Broken Windows

So I sit down at 9 p.m. to write chapter 12 of Defending the Light, and by 2 a.m., I've come up with this. Don't ask. My brain is crap when I'm tired.

I'm incredibly nervous about clicking the link to actually submit this story.

Nymphadora Tonks was having a very bad day. She had woken up late to find her flat somehow devoid of any hot water, done a chock-load of paperwork, investigated a false lead, fallen over thirty-some times, and to top it all off, Hogwarts had been penetrated by Death Eaters. Now Dumbledore was (dare she even think of think of it?) dead, and once again, Remus Lupin had told her that he was too dangerous for her. At least, she thought, his resolve had cracked a bit. She had thrown pride into the wind and given up all dignity, begging him to understand.

His words still haunted her: 'too old, too poor, too dangerous…'

Which brought her to her present predicament: shoving Remus into an empty classroom to have a little talk. And this time, if he still insisted on running from her, she wasn't going to keep chasing. Even now, she told herself, she wouldn't beg for him to see sense. Maybe she could impress him with her rational side or maybe he really didn't care for her at all (she felt her body tremble at the thought). But whatever happened, she was going to look him unequivocally in the eyes and say… Well, she hadn't exactly figured that out yet.

"Look, Remus… You're bleeding!" Tonks's partially planned tirade was cut short as she looked at his shirt, which was gradually going from a light russet to burgundy.

"So I am." Remus answered absentmindedly, his thoughts far from the classroom.

Tonks clenched her teeth, "That man… he hadn't even been checked out by Pomfry."

She bent down and lifted up the bottom of his shirt so she could inspect his side. There was a dirty, blood-soaked piece of cloth wrapped around his lower torso. She just stared at it for a moment before taking her wand and magically removing his shirt so as not to hurt him further.

This got Remus's attention. He gave a sort of strangled yelp and jumped backwards, bumping into a desk which he sat down on, drawing his legs up and wrapping his arms around his chest, as if trying to hide himself from her view. Tonks didn't even profess to know why. For an instant, she just looked at him; all she could see was his shoulders, but it was more than she'd ever seen before. He was built like a runner, tall and thin, too thin. Years of battling Death Eaters and months of living outdoors with feral, uncivilized werewolves had given him muscle, and despite his somewhat scrawny appearance he looked… amazing.

"Nymphadora…" how could he make such an atrocious name sound so beautiful… "What are you doing?"

"I'm preventing you from bleeding to death," she responded.

She was glad, for once, that Moody always lectured on the importance of having medical supplies on hand. Taking a small box the size of a deck of cards out of her robe pocket, she tapped her wand on it and muttered a small charm, making the box enlarge into a medical carrying case. Then she proceeded to thank Merlin she had put unbreakable charms on all the healing potion bottles, because she dropped the case the minute she opened it. Trying her best to move with precision, Tonks sat the case on another desk and poured a healing potion onto a clean cloth. She then took on the task of trying to silently coax Remus's legs down. He finally complied with a tired sigh; he had an anxious expression on his face, as if expecting something absolutely horrible to happen. Tonks couldn't help the quick intake of breath she took; even covered in blood, Remus looked stunning. Better than her dreams, which she was not going to divulge to having. No, she was not going to admit to having romantic fantasies about Remus Lupin.

She took the dirty cloth off him, then took the potion-covered cloth and started to lightly dab it onto an enormous gash on his side.

"Look… Nympha… Tonks…" Remus was speaking again, a glaze of sadness over his eyes, "Now do you see how dangerous I am? How scarred? The wound you're… working on I got last week from Greyback; it got reopened tonight. I'm playing a dangerous game, spying on the other werewolves, and I don't want you to get hurt. Most of the other scars…" his breath caught in his throat, "Most of the other scars I gave to myself on full moons. I could truly injure somebody. And I know I look… I… I look…"

"Incredibly sexy."

Tonks immediately dropped the cloth she was using and clapped her hands over her mouth. She did not just say that out loud. She. Did. Not. Just. Say. That. Out. Loud.

Tonks's face was quickly turning the color she wanted her hair to be.

"You don't find me repulsive?" Remus was gazing at her with awe combined with the look of a man trying to solve an intricate puzzle.

"Of course not," Tonks replied taking another cloth from the medical case and pouring much more potion on it than was needed before she began cleaning his wound again, "Fleur put it quite well back in the infirmary. Your scars show that you are brave. You've survived every full moon since you were a child and come out better for it. You've fought Death Eaters and seen terrible things that most people would need serious therapy after seeing and come out better for it. I know what you're thinking, you're thinking that seeing you like this makes me think you're weak. But you're not, and I can discern that. I know very well you can take care of yourself on your own, that you can survive on your own, but you don't have to! There are people in this castle that would jump at the chance of helping you."

"Like me…"

Did she say that out loud? No? Good.

Remus just stayed silent as she finished cleaning his cut, she could almost see the wheels in his head turning. She did all that she could with magic for him, and all that she could with the rest of his cuts and bruises. Some of them even healed instantly.

"McGonagal said that Dumbledore said… do you think he knew?" Remus asked her just as she started wrapping up the gash with a new, clean piece of cloth that was supposed to 'Keep Blood Bound Up!' while being as gentle as possible.

The words were suppressed with emotion, and a bit hard to understand. But Tonks knew what he was trying to say.

"He knew. I kind of… well…"

"You told Dumbledore about us?" Remus's eyes widened.

The way he said 'us' made Tonks's heart flutter.

She blushed, "I didn't mean to. I was in his office to discuss security and he just looked at me with his big, bright, twinkling eyes and asked me 'why the change in hair color?' I was upset and he said it in such a nice, comforting way that I kind of told him everything. He didn't say anything major; he just told me that I'd 'chosen a good man' and that he 'missed the pink' and then he smiled like he knew something I didn't." Her voice softened, "He really loved you, you know. And you're so like him sometimes. When you walk into a room, your presence demands respect. You're intelligent and funny... Plus, you're always so calm."

Remus gave a small laugh, which was actually more reminiscent of a strangled sob, "Not always. I threw a chair out of my window after we had that first discussion last June. There was glass everywhere."

Tonks shook her head in surprise. Apparently, she had underestimated exactly how strong he was. She tried not to think about what he could do to her with that strength, it was too distracting. She also tried not to think about last June, she had kissed him and he had pulled away, brushing her off like a bothersome fly. Hurting her more deeply than You-Know-Who ever could. She didn't blame him for breaking a window. When one door closes, you can always break a window.

As if that made any sense at all.

But now it was Remus that was hurting. Tears were flowing down his face as he muttered something about broken windows and broken men. His whole body just started shaking. It was the first time Tonks had ever seen him lose control, and then he looked at her. The look in his eyes told a story of loss and love and confusion, pouring his whole soul into hers. In that one instant, she knew his strengths, his weaknesses, and all the hopes and fears he'd not dared to impart to anyone. Tonks stepped towards him and wrapped her arms around him, slowly stroking his bare back.

When Remus had calmed down, she took a step back to give him space and stumbled; but Remus, as usual, jumped up and stopped her downward path.

"That's another thing I love about you," she smiled up at him, "You always catch me when I fall."

He just looked at her again in that, amazing, soul-piercing way and she felt something she'd never felt before. In that instant, Tonks knew she would be glad with what Remus did as long as he was happy. Even if he insisted on calling her by her first name, he made it sound more like a beautiful flower and less like a fairy-on-drugs anyway.

"I know you may not feel as deeply for me as I feel for you," she started, wanting to say what she had to say while she still had the courage, and while Remus wasn't pushing her away. "But I just want you to know that I'll be there if you want someone to talk to. I'm through begging you to give me a chance. I'd gladly give away my pride for you, but that obviously doesn't do any good. I'll keep going on with my life, but I know I'll never… I'll never…" She was not going to cry, she was not going to cry. "I'll never feel as strongly about anyone else as I have for you. I'll go through life alone. Well, not completely alone, I'll still have friends and such." Oh bollocks, a tear, "My door will always be open to you. Here, the keys to my flat."

She tossed him the key and turned to exit the room. She was way too emotional to continue an intelligent conversation.

"Nymphadora, wait!"

Her breath got caught in her throat as she turned around to face him. When she had turned the entire 180 degrees, she found he was an inch away from her chest, and that space was quickly closed as she was completely swept away in the most passionate kiss of her life. It was amorous and demanding and she melted against him. He somehow managed to turn her knees to Jell-O and she wrapped her arms around his neck, because if she didn't, she was sure she would dissolve into a puddle of mush the floor. His hands were at her waist and just skimmed the skin underneath her shirt, a small flame that set her whole body on fire. Sometime in the process of kissing he brought a hand to her face to wipe away her tears. Even though she'd gone so much farther than kissing in her lifetime, his touch aroused feelings she'd never experienced before.

When they finally came up for air, Tonks was grinning wider than she had all year.

"I'm sorry," Remus said, still looking rather misty-eyed, "I should have never done that to you, what I did last June. It's just that I don't deserve you. You deserve someone better than me. But you do deserve to be happy, that's what I want most of all, for you to be happy. But I spent this whole year making you unhappy. And if me being with you will make you happy, I'll be with you as much as I possibly can, even if I can't fathom what you see in me. And now I'm rambling and being tremendously garrulous and verbose… And… I don't know how to make it up to you."

"You could kiss me like that again." Tonks suggested with a smile, thinking up many more ways he could 'make it up' to her.

Remus smiled back at her. He really did look so much younger when he smiled, and he made her heart skip a beat while he was at it.

"How about we go out to eat first? I know some nice Muggle places that are open pretty late. Nothing lavish at all, but…"

He was cut off by her kiss, which was shorter than last time, but no less passionate.

"That sounds wonderful," she told him, her eyes sparkling.

She wished she could morph again; she wanted to look nice on her first sort-of date with Remus. But for the first time in a long while, not being able to morph didn't bother her so much. She did miss her pink hair, though. Suddenly, Remus's smile widened and her hugged her tightly.

"What is it?" she asked him.

"Your hair is pink," he told her.

He smiled, she smiled, and for that one moment everything was right with the world. After the restaurant, Tonks decided, they could head back to her flat and kiss some more, although Remus was likely to go on and on about how improper that would be. And maybe she would admit to having fantasies about Remus. Maybe…

And sometime in the near future, she would tell him she loved him. Because she did, with all her heart.

Ok, so it's not that good, but I've never written romance before. (twitches at corny pathetic ending)

Or had a romance for that matter. Besides that love affair with run-on sentences, but that doesn't count. (blushes)

Um... If you're a fan of Remus Lupin, you might like my C2, so go check it out.