A/N – I desperately needed to get away from all the angst from the chaptered story I'm working on. Hence, this Remus/Tonks one-shot. This is a stand alone story.

This story is set during Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Disclaimer – I make no money off of this. Everything in the story belongs to JK Rowling.

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Spontaneous Combustion

Remus Lupin wonders if he stares at the alarm clock long enough, if it will burst into flames. He takes back the thought. Spontaneous combustion is too good for the alarm clock. He wishes it a slow and painful death-

A racking cough surges through Remus' body. He sighs, knowing that he has succumbed to the illness he has been trying to fight for the past few days.

"Accio wand," Remus mutters. A moment later, his wand is in his hand, which he waves at the alarm clock, shutting it off. He coughs again, fervently hoping that his lungs and stomach stay where they are supposed to.

He rolls over on his back, knowing full well that a phial of Pepperup Potion will not relieve all of his symptoms. Though it certainly would help.

His body protests as he sits up in bed, throwing the covers off of him. He takes a deep breath, which he realizes is a mistake. He's coughing again-

"Are you naked in there, Moony?" Sirius demands from the other side of the door.

"No," Remus croaks.

Sirius opens the door and lets himself inside. He crosses his arms and looks at Remus suspiciously. "Are you going to die today?"

Remus can't help but smile. "Not today, Padfoot," Remus says. "At least I hope not."

"Are you sick?" he inquires.

Remus looks at Sirius, not willing to dignify the question with an answer. He would think that it was quite obvious that he was sick, but then again, Sirius doesn't always see the obvious anymore.

Sirius shrugs. "I've tea in the kitchen, if you want it," he says and then heads out the door.

Ten very painful minutes later, Remus walks down the stairs to the kitchen, still in his pyjamas and flannel dressing gown. Sirius is no where to be found. Pouring himself a cuppa, he supposes that Sirius has locked himself up with Buckbeak again. Ever since Harry and the Weasleys left Headquarters a week ago, he's been shutting himself away more and more.

It hurts to swallow and Remus pushes the cup away from him, wondering if he'll bother to finish it, but knowing full well he will. He never wastes food or drink if he can help it.

Remus hears someone in the hallway upstairs and wonders if Sirius is going to join him. But then he hears a loud crash and knows that Nymphadora, Tonks, is here at Headquarters. He wonders if it was the umbrella stand or the rug this time.

Selfishly he hopes she doesn't come down to the kitchen. The last thing he wants is to have her see him like this, sick and weak. Not when he's already far too old for what they've been doing lately.

They have been flirting for months now. He doesn't quite understand what she possibly sees in him. And to be frank, sometimes he wonders what he sees in her. After all, seven years ago she was half his age. But the positives far outweigh the negatives. Tonks is smart, funny, brave, not to mention beautiful. Sooner or later, (sooner would be preferred), his inner Gryffindor would roar and he will kiss her.

Two sets of footsteps can be heard coming down the stairs and Remus hears Tonks and Sirius laughing happily. He starts coughing again, but tries hard to hide it.

Sirius rolls his eyes while Tonks looks at him with concern. "Are you alright?" she asks kindly.

"I'm sick," Remus says hoarsely. "Cold or something."

She looks at him suspiciously. "Have you taken Pepperup yet? Why aren't your ears smoking?"

Remus simply shrugs. Sirius perks up at the word 'smoking' and takes out a packet of fags from his robes.

"Don't you dare smoke in here, Sirius," warns Tonks. "Remus is sick."

Sirius gives her a blank look. "And why should that stop me from smoking?" he asks.

"Let him smoke, Tonks, it doesn't matter," Remus says wearily.

Sirius lights up his cigarette and takes a drag. The smoke immediately makes Remus start coughing again. Tonks takes Sirius' fag and stubs it out on the kitchen table. "No smoking," she says sternly.

"Spoilsport," Sirius says, rolling his eyes.

"I'm finding you Pepperup," Tonks announces. She runs up the steps and Remus waits to hear her trip over the top step, which is slightly higher than the rest of the steps.

"Bugger," Remus and Sirius hear her mutter from upstairs.

"She's too bloody predictable," Sirius says, drumming his fingers on the table. Remus knows Sirius wants to smoke again and is surprised when Sirius doesn't light up another fag since Tonks has left.

Remus rubs his eyes and picks up yesterday's Daily Prophet. "Did you see that the Goblins are talking about starting a rebellion again?" Remus muses.

"That's just what we need," Sirius snorts. "A bunch of pissed-off Goblins."

"I just don't understand the timing," Remus says seriously, switching to professor mode without even realizing it. "There hasn't been a rebellion for a hundred and thirty-seven years and that was the one led by…"

Sirius holds up his hand. "Don't try to educate me, Moony," he says, his eyes glazing over slightly. "It will be painful for both of us."

Remus chuckles which turns into another fit of coughing. He takes a sip of tea to try to calm his throat. Sirius mumbles something about Buckbeak and goes upstairs without another word to Remus.

He wonders where Tonks has gone. He waits for a bit, finishing his tea, but then decides to go back to bed. Sleeping whatever he has off seems like the best thing to do.

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A knock on the door wakes him. "It's Tonks. Can I come in?" she yells from outside the room.

Remus corrects her grammar in his head and says, "Come in." His body still aches and his throat feels like it's on fire. The door opens, she peaks in and Remus notices that she's changed her hair from this morning. Before it had been in pink spikes, but now it's in bouncy lime green curls that brush her shoulders. He wonders for the millionth time where she gets the ideas for her hair.

"Healer Tonks has come to take care of you," Tonks announces as she steps inside the room.

Remus can't help but smile; the robes that she's wearing are duplicates of the robes Healers wear at St. Mungos. "You don't have to," he says softly. He's touched at the effort.

"Like I'm going to leave your health in the hands of Sirius," Tonks scoffs. Remus notices that she's holding a wicker basket and can't help but wonder what's inside.

"I see you looking at my goodies," Tonks says teasingly. She sits down at the foot of the bed, leaning against the footboard. "I have lots of good stuff in here."

Remus leans forward, trying to peak in the basket. "You're like Little Red Riding Hood," he says with a smile.

Tonks snorts and covers her hand with her mouth, looking embarrassed. "Strange, you don't remind me of Granny Tonks," she smiles.

"I was thinking more along the line of the big, bad wolf," Remus says sheepishly. He's pleased that she didn't make that connection herself.

"Does that mean Sirius is the woodsmen who saves Little Red?" Tonks asks. Then looking down at her robes, adds, "Or in this case, Little Lime Green?"

"If it does, we're in for some trouble," Remus grins, leaning back against the pillows.

"Back to my goodies," Tonks says, reaching into the basket. "I know you'll hate it, but first things first. Here's some Pepperup."

"I hate this potion," Remus sighs, reaching for the phial that Tonks holds in her hand. He uncorks it and holds it up to her, in salute. "Cheers."

He drinks the phial in one gulp and immediately senses the difference, as well as the smoke that was drifting out of his ears. His throat is not as constricted and he seems to be able to take a proper breath. His body still aches though.

"Thank you," he says gratefully, handing her back the empty phial. Their fingers brush and Remus doesn't imagine the spark he feels. "What else do you have?"

"So demanding," Tonks says, raising one eyebrow. She looks through the basket and brings out a plastic container. "Chicken noodle soup."

She takes the lid off and the smell is enticing. She hands him the container along with a plastic spoon. Having been around Grimmauld Place for six months now, she knows that Remus doesn't use silver utensils. He takes a bite and the warmth of the soup tastes wonderful.

"You didn't make this, did you?" Remus asks. He's fairly certain she didn't. Tonks has been known to burn pasta in the past.

"Muggle shop near my flat," Tonks confesses. "I didn't want to add food poisoning to your troubles."

She takes out a pint of ice cream. "This is for later," she announces. "I charmed it so that it will stay cold. And I'll have you know that for almost five seconds I contemplated getting a non-chocolate flavor. But then I realized the error of my ways."

Remus takes the pint from her and puts it on the bedside table. "I would hope so," he grins.

He continues to eat the chicken noodle soup while Tonks looks out the window. It's raining out; an absolute miserable day which matches how his body feels. But surprisingly enough, overall, he feels pretty good.

The effort that Tonks has put into this, touches him, and he thinks that maybe when he gets better, just maybe, then it would be time to take that next step.

He finishes the soup and places the container on the bedside table. "Thank you," he says, staring at the ice cream for just a moment.

She catches him and shakes her finger at him. "Later," she says. "Now for the entertainment."

"You brought me entertainment?" Remus asks in surprise. "Do you have dancing girls in that basket?"

"Course not," she scoffs, shaking her head. She rummages through the basket. "First, the really boring option is me reading The Daily Prophet to you."

She picks up the paper and looks at the front page. "Let me summarize. After a week of searching, the Ministry still has no bloody idea where the escaped Death Eaters are and blame poor, innocent Sirius Black instead of owing up to their incompetence."

"Did you just call Sirius innocent?" Remus smirks.

Tonks shrugs and throws the paper to the ground. "He was at one time, wasn't he?"

She takes out a pack of playing cards. "Option two is cards. Gin Rummy, Hearts, Poker, anything you want."

Remus contemplates the idea. There are certainly worse ways to spend an afternoon than playing cards with Tonks. He leans back against the headboard and smiles to himself. "Anything else?" Remus asks.

"I've got a copy of the Quibbler or Witch Weekly," Tonks says. "Glossy magazines are always a good read when you're sick."

"Let's go for cards," he says, holding back a cough. "I play a mean game of Gin Rummy."

They spend close to the next hour playing Gin Rummy and Tonks is beating him hardily. Not wanting to lose another round, Remus suggests they open up the ice cream. Tonks jumps up, knocking over her basket in the process. Magazines and a book fall to the ground.

"What are you reading?" Remus asks casually. The cover looks like a painting.

"Nothing," Tonks says far too quickly and reaches out to grab the book.

Now Remus is curious. "Accio Tonks' book," he calls out. A moment later the book is in his hand.

Remus laughs when he sees how red her cheeks go. He looks at the cover. A woman, wearing very little clothing is leaning into a shirtless man, who gazes at her fiercely. "Forbidden Tryst," Remus reads from the cover. "I see you're a fan of fine literature, Tonks."

Tonks reaches for the book. "Give it back," she demands.

He snatches the book away from her hands. "Why didn't you tell me this was an entertainment option?" he asks mischievously. "This will be much more fun than cards."

She sits back at the foot of the bed and flops on her back. "This is so embarrassing," she mutters.

"Now let me see if I remember…" Remus says, flipping through the pages. "The good parts are usually around page 128 and page 256 and then a few pages before the end."

Tonks sits up quickly and giggles. "I'm not even going to ask how you know that,' she laughs, her eyes dancing.

"Good, because I'm sure the reason would make you think less of me as a man," Remus says seriously. Tonks giggles and again Remus is thrilled that he is able to make her laugh like that.

He scans the pages while Tonks kicks off her heavy boots and brings her feet up under her. "Here we go," Remus says triumphantly. "Page 132. I was close."

Tonks leans forward just a little bit, and Remus smiles, not believing what he is about to do. "His gentle hands stroked her shoulders, causing a delicious tingle to surge through her entire body. 'My Lady,' he whispered, his voice a sweet caress to her ears. 'You shall be my temple and I promise to worship at your alter."

Remus can't stop himself from bursting out laughing. He exaggerated the reading and used a posh upper class British accent. "I'm sorry," he laughs. "I promise to worship at your alter?"

Tonks reaches out and grabs the book from him. "That's not the best part," she declares. She moves across the bed so that she is sitting next to him. She flips through the pages and Remus suddenly is uncomfortable at how close they are. If he wasn't sick, his Marauder side would be celebrating right now. But he is sick.

She coughs and waves some of the smoke that is still coming out of his ears away from her. "The smoking should end soon," she smiles as she flips through the pages. Only then does Remus notice how well worn the spine of the book is.

"Page 203," she says knowingly. She clears her throat. And when she speaks, her voice is low and gentle, the opposite of the exaggeration that Remus had used. "Every stroke of his tongue was another log on the fire, causing the inferno in her to burn brighter. Victoria didn't recognize the sounds that escaped her lips as his fingers used their magic to persuade her body to sing to his tune. She reached out for him, desperate to have his skin under her hands, desperate to stoke the fire raging between them, desperate to let the flames consume them both…"

Tonks stops reading and places the book on her lap. She gazes at him with a questioning look. Remus is not able to believe how turned on he is simply from listening to her speak those words. As she bites her lower lip, he knows exactly what she wants him to do. And knows that he will not.

"I don't want to get you sick," Remus says miserably. There is nothing more he'd rather do than kiss those lips, so close to his own. But he truly doesn't want her catching his illness.

"And if I don't care?" Tonks asks softly, leaning in closer.

"Not today, Nymphadora," Remus whispers and backs away.

Tonks straightens up instantly. "The name is Tonks," she says with a hint of annoyance.

Remus looks at her dejectedly, knowing that that the magic of today has been completely ruined. And that anything he does to try to reclaim it will backfire. "I should get some rest," he says finally. "I…I really do appreciate you taking care of me."

She smiles sadly at him and shrugs. "Not a problem," she says, standing up and gathering everything back into her basket. "I had fun today."

"So did I," Remus says, thinking quickly, trying to salvage something from this afternoon. "Are you free this weekend? Maybe in the evening?"

Tonks shakes her head. "I still have the crappy shifts at work. Overnights on Friday and Saturday," she says apologetically as she puts on her boots.

Remus racks his brain. The weekend after next is the full moon; he certainly wouldn't be able to take her out then. Maybe the weekend after that? That would be three weeks away, a life time…

She must have taken his silence as rejection. "I'll see you around then," she says and the next moment she is gone.

Remus stares at the spot where she had just stood in disbelief. He buries his head in his hands wondering if there is any chance for them now, or if he, in his not wanting to get her sick, has lost her?

The door bangs open and Remus looks up hopefully, thinking it might be Tonks. It is Sirius. "What did you just do?" Sirius barks angrily. "Why is Tonks unhappy?"

"You mean what didn't I do?" Remus says, resting his chin on his hand. "She wanted me to kiss her."

"Why didn't you?" Sirius demands.

"Look at me, I'm sick," Remus says glumly. "I didn't want to get her sick, too."

"That's what Pepperup is for," Sirius bellows. "Carpe Diem, Moony!"

Remus looks up suddenly, realizing how true those words are. It could be weeks before he and Tonks had the chance to be alone again. What was he thinking? She said she didn't care that he was sick. She didn't care that he was a werewolf…or that he had been twice her age seven years ago…Oh, Merlin, what has he done?

"You're right, Padfoot," Remus says, standing up out of bed quickly. It might not be too late to catch her.

"Course I am," Sirius says, looking satisfied with himself. "She told me she's walking home."

"In this weather?" Remus asks in surprise. "She'll catch a cold."

"Maybe that's the point," Sirius says, raising an eyebrow.

Remus quickly puts on his traveling cloak and a pair of shoes and with determination walks down the stairs.

He opens the front door and realizes that it's raining buckets now. Looking down the street, he sees an umbrella that could only belong to Tonks. It is hot pink with garish electric blue polka dots.

"Nymphadora!" Remus cries. She can't hear him through the rain. Without thinking, without hesitating, Remus runs outside. It is a hard rain, almost painful to run through.

She's walking quickly, her umbrella in her hand, keeping her dry. Her hair has changed. It's no longer lime green but takes on the tone of the weather. Her robes are now black.

"Nymphadora!" Remus shouts again. She hears him this time and turns in surprise. Her umbrella almost stabs Remus right in the eye.

"I'm sorry!" she says softly. He looks down at her face, which is wet, but he doesn't know if it's the rain or tears or both.

They stare at each other for a moment. Remus feels impossibly old and foolish, standing in the rain like this. Standing in the rain and declaring one's love is for the young. But Tonks makes him feel young. And at this moment, he is as nervous as any young man about to reveal his heart to his one and only.

She raises her arm holding the umbrella higher. "Well, get underneath, then," she says with a hint of a smile. "I don't want you getting worse. What kind of Healer would that make me?"

Remus is so elated to see that smile that he is ready to burst. It's not too late. His hesitation from his afternoon hasn't ruined their chances.

He takes his hands and gently places them on either side of her face. A look of confusion passes her eyes. "Nymphadora," he breathes, waiting for her to correct him.

She says nothing, but her eyes betray the hint of annoyance that he has come to cherish.

He lowers his head and kisses her. Her lips are soft and he can taste the lip balm that she's used. And then she's kissing him back. His arms wrap around her waist and he can't help but think how properly she fits against him. He realizes that he's soaking wet from the rain. But she doesn't seem to mind so he holds her even closer. Remus feels her free arm around his neck and he chastises himself for not doing this long ago. Why had they been waiting all this time?

The umbrella blows away, either from a gust of wind, or the fact that Tonks wasn't holding it particularly tight. There is no cover from the rain now. Remus runs his hands through her damp hair, which is a plain brown and shoulder length. He's never seen a color so ill-suited on her before. But even with her hair, she is still the most beautiful, most adorable woman he's ever known.

He trails kisses down her neck as her hands traces patterns down his back. Shivers run through him but he'll never know if it's from the rain or his illness or the fact that he is in the middle of the most passionate, most wonderful embrace he's ever experienced.

"We should go inside," she whispers as she plants kisses on his jaw. "We'll both get sick."

"Bronchitis," Remus groans, before he claims her lips again.

"Or worse," she giggles, giving attention to his neck with her lips. "Pneumonia."

Remus pulls away and places his hands on her shoulders. She gazes at him with such a look of anticipation that he would not be surprised if his knees go weak.

"Since I'm sure to get even more ill by being outside in this weather, how do you plan on Healing me?" he asks suggestively. His fingertips move to her neck because he doesn't want to stop touching her skin. He never wants to stop touching her.

Tonks takes his hand and they start walking back towards Headquarters, the rain not bothering either of them. "I'll drag you inside, dry you off…" She looks with an impish grin and arches her eyebrow seductively.

They are right at the entrance of Headquarters. Remus kisses her yet again but slowly realizes that they are both soaked to the bone. The kisses cause the blood in his veins to burn, and he realizes that every word from her romance novel applies to him at this instant. Even with the rain, any moment they could burst into flames.

Somehow they manage to make it inside of Headquarters, and thankfully, Sirius is no where to be found. His breath catches in his throat momentarily, realizing that they are on their way to his room, where they will take care of each other.

The kissing continues until they are in the safety and privacy of his room. Sometime between their first kiss and now her hair has reverted back to the lime green curls.

Remus starts to take off his soaking wet cloak when Tonks backs away. She holds her hand over her mouth and lets out a furious sneeze. And then another.

He looks at her sympathetically, for as of right now, he hasn't felt this good in a long time.

She sneezes again. "I don't believe this," she whimpers.

Remus takes her in his arms and holds her close. "Don't worry, Nymphadora," he says with a grin. "Leave everything to Healer Lupin."

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A/N – I hope I'm not stepping on anyone's toes, but in the spirit of some other Remus/Tonks fics I've read, anyone who reviews gets a fanfic Remus of their very own when they're sick, who'll insist on you having another scoop of ice cream and who'll draw you a warm bath to relax…

For those who might be wondering, Forbidden Tryst is not a real book. Though the title is perfect for a trashy romance novel, isn't?

That was fun! I may have to write another Remus/Tonks one of these days…