Nothing Can Change That
Disclamier: No, the realm of Harry Potter does not by any means belong to me, nor do I try to claim it does. I am certainly not creative enough for that. Also, I must disclaim ownership of The Princess Bride, as there is a tribute to it in this story, which is a short story of love about Tonks and Lupin. Enjoy.
Tonks sat and stared at her book, pretending to read. Pretending like it was any other day and she had nothing better to do at the moment. Pretending that she wasn't worried, afraid, or even hurt. Pretending like she was enjoying the book she held in her hands.
Two days ago Tonks had noticed that Remus wasn't at lunch. Since he usually ate with the rest of the Order, Tonks had asked Molly if she had seen him. Molly had looked nervous and changed the subject.
After lunch, Tonks had helped Molly clean up. "Where is he?" She asked the older woman.
Molly had sighed. "He and Bill left early this morning."
"Where did they go?"
"They had an assignment."
"And?" Tonks wondered why the other woman was being so secretive.
After what seemed an eternity of silence, Molly spoke. "They went to check out a rumor that Voldemort is offering a cure for werewolves in return for their service."
Tonks turned away from the older woman. Remus had left on a dangerous mission without telling her. Anything involving other werewolves usually resulted in Remus gaining some kind of injury, though he had tried to keep that from the Order.
She had asked about it one night, and he had actually explained. He had spent most of his life around people, and the others could sense it. They took as a weakness, or that he couldn't be trusted. So, sometimes he got into small fights.
And what he hadn't said was that he had won all of the so far, which was why he wasn't dead. He also hadn't said that it would be very easy to lose. He hadn't said this, but Tonks had read between the lines.
And if Voldemort would be involved, things would be even more dangerous. Voldemort or one of his followers might recognize Remus. If that happened, Remus was as good as dead.
He had known that she knew this, and had sneaked off without telling her. As if that would make her worry any less. It hurt that he would go without telling her.
Of course, he might have left to prove a point. She had tried to talk to him again the night before, and once again he had tuned her out. It had been the same arguments as they had used before, and used so often she knew them all by heart.
He was too old.
He was too poor.
He was too dangerous.
He didn't deserve her.
But she loved him anyway, no matter what he said. None of it was true anyway. And did care for her, even if he wouldn't admit it. It was as if he couldn't believe someone could actually love him.
Tonks had felt Molly's comforting hand on her shoulder. "It will be all right." She had said.
"I hope so." Tonks had replied.
That had been two days ago, and Remus and Bill still hadn't returned. Briefly Tonks wondered if Bill had told Fleur that he was leaving. He probably had. She hadn't seemed surprised not to see him at lunch. Of course, she had looked worried too.
Tonks shook her head and returned staring at her book, seeing the words yet not comprehending them. What if something had happened? What if he were helpless somewhere, hurt?
She looked up as someone else entered the room. It was Fleur, looking just as worried as Tonks felt.
"Can't sleep either?" Tonks asked her.
Fleur shook her head, then took a seat on the couch. "I will wait for zem with you if you do not mind." She said.
Wondering how Fleur had known, Tonks nodded. "That's fine. Better than being alone."
The two sat in silence, both watching the door, each lost in her own thoughts. Finally, Tonks broke the silence.
"Did he tell you before he left?" She asked.
Fleur did not answer right away. "Yes." She said after a moment. " 'e did not tell you?"
Tonks shook her head.
"Well, they are not ze same, after all. Bill is not as, how do you say, cautious."
"What do you mean?" Tonks asked, confused.
"When Bill was attacked by a werewolf, 'is family thought I might not still love 'im because of it. Even 'e was worried about it at first. It hurt me zat 'e would think zat, but zen 'e explained why.
" 'e said zat earlier zat day he had gone out to do somezing. While 'e was out, of course, zer were other people out to. 'E said zat their reactions were so different from what zey had been before. People were afraid of 'im, because of the scars on 'is face. He said some people were even unfriendly towards 'im because of it.
"What I am saying is, Bill, who is not an actual werewolf, and has not, how to say, had this very long, was upset and worried by other people's reactions. Your Remus has been a werewolf for a long time. 'e has had more people treat 'im zat way. So naturally 'e would be less able to accept zat someone cares."
Tonks wondered why she had never thought of this. I t still hurt that, but not quite as much. But this only made Tonks more determined.
"That is certainly something to think about." Tonks replied. "Thanks."
"Anytime." Fleur replied.
At that moment, the door opened, and two cloaked figures staggered in, one leaning heavily on the other. The one led the other over to the couch, and carefully sat him down on it, removing his hood before he removed his own.
Remus sat on the couch, paler than usual. His breathing was shallow and unsteady, and he seemed slightly unfocused.
Bill looked at Remus, then shook his head. "That wasn't your fault." He said.
Remus didn't seem to have heard him.
Bill sighed, and seemed to realize that Fleur and Tonks were there.
"Is he all right?" Tonks asked nervously.
"He's not badly injured, if that's what your asking." Came the reply. "He's just a little shaken up."
"And are you all right?" Fleur asked.
Bill smiled. "I will be."
Yawning, Bill hung his cloak in the closet. "Well, I am exhausted. Therefore, I am going to bed. Goodnight." With that, Bill left.
Fleur gave Tonks a tight smile and followed him, leaving Tonks and Remus alone.
"I was worried about you." She told him, not entirely certain if he had heard. Whether he had or not, she had some things she needed to say. "You left without telling me. And it's been two days. If something had happened to you…" She trailed off, took a deep breath, and continued. "I know that you don't have any responsibility to let me know everything. It still hurt that you sneaked off." She sighed.
"I know that we've had this conversation before. I know that you've said that your old, and poor, and dangerous, and I've told you that none of that matters. I've also told you before that I love you. I still do, and I wish that you would accept that it's true. I love you, and I worry about you. And nothing can change that. Nothing ever will change that."
He blinked. Then his eyes met hers. They had a haunted, faraway look. "You say that," He murmured, "but you don't know."
"Try me." She said stubbornly.
Once again, he blinked. "I killed a man tonight. Another werewolf. He challenged me, and wouldn't give up, so I had to. I killed him, I could smell his blood as he died, and I enjoyed it. Some part of me felt a rush of excitement and thrill as I fought him. I enjoyed fighting him. And I enjoyed winning." His eyes dropped away from hers and focused on a spot on the floor. "I told you, inside I'm just the same as the rest of them. A monster."
"Rubbish." She said, and he looked back up at her in surprise. "You may have killed someone, but it was self-defense. If you hadn't killed him he would have killed you."
"I still enjoyed it."
"The werewolf enjoyed it. The thought of it seems to horrify the person. Furthermore, the 'rest of them' that you are comparing yourself to don't care whether something is right or wrong. You do, and you strive to live for what is right."
He snorted at that. "Oh yeah? How would you know that?"
Tonks stared him dead in the eye. "If you were really a bloodthirsty monster you would enjoy killing without feeling any guilt. Therefore you would be out there killing people, probably joined up with Voldemort right now, but wherever you were, you certainly wouldn't be here, a member of the Order, trying to stop Voldemort and protect people. But you are here, which proves you aren't a monster."
He sighed, and Tonks knew she had at least won that round. He had no more arguments for that.
"Furthermore, the fact that you killed someone does not change anything. I am an Auror, Remus, which means that I must be able to, if it is necessary, kill. And don't think there hasn't been any need lately."
He stared at her, astonished. "You've killed someone?" He asked incredulously.
"A deatheater. I had to. Otherwise I, my partner, and an innocent would have been killed. Do you think any less of me?"
He shook his head. "No. You did what you had to."
"There you have. You did what you had to. And it changes nothing between us."
He was silent for a moment. When he spoke again, there was a smile in his eyes. "You're never going to give up, are you?"
"I guess there's no point in fighting it then."
"Well, then, there's only one thing to do."
"Would you, Tonks, care to join me for dinner tomorrow?"
"On one condition." She replied teasingly.
"It isn't Tonks. It's Nymphadora."
"As you wish." He replied, smiling a smile that was real for the first time since Sirius had died.
"Tomorrow then." Said she.
"Tomorrow. Goodnight, Nymphadora."