"Remus…Remus? What's going on here?" Nymphadora Tonks and just walked through the door of, for lack of a better term, her boyfriend's bedroom at Number 12 Grimmauld Place to find him standing next to his pristinely made bed while folding a t-shirt. On the bed was an open duffel bag and a tattered old brief case. Tonks immediately began to think the worst. Thoughts that Remus was leaving her when they had just sorted our their relationship rushed to her. Remus turned in time to see her short, spiky bubblegum pink hair turn to a mousy brown that was streaked liberally with gray and an ever present sparkle dim in her eyes. Remus was across the room in two strides gently pulling Tonks into his embrace. With one hand he held both of hers (partly to have and maintain contact with her and partly to keep her from going for her wand to hex him into next week) and with his wand hand and a flick of his wrist, he conjured an oversized rocking chair.
Remus led Tonks over to the chair. He sat down and pulled her into his lap. Laying his wand on the bedside table he began to stroke her back and murmur soothing sounds into the top of her head. "Nymphadora it's not what it looks like. Yes, I am packing but I'm not leaving you…us. I was hoping to be done before you got home so that I could have dinner ready and could properly explain. I wanted to avoid a scene just like this." He said kissing the top of her head. He released her hands and with one finger under her chin raised her face so that she was looking into his eyes. "Love, even though I still can't believe you love me…I'm not running away. I have a mission to go on." He felt Tonks tense in his lap and rapidly continued his explanation, "I'm not going back to the wolves. We're through with that. Arthur, Kingsley and I are going to take it in turns to stay with Harry."
Tonks interrupted him, "Harry? You're going to his aunt and uncle's house? But I just dropped him off. He can't be in trouble already. He does seem quite depressed, but that's to be expected. We are all upset. It's been a horrible week for everyone. But Harry seems like a light has gone out in him. He's lost a sparkle. I hope he finds it. He's rather dull without that bit of life…" Remus cut of her tirade with a sift kiss in an attempt to bring her attention back to him and to his explanation.
"Love…pay attention…I have about an hour before I have to head over there and there are several things we need to discuss first." He said seriously. He was about to ask her a very important question and he needed her undivided attention.
"But, why do you have to go tonight. I've just got home and, well why can't one of the others do it. You just got back from that pack and now…ompfh!" Remus again shut Tonks up with a kiss. But this time, he lingered over her mouth. He took his time to explore her lips and learn their sensation. They had technically been an 'item' for but a few days and Remus wasn't going to pass up this opportunity.
Only after several minutes, when Remus realized that his shirt was unbuttoned and his hands were desperately working the fastening at Tonks' bra, did he return to reality. He began to disengage the kiss and heard Tonks sigh as she snuggled more deeply into his lap. "As much as I want to continue this adventure" he croaked "I must insist that we talk a bit. The reason I am the first to go to Harry's aunt and uncle's is that since the full moon is Friday and this is Monday, that will give me plenty of time to get back here before the moon rises Friday night. Arthur will relieve me Thursday when he gets off work. Kingsley will work Friday and Saturday at the ministry for you so that you can be here with me until Monday. That is if you want to stay." He said nervously. Remus had never asked anyone to stay with him on the night of a transformation. James, Sirius and Peter had practically forced their company on him while at Hogwarts. And while he fully admits now that their escapades were highly dangerous, Remus wouldn't trade those times for all the gold in Gringotts. "You see, I haven't found a potions master to make the Wolfsbane for me and since my potions skills really aren't up to such a complicated potion, you see it's a bit like making Polyjuice Potion, I will have to go through this transformation with out it. I need to know that there will be someone her that will be able to protect the others. I need to be able to trust the person who is setting up the protective wards." Then looking deeply and desperately into Tonks' eyes he said "I need to know you are here, that you will be here when it's over."
Tonks couldn't believe what she had just been asked. Remus has asked me to be here when he transforms into a werewolf. He needs me here, he said. Tonks answered him by taking her left hand, placing it behind his head and dragging his mouth to hers for a soul-searching kiss. Tonks' poured all her love and devotion for this man into that kiss. She just hoped it would be enough.
Remus was momentarily stunned by Tonks' reaction. Then he began to return the kiss with equal fervor. As he lifted his head he whispered, "I'll take that as a yes?"
He saw her slight smile and the nod of her head, "Of course it's a yes. I will be here to take care of you before, during and after. Just tell me what to do and I'll make sure it's done. But on the subject of your potions master, I have a thought. I think I know who could brew the Wolfsbane for you. I don't want to say who so they wont feel pressured if they think the potion is too complicated or something but I'd bet all the money in my Gringotts vault that she'd do it. Oh see what I've done, I've spilled half the secret." Tonks drew her want and with a flick of her wrist a silvery werewolf erupted from the tip, lifted its head in a silent howl and took off out the window.
Tonks felt Remus tense under her, "Nymphadora, why didn't you tell me what form your new Patronus took. I learned from Harry last Christmas that it had changed, but he said it was a dog. I just assumed it was Snuffles."
"Well, Remus, what was I to do? We weren't really chummy for most of the past year. Was I supposed to send you a howler while you were with the werewolf pack, oh Remus, my love…my new patronus is a dashing werewolf" she said in a mock rage with a cheeky grin on her face.
Remus rolled his eyes at her and asked her, "Do you know what this means?" At the negative shake of her head Remus continued, "Well, I don't have time to go into it all right now but I promise we will discuss this later next week. But for now, who was that message for?"
Tonks replied, "It was for your soon to be potions master. I hadn't even said anything to her until I talked to you because if you had found someone, well I didn't want to step on any toes. You know how some potions masters can be. You say one little thing about how their healing potions taste and you never hear from them again. I'm not allowed to talk to the potions masters at work. I lost us three in the last year alone." She said with a wiry smile.
Remus shook his head in disbelief. "Nympahdora"
"You know, you're the only one who gets away with calling me that. Not even Sirius gets… well you know."
"As I was saying, we need to go to the basement so I can show you where I need the wards placed and the things I need you to do in the next three days. Bill will be coming here for his first transformation so that means that Fleur and Molly will be here as well as the rest of them I imagine." Remus made to move Tonks off his lap but before he could help her stand, she jumped up and promptly tripped over her own feet. With his heightened reflexes, coming from this being so close to the full moon, Remus was up out of the chair and catching her in his arms long before she ever made it to the floor. "Remus, darling, if you wanted a quick shag…well, all you had to do was ask" Tonks said with that old sparkle back in her eyes and her hair rapidly retuning to the short bubblegum pink spikes she knew Remus loved so much.
Remus growled low in his throat, said nothing, sat her on her own two feet and dragged her out the bedroom door. Tonks giggled all the way down the hall and down the stairs. When they made it to the landing by the front door, Tonks stopped dead in her tracks. "Remus, what happened to my dear Auntie. Usually by the time I get any where near her portrait, she is spewing obscenities all over the place. She's usually cursing you, as well. What happened?" Tonks turned and face the portrait, "Auntie, what's wrong? Why have you gone silent?"
"I haven't gone silent, you silly girl. But that boy, the one who inherited my father's beloved home, threatened to have the house torn down if is screamed at you lot again. To tell you the truth, my throat was getting a bit scratchy from all the yelling. But just because I've stopped my constant screaming doesn't mean I've changed my mind. You're all blood traitors to me but then again, where has being a pure blood gotten my two beloved sons? DEAD! The ancient and most noble house of Black is defunct." Tonks thought she saw a tear in her Auntie's eye, "Auntie, those that are dead are never truly gone unless the living quit remembering and telling stories of them." With that bit of sage advice, Tonks turned to Remus and taking his hand led him to the basement stairs.
Once down stairs Tonks turned to him and in her most professional Auror voice, "Now" she said turning in a slow circle, "The way I see it, we need to have a space for you on the far side of the room and a space for Bill closest to the door. That way if something goes wrong, I can stun him easier and get him out. We'll need some sort of room divider. As much as I hate to see you like that, I'm afraid that, well, cells are our best bet. I'll have Moody come and put the Moonlight charm on the bottom basement door and have him teach it to me for next months full moon. We'll have healing potions and dreamless sleep draught ready for when the moon sets. I'll place an observation area between the two cells. We will need to be as close as possible to Bill to see what effects those bites will have on him. You both will need something warm to sleep on and something soft but hard wearing. Oh and food." Turning to Remus she asked, "I suppose you'll be wanting raw meat. Do you have a preference? I'm sure I can come up with any request, well except the obvious and nothing too exotic. I daresay Hagrid would have a fit if you asked for hippogriff meat." She said with a bit of a smile. "And we should have a selection of things for Bill. I don't want him to have to eat raw or rare meat if it can be helped. Best not to develop that taste if it can be helped. We'll have water in an unbreakable bowl and music. My dad always said music calms the savage beast." Tonks seemed to have finished making her mental lists and turned once again to Remus, "Did I leave anything out?"
Remus shook his head in disbelief. He had never seen Tonks in full Auror mode before and it amazed him that his clumsy witch could be so astute and businesslike. Just one more reason to love and protect her. You'll never find another liker, Mooney he thought to himself, "No that about does it I think. But there's no need to go to all the trouble of making some soft bed and blankets for me. With out the Wolfsbane I'll just tear it up" he said with a sad smile. Remus had ruined more clothing and bedding than he cared to count.
"Oh no. I'll not have the love of my life down here freezing his tail off. Beds and blankets are easy enough to fix if not replace. Besides, I might have found you a potions master." Tonks replied in a very firm voice that left no room for argument and with a look in her eye that they were going to do things her way or not at all. Remus supposed this mind set is what helped her through Auror training. She had been the last that Mad Eye Moody had trained himself and she was rumored to be his favorite. She had gotten away with more that any other trainee but had come out better than any of the last dozen that had been accepted into the program. Given that they only took the very best and none had been accepted into the program in the past five years prior to Tonks, was saying something indeed. Many thought that it was her metamorphmagus abilities that got her into being an Auror but any who had worked along side her disagreed completely and Remus now fully understood why, she didn't miss a trick this one.
"Nymphadora, love, even if you find someone to make the potion, I would have to take six goblets full on Thursday and twelve on Friday. And there's no guarantee that it would help much. It's best not to ruin anything just on my account. It will all be over in a matter of hours and then I can go to bed properly." Remus saw the look in her eye and realized that he was not going to win this argument now or ever. He sighed and resigned himself to sewing up what ever she left in there with him Friday night.
"If I do find you a potions master and she is able to make the Wolfsbane I will bring it to you Thursday and I will sit on you all day Friday and make sure you take all twelve goblets! And I will put whatever I feel necessary inside that cell. It's bad enough you have to put in a cell like some common criminal. You'll be comfortable because I SAY SO! Do you think Molly would let you be down there without everything she could find in this house to make you comfortable? I'm not about to face one of her tongue-lashings because you want to avoid a bit of housework later next week. You try telling her you don't need a blanket or something soft to sleep on. Let me know how that works out for you when you do tell her" Tonks said with a bit of a laugh.
Remus threw his hands in the air in mock surrender "okay! Fine, but I'm not sewing a thing.!"
Tonks laughed at him and grabbed him around the waist. She laid her head on his chest and breathed in deeply, "Remus, darling, can I have one of your t-shirts?"
The question was so off the subject that it took Remus a few minutes to realize what she was asking, "Wha..Huh? What did you ask?"
Tonks repeated, "Remus, love, can I have one of your t-shirts?" She said looking up at him adoringly, "I want to sleep in it and I figured I should ask, just this once before I went digging through your drawers."
Remus seemed stunned by her request, "Why do you want to sleep in my t-shirt? They would be too large for you and most are thread bare and worn. If you need something to sleep in I'll buy you pajamas next week, Nymphadora."
Tonks sighed a heavy sigh, "You're missing the point, love. It's your t-shirt I want to sleep in. If you cant be here, at least I can sleep in your shirt and still be able to smell you. You have such a distinctive smell. It's chocolate, coffee, clean soap and something else I can't quite name but I'll get there with it. Just you wait."
Remus stumbled over his thoughts and his words came out a bit of a jumble…"Well if you really want to, I'll give you one. Come on. I've got more to tell you about the next three days and I'll get you my last shirt while we talk." They made their way out of the basement and up to Remus' room making sure to avoid the troll's leg that had a nasty habit of tripping Tonks any time she was in the house.
Remus dug through his drawers looking for his last t-shirt that he had not packed. It embarrassed him a bit for Tonks to see how few clothes he owned and how few possessions he had but he figured she had to come to the realization at some time that he was truly poor. However, Tonks had other ideas…"Look there's room for my things in there."
Remus' head shot up in surprise, "What do you mean, your things?"
"Remus, love I though that'd be obvious. I'll have to sleep in here when the Wesley's invade the house. I doubt that I'll be able to talk Hermione and Ginny into sharing with Fleur and I doubt that Molly would either. I could probably squeeze Fred, George and Ron into the same room but then that leaves Charlie by himself with out a room unless I sleep in here. You know the other bedrooms aren't ready for occupants yet. Maybe Molly can give me some pointers as how to decontaminate the rest of the house." She mused distractedly. Tonks missed the look of pure pleasure that passed over Remus' face. When she turned back, he had found the t-shirt and was handing it to her while closing his duffle bag that still laid on the bed.
"Nymphadora, I need to tell you some other things. With…With Dumbledore gone, Harry will have to choose a new secret keeper since the house is his. Maybe you should wait on the cleaning till we know what he wants to do. Did you know he declined Schrimgore's offer of Auror protection? He says that the aurors haven't been able to protect all that well and since the ministry insisted on jailing innocent people, he'd just prefer to fend for himself. Luckily Kingsley was able to dissuade Schrimgor from doing anything force Harry to accept his protection and has worked a deal for you and him to help him this summer. His ban on underaged wizardry has been lifted and he will be able to take his apparition exam on the Monday before his birthday. Also, he refused to tell Minerva where he and Dumbledore had gone that evening. She told him it might be important. He told her that it was important but that Dumbledore had told him not to discuss it with anyone save Ron and Hermione and he wasn't about to stop following Dumbledore's orders just because he'd died. Can you believe the cheek on that boy? He's his father's son, through and through. Anyway, I'll be in touch, love. Try not to work too hard while I'm gone. I'm sure Molly would feed you if you showed for dinner and she'd love to see you. She and Fleur may have come to an understanding, but I think she misses adult companionship with Arthur gone so much." Remus turned to Tonks and saw that she had tears in her eyes. "Don't cry love. It's only for three days and I'll be back home before you know it. Why don't you clean out your flat and bring your things here. You don't have to move into my room but at least you won't be alone." Remus placed the palm of his hand on her cheek and brushed away the stray tear making its way down her cheek with his thumb. "I love you, Dora. I'll be back soon. I'll ask Harry if I can borrow Hedwig and send you a note. How's that?"
Tonks nodded her head in agreement not trusting her voice. As she watched Remus disaparate, her patronus returned with a very interesting message. She'd found a potions master for Remus and she was heading to Diagon Alley at that very moment to get what she needed for the potion. Oh that girl, I knew she couldn't resist a challenge. She has already brewed Polyjuice Potion, Remus. Wolf'sbane should be a snap for her. Tonks sent her patronus with the reply that they would meet in Diagon Alley in ten minutes to pick up the needed ingredients for the potion.