Well, I updated sooner than I thought. Although after this chapter, I have a feeling the hate mail shall come. Anyway, please read and review. It's appreciated I assure you, and it makes me write more.
Three Terrible Words
The next day was awkward to say the least. After waking up, taking off Remus's jumper and showering quickly, I dressed in my Auror robes and headed downstairs. I hoped my face didn't give away too much, but I was desperate to know that Remus was still here, and that it hadn't been a dream. Mentally cursing myself when I realised I shouldn't have to worry about this, I tripped down on the bottom step and only just managed to catch myself. My heart rate picked up and went back down again slowly as I shook myself mentally. Now was not the time for clumsiness.
"Careful there baby girl" said Dad, coming out of the kitchen. "I wouldn't go in there right now; you could cut the tension with a knife. Very uncomfortable"
"Meaning Mum and Remus are in there, right?" I asked, sighing. "She said anything to him?"
"No" said Dad slowly, "But she's been chewing her tongue all morning…"
I groaned. "Not good. Okay, I need some breakfast"
"Peanut butter, on top of peanut butter" he offered, smiling, though it didn't quite reach his eyes.
"What's wrong dad?" I asked, looking at him curiously. "And don't think about lying to me" I added, sternly.
"You're too much like your mum" he smiled, patting my chin. I swiped his hand away. "The time has come for me to go, sweetie" he sighed, taking my hand and pulling me towards the kitchen.
We had known this was coming, there was only so long dad could stay out of the Ministry's grip, but they'd been in the area the last few days. Still… "Mum won't take it well"
"I know, but she won't have a choice" he said, I must have looked worried because he said "I'll be fine Dora, don't worry about me. Just keep yourself out of trouble". We entered the kitchen to find Mum sitting at the table drinking coffee, and Remus standing over the other side of the kitchen, drinking tea. Tension.
"I always keep myself out of trouble" I said, moving over to the toaster.
"What are you talking about?" asked Mum sad dad went to sit beside her.
"Good morning Tonks" said Remus, quietly.
"Good morning Remus" I replied, awkwardly, starting some toast. "How did you sleep?" I asked, tuning out my parents voices.
"Fine, you?" he said, quietly.
No. "Yeah" I said, pulling the toast onto the side. "Hey, could you go in that cupboard and get the peanut butter for me?" I asked, pointing to the cupboard behind him.
"Sure" he said, moving to the cupboard. I looked around and tuned back in to what Mum and Dad were talking about.
"I still don't see why…"
"Andromeda, we've been over this"
"Mum, Dad's right" I put in.
"Dora" Mum said.
"What, it's true" I said, taking the peanut butter that Remus passed me. "I don't like it either"
"Andromeda, I am not rolling over and taking it, but I'm not going Azkaban either" said Dad, "Sweetheart, it's not going to be forever". Mum still looked sadly, incredibly so and I bit my lip in worry. I hated seeing Mum upset.
"When are you leaving?" I asked, carefully.
Dad looked up at me sadly, "First thing tomorrow morning". Silence fell on the kitchen, with everyone looking awkwardly at each other. Double awkwardness points award to me and Remus though. I looked at Mum's depressed face, she looked as if she was about to break down, and realised I would have to be the grown up here. I didn't want Dad to go, I was literally several seconds away from screaming 'Daddy, don't go!' and jumping into his lap, but I had to do the right thing, no matter how hard it was. So, I turned to Remus.
"You said there was an Inn down the road, right?" I asked him, buttering my toast. He blinked at me quickly, taken aback by my abrupt question. He looked as if I had just thrown him out. Whoops, should have elaborated.
"Y-yes" he answered.
"Okay then" I said, turning back to Mum and Dad. "When I get back from work, Remus and I will go check into this Inn and stay the night, so you two can spend your last night here together" I explained, smiling at my own brilliance.
"Dora, you don't have to do that" said Dad. "I want to spend time with you as well"
"You're going to work?" asked Remus.
"I'll come back first thing in the morning to see you of Dad, but I think Mum needs you tonight more than I do" I said, pointing at Mum who had covered her face with her hair, and probably wasn't listening to me anymore. "And yes Remus, I'm going to work. And don't tell me not to, because you don't have the right. Also, can you book the room for tonight?"
Remus looked as if he was about to argue, but sighed and said "Of course Tonks"
"Thank you Nymphadora" whispered Mum in a small voice; she had moved her hair away from her face again.
"No problem" I said, grabbing my jar of peanut butter and my stack of toast. "Have to run, forms to fill, paperwork to do, blah blah blah" I said, scooting from the kitchen quickly.
"So, he's back" said Jacob, raising an eyebrow. "How do you feel about that?"
We were sitting in his office, because it was bigger than my cubicle, and gave us more space to work. Not to mention talk without fear of being overheard. Proudfoot had put many complicated spells around his office to ward off spies and gossips.
"Haven't decided" I shrugged, returning to my form.
"What's going on in that head of your, little girl?" asked Jacob, looking concerned.
I thought for a moment before finally admitting. "I told Remus that he had to earn my trust back, well, earn me back really. But now that I think about it, I have no idea what I want him to do to gain it back. I'm so confused, and hungry, and I feel a little bit sick too"
"Well don't be sick in my office"
"I won't be, old man"
"I'm not that old" he protested stubbornly, making me laugh. "Oh, you're not funny"
"Oh, but I am" I grinned.
"Make him go slow, take things at your pace. If he respects that, then… take him back fully" shrugged Jacob, reverting back to answering my rant.
"Just like that?"
"Just like that" repeated Jacob. "You're not going to punish him forever are you? It's pretty obvious to me that you were miserable without him, so do you plan to be miserable forever? I know you can't take him back yet, I get that…"
"But I still love him, and he's come back" I smiled sadly at Jacob, reading the emotions on his face. He looked away, returning to the paperwork. "You miss him?" I asked.
"Everyday" he replied, not looking up at me, but his voice said it all. Inside, he was miserable.
"I miss him too" I said, thinking of Savage's departure. Of my dad's departure tomorrow. "It's so quiet without him"
Jacob laughed. "Yeah it is" he said, looking up again. "I thought that I'd enjoy the peace and quiet, but it's killing me" he said, softly. "I might never see him again, and I took too long to even realize he existed… just don't make the same mistakes I did, Tonks"
Later that day I arrived home from work. Mum hugged me tight and thanked me and I went up to my room to pack an overnight bag. I set everything out on my bed and was packing it into my handbag when Remus came to the door. He dithered for a moment before stepping inside the room.
"How was your day?" he asked, quietly.
"It was alright; I just sat and filled out arrest warrants and other Aurors paperwork" I replied, bitterly, wrapping up my brush in my t-shirt and slotting it into the bag. My head started to spin a little and I put my hand to my head closing my eyes in pain.
"Here, sit down, I'll do that" said Remus, coming into the room, motioning for me to sit on the bed. I sat down gratefully, still rubbing my head. "Sounds incredibly dull"
"Well, the alternative is arresting Muggleborns and dragging them down to the courtrooms to sit with Dementors" I said, angrily; but not at him, at the Ministry, at their attitude.
"That's how they're treating Muggleborns?" asked Remus, staring at me.
"Come on Remus, you know better than me what they're like. Why'd you most all Muggleborns are running for it?" I said, sighing. "I hate being one of them"
"I feel like it" I said, grimacing. I also hated acting so formal with Remus; he was my husband after all. "Thanks for packing, are you ready to go?"
"Yeah, I'm ready"
In the Inn's little room later that night, I was sitting in the window seat, looking over the cute double bed, the wooden furniture and floral wallpaper with interest. It wasn't bad for a Muggle run Inn. I then looked at the sofa and to Remus, who was reading a book, or at least trying to, but he hadn't turned the page in over an hour. He was obviously lost in thought. I looked out the window at the countryside and smiled sadly.
I knew I was doing a good thing, letting Mum and Dad spend the night alone together, but I couldn't help but feel childishly sulky. I wanted to be with my dad too, he was leaving tomorrow. My dad was leaving tomorrow. It hadn't really sunk in yet, but that was the truth. He was leaving, and he might not come back. Of course, I would pray every day that he would be safe, but this was war, there were no guarantees. I bit my bottom lip, leaning my head against the window pane. Would any of us survive? Who of my friends, family, colleagues, even people I passed in the street… how many of them would die? War was finally catching up to me. Mad-eye was already gone, I thought with a pang of hurt. What if my Dad went too? And then there were the Weasley's, Mark and Jacob, Hermione, Ron, Harry. Who would be next…?
"Dora". My head whipped around. Remus was sitting across from me on the seat, holding out a handkerchief. I suddenly became aware of the fact that I was crying.
"Thanks" I whispered, taking it and dabbing my eyes. "Just – being silly" I shrugged.
"I'm sure you weren't" he smiled, softly, making me feel suddenly warm.
"No I wasn't" I agreed, smiling slightly.
"Do you want to talk about it?" he asked.
"No, I was just thinking about Dad" I said, "I don't really want to think about it, let alone talk about it" I said. He nodded in understanding, and sat watching me for a few minutes before speaking up again.
"I had a visit today" he said, quietly.
"Really? From who?" I asked, curiously.
"The twins" he replied, quietly.
"How did they even know you were back?" I blurted out, and he paled. Ah, guilty conscience creeping in.
"I have no idea, but those boys know too much" he said, attempting a smile. "Anyway, they had an idea, along with one of their friends. You know how all the radio channels are following you-know-who's line and the Ministry?"
"I'm only too aware of it" I grimaced, remembering it being played in the Auror offices by Dawlish.
"Well, they're thinking of setting up their own channel, pirate of course, and they want me to be on it. Along with a few others; Kingsley for instance, but they don't want to ask him yet considering he's still working for the Ministry like you"
"Our days are numbered" I mumbled. "Mark my words; I'll have to run next. And that sounds like a great idea, it would boost morale certainly"
"So, would you mind if I did it?" he asked.
I knew what he was getting at and lent forward to take his hand. "I'm not your keeper Remus, if you want to do this, you can. I'll support you" I said, squeezing his hand. Now he looked really guilty, and I realised that I shouldn't be enjoying this, but I was.
"Thank you Tonks"
Later that night, I was laughing. Properly laughing as I moved on bed and it squeaked so loudly I bet the rooms above and below could hear it. Remus was sniggering too, and for once it felt normal.
"What are you doing, Tonks?" he asked from the sofa, chuckling weakly.
"Nothing I swear, I just move around a lot, now I'm getting fat" I protested.
"You are not getting fat, and it seriously sounds like you're doing something…"
"Oh, shut it you" I said, rolling over. SQUEAK! "Bugger" I laughed, raising a hand to slap my forehead. "I'll never get any sleep" I groaned.
"Want to swap?" he asked between chuckles.
"Nope" I said, swinging myself out of bed and walking over to the sofa. Quickly, before I had a chance to think about it and back out, I lay down next to him and closed my eyes quickly so he couldn't see them. I shouldn't be doing this… but I'm not sleeping in a squeaky bed, and if he's in it it'll squeak as well… that was my rational (or slightly irrational) train of thought and I was sticking to it. Remus suddenly became very quiet.
"Tonks" he whispered.
"Do you remember what you said last night…?"
"Remus shut up and let me sleep here. Would it really kill you?"
"Well then…" I said, stubbornly. The conversation died right there and I fell into a deep sleep, beside Remus, on a tiny couch, in a Muggle inn with a squeaky bed in the room.
The next morning I was avoiding Remus's eyes as we walked up towards the house, having checked out of the Inn early. When I'd woken up, it appeared that Remus and I moved around in our sleep, and we had ended up sandwiched together, a mess of tangled limbs and too much closeness for me to bear. I had tried to un-wrap our bodies without waking him, but I only succeeded in falling off the sofa and waking Remus up and the people in the room below.
When I walked through the door and into the kitchen, I found mum making breakfast whilst wrapping up food and putting it in a bag. Dad was helping her.
"Hey sweetheart" Dad greeted, before turning around and walking towards me. I rushed over to him and hugged him tightly, and felt him do exactly the same back. "How'd you sleep baby girl?" he whispered.
"Better than I thought I would, how's Mum?"
"Not good, you'll have to look after her for me Dora" said Dad, imploringly.
"Of course dad" I promised. "As long as you look after yourself"
He pulled away and looked me in the eye. "I promise to try"
"Good" I said, knowing I couldn't expect any more than that. "So, got everything you need?"
"It's all packed and ready to go, your mother's seen to that" Dad said, watching Mum sadly before turning to Remus. "Remus, a word if you have a minute" he said, directing Remus into the living room. He half smiled at me as he followed my dad. I watched them lead before making my way over to mum and hugged her from behind.
"Hello Mummy" I whispered, leaning my head on her shoulder.
"Morning Nymphadora" she whispered sadly back.
"It's not forever…"
"You don't know that" said Mum, shortly, before taking a breath. "Do me a favor Dora and check that your father really does have everything. His bag's on the table."
I went over to it and sorted through it, making sure he had everything he could possibly need. I felt my eyes well up with tears but hastily forced them back. Dad wouldn't like to think he'd upset us; he was too nice a person. I buckled up the bag after mum came and put her bag of food inside it. Undetectable extension charm; got to love magic.
When Dad re-entered, Remus wasn't with him, but he was kitted out and ready to go. He hauled the bag onto his shoulder and we walked with him to the door. Remus was standing by the living room door, watching us from a distance.
"Look after my girls" Dad ordered Remus, who nodded and smiled.
"I give you my word, Ted" he said, stepping forward and wringing my Dad's hand. I could have sworn I heard Dad mutter 'remember what I said' but as I looked between them, and to Mum who didn't act like she'd heard anything, I told myself it must have been just me to hear it.
"Goodbye Nymphadora" said Dad embracing me in a big hug, kissing me on the forehead like he always did. "I love you very much, sweetheart. And my grandchild" he smirked, and I laughed softly.
"I love you too Daddy" I whispered, kissing him on the cheek. "Come back safely". He nodded before pulling away.
I sunk away into the background as he approached Mum. They stood staring at each other for a moment before Mum threw herself at him. And for once I didn't act like a child and go 'ewwww' because I knew I would be the same. My parents loved each other, and I knew that. As 'I love you's' were exchanged and more hungry kisses, I felt Remus's hand slip into mine and squeeze it gently before pulling away. I grabbed it back and squeezed it tight.
"I have to go Andromeda" my Dad whispered, his forehead leaning against hers.
"I don't want you too" she whispered back, her eyes were closed. I'd never seen Mum so scared before, so vulnerable. I guess war really did change everything.
"I know" he said, kissing her on the forehead. I felt my bottom lip tremble as he moved away from her and over to the door. I was on the verge of crying, but Mum wouldn't cry in front of Dad.
"I will see you again, this isn't forever" he said, and then he was gone.
Mum shut herself away for the rest of September, barely speaking to me or Remus, who were left awkwardly dodging each other and trying to avoid getting into 'situations' with each other, like what happened a few days after dad left….
I had come down in the middle of the night because I'd been sick and suddenly wanted some food. My baby was driving my body up the wall. However, instead of making my way to the kitchen, I went to the living room instead, which was bitterly cold. Remus was sleeping with only a blanket around him and as I approached him and felt his face, he was like a block of ice. I lit the fire in the room and conjured extra blankets for him, tucking them around his body for extra warmth.
As soon as the blankets were placed on him he pulled them around his body, before opening his eyes. "Tonks?"
"You should have lit the fire if you were cold, I don't want you to get ill Remus" I said, sitting down on the sofa so I could look at him properly. The fire light danced off his eyes, making my breath hitch.
"I love you" he said, suddenly
"I know" I said, gulping. "I do love you too, but…"
"Goodnight Remus" I whispered.
Or what happened a few weeks after that...
"I need sugar" I said, jumping up as he held the bag out of my reach. He'd just gotten in from his first stint on the radio, I had told him he was really good and then gone to grab a bag of sugar from the draw to bake cookies.
"No you don't, baby doesn't need cookies tonight" teased Remus, holding the bag.
"Baby needs what baby needs, gimme the sugar" I warned, reaching up to get the sugar, unwittingly sandwiching myself between him and the counter. "Now, Remus"
"Nope" he said, moving closer but keeping the bag out of reach. "It's late, you need sleep for work…" he grimaced.
"I will work until I'm good and ready to leave, mister" I threatened, getting in his face. "And I want cookies, so give me the bag"
"Oh, I will"
Our faces were millimeters apart, our lips almost touching. I felt my body ache and my heart tug. Just lean in, just lean in… I raised my hand up to cup his cheek and slid it down his neck to a brand new scar. I pretended not to notice his shiver as I did.
"The full moon wasn't kind to you" I mumbled softly, dropping my hand.
"I deserved it"
"No you didn't" I replied, putting my hands on his chest and pushing him away. "You're right, I need sleep. I'll go now" I stuttered quickly. Just before I reached the door I heard him speak.
October sprang upon us quickly, and I began to get, well, bigger. I had a distinct bump that could not be hidden or passed off as fat. It was too much of a bump, but I loved it. I got into a habit of running my hand over it during the day, and I'd left work, mainly, I was doing paperwork from home. So as I sat on the sofa doing paperwork by firelight, I jumped when Remus came in from his second broadcasting.
"You look freezing" I whispered, patting her space beside me. He came and sat down next to me, smiling tiredly. I saw mum come down and go into the kitchen, before I turned back to Remus. "I heard you tonight, very good"
"Thank you" he said, taking my hand and squeezing it, before dropping it again. I sighed, that was all the contact I got nowadays. "How's are baby?" he smiled, patting my stomach. I placed my hand over the top of his hand and moved it to the side where the baby was moving or 'fluttering'.
"Awake, I think" I said, grinning as he grinned at me. "Our baby moves around a lot, I feel it most at night"
"Amazing" he whispered, his head leaned against the side of mine. Going on instinct, I locked our fingers together. He looked at me curiously. "Dora…"
"Remus" I said, turning to look at him "It's very cold down here…"
"Yes" he agreed.
"Well…" bang, bang, bang. Someone was knocking on the door.
We both turned to look out into the hallway, as Mum came out of the kitchen drawing her wand. I wanted to shout to her not to open the door, and for a long time after I would regret not telling her not to open the door. I sprang from my seat as Remus did, and we both entered the hall as she opened the door.
Proudfoot was standing in the doorway, half bathed in light. He was a mess, and I found out why when he spoke three terrible words…
"Mark is dead".