Title: Theory of Flirtation

Author: Girl Who Writes

Words: 964 according to MSWord.

Characters: Remus; Tonks.

Rating: G

Disclaimer: JK Rowling owns all. I'm just messing with their minds.

Summary: ... And that if they both had to be proverbial broom wrecks of people, they could at least do it together.

Author's Notes: My first posted Harry Potter fic. Thanks to Zoe for the deliciously fun beta job.
Feedback is very much appreciated and encourages me to start something new. :)

He slips out the backdoor, away from the cheerful bickering of the Weasley family, the noise of a house full of people. He has left his book in the sitting room, where Hermione is pouring over her newest textbooks and lecturing anyone who will listen on the specifics of a complex transfiguration theory. He'll happily give Hermione his time later on, but now, he needs quiet.

The grass is long as he settles down, reaching into the pocket of his worn tweed jacket for the slab of foil wrapped Honeydukes chocolate he bought just that day. He stares out at the night sky, lights from the house dotting along the skyline. There were very few things he took pleasure in, but chocolate was one, and sitting alone to think was another.

"Wotcher, Remus."

He looks up to see her silhouette against the light of the house, an oversized sweater wrapped around her shoulders like a giant, thick shawl. He waits to feel annoyance at the disturbance by the clumsiest, noisiest and loveliest person he's ever met. Nothing.

She sits cross legged next to him, not too close, he notices. She digs her hand into the pocket of her jeans, pulling out a lollypop, and follows his gaze to the skyline. He takes a bite from the bar of chocolate and looks at her, her hair fluttering against her cheek. She leans back, balancing on her hands. He notes, with a degree of disgust in himself, that when she sits back like that her worn t shirt rides up a few inches.

"Why did you become an Auror, Nymphadora?" He offers her the chocolate, and she looks up at him, pulling the lollypop – bright pink-red like her lips – and shakes her head.

"Does it matter, Remus?" She still hates being called by her given name, even by him.

"It's something my father used to say," he said slowly, peeling more of the foil off of the chocolate. "Beautiful girls shouldn't have to work hard."

She licks the lollypop again before his words hit home, and she looked at him with an incredulous look on her face. "Seven years at Hogwarts and three years of Auror training and you're telling me that because of how I appear physically…?"

He marvels at how she grapples with the concept of looks triumphing over knowledge, being who and what she is. He knows that she must have morphed herself in the past to manipulate some poor, unsuspecting individual, and maybe she doesn't even realise she's done it.

"Beauty over knowledge, my dear," he says, almost cheerfully, and maybe that's stranger than their conversation. "My father always said that beautiful girls didn't need to work, that they could get by just fine - that only beautiful girls who have been damaged work hard for something - to prove something. Beauty often seduces us on the road to truth."

She crunches down on the lollypop and shakes her head. "The theory is flawed, Remus. Who isn't damaged?" She leans over and snags the end of his bar of chocolate and he can smell the cherry flavour from the lollypop on her breath. She takes a bite of the chocolate, and smiles at him.

"No one picks beautiful girls to be soldiers," Remus looks up at the night sky.

"No one picks mild-mannered professors to be werewolves either." And she gives him a sidelong glance. "You're also forgetting that this is lost on me. My appearance is what I want."

"But then, my dear Nymphadora, you open an entirely new argument."

"Which is?" She's just too lovely, her pale blue hair framing her face, and her eyes that – tonight - are almost feline in shape.

"Why do you present yourself as physically attractive if you believe that knowledge is more valuable than how you look?" Remus makes a point of staring out at the clear night sky rather than at her face.

"Do you really want to hear it, Remus?" She's closer to him now, nudging him with her denim-clad knee. "That I'm a vacuous, vain girl who failed History of Magic three years running at school, thus proving your theory that I became an Auror on looks alone rather than hours of revision with Charlie Weasley? Or that your method of flirting is quite unique?"

Remus laughs out loud, a sound that shocks and warms him for a second. He can smell her perfume mingling with the scent of chocolate and cherry flavouring, and he looks at her, watching her eyelashes brush her skin as she blinks. His lycanthropy left him a broken man before now, but he does selfishly relish the much-improved eyesight that the curse had given him.

"You are far from vacuous, Tonks," he replies affectionately. "And I don't mean to imply that you aren't a wonderful Auror, either."

"And the flirting?" Her eyes are bright, and he is tempted to lean over and kiss her, just for being Nymphadora Tonks.

He pulls himself to his feet, and offers her his hand. "Miss Tonks, I believe it is getting very late," he said with a small smile. She laughs; shaking her head and pulling her shoes back on, she takes his hand.

"Professor Lupin, I believe that you're avoiding my question," she tilts her head to look him in the eye, her hand still in his. He shakes his head and pulls his hand from her grip.

"Good night, Nymphadora."

She watches him limp back into the night shadows, one hand on her hip, and she feels inexplicably sad; she wonders what will happen if she calls out that the only thing damaging her is his continual rejection and that if they both have to be proverbial broom wrecks of people, they could at least do it together.