This is the final chapter… the story finally comes to an end! It's been great writing this story, and I'm extremely grateful the response. Reviews keep me going! Also, thanks to those who saved my story in favourites and stuff, but didn't review. I do that sometimes too, so I guess I can't complain… thanks for reading my fic!
"Love is like swallowing hot chocolate before it has cooled off. It takes you by surprise at first, but keeps you warm for a long time." – Annoymous
Remus Lupin stared at his reflection in his wardrobe mirror, absent-mindedly counting the premature lines on his face. It had been two weeks. Two weeks since he and Tonks had kissed. The moment was forever etched in his mind, one he knew he'd never forget. The feeling he had experienced… it was just incredible, mind-blowing. He was deeply and madly in love with her, and he knew she felt the same.
Why, then? Why was he constantly avoiding her, talking to her as though they were only mutual colleagues and nothing more, ignoring her confused and hurt pleas for some sort of explanation?
He still firmly believed that he did not deserve her. He had seen, that day, what was on her desk at the Ministry. A huge and certainly expensive bouquet of red roses. A secret admirer, that was the rumours he heard. And whoever it was, certainly wasn't the first.
She deserved someone better, younger, someone who could provide well for her. Yes, he decided. He remembered his conversation with Sirius just two nights before. "You're being bloody stupid, Remus. She likes you. You like her. What's wrong with that? Seize the opportunity before it slips away, Remus… you deserve her completely, so stop that self-depreciating act!"
He remembered her tearful face, her begging eyes as she tried to get through to him. "Why are you acting like this, Remus? I'm telling you, I don't give a damn whether you're a werewolf or vampire or goodness knows, I just know I like you! Don't you remember that night?
To which he had simply replied, "You'll understand a couple of years from now, Tonks. You're too young. I don't deserve you."
She had screamed at him for addressing her as though she was his student, threw a cushion at him and stormed off. He had not seen her since.
He glanced at the chocolate egg, now lost in all the memories he had shared with it, and Tonks, when an urgent knock on the door interrupted his thoughts. It flung open and Sirius stood there with Tonks, looking hassled.
"Something big, Remus. Harry and a couple of his friends barged into the Ministry. The death eaters'll be after them any minute now."
"What?" Remus exclaimed, shocked. "We've got to go there now. Sirius, you - "
"I'm going," he replied, his expression determined.
"No, you can't, you - "
"There's no point arguing with him, Snape's already tried," Tonks replied. She was not looking at Remus, but at the floor. "If we can round up those death eaters he's bound to be cleared, anyhow. Mad Eye and Kingsley are coming, too. We better hurry!"
Remus nodded. She looked at him briefly and he could see the hurt in her eyes, an expression that certainly did not match her bubblegum pink hair. Without another word, the three set off.
He could see her falling, slowly, down each step. Her eyes were closed, her wand was gone, and the death eater above her was laughing triumphantly. He wanted to run over, to see if she was alright; but he could not leave his spot, where he was currently dueling another death eater. With a cry of anger he shot an accurate Stunning spell at him, then ran over to the death eater who had caused Tonks's defeat, and sent another spell straight at his chest.
Dead. Sirius was dead. Gone.
Remus was in his room. It seemed as though he had been lying on his bed forever, unwilling to get up and face the world. The marauders… they were all leaving him, one by one. Peter the traitor… James… and now, Sirius…
He stared up at the ceiling, ignoring the tears that were flowing freely down his cheeks. He had been like a brother, one of the best mates he would ever have. And yet he was now forever gone. And what an untimely death, too – he would have been cleared that very day, and could finally walk the streets with his head held high. But no. He had never gotten to experience that freedom.
Dimly, he wondered how Tonks was doing. Sirius was her cousin; they were very close, too. Was she currently lying on her bed, grieving, like him? What would she be thinking at this point?
All the happy times they had all shared together… seemed so far away. As though they had never happened. Remus sat up abruptly. The giant chocolate egg was still there, as big as ever. Staring at it, he felt a sudden, overwhelming sense of anger and sadness. Pulling out his wand, he pointed it straight at the egg. There was a small explosion and now, what replaced the egg was hundreds of chocolate bars, all wrapped up in plain blue plastic. Looking around, Remus spotted a plastic bag. He grabbed it, then with brutal force, scooped up the bars and dumped them unceremoniously into the bag.
He was so tired of it all. When would all these end?
He had just left the hospital wing, unable to stand it any longer. Now he stood in the dark hallway of the castle, facing a huge window. Dumbledore dead… what would happen now? The man he respected most, the man who had helped him in all sorts of ways… brutally murdered.
Severus Snape. His hands clenched in anger as the name appeared in his mind. And to think he had tried his best to be friendly with him, despite all that Snape had done to him in the past. Oh, how he would like to have Snape right here, in front of him, all tied up, so he could –
Remus spun around. Tonks stood facing him, her hair a dirty brown, her pretty heart-shaped face pale and sad. Her outburst in the hospital wing had really hit him hard. The full realization had dawned on him now. Yes, she didn't care that he was poor, old, and dangerous. Nymphadora Tonks was beneath all these shallowness; she simply liked him for who he was. It was he, Remus that had been the stupid and shallow one. It had taken him so many tragic incidents for him to realize. But now he knew that time was running short, and that what he had been doing – dilly-dallying and making both parties suffer, that is – should stop now.
"Tonks," he said quietly, and she walked over to him.
"Are you alright?" she whispered, looking up at him.
"Not currently… but I will be, eventually," Lupin looked down at her. "I've been doing a lot of thinking."
She was watching him intently. Lupin took a deep breathe, and all the words tumbled out of his mouth in a rush. "I've only realized it now, how stupid I've been, and how much this stupidity has hurt both of us. I thought doing this would be the best thing, so you could go and find your happiness. But what you said just now… it really hit me hard. I've been totally wrong about you, Tonks. Unfortunately it took me so long, and so many incidents, to figure it out."
He glanced at her and saw that her eyes had filled with tears. "Tonks? I'm sorry. I - "
"You stupid, stupid person!" Tonks cried, and Lupin was shocked to hear the choked happiness in her voice. "It took you long enough, didn't you? You don't know how I feel now, to feel so sad, but happy at the same time…"
He pulled her close, and she held to him tightly. They stood there for a long time, enjoying the peace between them. Lupin gazed out of the window, taking in the beautiful weather. It was ironic, really, that they had to get together on Dumbledore's death. But in a way, he decided, it was really Dumbledore who had helped him in this. For hadn't McGonagall said, Dumbledore would have been happier if there would be more love around? Lupin was sure that wherever Dumbledore now was, he would be happy for the both of them, too.
The journey ahead was to be a rough one, but in their hearts they were pretty sure that they would be managing it just fine.
Ooh. Done. I really hope you guys will like it, and not find it too clichéd and stuff. I tried so hard, but I completely suck at writing romance scenes like this! I thought I should follow the book, and only get the two together after Dumbledore's death.
Thank you, ALL who read and reviewed this story. Especially those that were consistent with every chapter, despite me taking soo long to update. I love you guys, you have made writing a joy :) Please tell me what you think of this final chapter!