As Lupin finally got home, he was so exhausted he merely noticed the small figure sitting on his couch. The only reason he did so was that he almost fell over in his own rug, which he was sure he hadn’t left so crumpled, and he got a glimpse of his visitor while he was trying to get his balance back.
’Oh, wotcher, Remus!’ called the woman from his couch and she turned to look at him with a little smile.
’Hello, Tonks’ answered Lupin and walked to his tiny living room, taking his long travelling coat down and sitting next to her. ’I’m surprised to find you here. Could you explain me how you got in here or rather why?’ raised Lupin his eyebrows in question.
’I was waiting for you’ shrugged Tonks simply. Lupin rolled his eyes. ’Okay, I came over to wait for you because I just couldn’t sleep while I had no idea whether you are okay or dead.’ she admitted, looking concerned.
’Well, I’m okay, as you see’ muttered Lupin, unsure how to react to this rather surprising announcement.
’You certainly don’t look so’ she frowned. ’Now tell me, how was your interview?’
’It was… nasty’ sighed Lupin. ’I knew they wouldn’t employ me, nobody would, but it still hurts’ he explained. ’I know I could help them and I really want to and they won’t give me a job, even if they really need me, just because I am this’ he pointed to himself, from head to feet, feeling dirty, infected. After all, he was infected.
’Oh, Remus, I’m so sorry’ said Tonks and Lupin saw she obviously meant it. Though it did not help at all. ’I just don’t get how can they be that silly? Everybody seems to think that you’re a bomb that is about to explode. For Merlin’s sake, you don’t even look like you could hurt a hamster!’ she fumed. ’Those stupid sons of bitches! They don’t even deserve you, they can drown in Hippogriff piss.’ she grunted angrily. Lupin couldn’t resist a smile.
’Hey, it’s okay’ he waved her off. ’At least I’ll have more time to work for the Order’ he shrugged. Tonks smiled back.
’You know, you’re right’ she nodded. ’Though I’m stilled pissed off about it. I mean, how come people are all so blind they don’t see what the Ministry’s really doing? You’d think most wizards are harder to fool.’
’They do know, probably’ answered Lupin really sadly. ’They’re just too scared to do anything the Ministry doesn’t approve.’
’While they should be worrying about him’ shook Tonks her head furiously, her apparently long and lime-green coloured hair flapping around her.
’We both know this conversation leads to nowhere’ warned Lupin, forcing back a yawn. ’We could be talking about the Tornados still having the lead and it’d be more useful than this’ he sighed.
’You’re right’ admitted Tonks. ’Again.’
’So tell me, what happened while I was away?’ asked Lupin, waving his wand to the direction of his kitchen, having two cups and a teapot flying towards them.
’Well, Kreacher stole another few things from Mrs. Black’s old room and Sirius has finally got enough and shouted at him so loud Buckbeak went crazy and tore an armchair apart and was about to catch Kreacher when Mad-Eye got there and saved that ugly house-elf’ frowned Tonks and took one cup from Lupin. ’Thanks.’
’I knew Sirius wouldn’t cope with being alone but Kreacher in that terrible place’ said Lupin, wagging his head. ’I wish I could help him’ he whispered, staring at the blank wall.
’Hey, his biggest problem is being there without any hope he could come out’ pointed Tonks to the doubtless truth. Lupin sighed.
’He was always the one amongst us who could bear the lack of freedom least’ he muttered, deep in thoughts.
’Again, it won’t get better if we talk about it and feel sorry for him’ said Tonks, sipping her tea.
’Nothing’ll get better so in this case we shouldn’t even talk’ grunted Lupin, yawning.
For a few minutes they just sat in silence, Tonks drinking her tea, Lupin, already finished with his, just staring sleepily out of his head.
’You should take a shower and get to bed before you fall asleep’ broke Tonks the silence, looking sideways at Lupin.
’Yeah, I guess’ he mumbled, eyes closing.
’Remus, I’m serious, you need to sleep in a proper bed or you won’t never be at least a bit less tired’ tugged Tonks on Lupin’s robes.
’Don’t use double noes’ grunted Lupin.
’Oh, the teacher’s speaking’ rolled Tonks her eyes but a wide smile spread across her face.
’I was a Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. For one single year’ Lupin protested. ‘I have nothing to do with grammar.’
’Whatever’ shrugged Tonks and got to her feet, pulling her friend up from the couch.
’ ’Eeeyy’ moaned Lupin, not wanting to move.
’Nope, I won’t let you stay here, muddy and all’ shook Tonks her head, and Lupin frowned, but tried not to lean too much against the small woman.
They made their way up the stairs and headed to Lupin’s tiny little bathroom, where Tonks opened the water and filled the bathtub with it, pouring some shower gel after. She pulled off the robes from Lupin, who sat on the cold floor, leaving only the trousers and socks on.
’I leave you to clean yourself up’ she said, then stepped to the door, but as Lupin didn’t move, on the contrary, he started to snore, she sighed and went back, crouching down to him. ’I hope, for your own safety, that you wear something under this’ she muttered, and unbuttoned Lupin’s trousers.
Luckily, he wore underpants. She pulled down his dirty socks and tossed them to one corner, next to the shabby robes. Her heart sank at the thought of how poor Lupin was.
She helped the half-sleeping man to the warm bath and washed his back, his neck, his skinny chest. She couldn’t help but stare at his white, round-shaped scars and she felt tears gathering in her eyes. She touched one of them gently, her fingers sliding down his side. He shuddered and jerked his head up, suddenly awoke.
’I should finish myself’ he croaked in a hoarse voice, defensive. Tonks took a step back, wiping the tears away. She muttered something that could have been ’sorry’ and hurried away from the bathroom.
She waited patiently outside the door, trying not to imagine Lupin’s scars and how it must have felt when that awful werewolf attacked him, how it infected his whole life after, but when fifteen minutes passed and Lupin still didn’t come out nor could she hear noises, she opened the door carefully, and ducked her head into the bathroom. She smiled as she saw the skinny, now definitely cleaner man dozing in the bath, his mouth slightly open.
Stepping to the bathtub, she sat to the edge of it and started massaging the man’s tense shoulders. That was just when she realised that Lupin took off his underpants and was now fully naked. She found it really hard not to look at his cock nor at his scars, so she ended up gazing up at the once-white ceiling, watching a tiny black spider moving around in his web.
Lupin groaned in delight as his muscles started to relax and he leant fully into the touch of Tonks, who beamed up at the spider. She had no idea why was she sitting there, massaging her friend, but it just felt right. She wanted to help him, to make things easier for him.
Okay, she had to admit she was kind of getting to love him. She cared about him, feared that he would be the next one disappearing or dying. She tried to tell him but he was so stubborn, so full of mistrust. He thought he didn’t deserve nor friendship neither love. He feared that the next one he get close to would die in a really short period of time and Tonks couldn’t really blame him after losing all his friends but Sirius and even that was complicated for more than 12 years.
After her hands got tired, she used her wand to get a towel and dried his whole bony body, then carried him to his bedroom – he was surprisingly easy to lift- and used her wand again to find him clean pants he can sleep in. When Lupin was safe and sound in his bed, curled up, Tonks went back to the bathroom, washed the dust from the man’s clothes and took his wand so she could put it on his bedside table when she returned to the dark bedroom.
’Thanks’ muttered Lupin, as she covered him with a blanket, then give him a hesitant kiss on the cheek and left the room, smiling sadly.
*Half a year later*
The next time she saw his scars they were just back from a mission for the Order, spending the night at Lupin’s because they had to stay together until Dumbledore came for them, asking for their report. And it was even safer not to be alone in these dark times.
’I feel like I haven’t slept like for a year’ grunted Tonks wearily as she flopped down onto Lupin’s old couch.
’I could rather do with a good bath’ the man closed the door, and dropped his bag to the floor. His traveling cloak was dustier and shabbier than ever before, which was quite astonishing.
’Go, then’ yawned Tonks and she lay along the couch, finding the most comfortable position.
’You’d also need it’ stated the man, kicking off his shoes. Tonks shrugged, yawning again.
’Okay, I’m having a bath and you can sleep for now, but I’ll wake you up before Dumbledore arrives so you’ll be able to wash your face and get changed, at least’ he promised but Tonks was already asleep, her auburn, curly hair all over his couch. Lupin watched her for a minute before getting a thin plaid from the cupboard and covering her.
He filled his bathtub with water and produced bubbles from his wand before he got in. He leaned back and just enjoyed the sensation of warm water and peaceful silence. Well, except the old washing machine that was puffing quietly in the corner, stopping just for occasional hiccupping.
When the water got cold he climbed out of the tub and wrapped a towel around his waist. It was rather hot outside, the only reason he had used warm water was that he’d known cold water would never wash the mud and sweat off his body.
Walking down the stairs he found Tonks curled up on his couch, fast asleep. He headed to the kitchen and started to make some dinner. He just finished cooking the meat when Dumbledore’s Patronus, a phoenix, appeared in mid-air, and announced in the Headmaster’s voice that they had half an hour before the old man’s arrival.
Lupin went to the couch, the still sleeping Tonks snoring quietly on it. She was so beautiful with this appearance. Not that she’d usually be ugly, Lupin really liked most of her ’outfits’. She was always a bit too flashy and rather extravagant but she had the same aura around her all the time, so that the people all felt a bit happier if she was around.
Tonks muttered something in her sleep and Lupin stroke her hair gently out of her face. For Merlin’s beard, he really liked her, sometimes he thought he even loved her, though it was hard to tell whether it was love, as you love a close friend, or love, as you have a crush on someone.
He was confused and Tonks never made it easier with her constant announcements that indicated she loved him and wanted to be with him. Lupin wanted to be with her too, he just wasn’t sure if it was really love or just a desperate attempt from his soul to get someone he can relate to and finally leave the lonely years behind.
As he was wondering about their relationship, Tonks woke up slowly, feeling that someone’s watching her. She relaxed when she saw it was just Remus. She cuddled closer to his limbs as he sat on the edge of the couch, resting her head in his lap. Lupin froze and looked down blankly. When he saw the peaceful look on Tonks’ face he smiled at her warmly.
’Dumbledore’s here in twenty minutes’ announced Lupin and started stroking her hair automatically.
’Great. I’m starving. Could you ask him to bring some food?’ asked Tonks innocently while moving even closer to the stroking hands.
Lupin laughed at the thought of Dumbledore bringing them food. Obviously, Tonks was just kidding. He liked her humour.
’I made dinner while you were sleeping’ he smirked down at her.
’Aw, you’re amazing’ beamed Tonks up at him, realising he wasn’t wearing any clothes at all, just a towel. ’I’m telling you, I want to live with you. How awesome would it be, a boyfriend who even cooks for you!’ she giggled, her eyes wandering on the man’s naked chest, this time not so shocked about the scars.
’I don’t think I really fit into the category ’boyfriend’ ’ replied Lupin with a small sad smile and he tried to ignore all the feelings he felt when Tonks called him her future partner. For Merlin’s sake, she was so young. Boyfriend, ha! He felt just ancient as he looked down at her frowning face, her green eyes shining brightly.
’Never mind, I happily accept you as a husband, but that would have sounded too serious so I decided to say boyfriend instead, which wasn’t a good decision, it seems’ shrugged Tonks. Lupin’s heart sank. Husband. He felt his insides hot, his chest heavy.
’You should get a shower before Dumbledore arrives’ he said gloomily.
’Oh no, Remus, you won’t flee from this conversation again’ sat up Tonks on the couch, her hair a total mess and her eyes still a bit sleepy, but her face showing determination.
’No, look, Dumbledore’s really here in a moment now’ he gulped, trying to get away from this situation.
’I don’t give a shit if Dumbledore’s here at this exact moment and I need to give him a report dirty and stinky, because this is just as important!’ snapped Tonks angrily and she hit the couch with her fist, causing the old furniture a painful thud.
’Well, that’s good to know’ sounded a smiling voice behind her and she turned to look at the Head of the Order himself.
’Sorry, sir’ she mumbled but didn’t seem to mean it.
’I’d say I leave you two to discuss things and come back after that but I fear I am not in the lucky situation to do so’ he explained apologetic, and sat down into Lupin’s old, dusty armchair. He said nothing about the werewolf wearing only a towel around his waist.
’Excuse us, Dumbledore’ said Lupin, flushing. ’D’you want some tea?’ he offered, waving in the direction of his kitchen.
’No, thanks, Remus, but I do not even have time for that’ refused Dumbledore the offer kindly. ’So would you please tell me about your trip in France?’
’We met about thirty wizards and witches we tried to convince that You-Know-Who’s back and we really need them’ explained Tonks. ‘Most of them thought at first that we were some idiots joking but after we told them Madam Maxime is with us and that Albus Dumbledore’s our leader, they started taking us seriously.’
‘We couldn’t convince a few of them, though’ sighed Lupin sadly. ‘But we hadn’t even been seen by Death-Eaters or people who’d do us any harm, so that’s not all bad’ he added.
‘Very well’ nodded Dumbledore, watching them closely through his half-moon spectacles. ‘What about those giant horses of Olympe’s?’ he asked.
‘She promised to lend us half of them, any time, we should just ask’ replied Tonks with a faint smile. ‘And she let Hagrid have two of her ponies, she’ll be flying them over in a week.’
‘Good’ said Dumbledore. ‘Really good.’
‘We had to remove a young man’s memories, though’ admitted Tonks. ‘He wasn’t all happy about us looking for members for our Anti-Evil league’ she grunted. Dumbledore smiled.
‘That is something that happens from time to time’ sighed the old wizard, and he stood up. ‘Well, thank you, I’ll call upon you when you’re services are needed again. Of course, you’re always needed, but I think you’d need some time to get your personal lives a bit under control’ he said pointedly. ‘It’s no priority but the mind works right only in case the soul is healthy enough.’
He looked really sad for a moment, then shook Lupin’s hand, bowed to Tonks, and he was gone with a flash of his robes.
‘I think I need a bath’ said Tonks, turning on her heels and hurrying up the stairs. Lupin stared after her, utterly distracted. When Dumbledore arrived, she wouldn’t let anything prevent their discussion and now she just stormed away without a word about their relationship. He sighed and followed Tonks upstairs.
After putting on one of his pants and finding a clean towel for the woman, he knocked on the bathroom door and she mumbled something inside but he couldn’t hear it properly.
‘Sorry?’ he called.
‘I said I can wash my back myself’ groaned Tonks, and Lupin could have sworn he heard sobbing.
‘You okay?’ he asked softly, alarmed.
‘Totally’ she answered bitterly. Lupin hesitated for a moment before he reached for the doorknob and went in.
Tonks sat in the middle of his little bathroom, the water running, half her clothes already on the floor. Her shoulders were shaking but Lupin couldn’t see her face since she was sitting with her back to him.
‘Hey’ he leaned down and sat next to her.
He wanted to ask what the problem was, he wanted to know whether she was now hating him, he wondered if he should talk to her at all. Tonks was sobbing harder, tears falling down from her cheeks. Lupin felt miserable seeing her painful, tired face reddening because of the hot, salty drops he caused. He felt guilt boiling up in his chest.
‘Leave me alone’ sniffed Tonks. When Lupin didn’t move, she added ‘please.’
The pale, skinny man didn’t respond, just moved closer to her, lifting her up a bit and pulling her between his long legs. He made her lean against his bare chest and hugged her close, rubbing her arms gently. Strangely enough, it didn’t seem to comfort her, on the contrary, she cried harder and shook more violently. But Lupin didn’t let go of her, he hold her steadily and waited till she calmed down a bit, rubbing her arms patiently. Finally, the tears stopped falling and she was sobbing quietly.
‘Feeling a bit better?’ asked Lupin, wondering if he’s ever felt so horrible in his life. He kind of loved this woman in his arms and yet he caused just misery and tears to her. She didn’t deserve him.
Tonks nodded and wiped the remaining tears away. She let out a resigned sigh and pulled away from Lupin.
‘You should now really leave me alone unless you want to see me naked’ she said in a low, shivering voice but Lupin stayed.
‘Forgive me, please’ he begged solemnly. Tonks raised an eyebrow.
‘I can’t forgive you for being such an idiot, sorry’ she chuckled. ‘But it’s not your mistake that I happen to love you while you do not feel the same way.’
Lupin wanted to protest, he wanted to say that he loved her, he wanted to yell that she was just too important for him to fall in love with her. But he didn’t. He turned away from the woman who was the only good thing in his miserable life and left the bathroom.
He was pacing in his bedroom, now fully dressed, while Tonks washed the dust off herself and he forced himself not to think of her naked, not to imagine her in his bathtub, vulnerable and beautiful. His mouth felt dry.
‘Hey, sorry for that scene’ murmured the woman, standing in his doorway, her face slightly pink. Her hair was black, her nose full of freckles, her face heart-shaped. She looked just how Lupin liked the most, except the hair.
‘Could you do me that pink hair, please?’ he asked softly, his heart hammering as she, raising her eyebrows in question, screwed her almond-shaped eyes up and changed her hair colour to that exact shade of pink that Lupin loved so much.
‘Thanks’ muttered the man and stepped to her. ‘You know you just look amazing. This is my favourite form of yours’ he admitted.
‘Mine too’ she whispered in a sad voice.
Lupin cupped her cheek in his hand and drew tiny circles to her face. She closed her eyes with a pleased groan and Lupin felt his manhood tightening a bit. He forced himself not to kiss her and hugged her closer instead.
She was small and warm, fitting perfectly in his arms and he felt her breasts pressing to his stomach. He was sure she felt his cock now.
‘Sorry’ mumbled Lupin and Tonks shook her head. The man closed his eyes and his hug became tighter around her. They just stood there, savouring each other’s presence.
When Tonks’ stomach grumbled with hunger, Lupin pulled away. ‘Dinner?’ he asked and the woman nodded enthusiastically. The man grinned at her and they went down to have dinner.
‘You’re an amazing cook’ sighed Tonks after eating two big plates of meat and pasta, her face filthy with sauce.
‘Am not’ shook Lupin his head but he was glad she liked the meal.
Tonks rolled her eyes and started licking the remaining sauce from her fingers. When she finished, she scrubbed her lips with a napkin but left an orange stain still on the tip of her nose. Lupin went and wiped it, smiling.
‘Thanks’ whispered Tonks, flushing. Lupin thought he could get used to her cute, vague smile.
‘D’you want to go home?’ he asked her while they headed to the living room, suddenly realising she had no reason to stay here since Dumbledore came and went.
‘No, if I don’t need to’ she answered uncertainly.
‘I’d be glad to share your wonderful company’ bowed Lupin slightly his head, making Tonks giggle.
‘Then I’ll stay’ she decided and sat on the couch. ‘Could we watch some TV?’ she suggested.
‘‘Course we can’ smiled Lupin back at her and sat beside her, his heart melting. He knew he was doing the wrong thing but he didn’t care at all. He needed this woman in his arms and couldn’t let her go, at least that evening.
Tonks cuddled closer to him and tried not to think about tomorrow, not to care about how lonely and desperate she felt whenever Remus behaved so dismissively.
‘How come you have a television, anyway?’ asked Tonks curiously after she realised what was so strange in this situation.
‘My best friend’s wife was muggle-born, you know’ he shrugged and managed not to sound too sad when talking about James and Lily. His late friends. Sirius’ recent death was still too painful for him.
Tonks accepted the answer and turned her attention back to the movie playing on. She tucked her head to Lupin’s neck and enjoyed the man’s fingers drawing patterns on her shoulder. That was enough for her at that moment.
Both of them fell asleep before the film ended, it was Lupin who awoke to the sound of a completely different movie and switched the TV off. He summoned a thin blanket with his wand and covered themselves, hugging Tonks closer. The woman muttered something incoherently but didn’t wake up.
Lupin tried to go back to sleep but couldn’t, his mind was full of Tonks’ presence, her smell, her warmth and her body’s weight against his side. As he watched her sleeping in the half-darkness, he realised he loved her. He thought he wanted that moment to last forever so they could just cuddle on his old, rough couch without anyone disturbing them.
He feared the morning when they would have to get up and part away, when Tonks would go home and he would let her do so because they didn’t really belong together, Tonks was younger, happier, kinder and just amazing, while he was precocious, bitter and highly dangerous.
Suffering from these dark thoughts, he dozed off and didn’t wake up till morning, when he was disturbed in his peaceful sleep by a loud bang. He sat up straight in the couch, wand in hand, looking for the source of the noise.
He found Tonks lying on the floor, the little table on its side beside her, all the things which were on top of it scattered around them.
‘Sorry’ she grunted, standing up. She waved her wand to the mess and the table stood back to its place, the objects flying back onto it. Well, not completely, because they landed on top of each other, two books crashing in mid-air, one of them falling to the shabby rug with a thud. ‘Sorry’ apologised Tonks again, and guarded the unfortunate book back to the table. It didn’t look well but at least there weren’t anything on the floor anymore.
Lupin sat on the couch dumbfounded, with a mixture of amusement and sleepiness on his face.
‘Feeling hungry?’ asked Tonks, rubbing her knee which she definitely hit while knocking off the table.
‘Not really’ shrugged Lupin. ‘Maybe a bit. D’you want me to make some breakfast?’ he asked warmly.
‘Actually, I’ve already made some eggs and bacon’ flushed Tonks. Lupin raised his eyebrows in surprise. He thought she hated cooking.
‘In this case, I gladly eat with you’ stood up Lupin, taking his wand away.
‘Great’ she nodded, smiling, and led their way to the kitchen. ‘You know I still feel uncomfortable about yesterday’ said Tonks conversationally while placing a big plate in front of Remus. ‘I mean I usually don’t cry at all and it’s really embarrassing I did cry with you seeing it and I don’t know what got into me and….’ she stuttered.
‘Hey, stop it, it’s okay’ cut Lupin in. ‘I was a jackass, that’s why you got enough, probably’ he soothed her, smiling bitterly.
‘No, you weren’t and I still shouldn’t have cried. I am an auror, for Merlin’s beard!’ she fumed.
‘Yes, but you are still human, just, well, more awesome than us normal people’ he responded.
Tonks beamed at him. ‘Am I awesome, you say?’ she asked playfully.
‘You certainly are’ nodded Lupin.
‘Cool’ she said, flushing again, and accidentally dropping a glass which broke on the ground. Lupin laughed quietly and repaired it.
‘Well, nobody can be perfect’ he handed the glass back to Tonks.
They ate breakfast in a good mode, chatting about Quidditch and the Order, mentioning Bill and Fleur’s relationship.
‘They’re so cute together’ smiled Tonks idly.
‘Yeah, but I understand Molly’s dislike of that pronunciation’ added Lupin, lips curling.
Tonks shrugged and made the plates fly to the sink. Apparently, she wasn’t careful enough and the plates broke in pieces. Lupin sighed and let her repair them. They did the dishwashing together, both of them wet with suds by the end.
‘We should change shirts’ Tonks suggested.
‘Good idea’ agreed Lupin so they went upstairs to his bedroom.
‘Could you give me one of your T-shirts?’ asked Tonks, taking off her own, wet one.
‘Choose one’ waved Lupin to his wardrobe, turning to her. His mouth fell open. Tonks was wearing just jeans and bras, her body muscular but thin, her breasts round-shaped and just perfect. Lupin gulped and turned away, embarrassed. He felt his manhood waking.
They changed in silence. Tonks watched Remus’ scars when she thought he didn’t see. She wanted to kiss them, to remove them, to cure his body and soul. Merlin, she loved him so much, and he still refused to allow himself the freedom of love. It was excruciating.
‘I think it’s a bit long’ giggled Tonks as she looked down to the T-shirt she wore. It fell to her knees. Lupin waved his wand and the T-shirt shrunk till it fitted Tonks.
‘What now?’ asked Lupin clumsily.
‘I suppose I should go home’ shrugged Tonks but she seemed to think hard for a reason to stay.
‘Yeah, maybe’ nodded Lupin and they went downstairs. Tonks looked at him desperately but he couldn’t say anything useful. He knew he should just ask her to stay but he couldn’t. It would be full moon in four days, he’s already felt a bit tired. He didn’t want her to be around him in such times.
‘Well, bye then, Remus’ muttered Tonks under her nose.
‘Goodbye’ answered Lupin and he pulled Tonks to a tight hug, surprising her. ‘It was good to be with you, thanks’ he whispered to her ear. He knew it was a mistake in the moment it left his mouth. He shouldn’t have let her know how much he needed her.
‘Bye’ mumbled Tonks and pulled away. She turned on her heels and walked away, Disapparating a few moments later.
‘I love you’ thought Lupin and closed the door behind her.
*A week later*
Lupin ate his late lunch (bread and milk) in silence, starting to feel too lonely after spending a week alone, especially because he had been with Tonks for a long time before.
He was just putting his glass back to the cupboard when someone knocked on his front door. He went to answer it curiously.
‘Hello’ beamed Tonks at him widely. She wore black robes with an emerald green badge saying “Constant vigilance” on it. She ruffled her short pink hair and stepped into the house.
‘Good evening’ Lupin greeted her as he closed the door behind her. ‘I like your badge’ he added with a faint smile.
‘Thanks’ smirked Tonks. ‘I made it just yesterday while on duty with Mad-Eye and Kingsley. It was just so boring and Mad-Eye wouldn’t shut up about the potential dangers that I guess I got a bit pissed off and produced this. I gave one Kingsley too, and even the Weasley twins wanted some when they saw mine at breakfast’ explained the woman, giggling.
‘You could make me one, too’ suggested Lupin while helping her robes down. The lime-green T-shirt she wore under it made him smile again. So Tonks-ish.
‘So, how are you feeling, Remus?’ asked the woman while sitting down onto the couch, watching him closely.
‘Much better than yesterday’ he shrugged. Of course he felt better, he wasn’t alone anymore and his company was just the best person he could ask for.
‘Good’ nodded Tonks. ‘Then you can come and have a walk with me, I’m sure you haven’t been out since we’ve arrived from France.
‘What?’ gaped Lupin at her. ’But it’s so cold outside!’ he protested.
‘I know, that’s why we’re going elsewhere’ smiled Tonks and raised from the couch. ‘You won’t need your robes, just get your shoes and follow me.’
Lupin wondered if she was kidding but did as she commended. They closed the door carefully behind themselves and walked a few steps in the chilly wind. Then Tonks grabbed Lupin’s arm and Apparated, dragging him with.
When he felt his feet hit the ground, Lupin opened his eyes and saw blue grass, which appeared to be not grass but sea the next moment he watched it more closely. He turned to Tonks and raised an eyebrow.
‘What’s this place?’ he asked.
‘Greece’ she said brightly. ‘I thought you could do with some nice fresh air but it’s always so boringly wet in England so I brought you here instead’ she shrugged.
Lupin laughed at the absurdity of this situation. He liked how spontaneous Tonks could be.
They walked along the beach, side by side, watching the people lying in the sand, swimming, their kids playing in the water. Most of them ate ice-cream. They were talking in different languages, all foreign to Lupin.
‘It’s nice’ he said when two men passed them, jogging. Tonks nodded with a small smile.
‘Dumbledore made me promise I would talk to you’ she mumbled. ‘Not that I wouldn’t talk to you anyway’ she added immediately.
‘What does he want you to say?’ asked Lupin, his pale face getting even paler.
‘He wants us to discuss our relationship’ she replied quietly.
‘I don’t think there’s much to say about it’ grunted Lupin. Tonks felt bad she had agreed when Dumbledore asked her, but she also thought that it’s necessary. She loved Remus and she just knew he loved her too but he was too stubborn to accept someone’s love.
‘I think there is’ protested Tonks. ‘You’re still telling me you do not love me, even a little bit?’ she asked.
‘I do love you’ admitted Lupin, feeling already tired from this conversation. ‘But it’s not that simple.’
‘Yes it is’ grunted Tonks. ‘We should give it a try, at least!’
‘No, we definitely shouldn’t’ Lupin shook his head. ‘And I have several great reasons for that.’
‘I’d like to hear them’ hissed Tonks through gritted teeth.
‘For example, I’m a werewolf’ started Lupin.
‘I don’t care’ replied Tonks quickly.
‘Well, you should!’ snapped Lupin. Tonks gasped but stared at him determinedly.
‘And I don’t even have a job!’ he exclaimed.
‘Not a problem, I have’ she shrugged. ‘And I just have enough money to fed both of us till we get so fat we can’t even walk.’
‘And I’m full of scars, you could choose a handsome guy, why would you want an ugly monster instead?’ argued the man.
‘Because maybe I just do not care’ she muttered her expression warm and kind. Lupin felt his heart melting. ‘And I can turn into someone much uglier than you, if you’d like me to, because I’m still a Metamorphagus, just saying in case you’ve forgotten’ she added.
‘And I’m just too old for you’ said Lupin, desperately trying to make her understand why their relationship really was impossible.
‘There’s no such thing as too old, you’re not even at the age of Dumbledore’ she protested.
‘But I could just be your father’ he fumed.
‘Well, you’re not’ snapped Tonks. ‘And what if I’m just too mature for my age and I need someone much older by my side?’
Lupin laughed bitterly. Tonks was anything but mature.
‘And I’m not even good company’ he argued. ‘I mean, I’m always sour and sad and unhappy and…’ he panted.
‘Yes, and I want to make you happier’ she muttered really quietly.
‘I would just make you sad, too’ Lupin scratched his nose desperately.
‘You’re making me sad right now!’ frowned Tonks. Lupin gulped loudly.
‘And I still have about ten good reasons to convince you I’m the worst choice you can have’ he said angrily.
‘You have so many reasons at least I know you really thought about it. Still, I think none of them’s good enough’ said Tonks adamantly. ‘So you can calm down and ask me on a date.’
‘No, you just don’t understand’ he exclaimed, his eyes almost begging her.
‘No, I don’t. Do you?’ asked Tonks sharply.
They stared at each other for an endless moment.
‘I still won’t ruin your life, sorry’ muttered Lupin finally.
‘No, you wouldn’t, you stubborn idiot’ snapped Tonks, tears watering her painfully beautiful eyes. ‘I’m going home’ she announced, then Disapparated, leaving Lupin behind, feeling confused and guilty.
*Half a year later*
They were hiding outside a large house, watching it closely. Dumbledore sent them to spy on a well-known Death-Eater called Nott. Lupin was sure the Headmaster chose him to join Tonks on purpose.
‘How are you?’ asked Tonks coolly, her hair dim brown, her face pale and thin.
Lupin hadn’t met her lately and was surprised to see her like this. He wasn’t looking better, though. He was thinner and shabbier than ever, his face almost white, dark circles under his eyes. Sirius would have said he was a walking skeleton, but Sirius wasn’t alive anymore so it didn’t matter what he would have said.
‘Fine’ he replied, shrugging.
‘I heard about your mission where you killed two Death-Eaters while encircled by about a dozen dementors’ she said, her voice expressionless.
‘Yeah’ sighed Lupin and he sat down on the cold grass, using his wand to warm it up a bit. He didn’t need any compliments for doing the right thing for the Order.
‘That was foolish of you’ she went on, now almost accusingly.
Lupin shrugged but didn’t answer.
‘I hate it when you put yourself in unnecessary danger’ she pulled him. ‘We need you and you will get yourself killed’ she added when he still refused to answer.
‘Who needs me?’ asked Lupin bitterly.
‘The Order, of course’ she snapped at him. ‘And me. But you’re just too busy with feeling sorry for yourself.’
‘I thought you’ve found yourself someone more… suitable’ muttered Lupin.
‘Well, I haven’t’ she replied dryly.
‘I’m sorry’ said Lupin.
‘Don’t! Just take care of yourself, okay?’ she asked, suddenly looking vulnerable.
‘I’ll try my best’ he promised quietly. ‘Come here, we’re going to freeze to death if we don’t keep close to each other.’
She sat onto the grass next to him, leaving a few inches between them. Lupin rolled his eyes and pulled her closer. She felt too easy to move. She must have lost too much weight in the last months.
‘Look, there’re two figures’ whispered Tonks, pointing to the street leading to Nott’s house.
And undoubtedly, there were two big, tall figures approaching it, their faces hidden by hoods.
‘I’d say those are Crabbe and Goyle’ guessed Lupin. ‘What d’you think?’
‘I agree, they’re obviously the most troll-ish men I’ve ever seen’ replied Tonks with a soft chuckle.
‘I wonder what they’re up to’ whispered Lupin. Tonks shrugged.
Crabbe and Goyle went in, spent there about half an hour then came out and disappeared into thin air. Lupin and Tonks sat there, freezing.
‘You know I always thought you would forget me and be with someone else who deserves you more’ mumbled Lupin dreamily. ‘I’ve always waited for it to happen. Every time I came back from a mission I expected you to be happy and in love with a handsome young man, but it never happened’ he explained sadly.
‘It’s because I’m probably too screwed up’ shrugged Tonks. ‘Just like you.’
‘Maybe’ agreed Lupin.
Tonks smiled up at him. He stared at her, and licked his lips instinctively. He wanted to kiss her but didn’t dare. It has been too long since they were so close to each other that he could have kissed her.
He just decided not to kiss Tonks when the woman lifted her hand to the back of his neck and pulled his head closer, putting her lips on his. He gasped and froze for a moment, then parted his lips and kissed back, savouring her. Their tongues met and it was such a wonderful feeling Lupin thought he could do this forever.
They parted away, panting, and Lupin whispered ‘I missed you’ while Tonks’ hand slid into his.
‘Finally’ she sighed and leaned to him. Lupin laughed quietly, happier than ever in the last years. Maybe even happier than ever in his entire life.
He was a lonely kid and though he found true friends in Hogwarts, the Marauders’ weren’t the ones he could live his whole life with. The first time he fell in love, it was Tonks. And he had to wait almost two years to be with her, partly because of his stubbornness, partly because of the circumstances. Well, mostly because of his own idiocy. He made just more scars on his soul than he had had before, which was even a great number. And he caused pain and suffering to Tonks, too. He was such an idiot.
‘Sorry it took so long’ he whispered into Tonks’ ear and she chuckled.
‘I forgive you if you stay with me forever’ she assured him.
‘Deal’ he nodded seriously and Tonks chuckled again. They kissed each other again, waiting for the sun to come up so they can go home together.