“Lupin!” growled Ted Tonks, “you’ve got some nerve showing your face here again!”
“Where’s Dora?” Lupin asked gently, he deserved this from Tonks’s father however he had come back to set things right again.
“She doesn’t want to see you!” said Ted fiercely, “she cried for days after you left! I will not have her in that state again!”
“You don’t understand. I wasn’t leaving Dora. I just had a few things that I needed to sort out,” Lupin replied pleading with Ted to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Ted had the doorway covered so there was no way Lupin could get in without resulting to force. But he had to see Tonks, he had to talk to her, to apologise for everything. He needed to sit down with her and explain. She needed to know why he felt the way he did and why he came back.
“You know, I just don’t understand you, Lupin. You love my daughter and she for some reason I can’t comprehend loves you, yet initially you refused to let her get close to you and you had her in a right state for months! She was moping around and had trouble with her metamorphosing! Then out of the blue, you decide to let her in and then the two of you rush off into your marriage. Then she tells you that she is going to have a baby and you run off and leave her once again in a right state! If you really care for my daughter, Lupin, you will have the decency to leave her alone! She has been hurt too much already!” shouted Ted with anger bubbling inside him. He would not let the werewolf hurt his daughter anymore.
“I won’t deny what I did and I am not proud of it but I was not abandoning Dora,” Lupin said firmly, “I could never do that. I love your daughter Ted, I love her with all my heart. I just had a few things I needed to do. That’s why I left. Now, may I please see her?” he asked politely.
Andromeda had now come into the hall to see what all the fuss was about. Her eyes landed on Lupin and she rounded on him.“You will not set foot in this house werewolf!” she roared viciously, “stay away from my daughter! How she could possibly have any feelings for you I don’t know!”
“Dromeda!” interrupted Ted, rather meekly, his angry demeanour softening. “He is her husband. We have no right not to let him see Dora.”
Lupin felt a huge rush of affection for Ted for this defence. He appreciated it more than he could let Ted know.
Andromeda suddenly turned to her husband, a little taken a back. Obviously, after his shouting match with Lupin several seconds before, she had expected him to back her up on this one.
“Nymphadora is upstairs Remus,” said Ted kindly, stepping aside and giving him a weak smile.
“Thank you,” said Lupin stepping into the hall and heading for the stairs.
Ted grabbed his arm. Lupin’s frame tensed, his hand etching for his wand so he could defend himself if Ted started duelling. Nevertheless, he left his wand in his pocket, and looked at Ted, slightly confused at this gesture. Why would Ted defend him and let him into the house only to attack him?
“If you hurt Dora again Remus,” Ted began seriously. “I swear I’ll make you regret it.”
Lupin nodded, meeting his father-in-law’s eye. “I won’t hurt her, Ted, I promise you,” he replied truthfully.
Ted released him. Lupin felt his whole frame relax. He continued up the stairs.
Andromeda looked at her husband, “Werewolves! More trouble than they’re worth! How in the name of Merlin could she love a creature like that?”
“He’s a good man, Dromeda. It’s just hard for him, being what he is. He has been shunned most of his life, an outcast living alone. And I know what it’s like having in-laws that disapprove of you and treat you with contempt,” he mumbled bashfully. “We have to give him a chance.”
He closed the front door, not looking at his wife.
“But he’s a werewolf! No parent wants their only daughter, his only child to marry a werewolf!” said Andromeda quietly so Tonks wouldn’t hear her upstairs.
“But she loves him and he loves her,” replied Ted, a smile creeping across his face now, “coincidently I remember your own mother and father disagreeing immensely to you marrying a Muggle-born by the name of Ted Tonks and we both know how that turned out.”
Andromeda smiled at her husband and followed him back into the sitting room. She had disobeyed Black family law when she had married him. Her family were disgusted because he was not a pure-blood; he was something they considered to be the worst thing in the world: a Muggle-born. But he had loved Andromeda and she loved him and at the end of the day that was all that mattered. It was the same with Remus and Nymphadora. It doesn’t matter that he’s a werewolf; all that matters is that he loves her. That’s what’s important.
Lupin climbed the stairs, leaving Ted and Andromeda to argue quietly in the hall. He was nervous. His stomach was squirming as though he had swallowed a barrel full of worms. What if Tonks didn’t want to see him anymore? What if he had broken her heart so badly that she wanted nothing to do with him?
He reached her bedroom door and tried to steady his trembling hands and hammering heart. Taking a deep breath, he knocked. There was no reply from inside. Lupin shivered suddenly and he did not know why. He could hear his heart pounding in his ears. With fumbling fingers he pulled down the handle and opened the door quietly.
“Dora?” he called into the darkness, his voice strangely high.
He still got no response. He opened the door fully, allowing the light from the landing to escape into the room. He looked around. Everything was more or less how he remembered it, except a little messier. The armchair in the corner was covered in Tonks’s T-shirts and jumpers. Her shoes were thrown haphazardly in the corner. Open books littered the floor, their corners dog-eared and folded. Plates of food were concealed by the other items thrown on the floor: photo albums, a stray hairbrush and copies of The Quibbler. Clearly, she had taken to moping in this room for days, not caring to tiny things away. He noticed that their wedding photo had been moved from the dressing table to the bed-side table. The two figures were smiling at each other, both beaming with happiness. Clearly Tonks had moved it so as to keep some part of him close to her.
He felt himself growing hot as guilt attacked his insides. He now saw plain and clear what affect his departure had had. He was determined never to do something like that again.
His gaze then fell on the photo on the other beside table. It was her favourite photo of him, taken two years ago. Three figures could be seen in it, Harry, Sirius and himself. It was Christmas Day back in Grimmauld Place. Lupin watched as Harry and Sirius seized opposite ends of a cracker and pulled. A large vulture topped hat exploded out of it and immediately Sirius placed it on his head and it turned his hair bright green. Lupin smiled as he watched himself and Harry nearly fall off their chairs laughing. She had purposely moved that photo too, so she could look at him no matter which side of the bed she was sleeping on.
The guilt intensified.
Summoning up the courage he possessed, Lupin turned his gaze to his sleeping wife, the blankets only half covering her, indicating that she had spent a lot of time tossing and turning before finally drifting off. She looked thinner and paler than she was when Lupin had seen her last. Dark trenches cradled her eyes and tear-tracks lined her cheeks. A lot can happen in a week.
Quietly, and carefully, he sat down at the end of the bed and watched her sleep. Her hair was mousy-brown instead of her favourite, bubble-gum pink and it was his fault. Her hand lay outside the covers, reaching out across the bed for a person that was not there. Lupin was suddenly overcome by an urge to take her hand, remembering how her touch had brought warmth to his veins after Sirius’s death. He decided to give into this urge, so he reached out and took her hand. It was smooth and warm, just has he had remembered. The feel of her hand in his meant more to him then she could ever know. He rubbed his thumb across the back of her hand, feeling the softness of her skin. She stirred.
“Remus?” she whispered, blinking at him.
“Yes, it’s me,” he replied quietly, staring into her hazel-brown eyes.
“Remus!” she said, a smile creeping across her face as she wrapped her arms around him. He could feel her warm tears cascading down onto his shoulder.
He wrapped his arms around her too. The sweet smell of her hair wafted around him.
“You came back,” she said quietly.
“Yes, I did,” he replied, his voice almost a whisper. He didn’t want to let her go. “You see Harry reminded me that I loved you Dora, and werewolf or not that’s all that ever truly mattered.”
“You’ve seen Harry? It he OK? What about Ron and Hermione?” she asked concerned, pulling away from his embrace so she could look him in the eyes.
“They’re all fine, perfectly safe. They are hiding out in Grimmauld Place, planning out how they are going to attempt the mission Dumbledore left them with,” Lupin explained, relief flooding him now. It was as though nothing had happened. Tonks still wanted to be with him, even after what he had done.
“Did you find out what the mission was?” she asked curiously.
“Yes and no,” Lupin answered, “but I do know this much, he has to complete this mission or else You-Know-Who cannot be killed.”
“How do you -” Tonks began.
“Dumbledore told Kingsley and me that much, before he died. Harry is the best hope we have, Dora. I have every faith in him. He will do it, he will end it all,” said Lupin pride swelling inside him now. He trusted Harry completely. He knew, just like Dumbledore had, that Harry would bring about the end of Voldemort.
“You have to go with him, Remus! He needs you,” said Tonks, her eyes burning at the thought of saying goodbye to him again.
“Harry is a great wizard and a great man, besides he has Ron and Hermione with him and there is nothing those three can’t do,” said Lupin firmly. He paused, thinking about how best to word what he was about to say. “No, I’ve come to realise that it is my own family that needs me most, not Harry. He’s not a child anymore. He doesn’t need adults looking out for him. No, Dora, my place is here, with you. I have to let Harry go, let him do what he has to do.”
As Lupin finished speaking, Tonks looked up at him, before wrapping her arms around him once more. “You’re a great man, Remus,” she whispered.
Lupin paused again. Tonks had the right to know the truth. “I owe you an explanation,” he said, finally looking into her heart shaped face. “There are a few things you need to understand, but the most important of which is that I love you Nymphadora Tonks. I have loved you ever since the first time you knocked over that old troll leg umbrella stand back at Grimmauld Place.”
“And I love you, Remus Lupin,” said Tonks taking his hand.
“You knew what I was and yet you still loved me,” Lupin began, “you see I so rarely find people who like me, for me, for the man I am. You only know half of how the world sees creatures like me.”
“People, sees people like you, Remus. You’re a person not an animal,” injected Tonks. Why does he always do that? Why does he always put himself down like that?
“When they know of my affliction, they can barely talk to me!” Lupin continued as if Tonks hadn’t said anything, “I have been shunned all my adult life! No one wants anything to do with creatures like me!”
“People!” interrupted Tonks again.
“It is impossible for me to get a job because of what I am! I went through most of my life without friends until I came to Hogwarts and met Sirius, James and…” Lupin paused remembering what Peter’s ‘friendship’ had cost them all, “…and Peter. I didn’t tell them about my condition because I was so afraid that they would desert me the moment they found out. I lied through my teeth to them, making up all sorts of excuses for my monthly disappearances. I hated lying to them, they had no idea how much their friendship meant to me and I hated myself for having to constantly lie to them."
Lupin exhaled deeply, and ran his fingers through his greying hair. “But they figured it out in our second year. I will never forget the day they came up to me and James said ‘Remus…you’re a werewolf, aren’t you?’ You have no idea how scared I was, Dora. I thought they would abandon me. I was only twelve and I had been happier than I had been in my life. I was at Hogwarts and I had friends, three great friends. I was so afraid that all that would vanish as quickly as it had come.”
Tonks looked up, her eyes swelling with pity for him. He didn’t like people pitying him. There were worse things, far worse things than what happened to him. Even still he felt odd, he couldn’t explain it really; he was just touched that she cared that deeply about him.
“But they did not leave me,” Lupin continued on, “they stayed by my side. The only thing they were angry with me about was the fact that I thought they would abandon me once they learned the truth. Sirius reminded me that friends stay together no matter what. But they pitied me and wanted to help so they became Animagi. I learnt a very important lesson that day about the strength of true friendship.”
Lupin paused for a moment. Even now some twenty odd years since then, he still felt guilty about betraying Dumbledore and about leading his friends into becoming Animagi illegally.
“I was young and reckless, we all were. We thought ourselves invincible, caught up in our own cleverness, the height of cool, the four marauders, Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs. But what we were doing was so dangerous! This was even before the Wolfsbane potion was invented. The three of them literally ran around Hogwarts with a fully-fledged monster! I could have bitten anyone! And there were near misses, many of them too, but we would laugh about them afterwards. We were young and reckless and all thoughts of betraying Dumbledore went out the window when we began planning next month’s adventure.”
“Remus, I won’t sit here and say that what you did wasn’t extremely dangerous but you were young and luckily enough, nothing bad ever happened, so you have to stop beating yourself up about it,” Tonks said kindly, smiling up at him. Finally he was letting her in, letting her share his pain.
“But you still don’t see what I am getting at, do you? When you told me you wanted to be with me, I knew you, just like Sirius, James and Peter, didn’t care what I was. But you see Dora, I was so afraid that I would hurt you and I couldn’t live with myself if I did that to you. I cared about you too much. But you insisted, just like Sirius, James and Peter, that I would not hurt you. But Sirius never showed you the scars I gave him, did he?”
“Scars? What scars? You never hurt Sirius!” said Tonks incredulously.
“You see, Sirius and James transformed into such large animals that they could keep a werewolf in check," Lupin explained with a deep sigh. "There were incidents where we stumbled across a witch or wizard unexpectedly. I could smell their flesh and the animal instincts took over. I wanted to attack, to bite. Sirius and James would pin me down, keeping me from my prey. But I needed to attack, to bite and they were preventing me from doing so and it was agonizing. Then when the human got away, I was angry. I fought them! I fought my friends! I couldn’t help it! I had no control over the monster inside me. Sirius and James had the scars for many years, the scars I gave them…” Lupin explained gravely, hating himself more and more when he thought about it.
“But that was a long time ago. Times have changed, the Wolfsbane potion for one thing,” Tonks assured him.
“But what if I forget to take it and turn into that horrible monster and hurt you?” said Lupin, the thought of such a thing haunting him.
“Because I know you Remus and you won’t forget,” replied Tonks
“But I did forget, the night Peter came back in Harry’s third year. I could have bitten him or any of them,” said Lupin, his expression unreadable.
“That was a special case. A lot happened that night, anyone would have forgotten,” added Tonks.
“But what if a lot is going on and I forget again?” asked Lupin, though he already knew what her answer would be. He had heard it so many times before.
“I trust you completely, Remus. I know you won’t forget,” smiled Tonks.
Lupin was relieved that they had reached an understanding and that she still wanted to be with him, but there was still more that she needed to understand.
“You see why I thought it was too dangerous for you to love me. I was afraid that I would hurt you. I loved you enough to know I had to let you go. Believe me, it was the hardest decision I ever made and it hurt me to do it. I loved you, I wanted to be with you, but I told myself that werewolves couldn’t have that. There were other reasons too. I did not want to make you an outcast like myself, shunned by normal society, always being alone.”
“But I won’t be alone!” piped up Tonks, “I have you and my parents, and the Weasleys and all of the Order and that’s all I’ll ever need!”
Lupin smiled. Even after all this she still wanted him and still loved him, and that meant more to him than she could possibly imagine.
“As I said, I cared about you too much to destroy your life like that. You deserved some one young and whole and I was just being selfish. Then Dumbledore died and this showed me how fragile life really is, how it’s a special gift and you should enjoy every moment of it because you don’t know how quickly things can change. I also realised that, by pushing you away, I was hurting you as much as I was hurting myself. And as I said before I care about you too much, and the last thing I ever wanted to do was hurt you.”
“You finally saw sense that day, Remus. You stopped being, to quote Molly Weasley ‘ridiculous’,” laughed Tonks. She was trying to reassure him, to bring him back out of a past that haunted him.
“Yes, that’s true. You have no idea how happy I was to finally have you, to hold you but then…” he broke off, this was the part that would be the most difficult to talk about as she did not already know about half the story.
“But then, what?” persisted Tonks.
“But then things started to go backwards when you told me that I as going to be a father.”
Silence descended on the room now, that awkward painful silence in which neither of them said anything for a few moments.
“You have to understand this, Dora. My kind doesn’t usually breed. I was convinced the child would be like me! I could never forgive myself when I knowingly risked passing on my condition to an innocent child! And I thought if, by some miracle, it was not like me, then it would be better off, a hundred times so, without a father of whom it must always be ashamed,” said Lupin finally, his voice trembling a little. Although, he had been able to explain all this a lot more calmly this time around.
“Remus,” Tonks said quietly, her eyes filling with tears. “Don’t say that – how could any child be ashamed of you?”
She sounded just like Hermione. Then Lupin winced as Harry’s voice echoed back to him:
“Oh, I don’t know Hermione, I’d be pretty ashamed of him!”
These words hurt Lupin more than any spell or curse ever could. Harry was ashamed of him.
He could no longer look at Tonks, he got up from the bed, turned away from her and stared at the wall, his eyes burning. He did not want her to see him like this, there was something frightening about being this vulnerable.
No one said anything for quite some time.
“Remus? Please tell me what’s wrong!” pleaded Tonks.
Lupin could hear the bed covers shifting and the sound of her bare feet against the floorboards as she walked towards him.
“Harry…” Lupin began, but he found it so hard to finish. Tonks stopped behind him.
“Harry said that…” Lupin tried again, but it was so difficult for the words to leave him.
“Harry…Harry said that…that he was ashamed of me…” Lupin’s eyes stung but he would not let the tears come. He had given up on crying a long time ago.
“Remus,” said Tonks gently. She took his hand and looked him directly in the eyes. It was very important the he understood this. “Remus, Harry didn’t mean that, trust me, he didn’t. Harry loves you, he looks up to you, the man who taught him how to fight Dementors, Remus Lupin, the master of patronuses, the last of his Dad’s best friends. Trust me on this one Remus, Harry could never be ashamed of you, no one could ever be ashamed of you.”
Lupin wrapped his arms around his wife as three tears trickled down his face. "I'm so sorry Dora, for everything."
"I know," she whispered, holding him tightly.
He was so lucky to have her. She made all his fears and worries just melt away. She reminded him that he was not a monster, that he was a man and that behind it all he was still himself, he was still Remus Lupin.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 11 The Bribe
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