Author: ms.understood PM
Remus is forced from Grimmauld Place by Tonks during the 4th book setting. Where will she take him? RTRated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Angst - Remus L. & N. Tonks - Words: 3,303 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 1 - Published: 03-21-06 - Status: Complete - id: 2856125
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: Characters are not mine, and the beginning excerpt is from Half Blood Prince, American Edition: pages 623-624.
A/N: For Kela, whom I lied to about who I had for the Gift Exchange. If you remember, I did promise you a random R/T present quite a while ago, dear, and here it is. I wrote about half of this in December, so it was hard to start it up again, and may seem awkward in places. It's horrible and shitty, but what the hell, right? I'm sorry I didn't do D/G, Kel, but this was just waiting to be finished. It started out on such a light, playful note (before I added the HBP excerpt, that is) and then suddenly the ending just decided it was going to scream angst at me. And if the ending seems random and weird to anyone else, don't worry, same here. My muses are on crack. Read, review, and enjoy.
XX Hogwarts Infirmary, Scotland: June 1997 XX
"You see!" said a strained voice. Tonks was glaring at Lupin. "She still wants to marry him, even though he's been bitten! She doesn't care!"
"It's different," said Lupin, barely moving his lips and looking suddenly tense. "Bill will not be a full werewolf. The cases are completely--"
"But I don't care either, I don't care!" said Tonks, seizing the front of Lupin's robes and shaking them. "I've told you a million times…"
"And I've told you a million times," said Lupin, refusing to meet her eyes, staring at the floor, "that I'm too old for you, too poor… too dangerous…"
XX A field in Dartford, England: April 1995 XX
Remus Lupin scowled as he and his fellow Order of the Phoenix member, Nymphadora Tonks, trekked through an unholy amount of mud. As to how, and why, he had let the perky Auror drag him out to Dartford of all places, in the rain --which was just making his day that much sodding better-- Remus was utterly mystified. It made him begin to doubt his sanity all the more, not to mention awaken the acute sense of loss he was now experiencing at the brown caking his relatively new, pre-used, and only the slightest bit battered, genuine leather boots he'd received from Arthur last weekend on his birthday. Molly and Albus had baked him a cake -with surprisingly minimal damage done to the kitchen- and Tonks and Moody had pooled together for a Foe-Glass. Everyone else had gotten him books.
Sirius had refrained from leaving his "present" in Remus' shoes, instead deciding it would be better received if left under his friend's spot at the breakfast table, hidden from view. He claimed he had only been nervous about Harry participating in the upcoming Third Task.
All in all, it wasn't shaping up to be much of a week at all.
Just then, Tonks tripped over a submerged bramble, managing to keep upright only through sheer luck and the benefit of Remus' quick reflexives. Sadly, the large picnic basket they had been carrying between them was not so fortunate, and lay upended at their feet, rapidly disappearing into the muck. Her face fell, before she scrunched up her features, and was suddenly sporting red and white checkered hair; resembling the newly demised blanket Molly had tucked into the basket with their crumpets.
Remus let out a bark of laughter, letting his face fall up and be splattered with rain.
When Tonks had stormed into the library at Grimmuald Place that morning --looking for all the galleons in the world a hell-bent heathen goddess-- her hair and face a matching furious red, the last thing the ex-Professor had expected was for her to demand quite shrilly that he was to "get out of this rotting, morbid hole and have some bloody fun!" So surprised was he, that he had dropped the borrowed Hogwarts Library book he was been inspecting. He was sure Madame Pince, had she seen it, would have had convulsions.
Remus had only twitched, proving once and for all that he wasn't the woman's long lost offspring; so Snape could very well shut his mouth, thankyouverymuch.
Now, two hours and one picnic basket later, they were standing in what had once passed for a field somewhere in Dartford, being soaked in a never-ending drizzle that would have chilled Merlin to the very bone. Thoughts just a bit bitter, Remus bet everyone was sipping hot cocoa and sitting around the Floo back at 12 Grimmauld Place, chatting about the Tournament and whether England would make it to the Championships this year in Quidditch.
Very suddenly, and quite forcibly yanking Remus from his lamentations, Tonks grabbed his hand and twirled him about. Quite a feat when one was sinking into no less than three inches of wet dirt. Her expression was almost excruciatingly happy, and Remus briefly wondered how a smile could extend that far up a face. It was quite pretty, really, the way the rain soaked her now pink hair and dripped off the edges of her cheekbones to splatter on her collarbone in rivulets.
The grin was distracting too -so Remus was unfortunately blind to the growing mischievous light in his companions' hazel eyes.
Of course, later, he would claim to Hermione Granger and Ginny Weasley that he had simply tripped and that she was only trying to glorify herself, but as of the moment, with no other explanation for his virtual shove downwards, he was strongly led to believe she had pushed him.
Into the mud.
Into the squelching, dirty, bug and Merlin knows-what-else infested mud.
So, naturally, payback would have to be executed swiftly and painfully, and preferably with an equal amount of mess. Reaching forward and capturing her ankle in a tight grip, he yanked her down besides him in a huge tidal wave of dirt.
She sat there for a minute, calmly assessing the situation and wiping the stuff off her face. Remus took the opportunity to scramble away to a safe distance, fearfully eyeing her wand hand the entire time, but letting a casual smirk lift the corner of his mouth.
Her florescent hair was plastered to her head now, looking like a modern painting gone wrong, and she frowned at him sourly. "Remus Lupin, how ungentlemanly of you. You're supposed to take it in your stride, be a man, and what-have-you." The frown picked back up into that grin again as she added, "Fred and George would be proud."
Remus calmly strolled back to where she sat, reaching a hand down to help her up. "This is but a mere taste of what the Marauders were capable of. Poor Severus can testify to that, although I don't recommend asking him about it."
As she clambered back to her feet, Tonks snickered quietly but said no more. Once again, they continued on their walk across the deserted field. Curious as to their final destination, Remus gestured out at the abyss of unturned soil. "Where exactly are we going, Ms. Tonks?"
Squinting a bit in the rain, Tonks appeared to be searching for something to their left. Remus didn't see what it could be, as their only companions in the park were a few oak trees and a playground about half a mile in the other direction. She focused her attention back on him after a moment, and poked him in the ribs. "Know anything about Muggle storm protocol, Mr. Lupin?"
Puzzled, Remus didn't hesitate in answering. "Not a thing. Why?"
Showing another rare hint of slyness, she merely smiled and skipped ahead, obviously trying not to let her combat boots get stuck in the mud. Sighing, Remus remembered that blissful time of thinking that adults were mature and would -- could, in fact-- answer any question he asked. Casting one last forlorn glance towards where the picnic basket had disappeared, he trudged onwards.
By the time he caught up to her, Tonks was eyeing a pair of maple trees next to her thoughtfully. He was just about to make an attempt at bringing her out of her thoughts, when she nodded and waved her wand in a small circle, muttering a bit and managing to almost poke her own eye out as she tucked the wand back behind her ear. Before them, tied neatly to both trees, was a hammock.
Remus wondered that maybe he wasn't the insane one, and cast a glance upwards at the grey sky. "Tonks, I'm not quite sure I want to know this, but what are we going to do with a hammock in the middle of a storm?"
Flopping down on the fabric, she chuckled softly and tried to keep it from tipping her. "Sit on it, of course! Can't very well go stamping about in the mud all day, can we? Now give me some chocolate, Remus. I'm starved and I know you've got some squirreled away somewhere in that great whopping cloak. You always do."
Still very confused as to why she would want to sit in the rain when he had seen a nice café a few roads back, and what exactly he was supposed to know about Muggle storm safety, the werewolf absently fished in his trouser pocket and tossed her half a chocolate frog. "Sorry, that's all I have. Got a bit peckish on the way here, and thought we wouldn't miss it, as we had a full hamper of food. Speaking of which, we'll have to stop on the way back and get Molly a new basket."
Tonks simply nodded and munched happily. Surprisingly, Remus had never noticed her apparent semi-worshipping of the food until now. Smirking again, he felt he had finally caught the person who'd been sneaking various bars and candies from his stash within the last month.
Once she'd popped the last wriggling leg into her pink mouth, her eyes became less glassy and she looked up at him through her still dirty hair. "Well come on, sit down. You'll freeze like that, and no offense, but I don't think you'd make an especially great tree."
"I would make a wonderful tree." But he sat next to her none the less, wincing a bit as the fabric gave under their combined weight and they were forced to lean against each other in the centre, bottoms almost scraping the ground.
"You would not! You haven't got any large branches on which small children can climb, and I certainly couldn't hang this hammock from you. You'd be horrible." Her grin lit up her face again, and Remus thought he saw a trace of chocolate marring one of her incisors.
He fought the strange urge to reach out and wipe it off, before eating it himself. Odd impulse, that.
It was close enough to the full moon, he supposed, for his cravings to start kicking in again. The thought did little to comfort him, and he squirmed a bit in his seat, uncomfortably aware of quite how close they were. It wasn't that Tonks wasn't a lovely girl, but he didn't think anything of that sort happening between them would go over well on either side. After all, she was a bouncy, energetic Auror for Merlin's sake; and he, well, he was Remus Lupin.
So he scooted over a bit more, even if he knew it would result in nothing but them crashing together in the middle once again.
"Stop moving, Remus."
"Aren't you being squashed?" He said incredulously.
She smiled, and turned so that she leaned partially on his arm and on the thin fabric holding them up. "I'm fine. Now just sit and enjoy the storm."
He didn't argue, and once more tipped his face upwards, letting the dripping leaves above him wash over his features. Tonks sighed, and that was that.
It wasn't until the circulation in his arm was puttering to a halt that Remus thought to repeat his earlier inner monologue to her. She was half asleep, he knew, with her head pillowed somewhere near his shoulder, and only managed to open one eye at his question about Muggle storm protocol.
"Well...," a yawn. "They say you shouldn't sit under tall objects if there's," -clash- "Lightening. Load of rubbish though, right?"
"Right." Remus tried not to whimper, and when she finally slipped off to sleep, told himself he was only pulling her closer because he was rather afraid of the frightening, death-inducing streaks of light marring the sky.
And he bloody was.
The werewolf woke to the sound of a bird twittering annoyingly close to his ear and water splashing on his nose. This was a fairly uncommon way to wake up for the man, and if he didn't immediately hear the familiar sounds of Tonks nearby, he would have been entirely startled into falling off the hammock.
But luckily, he was far to poised for that sort of thing.
At least he tells himself this as he wipes a chunk of drying mud from his eye, and glares balefully up at the giggling, pink-haired woman leaning against the tree next to him. The squelch of the mud made an unpleasant sound as he hauled himself upright, and he regretfully eyed the innocent hammock when his back snapped painfully. Tonks seemed unaffected by their impromptu nap, and was grinning cheerfully at him the entire time she searched for her wand to banish the fabric.
A glance at his watch informed him it was well past tea time, and that they had been expected back at Headquarters over an hour ago. He couldn't really be bothered to care. "I suppose we'd better go find Molly a new basket before we go back. I couldn't conjure one that would last long enough to escape her next stock check."
Tonks nodded a bit fearfully, and scrunched up her nose until she had sprouted a rather Molly-ish hairstyle and set of features. Making her eyes go wide, she screeched at him with spectacular accuracy, "Remus Lupin, where on earth is my picnic basket! I loaned it to that Tonks girl with firm instructions to have it back without a speck of harm having come to it! You'd better find that basket, or so help me, I'll tell Albus!"
Remus laugh cut off slowly as she returned her face and hair to her normal pink and pixie-like, heart shaped face; remembering how well she had fit against him while they slept. If circumstances were different than what they were, he thinks he'd be incredibly tempted to kiss her right now. But there's a war, and he's a werewolf, and there are lines that can't be crossed because of that. He would take friends where he could get them, and until Voldemort was brought down, he couldn't see himself being able to handle anything more than that.
But he was being stupid and, because of course Nymphadora Tonks would never see him in that light anyways -he was a poor, unemployed, older werewolf for Merlin's sake! Some part of him couldn't help being hopelessly hopeful, though; for after the war. Everything was for after the war.
So he offered his arm to the similarly wet person beside him, instead of saying anything that would get him a firm slap and the loss of a friend, and they started back across the field, towards the faint glow of traffic on the street a ways away. When her foot got caught in the caking mud five minutes later, he didn't look at her face as he knelt to help her; but if he had, Remus Lupin would've had a hard time denying what was clearly written across Nymphadora Tonks' face.
If he had looked up at that moment -instead of reminding himself about the war and the deaths and being a werewolf and the suffering- he might have been happier a bit sooner rather then later.
XX Hogwarts Grounds, Scotland: June 1997 XX
The funeral procession made its way back up to the castle, women and men alike crying for the fallen wizard they had known since childhood. Remus thinks rather bitterly that no one -except for Harry, himself, and Tonks- had cried this hard for Sirius. Remus' birthday had come and gone this year, and when he had gone down stairs that morning -still half asleep- he had checked for any "presents" his friend might've left for him, before remembering what had happened and sitting heavily on the stairs for an hour or two.
It didn't really matter though, as time was a thing he had no use for in his life. Lupin's time was filled with battle maps, and -what he now suspected were fake- confusing plans Severus had secreted out of the Dark Lord's meetings. He deciphered things for the Order, and if he didn't know Latin and Greek, he suspected he'd be rather useless.
Tonks had slapped him when he'd told her that, and he'd been reminded of a time when they had sat in a hammock in Dartford. He'd been afraid she'd have slapped him for another thought he'd had.
He knows this isn't the case now, but he still hasn't told her how he held her that afternoon while she slept. How he had watched the rain fall around them and clutched her like a rag doll every time the lightening flashed above.
How he'd balked at the thought of a woman like her ever looking at a man like him; because men like Remus Lupin weren't supposed to get the girl.
He was the kind of man who watched from the shadows as people he loved fought a war, pretending they were helping by skimming through dusty books and giving themselves migraines over faulty portkey alignments.
He was the kind of man who lived cautiously- and she was the kind of woman who lived with passion. They weren't supposed to work this well together.
She stands next to him now -he didn't know she'd stayed behind- and he can she her in his mind, spinning him through the mud and looking heartbroken at the loss of a picnic basket. Her hand is hanging by her side, as if waiting for his to grab it.
He wants to, and so he does. It feels warm and dainty, and he wonders what his must feel like to her. Rough? Big? But they do feel right together, big and small, and he supposes he's known that all along. He doesn't look at her, he doesn't need to; he knows she's smiling just like she did that day in Dartford, just before she shoved him in the mud.
Remus is sick of being the type of man in the shadows, the man everyone glances over, the man who isn't really a man because he's a beast. Remus Lupin isn't a beast, not really; and she can see that. So he holds her hand in his, and as the rain starts to fall over the white tomb they stand in front of, he laughs. He tips his head up to the rain, and he laughs.
A/N: Random and shitty ending, right? Actually, I rather think the entire thing is random and shitty. Thoughts?