AN: This is an odd one: Tonks/Lupin. It just struck me that these two should be together. I'm a huge fan of Lupin - he's my absolute favorite character - so I'm glad to have finally found a plot line for him!
* * * * *
Nymphadora Tonks, who prefered her surname when addressed, was as tired as a student taking History of Magic with Professor Binns. Her eyes drooped, and her thoughts were fuzzy. She finally decided it was time to go home. Her stomach growled as if it were angry at being pushed aside for the need of sleep, and Tonks groaned. She had no energy to cook, no matter what say her stomach was trying to put in.
Then a sudden thought struck her. She could Apparate to the Order Headquar5ters. There would be leftovers from dinner, and it was closer and easier to Apparate to. Surely there would also be an empty bed just waiting for her to curl up inside. At this thought her decision became final.
Tonks left her desk as messy as possible - the only way she could ever accomplish anything. She took her light robes from her chair and put them back on over her clothing. She went to the elevators to the top floor of the Ministry. She left the building and turned around the corner into an alley. From there she Apparated to the Black house.
She arrived with a 'Pop!' into a pitch black room. not two seconds passed before she managed to knock something over. She didn't have time to assess the damage before someone grabbed her from behind and held a wand to her throat. The hand explored the curve of her slim hip. "Hmm. Is it . . . Tonks?" a mildly amused voice asked.
"Thank Merlin, Remus, you nearly gave me a heart attack!" Tonks gasped as he let her go. "I'm terribly sorry for intruding. It's hard to Apparate at night - especially when I'm this tired."
"It's quite all right, Tonks. Lumos." The small light illuminated Remus' face. "What are you doing here, anyhow?"
"Thanks for the warm welcome," Tonks said dryly. "As a matter of fact, I came hoping for a bite or two of any leftovers."
"Come on, then." Remus nodded toward the door. "We'll have a midnight snack together. I'm too awake to get back to sleep now. Something to do with waking up to an intruder in my room."
"Thanks, Remus," Tonks whispered as they left his room and quietly descended the stairs. "We've both been so busy lately, and I've been dying for a chance to catch up."
Tonks smiled sadly to herself. They had much to catch up on. Remus was grieving internally, and that was the worst way to do it. Sirius' death had been a month and a half ago. Remus still acted like he wasn't bothered a bit. Tonks was hoping she could help him out at least a little bit. In the past year they'd grown rather close. *Very* close, as a matter of fact. Tonks didn't know what Remus felt towards her, but she knew that her interest in him had begun to extend beyond the everyday friendship.
They arrived in the kitchen. Tonks sat down at the table while Remus got out the leftovers. "Molly won't mind if we eat a bit, I'm sure. There were for lunch tomorrow, but a few bites won't affect much."
"What is it?" Indeed, Tonks felt so hungry she didn't care.
"Just a casserole." Remus shrugged as he performed a heating spell on the food. "How have you been, Tonks?"
"Busy and tired. It's hard doingt missions for the Order and still keeping up at the Ministry. I've been training a lot. I want to be in peak physical shape. In the Department of Mysteries . . ." Tonks trailed off, unsure of whether to go on. She went ahead and finished. "I realized that when it comes down to it, you have to be agile physically as well as be quick with curses."
Remus nodded. He spooned some food on two plates - being sure to give Tonks twice as much. Tonks dug in immediately.
"I trained a lot when I was your age and in the Order." Remus smiled. "Now I'm too old to care."
"Oh, Remus, you're scant older than I am," Tonks said, rolling her eyes. He was thirty-seven, and she was twenty-seven. That was only a ten year difference.
Remus snorted. "Look to all this grey hair. You can even hear my bones creak! Soon Dumbledore will outlive me."
Tonks smiled. "I think you look dashing, Remus."
"I'm an old, weary man as poor as dirt."
"You're just . . . sad."
Remus' face went blank. Tonks got the picture he didn't like the subject change. She reached and took his hand in hers. "I didn't know Sirius as well as you. He'd gone off to Hogwarts by the time I was born. My mother loved him dearly. She invited him over as often as he could and praised his accomplishments when he was gone. I loved Sirius as if he was my brother. I know you feel the same way."
Remus kept his gaze downwards. "I'm fine, really. I can deal with Sirius as I dealt with James and even Peter . . . when I thought him killed, that is. Don't particularly miss him now."
Tonks rubbed the top of his hand with the one she had free. "Alone, you mean? Remus, you were alone for a long time. Then you had Sirius and James and Peter and even Dumbledore. You learned to care about people and to have people care about you. Then James died. And Peter next. Sirius in prison. You were left alone."
"Then I met Harry," he whispered, closing his eyes tightly. "I couldn't get too close to him, but I love that boy. More than he'll ever know. More than I can ever let him know."
Tonks felt her heart swell. "Yes, Harry. And Sirius again. And . . . now he's gone. You were starting to care again, and now he's gone."
Remus stood up, face blank again, and yanked his hand out of hers. "I . . . I have to go . . ." He turned to the door.
Tonks stood up too. "I want to help you, Remus. I want for you to stop hurting so much." She went brashly forward. "I care about you. Probably too much. Probably more than you do me. But I care. And I can't just turn it off because you can't get too close. I can't just stand by and watch you digress."
Remus stopped at the doorway and held onto the wood so hard his knuckles turned white. "Please don't, Tonks. Caring about me will only get you killed." Then he was gone.
Tonks sat down heavily. She'd never cared about a guy before. She'd never even had a serious boyfriend. Confessing her feelings to Remus had been brave.
She had gotten through to him. Pushing her away would never work. She wasn't going to give up.
* * * * *
Remus did not want to go to breakfast the next morning. He did not want to see Tonks. He especially did not want to remember last night.
He didn't like that she knew exactly what he was feeling. He tried to stay . . . mild. He'd decided long ago that being mild was the best way to keep people from becoming too close. If he was mild, then his personality wouldn't attract people.
Which brought him to another reason to not want to go downstairs: Tonks - in particular her feeling sfor him. Remus groaned and turned onto his back. He had convinced himself that Tonks' feelings for him were platonic. That he could privately admire her from afar. She had ruined his fantasy.
Tonks cared about him; he had to face it.
Remus sighed aggravatedly. He was angry at Tonks for putting him through this, but he couldn't not show up at breakfast. Everyone would wonder. He might lose his front as mild, one-dimensional Remus.
He got out of bed and got ready accordingly. He mastered a carefully aloof look. Then he walked downstairs. His stomach growled thankfully.
"Good morning," he greeted the room cheerfuly. Molly was flipping eggs. The twins were gorging their food; Arthur was reading the paper and talking to Bill. Ron wasn't up yet. Hermione and Ginny were being entertained by Tonks.
Remus sat down in an empty seat beside Ginny. Everyone greeted him accordingly. then Tonks stopped changting - ending up with a pixie nose and spiky green and blue hair. She smiled at him. "Have a nice sleep, Remus?"
"Peaceful," Remus replied.
"Wonderful." Tonks grinned. remus pretended it didn't affect him and started to eat. "What are you doing today?"
"Business," Remus grumbled. "Might stay here and clean up a bit."
Tonks nodded. "Brilliant! I was hoping you'd have some free time. I'm taking you to lunch."
Remus dropped his fork with a 'clank'. He shut his eyes tightly. "Tonks . . ." He paused, feeling as if everyone was staring at him. "I'm not having lunch with you."
"Am I too immature to be proper dinner associate?" Tonks joked. "I promise to keep my hair mild."
"I don't want to lead you on, Tonks."
"I'll pick you up at eleven."
"Our friendships is platonic."
"Who wouldn't be?"
"I can't have lunch with you."
Tonks smiled. SHe was extremely amused, and that disconcerted Remus. "You're impossible, Tonks."
"Thanks." Tonks turned back to the girls to begin their game again.
Remus shook his head and ate quickly. He ignored the pointed looks from Arthur and Bill. He could handle Tonks. Even though she was being suddenly bold.
* * * * *
At eleven o'clock Remus was dealing with a stubborn painting of Sirius' late great-great Uncle Podrickle. He was startled when Tonks appeared behind him. "Afternoon, Remus," she greeted.
Remus stopped casting spells to get the painting down. "Hello, Tonks."
"Are you ready?"
"Tonks, I cannot go to lunch with you. I don't feel that way about you," Remus said carefully.
"Even with my tame strawberry hair?"
"Even with your hair."
Remus felt like he'd gotten through. "I'm sorry, Tonks."
"Nah - it's okay. Will you do me a favor though?"
Before Remus could react, Tonks closed the space between them. She wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed herself against him. "Tell me not to kiss you, Remus."
Remus' eyes were drawn to her lips. "You don't want me." His hands fit around her waist. "I'm ragged and poor. I'm a werewolf, for Merlin's sake."
Tonks leaned closer. "I think you should let me make my own decisions, Remus."
"I'm too old. I . . ." remus shuddered when she caught his lower lip between her teeth. It had been many, many years since he'd kissed a woman. Over a decade.
All at once he felt like a teenager again. He kissed her back, drinking heavily from her lips. His arms tightened around her, and one hand rubbed up and down her back. He forgot about being mild. He released all of the passion he'd had for her over the past few months.
"I think I made a fine decision," Tonks said breathlessly as Remus tore away from her lips to lay a trail down her neck. SHe threw her head back and tangled her fingers in his hair.
Remus reached a hand up to cup her breast. They groaned simultaneously. "So long," Remus whispered near her ear. "It's been so long for me."
Tonks moved her hands to his back. She pulled him closer. then she slid a hand inside his robes and indicated that he take it off. He did so willingly. She also shrugged out of her robes.
"We shouldn't be doing this," Remus said, but there was no conviction in his voice.
"Don't think." Tonks pulled him against her. "I've got forty-five minutes. Think you can handle it?"
Remus nodded. "Definately. Easy. Piece of cake." He trembled as they fell to their knees. They kissed again. He was caught up in the sweetness of her lips as they both leaned back. Then Tonks was underneath him. He had either arm around her head to hold himself up, hovering over her. She used his shoulders as leverage to kiss him again.
Remus groaned when she wrapped her legs around his waist. "Are we going too fast?"
"Shh . . . don't think," Tonks repeated. "And I apologize ahead of time for any clumsiness."
Remus laughed richly - one of his first real laughs in ages. He moved down her body and helped her to toss her shirt aside. Then he kissed along her bra strap to her breasts. Tonks made a strange, pleasured sound in the back of her throat and let go, falling backwards onto the floor.
Suddenly there was a creak. "Professor Lupin, I came up to - oh!"
Remus looked up, and Tonks dropped her legs abruptly. Ginny was standing at the doorway looking shocked and embarrassed. "er . . ."
"Ginny, we're rather busy right now. Would you mind coming agian later?" Tonks asked politely.
Ginny nodded and left quickly.
Tonks smiled lazily up at Remus. "Where were we?"
Remus frowned. "We should really go explain to Ginny-"
"She's fifteen. She gets it."
"This doesn't feel right."
Tonks sighed. She pulled her wand out of her pocket. She locked the door, cast a cushioning charm, and cast a silencing charm. Then she reached behind her and unclasped her bra, sliding it off seductively.
Remus moaned. "On second thought, this feels very, very right."
* * * * *
After Tonks left, Remus was left in a post-coital daze. He stayed in that room for a long time, just thinking.
Though Tonks had acted otherwise, Remus had known that he was her first. He'd wondered how that could be - she was young and beautiful. Then he realized why. When they'd joined, she'd whispered in his ear something that should have turned him cold. "I love you, Remus." Instead, he felt more alive than he had wanted to feel in years.
How did he manage to get a lovely, intelligent woman like Tonks to fall in love with him? He pondered endlessly on it. He recalled the past year when they had spent a lot of time together. He'd grown comfortable living with people who didn't think he was a monster; living with Sirius in particular. He had grown slowly out of his shell, and he'd even shown some of his real self to Tonks as they grew closer.
He was interrupted from his thoughts when someone rapped on the door. It was Molly. "remus, are you all right? You've been up here for hours, and the door is locked."
Remus uncharmed the silencing spell. "I'm all right, Molly," he said assuredly. He stood up and puled his robes on. They were undone when he opened the door, and he was sure he looked disheveled. "I've just gotten caught up in cleaning."
"Yes, well." She eyed the room and its small improvements doubtfully. "Lunch is ready. Leftovers, though I coul dhave sworn there were more. I made sandwiches to go along too so we don't go hungry."
"It sounds delightful." Remus couldn't help smiling as he followed her downstairs to the dining room.
Arthur had come home for the meal, but other than him the table was made up of young people. At Remus' arrival Ginny turned red, Hermione's eyes widened, and Ron snickered into his hand. Remus sighed. At least they hadn't told Fred or George. That would've been more than he could handle.
He felt his cheeks turn a light pink, but Remus ignored it and sat next to Arthur. "How are things at the Ministry?"
Arthur smiled. "Very well, very well, indeed. We've caught the wizard who was casting spells on Muggle dors. Self-locking, you see so that the Muggles couldn't get inside their own homes. Quite a ruckus, if I say so."
Molly sat down between Ron and Arthur. "Did you get the portrait of Podrickle down, Remus?"
Remus stopped in midbite. "Er . . . that is . . . you see . . . I didn't get much done. I - er - fell asleep."
"Asleep?" Molly frowned. "You must be catching something. Are you sleeping all right?"
"Well, I was up last night with Tonks. She Apparated into my bedroom. Remus heard a snort of laughter, and he paled as he realized what he'd said. "Er! Not like that. She was tired and misjudged her Apparating point. We stayed up and talked a bit. In here! Not, er, in my bedroom."
Molly's frown deepened. "Remus, I overheard your chat with Tonks this morning."
"Who didn't?" Remus grumbled. "Don't worry, Moly. I have it under control."
"Good." Molly nodded respectfully. "I just don't want anything testy going on in the house."
There was another snort of laughter from Ron. Remus felt his Maurader streak kick in. "Well, in that case you should probably be having this discussion with Ron and Hermione. They're snogging in the upstairs cubbard isn't exactly discreet."
Molly's gaze flickered to the teens disapprovingly. Ron and Hermione looked at Remus in shock. He winked.
"That was a nice one, Lupin," one of the twins said in slight awe.
* * * * *
Tonks couldn't make it to dinner that night due to excessive paperwork, but the next day she managed to get done early and Apparated to the Order Headquarters. Though she was eager to see Remus, she knew she should talk to Giny. Even if Remus attempted to talk to her earlier, Tonks felt it might be better coming from herself.
She knocked on the girls' bedroom door, glad yet disappointed that she didn't run into Remus. The door opened to reveal Ginny at the door with a beauty spell book in hand and Hermione reading on one of the beds. Ginny turned bright red upon seeing Tonks, and Hermione looked up with thin lips.
"I think we need to have a chat, girls," Tonks said, knowing Ginny had more than likely told Hermione what had happened.
"Er - yes," Ginny muttered. "Come in."
Hermione set her boko down and moved to the edge of her bed. Tonks and Ginny sat on the other bed.
"You're both teenagers, and I respect you. I'm going to be honest instead of covering up. Remus and I made love yesterday afternoon." There went the hard part. "I assume you both know what sex is?"
The two girls nodded.
"Good. Or maybe that's not good." Tonks shrugged. "Anyway, we should have locked the door, and I'm sorry, Ginny. I know that it was quite an experience to walk in on us, especially since you still think of Remus as a Professor and therefore asexual. Now, here's what else I want to talk about. Remus and I are both adults. We were both responsible, and we both are mature enough to take our relationship to a sexual level. Do you understand what I'm getting at?"
Hermione nodded. "You want to encourage us to wait until we're older and more mature."
"Exactly!" Tonks grinned. "I hate sounding like your mothers, but I do think it's necessary. I waited until I was in my twenties to have sex, and I'm happy with my decision. That brings me to my next point. Don't do it unless you're in love! Any half-baked feelings aren't worth it."
"You . . .you love Professor Lupin?" Ginny asked, looking surprised that she hadn't noticed before.
Tonks nodded. "We became close while you guys were at school this past year, and I've falled in love with him."
"He acted strange yesterday," Hermione said. "He told Mrs. Weasley that Ron and I snog in the cubbard."
Tonks laughed. "Probably struck you as odd. You'd be surprised - Remus isn't always what he appears. You two still think of him as your aloof professor. He's very different on the inside, and sometimes he lets his old self come through. He was probably having one of those moments yesterday."
"If he's got an old self, why did he suppress it?" Hermione inquired.
Tonks paused. "I'm not entirely sure. I think, from some of the things he said to me, that he's afraid to get too close to people. I think he tries to stay neutral so that people won't think twice about him."
Hermione nodded thoughtfully. "It makes sense. He was always enjoyable as a teacher, of course, but he also seemed so . . . plain. Humble, maybe. He was still everyone's favorite Defense teacher. Possibly favorite of all the Professors."
"I'm glad to hear it." Tonks checked her watch. "Listen, I want to talk to Remus. I had a lovely chat, girls, and I'm glad you both are so understanding. I'll se you both at dinner."
"Prof - Er, Remus, is in with Buckbeak."
Tonks left the girls' room and went to the room down the hall where Buckbeak was staying. She went inside and saw Remus petting the glorious creature.
He looked up and smiled wryly. "I love your hair."
Tonks remembered that she'd chosen chin length white hair that shimmered gold as she moved. "Thanks. I'm rather partial to this one myself." She walked closer to him. "I talked to Ginny and Hermione."
"Thank Merlin. I wasn't looking forward to *that* conversation."
"Heard you went tattletale on Hermione and Ron." Tonks smirked.
"They kept laughing." Remus grinned. "And Molly was asking questions. I figured I'd show them while convienently changing the subject."
"Ooh. I've got quite a catch. He's charming *and* he's got brains." She put an arm around his neck and pulled him to her. "The question is . . . is he a good kisser?"
Tonks felt her heart beat faster when he touched his lips to hers. She pressed close and opened her mouth to him, eager for more.
Remus obliged, but then he abruptly pulled away. "None of that here," he whispered. "Molly said no testy business."
"Where?" Tonks asked, sliding a hand inside his robes to press against his wild heartbeat. She lifted a leg to wrap around his waist, and he clasped a hand on her thigh to keep her stead. He groaned, dropping his forehead to hers.
"We can go to your place . . ."
"That's an interesting idea. Will Molly be offended if we don't show up for dinner?"
"Will you lose your job if you miss tomorrow?" Remus countered.
"Probably not - I know too much. I'll just owl in sick."
"And I'll tell Molly I'm going to be gone today and tomorrow."
"It sounds like a plan. Can you answer me something first?"
"Do you love me?"
Remus' lips turned into a smile. "You know what, Nymphadora Tonks? I think I do."
Tonks closed her eyes and kissed him, ignoring Molly's wishes. "What a lovely coincedence."
* * * * *
AN: Hope you enjoyed it. I love the Tonks/Lupin pairing, so I'm going to write a few more. This one just came *pouring* out. And I listened to Guster - Keep it Together while writing this. Actually, I listened to two CDs. I was listening to Bowie at the beginning of this - one of his mix CDs.