Explaining Wishes Before Saying Goodbye
Disclaimer: I don't own anything. Duh.
Summary: A series of one-shots about the life of Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks best thought of as snapshots of moments that take place in the universe created in my story "If Wishes Were Goodbyes." Remus/Tonks. AU.
Author's Note: This series of one-shots are best thought of as snapshots of moments that take place just chronologically before, concurrently with, or after the events detailed in my story "If Wishes Were Goodbyes." I wrote these pieces at the same time I began that story in 2005/2006, so it will help if you have read what is written of that story first. As a matter a fact, if you haven't read some of the first few chapters of that story, you will most likely be confused at things referenced I this story.
Fair warning: "If Wishes Were Goodbyes" currently remains uncompleted. It isn't because I have given up on that story, but simply put, after the publication of Order of the Phoenix, a bitter taste developed in my mouth that never went away. I started hating the plot of the series from the death of Sirius forward. So, for the purposes of this story, consider it AU up until the beginning of Order of the Phoenix. Anything that occurs from book #5 forward does not exist in this story's universe with happy, happy, and joyously deliberate intent. I do intend, at some point, to complete the story (there are only two chapters and two epilogues left to write anyway)… I just need to find some motivation.
Negative or snarky comments, flames, or petty jibs will be simply ignored. If you don't like the universe that this series represents, turn back now, for here be dragons. I am posting these series of one-shots more for the sake that they are complete, and some people have been curious as to where the plot of "If Wishes Were Goodbyes" ended up… so, if you are curious, stay tuned to find out….
Chapter 11 – Loss of Identity (Flashforward 5)
Tonks sat on the couch with her legs tucked under her. Her hands were clasped as she narrowed her eyes in frustration.
Remus Lupin was quiet for a moment before he let out a long sigh. He turned his head from where it was staring out the window of his old cottage. They rarely came here anymore, but Remus liked to keep it. It had been his for so long, the more things changed in his life, the more the older remnants of his past meant to him. The represented things he feared he was losing more of each day… control… stability… consistency… but, mostly control.
Tonks worked very hard to modulate the tone of her voice. She would *NOT* become emotional... again.
"Don't you have anything you want to say?"
Remus turned his whole body around to face Tonks. He slowly folded his hands between his back, and in almost a stoic manner, responded, "What, exactly, is it that you are expecting me to say, Tonks?"
Tonks was quiet herself for a moment. She then said, in a feigned attempt at nonchalance, "Oh, I don't know, Remus… just *something*… *anything*?" He remained quiet again, and Tonks couldn't bear the crushing silence of the cottage as she only heard their labored breathing. Finally she tossed her hands in the air, and prompted, "Perhaps something akin to the fact that you're happy, and you love me, and you're okay with this?"
"I *do* love you, Dora," Remus said quietly. "Love has never been the issue."
"No," Tonks said as she stood up. "It's just the idea of our love manifesting itself that you've had a problem with since day one."
"I've always been blatantly honest with you about my feelings on this subject, Dora," Remus said.
Tonks sighed. "And, even now, they haven't changed?"
"I don't know!" Remus said, almost a bit too loudly, the first indication that his control was slipping. He shook his head and pursed his lips in annoyance. Only with this woman… only *because* of this woman, had he given up so much of the control he needed in his life to survive. Didn't she know what she was doing to him? Tonks had remained unusually quiet, and the quiet had caught Remus' attention. He looked at her and saw her staring at him, the open 'o' shape of her mouth indicating her surprise. Clearly, the response he had given her had not been the one she had been expecting. Shrugging, some of the anger leaking out of him, he repeated more softly, "I just don't know how I feel about it anymore, Dora." He paused and then seemed to be testing each word in his mind before saying, "I've been grappling with the heart of the matter for a while now, Dora… trying to get used to the idea… but, I thought I would have more time. More time to think things over, more time to plan for the changes that the matter entails…."
Tonks crossed her arms as she said, "Our child is not a 'matter' anymore, Remus. He or she is flesh and blood, and it's time you started to get used to it because I am not getting rid of this baby."
Remus crossed to the opposite side of the room, and sat down. He looked at Tonks over the back of his shoulder and said, "Now don't you think you're being a bit melodramatic, Dora?"
"Melodramatic?" Tonks said, in feigned indignation. "Me? Melodramatic? No, never." She chuckled a bit at her husband's attempt at levity.
Slowly, Tonks came over and stood behind Remus' chair. She slowly reached out her hands and wrapped them around his neck. His body tensed slightly at her touch, but as she nestled against his back, he relaxed a bit. At last, Tonks spoke softly, "I swear I didn't do this on purpose, Remus."
"I know, Tonks."
"Do you, Remus? Do you really? Because I don't think I could take it if you thought I ended up like this on the sly... especially given some of our recent discussions on the matter," Tonks said quietly. "This is just as much a surprise to me as it is to you, but now that it's happened, I think it's just best that we deal with it."
"Deal with it?" Remus said quietly, practicality, as always, dominating his thought processes. After all, that's what he was… a scholar. And scholars always were thinking, always were analyzing all aspects of every situation as they tried to anticipate and control. "How do you exactly propose we deal with this, Dora? From a legal perspective, what we've done is to have broken the law... because... Well, you know... It's considered illegal because it falls under the category of breeding dangerous and dark creatures."
Tonks immediately pulled back and sighed loudly, "Why do you have to be such a wanker sometimes, Remus? Our child was conceived in the marriage bed of a husband and wife who love each other." She bit her lip for a moment before she said, "Besides, there is no guarantee that there is going to be anything dark or dangerous about our baby."
Remus looked at her, and almost said something, before he nodded. "Yes, that's true, Dora. But the Ministry won't see it that way. Legally, because you are married to me, I am the father of this child... and all the Ministry sees when they read my file is 'WEREWOLF.' It doesn't matter if the test for the gene comes back positive or negative… our baby will simply be seen as 'CHILD OF WEREWOLF'."
"I know that..."
"And that all can only happen *after* the baby is born. Until then… it means until the baby is delivered and proven to be free of the defective gene, it means we could be facing strict sanctions from the Ministry... and maybe even time in Azkaban," Remus said.
"I am not going to have my baby in that hellhole," Tonks said defiantly.
Remus smiled. "You? No, you wouldn't be the one to go to Azkaban, Tonks, I would... at least until after the baby is born, pending the outcome of the genetic tests."
"I won't let them take you away. I'm an Auror, one of the divisions most senior aurors since Voldemort's defeat, as Mad-Eye likes to remind me every day, for Merlin's sake. While that still tickles me to no end," Tonks laughed nervously, "I think it's about bloody time that it work for me instead of against me… they wouldn't do *that* to an Auror's husband," Tonks said.
"They would if the Auror's husband were a werewolf, which I happen to be, Dora," Remus said realistically.
Remus frowned when he heard a sharp intact of breath. He could immediately sense that Tonks' frustration had deepened. His suspicions were confirmed when she said loudly, "Bloody hell, Remus. Why do you always have to do that? Why do you always have to go and tear yourself down, reduce everything that you are to one single night a month? You are not *just* a werewolf."
"I know that, Tonks," Remus said. "But it is a large part of my identity."
"Sod your bloody identity, Remus. Or should I just refer to you as 'werewolf' from now on?" Tonks said indignantly.
"Tonks," Remus said, his own frustration raised slightly. "As I have said many times before, you knew EXACTLY who and *what* I was when we got married... against my better judgment, I might add."
"I married Remus Lupin, not a werewolf," Tonks said.
"No, you didn't," Remus said. "You married both, Tonks. And like it or not, I am still the same person I was as before we got married." Remus paused before he said, "Just because we're married, Tonks, doesn't mean that who and what I was before we said 'I do' was abrogated," Remus said. "You're a part of my life and I love you, but I didn't loose my identity when we got married. When I put that ring on your finger, we didn't suddenly become this package deal where Remus and Dora exist as one cognizant being after everything that we were separately was stripped away to make room for the new 'us'."
"I'm your wife," Tonks said quietly.
Remus smiled in an attempt to soften his words even though he knew they would sound more harsh than he had intended. "Yes, you are, and I love you. But that's not all you are. You are a separate being in and outside of that role. You are also Ted and Andi's daughter, Mad-Eye's best friend, a Ministry auror, a one-time member of the Order, and a dozen other things whether you want to admit it or not. You've got to understand, Tonks, that marriage... and now, motherhood, I suppose, doesn't mean that you lose your own personal identity."
"I haven't lost my identity," Tonks said. "I've just changed... just like you. We've merely evolved, Remus…. 'evolved', as in *positive*, not 'changed', as in *negative*."
"No," Remus said. "No, no matter what you may say in an attempt to deny it, I don't think you're so predictable an individual who would… tolerate… reducing yourself to such a one-dimensional personality, Tonks. You'd get too bored with yourself," Remus laughed. "It's kind of similar to the reason as to why you never have just one hair color. I think you like the separateness it gives you as compared with the rest of the Wizarding World."
"So… let me see if I understand what you're saying, because I have to admit, Remus, you are kind of confusing me…. You're saying that while I can't lose my identity just because I'm your wife, it's all right for you to lose your identity to the wolf each and every month?" Tonks asked.
Remus shook his head. "No, that's not it at all, and you know it, Dora. They aren't remotely similar... you can control your identity, I can't control the lycanthropy."
"Merlin!" Tonks cried. "You sound like a broken record when you say that... Let me guess, the next part of the show is when you put on your hat and play the delightful part of Remus J. Lupin, the Merry Martyr?"
"Now that is not even being remotely fair, Tonks."
"Maybe not, but it's not fair that you're being a bloody git!" Tonks said.
Remus frowned, but said nothing in response. Somehow, they had gone from him trying to explain to her, to her lashing out at him in frustration… again. And, if there *was* one thing that Remus knew, it was that he should never try to explain or reason with Tonks when she was so emotional.
For a moment, neither member of the couple said anything. At last, Tonks looked up at him. Remus inwardly groaned as he realized that Tonks had tears pricking the corners of her eyes.
She was silent for a moment more before she said softly, "Today was supposed to be one of the happiest days of my life, Remus. And now you're telling me that you made a mistake when you married me?"
"Now I never said that..." Remus said.
Tonks cut him off with a way of her hand. "Excuse me... I can't do this right now. I think I'm going to be sick."
Within a few seconds, Tonks had dashed from the room towards the loo. Remus cringed at the sounds as she retched what little food she had eaten that morning. Sighing, he quickly wrote a note, and disappeared before Tonks even knew he was gone.
Harry wasn't surprised when he heard a knock at his apartment door. Ever since this latest crisis in Remus and Tonks' up and down relationship had begun a few months ago, Harry had been expecting Remus to show up on his door… again. Remus' recent low key marriage to Tonks had done the exact opposite thing that Harry hoped it would do... instead of settling the pair down and stabilizing things, it had exacerbated the situation since the pair weren't really arguing over the issue of marriage... but a separate issue entirely.
"So, what started the argument this time?" Harry said, as he shut the door behind Remus.
Remus sighed as he said simply, "Now, don't you start too."
Harry was quiet for a moment as Remus followed him into the kitchen and both sat down at the table. Harry quickly produced a bottle of fire whiskey from one of the cabinets and poured generous portions into two glasses which he had taken from the cupboard. Remus lifted his in the air, and Harry returned the salute.
"Tonks is pregnant," Remus said.
Harry's eyebrow arched in surprise. "Well, that was certainly fast. I thought you were still at the point where you were trying to convince yourself that you were ready to start *discussing* the *idea* of having a baby with her since you two just got married a few weeks ago," Harry said quietly.
Remus set his glass on the table and nodded. "Touché. However, what's done is apparently done, with or without my mind's need to control it having been taken into account... or having it done on my schedule as opposed to the universe's..."
"So you regret it?"
Remus shook his head, a huge sigh suddenly deflating him. "No. I'm so happy that I wanted to burst, but I couldn't tell her that. She was so happy, but there are *so* many things that can go wrong, Harry. So many things. And, one of us... well, one of us *has* to be the responsible one and think about the bad things in life, because, Merlin knows Tonks' won't…."
Harry let his friend ramble on a bit. Remus' voice trailed off before he looked up at Harry with a weak smile, "You know, she called me the Merry Martyr again... and I absolutely *HATE* it when she does that." He pursed his lips before he said, "If I didn't know better, I would say that was something that Sirius would be the type to come up with… it has his flare. But, when I cornered him a couple of weeks after the first time she called me that, he swore with my wand pointed at him that it wasn't his handiwork." Remus reached up and placed his hand on the bridge of his nose as he massaged it to try and get a bit of relief from the pounding headache that had been looming over him for several hours. "Sometimes I forget that Tonks is related by blood to Sirius, and then she goes and can piss me off so bloody much that I remember with a vengeance that she's half Black."
"That's love, Remus," Harry said, at last. "The good and the bad… they sort of go together. I mean, I can't tell you how many times I've tried apologizing to Hermione that she fell in love with the 'Boy Who Lived'… James and Lily Potter's son… but now she's just gotten to the point that she just looks at me, shakes her head, and says, 'the good goes with the bad, Harry,'."
"The good goes with the bad, ehh?" Remus said as he eyed his friend with a smile.
Harry nodded, his green eyes blazing so brightly that just for a moment, when Harry smiled, Remus saw a flash of Lily so clearly in him that it hurt.
Slowly, Harry nodded his head, "The good goes with the bad… for example, I love you so it doesn't matter so much if you've been landing on my flat's doorstep in need of a stiff drink and awful lot of late... timed coincidentally, I might add, for when I'm just coming off shift and/or on my days off."
Remus frowned. He opened his mouth to say something by way of apology, but Harry waved him off.
"It's nothing, Remus. You know you're always welcome here. Besides Sirius… who I've always kind of thought of more as a very rambunctious older brother, you're the closest thing to a father that I've ever had… you know I love you and you know I'd do anything for you… except, maybe helping you to screw up the best thing that's ever happened to you. I just think that maybe you need to stop using me like I think you used to use my Mum to avoid saying things to the real person you should be saying them to, you know?" Harry said.
Remus bit back a sardonic laugh. Something glinted in his eye, something strange that Harry didn't recognize.
Remus shook his head, thinking back to a very, very similar statement that Lily had once told him right before she and James went into hiding from Voldemort.
*'Stop hiding from Tonks, Remus. Say what you need to say to her, not me,'* Lily had said.
Now, more than twenty years later, the same set of green eyes was saying almost the exact same thing to him all over again, in a way bringing everything full circle. A small part of Remus appreciated the symmetry in that.
"Sometimes, you have too much of your mother in you for your own good, you know that, Harry?" Remus said at last.
Harry grinned. "So I've been told."
"Lily's heart and understanding and James' loyalty and generosity to his friends," Remus said. "It's quite a dangerous combination, isn't it?"
Harry smiled. "If you only really knew…."
By the time Tonks felt strong enough to stumble out of the loo, she immediately felt the emptiness of the house. It stung her like a chilly wind on a cold winter's morning. However, when she saw Remus' note, she immediately felt better.
"Gone to Harry's. Be back when the retching is over. ~R."
Tonks sighed as she put the note down. She wasn't sure how Remus would handle it when she told him the news, but she hadn't expected his reaction to be anything like the way in which things had actually occurred.
Suddenly feeling very tired, Tonks decided to go and lay down. Walking to their bedroom, she crawled into the massively lonely bed, wrapped the blankets around her, and drifted off into a fitful sleep. Sometime later, Tonks awoke to the gentle pressure of someone crawling into bed with her. Remus immediately reached out and pulled Tonks to him.
"What time is it?" Tonks said somewhat groggily.
Remus looked out the window, and shrugged. "Late." He then reached down and gently kissed her brow as a hand snaked down to gently caress her still flat stomach. "Go back to sleep."
"Mmmmm." She smiled somewhat groggily and curled against his side as she said softly, "Goodnight, Dada."
Pulling her even more tightly against him, Remus smiled softly as he whispered, "You too."