Disclaimer: The characters belong to JKRowling. I'm just having fun playing in her universe. The story relies on Lupin as presented in the movie.
Number Twelve Grimmauld Place
"Can't you wait until we get back to school, Hermione? I can't believe you're taking notes now. It's a party," complained Ginny as she approached her friend.
The Order of the Phoenix was celebrating the designation of Prefects at Gryffindor and the kitchen was abuzz with activity. Ginny had noticed that Hermione had abandoned her conversation with Lupin regarding werewolves and house elves. The new Prefect was watching people and jotting things down in a notebook. Most would assume it was another entry regarding SPEW, but Ginny would have recognized that notebook because Hermione had a color-coded system. No, this was something new.
Hermione looked up as Ginny sat beside her and explained. "I was reading a text on body language that my Mum is using."
"But, I thought your Mum was like a tooth fairy--"
"Dentists. Muggles who work on teeth are called dentists, Ginny."
"Right, so why is she interested in body language?"
"Mum wants to interpret the body language of her patients since most can't talk while they have a dental tool in their mouth."
"The only thing going into mouths here is food," said Ginny with a grimace as she looked at the buffet on the table. "My brothers seem to be having a contest on who can stuff the most in his mouth."
Hermione followed her glance and smiled. "Ron has a smudge of icing on the side of his cheek."
"Tempted to clean him up?" teased Ginny.
Hermione blushed and replied defensively, "No, I'd just rub his face raw with a washcloth."
"Hm, your body language tells me differently," taunted Ginny as she watched Hermione cross her arms and tuck her legs under her as she sat.
"And your body language tells me you still fancy Harry. I saw you 'accidentally' bump into him, twice," replied Hermione, looking at her friend knowingly.
"We were reaching for the same platter and we both wanted butterbeers," said Ginny in defense. "Besides, Harry's an old crush. I'm with Michael now."
"I didn't say you were flirting with Harry, Ginny. I don't think you realize what your body language reveals about how you still feel about him."
"Well, you're wrong," said Ginny. "I bet you'd find romantic nuances in any man and woman standing together."
Hermione laughed at her friend and said, "No, I wouldn't. Try me."
"Well, how about them? Now there's a perfectly platonic pair," said Ginny with a nod toward Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks.
The Professor was wearing a Roman cassock that appeared to be in better condition than his usual shabby attire. Hermione frowned and said, "Oh dear, maybe you are right about misinterpreting the cues. Lupin does look presentable and, uh, well, it would indicate that he dressed up for Tonks."
"Actually, Lupin just got back from a meeting he had with a committee of the Scholastica Magus," said Ginny. She enjoyed having more knowledge about something than her brainy friend. "Something about an urgent research project preventing his presence at this year's convocation. Real serious, incredibly boring stuff."
"I see," said Hermione, wondering if someday she, too, would be a member of that group.
"Tonks isn't dressed up, though. She's just wearing a t-shirt and blue jeans," said Ginny.
"But she did make her hair long. See how it's swishing around when she moves her head. That's supposed to get a man's attention. And it's a Weasley red; she could pass for your older sister, although I do think Bill's hair is longer."
"Mum's after him to cut it again," said Ginny as she rolled her eyes. "And her hair is red because I asked her if she could match my hair color, so it has nothing to do with Lupin. Now tell me what you see in their body language."
Hermione cleared her throat and looked at her note sheet. "Fine, it should be the epitome of platonic attitude. I'll start with posture. They're, well, they're leaning into each other, especially the direction of their shoulders. See there, Tonks is talking to Bill, but she just turns her head, while her torso still orients toward Lupin. She also keeps an arm between her and Bill. That would indicate that she, uh."
"Right, so you're saying Tonks fancies Lupin?" asked Ginny with a bright smile.
"Well, he is leaning into her, too," said Hermione defensively.
"He's also using his cane. I heard he had a bad full moon," said Ginny. "See, you're just reading too much into this body language."
"Okay, you tell me what you see in them this time," challenged Hermione.
"Fine. Lupin just said something to her and--"
"Tonks is smiling? And do they maintain eye contact?"
"Yes, but it's not like Professor Lupin to be rude," explained Ginny.
"Yes, I suppose you're right," sighed Hermione. "I guess I am reading too much into the gestures."
- - - - - - - - - - -
Tonks scanned the crowd in the kitchen of Grimmauld Place again and murmured to Lupin, "I better go talk to the girls. They've been looking at us closely."
Lupin caught sight of Hermione and Ginny looking their way and replied, "I'll talk to you later, then."
"Talk? Oh, no, Professor. You're long overdue for Lesson Three," said Tonks with a quirk to her eyebrow. She walked away knowing full well she had his complete attention.
Too bad the effect was ruined when George backed into her and spilled his butterbeer on her t-shirt.
"Sorry, Tonks, I thought you were Ginny," explained the gangly boy as he tried to wipe at the stain on the front of her t-shirt.
"You're in a restricted zone," said Tonks as she lightly touched his wrist to prevent another swipe across her breasts.
"Smooth, George. Wait until I tell Alicia--"
George didn't threaten his twin, but immediately stuffed a baked potato down his twin's gullet.
Tonks left the boys and made her way to Hermione and Ginny. "Wotcher, girls. Having fun?"
"Tonks, what do you know about reading body language?" asked Ginny.
The Auror looked at the notebook in Hermione's hands and said, "Some of the best Aurors are excellent at deciphering nonverbal communication. It's one of the best ways to catch someone at a lie if you're not a legilimens."
"Legilimens? What's that?" asked Ginny.
"It's like a wizard lie detector, a very unique talent. We have a whole class on interpreting posture and looking for nervous habits. There are actually some minor differences between what you see with Wizards versus Muggles."
"Really? Like what?" asked Hermione.
"For one thing, we have wands. Aurors are trained to assess targets by the access they leave for their wand. Another thing is touch in general. Muggles are more likely to touch than are wizards or witches..."
- - - - - - - - -
Lupin made his rounds talking to various Order members, although he didn't trust himself to get close to Tonks until it was time to leave. The thought of their third lesson was provocative and he wondered if he could devise a suitable excuse to extract himself and Tonks from the party early.
He looked across the room at Tonks and his eyes met her gaze. While her eyes were locked with his, her hand swept through her hair. Lupin found it easy to imagine the weight of the silky strands in his own hands. Her fingers lingered at her shoulders and she lightly rubbed them over the ripped seam on her t-shirt before she turned away to listen to Ron's latest rant about his new broom for the second time.
Lupin's gaze followed her movements and he noticed how her gesture had revealed the creamy skin below the torn seam. Had her move been deliberate? He shook his head and laughed quietly at himself for being tantalized by a woman wearing a shabby t-shirt.
He turned to speak to Arthur next although he followed Tonks with the corner of his eye. He propped his elbow on his hand and was tapping his lips with a finger when he caught Tonks performing the same gesture as she conversed with Molly.
Lupin smiled lightly before moving his hands and clasping them behind his back once Bill joined the conversation. Sure enough, Tonks soon mirrored the posture as well. He caught her gaze again and gave the slightest nod of his head in her direction, which she returned in kind.
Lupin turned when he heard Sirius' barking laughter. The smile on his face widened as he saw his friend truly happy for a moment. He thought of the boy he had known at Hogwarts and, for the brief moment, could imagine Sirius standing there speaking with James, not Harry. The phantoms of his memory faded all too quickly, however.
Lupin sat down to speak with Mundungus Fletcher and again found Tonks with his eyes. She was sitting as well, speaking animately with Kingsley. Lupin rested his head on his hand as he spoke and soon noted that Tonks was mimicking the maneuver. Her message was quite clear to him. Although they were far apart, she was very much aware of his every move. As he listened patiently to Dung, Lupin again wondered how quickly the party would end.
- - - - - - - - - -
"All right, everyone, party's over. We've got a long day tomorrow," said Sirius as he hurried back to the kitchen. "Off to bed or hit the street! Arthur and I will clean up!"
The teenagers grumbled a bit, but Bill had a smile on his face as he left. It was still early enough to stop by to see Fleur. Moody and Kingsley had to wake up Dung and drag him out, but before Tonks went in search of Lupin, Sirius whispered to her, "He's with Molly in the drawing room. Might need backup. I'll keep Arthur occupied for a while."
Tonks nodded and set off. The door to the drawing room had been left slightly ajar. She entered quietly and was just in time to see Molly breaking down in tears again. There was no sound, but the shaking of her shoulders indicated that she was sobbing against Lupin's shoulder.
Tonks just watched them for a moment and swallowed a lump in her throat. Molly often exhibited the classic prejudices of the wizarding world, but here she was accepting comfort from a lycanthrope. And even more telling was that Lupin could offer this comfort, could hold Molly without thinking she would be repulsed by his touch.
Lupin looked up and beckoned Tonks over. The Auror walked quietly and said gently as she patted the woman's back, "It's all right, Molly. We're here for you."
Molly sniffed and moved away from Lupin who magically offered her another pristine handkerchief. "I'm sorry I'm using you like this, Remus. You remind me so much of my brother, Fabian. I was always crying on his shoulder, too."
"I remember him, Molly, and you couldn't have given me a nicer compliment," responded Lupin.
"And I know Ron would be okay with his brothers and all the men we have in the Order if anything happened to us," Molly said with a nod, "but my little Ginny is the only girl. She needs a woman's influence."
"And she'd have that, Molly, I promise," said Tonks as she put her arm around Molly's shoulder "I know I'm not a girlie sort of girl, but I'd be there to look out for her."
"I think you're just girlie enough for the job, dear." Molly touched the red hair and smiled. "You look like an older sister for her."
"And I promise that I will be that older sister for Ginny if anything should happen to you."
Molly took a deep breath, straightened her shoulders. "Right, then, I'm going up for a nice warm bath."
As soon as she left, Lupin immediately sat down and released a long breath. He turned concerned eyes to Tonks and said, "Molly found the boggart and it kept shifting to corpses of her family--and Harry."
"That must have been terrible for her," said Tonks as she sat on the arm of his chair. She gently stroked his hair and offered, "Do you want to postpone our lesson?"
Remus leaned back then reached out to catch a heavy strand of hair just like he'd wanted to all night. "I know we've postponed it for too long. However, when I ran up the stairs, I aggravated my knee again. I won't be much-- well, my motion is quite limited."
He smiled sheepishly at Tonks. He should have known not to stress the injury so soon.
Tonks touched his knee lightly with her wand and he could feel some relief from the pain. She moved her face close to him and said, "Disabilities merely require special accommodations, Professor. I'm confident we can work around it."
- - - - - - - - - - - -Tonks' Flat
At Tonks' insistence, they took a Muggle cab to within a block of her flat. Although she changed her hair to midnight black, she left the length of the strands intact. Lupin was casually stroking the silky mass as she nestled in the crook of his arm while he relayed the events in the drawing room to her.
"Yes, I do think we need to get our mind off of these maudlin thoughts," said Tonks when he ended. They reached their destination and took the short walk to her flat.
Lupin entered the familiar flat and felt his mood lighten further. He lamented the fact that Sirius couldn't escape that damned house. He looked at the familiar clutter and splash of color that signified Tonks' abode and blessed the stars that had provided him this sanctuary.
He took her in his arms as soon as he put his cane away and kissed her thoroughly.
"Mmm, very good, Professor," murmured Tonks. "I see you've learned how to properly greet your woman."
"I've always been a model student," replied Remus.
She took his hand and led him to the bedroom, turning on the lamp with a quick flick of her wand. As she released his hand to walk to the dresser, she kicked off her shoes and ordered, "Off with the boats."
"I don't think your Bear intends to be a voyeur," said Remus as he complied.
Tonks was already turning the tweed bear on the dresser toward the wall. She returned to Remus and said, "I think we can start getting comfortable."
"So what is your lesson plan tonight?" asked Remus as he poked his fingers through the tear at the shoulder seam of her t-shirt and caressed the skin underneath. His other hand was around her waist.
"It's a basic reading lesson," said Tonks as she pressed her body against his. "But there are no words in this lesson, just sighs and moans and body language."
"Do grunts count?" asked Remus with as much sincerity as he could muster. "Because I swear that's all I'm reduced to around you."
Tonks laughed in delight and said coyly, "Oh, I think I've gotten a few moans out of you before you dissolved into cave man status. But let's get to the lesson before we're too tired to enjoy it. The second stipulation is this. Nothing can be between us."
Lupin frowned just a bit. "You mean no--"
"I mean imagine, if you will, my completely," here Tonks kissed his chin, "nude body," she kissed the side of his mouth. "Lying on that bed." She kissed the other side of his mouth. "Just waiting for your touch."
Remus captured her mouth for a long sustained kiss. She tore herself away before he could completely distract her from her goal however, and began undoing his buttons. "I've been dying to see what's under this Roman cassock."
"Wait," said Remus as he looked around. His heart was racing at the thought of disrobing like this. She had demonstrated her acceptance of his scarred body, but it was too bright in the room. He waved his hand and the lamp dimmed sufficiently.
Tonks pouted. "Remus, you're falling behind."
She already had all of the buttons on his torso undone. Remus now relaxed and gave a quick tug to her shirt. "You were saying?"
With a quick movement he had pulled her shirt off through her body. He was holding it, complete and without extra tears, in his hand.
"Venificus primo show off," muttered Tonks before continuing her assault. Wandless magic did have certain advantages.
Later when the lesson was over, Remus spooned the warm body lying next to him in sheer contentment. He was feeling more confident about taking the final step with the woman he so cherished. Not only had he made new discoveries about Nymphadora Tonks, she had demonstrated quite effectively that his old injury would not be a barrier for intimacy.
- - - - - - - -
"He does a good job of communicating without his human voice," observed the gray haired woman with curly locks. She was watching the black, bearlike dog running alongside the Hogwart's Express
"His body language sends a clear message," replied Lupin. Then he grinned and said, "Watch, Auntie Nyms. You're about to see a family resemblance."
Tonks kept her gaze on Snuffles as he picked up speed and then winced when the dog stumbled and slid along the sidewalk scraping his jaw. "Poor little poochie."
Then she turned to Lupin and swatted his shoulder with her fan. "And how dare you call that a family resemblance, Johnnie Boy. I'm as graceful as a swan."
"Out of water, Auntie Nyms," added Lupin with a light smile. "Let's go get the mutt and take him home."
As they walked to where Snuffles was finding his feet again and shaking his head and body, Tonks asked, "Can't we extend his time out of that house of horrors just a little longer? I feel like lunch."
"It's too dangerous," replied Lupin, but then he saw the drooping tail and heard the soft whimper coming from Snuffles as the Hogwart's Express disappeared from sight. It was easy to read the sorrowful cues. "On the other hand, a bit of danger always appealed to the Marauders, but we get Snuffles back to his pen after lunch."
"Come here, boy," called Tonks in her light, elderly tone of voice. Snuffles bounded over to her and she said, "How about a spot of lunch before we go home?"
Snuffles almost knocked her over as his large paws landed on her shoulders and he began to lick her face.
"Ew, doggy breath. Down. Down, boy!"
Snuffles ended his attack and merely stood wagging his tail in delight. He gave a bark and bit at Lupin's cane with his teeth to urge him forward.
"You really should act more like a dog, Sirius," murmured Lupin, but he rubbed the dog's head, who then turned so that his ears wouldn't be missed. Lupin obliged with a quick scratch.
"I see I'm not the only one who thinks you have great hands," teased the gray haired woman in a whisper.
"But you require a completely different approach," replied Lupin as Tonks threaded her arm through his.
Snuffles ambled along in good humor, clearly delighted at any extension of his freedom. Lupin was walking in a steady pace and Tonks was content to enjoy the leisurely stroll. Then Snuffles suddenly barked in front of a shop window and his companions rolled their eyes.
Behind the glass a shelf displayed a variety of mechanical pigs. The toys shuffled forward on their stubby legs, then stopped for a moment as the snouts moved in and out while the pig emitted a snort. Snuffles, or rather Sirius, was clearly enchanted by the Muggle artifacts.
"You really want one of those?" asked Tonks.
The confirming bark was immediate and the tail was wagging furiously.
"Would you try to act more like a dog?" admonished Lupin.
Tonks sighed and put her hand on the door of the shop. "Watch the mutt, Johnnie. Your Auntie Nyms has to buy Snuffles his treat."
Lupin shook his head, pointed to the spot beside him and commanded, "Sit."
Snuffles obediently sat on his haunches to await his reward while his tail slapped the sidewalk. It was easy to gauge his anticipation by this gesture. After a few minutes, Lupin suddenly heard a low growl coming from the black dog. Approaching them was Lucius Malfoy with his characteristic sneer.
"They say you can judge a man by the company he keeps, Lupin," said Malfoy disdainfully as his eyes raked across the duo. "Hanging out with other canines, are you? What a horribly stupid looking mongrel you have there."
Before Lupin could think to respond, Snuffles attached himself with his strong paws around Malfoy's leg and began acting like a typical dog. The rhythmic movements were coupled with the maniacal gleam in the canine's eyes. But it was the lolling tongue of the dog that made the whole scene quite ludicrous.
"No, bad dog, BAD DOG! Down," said Lupin, although he had to bite his lip to keep from laughing. Snuffles was being quite exuberant and the look of utter distaste on Malfoy's face was satisfyingly bizarre.
At that moment Tonks stepped out of the shop and whistled sharply. "Stop that, you shaggy dog! Really, you don't know where that man has been."
Snuffles stopped his antics and ran behind Lupin and Tonks, who gave the toy pig to the Professor for inspection.
Malfoy in the meantime finally regained his composure, but before he could make a move for his wand, Tonks clutched at her throat and made a retching noise.
Her body language was obvious, but she cried out, "Oh, oh no, I'm feeling--"
"Auntie Nyms, are you having fits?" asked Lupin with sincere concern. He bet Tonks was trying to stifle fits of laughter, all right.
"I think I'm going to--" Tonks put a hand to her mouth and literally seemed to turn a bit green.
Malfoy couldn't walk away from them fast enough.
"He's gone," assured Lupin as the affronted wizard walked out of sight. He could now hear giggles coming from behind Tonks' hand. "Nice trick, by the way."
Tonks took a deep breath and proudly said, "I perfected it in third year."
Snuffles barked in approval, then put his paws on Lupin's arms to inspect his new toy. Tonks had selected a sleekly black pig with ridiculously red, feral eyes. Snuffles soon loped ahead with a merry step. Freedom was a wonderful gift.
- - - - - - - - -Number 12 Grimmauld Place
That afternoon found Tonks, Lupin and Sirius laughing about their adventures. Sirius watched the two as they sat across from him on the divan. It was clear from their body language that they were quite comfortable with each other. Tonks seemed at ease within the crook of Lupin's arm. Occasionally she would rub his knee in a light caress. Sirius was pleased at how easily Lupin accepted her attention. His posture was relaxed and his face looked more his age, even with the gray in his hair.
They heard a squawk from Buckbeak and Sirius rose and stretched. "I bet it's an owl. I'll be right back."
Tonks and Lupin were silent for a moment, then he said, "Lucius is going to figure things out about Snuffles."
"You think so?" asked Tonks. "He might assume that the Snuffles belonged to Auntie Nyms."
"I shouldn't have been seen with him," sighed Lupin. "We let the dog out of the house--"
"And the cat out of the bag," sighed Tonks as she rolled her head back. She turned to look at Lupin and asked, "Do you regret letting Sirius have a taste of freedom?"
"No, I could never regret that," said Lupin as he brought his arm around Tonks.
"Regret what?" asked Sirius as he returned with a scroll in his hands.
"That I haven't spent more time here with you," said Lupin sincerely.
"Well, your regret is going to increase. Here. Dumbledore is sending you off again."
Lupin opened the scroll and read the message as Tonks peered over his arm. "I need to help Hagrid."
"But I thought Madame Maxine was with him?" said Tonks.
"She's back at Beauxbutton for the start of term," said Sirius.
Lupin smiled grimly at the pair. He worked full time for the Order and as he read the message between the lines, the situation could be tricky. But he pushed his concerns aside and said, "I expect a homecoming party when I get back."
"Come on, I'll help you pack," offered Tonks. At that time, neither one imagined that two months would pass before they'd see each other again.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
At Number Twelve that night, one could find Sirius Black showing the mechanical pig to a very curious Buckbeak. He sat cross-legged on the floor and watched the hippogriff chasing the mechanical marvel when it moved, then jump back when it snorted.
At her London flat one would find Nymphadora Tonks holding the stuffed bear she had transfigured from one of Lupin's tweed jackets as she was sleeping. The movement of her eyes indicated REM sleep and her smile indicated very pleasant dreams indeed.
And on the night train out of London, Remus Lupin had his cloak pulled up over his face as was his habit. But instead of the sorrowful reflection in the window that one would expect from the lycanthrope, his face was relaxed, his lips held the trace of a smile and his eyes were lost in a wonderful memory.The End
Author Notes: Yes, a piece of fluff, but this takes us to the beginning of the term. The theme of body language intrigued me after a post on David Thewlis online where an article describing DT and his partner's, Anna Friel, body language was posted. They're expecting their first child, by the way.
The conversations during the Prefect party happen after the discussion of Prefects but before Moody shows Harry the picture of the First Order. I also thought Molly would be concerned about Ginny and that Tonks wouldn't hesitate to offer her guidance.
Walking the dog was spurred by an image I couldn't get out of my mind and is my account for how Lucius Malfoy connects Sirius as the black dog. Why mechanical pigs? They're really silly to look at and just quirky enough to grab Sirius' attention.
About Lupin's extended absence. I thought that Hagrid might have had some help getting his half-brother back to Hogwarts. He won't be completely out of touch, but definitely busy.
Lesson 3. Well, if you want to know the details, you can read the next chapter in Seducing a Nymph. I should have that up in a few days. If you are new to this series, hit Queriusole and you'll find the other stories, but this can stand alone.
As always, thanks for reading. Hope you found something in the story to make you smile.