AN: Written for the amazing and fabulous OHGinnyfan, on the occasion of her birthday. I love you, Susie!
This is a bit of a departure for me: It's Remus/Tonks (I've never written them before), it's written in present tense, it's a bit angsty in places, and it's written in reverse chronological order. It's also a series of 100-word drabbles, which, when taken together, tell the whole story.
BETA NOTE: Thanks so much for the lovely story, Aggiebell. It's truly wonderful, and I love you, too! *huggles* ~OGF
She's the last thing he sees.
It's mass confusion, and he knows it's his last day on this Earth. There's blood and gore, words of hate and flashes of light, and when he catches a glimpse of bright pink hair, his heart sinks. She’d said she'd stay at home, take care of Teddy, but she's here and she's fighting, and she's absolutely brilliant.
He whirls and a spell shoots from his wand, flashing red amidst the green, and he watches sees his target fall, then finds himself falling, the flash of pink lingering as his eyes close for the last time.
She stands, her lips thin and drawn painfully tight, as they argue. He has to go—there is no other option for him. But she… She can—she must—stay behind. He doesn't want his son to grow up like Harry did, never knowing either of his parents. If Teddy can't have them both, he can at least have her. The fact that staying home to protect Teddy keeps her safe, too, hasn't escaped his notice.
Even though she agrees to stay behind, he knows she'll follow him. It's who she is, and he wouldn't have her any other way.
Beautiful. Amazing. The words echo through his head, but he knows they'll never be enough. He cradles his newborn son in his arms and watches his wife sleep, her hair a wild combination of Gryffindor Red and Hufflepuff Yellow.
He stares at the miracle he’s holding—this child who was made from parts of the both of them, who has her chin and his forehead (and ears, he thinks)—and he can’t believe how lucky he is, how completely and utterly undeserving. He watches as Teddy’s eyes open and then change from blue to deep, vivid violet, and he laughs.
He doesn’t deserve her, and he knows it. He can’t believe he’d been so stupid, that it had taken Harry yelling at him to put his head back on straight. Harry’s emphatic insult—coward—echoes through his mind as he stands on the doorstep, his expression hangdog as she opens the door.
He can see Andromeda in the background, her expression forbidding and disapproving, and he knows he deserves her disgust. But he can’t help but hope, as he sees Tonks’ hair turn from drab, dull brown back to its vibrant pink, that maybe, somehow, it would all work out.
He leaves in the middle of the night, the house dark and silent, stopping only to drop a brief kiss on her forehead and leave a note on the kitchen table: Gone to help Harry. I'm sorry.
He knows leaving her is wrong, but he can't stay. It's dangerous to leave, but he thinks, maybe, it's more dangerous to remain. He tries not to think of her as he walks out the door.
He justifies it by saying he's doing it to protect her and their unborn child, that he'll return once Voldemort is dead. He knows it's a lie.
She places his hand against her belly and his own stomach drops to the floor before swooping to the sky. He knows now how James felt, the rush of exhilaration, the love for an as-yet-unmet person, the pure, unadulterated terror.
He can't be a father. He doesn't know how to do anything fathers have to, how to change a nappy or prepare a bottle. He'll be a horrible influence—how can he expect his child to follow the rules when he never did himself?
He's calmed by her hand in his and her lips placed gently on his cheek.
She's devil and angel, all wrapped into one body. He's entranced by her—her smile is beguiling, her eyes twinkling, her cheeks flushed, and he can't keep his hands from roaming. For one very brief moment, he wonders if she has him under some spell or she's used a love potion, but she's sultry and sexy and he finds he doesn't really care. He reaches for her, pulls her close, and damned if he's not going to have her, right here in the entryway.
They sink together and his blood sings as their flesh meets, their heartbeats aligning into one.
She wears combat boots to her wedding, and they make loud clomping noises as she walks towards him down the aisle. She's abandoned tradition completely and is wearing a bright purple dress (with matching hair). He grins when she gets close enough for him to see that her eyes match, too.
When she steps up beside him and takes his hand, he's overwhelmed by the emotions, his only regret: the absence of James, Sirius, and Harry.
They say their vows and the magic weaves them together, two lives becoming one with a few simple words that take his breath away.
She looks almost as surprised as he feels when the words leave his mouth. He hadn't meant to say them, not while they were sneaking a few moments away from the Order, in Grimmauld Place's dusty library …with Mad-Eye Moody and his eye on the other side of the door.
But he refuses to take them back, because he means them, and he looks her in the eye and waits anxiously for her answer. She's too good for him, too pretty, too young, too vibrant, but he's not letting her go.
He thinks 'yes' is the best word ever invented.
She walks with a bounce in her step as she leads him through Muggle London, hands clasped together. Her enthusiasm is infectious as they walk; she finds something interesting every place they go. She pulls him from shop to shop, grinning at the displays in the windows.
He thinks it's amusing that he, in his staid clothing with their conservative colours, is the one to draw attention with his appearance, while her bright hair and wild clothing don't even earn a second glance from most of the people they pass.
He doesn't mind; he's looking enough for all of them.
He can't believe she's brought the subject up here, now, with Dumbledore murdered by Snape and Bill mauled and the world gone mad.
She's persuasive, though, and now she has Fleur as an ally, which means, essentially, he has no hope in winning this argument.
Still, he has to make a token effort in order to save face, so he protests before he concedes the point. It's not a big loss to him, his pride, especially when he sees what he might gain instead.
He watches the colour return to her hair and thinks, maybe, he's made the right decision.
She's drab and dull—colourless—and he's never seen her this way. He knows it's his fault, but he can't stay with her.
He lays out all the reasons, calmly and logically, and she listens intently, her lips mouthing "bollocks" at every point he makes.
She's quite vocal when she disagrees with him, but he refuses to back down. He knows who's right and who's wrong, and it's easy in this case to see which is which.
He's dangerous, a beast, and she's beauty and light, and he's afraid he'll destroy her. He's afraid he might have already done so.
Spells flash and people around him are falling and his eyes are fixed on Harry when he sees her, her hair bright pink against the darkness in the room. He can't keep watching her—he wants to survive this fight, too—but he also can't stop watching her as she weaves her way between Death Eaters and Order Members, fighting to save schoolchildren who have no business being there in the first place.
His heart catches in his throat as he watches her go down, injured, but he can't go to her, not yet. He has to help Harry instead.
Sirius hasn't stopped taking the mickey out of him, and Remus is annoyed. He's sick and tired of the innuendo and waggling eyebrows Sirius shoots his way because yes, she's beautiful and fun, but he doesn't like her like that.
They're co-workers, that's all, acquaintances bound together in a common fight against evil and that's all they'll ever be. No matter that she's fascinating and funny and beautiful. He's too old, too tired, too worn down by the stresses of life as a werewolf to consider a relationship with her.
They're friends, and that's all they'll ever be.
He knows just how Harry feels. Nymphadora Tonks is more than a bit overwhelming in her calmest moments, and this most certainly is not one of her calmest moments. Tonks' hair cycles between magenta to turquoise as she looks around the too-neat house Harry is forced to live in. Remus almost laughs when she barges into Harry's room and emerges with white feathers stuck to her shirt, but he finds himself more and more impressed with her as the evening wears on. Despite her clumsiness, she's alert and aware as they fly Harry to the relative safety of Grimmauld Place.
The very first time he sees her, she falls into his lap and spills the pudding down his shirt. Sirius lets out a bark of laughter and Remus grins when the girl—Sirius' cousin, Nymphadora Tonks, he learns later—trips and falls flat on her arse when she's trying to extricate herself from the predicament in which she's landed herself.
He's surprised when he keeps finding his eyes drawn to her, but her laugh is infectious as she changes her nose to keep Ron, Ginny, and Hermione entertained while they eat.
He never thought he'd find a pig snout attractive.
A/N part 2: Many, many thanks to Sherylyn, Jayiin, and OHGinnyfan for their beta-reading skills. Stories like this are harder than normal to edit, because the word-count is so exact. Adding a word in one place means removing a word somewhere else, so I added an extra challenge into the whole beta-reading process.