The Time Between

A Lupin/ Tonks Fanfiction

As always, theses characters, plots, settings, and most everything else belongs to J.K. Rowlings.

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Chapter I: St. Mungo's

Yelling, "Remus, behind you!" Was the last thing Nymphadora Tonks remembered before a bright red light ignited a searing pain in her shoulder causing her to stumble. Rolling down the stone steps seemed almost dreamlike as an inkpot of blackness spilled over her consciousness, slowly oozing over her vision and mind; numbing her body...

Something wasn't right. Tonks tossed, right, then left, legs violent kicking against some invisible restraint. Dreams, strange dreams filled her mind, everything was so cluttered, jumbled and twisted.

Wasn't someone in trouble? Yes, a boy, she remembered and a man, with brown hair brushed with gray. In her dreams she saw his pale eyes, his gentle young face smiling at her. A death eater was behind him! The man was in danger and she had to do something! Damn it, why couldn't she run, what invisible force was holding her down?

"Remus!" Tonks sat up, violently calling his name, instantly aware that she was no longer in the chamber room of the Ministry.

"Oh Nymphadora, you're awake" her mother, a witch in her late fifties with dark eyes, called out grasping her conscious daughter to her chest.

Where was she? Confusion persisted, "Remus?"

Ted Tonks, her father, a beefy sized muggle with a faded mustache and a shinny pink head, answered, "He's all right Dora, Actually, he's been here the whole time just stepped out for a spot of tea."

Tonks sighed with relief, as her parents, with smiling faces, flanked the sides of her hospital bed.

Then remembering the boy, "And Harry?"

"He fine too dear," Andromeda replied. Then, turning her eyes from her daughter, her voice strained, "Nymphadora, Sirius- well, your cousin didn't make it."

"What?" It was a whispered statement of disbelief.

"Bellatrix hit him with a stunner and he fell behind the veil," her father stoically answered as her mother's tired eyes filled with tears.

Tonks felt as if someone had just drop kicked her in the stomach.

"No." Then the fury began to grow, "No!" She had to fight. She tired to move her legs, but they felt so heavy. Confused and angry, she thrashed about her arms, "No, I've got to go, I can save him. It's my job to save him!"

Her face burned as salty wet tears flowed from her eyes and streaked her bruised face. "I'm an auror, damn it! I can stop it."

Her father reached out to restrain her still damaged body.

"Let go of me!" Tonks yelled, "I can save him, I know I save him!" She plead fervently.

It was at that moment that her mother's hands poured a goblet of hot, stinking liquid down her throat. Suddenly, a warm, calm filled her, lulling her muscles and her mind back into the darkness.

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The second time she awoke, Tonks knew where she was. The rich oak paneling, purple bedspreads and magical ceiling crystals told her she was at St. Mungo's.

"Mother?" She whispered, rolling her head against a very comfortable pillow and trying to focus her swollen eyes on the figure beside her.

"It's Remus," he stood from a chair besides her bed, "I just convinced your parents to get some supper. Do you want me to go and get them for you?"

Tonks smiled at his kindness and wondered how a man could look so young and so old at one time. "No," she answered softly, reaching for his hand. "You're here," she said and laced her fingers with his.

Although she was obviously still affected by the sleeping draft, Remus felt such warmth at those words and her innocent gesture that his stoic demeanor nearly shattered. This girl with her silly hair and horrid manners, who never failed to finish at least one of his sentences, was slowly but powerfully, stealing his heart. He was fifteen years her senior, with a disdainful lunar habit and thus, although he had resolved to be content with their platonic friendship, part of him, deep down inside, wanted so much more. It was times like now, when she taunted him with words of kindness, he wanted nothing more than to wrap her in his arms and bury kisses in her candied hair.

But instead of acting on such an emotional idea, he masked his joy with a look of quiet contentment. "How do you feel?"

"Sore, tired, confused," Tonks answered.

There was a pregnant pause as Remus stroked her fingers beneath his thumb; his breathing staggered, "Tonks, Sirius didn't-"

"I know." She replied and promptly bit her lip, trying to suppress the tears that were already beginning to well up in her eyes, but it wasn't enough. A sob tore through her throat, ripped through her pain and hot tears poured down her pale, heart shaped face. She shifted away from the man besides her bed. Gods! She didn't want him to see her this way- so weak and vulnerable, but he didn't leave. Instead the grip on her hand tightened, and she became slowly aware that he was calmly stroking g her bare arm with his graceful fingers.

Finally wiping the tears away from her face with the palm of her free hand, she spoke with stuttered breaths. "I'm sorry," She sighed, "I haven't had time to deal with all of this just yet."

Remus nodded silently, and cast his eyes downward, shielding his own pain, "I don't think any of us have."

It was then that Tonks realized just how much Sirius's death had affected her graying friend. Her heart ached to grasp him his thin, worn body to her breast and tell him it was okay to cry, but alas, she couldn't. Although she, more than the others, wasn't afraid to speak her mind to Remus Lupin, he was an intensely private man. Tonks frowned as she speculated that making mention of his personal pain would probably push him further away.

"Remus, tell me what happened after I passed out," Tonks requested, wiping away a few drying tears from her chin, "I want to know everything."

Remus moved to sit on the edge of Tonk's hospital bed. Still holding on to her hand, he began to recant the previous night's events.

Still sleepy from the sleeping draught, but trying hard to concentrate, Tonks slowly slipped her hand from Lupin's grip and began to trace the edges of a crooked brown patch on the upper leg of his trousers.

After a few minutes of speaking, Remus noticed Tonk's eyes becoming hazy, eye lids drooped and he knew that the sleeping medicine was once again taking hold of her mind. Yet, it wasn't until her hand drifted away from his, and began to methodically trace an old patch on the leg of his wool pants that she gained his attention. In her drug induced stupor, she obviously had no idea the effect she was having on an old bachelor by fingering small circles on his upper thigh.

Remus, who was a master of control, began to stumble over his words as her small while hands intently rubbed his leg and began to arouse in his body a natural, masculine reaction. Gods! He didn't want her to stop, but if he allowed her to continue, his desire might soon become apparent. Gently stopping her hand with his own, he quit his recanting, "I think it's time for you have a bit of a rest Nymphadora."

Tonks yawned, "Don't call me Nymphadora." Then closing her eyes and shifting to her side, she donned a silly smile , "Thank you for staying with me."

"You're welcome," Remus softly replied.

Snuggling in her pillow, Tonks added, "Remus, I think that when I am recovered, you should come and hold my hand more often. It's very nice."

Remus chuckled absently, stroking back a fallen lock of dark brown hair from her forehead. "I find holding your hand very nice, too," he replied, but the woman who saved his life and for whom he'd gladly give his, was already asleep...

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I wanted to make this Tonks/ Lupin romance more realistic. Please read and review. ~ Lyra