What Tonks wants from the rest of her life is everything and nothing. She has her family, and she's alive, and that's all that she can ask for. So she plans her time loosely, and fixes her house, and waits for Remus to come home.
When her husband returns, he brings someone else with him, and she knows that she should have realised that nothing ever wraps up as neatly as we want.
When Severus Snape is fully installed in the guest room she drags Remus into the kitchen and they have one of those hushed conversations that always make her wonder whenexactly she turned into her mother.
"He's got nowhere else to go."
"He's a war hero, I'm sure he can find someone who can stand him long enough to let him stay."
"It's not about having somewhere to stay, and you know it. He needs care, Tonks. He can barely walk."
The hushed tones are combined with gentle scratching as she starts to attack the dirty pots in the sink. It's passive-aggressive, and she knows it, but she shared her husband with the war for long enough, and now she doesn't want to share her family with anyone.
Remus leans his head back against the wall a takes a deep breath.
"We're the last ones, Tonks. Him and me, we're the last ones left from that year. And if I want to get past this, I need to put all that away. And this is the only way that I can do that."
She's shared him all this time, with one thing or another. But she's the mother of his child, and she thinks that she can wait just a little longer.
Snape spends two weeks in bed before she even talks to him. He's sleeping off the dozens of potions and salves they layered onto him in St. Mungo's, and Remus seems to be taking care of everything he needs. It's only when he gets called away to help with the BWF that she has to speak to him.
When she brings him his lunch she can see grey streaks in his hair, and his cheeks even more hollow then before. She barely saw him when he arrived, and the change in him is shocking. If he looks like this now, what was he like two weeks ago?
When he wakes, he barely glances at her, giving her a polite, efficient 'hello'. Shifting himself to seating, a sheaf of papers falls from beneath his pillow. She recognises Remus' spidery handwriting and forces herself not to read. She balances the pile on the side of his lunch tray, and he stoically avoids her eyes as she leaves the room.
Exactly one word has passed between them, and when she picks Teddy up from his bed she prays for Remus' swift return.
Tonks arranges for a visit from the hospital, and she brings Teddy to visit her mother. Andromeda bustles around, feeding her full of cake and coffee, and when it comes to telling her her fears, she can't. She doesn't even know what she's afraid of, because she doesn't even know what's going on. He hasn't written her any letters.
She has a stranger in her house, and a husband too preoccupied with righting old wrongs to notice any new ones.
When she gets back Remus is in the kitchen, fixing tea with his jacket slung over the back of a chair. She enters the room, and he takes the sleeping boy from her arms and kisses her gently on the forehead. She feels at home again, finally, and when he kisses her again in bed she doesn't notice that her husband's lost the smell of rain and chocolate she knows so well, and smells instead of arnica and pewter.
When Snape finally makes it downstairs she's told it's a celebration. The mediwitches didn't know if his legs would ever mend themselves, but here he is, balancing precariously down the stairs. He sits in the big chair by the fire, and the three of them clink glasses of firewhiskey and act like there's nothing unusual at all in the situation.
When she comes back from putting Teddy down, Remus has moved from the couch to the arm of the chair and his hand is gently cradling the other man's face. She can see his thumb stroke gently across Snape's cheek, before she coughs loudly and re-enters a few seconds later. Remus now stands beside the fire, a comfortable distance away.
She leaves Teddy with Remus one night, and meets Ginny and Hermione in Diagon Alley for a drink. She finally cracks, and tells them almost everything, but they reassure her that she must be imagining it. They still know him as Professor Lupin, and know all the think Professor Lupin would and wouldn't do to his wife.
She heads home reassured, until she gets in the door and finds the two men asleep on the couch. She aches for confrontation, but instead she tiptoes gently past.
When she wakes up, she's in bed with Remus, but now she finally notices the metallic tang in his hair.
Snape finally says goodbye after six months of residency, and Tonks tries to smile when Remus jokes that now she'll finally have her husband to herself.
She and Snape bid each other a quiet, unemotional goodbye, and she pretends she has something to do that takes her out of the room immediately afterwards. She's torn between staying and listening in, and not wanting to know what's being said.
When she finally gives in and presses against the door, there's nothing to be heard, but staring through the crack she sees the two men embracing. When Remus pulls away and holds Snape's shoulders, the other man looks granite-faced. Whatever Remus' whispers to him softens his eyes for a moment, but soon he brushes the hands from his jacket and stalks out the door.
Remus leans against the table, out of her line of sight, and Tonks regrets looking.
That night at dinner, Remus raises a toast to his family, and Tonks clinks his glass silently, wondering exactly how much she really knows.