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Epitaph of a Good Man by toomanycurls
Chapter 9 : Remus and his yo-yo act
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 11

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It’s been my experience that whenever love gets on a track towards happiness, everything falls through and trying to get it back is as futile. Remus seemed to be a pendulum. He would go a short while in relational bliss then start to distance himself, and then go into total alienation. The first time we went through one of these cycles it was beyond painful, but I couldn’t give up on him. 

During the bliss, we had a nice routine to our lives. On the nights I did not have Duty, we would eat with Sirius at Grimmauld Place. After dinner, we would hang out in one of the many rooms in the large house. We often played board games or discussed current events. Remus and I wanted to keep Sirius’ spirits up. Sirius had a good time teasing Remus and I. He said I was only using him to gain access to his friends. I jibed back that he only had me over so he would have friends. I didn’t stay over at Grimmauld Place very often. Remus came over and stayed with me on weekends.

We abstained from two things together: complete intimacy and those three little words. It seemed that either of those would crumble what we had so carefully constructed. Even without those two facets in our lives, Remus became distant periodically and often carried a self-loathing look on his face. He enjoyed his time with me, and I loved any time I got with him, but he looked as if he was disgusted with himself. Every time I asked him about his facial expressions, he brushed it off as indigestion.

Then one Saturday, we were at my flat. I was getting dressed. Remus came up behind me and hugged me, kissing my neck. “Tonks,” I knew it was bad if he called me by my surname. “I, well, we can’t do this anymore.” I turned around, my eyes blazing with hurt and fury. “It’s not a good idea.” Remus’ words had a practiced sound. “I care about you too much for us to—”

“For us to be together?” I asked fiercely. “Next you’ll say how you’re too old, too poor, and too…” I struggled for word. “Too dangerous for me.”  I said the last part rolling my eyes in frustration.

Remus blinked at me. “The thing is, I am all of those things. I can’t bear causing any harm to you or letting you live with the stigma that’s followed me my whole life.”

I stomped my foot in anger. “I don’t care about those things.” I said for what felt 50th time. My eyes filled with tears. “Every time you say that, I feel like there’s something I’ve done to upset you, or that I’ve disappointed you in some way.”

”It’s nothing like that,” Remus said in an unusually stern voice. “There’s someone out there better for you, and I’m holding you back from finding that kind of relationship.” Remus hugged me tightly. “We’ll always be friends. I promise.” He let go of me and left.

I dried my eyes and paced my flat. I just didn’t understand him! He had planned a romantic night not two weeks prior to this. We hadn’t argued or hit any bumps in the road… My mind was overcome with too many thoughts and emotions to think straight. I needed to talk with someone sensible so I went to the Weasley’s house. Molly was in the garden while Arthur was in his shed, probably fiddling with some muggle-device.

Molly looked up from the carrots she was pulling and her face, which had been hard with concentration, softened at once. “Tonks, what’s wrong?” She rushed out to meet me. Arthur poked his head out of the shed and asked if everything was all right. “Yes, dear, I’ll be inside.” She led me inside saying soothing words of comfort and solace.

We sat down in their living room. Molly had a cup of tea for me in a matter of minutes. She asked me what happened and I started to sob as I told about Remus and his yo-yo act. Molly had a kind and understanding look on her face. “He is being a bit thick about the whole thing, but I can understand his reasons.” I looked at her in surprise. “He loves you.” I made to interject but Molly held her hand up. “He loves you and he feels inadequate. He hasn’t had the most fruitful love life. Most women reject him flat-out for being a werewolf. Remus doesn’t want to hurt you, but I think he sees that as the inevitable end to your relationship. So, he’s pushing you away before you get in so far that you get hurt even more.”

I stared at Molly. What I had thought to be a simple problem of Remus being stubborn was far more complicated that it had seemed. I sat up, my heart filling with hope and determination. “I know what I’ll do then,” I said resolutely. “I’m going to keep trying; that’s all I can do. Eventually he’ll give in.” Molly smiled at me and squeezed my shoulder in a comforting way.

Arthur chuckled from the dining room. We both jumped. “That’s how Molly got me,” he said, still laughing. “Wore down my defenses. And I came to my senses. Remus is a reasonable man, he’ll come around.” I smiled, feeling slightly embarrassed the Arthur knew my romantic worries, but his advice made me feel even better.

I went to Grimmauld Place on a few nights later; I didn’t announce my plant to visit. I just wanted a word with Remus. After I got in the door, I heard shouts rising from the kitchen.

”You’re being an idiot, Moony!” I heard Sirius yelling.

Then Remus’ voice came drifting up. “I just can’t, it’d be too dangerous for her.” Remus wasn’t yelling, but his voice was raised.

”She knows the danger! I’d be highly surprised if she hasn’t read all the books available on werewolves.” Sirius retorted.

”That doesn’t make a difference, it’s still too—”

I didn’t find out what it was because Sirius cut him off. “It’s not like it was with you and Farah. She already knows, so she’s not going to find out and then just stay with you out of guilt. And you love her! She loves you!” Sirius said hotly.

”All the more reason for me to end things!” Remus said matching Sirius’ fever. Sirius slammed something hard on the table.

“Do you have any idea what I’d give to feel that type of passion again?” Sirius’ voice sounded slightly hollow. Remus must have muttered something under his breath that made Sirius laugh. “She’s too young? She doesn’t think you’re too old. You sure weren’t thinking of her age when you were shagging her in your room!”

Sirius must have touched a nerve. I heard a chair scrape against the floor and Remus’ footsteps as he ascended the stairs. I panicked. I didn’t want them to find me there eavesdropping. Well, I didn’t want Remus to know I had been there eavesdropping. I hid in the coat closet, leaving it opened a crack to see. Sirius came up the stairs a few minutes later. Then he paused and stared right at me. He came closer, his wand out. He had a suspicious look in his eyes. I sat there, my face screwed up; I was bracing myself for the ensuing embarrassment of being caught hiding in a closet.

Sirius flung the door open then let out a bark of laughter. “I think you have the wrong closet if you were planning on ambushing Remus.” I made a face at him and stepped out of the closet. I tried, but failed to do so with dignity. I tripped over a pair of boots. “Do you want to go downstairs and talk? Or are you here to talk to someone else?” Sirius raised an eyebrow.

”Let’s go downstairs; it doesn’t seem that Remus wants to talk to me at the moment.” I bit my lip; it was hard to think of Remus not wanting to see me. Sirius and I went downstairs. He got me a drink. We sat in a few moment of awkward silence. I sipped my drink then blurted out, “What did happen between him and that Farah person?” I had an inkling that Remus gave me the Wizard’s Digest version of things at Fortescue’s.

Sirius looked slightly surprised “You came over here for that?” I let out an exasperated no. “Just checking,” he smirked at me. “I think their relationship went quite normal for a while. I was in Azkaban at the time; Remus told me about all this after I escaped. He made excuses for being gone every month. Then his boss blew his cover right out of the water. I think Farah was torn; she must have loved him because they stayed together, but when she left she said that she only stayed with him because she’d feel bad leaving him for being a werewolf.” My jaw hung opened then I swore. “I think he’s scared that you’ll only stay with him out of guilt,” Sirius finished.

I didn’t know what to say. I wanted to run up to Remus’ room and comfort him, and to assure him that I wouldn’t dream of hurting him like that woman did. “Do you think he’ll come around and… well, stop being so single minded?” I asked hopefully.

Sirius chuckled, “Hopefully, but he can be stubborn.” Sirius took a long sip of his drink. “I haven’t seen Remus smile the way he smiles around you in…” He let out a sigh, “I can’t remember, actually.” I smiled; I could feel my face glowing. “And he’s the only person you let call you Nymphadora without throwing a fit.” I couldn’t help but laugh.

 “Do you think I can come over for dinner Thursday?” I asked tentatively. “I know Remus doesn’t want anything serious, or anything past first-base, but I still want to chill with you guys.” Sirius raised an eyebrow, as if to question my motives. “Alright, fine, and I want to spend as much time around Remus as I can.” I said, resisting the urge to smack Sirius his silent but poignant snark.

I frequented Grimmauld Place after that. I didn’t stay over, or get any more intimate with Remus than a friendly hug. I did consider squeezing his bum a few times, but abstained. I caught Remus casting longing stares my way, but I didn’t want to pull him into another go of physicality that he wasn’t emotionally equipped for. During our carnal dry-spell the nights seemed to last a decade. I longed for Remus every night; I often wondered if he had the same yearning.

My parents wanted to have Remus over again. I made up excuse for him being busy. I said he had work, overtime, extra duties, and every other excuse I could think of. Dad noticed that I was a bit down, even though I tried to keep an upbeat smile. While Mum was bustling away in the kitchen, he learned over and said in a conspiratorial whisper, “If Remus isn’t treating you right, tell him that your mum’s cousin will hunt him down and do what he did to those muggles, former best friend or not.” I laughed loudly and said I didn’t think that would work on Remus, but I’d keep it in mind.

There was a meteor shower late November. I wanted to watch it but my flat wasn’t well suited for it. Meteor showers are best viewed away from the city, someplace like Remus’ house. I explained this to Remus one night and asked if we could watch the shower together. He agreed saying that he had loved watching the stars as a young child. I was elated to spend some extra time with him. I didn’t have a scheme to ambush him and work my magic on him. For me, a meteor shower was a great time for romance, even platonic romance.

I showed up at Remus’ place on the night of the shower. He had a meal prepared for us. I had blankets and two scarves. I had knitted the scarves by hand; they weren’t bad either. As dusk came, we went outside. I transfigured a chair into a love seat recliner. The air was chilly so we huddled under the blanket together. Remus had his arm around me for comfort. I pointed out all my favorite constellations. Then the meteor shower began.

I squealed in delight, unnecessarily pointing out each streak across the sky. My enthusiasm seemed to be contagious. Remus started to point avidly at different meteors. “I miss this,” I said during a lull in the nature-made fireworks.

 “You miss the meteors?” Remus asked looking at me. I couldn’t tell if he was joking or not.

 “I miss there being an us,” I clarified. Remus was gazing into my eyes. A shooting star passed overhead lighting up his handsome face, the light reflecting in his eyes.

“I do too,” Remus said quietly. Remus reached up and rubbed my cheek gently. “I…” Remus took a deep breath. “I... I think we should go in. The shower is over,” Remus got up quickly; in the same way someone gets up when they have an emergency bathroom run. I sat there for a few minutes, glaring into the dark.

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