Author's Note: I was lying awake last night and came up with the majority of what you see here. Art imitates life?
It is 1:38 AM, and Nymphadora Tonks is lying awake.
But she is not just lying awake; she is also subject to a series of other adjectives. She is lying not-quite-still, the rustle of her bare feet against the bedclothes deafening in the silence; she is lying sandwiched between sheets with a pattern so loud she sometimes thinks she can hear their distant cries; she is lying with her arms crossed over her chest, like some sort of Egyptian mummy sans crook and flail, with her hands on the opposite shoulders, one pressed between her and the pillow such that she can feel her heartbeat in her neck.
Her pulse beats steadily, with the jarring regularity of the second hand of a clock.
"Second hand" makes her think of "second-hand," which makes her think of Remus Lupin's second-hand coat, of the way he always pulls it closer around him as if it is a compulsion, as if he wants to melt into its ragged folds and disappear forever.
She shifts her shoulders slightly and looks at the bed-sheets. She fancies she can almost discern the colors in the blue-gray half-light.
"Half-light" makes her think of "Half-Blood," a title to which both she and Remus Lupin can stake their claims, and she wonders what it feels like to die. She wonders if it is a sunset or a light-switch.
She makes herself think of colors again.
She thinks of orange, and purple, and silver. They are all colors she likes, and all words for which there exist no rhymes in the English language. She wonders if she, too, is destined to be alone. She has tried before, but her efforts have yielded only mélanges and scruples and quivers.
But she also likes green—seen, clean, dean, screen, keen—and yellow—mellow, cello, fellow, Jell-O—and pink—drink, link, brink, mink, sink, think, blink.
"Blink" makes her think of how Remus Lupin blinked repeatedly when she told him she liked his scarf, as if he honestly couldn't believe that anyone should find anything about him remotely appealing. He seems to have locked himself in that mindset, and he refuses to come out. She thinks he is scared.
Well, she's scared, too, of lots of things. She thinks they'll just have to be scared together.
It is 1:40 AM, and tomorrow morning, all Nymphadora Tonks will know is that she smiled faintly and momentarily over Remus Lupin's scarf for a reason she cannot remember.