Remus Lupin moved around the flat feeling rather uncomfortable as he made his way toward the fire to put it out. He still felt odd being under a roof in a warm room after so long and the fact that it wasn't even his home made him feel even more awkward even though there was no one there. He had stopped at the Weasley's home to deliver his report, and Molly had suckered him in to staying for dinner. He had tried to resist, knowing that his absence from the pack might receive some suspicion even though he had been with them for a while now and they weren'twatching him as closely.
His other reason for not wanting to stay was that didn't want to be there long enough to allow Molly time to meddle in his love life, or lack thereof. She had dropped some rather heavy hints about how angry she was at him, though they hadn't gotten into a full out discussion since the night before he left. She had played dirty though, lifting the steaming pot of her famous stew, teasing his senses and weakening him to the point where he agreed to stay.
After dinner, Molly had gone on about how thin he had become and started insisting he get a good night's sleep on a real mattress, rather than going back to the pack. Bill and Fleur had overheard her attempts to convince him and had offered him their flat for the night, for they were planning on staying late at the Burrow and just spending the night. He had tried to insist on going back, but he eventually caved, for the thought of a warm, soft bed was too difficult to pass up.
He was just about to put the fire out, when a loud, thunderous pounding was heard at the front door. He froze, panicking, and wondered if it was Death Eaters hoping to take out some Order members. It was well known that the Weasleys, or at least most of them, stuck by Dumbledore above all others, and even though Bill, as far as Remus knew, wasn't doing anything particularly dangerous, he wouldn't put it past them to try and scare people out of the Order. He drew his wand quickly, but made no sound to acknowledge being inside, hoping it was just a neighbor who was annoyed about something minor. He began sweating, his pulse going quickly as the pounding continued, the door rattling on its' hinges as fists pounded it. When he heard the voice on the other side, however, his panic changed to a different kind, but did not lessen at all.
"REMUS JOHN LUPIN! IF YOU DON'T OPEN THIS BLOODY DOOR IN FIVE SECONDS I WILL BLAST IT APART SO BADLY THAT YOU WON'T GET THE SHARDS OF DEBRIS OUT OF YOUR SKIN FOR A WEEK! I'LL MAKE SURE OF IT! LUPIN! THE DOOR! OPEN IT NOW!"
Though he had never heard such a fury in Nymphadora Tonks's voice, there was no doubt in his mind that it was her. The number of nights he had listened to a much less angry version of it talking about the trouble she'd caused with her clumsiness at work, or recounting a detention she'd done back at school were far too many to count. Her voice was ingrained in his mind so that he only had to here a syllable to know it was her. Shaken at the thought of having to talk to her after weeks of not seeing her, he shouted, in a voice higher than he intended,
"All right, I'm coming!"
He opened the locks and took off the protective charms quickly, and pulled the door out with a creak. Standing there, looking about 3 feet taller than she really was with her towering rage was a brown haired Tonks. Without any sign of acknowledgement, she pushed past him, stormed in and stood by the couch, shaking with rage. He turned nervously and walked towards her.
"SO," she growled, looking at him through narrowed eyes but venturing no more words. By the look on her face, he guessed he was supposed to know exactly what was on her mind. He hadn't seen her in about 6 or 7 weeks. Not since the last Order meeting before he left for the underground. Of course, even then she hadn't quite looked like her usual bubbly self, what with Sirius's death, her stupid guilt over it, losing sleep and and being under considerable stress at work. Not to mention the fact that he was forced to make her feel like an idiot, and as much as he wanted to think that wasn't affecting her, that she was past it, he knew it was a fool's hope.
She had been having trouble with her morph, and though he felt she looked just as beautiful in her true form as in any morph, the sadness she carried even then took its' toll on her. But now, after not having seen her for so long, she looked even worse, with bags under her eyes, her mousy hair looking limper than ever and her once sparkling eyes were clouded over. Still, even though she looked her worst and was wearing a look that could turn milk sour, his insides were going funny at the sight of her. Fighting the urge to just stare at her forever, he decided to press her to find out why she was there.
"Er…Hello…Tonks. Are you, um, looking for Bill or Fleur?" he asked, knowing it was a pointless question, as she had pounded on the door wildly, shouting HIS name. She was looking for him, but for what reason, he wasn't quite sure. Unless she had changed as drastically as her appearance though, she wouldn't waste any time in explaining her fury. Tonks never kept what she was thinking inside for too long, and it was one of the things that made him fall in love with her. But right now, he thoroughly wished she would just head out the door again.
"Don't be an idiot," she snapped, eyes wild. "Now are you going to tell me what the hell your problem is? Is it possible, with your busy, busy schedule to spare a moment to tell me what in God's name is wrong with you? Of course, I'll understand if you can't find the time being so high and might-"
"Tonks-what?"Remus asked, shocked at how scathingly she spoke, and how utterly disgusted she looked, but she completely ignored his interruption and continued on.
"I know I'm not worth a simple explanation or a bloody goodbye and I'm total scum, but I want to know-"
"Tonks! Calm down! What are you talking about?" Remus asked, though he felt he knew too well what had her upset. Molly had dropped more than a few angry hints about his 'despicable behavior' the few times he saw her and they had indicated that Tonks wasn't happy with him either.
"NO I WILL NOT CALM DOWN," Tonks said loudly, though she did seem to relax slightly without realizing it. Breathing heavily, she sat down on the couch, still glaring at him. He half expected smoke to come out her ears. "I think I have a right to be a little less than spiffy after the way you've treated me Remus! Of course, maybe I'm just mad! Maybe that's the way all friends treat each other! It hasn't been my experience in the past, but hey I've been wrong about a lot of things. Perhaps treating people who care about you like dirt is a way of expressing friendship?"
"Tonks, I'm sorry," he said weakly, guilt seeping in as he allowed himself to think of how hurt he would be if she went off on a life endangering mission without bothering to tell him. With a pained look, he tried to explain, "I know I've er…avoided you a bit since that night at Grimmauld place. But surely you understand that I had to keep my distance-"
"NO I EFFING DON'T UNDERSTAND, YOU…YOU…STUPID…I don't even know what to call you Remus. I don't know what the hell I even bloody see in you! You clearly haven't got an ounce of respect for me, Remus. You obviously don't know me at all, and I don't know you either, because I thought you were the kind of man who cared about his friends more than anything. I was wrong about that."
"As soon as one of them makes a stupid mistake and admits to something you're not able to deal with, you drop them like hot coal and go off to a place where the danger of having your throat ripped out as soon as they realize you're a spy lingers every day, with out even a good bye! Remus I just can't believe you. I can't believe you would just go off to your death without having the common decency to say goodbye to the person who cares about you more than anyone in the world."
"Tonks, it's not like tha-"
"Remus don't bullshit! It doesn't suit you. You went off, and that's all there is to it. You can't change that or make it seem less severe by acting all professory!" she snapped. "I did something stupid. I told you I loved you and I thought there was a chance you could feel the same way. You didn't. I was wrong. Whatever. I was willing to accept it an move on. I thought you would be man enough to forgive my forwardness and just try to treat me like you always did.
"And that would include telling me when you were going off to a place where you could be killed in a heartbeat. Remus, I thought you knew me well enough to understand me. I thought I made it obvious that I valued your friendship above everything else. Whatever I feel about you romantically, you were my friend first, and a greater friend than I could ever have imagined having when I joined up. You made me feel safe and warm and wonderful and happy and intelligent and like less of a klutz, and that meant the world to me. And I thought that maybe I meant something to you too, even if it wasn't anything more than friendship. But now I see that there was nothing there. At all."
"Tonks, that's not true, "Remus said, looking scandalized at her suggestion as he tried to get a word in, "You were the most amazing frien-"
"Remus, don't. Don't try to spare me, or make yourself seem like less of an…an asshole," she said, and her sympathy flickered through her anger briefly as she saw the wounded look on his face. "Sorry, but it's true. There was nothing there. If there was, you would have been willing to put aside the awkwardness for five minutes and take the time to tell me where you were going and how you were going to risk your bloody life for the Order. You would have used your stupid calming voice and told me it was perfectly safe, even though I wouldn't believe you and I'd worry anyway. But at least I'd know.
"I wouldn't have been told by a reluctant Arthur Weasley after not seeing you at three meetings and having to force him to break it to me. If you just told me I'd have given you a hug and made you promise to be careful and I wouldn't have to deal with the realization that my mistake was a lot bigger than I even imagined. If our friendship meant anything, you would have told me. That's what you would have done if I hadn't gone and acted like a desperate contestant on a Wizrding Wireless Network talk show. That's what you should have done anyway, Remus, even though I did make things horrible between us. You could have at least had the guts to try.
"Remus, you must have known that above all I value our friendship. Couldn't you have just forgot about my stupidity for one second to tell me what you were doing? To stop me from waking up every morning wanting to be sick, losing sleep over worrying about you, and feeling like scum because of the fact that after a year of me considering you the person I could count on above all others I came to the realization that I wasn't even worth five minutes of your time," Tonks said, the furious anger that had been present for so long faded towards the end of her speech, as her eyes filled up with tears and she looked away, her eyes filled with a hurt Remus had never known he could inflict.
He was dumbstruck. He knew, as he went off on the mission that Tonks would be a little upset that he hadn't told her, but he hadn't expected this. He cursed inwardly. He had always prided himself on being understanding and gentle and able to comfort people when they were upset, and here he was, the reason for this beautiful young woman looking so much smaller and more vulnerable than she was, shoulders shaking silently as she turned her back turned to him, hopelessness radiating from her.
No.That wasn't the way it was supposed to be. She was supposed to give off feelings of spunkiness and optimism and youth. For the first year he had known her, she had constantly made him feel young and alive, even as his hair turned grey and his bones ached. And now, here she was looking lost and afraid and angry, and making him feel years older as he fought urges to hug her close and bring back that person.
How could he have been so stupid? Just because he was afraid he wouldn't be able to stay strong if they got into a discussion about their feelings again, he had gone a disrespected the best friendship he had left in the world, treating something that powerful like a spoiled child playing a chess game, throwing the board aside as soon as things got too difficult. Just because he was afraid, because he didn't think he could fight his feelings for much longer, he'd been selfish and horrible and had caused her such pain.
Tossing aside the fear, he decided to think about her for a change, to comfort her while forcing himself to stay strong. It didn't matter if the physical contact made things harder. He had to try. Slowly, he reached to put a hand on her shoulder, but she jerked away fiercely. He couldn't blame her. How was he going to explain his reasons for hurting her like this? What could he say? No excuse would be good enough. Buying for time, he looked around the room.
His eyes fell on her bag, which had been thrown unceremoniously to the floor so that its contents spilled out. Several newspaper clippings, with the ink splotched in certain places by what he was sure were tears were scattered across the floor. Reaching down he picked a few up, looking at the headlines, noticing that many of them seemed quite old. 'Werewolf Packs Come Into the Open, Two Dead, Six Infected," "Lycanthrope in Muggle Flat Mauled, Greyback Suspected," and "Creature's Rights Activist Slaughtered While Attempting to Help Underground Werewolf Pack" were a few of the titles.
Tonks looked around slowly and when she saw him looking at her collection of articles, snatched the clippings out of his hands, tear filled eyes glaring at him again, "I don't need you to see how much of a wreck I was, thank you very much. I've shown that far too much already. I'm mad really, aren't I, losing sleep over someone who doesn't give a rat's arse about me? "
"Tonks, please. You have to understand how sorry I am. You're right. I was an idiot. I didn't think! I didn't realize how hurt you would be. I should have told you about it, to convince you that there's nothing to worry about. Worry about taking care of yourself. I'm being very caref-"
"Remus, don't even try! Maybe if you did the whole 'Don't worry, it's perfectly safe' routine before you went off to live with the bastard who made you what you are, I wouldn't have had to do all the bloody research myself and find out that all my fears are in fact, perfectly justified. I've done my homework Professor. Don't try and tell me it's safe. That Anna Rourke was trying to help them and look what they did to her! What the hell will they do to you if they find out you're working for Dumbledore? As much as I tell myself I want to kill right now, I don't know what I'd do if…it actually hap…if they…ki…"She choked and cut herself off, face in her hands.
Remus knew it was wrong, that it was heading toward the very path he tried to avoid, but right now he didn't care. He took her small hands in his and held them tightly, closing his eyes as he tried to explain, and tried to focus on his words rather than the feeling of her hands in his. "Nymphadora, please try to understand. It's because I know what they're like, and what they do that I've been…unpleasant… towards you. It's not the only reason, because my financial situation and my age are a huge part of it too, but it's the big one. Tonks, I'm not going to put you at risk.
"You don't understand what they would do if I was in love with someone in the wizarding world and they found out. I will not let that happen to you Tonks. I'm won't. I know it's hurting you, and if I could take away your pain I would do it in a heartbeat. Seeing you blame yourself over Sirius was torture, but I was at least able to try to fix that. But I can't try to fix this, Tonks. I can't stop you from hurting in this case, because Greyback would hurt you a hell of a lot more than I ever could if he found o-"
"Remus physical pain is not what scares-"
"No Nymphadora. Please. Be quiet. It's my turn to talk now. I don't want to avoid you. I want to be able to talk to you like we always did. I'll try to do it in the future, if you'll try just as hard not to mention any feelings you might have for me. We can try to go back. But you must understand, when I had to leave, it was so soon after you told me and it was just too awkward and if we got onto the subject again I might have…" He broke off momentarily, before bracing himself to finish what he had to say. He couldn't hold back, if it would mean possibly allowing her to feel a bit better. "Nymphadora, I'm going to tell you something.
"I shouldn't even be saying this, but maybe it will take away a little bit of your hurt. Bear in mind that it will not change a thing between us. I can't let it. But knowing that you're not alone in feeling something might help you not to feel bad about yourself. I haven't outright said it yet, so I'm going to say it now. Tonks, I love you. I love you more than I've ever loved anyone before, and the fact that you feel the same way is the most cruel card that fate could ever deal me, because it means I'm not just some loony old man who developed inappropriate feelings for a beautiful, intelligent and funny young woman.
"It means, you care about me too, and if things were different, we might have been happy together, despite some differences. We might have had a chance. But unfortunately, because of the lycanthropy, our differences are just too great and things can't work that way. It's breaking my heart to have to turn you away when I never even thought it possible that you could feel anything for me but I have to be str-"
"Remus I do! I do love you, I do feel the same way. And as long as you never pull a stunt like running off for 6 weeks again without telling me, I will love you forever! I don't care about the stupid werewo-"
"Tonks! I told you this so you could understand! Not to give you any hope. Not to fuel your arguments. I just wanted to let you know, it's not unrequited love, because I'd do anything to be able to have a relationship with you, but I cannot and will not put you in danger and that's fi-"
"Remus! It's not up to you! I'm an auror and I'm an adult who can make my own decisions! For the whole year, everyone else treated me like I was a clumsy child, and you were the only one who didn't use my age against me, and here you are, as soon as it's convenient for you, treating me just like everyone else does! I don't care about the danger. My life is in danger every day. What I don't have everyday is the warmth and comfort of a man who loves me. A little more danger won't hurt, but keeping me from being happy will."
"Tonks, you're the most amazing woman I've ever known. Go on just one date with a man your age who is healthy and actually has a job and he'll fall madly in love with you and comfort you until the day he dies. You don't need me, Tonks. You could have anyone."
"I don't want anyone. I just want you. I want you to come back from living with that monster and just hug you until your bones break and then make you dinner and make you pretend to like it even though I'll probably burn it or spill washing up liquid into it and then I can spend the rest of the night convincing you you're not one of them. You're not like them.
"Remus, I know you feel like you're less of a person because of your condition, and being stuck with them is making you feel like you're no better than the rest of them. But you are. You are better than any werewolf, and any normal man on earth Remus. You're good and kind and smart and perfect, and you don't realize it! Remus, I want to be there for you when you come back with reports to remind you that you're not like them, because you have someone who loves you in your life. You have someone who'll listen to your worries and worry with you and kiss your wounds and just be there. Don't you want that?"
"Tonks, what I want is for you to live a long, happy and safe life."
"Remus what about you? Stop trying to protect me and just do what you want for once. Remus, why are you doing this? Why are you spending every day in a place that is literally your hell on earth? Every damn day I wake up wondering if you're alive. Wondering if you'll make it to the end of the day with your organs still in your body! I know what they do, Remus! It's killing me, wondering if they'll do it to you next! If I'll open the paper and the headlines will be about you," She cried, and for the first time that evening the tears that signified her fear, anger and sadness fell, rolling down her cheeks and sloshing onto her Weird Sisters shirt, which looked out of place without her insane hair color and cheery smile.
Remus just realized he was still holding her hands in his, and he let go with one of them and lifted a thumb to her cheek to wipe them away, pulse racing at the touch of her soft skin. Shushing her softly, something fluttered inside him as he wrapped his mind around the fact that someone could be this worried about him, could care so much. Someone who wasn't his mum or one of his school mates. Someone whose love for him was of a completely different, unknown sort. Tonks threw herself against him and sobbed into his chest, muttering things like "Please don't die," into his frayed robes.
Squashing the voice of reason that was howling inside his head, Remus hugged her back with great force, all those nights he lay awake thinking of her, missing her and wanting to hold her finally pouring out into this embrace. He stopped himself from wondering if he was being too forward, if he was getting too close to the place he refused to go, and just hugged her. They stayed their for a long time moving only to squeeze tighter and Remus wondered what would happen if they just stayed here like this forever, waiting for the war to end, waiting for the werewolf laws to change and the obstacles they faced to become obsolete and they could go out in the world together, without any danger.
He breathed in the soapy smell of the young woman who meant more to him than he even allowed himself to explore, and thought back to the light hearted young woman who stayed late a Grimmauld place, complaining about Moody's vigilance, or being overworked by the ministry, or if she picked up on him being especially angry about his financial situation, getting into a full out rant on ways to make Dolores Umbridge miserable. The woman who got into wrestling matches with Sirius and had multiple bruises on each leg from constantly tripping, the woman who greeted everyone with a silly grin and a new hairstyle was no longer there.
She was replaced with a baggy-eyed shell who was working herself to death, fighting dementors and survivors guilt, and worrying night and day about the man she loved who had broken her heart. Remus knew that the happy Tonks was still in there, and wondering if he could bring her back. He knew he could try, but the horror that loomed over him, imagining her coming back, only to be targeted on the full moon and forced to live the life he did, or maybe not even being allowed to survive was more prominent than his desire to give in to what they both wanted. She was still sobbing into his chest, and something ached inside it.
"Shhh, Tonks. Please, don't cry. You're not going to see any headlines with my name in them. Dumbledore is no fool. We have it all planned out. Nothings going to happen to me-"
"Obviously that's not certain! If they don't find you out, they obviously won't be able to find out that I'm connected to you, so they won't target me! They can't get to me unless they find out you're a spy first-" Tonks said, still hugging him, but turning her head to the side so he could hear her protests. Remus sighed, and tried to think of a counter point for this woman who was too quick for her own good.
"If they find out I'm still very connected to wizards, they'll be angry, but they won't kill me, Tonks They'll only react like that if they find out I'm a spy. But if Greyback finds out I'm living a double life, even if he doesn't know I'm betraying them, he'll want revenge. He could easily find out whether or not I'm in a relationship and he would target you. Despite his disdain for wizards he keeps in touch with a fair few of them, and they're all dark ones. None of them would hold back that information from him, if they knew. But really, Nymphadora, you should stop worrying about me. You need to take care of yourself. You're doing equally dangerous work-"
"Remus, I can't just stop because you tell me too" she sighed, her soft laughter muffled slightly from his chest. "I don't want to worry about you. It's not exactly the highlight of my life, getting pains in my stomach and wanting to puke before I open the paper, believe it or not. It's not as if I can help it."
"I know. I'd rather not have to worry about you either," he smiled, stroking her mousy colored hair. "But I do."
"Well, you know," she said half heartedly, trying again. "If we were together, you could check in with me instead of Molly, and stay at my flat instead of Bill and Fleur's," she said, and he looked down just in time to see her blush disappear. "Seeing each other more often might take away some of that worry."
"You really are a Black, you know. So bloody persistent. Sirius would never listen if I told him a prank was too risky or dangerous-"
"But you always went along with 'im in the end, didn't you?" Tonks smiled, tears still in her eyes.
"I suppose I did. But I was pretty spineless back then. I'm not giving in to the Black charm so easily this time," he said, sighing sadly and hugging her closer.
"Well, I'm not giving in to you either," she said, getting back to her passionate mode, shattering the lighter mood that had briefly lingered between them. She pushed away enough to break the hug and stare at him defiantly.
"Tonks, don't be silly. I've told you my reasons, and they make perfect sense-"
"Wow, you're open minded," she scoffed sarcastically, and a flicker of a grin crossed his features before he continued.
"Don't go wasting your youth waiting for me, when you could be finding someone who can offer you all the things I can't," Remus said sternly.
"Remus, if only you could see yourself the way I see you," she sighed, head resting in her palms again for a second. Looking up again, with eyes filled with honesty, she muttered, "You'd never spout these stupid things you consider to be massive flaws. You'd realize how amazed you make everyone who meets you. Not just me, but Molly and Arthur and Dumbledore and the kids. You should hear Hermione and Ginny talk about you. You impacted so many people when you were teaching. You're the only one who can cheer Molly up when Percy acts like a git! You're able to make me laugh about idiots at the Ministry instead of hating them. You do so much good for everyone you meet, and you deserve to be happy!" she shouted in frustration.
"Yes, and so do you. One day, one day soon, you'll realize you can't have that with me," he muttered, placing a light kiss on her forehead, and cursing himself for it afterwards. He felt Tonks's shock at the gesture which was rather simple, but big when coming from someone as reserved as Remus, who also happened to be fighting closeness with everything he had in him. Instead of resulting in the calm finality he intended, however, it only fueled Tonks more.
"YES I CAN!" she shouted, and with a mighty grab, she pulled his face towards her, forcing their lips to connect before Remus could fight her off. Unfortunately, for him at least, once the connection had been made, he found it impossible to break. Every time he began to get his bearings and come to his senses, Tonks would intensify the kiss and he would be forced to go along with it, all logic chucked into the bin. When Remus finally pulled away, the kiss had been a lot longer than the one under the mistletoe or the one at Grimmauld Place on the night Tonks bore her soul.
"Tonks, stop! We can't do th-"Remus started but was cut off as she lunged at him again. Instead of connecting with his lips, this time she began planting frantic kisses all over his face. Remus's arms found their way around the small of her back even as he tried to keep them firmly at his sides, or better yet, push Tonks away. As he felt warm lips brushing against his cheeks, nose, chin and mouth, he found himself mimicking her movements, desperately placing his lips any place he could find, holding her tightly.
Minutes later, furious with himself, he pulled away. Not trusting himself, he stood up, fuming and moved over to a squishy arm chair a good distance away. When he sat down, he ran a hand through his tousled hair, trying to smooth it down, as if getting rid of the evidence of his weakness would mean it didn't happen. 'That's right, Moony,' he raged at himself. 'Do all you can to be unlike them, and then completely lose control in the worst possible way. You really are a wolf.'
Filled with disgust, he forced himself to look at her, and as she stared back, there was a happiness on her features that pained him. What was wrong with him? What kind of bastard would give her hope like that, knowing it would have to be crushed again immediately. "Tonks. That was wrong of me. I'm-"
"Don't say you're sorry, Remus. That's the first thing you've done that hasn't made me want to break into pieces in months! It's the first time you've done something you wanted! There's nothing to be sorry about. It was…it was…nice," she said, smiling with an adorable twinge of embarrassment he cursed himself for noticing.
"No, Tonks. I've known for over a year that nothing like this could ever happen, I've told myself to be strong and be able to resist it, and then at the first chance I go and tease us both with something that we can never do full time. It's only torturing ourselves, Tonks. This is why I didn't go to you when I was leaving. I'm not strong enough to fight you, and the only solution I can think of is just not to see you. That's the only way this can stop."
"It doesn't have to stop! I keep telling you! We don't even have to tell anyone! We could keep it a secr-"
"Tonks, I've seen firsthand that the most important secrets are the ones that come out easiest, and ruin the most lives. Any research you've done wouldn't show you half of what Greyback is really like. We'll never be able to have a relationship. I hate it, but it's true and it's not going to change."
"Sirius would hex you right now," Tonks muttered under her breath.
"What'd you say?"Remus asked sharply, not sure if he had heard correctly.
"He'd think you were being an idiot! He'd jelly legs you until you went mad!"
"Nymphadora," Remus sighed, an uncomfortable pain in his chest as he pondered the truth of her statement, an image of a laughing Sirius watching them under the mistletoe shot to the front of his mind. "Sirius would want his cousin to be safe and happy! He wouldn't want you living in constant danger with someone who couldn't even support you!"
"Sirius knew how important it was to do what's in your heart!" Tonks cried furiously, throwing her hands in the air.
"Sirius was reckless!"
"Maybe, but he had a clean conscience because of it. He didn't allow opportunities to do the right thing slip by!"
"Yeah? And where did that get him? He's dead, Tonks. If he had stayed home, his name would have been cleared the same day! He would have been able to raise Harry and get out in the fresh air! Don't go using him as your example-"
"Really? What do you think would have happened if he HADN'T come? Anything could have? Every last moment counts, Remus, and if he wasn't there, it might have been someone else who died. Maybe two people! Maybe three! It could have been one of the kids! Things could have been a lot worse, and he knew that a risk had to be taken in order to make sure the people he loved lived another day.
"If she hadn't gotten him, it could have been Harry, or you or me," Tonks continued, voice rising in volume and the lump in her throat returned. "And he wouldn't have been able to live with that. But he didn't risk everything like that so the rest of us could go on living half lives. Remus, he would want us to do this."
Remus looked into her solemn but hopeful face and narrowed his eyebrows. "Don't bring Sirius into this. Don't play the guilt card," he growled, and for the first time, he sounded angrier than she did. "I couldn't care less what you think, what Molly thinks and what Sirius thinks. I'm not going to be swayed on this. I'm not going to let something happen to you, or let you throw your life away on someone who doesn't deserve you."
"Remus, you do deser-"
"Tonks, it's not a debate anymore. I'm telling you. Either find someone who is willing to get into a relationship with you or waste away wanting something I can't give you. The choice is yours. But I suggest you move on, because I'm not giving in. That's it," Remus said, turning his eyes away from the dark ones that stared back, filled with pain as she registered the seriousness and finality in his voice.
"I'm going. Good night," Remus said shortly, flicking his wand at the fire to put it out and apparating before Tonks could even respond.
The delayed part of her brain wanted to scream at him to wait, not to leave, but the part that was registering the cold of his absence knew it would be pointless. He was probably back in some deserted dark wood, soon to be in a place where he was constantly reminded of the part of himself he loathed. Flinging a vase against the wall in anger, Tonks headed angrily for the door. With a wave of her wand she fixed it, and slammed the door shut behind her, making sure the protective charms remained on it.
Miles away, Remus Lupin shivered slightly as he made his way toward the place he despised. He always apparated a mile or two away, just in case they started to track him and realized the tracks disappeared into thin air. The further away he went, the less likely they were to follow. Walking back towards the settlement, he felt colder than he ever had in these woods, even though it was only late September, and the weather wasn't bad. Now that he had experienced the warmth of being in Tonks's arms, of feeling her lips against his and her small hands at his back, he knew nothing would ever be the same. He could never find warmth in a place like this, when it was because of it he would never feel her again. Trudging down the road, he seared with hatred for the wolves, for Umbridge, for the stupid laws, and the dangers that kept them apart, but more than anything else, he flared with hatred at himself.
As she climbed drearily down the stairs of the building to the street, she felt, in a mix of pain and joy, the lingering feeling of Remus Lupin's lips against hers, and even though his tone suggested she would never feel that glorious feeling again, she told herself she would, no matter how long she would have to wait for it. The tough little girl she had been years ago, who had always sworn never to act like a fool over a man would probably kick her right now, but that little girl had never imagined the possibility that maybe, just maybe there would be a man who was worth it.
That little girl had never imagined the possibility of Remus Lupin. And the grown up woman in her knew that if any man were to ever be worth it, it was the one whose touch still tingled throughout her, so that even if he wanted to forget it ever happened, the memory was branded upon her forever. Thinking of those kind eyes that, through their sternness and resolve, still showed the signs of wanting to give in so badly, she knew she would sicken the little girl who swore never to act stupid over a guy, because she'd found the one who was worth it, and she wasn't letting him go without a fight.
A/N: Okay. That was…pretty angst filled. I meant to make it kinda fluffy, but when they don't get together for about 8 or 9 more months, that's kinda impossible! I tried. I mean, they did kiss for a pretty long time, and at least now she knows, not through Molly but through Remus himself that really does love her. That will help her stay strong. Sigh. I feel so sadistic, putting them through pain like this. I WISH I could just have Remus give in right away, but JKR is my God, and I'm not going to contradict her work. I'll just have to be evil.
I'm not sure when the next chapter is coming. I have a few things I'd like to include in coming chapters, but the order they come in isn't really set in stone. Also, if you want to suggest anything you'd like to see either between them or about them, drop me a review. I'll try my best to include it, because I love my readers and this is for you guys! I have plenty of scenarios to enjoy about them in my head and what gets typed up is to be shared. So any ideas are more than welcome.
So, I hope you enjoyed it. Reviews get the wheels in my head turning! They go reaaaaallly slow if they're not oiled up with comments and feedback! Anything, good or bad, is better than nothing!