Summary: Remus thought he was wrong for her. Too poor and dangerous. And so he'd left her, left her and their unborn child. But somehow, he found his way back home. One-shot.
He blinked, looked at her, as she looked at the floor, obviously self-conscious.
He words rang around his head, his heart, and he was unsurprised by the surge of emotion he felt. He returned her feelings, of course he did, but he couldn't tell her that.
"Tonks..." he said quietly, and she looked up at him, met him with eyes filled with raw emotion, tearing his heart apart. "I don't think...I don't think me and you...would work."
"Oh." She said, and he saw the hurt. "Wh-why?"
"I...I'm a werewolf." He said, quietly, as though it was a sacred secret shared by children.
"Oh, is that all?" She laughed, relived, and touched his hand. "I don't care."
He withdrew his hand, saw the hurt return and hated himself for it, as her gaze lowered again.
"I'm too old...too poor..." He said softly. He didn't want to hurt her. He cared about her, deeply, and the last thing he wanted was to hurt her. Had he thought that ignoring her hints, her flirting would suffice?
He had to let her down.
"I'm sorry. But you know, you must know, we...don't belong together." He said gently.
"No. I don't." She murmured.
"Believe me. I'm...protecting you." He added.
"You think you are." She said, shaking her head. "But you're not. One day, you'll see."
And with that, she left him. And he lowered his head to his hands and sat there for a long time.
"Fine! Fine! You'll regret it. You will. But fine. If that's what you really want, then let's get together!"
Tonks blinked. He looked mad, really mad at her - she supposed she may have embarrassed him a bit, with her speech in the hospital wing - but he looked a little nervous, too. Like he thought she'd say no. After humiliating herself, again, and again?
"Fine." She said coolly. "Let's do that."
And her lips curved into a smile.
She was glowing. He could see that. And although a part of him was screaming not to do this, that it was wrong, wrong for her, that if he truly cared he'd leave her and let her find someone who deserved her.
But Remus Lupin shut down that little voice, and smiled as she approached him. For once in his life, he was going to be selfish and marry the woman he loved.
They hadn't done much planning. She'd been upset, because her parents didn't approve of them. And when she'd fiercely announced that they'd "show them, show them all" he'd...well, he'd replied with "what do you think they'd do if we got married?" the reckless schoolboy in him coming out.
Red flag to a bull. She'd grinned, and somehow talked him into it. Not that he'd taken much convincing at the time. A very rushed ceremony had been arranged, with only a handful of people to watch. He'd wished fleetingly that Harry could be here, but he knew that the arrangements for that would be too complex.
And the more he had to think about this, the less of a good idea it seemed.
When she reached him, he took her hand and was sure, if only for that moment, that he'd made the right decision.
"P-pregnant?" Remus stammered, looking at her as though he'd never heard the word before. A huge smile on her face, her eyes shining with joy, she nodded.
"We're having a baby!" She cried, and threw herself into his arms. He hugged her back, tried to sound as thrilled as she did, all the while thinking he should never have married her, never have met her.
He'd ruined her life, and he hated himself for it.
"What the hell do you mean?" Tonks screamed at him, and he winced.
"They need my help..."
"To do what? You don't even know where they're going, why they're going! We're all worried about them, but you can't just leave me! Leave us!" She corrected, a hand on her still-flat stomach.
"Harry's my best friend's son!" Remus yelled back, because it was easier to yell and be mad than it was to admit how painful it was to leave her.
He didn't want to. Didn't. but he knew he had to. For her. For their child.
"You can't." She said, her voice quieter, calmer. "You can't."
"I have to." He whispered, the words cutting his throat like blades. And he turned, and walked away.
The memories tormented him, as he stood outside their home. Harry's words had hit him hard, and he'd known they were true. Once his anger had faded, he'd known Harry was right.
But he couldn't go inside. He just couldn't bring himself to. She probably hated him. She'd probably scream at him and hex him the second she saw him. He'd abandoned her, when she'd needed him, and how could she forgive him for that?
He needed her. He'd managed to shut it out as he'd made his way to Harry and the others. Managed to shut it out as he'd argued with Harry. Even managed to ignore it as he'd made his way home.
But now, he couldn't do it anymore. Despite how much he'd tried to stop it, to protect her, protect himself, he was in love with her and he needed her.
If she rejected him - as he had rejected her - would he be able to go on?
He never knew how long he stood there, but the sun had begun to set slowly before it occurred to him how open to attack he was. And, deciding he'd rather face her than die without ever seeking her forgiveness, he walked towards the door, and knocked.
"Who is it?" Her voice came through the wooden door, loud and clear, and unafraid.
"It's me. Remus." He said nervously. A second later, the door flew open, and there she stood, her eyes wide.
"Dora!" He cried. "How many times! You don't just open the door like that - do you want to be murdered? You know the procedure, we've been through this -" Rolling her eyes, she stepped back and let him in. He closed and locked the door behind him.
"That was all the proof I needed. And you haven't checked if it's really me." She pointed out, and he looked at her, surprised.
"OK. So we're even." He sighed. And, at that moment, she seemed to realise that he'd abandoned her, that he'd been gone for days, and her face went blank.
"Why are you here?" She asked flatly.
"I'm sorry." He murmured. "I never should have left...I thought I was doing what's best for you."
"You always do." She muttered, turning away and walking into the living room. She threw herself down on the sofa, and looked at him, waiting until he was sat on an armchair before speaking again. "So why've you come back? I don't need your apologies."
Her tone was so...cold. Her body language, too. She'd never looked at him like this.
And all at once, he realised that, this time, she was trying to protect herself. Trying to harden her heart against him, so he couldn't hurt her again. The thought made him fill with guilt, and yet nearly smile, because he knew she could never harden her heart no matter how she tried.
"I didn't come to apologise." He said. "I - I mean, I did. But...Harry went mad at me."
Apparently, the wrong thing to say entirely.
"What, so we're your last resort?" She snapped.
"No - no. I mean, Harry started yelling, saying that - that I should be here and...well, he was right. So were you. I was the only one who couldn't see it, and..."
She sat, waited, looked at him.
"I want to come home." He said it softly, almost fearfully, she thought. Like he was scared she'd turn him away, throw him out...didn't he know she couldn't ever do that? No matter how much she thought she should.
"I want you to come home." She said quietly. "But - I can't do this anymore. I can't have you - going all distant on me, I can't spend my life waiting for you to walk out on me again, and again."
"I know." He said, realising for the first time how much he'd hurt her. "I promise you, I'll never leave you again. But - you have to understand what I've done to you be marrying you."
"Like I haven't noticed?" She sighed. "I've seen the way people whisper, the way they look at me. I've had to snide little comments, I've had the words of support. How many times to I have to tell you I don't care!"
"Never again." He said quickly. "I believe you, OK? And I won't ever leave you again, I promise you." He was so desperate to make her understand, to make her forgive him, and it showed.
"OK." She said softly. "OK." She stood, hugged him tightly.
And he knew he was home.