"Everyone thinks you make mistakes when you're young. But I don't think we make any fewer when we're grown up."-Jodi Picoult
After several minutes lost in my solitude, I sit up and wipe my eyes, blearily glancing around. I'm suddenly aware that I'm alone, James and Sirius not anywhere in sight. I stand, my heart rate speeding up in anxiety. I cross my arms, my eyes hungrily searching the common room for any sign of them. None.
"What's wrong, Tonks?" someone calls from behind. I jump, startled, and whip around to see Peter standing by the coffee table, a stack of books in hand.
"Peter," I breathe. "You scared me."
"I'm sorry," he blushes. "You seemed upset."
"Where are James and Sirius?"
"I thought they were with you?" he replies confusedly.
"So did I," I admit, realization washing over me. Something was wrong. "What if something's wrong with Remus?"
"What?" Peter exclaims, even more confused than before. "What do you mean? They probably just went to get something to eat… or something."
I choose to disregard this comment and take off, out the portrait hole and down the corridor at a quick pace, Peter stumbling behind.
"Peter, you know how sometimes you can just tell that someone's in trouble?"
"No," he replies, wary of this question. "What do you mean?"
"Never mind," I rolls my eyes. "I can… feel that something's wrong."
"Feel?" he huffs, nearly falling flat on his face as I make a sharp turn to use a staircase hidden behind a tapestry.
"Yes," I insist, peaking out from behind the thick fabric to make sure no one was there before sweeping it aside and continuing. By this time, Peter is too breathless to argue.
We reach the Entrance Hall, seemingly deserted by this time of night. I jump behind a statue to conceal us, just in case Filch decides to slink by, his baggy eyes peering around for any sign of disruption. Peter's heavy breathing behind me puts me on edge.
"Can you keep it down for just a fraction of a second while I think?" I hiss over my shoulder.
I glance around, biting my lip and deciding that the coast was clear. I motion for Peter to follow, and start to silently cross the cold, stone floor spanning the space between the statue and the Oak Front Doors.
"Miss Tonks! Mister Pettigrew! Whatever do you think you're doing?"
My breath catches in my throat, my heart stopping completely for a fraction of a second. I grit my teeth and slowly turn around to see Professor McGonagall standing at the top of the marble staircase with a grim expression and a very thin set of lips. I sigh, caught in the act.
"Professor…" I breathe, shaking my head. "Professor, there's something not right. I can feel it."
"Not right about what?" she questions, making her way down the grandiose set of stairs. "What are you rambling on about?"
"It's Remus, Professor," I sigh, shakily raking my fingers through my bubblegum pink hair, my combat boot clad foot tapping nervously. "I know this sounds weird, but… I can tell when something is wrong."
She gives me an odd look, considering my claim. "If it would make you feel better, Miss Tonks, I will send someone out to check on him."
"Yes, please!" I exclaim, relief settling in the pit of my stomach. As soon as I answer, McGonagall turns around and sends her cat patronus cantering up the stairs. Several silent, awkward minutes later, Hagrid appears, a lantern in hand, at the front door.
"Ye' needed me, Professor?" he asks, his boarhound panting at his hip.
"Yes, Hagrid. A word, please," she says as she follows him out into the night. We are left alone, the uneasy feeling still not completely gone. I sigh heavily, and take a seat on the bottom stair of the staircase, burying my head into my knees.
"He's going to be okay, Tonks," Peter says, obviously trying to comfort me.
"I hope so, Peter. I hope so."
Barely a half an hour goes by before the front doors are swung open again, this time producing five figures instead of two.
"To the Headmaster's office, the lot of you," McGonagall says, a note sharpness in her voice. I whip my head up at the sound of this, my eyes landing on James, Sirius, and… Severus Snape? They all look very shaken up and quite angry, Snape keeping his distance from the other two.
"James! Sirius!" I exclaim, standing and bounding over to them. "Is he okay?!"
"Remus?" James answers, perturbed by my question. "He's fine. It's this one that needs help." He jerks his thumb over his shoulder at Sirius.
"It was a mistake, James!"
"A mistake that almost got me killed!" Snape yells, turning around to start this screaming match from halfway up the marble staircase.
"You shouldn't have been sticking your nose where it didn't-"
"Shut it, Black! You're the ones who were being-"
"You can't blame this on us! We weren't doing anything wrong!"
"I seriously doubt that! Just wait to see how Professor-"
"Stop it! All of you, stop it!" McGonagall suddenly exclaims, sending up red sparks with her wand. "To Professor Dumbledore's office. NOW!"
I stand in shock, completely caught off guard by McGonagall's reaction. She follows them, urging them up each step and around the corner out of sight. After several moments, Hagrid speaks.
"Should probably ge' up to yer dorm," he says, nodding at me and Peter. "Go on."
After casting another wary glance at the front doors, I take this advice and start up the stairs, still not completely convinced that Remus was okay. I guess it was just one of those times where you had to put full faith and trust in your friends.
The boys don't return to the common room for another half hour, huffing and swearing under their breath as they do.
"There you are!" I exclaim, rolling my eyes and not bothering to stand as they heavily take a seat across from me. "What was all that about?"
Neither of them say anything, but glance at each other.
"No one's going to talk?" I ask curiously, eyeing them.
"I messed up," Sirius finally admits. I'm incredibly shocked by this, for Sirius wasn't one to admit that he was wrong. "I messed up big time."
At this, the two launch into their story. As each detail is revealed, I feel myself becoming more and more disgusted and shocked that Sirius would do something like that. When they've finished, I just sit, contemplating how I was going to respond.
"Wow," is all I can say.
"I know, I know," Sirius says, blowing out a lungful of air and grabbing his hair in this hands. "It was dumb of me."
"Yeah, it was," I admit. He gives me dirty look, and I chuckle. "I just don't want to see Remus when you break the news to him."
"Damn," Sirius mutters under his breath. "I forgot about that…"
"Should be fun," I say in mock optimism. "Let me know how it goes."
With that, I bid them goodnight and leave them to simmer with their problem. Now, they have plenty of time to figure out how they were going to break this to Remus.
From what I heard, it didn't go well. Like I said, there was no way in hell that I was going to be anywhere near that conversation. James told me later that day that he completely flipped his lid and chewed Sirius up pretty bad. But, as all fights between the Marauders go, they quickly forgave each other and went back to be being good mates. Although, I think Sirius had definitely learned his lesson.
Several more weeks pass without incident, anticipation growing stronger every day for graduation. The only thing stunting this this joy was the fact that N.E.W.T.s were right on top of us, breathing down all of our necks and causing much discomfort. The night before eerily mirrors the memories of two years previous when we all were stressing over O.W.L.s.
"I'm just gonna drop out," James suddenly announces, breaking the silence that had fallen on our group a long time ago. The Marauders, Lily, Lydia, Marlene, and I were all seated around a large table in the library, trying to cram some last minute studying in. Peter had fallen asleep on his book about twenty minutes ago, and the rest of us were nearly there.
"And what do you plan to do with your life then?" I ask drowsily, leaning heavily on Remus's shoulder. James considers this for a moment, his mind obviously devising some wicked, brilliant plan.
"I'll become a male stripper."
All at once, the silence of the library is broken by the ravenous laughter of me and my friends. After receiving a slap on the arm from Lily and a warning from Madam Pince, James takes his comment back and drops his eyes into his textbook again.
"Although," he whispers, still looking engaged at his reading. "It wouldn't be such a bad life."
Lily slaps him again, and giggles.
Finally. All I can say is finally. Finally, we are done with N.E.W.T.s. Finally, we are done with school. We're done. We've done it. It's over.
A mixture of bliss and sadness accompanies the last day of testing. As we leave the Great Hall, students throwing papers and being generally rowdy, I realize how bittersweet this moment is. We're going to be graduating in a few weeks time, and after that, we'll all be pursuing our own life. Remus and I will be married, and no doubt James and Lily will be, too. We're practically adults, even though it seems just like yesterday that we were children. I can still vividly remember moments from our first day as though they were yesterday.
"Hey, we're almost there!"
I pointed out the window at the castle looming in the distance. It was gorgeous even in the darkness. It had too many towers to count, hundreds of lighted windows, and a beautiful black lake. It was surrounded by miles and miles of green forests.
"Isn't that the most beautiful thing you've ever seen?" I said, my face pressed against the glass of the train window, gazing up at it in awe.
"It is," I heard a soft musical voice speak next me. I turned to my right and saw Remus looking up next to me. He was staring fixedly up at the castle with a look upon his face of pure joy. I couldn't help but smile. The light from the castle illuminated his face, making his scars very predominant. It was almost a pity.
A small laugh went through the entire student body. I was embarrassed. I hated my name, but I got up and sat down on the stool regardless. The hat was put down over my eyes and all I saw was blackness.
"Hmmm.. A good heart. Wants to do big things in the future. Very brave. Courageous," a voice in my ear said. I held my breath than heard : "GRYFFINDOR!"
"Welcome home," James said, walking around the circular room.
"Your right," Sirius said. "This is home."
Suddenly, tears form at the corners of my eyes and leak down my cheeks.
"What's the matter, love?" Remus asks, bringing me out of the walk down memory lane I was having.
"This is the end, isn't it?" I say simply, and he grimaces then nods.
"Yes, yes it is," he tightens his grip around my hand and gives me an encouraging smile.
"I honestly can't believe it," I say in total spite of myself.
"It's not just the end," he says, his amber eyes sparkling. "It's a beginning for us, too."
The next morning begins… not well. After a refreshing, blissful sleep in the boy's dormitory, which I had become accustomed to sleeping in, we troop down to the common room for to meet Lily, Lydia, and May for breakfast, as we always did.
"Must have posted the date for the ball," Sirius notes, motioning to the flock of excited underclassmen swarming the notice board. We mosey over after the eccentric 3rd year girls have moved on.
"Is that what we looked like?" Sirius mutters, blatantly pointing at them.
"I hope not," I answer, wrenching his arm down.
"Last End of Year Ball… wow," James says, bending down to examine the flyer printed on the same paper as it was four years ago.
"Oh, no," Remus groans to my left. I cock an eyebrow, looking over curiously at him.
"What is it?"
He looks over at me, biting his lip and looking distressed. He motions me to follow him to a corner, and I can already feel the disappointment rising in me like a tide.
"Is it the… yanno?" I blurt out before he can even open his moth. He sighs and nods.
"Oh," is all I can say.
"I'm so sorry, Tonks. I'll make it up-"
"Remus, don't worry about it!" I say, chuckling at his reaction. "I understand."
"But it's your last ball, and I won't be able to go with you, and-"
"I just won't go."
"What?" he asks, incredulous.
"Remus, I'm not going without you," I say matter-of-factly. "If I can't go with you, I'm not going at all."
He makes a surprised face and shrugs. "That was easy."
"What did you expect? A river of tears?" I joke, and he smiles.
"Maybe," he answers slyly.
Sorry this one took so long, you guys! I'm almost done with my summer camp YAAAY. Anyway, hope you liked it! Check out my Criminal Minds fic! :* PLEASE LEAVE A REVIEW.