Disclaimer: Consider this disclaimed for now on.
So I haven't updated anything in a very, very long time. Actually I am thinking about discontinuing Living Dreams because I started that so long ago that I don't think I can recreate the atmosphere I worked so hard to make. I have changed a lot, and I don't particularly think I want to return to the way I wrote before. But don't lose hope! I might yet return to it.
Now, onto this story -
Background: this is a Snape X Tonks story! I like to write pairings that I know will never happen. And I also am well aware that Tonks is completely OOC through, like, the entire story, which I promise will be finished; YAY! I might go back and edit things, eventually, to make everything smoother. After all, this has never been read by anyone else but me. So, whoever is lucky enough to click on it first will be The First Person To Have Ever Read This Story. So good luck; mabe there will be a prize! Oh, and I won't update unless I am satisfied with the amount of reviews I get, so if you like it or hate it, or maybe if you're just ambiguous, just let me know.
The scent of sweat and smoke still clung in her nostrils. Absent-mindedly she rubbed her hand against her numb nose in a half-hearted attempt to remove the putrid scent. She felt ill; she felt like something she really didn't know. Misery seemed to have sunk into her skin just like the man on her right's second beer. She could still hear the music vibrating between her ears and feel the hot bodies of strangers press against her as they danced. The bitter tang of loneliness lingered even though she had escaped outside to the streets of London with blindingly pink hair and a pout that would rival the most petulant of two-year-old's. She was not accustomed to this ache beneath her ribs, and she did not like it.
The crunch of her feet on the slick pavement provided a decent distraction, she decided. All she had to do was count how many steps to the next streetlight; how many until she tripped and skinned her palms again. The hollow glow of the nearest streetlamp seemed so far away. It was an island, no an oasis, in the middle of the blackest desert and all she had to drink before leaving for this particular voyage was something, well anything really, with alcohol and something sweet she couldn't quite remember. The murky memories swam close to the surface, but just far enough away that she couldn't reach them. It didn't really matter anyway. She thought she was probably better off without them. She had never been this bitter while drunk before. She had never been this antisocial while drunk before, and she had never been so desperate for one person before, especially not while drunk.
Fitfully, she stumbled into the wane glow of the streetlamp as her ankle turned and sent her grasping for the cold metal pole. Folding stingingly cold hands close to her ribs, she caught herself breathing deep in the freezing night air. The fine hairs on her arms stood on end and she seemed to fold in on herself. She remembered the throb of the music, the almost orgasmic energy pulsing through the writhing and gyrating crowd. Hands and hair were everywhere. The flashing lights and the instability of the room drew her deeper and deeper into the vortex of sounds and smells and tastes. Here where the walls danced with the people and the floor trembled with sound and touch she was safe. She was numb with the influx of color and independence.
She buried one hand in her short spikes. Tugging on the vibrant locks she choked back a sob. She didn't need him, she thought as she pressed her palm against her forehead. She didn't need anything but the suffocating masses of people dancing to an indistinguishable tune. She had always been tone deaf; one song was just as good as any other if the volume was loud enough. Men had always been the same, so why was this one different? Suddenly, she hated the stench of herself. She was reeking in the cold and she imagined she could see the horrific scent radiating from her body in a miasmic vapor. No, she realized, that milky cloud was just body heat and old sweat.
A laugh erupted from her throat then. The lone man crossing on the other side of the street glared at her as she clutched her aching sides. Loud laughs burbled from somewhere deep inside as she snickered and giggled against a cold streetlight on a London night. If only he could see her now. He would probably sneer. She doubted he would offer to help; that wasn't his way. But she thought she had been making progress with him. He no longer regarded her company as juvenile attention-seeking tactics. Once he had handed her a glass of red wine; true, he hadn't looked up from his book, but he knew it was her.
And she realized something else in the darkness. Something other than she was tired of pink hair and maybe some other color would be more fun. Misery was something everyone shared while dancing to the music louder than a banshee's scream. It was a tangible force just as real as the throbbing of the music in her skull. Back there in the sparkling maelstrom of neon and glitter everyone was just as lonesome as she was. The dried alcohol on her skirt made her colder than she thought she should be. That was the reason, after all, that she was standing still underneath a lone streetlight with her arms wrapped around herself. It had nothing to do with the sullen bitterness of his heartlessness. It had nothing to do with the fact that she should be moving toward home; just a dark flat and a cold bed. Not that he would have brightened the place up. She couldn't stop herself from snorting. She was never very good at lying to herself and the alcohol certainly didn't help.
Finally, she raised a boot clad foot and set it down outside her little sphere of light. With a sigh, she stalked into the night considering stopping at Grimmauld for a quick check to see if he happened to be there. It was stupid. She was drunk. It was the perfect solution to her night of misery.
The air around the old house seemed musty like air trapped in a dusty attic for far too long without disturbance. She imagined the house was very much like an old attic, dust, ghosts, and all. Giggling idiotically at her own thoughts, she rested her head against the firm wood of the door. It was so different than the undulating walls bending to the will of the music hammering against them. She closed her eyes briefly in the hope that the house would stop swaying as though it were waltzing. That wasn't the kind of dancing she had been thinking about. She liked something a bit more boisterous. She should have kept that thought to herself, she decided as her door seemed to decide to remove itself from her face.
Strong arms caught her as she plunged into the soft flesh of someone's abdomen.
"Oh, Tonks, now what?" asked the sleepily surprised voice of Remus Lupin.
"Remus?" she asked as she peeled her cheek from his shirt. "Y'alone?" she slurred as she peered into the murk of the old Black house.
"Tonks, what are you doing here? It's almost three in the morning. Have you even been home yet?" She was getting tired of his questioning. Shaking an already spinning head and pressing her eyes shut, she pushed past Remus with a strength she couldn't remember having.
Stumbling to an embarrassing halt beside the moth-eaten couch, she felt tears prick in the corner of her eyes. She knew better than to expect him to be here. He was never here. Not unless he couldn't help it. Sinking unceremoniously into the overstuffed seats, she cradled her head on the arm of the couch. Remus sank into the chair opposite her with a boneless grace she couldn't find in herself to envy. She had entered her numb phase. This was the stage right before sleep overcame her and she woke up with a throbbing hang over. She couldn't remember this stage, but either way, it made speaking to Remus much easier.
He ran a thin, scarred hand through his graying hair. A sigh shook his bony body and he leaned forward slightly until his elbows rested on his flannel covered knees. "What are you doing, Tonks?" Another sigh shook him and he looked into the corner above her head. "Sleep here tonight; I doubt I could move you anyway right now, but we have to talk tomorrow. Remember that," he stood up from his seat almost as though he had aged considerably since he first sat down. If she had been cognizant enough at the time, she would have remembered how much she hated that. She hated the way he was always so miserably old when he still had the chance to be young. As it was, she was far too lost in her stupor to even notice him hesitate near her head and turn to cover her with a musty blanket.