A/N: So I know I procrastinated an unacceptable amount on this chapter, but WriterArtist, my beta, got back to me in a timeley fashion. So thanks to WriterArtist!
Disclaimer: If I owned Harry Potter, things would have gone exactly as I planned them. They are not. Therefore, I own nothing.
Tonks knew that Remus knew he had gotten himself in deep. She could sense his fear like a dog, like a wild animal, and she wasn't going to let this stay down. Hadn't it been her goal, anyway? To 'get him' and show him that the two of them were really better off together? And besides, if he'd really said what she thought he'd said, then, well, her job just got a lot easier. And then Molly's warning came into her head like an explosion.
Maybe words are not what he needs. Maybe you need to try actions to get him.
There it is again, she thought, rolling her eyes with sarcasm. Get him. Somebody get me a fishing rod.
"So, Remus," Tonks closed the door behind her and stood with her back leaning against it, wondering how exactly she was going to approach this, if she was going to. "About before…" she looked down and picked at her fingernail, feeling as awkward as Remus looked, standing expressionless in the hallway. She smacked her lips. "I was wondering if you – oh. Oh, bugger."
A strange, unpleasantly familiar sensation growled in her stomach. She tasted bile and her mouth watered, and she suddenly remembered that she'd received her 'sickness warning'. She clapped a hand to her mouth, annoyed beyond belief that she had to get sick at this particular moment, and darted off in the direction of the loo.
"What the – Tonks?" Remus was baffled beyond belief – he'd been expecting to get told off and then she just kind of ran away from him. "Merlin, I don't understand women," he muttered, rolling his eyes and pursuing the pink-haired woman.
He found her in the loo, kneeling down in front of the toilet.
"Sick?" he asked.
She gave a dry heave in response and coughed. Well, to Remus, the cough was more of a gag, but a cough was a cough. He watched her suffer, unable to do anything, and waited until he was given instruction.
"What're you looking at?" she snapped grumpily, causing him to shift uncomfortable where he stood.
"You," he replied simply. "Done yet?"
She turned back to the toilet and took a few slow, shuddery breaths before falling backwards on the floor, spread-eagled. Remus did nothing at first, unsure of what she was playing at, and only when he began to get nervous did he stride over and touch her shoulder gently. He was rewarded with a groan in reply.
"I'm dying," she muttered.
"Dying, huh?" he jested soothingly. "Am I invited to your funeral?"
Remus chuckled and scooped her up off the ground, carefully, as to avoid hitting her head on the sink. He felt sort of awkward, carrying Tonks like this, but forced the thought out of his mind. Subsequent to flushing the toilet with his foot, he carried the limp figure into the sitting room and gently laid her down on the couch. Devo came scampering up, wagging his forked tail, and Remus gave him a hasty pat on the head before turning back to Tonks, who was apparently either asleep or unconscious.
"And to think, I thought you were going to yell at me," he mused, pulling a down comforter off the armchair and draping it over her. The last thing he wanted was to say anything incriminating in front of Tonks, given the fact that he had already done enough self-incrimination for one day.
As he figured that staying by her side would be the best thing for him to do at the present time, he summoned up a cup of tea and his old favorite book. Thumbing through the worn pages until he found his favorite part, Remus sipped his tea and waited.
When Tonks finally awoke, she sat up and looked around in perplexity, as if she wasn't quite sure how'd she'd gotten there in the first place. And then she looked up and saw Remus watching her, and she remembered.
"How are you?" Remus asked with the air of one asking about the weather.
Any annoyance Tonks might have felt for his nonchalance was taken out on a loose thread in her blanket.
"Terrible," Tonks snapped in reply. "Can you tell me a story?"
Remus raised his eyebrow at her. Tonks was always full of surprises.
"A story?" he repeated.
When she nodded, he sighed and leaned back in his chair, running his fingers through his hair. He shrugged.
"What kind of story?"
"A good one."
Tonks pondered this for a moment, still picking at the blanket. "One about the Marauders. Something you did to Snape, preferably – I'm still mad at him from last week."
Remus' other brow shot up.
"What did he do to you?"
Tonks shrugged and replied simply, "He called me a name – something stupid that I can't remember at the moment."
Remus laughed slightly and placed his book down on the floor next to Devo. "Well," he said, "then I will most certainly tell you something about Snape."
Tonks laughed, but regretted doing so immediately after her head throbbed. Remus, who seemed to understand, rose and left the room. When he returned he was carrying a mug of something that shot purple sparks from its surface every few seconds. He handed it to Tonks and she took it.
"What is it?"
"Why don't you find out?"
"Because I don't trust you."
"Thank you for that."
Tonks rolled her eyes, apprehensively eyed the contents of the mug, and then drank.
"Hmm," she said when she'd finished. She smacked her lips thoughtfully. "I feel better already."
"You're welcome." Remus sat back down and leaned his elbows submissively on his knees. "Do you still want that story?"
Tonks laughed. "Of course I do!"
Remus smiled and thought of a storytelling-worthy memory. He smirked.
"Well, there was this one time I was in seventh year…"
While Tonks was on the mend, Remus took it upon himself to have as much 'quiet time' as possible. In other words, Remus walked outside onto Tonks' back porch and into the warm summer air. He stretched and walked a few paces with a paperback edition of War and Peace tucked safely under his arm.
"Ah, here we go," he mumbled happily, and sat down tentatively on the old, green and white striped hammock. While Tonks was taking one of her frequent naps, Remus figured that he would take this opportunity to do something he wanted.
He stretched before swinging his legs up on the hammock and propping a matching pillow behind his head. Leisurely, he opened a very worn War and Peace and began to read.
Remus groaned inwardly, though he didn't show his anxiety. Tonks stood in the doorway, looking pale but otherwise much better than before. He grunted in acknowledgement but otherwise continued reading. Tonks approached the hammock and crossed her arms.
"Talk to me, please," she implored, though it sounded much more like a command.
"You're not going to defend yourself?"
Remus didn't reply as he turned a page in his book and continued. Tonks pouted briefly with her arms crossed, but when she got no response she tried again.
"Did you have a pet name?" she asked.
"I don't know what you're talking about," Remus replied simply, turning another page.
Remus spared her a sardonic glance before turning, once again, to his book.
"Then it wasn't a real girlfriend."
Remus rolled his eyes and looked up at the pink-haired sickling.
"There's more to dating than pet names, Tonks," he reasoned patiently, though his voice was slightly dangerous. Tonks laughed.
"So what you're telling me is: you didn't have a pet name and you never shagged or did anything romantic? What kind of a significant other were you?"
Remus closed his book with a snap and looked up at Tonks yet again, looking as if he'd love to be annoyed with the woman but he seemed unable to frown.
"Who says I wasn't romantic?" he asked, a teasing glint in his eye.
"Probably your girlfriend. Or, if you'd like to get technical, ex-girlfriend."
Remus rolled his eyes and opened his book again. Before he had the chance to bury himself in War and Peace again, Tonks sat down on the edge of the hammock.
"Mind if I sit here?" she asked.
"It would seem that you already have."
Tonks rolled her eyes. "Can I stay here?"
Remus gestured with one hand as if to say, 'It's a big hammock'.
"By all means, sit," he said pleasantly, and began reading again. Tonks took this as an opportunity to swing her legs up on the hammock so that she was sitting beside Remus.
Tonks watched him for a while as he read, wondering if everything was hopeless. She fiddled with the fabric of the hammock for a while, bored out of her mind, and then looked up to see that Remus was still reading. He sighed and turned a page.
"You know, if we were dating, this would be terribly romantic," Tonks said conversationally, moving back and fourth to sway the hammock.
Remus tried not to think of the impatiently wriggling Tonks next to him and replied, "Indeed."
Tonks had really gotten the hammock swinging now, enough to make Remus feel slightly sick. Instead of admitting this, however, he closed his book and placed it on his lap. Everything was spinning.
"You should stop," he said warningly, closing his eyes briefly.
"Why?" Tonks asked, swinging the hammock even more, apparently enjoying herself thoroughly.
"Because you might –" Remus began, but his words were drowned in a screech as Tonks toppled off the hammock and onto the ground. Alarmed, Remus tossed his old book onto the ground and peered over the edge of the hammock, which had begun to lose some of its momentum. He took one look at the sheepish, but otherwise unscathed Tonks and finished his sentence with a hint of derision, his eyebrows raised. "Fall."
Tonks giggled and slowly got to her feet, stumbled, and finally stood. She dusted herself off in a dignified manner.
"Well, I feel much better," she announced.
Remus smiled and closed his eyes, relaxing as the swaying of the hammock slowed to a gentle rock. "Good," he said. She could tell he meant it.
Tonks took a deep breath, being careful not to make any sound. She knew Remus fancied her and, by this time, surely he realized how much happier he'd be with her. She thought that he must be happier here, away from Grimmauld Place. Now would be a good time to take action if there ever was one. She sat down attentively again, her legs dangling and swaying with the motion of the hammock.
Remus felt her sit down, but he didn't open his eyes. Right now, with the sun playing on his face and a soft smile turning in the corners of his mouth, he was quite content. And then something happened that he hadn't been expecting in the slightest. He felt warm, soft lips upon his own. Though his mind wanted to react – to protest and say that this couldn't be, that what he said in the beginning still stood – his body and heart were quicker. And, before he knew how or why, his arms had somehow pulled her down and he had kissed her in return, and his mind was reeling between remembering that he was a dangerous werewolf and delighting in the fact that she tasted like strawberries and chocolate. And then, too soon, he opened his eyes and sat up.
He pulled away, hating himself for it, and stood up. Tonks said nothing, but stared on, a look of slight shock on her face. Neither of them said anything as Remus walked across the porch, slid open the glass door, and disappeared inside the flat. Moments later Tonks heard the opening and subsequent sound of the bedroom door closing. She frowned and lay down on the hammock, arms crossed behind her head and thoughts running through her mind.
That night a fierce storm caught Tonks unprepared. No, she wasn't afraid of a little thunder, nor was she frightened of lightning. Not afraid, just a little shaken. The combination of being 'not afraid, but shaken' and already not being able to sleep due to certain events that had taken place that afternoon had a bad effect on Tonks. Sighing, she hauled herself out of bed.
Remus couldn't sleep, either. The thought that Tonks fancied him, after everything that had happened, was a little overwhelming. And then, of course, he was still scolding himself for kissing her, then walking away from her.
She snogged you first, he reminded himself.
Well you weren't exactly protesting, he thought back at himself.
Suddenly his bedroom door opened a crack and a soft knock followed. Remus sat up in bed, holding the bedclothes high enough to hide his bare chest from view.
"Tonks, is that you?"
"No, it's a Death Eater in disguise," Tonks replied, and then asked, "Can I come in?"
Remus nodded and Tonks entered the room, looking rather out of place in pajamas the same shade of pink as her hair.
"Are you alright?" Remus asked slowly.
Tonks nodded and then jumped as a boom of thunder shook the flat. Remus chuckled and clambered out of bed.
"Afraid of thunderstorms?"
"No, just shaken," replied Tonks defensively.
"Aha." Remus' eyes twinkled as he crossed the room and stood in front of Tonks. He looked down at the teddy bear she held loosely by the arm. "Nice bear," he added with a smile.
Tonks grinned and hugged the bear close to her chest. "His name is Waldo," she said. "I've had him since forever."
Remus chuckled slightly and then remembered that he was in an awkward position, what with what happened a few hours ago. A flash of lightning lit up the room, followed immediately by a loud clap of thunder. Tonks grimaced slightly and Remus scratched the back of his neck with uncertainty.
"Well," he said slowly, searching for the right words. ""Er, would you like to stay here until the storm passes?"
Tonks shifted uncomfortably.
"What if the storm lasts all night?" she asked.
Remus stepped towards her a step so that they were almost touching.
"I'm sleeping in a queen size, remember?" he said almost teasingly, and Tonks chuckled.
"I told you it would serve a purpose," Tonks replied in the same tone, smirking sheepishly.
Remus looked down on the pink-haired Auror and sighed to himself. After everything, all the protesting and all the fighting, he'd realized one thing: he really was happier with Tonks and, it seemed, she needed him almost as much as he needed her. He touched her arm gently and she shivered.
"Ah, but I'm willing to bet you didn't think you'd be the one in it," he mused, leaning in a little closer to her. He wasn't referring to anything suggestive, really, and he knew Tonks knew it as well. He was after all, Remus Lupin. He was supposed to be the noble one.
As their lips touched for the second time, Tonks couldn't help but wonder, after desperate attempts at getting him, exactly who had gotten who.
A/N: Since I have a bit of a … situation… at my house, this is the perfect time to post. I've been forced to evacuate my place of living due to a major backup of sewage and all that wonderful stuff. They need to acess the emergency outlet thing to unclog the pipes and guess where the emergency thing is? In my room, of course. Now if I'm not swimming in crap by the afternoon my day will have been made. I guess you could call it a shitty situation.