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Chapter 12 : Constant Questioning
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Plus, it meant that I got to check out the new tea room in Diagon Alley, The Crescent Moon. Apparently it was very funky in there. Though Mum had told me that, so I wasn’t entirely sure whether her definition of funky was the same as mine.
I pushed open the purple leather door and felt the little spikes prickle under my skin as I touched it. As I walked in, I was overwhelmed by the scent of incense and sparkling glimmers beaming out from the multiple moons spinning from the ceiling. I rubbed at my eyes, trying to rid them from the tears which had welled up from all the sights and smells, when I caught a flick of blonde and red.
Seated in a little alcove beside a fireplace, the pair of them looked all romantic due to staring into one another’s eyes. Before, I would have found it sickening and would have made gagging noises at Bill, but now I just thought they looked sweet together.
“’Ello Tonks, I ‘ave not seen you in a long time,” Fleur cried out. “’Ow are ‘ou?”
“I’m good thanks, works just been really busy so I haven’t been able to see many people recently.” I slipped into the chair opposite them and smiled. “What have you two been up to then?”
“Fleur came to stay with the family over the summer so she could get to know them better due to a big event coming up in our lives,” Bill chimed in.
Wait. What event could it be? Was she pregnant? I had a swift glance down to her stomach and found it was still insanely flat so it couldn’t be that. Maybe they were getting a joint pet or something so it could be a trail run for a real baby? They were a similar age as me, and I knew I wouldn’t be ready for a baby for at least ten years, if not more, so that would be a good idea.
“What’s happening?” I asked tentatively. There I went with the cautious and careful approach again. Though it was considerably more boring, I had offended fewer people which was bound to be a good thing.
“We’re getting married!” they said in perfect synchronisation. Now, that was sickening, speaking at the same time. I mean, did they practice so they could say it on cue or something?
“Congratulations.” I beamed at them, trying to hide my prior annoyance. After all, they were adorable together. Now I felt as if I was going to throw up. I was sickened by myself for falling for all this lovey dovey stuff. It wasn’t right. It was too soon. Sirius was gone, Remus was gone. They were both gone, and here I was awing over the two of them.
That was my life now. A cycle of brief happiness and then the ever-lasting reminder. The reminder being happiness will no doubt be taken away from you at some point.
I didn’t know what to do. I forced a small smile onto my face while Fleur began talking.
“Zank ‘ou, zough eet is not until next summer. We zink eet is wise to wait so we ‘ave longer to get to know one another and to prepare for ze wedding.” Fleur rose after saying that. “If ‘ou will excuse me, I must go to ze toilet.”
Bill watched her departing figure before speaking up again. “That’s not the only reason. Mum’s not so keen on her for some reason, so I’m hoping that if we wait she’ll begin to like her.”
“What Molly Weasley doesn’t like someone? I thought that she smothered anyone who walked through the door with unconditional love and food?” I asked, outraged, forgetting my worries.
“Yeah I know, but I think she’s just not used to it yet. She’ll come round eventually, she always does.” Bill smirked. “How are you?”
I had been hearing this question far too many times ever since it happened, and I did not need it asked by Bill either. Maybe I should carry a placard round with me with ‘I’m fine, thank you for asking,’ on it so I needn’t have these repetitive conversations.
“I’m not going to answer that, because you can obviously tell that I am fine. If I wasn’t fine, I wouldn’t be here. I would be listening to the Hardcore Hairy Hags on Magical Metal FM or sobbing over Cauldron Classics.” To prove my point, I plastered a smile on my face and made my posture a hopefully more animated one.
“Yes, yes, what a great way to cover it up, Tonks, I know you're just pretending. Have you spoken to Remus lately?” Bill winked at me at that part.
I looked down at the ground with the mention of Remus. Ever since he had gone to live with the werewolves I tried not to think about him, it only hurt too much. Missing people was a lot worse than I anticipated it to be. I had been forced to deal with it far too many times these past few weeks, that it seemed as if it was the only feeling I ever felt.
“No, not for a few months. He’s on some secret mission for Dumbledore, so I probably won’t hear back from him for a while yet.”
“I’m sorry, Tonks,” Bill said softly. “I didn’t realise it was so hard for you at the moment.”
“Why does not talking to Remus for a few months automatically make it harder for me, Bill?” I hated people making assumptions about me. “It doesn’t affect my mental status in any way at all. I’m an independent woman who can function fine by herself. Just because old social positions of women defined us as being incapable without a man by our side, doesn’t mean I will fall into that trap.”
I glared at him and saw that he had a bemused expression on his face. I guess he didn’t really expect a feminist rant from me. I hadn’t really expected it either. Oh well, girl power for the win, I say.
“Keep your knickers on, Tonks!” Bill exclaimed. “All I meant to say was that it must be hard not having your friend around at the moment. Unless you’re implying that something else went on between the pair of you, I don’t really see where your sudden passion for feminist speeches came from.”
Images of me kissing Remus at Christmas, him kissing me on the beach, me thinking of him, him smiling at me flashed through my head. No, nothing else could be going on. It was normal, friendly behaviour. I had probably kissed Bill before. All those kisses were just friendly pecks, nothing out of place.
“No there’s nothing between us and there hasn’t been anything between. I don’t know what you were thinking of Remus.” Bill gave me a look as if to say that probably wasn’t completely true, but he often liked to doubt my judgement so I didn’t think too much of it. Fortunately, the arrival of Fleur from the bathroom managed to be a distraction for the pair of us.
“Shall we order? I am getting ‘ungry.” Fleur slipped into her seat and smiled at us. I couldn’t have been gladder at the moment that Bill had decided to marry her.
“Definitely,” I agreed. Food was always a comfort to me, and I needed a comfort now.
The rest of the coffee date went well with no mentions of my well-being or relationship concerning Remus being brought up. Once I got home, I decided to forget about the ever mounting piles of washing and letters to be answered and instead turned to sleep even if it was only late afternoon. The last thing being remembered was a cat and a piano singing a song together.
Suddenly, I felt black immerse my eyes before they were seized open. Blurred images of me tumbling down the stairs, being told Sirius was dead, the pain of my wounds, the pain of Sirius dying, the pain of Remus leaving enveloped me. I felt a circle trying to wedge itself up my throat while I tried to repress it and the tears which had begun to well up again.
I gingerly looked around my room, trying not to find another trigger of the memories. I didn’t even want to refer to them as memories, merely images. If they were referred to it as that perhaps they might not be real and just a figment of my imagination like the dream about cat and piano. Reality would be too harsh if that was true.
The sheets on my bed had been ripped off and lay in a crumbled pile on the floor. As I looked in the mirror my hair had turned a pale brown, and I saw tears encrusted around my eyes. I looked wonderful. At least, I could change the colour of my hair and hopefully that would improve my appearance as well as mood.
A nice bubble gum pink would serve me well for that purpose. I hadn’t had that colour ever since Sirius had gone, and this was the first time I had felt the urge to do so. I concentrated hard, thinking of that exact hue in my mind, but nothing happened. Nothing at all. I tried thinking of random other colours, blue, green, orange but my hair refused to turn to those too. I couldn’t even feel the soft tingle of my skull which appeared when the roots of the hairs changed colour.
At this point, I was willing to have anything change, even if it was having a wart on the end of my nose so I looked like a proper muggle witch. I wished and wished for that but nothing happened. I remained here with my colourless brown hair, pale skin and haggard face. It reminded me of Remus. The hair was like his fur in the wolfy form, the skin like the moon and the haggard face matched his after transformation. Like my patronus really. That thing never seemed to escape me.
The tears which had been welling up in my eyes fell freely from my eyes now. No one was here to comfort me. No Sirius. No Kingsley. No Remus. I didn’t want to worry my parents. I didn’t want to bother Molly. The only thing which kept me company was the soft knock at my door. Knock. Knock. A rap of the knuckles.
After two minutes of listening to that, I realised that there was someone on the other side to that door. A person. A rarely seen species to me now.
I hurried out of bed, deciding that I may as well prevent my hermit-like existence from taking over for one more day. I frantically rubbed at my eyes, hoping to appear vaguely normal in some way and opened the door to the one and only, Molly Weasley.
“Tonks! How are you, dear? Bill did say you were a bit down when he saw you earlier so I thought it would be best if I checked up on you and I’m glad that I did. We need to do a nifty clear up around here, imagine if Andromeda saw it! Let’s fix you some food too, you look starved.”
She pushed me into the living room and onto the sofa, managing to avoid the debris which had collected on it the past few days. I could hear knocking pots and pans around in the next room, wondering what on earth she had found to eat in my sparse fridge. I was aware of some wilted tomatoes and a loaf of bread, but I didn’t think much else was in there. I hadn’t really felt like eating in a while.
“Here you go, dear,” she said while handing me a bowl of steaming hot chicken soup. How was the only thing which was going through my mind.
“I thought it went against some Transfiguration law to make food appear out of thin air?” I asked, slurping the soup off of my spoon which earned a frown from Molly.
“It does, but I found a tin of it in your kitchen. Though I normally disagree with this type of tinned food, I could see that you needed feeding straight away. We can get some proper nutrition into you later on.” Molly really was like a second mum to me. Even if I had judged her a little too harshly about not liking Fleur, I took it all back now.
We sat in silence, me eating the rest of the soup and her looking at me as if she knew what I was going through. When I finally scrapped the remnants of it out of the bowl, she whipped it out of my hands and sent it into the kitchen.
“Tonks, something obviously isn’t right. Do you want to tell me about it?” she asked hesitantly.
I glanced down at the floor, not quite knowing how to phrase what I wanted to say. “You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to,” she continued.
“No, no, I do. I just don’t really know how to say it, that’s all.”
“Just say whatever comes into your head, and I’ll make sense of it. Raising as many children as I have means I’m practiced at it now.” She gave me a small smile which encouraged me along.
“I suppose it started ever since Sirius died. He told me that I shouldn’t fall, and I promised I wouldn’t. Even if he was only joking it still meant something. Then Bellatrix’s curse hit me and I did fall, meaning she went on to duel with him and he died. It was all my fault, all my fault. Then Remus thinks the four of them were cursed the way they all ended up, and he’s all confused and I can’t help him and he can’t help me because he’s on a mission, and no one seems to understand.”
Molly paused for a moment and looked down at her lap before replying. “You know, Tonks, if you were the first person to blame yourself for someone else dying I would be very surprised. I know it’s horrible to think like this, but some things happen and we can’t and could never prevent, so we simply learn to accept them. With Remus it’s a different matter, and I believe you two have your own issues to resolve with one another which I can’t help with.”
A sense of calm washed over me after hearing those words. I had heard different variations of them before, but it felt as if this was the first time I actually listened to them.
“Thanks, Molly,” I replied. “You really helped me.”
“You’re welcome, dear. I found myself in the same situation you’re in now when Fabian and Gideon, my brothers, died. I understand, though you think no one else can, and I want you to know that this guilt and pain does disappear eventually. You will always miss them, but you think of the happier times instead.” Her face grew wistful then, and it looked as if she might cry.
“I’ll remember that next time I feel like this. I know it’s silly of me to feel this way, but I can’t help it.”
She smiled weakly at me before standing up. “Let’s get you to bed, now. I’m sure you have a big day ahead of you, and we need to make sure you’re fighting fit. Bill only let me come here if I made sure you were alright by the end of it, so I have to stick to my side of the bargain.”
I rose gently from the sofa and allowed myself to be guided into the bedroom by Molly and into my bed. She wrapped my duvet over me and whispered good night before shuffling out of the room. I lay there for a few minutes, thinking of what she had said. It had helped a lot, and it had been silly not to think that no one else would understand me or how I was feeling. Hopefully thinking that would allow me to have a peaceful night for once.
Author's Note: I forgot to mention in my last one but a massive thank you needs to be said to vanityfair who has been far to generous with her reviews! I'm sorry Tonks is still suffering, but it would be strange if she wasn't. I hope you liked this chapter, as it was a strange experience writing sombre Tonks.
All reviews are greatly appreciated and each one is responded to, so if you left me that would be great! ♡
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