"I don't think you should go out there again."
Remus set down his coffee mug and looked up from the Daily Prophet. Across from him sat Tonks, her hair blond and pulled up in a ponytail, her arms folded on the table.
"I don't really have a choice," he replied. "And I can't say it isn't good to get away."
Her eyes were brown this morning, and she fixed them on his with determination. "He wasn't the only one who cared about what happens to you."
Remus reached across the table and took her hand, smiling at her warmly. "I know."
"You know I have to do this. Who else can go to the werewolves but me?"
"Remus, you said yourself they're a lost cause, and there's so much you could do here." She unfolded her arms and took his hand in both of hers. "I love the Order. I love Harry. But I also love you. Whatever future we're fighting for won't mean much to me if you aren't there." Releasing his hands, she sat back in her chair and looked away. "This is how you must feel every day now, isn't it?"
They sat in silence for some time, and then Remus stood and leaned across the table, lifting her pointed chin with his fingers. He smiled at her, then lowered his lips to hers, kissing her gently. Her mouth didn't have the hardness he was used to, but he found that he liked the soft, giving feel of her lips and the smoothness of her skin.
"Wait," Tonks said. He pulled away slightly and watched as she smiled, blinked, and shook her fingers carelessly through her short brown hair. "This is me." She stood up and wrapped her arms around his waist, laying her forehead on his shoulder. "What about Sirius?" she asked quietly. There was no answer, and she leaned back to see his face. "Remus?"
"We both know he's gone."
"But... I thought... do you like...?" Her face flushed as she trailed off.
"If you make me happy," he said, touching her face, "does it matter if you're a man or a woman?" She shook her head wordlessly. "Sirius certainly had his share of girls when we were at school. But if you're uncomfortable about this--"
"No," she answered quickly. "No, I'm not uncomfortable." Her smile returned. "Do I really make you happy?"
Remus nodded. "I never thought I'd say it, considering all that's happened."
"I think you just have a weakness for the Blacks." She smiled briefly. "I feel like I'm betraying Sirius somehow."
"Betraying him by caring for me? No one knew Sirius better than I did - except, perhaps, James - and I promise you that this would make him happy. He was angry when he learned that I hadn't seen anyone during his years in Azkaban. 'Bloody move on!' he would have yelled at me now." He laughed and shook his head, then grew serious again. "But if you want to be with me, you must understand that a part of me--"
"Oh, I know, Remus!" she said. "I know."
"And you know that I still must go to the werewolves."
Tonks looked away, her mouth a thin line. "If Sirius couldn't stop you, I know I shouldn't even try."
Breathing in deeply, Remus stepped back from her. He looked down at the floor for a moment, then back up at her. "This is probably a bad idea."
"No, I think it is. You're so young, and Sirius has only been gone for a few weeks. And there's so much we both have to worry about. Dumbledore will be fetching Harry tomorrow, and... I just don't think it's something we can do."
"That's it, is it?" she asked angrily. "What about moving on, Remus? What was all that about being happy again? Do you have some kind of problem with being happy?"
Remus smiled in spite of himself. "I always have. I'm sorry, Nympha--"
"Tonks. My name is Tonks."
He sighed and pressed his fingers to his temples. "I'm sorry."
"Yeah, me too."
"I have to go to Molly and Arthur's. Will you be--"
"I'll be fine."
Remus opened his mouth to say something else, but decided against it. He picked up his newspaper, poured his leftover coffee in the sink, and walked to the door.