LbN: Hey guys! I was listening to this song and had an idea...
Keep Your Head Up
Tonks sighed and put the paper down. The headline was some more rubbish about "putting things right" and "bringing the last ones to justice". It had been a year and a half since the fall of You-Know-Who, and the Daily Prophet was back to business as usual, a.k.a. pretending everything was okay. She knew better. Things had changed, mostly for the better, in the Ministry, but they were far from perfect or even good. And, as with all wars, people had changed. People, including Tonks, were still grieving over loved ones who had died. The war had made some a bit more cautious, and others a bit more bold. Harry wasn't as rash, Hermione wasn't as "by the book", and she herself had gotten over a bit of her clumsiness. And Remus…
Tonks glanced into the kitchen at her husband. The war had made him bitter; there was no other way to put it. He had seen some life altering things in his job for the Order, and those things had lived up to their title. He was cold on the good days, which were most, and so far there had only been two bad days. The first time, he had been drunk and she had been too shocked to hex him in retaliation. He apologized as soon as he was sober, and hadn't had a drink since. That's what gave Tonks hope most days, the fact that he had kept his word; but there was still the fact that the second time he had hit her, one month previous, he had been sober. Completely sober, and pissed off. But again, after he'd struck he'd seemed to come to his senses and had begged her forgiveness. She had chosen to give it to him, but had constantly been on alert since then. She kept her distance from him when he was in one of his moods, and made sure that she was always near Teddy. She had even gone so far as to get another wand from Ollivander's, just in case something was to happen to the first.
"Yes Remus?" she looked up as he came into the room.
"What did you say you made for supper?"
"Oh! Roast chicken with peppers. And there's some salad as well."
Remus grumbled and nodded, walking back into the kitchen. She listened as he rummaged through the ice box. She got up and went to stand in the doorway.
"It's on the top shelf," she said helpfully.
"I can find it, damn it," he said, grabbing the proper container.
Tonks shrugged, and Remus glared at her.
"I'm not Teddy. I don't need you to hold my hand for everything."
"I know," Tonks said, "I was just trying to help."
He said nothing to that, just summoned a glass from the cabinet and began filling it with water. Tonks left the kitchen, letting out the breath of air she had been holding. She was tired of this; tired of walking on eggshells around him. She was leaving, she decided, and soon. She wasn't going to wait around for him to lose his temper again; she would take Teddy and go.
Walking into her room, she closed the door so that it barely stood open and silently summoned a bag from the closet. She threw some of her clothes and her Auror kit into it, before quietly sliding it across the hall to Teddy's room. His clothes took a lot less space than hers, so the bag was still relatively light. This was a good thing, she thought, since she would have to carry his diaper bag as well. She set both bags between the changing table and the rocking chair and looked over the crib at her son. His hair was pink. She smiled at him, gave him a kiss on the forehead, and went back to her room to read.
Tonks didn't sleep a wink that night. Every time Remus rolled over, every time he snored, she tightened her grip on her wand; waiting for him to figure out what she was planning. When dawn finally broke, bringing with it the sounds of their alarms and a sigh of relief from Tonks, she was ready to fall over from exhaustion. She hopped out of bed and pulled on a robe. As Remus headed into the bathroom, she went to the kitchen to make breakfast. She had just put the toast on when Teddy's cries reached her ears. He was, officially, on the same sleeping schedule as both of his parents, and was always hungry first thing in the morning. Tonks went quickly down the hall and grabbed him out of his crib, but as she walked back to the kitchen, she could smell the toast burning. That's what happens when you only want it slightly crispy, she guessed. She set Teddy in his highchair and vanished the charred bread.
By the time Remus got to the kitchen, dressed for work at the Wireless Network, she had breakfast ready and was feeding Teddy. Only a few lingering wafts of burned toast remained.
"What did you burn today?" Remus asked in a resigned voice.
"Toast. And it's not as if I burn food everyday," Tonks responded. Usually her cooking skills were quite good, in fact.
"You can't keep wasting food like that," Remus grumbled, "It's too expensive."
"It was two slices bread for heaven's sake!" Tonks said, burping their son.
"That doesn't matter!" Remus yelled.
Teddy began to wail. Tonks, with the skill of a true Auror, beat back the anger and fear she was feeling and focused on comforting Teddy. The boy seemed to be inconsolable though.
"What's wrong with him?" Remus asked.
"He's a baby, Remus; they do cry every now and then," Tonks said, walking past him to exit the kitchen.
"Hey!" he caught hold of her arm.
"Let go," she said in a calm voice that was the polar opposite of what she was actually feeling.
He let go, and she walked down the hall to the nursery. She sat holding Teddy in one arm and gripping her wand with the other hand. It didn't matter though. After another five minutes, she heard Remus call,
"I'm going to work!" and the door slam shut behind him.
Tonks took a few deep, steadying breaths and thought. She needed to leave now, but where would she go? Her parents were dead, as were Remus's. She didn't want to have to deal with the inevitable speech from any of the now numerous Weasley women: You're an Auror, why don't you fight back? You should have had him arrested! You stayed after the first time? I would've left then…
It wasn't that simple. These things never were. So that ruled out Harry and Ginny's house, Ron and Hermione's house, Percy and Penelope's house…Bill and Fleur were in France. Charlie was still single, and that might look bad. She supposed she could peek in on George and Padma, but they were newlyweds and she really didn't want to disturb them.
She sat for another moment rocking Teddy, who was now sniffling quietly. His hair was changing colors quickly from the excitement. On the fifth change, Tonks had an idea. There was someone she could go to, someone who would understand exactly what she was going through. And no one would think to find her there…
"Cousin? To what do I owe this pleasant surprise?"
"Wotcher Draco," Tonks smiled sadly, "I…er…I need a place to stay for a little while."
"Come in," Draco said, standing aside, "You know you're always welcome here. Is my little cousin asleep?"
"Yeah, he fell off right after breakfast," Tonks smiled.
"Well, lets put him in the guest room and we'll have a chat, yes?"
LbN: Next chapter's coming soon! Drop me a review and tell me how you liked the first one!