Beautiful

Remus Lupin was a very ordinary man; he wore nondescript clothes, had almost boring little habits, and walked and talked almost like every middle-aged man in Britain. His light brown hair was greying, and the wrinkles around his deep amber eyes were deepening; there was no doubt he was aging quickly. He was tall, and had a rather big nose; his voice, if you concentrated deeply on it, had a very literary Welsh lilt buried under the soft Londoner accent. His magic was nothing flashy; he prefered clean, simple spells which easily got to the point.

Remus was a reserved, quiet man. He enjoyed classic books and classical music, and woke every morning at sunrise, to sleep every night far past midnight. His mild-mannered disposition made him extremely susceptible to silent tolerance, and in order for others to think well of him, he was sure to be nice to everyone else.

The one thing that was refreshingly different about him was the fact he had lycanthropy.

It was because of this that Remus often distanced himself from other people. It was his theory that if he didn't become close with others, they wouldn't be hurt. It is easy to see why this rather failed logic made sense to him; many of the friends he had let into his heart had been hurt, or had hurt him.

Still, at first sight, Remus Lupin was a very ordinary man. It puzzled her, then, why she had fallen, hard, for this man fourteen years her senior.

Nymphadora Tonks was bright, loud, and especially clumsy. Everything about her screamed vivid colours; her hair was usually a luminescent neon shade, and the same went for her clothes. She was the opposite of modern normality; she liked to be called by her last name, she was one of the few women in the entire league of Aurors, and she loved dancing in the sun and rain, albeit rather clumsily.

Tonks loved spells with plenty of flash and colour - above all, she thought appearance made a better impression than efficiency. Tonks was, really, a kind and giving sensible adult, but her countenance made other people think differently. This was something that frustrated her to no ends; just because she was clumsy and tripped over her own feet didn't mean she was a child, dammit!

Something that made Tonks stand out of the crowd even more than she already did was the fact she was a Metamorphmagus. Being one of the very few Metamorphmagi in the world, least of all Britain, Tonks was a highly valued asset in Auror ranks. However, Tonks wasn't at all vain or proud in any way - she was surprisingly down to earth, although her temper could flare up in seconds, and she could handle tough situations very well under pressure.

Tonks always remembered how she had first met Remus Lupin. The first fateful day she had stepped through the door of Twelve Grimmauld Place, Tonks had tripped over a certain ogre foot umbrella stand - and fallen straight into the man's arms.

The two had many encounters after that, and in fact, became fast friends. Still, though their friendship was unexpectedly close, Tonks often wished for just that much more with the mild, kind man who was currently only her friend. She was frustrated at how he remained oblivious to her blatant attempts at flirtation.

Unbeknownst to Tonks, though, Remus often felt the same way about all the spunk and excitement of Tonks. It was difficult for him to keep a hold on himself around her; his primal instinct was to grab on to her and - well, the next part he preferred to keep to himself. It took all of his self-control to handle the wolf inside him around her.

Sometimes, around full moons, Remus liked to (as inconspicuously as he could) avoid Tonks entirely, fearing that the wolf would certainly gain control during Remus' most vulnerable times.

It came as a surprise, then, when Remus crept down the stairs and into the kitchen the night before the next full moon and saw Tonks sitting at the kitchen table with two mugs, as if waiting for somebody. She smiled at Remus, and he noticed she was wearing a particularly bland, straight, blonde hair colour, and dull-coloured, light blue eyes. Still, her colourful personality radiated from her, whatever form she had taken.

Remus sat across from her, fighting savagely to keep his inner wolf controlled. "You're up late," his said, the calm tone of his voice disguising his true feelings.

Tonks shrugged. "I thought I was supposed to be on guard duty tonight, and I realised it was Emmeline's turn just after I had drunk something like four cups of coffee." With a slight note of mischieviousness in her voice, she added, "Of course, I might as well stay up the rest of the night, because Emmeline's paired with Kingsley, and we never know what that pair'll be up to in an hour or so."

Remus chuckled. She really is good for my soul, he thought, and couldn't help but smile as he thought of one rather funny incident involving Tonks, two crates of butterbeer, and the evil umbrella stand.

Tonks raised an eyebrow at his amusement. Pushing over to him one of the mugs (which, he could see now, were filled to the top with steaming hot chocolate), Tonks asked nonchalantly, "Say, Remus, when was the last time you went out with a woman?"

Remus blinked, stunned. "In my twenties, I believe. Why?" he inquired, more out of puzzlement than of curiosity.

Tonks shrugged again as she sipped at her hot beverage. "You just seem to be someone a lot of women would fall head over heels for, I guess." Tonks' voice was devoid of expression, and she was avoiding his eyes very carefully.

Remus laughed, taking her statement as a joke. "Generally, Nymphadora, people don't take kindly to the fact I turn into a monster once a month."

Tonks looked back up at him, her eyes filled with - was it tears? Or just a bright reflection from the lighted lamp illuminating the room?

"What's your idea of beautiful, Remus?" Tonks asked, a note of petulant curiosity in her voice. Remus shrugged.

"The moon is beautiful sometimes," he answered softly.

Suddenly, she changed form, to that of a tall, pale woman. Long, white-blonde hair framed her angular, high-cheekboned face, and her large sky-blue eyes gazed at him, the question am I beautiful? in her wide eyes. Remus frowned. Certainly, he would have thought her beautiful in this form at first sight, but her face was too cold, her eyes too icily blue to be the Tonks he knew. Too much like the moon, beautiful but distant, lovely but harmful.

"You remind me of your Aunt Narcissa," Remus told Tonks, answering the question just waiting to be asked. She wrinkled her nose in distaste, and morphed again. This time, her hair was a curly bob of strawberry blonde, and her eyes were of a sparkling deep green. Her curved face was framed with streaks of darker blonde.

He studied her carefully, memorising every rounded stroke of her face, then shook his head. Wordlessly, she tried several other, just as attractive faces, but he simply shook his head on each one.

She finally gave up, throwing her hands in the air as she changed into her usual form, donning short, spiky pink hair and dark eyes. "What do you think is beautiful, then!" Tonks screeched. Remus winced as she stood up, storming over to the kitchen counter and slamming down her empty mug so hard Remus feared it might break.

Remus closed his eyes. Tell her now, his brain buzzed. Before it's too late...

Opening his eyes, Remus took a deep breath, then stood. Tonks was leaning against the kitchen counter, her back towards him. He shook his head, clearing it of any clouding doubt, then strode the few paces it took to bring him closer to her.

"Tonks," Remus said quietly. She merely stood, poised in a rigid position, ignoring the man behind him.

"Tonks," he repeated, and circled the counter to stand face-to-face to the young woman before him. Her dark eyes, glinting in the dim light, darted away from him, defiant. Remus raised a hand, and she flinched. Instead, Remus wiped a tear quavering from her eye, and broke all the barriers he had put up - all the barriers she had respected.

Tonks flung her arms around his shoulders, crying hysterically. Remus, stunned, awkwardly patted her back. As she finally pulled away from him, she said regretfully, "You must think me awfully childish now, Remus."

Remus Lupin shook his head. "Anything but, Nymphadora," he muttered under his breath. Tonks didn't seem to notice.

She grinned, her eyes still brimming with tears, then asked, "What d'you think is beautiful, then, Remus?"

Remus smiled nervously. "I think you're beautiful," he said, then, encouraged by her surprised look, "I think you're beautiful because your personality is so colourful, and wherever you are, you light up the room."

Pausing, he watched her shocked face, closed his eyes, and added quickly, "I daresay it's improper because of my age, and my lycanthropy, but I've fallen for your beauty, Nymphadora. I've fallen in love with you."

He stopped, and looked at her. She was still gazing up at him with that strange, misunderstanding look. Remus' heart fell, crashing down to somewhere in the nether regions of his stomach, and he pulled away. "Of course, if you don't feel - it was stupid of me to think - never mind," he said, and started towards the staircase, feeling absolutely miserable.

Behind him, Tonks stood in stunned silence, watching the man she'd fallen for as well. You idiot, she though furiously, why didn't you say something when you could've, Nymphadora Tonks you are insane...

Finally breaking out of her frozen reverie, Tonks blurted, "You're not old, Remus," then hastily added, "and I don't give a damn about your lycanthropy."

Stepping closer to him, she said earnestly, "I really do like you, Remus."

Remus Lupin found himself grinning, his heart soaring back in the clouds again, and impulsively took Tonks to him in a gentle hug, completely ignoring the wolf's nasty cries. Feeling her warmth against his threadbare jumper, he nestled his chin in her lurid pink hair and smelled her, his heightened senses taking in her soft scent. It branded in his memory, and Remus Lupin remembered the fragrance of deep, sweetly-smelling vanilla and bright, strong, flowery greenery for as long as he lived.


A/N: Completely pointless piece of fluff, and the title was chokingly sweet. Just a random thing I wrote. Yeah, it got pretty long.

About It All Comes From Being A Chronic Chocoholic - that'll be up soon, I promise. I had a bit of a block on it, but this cleared my way

Review please!