Disclaimer: I'm not JK Rowling – anything you recognise is hers, and not mine.
Author's Note: Originally written for rt challenge on Live Journal, for the prompt deus ex machina.
"He's making a right bloody hash of this," James said.
Lily looked up and raised an eyebrow, although she was distinctly unsurprised. When it came to Remus and girls, disaster really was the name of the game – although this time, she thought, with a frown, he had rather outdone himself.
She liked Tonks – had from the second they'd set eyes on her in that first meeting. She had spirit, and as Lily was all spirit these days it was a quality she liked to look for in the living.
They'd watched all year as Remus had struggled with his heart and his conscience in equal measure, as the colour had drained out of her more and more each time he pushed her away for her own good, and for the last hour they'd watched as Tonks ranted about how she didn't care, and Remus paced, avoiding her eyes, on the Hogwarts grounds.
"Same old Moony," Sirius said, with a sigh that was entirely for dramatic effect, since none of them required air to actually breathe these days. "He always did need a bloody diagram where girls were concerned."
"Well this is all your fault – " James said, rounding on him.
"Well if you hadn't gone and bloody died – "
"Oh kettle, Black calling, Potter," Sirius said tersely. "You're not so alive yourself."
James sniggered. "I do dead with more panache, though," he said. "At least I didn't fall through a bloody curtain – "
"Veil of Death," Sirius said, glaring. "Not 'a bloody curtain'. And I didn't fall – I was pushed."
James turned away, biting his lip against a grin. "If you say so."
Lily thought she'd better intervene, lest this turn into another one of their arguments that raged for days on end and resulted in thunderbolts and lightening. "What's he saying?" she said, leaning forward to peer over the edge of their cloud to see.
"Some guff about the bigger picture," Sirius said, frowning. "How in the grand scheme of things, their feelings don't really matter – there's more important things to think about."
Lily offered a derisory snort. "She's not going to let him get away with that."
"No," James said. "Look – she's hitting him – "
"Good on her. I'd have throttled him by now."
" – and telling him that if they're not fighting for love, what are they fighting for? That that's what sets us apart from the Death Eaters."
Sirius nodded in approval, although any jubilation was a little premature as Remus continued to avoid her eyes and turn a deaf ear to her arguments. "Why is he still pacing?" Lily said. "That was the killer line – his cue to realise what an idiot he's being and take her in his arms and cut to the Mills & Boon ending."
"But she's not saying what he needs to hear," James said. "He was like this with us – he doesn't need to hear an 'I don't care what you are' he needs to hear a 'I know what you are, and it doesn't change how I feel'."
Lily raised an eyebrow, only this time, it was in surprise. "What?" James said, clutching his chest in mock-offence. "Now I'm not allowed to be sensitive?"
Lily sniggered. "No – just – that was very perceptive, Potter."
"Thank you," James said. He went back to peering over the edge of the cloud, smirking slightly. "Merlin, the man could pace for Britain – he's going to wear a hole in the turf if he carries on like this."
"He's bloody useless – " Sirius said.
"Well if you hadn't gone and died – "
"It was rather unintentional, you know – "
" – you could be down there right now, banging their heads together."
James met his eye, and Sirius smiled. "Banging their heads together," they said together.
"Which one do you want?" James said.
"I'll take him," Sirius replied. "I think I should get to whack him for mistreating my cousin."
Lily fixed them both with her best prefect stare, even though past experience, both when they were alive and not, told her that they wouldn't listen for a second. "We're not supposed to intervene," she said, even though she couldn't resist a small smile at the thought of what might happen if they did.
True to form, Sirius and James just rolled their eyes and ignored her protest. "It's not exactly subtle," she offered. Sirius waved at Remus pacing on the grass, and Tonks following, gesticulating wildly.
"Do they look like they're in the mood for subtle?" he said. "This might be the only chance we get, and I say we go for it."
He exchanged a glance with James, and they both nodded. "Back in a minute," James said, flashing her the lop-sided cheeky smile he saved for when he was up to distinctly no good.
Lily sighed, but she couldn't bring herself to do it with proper disapproval, and so as they floated away, she felt no compunction about shuffling closer to the edge of the cloud to watch.
She held her breath – or she would have done, if she'd had any – and watched as the astral forms of Sirius Black and James Potter snuck up behind the pair of them, and smacked their heads together.
As their foreheads collided right in the middle of Tonks' rant about him being a patronising idiot who didn't trust her to know her own mind, the look on both of their faces was amusingly shocked, and as they pulled apart, shock turned to confusion.
"Ow," Remus said, pressing the heel of his hand into his forehead.
"Ow," Tonks said, mouth open in a wince as she pressed her fingers to her temple. "What was that?"
"Did you trip?"
"On what?" she said, glaring at him indignantly. "Your bleedin' ego?"
"I don't have a – "
Remus stopped, and closed his eyes for a moment.
Lily bit her lip. His expression had changed, wavered just a little from fraught but resolved to something else – concern. Contrition, perhaps.
Promising, she thought.
Remus let out a long sigh, massaged the red bruise on his forehead a little, and then opened his eyes, looking at Tonks for the first time in a very long time. He stepped forward and took her face in his hands, tilting it into the light from the school. "How's your head?" he said.
Lily pressed her lips firmly together against the excitement that threatened to manifest itself in a rather unattractive squeak.
"Hurts," Tonks muttered. Remus moved her head gently, tilting it further back so he could see it better, his eyes roaming the burgeoning egg-shaped bruise on her temple and wincing a little in sympathy. Tonks swallowed. "It'll have been worth it, though," she said, so quietly Lily had to strain to hear it, "if it's knocked some sense into you."
"What's going on?"
"Has he kissed her yet?"
"Shh," Lily said, shooting a glower in Sirius and James' direction as they appeared at her side. She jerked her head in the direction of the couple on the grass below. Tonks was looking up hopefully, Remus gazed down with something that was looking less like steely resolve with every second that passed.
"I'm not sure it's a question of sense," Remus said, although Lily noted that he hadn't moved his hands from their position on Tonks' face.
"You can't think it's good sense for us both to be miserable at a time like this," Tonks said. "We need each other. Don't we?" Her hands found his waist, and she gave him the tiniest of little shakes. "And I don't care if you think I should have someone half your age with twice your money and without your claws and teeth – I want you. That's got to count for something, hasn't it?"
One half of Remus' mouth hitched into the very beginnings of a smile – the first true smile Lily had seen a hint of on his face since Sirius had joined them.
The poignancy of the moment was rather ruined by James shouting "Tell her Moony!" and Sirius chiming in with a "you useless moping tosser!"
But in spite of it all, Lily knew from the look in Remus' eyes that Tonks had finally said the right thing.
"It counts for a great deal, actually," Remus said, pressing himself closer to her. "It's just – it's been a long time since anyone really did."
"Did what?" Tonks whispered, as if they very tone of her voice could shatter whatever was happening and she didn't want to risk it.
"Saw what I was," Remus said, "and wanted me anyway."
"But you've always known I – " she said. "Why..?"
She let the question hang in the still night air, and for a moment, Lily feared he wouldn't answer, that he wouldn't let her see what they'd all known all along was at the heart of the matter.
But he did.
"It's been a long time," he said, "since I had anything – anyone – to lose."
"Did he just say – "
"He's really going to – "
"I loved Lily, and James, and Sirius like they were a part of me – but the way I feel about you…." He looked up, and Lily wished she could meet his eye, offer him a smile of encouragement to let him know that it was all right to say what he needed to.
But in the end, he didn't need it.
"You're – everything to me," he said, meeting Tonks' hopeful gaze with a rather watery one of his own, "and you always have been – always will be, whether you choose to give me a chance to make this right, or not."
"Do you really mean – "
"Of course I do."
Tonks threw her arms around his neck, and nearly pulled Remus off his feet with a hug.
They watched as Remus drew away, mumbled something they couldn't hear, and then eased Tonks closer, gently pressing his lips to hers.
"And there," said a low rumbling voice which danced with amusement, "I think we should leave them to it."
They all turned to see who had spoken, although Lily suspected they all had a pretty good idea, to find the raised eyebrows of Albus Dumbledore twitching at them in amused accusation. "I see, thanks to you three – "
"I told them we weren't supposed to intervene," Lily said.
"He just needed a little push – "
"He'd have got there on his own, eventually – not really interven-"
Dumbledore raised his hand for quiet, and they all complied. " – that there's a little more love in the world," he said. He gestured to their surroundings, smiling slightly, and settled back against a cloud as if this was exactly what he'd expected, before eying them all good-naturedly over the top of his half-moon spectacles. "It seems I picked a good day to arrive."
A/N: Cheers for reading. Reviewers get a good haunting from a beyond the veil character of their choice ;).