Ok, this is not only my first posted fic, it's the first one I've ever written. Comments are hugely appreciated, even begged for - how'm I going to improve, otherwise? In other words, if you think it's awful, please do tell me (but, er...do it politely? pretty please?)
It's rated T, but that's just because I have no idea what I'm doing - it might only be a K, but better safe than sorry, and all that...
Disclaimer: Not my characters, never will be (don't I just wish I could write that well!) - they're all JK Rowling's and I worship her forever for getting Remus and Tonks together like that!
Still refusing to meet anyone's eyes, unwilling to stay in the hospital wing and face Tonks' glare, risk her resuming the subject of them, he murmured something unintelligible and strode quickly to the doors. Outside, alone, he pressed his forehead against the cold stone of the corridor wall and let out a deep, shuddering breath. Everything had changed, with those three simple words from Ginny - "Ron - Dumbledore's dead."
Anguished thoughts swirled through his head as, with eyes closed and hands clenched tightly into fists, he attempted to regain control of himself. How could Dumbledore have left them like that? How could he have permitted this to happen, when the whole of the wizarding world, their very future, depended on him? What hope did they have left, now that the one wizard Voldemort had ever feared, was lost?
It was no use. The magnitude of the loss, not only to the world, but also to him personally, was too great to even consider, let alone accept. Sounds from within the hospital wing roused him from his thoughts, and he forced himself to stand, to walk quickly down the corridor, to seek solitude. Unseeing, he hurried up a flight of stairs, turned left and pushed aside the moth-eaten tapestry in front of him, revealing one of the castle's numerous hidden passages. Almost mechanically he moved through the castle, trusting his memory to show him the way, until a few minutes later he found himself on a balcony overlooking the front of the grounds.
A cool wind was blowing across the grounds, causing wisps of grey-streaked hair to dance across his face, and a drop of rain fell, followed by another and another - even the elements, it seemed, were mourning Dumbledore's passing. And as if the sky's grief had loosened something inside him, his vision began to swim as the tears finally came, and he leaned helplessly against the parapet, face in his hands, and wept silently.
A quiet voice from behind him, conveying understanding and sympathy and concern. Lupin turned almost angrily, annoyed at the intrusion, but it was Tonks who had spoken, Tonks who stood before him half hidden in shadow, her expression wary but worried, and his anger melted away as quickly as it had come. He looked at the floor, embarrassment flooding through him at having been caught like this, wishing she'd turn around and leave him to his solitude, praying that she would stay, hating himself for his indecision.
"I'm sorry, Remus, I..." She stopped, cursing her inability to find the right words - what was it about the man in front of her that always left her feeling like a tongue-tied teenager? She took a hesitant step forward, and held a hand out to him. It trembled ever so slightly as she finished her sentence, "...just thought you might like some company..."
As if debating with himself, he looked silently at her outstretched hand, and with an effort she willed it to stillness. The moment stretched out, everlasting; Tonks stood frozen, terrified - would he reject her sympathy, reject her? She waited, barely daring to breathe...and finally, slowly, Lupin's hand rose to clasp hers, gently at first but then tighter, as both took comfort in the other's presence and touch. Finally he looked up, his eyes meeting hers, hiding nothing; and the pain she saw reflected there brought tears to her own eyes.
"Oh Remus..." she whispered, pulling him to her and wrapping her arms gently around him. Such desolation, such loss, such confusion - she couldn't bear to see him suffering like that! Yet how to comfort him, without driving him away? Could she put her own feelings for him aside, and just be the comforting friend he needed right now? Was this a mistake, to be here now?
But he accepted her embrace, grateful for her presence and understanding. Neither spoke as they clung together tightly, drawing support from each other's nearness as waves of grief washed over them. Time passed unawares, the rain slowed and stopped, the breeze died, but neither moved; to move would have broken the spell, brought them back to reality, to face again the memories of the night's events.
Finally, Remus drew back slightly and stared into Tonks' eyes, unsure what to do next. More to break the silence than anything, he touched her hair and spoke in a hoarse whisper, "Pink suits you, you know..." She blushed, the red of her face clashing most horribly with her hair, which had reverted to its usual pink. Emboldened by his touch, she reached out with a finger, tracing the line down his cheek where the tears had fallen; he stiffened at the touch, which was almost a caress, and she pulled her hand back instantly as if burned.
"I'm sorry, I..." she whispered again, wishing that, for once, she could do something that didn't see her repeating those two words. "I didn't mean...that is, I'll just...I should go, I..."
One simple syllable, one quietly whispered word, but it froze her as effectively as if she'd been jinxed. The edges of Remus' mouth twitched upwards in a small smile at her reaction, as he stepped forwards, pulled her gently to him, and kissed her.
Tonks' gasp of surprise never escaped her lungs - her brain had shut down, her extremities frozen into immobility, there was only the touch and scent and taste of him, kissing her as she'd always hoped he would. It was the stuff of daydreams, somehow transported into reality; she clung to him, praying that she wouldn't suddenly wake, that it wasn't a dream, that this moment would last forever.
He had intended it to be a gentle kiss, to reassure her more than anything, but as it quickly deepened and turned passionate, his doubts evaporated. This was what he wanted; this was right. Why should he deny himself, and her, this small amount of happiness when the world around them was so dark? And growing darker by the second, his mind added, but he pushed the thought away. Tomorrow was soon enough to think about what had happened - for now, there was only him, and Tonks, and the moonlight...and he was content.