The next few days were rather uneventful except for the rather high tension between Remus and Agnes. She was refusing to speak to him and, although the others could not help but notice this, no one said a word or knew the reason why. Elle, however, continued to drift around the house listlessly. She had taken to helping Mrs. Weasley with the housekeeping and, although the older woman attempted to chat with Elle during their cleaning sessions, she could barely get more than a few sentences out of her.
Finally, the older woman contented herself with simply talking to Elle and not expecting her to respond.
Meanwhile, the rooms had been switched around since there was now space. Tonks was now in Bill's room, Elle was still in Charlie's room, and Agnes had been placed in Fred and George's room, on Tonks's recommendation.
Agnes was really starting to get sick of her mother's behavior. True, Agnes herself had never been one for taking chances but this was different. This wasn't just a silly school-girl crush, this was love. Although, to speak of crushes, Agnes was really starting to miss Fred even though he had been gone for only a few days. Which is why, a week after they had left, she asked, rather abruptly at breakfast if she could go visit them.
"I'll take her," offered Tonks immediately.
Agnes had to resist the urge to roll her eyes. As much as she liked Tonks, she didn't like the way that Tonks had been trying to get closer to her lately. Something still made her want to dislike her. But still, her desire to see Fred overruled her desire to dislike her father's fiancee. "Alright," she said, rather grudgingly.
"Alright, meet me down in the kitchen in say..." Tonks glanced at the clock. "A half an hour?"
Agnes quickly excused herself and rushed upstairs. She threw on her favorite shirt and spent about five minutes searching for her favorite pair of jeans, only to find a small tear in the seat. She threw them on anyway, telling herself that Fred probably wouldn't be looking there anyway. She then searched her bag for her mascara, and after she had put on a touch of lipstick, she heard Tonks hollering up the stairs.
She bolted out of the twins' room and down the stairs, nearly knocking her mother over. She muttered a quick hello and was about to go past her, when she noticed that Elle was wearing a rather terrified expression. "What's wrong now?" she asked.
"Arthur and Molly are going out for lunch," said Elle.
"So?" said Agnes, before the realization came to her. "Oh..."
That would leave Elle and Remus in the house alone.
"Maybe you should stay in your room, mom," said Agnes.
Elle nodded and continued upstairs to her room
Fifteen minutes later, Agnes and Tonks were strolling down Diagon Alley, towards the joke shop. The streets were fairly crowded, a surprising sight for such dark times. They had been walking in silence, until they passed a dress shop, where Tonks stopped in front of the window. In the window was a gorgeous wedding dress with pearls and rhinestones all over it. "That's going to be my dress," said Tonks, with a faint smile.
Agnes couldn't help but stare. "It's really...girly," she said finally.
Tonks burst into laughter. "Well, I hate to break it to you, Agnes, but I am, in fact, a girl."
"It's pretty," said Agnes sheepishly. "I just didn't expect that out of you."
"I can see why," said Tonks, studying her reflection in the window. "I need to fix my-"
At that moment, she squeezed her eyes shut and a moment later, she had long blonde hair. "Lovely," she said, seeming satisfied.
Agnes had jumped when Tonks's appearance had changed. "I forget that you can do that," she muttered. "You will certainly look like a bride now."
Tonks wrinkled her nose. "Oh, Merlin, that sounds weird."
"You don't like all that romantic stuff?" asked Agnes, as they started to walk along again.
"No, not really," said Tonks, shaking her head.
"But you love him?" pressed Agnes, referring to Remus.
"Yes," said Tonks, smiling again. "With all my heart."
Elle had taken her daughter's advice and stayed in her room for the afternoon. Since everyone was gone, she had taken the opportunity to pull out the old photographs that she had brought along. Back at home, she had been in the habit of looking through them every day, especially when Agnes was away at Salem. They were old and faded, but she still couldn't help but to grin at some of them.
There was a picture of Elle and Brigid in their fifth year, right after they had aced their final exams. Brigid was wearing long pigtails in the picture, a style that she soon gave up, after the Marauders realized how amusing it was to pull them and watch her squeal.
There was also a picture of Brigid in her seventh year, striking a pose, but what made that picture so amusing was James and Lily in the background, snogging like there was no tomorrow. There wasn't much of a tomorrow for them, Elle thought gloomily.
Just as she was flipping to another picture, her door was knocked on softly and Remus Lupin stepped inside. "Thought you might be lonely," he said sheepishly.
Elle stared at him for a moment, before looking back down at her pictures. "What you are doing here, Remus?" she whispered, her heart pounding.
He didn't answer but instead, crossed the room and sat down next to her. "What are you looking-"
He stopped mid-sentence. Ironically enough, it was a picture of Remus and Elle dancing, with Sirius and Brigid in the backroom, skipping around the floor. "That's the Potter house," he said quietly. "This is Christmas Eve."
Elle, who could not trust herself to speak, merely nodded. "That was the night you broke my heart," he muttered, taking the photograph gently out of her hands.
The Elle in the picture was grinning at them, while the picture Remus kissed the side of her head. "You're breaking mine," she whispered.
"Why did you come up here?"
"Why, Remus?" said Elle, leaping up from the bed. "Why didn't you just leave me alone?"
"Because..." Remus seemed at lost for words. "Because I just...can't."
"You have Tonks now," she said, blinking back tears. "That's what you've been saying this entire time."
"She's different," he muttered.
"What do you mean?"
"She's still not you!"
"What?" gasped Elle.
"She's Tonks," he said, working himself into a frenzy from all the stress. "She can never be everything you were to me. I love her, yes. But there's still something missing."
"Remus," said Elle, touching his arm gently.
He swooped her into his arms, kissing her passionately. He felt his guilt start to erupt inside of him but he was just too caught up to stop himself.
There was nothing he could do.
"Look out!" hollered a voice as Tonks and Agnes stepped inside the joke shop.
The pair ducked just in time to have a quacking pig soar over their head on tiny purple wings. "What in Godric's name is that?" asked Tonks, flabbergasted.
"An Expression," said George, appearing from the back of the shop. "'When pigs fly'."
"It was quacking," said Agnes skeptically.
"Well, we've still got some kinks in it," said Fred, popping up next to his twin. "How are you?"
He embraced her tightly and, much to her surprise, kissed her lightly. "Fine," she said breathlessly. "And you?"
"Eh, I'm doing fine," he said, grinning at her. "Better now."
"So what's with the porker?" asked Tonks.
"Alright," said George, explaining. "You know how people tend to use those little expressions?"
"George and I were listening to someone the other day-"
"-who used one just about every other sentence."
"So, I said to my dearest brother, George-"
"You're quite incorrect, sir," said George, slugging his twin. "It was me who thought up the idea."
"Well, whoever," said Fred. "Now if you'll let me continue-"
George made a grand gesture towards his brother, allowing him to finish their story. "So we came up with the idea that it would be hilarious if these expressions just sprouted out of their mouths."
"For example," said George, gesturing to his brother again.
Fred thought for a moment and then shrugged. "Life's a bowl of cherries," he said casually.
No sooner had he spoken, then about thirty deep red cherries poured out of his mouth, followed by a ceramic blue bowl. The fruit hovered for a moment before falling into the bowl with a plop.
Agnes and Tonks stood, mouths agape. "That is the strangest thing I have ever heard of," muttered Tonks.
"You think so, huh?" said George, with a smirk. "Then you should hear how many pre-orders we've gotten-"
He was interrupted by a gagging sound, and they all turned to see Fred hacking up an orange. "I told you there were kinks in it," he said, once he had caught his breath. "Orange, anyone?"
They all cringed and shook their heads. "Well, then how about lunch?" he asked.
"Thanks, but I'm fine, Fred," said Tonks, shaking her head. "I had a pretty big lunch. Plus, I'd like to hear more about these Expressions."
"I guess it's just me and Agnes then," said Fred, as Tonks winked at Agnes.
They stood there for a moment before finally George said, "Well, are you going to take her or not?"
"Uh, sure," said Fred, grinning and offering Agnes his arm. "See you two later."
Remus was laying on Elle's bed, while she slept peacefully next to him. They had only kissed but somehow it had been even more passionate than anytime he and Tonks had made love. He would have to tell the truth and soon. He knew now what he had been denying these past weeks. He loved Elle and could not bear to see her in pain.
People break engagements all the time, he thought, trying to reason with himself. I'll just have to explain. Tonks will understand. Everyone will-
His thoughts were cut off as a door shut in the kitchen, and he heard voices. He quickly pulled away from Elle, trying, and succeeding, not to wake her and bolted out of the room, closing the door behind him. He reached the living room, grabbing up a book, just as Mr. and Mrs. Weasley stepped inside.
"Are you alright, Remus?" asked Mrs. Weasley, looking curiously at him.
"I'm fine," said Remus hurriedly. "It's just a bit hot in here. I'll go open a window."
He got up and moved to the window, hiding his face from his friends. As he opened the window, he saw an eagle owl go past, carrying a letter in its beak. He got a feeling of foreboding as it went by. "Honestly, Remus," said Mrs. Weasley. "You should go lie down. You don't look well."
"Right," he said, shaking his head. It was probably just his jumpy nerves. "I'm going to lay down in Ron's room, if you don't mind."
For a moment, Mrs. Weasley looked as if she was going to say no. She hadn't allowed anyone in her son's room since he left but Remus did look fairly ill. "Alright," she said grudgingly. "I'll wake you up for dinner."
A few hours later, Agnes and Tonks arrived back at the house through Floo. "Oh, good," said Mrs. Weasley, as they entered the kitchen. "I was just about to call everyone for dinner."
"I'm starving," exclaimed Tonks.
"You could've come to lunch with us," said Agnes, trying to hide a smile.
"Oh, you didn't need me there, I'm sure," said Tonks, grinning.
"Did you and Fred go out?" asked Mrs. Weasley, smiling as she pulled out the dishes.
Agnes nodded shyly. "I'm so glad he's finally calmed down a bit," said Mrs. Weasley, putting out the plates. "He was always running off with a different girl every week. Of course, he told his father about it. Not me." She shook her head. "I suppose he thought I would get angry," she continued. "But, boys will be boys."
"I have to...go to the bathroom," said Agnes awkwardly, leaving the room in a hurry.
"I was just going to ask her to go wake up her mother," said Mrs. Weasley, looking back at Tonks. "Will you get Remus then? He's in Ronald's room."
Mrs. Weasley knocked softly on Elle's door, hoping to wake her. There wasn't a response, so Mrs. Weasley opened the door, only to find the light on, and Elle fast asleep on her bed. She started to walk towards the bed when she stepped on something. She lifted her foot to find a wrinkled old photograph on the floor.
Slowly, she bent down and picked it up. It took her a moment to realize what the picture was of but when she did, she let out a slight gasp. It was the picture of seventeen-year old Remus and Elle dancing. "I knew it," she whispered, looking up at the woman sleeping the bed. "I knew it."
Tonks stopped in her tracks and turned around. "Don't worry, Molly," she said, smiling. "I woke him up. He's just brushing his teeth real quickly." She paused for a moment. "Where's Elle?"
Mrs. Weasley took a deep breath before explaining the entire thing to Tonks.
"But that doesn't matter," said Tonks, her brow furrowing. "He loves me."
"Listen to me," said Mrs. Weasley, jabbing her finger at the picture. "He may love you but in that picture, he loves her, too. You can just tell. And love like that doesn't go away, Tonks."
"Neither will his love for me."
"You can't know that for sure," said Mrs. Weasley frantically. "He looks at her like that now, too."
Tonks bowed her head slightly. "There's nothing to worry about, Molly," she said, after a moment. "And if there were-"
"Tell him you're pregnant."
Tonks's jaw dropped. "What?"
"If that's the only way this will be stopped, that's what you have to do,"
"There is not a problem here, Molly," snapped Tonks, pushing past her. "No problem at all."
But it seemed as though there was. Now that she knew, Tonks could not deny it. She watched all throughout dinner as Remus and Elle glanced at each other when they thought no one was looking. And they were not innocent glances.
Should I really take her advice? she thought frantically. I can't lose him. I love him.
Which is why, after dinner, she stopped Remus as he went into the living room. "I need to talk to you," she said. "Alone."
She grabbed his hand and pulled him upstairs to her room. "What's wrong?" he asked, looking very concerned.
To be honest, he was very glad to be with her alone. He was finally ready to tell her everything.
"Remus," said Tonks, not looking at him. "I'm pregnant."
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