Author's Note: I am a terribly person. I can't believe I haven't updated in two months and I'm so sorry for that. I'm even more sorry that this chapter is mostly a filler... School's been crazy and even Spring Break is crazy. I'm currently in Mississippi on a Habitat for Humanity trip with my class. We've been working everyday starting at 8 am, and if these terrible sunburns of mine have anything to say, we've been working hard. I would've posted this last night, but the internet was down at the volunteer house. I've somehow managed to find a corner with WiFi, so please enjoy!
Dedication: To Bridgy and Mia for creating this wonderful trip!
Disclaimer: I own nothing you recognize.
Charlie didn't remain in the castle in the days following Ron's incident, but that's not to say that he and Amy were ever far apart. It seemed that Amy and Charlie found themselves together every night after classes had ended, usually in a secluded corner of the Three Broomsticks or the Hog's Head, or if they were too tired, one of the couches in Amy's quarters. Without any secrets harboring between them, the couple found that the only thing left to do was bask in the warmth of their love. They knew they were quickly becoming one of those obnoxiously in-love couples, but they honestly couldn't care. Everything was starting to fall into place; even with everything that was going on out in the Wizarding world, everything seemed to be going right with them at last.
It was refreshing, for Amy at least, to be getting out of the castle. There was no doubt in her mind that being cooped up with hormonal teenagers did little to help her maintain her sanity. For the life of her, the witch couldn't understand how it was that each and every Hogwarts student seemed to have an entire lifetime of woes and heartache at their tender age. She hoped she and her friends hadn't been this melodramatic when they were in school.
Every day, Amy had new stories to tell Charlie about her students, many of them so far-fetched that she barely believed them herself, and as time went by, seemed to focus more and more on Ronald. The attention that boy seemed to be drawing to himself just seemed to increase by a tenfold as the days passed. In between being constantly hunted by his girlfriend – despite the fact that he was stationary in a hospital bed – and the awkward tension that was always brewing between him and Hermione, there was never a day that passed that didn't arise to a new story for Amy to tell. Charlie, of course, thought it was hilarious that his brother was stirring up so much trouble at Hogwarts, despite the admonishments that he received from Amy.
"Can't you talk to him?" Amy asked one night. She was nestled into the corner of her couch, with Charlie across from her. The leftovers from the dinner she stole from the kitchens were spread across the table, and all that remains is their cups of tea. They had decided to stay in that night; the both of them were too exhausted to do much else other than eat and talk. "I mean, you're his big brother! He'll listen to you, right?"
"Talk to him about what?" Charlie demanded, raising an eyebrow at the witch. "Having feelings? Being a teenage boy?" Amy rolled her eyes at her boyfriend.
"About stringing those girls along," she pressed. "I wouldn't care that much if it wasn't constantly being dragged into my classroom. If I have to hear Lavender Brown cry over her 'Won-Won' during another Charms lesson, I'm going to turn her into a shrub or anything else that is incapable of making noise." Charlie snorted at this exclamation and shook his head before taking a sip of his tea.
"I hope for her sake that it's at least a pretty shrub," he muttered as he placed his cup on the table next to them. Amy heard him and shook her head vehemently, her tired waves brushing back and forth over her shoulders.
"Oh Merlin, no," she protested. "It would be the ugliest shrub ever, thorns and all. I'd make sure it was."
"You'd make a pretty shrub," Charlie told her. He eyed her as though he was pondering over exactly what type of shrubbery she would be. "A little thorny, but pretty nonetheless."
"Oh really?" Amy asked, a smile lighting up her face. She leaned closer to the wizard and raised a questioning eyebrow. "You're not planning to turn me into a shrub any time soon, are you?"
"A very pretty shrub," Charlie reminded her, poking her lightly in the nose. Amy narrowed her eyes and made as though to bite his finger but he pulled away. "But thorny," he added.
Amy rolled her eyes and stuck her tongue out at the wizard who chuckled in return. There was a pause in the conversation as Charlie leaned over to get his cup of tea, and Amy took this moment to scoot out of her corner of the couch and into Charlie's side. Burrowing herself into his side, Amy pulled the throw from off the back of her couch and pulled it over them, allowing the warmth to nestle around them. Charlie smiled over his cup of tea and let his hand fall onto her shoulder, where his fingers immediately began to play with her curls.
"How was your day?" Amy asked after a moment. She had only just realized that she had forgotten to ask him that when he first arrived as she had been too frustrated with the whole Ron-Hermione-Lavender fiasco to think of anything else. The witch felt rather than saw Charlie shrug in response.
"Just like it's been every other day for the last few months," Charlie replied. Amy's eyes furrowed as she could almost detect a bitter edge in his voice. "The Ministry really couldn't care less about our department at the moment, and it's not like there's a huge need for the regulation of animals either. We've just sort of been forgotten about for the time being. It's exhausting how incredibly boring the office is right now, nothing like how I thought it would be when I left Romania."
Amy allowed Charlie's words to settle within her for a few minutes before she opened her mouth.
"Do you miss being in Romania?" she asked hesitantly. "With the dragons?"
Charlie chuckled a little at her question, completely missing her apparent apprehension.
"Of course, I do," he told Amy. "I loved living in Romania and I loved being with those dragons. I mean, yeah, I could live without the burns and the temperature changing from boiling to freezing every other day, but I miss the freedom and how every day, I came face to face with the unexpected." He paused for a moment, before turning himself to look down at Amy, who was staring pensively at her own cup of tea and biting her lip. "W-Why do you ask?"
Amy turned to face him with a peculiar look on her face, before she shook her head and shrugged. "Oh, it's nothing, really," she told him, her voice quiet. Charlie continued to look at her curiously as she continued to gnaw on her lip in her thoughtfulness. After a moment, she smiled weakly at him. "I just-" Amy broke off, unsure of how to continue. "I just don't want you to be unhappy, and I don't want you to regret this later on in life. I don't want you to regret being here and not there."
Charlie's forehead scrunched together curiously. "Regret what?" he asked. "Being here with my family, being here with you?" There was a pause that Amy filled with a disheartened shrug. Charlie looked at her in wonder, not really believing what he was seeing. "Amy, I could never regret being here, not if it means I get to spend my time with the people I love." Amy smiled softly, knowing that she was one of those people. "I mean, you don't regret coming here, do you?"
Amy sat up suddenly, shaking her head furiously as she twisted herself to face the wizard. "Of course not!" she exclaimed. "I mean, everything here, well, it's all I could ever want. Living here has given me an amazing career, and so many opportunities, and friends. Living here brought me to you." She paused as she looked at Charlie, leaning forward to brush a soft kiss to his cheek. "Of course, there are times where I do wish that I was back in Chicago, with my family and Georgie, and Kate, and Michelle, but then I remember that if I'm there, then I'm not here, which means I'm not with you."
"See?" Charlie asked smilingly. "Just because you miss where you've been and where you've come from doesn't mean you need to give up what you have now. I wouldn't give you up for anything. Heck, we could be living in a cardboard box in Knockturn Alley, and I would be fine with that as long as you were the person I was sharing my newspaper blanket with."
Amy laughed loudly at that, her eyes twinkling brightly. "Well thank you for that," she said through her giggles. "At least now I know I'll have a roomie if I'm ever thrown out of my apartment."
"You're very welcome, my dear professor," Charlie replied. He looped an arm around Amy's shoulder and pulled her back into his side. Amy hummed in contentment as she burrowed into his warmth. He pressed his face into her hair, kissing the top of her head softly. "And just so you know," he began, causing Amy to lean her head back to catch his blue eyes, "no dragon is going to pull me away from you any time soon."
"I would hope not," Amy laughed. "I don't know if I would be able to take on a dragon so as to save my redheaded damsel-in-distress." She smiled teasingly at the wizard and ran her hand through his hair, tugging on the ends of it as she did.
"So, you would let the dragon keep me?" Charlie gasped. "I thought you loved me!" Amy shrugged and laughed a little.
"Oh, I do!" she told the wizard. "I just don't know if I want to be the main course of a dragon's dinner. Plus, I could probably do without the snoring at night."
Charlie let out a quiet laugh before the two fell into a comfortable silence. They seemed to have been doing that a lot as of late, taking solace in the other's presence. With everything that had been happening in recent months, it was a relief to both of them to be able simply to sit and rest, knowing that the other was near them.
They were comfortable, they were happy, and they were in love.
Amy's voice echoed through the silence of the empty hallway. The witch had been taking a stroll around the upper floors of the castle, trying to clear her mind, when she had stumbled upon her mousy haired friend. With her shoulders hunched and her clothes made of mute fabrics, Amy almost didn't recognize her; things in the last few months had certainly not been easy on the young Auror and it was beginning to show, quite evidently.
"Tonks, what are you doing here?" Amy asked, a bright smile spreading across her face. She hadn't seen her friend in so long, and she could easily admit that she had missed her dearly. Tonks gave Amy a wan smile in return, tugging at the drooping ends of her brown hair.
"Looking for Dumbledore," Tonks told Amy softly. "But he's apparently away from the castle." Amy nodded in understanding.
"It's been that way for a while now," Amy informed her friend, and the two easily fell into step next to each other. "We're not exactly sure what he's doing or what he's looking for, but you can't really go about questioning the doings of Albus Dumbledore, can you?" Tonks laughed, although it was hollow and nothing close to what the witch's rambunctious laugh usually sounded like.
"No, I don't suppose you can," the Metamorphmagus said dryly. Amy turned to look at the witch, and it was only then that she realized that her eyes were rimmed with red and there were tracks of tears on her pale face. Amy stopped abruptly and grabbed Tonks' arm, forcing her to a halt in the middle of the corridor.
"Tonks, are you alright?" Amy's voice was light and careful but one couldn't deny the evident strength behind it.
Tonks shook her head, keeping her lips pursed together as she did so. Her eyes were wide and rimmed with red, and Amy felt her heart ache for her clearly distressed friend.
"Tonks," Amy said again, though in a much gentler tone, "you can tell me anything." The professor kepy her soft gaze on her friend, willing her to reveal what it was that was causing her so much stress. The Auror bit her lip, looking as though she was about to say something, before she changed her mind and shook her head vehemently.
"No," she said softly. "No, it's nothing. I'm just being silly is all." She moved as though to brush passed Amy, but the teacher caught her arm, stopping her in her steps.
"If it's nothing," Amy said tightly, a fake smile plastered on her face, "then you won't mind joining me for a cup of tea."
Tonks' eyes went wide and she shook her head again in protest. "I really don't have the time," she argued, trying to weakly pull herself from Amy's grasp, but Amy held firm.
"Oh, but I insist," Amy cried, tugging Tonks down the hall to her room. "It's only tea after all."
Amy set the cup of tea in front of Tonks, before settling down into her seat. Across from her, now, was not Charlie but Tonks, who looked incredibly awkward in her seat. Amy knew it was not because she actually felt awkward around her, but because she really didn't want to be there. Yet, quite frankly, Amy didn't care about that; at least, not in that moment she didn't.
"Sugar?" Amy asked. She held up the small tray of sugar she had but Tonks shook her head, preferring to drink her tea and get out as soon as possible.
Amy knew what she was doing; she knew Tonks was uncomfortable, and she knew she was doing little to make her feel at ease. That wasn't why she had insisted on tea. No, she had not dragged the Auror to her room to chat over terribly brewed tea – she really was a terrible cook – but to figure out what exactly was up with her dear friend.
Tonks had been out of whack for months now, and Amy's maternal instincts were beginning to show. Oh course, she had a sinking suspicion what it was that was bothering the witch, and she didn't want her friend going through something like that on her own. Amy knew what it was like to feel as though the one you loved didn't love you back; she had felt that with Charlie months ago, after their first kiss. She knew how Tonks must have been feeling and it was her responsibility as Tonks' friend to show her that she wasn't alone. If that meant that Amy had to kidnap her and force her to drink terribly watered down tea then so be it.
"So," Amy began with a fake air of enthusiasm, "what's new in your life? What was it that you had to see Professor Dumbledore about?"
Tonks said nothing as she stared down at her cup of tea, watching as weak puffs of steam curled around her cup. Amy noted the witch's silence but did not let it deter her.
"It must have been something important if you were looking for the Headmaster. Did something happen at work or what?"
Silence crept over the witches, and Amy took a delicate sip of her bitter tea, though she could slowly feel her patience ebbing away. She supposed if Tonks was going to behave like a twelve year old, then Amy had the right to do so as well. So, the professor dug deep into her repertoire of elementary school immaturity, looking for a way to get what she wanted.
"No matter," Amy continued brightly, although there was now an obvious tightness in her voice. "You don't have to tell me anything." There was another moment of silence and Amy felt her patience begin to slip away. "I mean, it's not like we're friends or anything, and I certainly haven't told you everything about the last few months or something like th-"
Amy broke off suddenly as Tonks threw down her cup, tea spilling out and staining the carpet a dark color. Amy slowly set down her own cup as she watched her friend hold her head in her hands, gripping her mousy hair as her shoulders shook. Whatever anger and impatience she had moments ago died away, and she felt her heart ache in sympathy as she took in Tonks' hunched and defeated form.
Carefully, Amy scooted closer to Tonks and draped an arm over her, pulling her into an embrace. The Auror froze for a moment before slumping against Amy in search of comfort, her shoulders still shaking.
"C'mon, Tonks," Amy said softly, her voice void of the brightness from earlier. "What's wrong? What's happened? Something has been for wrong for a while now; you haven't been yourself at all. Please tell me, so I can help you. Please, Tonks."
There was a loud sniffle from behind Tonks' curtain of mousy hair before the Auror slowly raised her head, her eyes rimmed in bright red. She opened her mouth several times before she murmured something so low that even Amy couldn't hear her from her position on the couch. Amy leaned closer to her friend, wanting to hear what had been causing her so much consternation. Yet, what she heard from Tonks' pale lips was not what she expected.
"He loves me."
Amy froze in her seat, unsure of what she had to say. This wasn't what she was expecting. She wasn't expecting that Tonks' issue, the thing that had been bothering her for months, was that the man she loved returned her feelings. She, of course, knew Tonks' feelings towards Remus – they had that conversation months ago – but she hadn't realized that the werewolf reciprocated them, and to that extent either. Remus was so quiet, so reserved, that it had never really occurred to Amy that he could be a man of passionate feelings.
Yet the question remained: what was the issue if he did love her?
Tonks should be rejoicing, not crying her eyes out and finding herself incapable of using her Metamorphagus skills to their full extent.
"Tonks," Amy whispered, her eyes wide with delight and reservation, "that's fantastic. He loves you; you know that he loves you!"
Amy had expected that to soothe her, for Tonks to sit up with sudden wonder and for her hair to shoot back to its bubblegum pink. She didn't expect her to hunch over even further and sob into her hands with no hint of embarrassment. Amy's concern for the witch sky-rocketed and she pulled Tonks deeper into her embrace, desperate to provide some sort of solace to the witch.
Making gentle shushing noises, Amy kept her arms tight around Tonks while she cried. The entire time, the Auror took gulping breaths, trying to get her words out but failing each time.
"Dora," Amy said softly, reverting to the witch's first name, "Dora, please what's wrong? You should be so happy right now." Tonks let out a half-sob mingled with a bitter laugh.
"Yeah," she began softly, "I should be happy, shouldn't I? And yet here I am crying because the man who loves me refuses to be with me!"
"But why?" Amy asked. "If he loves you like he says he does, then why on earth would he refuse to be with you?"
"He thinks he's too old," Tonks bemoaned, "and too poor, and that his lycanthropy makes him dangerous, but I know that he would never hurt me or anyone else, not in a million years."
"Have you told him this?" Amy asked, trying to make her voice as soothing as possible. "Have you told him that you don't care about all of that? I mean, misfortunes make you a better person, they make you a stronger person, and Remus has certainly had his fair share of misfortunes."
"Don't you think I've tried telling him that?" Tonks demanded, looking up at her friend with sudden anger. "I've tried talking to him, but time and time again he refuses to listen to me!"
"Then make him!" Amy urged, grabbing Tonks' hand and holding it tightly. "Tonks, you're one of the strongest, most courageous people that I've ever known. Make him listen to you. I mean, I thought that Charlie would never talk to me again before we got together, and I was so afraid of being rejected, but I took it upon myself and I made him listen. I'd say my argument was rather convincing; after all, we're together now, aren't we?
"Talk to him," Amy repeated urgently. She gripped Tonks' hand a little tighter until the Auror turned to look at her. "Talk to him and make him realize that the best thing that will ever happen to him is you, just like what I did with Charlie."
Tonks looked hopelessly at Amy, and the witch felt her heart ache in despair at the heartbroken appearance in her friend's eyes. This was not the Tonks she knew; she wasn't happy or purple haired; she was grey and depressed. She remembered feeling that exact way months ago, and she hoped with all her heart that Remus would see the error of his ways before Tonks lost herself entirely.
AN: Like I said, not very good but it is something.
Don't forget to review!