Lover's Flu

All these characters and their world belong to J.K.R.

Chapter 8

The most important medicine is tender love and care. Mother Teresa

After waking up Mundungus, the pair ascended the stairs to Number 12's kitchen where the Weasley's and their son Bill along with Sturgis Podmore and Kingsley Shacklebolt were sharing drinks and conversation regarding the recent arrest of Antonin Dolohov in the Ukraine. They easily welcomed Remus and Tonks into the conversation with only a few chuckles towards their unusual predicament.

"Is this your usual method for picking up younger women, Lupin; a drink and a viral handshake?" Kingsley asked. The group shared a round of laughter knowing that Shacklebolt's teasing was all in good fun.

By one in the morning, the small ensemble final broke apart with Podmore and Kingsley heading home, the Weasley's took up their usual room at Grimmald Place and Lupin and Nymphadora finally headed up stairs after casting the last of the evening protection spells.

"Are you ready for bed," Lupin asked, after flicking off the kitchen light.

"You're awfully direct," joked Tonks.

He sighed, tired for a long day on the town without his usual afternoon nap, "Come on," he took the lead up the stairs, "Old werewolves need their sleep."

The couple fell into a comfortable dance of night time toiletries; brushing teeth, washing faces, taking vitamins. They moved like lovers in a waltz, until Tonks hit the corner of her toe on a chair and fell nearly face first onto the floor. Luckily, Remus caught her in his arms before her nose became part of the throw rug.

"Whoa!" Lupin said, lunging for Tonks.

"Oh!" She steadied herself, in his arms. "And I've been so uncharacteristically steady these past two days!"

"Fortunate for you I have werewolf reflexes."

Tonks looked at Remus curiously, her voice becoming quietly serious, "Why do you do that?"

"Do what?"

"Keep bringing up that you're a werewolf," Tonks stated plainly.

Remus tensed, "Well, I am."

Two heart beats.

"I know. But that's not why you say it." She added quietly.

Remus turned away from her, smoothing out the creases in his day clothes which were folded neatly over the back of a chair, eyes averted, "Then why do I say it."

"To put up a wall… To push people away."


"I suppose it works on most people. But," her hand tightened around his bicep, he turned to look into her black eyes, "but I'm not most people."

He looked back down at the shirt which was in his hand.

Nymphadora's heart raced like wings of hummingbird as she approached what few topics that they hadn't been spoken of between them. "I'm not ashamed of you and I'm not afraid of you."

His voice low, "You should be afraid; very afraid."

"Remus, I respect the danger of the werewolf. I understand what they are, what they do, but you are…" She smiled slightly, "You are you; just a man with a few gray hairs and boring tea habit. What happens on those nights, that's not you, that's the demon." She brought her fingers to the side of his stubbled jaw. "You are a man. And you are no more responsible for the actions of the wolf than you are for the movement of the stars."

"That was very poetic," Remus answered dryly.

"I had top marks in literature," she added softly, lips whispering against his cheekbone.

Remus closed his eyes and watched his last retaining wall crumble as he swept her into his arms, "Oh Nymphadora." He murmured against her temple. "What strange fate brought you to me?"

Tonks warmed from head to toe as she passionately gripped Remus in her arms. "I would say the flu, but I've loved you for so much longer than that."

They held each other a long time, both silently thanking the Powers –That- Be for finding this new and unexpected love. Finally, they pulled apart, "You're tired." Tonks said, stroking her hand down the back of his neck.

"Dreadfully so, I'm afraid," Then turning to look out the dark window at the waxing moon, voice despondent, "It's getting close."

"I'll be here." She replied, leading him towards the bed.

Somehow he was able to believe; somewhere inside he began to trust. They snuggled underneath the duvet, warding off winter's chill and the cold drafts of Number 12.

Heads resting on pillow, arms intertwined, Remus smiled slightly, "It seems so strange not being able to kiss you at a time like this."

Tonks returned his smile. Then tugging up the sheet, she let it drift over his face. Leaning above, she kissed the sheet and he did the same. The act was mutually intimate and devout. Pulling it down beneath his chin, "How was that?"

"A bit like kissing a mummy; dry and linen-y."

She laughed, cheeks pink, matching her bright pink tank top, "How many mummies have you kissed?"

Lupin tensed his brows, "Counting you?"

"Remus Lupin!" Tonks expounded and began an ardent tickle campaign.

Lupin was quick to fight back and before long, Tonks was crying for mercy.

"Oh please stop!" More giggles, "Mercy, Remus! Mercy!"

Fortunately, Lupin relented with, "I'll let you go on three conditions."

"Name them!" She cried out, wrist locked tightly above her head.

"One. Once I let you go, I am hereby declared the tickle champion with all due honors and recognitions."

Tonks rolled her eyes, more laugher, "Yes fine!"

"Two. Tomorrow you finish what you started in the basement."

Devious grin, "Of course."

"Three, you let me tell you…" Breathing hastened, "You let me tell you that…I love you without breaking into tears."

"Oh Remus, yes!" He let go her hand and she quickly pulled him to her, resting his head against her chest. "That night, I was such a mess; far from the reason or the emotional stability that you needed."

"And I was a complete selfish fool for dumping my feelings on you at that time. I wasn't thinking about how I comfort you, just how I could make the horrible pain in my chest go away." It wasn't his usual character, and the confession was difficult. "Thank god you didn't take me up on the offer."

"I thought I'd really made a mess of things. You were so quiet for months afterwards. I felt like I had betrayed you."

"Merlin, no!" Lupin looked up into her sweet face, "My pride was piqued, but I soon realized, after I sobered up, that the days after Sirius's death were certainly not the appropriate time or place for me to tell you about my feelings. And as sad and as lonely as I felt this summer, I knew that having you in bed would only have been a fleeting comfort," his blue eyes looked deep into hers, "and you deserve to be so much more than that…Perhaps that's why I held you away; I was afraid of trusting myself around you."

Kissing her neck, "Nymphadora, I want more from you than just making love. I want to love."

"So do I, Remus. Oh god, so do I." Tonks answered quietly. Than ruffling her hand through Remus's hair, she whispered, "Blow out the candle, love."

He did so, and they held each other a long time in the darkness before they were both overcome with sleep andthe pleasure of dreaming in your lover's arms…

Six months later

"Oh my god!" Nymphadora plopped backwards onto the satin sheets and fluffy bedding. "That was so good. You are so good! I mean in the exceptional category, Remus." She said again, sharing a kiss with her lover.

"Thank you," Remus smirked.

"I guess it's true what they say about the quiet ones." Tonks smiled deviously and they kissed again, this time deeper.

"You taste like strawberries." Lupin sighed, running his hands through her bed tussled hair.

"Darling, I go so much better with champagne," she soothed, trying to sound sophisticated.

"I know," he reached for the bottle at the bedside, it was empty. "I've another bottle in the fridge." He pulled up from the bed and Tonks grabbed at his waist.

"Can't you just apparate it upstairs?"

"Nymphadora, there are children in the house. What will they think if they see a champagne bottle floating to our bedroom?"

Tilting her head, "Well, they're probably already thinking that were shagging silly because it's our half year anniversary; when they see the bottle, at least they'll know we're taking a break."

Lupin studied her heart shaped face, twinkling black eyes, "You're hopeless." Then rising from the bed, he began to put on a pair of flannel bottoms, t- shirt and bathrobe. "Sometimes I wonder why I've kept you around for six months."

A stuffed unicorn hit him in the chest, followed by a second to the head, a third to the groin. "Wotcher, Tonks! Those beasts have pointy horns, you know."

Tonks laughed, "I know another beast with a pointy horn."

"A very witty tongue, Ms. Tonks." Smirked Lupin, and tossed the stuffed animals back onto the pink satin sheets which now adorned his bed. "I'm glad to know it has other uses."

"Just go get champagne, old man." Tonks teased.

Remus, who was at the door, turned, blue eyes twinkling, finger pointed like a school teacher, "You'll pay for that when I back."

"I hope so…and Remus, I love you." Nymphadora smiled.

Hand on the door knob, Lupin turned back one last time before leaving the love nest, "I love you, too Nymphadora."

Downstairs, raised voices came from the kitchen. Remus paused outside, door ajar.

"You're not stirring it right." A low, slinky male voice commented.

"Yes, I am," Replied an assured woman.

"It's counter clockwise twenty-four times."

"No it's clockwise twelve times, pause two minutes and twelve more stirs."

"Incorrect Emmaline." The dark male voice answered with certain authority. "Even a 4th year knows that--"

"Severus, my father was the potion master at Hogwarts for thirty years! I think I can stir a sleeping draft." Answered the well groomed, heady voice of Emmaline Vance.

Remus smiled, Severus and Emmaline? What were they doing in the kitchen of Grimmald Place at two in the morning?

"Give me the spoon." Snape said, voice stern

"No." She answered with indignity.

"We'll never sleep with that mess you're brewing. Hand it over!" His voice strict.

"Get your hands off of me!"

Remus leaned forward to see Emmaline slap, playfully at Snape's hands.

"Give it here, Vance."

"Let go of my hand!"

"Stop being a twit and let go of my hand!" Severus replied, voice rising.

"You impotent little bat! I should curse your tongue to turn into a worm! You rotten-"

"You just try and I'll hex that green shawl of yours to eat your silly hat!"

"My hat is not silly!"

Remus decided he's had enough bickering and enough laughter of the unlikely pair. "Good evening Severus, Emmaline." Lupin greeted them as he entered the kitchen, "Looks like you two are stuck together."

Emmaline sneezed as Severus's face turned ashen with realization.

Lupin opened the fridge and took out a bottle chilled bottle, "Just a word to the wise. The virus affects the palms, the lips and the..." He looked low on Snape's body, "Well, I'm sure you get the idea," he implied.

The pair stared at one another, mouth agap.

Remus pushed the door open. "Don't worry it passes in forty eight hours." Then smiling pleasantly, he offered, "Goodnight."

And they all lived happily ever after…