The Sugar Quill
Author: Sunny Daylee  Story: Dead To Me Again  Chapter: Default
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They were silent, sitting at the table in Number 12, Grimmauld Place


Dead To Me Again




They were silent, sitting at the table in Number 12, Grimmauld Place. Dumbledore had not returned with them, of course. He needed to take Harry and the others back to school and reclaim order. Kingsley stole worried glances toward Tonks and Lupin while Mrs. Weasley quietly shuffled around the kitchen making tea. Nobody wanted to speak. Nobody wanted to face what had just happened. Regardless that the wizarding world now knew that Voldemort had returned, their own brother in the Order had paid the sacrifice.


Tonks shifted in her seat, eyes boring into the table, as she took the tea from Mrs. Weasley. She raised it to her lips but didn’t drink. Kingsley reached his hand across and took hers. She moved it away and tucked it under the table. ‘Didn’t really know him well,’ she said, finally taking a sip of the tea. ‘I mean, he was in Azkaban all those years. How could I?’


Lupin lowered his eyes and stirred his tea, filling the room with the bright ringing of silver on china. Molly moved around the table and placed her hand on his shoulder. ‘Remus, I know…’ she began softly but was cut short.


‘Arthur is at the office now, I assume?’ Lupin said in a practiced casual voice, keeping his eyes on the tea in front of him. Mrs. Weasley nodded behind him and whispered her confirmation. ‘I expect as much. The Ministry will be in a right state for a while.’


Tonks bowed her head and sighed, perhaps unconsciously creating black streaks through her pink mane. ‘Yup. Kings and I should be there, too, but…’


‘We wanted to…’ Kingsley began, looking at the weary werewolf and then to his bottle of Ogdens.


‘Stay with me?’ Lupin finished. He raised his eyes and looked into each of the three faces, all of which were turned purposefully from him. ‘That is why you’re all still here, isn’t it?’ They were all silent, but this told him exactly what he needed to know. ‘You needn’t stay, you know. I’ll be fine. I have done this before.’


‘Personally, I could do with a breather before being prodded by the Ministry for details,’ Tonks mumbled. ‘Bugger them, I’m dead tired.’ Molly and Kingsley looked at her warningly for her choice of words.


‘Perhaps you should get some sleep,’ Mrs. Weasley said. She was looking nervously at the teacup Tonks was holding before her lips. ‘We could all do with a good rest.’


‘Can’t sleep,’ Tonks grunted. ‘Get us a mirror, Kings?’


Kingsley reached into his robes and brought out a mirror. He handed this to Tonks who immediately applied herself to changing her appearance. Mrs. Weasley watched her teacup, her apprehension growing as the young Auror lowered it to the table. She huffed in frustration, replaced Lupin’s untouched tea with a fresh cup, and placed a small tray of biscuits between the three. Lupin sighed. ‘Molly, sit down, please. You’re making me as nervous as Sirius does for all his pacing.’


A shattering sound beside him told Lupin that Tonks had dropped Kingsley’s mirror. Kingsley’s gaze snapped from Tonks to Lupin. Molly sat down, a shocked expression on her face. ‘Did,’ Lupin corrected.


There was a long silence, during which uncomfortable glances were exchanged. Tonks, who was mid-morph, choked on a sob and then slammed her fist on the table. ‘Damn it, why did I have to get knocked out! I could’ve helped him!’


‘Tonks,’ Kingsley said quietly, looking steadily into her mid-morphed eyes. ‘There was nothing we could do. Even Dumbledore couldn’t help. None of us should feel responsible for what happened to Sirius.’


‘He is dead, then?’ Molly whispered.


‘No one can know for certain,’ Kingsley said in his low, calming voice. ‘There are reasons the veil is in the Department of Mysteries. We can guess what’s behind there, but nobody’s ever come out. They can’t tell…’


‘He’s dead,’ Lupin interrupted. ‘I don’t want to believe he could still be alive.’


Tonks looked at him in shock, her brown/blue eyes wide and starting to water. ‘But surely…you want…’


‘No,’ he said firmly. ‘It’s too difficult a thing to deal with. He became dead to me when they locked him in Azkaban, but he was still on my mind. The thought of him being alive never left me, even though I swore he was not. Those years…all my dearest friends were dead and there was nothing that could bring them back. Until I discovered that he was innocent. I cannot describe to you what it was like to have Sirius alive again; my dear friend.’ He looked at them all in turn, regarding them as if he was merely addressing a class. ‘He was dead to me once. He will be dead to me again. But this time he cannot come back. I won’t believe that he can, because hope is not something I want to feel again.’


Lupin began to stir his tea again, filling the room with bright sound. Tonks stared at him, her brow creased and her chin puckering. Kingsley reached across the table again and took her hand, but instead of pulling away, she bowed her head and began to cry. Molly moved Tonks' teacup away and put her arm around the young woman's shoulders.


'If you'll excuse me,' Lupin said, standing up, 'someone needs to tell Buckbeak what's happened.' He took his teacup to the sink and disappeared up the stairs.

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