Chapter Nine –

Three months equaled three transformations. Moony was beyond restless and Remus doubted that he would be able to contain the wolf for the next full moon. He didn't know how he had managed to resist Nymphadora's charms, but he had. She certainly wasn't making things easy for him. His witch was becoming more aggressive with each passing date, making seductive suggestions that caused his lycan blood to boil. She spoke to Moony, luring the wolf to betray Remus' motivations.

Moony was desperate to have her. And, to tell the truth, so was he. Tonks still affirmed that he had no free will and that he really didn't love her. Her stubbornness drove him insane, and he certainly didn't need any help in that department.

Today, he was going to surprise her at work. In the book he had read, spontaneity was a key ingredient to a healthy relationship. She was probably going to be pissed off, but he didn't care. Tonks was going to have to just learn the hard way.

The lift door opened and Remus stepped into the chaotic clamor of Auror Headquarters. There were flowers on every desk, some of the arrangements wilting and showing signs of obvious neglect.

"Hey, Remus!" a chipper voice called out. "Thanks for the flowers! The wife loves them!"

A pink-haired head and a dark-haired head popped up from the sea of cubicles. Harry smiled and waved while Tonks glared at him.

She doesn't look very happy to see us, whined Moony.

You're the one who suggested the whole wooing thing, Remus replied. I'm doing the best I can.

Winding his way through the maze of cubicle walls, Remus made his way toward Tonks, who ducked back into her cubby. If looks could kill, he would definitely be deceased. He stopped at the office next to hers.

"Hello, Harry." Remus smiled at the young wizard. "How's Ginny?"

"She's well." Harry looked worriedly toward the wall of his office.

"Have you and she set a date yet?"

"Uh, yes," answered Harry nervously.

Remus waited for the information as an uncomfortable silence stretched between them.

"For Merlin's sake, Harry," Tonks barked from the other side of the wall. "Just spit it out!"

"You don't have to be so snippy!" Harry retorted angrily as he ran a hand through his hair. "Pregnancy hormones… Don't you just love them?"

"Yes," Remus returned, "I do."

"You're lucky," the young Auror groused. "You only have to deal with them at home. I have them at home and at work. One minute Ginny's laughing, the next minute she's crying. I just can't figure her out." Harry rolled his eyes and Remus smiled.

"Tonks!" a gravely voice called from across the room.

She jumped up excitedly, grabbing her overcoat. "Yeah!"

"Go to lunch!" Moody ordered.

Throwing her coat down, Tonks sat down and pouted. There were several soft chuckles around the room.

"She's pissed because Moody's got her on desk duty," Harry explained.

"Now!" Moody barked.

Tonks growled, picked up her coat, and brushed against Remus in her haste to get out of her cramped surroundings.

"Excuse me," she muttered.

"Take Remus with you!" Moody commanded sharply. "We don't need anymore bloody flowers around here."

The chuckles turned into snorts and sniggers.

"Come on." Tonks grabbed his hand.

"Good luck, mate," mumbled Harry as Remus was led away.

--

The lift doors closed and Tonks turned toward him with her hands on her waist – or rather what was left of her waist. "What are you and Moody up to, Lupin?" she asked skeptically. "Why—"

Her next question went silent when Remus claimed her lips. Her response was instantaneous, complete surrender with a hint of desperation. The lift door opened and someone cleared their throat.

"Ah, hello, Remus," Arthur Weasley greeted them bemusedly. "Perhaps you two should have pressed the button." The redheaded wizard punched a button and the elevator started to move.

Watching the most delectable blush spread across his lover's cheeks, Remus grinned and pulled her closer. "Thanks, Arthur. I'll keep that in mind."

"It's about time you two got together," Arthur commented. "I've had to beat Molly off with a broomstick to keep her from interfering over the years. She pegged you two as a couple shortly after Sirius escaped from Azkaban. Molly has never been wrong either. She knew Ginny was meant for Harry and that Ron was meant for Luna.

"Molly said, 'Potion or no potion, they would have found their ways eventually.' She was confounded over Severus' and Hermione's match, though. But once she saw them together, she realized their connection."

The elevator stopped and the doors opened, yet Arthur didn't seem to notice. "Even Sirius went on about you two," he continued. "He said you two were perfect for one another because Tonks would wear you out and you would have to…" The chatty wizard paused, searching for the right words. "Mark her," blurted Arthur as he snapped his fingers, "just to shut her up."

Remus could feel the blush creep up his neck, but Arthur paid no attention.

"Sirius said that he trusted you implicitly as you would never claim a mate unless you were head over heels in love with her. He said –"

"But, the potion –" Tonks tried to interrupt the incorrigible gossip who had them trapped in the lift.

"--wolves mate for life and they do not make their decisions lightly." Arthur finally realized the door was open and stepped out into the Atrium, turning around and walking backwards. He waved his hands excitedly. "Harry and Ginny are getting married in two weeks. Ginny was perfectly content to have a civil ceremony, but Molly would not hear of it. So when is the big date for you two?"

"What?" Tonks shouted so loud that the word echoed throughout the Atrium.

Remus smiled. Merlin Bless Arthur Weasley! This was the perfect opening. "I would have proposed already, but Nymphadora has convinced herself that I don't love her…that the potion has robbed me of my free will. It's a bunch of rubbish, if you ask me."

"Here, here!" Arthur agreed with him. "Anyone could see that you love her."

Tonks snapped her fingers between the two gossiping wizards. "Uh, hello. I am still here and would appreciate if the two of you would stop talking about me as though I'm not."

Both men chuckled and continued to walk toward the fireplaces.

"Did you hear that the Department of Magical Catastrophes thinks they've found an antidote?" Arthur asked casually.

Nodding, Remus looked at Tonks. "They did contact me with the news. However, I informed them that I had no need for the antidote. I don't need to take it. It wouldn't change a thing if I did."

His lover's eyes widened. "Really?" she whispered.

Arthur grabbed a handful of Floo powder and walked into the fireplace. "Molly's expecting me," he announced with a mischievous gleam in his eyes. "The Burrow!" Arthur called out as he tossed the powder at his feet. With a flash of green fire, he was gone.

Remus sobered. "Yes, really," he confirmed softly.

"I've been telling you I love you ever since that bloody trial." Out of habit, he ran a hand through his hair in frustration. "And yes, I want to marry you. I wanted to ask you to marry me that night at the Leaky Cauldron. But, as usual, you were being stubborn."

Clasping her shoulders, Remus pulled Tonks against him. "If I have to wait an eternity, I'll have you as my wife," he purred against her lips, his voice soft and husky.

As if suddenly realizing where she was, Tonks pulled away and walked into one of the many fireplaces. Grabbing some Floo powder, she held out her hand to Remus. "Are you coming?"

His breath hitched in his chest and he took her hand. "Where are we going?" he asked against her ear as he wrapped his arms around her. Two people in a fireplace was a tight fit, but he wasn't complaining and neither was Moony.

Giving him a demure smile, Tonks kissed his cheek. "Home. So that I can show you how much I love you."

Her words inflamed both man and beast and Remus knew that the battle fought this day was lost. He would make love to her now even if she didn't believe that he loved her.

--

She led him from the fireplace into the kitchen at Grimmauld Place, brushing soot from her shoulder.

Remus paid no mind to the ashes on his robe for he was trying to maintain control over the wolf that smelled the subtle scent of his mate's arousal. It was all Remus could do not to just charm their clothes off and lose himself within her. He stopped in his tracks, waging an internal war with Moony and losing miserably.

"I love you." Remus barely recognized his own lustful voice, needing her to acknowledge his words with more than a passing indulgence.

Pressing her body against him, the nymph tried to grind her hips into his, but the growing bulge of her stomach prevented the contact and she growled.

Digging his fingers into her hips, Remus couldn't help the involuntary thrust of his hips into hers. "I love you," he rasped desperately, unwilling to open his eyes and see the familiar rejection.

Gentle hands caressed his face. "Look at me," Tonks commanded softly.

Remus looked into the dark pools of his lover's eyes and his breath hitched.

"Do you believe that I love you?" she asked, her hands undoing his robe and jerking his shirt out of his trousers.

He shuddered. "Yes, of course."

"Why?" whispered Tonks as she snaked her hands under his shirt and raked her nails across his chest.

He hissed, "W-why?"

"Yes," she murmured, now pushing his robe down his shoulders effectively trapping his arms.

Groaning as his witch suckled his neck, Remus struggled with the robe. "Because," he panted, "I have faith – faith that you really can love an old werewolf. I love you too much that I can't imagine you not loving me back."

Her mouth dipped lower, her breath whispering across the hairs of his chest. "I do love you," she murmured, her voice like a silken touch on his skin. "And I have faith in you."

Freeing himself of his robes, Remus threaded his fingers through the pink hair he had come to adore. He would not last long if she had continued her path of exploration. "What are you saying?"

She finally looked up at him, her chocolate eyes shimmering with tears. "I love you," she sighed and kissed him on his cheek. "I have faith in you." She kissed him on the other cheek. "And I believe you," she said against his lips.

Months of waiting patiently had finally ended for him. Her words washed over him like a healing balm and he returned her kiss with a fervent passion.

The kiss was all consuming, leaving nothing unexplored as he tore her clothing from her body piece by delectable piece and licking each pale expanse of skin he discovered. His hands trembled as he slid his fingers into her knickers and touched heaven.

Licking and nipping a path down her body, Remus stopped at her breasts and examined the subtle changes. Her nipples were a dark rose and peaked with arousal. Trying to maintain control of Moony and bring pleasure to his nymph was becoming increasingly difficult.

She was panting words of encouragement, calling out to Moony and luring the wolf. Her fingers fisted through his hair, pulling him toward her breasts. The bonds of control Remus held onto snapped into tiny shards as Moony took over and human reasoning was lost.

Latching on to her nipple, he lashed his tongue against her flesh, reveling in her response as he felt her response drip around the fingers that were lodged within her silken core.

"Oh, Moony," she cried out as she arched into him. Pulling his fingers from her, he stood up, gasping when she took his hand and kissed it.

"Nymph," he growled, wrenching his hand away from her, grabbing her by the waist and lifting her onto the kitchen table. She started to protest, but he forced her to lie back. He grabbed her ankles, pulled her closer to the edge of the table. Dropping to his knees, Moony draped her trembling legs over his shoulders and buried his face between her thighs.

She groaned, wiggling beneath him. Nudging his nose against her cloth-covered slit, the wolf inhaled sharply, identifying the familiar smell of her arousal. With wild abandon, Moony ripped the flimsy material between her legs and exposed the glistening seam.

"Remus!" she gasped in surprise as her knickers snapped.

Sliding his fingers between her nether lips, Moony spread them apart and rubbed his nose playfully against the jutting pearl.

"Please," she begged.

With a guttural huff, he flicked his tongue across her and delighted in the shiver that coursed through her body. Placing a hand on the bulge of her stomach, he steadied her and thrust two fingers into the wet heat.

Each stroke carried her closer to the edge of bliss and he ignored her pleas.

"Please, Moony," she cried breathlessly, clenching around his fingers and coating them.

"I need you inside me." His lover dug her heels into his shoulders and struggled to sit up as he kissed her thigh.

Releasing his hold, Remus backed away and started removing his pants. He never took his eyes off his witch and growled in appreciation when she scooted off the table, turned around and presented herself to the wolf.

Remus lost the tenuous grasp of sanity as he stared at her bum. Taking his readied sex in his hand, he guided himself into her agonizingly tight heat.

"So tight," he growled and started pounding mindlessly into her. With each thrust forward, she countered with a thrust back.

"So deep," he hissed. He flexed his hands on her hips as she dug her nails into the table.

"Do it!" she commanded, meeting him thrust for thrust. "Finish… (pant) marking… (groan) me! Show me that you love me!"

The feel of her body around his cock combined with the smells and sounds of sex carried Remus into a realm of disbelief and momentary fear. Leaning over her, he licked the small scar on her shoulder and sighed.

"I…don't want…to hurt you," he growled, his voice harsh against her shoulder. "I love you."

"Then show me," she replied shakily.

As much as Remus wanted to spare her the pain, there was no delicate way about this.

He clamped down quickly, breaking the skin and tasting the copper tang of her blood. The taste and smell of blood called to the wolf, singing to his soul. She was his for life. With a final shattering thrust, Moony sated himself within the confines of his mate, whimpering in ecstasy and acknowledgment.

As soon as it started, it was over. Remus staggered back, his eyes wide with fear. The blood pearled along the perfect indentation of his teeth marks. He had no time for recriminations as he watched her stand and search for her wand. He got to it first, waving it clumsily over the fresh wound and muttering a healing spell, praying the wound would not fester and cause her pain.

Silence stretched between them and he silently berated himself for his weakness.

His lover leaned against the table and smiled weakly. She looked wanton and wild, her bright pink hair in disarray. Her lips were swollen and red, begging to be ravished again. He could feel Moony stir again and quickly looked away.

"Stop it," she commanded softly, reaching for him.

Her hand touched stone for Remus had stiffened in response.

"Stop beating yourself up." She pressed her naked form against his chest.

"I…I –" Remus stammered.

"Love me," his nymph whispered against his ear. "And I love you too, my darling werewolf."

"Why?" he asked softly. "What changed your mind?"

Tonks tried not to wince as she flexed her shoulder, but her hands continued their perusal of his body. "Arthur was right. So was Sirius. Although I've doubted that you love me, I've never stopped trusting you."

Her nails raked across his abdomen and Remus couldn't help the sharp intake of breath and growing arousal. If there was one benefit to being a werewolf, he had found that it was the ability to recover quickly.

"Sirius trusted you." She nipped his ear. "I read everything I could get my hands on about werewolf mating habits." To emphasize the brutality of a wolf making his mark, she bit the curve where his shoulder met his neck.

"I won't be able to return your gift," she murmured against the rising welt on his skin. She pulled away and dragged a thumb across his lips. "I wouldn't be able to get past the taste." She grimaced and stuck her tongue out.

Her levity made him smile.

Giggling, she dug her nails into his arse and squeezed. "So, when are we getting married?"

--

Several months later –

Pacing the length of his cell, Moony growled angrily. We should be there.

Remus was irritated too. Somehow I doubt they would allow a werewolf in the ward, he replied.

Moony chuffed in reluctant agreement.

Tonks is in good hands, Remus assured himself more than he assured the wolf. We knew it was a possibility that this might happen. I'm sure Poppy is taking good care of her.

Resting on his haunches, Moony stared at the iron bars that contained him, sniffed the air, and growled. Harry was coming. They could smell the younger wizard approaching.

News! Surely, Harry had news.

The Auror approached the growling wolf cautiously. "You have a son, Remus."

A multitude of emotions rushed over Remus.

"Sirius James Lupin was born around two o'clock this morning," Harry yawned. "They tested for lycanthropy. He doesn't have it. Tonks is fine. She's anxious to see you."

Moony whined in relief.

"I have a son, too," Harry announced, beaming. "James Arthur."

Harry sat down on the cold stone floor across from the wolf's jail. "Ron and Luna have a daughter. And Hermione had a little girl."

The wolf rubbed his muzzle against the bars.

"Can you imagine how livid Snape is right now – thinking of his daughter attending Hogwarts with our boys?"

Moony snorted in amusement.

Harry leaned against the wall, closing his eyes and sighing. He muttered something else, but his words were indistinguishable because he was yawning again.

Lying down, the wolf's yellow eyes focused on the clock that ticked the seconds by so slowly. A bottle of Invigoration Draught was sitting on the table for him. There was no way he was going to miss any more time than he needed to.

He looked at Harry, who was fast asleep.

Moony closed his eyes and tried to rest, but the excitement was too much. He couldn't believe his luck. The nymph was his. She bore his mark proudly. And you thought the wound would be cursed.

I only wanted what was best for her, Remus answered solemnly, not wanting to visualize the scar on her shoulder. His lover was an amazing witch. He didn't know what he had been thinking when he had run away.

That's just it. Moony yawned contentedly. You weren't thinking.

Remus rolled his eyes, preparing himself for the same sermon he had heard many times before from the philosopher wolf.

The nymph loves us. Always has, Moony stated the obvious.

Your point? Remus asked his alter ego.

We didn't curse her by marking her.

Remus settled into the recesses of the wolf's body, trying to rest, yet unable. His fear over his curse was baseless and unfounded – just Ministry propaganda meant to instill fear into lycans. Nymphadora loved him, and in loving him, she had blessed him.

--

Fin

A/N – Thanks to all who have reviewed. And thanks go out to Kathy Rose for being a kick-ass beta reader.