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Epitaph of a Good Man by toomanycurls
Chapter 24 : Enigmatic At Best
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 24


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It didn’t take us long to get my possessions out of the flat in Hogsmeade. Savage was furious when I said I had been suspended. He wanted to storm into Robard’s office and give him a talking to. I told him not to bother; I didn’t want two Auror’s on the dole. I had quite a bit of money saved up from living in Hogsmeade for a year. Almost everything there was paid for by the Ministry. When we were ready to go, I shook Proudfoot’s hand saying it was nice to work with him for the year. Savage gave me a rib-cracking hug. “Take care of yourself,” he said looking at me with a piercing gaze and gave me a kiss on the cheek. He then turned to shake Remus’ hand. Looking at the two of them, I could tell they were still measuring up one another.

“Let’s go, Remus,” I said quietly. “Bye guys… take care of yourselves.” I left with one backwards glance into the flat. Proudfoot and Savage looked quite upset. I wondered why Dawlish hadn’t been back…possibly to avoid another clash between us. “Where should we go?” I asked in a tone that suggested we were headed out for a night of fun.

“How about your place?” Remus suggested. “I’d… I’d like it if you came to live with me. I realize my place is small… and I would understand if you wanted to keep—” I grinned and made to kiss Remus but I tripped over one my trunks landing face up in the mud. He helped me up with a benign smile. “I’ll take that as a yes to living together,” he said tentatively.

I shot him a look while brushing the mud off my robes. “Of course that’s a yes, I’ll live with you.” I grinned again. “I’d fly to the moon with you if you asked.” Remus smiled ruefully and said he’d meet me at my place. He disappeared with a pop and I turned to disapparate right away.

When we got to my flat, I couldn’t believe how dead it looked. I lit a fire and looked around. Most of my stuff had been boxed up the previous year. “I guess this will make it easier to move,” Remus said looking around at all the boxes. “We’ll have to consolidate…”

I smiled mischievously. “We could add on like the Weasleys did,” I suggested. “Cloaking spell to hide it from the muggles.” Remus looked pensive. I didn’t want to push it. “We can decide later,” I said softly. “I don’t think there’s anything here I need right away…” I looked at some of the labels on the boxes. “Anything you wanted to grab?” I asked looking at Remus.

He was looking around too. I wondered if he had forgotten something at my place and never returned to get it. I thought I saw him slip something in his pocket but he turned and said “Nope. We should get to my,” he blushed. “Our place.”

Our place. The phrase sent jitters through my stomach. He tapped my trunks with his wand to send them to our place. Remus looked oddly nervous. “Let’s go home,” I said quietly. We were at his place in a matter of moments. I made to open the door when he grabbed my hand to stop me.

I looked around wondering if there was something dangerous looming around the corner. “I want to carry you,” he said quietly. I cocked my head as if I hadn’t heard him quite right. Remus was blushing slightly. “If you don’t want me to…it’s alright. I’ve just always wanted to carry you over the threshold. It’s bad luck if you trip.”

Remus never struck me as the superstitious type. “Alright, you can carry me.” I was grinning as he picked me up. Remus managed to avoid hitting my head against the doorway, but he did trip when as my feet hit against the door. “Is it bad luck for the bloke to trip?” I teased as he kicked the door shut and carried me further in the house. I wondered when he was going to put me down. He headed towards the bedroom. Needless to say, I liked where we were headed.

He set me down on the bed and kissed me lovingly. I pulled him close to me; it had been too long since our last intimate rendezvous. It felt like I was rediscovering paradise. It hadn’t been the actions or physical touch that made it so unforgettable, it was Remus doing it which made the night one to remember. It was a number of hours before we fell asleep. We were both exhausted while we were cuddling and idly chatting.

We spent the next day running around getting our affairs in order. I went to get the ingredients for the wolfsbane potion. I had just enough time to make it before the full moon. Remus went to McGonagall and told her that I had been suspended and that we’d be living at his place. She was furious with the Ministry. Remus and I visited my parents that night. I hadn’t seen them since my birthday the previous year.

They were ecstatic to see me. Mum burst into tears and Dad hugged me for what felt like five minutes. “Get off me, I’ve only been gone for a while. Yell at the Ministry if you have a problem with it,” I said shaking them off. I looked at them feeling that they had changed quite a bit in a year. They looked quite a bit older than I remembered. They had us over for dinner that night. Remus asked Dad to go on a walk. I thought it was strange, but I was too busy catching up with Mum to give it much thought. She was eager to hear about my work with the Ministry. She was very taken aback to hear I had fought the Death Eaters the night Dumbledore died. It was “much too dangerous” for a young woman such as myself. Dad and Remus got back from their walk a bit before dinner was ready. Dad had a grin on his face; he said it was from seeing his daughter so happy. We managed to skirt around my suspension for the better part of the evening.

Dad was on his second glass of wine when he asked, “What does the Ministry have you doing now?” He looked as if he could not be any more proud of his daughter. His expression changed to one of cold fury when I said I had been suspended. “Wha… Why would they do that? You fought Death Eaters.” He looked to Remus as if expecting him to say ‘April Fools’. When no such indication came, Dad went into a rant about the Ministry. He finished with a blustery, “I’ll have to talk to Rufus about this.”

I looked at my plate; it was easier to tell some things to the mash potatoes. “He was the one that kicked me out,” I said in a low voice. He hadn’t given me the letter, but it was his signature on my suspension orders. Remus and I left a bit after that. My parents were in a persistent state of shock when we said our goodbyes.

A few days later, Remus shooed me away from our house for a few hours. He said he wanted to surprise me with something. I went over to the Weasley’s house to visit with Molly. She had been overjoyed to hear that Remus and I were doing so well. She mentioned that Arthur was trying to get me moved to his department. I smiled bleakly; I didn’t think the Ministry would ever re-extend employment to me. Then we turned to talk of Bill and Fleur’s wedding. It seemed that Bill would be recovered well enough for the wedding date. It was only three weeks away. After about three hours of chatting, I took my leave. I wanted to see what was so secretive that Remus had to kick me out.

I knocked before I entered. I knew I lived there, but I didn’t want to interrupt Remus’ surprise-making. Remus opened the door and pulled me inside. He kissed me tenderly and said he had dinner waiting. I raised an eyebrow. I didn’t see why making dinner warranted such secrecy.

Remus pulled out a chair for me to sit in. I sat down after planting a kiss on his cheek. He was smiling as he poured two glasses of wine. He brought in our dinner on two plates. The truth is I don’t remember what he cooked. I distinctly remember thinking it was something I’d never have the patience to cook. I gave him news from Molly while we ate. He thought that I had a chance getting a job under Arthur.  “What’s the occasion for all of this wonderful pleasantry?” I asked after he served crème brulée for dessert.

He didn’t answer, he just smiled at me mischievously and started talking about places we could get work. “Minerva made it sound like she wouldn’t mind having you on as D.A.D.A professor next year.” I nearly swallowed my tongue at his proclamation. “Or Transfiguration professor,” he said eyeing me with a smile.

I hadn’t thought about teaching before. I always thought I had been too much of a rule breaker to try to enforce rules. Then again, Remus had been quite a rule breaker himself but made a great professor. “Wouldn’t it make sense to have you as the Defense Professor?” I looked at him from over my glass. He smiled again without answering.

“I want to dance,” Remus announced standing up and stretching. I smiled standing up. “If you permit me,” Remus said with a bow. He extended his hand to mine and I took it gently. He led me into his small sitting room and with two flicks of his wand started a fire and a record player in the corner. The deep and mournful voice that came from the speaker stirred up a memory from another romantic night Remus and I had shared.

The familiar yet unknown lyrics floated in the air as we slowly danced. Remus held me close as our bodies moved together. “Remus?” I said without lifting my head from his chest. “What does this song mean?” He explained how the singer was comparing his addiction to horse racing with his attraction to women.

I looked at him with my eyebrows crunched together. It didn’t seem very romantic. “He says that it doesn’t matter how many times he loses her, he’ll always be back for more; she’s his addiction.” He pulled me close again and hummed along with the lyrics. “Tonks?” I let out a quiet ‘hmm?’ “I read something interesting today. I thought it might interest you,” He paused and I looked up at him. “They’ve named a new constellation.” My face must have shown the excitement I felt at those words. “Come on, I can show you.”

He led me out to the patio. Remus pointed up to the sky vaguely. “See?” I shook my head. “It’s called Pulchra Vita. I’ll draw some of the lines.” He took out his wand and drew a line in the sky connecting two of the distant stars. “See it yet?” I shook my head. I wondered who in their right mind would put two stars so far apart in one constellation. “I’ll draw a few more.” He said connecting some other stars together.

“Remus, are you sure this is a real constellation?” I asked skeptically. It looked like a bunch of random lines in the sky. He nodded and connected a few more. It could have been ‘Harry Te’ but that seemed like a strange constellation.

Remus saw the look of confusion on my face and laughed. “I’ll connect the dots for you.” With a few more flicks of his wand, the words ‘Marry Me’ formed in the sky.

My heart palpitated slightly. What kind of constellation was this? I turned to Remus to ask who on earth would make that into a star formation, but before I could even begin to form the words he was on a knee.

“Tonks, I planned on doing this last year… but you know I was a fool and fled when I should have stayed. I am here now and I’m here for good. Will you marry me?” Remus pulled out a small box that I had seen before. Images from the past year popped into my head. Dumbledore handing him a small box from Grimmauld Place after Sirius died…then the small item he slipped into his pocket at my flat; it made sense now.

I let out a squeal of, well, delight. “Of course I’ll marry you!” I flung my arms around him and trips at the same time. We landed with a thud. “That’s something you’ll have to get used to.” I laughed nervously.

We were both sprawled on the patio. Remus kissed my forehead and slipped a ring on my finger. “Don’t worry, I’ll learn to improvise.” As uncomfortable as the patio was, we stayed there under the stars for a good portion of the night snogging and occasionally noticing that there were stars.

I couldn’t quite get my mind around the idea of being Mrs. Lupin. Or maybe he’d be Mr. Tonks. I was giddy and uncharacteristically girlish about being engaged. I made a point of visiting Molly and casually used my left hand to grab a muffin from the table while she was watching. The speed with which she grabbed my hand equaled that of a Seeker hunting the Snitch. “Oh Tonks!” she let out. “When did he ask? I can’t believe it!” She was beside herself.

Unfortunately, Mum did not share the same sentiment. She thought we were rushing things. “I told Remus I thought it was a good idea,” Dad chimed in. He immediately regretted saying anything. We both turned on him. I asked, “How long did you know he was going to ask me?” While Mum yelled, “How could you agree to this?” He mumbled something about leaving a file at work and rushed off.

Mum was staring at me and at my ring with trepidation. “I know it’s not the best timing… but it’s what we want.” I looked at her trying my best puppy-eyes look. She kissed my forehead and said she was happy for me. We heard Dad at the window. His face had been pressed to it watching us the whole time. We burst into peals of laughter. He was a dope at times.

McGonagall visited us that week to offer the two of us jobs. When Remus and I announced that we were engaged she gave us a stern look. “About time you fool,” she said to Remus; her mouth twitched slightly. We accepted the jobs in a heartbeat. She did say that we were to be discreet about our relationship. The student population is not to know details of the professors’ social lives. I asked about the school reopening; Remus had been under the impression that it would not open that year. “Yes, that had been quite uncertain until yesterday. The school’s governors met and decided that it should remain open. Knowledge must continue to be passed on.” She smiled bleakly. “Tonks, I’ll leave you my lesson plans that I used for Transfiguration. I have no doubt you’ll make a great teacher, even with pink hair.”

Remus and I celebrated our new jobs at Hogwarts by cooking S’mores by the fire. “I never did thank you for the S’mores you sent me over Christmas,” he said quietly while piecing together a marshmallow, chocolate and graham cracker sandwich.

I smiled with a mouthful of chocolate and marshmallow. “Two of your favorite things.” I said after swallowing. I wondered if marriage would entail nights like that one, but I’d never find out.

Short-lived would be the best way to describe our blissful engagement. The night of the full moon, while we were in bed together, our house was broken into. We barely had time to reach for our wands when they had their wands on us. Dawlish and Fenrir, both looking livid, both … brothers in arm? They stepped in revealing that they were there with a couple of shaggy looking men. I recognized them from my trip to Leeds.

The only two people I could honestly say I hated being together with every intention of doing harm to Remus and I made me feel more terrified than I had felt in quite a while. Battling death eaters had been different. I was prepared, armed, and fully clothed. This was an intrusion into an intimate moment. Dawlish grabbed our wands and Fenrir threw a pair of trousers to Remus. “Get dressed, you traitor.” He said with a snarl. Remus gave my hand a squeeze before getting out of bed.

Remus hastily put his pants on. He seemed eager to comply. Remus kept shooting glances at the window. I thought I knew where his mind was. The moon would rise before too long; he didn’t want me with a group of werewolves then. Once Remus finished buttoning his trousers, Fenrir slammed him into the wall. “Did you think we wouldn’t notice you fought with the wrong side? Did you think I didn’t know you were one of,” He licked Remus’ neck grotesquely. “One of Dumbledore’s?”

Remus’ eyes glinted with trepidation. He glanced at me looking worried for my safety. I worried that he’d do or say something foolish, and he did. “Do what you want with me, but please… please spare her.” Remus’ eyes moved from person to person looking sympathy in their cold gazes.

Fenrir let out a harsh, putrid laugh. “Spare her? She is Dawlish’ prize. You see, he led us here in exchange for a… romantic night with your gal. Someone was foolish enough to use the fireplace here to go to Hogwarts while the Ministry was monitoring their fires.” My heart sank remembering the trip. “Dawlish had the location of the person sooner than a rabbit breeds.” Fenrir grabbed Remus by the back of his neck and drug him out of the room. Remus was yelling to no prevail.

Dawlish didn’t man an immediate move. He remained against the wall leering at me. “How long have you been a death eater?” I asked as if this were a sit down interview. He didn’t answer. “HOW LONG?” I shouted. “Were you planning on betraying Savage and Proudfoot too?” I stormed on. I hoped that I’d be able to goad him into doing something stupid. I was quite surprised he hadn’t started in on his ‘reward’ right away. He had been insinuating that he’d have me in a heartbeat for well over two years.

It took me hours of goading and taunting to break him, but sure enough, Dawlish raged towards me like an angry buffoon. I kicked him in the groin causing him to fall over. I grabbed my wand and petrified him then I muttered a binding spell to keep him secure. I got dressed, eager to go after Remus. Then I stopped realizing that he’d be with three full-fledged werewolves.

I paced the room for several minutes debating what I should do. It was nearly dawn, surely he’d be back to human by now. I raced out of our house not knowing where to start. I figured they’d be in a seedy part to of town, but that didn’t help narrow things down for me. I ran aimlessly screaming his name. He had to be somewhere nearby.

After what felt like hours of searching odd alleyways, I saw him. He was in a heap of garbage and wasn’t moving. I ran towards him dropping my wand near his body. I felt as if someone had sucked my soul out right then. I knelt down to his lifeless body. His face was mangled, his body cold to the touch. I pressed my lips to his; they did not move in response. I started to cry out his name in vain hope that his spirit would hear me and return to his body.

My vision became blurred and I had to leave. I couldn’t bear to see anymore. As I ran down the alley it was like his hoarse voice was haunting me. “Tonks.” It whispered. I screamed out an angry no and ran faster. I didn’t know how long or how far I ran. I didn’t remember anyone finding me or anything until I woke up sometime later in a room. My arms were tied down to the bed. 

****

Tonks struggled to get out of the bed she was tied to. The nurses feared that she would hurt herself in the state she was in. As she fell into a deep peaceful slumber she didn’t notice her breathing slow or her air passages stop; after all, no one knows it when they’re dying.

She did have a vivid dream before her last breath. It’s said that people see a sped up version of their past at this point of their death, but she dreamt of a future lost. She saw her wedding, children… growing old with her amante. She saw unlived memories and moments she never experienced.

This leads us to wonder if true lovers really do perish. Will their spirits find a way to connect in the beyond? Is there hope for Remus and Tonks? We can only speculate. 




A/N: I will continue this fic ... well... You might call it restarting the fic. How I killed my Lover;  or Why you  Should Never Love a Werewolf will be the sequel to this. That's where you'll learn the fate of our heroes.


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