No matter how hard I try
You fear the beast inside
It's growing, it's waiting
Just to hurt you
This heart was hurt by the light and
I see your world that tries to deny
Now everything that I love has died or has been shattered to pieces
(Within Temptation, Blue Eyes)
You just stand and wait, wait for him to react, to make a move, to say something – anything – because you've barely heard his voice is the past two days, and you hadn't fully realised before how shallow and empty everything seems in his absence.
He's been avoiding you ever since your outburst in the hospital wing, keeping himself away from everywhere you might be. Just what you had been doing until that very moment, when you couldn't force yourself to believe anymore that time and distance don't heal love, because love – real love – is a chronic disease you can't get rid of, no matter what, and you're starting to feel you'll die from this, sooner or later.
And it's ironic, isn't it? You can be whoever you want, but you can't seem to be able to be what he wants.
It was by accident that you and him met, tonight, right here, of all places, where everything has begun; maybe it's not a coincidence.
When he saw you, you knew by his look that he would have wanted to turn on his heels and run away at once, but you know he could see the need, the praying, the desperate longing into your eyes, your iced everblue eyes. Blue like your thoughts, blue like your love, blue like the heart you've tried to keep together after you first understood he would never return your feelings. Whether for the lack of them of for other reasons, you're afraid you'll never know, and perhaps this is what makes it so painful.
Maybe you're just not worth his attention, and surely not worth his love, and he probably doesn't care if he's causing such agony to you, but then why has he stayed instead of walking away?
He could have, you wouldn't have tried to stop him. But he just didn't.
His eyes are studying you, inspecting every inch of you, as if he was trying to decrypt your hidden emotions. You know he can.
There is sorrow in his eyes, as well. He bears a guilty shade on his face, that seems to weight upon him like Damocles' sword, and you wonder if he had predicted, in the beginning, when the sentiments of you both were still safely buried in the darkest depths of your hearts, that the beautiful times you've spent together would lead to all of this.
"Hi." He says weakly, and there is a vibe to his voice, a flaw of emotion he can't seem to hide away.
The hall of Number 12, Grimmauld Place, is small, but feels immense as the two of you stand one in front of another, seemingly miles away. And yet, he's close enough for you to see yourself in the sadness of his eyes.
You have the irrational instinct to pull him into a hug, just because you missed the concrete serenity his mere presence seems to bring, but you won't. You wouldn't be able to stand his forced coldness if you only dared moving a step onward.
There is a delicate balance between your anxiety to keep him here and his unwilling desire to stay, and you can't afford to lose this precious moment by doing the right thing in the wrong moment.
It's happened once, already, when your admiration for him verged into something deeper and way more complex, and yet it wasn't the realisation of your love for him that changed everything.
It was not the fall that broke you, but the hand that pulled you up.
"How are you?" he asks in a whisper, and you feel the concern he's never cared to deny, that affectionate tone that always confuses you. Why does he use it only with you?
"I don't know." You answer earnestly, flat and inexpressive. He nods like he knew what you mean and he felt sorry to hear this. Maybe he even does.
You stare through his eyes, searching for a glimpse of hope to grasp at, for a sign that, one day, he'll stop trying to protect you from the high risk of being happy with him. All you wish now is to know what he really feels, what he really thinks.
'Please, forgive me for loving you.'
You wince as these words resonate within your mind. He hasn't opened his mouth, but it was his voice, you have no doubt.
'Loving me?' You're too stunned to utter a single word, and even if you comprehended each and every syllable of the whole sentence, you simply can't believe any of them. After all, where did it come from?
You see his eyes have grown larger and, again, his voice fills your mind, even if his lips aren't moving.
'You heard that?' He sounds beyond surprised or shocked. He sounds impressed. Positively impressed?
You're honestly beginning to feel a little scared. Is this some kind of telepathy?
'What's going on here?'
"I don't know." He breaths incredulously. It is your job to recognise Legilimancy, and this is definitely not the case.
Suddenly it doesn't matter anymore if he will run or deny, suddenly all that's important is that you know what you heard was real, and coming from his mind – or his heart.
"Say it again." You tell him, daring to approach him. He doesn't move, seems petrified on his spot and too lost in you to do anything but to just stare back. "Say it aloud, this time."
"I need to hear it, Remus." You're supplicating, but there's too much at stake, this time, and you're thoroughly determined not to give up.
"And I need you to forget it." His look is as stubborn as ever as he gazes at you and tries his best to draw back, even if it's clear he doesn't truly want to.
"You know I won't." You reply with a faint smile. You almost feel like laughing at such a silly request. How can he expect you to forget about the one thing you were dying to hear?
He gives you a severe, scolding glare, which doesn't touch you at all. Now you know it's not due to the lack of love for you that he doesn't want to let you in, but for the exact opposite reason. There is something, now, that is worth fighting for.
"Dumbledore is dead, Tonks." He retorts sadly, as if it had anything to do with the two of you.
"Dumbledore would have been happy for us." You point out, aware that he has no chance to deny this.
He sighs, rubbing his eyes with his hands, and he looks unnaturally old and tired. He looks so because he wants to.
"You're an adult woman, try to act like one… Try to understand."
A small, scoffing laugh escapes from you.
"What's this excuse, now?" you blurt. "I'm a little girl when you need to be too old for me, but I'm an adult woman when it comes to understanding your inconsistent reasons?" You clack your tongue disapprovingly, and you can almost feel your words break a thin crack through his walls.
"This is not what I m-"
"Yes, Remus, it is." You cut him off, not interested in any other stupid excuse he would bring. "You have to make up your mind: either I am a girlie, too young for you, but allowed to refuse to understand and keep nagging you until some sense kicks in you, or I am a woman, who surely understands your motives, but who doesn't give a damn about them and is therefore free to choose whether to spend the rest of her life with or without a deadly dangerous werewolf by her side."
He looks frozen, somehow hypnotized by the feverish tones of your speech. His eyes, though, still look sad.
"I don't want to lose you." He mutters, and looks away from you to fix his eyes on the ground. You can't quite follow.
"And you're trying to prevent this by pushing me away? Smart one, really."
He shakes his head powerless, fists clenched convulsively. There is a shade of pain that darkens his tensed features.
"They're dead." He whispers feebly, and it shatters your heart to see him like this. "Every single person I've ever loved is dead, Tonks. I'm not going to let this happen to you."
It is your turn to be at a loss for words, now. This goes beyond any expectation, any prediction, any assumption you'd made about his determination in keeping you away from him.
"I'll die anyway, without you." You declare, and his head immediately darts up. You can feel he knows you're not joking, it's not a threaten. You would really die without him.
You reach out for his hand and grab it, squeezing it gently. His look meets yours again as you address him a timid smile.
"Would you prefer to see me die because of somebody else or by your own hand?" you inquire in the end, as a final stroke, as his dumbfounded expression confirms. This is it, the moment when you know you win.
"What if I lose you, too?" he asks tentatively, but it's a lame attempt to fight something that has already defeated him.
"At least you'd know you've done anything in your power to prevent it."
You step ahead, until you body and his skim and the beats of your hearts synchronise. It's all going to turn upside down, but you've never been so ready to face it.
'You can kill me or save me, Remus… It's only you who can decide.'
And as you can almost hear his walls crumble down, you feel his hands pull you to him, and you know – you just do – that he's saving you.