The Sugar Quill
Author: Alphie (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Misconceptions  Chapter: Chapter Two
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Chapter Two

AN:  Thanks to those of you who left reviews.  I hope the fic lives up to whatever expectations you may have at this point.  And I hope this chapter provides for ~some~ comfort before I go and totally mess up Remus’ and Tonks’ lives.  Thanks to Pel and Gryff for the beta.  Without you, Pel, Remus wouldn’t have a job!  LOL!

 

Chapter Two

 

13 Feb. 8:51 pm

 

They were yelling again.  Remus didn’t like eavesdropping, especially on personal conversations like this, but how could he not listen.  It was quite difficult to miss, what with their voices echoing out into the hall for everyone to hear.  Every now and then the sound would soften and Remus would hold his breath in the hope that their tempers would settle down.  AndThat’s what usually would happen.  Tonight, however, was to be the turning point.  There would be no calm moments, just yelling.

 

Then, rather abruptly, it just stopped.  Remus sat up straight in his chair and turned toward the door on his left.  It opened and a lovely, dark haired woman stepped out.  Her face was red with anger, and streaked with tears.  She looked down at Remus in disgust, wiped her face, and walked away without so much as a single word.  This didn’t surprise Remus at all.  She had made her feelings toward him very clear upon their first meeting.  It seemed to Remus that this was to be their last meeting.  He expelled the breath he had been holding and prepared his thoughts for the job at hand.

 

It was silly, really, to even assume there was a way to prepare for such things.  Every situation was different.  There was no standard set of guidelines to follow.  All he had to go on was pure instinct and intuition at times like this.  Some cases were easier to deal with, while others were more challenging.  It seemed to Remus that this one was going to fall into the latter category. 

 

It wasn’t as if Remus had a very pleasant job, even on the best of days.  What could be pleasant about helping someone come to terms with lycanthropy?  Where is there happiness in explaining to someone that a werewolf had bitten him and his life would be changed forever?  Friends and family and everything they had come to rely on in their past life may well be gone.  There wasn’t any pleasure to be had in that.  Satisfaction came from time to time with the rare individual who actually managed to transition without upsetting life too terribly.  However, cases like that didn’t come along too often.   Besides, every case was difficult and heartbreaking in its own way.

 

Shortly after the war, the Ministry of Magic approached Remus about a position with the Werewolf Registry.  They needed someone who could help better prepare victims of lycanthropy for their new life. Remus was skeptical at first, and rightly so!  The Ministry had never been fair in their dealings with werewolves.  As proof that they were sincere, the Ministry promised to make some reforms to the laws, considering how many good wizards had been infected by Greyback or another feral werewolf during the war.  Remus pointed out to them that they managed to neglect a fair number of good wizards who were infected before the war, but he did not belabor the point.  It wasn’t everything, but for him, the fact that they rescinded the employment laws pertaining to werewolves was at least a start. 

 

He accepted their offer, as well as the much needed salary.  Now it was almost a year to the day of the start of his employment at the Registry, helping individuals come to terms with life following a werewolf bite.  It was vital work, but nothing could have prepared him for his first case.  A child, not even old enough to read, was among the bitten.  Remus saw himself in the little boy and vowed then and there to do everything in his power to make things right for his kind.  There had been close calls, and even some suicides along the way, but so far everyone he worked with was managing as best they could.

 

Nearly all of his cases were witches or wizards who had been bitten during the war.  There were two cases, however, of recent attacks that Remus had taken under his wing.  One of the victims of the ferals had refused Ministry help from the start.  With his inability to adapt to his new life, he had bitten two other wizards.  The incidents took place several months ago and Remus was hoping there wouldn’t be another attack for a long time.  Much to his dismay, he was wrong.    During the last full moon, not two weeks ago, the same werewolf bit another wizard. 

 

Andrew McCollum was a young, talented, and very handsome wizard from the south who had a promising career ahead of him as a fine jeweler.  His stunning wife, Helene, was a seamstress, and together they planned to open a shop in Diagon Alley.  At least, that had been the plan until Andrew ended up in St. Mungo’s being treated for a werewolf bite.

 

When Remus first met Helene, she made it very clear that she didn’t approve of werewolves, regardless of the situation.  A werewolf had killed her grandfather when she was just a little girl, and she had never forgiven or forgotten the damage done to her family.  Now, due to her husband’s condition, she was faced with spending life along side the very thing she despised.  Her prejudice wouldn’t allow her to over look the fact that this wasn’t Andrew’s fault.  And so the fighting began.

 

By law, Andrew had to remain in St. Mungo’s until the eve of his first full moon for observation and treatment.  It had been two weeks since his injury, and Helene had visited only three times.  Today was her fourth, and obviously final visit.  She arrived with divorce papers, which Andrew refused to sign.  She laughed at him, and pointed out how their marriage wouldn’t even be recognized as legal any way.  For some reason, she thought she was being kind by offering him some closure.  He begged and pleaded with her to wait and see how things would turn out, but she refused. 

 

Now, Remus was left with the task of helping Andrew adjust not only to life as a werewolf, but also to life without the support of his wife.  Giving a light rap on the door, Remus waited until a voice invited him in.

 

Andrew was sitting by the window looking down at a roll of parchment.  His skin was pale and his face nearly emotionless.  “How much did you hear?” he asked without even looking up at Remus.

 

“Enough,” Remus said, quietly.

 

“Then you know,” Andrew replied, holding up the parchment. 

 

Remus nodded. 

 

“Three years of marriage…two years of being together before that.  Five years of my life, and for what?  There was a war on, and we struggled through.  There were deaths – family…friends – and we struggled through!  Our shop, something we both fought long and hard for, was set to open next month.  And now…she wants a divorce.”  The pain was evident in his voice as well as on his face now.

 

“I’m so sorry, Andrew,” Remus said honestly.  “I’ve seen this happen before.  Unfortunately, some people just can’t handle the changes life throws at them.”

 

Andrew glared at him.  “CHANGES!  What about me?  What if I can’t handle the changes?  What if I want out?  My God!  How much is one man supposed to take?”  Tears swelled up in his eyes.  “I love her!  I need her, now more than ever!  And she doesn’t want me.”

 

Remus pursed his lips, watching the man in front of him crumble.  There had been other cases where members of the victim’s family had turned away, but for some reason this case affected Remus more than any others.  This time it was the wife who abandoned the husband.  It was a situation Remus had feared for himself many times over the last two years.  Now, as he watched Andrew face the reality of losing the person he most needed, Remus couldn’t help but wonder how he would react were he placed in a similar situation.

 

A beautiful, heart shaped face came into his mind.   Tonks, with her bright smile and dancing eyes, had been his anchor through some of the worst moments in his life.  Her zest for life consumed him, letting him draw from her strength.  It was difficult to imagine life with out her.  For a brief moment, standing in St. Mungo’s, Remus found himself catching a glimpse of what it would feel like to be left alone without her. 

 

“Andrew, is there anything I can do?” he offered, even though he already knew the answer.

 

But Andrew didn’t answer.  He kept his eyes focused on the parchment in front of him.  “Do you know what she said?  She said she wants a family, and thati why she is divorcing me.  A FAMILY!” he shouted, pounding his fist on the table.  “Never, in all her life has Helene wanted a child!  She told me when we first started dating that she would never have children.  It would ruin her figure!”  He was shouting now.  “I married her anyway.  I accepted her!  I loved her, in spite of her vanity.  And now she’s using that against me.”

 

Remus winced at the words, but the claims Helene made were valid.  Andrew would never be able to have a child with Helene, or any other human woman, now that he was a werewolf.  It was impossible.  Lycanthropy tainted the blood just enough to make a pregnancy with a human unviable.  Conception was possible, but upon the first full moon, the mother would become violently ill and the fetus would be lost. 

 

“Never…in all my life…” Andrew muttered, reading over the words on the parchment.  “I suppose it’s useless to try to prove that she has no desire to become a mother.  They aren’t likely to take the word of a werewolf over that of a…human,” he faltered, looking up at Remus.

 

“I don’t see how you can prove she isn’t telling the truth here.”  Remus sat down and began reading over the parchment.

 

“Why won’t she just admit that looking at me sickens her?  Wouldn’t that be easier?”

 

Remus didn’t know what to say to calm the young man’s anger.

 

“She’s forcing me to sign it, you know.  She says if I don’t, she’ll take it to the Ministry.”  He frowned as if he had tasted something rotten.  “They’ll nullify the marriage if I don’t officially divorce her, won’t they?”

 

Remus sighed and glanced down at the parchment,  “Yes, that’s what this says.”

 

“Does this always happen?  Divorce, I mean.”

 

“No.  Sometimes a spouse just leaves.  Other times, a person in your situation will demand it.  And then there are those individuals who refuse to leave the person they love for any reason.”

 

“They’re lucky then.”  Andrew said.  “Doesn’t the Ministry force them to…end it?”

 

Shaking his head, Remus said, “Not yet, no.  If a spouse wants a divorce, then they are entitled to it, based on the Marriage Law of 1473.”

 

“So what Helene is doing is totally legal?”

 

“I’m afraid so.”

 

Andrew rubbed his watery eyes and breathed heavily.  “I should hate her for this, but - ”

 

“But you love her,” Remus finished. 

 

“Yes,” he whispered through tears.

 

They sat in silence for a few minutes until Andrew was able to pull himself together.  “Are you married?” he asked.

 

Remus sat back slowly and wet his lips.  “According to the Ministry of Magic, no, I’m not.  But I love someone very much, and I have chosen to spend my life with her regardless of what the laws say.  For all intents and purposes, she is my wife.”

 

“You’re one of the lucky ones, huh?”

 

Remus smiled.   “I consider myself extraordinarily lucky.”  He sat forward again, looking Andrew in the eyes.  “I have lived with this curse for a very long time, Andrew.  In recent years I have seen great changes happen – changes I never thought possible.  I know that you have a difficult time in front of you, but I can assure you that there is hope.  Life will go on, and you will survive this.  As your friend, I will help you the best I can.”

 

Andrew thought for a moment.  “Maybe some day they’ll change the marriage laws.”

 

“I hope they do.”

 

“And maybe some day, Helene…will have a change of heart.”

 

Remus held back from any comment.  From what Remus had seen over the last two weeks, Andrew was a rather nice young man.  It seemed incomprehensible that he would have such deep feelings for a woman who would hurt him like this.  It was normal for people to be afraid of the unknown, and adjusting to living with lycanthropy was certainly something to fear, but Helene seemed unwilling to even consider the possibility.  Her prejudices against werewolves were unmovable, regardless of what she knew about her husband.  Andrew deserved better than this – better than her.  Yet, he still loved her.  Remus hoped that some day Andrew would be able to move on and resume his life with some normalcy. 

 

Reluctantly, Andrew signed the parchment and gave it to Remus to take to the Ministry.  Begging Remus to leave him alone for a while, he promised to try to get some sleep.  Remus knew Andrew would spend the rest of the night sitting by the window and feeling angry at the hand life had dealt him.  Who could blame him?  Yet Remus did as he was asked and left Andrew alone.  He informed the staff of St. Mungo’s to keep an eye on their patient, just in case he tried something foolish, but Remus had an inexplicable feeling that Andrew would be fine.

 

He checked his watch with only one thought in his head.  I miss Tonks.  It was nearly ten o’clock, rather early by Tonks’ schedule.  She was a night owl, and Remus knew it better than anyone.  Early morning assignments were not her cup of tea, unlike Remus who would rather not waste the day having a lie in.  It was one of the many differences between them that made life in the Lupin home interesting. 

 

Remus made his way outside before deciding where he should go next.  He wasn’t scheduled to return home for another few weeks.  Andrew had yet to be introduced to Wolfsbane Potion, let alone experience an actual transformation.  Part of Remus’ duty was to make sure he had a safe place to transform and help him with any unanswered questions.  Usually, Remus stayed near by in case the individual needed help during the night.  However, seeing as how Andrew asked for some time alone, Remus was left with a night free from supervision duty.

 

And it’s Valentine’s Day. Almost.

 

He needed to see her.  After witnessing the fight between Andrew and his wife, Remus desperately needed to hold Tonks in his arms and tell her how much he loved her.  They didn’t see each other much due to their work schedules, and Remus missed her dearly.  He had the whole night to do as he pleased, and it would please him greatly to spend it with her. 

 

Glancing around at the few Muggles nearby, Remus rounded a corner and headed down the alley to where it was virtually deserted.  A small pop sounded and he found himself in the dark living room of the home he shared with Tonks.  He frowned, expecting to find her here, stewing over some project for work.  He could tell that she had been working at the kitchen table at some point due to the fact that there were several bits of parchment strewn about it.  The faint smell of snuffed candles lingered in the air.  She had to be near by.  He listened closely for any sound that might lead him to where she was.  Through the silence he heard a soft sigh coming from the bedroom. 

 

Is she asleep?

 

The idea was absurd.  Tonks never went to bed this early unless she was completely exhausted.  She must have had a hard day. Treading softly across the wooden floor, Remus peaked into the bedroom at the lovely figure curled up in the middle of the bed.  Sure enough, she was sound asleep.

 

Remus smirked and he decided he would just have to wake her up.  She couldn’t have been asleep for long.  Besides, they hadn’t seen each other in over a week.  She would never forgive him if he didn’t use this time wisely.  Making his way to the bed, he sat down beside her, careful not to disturb her too much.  He wanted to wake her up properly. 

 

Remus gently ran his fingers through the brown fringe that fell loosely over her face.  She wasn’t morphed, which Remus found delightful.  She could usually hold a shape when she slept.  There were times, however, when she just didn’t care.  Remus loved her any way she looked, but he especially adored her true self.  It was a face that she allowed few people to see, and Remus considered it endearing that she felt comfortable enough around him to be her natural self.

 

Gently, he kissed the side of her jaw close to her ear.  Her skin was warm under his lips.  An ear lobe peeked at him through the dusting of hair around her shoulder.  Knowing full well that Tonks had sensitive ears, Remus brushed the hair aside and nibbled at her ear lobe playfully.  His hand found it’s way down her side to the soft curve of her hip. With a loving pull, he lowered his body to hers and fitted her against his side. 

 

Suddenly, Tonks yelped and jumped away from Remus as if she had been burnt.  Her eyes, now fully open, stared at him in utter terror.  She clutched the blanket tightly in her fists.  Remus blinked in confusion, feeling a bit rejected.

 

“What’s wrong?”

 

Tonks panted slightly.  “Remus.  I thought…I didn’t…Bloody hell you scared me.”

 

“Are you alright?” he asked, worried that something was dreadfully wrong.

 

“I just…” she rubbed at her eyes, getting hold of her breath.  “Bad dream.  You startled me, is all.”

 

“A nightmare?” 

 

She nodded.  “I’m sorry.  I just…” she sighed and looked up at him with a puzzled face.  “What are you doing here, anyway?”

 

Now Remus really felt unwelcome.  “I had an evening to myself and wanted to spend it with you.  I didn’t think that would be a problem.”

 

“Of course it isn’t.”  She smiled, relaxing a bit.  “I didn’t mean that the way it sounded, Remus.  You know I want to be with you.”

 

“All evidence to the contrary,” he teased. 

 

She smirked at him.  “It was a dream, really, and I wasn’t expecting you to be home for a while yet.  Considering those facts, you’re lucky I didn’t hex you into the middle of next week for being woken up like that.”  She took his hand in hers.

 

“I’m sorry that I frightened you.  That wasn’t my intention at all.”

 

“No?  And what was your intention?”

 

“I had thought that I would make passionate love to you, but considering how jumpy you are –“

 

“Remus,” she smiled, tugging at his arm.

 

“I’m not sure I should even kiss you,” he said, stretching out beside her.

 

“I’m wide awake now.”

 

“Yes, but the mood has been totally spoilt,” he replied, fighting back a grin.

 

She touched the tip of his nose with hers.  “Then let’s fix that.”  She tilted her mouth up to his, waiting for him to kiss her.

 

Whispering against her lips, he asked, “Do I have your permission now?”

 

She slumped back against the bed in frustration. “Remus.  I’m sorry I jumped when you kissed me, but I wasn’t expecting you and I –“

 

Shutting her up, Remus covered her mouth with his.  He took in the texture of her lips and the taste of her breath.  He could feel that she wanted more than just the kiss, but he held back.  He kissed her slowly, savoring the intimate touch of her mouth against his.  She wrapped her arms around him and invited him to deepen the kiss.  He did.  His senses were heightened, taking in the feel of her…the taste…the smell…

 

And then he stopped. 

 

Something was different. 

 

Burying his face in her neck, he inhaled the unusual scent that took him by surprise.  He tried again, but still found the fragrance foreign.  Whatever it was, it wasn’t Tonks.  At least, it wasn’t the Tonks he knew.  Something clicked in his brain.  The way she jumped when he touched her…the change in her scent…

 

“Remus?”

 

Slowly he pushed himself up so he could look down at her.  “When was our first kiss?” he asked in an emotionless voice.

 

“What?”

 

“Our first kiss.  When was it?”  He narrowed his eyes at her.

 

She looked totally stunned.  “Why are you asking me this?”

 

Growing suspicious, Remus prodded her to just answer the question.

 

She gasped.  “You think I’m a Death Eater?”

 

He raised his eyebrows.  “Can you answer the question?”

 

“Of course I can.”  She sat up, rolling her eyes at him as she did.  “But see, it’s kind of a tricky question, depending on what you consider our first kiss.”

 

“How can that be tricky?” He asked, sitting up next to her.

 

“Because, do you count our almost kiss as the first kiss, or are you talking about the night you left for Greyback?”

 

Remus frowned, “What’s an almost kiss?”

 

“We kissed, but it wasn’t really a kiss.  You know, at St. Mungo’s.”

 

Remus thought for a moment until the memory slammed into his mind plain as day.  He had been thinking that the rather emotional scene before he left to join the feral werewolves was when they had first kissed, but Tonks had pointed out another option.  After they followed Sirius to the Department of Mysteries, after Sirius was killed, they had very nearly kissed each other.

 

“You count that as our first kiss?” he asked.

 

“Well, our lips did touch, but it wasn’t a real snog or anything.  Not like…well…when you kissed me before you left for Greyback.”

 

“Hang on.  When I kissed you?  I think it was the other way a round.”

 

“No, I kissed back, but you most certainly were the one who initiated the kiss.”  Before Remus could argue the point any further, she took his face in her hands and looked him directly in the eyes.  “Are you at least satisfied now that I am who I say I am?”

 

Remus blinked.  “Yes.  But I still say you kissed me first.”

 

Tonks laughed lightly.  “Oh, Remus, why would you even think I was lying to you?  Did you really believe I was a spy or something?”

 

“I had a good reason to be suspicious.  You…you’re different.”

 

“How so?”

 

“Well, you er…”  He struggled with the phrase, hating how animalistic it made him sound.  “You smell different.”

 

“Oh,” she said, biting at her lip.  “It’s a new soap.”

 

Remus nearly laughed at loud at her.  “Soap?  Dearest, it’s more than soap, and you know it.”  She looked away from him, a flush rising on her face.  “What is it?  What happened?” he asked, concerned.

 

“I…fell.  Tripped, really.  Into a stink bush.”

 

Remus smirked and leaned forward to smell her hair again.  “You don’t smell like a stink bush.”

 

“That’s because I washed it off.  It was horrid – rotten.  I couldn’t stand my own smell.”

 

“What did you use?” asked Remus, still not convinced this was the whole truth.

 

Wash Away Blast.  It’s a new Weasley product.  Zach bought it for me.”

“Zach,” he said with a groan.  Tonks was one of the only female Aurors in her unit at the time being, so naturally most of her co-workers were men.  That fact never bothered Remus at all until the day he met one Anaxagoras Garcia, a transfer from Spain.  He and Tonks had a great deal in common with each other and became fast friends.  Both were rather young for Aurors, both free spirited, and both had dreadfully horrific first names that they despised.  It wasn’t long before she started calling him “Zach” and he took up calling her “Dora”.  It made Remus cringe every time he heard it.

 

“Oh come on, Zach’s not allowed to give me soap now?” Tonks quarried when Remus frowned again.

 

“The idea of you bathing with a gift Garcia gave you isn’t something I’m rather fond of.”

 

“Soap, Remus! It’s not as if he gave me a lover’s gift!”  Now she was very nearly laughing at him.  Remus, naturally, didn’t find the situation funny in the least.  “He was just trying to help me out.  Trust me, you wouldn’t have liked the way I smelled.”

 

“Well, it worked.”

 

“What did?”

 

“The soap.  You defiantly smell…clean.”

 

“As opposed to smelling…?”

 

“Like you,” Remus finished for her.  “You don’t smell like you.”  That wasn’t the only problem with her new scent, but Remus wasn’t sure how he could explain the rest of it.  He wasn’t even sure he should try.

 

“You want me to put some perfume on?  Or one of my old robes?”

 

“No, that’s not necessary.  I just have to learn this new smell.”  He offered her a smile hoping that she would believe him.

 

“Hum,” she hummed thoughtfully, laying down and signaling for him to do the same.   “You sure that’s all?  I smell funny and it bothers you.  That’s it?”

 

He lowered himself on to his side, resting his head on his hand so he could look down at her.  “No, that’s not it.”  She snuggled close to him, waiting for him to continue.  “I had a bit of a rough night tonight.  I suppose I was taking some of it out on you.”

 

“What happened?” she asked, resting her arm over his hip.

 

“The man I’m working with right now – Andrew – his wife left him.”

 

“Oh no!” she gasped. 

 

“She filed for divorce claiming she wanted children, and since Andrew could no longer give her any…”

 

“That poor man.”

 

“What’s even worse is that Andrew says she never wanted children.  She’s only using it now as an excuse to get a divorce as quickly as possible.”

 

“Oh God.  The nerve of some people.”

 

Remus looked into her brown eyes, stroking the side of her face lovingly.  “It made me think how lucky I am to have you.”

 

“Damn right,” she said, kissing him. 

 

Remus pulled her to him and kissed her deeply.  He couldn’t deny that the difference in her scent was affecting him.  The closer he got to her, the worse it was.  Not only had she managed to get the smell of the stink bush out, but she had also managed to wash away any lingering scent of Remus.  It was almost as if he had never touched Tonks, let alone made love to her.  He didn’t like it, and he intended to correct the situation.

 

“I love you,” he whispered in her ear.

 

“I love you,” she returned, arching against him.  “And you know that I will never leave you.”

 

He smiled and kissed her deeply, pressing against her body needfully.  In his heart, he knew that she loved him, but his mind often played tricks on him.  Like today, his mind was running on over time where Tonks was concerned.  The idea that she could wash away any trace of him from her life coupled with what he witnessed at the hospital was enough to cause him concern.  Tonks was so young and full of life.  Yet for some reason that left Remus baffled, she fell in love with him. 

 

It made him worry.  Even now, after two years of being together, Remus still had a feeling that a storm was brewing.  The fear of that storm was always present in his mind, nagging him when he would least expect it.  She could leave him.  There was nothing legally binding her to him or vice versa.  There were only heart-felt promises spoken between lovers.

 

That’s what they were right now – lovers.  Their bodies moved together as one, unified in passion.  Remus made a point to take things slowly, noticing that she was still a bit on edge from earlier.  He reveled in the sensation of her hands on him and returned the pleasure gladly.  When their bodies were spent of all energy, Remus cradled Tonks against his chest, wrapping his arms around her lovingly.  Their breathing began to even out, and soon they drifted off into a peaceful slumber, basking in the calm before the storm.

 

AN2: Um…yes…there is an outtake for this ending.  I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t write out takes.  Leave a review with your e-mail and I’ll send it to you.  I’ve been told that it’s rather…er…hot.  Tempted?  I thought you might be.  

//
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