Their bottle of mulled mead was half gone as well as their good cheer. The evening had started off well-enough for Remus and Sirius. They laughed at news, talked of recent events in the Order and discussed whether there was a counter jinx for a permanent sticking charm. The mood changed when Remus mentioned Tonks. Remus’ on-again/off-again relationship with Tonks caused more fights between the two friends than anything else in the 20 or so years they’d known each other.
“You’re the smartest damn fool I’ve ever known, Remus. Most men wait their entire broom-polishing life to meet a woman like Tonks.” Sirius said with a better edge to his voice.
“Sirius, we’ve been through this before.” Remus said tiredly. “Feelings aside, I can’t close my eyes and pretend that being a werewolf doesn’t matter.” Remus rubbed his forehead as if in pain. “You can’t possibly understand –“
“You’re afraid!” Sirius shouted. “What’s hard to understand about that? You’re so scared of losing her that you’d rather not have anything to lose at all. You’ve done this your whole life your entire life. First with James and me, then who knows how often when I was in Azkaban, and now with Tonks.” Sirius took another drink and surveyed Remus’ scowl. He could see the anger in his eyes and decided to push on. “This has nothing to do with the wolf… it’s just fear.”
Remus stood up, slamming his first to the table. “Are you hard of hearing or slow at learning?” Remus growled slightly as he spoke. “This has everything to do with the wolf! I could bite, harm or endanger her and then where would I be? She could get hurt and it would be my fault” Remus’ face now had a sorrowful expression of deep loss. “I love her and yet I can’t love her.”
“Do you think she’s a child?” Sirius didn’t wait for a response; Remus often said she was too young for him. “She’s in the Order, risking her life every bleeding day. Not to mention she’s an Auror which isn’t a job for the timid. I think she’s qualified to assess the risks. You love her and yet she’s stuck in limbo trying to gauge your blasted feelings for you. Grow a pair of bludgers and – “
Remus had his want out now. Sirius was quite surprised at his move. “Don’t presume to understand my choice or to tell me what I should do.” Remus said coldly. Clearing his throat he continued in a steady voice. “I understand that your prolonged isolation has its toll, but you need to find a better outlet for your energies than my personal life.” Remus pocketed his wand and headed toward the stairs. He paused before exiting the room and said “I’ll see you in the morning. Goodnight.”
Sirius stayed in his seat, feeling quite enraged by lacking the motivation to chase after his friend. Things would, of course, be clear between them in the morning -- all anger forgotten. Sirius hoped the words, however, would linger.