Disclaimer: I own none of this. J. K. Rowling and assorted companies including but not limited to Bloomsbury, Scholastic, and Warner Brothers own everything. They also make all the money. I am just having fun and in no way seek financial profit from their property.
Remus Lupin hesitated, his hand poised to knock on the wooden door before him. He had knocked on this door countless times, and had always been granted admission. The flat concealed behind it was one of the few places he felt truly welcome, the owner one of the few people with whom he was truly at peace. Still, today he hesitated.
He dropped his hand to his inner coat pocket to ensure, yet again, that he still carried the large, flat package he had concealed there with difficulty. As his hand brushed the wrapping, he felt a slight flutter in his chest. Perhaps the present would be too much. There was really only one way to know. With a sigh, he again lifted his hand to the door, but this time he knocked.
He did not have to wait long for the door to be thrown open. "Wotcher, Remus!" said the smiling pixie face before him. "What are you doing here? I thought I was coming to headquarters later."
"I wanted to see you alone first," he half-explained the reason for his trip.
He would have sworn it was not possible, but somehow Tonks' face defied all laws of nature and her smile got even bigger. "Really?" she squeaked. "Then you had better get in here."
She quickly ushered him inside before closing the door against the cold wind. "Take your coat?" she offered.
"No!" he exclaimed much too vehemently. At her raised eyebrow he hurried to offer a reasonable explanation. "I'm still rather cold."
"I know how to warm you," she offered slyly before moving closer and pressing her lips to his.
Ordinarily, he would have been completely lost in the sensation of kissing Tonks. Now he was preoccupied with keeping his body from pushing closer to hers, lest she feel the present through his coat. She pulled away and looked at him in confusion, her brow knit and a frown beginning to crease her mouth. "Everything alright?"
"Everything is fine." He reached into his coat and drew out the flat package, slightly wider than a standard piece of parchment and about as long as his forearm. "I just wanted to give you this without the others being around. Happy Christmas."
"What is it?" she asked curiously as she took the present from him and began turning it over in her hands.
"I believe the general theory is that you are supposed to open it in order to answer that question."
Tonks glanced up from her inspection of the package, which had progressed to shaking it and listening for a rattle, long enough to stick her tongue out at him.
He laughed in spite of the nervous fluttering that had spread from his chest to his stomach. "You really are going to have to open it."
She grinned at him and quickly began to rip the wrapping from the present, bits of string and paper falling about her feet. When she had removed every bit of wrapping, she was left looking at the back of a wooden frame. Remus watched her face carefully as she flipped it over to the picture on the front. Her eyes widened from surprise, giving him no real clue as to whether she liked it.
Her jaw worked soundlessly for a moment before she finally asked in breathless awe, "Is that me?"
"Of course," he said as he moved to stand beside her to properly look at the portrait in her hands. Tonks sat at the table in the kitchen of Grimmauld Place. The flames flickering in the fireplace behind her, gave her a soft glow as she leaned back in her chair and smiled or laughed softly, with the occasional yawn thrown in for good measure.
The real Tonks ran a tentative finger across the brown hair on the image. "With my natural hair?"
The nervous fluttering intensified and his hands began to feel clammy. This was the worrying part of the present. "Yes."
"But I look so lovely here. I never look that lovely, especially not with my boring old hair," she appeared to be truly confused.
"Do you remember when you worked triple Order and Auror shifts in a row? You came to headquarters to report at the end of the last Order shift and were so tired you couldn't even morph." She nodded encouragingly, glancing back and forth between him and the portrait she still held. "You sat in the kitchen for a while and we chatted, but you kept complaining about how bad you looked. I found an artist who can do portraits from Pensieve memories." He swallowed hard before finishing his explanation, "I wanted you to see how beautiful you look to me."
Tonks stared at him, speechless for the second time in almost as many minutes. "Is that really how you see me?" she finally managed to whisper.
"Yes," he said as he reached a finger to gently brush across the Tonks in the painting.
"Wow," she breathed. She still seemed to be stunned by this revelation. Perhaps it was too much to reveal so soon in their relationship. Perhaps it had been a bad idea. "I really must have been tired," she finally laughed. "I'm barely moving."
"Oh, well," he glanced down at his shoes. "I couldn't afford the best motion spells," he explained, feeling his cheeks warm. He didn't add that he really couldn't afford as much as he had spent on even this small painting. As long as he could live with Sirius at headquarters, he would manage. He looked up to find Tonks staring at him, looking aghast and embarrassed. Though why she should be embarrassed by his poverty was a mystery.
"I did manage this," he began before looking directly at the painting. "Nymphadora is a Metamorphmagus."
In response to his words, the Tonks in the painting turned to face directly out. "Don't call me Nymphadora!" she said in a small voice as her hair shortened and began to change between a random assortment of colors.
The real Tonks burst out laughing. "Oh, Remus!" she exclaimed in what he hoped was a happy tone.
"To turn it back you just say 'Tonks is tired,'" he explained. The hair of the Tonks in the portrait returned to the longer brown.
The real Tonks looked at him for a moment before setting the painting down on the back of the couch behind her. "Thank you. I love it," she said before leaning in to give him a soft and lingering kiss. As she pulled away he barely heard her whispered "I love you."
The nervous fluttering was swallowed by a happy glow and he again felt welcome. Felt like he had found a home.
In exchange for a review, Remus will bring you a thoughtful and meaningful gift. How you thank him for his kindness is entirely up to you.