A/N: Here's a fic I wrote for a Remus/Tonks ficathon, that I thought I'd share with FFN. Hope you likay!
Comfort, Encouragement and A Mother's Wisdom
"Come in Tonks, come in," Molly Weasley smiled, ushering her into the kitchen where she sat on a stool knitting with a hand gesture. Tonks noticed the maroon color of the yarn and could almost manage a smile as she wondered if it was for Ron. Ginny had once told her, laughing heartily while the family stayed at Grimmaul Place, of the long standing tradition of Mrs. Weasley obliviously giving him his most despised colored sweater.
"Who let you in dear?" Molly asked, knowing she couldn't have gotten passed the enchantments around the house by herself, auror or not.
"Fleur did," Tonks replied, taking in Molly's reaction.
"Did she remember to ask the safety question," she asked sharply, looking almost hopeful. When Tonks nodded, a dark look passed over her features and she muttered "That's surprising." Tonks raised and eyebrow, in a fashion she didn't realize until it was too late, was almost an exact imitation of Remus Lupin's eyebrow raise. She ignored the blush that rose to her cheeks.
"I know, it's terrible of me," Molly shrugged, not looking very sorry. "But if that girl was stuck underfoot all week, complaining about everything and insulting every aspect of your lifestyle, you'd be a bit…discontent too. Needless to say, dear, I'm delighted for some female company of a less…high strung sort. Though I suppose you're only here on order business?'
"Er…actually, no Molly…I'm…I'm here to talk about something…er…not…Order related," Tonks said with an awkwardness quite unlike her usual bubbly personality.
"Oh?" Molly asked, surprised and looking more interested. "What is it dear?"
"It's just…oh it's silly really," Tonks said, backing away towards the doorway slightly. "I mean, I shouldn't be bothering you with something so stupid, with all you probably have on your mind with the war and your own children and everything. I just wanted to talk to someone who wasn't my own mum," she said, very, very quickly. "though, you're a mum too, so it still might be weird, but at least you're not mine, and I thought you might know a bit about this kind of thing, but I doubt you care ab-"
"Tonks dear!" Molly said loudly, cutting off the rant that Tonks hadn't even realized she had been on. Molly looked slightly baffled, trying to understand how anyone could speak that quickly and smiled as Tonks looked embarrassed. There was a moment of silence, which ended when Molly realized Tonks would actually allow her to get a word in.
"Now, Tonks, I don't know what it is that has you so worked up, but I'd appreciate it if you let me make my own decision about whether or not I want to listen. One of the gift's of being a mother is that you not only can tolerate listening, you rather love it. Now, I don't know if I can help you, but I'll certainly try. And having years of practice makes it likely that I'll be able to figure something out."
"But really," Tonks said, again looking and feeling incredibly awkward and wishing she hadn't come at all. "I should just go. It's pointl-"
"Nonsense, love," Molly said firmly, waving her wand. Tonks leapt out of the way, stumbling as a pot of tea whizzed past her ear and onto the table beside Molly. "Sit down! Do you take sugar?"
"Er…one spoon," Tonks said awkwardly, making her way toward a rickety chair beside Molly. Molly handed her a steaming mug and smiled encouragingly.
"Oh man, I can't believe I got myself into this," Tonks said, laughing humorlessly. "One minute I feel like if I don't tell someone I'm going to start blowing up my flat for some kind of release, and the next minute I feel like if I tell anyone I'll just have to crawl under a rock for the rest of my life."
Molly laughed, and shook her head. "No wonder my children hardly ever come to me with this stuff. If it's this hard for you to tell me something, I can't imagine what it's like for them. You need to learn that it's okay to open up. Go on, love."
"Well, basically…I did something incredibly stupid and I've mucked up something really wonderful and I've gone and lost a really good…" she mumbled the rest of it into her hands, looking miserable.
"Tonks, you're going to have to speak up if you want me to help you. I promise I won't judge you, whatever it is. Out with it!"
"Okay," Tonks said, uncertainly. "Well, I suppose if I'm going to make myself look like the worlds biggest fool for the second time in a week I may as well go all out and start at the beginning. Do you… Do you remember last Christmas and Grimmauld Place? Sirius was a bit…enthusiastic," she chose, a bittersweet grin on her face, "at the thought of having so much company for the holidays?"
"Yes, I remember," Molly said, smiling as well.
"Well, I suppose this is all his fault, the old bugger. I'm sure he's having a great laugh at this, with all those hints he used to drop about…us," Tonks laughed, blinking away tears. "It was on the night you and Bill were over, and the kids were asleep, and Sirius was decorating the tree…"
Tonks remembered the night well, lazing about in the sitting room of Grimmauld Place, Molly at her knitting, while Bill read the paper and Sirius, humming Christmas songs loudly, his mood contagiously warming the entire house as he stood on a step ladder, putting up decorations, scorning anyone's suggestion he do it by magic. She had volunteered to bring in some eggnog, ignoring the wary looks the three of them gave each other. Determined to get it done without causing havoc, she bounced out of the room, managing to trip over a very large box of decorations that a blind man probably could have spotted.
She's found Remus in the kitchen, taking off his soaked boots and coat, cheeks red from the cold. After she sloshed a good portion of the eggnog over the counter, she had recruited his help, grinning as he shook his head at her. They head towards the living room, trays at hand, discussing their families' strangest Christmas traditions, trying to beat each other out. As they entered the doorway, Tonks stopped her story about drunken enchanted snowmen as she realized she couldn't move. Glancing at Remus, she saw the same confusion upon his face and they tried to move once again, only to be pushed back by the invisible force again. They stared at each other, confused beyond belief until they heard an insane cackling coming from the right.
Sirius stood on the ladder, beside the Christmas tree and was in the process of putting the star on, an act he had now abandoned for a far more interesting spectacle. Still laughing, eyes alight, he shouted "HA! So it does work! Wasn't sure it would! Looks like you two are the first victims!"
"Er…what?" Remus asked, blinking. Sirius pointed gleefully above their heads, eyebrows waggling dramatically. Groaning they both looked up slowly, knowing well what they were going to see. By now Bill had set his paper aside and was grinning towards them. Molly tried to roll her eyes but a small smile was playing at her lips. Remus eyed the mistletoe, looking uncomfortable, and tried to brush it off with his usual calm air.
"Sirius, remind me again how old you are," he said, the color on his cheeks no longer belonging to the cold.. He tried to walk through the barrier again, only to be pushed back.
"Oh, go on, Remus," Molly smiled. "It's Christmas."
Still very red, Remus moved the tray he was holding aside and planted a quick kiss on her cheek and made to move away. He stopped, or rather was stopped when the barrier pushed him back again.
"The mistletoe isn't satisfied mate, and neither am I," Sirius said, waggling a finger. "Honestly mate, I've been holed up here for months, Give us a show!" He jumped off the third step of the ladder and bounded over to them taking the trays out of their hands, allowing them room for creativity.
Tonks, feeling the excessive Christmas spirit of the house gave a shrug and without a hint of embarrassment flung her arms around Remus's neck, forcing them to bend into a very dramatic dip. Once they were in position with his arms rather unwillingly wrapped around her back to keep her from falling, she pressed her mouth forcefully against his and their lips began their work. Well, hers did, at least. Remus was a little too shocked to respond at first, but when he did, it was Tonks's turn to be shocked. As she felt his lips tentatively start to move gently and cautiously, she felt a wave of dizziness was over her. She hadn't put much thought into the action, and had intended a dramatic, over the top and showy kiss, and nothing else. A meaningless show to give her cousin a laugh.
She hadn't expected to feel such an amazing tingle of electricity run through her, or feel such incredible warmth because of his tenderness. The gentleness and softness of his lips against hers caused her to relax and mimic his pattern, and the feeling was intoxicating. They couldn't have been kissing for as long as it seemed, for she didn't think she could even remember a moment before they had started, but when they broke away it was still all too soon. Before she knew it, they had pulled apart, with Remus looking flustered and embarrassed., a nervous smile on his face.
As Bill and Sirius wolf whistled wildly and Tonks headed shakily towards her seat, she realized that she, who was never affected by things like this, was probably more dazed and flustered than Remus. As they sat in their separate chairs, avoiding the other's eyes, they were silent. Remus, who was never overly talkative, was quiet for the rest of the night, and no one thought much of it. She felt curious eyes upon her though, for it was unlike her to stay quiet for longer that five minutes at a time, and there was no explanation for her silence.
At least no explanation she was willing to give. She was hardly going to tell the entire room that thoughts of Remus were flying around her head like pin balls, ricocheting off each other wildly as the feelings of being in his arms flashed through her mind. Suddenly, she found herself reliving all the moments she'd spent with him over the past months, seeing them in a new light. Suddenly all the kindness and good nature that he had shown seemed to be screaming in her mind, more apparent than they'd ever been, meaning more than they ever had.
She'd liked Remus from the moment she'd met him, of course. He just had one of those personalities that managed to shine through even through the awkwardness of meeting a new person. They'd been on duty together loads of times, and the days they had time to keep Sirius company often coincided and she'd seen his wise and calm manners at work, and was pleasantly surprised during the moments where his amusing sense of humor could be seen too. His patience and control in dealing with situations from Order Meetings to Sirius's long angry rants and threats to go visit Harry was something she deeply admired. By Christmas, she had already considered him a very good friend, and he made her feel comfortable so easily. But she could honestly say she hadn't thought about him in that way.
At least, she hadn't realized that she might have been. She knew there must have been some thoughts of it, buried under a surface she refused to dig beneath. But like a ticking time bomb, it seemed as though there only needed to be a slight spark for the explosion to occur. As the feelings burst from beneath the ground she didn't even try to fight them. She knew she should, because clearly the idea of the two of them, together, was absolutely mad, but she had just received the most amazing kiss of her life, and by the time she could muster up the will power to stop thinking about him, it was too late. There was no going back, no pretending she hadn't fallen hard.
After a few days the awkwardness between them subsided, only arising briefly again whenever Sirius wormed the word mistletoe into the conversation, putting such emphasis on it seemed his face would explode with the effort. Remus, being the reserved man he was, avoided her eyes for a few days, and she couldn't blame him. She must have seemed mad, grabbing him like that. But she was Tonks, and she was impulsive so it seemed he had finally shrugged it off as her spunky personality and quickly returned to normal, engaging her in conversation about New Year's family traditions, which were not nearly as strange as some of the Christmas one's they had discussed, but amusing nonetheless.
Tonks was glad, in a way, that things went back to normal so quickly, that he could still laugh with her and give her words of encouragement when she trudged into Grimmauld Place looking exhausted after working shifts for both the Ministry and the Order. But now, though she was able to act normal and cheery on the outside, each random touch of her arm or kind smile he batted her way caused her heart to thump in her chest and her stomach to flip in ways she'd never known possible.
When Tonks finished reliving a much less detailed and pathetic-sounding version of this tale, looking horribly embarrassed Molly was grinning at her widely.
"Well, I always thought things seemed different between the two of you since then. I don't think I ever saw you so quiet. It was incredibly sweet, though I think you might have shocked a few years off the poor dear's life," Molly laughed, but stopped suddenly when Tonks opened her mouth in horror and buried her face in her hands. "What is it? What's wrong," she gasped, shocked at Tonks's reaction.
"Oh, God. Sorry Molly. It's just…when I was telling you all that I sort of…forgot to think about the rest of the story I'm meant to tell you…" Tonks moaned, looking slightly terrified. "I mean…there's more to it than just…realizing how I felt about him…"
Molly nodded encouragingly, not speaking, which forced Tonks to continue.
"Well, you see, for months after that, I never said anything to him about…that…and we just went on as friends, and we definitely got closer as time went on. I mean, we had guard duty a lot and we were always visiting Sirius so he wouldn't go mad, and it was just so nice being his friend. I've had loads of really good friends before…but Remus…he's different. He just makes you feel so safe, without even having to do anything big. He just makes you feel better, just by smiling or talking, you know?"
"Yes, he's a lovely man. He was always so good about Percy, whenever I got upset. I can't blame you for falling for him. You could do a lot worse," Molly said, raising her eyebrows and grinning, hoping her support would relax Tonks a bit, for the poor girl was still on the edge of her seat, looking as though every word pained her to say. To her horror, Tonks's eyes filled with tears and she quickly turned away and wiped at them furiously. "Oh dear, love? What on earth happened between the pair of you?"
"I'm getting there," Tonks sighed. "Slowly and painfully, but I'm getting there. I guess the turning point is probably after the…the Department of Mysteries. When I woke up in St. Mungo's Remus was right there beside my bed, and he…he was the one who told me about Sirius," she choked out. "I can't pretend to have been as close to Sirius as he was, but I really loved the guy, mood swings and all. I know I only knew him well for a year…but I was probably closest to him after Remus and Harry.
"Remus came to visit every day in the hospital, and it was such a comfort to have him there, but I suppose if maybe he hadn't come every day, or if he didn't bring Fizzing Wizzbees for me every time, maybe I wouldn't have started to think he might…God, I'm such an idiot, Molly. But I mean, they're my favorite and I know I was never exactly quiet about it, but still, he remembered, even with everything that was going on and he was always making sure I had enough pillows and that I was eating that rank food they served and…" Tonks broke off, a look of self disgust on her face, and Molly looked sympathetic. She had inferred, despite Tonks's failure to actually say what had happened, that things hadn't gone well between them, but how they actually got there, Molly could not figure out, and so she urged Tonks on with a soft squeeze of her hand.
"It was on the last night at Grimmauld Place…"
Tonks shook her head in disbelief as she tripped over the umbrella stand for the millionth time, bitterly wondering why the dreadful place had to make sure it sent her home bruised even on her final stay in the dank house. She looked around the hallway as she made her way towards the living room, glaring at disgust at the house elf heads that lined the corridor, a wave of sadness crashing over her as she thought of her cousin and his miserable final year. When she entered the sitting room, Remus looked up at her, tears in his eyes, but a small smile on his lips.
"I thought for a second Bellatrix might have decided to crash in a bit early, but then I heard the actual crash and I realized I was in for some slightly more pleasant company," he said, looking at her out of those grey eyes, filled with tears that she wanted to wish away. "You didn't injure yourself this time, did you?" Ignoring the increase of her heartbeat, she feigned offense.
"Excuse me? Slightly more pleasant? Well, I don't know who it is that ranks much more pleasant than a vicious Death Eater in your book, but I'd quite like to meet this person.," she laughed. "I…wasn't expecting you to be here…"
"Yeah, well, Dumbledore's not letting us stay here after tomorrow, so I thought I'd spend one last night here, for Sir…for Sirius," Remus said, voice cracking.
"I was planning on doing the same," she smiled sadly. "Though I'm sure he'd be disgusted with us for wanting to stay in this dreadful place."
"I'm sure he would," Remus said, patting the couch beside him. "He complained more than enough when you'd come to visit him, asking what you were 'doing in a dung-hole like this when you had the freedom to go anywhere'," Remus laughed, "but of course he was only fishing for compliments. He loved nothing more than to hear you say 'Oh, stuff it cousin, I don't mind being here if it means downing a few glasses of whiskey with you and hearing about your mad adventures-"
"Hey! I do not sound like that," Tonks scoffed, smiling at his imitation of her voice, despite the lump in her throat.
"I suppose you don't," Remus laughed. "But I thought I'd give it a shot anyway."
Tonks paused momentarily in the kitchen of the Burrow, partially because she was saddened once again at remembering her cousin, but also because she was getting towards the part of the story that would be hardest to tell anyone, even Molly.
"We sat beside each other for hours, sometimes talking about…him and sometimes trying to completely avoid talking about him at all, and sometimes just not talking at all, and then there was this moment that got us both exceptionally upset and we…well we just turned to each other and started to lean in for a hug, but instead of just letting my cheek go past his…I…I kissed him. I actually kissed him, and it wasn't because of some stupid mistletoe…so I had no excuse for doing it…And there was this period of about 5 seconds where I actually thought he might…you know…not mind…I think he might have been, you know, kissing back…but then he pulled away and-" Tonks said, taking a large gulp of tea, and making sure she was looking anywhere but into Molly's eyes. And she went back into her memory…
She was looking into the eyes of a completely shocked Remus Lupin,
"I…er…well, that wasn't quite the way I imagined telling you, if I ever got the guts…but…er…there you have it…"Tonks said, biting her lip nervously, a small smile on her face, that quickly faded when she saw that Remus, who always returned her smiles, even if he was feeling like hell after a transformation or a long night was simply staring at her, open mouthed. And it was not the good kind of open mouthed-ness one has when they're overjoyed that someone seems to be feeling the same way, Tonks realized, looking horror struck. She wanted to run screaming from the room, face in her hands, but she'd made it this far…she'd taken the plunge and she had to see what he would say in response…
"Listen, Tonks…you…you're upset," he said gently, moving to the far end of the couch. "You're not thinking cleary…"
Say he's right! Agree! Say it was mistake!"Well," she laughed shakily eyes cast downward. "If that's the case , then I haven't been thinking clearly for the past six months at least because that's how long I've liked-"
"Don't," Remus said, with a sharpness that was so rare that Tonks looked up. "Don't say something you're going to regret, Tonks."
There's still time to take it back! Look, he's not confessing back, he obviously doesn't want- "Well, it's already mostly out anyway, Remus. I might as well keep going. All year, you've been so good to me, and it's been so nice, being on guard duty together and just being around Sirius and chatting and having someone to really talk to and we get along so great and it's no wonder really that I've started to feel things for you," Tonks said, extremely fast. "I know you probably think I'm mad, springing this on you like this, but I really, really-"
"Tonks, you don't know what you're saying," Remus said, looking as though he couldn't believe what he was hearing. "I don't know what you're expecting to come out of this. You might have…a bit of…a bit of a crush, but y-"
"Don't say it like, Remus," Tonks said, hurt. "Don't use that stupid professor voice to try and make what I'm telling you more trivial than it is. I…I wasn't planning on telling you anything…I got carried away, but that doesn't mean my feelings are any less-"
"Stop it, Nymphadora," Remus said. "Just stop. You can't…we can't…you're talking nonsen-"
"Remus," Tonks said softly, blinking away tears. "Please. Don't brush what I'm trying to say off. You don't like me the way I like you, and that's fine. I wouldn't expect you to, really. But just because you don't…feel the same way doesn't mean you have to use words like 'crush' to make it seem less real. I'm not some stupid teenager who doesn't understand her own feelings. I do like you. A lot. I understand that you don't…I'm not asking you to feel any…I just had to get it off my chest. Anyway, I'm sorry. I just…I'll go…" Tonks trailed off muttering things like "fool" and "idiot" as she made to get up.
"No, Nymphadora, it's not like that," Remus said gently. "Don't…don't feel bad about yourself because of this. You must understand that we just can't-"
"Remus, please. You don't have to make excuses. I just thought…there might have been a chance…stupid really…all the sweets in the hospital…God, how I made auror with my judgment I'll never understand," she said, forcing laugher, her face on fire.
"Please. Don't be upset, Tonks. You must know that there can't possibly be anything between us, for obvious reasons," Remus said, his expression a strange mixture of concern and discomfort.
"Yeah," she said, trying to brush it off, trying to pretend she wasn't feeling as though she were about to be sick. You can't expect him to feel what he just doesn't, you fool. Stop making him feel guilty for what he can't help. "I know. I know I'm not…right for you. Well, the whole unrequited love thing, I'd rather not do it…so I'll just try to you know…pretend this never happened and go back to being friends. You don't have to feel bad, Remus. It's fine, really." You idiot, you had to go and use the word love, didn't you? Muck things up even worse.
"Really, Tonks, that's not it. It's not that I don't…. You're a wonderful woman," he said, and if she hadn't been hating herself so much right then she might have picked up on the sincerity in his tone. "Any man would be lucky to have you. It's because I care about you so much that I can't let you do this to yourself."
"What?" she asked, the weight in her stomach lightening slightly as she considered his words. "Are you saying…are you saying you do like-"
"What I'm saying is that it doesn't matter how I feel. I can't be with you," Remus said, pain in his grey eyes.
"What do you mean? Remus, you don't have to pretend if you don't, really, but if you do…feel the same, then we have to give this a shot. I mean, we're nearly there already when you think about it, aside from the…physical stuff" she said, smiling slightly, slightly encouraged by the fact that he had not yet actually said he didn't like her…maybe even lo- she snapped herself out of it quickly, refusing to get her hopes up only to be beaten down again.
At her suggestion that they were nearly there already, Remus looked horrified, as if he really had been oblivious to their growing closeness over the last few months. "Tonks, we can't. I can't let you do this to yourself. You don't want to get into a relationship with someone like me-"
"I think I know better than you what I want, Remus," Tonks said, slightly angry. She thought she saw something like…happiness or hope cross his features. By the time she realized what it might have been though, the stubborn, determined expression had returned and he was speaking again in that exasperated tone.
"No you don't Tonks. We've been together a lot this year, and it's been…it's been wonderful," he admitted with self disgust, as though admitting to some evil crime. "But…if a more serious relationship were to develop, it would quickly lose that quality, at least for you Tonks. You know my situation. I haven't got a thing to offer you-"
"What is it that you think I want, Remus," Tonks asked, not wanting to believe what he seemed to be suggesting. "If it's anything other than just being there for me, being someone to talk to and come home to and…well…I suppose that other stuff," she blushed, "then you're grossly mistaken. I just want…you." Her eyes were closed in fear as she dug herself deeper into confession, lessening her chance of ever going back.
"You might think that now," Remus said, pained. "but you'll realize, eventually, after you've wasted months or years of your life…that you do want things I can't offer you. You're young, too young, I might add, and you have this belief that all you need it love-"
"It's true," she cried, feeling foolish, but believing it with every part of her.
"It's not. You're optimistic, Tonks, and you think it is. But I haven't even got a job. I haven't got a house. You need someone your own age, who isn't restricted by stupid laws, that can offer you what you deserve."
"Remus, listen," she said, looking incredulous at his words. "I really don't care about that stuff. I never have, and I never will. I'm not that young you know, and this past year has aged me a lot more than most people of this age. I'm not going to suddenly become a materialistic gold digger in a year or two and decide I want someone else! I make more than enough money to get by, and I don't even have the benefits I'll get with seniority yet. Soon enough I'll have them and I'll be even better off. I don't need your money.
"I just want to be able to give you more than a hug or a handshake when we have to go off and fight the war. I want to be able to talk to you and not have to leave to go home at three in the morning when we realized we've been talking for far too long. I want my home to be yours so I won't have to leave," Tonks stopped for breath, and forced herself to look at him, despite her desire to cut off her own tongue so she couldn't babble anymore. Remus sighed and shook his head.
"Stop," he said with a simplicity and firmness that made the sinking feeling go back into her stomach. "I can't listen to this. I can't let myself do this to you. I'm a bloody werewolf. You'll never be safe with me and I'd be completely disrespecting you if I let you get yourself into this. We can't be together, and that's it."
"Oh, Bollocks, Remus," she snarled, a harshness in her voice that she usually saved for when she was doing her job and rounding up criminals. "Don't even dare to throw that one at me! You know fine well that I don't care about that, that I haven't from day one. If you're going to give me lame excuses rather than just saying you don't like me back, then…well…fine. Right. Okay. Right. Fine. Right" she said, aware that she might sound a bit mad, breathing hard and trying to calm herself, trying to get the passion out of her voice and keep the tears from her eyes before continuing with what she had to say.
"I realize that you just don't feel the same way. It's fine, and it would be unfair of me to expect you too. But just don't go making up excuses to avoid hurting me, because the fact that you're using your… condition to convince me that it couldn't work is so much more hurtful. If you actually think that would work on me, you obviously don't know me at all. I would think months of seeing me nearly every day of the week would show you I'm not that kind of person. I thought you knew that,."
Tonks stood up too leave, realizing she hadn't kept the emotion from her voice. That she had sounded like a hurt, huffy child. No wonder he didn't want her. She was pathetic.
"Tonks," Remus said, grabbing her hand to pull her down. She noticed as soon as she was sitting down again he dropped it like hot coal. "I'm really not just saying this. I wouldn't lie to you. My reasons are solid. I'm sorry…I…I should go," he said, and stood up.
At his suggestion, a wave of fury that wasn't even related to the discussion crashed over Tonks. She jumped to her feet, eyes wild.
"No way, Remus. You're not leaving. I'm the one who put you in this situation, and no way are you leaving your best mates house on it's last night on my account. I'll go, if you don't want be in the same house as me. I'm not taking away that privilege."
"No, Tonks, you wanted to stay here as well! You shouldn't have to miss out. He was your cousin," Remus said.
"You knew him for over 20 years, I've known him for one. I'm not taking away your right as his best mate. I'm leaving, and I'm sorry put you in this situation. Next time I see you, we'll just pretend this never happened, right," she said, though they both knew that could never happen. "I mean, if you don't like me, that's fine. We can at least go back to being friends. We were good at that."
"Tonks, once again, it's not a matter of not lik-" Remus started, but that was all she heard before she apparated back to her flat, which now seemed more lonely than the gigantic, mostly empty House of Black.
"Well, there you have it," Tonks finished, trying to laugh. "Old Tonks was not satisfied mucking up everything in sight by tripping over it, she had to go and destroy anything emotional as well. I'm an idiot."
"Oh yes," Molly said, with rare sarcasm. "You felt something for someone, you put your heart on the line and you told them. Definitely stupid if I ever saw it. Or maybe brave and admirable though, I don't know. Hard choice"
"Well, when the other person doesn't love you back, and it destroys one of the best friendships you've ever had, I think it's safe to say it falls under stupid," Tonks muttered bitterly.
"What's all this about him not loving you back?" Molly asked, eye brow raised.
"Molly, I told you nearly everything he said. You know he doesn't. Don't try and save my feelings, I've accepted it by now."
"Yes, you did tell me what was said, and my understanding has always been that he does love you, very much. Unless you left something out?"
"Well…no, but Molly, it's obvious! I mean, all those shite…er…I mean garbage excuses about being poor and a werewolf? Obviously I knew that as I was falling for him, and could have stopped myself if it mattered at all. He just doesn't like me, and was just being Remus-y and trying to phrase it so he wouldn't hurt me."
"Well, that's one woman's interpretation of it. And here's another's; Remus Lupin is a good, smart, gentle and caring man. He's impossible not to like immediately and he's sweet, kind and wonderful. But he has no idea. His greatest fault, I realized almost right away, is that he hasn't a shred of self confidence and he only sees his flaws, never his good qualities, though they far outshine the bad. I'll be damned if he didn't mean every word he said about being too dangerous and old and poor-"
"But I don't care if he hasn't got any money! That's not what's important-"
"Dear, you're preaching to the converted," Molly smiled, gesturing too the paint that was peeling off the wall. "I've been with Arthur for years and…I'm sure you know we're not the most well off family in the world, but we always scrape by. I haven't lost the belief that love is worth more than gold after 30 year's of being with my fool of a husband and I doubt it'll kick in anytime soon. And I'm a fair bit older than you," she smiled.
"Exactly! You're happy! You don't care about money! You know what's important! If he's so smart, then why the bloody hell is he being so stupid…unless he really doesn't-"
"Hey! I'll have none of that. I would bet everything I own on Remus believing every word he said to you that night. I'm sure he really believes he really doesn't deserve you, Tonks. But I'd bet everything I own and more that he does love you. He adores the ground you walk on, love. Honestly, the way he looks at you…if anything, his feelings have been a lot more obvious than yours."
"They…they have?" Tonks asked, a glimmer of hope mixed with disbelief.
"Tonks. You always get along with everyone. You make an effort to chat to just about anyone, though none so more than Remus, I suppose," she grinned. "But Remus, while kind to everyone he meets, has never seemed as attached to anyone as he is to you. Well, besides Sirius of course, but I never saw him hesitate awkwardly before going up to Sirius, looking nervous and excited all at once. I can't say that about him when he was about to talk to you, dear"
When Tonks gave a small smile, she took this as encouragement that she could in fact, cheer the poor dear up, and continued.
"Though, that died down a bit as you got more comfortable with each other and became better friends. Then he simply looked as if he were in heaven while the pair of you chatted away. After Sirius would make a comment about you, the nervousness would come back again briefly. Anyway, as you got closer, I noticed that look in his eyes that was only for you. You can't miss it, when you're a mum. He loves you, Tonks, more than you can imagine. I know that look, I've raised six boys, though I must say, I've never seen them look that intensely at a woman before. Remus, is just scared, I'm sure, for both of you."
"Both of us?"
"He's afraid of hurting you and seeing you settle for less than he thinks you deserve, but I know he's also afraid for himself. He's lost so many people, the poor dear, and his life hasn't exactly been happy. You're a smart, nice girl, and you know what's important. But not every woman would be able to see past some of his problems and enjoy the goodness. Perhaps he's been hurt before. I'm sure he thinks one day, if he lets this happen, you'll wake up and realize you really do need a big house, and a young man who doesn't have any baggage and you'll leave him just as he starts to feel comfortable. He never thinks he's worthy, you know."
"But he IS," Tonks cried!
"I know that. And so do you. But Remus doesn't. But don't worry love, just be patient…and forceful, if it need be, and he'll have to see in time what you're willing to risk for him. He's stubborn, but I'm sure you can be more stubborn. And now that you have assurance that he does love you-"
"But what if you're wrong, Molly? I mean, what if he really just doesn't like me the way I like him and I completely drive him away by being a petulant child?"
"Tonks, I am not wrong," Molly said. "That might sound arrogant, but as a mother I have that right. I've observed too much male behavior in my life to miss the way Remus acts around you. Right now though, his main concern is protect you from himself, because he really believes he'll make you miserable in the end. All you have to do is hold strong and force him to see that you're not going anywhere," Molly said kindly.
'Now dear, have you seen him since then?"
"Well…yes, I mean there were two order meetings, but he purposely sat at the far end of the table and didn't look at me once and he just fled when they were over, trying to get away from me. Which is why I think he really just doesn't-"
"Tonks, you're feeling low on self confidence and that's stopping you from seeing the obvious. He's avoiding you because he feels the same way, and he doesn't trust himself to stand his ground if you go through the argument again. He's being ridiculous, I know, and I don't know how long you'll have to wait for him to cave. I believe he's going to be very tough about this. Are you willing to wait for him to come to his senses, love?"
"Yes," Tonks said simply, with finality and resolve. Then, with a sigh she muttered, "though I don't know if it will do any good." She felt the wave of doubt wash over her again, despite the fact that she had faith in Molly's judgment where she had none in her own.
"Well, love, if you'd like…I've invited Remus over for dinner on Sunday and you're welcome to-"
"No," Tonks said quickly, and then flushed, hoping she didn't sound rude. "I…I think I need a bit more time…you know. To work up the courage to try again. I still can't help thinking he just said those things as an excuse not to hurt my feel-"
Tonks and Molly both fell silent as they heard the gate outside creak open. They stood up quickly and Molly gasped, "Who on earth is that?"
Tonks checked her pocket for her wand instinctively, and when Dumbledore and Harry entered the kitchen behind Molly, she felt a wave of embarrassment wash over her, feeling as though they knew exactly why she was there and how she had just poured her heart out pathetically for a good hour at least, to a woman who probably had much better things to do.
After a quick greeting where she smiled up at them with great effort, she got up to leave, and once again declined Molly's offer to join them for dinner over the weekend. She knew that one day, one day soon, she would get up the nerve to return to him with fresh resolve and force him to see himself through her eyes, for she saw him as a man with kindness and goodness that was rarely seen except for in fairy tales, a man who had completely unintentionally stolen her heart and pulled her in. He still believed he was nothing, that he was the monster he fought against, that he was unworthy. She would make him see past it. One day. But definitely not this Sunday. With a sigh, she returned to her flat, more empty and lonely than the dark Grimmauld Place.
A/N: I'm considering making this multi chaptered, with Molly trying to talk sense into Remus and have some Remus Tonks interaction! Please review! Tell me if you like it, if you want more, and DETAILS ARE GOOD!