Title: Can't Catch Me
Summary: Remus Lupin was nothing if not logical. But she made him forget about the logical.
Author's Notes: Written for the first round of the Lover's Moon Fic Jumble at LJ community metamorphicmoon. My prompt was "Catch Me." Much feedback appreciated.
Remus walked in on her when she was doing something very inappropriate to a gingerbread man.
She knew he was there without even looking at him. "Jealous?"
"Do you always eat gingerbread men that way?" He forced his voice to be steady, quiet, cold, and his thoughts to remain solely on the logical. Remus Lupin was nothing if not logical. But she made him forget about the logical.
She turned her head and grinned at him. "Only the ones I happen to be eating as you come into the room." She bit the leg off the violated biscuit.
Her head tilted back as she swallowed, and Remus admired the line of her neck before a sharp pang twisted through his chest and reminded him exactly why he had entered the kitchen in the first place. She was so distracting – ever-changing hair and that carefree spirit, and it always made the inevitable conversation so difficult.
"We need to talk, Nymphadora," he said. Same tone. Thoughts on track. He risked sitting next to her at the table.
She ignored him and pushed the plate of biscuits in his direction. "Kreacher told me you were here. Sort of – he mumbled something about freakish beasties. It was you or litter of Kneazles. I'm sure Crookshanks was shagging the neighbor's cat over Christmas."
He stared at her until she finally looked at him. "We need to talk," he repeated. She rolled her eyes and he felt his determination crack.
"Remus, have a damn biscuit," she ordered. "Molly cleaned out the icebox and found all her extra Christmas baking. Though, I'd prefer a box of those Valentine's sweets from Honeydukes." He didn't respond, so she scooted her chair closer to him. "You know, those gooey ones in the heart-shaped box?" He still didn't say anything. "It's a hint, in case I was too subtle."
"You were perfectly clear." She grinned at him and picked up a gingerbread man.
"Are you sad, Remus?" she asked. He shook his head. "Mad at me?"
"No." He felt crumbs from the biscuit fall against his skin as she pushed it up his arm, guiding in a strange waltzing walk.
"Mr. Gingerbread Man would like to remind you that you were the one who insisted on a Valentine's exchange, much to the protest of one Miss Tonks, who will be completely understanding if you no longer wish to have an exchange."
"Please submit all further statements in writing, care of Mr. Gingerbread Man of the 12 Grimmauld Place Icebox."
"…We really need to have a serious talk." His voice wavered again.
"Mr. Gingerbread Man would also like to assure you that if this serious talk is regarding another break-up attempt, that Miss Tonks is regrettably unavailable and reminds you that you have attempted to sever relations with her thrice since Christmas, each time regrettably failing and have remained in her clutches." She bounced the biscuit on his forearm, as if to punctuate the sentence.
He made to grab for the biscuit, trying to get her to pay attention to him, but she snatched it away.
"Run, run, run, as fast as you can," she taunted. "Can't catch me, I'm th…" Remus grabbed the cookie and plucked it out of her fist, breaking off one of the legs in the process.
"Listen to me."
"I guess you could catch me."
"Do you know what happens on Valentine's Day?"
"Well, of course!" she exclaimed, sliding her chair closer to him. "Romantic dinners, corny greeting cards, perhaps a sensual massage leading to…"
"It's the full moon," he interrupted, standing up.
"Well, that too," she agreed. "I thought that we could have our own Valentine's Day the night before. Like how some people celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve? We can celebrate on Valentine's Day Eve."
"Nymphadora, we can't keep this up."
"Don't call me Nymphadora."
"Tonks, fine." He stared straight into her eyes, which were crinkled and twinkling and aggravating. "This isn't going to work."
"You say that every time. Every month. At every full moon. Merlin, it'd be like if I tried to break up with you every time I were on the rag. It gets old."
"You have a furry little problem, I have a womanly problem. Can I have my biscuit back?"
He gave the biscuit back and she ate the other leg. "Nymphadora, this can't continue. You've known from the beginning –"
"- that we weren't meant to be, that you're too old, that you're too poor, that you're too dangerous." She twisted the gingerbread man around, making him dance across the tabletop. "Really, Remus. What would I do without you? Shag the gingerbread man?"
She stood up and stalked around the table, moving closer to him. Remus backed towards the hallway.
"You know, you're the one who's supposed to be trying to catch me. I'm the one with the gingerbread man."
"Though I suppose we don't exactly follow all the rules, do we? Have it your way, I'll chase you. Say the rhyme, come on! 'Run, run, run…'"
"'…as fast as you can, can't catch me…'"
Tonks was cut off as she tripped over the troll leg umbrella stand and crashed to the floor. Remus stared as she tried to keep from laughing
"Well, I guess you can't catch me," she whispered, glancing at the still-covered portrait of Mrs. Black.
"Nymphadora, we can't be together anymore." Remus' voice was stern and heartbroken and it forced Tonks to look up at him, her beautiful grin slowly fading. "You can't even have a serious conversation with me."
"Don't, Remus," Tonks pleaded, her voice breaking. "You know we can…"
"No, we can't," he interrupted. "You know we can't."
"It's almost Valentine's Day!" she protested. "You're breaking up with me just before Valentine's Day?"
Remus couldn't bring himself to say anything, knowing if he said anything else, he'd end up staying.
He turned and left, leaving Tonks sitting on the floor with a broken gingerbread biscuit.