Remus is sitting alone, in the dark, in the dining room of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black. Despite having been cleaned twice – once by the teenagers and Sirius, to a somewhat sloppy standard, and once by Molly, who had given Sirius a very dirty look, and proved quite literally that Hell Hath No Fury Like Molly Weasley Scorned – it was still menacing and imposing and makes something prickle uncomfortably at the base of Remus' skull.

Remus isn't quite sure why he has sought his own company whist everyone else celebrates Harry's return to Hogwarts in the kitchen, but he suspects it is something to do with the fact that it is a full moon in two nights and his whole body is aching with glum anticipation.

There is a gentle tap on the door, and someone quietly asks, "Is anyone in here...?", but the effect is ruined when Tonks trips over a table leg and crashes to the ground. Remus springs to his feet, surprised by the sudden noise and the light shining in from the now fully-open door, but Tonks is already bouncing back onto her feet, and grinning, "Wotcher, Remus."

Remus smiles in greeting and sits back down again, taking a long, slow sip of butterbeer. Tonks doesn't move, except to cock her head to one side, and continues to look at him, with her face half in shadow, half illuminated by the light in the hallway. The smile is gone now, replaced by a look of contemplation, and her eyes are very dark, like tunnels. Remus wonders if there is a light at the end of them.

She sighs and asks, so gently that Remus fears he will break, "What's up?"

It takes him a moment before he feels can move again. Then he too sighs, and looks up at her, and feels heavy all over. Then, almost without meaning to, Remus asks, "Who am I, Tonks?" but he immediately regrets it, because the question sounds wrong, even to his own ears. He frowns a little and wonders if it's the butterbeers talking, or whether this was something he'd been meaning to ask for a long time. Something he'd been needing to ask for a long time.

Tonks' expression is bemused, but her eyes are round and earnest, and she says, "You're just Remus, aren't you?" and Remus thinks that no-one could have answered that questions so perfectly.

Remus doesn't know what to say. He knows that she is far too young, and far too wise, but he fears that he might fall in love with her anyway.