A/N: A HUGE appology for my lack of updates these past months, especially to a rather frustrated hipkid727, lol. I haven't forgotten this story, honest! College has been crazy but that is no excuse! This chapter is rather short, but I'm hoping it'll get the ball rolling again and update every week, hopefully finishing before the New Year.
Remus made his way wearily up the stairs to his room. It would soon be morning, and his head throbbed from lack of sleep, but the man knew he would find none tonight. He had wandered aimlessly for over two hours in the pouring rain, before realising that Harry was of course right; Remus had nowhere else to go.
He opened his door slowly, and was surprised to find a soft amber glow from a couple of candles, scattered around the small room.
Tonks sat on his bed with her back against the engraved wooden headboard. Her knees were raised and she rested her head against them. The candlelight illuminated the tears that rolled slowly down her pale cheeks. She had tied her dark hair back messily, in a hurried frustration; repulsed by the sight of it and its connection to her wretched family.
There was obvious surprise in the woman's tone, and it filled Remus with a sickening sense of guilt. She attempted a weak smile but to no avail. It broke Lupin's heart to see her this way. This young, passionate witch should never, in Remus' mind, have to feel the heartache that she suffered so painfully now.
He nodded silently in response and closed the door with quiet click.
"Sit with me," she requested. Remus obeyed, though he had no choice; it was his bed after all. He sat down next to her, refusing to speak. He wasn't sure what to say. No, he would wait for her to speak first.
Tonks leaned into him instinctively and then immediately pulled away.
"Remus, you're drenched!" she exclaimed in concern. It was just like Tonks to worry over him, when she was clearly the one who needed comfort and support. Remus hated himself so much at that moment.
He shrugged off her distress, but the witch scrambled from his bed and crossed to the closet, finding him a dry shirt and a pair of slacks.
"Go get changed," she insisted, nodding towards his bathroom door. Remus didn't argue, and made his way heavy-limbed to the bathroom where he quickly changed, ignoring his pale, shameful reflection in his murky mirror.
Once dressed in dry clothes, he returned to his bed to find Tonks sat waiting for him expectantly. She patted at a space beside her and the man lowered himself into it.
There was a silence between them.
"You're an idiot," Tonks spoke up eventually. Remus nodded dumbly, once more.
"I needed you tonight, where were you?" she spoke softly this time. Remus found a small surge of annoyance bubble up in himself, and he scowled.
"You said you didn't need me. You needed to be with him" he stressed the last word bitterly. "Those were your words Nymphadora."
Tonks wasn't expecting this at all. She was hoping for him to break down into a heart-wrenching apology, for him to say that he would never leave her, that he loved her so much that it hurt, and that he would be her reason to carry on.
Instead, she got this.
"Right," Tonks heard herself say slowly. It didn't sound like her voice, and she swallowed down the pain in the back of her throat.
Silence fell once more. The rain still poured outside, a reminder to the pair that it was only hours before that Tonks' life had taken a dramatic change.
"I'm sorry." These mumbled words, barely heard, broke Tonks' gaze from the window.
"For what, Remus?" she replied. "Do you even know?" Her words were harsh and the man faltered.
"I…I'm sorry I left you. I'm sorry I've been acting like a wanker all evening. I'm sorry my love isn't enough for you. I'm sorry that your mother died…" Remus stopped as Tonks began to cry. Once again he had been the cause of her pain.
"And I'm sorry you're crying again," he added, before pulling her close to him as she wept harder onto his chest.
Remus held her silently, feeling her small frame shudder under his embrace. She was shivering, and Remus was unnerved to find that her hands were cold. He rubbed at the back of her hand gently with his thumb, making circular patterns absently as he listened to her irregular breathing.
Eventually the sobs subsided, though the tears still came. Remus hesitated before speaking up gently.
"No," came the quiet response. Remus kissed Tonks on the head and held her tighter. He knew that the young Auror would never get over her mother's death. The war, her elder cousins' return, and the quest to destroy the remaining Horcruxes were merely distractions. Lupin didn't know when the reality of what had happened would hit the witch. He only hoped that he was there to help her.
"Your behaviour towards Regulus this evening was appalling," Tonks croaked suddenly. Remus frowned, but knew her words were true.
"I know," he mumbled and then surprised himself by adding, "I was jealous."
Tonks froze briefly, before pushing away from the man to stare into his weary eyes.
"What?" she almost laughed. Remus looked at his hands, not in embarrassment but in shame.
"I shouldn't have been, I know. It was selfish of me. You've been through so much tonight, and instead of supporting you I've been thinking only of myself. I wanted to be the one you came to…and it hurt that you didn't want to be with me."
"You're right, Remus. That is selfish." Tonks scowled at him. "This isn't about you, this is about me! My mother killed herself tonight, and you were put out because I might have found comfort from someone else." She gave a sharp laugh and Remus hung his head like a guilty schoolboy.
"I'm sorry," he muttered.
"Yeah, you keep saying that but I'm not really believing it," Tonks sneered at him. He was frustrating, to say the least.
"Well, forgive me for caring about you Nymphadora. Yes, maybe I was being selfish in my attitude, but you were my only concern. I care about you so much, and I just wanted to help you…like you did for me when Sirius died."
Tonks blinked at the man. Inside, she was touched to hear that he cared about her, but she hadn't finished being mad at him. Anger felt better than anguish.
"I helped you?" she echoed sardonically. "Remus, I got you wasted and fucked you because you needed it and I wanted it. That wasn't helping you. I was being–"
"Selfish?" Remus supplied, a hint of humour shining in his light eyes. Tonks glared at him, and saw a smile creep onto his face. Her own expression softened and she leaned into him once more.
"Shut up and hold me, smart-arse."
He gave a little chuckle and complied.
Tonks could feel Remus' breath on her neck, and gave a small smile. Yes, he had left in a huff, and she had been alone when she needed comfort…but he had come back. He had come back to her, and that meant everything.
"I am really sorry about your mother, Tonks," she heard him say gently.
"I know," Tonks replied in an emotional squeak. "Me too." She felt stupid for adding it, but it was done now.
Hot tears began to well in her eyes as Tonks thought on it practically.
"Kingsley says there can't be a funeral into they've finished investigating Cissy and Draco's deaths. You know, just in case…" she trailed off, but Remus knew what she meant; just in case it had been Bellatrix after all. The man nodded and kissed her gently on the neck.
Tonks gave a little sob and continued, feeling the need to expel her pent-up emotions.
"I don't even know how to deal with it. I mean…I've never had to arrange a funeral before. What do I do?" She asked in a panic. Remus shushed her.
"It's ok, I'm here for you. You don't have to go through this alone. You have me."
"And Regulus," Tonks added.
"Yes," Remus agreed curtly. Sensing his sudden stiffness, Tonks turned to look up into the wizard's grey eyes. She could see the candlelight flickering in them, but they were far from warm at the mention of the other man's name.
"Promise you'll try to get on with him," Tonks pleaded weakly. Remus shook his head and Tonks let out a sigh of annoyance. "Why not?"
"I don't like him. I don't trust him. He's appeared into your life from nowhere…I won't lie to you Nymphadora, it worries me."
"Because you're jealous," Tonks pointed out.
"Well, yes but…he's a Death Eater."
"Remus, please! You don't know him."
"Do you?" Remus asked abruptly causing Tonks to recoil. "He's not Sirius, Tonks. Don't expect him to fill that gap. I know you will Nymphadora. I know you still feel responsible for his death, but you have to let that go. He can never be Sirius. Not for you, not for Harry and certainly not for me."
Tonks let Remus' harsh statement hang in the air. She sat back, blinking as if in a daze. Had she been seeing Regulus as Sirius? No, of course not. That would be ridiculous. Remus was right, she did still feel guilty for Sirius' death…but she wasn't foolish enough to compare him to his brother. Was she? Maybe she was.
Tonks let out a trembling sigh.
"Why can't I be enough for you?" Remus asked her. The raw emotion in his words made Tonks shiver to her core. "You don't need him, Nymphadora. You have me. You will always have me."
At this, Tonks threw herself back into the man's arms.
"I love you, you wanker," she sobbed. Remus smiled, breathing her in and holding her so tightly, knowing that he would never let her go.
"I love you, too," he whispered. And he did.
A/N: Thanks for reading, even after all these months. It means a lot. I will try to update around this time next week. In the next chapter we see Reg and Harry bond (in a non-slash way, lol!)
Thanks again and please review :)