Had it been that way

A HariPo oneshot

by mew-tsubaki

Note: The Harry Potter characters belong to J.K. Rowling, not me. Because there is not enough angst in the world. -.- Read, review, and enjoy!

- ^-^3

~*~I never cheated or looked astray
Don't know who spread that fire
But I think that you know deep down inside
You are my heart's desire
~*~

Just because Tonks had confessed to him months ago didn't mean that Remus automatically had to accept her feelings. She had been needling him throughout the past year…and as much as he cared for her, Remus still was unsure of it all.

He remembered when she'd been tiny, and Sirius had introduced them when he and Remus had gone to visit Andromeda and Ted. Tonks had been a sweet, mischievous thing back then, too, but the only person who'd ever been on Remus' radar…had been Sirius.

Godric, Sirius, what would you say if you were here right now? the werewolf thought as he dragged a hand over his face. He was home, away from all the troubles of the emerging war and the commands of Molly and McGonagall, who were trying to keep the Order and its allies together, sane. At first, they'd all looked to Remus…but he'd been in no condition to lead. That kind of thing better suited McGonagall, or Mad-Eye. But Remus? He'd never even led the Marauders. Besides…he still couldn't believe that Snape really had betrayed Dumbledore and all of them.

At such a time, Remus really could've used Sirius, his friend, his confidant, his love…his soul mate.

The wizard stood in his tiny living room and went to the door, which he opened. When he stepped outside, his eyes flew to the sight of the nearly full moon, and he thought of all the full moons he'd spent locked away in the Shrieking Shack. Yet as horrible as those times had been, Remus smiled, for he recalled all the times when he'd awoken the following morning and seen three pairs of concerned eyes. The gray pair, in particular, had always searched Remus' eyes for something that the other two might miss, but Sirius would always finish analyzing him and pull him close. Those moments had made Remus love the full moon, in a way.

As he stood and watched the moon, he was aware of that antsy-ness he had around this time every month, but he had taken his potion, so he would be set. He'd be all right.

If he closed his eyes and concentrated, he could even hear Sirius' voice, telling him the same thing.

Remus sighed. Even a year later, it was still so hard to believe that Sirius Orion Black, of all people, was…was… Come on, Remus, the wizard scolded himself. It's just a word…a really, really heavy word… But it still tore him to pieces inside, thinking that Sirius was…er, gone. (He just couldn't think that word.)

But with Sirius gone… It made Remus feel as though they had wasted all their time up until that last moment. After all, Remus had spent nearly all of Harry's third year doubting Sirius' innocence and guilt and appearance at the castle. But even after the two Marauders had been reunited, Sirius had laid low, stealing away to see Remus only a few times. And finally, finally when they were under the same roof—Grimmauld Place, of all places!—the Order had reconstituted…and nothing had been the same. Stealing away had not been as easy, and Tonks' membership to the Order hadn't helped. At first, Remus thought he'd made another friend…but Sirius had quickly recognized her attraction to Remus.

"She's giving you that look again," Sirius had said after one of Molly's delicious dinners that had fed their…well, their army.

"What look?" Remus had asked, exasperated. Sirius had been very jealous of any attention Remus received like that. Though Remus had always found Sirius' pouting in regard to it rather adorable.

"The one I gave you the end of third year." Sirius had raised his eyebrows. "When it struck me that you were a bloke—but a very pretty bloke."

Remus had laughed. "I've never been 'pretty,' Sirius."

And Sirius had frowned at him as he slipped into Remus' room when no one was looking. "Remus John Lupin, you are a beautiful being, and don't you doubt that." And then Sirius had shown Remus just how beautiful he was, and how beautiful they were together.

Thinking on the memory, Remus sighed. They hadn't had much time to do such frivolous things, not with people at Sirius' ancestral home nearly every hour of every day of every week of every month. Then…then the time had zipped past them, and the fight at the Department of Mysteries had happened, and Remus had had no idea how to cope with the loss of Sirius.

Even now, a year later, Remus wasn't sure he wanted to cope with the loss of Sirius.

But after it happened…Tonks said nothing, Remus thought as his gaze fell from the moon to the ground. Tonks really had said nothing about it for months afterward. Then, one evening when visiting Remus to deliver word from Mad-Eye and Kingsley about the Order's goings-on, she had yanked on him arm and hugged him tightly to her. Her body language had been pained and empathetic—and Remus had finally cried for Sirius.

However, that one instance had put the idea in Tonks' head that he could make room in his heart for her. So she had become relentless. She often had left his place defeated, but she had hounded him nevertheless.

And it scared Remus. It scared him so bad. It was why his mouth often made sounds before his heart had a chance to shut up his brain. It was why he had told Tonks numerous times that the two of them wouldn't work—their personalities didn't mesh, the age-gap was too much to bear, he was too weary and worn for someone as bubbly as her, he didn't want to bring her down… He was too cynical for her.

He hadn't told her that that embrace, that night they spent on his couch with him in her arms as he cried for Sirius…he hadn't told her that the last time a person had connected with him, had reached out to him like that—that person had been Sirius.

Remus hesitated to look up at the moon again, almost as though he was afraid that he would see Sirius staring down at him with accusatory eyes. But what now, Pads? the wolf internally mused. What now? You're gone, and I won't see you again until I've perished…

Would it be wrong of me to say goodbye to what we had and pursuit…pursuit happiness?

He hanged his head, thinking himself childish for even internally talking to someone he knew wouldn't talk back. Remus then heard the characteristic pop of Apparition, and he went down to the end of the yard to see the woman that he knew he'd love for the rest of his life, no matter how short or long that life was. As lost as he was in seeing Tonks appear, Remus didn't hear the answer to his question, a word carried on the wind:

No.

~*~Baby, take your last look; don't say goodbye
Love don't mean that much anyway
Don't give me a hard time if I close my eyes
I'm okay, I'm okay
~*~

- ^-^3

The lyrics heading and footing the story come from "Better Off" by Meg and Dia, which is an awesome band whom I've loved for years—try them out. :] As for this fic…I couldn't help but think of Remus and Sirius when I listened to the song, though it nearly made me cry. I hope you enjoyed the story. It was meant to be set a little after the battle that ends HBP, so Remus has one final sorting out of his thoughts before allowing himself to love Tonks. Still…Remmius all the way! Dx

Thank you for reading, and please review.

-mew-tsubaki :')