June 1996

I swear I resisted before writing you this, if not for the fact that you might not have wanted it, at least because I was worried for your safety. But our dear postman says it wouldn't be of harm as long as we be careful, so you know what to do with this letter once you're done.

I am still very angry at you. Again, this is not simply because you left, but because of how you did it. I can deal with deceptions, have dealt with a fair amount of them in my life, but I hate being lied to and you know it.

I now know why you said what you said to me the last time we saw each other. The lie wouldn't have lasted long, but I suppose you didn't expect it to, as long as it lasted long enough that I wouldn't possibly be able to do anything else, isn't it? Well, it hurt. It hurt quite a lot. I suppose I'd rather believe the things you've said, because at least they made more sense to me.

There were many other things I'd like to tell you, but unfortunately time is short and my possibilities are limited. But I swear this is not the last you'll ever hear from me. Not now that I'm quite sure that your reasons for pushing me away have nothing to do with loss of interest in my person.

Keep safe,

Yours


July 1996

I may have been cruel, but you were crueller for sending me those words. Not for stating your anger; that I already expected and wholly deserve. But it was very cruel of you to remind me of things I shall no longer have. I rather wish that you would forget me and find yourself someone worthier of your attentions.


July 1996

You do realise I wasn't expecting an answer, don't you? It only served to strengthen my opinion on this matter, even if it was your usual self-pitying pile of bullshit. I dare to believe you're unconsciously slipping me the very weapons to win this over with.

At least you were right about one thing: you do deserve my anger. Not for being the unworthy-one-with-whom-I've-wasted-precious-time, as I'm sure you like to think of yourself, but because you have no right to decide what is good for me. I am a responsible adult and can make decisions for myself, and if I decide there's no better person to devote my attentions to than you, that's my problem.

Now if you really don't want to receive my attention, then you better mean that and own that, instead of saying it as some kind of excuse to "keep me away from trouble" or whatever you might think.

Still – I'm glad to hear from you. The news reach me from time to time, but it's always better to read from your own quill.


October 1996

Forgive me for the prolonged delay of a response. My situation has been complicated, to say the least. Perhaps those months were enough to make you forget all about this subject; if so, then it is quite unfortunate if my letter brings those memories back to the front of you mind.

I've had a chance to leave my current grounds for a couple of days. This was most surely an unexpected blessing considering my position within the group, so much so that I actually suspected there might have been second intentions in my permission to leave; but since my probing proved to be fruitless, I decided to take a leaf out of your late cousin's book and carpe diem.

It is, of course, a pity that we cannot use this opportunity to talk through this subject once and for all – although it might have been another blessed coincidence, for I'm not completely sure that I would be able to keep my decision or think properly in your presence.

I hope you do realise now that our brief involvement was improper and irrational. While I do not regret one single moment of joy I've lived by your side, I have become unable to disassociate that joy from the terrible feeling of guilt that came afterwards, when I considered the consequences of those actions to your future.

I know very well that you are an adult and a quite responsible one, but every time you insist on these matters, I can only conclude that you do not fully comprehend the reality of a relationship to one like me. Allow me to remind you: I am a dangerous man, shunned by society and therefore unable to provide even myself with some of the barest needs. So yes, in this particular case I consider myself in a position of making this decision for you.

You are an adorable woman and should be free to spend your youth among better people than someone who can only see a miserable path ahead of him. Let us close this subject at that.

Apart from the complications that kept me from answering your letter, I'm doing fairly well. I wish there were some more consistent good news to partake with you and yours, but unfortunately that is not the case. Still, the ocean floor is made of grains of sand, and I might at least have been able to misplace a handful of those.

Consider all I've said and take care,

Yours


October 1996

Allow me to remind you, dear, that I can be rather dangerous too (and then you might argue that I'm a danger to myself more than to anyone else, but I know you're too much of a gentleman to admit such thing to my face…). In case you didn't notice, I'm also very likely to be shunned by our beloved society at any given moment, for reasons we both know well. While that doesn't happen, I am very able to – and would happily – provide for both of us. I know you don't like the idea of being maintained by anyone, I understand it and agree that it would be uncomfortable, but you know that it's not like me to pamper anyone and you would still have to work out some way to keep yourself eventually. But I digress.

My point can be summarised in one simple sentence: let us close this subject, my arse. You might be fine and dandy with your decision, but in case you don't know, I'm currently a complete wrack over it. This whole business is starting to affect my life in more ways than I'd like to admit. I really wish I could simply say whatever and shut you out of my life, but unfortunately for both of us, I simply can't. Because I know that would be one big, messy lie in both of our lives, and I would probably spend the rest of my youth (quoting you) thinking "what if". What if I had insisted. What if I had banged on his thick head until he got to see something else than a miserable path.

You probably have noticed by now that I'm more emotional than usual, so you see how this is getting to me. But don't worry, I still manage to keep a clear mind over the things that matter – how I do it is still a mystery, but I haven't heard complaints from any side, so I suppose I'm still doing fine. Sleep is a rare commodity these times, of course, but then again I'm not new to it either.

Before the mere idea might pass your noodles, I am not, I repeat, I am not trying to win you over through emotional blackmail. In fact, I hope you know I'm way above such thing, or else I will be the one to push you away, really. I do hope you know me better than that. But I've been keeping these things to myself all this time, and I figured you should know the mess you're doing by trying to avoid some other hypothetical mess.

I probably said more than I should and less than I'd like to, so I'll stop now before I make an utter fool of myself. And just in case you're wondering, no, I hadn't forgotten. In fact, I was pulling my hair out from the lack of news. Your letter made me shake my head in wonder at how stubborn you can be, but it took one heavy load off my shoulders.

I really love you, you prat,

Yours


November 1996

I would never think of you as an emotional blackmailer. I confess that I considered telling you otherwise, just so you would give up on your stubborn obsession over me, but when my quill touched the parchment I found myself unable to lie.

I had been vaguely informed of your situation lately and I am immensely sorry that I am the cause of such distraught. All that only reinforces my theory that our coming together last year was indeed a mistake, though one quite pleasurable to commit. Don't think that I'm not suffering because of this maze we have put ourselves in – I daresay I suffer even more, for it was my responsibility to not let it come to this point in the first place.

We seem to have reached an impasse, in that I will not change my decision and I don't see you changing yours. I only wish there was some magical cure to our conflict; the Dark Arts have probably touched the subject, but it would surely do more damage than good, wouldn't it? Tell me, do you know of any Dark wizard or witch with this kind of relationship distress? Just joking, of course.

And please don't use that word. It will only cause us unnecessary pain.

Yours


December 1996

If you have the chance, go see Mother Hen on Christmas. Don't worry, I won't be there.

Won't call you a prat anymore then. But sorry: I still love you.


January 1997

A safe source has informed me that your Patronus is not a ferret anymore, which distresses me greatly; you know very well that this kind of event is rarely a good sign. I can't accept the fact that you're undergoing all this because of me. My only hope is that my informer wasn't very accurate in his description of your new Patronus, and that in reality it hasn't transformed to what I fear it did.

I followed your suggestion and am, for the moment, warm and well-fed. My worries over you, however, keep a firm grip over my heart, and it doesn't help any that, according to Mother Hen, you've passed Christmas Eve alone. There are many people, of which I am the least you should be thinking about, who love you deeply and care about your well-being. Please promise me that you will not give in to depression, especially over reasons that don't demand such.

Times become darker by the minute. Christmas break was a very welcome pause in my routine. I hope it was for you, too, even if what Mother Hen said was right. In case you are unable to meet all of them before this letter arrives, rest assured that everyone is doing as fine as these times allow.

I only wish I could afford buying you a Christmas gift. Unfortunately, not only are my galleon reserves pratically nonexistant, it might also have been cruel on my part to give you something that would become a constant reminder of our doomed affair. Having said that, I hope this humble truffle will bring a smile to your face.

Wishing you a happy New Year, however unlikely that might seem at the moment.

Yours

PS: Haha. Had you been born ten years earlier, love, I'm quite sure you would have been one fine Marauder.


January 1997

I hope you realise you might as well have written our names on that last letter, considering the amount of personal information you let pass. Really, love, that's why one doesn't write confidential stuff when one has a belly filled with eggnog. But don't worry, luckily for everyone the letter arrived safe and sound and has already been taken care of by yours truly.

My new Patronus is exactly what you think it is. I happen to find it quite charming.

Pot, meet kettle. I won't promise you anything unless you stop whimpering and learn to face your own bloody life with a puffed-up chest.

I spent Christmas alone, but it doesn't mean I was crying on my pillow either. There was work to be done and I needed a little bit of peace to do some thinking. I think about us a lot, but it's hardly the only thing in my mind as of now. In fact, I'm already running out of brain for the number of problems I have to worry about. I wish there was a safe way for me to share it all with you – you always were much better in the thinking area than I am.

Good to know everyone's doing fine.

I don't know what you put on that truffle but I swear I'm still feeling the effects.

Wishing the New Year will make a certain wizard I love open his eyes.

Yours

PS: Didn't you know? Padfoot named me Mder. Extraordinary, once. He was drunk at the time, so I can't guarantee the validity of that statement.


March 1997

What happened? Was that you? Were you forced to? Are you hurt? Please answer ASAP. Love you, no matter what.


March 1997

It wasn't me, but I was present. I doubt the boy will survive. There was nothing I could do.

As I said before and shall say again if necessary, I'm too old, too poor and way too dangerous for you.

Please, for your own sake, try not to contact me anymore.


May 1997

Don't you dare dying before we're settled. I'll never win this argument if you do.

I don't know what I would do if you died. So please don't.


May 1997

You should know by now that any of us might die at any moment. What would be the point of maintaining a relationship now? You will never find happiness by my side.


June 1997

I know death is just around the corner and that is precisely why we should be together now, because we might never have the chance otherwise. Why can't you see that? This might be my last chance of having you in my life, and vice-versa. If death comes too soon, and there's a 90 percent chance that it will, no thanks to our smooth, peaceful lifestyle, at least we'll know that we tried. At least the one that stays behind (if there is one) will have a handful of good memories to hold on to. Maybe you consider it morbid or something, but that's what I think.

The problem, as I just came to realise here, is not that I won't find happiness by your side. It's that you think you'll never find happiness by anyone's side. And you've been through so much shit in your life that you are scared of trying. You're bloody scared that it might actually work. Because if it does work, if by some miracle we both survive and things turn out all right for us, you won't have much of an excuse for feeling sorry for yourself anymore, and you just aren't used to that idea. Yes, there will still be your problem, but in case you didn't notice that part of you was old news long before we even met. The thing is, if you find out you might actually be happy with me, or with anyone else for the matter, you'll have to stop defining yourself around your "furry little problem" and I'm sure that will be hard work.

Guess what: for each day you're sick, there are other 28 that you're not – let's take two or three days out of it, because I know there's the stress and the pains afterwards, but it still gives you 25 days a month of being an average wizard, and that's one hell of a lot of time. So stop living behind the pity mask and get what life gives you, because hell if you don't deserve it. You deserve it more than most people I know. If you don't want me, fine, it's your choice, but then go find yourself another girlfriend, or boyfriend if that sounds more appealing at the moment, or even pull an Aberforth and go raise cattle, but I've really had enough with the "worthless" bullshit. Now, if you are still interested, and I happen to think you are, I'm right here and willing to talk.

I don't know when we'll see each other again but I expect you to have an answer by then.

Live up to your House, for Merlin's sake.


June 1997

"Hi."

"Hi."

"Have you seen Bill?"

"Yes, I... I was there just now. He's doing fine. They might take him home tomorrow."

"Good to know."

"Did you get hurt? In all that confusion, I..."

"No, I'm fine. What about you? That scar?"

"This? Old wound. Nevermind."

"Back there? With the..."

"Yes."

"Hm."

"The wake will be in two days."

"Will you go?"

"Yes. You?"

"Me too."

"Hm."

"... I'm sorry. For everything, I mean."

"There's no need to—"

"I mean, the letter. I hope you didn't even get that. And then that scene I made. Right after Dumbledore... that was... Merlin. But I'd just seen you almost get killed, so I was in such a state that—"

"Tonks?"

"Yeah?"

"I got your last letter."

"Oh."

"Yes."

"Right. Sorry that—"

"You were right."

"... Ah. Yeah?"

"I really should live up to my House more. You were probably right, you... maybe you were probably right."

"Maybe I was probably right."

"Yes. Ah, with a. A full stop. Maybe. You were right."

"Right."

"Yes. Well."

"We should probably eat."

"Maybe we should."

"Probably maybe?"

"Probably maybe."

"Three Broomsticks?"

"Will you walk with me?"

"Gladly."