Author: MrsTater PM
LupinTonks: In this moment, everything has changed.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance - Remus L. & N. Tonks - Chapters: 3 - Words: 5,001 - Reviews: 59 - Favs: 52 - Follows: 7 - Updated: 05-02-06 - Published: 04-30-06 - Status: Complete - id: 2915153
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Title: Between Friends (1/3)
Pairing: Remus Lupin/Nymphadora Tonks
Summary: In this moment, everything has changed.
Author's Notes: Originally written for the February and April 2006 RT Challenges at LiveJournal. Set during the summer between Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Part One: The Moment Of Change
"Is that you, Tonks?"
Faint as it is, Tonks is so thrilled to hear Remus' voice from the basement kitchen door that she abandons her struggle to quiet the screaming portrait. She trips to the staircase, at the bottom of which stands Remus, leaning heavily against the banister.
"I'm so glad you're awake," she says.
"Only just." Remus smiles wearily as he straightens his posture slightly. "I slept the day away."
"And to think I was afraid I wouldn't get off work before you turned in."
The flickering light of the wall sconces casts his drawn face into relief. She's seen less pronounced lines of fatigue on her own after prolonged morphs; she can only imagine what Remus' body endures during and after his extreme transformations. As Tonks descends to him, she notes his shirt is open at the neck and un-tucked; his feet are bare; his hair pokes up in all directions as though he towel dried it after a shower but didn't bothered to comb it; a day's growth of silvery beard shadows his chin and cheeks.
Remus must feel truly buggered to forego his characteristic neatness, but Tonks can't help but smile at the sight of him. He holds a steaming mug, which combines with his dishevelled look and the tangy scent of soap to make Tonks think of morning. She has an unaccountable impulse to take a sip from his cup and kiss him lazily on his mouth – which is ridiculous because this is Remus, and she can't enter the house without knocking over the bloody umbrella stand, and they're just friends who barely even know each other, and this certainly isn't the time…
When Remus glances away and shifts his weight, Tonks realises she's staring.
"I'm glad you're awake," she repeats.
Tilting his head, Remus looks at her with perplexity. "Do you…" His voice comes out hoarsely, so he pauses to clear his throat. "Do you need to see me about something?"
She does, but not in the way he means. Tonks needs to see Remus because last night was full moon – the first since she joined the Order and met him – and even though she's known from the beginning what he is, she senses sometimes that he doesn't fully believe she doesn't care. Like now, how he expects her to need something from him. She's here to show him once and for all that she really does not care.
Or that on some different level…she does.
"I just want to visit you," she says.
Though peaky, Remus looks boyish in his surprise. "Can I offer you a cup of hot chocolate?"
"That would be lovely." Tonks flashes a grin as she brushes past him to the table.
"Really?" he croaks.
Tonks turns to see him moving stiffly across the kitchen, running a hand over whatever furniture or countertop is within reach. For a moment his eyes drop self-consciously, and Tonks does her best to look nonchalant about his frailness.
"I was actually just joking," he says with a wry glance. "Hot chocolate is hardly seasonable refreshment."
"You're drinking it," says Tonks, flopping into a chair and propping her feet in the one at the head of the table.
"Full moon recovery."
"So werewolves are cocoavores, are they?"
Remus emits a puff of laughter that dissolves into a cough, but his eyes twinkle at her over the rim of his mug. "This one is."
Encouraged to see him treating his condition with a degree of humour, especially when he's almost at his lowest, Tonks says, "It all makes sense now."
Gripping back of the chair on which Tonks' feet rest, Remus arches his brows.
Tonks leans toward him conspiratorially. "Umbridge passed all those employment laws because she's afraid the werewolf population will get rich and buy up all the world's chocolate."
Remus laughs again, stronger, though still raspy. A little more colour comes into his cheeks. "With that sort of mind for conspiracies," he says, "I've no doubt you shall be Head of Aurors some day."
For no reason at all, Tonks' pulse accelerates and she realises Remus' vote of confidence means a great deal to her. She hopes that behind the joke he really means it.
"The future Head of Aurors," Tonks says, folding her arms across her chest, "wants to know if you're going to get her that hot chocolate you offered. She's not one to let conventional things like seasons dictate what she wants."
She sits back in her chair, expecting Remus to return with a quip.
Instead, he bends toward her, still leaning on the chair for support, and tugs gently at one of her pink spikes. "Why am I not surprised?"
Tonks' breath hitches as she realises Remus' voice isn't hoarse; it's husky. She hardly registers the dark rings under his eyes or how blood-shot they are, because she's drawn to their vivid colour. They gaze so deeply into hers that she can feel them tangibly inside, and Merlin – she reads in them the language of her pounding heart:
In this moment…tonight…or yesterday…or last week…or the day they met…everything has changed.
"Right," says Remus, turning. "Your hot chocolate."