This story corresponds to chapter 10 of the GoF fic Promise of a Spring Moon wherein Tonks and Remus go camping in the Highlands to visit Sirius and deal with a few issues while sharing a sleeping bag!
Waiting for Spring
In his reading over the years, Remus found most cultures claimed a variation of the saying Eavesdroppers never hear any good of themselves. The proverb had never applied so personally…until now.
He lay on a mattress with Tonks and listened to Sirius laugh with his lover Cami on the other side of the tent wall. In the rational part of his mind, Remus knew the words weren't intended to hurt his feelings.
Yet they did.
I've never seen Moony lust after a woman like this. If she wasn't my little cousin, I'd laugh my head off. As it is….
Sirius had never understood the realities of being a werewolf, why Remus kept strict control over his emotions. He'd called him 'professor' and 'old woman' since Hogwarts. That didn't sting.
It was the implication Remus was too old for his friend's little cousin that wounded. Remus thought Sirius supported them completely. Had he been wrong?
In the dim light, Nymphadora's eyes looked dark and vulnerable. He smiled faintly; trying to reassure he didn't take careless words to heart. In the other 'bedroom', conversation continued.
It's a bit discomforting, seeing Tonks kiss my mate the way you kiss me…when you're naked….
The look on Nymphadora's face held Remus transfixed. Consciously or not, she had kissed him with a carnality that evoked images of naked bodies straining together. Her expression mixed guilt and defiance, mirroring what he felt—guilt for allowing the embrace by the fire to become so passionate and defiance for anyone who judged them because of it.
Sirius verbally scrambling to cover up the fact he'd forgotten to activate the privacy wards would have been amusing at any other time. At this moment, Remus didn't want to hear anything or anyone except the woman beside him.
When Sirius' words trailed off into silence, Nymphadora's parted lips and indrawn breath were the only signals Remus needed to kiss her. She responded ardently.
Instinct led him to roll her onto her back and press his body to hers. Contrary to what Sirius thought, Remus had never been concerned with propriety. He'd been determined to keep strict command over his mind and body.
Remus' tenuous hold on self-control slipped further when he heard a breathy plea.
His body rocked against hers before Remus gained the restraint to halt and ask, "Nymphadora?"
Her face was flushed, her eyes huge. He felt the heat radiating off her skin, the instinctive rise of her body towards his, and was tempted to take that as her answer. Every muscle tensed as he waited for her to speak.
She didn't say yes. She didn't say anything, only stared up into his face with an expression that tugged at his heart, even while it stirred more primal emotions.
Her eyes filled with tears. "Why did you stop?"
Disappointment ripped through him, lending a jagged edge to his tone. "Were you hoping I'd seduce you?"
She bit her bottom lip. It revealed more than she knew.
He allowed her to take more of his weight. "Do you think I'm not tempted? That I don't know how easy seduction would be?" Remus lowered his mouth. Not to her lips, but to her ear. "I feel it," he rasped. "I smell it."
For an instant, Remus imagined kissing and touching her in ways he knew would have Nymphadora saying yes to anything he cared to ask. He'd bet anything her ex-fiancé had slithered his way into her bed using those tactics—beguiling, seducing, using….
"I won't do it," he said, rolling away. Remus stood and raked a hand through his hair. "I love you, and when I said I'd wait, I meant it." He gave a mirthless chuckle. "I only wish you didn't make it so damned hard."
He turned to leave.
"Remus, don't go."
He hated to see her cry, but couldn't stay. "I'll be back. I need more than a cold shower. I'm going to try that stream we passed on the way up."
Outside, the stars were bright, the cold night air bracing and welcome, although the walk to the burn did nothing to alleviate Remus' frustration. He kept remembering the way Nymphadora had looked and moved beneath him. The wolf in him howled that he was an idiot for leaving.
Icy cold water took care of physical discomfort, but emotional turmoil remained. As he dressed and returned to the cave, questions without answers echoed in his mind.
What if I hadn't stopped? Would we be happier? Does the end ever justify the means?
The Machiavellian direction his thoughts were taking convinced Remus that returning to the tent anytime soon was a bad idea. He was better off conjuring a fire and avoiding temptation.
He turned to see Sirius, huddled in a cloak. Remus said, "I've been reciting Latin in my head, but it's not helping me relax."
"What are you reciting?"
Remus waited for his friend to have a seat before answering, "Random passages, Lucretius mainly."
After a minute, Sirius said, "Doesn't ring a bell. However, knowing you, he was some mouldy old philosopher. Which inspirational quote were you thinking of?"
Remus said, "ADFIGUNT AVIDE CORPUS IUNGUNTQUE SALIVAS ORIS ET INSPIRANT PRESSANTES DENTIBUS ORA."
"And that means?"
"Lovers cling greedily with their bodies and join their wet mouths, draw deep breaths biting each other's mouths."
Sirius whistled. "Damn! No wonder you can't sleep. Don't you know any dry, boring histories?"
"Yes, but I seem to have a one track mind tonight."
Silence fell. Minutes passed. Sirius cleared his throat. "Is there any…erm…reason…why you're out here instead of in there, following that track?"
Remus looked at his friend steadily.
"Was it something I said?" Sirius asked bluntly. "I know you heard me."
Sirius exhaled sharply. "Sorry, mate. I didn't mean any of it in a bad way."
"But you'd prefer your old friend lust after someone other than your little cousin?"
Sirius' mouth dropped open. "I never said that!"
"It was implied."
"The hell it was!" Sirius shook his head. "I would've reacted the same way to seeing Tonks kiss anybody like that. I still think of her as the girl who cried when she couldn't keep me as a pet!"
Remus stared. "You don't think I'm too old for her?"
Sirius laughed. "Mate, Cami's only a few years older than Tonks. Do you think I'm a dirty old man for lusting after her?"
"Of course not."
"Then don't assume people think that way about you." Sirius began to smile. "Remember what James' mum said happens when you assume."
"You make an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me,'" the friends said in unison.
Relieved, and feeling rather like an ass, Remus said, "Why aren't you sleeping?"
Sirius levered himself up. "I was about to patrol." He saw Remus' expression and shook his head. "Don't tell me it's unnecessary. I say it is."
"Very well, I'll see you in the morning."
Sirius grinned. "Late morning." His eyebrows waggled. "I plan to sleep in."
Remus smiled. "Good night."
After his friend transformed and trotted out of the cave, Remus extinguished the fire in the pit. He walked back into the tent and entered his 'bedroom' as quietly as possible. The soft hitching breath he heard told Remus Nymphadora was still awake—and crying.
He felt like a bastard for lingering by the fire, wallowing in self-pity. Remus dropped to his knees and crawled forward. Inside the sleeping bag, she lay on her side, facing away from him. He lifted the downy cover and slid beside her.
Remus leaned over to kiss her cheek. It was wet with tears. He whispered, "Nymphadora?"
She turned and buried her face against his chest. "I love you, and I'm so sorry," she said.
"Shhh." He caressed her back in long strokes, trying to soothe. "I'm sorry too." He smiled in the darkness. "Shall we kiss and make up?"
In answer, she gave a push that rolled him onto his back. She scooted up and kissed him. It tasted salty and sweet. After soft kisses and words of love, Nymphadora cuddled against him. As his eyelids began to close, she whispered, "I was afraid you wouldn't come back."
His arms tightened around her. "I couldn't stay away."
He fell asleep listening to her contented sigh.
A/N: Those of you who wanted Remus to get…er…lucky, remember he's lucky in love...and he'll be lucky in both ways when the time is right. :D Those of you who review, I will love truly, madly, deeply, lol, and consider myself lucky to have such wonderful readers who encourage so brilliantly!