Meeting Strangers

Sirius Black sat with his shoulder's hunched over a plate which was piled high with food. He was sat at the table in Number 12, Grimmauld place, his clothes ragged and torn, his skin smudged with what on first inspection looked like dirt and grime, but when inspected further appeared to be the entrails of animals and a thin layer of soot. His ragged clothes hung from him and his skin below the layer of grime, held a look of parchment, yellow, somewhat wearing and stretched all too thinly.

All in all he looked like a man on the run.

"Mr Black, you must eat something," Auror Tonks shifted from foot to foot, holding a large goblet filled with pumpkin juice and looking slightly lost. It was not in her nature to be so accommodating to supposed criminals, not that she didn't trust Dumbledore, but she'd been searching for this 'criminal' ever since she'd become an Auror. She did not treat him with suspicion, no, he'd have attacked her already if he was going too, but rather she didn't know how to handle his attitude. He seemed heartbreakingly lost. His eyes were staring unseeingly at a meal which should have been in his stomach, his hands clasped in an iron grip in his lap and his eyes seemed to be somewhere far away.

He looked up at her words with a slight frown on his face, looking thoroughly bewildered to find himself in that kitchen with her in the room.

"Yes, I should," he said and looked back down at his plate, "but somehow I can't face eating anything right now."

Tonks sighed and sat opposite him, trying to seem friendly, "Well that's understandable, Mr Black."

He sighed, "Call me Sirius."

"Sirius. Well why don't you go and take a shower?" Auror Tonks indicated out the door of the room. The food could wait for him.

Sirius nodded and rose up steadily from his seat, looking at Auror Tonks in a slightly puzzled manner. She was strange to look at and the sight almost made him grin. She had a girlish eagerness about her, accented by her cropped bright pink hair. She seemed to be shining with an enthusiasm which he couldn't place, and was smiling up at him pleasantly, seemingly itching to help him.

"Let me-" she stood up, taking her arm off the table and promptly sweeping over her goblet of pumpkin juice which she had poured mere minutes before.

"Oh damn, not again," she groaned and whipped out her wand, a second later the liquid had vanished. She sighed and Sirius watched her stuff the wand back into the waistband of her jeans,

"I'm a little bit clumsy," she said it almost shyly and hurried out of the room, leading Sirius up the stairs. They climbed for several seconds in silence before anyone spoke.

"What's you're name?" Sirius asked curiously, somehow he couldn't help but be intrigued by the young woman.

"Call me Tonks," she replied affably, coming to a halt outside of a door. She grinned tentatively and leaned against the wall.

"Your mother must have had a sense of humour," he commented. Tonks let out a cackling laugh which really did make him smile. His first smile in months.

"Tonks is my last name. You don't want to know my first- my mother really did have a sense of humour," she opened the door and indicated him through.

"I'm sure it's lovely," he leaned against the inside of the door frame, monitoring her reaction. Something about her made him like her.

"Actually it's revolting," she said sweetly and closed the door in his face. Smarmy bugger. He'd have laughed in his face if she told him.

Instead she walked back down the stairs (falling down the last two,) and hobbled back into the kitchen, going to pour herself another goblet of pumpkin juice. Sirius Black was a character she decided with a grin, sipping her pumpkin juice. Dumbledore's eyes had sparkled when he told her about him and she refused to believe him to be a carefree prankster seeing him at first sitting across from her. But somehow she'd lightened him up a little, just a few pleasant words and it seemed that he had come out of his shell some. Perhaps he just needed some company.

Tonks mulled these thoughts over while sipping from her goblet, and was interrupted a few minutes later by the closing of the kitchen door. Sirius entered, only it didn't look like the man she'd seen a few short minutes ago.

His skin was a lot cleaner, although still slightly pale; he was grinning slightly, and pushed his long black hair from his face. He was wearing clean clothes, looking, Tonks decided, decidedly dishy in black with his hands were shoved somewhat uncomfortably in his jeans pockets.

"Have you got any scissors?" he broke through her thoughts with a snap and Tonks actually blushed, pointing to the kitchen draw on the other side of the room. She watched him wordlessly as he walked over and pulled out a pair of scissors, before beginning to saw off his hair just above his loose ponytail.

She watched him, speechless, "I liked it before!" she was mildly outraged as several inches of hair fell to the floor. Or she was, until she saw his shorter hair which hung to his chin. He grinned and leaned against the work top.

"Okay, this works too," Sirius chuckled and left the scissors on the work top. He knew he was on his way back to some of the good looks he held as a younger man. Before all of this. He frowned; face darkening as he slumped back into the seat opposite Tonks.

"Hungry now?" she broke him from his dour thoughts with a smile, indicating some of the sandwiches on the table. He grinned gratefully.

"I could eat, I suppose," and he went back to his plate, still piled high and began eating sausage rolls with gusto. Tonks, being marginally more ladylike began to eat her dinner slightly slower, watching the man from under her lowered lashes. He was an interesting mix of a brooding, damaged man and the young charmer he used to be. She found him exhilarating.

Tonks reached over to a small metal pot holding some pineapple slices on cocktail sticks, reaching for the last piece. Only she didn't see Sirius hand move in the same direction until it was covering her's. Tonks froze and tried desperately not to move her hand; it was too pleasanter feeling to pull away from. She raised her eyes, feeling his eyes pierce her. They stared for several seconds and Tonks was sure, so sure she saw a pink tinge rise to his cheeks.

Abruptly his hand moved, his eyes went back to his plate and there was a pause of silence.

"You can have it."

She brought the pineapple to her mouth and ate it thoughtfully; it would be an interesting summer at number 12, Grimmauld place, she was sure of it.

A/N: For Louise (twinnione), who wanted Sirius/Tonks,gentle romanceand pineapple