Author's Note: A drabble written for the lj-community wotcherwolvie's challenge #1, Bring On the Multi-Colored Werewolf Cubs! It's not...happy. It's also not beta'd, but mostly because it's not that entirely importantwhen there areother stories you want your beta to read. I just started to run with it, and posted it. Reviews are excellent since they build-up the self-esteem grad school's sucking away in a very Dementor-esque manner. Enjoy.
So Here We Are
Nymphadora Tonks rolls her eyes. "Not getting married, Mum. I already told you this. I don't think we need to get married, since we care about each other. Besides, it's not like I'll get more dirty looks than usual."
Across the tables, Andromeda Tonks simmers. The look on her face is enough to scare even the bravest of men, which was why Ted Tonks is sitting an arms-length away. Both parents seem to be having trouble articulating their thoughts on their only daughter's recent announcement.
She had arrived – alone – an hour ago. She made the decision to tell her parents about her surprise the night before, because (she reckoned) it was her fault for forgetting to the take the potion, not his; therefore, logic said it should be her that bore the brunt of her parent's anger, not him. She came today because he was still recovering from the night before and she doesn't want him to feel stupid and noble and blame himself and try to deflect their anger onto him. If anyone could handle Andromeda's temper fully unleashed, it was her twenty-five year old daughter.
Though…she admits to herself that the surprise at her apartment that one night was brilliant and romantic and he never had done anything like that before and really, she was only a day off and it shouldn't have mattered and she would have remembered if he wasn't so cute when he was nervous – okay, no, that's it, she needs to remember to always take the potion, not just before those nights.
"Look, I don't see how this should be a problem, Mum – you're getting a grandbaby! You always wanted a wee little grandbaby, one that you could take around to your Muggle friends and show off and maybe it won't be a Meta-"
"Dora, darling, I don't think this has anything to do with your mother's desire for grandchildren," her father says. "Because, honestly, grandchildren would be brilliant but – "
"Theodore Tonks! You are not going to condone this, are you?" her mother snaps. Her father shrinks back slightly.
"No, love, I'm just trying to tell Dora that the circumstances are what matter, not the baby – you are keeping the baby, right? I mean, its father –"
"Yes, we're going to keep it and raise it together. But we're not getting married." Tonks picks up a nearby spoon and stirs her now-cold tea then realizes she's unconsciously mimicking him. She drops the spoon after a moment, feeling silly and wanting to see him, which she couldn't this morning her because she wanted leave before he woke. Tea splashes onto the white tablecloth and for a moment she wonders if she can do anything right. A baby in the middle of war. A love who thinks she'll run at the first sign of a better man – before the baby, at least. And she's not even able to explain this to her parents in any satisfactory way. She keeps tripping and she bloody hates it.
"Don't play with your tea, Nymphadora. Is there a reason you can't get married? Is he a Muggle? Is he in jail?" her mother asks.
"Mum, you know Muggles can marry wizards. No, it's just…we don't want to."
"Why isn't he here?" her father asks suddenly. "Why doesn't he have the decency to at least come with the girl he -"
"He's not feeling well," she replies truthfully. It's the night after the full moon and even with the potion, the transformation still leaves him sore for days.
"Is he contagious or something?" her mother asks. Tonks shakes her head.
"More like absolutely exhausted – combination of being over-worked and catching a bug or something." Now she wishes she hadn't left him at home – she could certainly use someone intelligent here.
"Nymphadora," her father says, eyes meeting hers, "where did you meet this fellow?"
"Which office?" Her father has that look in his eyes he always had when she was a girl, that he knows what she is trying to say and will understand completely if she can only spit it out.
"The office on the dodgy side of town," she says. "The one that always makes me work late hours."
"And would the reason you're not getting married have anything to do with your beau's illness?"
Before she can open her mouth, the doorbell rings. Nymphadora Tonks doesn't have a drop of Seer's blood in her, but she knows who is at the door.
She runs into the hall, angry and relieved and hurt and tired. She opens the door and all those feelings disappear as she looks at the battered form of her love. He's there, dressed in his best suit (his only suit, but it actually fits him because her and Sirius' went to great lengths for it Christmas two years ago) and he's leaning against the doorframe.
"You could have at least left me a note," he says quietly. She steps outside, closing the door behind her. He takes a step backward and they stare at each other.
"Remus, you had a rough night last night, I didn't think you'd want an equally rough morning…" Tonks says. She expected he would come, would figure out where she is since she was mostly obviously not at Grimmauld Place or at her apartment.
"Look, this is my responsibility as well," Remus Lupin protests. "At least let me speak with them. They have a right to know that the...father of the child cares and will try to support the mother, as best he can."
She watches as he struggles with his words. When she had told him, he wasn't as happy as she thought he would be. He looked absolutely terrified and two weeks later, he wasn't looking much better. It worried her. It still worries her.
"I told them that the baby's daddy cares," she says softly, taking a step forwards.
"Have they asked about marriage?" Remus says in a small voice. She bites her lip and nods.
It's not because Tonks isn't the type of girl that wants to be a wife and mum – she is. It's because there are laws that say that Type III Dangerous Beasts (of the Human Variety) may not marry and there's no way around those laws, at least not now and probably not eight months from now. But she's okay with it, because there are no rules against cohabitation and as long as she gets to wake up next to him most of the days of the month, she's a happy girl.
"They probably weren't thrilled," he says, probably to fill in the silence.
"I don't think it matters if they're thrilled or not," she says. "I'm happy. That's all that should matter." She glances at him, hoping that he can read her eyes: Don't ask me again, I'm happy with you and I always will be.
"I…you could have told me, at least. That you'd be coming here. You didn't need to just…go." She notices that his shoulders seem to be more tense than usual. His jaw is set. Something's on his mind.
"I told you, I didn't think it fair to subject you to the wrath of Andromeda Tonks this early on a Sunday morning."
He won't look at her.
Remus' eyes seem fixated on the concrete. "Are you ashamed?" he asks. His eyes meet hers. "You can tell me, Nymphadora, I've heard it before. Never in this context but-"
She crosses the distance between them, placing her hands on either side of his face. "You silly man," she says, "Have I ever been ashamed of you? Have I ever not wanted to be with you, to be seen in public with you?"
"This is different, Dora," he says, breaking away. "This is more than being in public. The child – I'm a werewolf." His voice breaks and with it goes the tension, the worry that's been slowly taking over him. "A fucking werewolf. You're carrying the child of a werewolf. Don't you understand? That child will be a social disadvantage from the mom-"
"The only disadvantage this child has is a stupid git for a father!" she yells. "I don't fucking care, Remus, and I've said this too many times. When will it sink it? I love you, and I love this baby regardless of how much of a git its father is and I'm not ashamed of you, I never was and I never will be and the only reason I came here alone was because I didn't want my parent's first impression of you – and yours of them – to be filled with screaming and broken china." She realizes she's out of breath and is taking big gulps of air and Remus is looking at her with a look that's half fear, half something else.
"I wanted this to work out," she says finally. "I wanted you to be introduced the week after, to come for tea after they had time to adjust to the idea. And stuff. And don't tell me, I know you know them. But not this way. This time you're not Sirius' friend. This time, you're the father of their grandchild. I'm so stupid. You obviously can't plan these sort of things." She laughs. She obviously can't plan anything right. A baby in the middle of war…
And then he's holding her and he's saying "I'm sorry, I really am a bloody git, I just am so used to –" and he stops and she understands. Because it's never been fair for him, so why would it be fair now?
She wraps her arms around him because it feels good and she knows at least she did one thing right when she fell in love with him.
The door opens and Ted Tonks is standing there, looking at the two of them.
"Remus, I thought it would be you. You two ready for some lunch?" he asks and he looks at them and smiles and she knows that everything will be alright.
And as her father goes back into the house, Remus has a confused look on his face.
"He was beginning to figure it out," she says softly. "They like you, you know." She smiles.
He smiles. "They're probably glad Dung isn't the father," he says and she laughs and he slips an arm around her waist and whispers that he loves her in her ear and they're walking towards the kitchen where Andromeda Tonks will hug him with tears in her eyes and Ted will pour them all some tea and it'll be something the moment that she realizes none of this was planned but all of it is right.