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Marriage Musings

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A/N: Sometimes FF is awesome because of what you read; sometimes it’s awesome because of who you meet. Since I started writing FF in 2005, I have made 3 REALLY close friends, one of them even staying at my house on a road trip. However, joining the HP universe (no, really, I’m legitimately the absolute last person on the planet to jump on board this train) has had the added bonus of introducing me to a friend who is basically…my spirit animal. As we’ve exchanged info and stories about our lives, the similarities are actually EERIE (sleeping on couch after the first date, anyone? :D), and I just couldn’t be more grateful to have another kindred spirit in my life. (Also…weird names for kids suck, amiright?). So, I dedicate this little Remadora fic to you, emcnary, and I hope you enjoy it, my dear friend!

She held her groom’s hands, and she remembered.

He’d proposed—beautifully, of course—how else could someone as lovely as Remus propose? But his singular condition for marriage was that she sit through one transformation with him, so that she would know the truth. It would be a transformation via wolfsbane, of course—he would never put her in such danger as to be near him in a transformation without wolfsbane—but she would still get the gist of what he went through every month.

It had been a complete nightmare for her.

He’d warned her, tried to prepare her. Sirius had helped even more, telling her in no uncertain terms precisely how brutal and excruciating transformation was for Remus. He’d assured her it was absolutely nothing like her morphing, or his assuming his animagus form. He’d implored her to imagine what it was like to have every muscle, every ligament, every bone, brutally broken in a short few moments of transformation, only to endure the reverse a few hours later.

Tonks had nearly vomited on Sirius’ shoes as he explained. But, despite her inner feelings, she held it (and her stomach) together, and managed the visitation with her cousin without embarrassing herself.

The transition itself, however? No. She couldn’t go so far as to say she’d embarrassed herself, because frankly, she’d been too traumatized to think of anything so banal as embarrassment, but in looking back, yes, her reaction to the transition had probably been what anyone would call humiliating.

Her stress levels had risen as she’d watched her love’s reaction to the rapidly approaching moonrise—she watched him, clearly in agony, as he’d clenched his jaw against the pain and the coming transformation. He’d told her ahead of time that it was his body’s natural instinct to fight the change, inevitable though he knew it was. And the fact that fighting it made the pain even more unbearable made no difference; he was powerless against it.

They’d been ensconced in his room at Grimmauld Place, the door secured with a locking charm and a silencing spell for good measure; she had wondered after the fact if the silencing spell had been good enough to prevent her agonized wails from reaching the ears of the other residents of the old manse.

When the transformation began, she was already in tears. But as he looked at her, succumbing to the curse that he could not fight, the look on his face—agony both physical and emotional—cut her to the very most inner core of her soul.

That was nothing to what happened next.

As the transformation took him, the agonizing pain caused him to scream without ceasing. At some point the screams transformed from human to werewolf, but if she had been asked later, she could not have said when that had transpired, so complete was her trauma. She would later remember the moment that, sobbing desperately, she lost the ability to stand. She never even felt her knees hit the floor and only vaguely registered the fact that she was on the floor when she realized she was at eye level with him once more. She heard every horrifying snap of bone and then suffered through his resulting scream of pain, and she swore that if she could, she would go through the agony in his stead, because watching this—powerless and helpless to bring him relief—was too much for her tender Hufflepuff heart. It did not occur to her in her frenzied state that Remus would sooner undergo the transformation every day for the rest of his life than to watch her suffer through it even once.

She knew her pain tolerance was high—Aurors had to undergo the Cruciatus and Imperious curses as a required part of their training regimen so as to know exactly why the Unforgivable curses were, well, unforgivable—but she now suspected that her pain tolerance was probably laughable compared to Remus’. However, it was the horrifying realization that followed which caused her to collapse forward onto her hands as the most violent sobs yet wracked her body.

Remus had endured this every single month since he was four years old.

How had his parents borne it?

How could any parent bear watching their precious child in such agony?

And although he had made his reasoning abundantly clear, she suddenly understood—truly understood—for the first time, why he had set this condition.

He needed her to understand—in fact, not simply theory—what she was getting into.

He needed her to see.

After being vehemently opposed to the idea of marriage for so very long in fear of what it might cost her, he had finally relented and approached every aspect of the idea with the same tender care and immaculate attention to which he gave everything.

And as her sobs, anxiety, and heartbreak finally grew so great that she found herself retching her dinner onto the floor in front of her, she knew the truth—it didn’t change a damn thing. This man was her everything, and she would still give herself, wholly, fully to him, come what may.

OoOoO

It had been long before his proposal and her first time seeing him transition that she had told him—her frankness belying her extreme anxiety—that she had, in fact, never been intimate with a man. She knew that, at 22, she was somewhat of a rarity, but the truth of the matter was that sheer fear had kept her from taking that step. Her status as a Metamorphmagus had been both a blessing and a curse—a blessing in that it was just one more thing that made her a prime candidate to fulfill her dream of becoming an Auror, but a curse in that it entailed a certain amount of accompanying insecurity as she grew to learn that without fail, the males of the species would inevitably view her as an easy means to realize all of their sordid fantasies, and that, she had found, was absolutely anathema to her. She simply couldn’t imagine surrendering her self-respect to the indignity of becoming the answer to some horny guy’s fantasies. Absolutely not.

With Remus, however, for the first time, she found herself placing implicit trust in a man. He was so kind, so gentle, so unassuming, that it was impossible not to throw herself, completely vulnerable, at his mercy. She could not possibly conceive of him betraying the trust, the complete faith, she’d placed in him. It was, in fact, she realized, the first time she’d ever met a man she thought she could love—or trust—more than her father…and that included Albus Dumbledore, whom she absolutely adored. And that moment, she realized, was the one in which she had finally admitted, ‘Oh, bloody, buggering FUCK…I am head over heels in love with this man.’ And in the moment after, she had come to the realization that she owed it to him to tell him the truth. He had, after all, been overwhelmingly truthful to her about his…furry little problem, as he so laughingly called it.

And so it had happened that, the next time they were together, in the heat of the moment when he was cautiously and gently daring to progress their physical relationship by relieving her of her shirt, she found the courage (and sheer will, because, oh bloody hell his mouth felt amazing on her) to remove said lips from the nipple they were so reverently suckling, and bring his face up to meet hers.

The reflection of the fire from his Grimmauld Place bedroom danced in his eyes as she closed hers and sucked in a breath as she tried to come back to her senses. After a moment, she opened them once more to see his pale blue eyes staring into hers, full of concern. She gave him a small smile and said, “Remus, before this goes any further, there’s something I need you to know about me.” He looked incredulous, wondering what she could have to say that could possibly be worse than being a werewolf, for God’s sake, and tried to suppress a laugh, because he could tell this was important to her.

Her courage failed her—there was a reason she hadn’t been sorted into Gryffindor, she berated herself inwardly—and she couldn’t quite manage to meet his eyes as she spilled it out: “Remus, I’m a virgin.” It took every bit of her will to force her eyes up as she pronounced the final word of her confession, and she was genuinely at a loss to suss out the look in his eyes.

She was completely terrified of his reaction, but her inner Hufflepuff, relying on tenacity, not courage like the Gryffindors, compelled her to continue: “Let me explain. The thing is, ever since I was at school, my experience has been that once men find out that I’m a Metamorphmagus, their only thought is to find out what fantasies I can fulfill for them.” She was relieved and gratified to see that Remus looked appropriately horrified and disgusted by this revelation. This propelled her on: “But, you see…” she swallowed against the weight of the admission she was about to make, “I don’t remotely feel that from you. And that is why I am asking you to be my first, Remus Lupin. Because you seem to view my far-too-small breasts with reverence, not to mention the reverence that you show me in every other way.” She swallowed again, and flushed red—so red that she couldn’t completely succeed in morphing it away—“and I can’t even conceive of you asking me to be something that I’m not. And—“she hesitated, “—the thing is, um,” she closed her eyes, “I love you, and I want it to be you. I trust you.” She clenched her eyes shut against the tears that were threatening, and after a moment, summoned the courage to look back up at him.

She was most certainly not disappointed.

The blue eyes she’d grown to admit that she was absolutely hot damn in love with were shining down at her, and a look of complete awe graced his face. For a moment, he said nothing. Then—

“I cannot possibly conceive of wanting to change a single thing about you, Nymphadora Tonks.”

She lost the battle against her tears and felt them spill from her eyes. She gave a small sigh as Remus gently brushed them away and then followed the path of his fingers with his lips. He leaned his forehead against hers and looked deeply into her eyes. His lips moved gently against hers as he so quietly murmured, “Thank you for your trust, Nymphadora.” She shivered against him as he said her name, and she would never, for the life of her, understand why the name that she loathed so much sounded so damn erotic falling from his lips, but she loved the fact that he was well-aware of what it did to her, and used it to his advantage. He continued, “It is the deepest honor I believe I’ve ever been given for you to ask something so sacred of me, and I need you to understand that I am content to wait as long as necessary until you are ready. And when you are,” without moving his eyes from hers, he stroked the back of his fingers along her cheekbone, “I give you my word that I will be as gentle as possible, I will stop at any point that you feel uncomfortable, and perhaps most importantly, I give you my solemn promise that your pleasure will always come before my own.” He punctuated his declaration with a gentle kiss, taking her lower lip between both of his. She let out a trembling breath against his lips, quivering at the power and love in his words. Before she could reply, he continued, “And I want you to know, although I plan to make it clear to you without the use of mere words, that yours are the most exquisitely perfect breasts I have ever seen.” He lowered his lips back to them, and Tonks nearly came undone beneath him. Between his words, his mouth, and the thigh he had nestled between her legs, she felt as if she might climax at any moment.

“Oh, Remus…” she sighed in pleasure. She felt his erection—absolutely throbbing by the feel of it—against her hip, and she wanted to tell him that she was ready right then and there. What absolutely amazed her was the fact that he read exactly what was in her mind as he glanced up at her, and promptly but tenderly removed himself from her breast and shook his head with a kind smile.

“Not now, Nymphadora. Not yet. The decision must not be made in the heat of the moment, my dear. I love you far too much to take even the remotest of chances that we might do something you will regret.”

He loved her. Oh god…

“And I suspect you are not quite ready. Not just yet,” he whispered, his voice full of love and the utmost respect.

She allowed her head to loll back on Remus’ pillow as she released another shaking breath. She felt his rock-hard erection still pressed against her, and she marveled at how difficult it must have been for him to put a stop to their forward momentum, and yet, his voice had betrayed none of that; all she heard in his voice was reverence and love.

Dear god, she did not deserve a man such as this.

And the bitch of it was, he was right. She wasn’t ready. Not quite yet. She wanted him desperately, but she knew she needed more time to come to terms with that want, after being so guarded for so long. There was no question she was falling deeply in love with him. The issue of her readiness had absolutely nothing to do with him; this was her cross to bear, so to speak.

She gripped his neck and pulled his head down to hers until their foreheads touched, mirroring his earlier actions. “You’re right,” she whispered, her eyes closed, so quietly he could barely hear her. “I’m not quite ready.” She dared to open her eyes and stare him down. She took a leap of faith and laid it all out. “I want you more than I’ve ever wanted anything in my life. But yes, there are some things I need to sort out beforehand. Only I need you to know that those things have absolutely nothing to do with you and everything to do with me and my own insecurities. Yeah?”

Remus looked at her and saw raw vulnerability.

“I understand, Nymphadora,” he whispered in a barely audible voice. “And for the record, you need never be insecure with me. I love you so.”

She thought she might die there in his arms. But she knew without a doubt that he’d made the right call. They needed to wait. And she knew full well that whenever she was ready, he would settle for nothing less than making certain that it was something that was damn well worth waiting for.

 

OoOoO

 

And so it was that a month later, after hours upon hours of self-critique and self-examination and inner dialogues with herself, she let herself in to Grimmauld Place on a Friday morning, went up to his room, knocked gently, and let herself in. He was still in bed, although awake, and she was heading into work.

“Hi,” she whispered shyly.

“Good morning,” he drawled, looking at her lazily from beneath sleepy lashes. “What brings you here this morning, my love?”

Tonks paused.

And went for broke.

“I’m ready, Remus.” Her breath hitched as she felt the magnitude of her statement resonate in the room. “I’m ready,” she whispered.

Remus sat up on one elbow, his eyes keen, evaluating her.

“Are you absolutely certain, Nymphadora?”

“Yes,” she whispered, her voice quiet but sure.

His eyes narrowed for a moment, evaluating her, and then he said, ever so gently, “All right, Love. If you’re sure.” She nodded at him. He continued, “When and where would make you most comfortable?” His eyes were full of nothing but love and kindness. It was all she could do to not launch herself at him immediately.

“I trust you, Remus,” she breathed. “I leave it to you. Please take the lead. It’s the greatest offering of trust I can give you,” she whispered.

He nodded at her. “Come here for dinner tonight?” he asked.

She swallowed hard and nodded. “Yes,” she whispered.

Remus tossed back his covers and swung his legs out of bed. He stood to reveal a bare chest and flannel pajama pants. She wondered how she would ever concentrate at work today with the image of his lean, toned torso burned into her mind. Remus was both amused and aroused as her eyes roved hungrily over his torso. He crossed the room to her and gently took her face in his hands. His eyed drifted closed and he tried not to shudder as he felt her small hands slide up his chest. She then stilled and his eyes snapped open as he felt her touch his shoulder.

His scar.

Her eyes were dark and pained as she ran her fingers across the bite mark with light-as-air delicacy.

“Why does it still look so fresh and raw after all of these years?” she asked, staring at it.

He pulled her chin up and looked deeply into her eyes. “It’s a cursed wound, Nymphadora. They don’t heal. Not fully.”

He heard a small intake of air. Looking back down at the wound, she asked quietly, “Does it hurt still, then, Remus?” She looked as though she wasn’t quite sure she wanted to know the answer.

He tugged her face back up and trailed kisses along her jawline until he reached her ear. He whispered, as gently as possible, “I am used to it, Nymphadora.”

Her head fell forward onto his chest. He winced when, a moment later, he felt a tear roll down his bare chest. He leaned down and placed a hand on either side of her neck, pulling her face up yet again.

“Nymphadora.”

His quiet murmur got her attention. She looked up at him, her big eyes wide and full of tears.

He smiled at her gently. “The pain waxes and wanes with the moon. It is not always terrible. It’s not something I can ever change, so I’ve had no choice but to deal with it. After everything with which you have entrusted me, I would not deceive you about this. Please do not let it worry you.” He pressed his lips against each damp spot on her face, caressing her tears with his lips. “Go to work,” he smiled. “I will have dinner ready for you promptly at 7:00, but come over any time prior that you wish.” He paused. “And remember, Nymphadora,” he whispered. “You can change your mind at any time. I have no expectations other than your honesty about your readiness.”

She sighed and her heart flooded with her love for him. She nodded once, firmly. “Of course. But I won’t,” she said, equally firmly. Remus looked down at her, gave her a lazy grin, and kissed her forehead hard.

“Go,” he chuckled. “Last thing you need is Kingsley down your throat today.” He pressed another soft kiss to her lips, and said quietly, “Remember, Nymphadora, I love you.”

“I love you, too, Remus.”

OoOoO

Tonks had absolutely no idea how she’d managed it, but she somehow survived her workday without getting fired for the criminal offense of Being a Distracted Auror. She had been too wound up with nerves and anticipation manage eating lunch, and consequently, she felt famished. She took a deep breath as she reached the Ministry apparition point, and promptly found herself outside her flat. She let herself in and leaned back against the door, breathing shakily.

She was ready. Of this, she had no doubt. She wanted this, she had made her peace with her demons, but still…she was nervous. It was only natural, right?

Setting her jaw, she set off toward her bedroom. She stripped off her clothes to get in the shower, having gotten sweaty earlier when she and Kingsley were asked by some stupid Ministry official to demonstrate dueling skills to some foreign guests in the Auror training room.

She turned the tap on and brushed her teeth as she waited for the water to warm up. But when she stepped under the hot spray of the shower a moment later, her eyes rolled back in her head. She’d had her share of steamy fantasies about Remus while in the shower, but now that the actual moment was at hand, she was finding it difficult to focus on cleaning up when there were so many erotic thoughts running through her head. Frustrated and nervous, she finally huffed out a sigh and clenched her eyes shut, willing herself to draw on her inner Auror and calm the hell down. She concentrated as if she was about to attempt a particularly difficult morph, and took a long, deep breath in through her nose. She held it for a beat, and then slowly blew it out through her mouth. Feeling marginally calmer, she grabbed her shampoo bottle and forced her thoughts to focus solely on the task at hand—getting ready for dinner.

When her shower was complete, she put on deodorant, slathered her skin in the lotion she knew Remus loved, and cast a drying charm on her hair. She morphed her hair into his favorite shade of pink, applied a minimal amount of makeup, and slipped into a pair of black cotton bikini-style knickers. She decided to tease him a bit by going braless, and she selected a slip of a dress that she knew would make said bralessness quite obvious. Once dressed, she took a deep breath and opened a drawer to retrieve the lingerie she had bought for this very occasion. She packed a small overnight bag with a change of clothes, her toothbrush, and her deodorant.

She was ready.

Chapter Text

A/N: This may be my favorite thing I’ve ever written. But y’all, lemme just toss out that this is 100% insane smut, k? Seriously, if you’re not 18, go away. Huge thanks to emcnary for her feedback, and if you haven’t read her story Jinxed Hearts or its sequel (still in progress), leave immediately and go do so. This story will still be here when you get back, but I’m telling you, you NEED her work in your life.

Tonks apparated to the alley by Grimmauld Place and shook out her hair—an old nervous habit. She walked around the corner, up the steps, and stood at the door. It was now or never. She took a deep breath, blew it out roughly, and let herself in.

The first thing she registered was the mesmerizing aroma of pasta sauce. She breathed in appreciatively, a small smile spreading across her lips. Of course Remus would feed her well. She smirked as she thought of the implications—the meal would be both delicious and satisfying, but the carb-loading would provide them with plenty of, ah, energy for the evening. Smirk firmly in place, she successfully navigated around that ridiculous troll leg and slipped down the stairs toward the kitchen. She pushed open the door as quietly as possible, wanting to sneak up on him, and her breath hitched as she caught sight of him across the room.

He was perfection.

His shaggy hair was brushing against the collar of his blue dress shirt, and the sleeves were rolled up to his elbows. He had a kitchen towel tossed over his right shoulder as he worked at the stove, and his arse was just…too delicious for words.

She crept toward him, slowly and silently, with the intention of sneaking up behind him and encircling his waist with her arms. She continued her journey until, when she was about ten feet from him, he spoke. Without turning from his task, he said, “You are an outstanding Auror, Nymphadora, but you are certainly kidding yourself if you think you can sneak up on me.”

Tonks stopped in shock. She knew good and well that she had not made a single sound in her entrance to the kitchen.

She watched in awe as Remus drew a deep breath, tilting his face toward the ceiling, and murmured, “I can smell you from a mile away, Nymphadora.” Tonks shuddered at the barely-concealed desire in his voice, and not for the first time, wondered if they would actually make it through dinner.

She forced herself to smirk as she said, “That stinky, am I?”

Remus whirled to face her. She very nearly took a step backward at the naked desire on his face.

“Nymphadora…” he growled.

“Okay, okay!” she laughed, despite her nervousness. She tossed her bag on the table and held her hands up in mock surrender. “Okay, Professor. I wouldn’t dare push my luck when it comes to your wolfie senses.” She finished her statement with a wink to make sure he knew she was kidding. But the look in his eyes—absolute, sheer desire, poorly concealed—made her feel weak in the knees. He was cooking her dinner with the same deliberate care and attention to which he gave every task, but it was abundantly clear to her that the only thought that was really on his mind was, ahem…dessert.

He wanted her.

God, he wanted her. She had to suppress a giggle at the giddiness that suddenly ran through her at this realization. She had known, of course, on an intellectual level, that he wanted her, but now, suddenly, it had dawned on her in the very deepest recesses of her heart that yes, this man she so adored was absolutely equal in his adoration of her-and what’s more, desired her physically as much as she did him. This notion was only reinforced as she watched his gaze as it dropped to her torso and took in her attire. The little dress she had chosen wasn’t sheer, but it was thin, and the outline of her nipples were clearly visible through the thin cotton. She smirked as she saw him eyeing them hungrily.

“Tsk, tsk, Professor,” she teased, waving her index finger as if he’d been naughty. “No peeking at dessert until after you’ve had dinner.” She was gratified when Remus huffed out a laugh as he leaned down on the table and dropped his head in defeat.

“You’ll be the death of me, I swear,” he muttered, amusement evident in his voice.

Tonks moved around the table to him. She ran a hand across his back and said in a low, seductive voice, “We can’t have that, can we, Professor?” She then pulled his face toward her and proceeded to kiss him deeply, slowly, passionately, and punctuated the kiss by reaching down and squeezing his arse.

After a moment, he broke away from her, his eyes closed and a look of focused concentration on his face. “God, Nymphadora…not. helping.” he grunted in mock annoyance.

Tonks giggled and released his arse, quite enjoying their easy banter. “I apologize, Professor,” she laughed, sounding as unapologetic as anyone he’d ever encountered. Remus raised an eyebrow and smirked at her, turning back to the food.

“Have a seat, my dear. Dinner will be ready momentarily. I hope you brought a hearty appetite?” He smirked again at her loud bark of laughter. Of course she had; did she ever bring anything else?

But then he was surprised to hear her say, “To be honest, I’m not 100% sure about my appetite.” He glanced over his shoulder with a raised eyebrow, and waited for her to continue. “I didn’t eat lunch today; between work and being nervous about tonight,” she said honestly, surprising even herself, “I just couldn’t stomach the thought of eating. Pardon my pun,” she smiled. Remus turned to face her. “So on one level, I’m extremely hungry, but at the same time, the idea of food turns my stomach.” She looked down, shrugging. “We’ll see, I guess.”

Remus wiped his hands on the towel and took a seat next to her. He took her face gently into his hands and turned it to him. As she looked into his eyes and saw all traces of his ravenous desire gone, replaced only with concern, she had a sudden epiphany: dear God, he really, truly was in love with her. Despite her inexperience, she knew something of men. Generally speaking, the only thing that could overcome their lust was…love. But it was more than that, even. They had something deeper than that, something akin to being—as much as she hated the term—soul mates. Remus ran his thumbs across her cheekbones and whispered, “Nymphadora…”

She shook her head firmly, her eyes closed, her hands reaching up to grip his wrists. She nuzzled her face into his soft and loving hands and smiled gently. “Remus. I know what you’re going to say.” She opened her eyes and looked into the lovely blue eyes in front of her. “I know. I know we don’t have to do this. But Remus,” she released one of his wrists and ran her hand down over his face, caressing his stubble, “I’m ready,” she whispered. “I’m ready and I want you. And of course I’m a bit nervous. Don’t you think that’s to be expected?”

She watched as he swallowed, then closed his eyes and nodded firmly. “Yes,” he allowed. “I suppose that is to be expected. But,” he opened his eyes and stared at her imploringly, “I just don’t want you to ever feel that you need to be nervous or hesitant with me.”

Tonks bowed her head, leaning her forehead into his. She took the hand on which she still had a grip and pulled the palm to her lips. She kissed it gently and whispered, “Remus, I assure you that I have never felt more at ease or comfortable with anyone.” She smiled and continued, “Actually, that’s not true.” He started to draw back, startled, but she grinned and held him close. “It’s pretty damn hard to be at ease or comfortable when every cell in your body is absolutely aching for the person in front of you,” she finished huskily. He huffed out a short laugh and dropped his head back to hers. Tonks stepped away and detached herself from his hands. “Now go finish dinner,” she commanded playfully. “I want to see if your cooking skills are as brilliant as your snogging skills.”

Remus turned away from her, tossing a smirk over his shoulder. “Hmm, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised,” he said, much to her delight.

God, confident men were such a turn-on.

OoOoO

Bloody hell, the man had not been kidding. Despite what she had initially labeled as a sketchy appetite, it took only a single bite of the chicken parmesan that Remus had prepared to convince her to tuck in with gusto. The pasta was perfectly al dente, the chicken was juicy, and the sauce was absolute perfection. Tonks immediately shifted from worrying about not being able to eat to worrying about looking like a pig. It went from bad to worse when Remus placed a tray of garlic bread on the table, satisfied smirk firmly in place.

Tonks raised a playful eyebrow. “What’s this? You going to tease me and make me choose which I fancy more—garlic bread or the sensuous Mr. Lupin?”

Remus leaned in close to her ear and gave her chills with his response of, “Ohhh, I think we know there’s no contest there, Miss Tonks. After all, there is a limit to what garlic bread can do for a woman…” His voice deepened and became rougher—“…but what a highly motivated man can do to a woman?” He became momentarily aggressive and grabbed her throat with one hand—gently of course—as he moved behind her and gripped her chin with the other hand. Tonks’ eyes drifted closed as he growled into her ear, “By the time I finish with you, Nymphadora, your definition of ‘satisfaction’ will never be the same, I assure you.” She allowed a shuddering breath to escape as he released her chin and neck, moving his hands to her shoulders. His lips lingered at her ear, however, and he said, “And feel free to eat all of the garlic bread you want. There is nothing that could put me off of you tonight.”

Tonks shivered. “Not even garlic bread?” she questioned, raising an eyebrow in amusement.

“Not even garlic bread.”

OoOoO

Despite their intimate flirtation prior to the meal, Tonks was pleasantly surprised that their dinner itself was as easy and natural as every interaction they’d ever had, really. Remus sat across from her, leaning back with ease and watching her once he finished his meal, one arm stretched out to rest on the back of the chair to his right, and one hand on the ankle of the foot she’d casually placed in his lap. She was taking the last bite of her pasta when he said to her, “You really are beautiful, Nymphadora.” She placed her fork neatly on her plate and looked up at him, taken aback by the easy confidence of his voice. Remus, seeing her surprise, leaned forward and placed his elbows on the table, lacing his fingers together. “I mean that,” he said. “You are, I believe, the most beautiful woman I’ve ever encountered in my life.” He paused and took a deep breath before continuing. “Why do you think I reacted so strongly when you said that men wanted you to change for them? I can’t even comprehend of such a thing.”

Tonks took a breath and willed herself not to do something silly, like fainting.

Remus continued, “I’ve honestly no idea what it is that you see in me, but I can assure you that if, as you have already attested, you truly love me, then you need never worry that I would dare ask you to change a single thing.”

In an uncharacteristically feminine move, Tonks found herself looking down and blushing prettily as she lowered her eyelashes at his words. When she glanced back up, she was intrigued to see him leaning back in his chair, staring at her with undisguised interest and desire.

Another moment passed and he said to her, “And as far as protection goes….?”

She grinned at him unabashedly as she said, “Potion. I’m on it for the first time and God, I have never seen Poppy Pomfrey closer to literally jumping up and down with glee.” She rolled her eyes to punctuate the statement as Remus laughed.

“I guess we’re out in the open then?” he questioned, his pretty eyes sparkling in amusement.

His words—oh my god, they were a we—elicited the deepest stirring yet in her belly, and afraid she would leap across the table at him, Tonks pushed her empty plate away and changed the subject. “I notice that your pooch is conspicuously absent,” she drawled, tapping her fingers lazily on the table.  “If I were to venture a guess, I’d suppose that Professor Lupin told his loyal canine to make himself scarce this evening?”

Remus rewarded her with an incredibly sexy self-satisfied smirk. “Indeed I did. I believe my exact words were something to the effect of, ‘Bugger off tonight because your cousin is coming over and I plan on doing unspeakable things to her.’”

Tonks giggled in spite of the heat that flooded through her. “And how did he take that news, Professor?”

Remus raised a contemplative eyebrow. “I think he was torn. His inner meddling matchmaker was positively giddy, but his doting cousin side was somewhat horrified at the thought of his faithful werewolf doing such naughty things to his beloved Nymphadora.”

Another giggle. “Well, he can get over himself, because his beloved Nymphadora is bloody thrilled about this turn of events.”

Remus chuckled and dropped his hand back to her ankle, giving it a gentle squeeze, before sliding his hand up her leg, relishing the feel of her smooth skin. He watched as her eyes fluttered closed with pleasure, and he said in a husky voice, “Shall we take Padfoot his dinner and then retire for the evening?”

Her eyes opened, and the look in them could only be described as greedy. “Indeed, Professor. I’d like that very much.”

OoOoO

Moments later, they were standing at Sirius’ bedroom door, Tonks with her bag slung over her shoulder and Remus with a plate of food for his friend. Sirius opened his door with a smirk at Lupin and then turned to Tonks. His gaze flitted down to her chest and he leaned against the door jamb with an exasperated sigh, rolled his eyes, and muttered, “Tonks. Put on a bra, for God’s sake.”

“Why bother?” she said cheekily. “He’ll just be ripping it off of me in about three minutes. It’s called efficiency, Sirius.”

Sirius rolled his eyes again as Remus snaked his free hand around her waist. “I do believe she’s got you there, Mate. You can’t argue with her logic.” He grinned and shoved the plate at his friend. “Here. Enjoy.”

Sirius gave a mischievous lopsided grin and said, “Thanks, Moony. Smells delicious. I’ll just bugger off now, as you so eloquently put it earlier.” He turned away and then stopped before turning back toward the couple. “And I swear to bloody Merlin, if you forget the Silencing Charm, I will ride Buckbeak in there and trample the two of you.” He punctuated this statement by kicking the door shut. Remus rolled his eyes and Tonks giggled before the door opened once more and Sirius poked his head out and stared Remus down. “Treat her right this evening, Moony,” he said seriously, and it was Tonks’ turn to laugh.

“Really, Sirius? Have you actually met Remus before?”

“You make an excellent point, Miss Tonks, but it’s my duty as the Overprotective Cousin to give him shit and be all threatening,” he quipped.

Tonks smirked and pulled her bag off her shoulder. “Actually, why don’t you boys give me three or four minutes?” She grinned at Sirius and added, “You can have a little uninterrupted time to give him hell while I get ready,” she winked lasciviously at Remus and shook her bag at him teasingly.

“God,” Sirius drawled. “Please leave before you feel the need to show me what you have in there, because I do not need to know that information.“

Tonks whirled on her heel and sauntered off, grinning and purposely swaying her hips saucily, and she could feel Remus’ eyes on her arse every step of the way to his bedroom.

OoOoO

Tonks stepped into Remus’ ensuite bathroom and closed the door. She drew in a deep breath, leaned back against it, and gave herself one minute to feel her nerves before swallowing firmly and then suppressing any lingering fear. She wanted this and she was ready—of this she had no doubt. She placed her bag on the counter and rummaged in it, pulling out her lingerie and her toothbrush. She quickly scrubbed her teeth to rid herself of her garlic breath, and then, she delicately peeled her clothes away, leaving them on Remus’ bathroom floor, smirking like it was a badge of honor. She quickly appraised herself in the mirror and decided on the spur of the moment to go completely natural for this. Silently, she closed her eyes and released all of her morphs.

She was simply Nymphadora now.

And she would allow Remus to love her in her natural state.

OoOoO

Remus had told her once that she looked incredible when she’d worn a navy blue jumper, so the lingerie she had chosen was a simple chemise in a deep navy color with an accompanying navy blue thong. She instinctively knew that she and Remus were well-matched in that neither of them needed or wanted anything but each other for their first time, so she slipped on the thong and chemise, ran a brush through her short, natural brown locks, and critiqued herself in the mirror. She had just decided she was pleased with what she saw when there was a light knock on the bathroom door. “Nymphadora?” Remus said quietly.

She smiled gently and opened the door to him.

His quick and quiet intake of breath let her know that her choices of attire and lack of morph had been good ones. He gently reached for her waist and whispered, “You are perfect, Nymphadora Tonks.” Tonks allowed her eyes to drift closed at his words and touch.

She fell against him and managed only to whisper, “Remus…” before his lips captured hers.

It was some moments later that their frenzied kisses had maneuvered them to his bed and down upon it. Remus suspected that they’d both had a “plan” for how the evening would go, but it was obvious that any so-called plans were out the window, so great was their need for each other. As it was, he was barely restraining himself from ripping her clothes off, and he well knew that she felt the same way.

He kissed her hungrily and grabbed her chemise in his hands as he kneeled over her. He yanked it up roughly over her head, leaving her clad solely in her thong. He had a completely random and fleeting moment of curiosity about what Ted Tonks, whom he considered a friend, would think about the things he was about to do to his beloved daughter, but he pushed it away, because there was nothing in existence more exquisite than that which lay beneath him.

“Did you cast Sirius’ silencing charm?” Tonks asked with a sly grin.

“Indeed I did,” Remus whispered in return. “Nymphadora…” he murmured, “You are exquisite this evening.” He stopped everything for a moment, giving himself time to just take her in. He voiced this to her, and as he said, “I just want to look at you for a moment,” she had no idea whatsoever how a voice could be so soft and rough all at the same time. All she really cared about was making sure that this voice was the only one she would ever hear in bed for the rest of her life.

Still kneeling above her, he began to unbutton his shirt, never breaking eye contact with her, and he allowed a small, satisfied smile to cross his lips as he saw her hungering beneath him.  When he reached the last button and peeled his shirt off, he tossed it aside and leant down, his hands on either side of her shoulders, and decided to start with her breasts rather than her mouth. He suppressed a grin as he was rewarded with a sharp gasp of pleasure as he roughly sucked one nipple while using his fingers to knead her other breast. He was acting on instinct now, somehow intuiting that he needed to be aggressive in his foreplay before turning gentle as he actually took her virginity.

“Like that, do we?” he murmured against her breast as her fingers slipped through his hair.

God, Remus,” was her only response.

He slowly, torturously kissed his way down her torso, stopping to swirl his tongue against her navel, and as his lips moved lower, he finally admitted to her, “I’ve been smelling your need for weeks, Nymphadora, and dreaming of how you taste, and now I’m going to find out.” She couldn’t put together a coherent response, and simply lifted her hips as he pulled the thong down and casually tossed it aside.

He sat up once more to take her in, finally naked beneath him for the first time. She gave him a moment, and then glanced down at the evidence of his approval and said, “Why are you still wearing pants?” He grinned and moved toward her, still on his knees. She kept her eyes on his as she reached for his belt and pulled it free, then followed with the button and zipper of his pants. “There you go, Professor,” she whispered, her throaty voice giving him chills.

He swung his legs off of her and stood at the side of his bed as he dropped his pants and boxers, stepping out of them without ever breaking eye contact with her. His was the look of a man who knew what he had to offer a woman. It took her a moment to finally break free of his gaze and let her eyes drift down, but she most certainly was not disappointed. She took his naked body in and wasn’t sure if she should be thrilled or nervous about what was to come.

Those thoughts were banished, however, when he got back on the bed and moved down to place a kiss directly on her pubis. He breathed in deeply and said, “You’re aroused, Nymphadora.”

She didn’t even open her eyes as she tossed back, “Oh, you think?”

He growled and pushed her legs apart roughly. “I want to know how you taste,” he repeated, and lowered his mouth to her. He was pleased to find her already quite wet, and even more pleased to find that she tasted better than he’d even dreamed. His inner wolf was itching to claim her. He slipped a finger inside of her, and at her small gasp of appreciation, he added another. He continued to draw his tongue across her clitoris until he felt small quivers around his fingers indicating that she was near climax. With a small smile, he sat up once more and removed his fingers from her. At her small whimper of protest, he simply said, “Not yet, Nymphadora…” He maneuvered himself above her, settling between her legs, and positioned himself at her entrance.

He looked down into her eyes and, in answer to her nod of consent, slowly and gently pushed into her. He fought to keep his eyes open as she hissed in response and he realized that, had he been a younger man, he would have exploded right then and there, so warm and tight was she. As it was, he looked down at her face and tried to gauge her reaction. Her eyes were closed tightly, making it difficult. On cue, as if she had a direct connection to his mind, she opened them and gave him a small smile. “Give me a moment, yeah?” she murmured quietly.

Remus leaned down on his elbows and lovingly pushed her hair back from her face. “All the time you need, Nymphadora. I don’t want this to be painful for you. Do you wish to stop?” he whispered gently. She laughed in spite of herself and opened her eyes, raising a single eyebrow in response.

“Don’t be daft, Remus Lupin.” She allowed her eyes to drift closed again and murmured shyly, “This moment is all I’ve ever wanted.” She reached up blindly and found his face, pulling it down to hers. She found his mouth and kissed him slowly, hauntingly, sending shivers down his spine. “Thank you for being gentle and patient,” she whispered.

Before he could respond, she continued, “I’m ready. Go,” and moved against him.

Remus’ eyes rolled back in his head before he could stop himself and he moved in and out of her, once, twice, three times, finally opening his eyes and looking at the vision beneath him that he’d longed to see for months. She was perfect. “Look at me,” he whispered.

Her big eyes opened and she gave him a shy smile. She lifted her hand to his face and murmured, “You feel good inside me.” She swallowed, hesitant. “Better than I dreamed, actually.”

He gave her a lazy, confident grin and pushed into her, hard, once.

“I wanted to start like this because I’ve been dreaming for months about what you would look like beneath me,” he murmured, and he felt her muscles tighten in response. “But I did promise that your pleasure would come first and it will be better for you,” he flipped them with an easy grace and she gave a small shriek of laughter as she found herself suddenly atop him, “like this,” he finished with a small smile.

“Yeah?” she asked in a barely audible voice.

“Yeah,” he answered. “Do you trust me?” he asked, seriously.

He looked up at her, awed at her perfect breasts and her flawless body straddling him. How he had managed to secure the love of a creature so perfect as her he was powerless to explain. The fact that she was looking down on him with such trust, such immense love in her eyes, threatened to overwhelm him. And when her perfectly throaty voice answered him, “With my heart and my life,” he nearly came apart beneath her. But this night was about her, and he called upon every ounce of his inner self-control and managed to hold it together.

“All right,” he whispered. “Bend down,” he instructed. She complied and he murmured, “Mmm, yes, like that.” He took a moment to suck on one nipple, then the other, desperately trying to ignore her small cries of pleasure at his ministrations.

He took hold of her hips with a firm grip and looked up at her with naked desire. He gripped her hard enough to leave marks and guided her, rolling her hips to grind against him. He watched with satisfaction as she sucked in a tiny breath and allowed her eyes to drift closed.

He allowed himself a small sigh of pleasure and then returned his attention to her. “Yes, Nymphadora, just like this,” he encouraged in a husky voice. “Grind against me until you get what you need.”

This statement was rewarded with a small cry, followed by a gasp as he bucked up against her. He ran his hands across her bare back, reveling in the feel of her, completely bare above him. He pulled her down a bit and sucked a nipple into his mouth, nipping gently at it as he ran his hands up into her hair and raked his nails against her scalp. He thrilled as she rewarded him with a gasp and began to grind harder against him. Despite his own nearly unbearable arousal, he allowed a small smile of satisfaction to sneak across his lips when he suspected she was close to the precipice. He hadn’t thought it would take him long to get her there. “Come for me, Nymphadora,” he commanded as her breaths grew faster and her cries became more insistent. “You’re so beautiful,” he encouraged, his hands still firmly gripping her hips. She was panting now, and he knew she was close.

It was the most erotic vision of his life, watching her above him, with the knowledge that he’d just been the man to bring her fully into womanhood, and that she was approaching her first orgasm with a man. He alternated between gripping her hips as he encouraged her verbally and mentally reciting every Quidditch record James Potter had ever set for Gryffindor as he endeavored to keep himself off the ledge. God, he was so close to losing it, but Merlin be damned, he had sworn that her pleasure would come first, and there was no fucking way he was going to get off before he brought her to orgasm. Their thirteen year age difference was suddenly more advantageous than before, and then—oh god—she was coming undone above him. He gazed up at her in amazement as she rocked her body against his—her small, capable hands sliding into his hair and her lips finding his to kiss him desperately, and then he was lost. He let himself go inside her, and there had never in the history of the universe been a moment so dizzyingly perfect as this one, and some distant part of his mind wondered if their cries of pleasure could be heard in spite of the Silencing Charm, but damn it all, who the fuck cared when it turned out that you could actually feel this good and a creature as beautiful and breathtaking and perfect as Nymphadora Tonks had proclaimed her love for you?

He finished just as she rocked herself into a second orgasm and he fought to keep the grimace of post-orgasm sensitivity off his face as he continued to grip her hips, determined to give her everything she needed.

She collapsed on top of him, utterly sated, and he gently slipped his arms around her, giving a light squeeze.

And then they slept.

Chapter Text

Remus awoke to the tickle of hair on his face. He was surprised to find Nymphadora still straddling him, her head resting neatly on his shoulder as she slept. He shifted his head back just a bit to get a good look at her face and had to silence the gasp that threatened to steal from his lips and awaken her. She was breathtaking. Her lips were full and just barely parted, and her heart-shaped face looked even younger than normal, relaxed as it was in sleep.

Or so he thought.

Eyes still closed, she murmured, “Stop staring at me, Remus,” and he chuckled and ran his hands across her back, relishing the silky feel of her skin beneath his hands.

“Never,” he whispered.

“Mmm,” she stretched out and rolled off of him, flipping to her back with an “oof.” Throwing an arm dramatically over her eyes, she said, “After we take a shower together and you allow me to return some favors, we’re going to go tell your pup he can come out of hiding and then you’re coming with me to breakfast at my parents’ house. Then I’m taking your jailbird canine for a run to reward him for being so good.”

Remus, who had lowered his lips to her belly and was slowly kissing his way up to her breasts, murmured against her skin, “I’m sorry, I stopped listening after you said shower,” before jerking his head up and muttering in alarm, “Wait, did you say breakfast? With your parents?”

Nymphadora laughed out loud and pushed his head back to her taut belly. “Remus, you’re 35 years old, and you’ve met my parents,” she said, her eyes dancing in amusement.

“Well, yes, but never after spending a leisurely morning enjoying their daughter’s body after spending an intense evening deflowering her,” he said as his lips found their goal.

“Mmm,” she said in lazy appreciation of what he was doing. “It’s not like it’s going to be written on my face when we stroll in, Rem… Mmm, keep doing that,” she mumbled as she grabbed his hair and squirmed beneath him.

A moment later, Remus’ face hit the mattress as she abruptly rolled off the bed and stood up. She turned back and hooked a finger at him. “Shower,” she commanded. He didn’t particularly need to be told twice, and he leapt up gracefully and grabbed her around the waist.

He leaned down and gently nipped at the back of her neck with a growl, then whispered, “Teeth first.”

Once teeth were duly cleaned, they stepped into a steaming shower and Nymphadora took her time showing him that she could do clever things with her mouth, too.

OoOoO

Thoroughly cleaned up and dressed, they stood at Sirius’ doorway and were surprised when it swung open before they could knock. “Done so soon?” he drawled.

“Not even remotely,” Remus answered easily. “But it won’t do to make Nymphadora miss her mother’s weekly brunch because I was too busy ravaging her. And besides, she’s promised to take you for a run later if you’re a good doggie.” He punctuated this by reaching out and patting the top of Sirius’ head, ignoring it when Sirius swatted his hand away.

“Sweet Merlin, Moony, you must have had an outstanding night to be this cheerful at this ungodly hour.”

Remus chuckled. “A pretty fantastic morning, too,” he quipped.

Tonks cleared her throat from where she was standing against the wall. “You two about done?”

Sirius rolled his eyes at her and adopted a pouty look at being abandoned. “Tell my favorite cousin I said hi,” he muttered moodily.

Tonks retorted, “I thought I was your favorite cousin these days,” but she couldn’t help but feel sorry for him.

“Okay, my original favorite cousin,” he relented.

Tonks appraised him. She turned to Remus and said, “Would Dumbledore murder us if you apparated Snuffles to visit his favorite cousin?”

Sirius looked positively hopeful, but Remus simply rolled his eyes and tugged her away from the wall. “Keep dreaming, you two. I’m already going against my better judgment by turning a blind eye to your occasional runs.”

“You’re a bloody prick,” Sirius shot.

“Don’t be bitter just because someone besides you is getting laid for once, Padfoot,” Remus returned.

“Touché,” Sirius answered, unable to help himself.

OoOoO

Remus looked a bit uneasy as they descended the steps of 12 Grimmauld Place and headed to the Apparition Point. “Oh, don’t be a big baby,” Tonks said with a smirk and a roll of her eyes as she rounded the corner, stuck her tongue out, and disapparated on the spot. Remus rolled his eyes at being left behind and quickly followed.

He landed in Andromeda’s back garden just as Nymphadora was, predictably, struggling back to her feet. He gave a small chuckle and reached down to help her up. “Shut up,” she grumbled, but couldn’t quite wipe the smile from her face. He hadn’t realized until that moment that she was positively glowing.

“Nymphadora!” her mother interrupted his musings as she poked her head out of the house. “And Remus! What a pleasant surprise! I thought I heard two pops instead of one,” she smiled. Then her smile changed just slightly, and she looked at her daughter with an appraising eye for just a moment before her features cleared and she said, “Come in, come in…breakfast is just ready.” She turned and walked in and Remus slid his eyes over to Tonks.

“Did you see that?” he murmured.

“Yeah. I did.” Her expression was unreadable. “Not sure I like how she just looked at me.”

“And you said it wouldn’t be written on your face,” he grumbled, taking her hand and leading her inside.

“Guess I forgot that I’d be dealing with Andromeda Tonks,” she muttered back under her breath. “Oh well, we’re here and I’m starving,” she said as they stepped through the doorway.

Remus gave a hearty laugh. “Some things never change.”

OoOoO

The four of them enjoyed a surprisingly relaxed meal together, avoiding unpleasant topics as much as possible and focusing on how Sirius was dealing with his forced confinement and enjoying a few childhood tales courtesy of Andromeda. After Tonks had put away an amount of food that was impressive even for her, Andromeda suggested that Tonks start the washing up, noting that she’d yet to give up on improving her daughter’s household spellwork. Tonks pushed back from the table with a good-natured eyeroll and walked toward the sink with her plate. “Will you toss me my wand, Mum? It’s in my bag.”

She took three more strides before she realized her misstep, and knew in an instant that Remus had, too. But before she could even get turned to make a grab for the bag, her mother’s silky-smooth voice was asking, “And would I find that on top of or beneath the lingerie and vial of contraceptive potion, dear?”

Tonks froze and closed her eyes. She felt her hair morph and couldn’t even venture a guess as to what color she’d changed to. She took a deep breath and tried to calm her racing heart before she forced herself to place her dish carefully on the counter and turn. She wasn’t concerned that her parents knew their 22-year-old daughter was sleeping with someone, but she knew that Remus would be absolutely, positively mortified. If she were perfectly honest with herself, she wasn’t terribly keen on facing her father, either. She schooled her face into an impassive expression and turned to face the rest of the room.

Remus was leaned back in resignation, hands laced together behind his head, staring at the ceiling. Her father was staring back and forth from the vial to the chemise (thank bloody Merlin it appeared her mother had not pulled out the thong) with a strange look on his face that appeared to be horror warring with amusement. And her mother was staring her down with a smirk that could only be described as gleeful triumph.

“Beneath them, clearly,” Tonks said sarcastically, stepping forward and snatching her wand from her bag rather roughly. “And give me that,” she muttered while snatching the chemise from her mother’s hand and tossing it and the vial back into the bag and out of sight. It was one thing for her parents to have a theoretical knowledge that she had a sex life; it was quite another to have them staring at the evidence that had been yanked off of her body not twelve hours prior.

She glanced back at her mother’s smug face and flopped back into her chair. “God, you are the most Slytherin…Slytherin…I’ve ever known. You make Snape look like a bloody Hufflepuff in comparison.” She glanced over at her father. “What on earth does a nice Ravenclaw boy like you see in her, anyway?” she needled.

To her shock, her father stared at her mother with a sly grin and deadpanned, “She looks pretty damn good wearing one of those, too.”

“Oh my God, I’m out,” she said, starting to push back from the table when she was shocked by a sharp peal of laughter from Remus. She looked over at him and noted that he was still staring at the ceiling, but his shoulders were shaking with now-suppressed laughter.

He finally tore his gaze from above and looked over at her with a shrug.

“Finally dig deep and find that Gryffindor courage you’re all so proud of?” she shot.

She rolled her eyes and scanned the room. “Can we be done with this conversation now?” She stood and exited the kitchen, tossing back over her shoulder, “and just for that you can do your own bloody dishes. And pack some leftovers for the dog!” She rolled her eyes and suppressed a giggle as she walked back out to the garden.

She wasn’t surprised to hear the door open a moment later, but she was surprised when her mother sat down next to her instead of Remus. Before she could speak, Tonks said, “Merlin, Mum, you left him alone in there with Dad?”

“Nymphadora,” her mother said gently. “I’m sorry—I couldn’t resist. Your father and I had just been wondering a few days ago how serious you and Remus were, and then the answer fell quite literally in my lap.” Tonks raised an eyebrow in response but said nothing. Her mother reached over and took her hand quite gently, and Tonks marveled, as she often did, that Andromeda Black Tonks was such a wonderful mother when her own childhood had been so…well, the Noble House of Black was not known for their sentimentality and shows of affection. “Your father and I only want you to be happy, Nymphadora, and Remus is a gentle, kind man. He’s been very good for you, sweetheart.” Tonks braced herself. She knew her mother well. “And by the glow on your face this morning, I’d say he’s been good on many levels.” There it was.

Tonks burst out laughing in spite of herself. “Merlin, Mum!” she snorted, and covered her face with her hands. Feeling suddenly very close to her mother, she said quietly, “It was my first time,” trying her best to morph away the flood of red in her face. She couldn’t force herself to look at her mother, but she felt Andromeda’s appraising look.

“I suspected so,” she murmured, and at that, Tonks did jerk her head up, her eyes wide with surprise.

Andromeda shrugged. “You’ve never mentioned any sort of serious relationship before, and despite your exuberant personality, you are far too disciplined and controlled to jump into such an intimate act casually.” She paused, choosing her words carefully. “And…I know that your gift has caused you some…concerns…in the past.” Tonks smiled up gratefully at her mom, but Andromeda saw the barest flicker of hurt pass over her eyes. She soothed the fleeting look when she said, “It’s patently clear that Remus would never take such a liberty, nor would he desire to.”

Tonks nodded silently, feeling a bit choked up.

Her mother smiled and placed a gentle kiss to the side of her face. “I’m just glad you’re being safe,” she said in a low voice. “You already know that your relationship faces significant challenges.”

Tonks closed her eyes and nodded. “He’s worth it,” she whispered, opening her eyes and turning to look at her mother. “I know it will be hard. It might even seem impossible at times. But he’s who I choose. And he deserves someone to make him happy.” She turned her head just slightly, and said, “I know you’re right behind me, Rem, and I hope you heard every word of that, yeah?” She smiled crookedly and glanced at Andromeda before twisting her head around and looking up at his towering figure.

He rewarded her with a crooked grin as he reached down and pulled her to her feet. He pulled her into a hug and kissed the top of her head. “If you say so,” he mused happily. Andromeda looked past them to the open back door and smiled gently at her husband. Maybe this unusual couple really could make it work.

Chapter Text

It was three days after their first lovemaking before Tonks had occasion to summon her Patronus, and it just so happened that she and Remus were together when she did.  Mad-Eye had assigned them to check out an old Death-Eater hideout that was long since abandoned; he didn’t really think they had resumed using it, but it wouldn’t be constant vigilance if he didn’t investigate every possible lead, every possible hideout.

They had staked it out for a good four hours before daring to approach the ramshackle building. Remus checked for curses and wards and found nothing. He turned to Tonks and shook his head. “There’s nothing here,” he said with a small shrug.

“Okay, I guess I’ll let Dumbledore know and see if he wants us to stick around or give it up.”

Remus nodded and watched as she drew her wand to cast her Patronus.

Tonks closed her eyes and smiled when she realized that the memory she would use had changed. For the longest, she had used the memory of her graduation from Auror training. Then she had used the memory of the first time Remus had kissed her—the feeling of his arms around her waist, the intimacy of his tongue in her mouth. But the thought that she instinctively brought to her mind this time—it was more than any of the others. Unbidden, the memory of the feeling of pure intimacy and completion that had flooded her at the moment he first entered her and joined them as one swept through her mind and almost without conscious thought, her Patronus sprang free from her wand and with her eyes closed she murmured, “There’s nothing here,” just as she heard Remus’ low gasp.

Her eyes snapped open and her jaw dropped in utter shock as she watched her Patronus turn to take the message to Dumbledore—a Patronus that was no longer a playful jack rabbit, but…a beautiful silver wolf.

Tonks and Remus stood in stunned silence for several moments before Tonks managed to utter, “…What was that?”

She received no answer. Turning to look at him, she saw him looking slack-jawed at the spot where her wolf had gracefully bounded off to Dumbledore. “Remus?” she asked again, tentatively.

Remus let out a disbelieving huff of a chuckle as his eyes stared unseeingly into the distance. “No…” he whispered incredulously.

“Remus?” she tried again. “What just happened? What happened to my jack rabbit?” she asked in confusion.

Remus still looked dazed and refused to make eye contact.

“Your…your Patronus changed…” he whispered, still not quite believing what he’d seen.

Tonks was dumbfounded. “My—my Patronus changed?” she asked incredulously. “Can that happen?”

Remus gave a small chuckle, still staring at the ground ahead. “Well…obviously,” he murmured, amusement now mingling with his shock. “But it’s not common. It’s not unheard-of, but it’s definitely not common.”

“But why?” she whispered.

He finally dragged his eyes up to look into hers.

He held her gaze firmly and it felt like everything around them was disappearing as he slowly said, “The most common reason cited is a tremendously life-changing emotional event, like a death…” the entire world save Tonks disappeared now, and he felt like his head was swimming, “…or…falling deeply in love,” he whispered so faintly she barely heard him.

Her full lips registered a small O of surprise and before he knew what he was doing he was grabbing her upper arms and crashing his mouth to hers. Only a few moments passed before he broke apart, his curiosity aroused. “What changed? Did it feel any different?” he asked eagerly.

Tonks thought for a moment. “No. It felt like every other time I’ve cast a Patronus. But,” she looked up at him, “the memory I used changed without me even consciously thinking about it.” He raised his eyebrows, bidding her to continue, and a small flush of color crept into her cheeks. “Before you, I used the memory of the day I received my Auror robes and badge.” He smiled at this. “Then,” she said a bit more shyly, “it was the memory of the first time you kissed me.” She paused. “But today…” her voice trailed off. She was feeling uncharacteristically bashful. She finally gathered her nerve and looked him directly in the eyes as she said, “I didn’t consciously decide on it, but it was the moment you entered me for the first time the other night, exquisite pain and all…” Her voice trailed off and the shock and curiosity present in Remus’ eyes were replaced with a brief flicker of raw arousal and longing. He pulled her to him once more and bent to kiss her, this time slowly and deeply to the point that she thought her knees might buckle. She found her wits as the darkness was broken by a flash of silver. “Fawkes,” she whispered.

The Phoenix gracefully swooped in and they heard Dumbledore’s voice command, “Return to Headquarters,” and Fawkes swiftly disappeared. Without a word, Remus swept Tonks’ hair back, planted a kiss to her forehead, and wrapped his arms tightly around her, Apparating them out of sight.

A/N: Short and sweet. The next chapter is stupid long, though, so hopefully that will make up for this one. The fact that Tonks’ Patronus changed to a wolf is one of my absolute favorite features of the Remadora storyline.

 

Chapter Text

There had still been moments, of course, when he had pushed her away—or tried to, at any rate. And on top of that, there was occasionally fallout of the very kind that he feared. The first time this occurred after they solidified their relationship by making love came only a couple of weeks later.

Despite Remus’ insistence that she not be seen with him in public, Tonks flat-out refused to accept it. She had asked him at least a dozen times to accompany her on various outings and errands, and Remus always declined unless she morphed or they would be among Muggles. She said she would not morph in order to be seen with him unless it was required for the Order. The day she asked him to go with her to Diagon Alley so she could procure the ingredients for his next month’s dose of Wolfsbane and his response was, “You’re having me on, right? You want to walk into Diagon Alley with a werewolf and then proceed to buy the ingredients to make Wolfsbane for said werewolf?” was, however, the final straw—the one that made her break out the “Remus John Lupin!” that signified that she was well and truly narked.

He braced himself for the onslaught as he watched the tips of her hair slowly turn red. He sighed as he watched her set her jaw and walk slowly toward him.

“Remus.” She spoke slowly, enunciating her words. “Your. identity. is. not. werewolf.” She held up a hand as he began to protest, and the words died on his lips. He would give her the respect and courtesy of hearing her out. “Remus,” she said again, her voice softer this time, “your identity is Remus. Human. Wizard. Man. Professor. Marauder. Lover. Order Member. Scholar. Gryffindor. Friend. Englishman. Defence Expert. Do you want me to keep going? Because I can,” she smiled up at him and then continued with a small resigned sigh. “Remus, you’re a guy who has a shitty night once a month. You’re no monster. Now come to Diagon Alley with me.”

She turned as if the matter was settled, and stopped dead in her tracks at his quiet, “No, Nymphadora.”

She spun and yelled, “REMUS!” and stepped back to him. He was surprised to see that the look in her eyes was one not of ire, but of anguish. She grabbed his shoulders and shook him. “Remus, did you ask to get bitten?” She stopped, her silence demanding an answer. He shook his head. “Were you viciously attacked as you slept in your bed as a FOUR-YEAR-OLD…BABY?!” There were tears welling in her eyes now. He stiffened at the memory, as he always did. He silently nodded. “To your knowledge, have you ever killed someone while transformed?”

He could not look her in the eyes this time; this question anguished him because he could not answer it with 100% certainty. “Not to my knowledge, no. But I can’t be sure. I don’t think I have, but…” he trailed off, letting the rest of his statement remain unspoken. He looked back up in time to see two tears silently spill from her eyes.

“Are you always careful at the moon?” she whispered. He nodded. “Do you want to hurt people?”

“Of course not.”

She squeezed his shoulders gently and slipped her hands up to cup his face. “Then why can’t you see that you’re not a monster, Rem?” She pulled his face down and kissed his lips gently. “Why can’t you see that after 31 years of transformations, prejudice, mistreatment, and poverty, it is the most incredible thing to me that you are still the kindest, gentlest person I have ever known?”

He leaned down to place his forehead against hers and gave the tip of her nose a gentle kiss. Then he stood and gathered her into his arms, burying his face in her hair and inhaling deeply before speaking.

“Because to the majority of our world, I will always be viewed as a monster, and that is therefore my reality, even if I remain unspeakably grateful that it is not yours.”

He felt her slump in his arms, and her grief was almost palpable. But then she spoke quietly against his chest.

“Remus, get your cloak and your wand. You do not have to come into the apothecary with me, but you are coming to Diagon Alley with me. I will not be hidden. And I will not hide you. I will not hide us. So get over yourself.” Something about her tone brooked no argument, and to his great surprise, Remus found himself gathering his wand and cloak as directed. He hoped this would not end badly.

OoOoO

Tonks was so excited at her victory that she asked Remus to side-along apparate her, just because she loved the feeling of being wrapped in his arms and spinning through space. They landed in Diagon Alley and she immediately dashed his hopes of keeping a slight distance from her when she wrapped herself around his right arm and threaded her fingers through his. She hadn’t been lying, evidently; she was not going to be hidden.

“Careful, Nymphadora,” he cautioned with a murmur. “Your job…”

“I’m not wearing Ministry robes, Remus,” she replied. She repeated her earlier statement—“I will not hide you. I’m not going to go into the Auror office and announce that I’m shagging a lycanthrope, of course, but the difference is that one is acting ashamed and one is taking a practical precaution. I’m not ashamed of being a member of the Order, but I’m not announcing that at work, either,” she pointed out.  “All right?”

He smiled and squeezed her hand. “All right.”

She hesitated before she continued, because she knew it would be a touchy subject, but there was simply no way around it. “I need to go to Gringotts first. I don’t have enough gold on me for what I need,” she murmured.

She felt him stiffen next to her, and before he could speak, she murmured, “Don’t, Remus.” Her voice was slightly pleading as she added, “Please.” She stopped in the middle of the street and turned to him. She took his other hand in hers and looked up at him. “Remus, we’ve been over this. I do not care about your financial situation. You are not unemployed because you are unwilling or inadequately skilled. You are unemployed because of prejudice, stupidity, and one vindictive, petty prick of a Potions master.” She scowled and Remus couldn’t help the small grin that ghosted across his lips. “Remus, you’re not a charity case and I don’t view you that way. Severus could just as well still make your Wolfsbane—Dumbledore never told him to stop. I asked to take over making it because I want to, my Potions NEWT makes me qualified, I can afford it, and because I don’t want Severus holding that power over you.”

Remus released her hands and reached for her face. Her eyes held nothing but honesty and love. Without even thinking, he leaned down and kissed her tenderly, right there in Diagon Alley, and murmured, “Thank you.”

Tonks’ eyes sparkled with happiness as she whispered, “Then let’s go,” and resumed her position wrapped around his arm, holding his right hand.

They entered the bank and she requested access to her vault. She was playing it cool, but in reality her anxiety level was increasing. He didn’t know it, but by having him accompany her to her vault, she was about to reveal something to him that no one but her parents knew, and for her this was a step that involved as much trust as giving him her virginity had, because this was a secret that could put her life in danger.

Remus Lupin was about to learn that her vault was full of gold and treasure from the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black.

OoOoO

Once the careening cart arrived at her vault and they disembarked, she indicated for the attending goblin to wait one moment, and she turned to Remus, taking a deep breath. A look of concern flitted across his features as he recognized that she was about to say something important. “Remus, I’m about to share something with you that no one other than my parents knows or ever will know, with the possible exception of Sirius. I know in my heart that I do not need to ask for your absolute confidence, but my brain won’t listen, so please—“

Remus interrupted. “Never, Nymphadora. No matter what, regardless of what happens between us, I will not and would not ever betray your trust.”

She nodded. “I will explain once we are inside.” She nodded to the goblin and together they opened the vault. She pulled Remus in and indicated to the goblin to close the door behind them. To his credit, Remus reacted only by raising his eyebrows nearly to his hairline.

“This is Black family treasure.” His eyebrows went even higher, if possible. Tonks took a breath and said, “When my mother made the decision to be with my father, she knew it meant being disowned. So slowly, over a period of months before she announced their engagement to her family, she quietly began to transfer gold and other items from her trust fund vault to my father’s vault.” Tonks smiled and rolled her eyes as she said, “Being a daughter of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black has its advantages, and all three of their trust fund vaults were crammed to the hilt, according to Mum. So she was able to relieve hers of a great deal without it being noticeable. She viewed it as a way to ensure that she and Dad had a good start together, but also her own little private parting shot at her family.” She smiled and took a breath. “When I was born, they transferred all of the family treasures and the majority of the gold to my vault, in case any of the psychopaths decided to go after them and leave me orphaned. She feared that if that happened, they would somehow manage to gain access to her and dad’s vault and then I would be left with nothing. As far as we know, no one in the Black, Lestrange, or Malfoy families is aware of what she took with her. I don’t know what would happen to my parents—or to me—were it to be discovered.” She let out a shaky breath and waited for a reaction from Remus.

None came.

“Please, Remus. Say something. Say anything.”

He glanced around the vault and finally said, “I find myself in the rare situation of being completely speechless, excepting the fact that I am actually speaking; however…” he trailed off.

Tonks was suddenly nervous about her decision to share this with him.

“Remus, I view what’s in this vault as an emergency fund, and a gift from my parents. I didn’t earn any of this by my own merit—only by being a Black descendent. Like you, I prefer to make my own way in the world. Obviously I don’t have to work; I choose to. Please don’t—“

“Nymphadora.” He placed a finger over her mouth. “I don’t care about the gold.” A look of confusion flashed across her face. “I’m speechless because I’m so stunned that you entrusted me with this.” He smiled at the look of relief that spread across her features. He pulled her to him and leaned down until his lips were by her ear. “And allow me to repeat: you need never worry that I will betray this trust. Would you like me to take the Unbreakable Vow?”

She tilted her head up to place her lips to his neck. “Never,” she murmured. “That would defeat the purpose of trust, wouldn’t it?” She leaned back to look up into his face. “I brought you here today for three reasons, Remus. First and foremost, to show you how absolutely I trust you. Second, so you can see that buying the necessary ingredients for Wolfsbane is clearly not a hardship. The incredible irony of using the money of a werewolf-hating family to assist a werewolf is, of course, an added bonus. And finally, because I do actually need to get gold,” she winked.

He laughed and hugged her to him once more. “You are incredible, Nymphadora,” he told her adoringly.

She gave him a saucy look and grabbed three canvas money bags from a basket by the door. “Here,” she said, handing two of them to him. “Your hands are larger. Fill these with Galleons, will you?”

He obediently turned and began stuffing the bags. “Do you really need this much gold?” he asked as they worked.

“Of course not,” she responded. “One is for me, one is for Sirius, who I mentioned I may let in on the secret. Since he was kicked out, he didn’t have the chance to raid his vault, and it’s only fair to share. The third is for you,” she said casually, hoping he would surprise her by not acting like a noble git for once. Naturally, she was disappointed.

He froze at her words and stood up straight. “No,” he said simply.

She heaved a great sigh, and mirrored his actions. “Remus, you great prat,” she said in exasperation. “For Merlin’s bloody sake, take the gold. It’s not mine. I didn’t earn it. It just happens to be sitting in my vault. It’s not a handout, or charity, or whatever label you’re dying to slap on it. It’s a gift. And don’t you dare tell me you wouldn’t find some satisfaction in having pilfered Black family gold in your possession.”

He was going to argue, but she surprised even herself when she actually stomped her foot like a moody adolescent and ground out, “Dammit, Remus, don’t you dare ruin a great moment.” She clenched her teeth together and forced herself to walk her anger back. She fixed him with her stare and finished with, “Fine. Look me in the eyes and tell me you wouldn’t do this for me if our situations for reversed, and I’ll let it drop.”

At this he closed his mouth. He hated—loathed, even—the idea of taking gold from her, but she had him backed into a corner. There was no way he could look her in the eyes and lie to her. She smiled sweetly at him. “Thank you, love,” she said. She reached out and said, “Give me the one that’s already full.” He handed it over and she tucked it into her purse. “This one’s yours,” she smirked shrewdly. “Now finish filling up that bag for Sirius.”

He couldn’t help but chuckle at her conniving ways. He had to admit she had him there; if she hadn’t taken the first bag, he would not have added any additional gold to the bag he was holding. “Sure you’re not secretly Slytherin?” he teased.

“No, but I was birthed by one,” she shot back. “I think a traumatic event like that leaves some residual contamination.”

They finished and exited the vault, nodding their thanks to the goblin attendant. As they climbed back into the cart to begin the long journey to the surface, a question occurred to Remus.

“How long did it take the Hat to Sort you?”

She laughed. “It was pretty quick. Maybe thirty seconds? The funny part is that my parents’ Houses—Ravenclaw and Slytherin—were the first two Houses it eliminated. Something like, ‘you’re smart but you don’t apply yourself as you should’—that did later change, by the way; it was necessary if I wanted to be an Auror, which I desperately did—and ‘you’re cunning when necessary, but it’s not your first instinct.’ It gave a tad more thought to Gryffindor but ultimately—and quickly—settled on Hufflepuff.”

“Were you surprised? Did you have an expectation of where you would end up?”

“No—on both counts. With parents from different Houses, and one being Muggle-born, with no family House history, I had no idea where I would end up. And of course, at age 11, one doesn’t really know oneself very well. What about you? How long was your Sorting?”

Like Tonks had, Remus laughed. “Merlin. It took a solid quarter hour.” At this, Tonks let out a low whistle. Remus laughed again. “The Hat’s first words were, ‘Not Slytherin,’ and then a few seconds later eliminated Hufflepuff as well. It then spent the next fifteen minutes fiercely debating between Ravenclaw and Gryffindor.” He paused, unsure of whether he should go on. But then he thought of the amount of trust Nymphadora had placed in him, and he continued quietly. “To this day I am convinced that the deciding factor was my lycanthropy. The Hat spoke of it several times during the Sorting process, as if being a werewolf is somehow a mark of courage,” he muttered, a tinge of bitterness in his voice.

“Remus,” she said in a gentle voice that was almost too soft to hear over the roar of the wind rushing by, “you are by far the most courageous man I know.”

“It’s not courage if it’s not a choice!” he snapped, and then immediately checked himself. He laced his fingers through hers and rubbed his thumb gently over her knuckles. “Forgive me, Nymphadora. I apologize.”

She squeezed his hand. “There’s nothing to forgive, Rem.”

He closed his hand around hers a bit more tightly in a silent thank you.

“Because I wasn’t talking about the things you have no choice in. I was talking about the things in which you do.”

OoOoO

They left Gringotts hand-in-hand, Tonks still quietly contemplating their exchange on the journey back to the surface. She felt like she’d been handed another piece of the Remus Lupin puzzle, but she had no idea what to do with it. Her musings were interrupted when he said, “Where to next? Straight to the apothecary?”

“Yes,” she said. “Let’s go ahead and knock that out.” She paused. “Are you going to come in with me?” she asked carefully.

He hesitated. “I’d rather not,” he said softly. “It—it makes me anxious,” he explained, “the thought of damaging your reputation or career.”

She nodded. He had come with her today; that was enough. She could concede this to him. “Okay,” she said, equally softly.

He turned and kissed her temple. “Thank you,” he whispered. “I think I’ll just stop by Flourish and Blott’s and take a look around. Want to meet me there after you finish up?”

“Sure,” she smiled. “Oh!” she said, reaching into her purse. She opened “his” bag of galleons and took out a handful, sliding them into his pocket. “Treat yourself.” He looked as if he was going to argue and she said, “Are we going to do this again?”

He just grinned in defeat and gently kissed her lips as he broke away in the direction of Flourish and Blott’s. “See you in a few,” he called over his shoulder.

OoOoO

Tonks reached the apothecary and stepped inside, going directly to the counter. “Excuse me,” she said to the young man there. He was young, perhaps even her age. “I need 10 galleons worth of aconite—fresh, not powdered—I prefer to do that myself; 12 galleons worth of powdered silver; umm,” she consulted her list to double check what she had in her existing stores against what she needed. “…5 galleons worth of powdered moonstone, one vial of moonseed, two vials of dittany, and two bunches of fresh valerian roots.”

The clerk narrowed his eyes at her. “Making werewolf juice, are we? Got yourself a pet?” he asked condescendingly.

Tonks did not miss a beat as she shifted into full-on “Bad Auror” mode. Staring him down with authority, and fiercely holding the morph on her hair color so as not to betray her anger, she coolly said, “Is that a problem? Because I assure you, I can and will procure these ingredients elsewhere. I use this apothecary because I have a long-standing relationship with Misters Slug and Jiggers, but I’ll be more than happy to go elsewhere. I’ll also be happy to return here tomorrow and let them know that the antiquated prejudices of their young employee cost them a sale of over fifty galleons.” She leaned across the counter with a cool, slightly menacing look on her face and tapped her finger against her lips as she looked at the ceiling and pretended to consider. “I do wonder how that would go over,” she drawled. She then abruptly snapped her eyes back down and bored into his. Now there was no mistaking the menace in her countenance. “Your choice,” she all but growled.

It was all she could do not to laugh at the clerk’s terrified face. “I-I’m s-s-sorry,” he stammered.

“Fine,” she said tersely. “Now get me the damn ingredients.”

He returned with her requests five minutes later and she double-checked that it was all correct. As she was counting out the gold to hand over, he timidly asked, “Um, you—you know that Wolfsbane Potion is extremely complex, right?” She nearly snorted at the fact that he had now referred to the potion correctly, rather than the repugnant “werewolf juice” he’d favored a few moments prior. However, she arranged her features into a look of aloof boredom and rolled her eyes.

“Well, I did manage a NEWT in Potions and I’ve also managed to brew it flawlessly about half a dozen times so far, so I suppose I’ll take my chances.”

“Right. Sorry, ma’am.”

She grabbed her purchase and turned to go before abruptly changing her mind and leaning back across the counter at the clerk. Her voice was gentler this time as she said quietly, “You’d do well to remember that there are evil werewolves just as there are evil wizards, but the bottom line is,” she swallowed hard against her emotions. “None of them chose to get bitten.” She all but whispered this last, and the clerk looked startled at the intensity of her voice. “And you would be surprised at how good and gentle some of them can be. Good day,” she said quietly and left the store.

Her heart was pounding and tears were threatening; she walked far enough as to be sure she was out of sight of the Apothecary before she allowed her Auror façade to drop so she could take a moment to lean against a wall to collect herself. She let out a shaky breath and cursed the single traitorous tear that escaped her eye. She needed to get back to Remus before he questioned how long she had been, but she could not allow him to see her upset. She took several slow, deep breaths and concentrated on morphing her face so that her skin wasn’t blotchy and her eyes were neither red nor watery. She focused on the morph a bit longer than usual to ensure she held it, took one more breath, and headed off to Flourish and Blotts.

She found Remus waiting by the entrance and was pleased to see him holding a purchase in his hands, although she couldn’t quite force herself to smile. He grinned easily at her when he caught sight of her, saying, “I was about to come looking for you.” This time she did force a smile, but the look on his face told her that she hadn’t been convincing. “What’s wrong?” he said, his blue eyes narrowed in concern.

She forced a brighter smile this time, but still, she could feel that it didn’t quite reach her eyes. “Nothing,” she said in a cheerful voice.

“Nymphadora…” he said in a low voice.

“I’m fine,” she said in a gentle voice. “Can we talk about it later?” she pleaded. He nodded in acceptance.

Changing the subject, he held a hand out and said, “Would you like me to carry your bag?”

She snorted. “Would I like you to carry a bag chock full of freshly cut aconite flowers? Not bloody likely.”

He rolled his eyes and chuckled. “You make an excellent point, my dear.”

“Beginning to think you’d lost the plot there,” she teased.

“Some habits just die hard, m’lady,” he teased with a mock bow to her.

She grinned—a real smile this time—as her mood lifted a bit. Letting the clerk get to her was like giving him a small victory over her and Remus’ love, and she would not allow that.

They were wandering somewhat aimlessly when she suddenly gave him a sly smile and murmured, “Chocolate ice cream?”

He raised an eyebrow. “As if I could say no to that? Especially coming from a beautiful woman like you?”

Grinning happily, she pulled him toward Florean Fortescue’s place. She often frequented the small shop and had a good relationship with Florean himself, and was somewhat disappointed when they entered to find not Florean, but a stout, homely, middle-aged witch behind the counter instead. Hers wasn’t a face Tonks had ever seen before, but she pulled Remus toward the counter regardless. “I’ll have…a double chocolate scoop in a cup,” she said, her eyes on the menu board above, not noticing the eyes that were narrowing as they took Remus in.

“Aren’t you that—“ Remus dropped Tonks’ hand like it was a hot potato and prayed to every god and wizard he could think of that the woman would not recognize his Nymphadora as a Ministry employee, much less an esteemed member of the Auror Office.

The next few moments happened so fast that anyone watching would have been hard-pressed to describe what they had actually seen.

Tonks’ head whipped around just as the woman hit the word “werewolf” and before she could react on pure instinct and lay into the woman, she startled at Remus’ violently hissed, “DON’T,” and found herself shocked into momentary compliance.

She found herself tuning back in just in time to hear a lofty, “We don’t serve your kind here,” and reacted viscerally, wrenching her wand from her pocket at blinding speed as her Inner Auror combined with her Supremely Furious Girlfriend and was mid-incantation when she lost her grip as she heard “Expelliarmus!” and watched in shock as her wand flew into Remus’ hand. Almost before he wrapped his fingers around it, he was pulling her protectively into his arms and Apparating them away.

 

Chapter Text

They hit the pavement in the alley by Grimmauld Place and even as he was steadying Tonks with protective arms, he was preparing for the onslaught by casting a nonverbal Protego to keep her from retrieving her wand and heading straight back to Diagon Alley.

True to form, as soon as she was upright, she furiously screamed, “EXPELLIARMUS!” and was predictably infuriated when his tight grip on both of their wands did not yield hers to her. He saw she was gearing up for a much more powerful spell, and he reluctantly cast a modified Full Body Bind which would allow her head to move freely, and a Silencio to keep her from screaming the entire block down. He caught her immobilized form immediately and murmured in her ear as he cocooned her in his arms, “Shhhh, Nymphadora, I’m so sorry, Love. Please forgive me. I would never use Magic against you unless I thought I had to. I just couldn’t bear to watch you do it. I love you too much to let you throw away everything you’ve worked so hard for on my behalf. Please. Forgive me, Nymphadora. I’m sorry.” He drew back and looked into her eyes. He was pleased to see that they were no longer livid, but he wasn’t altogether certain what to make of the look they now held.

Finite incantatem,” he murmured softly, and released her, gently and contritely handing back her wand.

He waited, eyes downcast, for her wrath, but was startled when instead he heard a wrenching sob tear forth. He jerked his head up just in time to see her knees buckle and he scooped her up into his arms, bridal style, taking the wand and apothecary bag from her hands, aconite be damned.

“Come on, Baby,” he murmured. “Let’s get inside, and we can sort this out, okay?” he said soothingly. He was somewhat mollified when she nodded in assent, her eyes still closed as she cried.

His heart broke as she trembled silently against him, clearly trying to control the sobs that were wracking her body.

He entered Headquarters with impeccable timing, as Sirius was just passing through the entrance hall to go upstairs. He looked at Remus and Tonks with great alarm, and Remus whispered harshly, in deference to Mrs. Black’s portrait, “Whisky, Calming Draught, drawing room, now.” To his credit, Sirius reversed his steps and raced back toward the kitchen without so much as a question or comment. Remus, on the other hand, raced upstairs toward the drawing room with Tonks still in his arms. He burst through the doors and laid her tenderly on the couch, quickly expanding it enough so that he could lay with her. Once he had his arms around her, her sobs burst forth in their full fury, and Remus could swear he felt his heart shatter anew with every strangled cry of anguish that left her.

Down in the kitchen, Sirius was frantically pouring a shot of whiskey and grabbing a vial of Calming Draught. He turned to race back upstairs when a thought occurred. He feared Dumbledore’s wrath, but he feared for his cousin and his mate more. “Kreacher!” he barked.

Kreacher appeared immediately and bowed sardonically to him. “Kreacher lives to serve, Master.”

Sirius grabbed a spare scrap of parchment and scribbled, ‘Andi-- NT needs you. RL is trying to calm her. Please come. Kreacher knows where. –SB’ He started to roll up the parchment and then added a single line beneath it as proof of identity.

‘Neither Noble nor Ancient’

It had been their private joke and toast of choice after they had both broken ties with the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black.

“Kreacher, you are to go at once to Andromeda Black Tonks and give her this message, then bring her back here immediately—straight to the drawing room. You are to tell no one else what you have done. Do you understand?” he said sternly. Kreacher took the parchment with a scowl, bowed obediently, and apparated away. Sirius bounded upstairs.

Sirius rushed into the drawing room and found Remus and Tonks lying on the sofa facing each other, though he could barely see Tonks, so wrapped in Remus’ arms was she. His heart wrenched for both his cousin and his friend. Tonks was letting loose with some of the most anguished cries he had ever heard, and Remus was holding her so tenderly, stroking her hair, placing kisses on her face, and whispering to her that it was okay and that he was there. He felt as if he was intruding on something intensely private and had to fight the urge to leave the room. Remus had asked him to assist, however, and so he kneeled down and gently touched his friend on the shoulder. “Here, my old friend,” he murmured quietly. “Whisky or calming draught?” At that very moment, he heard the pop of Kreacher’s arrival with Andromeda.

Sirius placed the whiskey shot and the vial of calming draught on the coffee table, and leapt to his feet. He and Andromeda stared at each other for a split second, and then threw themselves into each other’s arms. A brief squeeze and a whispered, “Soon,” from Sirius, and they separated, Andromeda rushing to Remus and Tonks, who hadn’t even registered her arrival.

Andromeda knelt behind Remus and murmured “What happened?” as she began to caress her daughter’s face. Remus registered some surprise at her presence and Tonks opened her eyes and said, “Mum?” before squeezing her eyes shut again and sobbing even harder, which Remus hadn’t thought possible. Sirius stepped in and handed Remus the shot of whiskey.

Remus took the whisky from Sirius’ hand and turned back to Tonks. “Sweetheart? Open your eyes.” It took a moment, but she finally did. “You need to calm down and relax. Here, drink this.” As Tonks obediently knocked back the proffered shot, Remus couldn’t help but spare a moment for the thought in the back of his mind—that normally, he’d be leery of Sirius’ presence, knowing he’d be ready to take the piss at seeing Remus like this with a woman, but now, he had no such thought. He instinctively knew that Sirius wouldn’t say a word to him in jest; he didn’t know whether that was because of their deep friendship or because of how he cared for his cousin. What he did know was that he didn’t particularly care, so long as Sirius was on his side in making sure Tonks was okay—and clearly, he was. Remus would never have dreamed that Sirius would summon Andromeda, and he wondered briefly what Dumbledore’s reaction would be before he refocused.

“Remus, what happened?” Andromeda repeated.

He closed his eyes and his large hand held Nymphadora’s head protectively against his chest. “She found out what it truly means to be with me,” he said, and Andromeda’s heart wrenched at the agony in his voice.

“More,” Tonks muttered hoarsely, her breath still hitching. Remus recognized that she was dangerously close to hyperventilating. He shoved the calming draught into her hand, and as she tossed it back, he looked over his shoulder at Sirius desperately.

Sirius pushed himself up from the floor and murmured, “Right back,” as he fled the room for the whisky bottle. Neither Remus nor Tonks registered the fact that Andromeda followed Sirius from the room.

Down in the kitchen, Andromeda burst through the door on her cousin’s heels. “Sirius,” she said in a low but very urgent voice. “Send the elf back for Ted. Immediately. I can see where this is going for Remus and Ted is the only one who will be able to talk him down, because he’s dealt with the guilt before. Please, Sirius,” she pled. “If you don’t get Ted here, he’s going to break my daughter’s heart,” she choked out, barely retaining her considerable self-control. Sirius stilled and slowly stood to look at her.

“He will, won’t he?” he admitted. He looked down, saddened. “He’s a good man, but our world’s prejudices have beaten him down. It doesn’t matter how much she loves him—he’ll never think he is worthy of her.” Sirius looked heartbroken for both his cousin and his friend. Then suddenly, he shook his head, as if to clear it, and said, “Remus needs me upstairs,” taking off with the whiskey bottle and another shot glass. “Kreacher!” he barked as he raced up the stairs. The elf appeared on the next landing, looking vaguely put out. Sirius did not wait for a sarcastic comment before ordering, “Go get Ted Tonks and bring him to the drawing room immediately!” He raced on without waiting for a reply, satisfied that when he looked back over his shoulder, his vision was devoid of anyone—wizard, elf, or otherwise.

Back in the drawing room, Remus breathed a small sigh of relief as her breathing began to slow down and her tears followed suit. She rubbed a hand across her face and his eyes—the eyes that knew her so well—saw the first traces of embarrassment trail across her features. “Nymphadora,” he preempted gently. “Don’t. You have nothing to be ashamed of.” He bowed his head and said quietly, “I’m the one who should be ashamed for using Magic against you.”

She placed her hand gently against his cheek but before she could say a word, Sirius burst back through the door with the whisky bottle and an extra shot glass. He held it out to her and she held up a single finger. Sirius obediently poured one shot and passed it to her. She drank it gratefully, closed her eyes, and after a moment, she sat up and moved to sit Indian-style.

Her eyes remained closed, as if she was either considering what she wanted to say, or warding her thoughts against what was on her mind. Remus, of course, knew pretty much what was coming, but Sirius was in the dark, although, again to his credit, he waited silently and patiently, as did Andromeda, who had crept silently back in moments before.

After a moment, she opened her eyes and locked on to Remus’ eyes, leaving no room for anything else in her world. She took a deep breath and whispered, “No, Remus. I’m not going to talk about it. What happened…happened. But I’m not going to revisit it and give you another reason to run or push me away.”

It took a moment to recover—her words felt almost like a physical blow to him—but finally he gave her a half-nod and squeezed her hand as he searched for a compromise.

“Would you at least share something, love? Give me a better idea?”

She considered his request carefully before nodding slowly. After a deep breath, she said, “Remus…please understand, I have understood on an intellectual level from day one what this existence means to you. I mean…” she tried to find the right words. “What I mean is that it’s not as if I thought you were making any of it up or exaggerating in any way whatsoever. I knew you weren’t.” She took a shuddering breath, never breaking eye contact. “But to experience it firsthand…” Her jaw clenched and she closed her eyes for a moment, trying to bring her anger back under control. “I have never felt a raw fury like that in my life, and I thought for a moment that even with all my training, I was going to have an outburst of Uncontrolled Magic. I could feel the heat building in my hands and arms before you apparated us away. And then it dawned on me that you’ve lived this for 31 fucking years,” she spat vehemently, not even bothering to spare her surely-scandalized mother a glance. Then softening, she continued, “and still, you’ve never had a single incident like that, at least so far as I know.” At this, she looked to Sirius for confirmation.

Sirius shook his head. “Nor as far as I know,” he confirmed.

Tonks held up another finger at her cousin, and he obliged her with another shot.

“And if you think that anything that happened today has scared me or put me off you, you’re wrong. In fact, all it has done is make me love you all the more, because the fact that you’ve never lost it on people like I nearly did tonight only confirms to me that you are more human than any human I know.”

Remus was once again left speechless, and he had no idea how to respond, but he was saved the trouble of figuring it out when she spoke again. “I’m so sorry I made a scene, Remus,” she whispered, not looking him in the eyes.

Remus slid his gaze toward Sirius and they shared a small grin and an eyeroll, despite themselves. Remus turned back toward Tonks and pushed her hair back from her face, brushing his thumbs across her cheeks. He kissed away her remaining tear tracks, murmuring that she was being silly and that he loved her for loving him. It was at this point that Kreacher returned with Ted Tonks, though neither Remus nor Tonks noticed.

After a moment, he pulled back. “Can you tell me what happened at the apothecary?” he asked gently. “I know that something did.” He paused. “And there’s no need to edit, Nymphadora. I can assure you that I’ve heard it all.”

She closed her eyes against both the memory and his words and drew a deep breath before releasing it shakily. With her eyes still closed, she mumbled, “I walked in, gave the clerk my list of ingredients—he was very young, around my age—and he took on this sort of sneering tone and asked if I was making—“ she shuddered and choked up. Remus and Sirius exchanged a pained glance and Remus squeezed her hand gently. Off to the side, unseen by the others, Andromeda was squeezing Ted’s hand and indicating that she would explain momentarily.

“It’s okay, Nymphadora. Just say it.”

Eyes shut tightly, she shook her head briefly, unwilling to repeat it, and more tears spilled. She relented when Remus squeezed her hand again. “He asked if I was… makingwerewolfjuiceandif… Ihadgottenapet,”she rushed. She let out a single strangled sob as Remus pulled her forehead to his lips. She sucked in a breath, shook her head firmly, and seemed to get a grip on herself.

Sirius spoke up. “I’m sorry,” he said with his usual smirk. “I have to know what you said in response.” Remus shot him a glare punctuated with a roll of his eyes, but was surprised when Tonks let out a tiny giggle.

“I do think you would have approved, Snuffles,” she said with a small, sly grin. She related in nearly identical words the dressing-down she’d given the young clerk and Sirius let out a loud guffaw. Even Remus gave a crooked grin, shaking his head.

She grew serious then. “Just before I left, I did lean back across the counter and tell him very seriously that just as there are evil wizards, there are evil werewolves, but that he would do well to remember that no one chooses to get bitten,” she whispered. “And I told him that he might be surprised at how good and gentle some lycanthropes can be.” Something about this seemed to shake her awake, and she stared hard into Remus’ eyes, seeing something there she couldn’t quite put her finger on. “Don’t you dare, Remus. Don’t even think about it,” she said fiercely. “I will get past this and be stronger for it. But if you run, if you push me away, then you will find out firsthand what it is to destroy a person—more thoroughly than you could ever destroy me on a full moon.”

Sirius pushed himself up from the floor in front of the sofa to make his exit, but before he left, he leaned down and placed a friendly hand on Remus’ shoulder, and murmured gently, “Listen to her, Moony. She’s telling you the truth, mate.”

Remus stared at the faded pattern on the couch and nodded absently. His heart was throbbing, but it was a new ache. Everything that had occurred today, he was used to. But now, seeing her damaged by it was almost more than he could take.

“Remus?” she said, her voice small. “Will you hold me until I fall asleep? I’m tired,” she mumbled.

“Of course,” he murmured gently. It was no wonder. Between the emotional upheaval, the calming draught, and the shots of firewhisky, she had to have been knackered. It was not two minutes later that her breathing evened out and he could tell she was sound asleep.

A moment or two later, he felt a gentle hand on his shoulder and looked up to see the Tonkses standing over him. “A word in the library?” Andromeda murmured quietly.

Remus looked back down at Nymphadora and slowly disentangled himself, standing up. He nodded silently, then added, “Just let me put her in my bed,” before scooping her up into his arms and heading for the stairs. He realized as he carried her that he could have chosen his words more carefully—perhaps ‘in my room’ or simply ‘upstairs’ would have been preferable, but oh, well, he shrugged mentally; her parents already knew they were sleeping together, so what did it matter? Placing her gently on his bed, he covered her and brushed his lips across her forehead before closing the door behind him and descending to the library. He wasn’t sure what Tonks’ parents wanted to discuss with him, but he certainly hadn’t gotten any sort of threatening vibe from them.

He reached the library doors at the same time as Sirius, coming from the other direction with a bottle of firewhisky and a bottle of what looked to be a very fine wine. “After you, mate,” Sirius said, indicating his full hands. Remus pulled open the doors and stepped through, then waited for Sirius to follow suit before closing the doors behind them. He studied the room as Sirius bustled forward and began to pour drinks. There was a small and cozy fire burning in the fireplace, and the Tonkses were seated together on a small couch across from it. Remus was pouring the drinks at a small side table positioned between the couch and the cushy armchair at a 90-angle from it. Remus stepped forward and took a seat in an identical armchair on the opposite side of the couch. He watched idly as Sirius finished pouring three tumblers of firewhisky and one glass of wine. He handed a tumbler to Remus and to Ted, but left the last two glasses sitting on the table. He turned to Andromeda and said, “Now that we have a moment…” and grinned happily as he opened his arms.

She quickly matched his grin with a joyful one of her own and launched herself off the couch and into his arms with a small squealing sound. Sirius wrapped his arms around her tightly and held her for a long time. Remus looked at Ted, whose tight smile indicated he was struggling to keep his tears at bay. He was clearly happy for his wife and her cousin. Remus could not see Andromeda’s face, as her back was to him, but he was quite shocked to see tears flowing freely down his old friend’s face as he embraced the only family member he had left. At some point, Andromeda became aware of this and pulled away. She gave a choked laugh that told Remus was she was crying, as well, and she wiped Sirius’ tears away before kissing his forehead and hugging him once more, her laughter growing more joyful now. “I’ve missed my Firsties so much,” she said cheekily, looking at Sirius and then at Remus with a wink.

Sirius rolled his eyes and Remus chuckled; Andromeda had been a beautiful, elegant seventh year when they were in their first year; she had both teased them mercilessly and given them a cool factor—how many seventh years say anything at all to firsties, much less show great affection toward them?

“Come, Sirius,” she encouraged, handing him his tumbler of firewhisky as she picked up her own glass of wine. “Sit and talk with us.” She sat back down on the couch as Sirius mirrored her actions and turned to face Remus, a kind look on her face. “First things first,” she said briskly yet gently. “Remus, please tell me what you are thinking and feeling about today’s events.”

Remus was absentmindedly gazing at Sirius, across from him, one ankle resting atop the opposite knee, both hands stretched out along the chair’s arms, one holding the tumbler of firewhisky. Not for the first time, he wondered with a mixture of exasperation and awe how, after 12 years in Azkaban, Sirius Black still managed to look like an effortlessly cool badass. There was certainly a reason he always got all the women back in the day. Which brought him back to Andromeda’s request.

He blew out a sigh and leaned forward to place his elbows on his knees. He stared at the fire as he wearily rubbed his hands across his face. His thoughts were chaotic, swirling.

“I—“ he started. “Umm…” A deep breath, blown out quickly. “Everything that happened today…I am used to. It is routine. Expected.” He swallowed hard and ran an agitated hand through his graying locks. “But seeing her being humiliated just for being with me is more than I can take.”

Ted raised an eyebrow, but Andromeda looked as if she was in shock. “Humiliated?” she asked, an incredulous laugh threatening to burst free. “You think she was humiliated?”

Remus answered quickly, confused. “Of course she was. What else could she be? Who wouldn’t be humiliated in that situation?”

Ted and Andromeda exchanged glances, and Remus was more than a little surprised to see amusement in their eyes. Andromeda gave a small cough, clearly trying to hold it together.  “Remus. Have you actually met my daughter?” At this, Remus cocked his head in confusion, brow wrinkled. Andromeda continued as if talking to a small child. “Does she strike you as the type to give a single whit what anyone else thinks? Does she honestly seem like the kind of woman who, upon realizing that she’s fallen in love with a werewolf, takes the repercussions into consideration whatsoever? She’s definitely one to back down from a challenge, right? She always gives in. Never gets her way. Does what others want her to do, yes?” Andromeda’s tone and expressive eyes had cooled ever so slightly, and to his immense shock, he realized that not only was she 100% correct, he was feeling a tad intimidated by this woman he’d once looked upon as a sort of big sister.

At that point, Ted chimed in. “Remus,” he said, gently but firmly, “don’t you get it? She wasn’t humiliated or embarrassed by you,” he emphasized. “She was furious for you.

Andromeda and Sirius nodded in unison, and Ted shot his wife a Look and said, “Why don’t you two go catch up for a few minutes?”

Remus stared at the carpet, deep in thought, as Andromeda and Sirius rose. Sirius clapped a comforting hand on his shoulder on his way out, and Remus looked up at him gratefully. “Thanks, Padfoot,” he murmured.

The library doors closed with a soft snick and Remus looked at Ted, eyes weary but curious. Ted gazed back at him for a few moments, contemplating, and then he leaned forward with a sigh, elbows on his knees. “Remus,” he started, looking at the floor, and then paused for a lengthy moment. “Remus,” he said again, and this time their eyes locked; “there is no one in this world that I love more than my Andromeda and my little girl. I consider myself responsible for Andie’s heart, but I consider myself the protector of Nymphadora’s. And the reason I am here is to prevent you from shattering it.”

Remus opened his mouth in protest, but Ted held up a hand to silence him.

“Remus, I like you. I genuinely, genuinely like you. I think you are good for Dora, I can see that you love each other deeply, and I think you belong together. And if you think for one moment that either Andie or I care one iota about your condition, then rethink it, because we don’t. But the real bottom line here is that my daughter is a damn brilliant witch—and if you’re the wizard she chooses, then we’re sure as hell not going to argue with her judgment.” Ted paused and cleared his throat. “The problem is, that while Andie and I are convinced, Dora is convinced, and even Sirius is convinced, I’m not so sure that you are, and that’s why I’m here. Because I’ve been in your shoes.”

Remus jerked his head up a bit higher in surprise and confusion. “What do you mean?” he said, his eyes clouded.

Ted gave a sardonic smile. “I may not be a werewolf, Remus, but I’m a Mudblood,” (they both cringed at the vulgar term), “and to the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black, that’s just as bad, eh?”

Remus huffed out an acerbic laugh of agreement. “Probably so,” he allowed.

“My point is,” Ted continued, “I’ve felt the guilt.” He cleared his throat again, and Remus wondered if that was a nervous habit he had when discussing difficult topics. Ted swallowed hard and went on, his voice a bit choked, “I left Andie three times before we made it permanent.” He hung his head a bit, as if ashamed. Remus found himself momentarily speechless, and Ted continued, very quietly. “I couldn’t stand the thought of her family disowning her for marrying someone like me, and somehow, I was so stupidly blind that I never even considered the possibility that it was a sacrifice she was ready and very willing to make! It’s a testament to the amount of love we had that she stuck with me after all of that. But the thing is, it destroyed her a little bit every time I left her, even though I thought I was doing it for her own good. And by the time I came to my senses, a lot of damage had been done—so much damage that it took years, really, before I felt that she really, truly trusted me again…trusted me not to leave her.” Ted heaved out a sigh, heavy with the weight of understanding, of empathy, and of a father’s love. “What I’m trying to say, Remus, is that my daughter has decided to love you, and I know you love her, and so you’re stuck with her. She’s a Hufflepuff through and through—loyal and tenacious to the bone. She won’t give you up and you don’t need to worry about protecting her. She doesn’t care about money, she doesn’t care about status, she doesn’t care what people think unless it affects the ones she loves—and that includes you. So if you have more experiences like today, yes, you should expect her to react in typical Dora fashion. But don’t you dare for one minute think that she’s humiliated or that you have a duty to protect her from it, because you diminish her by doing so, and as her father, I will not have that,” he said, his voice suddenly becoming like steel. “She loves you passionately, dammit, and you owe it to her to be the man she knows that you are.” Ted grabbed the remainder of his Firewhisky and downed it in one go. Placing the glass back on the table, he said, “That’s all I’m going to say on the subject, and I’ll assume from this point on that my message has been heard loud and clear and that we can go back to being good mates. Yeah?” He looked at Remus and gave him the tiniest of winks, and Remus couldn’t help but give him a half-smile in response.

“Yeah, okay,” he said, grinning.

 

 

Chapter Text

Their first kiss had been as mundane and run-of-the-mill as could be, but to Remus and Tonks, it was absolute perfection.

They had been dancing around each other for months—literally months. Acquaintance had grown into friendship; friendship had grown into flirtation; flirtation had grown into something indefinable, and there they’d lingered, each too hesitant to push the boundaries and risk the friendship, yet each wanting to do exactly that.

 Sirius, unfortunately, was having none of it, and was taking every available opportunity to verbally bash the holy hell out of Remus.

“Merlin’s lacy pink knickers, Moony!” he’d cried as soon as Tonks headed up to the library after yet another unbearable flirtation-filled dinner. He reached into the cabinet behind him and grabbed the firewhiskey, vanished his tea, and replaced it with his liquor of choice. “For the love of Magic and everyone who has to live in this godforsaken hellhole with you, do us all a favor and locate your bollocks already.”

Remus, hidden behind the Daily Prophet, sagely raised an eyebrow and without looking up, replied, “To whatever are you referring, Padfoot?” in an innocent voice.

There was a loud thunk as Sirius dropped his forehead to the wooden table. “Godddddd, Moony,” he groaned dramatically. He pulled his head up abruptly. “Ok, look, you prick. You’ve got it bad for her. She’s got it bad for you. Everyone in this entire fucking house knows it, and so does the rest of the Order, so if you’re worried about that aspect of it, you can stop, because that ship has sailed. The problem is that apparently you are too chickenshit to do anything about it, and she is waiting for you to take the lead. So unless you want to do this little dance for all of eternity, I suggest you locate the aforementioned bollocks and get on with it.” He paused. “And I swear to Merlin, Moony, if you so much as think of uttering the W word, I will hex you into next year and pay you back for that broken nose you gave me sixth year.”

“Pay me back?! You sodding bastard, you shoved me at a hippogriff! I’ve still got the scars! You’re lucky a broken nose was all you got, Black,” Remus glowered.

Sirius nonchalantly waved his hand at the outburst. “The point is, Remus, she wants you. Go upstairs—now—and do not come back until you have snogged my cousin absolutely senseless.”

Remus glared at him, grabbed the Firewhiskey bottle, took two huge gulps, and stood up, scraping his chair back roughly. Sirius smirked. “Really, Moony? Dutch courage?”

Remus glared. “Do you want me to do this or not, you aristocratic bastard?”

Sirius raised his hands in mock surrender. “My apologies. I should never have dared insult the courage of a fellow Gryffindor,” he needled, “much less a Marauder, at that.” The words had the desired effect, as Remus shot daggers at him and returned the firewhiskey bottle—much more roughly than necessary—and turned on his heel, exiting the kitchen.

Sirius picked up the Evening Prophet with a grin, and helped himself to more Firewhiskey.

OoOoO

Tonks sat on the floor of the library, back against the couch, fire roaring in front of her, trying to concentrate on the copy of Jane Eyre that lay open on her lap. Remus had recommended it, and she was enjoying it very much indeed, but tonight, she just couldn’t concentrate. With a sigh, she allowed her head to drop back onto the couch, and she stared at the ceiling as if it would somehow open up and sagely deliver all of the answers to her current dilemma—What to Do About Remus. She allowed a frustrated little grunt to escape as she contemplated every minute detail of dinner with Remus tonight. There, hidden amongst the chaos of the Weasleys, Harry, Hermione, and Kingsley, who had dropped by for Molly’s lasagna, had been the normal understated flirtation, occasional gentle touches, and piercing stares when each thought the other wasn’t looking.

But nothing more.

She was fairly certain she was going to lose her mind if he didn’t make a move soon.

And it was out of character for her—this waiting for him to make the first move. Tonks had her insecurities, but she hid them well, and she generally went for what she wanted, whether she felt confident about it or not. But Remus was…different. Somehow. With him, she felt a certain restraint—she somehow intuited that he would find it emasculating if she took the lead, and so…she waited.

And waited.

And dear Merlin I’m going to explode…waited.

So lost in her ruminations was she that she didn’t hear the library door open and then quietly close once more. So she jumped, startled, when the quiet, hoarse voice spoke up just to her left: “May I join you?”

“Of course,” she smiled, glad that he’d joined her. She started to rise in order to sit on the couch with him, but he held up a hand to stop her and sank down on the rug next to her.

“How are you liking it?” he asked, nodding toward the borrowed copy of Jane Eyre.

“Very much,” she smiled. “I feel sorry for both protagonists, though,” she said, her smile faltering. “Jane is so pure, and she doesn’t deserve the treatment Mr. Rochester gives her, but…at the same time, Mr. Rochester is so noble in his own way…it’s a bit disarming…” she trails off, and Remus can’t help but feel that there’s something deeper in her analysis of Mr. Rochester’s character. He looks over at her and she’s staring into the fire, her face pensive, but she feels his stare and looks back at him. She’s paralyzed by the look in his eyes.

Longing.

Pure and utter longing and desire.

Her eyes widen at this realization, even as she registers the fact that he’s leaning in toward her, and oh, Merlin, how does this work? What is she supposed to do?

But he closes the distance between them expertly, taking her face in his hands, and she feels her eyes drift closed at his touch. His fingers encircle her neck, his thumbs dancing across her cheekbones, and he presses his lips—gently, oh, so gently—against hers. As his tongue teases her lips apart, she tastes him—chocolate and firewhiskey and the essence of something that is 100% pure Remus—and she thinks she might come undone right then and there.

“Oh, Remus,” she sighs happily…precisely as the library door bangs open once more and none other than Ginny Weasley barges in.

“Oh!” she says, coming to a distinctly wide-eyed halt. “I just wanted to look something up, but you know what? It can totally wait,” she says, quickly backing away and closing the library doors behind her as Tonks and Remus laugh.

Remus raises an eyebrow at Tonks. “Psssh,” she reassures him. “Ginny’s more of a Marauder than any of her brothers. Trust me, she won’t breathe a word. She’s a gem, that one,” Tonks said affectionately.

Remus smiled gently. “That’s good to know, my lady, although, if you don’t mind, I’d like to pick up where we left off?” And with Tonks’ gentle smile in response, he leaned back in and proceeded to snog her senseless.

A/N: I really struggled with this one, and I have no idea why. I’m still not happy with it, but that’s not getting me anywhere, so I’m posting it regardless and hopefully moving on.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Remus and Tonks continued their explorations, their kisses growing more heated as hands drew more daring. It was only when Tonks found herself being drawn onto Remus’ lap so that she was straddling him on the floor against the couch that her nerves got the better of her. His arousal was unmistakable and her inexperience was a topic of some sensitivity to her. She wanted him—gods, how she wanted him—but she just wasn’t ready to go there within minutes of the first time he’d laid lips on her. She drew back from him slowly, and tried to downplay it, lest he think himself rejected.

“Sorry,” she said, looking down sheepishly and biting her lip. “There are a lot of people in this house and the next interruption could have been…a lot more embarrassing,” she finished shyly.

Remus rewarded her with a gentle smile and reached up to cup her face.

Tonks chucked a thumb toward the door. “…would you be offended if I went to talk to Gin and make sure she’s okay and not weirded out?”

To her delight, Remus gave another small grin and leaned forward to gently kiss her forehead. “Of course not. Go talk to the little ginger Marauder. Are you staying here tonight?” Tonks nodded. “Then I’ll see you at breakfast, okay?” Tonks nodded again and then, blushing, leaned forward and slowly pressed her lips to his once more, lingering just a bit.

“Breakfast, yeah.” She blushed. “Night, Remus.”

“Night, Tonks.”

OoOoO

Tonks desperately hoped that Hermione wouldn’t be in the shared room with Ginny, and for once, she was in luck. She knocked and then poked her head in. “Hey, Gin?” she murmured softly as she stuck her head around the doorframe.

Ginny was sprawled out on her belly atop her bed with her fourth year Charms textbook open in front of her. She glanced up at Tonks, and damn it all, a huge, shit-eating Marauder grin stole across her pretty face. She slowly closed her book and sat up, smirking, as Tonks rolled her eyes and stepped fully into the room, closing the door behind her.

“Can we talk?” Tonks laughed throatily.

“Damn straight we can,” Ginny said slyly. “Start spilling. Immediately.” To Tonks’ great delight, Ginny shoved her books off the bed and scrambled up to sit Indian-style as she patted the spot next to her with a predatory grin. “Park it. Now.” Tonks crawled upon the bed and as she was settling into place, Ginny continued. “Look, I’m not gonna lie. The man’s damn sexy. We were all hot for him in DADA.” She paused. “Well, I can’t speak for the boys, of course, but then again, I’m pretty sure I caught a few guys ogling that arse…” Ginny trailed off. Then she snapped back. “TONKS!” she said giddily. “When the fuck did this happen?”

Tonks gave a smug grin. “You want the long or short version?”

“Yes.”

A belly laugh. “Okay, well…the short version is that you actually walked in on our first kiss.”

Ginny gasped and her hands flew to her mouth. “Oh my god, Tonks, I’m so—“ Tonks cut her off with a hand.

“No. Hush. We’d been snogging awhile already before you made it in there, Gin,” she dismissed. Beating around the bush wasn’t her style, so she continued. “In fact, you probably did us a favor. Things were starting to get a bit heated, and if you hadn’t come in when you did, we could have been in for some major embarrassment.”  She laughed at this. “The longer version is that, to be honest, we’ve been leaning in for that kiss for about three months and I swear to fucking Merlin I was going to lose my mind if he didn’t make a move soon.” She rolled her eyes affectionately, no real venom behind her words.

Tonks gave Ginny an appraising look and took a chance.

“Look, Gin. I know you love him.” At this, Ginny’s eyes snapped up. “And no, I’m not going to give you some condescending bullshit about how you’re 14 and don’t know what love is. I’ve watched you watch him. Just…” Tonks considered her words carefully. “I can’t make you any promises, Ginny Weasley. I can’t. Love is possibly the weirdest and most unpredictable force in the universe. But I’m just going to tell you right now that if you love him, don’t give up on him. He watches you sometimes when you’re not looking.” At this Ginny’s eyes snapped up, wide. Tonks nodded. “He does. He looks at you with a sort of…” Tonks gestured wildly, looking for the word, “surprised look, as if it’s dawning on him that you’re no longer a little girl.” Ginny blushed. “And I’m not going to tell you to sit around and wait for him forever, Gin. Some guys never do get their heads and asses wired together. But if you love him and you think he’s worth it, be patient.” Tonks reached out and tucked a stray strand of hair behind Ginny’s ear. “I’m going to tell you something that no one else knows, Ginny. Not my mom, not my co-workers, not my best friend, not Sirius, and not even Remus.”

She leaned forward, blushing, and whispered softly in Ginny’s ear:

“I fell in love with Remus Lupin the day I met him three months ago, and I am going to marry him.”

With that, she got up, red-faced, and quickly left the room, leaving one very intrigued and hopeful Gryffindor in her wake.