Summary: Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks have an interesting encounter in the library, while discussing muggle mythology
Nymphadora Tonks was feeling downright restless. She was 'on call' today, something she disliked not for the potential of something to do, but for the lack of it. She simply HATED inactivity. Having finished a particularly interesting book on 'Famous Witches Throughout the Middle Ages,' in which she'd read all about a delightfully naughty witch named Helouise who had hexed her husband into the Spanish Inquisition for having beat up on her in a drunken rage, Tonks decided that Sirius's book collection couldn't be all that bad. She made her way to the library.
Along the way, she managed to knock down a stack of tennis balls that she was convinced had been left as a trap for her by the Weasley twins, and she narrowly avoided a similar crude heap of Vidalia onions in the kitchen. Vowing revenge, she stepped backwards and tipped over a stack of photo albums on the table. Cursing slightly, Tonks set herself to the task of stacking them back up before Molly Weasley, the incorrigible twins' mother, could give her another gentle lecture on observation skills. The woman meant well, she was sure, but Tonks knew that her clumsiness wasn't to be cured by simply looking around owlishly before she took each step.
One of the albums had fallen open, and she found herself face-to-face with a younger Remus Lupin, grinning broadly as he held a struggling Snitch in his hand. He was clearly about to release the golden winged ball to be captured by another grinning young man, James Potter. The broad smile on the man in front of her brought Tonks' recent daydreams into sharp focus. Having been paired up with the more serious, older version of Lupin quite a lot lately for missions for the Order, she'd gotten to know and like him very much. 'Understatement!' screeched her Inner Voice shrilly, and, flushing slightly, Nymphadora Tonks conceded the point. She had, she thought ruefully, a serious crush on the man.
Shutting the photo album with a snap over the enthusiastic faces of Lupin and Potter, she set about the task of placing them all back, one on top of another, until they appeared in much the same arrangement she'd seen them in when she'd first entered the kitchen. 'Right,' she said to herself in satisfaction, 'on to the library.' She wheeled about, heading off in the direction of the doorway leading to the right staircase, when she tripped on something slightly round.
"Argh!" she wailed, as she surveyed the half-dozen onions careening in different directions on the newly polished tile floor. "Weasleys!" She said the name as though it was a curse (and she meant it as one) and, with a flick of her wand, she sent them all back into their crate, shaking her head with a sigh.
Tonks' mind descended into reverie as she found her way to the library and slipped in, choosing not to bother with lights just now. "Lumos," she said quietly, and held her lighted wand tip up, looking around for the section that suddenly struck her fancy. Right now, she felt like reading ancient stories about unrequited love and fate. A purr of pleasure fled from her lips as she found the book she was looking for—Persephone and Other Mythological Figures. She glanced around quickly and furtively, completely missing the silhouette of a tall man in the darkest corner of the room.
Remus Lupin was surprised to see anyone up at this late hour—he was usually the sole occupant of the library in the wee hours of the morning. That it was Tonks was doubly surprising to him, not that he wouldn't expect to see her in a library, but that she wasn't exhausted from all the errands she'd been doing for the Order. With her changeable appearance, Nymphadora Tonks had become indispensable as a messenger. Of course, Tonks' sleeping habits were only partly why she was making the library's other tenant so nervous. Lately ('Longer than just lately,' Remus' own Inner Voice told him dryly), he'd come to notice his gaze lingering on her longer than was proper ('Not just your gaze, old Wolf,' the Voice felt compelled to point out). Ok, his thoughts too, he admitted it. Somehow, some way, the charismatic young woman had managed to insinuate herself into his daily routine, in dreams, thoughts, and her presence. It was her presence, though, that was the most disquieting at this moment, however. And not just because of how he felt about her.
Lupin winced slightly as she plopped herself down on the chair he'd vacated not a moment before on hearing her enter the room. It wouldn't be such a problem, except…he'd left his glasses there, and that, coupled with the warmth of the chair, wasn't likely to pass the notice of an Auror like Tonks. Remus wondered which would be more upsetting to her—realizing there was someone in the room by her powers of observation, or having him seem to appear out of nowhere and speak to her? He saw her pick up his glasses and stare at them in puzzlement for a moment, and realized she was about to choose for him, if he didn't move quickly. As he stepped forward to make his presence known, he thought he saw her sniffing? his glasses, a bemused smile on her face.
"Good evening, Tonks," he said, "or should I say, 'good morning?'" So much for her 'powers of observation,' he thought to himself wryly, as, upon hearing his voice, the violet-haired witch sprang to her feet with a gasp, glasses and book going flying in separate directions. He grimaced as he heard the unmistakable sounds of broken glass.
"Merlin's beard!" she exclaimed, her voice a mixture of alarm and dismay. "I suppose those were your glasses I just broke." She sighed in a resigned tone, giving (the correct) impression that this wasn't the first time such a thing had happened.
"It's not a problem," he said gently, trying to put her more at ease. "Here, I'll get the book-"
"And I'll get your glasses," she said with good humor. "Reparo!" The pieces flew together nicely. "At least I'm really good at spells like that," she said with a slight smile.
"I'll trade you your book for the glasses," Lupin held his wand-tip closer to the cover, the better to read the title—but he had only managed to read the word 'Mythological' before she'd snatched it out of his hand, replacing it with his repaired glasses.
"You act like I'm Hades himself," laughed Lupin, a teasing grin on his face. "I'm offering you a book, not food!" His smile faded when he saw the shocked look on her face. He was about to try to explain away his comment when she suddenly giggled like a schoolgirl. He raised an eyebrow, trying hard not to show in his look how pleasing her laugh was to him. Remus suddenly realized that he was indeed looming over her like some kind of dark, malevolent figure. He sat down quickly.
"Oh," she gasped, holding a hand to her throat. "I'm sorry, I truly am! It's just…" she coloured slightly. "When I was younger, I used to play like I was Persephone and I was being dragged off in a chariot to the gates of Hell, terrified, only to end up eating something and being stuck there for all eternity…" Tonks had shut her eyes halfway through her story, partly to throw herself into the drama of it, and partly to close off the view of Remus' facial expression. She ended on 'eternity' with a melodramatic sigh and plopped herself onto the couch next to him. "It was all very romantic, you know. Sort of like an arranged marriage with a dark stranger…" Tonks trailed off, slightly embarrassed with how far she'd let herself describe such an innermost secret to him. Eyes still closed, she turned her face towards Lupin and said, matter-of-factly, "Well, there it is!"
"So, you're saying that you wouldn't eat anything I offered to you, no matter how delectable it seems at the time?" he asked her, in an almost… 'naughty tone of voice?' she asked herself suddenly. Her eyes popped open to stare at him incredulously, but his features bore no clue to the inflection his words had carried to her. He looked completely innocent.
"Speaking of which," Remus said, reaching for his briefcase next to the couch, "care for some chocolate?" he asked diffidently, breaking off a piece of the hefty bar he'd produced from somewhere in the case. To his surprise, this sent her off into new gales of laughter, almost enough to make him glance towards the corridor where the portrait of Sirius's mother lay lurking behind a curtain, ready to scream obscenities at whoever woke her. He turned back to the woman seated next to him, shaking with continued fits of laughter, her deep purple locks seeming to shimmer slightly with the vehemence of her giggles. Ruthlessly suppressing an answering laugh, Lupin composed his face into a mask of deep offence, and raised an eyebrow at her.
"Merlin's beard!" she quavered, still shaking slightly. "I'm sorry, Remus," she said, evidently unaware that this was the first time she'd ever spoken his first name. "But—chocolate?"
"I like chocolate!" he said, lamely.
"It's so-" she broke off, clearly searching for the correct word to describe the situation. "-anticlimactic!" His other eyebrow shot up in response. "Well," she started, defensively, "with all that setup, I expected you to produce something a bit more exotic!" Again she blushed, and knowing her as he did, he knew she was mentally berating herself for speaking without thinking again. It was something he loved about her ('loved!' he asked himself, a little shocked at his own turn of phrase), the sheer frankness of her discourse.
"I'll have you know," he said, standing and crossing the room as he spoke, "that chocolate was considered a great delicacy." He leaned casually against the bookcase, and continued. "It was even considered an aphrodisiac."
"So why offer any to me?" she said blankly, the tiniest hint of a challenge in the glint of her eyes.
"I…well…" he stammered, clearly not having connected his mini-history lesson with his offer. Tonks stood up, taking the chance to press her advantage. She moved towards him, slowly, making a hand gesture to encourage his explanations. As she advanced, he stopped stuttering and tried to take a step back, realizing with chagrin that she had very neatly trapped him with his back to the bookcase. Knowing him as she did, she could see him marshalling his defenses, about to don the mantle of the seasoned professor to try to weasel his way out of the trap he'd set for himself. Well, she would have none of it.
"Why would you think I'd need an aphrodisiac?" she said, pitching her voice lower, more intimate. She saw him swallow, convulsively.
She stepped forward once more, so close that she could feel the heat of him through her clothes. His hand twitched, almost imperceptibly, towards his wand. Tonks smiled seductively at him and, before she could let herself think twice about it, reached around and grasped his wand, pulling it slowly from his back pocket, emphasizing their bodily contact as she did so.
"Looking for this?" she said, almost gently. Lupin shifted his weight from one leg to the other, but that just brought them closer. Now she could feel the short, quick breaths he was taking, and she wondered if he could hear her heart pounding—it was so loud in her own head.
"Why would you need your wand, Professor Lupin," she asked, innocently—but with a look that was anything but—and Lupin started to protest, "Tonks!" The lady in question lifted one hand, and boldly placed a finger over his lips, making a shushing sound. "Am I scary, or something?" Lupin raised his own hand, and gently moved hers, so he could speak. He held it against his shoulder, and she was certain he had completely missed the fact that he hadn't let go, yet.
"I-" he paused, and an almost hunted look passed briefly over his eyes. "Yes." The truth stopped her in her tracks where evasion had not. Tonks tried to ignore the blush that started to creep forward from her collar and tried not to look shocked. If it hadn't been for her dratted sense of mischief, she'd never have let herself get into this situation. Lupin intimidated her, not the other way around!
"Hang on a minute," she said, unconsciously gesturing with his wand in his direction as she spoke. "I intimidate you?"
"Even more so, when you're waving my wand at me," he said dryly.
"Good lord," she said in apology, stepping back and handing it to him. "I suppose it's a good thing for both of us that I didn't blurt out an Unforgivable."
"Indeed," Lupin said, taking his wand back from her and, in one smooth motion he had switched places with her. Tonks found herself trapped against the bookcase, Lupin's long arms resting on shelves on either side, completely blocking her in. She just stared at him, flabbergasted.
"So, you're saying that I intimidate you, then?" he said, devastatingly calmly. Struck dumb, she simply nodded. "Good to know," he said cheerfully. Pocketing his wand, he turned and started for the door, finally turning to speak to her as he reached it. "Hope you enjoyed the chocolate, Persephone."
Tonks was still staring at the empty doorway, long after he'd gone.