IMPORTANT: This contains spoilers for the 6th Harry Potter book:Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
The weather was balmy, and the sun hidden behind wispy clouds as Lupin retired to the small stone bench sitting plainly beside the cobbled path winding its way up to the great oaken doors that led into the Great Hall.
The weather mirrored his mood. Hazy. Uncertain. For him, who had never been uncertain in the course of his life, this was unpleasant. Everything he used to see with crystal clear perfection had been flopped upside-down and unfocused.
Dumbledore was dead. Killed by no less then one of the people that he had trusted up until his death. He had died at the hands of the Death Eaters, and not just a particular one either; Snape. Of course, no one really like him, his motives were always questioned, but he had Dumbledore's trust, and that had been grounds enough for everyone else to back off.
But, even now… that wasn't what troubled his thoughts. It's not what was cutting into his heart like an icy dagger, shredding away mercilessly at his soul. His mind was on another matter. Tonks.
"Well, yes" Mrs. Weasley said, "but, I thought that… given how-- how he…"
"You theenk I would not weesh to marry him?"
Mrs. Weasley stayed quiet, watching Fleur with an odd expression, as though she had seen nothing quite like her.
"You see?" said Tonks in a strained voice, she glared at Lupin. "She still wants to marry him, even though he's been bitten! She doesn't care!"
"It's different," replied Lupin, barely moving his lips and looking tense. "Bill will not be a full werewolf. The cases are completely--"
"But I don't care either, I don't care!" yelled Tonks, seizing the front of Lupin's robes and shaking them. "I've told you a million times…"
Watching them, a look of understanding dawned on Harry's face. The reason she had been looking so mousy lately, the reason her patronus had changed shape. Tonks hadn't fallen in love with Sirius. It wasn't him at all.
"And I've told you a million times," Lupin mumbled, refusing to meet her eyes, his gaze lingering on the floor, "that I am too old for you, too poor… too dangerous…"
I've said all along you're taking a ridiculous line on this, Remus." Mrs. Weasley said, crying.
"I'm not being ridiculous," replied Lupin. "Tonks deserves somebody young and whole."
"But she wants you," Mrs. Weasley replied with a small sad smile, "and besides, Remus, young and whole men do not necessarily stay so…" she broke off, motioning to Bill's form.
"This is… not the moment to discuss it," he replied, avoiding everyone's eyes.
Now he couldn't help but wonder, when would the moment to discuss it occur?
Fleur and Bill were one thing, he had been bitten by a werewolf who hadn't been transformed, Bill would not become a werewolf. But, he himself, Remus Lupin, was another story entirely. Couldn't Tonks understand that?
He had given several reasons why they couldn't be together. Yet the proof unraveled steadily. Age was not, as he had stated, too big an obstacle. Tonks was young, only in her mid twenties, but, he was only in his mid thirties despite his haggard appearance. The age that separated them was insignificant, and nothing if not insubstantial.
He was too poor. It was true; being a werewolf in a wizarding society came with those stakes. Yet, what with the war going on these days no one was really faring any better than he himself was. The Order of the Phoenix especially. No one in the Order was faring terribly well. These days everyone was tight for money. So, being poor was insubstantial as well.
The truth remained, however. He was a werewolf. Indeed too dangerous. He had lost control once before, while teaching at Hogwarts, though he hadn't attacked anyone. Still, he wasn't going to take that risk again. It was… too dangerous. That's why he couldn't be with her. Tonks was young; undoubtedly that is why she did not understand his reasoning. She wanted to be with him. And… he wanted to be with her… but, he was far from willing his feelings towards her to blind him. The fact was, no matter what she wanted, no matter what he himself wanted. It simply didn't matter, because nothing would happen. He could simply not take the risk of anything happening to her. She meant far too much to him, though she did not know it herself, and he would never forgive himself if anything hurt her.
He sighed tiredly, running his hands through his hair in exasperation. Why had his life suddenly taken such a turn for the worst? Wasn't he… too old… to have black and white turn gray? Shouldn't it have already?
"Remus?" a young girl's voice pulled him from his thoughts, and he snapped his head up, turning in the direction of the all-to-familiar voice.
"Are you alright?" she asked concerned, hurrying to his side and sitting down on the small stone bench beside him.
"Yes, yes I'm fine" he replied nodding. "What brings you out here then, Tonks?" he asked mildly, turning to face her.
"I… wanted to talk to you. You left so suddenly after the row in the Hospital wing. I didn't want you to be mad at me…" her voice trailed off meagerly, sending them both into the silence.
Minutes passed slowly, with only the wind blowing about them and over the Hogwarts grounds, birds chirping off in the distance of the Forbidden Forest.
"Why?" Lupin asked suddenly, his voice quiet and drawn, "why do you want me? Of all people?"
Tonks' cheeks flared brief red, but she looked him in the eyes defiantly as she spoke, "well, you're sweet and smart and modest and--"
He cut across her, "a werewolf."
"Remus, damn it listen to me!" she pleaded , her eyes suddenly bright and liquidy, her hands gripped again in the scruff of his robes firmly. "Please… I told you I don't care what you are. I don't… don't love you for what you are… I love you for who you are…" her voice faltered and she fell silent, slow tears rolling down here cheeks.
"I'm too dangerous, Tonks." he replied stubbornly, averting his gaze quickly to the ground to study the hems of his robe, he couldn't meet her eyes.
"Too dangerous?" she gave a stifled laugh, "don't you think after being in the Order, after last year… don't you think I'd have proven myself?" she asked, her hands removing themselves from his robes and falling limply into her lap.
He sighed, and brought his gaze back to her slowly. His expression looked worn, tired. But his eyes held a sincere sparkle as he spoke. "It doesn't matter, you know that. The chance it simply too risky. I can't risk hurting anyone, especially you."
"You're doing a fine job Remus…" she mumbled, "not wanting to hurt me, I mean…" she stopped and looked to him, "you're already hurting me by doing this…." she looked away, and towards her hands, laying in her lap absently, "that's what hurts worst of all…" her voice broke off.
"You are too young to understand Tonks… I know you don't understand me yet, but in time you will. You'll know I was right." He replied tiredly.
"Don't tell me I'm too young!" she replied indignantly, "I'm not too young. I understand you perfectly, Remus. But, that's the difference between us… you see, you care and I don't."
He shook his head, "I don't think you do understand. Otherwise you would know I'm doing this to protect you."
"I'm not a child. I don't need your protection, Remus." she replied slowly. "All I need…" her voice took on a hint of hesitance, "…is you…"
Lupin looked to her slightly awe struck. She had uttered those last two words with such sincerity that it had struck a chord deep within him. Suddenly, he hated himself for making her so sad, though he knew it was for the best.
"Tonks," he began gently, "I care about you. That's why I do this. Understand, our circumstances are just too risky."
"So let me take the risk." she said defiantly, "nothing in life if worth having if there isn't risk involved, you know."
"I know how you're feeling" he replied flatly, "but you know I can't risk--"
"Can't means won't!" she cur across him annoyed, "you're just being scared Remus."
"It's too dangerous." he replied simply, keeping his voice smooth, though his agitation was starting to bubble to the surface.
"I don't care!" she yelled exasperated. Her hands had found their way to the scruff of his robes again, "I don't care about the risk!" she pulled him closer to her and brought their lips together roughly, kissing him desperately in hopes to get her point across.
At first he seemed shocked by the sudden action made, but soon, kissed her back, for understanding had finally gripped him. After minutes of being wrapped up in the other, they broke apart--the need for air had become too necessary.
"Now do you see Remus?" she asked slightly breathless, as she disentangled herself from his robes.
"Yes…" he began quietly, "you're right Tonks. I knew… I just didn't want to…"
"Well," she huffed, "luckily I did."
He smiled, and draped his arm about her shoulder, pulling her into his arms, "thank you."
She nodded into his shoulder and hugged him tightly, sighing content as she snuggled into his arms. He held her tightly against his chest. He knew the risk that had been taken, knew it could go wrong. But, he no longer cared. Nothing ventured, nothing gained seemed to prevail here. Love was indeed a tricky thing, terribly delicate and unbelievably strong all at once. He knew he shouldn't worry. He knew she was right.
Only his mind needed reminding of that fact. That the heart should never be ignored in times as such. His mind had just been too stubborn to let his heart get involved, for fear of losing again. Though it took some time, and no amount of words did it, the girl's refusal to give up had finally won his mind over.
Seems it held true that actions speak louder than words.
Note: The italicized words represent a scene from the 6th book: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The dialogue used in the italics is close to the content of that in the book from chapter 29: The Phoenix Lament. I used those to show the part that Remus was thinking about.
That is all, I do not own Harry Potter or any other associated characters. They are sole property of J.K. Rowling and Schoolastic Publishing… this is fan fiction after all.
Please leave your name at the door with a review. This is my first Harry Potter fan fiction and I hope I did it justice, so please leave your honest opinion in the form of a review for me. Constructive criticism accepted happily as well as praise. Thank you.