Remus was finally letting Tally talk to him.
At first, Tally thought he was ready to finally learn the truth behind her disappearance after graduation; but she quickly learned better.
Anytime she would open her mouth, Remus would look up from whatever he was doing at the time – because Tally found out her first week of staying with him that he was always
doing something – and send her a warning glance before going back to whatever he deemed more interesting than her because he knew what she was going to say.
Instead, Tally would ask about his day or if he had come across any decent flats that she would possibly be interested in.
Too bad Tally wasn't a skilled Legilimens though, otherwise she would have realized that Remus was avoiding looking at her not because he was a jerk, but because he was afraid that one penetrating look from her dark gray orbs would send him into a puddle of apologies. And Remus refused to apologize, firmly believing that it was her that had done wrong, not him.
Which is completely justified, of course,
Remus thought, flipping the page of The Daily Prophet as Tally say stiffly beside him. Tally could – no, should
– have written him, but in all those years she was gone he got not even one measly letter. After the first few months of silence, Remus had tried to talk himself into believing that she was dead, killed by an anonymous Death Eater, but the simple fact that his owl always returned empty handed kept that from happening.
He had gone as far as to contemplate self-harm what with James and Lily dead, Sirius a traitor and prisoner of Azkaban, and Peter blown to smithereens.
Oh how wrong I was…
Tally shifted uncomfortably on the couch when she noticed that Remus' eyes had stopped moving. After watching him stare at the same spot for about ten minutes, she just couldn't take it anymore.
"How was your day, Remus," she asked tentatively. Her hands were becoming restless and she kept squirming in her seat.
Remus shrugged, looking up at her shortly. "Boring," he mumbled.
"Could you be
any vaguer?" Tally was not only restless, but she was now exasperated as well.
Remus glanced up at her again, the corners of his mouth twitching at her behavior. But as he went to look back down, Tally swooped her head down and caught his eye.
Silver matched honey and the tension became tangible.
Tally was the first to look away. "Remus…" she whispered. She caught her bottom lip between her teeth and scuffed her shoes on the carpet. "Look, I think we need to ta—"
"No!" Remus shouted. Without looking at her, he stormed out the room.
Tally paced the length of her yellow room, hands clasped behind her back and brow furrowed. Her thoughts were zooming through her head making it impossible for her to grab a hold of one long enough to comprehend it.
Just as she made her one hundredth pivot, a small white rectangle on top of her dress caught her attention. Shuffling towards it, head cocked to the side, she was surprised to find that it was the business card that Mark Johnson, wizard lawyer extraordinaire, had given her the other day at work.
Nodding determinedly, Tally grabbed a spare piece of parchment and quill off her desk and set to work.
I don’t know if you remember me, but my name is Talia Merks
and I was your healer the other day at St. Mungos. And in case
you're still interested, I would love to accompany you to dinner.
It was short and simple, not to mention a little bland, but Tally didn't know what else to do. She never had much experience with men – back at Hogwarts, Remus and James had been a tad overprotective, and in France anytime she was with a man the whole experience felt off, almost as if she was betraying someone.
Mustn't think of stuff like that,
she told herself sternly, as a pang of sadness rippled through her at the thought of James.
Twenty minutes hadn't even gone by when she receive her reply.
Most women have that little black dress right? Well, Tally was different; her little black dress was purple. But, like all the other little black dresses, Tally only wore hers for special occasions.
Tally cocked her head to the side as she studied her reflection in the mirror. Her hair was down like it normally was, the dark purple of the dress brought out the silver in her eyes, and her legs looked lean in black high heels.
Nodding in satisfaction, Tally walked down the stairs.
"Hey, Tally, I think I've found the perfect place for yo—" Remus stopped short as Tally came into view, her hand clamped around the door knob. "Where are you going," he asked suspiciously. All thoughts of the ad for the flat completely left his mind.
Tally cleared her throat uncomfortably under Remus' curious and suspicious stare. He was making her feel like that quite often as of late. "I, uh… I have a date."
Remus stared at her for another short moment before turning around and dashing up the stairs. Tally dropped her head and stared at the ground below her. For reasons unknown to her, she felt really, really bad. She felt like she had somehow betrayed Remus.
Something sort of clicked
in the back of her mind as she realized what she was feeling (talk about déjà vu!), but her current confusion pushed it to the back of her mind.
The pipes creaked pulling Tally out of her thoughts. "Remus must be taking a shower…" she mumbled.
Squaring her shoulders, Tally slipped off her heels and made her way up the stairs the same way Remus had, totally forgetting that she had a date in ten minutes time.
Not even bothering to knock, she pushed open the bathroom door and slipped in. "Remus," she said curtly, jumping up on the counter.
"What the bloody hell are you doing?!" Remus poked his head out from behind the curtain. His hair was wet and still had soap in it making Tally giggled. Remus glared.
"I'm making you listen," she said simply.
"Go away, I'm busy." He disappeared behind the curtain once more, but Tally knew he wasn't moving.
"We need to talk," Remus tried to interrupt her like he usually did, but Tally had anticipated this and was able to cut him off. "No, Remus! You need to hear me out. I had my reasons for leaving."
Remus stuck his head out again. Glaring (If only looks could kill!), he practically growled. "Nothing you say can justify your actions."
"The hospital in France offered me an amazing deal. A paid internship! I got to study under some of the best healers alive! I—"
"You call those reasons?" Remus' disgusted was displayed openly on his scarred face. "Those are just pitiful excuses!"
"Remus," Tally cried, sliding off the counter and taking a step towards him. She couldn't take it anymore. "I was scared! James and Lily were in hiding, Peter was acting oddly, Death Eaters were everywhere… I was never brave like you! I couldn't handle it."
The tears the Tally had been holding back since her return finally spilled from her eyes. Cheeks flushed and hair on end, Tally stuck out a hand to touch Remus only to have him pull away.
Biting back hysteria, she leaned against the counter and closed her eyes. Why doesn't he understand,
she thought. I only did what I thought was best.
"You were my best friend, Tally," Remus' voice was soft and Tally had to strain her ears to hear him over the running water. "You were everything to me. When you left—when you left I was a wreck. I couldn't think straight, life seemed much darker than it ever had before.
"And then Lily and James… and Sirius and Peter… I didn't know what to do anymore. You would have been so ashamed if you saw me like that." Remus shook his head and disappeared for a moment to turn off the water. He stepped out of the tub with a light green towel around his waist. "Why didn't you write, Tally?"
If Tally wasn't so sad, she would have stared shamelessly. But alas…
"I don't know," she whispered, wiping at her eyes. Her hand came back covered in eyeliner. "I figured it would be easier if I just disappeared. I was so wrong."
Remus chuckled sadly. He too had tears running down his face, but it was hard to tell due to the water coming off his hair.
"I don't think I'll ever be able to forget what you did."
"Will you forgive me though?" Tally's hope was evident in her bloodshot eyes. Reaching up, she wiped away his tears, surprised that he didn't back away. Remus seemed surprised as well.
Remus grabbed Tally's small hand in his own. "I forgive you," he kissed the tips of her fingers. "Do you forgive me?" his voice was almost inaudible.
"I was never angry with you," Tally's tone matched that of the man in front of her.
Slowly, their faces grew closer until their noses were touching. "I love you," Remus said confidently, placing his lips on her own. He had never wanted anything more.
Tally wanted to marvel at how wonderfully their bodies fit together and how everything around them seemed to disappear, but the kiss was so amazing that her mind was fuzzy and incapable of thought.
"I love you too."