Author’s Note: As
always, thanks go to my beta-reader, Logical Quirk. And thank you to everyone
who reviewed chapter 1.
Chapter 2: Getting Serious
She doesn’t get off her shift until nearly one in the
morning, and is looking forward to a long lie-in. On her way up to the room
that she shares with Remus, Sirius steps out of the drawing room. “We need to
talk,” he insists. She only wants to sleep, but he seems quite adamant, so she
finally relents and follows him back to the drawing room.
Once they are both seated, he gives her an intense look, and
says, “I need to ask what your intentions are toward my friend.”
She raises her eyebrows in surprise. “My
“Your intentions. Are you serious
about him? Is this a long-term thing for you? Or are you still pretty casual
Tonks has always been befuddled by Sirius. His dark
moodiness confuses her, and his occasional bursts of temper verge on
frightening. But this is different, and she doesn’t know what to make of it.
Her first impulse is to be offended, but she reminds herself that most of his
social graces were eradicated by his time in prison.
She finds that it is usually best to be polite, but direct.
“Sirius—you know I’ve been with him for more than six
months, and you know that I risked my job to be with him in the first place and
yet you still don’t know if I’m serious about him?”
"So you are?"
She's too tired to deal with this right now. "Of course
I am! I thought that was obvious to everyone by now."
“Everyone but him."
This takes her aback. "What? How can he…? I don't
Sirius stares at her, nervously plucking at a loose thread
on his robe. "He doesn’t seem to think that he deserves you, you see. And
he thinks that maybe you're going to start realizing that sometime soon."
She closes her eyes and takes a deep breath. She knows by
now that Remus's confident exterior masks the
insecurities that he feels inside, but she never thought that those
insecurities went this deep. "Where is this coming from, Sirius?"
"Well, last night while you were gone for your shift I
got him drunk and we had a little heart to heart."
Tonks isn’t sure she wants to know where this is going.
Sirius continues to tug at the thread until a second thread
comes loose. “See, what you need to understand is, my
friend has a thing for women.”
She raises her eyebrows. “Is that a bad thing?”
“Let me finish. He always loved women. Always.
And it wasn't a pervy thing. Really.
As far as I know, he's never been what I would call promiscuous. He's a one-woman
man. But he also likes women friends. He really likes spending time with women.
Talking to them, hanging around with them, and all that.
We used to tease him because he seemed to have just as much fun gossiping with
the girls as he did pulling pranks with us. But we stopped teasing when he was
the first one of us to kiss a girl, and the first one to get a girlfriend. And
eventually he was the first to lose his virginity. He just always loved
She is really too tired for Sirius's drunken ramblings.
"Does this story of yours have a point?"
"Yes!" He looks indignant. "I'm getting
there. Just…just listen."
She sighs. "I'm listening."
"Okay. Here's where I'm going. When he was younger, he
always figured that eventually he'd find the right woman, and settle down.
Start a family, and all that. But he gave up on that a long time ago. Ever since Marla."
Sirius nods. "Marla. He started seeing her in our
seventh year—not long after James started seeing Lily. And he really thought
she was the one. When James and Lily got engaged, he figured that he would be
next. But the stupid git had a problem. He'd never
told her about being a werewolf. And somehow he always managed to hide it from
her. For more than a year he hid it from her. Finally, the week of James's
wedding, he bought a ring and told me that he was proposing. But that backed
him into a corner. If they were going to get married, then he had to tell the
truth. There couldn’t be any more lying after that."
Tonks knows where this is going, but she still doesn't see
what it had to do with how Remus felt about her. "So he told her, and she
"Yeah." Sirius says
glumly. "And he was stupid enough to tell her the night before James's
wedding. He was so messed up that he barely made it to the wedding on time, and
as soon as the ceremony was over he vanished. I finally found him a few hours
later behind some shrubs in the Potter's garden, passed out with a few empty
bottles of Firewhiskey. I thought for a minute that
he'd drunk himself to death, but fortunately he hadn't stayed conscious long
enough." He shakes his head. "He moped and moaned about her for ages.
More than five months later I found out that he was still carrying that damned
engagement ring around in his pocket. So I marched him straight to a pawn shop
to sell the thing, and then took him to a pub and helped him find a girl to get
Tonks sighs. "Again, I have to ask: why are you telling
me all this? Are you saying he never got over her?"
"Oh, he got over her just fine. Never would have worked
out anyway—they were all wrong for each other."
He cuts her off. "Just let me finish!"
She clamps her mouth shut and glares at him.
"As I was saying," Sirius continues, "He got
over Marla just fine. But he never really got over the idea that the werewolf
thing would always get in the way of the kind of life that he wanted. He
decided that he'd never be able to have a wife and family like the rest of us,
so he completely gave up on it. But he loved women way too much to give up on them. Instead, he just shifted his
mindset. He stopped letting himself get too close. He wouldn't let himself get
serious about them. From what he told me, he's had dozens of girlfriends since
Marla, but he never let them last. He always figured that no one would ever
stick with him if they knew what he was, so he kept things casual. He never let
himself get too attached to them, and he never let the girls get too attached
to him. That way, when it ended, they
could part ways with no hard feelings. And that's how he's been operating for
She thinks that she's finally starting to understand, and
she doesn't like it one bit. She bites her bottom lip nervously. “So are you
trying to say that he’s…he’s not very serious about me?” She holds her breath,
waiting for the answer.
“No! He's very serious about you." She exhales, and
relief washes over her.
Sirius continues. "You’ve kind of thrown him for a
loop. He was attracted to you from the very first day he met you, but from what
he told me he never expected that you'd ever have an actual relationship with
him. He figured you were just pumping him for information, and eventually you’d
give up and move on. So he decided he’d just enjoy the company of lovely young
woman while he still could, and when the Ministry finally gave up on him you’d
stop seeing him. But then, all of a sudden, things changed. Before he knew it
he was in a full-blown relationship with you, and his feelings had gotten way
more serious than he'd ever intended. And now, apparently, you’ve officially
surpassed the length of his longest post-Marla relationship by nearly two
“Why are you telling me all this?”
“Because, right now, Remus is in a muddle.
He keeps waiting for the other shoe to fall. I think that everyday that he
wakes up and you’re still there, he’s surprised. He’s convinced himself that
eventually you’ll give up on him, just like every other woman he’s ever been
Sirius shrugs. “That’s Remus. The hard part for him is that
he knows that if you do leave him, this time his heart really will get broken.
And he’s scared to death. Just talking about you chucking him nearly had him
vomiting—and he usually holds his liquor better than I do! That’s why I need to
know what your intentions toward him are. If you’re really just being casual
with him, you need to tell him now. The longer this goes on, the harder it will
be for him.”
“And if I'm really serious about him, should I tell him that
“I’m not sure. That might scare him away. He’s kind of jumpy
She lets out a huff. "So if I don't tell him how I
feel, he'll be sick with worry, and if I do tell him how I feel he'll be scared
off? Then what the bloody hell am I supposed to do?"
Sirius shrugs. "I don't know. I'm no relationship
expert. I haven't been with a woman in fifteen years."
She shakes her head. "You can be very infuriating
sometimes, you know."
"Sorry." He looks like he genuinely means it.
"Maybe…maybe you can find a way to show him how you feel, without telling
"How am I supposed to do that?"
"Don't know." He shrugs again. "But he
needs…something. Some kind of reassurance. You’re his
girlfriend—you figure it out.”
She falls silent, pondering what Sirius has told her.
He finally yanks the loose thread from his robe with a quick
snap. “That’s all I wanted to say.” He stands up. “Goodnight.”
“Goodnight,” she replies, her sleep-addled brain swirling in
confusion. After a few minutes, she realizes that her mind isn’t working well
enough to process the new information tonight. She decides to go to bed, and
think about it tomorrow.
The first week of the month, they spend an afternoon at Diagon Alley, finishing their Christmas shopping. Remus
impresses her with his ability to pick out gifts that are very affordable, but
also thoughtful and perfectly suited for the recipient.
Last week she tried to suggest that they keep their gifts
for each other simple and inexpensive, but before she could finish her sentence
he had interrupted her with the stubborn and determined statement that he was
perfectly capable of managing his budget well enough to buy her a nice
Christmas gift, and a declaration that he didn’t want to hear anymore of her
“simple gift” nonsense.
The conversation did little more than leave her with a
lingering feeling of guilt that he will be spending far too much of his meager
income on her, and a complete inability to think of a gift to buy for him.
After their afternoon of shopping, they stop in at the Leaky
Cauldron for a simple dinner. As they are finishing their meal, she takes a
deep breath, and prepares to put her plan into action.
A few days after her strange late-night conversation with
Sirius, inspiration struck for a way to show Remus just how much he means to
her. And now, all the pieces of her plan are in place.
“My parents have been hassling me
to introduce you to them,” she says, as casually as possible. “They were
wondering if I could bring you over for dinner sometime next week?”
He freezes, his beer halfway to his
mouth. “I…didn’t realize you’d told your parents about us.”
She smiles. “Of course I have. Nearly a
month ago. And they know we’ve been together for more than six months
now, so naturally they want to meet you. They need to decide if you’re worthy
of me.” She keeps her tone light, and takes a sip of her own beer to try to
hide her own nervousness.
He sets his beer down. “Yes. Yes, of course you’ve told
them. I would be delighted to go to your parents’ house for dinner. I think
Wednesday or Thursday would work best for me.”
He only looks slightly unsettled, and he seems willing
enough. So far so good. “Brilliant. I think Thursday
is best for me. I’ll let them know, shall I?”
He nods. “Yes. Certainly. I’ll plan
for Thursday then.”
“Good. I’ll make them promise not to hex you.”
He raises an eyebrow. “Are they prone to that sort of
behavior when you bring your boyfriends over?”
His humor is returning. That’s a good sign. “Dunno. You’re the first boyfriend I’ve brought over since I
was eighteen, and I’d like to think that my taste has improved significantly
“Oh…but you didn’t deny the casting of hexes. It makes me
wonder what sort of bloke you saw fit to bring home back then.”
She grins. “He was a musician. With a mohawk. He was starting a band—wanted to be the next Weird Sisters. Too bad he had no talent.
He was still just a barman in a pub in Manchester
last I heard.” She pauses for dramatic effect. “And yes—there was a hex cast. But just a little one.”
He chuckles. “Who did the casting?”
“After you meet my parents, you might be able to guess.”
His familiar mischievous grin is back. “Sounds like a fun
“I certainly hope so.”
Before long the subject changes,
and they don’t discuss the new plan again for the rest of the night.
The next day, after Tonks finishes the drink and snack Remus
has waiting for her when she gets home from her late shift, he brings it up
“Just out of curiosity, have you told your parents about my
condition?” His tone is casual, but she can see the tension in his shoulders
and his jaw. She was expecting this, and is ready with her carefully planned
“No. I didn’t have to. They remembered your name from the Prophet. They both read that rag
obsessively every morning after breakfast.”
She watches him carefully to gauge his reaction, and notices
his jaw become even more visibly tense. “Oh,” he says. After a pause, he continues. “And…how did
they take that news that you’re involved with an infamous werewolf?”
Tonks rolls her eyes, and shakes her head. “I don’t think
you qualify as infamous quite yet.”
His lips curve in a smile, but it doesn’t quite reach his
eyes. “Notorious, then. And don’t evade the question.
How did they react.”
She takes a deep breath, and answers. “My dad turned red and
started spluttering, and my mum launched into an ongoing campaign to logically
dissuade me from my ill-advised choice in romantic partners—her words, not
He blinks his eyes rapidly in surprise, and takes a deep
breath. “Perhaps this dinner isn’t such a good idea after all.”
“Nonsense. They’re much calmer
about it now that they’ve had a month to get used to the idea. And in the end
it doesn’t really matter what they think, does it? My opinion is the only one
that really counts.” She smiles at him and snuggles into his side as they sit
on the sofa.
He nods, but doesn’t seem entirely convinced.
“Really, Remus. It will be fine.
They might not love you at first sight, but you’ll grow on them. That’s what
He squeezes her with the arm draped over her shoulders, and
smiles back at her. “So that’s what happened with you, is it?”
“Yes. After hanging around with you for seven months you
managed to worm your way into my brain and make me crazy enough to fancy you.”
His smile broadens. “And luckily for me, even after all
these months you still haven’t gotten sick of me.”
“I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of you,” she says quite
honestly, and proceeds to do all sorts of things to show him just how not sick
of him she really is.
The dinner with her parents goes even better than she
expects. Her parents are both a little stiff, but before long Remus’s natural charm helps them both to relax, at least a
little. Her father comes up with a new suspicious or ominously probing question
to ask every ten minutes, but Tonks manages to deflect most of them, and by the
end of the evening Remus is even able to elicit some smiles from her mother—no
As they stroll away from her parent’s house after bidding
their farewells, Tonks looks up at Remus with a grin on her face. “So—what do
He is silent for a moment, and then takes a deep breath
before speaking. “I think…that your mother would like me if I wasn’t involved
with her daughter. But your father hates me.”
Tonks laughs. His assessment matches hers perfectly. “Don’t
worry about it. My father would hate anyone I brought home—no one is good
enough for his little Dora.”
“Perhaps, but I think he has a special level of venom in his
heart for the werewolf.”
She shrugs. “He’ll get over it. Eventually.
Even if it takes years.” Her tone is nonchalant, but
she feels anything but relaxed inside. What they say over the next few minutes
will be crucial in directing their future together. She bites her bottom lip,
waiting for his response.
“Years?” He asks in a neutral tone.
“Yes. My father is a very stubborn man,” she says, knowing
full well that wasn’t what he was asking.
Remus isn’t ready to let it drop quite yet. “So you’re sure
that you want to be with a man that your parents might learn to tolerate after
several years instead of finding one that they’d like right from the start?”
She huffs and nudges him in the ribs with her elbow. “Don’t
be ridiculous, Remus. I don’t really care what my parents think of you. You’re
the one that I want, and you’re the one that I’ll have. Besides—they can’t
complain too much or they’ll be hypocrites, and they hate hypocrites. They’ve
simply got to accept that I’m following in my mother’s footsteps. My mum
decided to spend her life with someone that her parents hated, so it really
shouldn’t surprise them that I’ve done the same.”
She takes a deep breath, and stares resolutely forward as
they keep walking. She finally said it; she’s said the words that she has been
so carefully planning for weeks. It’s been a plot worthy of a Slytherin. Now she has only to wait and see what comes of
Remus is silent for a moment, and she hears nothing but the
sound of their footfalls on the pavement and the beating of her own heart.
Suddenly, he stops, pulling her to a halt with him, and
looking her in the face.
“You really mean that, don’t you?” he says. She’s never seen
him look so vulnerable.
“Yes,” she says softly. “Every word of
They stand in silence, staring at each other. It feels like
minutes have gone by, and his gaze is burning into her. He looks so hopeful,
and yet anxious, all at the same time.
“I love you.”
Her breath catches in her throat. She can hardly believe
what she’s heard. She hoped her plan would get her something—but this?
The longer her silence stretches, the more worried he looks.
She grins, and she reaches up to lay her palms on his cheeks. “I love you,
He lets out a breath that he must have been holding, and
laughs. “Good. For a moment there I thought I’d made a complete fool of
She laughs back. “Not this time. I love you, Remus Lupin. I
love you.” Now that the words have left her mouth, she doesn’t want to stop
saying them until the whole world knows.
But he stops her mouth by pulling her in for a deep,
lingering kiss. When the kiss ends he continues to hold her tight, and whispers
into her ear, “I love you.”
Tonks can’t help but feel that after tonight, nothing could
ever make her unhappy again.
Despite her joy at entering into a new stage in her relationship,
the horror of the attack on Arthur a few weeks later hits her hard. Even after Podmore’s arrest, the true danger of what she is involved
in hadn’t sunk in. But seeing what that serpent did to Arthur makes her see
just how tenuous life can really be.
The turmoil following the attack prevents her from seeing
much of Remus over the holidays, but they do share one more dinner with her
parents. They are slightly more cordial, and she can tell that it gives Remus a
lot of hope to see that they really are willing to give him a chance.
On Christmas day she and Remus don’t see each other until
late in the evening. They get together at her flat to exchange their gifts. She
is delighted and stunned by the opal pendant he gives her, and even after he
admits to enhancing the colors with a charm she feels more than a little guilty
that he would spend so much of his limited funds on her. She bites her tongue
and tries to act as graciously as possible, all the while wondering what
sacrifices he’s had to make to buy it for her.
However, she doesn’t feel at all guilty for spending a large
sum on a fine new winter cloak, scarf and gloves for him, and he seems very
happy to receive them. As they snuggle in front of her fire sipping mulled wine
she can’t help but wonder if this will be the first of many Christmases
Two days later, after an Order meeting, she moves quickly to
catch Snape before he leaves. She asks if she can
have a private word with him, and he grudgingly agrees.
They go up to the drawing room, and she closes the door
behind them. She reaches into her pocket and pulls out a small jar of grey
powder embellished with a bright red ribbon.
“Happy Christmas,” she says, holding out the jar to him.
Snape stares at the jar, and then
back up at her, his eyes darting warily.
“I’m sorry it’s late, but I never saw you the week before
Christmas, so it had to wait. It’s bicorn horn.”
“I can see that,” says Snape,
testily. “What I don’t see is why you’re giving it to me.”
“Earlier this month I overheard you complaining to Mad-Eye
that you were nearly out, and that your usual supplier had raised his price
outrageously. But, I happen to have a friend in the ingredients business who I
knew could get some for me for a discount, and since I was having a ridiculously
hard time choosing a present for you I decided that this would have to do.
You’re impossible to shop for, you know.”
He hesitantly reaches out to take the jar. He stares at it
in his hand for a moment before pocketing it. “Thank you. But why did you want
to buy me a present at all?”
“Because you’re my friend,” she says. She hopes this gesture
will finally erase whatever perceived slight or jealousy it was that turned him
against her. She knows that she wouldn’t like it if anyone in the Order seemed
left out or isolated, but she thinks that it is particularly bad that it is
happening to Snape. His work for the Order is by far
the most difficult and dangerous of anyone’s, yet no one but Dumbledore seems
at all grateful for the risk he puts himself in. He needs friends right now,
and she is not going to give up on him, no matter how grumpy he’s been with her
“I am?” he asks.
“You are if you want to be.”
He continues to eye her warily. “I don’t make a very good
She smiles. “That’s okay. I’m an excellent friend, so I can
make up for any of your deficiencies.”
He finally smiles, and chuckles—a low, throaty sound. “Very
well, then. And the first of my many deficiencies is that I have nothing to
give you in return.”
“Don’t worry about it.” She walks over to the sideboard and
picks up a decanter of wine. “Just have a drink with me. That will be enough.”
He raises his eyebrows and walks toward her. “That’s really
all you ask?”
“Well—that, and it might be nice if you start talking to me
He chuckles again. “Consider it done.”
“Good.” She pours two glasses, and hands him one. “Happy Christmas.”
“Happy Christmas,” he replies.
She adjusts her outfit for the thirtieth time that evening,
and shifts her hair from pink to blonde. She knows that she shouldn’t be this
nervous—Remus’s mother can’t possibly be as bad as
her own parents—but she can’t help herself. She really doesn’t know much about Remus’s mum. Just that she is a Muggle, she lives in the
country, she is some sort of artist, and her son
conscientiously visits her twice a month. Now that Tonks is finally on the
verge of meeting her, she feels woefully unprepared.
Remus walks into the bedroom. “Are you ready to go?”
“I think so.” She straightens her blouse one more time.
He looks her over. “You look lovely, but what happened to
She shakes her head. “I know you like it—but I’m worried
it’ll leave a bad impression.”
He lets out a short laugh. “You should wear the pink. It
would be the perfect choice.”
“Just trust me. Wear the pink.”
She nods warily, and morphs her hair back to pink.
Cleo Lupin is still lovely, in spite of her white hair and
the fine lines around her eyes and mouth. She greets Tonks with a warm hug. The
garden of her small cottage is decorated with a large collection of wind chimes
of all shapes and sizes, and their music constantly fills the air.
As Tonks walks inside, she sees that the walls are covered
with art—sketches and paintings make the home one vast collage. “Are these all
Mrs. Lupin nods as she lights a cigarette. “Mostly, yes. The product of a restless
Most of the art features magical creatures in natural
settings—unicorns, dragons, bowtruckles, hippogriffs
and more. “I have an advantage over my fellow fantasy artists,” she says. “I’m
the only one who’s ever actually seen
the creatures that I draw. One of the advantages of marrying
They have a nice simple dinner, and Mrs. Lupin proves to be
good company, if a bit reticent about delving into personal matters—like mother
like son. She points out a few portraits of Remus when he was a boy, and
inevitably he is drawn with a rabbit.
When Tonks asks why, Mrs. Lupin laughs. “He hasn’t told you
yet? Remus has had pet bunnies since he was a boy. He adores them. Lately, I’ve
been keeping them for him, since they’re not allowed in his flat.”
Tonks turns to raise her eyebrows at him.
He chuckles. “So now you know my furry little secret.”
“You’ll have to introduce these bunnies of yours to me before
“I’d be delighted to.”
After dinner Mrs. Lupin leads them into a sitting room that
looks out on the back garden. Tonks catches her breath and smiles in delight
when she sees the large watercolor painting that dominates one wall of the small
room. It is a delicate fairy maiden dancing on a dew-covered flower. Her hair
is vivid pink. Now she knows why Remus insisted on her pink hair.
“Do you like her?” asks Mrs. Lupin, puffing on another
Tonks nods. “Very much.”
Mrs. Lupin smiles. “I’m glad. She
and I are old friends. She was my first large painting that I was really happy
with, and I still smile every time I see her. Remus tells me that real fairies
aren’t nearly as intelligent or good-natured as I made her, but I don’t care.
Sometimes the fantasy is nicer than the reality.”
After another half an hour of chatting, Mrs. Lupin gives
Remus a pointed look and tells him that perhaps it’s time for him to go visit
his bunnies now.
He raises an eyebrow at her. “So does that mean that now is
the time where you’re going to start telling her all sorts of embarrassing
stories about me and you don’t want me in the room to stop you?”
“Something like that,” she says.
“Now run along. I’ll send Nymphadora along after you
Remus smiles indulgently as he stands, and gives his mother
a kiss on the head as he leaves.
Once he is gone, Tonks looks at Mrs. Lupin expectantly, but
the older woman sits in silence for a minute, taking slow drags on her
cigarette. Finally, she speaks. “Are you in love with my son?”
Based on their conversation over dinner, Tonks never
expected this kind of frankness and it catches her by surprise. She takes a
deep breath to collect herself, and replies, “Yes. Yes, I am.”
Mrs. Lupin smiles. “You have no
idea how happy that makes me. He’s in love with you, too. He never told me so,
but I can see it in his eyes when he talks about you. It reminds me of the way
I used to look back when I first met his father. I haven’t seen him this happy
in years. But…I think I need to ask you to be…patient with him.”
“What do you mean?”
Mrs. Lupin looks down and taps her cigarette over the
ashtray. “He’s been drifting for so many years—since the war ended. Did you
know his father died in the war?”
Tonks shakes her head. “No.”
“He joined Dumbledore’s group when Remus was in his fifth
year at school. He said that my being a Muggle made us targets, and he wanted
to do something to protect us. Instead, he just got himself killed. It was two
months before Remus finished his last year at school. He came home for a week
to be with me for the funeral. I was a wreck. It was like I was living through
a nightmare. And Remus was all I had left. But he was too much like his
father—too impetuous, and daring. After the funeral he went straight to
Dumbledore and demanded to be allowed to take his father’s place. He never even
stopped to think about me, and what it might do to me if I lost them both.” She
stops to take another drag, and she is looking out the window at Remus. She
seems miles away.
“I told Dumbledore not to let him join. I begged him. But he
didn’t listen to me. He needed every soldier he could get. So Remus went to
war. And one by one he dragged his friends in after him. It destroyed them all.
And it very nearly destroyed him in the process. He’s been drifting ever since.
From job to job, flat to flat, girlfriend to girlfriend. He never let himself
settle down long enough to get close to anyone new after the war—not friends,
not employers, not girlfriends. He’s just gone wherever the tide takes him. Until now.” She turns to look Tonks straight in the eyes.
“Over the past few months, I can tell that he’s finally
found an anchor to hold him steady. But he hasn’t completely rid himself of the
impulse to keep on drifting. It’s still in him; I can still see it. If you
aren’t steady, and patient, one of these days the tides of life will tug a
little too hard, and he’ll let go of you and drift off in some new direction.
It would break his heart—but he wouldn’t stop it. He doesn’t know how. Not yet.
It’s going to take time for him to change enough to stick with you when times
are tough. Do you think that you can be patient enough to wait it out? Do you
love him enough to carry him through the hard times?”
Mrs. Lupin seems almost to be pleading with her. Tonks
wonders if Remus realizes just how lonely and sad his mother really is.
Somehow, she thinks that he doesn’t. Tonks doesn’t like to think of Remus in
this way, but she can’t deny the truth behind what his mother has said. She’s
seen it in him herself—she simply never expected to be confronted with it so
directly. But in spite of Remus’s flaws, Tonks knows
that there is only one answer to his mother’s questions. “Yes. I do. I will
stand by him no matter what.”
Mrs. Lupin smiles again, and tears glisten in her eyes. She
fumbles to light another cigarette. After taking a long drag, she sighs and
looks at Tonks again. “I’m so glad we had this chance to talk. You’ll come visit again soon, won’t you?”
Tonks nods, smiling back at the lonely woman in front of
her. “Of course I will.”
“Good. Good. Now you should run along and go meet those
Tonks finds Remus sitting on the floor of the garden shed
under a dim electric light, with three bunnies hopping around him. He smiles up
her. “She didn’t tell you anything too
mortifying, did she?”
Tonks shakes her head, wondering what Remus would think of
the conversation she’d just had. “Not at all.” She
sits down beside him, and reaches out to pet the nearest bunny. “So what’s this
“This one is Molly.”
Tonks sniggers. Remus huffs and wags his finger at her.
“Now, you won’t go telling Molly Weasley—will you?
Because I named this rabbit long before I became friends with the Weasley family.”
Tonks shakes her head. “I won’t tell. What are the other two
“That one is Brian, and that little scamp is Mr. Fluffy.”
Tonks raises an eyebrow. “Mr. Fluffy?
That’s a rather sissy name, isn’t it?”
“Not at all. Fluffy is a sissy
name, but Mr. Fluffy has panache.”
Tonks laughs. “So he’s a bunny with panache?”
“Absolutely. Just look at him!”
On cue, Mr. Fluffy hops up to them to sniff at Remus’s fingers. Tonks leans against his
shoulder, and reaches out to pet the bunny on the head.
“Why don’t you bring one or two of them to stay at Grimmauld Place?
It would certainly cheer the place up.”
“I can’t. Sirius is allergic.”
“Yes. We discovered that in a most unfortunate fashion when
he came to visit one summer.”
“Well…aren’t there potions for that sort of thing?”
“Yes, but Sirius insists that he’s not taking a foul-tasting
potion every day just so I can bring a smelly rodent into the house. Besides,
I’m afraid he’d get drunk and accidentally
feed it to Buckbeak.”
“Oh, dear. That is a real danger,
“Indeed it is.”
Tonks pauses to think for a moment before speaking again.
“We could keep one in my flat, if you like.”
She nods. “Yes. I haven’t had a pet since my cat died when I
was sixteen. It would be nice to have one again. It would be nice to have one
He looks down into her eyes with a mysterious smile on his
face. He reaches his arm around her back and twines his fingers through hers to
grasp her hand tightly. “It would be nice, wouldn’t it?”
Soon after, they say goodnight to Mrs. Lupin and return to Tonks’s flat.
One week later, Mr. Fluffy joins them.
They lay in the dark, snuggled in bed, listening to the
sounds of Mr. Fluffy scratching around his new cage in Tonks’s
“Do you ever think about the future?” Remus asks her
“I never used to think about the future. Never.
At least, never more than a month or two ahead. But
lately, I have been. I’ve been wondering what things might be like in a few
years, once the war is over.”
“And what do you think they’ll be like then?”
“I’m not completely sure. There are so many possibilities.
But among all the possibilities, there is one thing I’m sure about.”
“That I can’t imagine a future without you
She smiles. “I feel the same way about you.”
He smiles back at her. “Good. I’m glad the feeling is
They kiss, and as their arms circle around one another a
future together seems very possible indeed.
Author’s Note: If
anyone is interested in reading more about Cleo Lupin, I recently wrote a short
ficlet from her point of view. It is called “Smoke
and Wind,” and you can find it on my Author Page.
Thanks for reading! I love to hear back from my readers, so
please take the time to review. I’ll try to have chapter 3 up soon.