Author's Note 1: Just taking a break from 'Hold on Love' to indulge in a little Harry Potter drable. One-shot, Remus & Tonks, post-OrtP/pre-HBP. Just filling in the blanks. Story titleinspired bythe scene in PoA where Harry tells Lupin that the Marauder's Map was lying. Because even the most accurate maps can neglect certain roads less travelled...
Thank you to my beta. JK Rowling owns Remus & Tonks - I just borrowed them.
The Map Can Lie
"I'll take first shift. You can sleep now."
Her eyes glance up at his face. Whatever she sees there confirms her suspicion.
"You need rest more than I do," she tells him. "I can take the first shift."
"No. Sleep." It's a command, and one that she's not likely to disobey, no matter how unjust she thinks this is.
She shrugs her shoulders. "Fine."
He can tell that it is most certainly not fine. "Tonks…" he says, though he hates calling her by her last name. It feels very impersonal to him. It makes him uncomfortable, and there's already enough in his life that makes him uncomfortable.
"It's fine, Remus." She takes her coat off and walks over to the couch. "Just a few hours, then we switch."
He nods, then sits in the only other seat in the room. They're here because they're waiting for a signal, one they know won't come for a few more hours. It's their break, but the way things are going, with their enemies closing in on them and people from the Order dying, breaks are unnecessary distractions.
Being brave all the time is a tiring business.
He turns away as she settles down on the couch, and just as he predicted, she's out in an instant. She hasn't slept for close to thirty hours, he knows. She told him when they were at their other location. Chatting, just to kill the hours and dull the nerves.
He likes to pretend that he knows her, that they are friends. A lie, but one that allows him to rest easy at night.
He doesn't have very many friends anymore. People grow up, get killed fighting for their principles. What a cruel world to live in.
Or maybe it was him – maybe he was hexed. Well, he knows he's hexed, but maybe his bad luck rubbed off on his friends. Whatever it was, he's pretty much alone in the world, save for his job.
She coughs, shifts on the sofa, then nothing. His eyes, immediately drawn to her at the first sound, stay a moment on her face. He traces its contours, watches her nostrils flare as she breathes in and out. He has noticed she changed her hair from that awful pink to a dark brown, but he has never noticed how long her eyelashes are. Or maybe he has, but discretely chose not to comment on it.
She's tired, he knows she is. He's tired too, but being older and a gentleman (for what that's worth), he figured she should sleep first. She's the one pulling double-shifts after all.
He looks away from her, feeling guilty, first for assuming that they were friends or could be friends, and now looking at her while she sleeps. They're just colleagues, nothing more. They work together because they believe in the same thing. In the real world, outside this Order, he doubts they'd ever talk to each other. For one, she's very pretty. For another, he's very poor. But for now, they're acquaintances.
He wonders. If they weren't so busy and had free time, would they spend that time together? Would he ask her out to dinner, or just for coffee? If they weren't being chased, and doing the chasing, would they seek out each other's company.
He doesn't want to know the answers to those questions. He doesn't want to dwell on the future, especially when the here and now is quite nice. Even if they only spend time together when working, it's still time with her. He likes her jokes, he likes how she trips over everything. He likes how she fights him sometimes. He likes her. He's just not quite sure she likes him. She tolerates him. But he's too old and too different, and all of a sudden he feels very tired. He doesn't want to think about her anymore, but that's a bit difficult when she's twenty feet away.
He knows, though, that if he loses her too, he doesn't know what he'll do.
He's beautiful when he's asleep. The burdens he carries with him seem to fade away. He looks much younger when he's asleep, much more peaceful. She sees this and wishes he could too.
She wants nothing more than to brush back the hair that's fallen on his forehead. She wonders if it's soft, if his skin is soft. She doesn't think it is – he's been through too much to have soft skin.
Doesn't mean he can't have soft hair, though.
She stares at him. She woke up a few minutes before, not surprised that he had nodded off. She doesn't think he's been asleep that long, but she's loath to wake him. She knows the minute he does that the worry lines will return to his forehead, the weight of the world pressing down on this few inches of skin. She knows whatever peace he finds when he's asleep will disappear the moment his eyes open.
She likes finding him this way. She likes seeing him when he's not sad. She likes the sadness too – she likes most things about him, except the fact he pushes everyone away – because the sadness is part of who he is. Doesn't mean she can't like this moment too.
Even across the room, she can smell him. He smells like rain and grass and something that's completely Remus. She likes that smell. She likes when she stands next to him and the smell's even stronger and it makes her heart beat faster and she gets dizzy. She likes getting dizzy around him.
She focuses on his lips. He has a horrible habit of biting them when he's nervous, so they're chapped. She wonders for a moment if kissing him would make her dizzy, too.
She licks her own lips, and then glances back to his eyes. She better feign sleep, at least for a while. He's bound to wake up soon, and if he finds her awake before him, he'll be embarrassed that he nodded off on the job and she caught him. If he awakes and thinks she's still sleeping, then he will merely chastise himself privately. The punishment will be smaller, compared to what it would be if she were awake.
She knows him too well, the same way he knows her, but both are too frightened to admit it.
She knows why she's frightened to admit it – because he'll just push her away. She thinks that he's frightened to admit it because he thinks she'll spurn him. And because he pushes everyone way.
She would too, if she were him. Not only is he cursed and scorned by the community, but he's lost a great many of his friends. He's afraid of losing more people dear to him, and having them endure the same treatment he gets. It's not fair, she thinks, but there's nothing one can do about it…at least, not until they vanquish the darkness. Then, she's going to recommend some serious changes…
Serious. Sirius. He used to talk about his friend, the man across the room, often. Mostly how he was a loyal friend, and he was the smartest of the group, and how he always managed to get him and James out of scrapes. She's seen that loyalty with her own eyes. He's proven his worth again and again, along with his commitment to the Order. He's going to be going underground soon, to be with what he calls his "kind", though she doesn't think about it that way. He'll do anything for the Order.
But he won't allow her to get within arm's reach.
She hears the chair move. He's woken up. She'll give him another minute or so, to make it look that he didn't wake her, before she opens her eyes.
She doesn't think he knows that she likes his company. It seems easier for him to think that she tolerates him because they're paired together than to think she genuinely likes him. It would probably send him into cardiac arrest if he thought a person besides Harry would willingly spend time with him. That's part of what makes him so attractive to her – the fact he's not full of himself, that he's in need of love as much as anyone else.
Maybe one day, she'll get the courage to see if he wants to do something, if they ever get a moment of free time again. She doesn't know when that will be, but she hopes it's soon. Maybe she can work something out before he leaves. She's got a few hours to ponder this, try to squirm her way into his life between his guarded walls.
She opens her eyes.
Author's Note 2: When I started to write this story, I was listening to Bjork's "All is Full of Love". The lyrics were perfect, but because I despise song-fics, I've included them at the end so that you can see what I mean.
You'll be given love
You'll be taken care of
You'll be given love
You have to trust it
Maybe not from the sources
You have poured yours
Maybe not from the directions
You are staring at
Twist your head around
It's all around you
All is full of love
All around you
All is full of love
You just aint receiving
All is full of love
Your phone is off the hook
All is full of love
Your doors are all shut
All is full of love!
All is full of love, all is full of love
All is full of love, all is full of love ...