Summary: Lupin Tonks, Black. Sirius demands answers from Tonks and
Remus, but can he handle the questions? And what do Remus and Tonks
discover about each other?
Author Notes: Occurs during Order of the Phoenix at the beginning of the summer. This relies on the physical features of Lupin as presented in the PoA movie.
Disclaimer: The characters belong to JK Rowling. The story was written for the pleasure of playing with her characters.
Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks were sitting at the kitchen table late at night at number twelve Grimmauld Place. The Weasleys were all tucked in their beds, and Sirius had not left his room all day. He was persisting in his hunger strike in an attempt to regain possession of a naughty book that Molly Weasley had confiscated from him.
But the two adults in the kitchen had been talking amiably for the past hour about Ginny, Ron and Hermione's memories of Lupin at Hogwarts. They faced each other at the corner of the table with their knees lightly touching.
The woman was barefoot and an observer would notice that she had her right leg curled under her. A mind reader would know the reason for this. Tonks had to prevent herself from giving in to the impulse of using her foot to glide up the long leg of her companion. She was quite proud of her self- control.
For his part, Lupin felt quite flattered at the high praises Tonks relayed that students had about his teaching. The fact that she was interested in his academic talents made him feel dangerously warm inside. With anyone else he would have felt paranoid, but Tonks had never been afraid of him.
"So how long did you interrogate my poor students?"
"Hah! They needed no prompting from me. They were quite eager to regale me with stories of Professor Lupin's adventures in DADAland," insisted Tonks. "But I think my favorite story is the one where Neville saw the boggart as Snape in drag."
"Yes, that was a lesson I'll never forget. The green velvet was quite flattering, but some men should simply not be seen with a red purse."
Tonks laughed softly at the image, but then shifted to bring her right knee up so she could clutch her naughty-minded appendage,
Lupin seemed to have no idea about her foot's proclivities as he added, "But the black vulture on the hat was rather fetching."
"How could you tell the difference?" asked Tonks as she laughed. She shifted again and put her right foot into a weird contortion against the floor.
"By the size of the beak," said Lupin, but then added with a tap to his own, "Although I shouldn't call attention to long noses."
"Yes, but in your case, the hairy snout hides a human heart," said Tonks with a playful tap of her own on the tip of his nose. The poor man was really clueless about the effort it was taking her not to touch him. She increased the pressure on her foot.
"Was that a compliment?" asked Lupin dubiously.
"It's the simple truth. If Severus Snape has a heart, he hides it well," said Tonks. "But the point is that you were the first teacher outside of herbology to try to build the boy's confidence."
Lupin just shook his head. "Hogwarts has many fine teachers. I doubt--"
"It's one of the things Ron and Hermione actually agreed on," assured Tonks. "And I was glad to hear you paid attention to helping the clumsy students. It's easy to just focus on the bright ones."
Lupin felt a light blush creeping up his face, so he looked down at the table rather than meet her eyes. She had sounded almost proud of him, a very alien thought, but there was no other way to describe it.
Tonks bit her lip as she noted his averted gaze. He even looked adorable when he was shy! Damn, she needed to get away from him before she did something stupid. "I think I need to get home and get some sleep. I've got a messy case developing at work."
Lupin rose as she stood and began rummaging on the floor for her abandoned shoes. He was surprised when he heard Tonks draw a painful hiss.
"Tonks, what's wrong?"
"My foot's all--pain, pain, pain..." Tonks was mumbling to herself and shaking her head. . She was wiggling her toes on her left foot, but flinched when she tried to move the toes on her right foot.
"Your muscles have cramped up," said Lupin when he saw the odd contortion her foot held.
"So what do I do? I'll feel stupid going to St. Mungo's, but this hurts."
"Here, let me try something." He sat down again and tapped his knee. "Put your foot here."
Rather than sit in the chair again, Tonks settled on the floor on her back in front of his chair. She propped her feet on Lupin's lap and scrunched her face. "Be gentle, Remus, this is my first time."
His lips quirked into a smile. He was quite familiar with foot cramps given his monthly routine, so he was confident he could help her. He reached toward her foot.
"I haven't even touched you, woman."
"Blame it on anticipa--hee hee."
Lupin had begun his inspection by holding her ankle and running his hand over her foot, but had not expected this response. "Tonks, I thought you were in pain?"
"My ankle isn't, it's ticklish and you're holding it."
"Let me try it again, Tonks. Now, relax for me this time. That's good. You all right? Now, just a little more pressure--"
"Oooh, Remus, that feels so good."
- - -
Tonks? Lupin? Sirius couldn't believe what he was hearing. The words were enough to draw him around the doorsill.
Sirius was feeling faint from his self-imposed hunger strike. He was planning on sneaking something from the kitchen, but there was no mistaking the feminine moan coming from the room.
"You have the best hands!" Tonks voice held a touch of disbelief.
Hands? He needed to stop them before things went any further. He had to protect the innocent! Sirius burst into the kitchen and promptly tripped on a dungbomb.
"Wotcher, Sirius," said Tonks cheerfully, now at eye level with her cousin since both were on the floor.
From his vantage, Sirius could hear Lupin asking, "It's genetic, isn't it?"
"Don't cast aspersions on the agility of the noble house of Black," admonished Tonks as she removed her foot from Lupin's lap and assumed a cross-legged position on the floor to face her cousin. She was wiggling the toes of both her feet in unremitting joy.
"Feeling faint from your hunger strike, Padfoot?" asked Lupin with some concern.
Sirius came up to his knees, thought to hell with it, and also sat cross- legged like his cousin.
"Just tripped over something." Sirius waved his wand to get rid of the dungbomb and asked, "What's going on here?"
"Foot cramp," said Tonks as she wiggled her foot in front of her cousin's face. "Miracle hands," she added as she patted Lupin's knee. "But you boys will have to excuse me. I've gotta run."
She slipped on her shoes without pain this time. As she left she patted Sirius on the head as if her were Snuffles before briefly clasping Lupin's shoulder and saying, "Thanks."
Sirius looked up at his friend as he watched the woman leave. Without turning to look at him, Lupin said, "Cheating on your hunger strike, Padfoot? Or are you ready to give it up?"
"A Black never gives up, Moony! Surrender is not one of our family traditions." Sirius rose with grace and patted his friend on the back. "We're a ruthless lot, Remus. Remember that."
Lupin looked at Sirius. He almost felt that his friend had been giving him a warning.
- - - - - - -
Sirius Black couldn't take it any longer as he entered the kitchen on number twelve Grimmauld place the very next night. The Order meeting had been adjourned for an hour, all the Weasleys had gone to bed, but not these two. Just look at them! They were sitting at the corner of the kitchen table and speaking quietly to each other. Again!
Why, their heads were so close together, anyone could have mistaken them for kissing--which indeed he had until he changed his angle of approach.
Sirius tossed his head up and, with all the arrogance of the Black family surging through his veins, along with a several nips of fire whiskey, confronted the two.
"All right, that's it! Tonks, do you have honorable intentions toward my friend Moon-hic?"
His eyes held fire, his stance was defiant, but the hiccup that escaped his mouth as he said his friend's nickname sent his adversary into a fit of giggles.
"Padfoot," began Lupin calmly.
"No, no, it's all right," said Tonks with a wink to Lupin as she controlled her giggles. She sniffed lightly to regain her composure, then she noticed that Sirius was squinting at her and teetering a bit. She had to cough a few times before she responded.
In the meantime Lupin had called a chair over and pulled Sirius down between them so the man wouldn't topple over.
"Sit down, will you? Are you still on your hunger strike?" asked Lupin with a shake of his head.
"I'm not eating a thing that--that--." Sirius stopped as his brain tried to think of a term conveying his displeasure without unduly insulting Molly Weasley.
"Matron?" offered Lupin helpfully. "Megalomaniac?"
"Matriarch?" suggested Tonks.
"Right, I'm not eating a thing that matriarch is cooking until I get my book back. Hic." His shoulders jumped as he hiccupped, but he added defensively, "I imbibed the alcohol merely for the calor-hic intake."
"Brilliant plan. Have you thought about just asking Arthur for the book back? The poor man needs to get some sleep at night," suggested Lupin.
"I never hic-ed about that," said Sirius, but then he caught sight of his cousin's bright pink hair and got back to the topic at hand.
Sirius crossed his arms over his chest and tried to glare at his cousin, but all he managed was another squint. "And don't stare at me like a sweet gob of candy, Tonks. You have the same Black blood running through your veins as I do. The whole lot of us are fickle from the first time we swindle candy out of the hands of our playmates."
"Sirius, how can you accuse your own cousin--" began Lupin.
"Because it's in the blood to be heartbreakers. And don't look at me in surprise, Tonks! Andromeda's very words were Like Mother, Like Daughter. Now, while I love you, Tonks, I won't let you use Moony so heartlessly!"
Tonks had now narrowed her eyes dangerously. Lupin registered some relief that she wasn't reaching for her wand. "Tonks, it's just the fire whisky. Remember, he's your cousin."
Lupin's need to protect his friend evaporated at the next words from Sirius' mouth. "A man like Remus would have no chance against you, Tonks. Why, he's practically a babe in the woods at relationships and as virginal as Artemis."
Tonks registered Lupin's disbelief that Sirius would reveal this private bit of information and gave him a sympathetic nod. Then she threw a sideward glance at Sirius and quirked her eyebrow. Lupin merely nodded at her as he quietly registered her intentions. He would follow her lead.
In the meantime, having gotten his hiccups under control, Sirius continued with, "So, answer me, Tonks. Are you stringing Moony along to amuse yourself?"
"All right, Sirius, you've dragged the confession out of me." Tonks reached across the table to take Lupin's hand in hers and said seriously to her cousin. "Remus and I have engaged in social intercourse on numerous occasions."
"Damn, it's worse than I thought. You admit to intercourse! Wait, social intercourse?" asked Sirius as his befuddled mind gave him an alarm that somehow the word didn't fit.
"But have you been able to find pleasure in these interludes, Tonks, given my rather naive state?" asked Lupin with an earnest voice. His words merely increased his interrogator's confusion.
"You've never failed me, Remus, even when we were tossed out of that public area for our alleged activity." Tonks fluttered her eyebrows and smacked her lips in a smooch. She saw Lupin's lips twitching, but he managed not to laugh at her antics.
Sirius scrunched his face in disgust at this. "Tonks, stop that sappy flirting," began Sirius with a warning tone. "Fine, the damage is done, but I still want to know if you're playing with Moony's feelings."
"Of course not, Sirius, I'm too busy playing with other things." At this statement, Tonks licked her lips in a manner that, unknown to her, got quite a reaction from the man in question. "I especially enjoyed it when I tied him up."
Sirius shook his head and said, "Spare me the sordid details of this liaison! I can see you've turned Moony into nothing but a plaything."
"Fine. You want the truth? Let's see if you can handle the truth. The relationship I have with Remus is based solely on sexual innuendo."
"Nymphadora, you're breaking my heart." Lupin sighed and gently tapped his chest over his heart. "Does our shared lust for chocolate count for nothing?"
"You're right, how could I have overlooked that?" said Tonks as she patted Lupin's hand. She turned to Sirius and said solemnly, "Sexual innuendo and chocolate lust. There you have it."
"Now see here, sexual lust and chocolate menudo have no place in Lupin's life."
"You're right, Padfoot, I couldn't stomach menudo even if it were covered in chocolate."
"I know it might be painful, Moony, but I only have your best interests at heart," said Sirius. "So, you two will drop this social intercourse in which you are engaging--"
"Nope." Lupin put his elbows on the table and entwined his fingers. "What you ask is impossible."
"Sorry, cuz, can't do it." Tonks mirrored Lupin's posture as they both returned Sirius' gaze, or rather, squint.
"But if you're feeling left out, we can include you in our social intercourse, Padfoot. A threesome would be quite delightful." Lupin saw Tonks biting her lip to keep from laughing.
The chair toppled back as Sirius tottered up in indignation. "Are you mad? It'd be practically incestuous, like bedding down with a sister and a brother! You've really been corrupted--"
"Fine, then, have it your way. We'll proceed with our social intercourse and continue our conversations in private," said Tonks, this time emphasizing the appropriate word. If Sirius was too soused to comprehend, then he'd have to be enlightened when he sobered up.
"Social? Wait? What did you say?" Sirius now really looked confused as Lupin put the chair back up and Tonks pulled him down to sit in it.
"Social intercourse, Sirius. Tonks and I enjoy talking to each other And for all of my naivete with women, I think I can handle our conversations just fine." Lupin's voice was indulgent, but firm as he added, "I don't need you to bail me out."
"But Andromeda said that--"
"I am not my mother, Sirius, but you'll just have to trust me on that," said Tonks.
"Oh. Hic." Sirius sat there quietly as Tonks and Lupin waited. "So there's nothing--"
"I think you've been letting Mad-Eye's paranoia influence you, Padfoot," said Lupin.
"Perhic--perhaps you're right," admitted Sirius. "I guess I'll go to bed."
He rose a bit too fast and wound up stumbling on the chair and falling forward.
"Are you sure it's not inherited?" muttered Lupin as he struggled with Sirius' tottering body.
"It's just the fire whisky with him. My clumsiness is all natural," said Tonks. "Fire whisky doesn't change how much I stumble."
"Really? I'll just have to assess you when you're drunk and starving," said Lupin as he helped Sirius stand.
The man was blinking as he tried to absorb the conversation around him.
"Oh, so now your real intentions come out!" said Sirius as he pointed a wobbling finger at Tonks. He whispered out of the side of his mouth to Lupin, "Hear that? She's starving for you and intends to get you drunk."
"Padfoot, I was the one who mentioned being drunk and starving," said Lupin with a shake of his head.
"Are you sure? I could have sworn it was Tonks. Wait, are you really Moony or has Tonks changed so that she--"
Tonks gave Sirius a sharp tap on the side of the head. "I'm right here, Sirius. That's Moony."
Sirius brought his hands to wipe is face. "Merlin's beard, it's started. You've been together so much that now I can't tell you apart."
"Let's take you upstairs, old boy, I think it's time you got to bed, Sirius," said Lupin as he hoisted his friend up and put an arm around his shoulder.
Tonks came round his other side to help her cousin to his room while Sirius mumbled, "And threesomes are right out..."
They managed to haul him to his bed where he plopped onto his mattress face down.
"Would you just look at that? He was out quicker than you can say nox," said Tonks with a shake of her head. "Make sure he doesn't suffocate."
But as she moved to the door, she heard Lupin's quiet voice. "Tonks, I need to settle him in, but I think we should talk."
"I'll just wait in your room," said Tonks with a sigh.
- - - -
Lupin entered his room to find Tonks sitting cross-legged on the rug while his phonograph played athe old song Ain't Misbehavin'.
She didn't open her eyes, although he knew she had heard him enter. He decided to join her and also adopted a cross-legged posture in front of her.
"Tonks, I'm sorry if Sirius hurt your feelings. He's falling into old habits and thinks he needs to protect me from women."
"Maybe he's right, Remus," said Tonks. Then she opened her eyes, but avoided looking at him. "Look, I spent my first few years out of Hogwarts competing with Mum for men. I'd bring someone home to meet her and if I didn't act fast enough, I'd find them together."
"Tonks, you don't have to tell me--"
"No, I want you to hear it from me, not someone else."
Tonks lay back on the rug on the floor and stared at the ceiling while the song finished playing with its lyrics indicating the singer was saving his love.
"I lost myself, Remus. I could become any man's fantasy. It's just that the fantasy girl was never the real me." Tonks closed her eyes tightly and Lupin watched while she began morphing her face into a number of beautiful women.
"Tonks, stop that. I don't want to see anyone but you here with me." Lupin's voice held a rough edge of anger.
Her face relaxed and she assumed her typical heart-shaped face now framed with her short black hair. Tonks blinked her eyes a few times. "So, I decided to hell with men, that I needed to find myself. Then four years ago, I read in the Prophet about how Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived, was going to start at Hogwarts."
"I see. Harry starts Hogwarts and you enter your three years of Auror training?"
"Yes. I became an Auror because I thought it would help balance out Sirius' betrayal of his family. My ability would be useful and I knew I had the grades I needed to qualify. I could protect the Boy Who Lived from people like the Blacks and the Malfoys."
"And now here we are."
"Look, you can believe the rumors that are out there about me or--or." Tonks sat up and made as if to leave, but Lupin grabbed her arm firmly.
"Nymphadora Tonks, let me tell you about Sirius Black."
"And Remus Lupin?" she asked.
"And Remus Lupin," agreed the man with a nod. He waited until she was sitting on the rug again, this time with her arms around her knees.
"We were talking earlier about what Ron and Hermione heard in the Shrieking Shack last year. Well, Sirius felt guilty about setting up Snape to stumble onto my being a werewolf and spent the rest of our time at Hogwarts trying to make it up to me. He became very protective. This was especially true during our seventh year when James was spending a lot of time with Lily."
"He helped your through the full moon?"
"Sirius would be the one to stay with me the whole night. James had Lily and Peter, well, he never had much stamina. Sirius would rather break a date with a girl, no matter how much he liked her, than abandon me during the full moon."
"So you're saying he was fickle like I was?"
"He enjoyed the games he played, but to me he was loyal and steadfast. It didn't even bother him when Snape started a rumor that we were lovers."
"Is that why Snape refers to you two as the old married couple?" asked Tonks.
"He still finds it amusing, but then so did Sirius. He just laughed and said he got more girls trying to 'change' his orientation that way."
"And did girls try to change your orientation?" asked Tonks.
"I never gave them much opportunity." Lupin scratched the side of nose before explaining. "I wasn't plagued by the urgent sex drive that hit my friends at puberty. Maybe it's all the energy I expended in transformations. I spent most of my time recovering from my last full moon only to prepare for the next one."
"I see, but, surely I can't be the first woman you've kissed?" Tonks
Lupin merely gave that shy smile, but wouldn't look at her. "There were a few girls who I kissed back at school. But the first one was, well, we were all a bit in love with Lily Evans."
"She became Mrs. James Potter," said Tonks.
"Yes, but before they started dating in seventh year, Lily kissed me in the dining hall in front of everybody." Lupin saw her eyes open wide. "Really. I had opened my mouth to take a bite of Shepard's pie and next thing I know, Lily was grabbing my face and laying one on me. Then she whispered in my ear that I better kiss her back or she'd place a furnunculus hex on me. So I had no choice but to return the favor."
"I think I'm beginning to like Lily Evans. She had a spot of mischief, too, didn't she?" Tonks and Lupin were laughing quietly, one at the memory and the other at the image created in her mind.
Lupin looked up through the bangs that were now falling on his face and presented her with an adorably bashful smile. "Lily explained later that it was to prove to her girlfriends that I could, uh, respond to girls on account of the rumor Snape was spreading, but I think it was to get James jealous."
"I see. James Potter could forgive Lily for kissing you, but kissing Sirius would have been too dangerous."
"How do women come up with logic like that?" asked Lupin in a rather perplexed tone.
Tonks merely flashed her eyebrows quickly indicating she'd never tell before asking, "So are there any lost loves?"
"No, I never got farther than a few kisses. The thought of letting a girl touch me intimately frightened the hell out of me. And I couldn't face the disgust I'd likely see if--" Lupin ran a hand through his hair. He was looking away from her as he added, "Even then I had more scars than Moody; it's not pleasant viewing."
Tonks was quiet as she inspected the man before her. The long scars that ran across his face were probably just the tip of the iceberg. He always wore long sleeves and it was rare to even see the necks of his shirts unbuttoned. She looked at the long, elegant hands that were tapping a bit nervously on the rug. She reached out and stopped their movement with a light touch.
"So what happened? You'd call it off before it got to far?" asked Tonks.
"More than that. I'd tell Sirius about my worries and he'd go after the girl to distract her from me. This became our pattern even after we left school. Instead I'd live my sex life vicariously through his adventures. It was safer that way."
"Didn't it hurt to hear about him sleeping with a girl that you developed feelings for?"
"He wouldn't tell me anything unless I prompted him although, truthfully, my feelings were never at too much risk. It's not as if I have anything to offer a woman except a chance at being bitten by a werewolf."
Tonks reached out and turned him to face her. "So you've lived a celibate life?"
"That's putting it delicately," said Lupin.
"Well, it explains your lust for chocolate," said Tonks with a light smile. She was pleased to see his lips quirking upward at her observation.
"I don't know if you understand--"
"Remus, we both have a lust for chocolate, remember?" Tonks nodded her head as he connected the dots. "It's been four years since I've been with a man. I took my Auror training seriously. You know what it's like. And I didn't want any distractions during my first year as a fully fledged Auror."
"Perhaps we should start a club: Chocolate Lovers without Lovers?" offered Lupin. He shook his head at his weak joke. "The whole point is that I've never been driven by libido."
"Wait a minute, Remus. I know you respond like any normal man would in, uh, situations. That morning when you were tickling me, I know what I felt--"
"Snape has adjusted the ingredients in the Wolfsbane potion over the two years I've been taking it now and--and." He shook his head, "You seem to have a unique affect on me, Tonks. I'm beginning to be plagued by urges that never bothered me before."
Lupin wouldn't look at her, but merely leaned forward with his arms stretched in front of him while two long fingers played with a loose thread on the rug.
"Remus Lupin, are you implying that I'm a plague?' Tonks had leaned forward and tilted her head under his so he couldn't avoid her gaze.
His lips quirked into a smile again. He cocked his head in symmetry with hers and said, "Maybe you're the cure."
Tonks smiled and moved to sit upright. Instead of a graceful maneuver, she managed to bump her head on Lupin's ski-sloped nose. "Oops, I am so sorry, Remus."
"Ow! That was supposed to be a compliment, Tonks," said Lupin as he rubbed his nose.
"Compliment accepted, but you are so wrong about how you see yourself, Remus." Tonks leaned forward and brought his hand away from his nose. She tenderly outlined the scars that ran across his face as he closed his eyes. "You are the most beautiful man I've known."
She pressed a soft kiss onto the right side of his face, just next to the scar marring the skin.
"Are you sure you didn't steal a nip of that fire whisky?" he asked as she pulled back.
"And deplete Sirius of his caloric intake? Never." Tonks then stood up and he rose as well.
They left his room and were walking down the stairs in silence. As they reached the entry hall, Tonks stopped at the second step while Lupin continued to the landing.
She put a hand on his shoulder and asked, "So, what now?"
Tonks waited with apprehension. She didn't need another big brother; she had plenty of men in her life who fit that bill. But wouldn't that be the safest route for Lupin to go?
Lupin had his hands in his pockets as he considered her question. The stairs put her at eye level and her gaze indicated she wasn't leaving without some answer.
"How about we start that Chocolate Lovers without Lovers club and limit the membership to two?"
Tonks tapped her lips with her finger as she considered this. Lupin felt his heart begin to race as she stood there silently. "All right, since you didn't use the phrase little sister, I accept this membership and hold it exclusive to the two parties now present."
She stuck out her hand and as she gave her firm handshake, she leaned in to whisper in his ear, "And had you used the phrase little sister, I'd have demonstrated how powerful my furnunculus hex can be."
"And so chocolate saves my hide once again. No wonder I love the stuff," said Lupin with a light smile.
"Take care of my cousin in the morning. And don't scare him about threesomes. Goodnight."
- - - - -
Lupin entered his room feeling emotionally drained, but oddly elated. He'd never opened up to a woman like that before. Tonks did have the most unusual effects on him.
He walked to the phonograph and put the record on one more time. Maybe it wasn't a bad thing that he had spent all those years on the shelf. He had saved a lot of love--for the right woman. Could that woman be Nymphadora Tonks?
Author Notes: Everyone has their own ideas about Lupin's love life. Here's my version for the stories I write. Hope it makes sense.
Hairy Snout, Human Heart is a book referred to in one of the HP supplements. Ain't Misbehavin' is another classic standard by Fats Waller. Again, to comply with ffnet policies, the lyrics have been described rather than transcribed.
Hope this was easier to read than it was to write. I had to get the tone I wanted just so. Hope it managed to leave you with a smile.
And thanks for the positive reviews. They leave me with a smile.