Author's Note: Shameless make-out time. Mad props to mercutiorane for giving this the once-over and encouraging me to post it.

Present Tense (Future Subjective)

She sits outside the Burrow, lighting her second clove. She had offered to help Molly clean up afterwards but, as expected, she's been turned down so she's staring at the sky instead. The Burrow's full tonight, which is impressive during the school term: Molly and Arthur, Bill and Fleur, Kingsley, Hestia, Moody, Remus, and herself.

He is inside, talking with Arthur, Moody, and Kingsley about some Order business, and Hestia's just reached the Apparition point, beyond the wards. With a bang she's gone, and Tonks is alone in the backyard, blowing smoke upwards. The stars are veiled by mist from the Dementors, and she's only obstructing her view more but she doesn't care, really. She's learned to strongly dislike the heavens.

It's the first time she's seen him in two months, and her hands are still shaking. He's got new scars on his face, a particularly nasty one down the left side of his neck that makes her wonder how many are spread across the rest of his body, and the thought makes her sad, not because of the cuts and bruises but because she wants to see his body again so badly. The want is driving her insane, so she's outside because if she's in the room with him for another moment Molly may never forgive her to the liberties she'll take on the kitchen table.

They broke up, for the most part, when he went to the werewolves. It made sense -- neither could predict when they'd see the other again, nor could they predict if they would. It was morbid, she thought, even though factoring death into the equation was necessary: harsh transformation with the pack, a sudden Death Eater attack, and it would be over.

Might as well end it on a good note.

They had gone into Muggle London, rented a room for a week, gotten tickets to the theatre and brought reviews of restaurants. All of it was paid for by Dumbledore, once he heard their plan – she suspected he felt guilt, but she accepted the money wary as a way of accepting the apology for sending her lover away from her. They never left the room save for quick-jaunts out for take-away or to go to the theatre, because Remus had problems with not using tickets that they spent money on. The rest of the time was a blur of sleep and sex, memorizing each other's bodies only to be forced to forget.

And so she sits, her body so aware of everything because she doesn't want to forget. She's wondering if he'll say goodbye to her before he leaves.

She doesn't have to wonder if he wants her as bad as she wants him: she knows him well enough to know the answer is yes.

She coughs. She thinks she's caught a chill from being outside in the cold so much.

"That sounds awful," a voice says. She looks up to see Remus looking down. "You should get that taken care of. I'm sure Molly's got a cure."

"S'nothing," she says. "Just a cough."

"Sounds like your lungs are trying to escape your chest," he says with a smile, edging closer to her. Despite the two months absence, they're back to the way they were and you'd never know that death and darkness separates them from what they want.

"Maybe I have the cholera," she says, coughing again. She has a tendency to cough when nervous, a tic she's picked up in the last few months that he doesn't know about.

"Oh no," Remus says, mock-dramatically. He sits down next to her but at least a good half-meter away. "I hear that's tough to cure."

"I hear sex makes the cholera go away," she says before she can stop herself. She had fallen into the pattern of casual conversation they had established months ago, and it just comes out. "I mean, fuck, sorry-"

"Good thing you don't have the cholera," Remus says without missing a beat. "Sounds more like tuberculosis to me. You know there's a form of tuberculosis called 'lupus vulgarus'? I think it involves the skin."

"I did not know that," she answers honestly. She knows a lot – she has to – but Remus has these obscure bits of knowledge that are always so fascinating and so Remus and she misses hearing these things on a daily basis.

"That's your new fact for the day," he says. She giggles and her hand bobs as she goes to cover her mouth and Remus' hand is on her wrist.

"Watch out, you'll burn yourself."

He takes the clove from between her fingers and she looks up, frowning. He places it between his lips and takes a slow drag.

"It's good to see you," he says, exhaling.

"Yeah," she says. She wants to say things like 'I miss you' and 'This is ridiculous' but she knows it'll be harder for him than it needs to be, hearing her say those things. She settles on "You don't look as shitty as I thought you would."

"Ta," he says, looking over at her. He doesn't look shitty; he looks so good she wants to devour him whole. At the very least, she wants to touch him, rest her head against his shoulder, hold his hand.

"You've been taking care of yourself," she adds.

"I try," he says.

There's a pregnant pause, and she says "I didn't think you smoked cloves."

He smiles, looking out into the distance. "I missed how you taste."

And just like that, she's hot all over, feeling her blood sliding through her veins to pool in one place and she takes a deep breath.

"You look…" he starts. He looks at her. "You look bloody marvelous. Not sure I like the brown hair – it's too plain for you – but damn if you aren't a feast for a starving man."

"Isn't it a feast for the eyes?" she asks, bumping her shoulder into his but happy about the compliment.

"Stay here, tonight?" he asks. She's surprised.

"Molly will-"

"I honestly don't give a damn what Molly thinks," he says, throwing the clove on the ground and stomping it out with the toe of his shoe. "I think I'm allowed to indulge in some form of comfort, for the sake of the Order."

"Is that a touch of selfishness?" she asks with a smile. Remus shrugs, reaching out for her hand. She gives it to him.

"Perhaps. I'm thinking self-preservation, because if you don't stay than I am not sure I'll make it through the night, especially after Molly sees the mess we'll create in her flowerbed."

Tonks laughs. "She'll have your hide, all right. But…"

Remus looks at her expectantly. She laughs again. She feels seventeen, nervous and excited and clumsy and his hand pressed against hers is so warm it's almost burning her and she loves it.

"Won't they…smell me?" she asks, hesitantly.

"I won't be going back for a few days," he answers honestly. "After I leave the Burrow, I'll wander a bit; pick up a lot of different scents."

"I hope you're exaggerating…" she says, teasing him, and he laughs, standing up. He pulls her up with him and her face is buried in the crook of his neck.

"Mmm," he says, wrapping his arms around her. "This is nice. And I am exaggerating. There's only one person I want to smell like in this entire world." Remus laughs. "Oh god, that's so silly-"

"No," she protests. "That's lovely. But we really should get inside or else those flowers will hate us."

They walk in, hands separating as they reach the kitchen. Moody raises an eyebrow, Arthur smiles, and Molly comes over to coddle them.

"Tonks, dear, will you be taking anything with you back?"

Remus, who suddenly looks nervous, clears his throat. "I hope you won't think me crass, Molly, and intruding on your hospitality but-"

"We just need to talk…" Tonks says, but then Arthur speaks.

"Of course," Arthur jumps in. "Of course. We'll see you both in the morning," he adds cheerily. Tonks catches the look on Molly's face, one that changes from confusion to annoyance to placid compliance, the one she's worn off and on since she set forth in Grimmauld Place all those months ago. Tonks thanks her lucky stars for Arthur Weasley.

The room Remus is staying in his small. "It used to be Charlie's room, I think," he tells her, closing the door behind them and casting a quick silencing charm. There are a few photos on the bureau, little Charlie and Bill and Percy Weasley waving at them. She turns them to face the wall.

He wraps his arms around her, pulling her flush against his body. She can already feel him.

"We've only been in the room a few minutes," she says as he places kisses against her neck.

"Yes, but you've been at the Burrow for more than a few minutes," he replies, his voice low, his breath hot on her skin. He kisses her below her ear and she shivers. She thinks of how it's like this every time, igniting in five seconds. How they must be tinder; and the smallest spark can light a flame. She doesn't mind burning for him.

When he looks at her, his eyes are hungry and focused solely on her. He takes a deep breath.

"And here I thought we were going to talk," she says, a smile creeping over her face.

"Yes," he says. "In due time." His one hand finds the small of her back and pulls her closer, and the other grabs her arse.

"Hey!" she exclaims, and he apologizes and she kisses him and pushes him down onto the bed. He rolls and now he's on top, his hands trailing down her sides and up to her breast, kneading and stroking and his mouth is attacking her neck just like she wants him to.

As her fingers play with the buttons of his shirt, he stills. He's always been hesitant to remove his clothing, because of the stupid reactions of silly, immature girls when he was younger. She always brushes kisses against his neck, in the spot right above his collarbone, and whispers she wants him and that means all of him, skin included. He usually acquiesces at the breathy request but this time her fingers cannot work their magic.

She frowns. She doesn't ask, but lets him cover her hands with his and waits until he speaks. His forehead rests against hers.

"I…there's a wound," he says. She nods; the full moon was only a week before. "And it's…well, it's bandaged, don't worry. I just think that another layer, to protect it, would be…best."

She realizes what this confession takes from him – it reminds him of what he's going to be giving up again in a few hours, things like civilization and warmth and companionship and maybe, maybe even her. And so she nods again, runs her hands up his front and asks "Where is it? So I know not to touch?"

He gestures to right above his right ribcage, and she makes a mental note to stay away from that. So she runs her hands up and down his back, trying to make him feel better, feel loved.

"Thank you," he says softly, and brushes his lips against hers while threading his fingers through her hair. He's slow and tender this time, the fire from earlier smoldering. She likes it when he kisses her this way because she can get lost in this, in him, and he has to know it because he wouldn't do it otherwise.

She doesn't realize it, but he's been working with the fly of her pants and suddenly cold hands are touching her there and –

"Ah!" she exclaims. "Cold!"

"Sorry, sorry," he apologizes, moving his hand up and that's nice, warmth and heat and cold and oh my…

"You, sir, are evil," she whispers. They take off her pants and then the other hand travels up and under her shirt, and everything's overwhelming, his tongue on her neck and his knee between her legs, hips rocking slowly up and down and holy hell oh sweet Muggle Chr-

He smiles like the cat that got the cream and she lifts her body up to kiss him, wiping the smile off his face and flipping him over with sheer inertia. She straddles his hips and rocks and he takes a deep breath and groans. When they first started dating, started doing this, it was all clothing against clothing and she learned that Remus likes extended foreplay. She likes Remus, so it's all relative.

"Fuck," he half-moans, and she replies "that's what we're about to do, love."

"Then this has to go," he says, fingers on the hem of her shirt, eyes looking at her anxiously. She smiles and places his hands on her sides, and removes the shirt, rolling her hips forward as she does. His hands move slowly around to rest on her back. She throws the shirt across the room, and it hits something that probably was a picture frame and knocks it down. Glass shatters. She closes her eyes tightly, imagining several tiny Weasleys squirming around the photo and then there's a hand cupping her breast.

"Forget that," Remus says, grabbing her bra strap and pulling her down to meet his lips. She meets his kiss one kiss two kiss three. His hands find their way down to grab her arse – one time he had smacked it and she had been promptly insulted and refused to do anything else and told him that if he was going to do anything what he was doing now would be much nicer – and pull her against him. She can feel him between her legs.

She rolls off him and starts undoing his belt buckle.

"Impatient?" he asks, raising an eyebrow as she helps his pants down and then his boxers. There are cuts and bruises all over his legs, remnants of the harsh transformations and she knows if she calls attention to them, it'll ruin the night. So she doesn't and he gasps as she reaches for him and slowly strokes upward, running her thumb over the tip.

"Maybe I…" she says, and doesn't finish her because she leans down instead and he moans, hips arching off the bed. She's very glad they put the silencing spell on the door. She likes to watch him when they do this, because sex is one of the few time he lets go and he's so incredibly hot when he does.

"I – oh – Dora –" he breathes, and she looks up innocently, licking her lips as she does. She crawls up him, placing both her hands on the headboard above him. His fingers reach behind to undo her bra and he throws it to join the shirt. And then it's just them, mostly naked save for his shirt, and she thinks the friction will be lovely.

She eases herself back, and suddenly everything is right with the entire world, even those damned Death Eaters, damn them all to hell-oh he moves his hips and she moans, bites her lip and then opens her eyes wide. His eyes are heavy-lidded, and then flutter open, glowing brown. He smiles, and whispers something to her and she can't help it, he's hitting all the right places and she leans down and kisses him, slower and then faster and then oh fuck the friction is as, better than she thought; and his fingers are trailing slowly down her spine and resting on her hips and they're moving faster and faster and she arches back, biting her lip and she takes a deep breath and he's pulsing, and she's flying again.

She falls forward and he catches her in his arms.

"I don't think I can move," she says, and he laughs.

"I'm certainly fine the way I am," he says breathily. She kisses him, and he sighs.

"That was…nice," she admits, and rolls off of him, saddened when their connection is broken but it's okay since he rolls onto his side and pulls her close to him.

"Very nice," he admits. "I missed that. I missed you."

Their faces are pressed together like their bodies, and he pulls a blanket over them. She knows that she'll have to get up soon, and that he'll want to clean up and then they'll stumble back into bed and fall asleep together but wake up on opposite corners of the bed but for now, she just wants to lay like this, warm thigh slipped between warm thighs, his breath on her nose.

"I love you," she says finally, and he pulls her closer and kisses her and she knows, even though he doesn't say it, he loves her too. And nothing exists but them in a room with sheets and pillows and a broken picture of the Weasley boys…

"So…" she says, propping herself up on one arm, "I was just thinking of how awkward it's going to be tomorrow morning, when I leave."

Remus laughs. "We'll sneak you out the window. Or you can pretend to be Fleur."

"Ew," Tonks states simply. "But you know what?"

Remus props himself up. "What?"

"I think you cured the cholera."

And she's laughing with him wrapping her arms around him and rolling on the bed and they're just a perfect couple in a perfect world in love.