a kiss against his chest. No, it wasn't worth remembering ever after him; after making love with Remus Lupin.

Lupin was silent for a moment and then planted a serious questioned, "Anyone else in The Order?"

"Just one, but I think you know about him."

Remus looked at her blankly.

She might as well be completely honest, although she didn't care a fig about him other than a casual acquaintance. "Charile Weasley. I told you we use to date in school, but he cheated on me with this Scandinavian Veela. I was quite upset at the time, but you always are about first loves." Knowing he could relate to her young heartbreak. Then biting her lip, "And well, there was also Severus."

"You slept with Severus!" Remus yelled, nearly rolling off the bed.

"Shhhh!! No, oh no! I'm just teasing you!!" Tonks laughed, then whispering, "But if you shout that any louder, the entire house will be whispering it tomorrow."

Lupin's heart pounded, as he once again relaxed, "That was a cruel joke."

"Come on! It's not that Severus is that bad looking, I suppose," Tonks began, "It's just that he's so nasty and spiteful—and the whole deatheater thing, ick! I'd be surprised if he's every snogged a woman."

"Believe it or not, he has." Remus answered with a tired voice.

"How do you know?" Dark eyes glowing in the candle light.

Lupin looked at her, then reaching to side table, pulled out his sketchbook, "Because I saw them," then opening to the second blank page, he touched I, revealing an image of a dark haired young man, and a beautiful young-

"Lily!"

"It was during our 6th year, soon after her and James had started dating--"

"Remus you can't tell James."

"James is my friend...How could you?"

"Please, it was mistake. I just wanted to make sure."

"Make sure of what?! You know his alliances."

"That I'd made the right choice."

Remus turned his back; heart throbbing, conscious knotted. A long silence ensued.

"Remus, you told me last semester that you loved me. If you really love me, then you'll keep my secret. If James ever finds out-- I'll say it was you I kissed, not him."

Turning back, a painful reply, "Why Lily?"

"Because he could forgive you, and he could forgive me kissing you."

Without warning, she kissed him and although he knew he should be pushing her away, he couldn't; because, in truth, he still loved her.

She broke the kiss, "There, now we're both guilty."

He looked away ashamed, thinking, "Yes, I suppose we are."

Remember what Molly had said yesterday, it was as if two pieces of the puzzle came together and she instantly understood. "And James found out didn't he? He found out that you and Lily had kissed and that's why he and Sirius didn't trust you as secret keeper."

Remus shut the drawing book, "Something along those lines."

"But Remus! You couldn't help loving Lily. It's like us; we can't help loving each other in spite of the fact that it's probably madness."

Dropping the book in the floor, he wrapped his arms around her, "I know." Then chuckling, "At lease, I know now. I always blamed myself for loving her, until...until I met you."

Tonks looked up at him, "I don't understand."

"Because from the moment I met you two years ago, I knew I wanted you and I thought that wanting was wrong. I knew it was bound to fail for so many different reasons and yet, I couldn't help myself from watching you, drawing you, from loving you."

"We can't help who we love." Tonks replied softly, stroking his hair.

"I love you, Nymphadora Tonks," he wrapped his arms tightly around her, not afraid, not anxious; finally at peace with his past and when his present. "I love you."

Finding a home in his arms and joy in his love, she put all jealousy aside, and responded with certainty and sincerity, "I love you too, Remus."

Epilogue

It was these three words that they would exchange in public during their wedding vows, in private, whispered as lovers across pillows; through two wars and three children; in the Lupin household and at the gravesite of friend and cousin, Sirius Black. Even after thirty years of marriage, as his health was failing, he held her hand and said, "Nymphadora, I love you. I'll always love you."

As their two successful sons and beautiful grown daughter surrounded her husband's bedside, lending their strength to their mother and their love and final respects to the father, tears stained Nymphadora's checks as she felt his soul, which had been so entwined with hers, leave his body and ascend into the stars, "I love you too, Remus. Always..."

Take her in your arms and tell her that you love her,

Take her in your arms and hold that woman right.

Take her in your arms and tell her that you love her,

If you're going to love a woman, be sure and do it right.

--Andy M. Stewart