Format & Word Count: Fic, 1680.
Rating: K+ ?
Prompt: #30 - Auden, "Funeral Blues".
Warning: Character Death. Spoilers for Deathly Hallows.
Summary: Four snippets in time through the course of Remus and Tonks' relationship.
Author's Note: I'm really sorry I'm so late with this! I actually started it a while ago, but life got in the way! I'm not sure how I feel about it, I'm pretty sure it still needs some touching up. But this is my first post here and I'm still new at this fic business so I'd love to know what you all think!
She is spinning.
Her first Apparation to Grimmauld Place, London has turned out to have been slightly too enthusiastic, and she is now in the process of completely losing her balance, not that she isn't used to this occurence, after twenty-two years of almost constant tripping.
Something seems to be stuck.
A figure appears a few feet away from her, and as he moves closer, he revolves around her - north, south, east, west - like the rest of her surroundings: a hazy blur in a carousel of a world that she seems to be losing her grip on rather more quickly than usual. She wonders why this has gone so catastrophically badly, and decides that her lack of control probably has something to do with this being the first meeting, with the excitement she feels at finally being a part of something bigger.
It is him - the figure - that finally stops her from falling.
He takes a moment, while her dizzy eyes focus on him, before addressing her, as his mouth stretches into a wry smile.
"You must be Nymphadora," he says, hands still on her shoulders.
And, instantly, she winces.
He frowns, misunderstanding and relaxing his hold on her.
"Are you alright?" he leans back and glances over her quickly, checking for damage. "That was quite some entrance. Did you splinch yourself? Are you hurt?-"
"No," she laughs quickly, cutting him off. "It's just my name."
"Please, don't call me Nymphadora..."
There is a question at the end of her sentence, one that wants to know his name, and his eyes catch hers. He finally moves, to dust his cloak down, and then sticks out his hand.
"Remus. Remus John Lupin. Welcome to The Order."
"Wotcher, Remus," she smiles. "Thanks for the help. I'm Tonks."
He raises an eyebrow, smirking.
"So it's just Tonks, then?"
"Just Tonks," she nods.
There is a pause.
"My working week and my Sunday rest."
She opens the door to Number Twelve and stumbles in, this time somehow remembering - and managing - to avoid the umbrella stand. A faint, growling sound appears to be floating down from upstairs. Sirius is evidently asleep.
With a fairly substantial lack of grace, she falls into the kitchen and reaches blindly for a cup, vowing silently never to volunteer to work late at the Ministry ever again.
"Nymphadora! How was your shift?"
She whips around, then, in alarm, and finally sees him.
"Remus!" she shrieks.
Almost before she has even dropped the cup, he has leapt forward, and he catches it miles before it hits the ground. She rolls her eyes. Stupid werewolf reflexes.
"Sssh!" he hisses, amused. "You'll wake everyone up!"
"Well, I was trying to be quiet before you scared me half to death," she retorts.
"Really? You were?" he chuckles quietly, and moves around the kitchen table. "Could have fooled me, Dora...stumbling in like that..."
She blinks at him, a hint of annoyance still in her eyes - as he smiles that-smile-of-his, the one that he knows always beats her - before launching herself up onto the countertop and settling there, cocking her head to one side as wavy, mint green hair falls about her face.
"Why are you down here, anyway? It's late." She pauses, reconsidering. "...Or really, really early."
"Oh, I know. I just thought I'd wait to check you got back safely."
The warmth remains on his face as he speaks, and with a jolt she remembers why she is falling in love with him, the last remnants of the silly grudge she is holding at once falling away to welcome their usual softness. They balance each other out nicely, she thinks. She drops drinks cups, he catches them; he is Master of Self-Control, she turns her nose into mushrooms and pig snouts at dinnertimes.
She is always spinning, and he is always there to steady her.
He sighs against the now-comfortable silence and kisses her on the forehead.
"Did you want some tea?"
She is lost in thought and it takes a while before she realises he has asked her anything.
"Erm...yeah, she says hesitantly. "Thanks."
As he turns around, she notices as he catches a glimpse of the waxing moon through the window and he allows himself a small frown, thinking that she isn't watching to see it.
It will be full in a week. He will be changing soon.
A lot of things are changing.
She wonders if anything will be staying the same, and decides that there is nothing she can do but hope for the best.
"My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song."
Eventually, as she has expected, and dreaded, he leaves. He leaves more than once, in fact.
The first time, he at least manages to say goodbye.
"We have to stop this. And I have to leave. I'm leaving."
When he is gone, when he has left, she cannot do anything.
The days turn into nights, the nights revolve into days. She sails from place to place, a ship without an anchor. She no longer keeps track of time, as weeks fall into weeks and roll into months without him. It does not make any difference. The memories she has of their time together are running like water through her hands. She feels cheated by them, as she longs for something to cling to that will not slip away from her.
She can no longer remember the exact colour of his eyes, and this scares her. She stares at the moon for hours some nights, thinking of him and him transforming and him being attacked. And Fenrir Greyback.
She does not know if she should be waiting for him to return to her, feeling all the time weaker and more useless than before with each day that passes when he still hasn't, but she does not think she is realistically capable of doing anything else. In this current world, with Voldemort and Death Eaters and everything falling apart, there are a million reasons not to hope for a happy ending.
But she finds she cannot help herself. Hope is all any of them have left.
When he does come back, she half knows that it will not last, because it happens in a fumble, a rush of grief and needing and certainly not, definitely not - anything but - thinking.
Somehow, they are married within a month.
And she is going to have a baby.
The second time he leaves, it is exactly four days after he finds out. He does not say goodbye this time; he slips away without a word like water running through her hands.
She likes to think this is because he has not made a conscious decision to leave, has only assumed that this is what has to be done. That there is no possible way he, a werewolf, can actually have a real family; he does not understand that leaving Tonks behind makes him that but more inhuman.
It is Harry that knocks the sense back into him, she discovers later. When Remus knocks on her parents' door, on a late September night, and she answers, it is like they are in a black-and-white film, the faint whisperings of a Celestina Warbeck song from her radio floating through the air around them like background music, and everything seeming to happen in slow-motion.
"I'm sorry," he says. Quietly. Simply. Brokenly.
The look on his face and the frown in his eyes tells her that, this time, he intends to stay.
"I thought that love would last forever..."
When Bill's Patronus arrives eight months later, during supper, Remus is prepared to do his duty - willing to do his duty - wanting to end this war once and for all so that their son can grow up in a peaceful world. He leaves for a different reason this time, one that she can finally understand, but it still hurts. Perhaps more than before. He leaves having forgotten, in the flurry of goodbyes and embraces, that he had promised to stay forever. She does not hold it against him, but she wishes things could be different.
Half an hour later, she realises they can be.
She decides that she will not allow this.
She will not lose him a third time...
And she wants to fight.
When she runs out into the Hogwarts grounds, she thinks that maybe the Death Eaters planned it this way - random jets of lights acting as if they are spotlights on some crazy theatre stage - that she should see him like this, just as she finally gets him in her view - Remus John Lupin, who fought at the Department of Ministries and came off unscathed, who fought here, at Hogwarts, last year and was not hurt, who has fought for a lot in his lifetime and who is, now, only the stronger for it. He is more powerful than they give him credit for. She sometimes feels like she is the only one who sees that.
But all she can see now is a green light soaring through the sky. And he is falling.
She does not understand, at first, how the curse can have hit him. He must have known it was coming. Dolohov is standing right before him: it is almost as if he deliberately made himself an easy target.
But then she sees the group of Hogwarts students standing directly behind his body, and the Shield Charm placed around all ten of them, the last thing his tired wand will ever conjure, and she realises what he has done. Who he has died to protect.
It finally hits her then.
He is dead. He is dead.
"No..." she trails off, dashing forwards, towards where he lies. She does not even notice that she has dropped her wand, and she certainly does not notice Bellatrix, barely a few feet away, grinning insanely at her through the chaos.