A/N: This is something I originally wrote in the gap between OotP and HBP, because I could already see the writing on the wall for these two. Given what we know now, it's nice to think they had these moments together that we didn't get to see.
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters, J.K. Rowling does... and she did a fine job with them, too. You know, apart from the whole needless death thing...
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"Has he come out of there at all today?" Tonks asked Kingsley, inclining her head towards the main stairs while she stirred her food listlessly round her plate.
Kingsley raised an eyebrow. "What do you think?"
"What I think is someone is going to have to do something. We can't afford to lose Remus as well as Sirius." Her voice caught on the name and she stared quickly down at her dinner, blinking furiously. Damn it, she'd never been the weepy type but ever since… that night… the slightest thing seemed to set her off.
"Well, the only ones he listens to are Dumbledore, Harry… and you," Kingsley said.
Tonks choked out a laugh. "I agree with the first two, but what makes you think he listens to me?"
"I keep my eyes and ears open," Kingsley said, nonchalantly helping himself to another slice of toast. "Not much around here gets past me. You and Lupin got pretty close last year."
She could feel her face flush. "I don't know what you're talking about. We never…"
"I was talking about the missions," he said with a sympathetic look, so that she knew he'd noticed her feelings and was sparing her any further embarrassment. Great! If it was that obvious, probably even Remus had noticed. Merlin knows, Sirius had picked up on it all too easily and teased her mercilessly when no one else was around. Even so, she'd give anything to have him there right now, she thought wistfully, even if it meant he walked right up the stairs and told Remus that she was in love with him.
The werewolf had seemed to take his best friend's death pretty calmly at first. Of course, he had had little choice in the matter. Harry had reacted so badly that someone had needed to be the voice of reason and Remus had always been good at that role. He'd had a lifetime of practice.
Once Harry was safely ensconced with the Dursleys again, though, all pretence had ended and Remus had withdrawn into himself to mourn the last of his closest friends. It had been almost a month now and he showed no sign of coming back from the abyss he had sunken into. Tonks didn't know how to deal with it. She just knew she needed her old Remus back. No one else really understood about losing Sirius. Oh, they'd all liked him as a comrade and she knew they genuinely grieved at his loss, but none of them had loved him like she had, except for Harry and Remus. Harry was in no state to talk rationally to anyone yet, so Tonks had hoped to be able to turn to Remus to talk through the rough times. Having him turn away from her and close in on himself caused her actual physical pain. It was being rejected at the most basic human level and it made her want to bash his door down and scream at him that other people had feelings too.
She couldn't do that, of course. But she was damned if she was going to let him fester away in there any longer without at least trying to get through to him.
"We'll soon find out," she said, pushing away from the table, her dinner practically untouched as it had been every night for the last month.
Kingsley looked up. "You're going to talk to him?"
"Too bloody right, I am."
* * * * * * * *
The knock on the door barely registered in his consciousness at first, then a second came hard on the heels of the first and he swore under his breath. He'd thought they'd given up on him after the first couple of weeks. Why couldn't they understand that he just needed to be alone right now?
"Go away." His voice surprised him with how rusty it sounded. He tried to remember the last time he'd spoken and couldn't.
"Not until I see you." There was no mistaking that husky yet musical voice. Remus groaned. Why did it have to be Nymphadora? Anyone else he could have told to sod off but he never had the heart to tell her that.
"I'm not fit to be seen," he said, rolling over and then burying his aching head under a pillow.
"You never are, but I'll be coming in anyway." Then came the unmistakable whoosh of magic and he heard the lock click open.
He jumped off the bed in disbelief, just retaining enough presence of mind to check he had his pyjama bottoms on. "Damn it, Tonks. Can't a man get a little privacy? You'd think locking my door would be enough of a clue."
She just stood there in the doorway, looking appalled. He took a mental inventory and worked out what he must look like and figured he could see her point. His hair was dirty and matted and probably sticking up every which way, he'd eaten so little that his ribs were jutting against his skin and a quick rub across his chin confirmed that he had a month's growth of beard as well. He looked like what he was – one sick puppy.
"Damn it, Remus. Look what you did to yourself." He could see her bite her lip and wondered if she was about to cry. No one had ever cried over him that he could remember. He didn't think he could bear it if he brought Tonks to tears. As she stepped forward and shut the door behind her he could see that he wasn't the only one who looked a state. Her face was drawn and pale with dark shadows under the eyes that had ceased to twinkle with mischief and now were filled with despair. Her clothes hung limply on a frame that was much more fragile than it should have been and her hair… her hair was normal, the colour he remembered from when she was a child and swaying down her back as it had in those days. That was the thing that shocked him the most. For her to stop playing with her appearance, something was badly wrong.
For the first time, he considered the fact that he and Harry were not the only ones to have suffered a loss. He often forgot that Tonks and Sirius were related and, in fact, they had often acted more like brother and sister than mere cousins. Both outcasts from the rest of their family, they had found kindred spirits in each other and Sirius had more or less adopted the little minx when he was a teenager. She in turn had idolised him, following him around as if he was a great hero, refusing to believe anything bad of her beloved Sirius. How could he have forgotten all that?
They had even talked last year about what they had been through when Sirius was sent to Azkaban and he had sensed then that her feelings had been stronger than she let on. Of course, she had had other relations who had been sent there as well, so he supposed she had been in denial to some extent. Now, though, he could see that she was suffering as much as he was and guilt washed over him.
"Tonks," he whispered and moved a fraction of an inch towards her. That was all the encouragement she needed to fly into his arms. Once there, she seemed undecided over whether to hug him or hit him, her small fists flailing against his chest with surprising strength before she flung them around him and buried her face in his neck. "I'm sorry," he said.
"Don't you ever shut me out again, you hear?" she said fiercely. "We're a team, remember?"
Remus smiled wistfully. "I remember." He stroked his hand gently down her spine, feeling the delicate vertebrae and resolving to feed her up as soon as possible. She calmed under his touch and her weeping resolved into damp snuffling. He thought for a moment that she was falling asleep in his arms and had a moment's surprise at how the thought was pleasant. Then he felt her whisper softly against his shoulder.
"I loved him too."
His arms tightened reflexively around her. "I know," he said. "I know."