They had not begun this close together.
When they'd sat down at the kitchen table to decode a message Mundungus Fletcher might or might not have intercepted from Death Eaters, their chairs had been a normal mealtime distance apart.
At what point they'd shifted was anyone's guess. Tonks noticed more distance between Remus' chair and the head of the table than had been at the start, so she could only assume he'd made the move. Then again, another person could sit between her place and the one next to her.
Of course, it was only natural for them to sit near enough that they could both scrutinise the scrap of parchment without craning necks or straining eyes. But was it necessary for Remus' hand to rest on the back of Tonks' chair? Or for his other hand to curve around so near that his fingers almost brushed hers as she made notes? Or for his head to sometimes lean in and touch hers when he read her writing? Or for his voice to drop to that low, rasping tone she'd never heard him use with anyone else?
It was becoming terribly difficult to concentrate on decoding. Downright impossible, even.
"What do you think?" Remus asked softly.
Tonks stopped writing. What did she think about what? She thought the code was more likely to be one of Dung's illiterate friends' attempts at a grocery list. She thought she liked the way her shoulder fit into the crook of Remus' arm. She thought…
She wanted to know what he thought.
She turned her head.
Their eyes locked, and Remus' gentle blue told her he wasn't thinking about intercepted missives. Remus was very much thinking about….
His gaze dropped. Presumably to her mouth.
Hers dropped to his.
Remus' Adam's apple bobbed as he swallowed hard.
Tonks' lips went dry. She moistened them.
Their noses touched. His breath was warm on her face. Hers became very shallow.
The world tilted – or was it her? – and then condensed itself into two pairs of lips meeting softly and coaxing one another apart, his smooth hand caressing her face as fingers slid their way into her hair, thumb gliding over her cheekbone. She pressed her hand over his. Merlin, he was so….sweet, and wonderfully supple…yet absolutely intent and careful and thorough as he was in all things.
But then he pulled his lips from hers. His palm continued to cup her face, maybe because Tonks kept hers clasped over it. She wasn't sure. Her mental faculties were channelled wondering what Remus would do if she leant in and kissed him again. Because she didn't think she could ever get enough of this wizard putting all his remarkable focus on her mouth.
"Well," he said hoarsely. "Things appear to have changed."
Tonks shook her head, realising that every move since they agreed to work together tonight – even the instinctual, the reflexive, the unconscious – had been entirely deliberate. She knew it was so for her part; his kiss had told her it was for his. Oh yes, there had been a bit of the Marauder in that kiss, and before that, when he'd slid his arm onto the back of her chair. She definitely wanted to learn more about that.
"We changed things. We meant to do that."
Remus nodded, slightly. A smile that might be relieved curved his lips; but his eyes looked grey – a bit serious, a bit…not hesitant, but something along those lines…
He cleared his throat. "I believe I was the one who changed them. I made the first move."
Responsible. Only Remus would take responsibility for a kiss. Tonks would have let him take responsibility for the first move – she liked initiative – except…
"Are you sure I didn't kiss you first?"
For a long time they simply stared, processing, decoding.
They had much better luck than with Dung's message.
At the same moment, Tonks tilted her face upward, and Remus bent toward her. Their foreheads touched. His hand, which had been gripping the back of her chair, released it and slid down to settle on her waist, drawing her closer, bringing himself closer. She rested her other hand against the curve of his neck, fingers sliding inside his open collar. He was smooth and warm. She liked his skin. That would be a lovely place to kiss, right there at the hollow of his collarbone, where he was so soft…He rubbed her earlobe between his third and index fingers. She hoped he was thinking of kissing her there.
Remus' breath on her face underscored his words. "Shall we try it again? To be sure we changed this together?"
"What a good idea."
Everything sloped diagonally again. Or maybe it didn't. It didn't matter. What mattered was that whatever was happening was entirely their own doing.
And that she, Nymphadora Tonks, was kissing Remus Lupin, and he was kissing her.
A/N: I thought I'd share a bit of happy R/T, since there seems to be a whole lot of angst lately. Look for a longer sequel in a couple of days, entitled Retrograde.
Reviewers will receive their choice of Remus with whom to share a first kiss: Noble Remus, who is unsure you fancy him and thinks he might have overstepped a boundary and, like a true gentleman, takes full responsibility; Sexy Remus, who suspects you fancy him and speaks in low, rasping tones and stretches his arm along the back of your chair as you work together; or Marauder Remus, who totally knows you fancy him and asks with a gleam in his eye if you should kiss again so you'll know for sure who made the first move.