Disclaimer: This is the House that JKR Built. I am merely squatting. ;)
A/N: Despite the fact I'm supposed to be working on my epic novel length Remus fic "Imperius" at the moment, I've been viciously assaulted by a rabid plot bunny of Monty Pythonesque proportions. Or given the time of year (and Wallace and Gromit obviously) it could have been a were-plot-bunny I guess. ;) The attack was cruel and unprovoked and prompted me to write a two page RL/NT one shot on the spot. Since I had a headache when I wrote it, it's probably a pile of pants but it's written now so -shrugs- I may as well post it. That git of a bunny...;)
This came out of reading a review for my long fic "Imperius" that praised Remus and Tonks' bantering. And it got me thinking - does banter need to be verbal if you know someone well enough? And then this happened. Enjoy. :)
Without Words By Jess Pallas
The door creaked. Two golden eyes snapped open.
Nymphadora Tonks shrugged slightly as she edged her way into the small room; adjusting her grip on the flower patterned duvet she was grasping, she closed the door awkwardly behind her and moved inside, her fluffy slippered feet stumbling only twice before guiding her, unsteadily but safely, to the soft, round rug beside the fire upon which the room's only occupant rested. Ignoring the reproachful glare that was being directed wearily towards her, she dropped to floor and leaned gently down against the wiry fur of the lean grey werewolf curled beneath a yellow Molly-Weasley blanket. She pulled her duvet over both of them and grinned.
An ear cocked. An eyebrow slowly rose.
"Yeah, yeah, I know. I shouldn't be down here. It's too dangerous, you don't like being seen like this, living with a werewolf isn't a game and on and on ad infinitum." Tonks shuffled on her elbows as she snatched a cushion from a nearby chair and flung it down beside her lupine companion, settling her for once soberly coloured brown locks down against its soft surface. "But I couldn't settle without you beside me, especially knowing why you weren't beside me so I thought I'd come down and keep you company. I was worried you were bored."
The wolf's head tilted pointedly. Tonks pursed her lips with a wry smile. "All right, fine," she conceded with an airy wave of the hand. "I was the one that was bored. But like I said – I just can't sleep when you aren't there anymore. I've got too used to having you around."
Golden eyes narrowed. One paw tapped with slight impatience against the rug.
Tonks folded her arms over her chest as she turned his head in his direction. "You can glower as much as you want. I'm going nowhere. So you might as well get used to it. What's got you so grumpy anyway?"
Slowly, deliberately, the wolf settled down against his front paws. He stretched his jaws in an exaggerated yawn.
Tonks arched an eyebrow in mock offence. "Oh, I woke you did I?" She slapped her fingers lightly against the furry muzzle. "There I am, tossing and turning without you and do you even have the courtesy to pine just a little in return? No! Out like a light!" She humphed loudly, poking one finger against the tip of his nose. "I expect a better quality of pining from you in future, matey. This relationship is in danger of becoming one-sided."
The wolf's shoulders tensed instantly. His golden eyes were wide.
Tonks pushed herself sharply onto one elbow, her dark eyes filled with sudden concern. "I was joking, Remus!" she exclaimed quickly. "I didn't… I wasn't…" She sighed deeply. "That wasn't a jab, okay? I know you love me as much as I love you. Impossible as that seems." She smiled gently as she wove her fingers into the grey fur at the scruff of his neck, working her fingers in soft circles against his skin. The wolf relaxed palpably at her soothing touch.
Tonks settled carefully back down onto her cushion, although her fingers continued their relaxing stroke against the wolf's neck. "You really are far too sensitive," she remarked with deliberate casualness as golden eyes gazed down at her. "I wish you'd get into that thick skull of yours that I'm not going to hold what happened that year against you. You were doing what you thought was best and I was spending way too much time around Dementors to be able to get passed it as I should have. But it is passed now and in the past. And that's where it's staying. We're together and we both know nothing's going to change that." Her sudden grin was wicked. "As I've told you and told you. About a million times."
The wolf's eyes rolled as they gleamed with rueful mirth. Two ears quirked.
Tonks laughed softly as she ruffled the fur between his ears playfully. "That's better," she said with a smile. "And I don't care what phase of the moon it is or what shape you happen to be in – I sleep better next to Remus Lupin and so sleep next to him I shall."
It was the slightest thing – a subtle twitch of an eyebrow, the slightest tilt of the head. But it was enough.
Tonks' eyes narrowed dangerously. "What?"
The wolf's expression was far, far too casual to be innocent. He settled his muzzle carefully against his forepaws.
Tonks fingers ceased their stroking. Instead, they tightened across the scruff of fur. "Do you have some problem sharing a bed with me?"
Eyes glinted. And then, with a deliberate huff, the wolf snorted.
Tonks sat instantly bolt upright. "I do not snore!"
The wolf shrugged. Lupine eyes gazed innocently towards the ceiling.
With a swipe of her hand, Tonks smacked him firmly on the rump.
"Git," she muttered as she settled back down, although the corners of her lips were unable to entirely suppress the edges of her smile. "That's what you are. I'm in love with a git."
The wolf flashed his teeth in a mockery of a smile as he settled down beside her, his warm body pressed gently against her side. Golden eyes rolled again.
Tonks scowled. "I suppose that means you'll take it because you love me?" When the wolf nodded, he earned itself another gentle cuff, this time across the ears.
"You're a prat, Lupin." Tonks stifled a yawn.
Softly, the wolf laid his head against the edge of her cushion. He closed his eyes.
"And a git."
A slight canine huff was her only reply.
"I'm tempted to snore just to spite you."
The thrust of a cold nose against her ear nearly startled her upright; with a swipe of her fingers, she pushed the chilly intrusion away and rolled over to glare at the wolf. His eyes were still closed. His wolfish face was a picture of sleepy innocence.
But Tonks was not fooled. "Do that again and you can sleep down here permanently," she informed him archly. "And if you think I'm bluffing…"
A gentle nuzzle was his response. In spite of herself, Tonks couldn't help but smile.
"I love you," she said with wry affection. "Even when you're furry. And being annoying."
Golden eyes blinked open. And within their depths were written all the words she needed.
He loved her too.
Resting one hand gently against his neck, Tonks closed her eyes. "Goodnight Remus."
A soft whisper of breath against her cheek returned the sentiment. Beneath her hand, a furry body shifted closer.
Tonks smiled again as she snuggled down beneath the duvet. And then the darkness embraced her and ushered her gently into sleep.