AN: I figured out that I never posted this here. I feel really badly for it and need to apologize for keeping anyone waiting. I didn't mean to do that. I give my heart felt thanks to my beta's for removing some of the sugar in my fluffy concoction. However, if you are diabetic, you may want to be careful as this chapter still contains quite a bit of sweet goo.

Chapter 12

10 May 5:33 pm

For what seemed like the hundredth time in the last hour, Remus checked the clock on the wall with the expectation of seeing the time read two o'clock. As it was, he still had nearly a half hour of unbearable waiting to go before he would be allowed to see the one person he most wanted to see. This whole idea of not permitting the groom to see the bride before the wedding had to be the most ridiculous superstition he had ever heard of. All it seemed to accomplish, in Remus' opinion, was to create unnecessary nervous tension in the mind of the groom, as if he wasn't worried enough about remembering the words of the ceremony or stressed over keeping his new dress robes from getting wrinkled or mussed in anyway.

It only added to his apprehension that he hadn't seen or heard from Tonks in over twenty-four hours. She left their apartment yesterday morning to go and stay with her parents. Correction, Molly and Andromeda arrived and literally pulled Tonks out of the apartment against her will. He'd received an owl from Andromeda later that afternoon assuring him that his intended was well taken care of in spite of the fuss she was making over being locked away from him. He'd even tried to Apparate into her room last night to wish her sweet dreams, but had nearly been splinched when he came up against the apparition ward that had been placed around the house in case such an attempt should be made. Needless to say, Remus had been sent back to the apartment in total embarrassment without so much as a word from his fiancée.

Now here he was, pacing nervously around the spare bedroom of the Tonks' home, checking and rechecking his appearance in the mirror and willing his heart to stop thudding in his chest. The well tailored, dark blue robes that had been so comfortable in the shop were becoming increasingly stuffy, and Remus fingered his collar in an attempt to loosen it.

"You look smashing!" the reflection said enthusiastically.

"Thanks," sighed Remus, "but you don't have to try to make me feel better."

"Nonsense," the mirror chided. "I wouldn't lie to you at a time like this. If you looked anything less than reasonable I would have no issues in telling you so."

Remus shook his head and walked away from the mirror. The sound of the door creaking was a welcome distraction.

"Looks like everyone is getting settled," Arthur Weasley said, closing the door behind him. "Harry was running late, but he just got here, so it seems to me that everyone is ready. Ginny was furious with him, of course, but Tonks calmed her down and said that a man is allowed to be late for a wedding so long as he isn't late for his own wedding."

At the mention of her name, Remus perked up. "You saw Tonks?"

"I did, and she asked me to give you this." The other wizard held out a short glass of firewhiskey.

Remus took the glass. "Aren't we supposed to save this until after the wedding?"

"Yes, but Tonks figured you could use something to take the edge off. She said that knowing you, you'll likely wear a hole in the carpet pacing back and forth."

Remus shook his head and took a sip of the bitter liquid. "Did Tonks seem nervous when you saw her?"

"No, not really. She was all smiles from what I could gather."

"She hasn't even tripped on her robes?" Remus asked skeptically.

Arthur laughed. "Would you believe that Andromeda put a protective charm on her gown just in case of an accident. Never mind if Tonks should be injured, but do everything to save the gown."

Remus smiled and took another sip. "And how did she…look?"

"She looked beautiful, which you will see for yourself in a few minutes."

Remus looked at the clock. "Quarter of. Is it me or has time decided to stand still today?"

Arthur laughed. "It's you."

Remus placed his glass on the dresser. "I don't even know why I feel like this. It's completely illogical, isn't it?"

"You mean being nervous on your wedding day?"

"Yes. When I consider that I love her and she loves me, we've been in this relationship for a few years now, even shared a home together, why…how can I be nervous? This is what I want. I want this more than anything, and yet I feel as if I'm about to go mad."

"It's totally normal, Remus," Arthur assured him. "I'd be worried if you weren't nervous."

"Really?"

"Yes. It shows that you're concerned about the outcome – that this is important to you and you want things to go well."

"Were you nervous when you married Molly?"

Arthur snorted. "Is Tonks accident prone?"

Brows arching, Remus said, "That bad, huh?"

"I was terrified. Actually, I was more worried about how the Prewitts would react when they discovered we had eloped."

"Hang on, you and Molly eloped?"

"Yes. Didn't you know?"

"No, I didn't, but I'm starting to get the feeling that eloping is the preferred way to get married. Do you suppose it's too late to convince Tonks that she really doesn't want a big ceremony? We could just run off and get married on our own."

"Considering that everyone is already here, yes, I think it's too late."

Remus shrugged and took another sip of his drink. "It was worth a try. I keep worrying that I'll forget the words of the spell and end up looking like an idiot."

"Don't worry about that. If your mind goes blank, and it probably will, just look at me and I'll prompt you. That's what I'm here for, isn't it?"

There was a knock and a voice sounded from the other side of the door. "Remus?"

"That will be Ginny come to fetch you," Arthur said.

Remus nodded and opened the door to find the youngest Weasley smiling up at him. "I've been sent to tell you that everyone's ready. You just need to take your place and we can get started."

"I've still got ten minutes," Remus said with a final glance at the clock.

Arthur laughed and patted him on the back. "Just a moment ago you were complaining that time wouldn't speed up."

"Speeding up is one thing, " Remus said, taking a deep breath. "Skipping ahead is something entirely different."

The older wizard placed a hand on his shoulder. "Come on. Let's go get you married off."

5:53 pm that same evening

Tonks brushed her hand over the front of her dress, smoothing out the fabric as she waited for Ginny to return. Her father stood by her side, watching her with a smile.

"That dress is lovely, darling."

She looked down at herself. "I don't think Remus has ever seen me in a dress. A skirt, yeah. You know, something fun and not too fancy, but never anything like this."

"I can almost guarantee that he won't be able to take his eyes off of you."

"Thanks." Tonks blushed slightly and hoped that Remus would be pleased with her choice. As much as she loved clothes and jewelry, Tonks was never the type of girl to get all fancied up. She enjoyed emphasizing her femininity by wearing jeans that showed off her curves, donning all sorts of pretty earrings and bracelets, and of course there was always the hair color. Long, flowing gowns weren't normally her style, but for her wedding day she thought she could make an exception.

She had chosen a cream colored gown after deciding that a pure white gown not only made her look too pale, but was also too virginal for her tastes, especially under the circumstances. It was made of a smooth silk covered in a soft organza material with long, flowing sleeves and a bodice embellished with tiny pink flowers. She felt the touch of pink went well with her preferred hair color, which she wore slightly longer today than usual, and drew focus on her face more than any other part of her body. It wasn't as if she wanted to hide her pregnancy, she just didn't want it to be the center of attention today. Today was about her and Remus; the baby would get his or her turn in a few months.

Ginny poked her head into the room after knocking gently. "Remus and Dad are outside. So, whenever you're ready, we can start."

"Thanks, Ginny," Tonks said, picking up the small bundle of wild flowers her mother had picked for her that morning.

"By the way, you look beautiful." She smiled and closed the door.

"She's right," Ted said, taking Tonks' hand. "You look absolutely stunning."

Tonks looked up into her father's eyes to find them glossed over with unshed tears. "Oh, Dad. Don't." She wrapped her arms around him in a tight embrace. "If you cry then I'll cry."

"I'm just very happy for you, my little nymph." He released her and brushed his arms down her sleeves. "Now, enough of this or I'm going to spoil your dress, and then your mother would have me cursed."

"She put a charm on it so even I can't mess it up." Tonks smiled brightly. "I love you, Dad."

"I love you, too, sweetheart."

"Just don't let me trip," she said.

"I won't."

With more poise than Tonks thought her father had in him, he offered her his arm, which she took willingly. They exited the room and headed for the back of the house and out into the garden, which her mother had spent hours decorating for the ceremony, even with the help of magic. It was like a wonderland of wild flowers growing under the fading sunlight of the afternoon.

Everyone in attendance stood up as Tonks and her father stepped out from the house. She was sure that all eyes were on her at that very moment, and yet the only set of eyes she felt were Remus'. He followed her every movement as she made her way down the center of the aisle, his eyes never leaving her. The love she felt for him was reflected on his face, and she couldn't help but feel slightly overwhelmed by the intensity of the emotion.

The short journey to the back of the garden ended, and Ted kissed her on the cheek before he turned to Remus and shook his hand. Her father joined her mother along the front row, and Arthur signaled for everyone to take their seats.

"Welcome, everyone, to this special occasion. I'm sure I speak for all of you when I say how happy I am to be invited to take part in such a celebration. I was actually a bit surprised when Remus and Tonks asked me to lead the ceremony today." He paused and looked at the both of them intently. "I'm not a clergy man, and although I may be employed by the Ministry of Magic, I'm not one of the usual officials asked to perform such ceremonies. But I am a husband," he said with pride. "I don't mean to sound boastful, but after nearly thirty years of marriage, I believe I have a good understanding of what it takes to achieve and maintain a successful marriage. I have faith that the two of you possess such qualities, and I've seen them displayed in the way you love and care for one another."

Arthur smiled and clapped his hands together. "But all these people haven't gathered here today to listen to me drone on. It isn't my words they are interested in, but yours. So, Remus," he said signaling to him. "If you would."

Tonks passed her flowers to her mother and saw Remus take a deep breath as he reached for her hands. His eyes searched her face, carefully taking in all her features. "I find myself in…in awe of this moment," he stammered. "I'd like to start by telling you how absolutely stunning you look today." Tonks blushed slightly under his admiring gaze.

"You take my breath away," Remus stated. "You have since the moment I saw you standing by the fireplace at Grimmauld Place nearly six years ago. I remember it like it was yesterday. We've traveled a long road together; one that I hadn't allowed myself to ever believe was possible. Today I find myself enthralled with a person who is just as intelligent and clever as she is beautiful. You bring such laughter and joy to my life, more than I ever thought possible. You are the light in my darkness."

He stepped in closer to her, his voice filled with emotion and affection. "I shudder to think what my life would be without you in it, Nymphadora Tonks. I love you more than I can express with words." He gently kissed her hand, giving her a sign that it was now her turn to speak.

Tonks found herself deeply touched by Remus' words, and she fought back the tears forming in her eyes. Her heart thudded madly in her chest and she felt as if she might faint from the overpowering surge of emotion.

She swayed slightly and felt Remus' hands on her waist steadying her. "Are you all right," he asked with concern.

She nodded and smiled. "I'll be fine. Just don't let go."

"Never."

She took a deep breath and blew it out slowly. "Remus," she said, looking up at him with tenderness. "There's so much I want to say to you right now. My thoughts are all in a jumble in my head. I find that I'm a bit jealous that you were able to get through your speech without mucking it up, when I know very well that I'm going to butcher mine. I was relieved that I made it out here without tripping over my dress." Remus, and several of the guests laughed.

"Seriously, though," she said redirecting the mood. "I know I'm not as eloquent as you are. I suppose it comes from all those books you've read. You're so intelligent, and I've often asked myself, 'What's a smart bloke like him doing with a klutz like me?' I suppose that's why I was so drawn to you right from the start. You always treated me with respect, regardless of my youth or inexperience in certain matters. You would listen to me, I mean really listen, and you valued my opinion."

She grinned at him mischievously. "Imagine my surprise when I discovered that underneath this calm and collected exterior was the heart of a true prankster. Oh, the trouble you can get up to when you set your mind to it." Remus went scarlet at her words. "Whenever times got rough, and there were quite a few of those, you would always find a way to make me laugh...or at least smile. I couldn't help but fall in love with you."

She swallowed before adding, "But I think the thing that will always keep me coming back for more is that you never ask me to be something I'm not. You love me just the way I am, and that's something considering I can be anyone you want me to be."

"I only ever wanted you," Remus said, brushing his hand over her cheek.

"And I only ever wanted you. I love you with all my heart."

Neither one of them spoke another word. They just looked into each other's eyes and reveled in the moment. After a good long while, it was Arthur Weasley who broke the silence.

"And now Remus and Tonks," he said looking from one to the other, "have asked that a binding ceremony be performed. As you all know, a wizard may chose to bind his life to another person for many different reasons. The binding can be done out of a sense of duty, loyalty, or even friendship. In those cases the binding is simply one directional, from the wizard to the person he has chosen to honor. It is a rare instance where both wizards choose to be bound to the other, and even more unique when performed out of love. The binding is unbreakable and irreversible by any means except death, and is looked upon as a sacred commitment in our community."

"Join hands, please," Arthur instructed.

Tonks held up her hands to Remus, who took hold of them as if he were holding something precious and delicate. Her right hand clasped in his right hand, her left in his left. Their wrists criss-crossed, locking their hands together.

"Mea vita est tua vita," Remus said softly.

"Mea vita est tua vita," repeated Tonks.

"Corpore, spiritu, anima te honoro," they said together in unison.

"Ligere," came Arthur Weasley's voice, solid and direct. And with a swish and flick of his wand, the bind was complete.

A silvery, translucent band slowly wrapped itself around Remus' and Tonks' wrists. The brightness of the glowing light was almost blinding, but Tonks squinted her eyes and managed to keep her gaze fixed on Remus as best she could. The radiance of the light pulsated once, twice, three times before breaking into a shower of sparks, illuminating the world around them momentarily.

As the light faded, Tonks saw Remus' lips curve into a wide grin. "I love you," he mouthed at her.

She smiled back at him fully. "I love you, too."

Without even waiting for an invitation from Arthur, Remus leaned towards her and captured her mouth with his. Letting go of her hands, his arms found their way around her waist, pulling her to him as he deepened the kiss. Tonks didn't protest in the slightest and gave in to his kiss with delight.

When the kiss ended, a wave of cheers and applause sounded around them. Tonks couldn't hold back the happy laughter and buried her face in his shoulder. He kissed her hair, holding her tight against him, and Tonks could almost feel the joy radiating from him. Or was it her own happiness that she was feeling? It didn't matter. All that mattered was that he was hers at long last and nothing could take him away from her.

8:24 pm that night

The stars sparkled brightly in the dark sky with only a sliver of the waxing moon as their companion. Paying no attention to the heavenly bodies above her, Tonks stared deeply into Remus' eyes as they danced to the romantic music (as opposed to the kind provided by what exactly?). His hands were on her waist and she could feel the heat of them through her gown. Their bodies didn't fit the way they normally did thanks in part to the small, yet noticeable swell of her abdomen. But even so, Tonks could feel the swaying of his hips in rhythm with her own. She let her fingers play with the soft hair that fell over the collar on his neck, knowing full well that touching him like that would drive him wild.

""You realize everyone is watching us, don't you?" Remus said with a smirk.

"Oh yes, I know." Her fingers lightly touched the outside of her ear.

"Then will you please not do that?"

"Do what?" she asked, tilting her chin up so that her mouth was very close to his.

Remus laughed, and she could feel his breath against her skin. "You know very well what you're doing. So if you want to stay at the party any longer I suggest you stop teasing me."

"Who says I want to stay?" Gently, she pulled his face the remaining distance down to hers for a promising kiss that grew in intensity as she slid her mouth over his. Remus breathed deeply when they broke apart. Whistles from Fred and George came from the other side of the garden, making Remus blush. Tonks only laughed.

"What was that you once told me about publicly displaying affection?" Tonks asked, still playing with the hair at his neck. She knew Remus preferred to save the more passionate side of himself for when they were alone together. He would always be attentive to her by holding her hands or keeping his hand on the small of her back. There were even a few kisses shared from time to time. But for the most part, Remus liked to keep his personal life private. Tonks knew that all these kisses out in the open had to be getting to him.

Remus chucked. "I can't think of a larger, more obvious and public display of affection than a wedding. And besides, if I didn't kiss you, and kiss you properly, I think I would hear complaints."

Tonks tossed her head back in a laugh. "Well, I thoroughly enjoy being kissed properly, so feel free to kiss me as often as you like."

"I intend to," he said, brushing his lips against hers. "But this is nothing compared to what I intend to do to you later."

"Do I have your word on that?" she murmured against his mouth.

"I swear that I am up to no good," he whispered, kissing her with all the promise of the future.

"Mea vita est tua vita. Corpore, spiritu, anima te honoro ."

"My life is your life. With my body, breath, and soul, I honor thee."

Ligere - bind