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Epitaph of a Good Man by toomanycurls
Chapter 16 : With Love, Remus
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 12

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I paused in the entryway. Maybe he was doing the one-man act a bit vigorously. Sirius’ retelling of Remus at school came vividly to mind. Then voices drifted out of the room. It was a woman’s voice. “Oh Remus, some things do get better with age.”

Remus’ voice came out with more of a growl than it usually did. “You have no idea, Farah.” I could have been knocked over with a feather. I set the picture down on the table and left, accidentally knocking over the same vase I had trouble with on my way in. I thought I heard the sound of their lovemaking being interrupted, but I didn’t stop or slow down until I felt Remus’ hand around my upper arm.

“What do you want?” I felt a bit stupid asking that after I was the one that had been in his house unannounced. I tried my best to sound annoyed, even angry; I didn’t want the sound of my heartbreak to come oozing out.

“I—you were in my place,” he said furrowing his brow. He looked upset, almost angry.

“I came by to drop off a picture Kingsley gave me. I left it on your table.” I paused for a moment, debating whether or not I should voice the thoughts surging through my mind. In a moment of fury, I unleashed all of the angry and spiteful feelings surging through me. “Is that the reason broke up?” I gestured vaguely at his house. “What happened to being too old, too dangerous, or too poor? That doesn’t seem to apply to her. You can shag her without guilt, but you won’t even look at me in the eyes! Am I that reprehensible?” Remus was trying to interrupt me, but I kept going. “If you just wanted to hook up with that minger, you could have had the decency to be honest about it! Instead, you went on like you were some sort of tragic hero, always forgoing your own pleasure for the common good. I can see that the only thing you wanted to forgo was me.” I could tell I was hurting him, but I didn’t care. I thought he should partake in the same suffering I was enduring. “Was this your plan all along? Leave my flat and start on her?” I was tempted to slap him, do something to shake him out of his stunned silence. “You’re despicable,” I spat. I turned on the spot and left. The last I saw of Remus, he had a bewildered look on his face.

A few minutes later, I was knocking on Molly’s door hoping she was still up. “Who is it?” She asked wearily.

“It’s Tonks,” I said my voice cracking. She opened the door and saw the state I was in. She ushered me in and started a pot of tea. Molly guided me to a seat by the kitchen table. “What are you doing up so late?” I asked.

Molly smiled wryly. “A mother never sleeps,” she said glancing at her family clock. “And Harry is coming tonight, or in the morning, but I want to be up in case he gets here tonight.” Molly handed me a cup of tea. I took the cup and held it tightly. “Now, what brings you here?” She sat down next to me with a maternal look about her.

I breathed in deeply and looked around catching a glimpse of myself in a mirror. I looked horrid. I sipped my tea for a moment then broke into an explanation of that night. “I wanted to give Remus a picture Kingsley had in his office… and I wanted to talk him about us. He’s a bit more persuadable around the full moon. I went in and he was in bed with that Farah woman.” Molly’s face contracted in confusion. I explained how she and Remus dated in their twenties. “I thought she was married to some warlock. I left once I figured out he was with her. I must have knocked something over because Remus followed me out.”

I told Molly about, well, how I yelled at him. Usually I’d say the argument but I didn’t give him a chance to give a rebuttal to anything I said. Molly was looking at me with a worried expression on her face. I was almost done telling her everything when a horrible though came to me. “I think he’s going to propose to her.” Molly gave me a slightly puzzled look, and started to say she didn’t think he’d be that rash. “It’s just… I found out he went engagement ring shopping. He ran into Bill and Bill spilled the beans. Remus mentioned that he was ring shopping for the same reason that Bill was out shopping…but he didn’t say who it was for.” I was talking rather fast. I could feel tears stinging my eyes. “I was such a prat to think he wanted to marry me.”

“Now don’t you go around saying things like that!” Molly said harshly. “Remus would be lucky to have you, and he’s being a right old toad. Mucking things up like that.” Molly took a sip of tea and composed herself. “Sometimes love takes odd detours…”

I laughed, a little colder than usual, “Love.” Moody’s proclamation of love floated into my sea of thoughts. “Mad-Eye said he loved me,” I said in a low voice. Molly choked on her tea.

“Moody?” she clarified as if we knew several men who went by the moniker of Mad-Eye. She didn’t have a disgusted look on her face, but one of piqued interest. It was better than the look of horror I had imagined all of the times I almost told her about it. “Did you two date for a bit?”

I smirked wickedly. Thinking about the few weeks of fun I had with Moody lifted my spirits a bit. “I wouldn’t say we dated.” I started, wondering if this would repulse Molly. “We had a bit of a fling. I broke things off because I had feelings for Remus.” My heart sank back down to where it had been. “Then when I was hurt in the Department of Mysteries, Moody said he loved me. I was quite surprised to hear it.”

Molly looked thoughtful as she spoke. “Sometimes, going with a second or even third choice helps when getting over someone. It’ll get your mind off Remus at least.” I was slightly surprised by Molly’s advice. She always seemed traditional, but she was telling me to go bury my feelings with the next guy who’s available. Before I could think of a response, there was a rapping at the door. Molly got up, a worried look on her face. She crept to the door and to identify the newcomers.

It was Dumbledore and Harry. Dumbledore explained that Slughorn had been easier to persuade than he originally thought. It took them a few moments to spot me. Dumbledore’s eyes swept over me, I didn’t meet his gaze. He probably knew that Remus and I weren’t together; I didn’t want to acknowledge that right now. I said hi to Harry, trying my best to smile.  I excused myself to avoid socialization with Dumbledore and Harry.

Molly’s attention shot back to me. She had a very concerned look on her face. Molly, acting as the meddler, invited me over for a dinner where Remus and Moody would be there. I shook my head and said thanks, but no. I left quickly. I didn’t want to get into a conversation about Remus in front of Harry. I still loved Remus and I didn’t want Harry to get a negative image of him.

I disapparated to my flat. I half thought that Remus would be there. I was wrong. I was alone and cold in my apartment. I didn’t have the energy required to cry myself to sleep that night. The next morning was quite horrible. I still wasn’t use to waking up alone. My whole body seemed to ache from the sadness I felt. People at work were starting to whisper about my hair. I wished I could make it pink just so they’d leave me alone. I knew that it was like this for a reason. Heartbreak often caused problems for wizarding folk.

A few nights later, I received a note from Dumbledore saying that I could retrieve personal items from Grimmauld Place that night. I wasn’t sure if I had things there, but I went anyways. I had lived there on and off for quite a while. I was going through Remus’ old room. We had always shared it. I felt overwhelmed being there. My grief for my relationship with Remus was compounded by my grief for Sirius. I had spent so much time in that house with Remus and Sirius. I felt like I lost the two of them. I sat on Remus’ bed and picked up the picture of us kissing outside of my apartment building. I started to cry, I felt so lost. I wished that Sirius was there; he always knew how to interpret Remus, and he’d yell at Remus and get him back on track.

I started wondering if maybe I was the one being thick. Remus was involved with another woman. He wasn’t sitting in a dark bedroom crying over a picture. I debated if he had any feelings for me at all. I was sniffling loudly when the door opened. Remus poked his head in. He looked surprised to see me there. I had a momentary spasm where I didn’t know what to do. I want to hug him, hit him, beg him to love me back. I compensated for my indecision by standing up and tripping over my shoelaces.

Remus caught me in his arms. For a brief moment, I felt like things could make sense again. “Nymphadora,” he started in a soft voice. I gazed up at him. Then, to my surprise and disgust there was a giant bite mark on his neck. I pulled myself out of his arms. I didn’t want another reminder of his frolicking with that Farah woman.

Remus looked a bit shocked when I tore myself away. His face hardened slightly when I snarled, “It’s Tonks, thank you.” In all honesty, I didn’t mind it when Remus called me Nymphadora. Most people emphasized nymph while Remus stressed Dora. I walked past Remus and headed towards the stairs. Remus started to follow me.

“You won’t even let me explain,” he said with an anguished look. “It wasn’t—”

“It wasn’t what? Meaningful? Important? You don’t need to explain yourself, Lupin. I get it you moved on quicker than I did.” I couldn’t believe how immature I was being. I had sworn that I’d never be a clingy person. I didn’t like my behavior, but it gushed out of me like venom out of a snake.

I left Remus there. He was blinking back tears. I felt a pang of guilt at the sight. The scene that night was repeated various times over the summer. We changed the venue from time to time, but it was always the same argument. Remus didn’t know that I cried myself to sleep almost every night, he didn’t know that even with all the anger and bitter feelings I still wanted him more than my next breath.

I went to my parent’s house in early August for my birthday. They liked spending my birthday with me and were especially anguish to see me before I left for Hogsmeade. I tried my best to be upbeat. Mum was looking a bit down too. “Dora,” Dad started slowly. “What’s happened between you and Remus?” he asked with a concerned look on his face. My lip quivered and I explained his indecision about us being together, telling them how he called things off after Sirius died. I left out the part with me walking in on him shagging another woman. I didn’t want to turn my parents against him as I still hoped for the impossible. My birthday was a dreary day. The only truly happy moment was when I got home that night. There was a card on my table. I recognized Remus’ handwriting. I grabbed the card and read it several times before setting it down. It was friendly, in a cordial way. Remus mentioned that he was leaving late August for his mission. He signed it, “With Love, Remus.” 

I started to pack my apartment. I wasn’t moving to Hogsmeade for good, but I’d be there until further notice. The Ministry was going to pay the rent for my flat until I returned. I had a hard time sifting through all my possessions. I realized that Remus had been in my life for a whole year, and my flat reflected his influence. I had quite a few more books than I had the previous year. I knitted and I had a few projects started. There were pictures of Remus and I up on the wall. Elvis and Freckles were always on my bed, and I had more marshmallows than one would think necessary for one house. Then I started a project. I wasn’t quite sure why I did it, or what made it seem like a good idea given the amount of fighting we did those days, but I made Remus a going away present. It wasn’t anything fancy, but I hoped he’d take it with him.

I braved a visit to Remus’ house to deliver his present. I knocked this time; at least he could ignore me if he didn’t want me there. Remus opened his door, giving me a weary look. He didn’t say anything by way of a greeting. “I wanted to say goodbye before you left,” I said in a meeker voice than he’d heard from me in a while. Remus moved out of the way and I walked in. His house was dark, it looked like he hadn’t cleaned it in a while. He scooted some books from the table and offered me some tea. “No thank you. I just wanted to give you this.” I pulled out a package; it was oddly shaped and lumpy. Remus took it and opened it slowly.

Out fell a pair of fingerless gloves. They had been difficult to make, but I was a somewhat accomplished knitter. Then a bag of marshmallows came out. Remus smiled; a piece of my cold heart melted at the sight. I had done some research on all-werewolf communities. Most of them lived as beggars during the month. I knew the marshmallows wouldn’t help with that, but the gloves would keep part of him warm. Remus looked at his gift as if it were made of gold. “I… this is…” It sounded like he had a frog stuck in his throat. “Thank you, Tonks.” I gave a small smile. I didn’t trust myself to speak.

“I can’t stay, I have to pack.” I turned to the door when Remus put a hand on my shoulder. I stopped, my heart beating faster. I took in a deep breath and faced him. His eyes were swimming with tears.

“You’ll always be special to me, even if we aren’t together.” I scowled at his words. I had been demoted from lover to friend to special. Next, I’d be a Christmas card acquaintance.

I managed a bleak smile and said, “You’ll always be my life, my love.” I left before my emotions got the better of me.

It would be melodramatic to say that my heart was shattered. However, it would be accurate to say that I didn’t think I’d ever put the pieces of my heart together on my own. I didn’t know what Hogsmeade held for me. I knew the details of my duty there. I’d have to share a flat with the other Aurors. I’d have my own room at least. I thought that I’d take the advice of many friends and try to bury my love for Remus. It pained me to even think of doing so, but I had to try.

A/N Thanks for reading! I love reviews. A big, huge thanks to my reviewers. Let me know if I balanced the relational idiocy, I didn't want to make one of them*the* stupid one.

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