Disclaimer: I don't own any characters from Harry Potter, or anything else created by JK Rowling.
A/N: This was tricky to write. I couldn't figure out if I wanted this to be book compliant or not...so I just left the setting ambiguous and open. And I couldn't decide whether to use the flashback or not. Tell me how I did on this, okay? Reviews are appreciated.
In her way, Nymphadora Tonks was exactly like every person he'd ever truly cared about. She accepted him without any hesitation. She accepted him as he was, and didn't even think twice about loving him.
It was early morning when eleven year old Remus Lupin returned to the Gryffindor common room. His arms were scratched and he felt slightly sick, but mostly he was just glad that the night was over and done with.
If he had been paying attention, he would have noticed the three people sitting on the squashy chairs before they jumped up to meet him.
He stopped dead. In front of him were his three best friends, and they looked rather annoyed.
He had realized that, bright as they all were, they were sure to eventually see through his mangled lies. He knew they had been suspicious, but he never imagined that they would have waited up for him to confront him about it. He never imagined that he'd have only four months with his new friends before they discovered the truth.
"Enough is enough, Remus. We want to know where you go every month, and we want to know why you've been lying to us." said Sirius.
He couldn't bear to tell them. If he did, they would surely desert him, and he couldn't say that he would blame them. He was a monster, after all. Remus tried to think of a good lie, but failed. He couldn't pretend anymore, it was time to give up on the delusion that he actually belonged in their little group.
"I'm sorry, but I didn't want you guys to know. I've been going to The Shrieking Shack to…transform. You see, I'm…a werewolf." he said the last part in a whisper. He felt dirty and contaminated. He wished he could disappear.
Remus looked at them, waiting for them to gasp and take a few large steps back from him. He waited for them to yell or run. They didn't do anything of the sort.
"We kind of thought you were." said James seriously.
Remus stammered through his shock. "B-But how?"
"Well," started Sirius with a little smile. "You're always disappearing during the full moon. Then you come back with scratches and you don't explain how you got them. And you're pretty much the world's worst liar."
"What I don't get, though," said James curiously. "Is why you didn't tell us? We wouldn't tell anybody else if you didn't want us to. You didn't have to lie about it."
Remus was stunned. "I didn't want you guys to ditch me. I mean, I understand if you don't want to hang out with me anymore now that you know…"
Sirius looked horrified. He grabbed Remus roughly by the shoulder. "Why wouldn't we want to hang out with you anymore, you prat! You're our friend! Just because you've got a bit of a problem…"
"What he's trying to say is, just because you've got a 'furry little problem' doesn't mean that we'd abandoned you!. Honestly…you're our friend." James finished, echoing Sirius's words. Peter nodded vigorously in agreement.
"So, you…you don't care about what I am?" he asked, looking at each of them in turn, not daring to believe it.
"Not in the slightest, mate."
She stood there, simply looking at him in that way that made him feel completely transparent. He was trying, yet again, to explain to her why it wouldn't work between them. She didn't seem to be listening to a word of his arguments.
"I don't care that you're a werewolf, Remus." she stated matter-of-factly.
He'd heard this before, of course. It was with great restraint that he managed not to yell in frustration. Instead, he spoke with forced calm in his voice. "But Tonks, don't you see? You should care. I'm too dangerous for us to be together. I could hurt you, and then I wouldn't be able to live with myself."
"You can be such a git, you know that?" she told him angrily.
"You…sound like Sirius used to."
"Well good, since he's one of the few people who ever made you feel as though you were worth something!" she exclaimed loudly.
The words hit him like a punch to the stomach. He had never told her that, he'd never told anyone that, and yet what she said was entirely true. How could she know? Was she really able to read him that well? Spooky.
Tonks started up again, without waiting for a reply. "You think you're a monster, but you're not! We can work something out for full moons. It's not like you're dangerous all the time…"
"I…" he started. He tried to think of something to counter her statement, but couldn't. He tried to think of some reason he hadn't already used before, something that she couldn't wave away as insignificant or irrelevant.
And he couldn't think of any.
An inner battle was raging inside of him, his logic and reason versus what he really, truly, wanted in his life. Something clicked and he just knew what was coming. Lupin could see how this was going to end, and if he was being perfectly honest, he felt sincerely excited about the idea. His better judgment was going to lose this war within himself, and his heart was going to triumph over it. And that was okay. Better than okay, actually. It was perfect.
"Just think about it, all right, Remus?" she said quietly, bringing him abruptly out of his newfound thoughts and feelings.
Tonks turned to leave, but he grasped her hand before she could do so.
Suddenly, he was tired of trying to fight it. He wanted to be with her, and she wanted to be with him. This could work. They would make it work.
They caught each other's gaze, and he could see the spark of hope dancing in her eyes.
There was a lot he wanted to tell her in that amazing moment of surrender. He wanted to tell her that she was right and that she had been so all along. He wanted her to know how happy she had made him, he wanted to tell her that he cared for her, and that she was perfect and beautiful and meant the world to him.
Then, he simply decided to tell her everything he felt for her without saying a word. He pulled her close to him, and kissed her tenderly on the lips. It was the best feeling in the world.
He had been sure that this sudden display of love and affection would have taken her aback (he was actually still surprised by his own daring), but when he pulled away she didn't look remotely startled. In fact, she just grinned in that usual way of hers and said, "Well, maybe you're not such a git, then..."
Another A/N: For anyone who liked my Dreaming In Pink story, I've started to work on fic along the same lines, possibly a sequel. :)