Title: Though the years
Warnings: Contains language and some sexual situations and innuendo
Summary: She had known him since she was a small child... and dreamed of the day she might be able to marry him... But, would Remus Lupin ever grow to see Nymphadora Tonks as more than the little five year old that would follow him and Sirius around?
"She's a jot annoying but we have to put up with her, yeah," Sirius was saying. "She bloody worships the magical ground I walk on." He jumped on top of a fallen tree and jumped off on the other side. "Auntie thinks she'll help me learn to be more responsible."
"I do not worship you!" she huffed, trying to get her small legs to keep up with the two teenage boys walking ahead of her. "I could be playing with my other friends... I can... I can... be... be... going on my own adventures. I don't need you two to bring me with ya, I can have adventures too."
"Then why are you still following us?" His friend called over his shoulder, laughing. The boy turned around and walked backwards. "Since you can have your own adventures, go have them."
She stopped and sniffled slightly. Sirius' friend, Remus, stopped and grabbed hold of Sirius' cloak. She was confused as to why they wouldn't want to play with her, all her friends thought she was fun to play with. Why didn't they?
Remus knelt down to her level and roughed up her hair. "It's not that we don't like playing with you Nymphy. You're just too little to play the game we like. But if you think you're big enough to play with us, that's fine but don't cry when you get hurt." He took her hand and stood up. "Come along."
"Softy," Sirius scoffed. "Next thing you know you'll be carrying her on your shoulders."
"No, I won't Sirius," Remus huffed. However, within ten minutes, he had the five year old on his shoulders. While Sirius teased Remus for being a 'softy', Remus simply shrugged and said, "I like kids mate. I may never be able to have any of my own so, I like catering to them any chance I get."
"You don't have any little sisters?" Nymphadora asked. Remus shook his head. "Why not?"
Remus was quiet for a long moment. "Mum and Dad had their hands full with me," he said quietly.
"Because he's a werewolf Nymphadora," Sirius snorted.
"Because I got bit by one when I was a little younger than you," Remus replied.
"Shut up Nymphadora or we'll feed ya to the pixies," Sirius threatened.
"What's it mean about being a werewolf Remy?" Nymphadora asked innocently, ignoring Sirius. The five year old had heard about werewolves from her mother but didn't really understand what they were and why her mum had told her to be careful about them.
"Well," Remus laughed slightly. "It means that every full moon I turn into a big bad wolf and eat bunnies."
Nymphadora gasped. "Why do you eat bunnies?" she asked, playing with a spot on Remus' hair that was several shades lighter than the rest of his hair. "Why don't you eat badgers? They're mean and need to be eatten."
Both of the teenagers laughed but didn't answer.
"Mum says most werewolves are dangerous. Does that mean you're dangerous Remy?" Nymphadora asked after a long while.
"Only on the full moon. But your mum knows me good, and she knows Sirius wouldn't be around me if I was overly dangerous. So, that's why she says most of them are dangerous I suppose," Remus chuckled.
"So you're a good werewolf?"
Remus nodded slightly and did his best to look up at her. "Yeah, I'm a good werewolf, Nymphy so you don't have to be scared of me."
"That mean you can keep the monsters away?" she asked. He nodded slightly and she gave him a quick kiss on the forehead.
Sirius erupted with laughter. "I think my little cousin fancies you, Remus," he joked. "When's the wedding?"
"Oh, stuff it," Remus scoffed. "She's just a kid."
"Remy... Sirius..." the small voice whined. "Wake up... peas wake up..."
Both of the boys groaned and told the little girl to go back to her room before rolling over and trying to go back to sleep. She scurried over and shook Remus' arm.
"But - but, there's monsters in my room. I need to sleep in here."
Sirius was the first to offer to share his bed, but was grumbling under his breath about "stupid kids." Nymphadora simply pursed her lips.
"No," she huffed. "The monsters won't be scared of you. You're not a werewolf."
Sirius pulled his covers back up to his chin and settled back in his bed. "Fine then sleep with Remus," he snarled. "Bloody... Merlin... fucking... gods blessed!"
Remus opened one sleepy eye and barely pulled his covers back. Nymphadora smiled brightly and scurried into his bed. She snuggled up next to him. "Just remember, if the monsters come in here, make sure you tell them you eat bunnies..."
Remus yawned loudly. "A'right... bunnies... I... eat bunnies..."
Sirius spat a couple of curses before snoring came from his bed again.
Nymphadora tugged on the ends of Remus' hair slightly. He opened one eye and looked at her. "Can I marry you one day?"
"Because," Remus yawned. "I'm a grown up and you're little."
Nymphadora yawned in succession of Remus. "What about when I'm grown up too?"
"I can't marry anyone," Remus murmured. Nymphadora opened her mouth to speak again but Remus plopped his hand over her mouth. "Go to sleep Nymphy."
"G'night Remy," she whispered after his hand dropped off her mouth.
The next day, Sirius' other friend, James, arrived. Nymphadora had never felt more ignored in her life. Sure, she didn't have a new invisibility cloak and her family couldn't afford a brand new racing broom, but that was no reason for them to completely ignore the fact she was hovering in their peripheral vision, silently pleading for attention. She was most let down by the fact Remus would seem to see her but focused his attention on James instead.
"Let's go into the forest and test it out," James cackled.
Then, for the first time since James' arrival, Remus and Sirius acknowledged her by simply looking over at her. Sirius swore under his breath and growled slightly. "We can't. That little pisser has to come along too if we do. Auntie wants her to tell on us if we do something we're not supposed to."
"Nah-uh," Nymphadora huffed. "She just wants you guys to play with me."
"And to make sure we don't go swimming in the lake in the woods," Sirius scoffed.
James snatched both Sirius and Remus into a private conversation. Every now and then Sirius would look at her and grin almost evilly while Remus, however, had a disapproving look on his face.
"We'll just say she couldn't keep up," James snickered.
"She's a child James," Remus interjected. "Do you even realize how badly-"
"Shut up Remus. She'll be fine. She knows the forest almost as good as we do," Sirius insisted. "Come on."
The three boys turned and filed out the door, Nymphadora bounced along behind them. She took big leaps in order to keep up with the three as they rushed through the woods. A couple of times she stumbled slightly and called for them to wait up while she picked herself up again.
"Boys! Sirius! James! Remy! I fell down, wait for me!" she called, but she could already see the end of their robes disappearing from her forward sight. She brushed herself off and looked around. The trees towered over her head menacingly and they had turned and darted so many different directions that she didn't know how to get back to the house without them. And without Remus, how would she be protected from any monsters that would try to come after her?
"Remus?" she said faintly. "Remy... I'm lost..." She took several sharp breaths, she was lost and she knew it. She didn't know where her cousin had led his friends off to and she didn't know how to get back home. Her breathing became somewhat more laboured as she whirled around at every sound that echoed around her. "Remy!" Maybe if she called loud enough he'd hear her and come to help. "REMUS!"
She gasped and ducked under a bush as birds scattered over head. She whimpered and curled up into a ball under the bush. "REMY! I'M LOST!" Her breathing was becoming faster paced with each passing moment. Why wasn't he coming? Tears were now steaming down her face.
She jumped when she heard a loud crack, which set her breathing off into a hyperventilation. "Remy," she whimpered softly. "Remmyyy..." Now, her small body was starting to shake, in addition to the short sharp breaths she was barely managing. She softly repeated Remus' name continuously. Even when her vision started blurring she didn't stop.
A sudden grasp on her arm snapped her back to reality. She took in a deep gasp of air, but was still profusely shaking. Her vision cleared for only a moment and she could see Remus looming over her, his lips were moving as if he were desparately trying to shout something at her. Her vision blurred again.
She became vaguely aware of someone lifting her off the ground and it felt like someone was patting her face. She snapped out of it again for a moment when she felt a sharp pinch on her wrist.
"Ow!" she shrieked. Suddenly, the soft pats she thought she had been feeling on her cheeks were feeling more as if they had been firm slaps. Her cheek even stung as if she had been slapped several times. Her eyes darted about wildly.
Then she realized Remus was the one carrying her and he was running. The two of them emerged from the forest and Remus tripped. Nymphadora felt the unmistakable jarring of his knees hitting the ground, not to mention she tumbled out of his arms. He grabbed her arm and turned her toward him roughly.
His face was pale and his eyes were panicked. It was the same look her mother would get when she would trip and gash her leg open on a rock or the window she had crashed through. "Nymphadora, can you hear me?" he shouted, giving her a shake. "Nymphy."
She shakily nodded her head and hugged herself. "I... g-g-g-got sc-sc-sc-scared..."
Remus swore and glared over his shoulder. He stood up. "Harmless prank, aye?" he shouted at the two boys that were just now emerging from the woods. "One would think you two, of all people, would realize what 'harmless pranks' can do! Or will it take your own little cousin nearly dying from a panick attack for you to realize that this time, Sirius!" He simply looked at James and huffed heavily. "You two had just better be glad that at least one of has a bloody conscious!"
He turned his back to them and dropped down on one knee in front of Nymphadora. "You feeling better now Nymphette?" He carefully took her face in his hands and gazed down at her worriedly. She managed a nod. He removed some chocolate from his pocket and offered it to her. "Eat this then Nymphy and lets go inside."
Nymphadora gave him a weak smile and nibbled on the chocolate. After Remus stood up, holding her hand in his, she looked at Sirius and James. Both of them looked as if Remus had told them they had no broom privilages for a month, but followed behind quietly. Nymphadora, however, felt better with each nibble of chocolate she took. Though she was still a little shakey, she couldn't help but smile up at Remus with nothing less than adoration.