Chapter 20 : I tried.
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“I don’t believe you.” I said with my wand pressed to the man’s neck. For all I knew this bloke was a death eater looking for information on Remus. “What’s your name?” I asked keeping my voice at a growl.
“My name is John Thomas.” I held back a snigger. What kind of idiot would name their son John Thomas? He let out a sigh. “My parents were American.” He said in a disgruntled voice. “John Thomas Whitmore, at your service.” He said throwing a glance at me from over his shoulder. I wasn’t amused. It must have shown because he continued talking. “Lupin said he liked the S’mores you sent him for Christmas. ‘It was an awfully muggle thing to do.’ Is what he said.”
I scoffed loudly. He could have been spying on Remus or come across that information from another source. “He said he misses Freckles!” the bloke said feeling my wand push deeper into his neck. That was something that caught my attention. I was glad Whitmore couldn’t see my face; it made it easier to feign disbelief.
“What the bloody hell are you on about?” I spat. I knew exactly what he meant and I yearned to believe that he knew Remus, but I couldn’t risk it. “And why would Lupin send you to me?” I kept a firm grip on the man’s shirt; I hoped that he wouldn’t work out I was a good five inches shorter than him.
“He didn’t send me. He’s been a bit more heartbroken than usual since Christmas. He told me the other night that you were seeing someone else.” I laughed coldly. Remus had been with someone else right after we split. “I thought I could come and see if it was true.”
“Why would you bother? There’s nothing in it for you,” I said coldly. I was sure that I’d get him with that one.
“Be…because Lupin has been my friend for over a year. I met him at St. Mungo’s after I was bitten. He was visiting a redheaded bloke. You visited him too. On Christmas Remus came by my bed; he was encouraging, but we lost touch after that. I lost my job, lost my family, all gone. So, I went to live in a werewolf community in Leeds. I was surprised to see Lupin there. He seemed so together last Christmas.” My mind was racing. Remus had mentioned meeting a newly bitten werewolf at St. Mungo’s… but he never said his name
“How would coming here help Remus?” I asked with a sharp voice. I was starting to believe the man, even if it was against my better judgment.
“I came here for you. I had to tell you that he loves you; he lives for you. He goes from day to day, night to night thinking of your love. After he saw you with that man, he lost some of his hope.” It took me a few moments to notice, but I had tears starting to fall down my face.
“When you see him again, tell him he has no reason to lose hope,” I said hoping that my message was enigmatic enough. Without waiting for a response, I backed away and disapparted.
Once safe in my bedroom, I changed into my pajamas and cried softly into my pillow. I couldn’t believe he was still torn up like that. I had been so mean to him when I saw him over the holidays… then again, he had been cruel to me in his own way. My door opened quietly. I grabbed my wand, ready to attack. I lowered it when I saw who it was. Savage was poking his head in.
He came in and sat on the edge of my bed. “Another hard night?” he asked in a low voice. I nodded stupidly. “Do you want me to go away?” he asked tentatively. I shook my head. I scooted over. Looking slightly apprehensive, Savage sat on the bed next to me. “Do you want to talk about it?” he asked quietly. I shook my head again. He was stroking my head in an attempt to sooth me. Savage started to talk about Quidditch; he was good at starting idle conversations.
My tears stopped a bit after Savage started on the Tornados. Having someone there to talk to helped, even if we talked about Quidditch teams. Sure, I wasn’t able to process my feelings about the new information, but I didn’t have to face the night alone. Before falling asleep I whispered, “Thank you, Brad.”
I had to fight the urge to run off to Leeds to find Remus. I knew it’d get him in trouble and possibly get him hurt. I wanted to see him more than ever. Savage stepped up as a really good friend after that night. We spent quite a bit of time together. We didn’t do anything physical; I had a feeling he didn’t want to go down that road twice. He would come into my room when I cried myself to sleep and stay the night with me. He accepted that I was going through a bit of heartbreak and needed the comfort.
Another form of comfort came in the first part of March. I was in Honeydukes buying myself a bar of chocolate. I needed something to lift my spirits, when a familiar voice said, “You’ll get love-handles if you eat too much of that.” I put my hands on my hips and turned to see Charlie Weasley grinning at me.
I smacked his arm, it felt was nice and muscular. “Well it’ll give you something to hold grab a hold of,” I said jokingly. Charlie kissed the top of my head in a very friendly manner. He and I hadn’t been together in a few years. We were, if anything, friends, who happened to have been more invovled at one point. “What brings you up this way?” I asked. “Not going to try your luck with Rosmerta again, are you?” Charlie rolled his eyes. I hadn’t stopped teasing him about his Rosmerta fixation since our 5th year. I caught him ogling the Three Broomsticks poster more than was considered normal. “She’s losing her touch, actually.” I mused. She had been a bit off lately.
Charlie was grinning at me until a serious expression stole over his face. “Actually, I’m here to see Ron; he was poisoned at school... they said he could have died” Charlie looked grim. I heard that Ron had been taken ill from of Slugghorn’s mulled mead. “He’s on the mend, but I thought a visit would be nice.”
I raised an eyebrow. “You know he’s not being held in the cellar; I don’t think they permit that here anymore.” I smirked at my friend. Charlie and I had once found our way to the downstairs section of the store and fandoogled for a while.
“Perhaps I also wanted to see a dear old friend of mine whilst in town,” he said looking around. “It seems she’s not here though.” I stomped my foot impatiently. He was quite insufferable at times. “I guess I could settle for you.”
We left Honeydukes and went to the Three Broomsticks. Charlie raised my spirits a lot more than a bar of chocolate could have. He and I reminisced about our school days together. We had been in separate houses, but we managed to see a lot of one another through quidditch and shared classes. We had been there for quite some time when he finally said, “I’ve heard you’re smitten by one Remus J. Lupin.” His voice was conversational, but I had a feeling he had really come to see me about this.
I took a sip of my drink. “So what if I am?” I asked. I wondered which of his family members told him about it. The only ones who didn’t know, well, as far as I knew, were Ron and Ginny. But I wouldn’t be surprised if they had family meetings to share gossip; the family held little to no secrets.
Charlie shrugged. “It doesn’t seem like you to get so bent out of shape over a man. Even one as alluring as Lupin.” Charlie was smirking again. “I’d expect you to follow a guy you wanted till he gave in or you gave up.”
I was looking at my glass critically. “Well, I’ve considered the Imperius curse.” Charlie laughed. “I’m sure he still loves me, if I can trust John Thomas.”
Charlie gagged on his drink laughing. “You’re going to use his wank to determine if he loves you?” His glass was shaking slightly from laughing. “I know you did a blonde phase, Tonks, I didn’t think it stuck that bad.”
I gave him a sharp look. “I’m not measuring his love by his wank, you dolt.” I tried not to laugh, it was quite funny. “This bloke named John Thomas Whitmore claimed to be his friend and said that he still loved me, deeply.” Charlie’s face hardened as he listened intently to my retelling of that odd night from the previous month. “I know it seems foolish, but I believe the bloke. I didn’t see anything he could have gained from doing what he did.”
Charlie was chewing the inside of his lip; a clear sign that he was thinking. “I’ll have to ask Dad if he remembers that guy’s name.” Was the first thing Charlie out of his mouth when he spoke again. He thought for a few more moments then suggested I go see him.
“Are you nuts? I can’t run off to Leeds. What if someone recognizes me as an Auror? I could get him killed.” That’s what I had been telling myself since I learned his location. I couldn’t confront my lover for fear of his safety. Telling myself that made me not have to examine the fear and trepidation I felt about talking to him.
Charlie coughed loudly, as if drawing attention to an obvious point. “One of us happens to be a skilled Auror and quite capable of using the art of disguise.” Charlie knew about that all too well. I only did it a few times, but it sent me into peals of laughter when I changed my face into people like McGonagall when we snogged. It seriously freaked him out. “Even if you’re not up to par with your metamorphagus skills, you’re wonderful with transfiguration, charms, and potions. I’m sure you could think of something.” I thought about Charlie’s advice while idly picking at the cuff of my robes. “I hear that there’s a lot of prostitution in Leeds.” I raised my eyebrows. I didn’t think of Charlie as the type of man who would have to pay for physical attention. “It’s not uncommon for werewolves to hang out in prostitute areas…and, if you needed help choosing your clothes...”
He looked smug. He knew I was horrible at dressing provocatively. I like long sleeved shirts and leggings. I bought twenty shirts with thumbholes when they were popular. “I think I can work that part out myself, thanks,” I said with a bite to my voice. I had a vague idea. It almost seemed like I could pull off a visit to Remus. His birthday was approaching too. “Weren’t you going to visit Ron today?” I asked raising an eyebrow.
Charlie looked at his watch. “Oh yeah I should go then.” We both got up and I walked out of the bar with him. I gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Charlie walked past Savage as he was walking away. They had a brief exchange before Savage headed towards me.
“Another ex of yours?” he asked raising an eyebrow. “At least all the men you chase aren’t graying.” If I wasn’t quite mistaken, Savage was checking out Charlie’s bum. I didn’t say anything but headed back to the flat.
I went to Leeds the day before Remus’ birthday. I doubled checked a lunar calendar to make sure it wasn’t right after a full moon. I was in luck; it was a week and a half before his time of the month. I heeded Charlie’s advice and wore something seductive. I had a little red dress that I didn’t really wear that often, a black pair of tights, a leather jacket that had been Sirius’ and a pair of leather high heeled boots. I was apprehensive about going until I got a note from Charlie saying he confirmed the bloke’s name with Author.
I had a story cooked up. I knew I’d have to ask around for Remus. I was going to say he owed me money- a lot of money. I figured that a couple hundred galleons was enough to get someone followed to Leeds. I walked around the poor neighborhoods in Leeds. I didn’t realize how large ‘the outskirts’ of the city were. I ran into one bloke who said he knew a Lupin, but didn’t know if it was the same Lupin I was looking for. He only agreed to help after I said I’d pay him five galleons if Lupin paid me.
I gave him a mean look and said, “He talks about everything, a damn sentimental man. Tries to be your friend but won’t let you get close to him,” I sneered as if such gestures were lost to me. The guy shrugged and said it sounded like the Lupin he knew. He pointed me in the right direction. I walked in that direction, eyeing people with a nasty gaze. When I found Remus he was seated on a knee-height brick wall leaning against a building. He was looking in another direction. I walked up to him with more stealth than I normally pulled off.
“Wotcher, stranger,” I said in a low purr. I was swaying my hips as I walked towards him. He turned his head slowly towards me.
Remus’ face remained passive as he looked at me, but his eyes lit up dangerously. His gaze started at my boots and worked their way slowly up my outfit. “Did you raid someone else’s wardrobe this morning?” He asked mildly. “Or should I expect to always see you like this?” He had a twisted smile on his face. Remus dropped his voice, “What are you doing here?”
“I came to settle our debt,” I said in a loud voice. I sat down next to him and said in a lower voice. “I had to see you. I had to explain—”
Remus shook his head. “You don’t have to explain yourself to me. I understand; you were able to move on. I’m,” He took a deep breath, “I’m happy for you.” My eyes filled with tears. Remus glanced around and said in a louder voice. “Maybe you’d like it if we settled this elsewhere?” he got up and led me down a deserted alley and into a utility room for a building.
I cast a silencing charm on the room just to be safe. “I’m not over you, Remus. I’m not dating anyone else. I was a prat on New Year’s. I was out with a friend and… and when I saw you I thought you only wanted me because you were a horny bugger.”
Remus raised his eyebrows. “What made you think otherwise?” His tone of voice made me think that maybe that was the only reason he wanted me.
“I… I ran into an unfortunate friend of yours. The idiot tried to follow me and I forced some information out of him,” I said feeling Remus give me an exasperated look.
“You shouldn’t have listened to John Thomas,” he said flatly. “I found this poem the other day.” I furrowed my brow; that seemed like an odd subject change. He pulled out a crumpled piece of paper and read, “Tonight I can write the saddest lines, Write for example, ‘the night is shattered and the blue stars shiver in the distance. I loved her and sometimes she loved me too.” I made to stop him, I didn’t see where this was going, but he went on.
”Through nights like this one I held her in my arms. I kissed her again and again under the endless sky. She loved me, sometimes I loved her too. How could one not have loved her great still eyes,” Remus paused a moment, sighing. It took him a moment to continue. His voice started to quaver when he got to, “What does it matter that my love could not keep her. The night is shattered and she is not with me.” There were tears streaming down his cheeks as he read, “Another’s. She will be another’s. I no longer love her, that’s certain, but maybe I love her. Love is short.” Remus’ voice cracked again. “Forgetting is so long. Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms my soul is not satisfied it has lost her.”
I stood there in a few moments stunned silence, taking in the meaning of the poem. Did he not love me anymore? Was he convinced that I was another’s? I thought the poem had some hope in it; did he also have some hope for us?
I started to cry. “What are you saying? That I should move on? I’ve tried, Remus. I have. I tried to be with other men, it doesn’t work. I keep thinking of you. I tried hating you for being with Farah, but filling myself with hate only made me realize there was no void your love could not fill. I tried forcing myself to be with others, but I still cry out your name in the darkness of my room!” My voice was raised and my eyes were closed in anguish.
I stopped a moment to breath. “I can’t move on. Reading me a poem about another man who was able to move on from his love won’t make me stop loving you. I’ve tried.” I broke into sobs repeating that I tried. Remus pulled me into a hug. His hand found its way to the back of my head, where it stroked my hair. I sobbed into his shoulder for a few minutes, then I said, “My soul isn’t convinced that it’s lost you… I can’t lose you.”
I looked up into his sad eyes and nuzzled him gently. “Shh, it’s alright,” he said in a low voice. I stifled a sob. It was odd how the world made sense to me while I was in his arms. The momentary burst of comfort and happiness in my otherwise dreary life made me feel at peace for the first time in a long while. I closed my eyes as if willing the moment to burn itself into eternity. Remus was speaking gently to me, his voice barely above a whisper. In his stream of consoling words I thought I heard, “I love you, Tonks.” I felt complete for the first and last time in months.
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