Summary and Disclaimer: See Prologue

Rating: See Chapter Eight

Chapter Notes: I know it didn't (probably) happen in canon, but this plot bunny came hopping to me at the end of chapter eight. I'd like to think Sirius could have been a tiny bit happy during Order of the Phoenix. I'm not so hot at writing action scenes, sorry! Long chapters lately (lucky readers). So…

I love reviews. That's a serious hint. Seriously, when I get the email notification, I go all warm and fuzzy inside. They make me want to write, seriously. All right, enough Sirius puns… onto his chapter. (I guess no one liked ch8...so I'm moving on!)

Many thanks to my beta, Godricgal, my buddy across the ocean in my favourite town.

Chapter Nine- Padfoot's Escape

Tonks found herself the next morning on the steps of number twelve, knocking for the second time on the front door. Once again she listened to the silence. Sighing, because she knew what was going to happen, she rang the doorbell.

As the inevitable screams ripped through the entrance hall, Tonks closed her eyes and leaned her forehead against the front door. She lost her balance as it was ripped open suddenly. She looked up from the floor into Ginny's face.

"Wotcher," Tonks smiled up at the girl.

"Um... are you okay...?"

Tonks picked herself up from the floor, waving away the hand offered to her. "Fine, I'm fine. Wotcher, all." She brushed off a layer of dust from her and looked around. Molly and Ron were wrestling with Mrs Black's curtains. Fred and George grinned down at her from the first floor landing. Hermione was next to them, staring at the portrait. "Sorry, but I did knock twice first!"

"I was almost to the door when you rang the bell," Ginny told her.

"Sorry, Ginny," Tonks apologized. "Listen, I have to go see my parents, but I'll be back tonight to chat, okay?" She smiled as both Ginny's and Hermione's faces brightened and they responded enthusiastically.

"Ginny, I don't want you answering the door again!" her mother scolded. "Hello, Tonks dear," Molly greeted her coming down the stairs, brushing a stray strand of red hair from her eyes. She turned back to the children and said, "Excitement's over, back to work, everyone." Watching carefully to make sure that they left, Molly turned back to her finally and said, "The children and I are scrubbing out the extra bedroom on the second floor. I have no idea where Sirius is. He was in a…foul mood last night and we haven't seen him all morning."

Tonks unconsciously readjusted the Invisibility Cloak under her robes at Molly's disapproving tone. Lupin had been successful in borrowing it from Mad-Eye Moody. "He's either in his room or Buckbeak's. I'll go and see what's going on since the reason I stopped was by to see how he is," she said.

"That's sweet of you, dear. Are you off work today?"

"Yeah. I'll be back here later tonight, after I've been to Mum and Dad's. Do you need anything while I'm out?"

"No, Arthur got our supplies yesterday. Will Remus be here tonight?"

Tonks felt herself blushing. Of course Molly would figure out something was between them. "Yes, he'll be here. Sirius should be in a better mood because of it."

"He's such a sweet man," Molly beamed at her as they climbed the stairs to the second floor, where she said goodbye. Tonks continued up to the third floor.

Strolling down the corridor, she knocked three times on Sirius' door. She only had to wait a few seconds before the door cracked open and a pair of grey eyes peeped out warily. He grinned at the sight of her and opened the door a bit more. She slipped inside. "Wotcher, Sirius!" she said brightly.

"Morning, Tonks," he returned as she silently handed him the Invisibility Cloak. Quickly putting it on, he said, "Let's get out of here!"

Tonks cracked open the bedroom door. Scanning the corridor and seeing no one, she motioned for Sirius to exit. The cousins rapidly hurried down to the ground floor to avoid confrontation with anyone else.

She opened the door and held it wide for Sirius. After a moment, she exited herself. "Follow me," she muttered.

Leading him to the square, she then told him, "Take my arm." She Side-Along Apparated them to Lupin Manor.

Lupin was waiting for them at the Apparition Point. Tonks greeted him with a kiss, which he returned wholeheartedly. Hearing a gag, they both turned to see Sirius pulling the Invisibility Cloak off with a flourish.

"Morning, Moony," he said. Tonks smiled at the sparkle in his eyes. It was not the full sparkle that was shining in Lupin's eyes, but it was more than was there last night. "What's for breakfast? I'm famished!"

Tonks and Lupin watched as Sirius ambled down the path towards the house. "He seems to be at home here," she noted.

"He came to visit a fair few times during the summer holidays. My parents adored him. He was, well is, the eldest son of one of the oldest and noblest wizarding houses. The Blacks are, Nymphadora, stop making that face… and he was one of my best friends. James, the same ."

"The Lupin line is just as old as the Blacks and Potters," Tonks said.

"Yes, it is," he agreed. "But we've married whomever we pleased over the years. My own mother was Muggleborn. You know what that makes my family…"

"Normal!" She looked up at him, her dark eyes twinkling merrily.

He laughed. "Yes, I suppose so."

"So, I, the half-blood Metamorphmagus, would fit right in with the rest of your family, huh?"

Before he could reply, Sirius appeared in the kitchen door. "Oi, Moony, I'm starved. What'd you have to eat?"

"He's an endless pit, I swear," Lupin muttered. Tonks laughed. He pecked a kiss on her lips and took her hand in his.

Sirius was at the stove frying up eggs as they entered the house. "So, all I want to do today is be outside. I need fresh air and the woods that border the house will be perfect. You can spend all day there and not run into anyone."

"Sounds like fun," Tonks said. "Let me get my trainers." Exiting the kitchen, she quickly headed up the stairs to the master bedroom. Grabbing the shoes, she re-entered the kitchen in time to hear Lupin telling Sirius to drop it. "Drop what?" she asked, sitting down at the table and kicking off her boots.

"Nothing," Lupin said quickly.

"You certainly know your way around the house, Tonks," Sirius said with a grin.

Tonks looked at Sirius (who looked ridiculous in an apron) to Lupin (who was shooting angry glares at her cousin) and back, then grinned. "Of course I know my way around. Remus brought me here last night. Rule number one, page one of the first year Auror training textbook: 'Learn new surroundings'."

"And what were you doing here last night?" Sirius asked slyly.

"If you can't figure out what I was doing here last night, then…" She shook her head in amusement as he grinned. "Your eggs are burning, by the way," she pointed out to him sweetly.

Lupin snickered as Sirius yelped and turned back to the stove and his smoking pan. Tonks shot him a smile. Her heart fluttered at the half smile he returned.

After the burned eggs, Sirius settled for a ham sandwich. He took it with him to munch on as they made their way to the woods. Tonks made extra sandwiches and packed them in a basket with wine and goblets for later.

Lupin took the basket from her and they set off on the path that led to the woods. Sirius strolled ahead of them, occasionally leaping up and swatting at a branch of leaves. Lupin set a more leisurely pace with Tonks' hand tucked firmly into the crook of his arm. She stretched up and kissed him gently on the mouth. "You're such a gentlemen," she murmured. He smiled down at her.

"That's revolting," Sirius yelled over his shoulder at them. Not watching where he was going, he tripped over a tree root and stumbled to the ground. Tonks and Lupin burst out laughing at him.

Sirius blinked up at them, and then started laughing as well. "You must be rubbing off on me, Tonks."

"I am not!" she protested hotly.

Lupin, chuckling, held his hand out and helped his friend back to his feet. "If she's rubbing off on me if anyone, it's me," he said casually.

Tonks and Sirius exchanged glances, and then laughed. "I bet you're enjoying her rubbing off on you, Moony." Sirius grinned cheekily at them, and then jogged off further down the path.

"You like me rubbing off on you?" she asked flirtatiously.

"I think I showed you last night I did," he responded, just as flirtatiously.

Tonks smiled up at him shyly; a tiny bit surprised that he was flirting. "Yes, you did; several times in fact." Her cousin disappeared from sight. "Where'd he go?" she asked.

"There's a stream up ahead. During the summer between fifth and sixth years, James and Sirius levitated a log across it. They climbed out on it and proceeded to practice duelling." They took a turn in the path and came upon the stream. Sirius was standing in the middle of the log.

"You owe me a duel," he called. Tonks glanced at Lupin. "It was the day after a full moon when James and I visited and knocked this log down. Come on, Moony! Let's see how you do against me in front of your girlfriend."

Lupin's whole body stiffened. She knew it was from Sirius' reference to the full moon. "Sirius, I am not going to duel you on a log, especially on one over a stream and that's too many years old to mention." He said it causally, but Tonks could hear the slightly hurt undertone in his voice.

Sirius, however, did not. "You're supposed to humour me today, Moony! I was in prison for twelve years; I'm out of practice."

Lupin looked down at Tonks, who shrugged her shoulders. "I'd go get him. Show your girlfriend how good you are. At duelling, that is. I know how good you are elsewhere."

Lupin sighed. He did smile however when Sirius cheered as he removed his robes. "We had to get him a wand, didn't we?" he asked her.

She laughed. "It was that, or listen to him sigh and curse over doing things the Muggle way," she reminded him.

"Oh, yes, I remember now."

Tonks grabbed the front of his shirt and pulled him down into a passionate kiss. "For good luck," she whispered as they parted.

"Like I said earlier, that is completely revolting. Please stop doing it!" Sirius called jokingly.

Lupin looked over him, smirked, and then kissed Tonks again. As Sirius was rolling his eyes, Lupin shot the Disarming Charm at him.

Sirius, who managed to avoid the spell, yelled, "Hey! We hadn't begun yet!"

"'Constant Vigilance'," Lupin quipped. "Death Eater's are not going to observe the necessities of proper duelling, Sirius." Lupin dodged a bolt of red light as Sirius bellowed, "Stupefy!"

Tonks backed away from them as they locked eyes. Lupin circled around the log, Sirius following his every move. Tonks knew that Lupin was waiting to see what Sirius would do next and it worked.

Sirius shot a Trip Jinx at Lupin who was prepared and cast a Shield Charm. Sirius nearly fell off the log as the spell bounced back at him. He managed to yell, "Expelliarmus," as he righted himself.

Lupin ducked behind a tree. "Impedimenta," he cried. He missed Sirius by inches.

Tonks watched fascinated as the two wizards duelled. They were well matched, even if Lupin had the slight advantage of being on solid land. Her cousin might have been in prison for twelve years, but he was still an excellent dueller and Lupin wasn't too shabby either. The Ministry had missed out on two excellent Aurors.

She gaped as Sirius yelled, "Let's make this interesting, Moony!" He gave an upward flick of his wand. There was a flash of light and suddenly Lupin was hanging midair as though something was holding him by an ankle.

Lupin sent him an annoyed look. With an upward flick from his wand, he was back on the ground. "I know the counter-jinx, Padfoot!" Tonks realized that the jinxes were non-verbal.

"Oh, I know," Sirius said lazily. "But the look on your face was worth it." He ducked as Lupin shot another Disarming Charm at him.

Tonks saw a flutter of white feathers out of the corner of her eye. Lupin noticed it as well and yelled, "Sirius, its over."

"Come on, Remus! I won't do it again."

"No, look…Hedwig."

Sirius looked behind him. Sure enough, sitting on a branch of the log, sat Harry's snowy white owl. She hooted a greeting to Sirius, who stroked the top of her head before removing the scroll that was attached to her leg. "If you come back to the house, I'm sure Remus has some Owl Treats," he told her. She hooted again and flew over to Lupin, landing on his shoulder.

Sirius unrolled the scroll and read. When he finished, he looked up and said, "Harry's not happy. He's demanding to know what's going on." Noting Hedwig on his friend's shoulder, he said, "Hey, she likes you, Moony."

"Most animals don't like me since they can sense I'm a werewolf," Lupin awkwardly explained to Tonks, who was confused.

"Oh," she understood. "Then she's a smart owl. Aren't you," Tonks murmured to Hedwig, who hooted in response. "You know he's a sweetheart and couldn't hurt a fly." She giggled as Sirius let out a bark of laughter, Lupin rolled his eyes, and Hedwig hooted again.

"Come on; let's get back to the Manor so I can send a reply. We better get back to Grimmauld Place soon. There are letters here for Ron and Hermione as well. "

"You've only been gone a few hours," Lupin said to Sirius.

"I know, but my godfather duties call."

Tonks was impressed. Sirius hated being locked away at his family home but he was willing to go back to fulfil his duties to Harry.

"We can keep Hedwig for a bit longer, and then send her on her way. She can have a small break. I think she'd appreciate that," Lupin smiled as the owl nipped his fingers affectionately, presumably in gratitude for his words.

"Professor Lupin, I'm shocked at you," Sirius said in a slighly mocking voice. "You're advising me to skip out on real life for a few more hours."

"Harry will still be locked up at his aunt and uncle's in a few more hours. Let Hedwig rest, and then you can send her off. We can Apparate home after both you and she get a break." He paused then said,"I don't think Nymphadora and I will be able to sneak you out again."

"I know, Remus. I do appreciate that you both did this for me. Once Harry is away from the Muggles and at Grimmauld Place, I'll be much…happier."

"We all will, Sirius," Lupin told him. "Let's get going."

He picked up the basket and the three set off down the path back towards the house. When they arrived, Sirius went upstairs to fetch a quill and ink. Tonks spread the sandwiches and wine on the table, leaving a space for Sirius to write. Lupin settled Hedwig on the kitchen perch.

Sirius re-entered the kitchen and wordlessly sat down at the table. Tonks and Lupin both sat and watched as he wrote. After fifteen minutes, Sirius handed the parchment to Lupin, who read it aloud for Tonks:

Harry,

I understand you're frustrated. You must understand; you have to keep your nose clean. Be alert and don't do anything rash. We'll have you out of there soon.

Sirius

"It really…annoys me that we can't tell him anything. While he looks like James, he has that Evans temper on him," Sirius sighed.

"Yes, he does," Lupin quietly agreed. Tonks kept silent. "Though you never would have said that in front of Lily," he added.

Sirius' lips curled in a ghost of a smile. Tonks noted that the sparkle that had been in him earlier was gone. "Let's go," he said abruptly. "Sorry, Hedwig, you're off again."

The snowy owl hooted at him, spread her wings and soared out the kitchen window.

Tonks and Lupin packed away the sandwiches and wine. She and Sirius headed towards the Apparition Point, while Lupin recast the protective wards on the house. When he joined them, Sirius silently put on the Invisibility Cloak, and the trio Disapparated.

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TBC

Author's Note: For some reason I find it much easier to write a Tonks/Sirius/Lupin than just Lupin/Tonks romantic fluff. I had this plotbunny hopping even before ch8 was complete.

Ch10 is going to be the return to Grimmauld Place, Harry's letters, Dumbledore's warnings to Sirius, Ron, and Hermione (not to write Harry much information), the beginning of the Watch (both Harry and the DoM)…er, basically the beginning of Order of the Phoenix. I might write an epilogue with The Advance Guard's meeting, then arrival at Privet Drive.

Bouncing ideas…what do we think?