"You know I love you." Tonks protested. "I'm not ashamed of that. I'll march right into the kitchen and tell Sirius."
"Tonks, Tonks, it's not that easy." Remus tried to explain.
"Are you ashamed of me? Are you scared of what people might say about you and a purple hair Auror?" she demanded. "I can change that, you know. What color do you fancy?"
Remus pulled her close to him. "It's not your hair, love. Keep it whatever color you'd fancy. It what people would say about the purple haired Auror and a werewolf."
"Pfft. They don't know you like I do." Tonks lay her purple head on his shoulder.
"Not to mention, I'm much older then you are, I don't have anything to offer you, I have no money,"
She broke into his pitiful lituny, "I don't care, I don't care, I don't care. And I have a job." she pointed out. "You too proud to live off my salary til you can find something?"
"Dora, it's not that. It's that I can never hold a job for very long before people realize what I am." He was frustrated he couldn't get her to understand. It was breaking his own heart to push her away like he was, but it'd be asking too much of her, and she just didn't realize what it would mean to be connected to a werewolf.
"You keep coming up with excuses, Remus Lupin. You love me, you've as much as told me this, but you're not willing to make this work? Why?"
He sank into a nearby chair. "I'd like nothing more." he was completely honest about that. "It just can't. You don't understand what it would do to you, to your family, to be with me."
"Remus." she came to sit on the floor in front of him. "Remus, I'm not afraid of what others will say. I'm not afraid of you either. You'd never hurt me."
"But I am afraid of what they might do to you. They might take your job away, they might go after your parents, they might go after you."
"Who's they?" she asked.
"Anyone with a brain who is afraid of werewolves." he sighed. That should be her, but she wasn't listening as was typical of Tonks.
"So I'm stupid then, for falling in love with you?" she looked up at him.
"No, Dora, never. I have never been happier then when I'm with you."
"Then what's the real reason?"
"You're blinded by the man you see in front of you. I'm a werewolf every full moon. That could put you in terrible danger." Tonks tried to protest and he stopped her. "Physical danger, Dora. I have little control over what I do during those times, even with the wolfsbane. I cannot put you in that danger. It would literally kill me if I came out of the transformation and found I'd hurt you or worse."
"Remus." she was quiet, not looking at him. "I know you. You'd never purposely hurt me or anyone else. You won't let me see you as a werewolf, but I'm not afraid of you then either. "
"You should be." Remus knew she didn't fully comprehend what it would mean to be together. It was one thing to have doors slammed on him, to lose job after job, to live on the outskirts of the wizarding world because he had no choice but Tonks did, and he could, never would, ask it of her.
"I. Dont. Care." she exclaimed, again. "I'll tell you that over and over until you believe it because it's true."
"I can't ask this of you, I won't. You need to get over me, move on, find someone whole and young, that you can have a future with." It was breaking Remus to say the words, but they had to be said. He knew that they'd hit their mark when Tonks sprung to her feet, hair suddenly flaming pinkish red. "You're just not seeing how this can't work. Here, within the Order, we're safe, but out there? In the real world? It won't be accepted, Nymphadora."
"You're not seeing how this can work." she hissed and stomped out of the library, slamming the door behind her.
Sirius had heard the arguing and then the door slamming. Wisely, he stayed in the kitchen for a few minutes more before going in to talk some sense into Remus.
Remus was still sitting in the chair before the library's large fireplace, head in his hands, right where Tonks had left him.
"So, did my cousin break your heart or did you break hers? Because if it's the latter, I believe I'm duty bound to defend her honor or something." Sirius stood in the doorway.
"Tonks can defend her own honor quite well." Remus' voice was muffled from within his hands.
"That she can and she might just kick my arse if I tried to defend her." Sirius strolled into the room, taking Tonks' empty chair. "So, you broke her heart then. That was pretty stupid. Here you are, with a perfectly nice girl wanting you and you shove her away."
"The perfectly nice girl needs to find someone not a werewolf."
"I believe she is aware of your monthly tendencies. Clearly, that did not scare her away. I don't think much actually scares Tonks. Even as a child, she was fearless." Sirius barely knew his cousin, but from what he remembered of her as a little girl, she'd been something of a hellion.
"It should." Remus didn't look at Sirius.
"Well, that's ridiculous. When was the last time you had a pretty girl interested in you?"
"She's too young, I'm too old, I have no job, and oh, did I mention the werewolf thing?" Remus countered.
"All excuses. And not good ones, mate. She's aware of all those things and they don't bother her, so why do they bother you? And who are you calling old? I believe we are the same age, and I'm certainly not old." Sirius didn't budge. He was on Tonks' side of this argument.
"And would you go out with Tonks?"
"Well, now, she's my cousin so a tad awkward it would be. But someone her age, mate, why not? She's not that much younger then you, it's not like she had been one of your Dark Arts students."
"She was eight the last time the Order banded together." Remus pointed out. "We were grown men."
"At that time, it would have been most inappropriate, yes. But she's no longer eight. And she's an Auror, which is a job with great responsiblity and respect in the wizarding world. She may be younger then you, Moony, but it doesn't matter to her and it shouldn't to you. As for the money, she doesn't need your money. I did mention she had a respectable job, yes?" Remus was the calm voice in the storm raging in Remus' head.
Remus leaned back in the chair, facing Sirius. "The biggest point of all, the one even you cannot defend, is the fact I'm a werewolf."
Sirius faced him back. "Tonks knows that. Even if you won't let her see the transformation."
"I can't be trusted when I'm changed. I could hurt her or worse and never even know." he countered.
"That's what the wolfsbane is for, so you don't hurt anyone or yourself. You know this. Tonks knows this. Tonks could probably make it for you herself if you let her, she's quite good at healing potions. " Privately, Sirius thought it'd be better if Remus did let her be involved in the monthly transformation, it might even help keep Remus the werewolf calm. Now was not the time to add that tidbit to the argument.
Remus groaned. As Marauders, he'd been the level headed one too often led astray by the others. He didn't feel anything had changed in that was not being persuaded by the logical arguments anymore then Tonks had been. "I cannot allow her to be attached to me. Do you know what that could do to her? To her family? Possibly that respectable job?"
"As I heard at least some of the argument, I know how she feels about that. You need to stop being so bullheaded about it. Just let things go as they will. You might find you're both much happier together." Sirius was sure this relationship could work, if Remus would just let it.
Remus dragged himself up the stairs. He knew Tonks hadn't left Grimmauld Place, she'd left her bag and Ministry paperwork in the library. When she stayed at headquarters, Tonks always took the same bedroom on the second story, as he was well aware.
Bracing himself, he raised his hand to knock on the door. There was no answer. Briefly he wondered if maybe she had left after all. Gone home, wherever her home was, he realized he didn't actually know where she lived. He was thinking about knocking again when the door swung open.
"Wotcher, Remus." Her hair had returned to it's usual purple but the usual exhilaration was gone from her voice. She didn't look him in the eyes.
He cleared his throat and suddenly realized he had no idea what to say or why he was standing in front of her now. "I, uh, I, uh." he stammered, mentally kicking himself.
Tonks raised an eyebrow. "Did you come to your senses?"
"That, that would depend on what you mean by that." Remus stuttered again, feeling like a twelve year old boy desperate to ask his crush on a date.
"You know very well what I mean."
He did. "Do you think we might continue this conversation somewhere other then the hallway?" he asked, aware Sirius was probably listening from the bottom of the stairs. Some things never changed.
She sighed and hesitated a moment before opening the door further to let him in. The room, once dark and dreary as most of Grimmauld Place had been somewhat transformed during her stays into a brightly colored cheerful room that Remus would've instantly picked as her room even if she hadn't been standing in it. "I don't want to hear more of your excuses if that's what you're here for. I've heard enough of those for one night." she told him.
"No more excuses, Dora." he very much wanted to pull her into his arms and never let go, but he didn't. He tried to remember what he wanted to say instead. He perched on one corner of the colorful bed, there wasn't much room due to pillows and odd looking animals.
Tonks glared at him and took a seat across the room.
Remus inwardly winced. She was really mad at him and the thought was a bit terrifying. Squashing that, he leaned forward. He took a deep breath, couldn't remember the speech he'd come up with on the too short of a walk up the stairs, and just blurted out, "I love you."
She continued to glare at him.
"I do, I really do. I have nothing to offer you, except myself and that's not much. I just don't know you understand what its going to mean. Here, we're safe. Out there, not so much. People are going to talk, this isn't a safe time as it is and you and me? That's not a safe relationship. I don't want you to get hurt. It's a hopelessly doomed relationship."
"Says who?" Tonks asked, softly, leaning forward towards him. "I'm not asking anyone's permission, I don't care what other people think. It doesn't matter what they think."
"It'll matter more then you know." Remus knew too well what people said and thought about werewolves. "I love you, but I'm not the one you were meant to find, you need someone safe."
"You don't get to decide that. I chose you. Let people say or think what they want, what they think doesn't matter. What happens between you and me, well, that's between you and me." Tonks wasn't backing down, not that he had truly expected her to.
Remus was silent for a few minutes. He was inwardly fighting with himself, outwardly with Tonks and he knew what he wanted, wanted more then anything he'd ever wanted in his life. He wanted to grasp this shot of happiness Tonks was offering, for unfathomable reasons, she'd chosen him and he wanted nothing more then to take the shot.
"How can you say we don't work, when you haven't given us a chance?" she asked. "Not a real chance anyway. This isn't impossible."
He caved. "No, it isn't." he was cautiously optimistic but letting her win. He had hope she could be right.
"Merlin, it took you long enough!" she bounced across the room and perched herself on the bed next to him.
Remus looked her over with new eyes, she was no longer Tonks the cousin of his best friend, but Tonks the girlfriend and he was exceedingly happy for once in his life. He decided it'd be a wonderful idea to kiss this purple haired klutz of a girlfriend he had found himself with. This time, she let him win that argument.