I Love You More than Myself Part One

Chapter 75

"Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place."-Zora Neale Hurston

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*Tonks's POV*

I tap my combat boot-clad foot against the radiator in the common room, waiting anxiously for the boys to come downstairs. It's been over half an hour since they hurriedly told me to 'chill' in the common room while they got ready. Apparently I was 'nagging' them to actually get to class on time, or so Sirius said.

"We're going to be late," I mutter under my breath, readjusting my book bag on my shoulder. I watch the other students milling about, some talking to friends, others getting a bit of last minute studying in. I guess we're skipping breakfast, I think morosely, watching Scarlet slink by. She throws a dirty smirk my way, and I make sure to give it right back to her.

"Morning, Tonksie," James calls from the foot of the stairs, the four of them walking towards me. He glances over at Lily and messes his hair up, receiving a slap in the face from Sirius.

"Prongs," he mutters, rolling his eyes.

"Sorry," James replies sarcastically. He flops down next to me, his head on my shoulder, watching Lily talking animatedly with Lydia.

"You're a bit late," I scoff, pulling away so his head slips off. He grunts, regaining his composure, giving me an odd look. "McGonagall will have our heads for this."

Remus suddenly leans over and plants a soft, timid kiss on my cheek. I accept it, but begrudgingly.

"Sorry," James says, standing up and leading the five of us out of the common room. "We were uh… working on something."

"On what?" I ask, my foot catching on the lip of the portrait hole. I stumble forward, but Remus's ready and outstretched arms catch me. "Thanks," I mutter, speeding up my pace to walk alongside James and Sirius, leaving him behind.

Things haven't been all smiles and sunshine since Christmas Eve. It's not even that we're mad at each other, it's just that every time I'm around him, I feel… awkward. He knows what I want, and he also knows he won't give it to me. For whatever reason, he stays reserved and cold when we're alone. I'm sure he feels equally as awkward, being the one who stopped it from occurring.

"Yanno," James says, glancing over at me. "Our special project."

"The map?" I ask. James nods. "When can I see it?"

"When it's done!" Sirius protests, rolling his eyes. "Stop asking."

"And that'll be…?" I ask, ignoring his snide comment.

"Can't tell you," James admits. "I've never been particularly good at Divination."

"Asshole," I mutter, chuckling as we round the bend into another corridor.

I look outside disconsolately, patting my wand absentmindedly on my thigh. A light snow falls, and the clouds outside are dark and foreboding. I can't help but think that this is prefect weather for a war. I know it sounds dark and a little crazy, but when I think of a war with death and violence, I think of a sky like this one.

"So," Sirius says, pulling me from my thoughts. "You going to try to woo Evans tomorrow, Prongs?" He raises an eyebrow and nudges him jokingly in the ribs with his elbow.

"Why would tomorrow be different than any other day?" I ask, knitting my eyebrows together and chuckling.

"Well, considering the date…" Sirius says, looking falsely confused to mock me. I don't respond, my brain still working furiously to figure out what they're talking about. "Valentine's Day?"

"Oh," I say, letting out a breath I didn't know I was holding in. "Shit."

"You forgot?" James asks, incredulous. We've finally reached the third floor, and start heading down the correct corridor.

"I suppose I did," I admit, glancing back at Remus. He looks glum, yet somehow uptight. He's looking down morosely at the floor, his hands restless in his pockets. "It's just been so busy-"

"I'll be right back guys, okay?" Remus suddenly announces, bolting off down a side corridor.

James and Sirius share confused looks as the bell rings, then turn simultaneously to me.

"Is… everything alright between you two?" James asks as we start walking again. The hall is slowly emptying, and we're obviously late. I blush, aggravated.

"We're fine," I mutter, walking ahead so I can't see their faces. My feet stomp into the ground, my hands fists in my pockets.

"I don't believe you, chickadee," Sirius calls. I stop, blushing even harder. I turn back around to see their approaching figures.

"We're…."

"Tell us," James says, not even concerned that we're already late to class.

"James Alexander Potter," I start. "There's nothing wrong."

He looks at me curiously, glancing at Sirius for support. "I've noticed something different about him lately."

"We've all been acting different lately," I admit, glancing around for any teachers. "I've got to get to class."

I turn around and bolt up a hidden staircase behind a tapestry, running to get away from the boys.

"Don't think that you can get out of answering by running away!" Sirius calls up stairs, but I'm too far away to hear him.

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*Remus's POV*

I slide into the bathroom, my feet as heavy as bricks as I head for the sink. I put my hands on either side, bracing myself, staring down into the empty white basin. My shoulders heave from my labored breathing, my hands sweaty and twitchy.

I know James and Sirius will come looking for me, they don't care about skipping class. I try to pull myself together so they don't find me in this state again. I sigh, sliding my sweater over my head and onto my bag on the floor. I splash some water on my face, then tentatively look up.

My face. My face.

So damaged. So pain-riddled. How Tonks see love in this face? How does she see desire, or lust? I see a man at the end of his rope, one who's been trough the wringer. I see scars running in every direction, all painful reminders of the past. I reach up and trace the one diagonally across my face, three distinct claws; this is the one from third year, when I watched Tonks and Sirius dance. I run my finger along one down my neck, another along my jaw line. So many scars.

I splash more water on my face, almost furiously, hoping that maybe this face will wash away and a new one will appear, one that hasn't seen all I have seen, one that hasn't done all I have done.

I sigh again, sliding down to the floor to collect my things. I stuff books and papers that fell out when I threw my bag down back in. A small tear escapes my eye and rolls down my cheek.

Sometimes, I feel like my scars are more than scars; they're cracks, deeper and more tangible than scars. They penetrate my being, deep and hateful, representing every thing that has impacted my life negatively; my family, this war, lycanthropy. I feel like one little thing could cause me to shatter and fall apart, for I'm fragile. I can't risk a new type of relationship with Tonks now, I feel too unstable.

I sit up quickly, pulling my sweater back over my head and standing. I turn around and take one more hateful look in the mirror before turning to leave. I stride across the tiled floor, dreading having to make contact with anyone else today. But, just as I'm about to pull the door open, it bursts back in the other direction.

"Remus!" James exclaims, causing students in the hallway to turn and stare. "What the hell is going on between you and Tonks?!"

I take a deep, shuddering breath as the door swings closed again. "Nothing."

"That's what she told us," Sirius interjects. "We didn't believe her."

"Well," I say, trying to push past them. "You're going to have to believe it, because that's the answer."

"Lies, Moony," James says, raising his eyebrows, reaching out a hand to stop me. I sigh, running my hand through my hair, thinking. "Were you… crying?"

He leans in to inspect my face closer, frowning.

"Yeah," I admit, digging the heels of my hands into my eye sockets, trying to stop the tears. "We… she tried-" I stop, looking at their anxious faces. "We're late, let's-"

"No, Remus John Lupin, you're going to tell us right now," James says, jumping up and sitting on a sink, still glaring at me curiously.

"She wanted to take it to the next level and I wasn't ready," I blurt out very fast, letting out a deep breath. They look at me curiously, then turn to face each other, trying to suppress giggles.

"What's so funny?" I ask, irritated that they're laughing.

"You guys haven't had sex already?"

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*Tonks's POV*

I lay in my four-poster, staring blankly up at the canopy above. I lay with my shoes and coat still on, too tired and irritable to take them off. I take deep breaths, tapping my fingers nervously on my stomach, trying to calm down.

March rains have begun, washing away all remnants of winter. Buds are showing on all the trees, and the grounds are muddy, saturated with all the downpours we've been getting lately. I've just gotten out of detention in the greenhouses with Professor Sprout; apparently, you aren't allowed to teach cuss words to the talking plants. My purple hair is soaked from my trek back up to the school, and it lays sticking uncomfortably to face and neck; my make-up is running down my face, leaving black tracks down both of my cheeks. All in all, I feel like shit and just want to have a few moments alone.

James and Sirius are off at Quidditch practice; I can see them through the window next to my bed. James seems to making them work pretty hard, for all I can see are red blurs flying around the pitch. Peter went to go watch, as James told me this morning over breakfast. Why anyone would want to go stand around a soggy pitch all day, I don't know.

I suddenly hear voices coming from the bathroom, hushed and frantic. I turn my head curiously in the direction of the voices, cocking my head so my ear is closer to the door. I roll my eyes, recognizing the voices of Scarlet and May.

I ignore them, rolling onto my side back to the window. I run my fingers down my arm subconsciously, trying to close my eyes, but the voices in the bathroom keep getting louder and louder, making it impossible for me to sleep. Suddenly, I hear a tapping on the window across the dorm. I roll over again, seeing Remus's owl fluttering by the glass with a note clutched in her leg. I raise an eyebrow, getting up to retrieve it. It reads:

Dora,

Please come to my dorm. I want to talk to you.

Love,

Remus

My breath catches in my chest as I fold the letter again, placing it gently in my lap. He wants to talk to me… Could it be about Christmas Eve? Is he done with… us?

I peel off my soggy trainers and socks, and pull on a fresh pair. I then tentatively venture out of the dorm and into the dimly lit hallway. As I'm descending the stairs, still trying not to faint, I hear a high-pitched scream come from 6th Year Girls. I stop and roll my eyes again; they probably tore the padding for their bras or something. Idiots, I think, then continue.

Each step towards his dorm is forced and heavy, my hand gripping the railing like it's my lifeline. I feel nervous sweat start to bead on my forehead, my hands twitchy and my heartbeat racing. My stomach is full of butterflies as I reach 6th Year Boys. There's a sound coming from within.

I knock, too confused to be worried anymore. Suddenly, the door swings open and I'm pulled into the room my a pair of strong, warm arms. I feel his soft lips meet mine as the door swings closed again.

Remus breaks the kiss, staring down at me with the old twinkle in his eye. This gets rid of any of my nerves, and makes joy well up inside me like a balloon.

"Hello," he says mischievously.

"Wotcher," I mutter, breathless. "What's going on?"

"Well," he says, running his hands down my back. He looks down at me with fervor, thinking about what to say next. "I wanted to… apologize."

"For?" I ask, already knowing the answer.

"You know," he says, kissing my forehead.

"Don't apologize, Rem," I say, looking down at his tie; I reach up and nonchalantly straighten it. He responds by taking my hand and placing on his face.

"I want to," he says, looking down at me, smiling excitedly. "I've… been feeling better. My depression-" he swallows, looking down. "-it's been better."

"I'm glad," I say, smiling even more broadly. "That's really great."

"I know," he says, grabbing both of my hands and holding them in between us. "I got a letter from Oliver, I think that's why."

"Really?!" I ask, eyes widening in excitement. "What did it say?!"

"They're fine," he says, releasing a sigh of relief. "He wouldn't tell me where they are, but… they're married."

"That's wonderful!" I exclaim.

"And, well…" he says, blushing. "They think she's pregnant."

"Wow," I say, my heart expanding. "You'll be an uncle, Remus!"

"I'm very happy for them," he says, releasing my hands and turning around, running his hands through his hair. He breaths heavily, dropping his arms back to his sides. "This can't be real."

"Of course it is," I say, standing back and watching him. He turns back around and eyes me curiously.

"You've been out in this rain, haven't you?" he asks, still feet away from me across the dorm.

"Detention," I explain, blushing. "Sorry, I look like death."

"The thing is," he says, slowly walking over and placing a hand on my hip, looking down at me lovingly. "You don't."

"Thank you," I say, blushing. He leans down and places the softest and most gentle kiss on my lips. I reach up and run my hands through his soft brown hair, pulling myself closer. His arms snake around my waist, almost forcefully. He deepens the kiss, giving it a fervor we've never experienced before.

"Come here," he mutters against lips, taking my hand and slowly leading me toward his bed.

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Hey guys! Merry Christmas! :D

SooOoOoooOooo… there you have it! I feel like you guys are going to respond negatively to this, but I feel like it's open to interpretation. And, they are older. Maybe a little young, but hey, the 70s were a weird time, awesome, but weird. So, if you do have something negative to say, say it, but please nicely ^.^

I love you all! Have a blessed holiday!

xoxo

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