Foot in my Mouth, Heart on my Sleeve
I'd always thought of Remus Lupin as a nice bloke; smart and funny, in an uptight kind of way. We met at the first official meeting of the Order of the Phoenix. The real surprise, though, had been Sirius. I could only just remember my cousin from holiday parties and family gatherings when I was little. He remembered me, too.
"There was one Christmas that you insisted on sitting next to me during dinner," he said after the meeting, when a number of the Order members were gathered around the kitchen table, chatting and gossiping. He grinned rakishly.
"Probably wanted to dump my brussels sprouts on your plate," I said, grinning along with him.
"Actually, you said you needed to sit next to me because you were going to marry me someday." He waggled his eyebrows at me, leering ridiculously. "That offer still stand?"
I heaved a sigh.
"Gee, Sirius, I don't think it'd work."
"And why not?"
"I'm allergic to dogs."
Sirius clapped a hand over his heart and gasped melodramatically while our audience laughed. I caught his eye, and we grinned at each other again. I loved him right away.
It took me a while longer to figure Remus out. I reckoned we both felt a little uncomfortable at first, knowing that I'm an Auror and he's a werewolf. In those early days, everything he said to me felt a little guarded. I didn't blame him for that at all.
Part of Auror training involves spending time "observing" a werewolf to familiarize ourselves with what lycanthropy looks like up close and in person. My subject had been a 12-year-old boy named Sean, bitten during a family holiday when he was 7. It was heartbreaking to watch him sit alone in his room every day, reading or drawing in silence. I once brought him a package of biscuits, and he'd barely registered it when I laid them on his lap. He'd looked up at me with a dull, tired cast to his eyes, mumbled a thank-you, and turned back to his sketchpad. After the assignment was over, I learned that Sean's parents routinely offered him as an observational guinea pig. The compensation they got in return was the only way they could afford the Wolfsbane Potion every month.
Like the right thick arse I am, I asked Remus about Auror observation during our first conversation alone together. His face fell before the words had left my mouth, and I immediately wished the floor would open up and swallow me whole.
"I only did it once, just after graduation from Hogwarts," he said quietly. "Fellow named Fergus O'Toole."
"I don't know him," I said, feeling the heat rush to my face. God, I am a bloody fucking idiot.
"He died in the first war," Remus said, even more quietly.
If Sirius hadn't come to my rescue at that point by dragging us into his conversation with Kingsley Shacklebolt, there is not a doubt in my mind that I'd have either spontaneously combusted in embarrassment or vomited all over Remus's shoes. You'd think a girl like me, who showcases her talent at both acting and speaking like a great clot on a regular basis, would be used to things like that. I guess I just really wanted Remus to like me. He meant a lot to Sirius, he was a fellow Order member, and like I said, a really nice bloke. Didn't hurt that he was rather cute, either.
Nevertheless, we gradually got more and more comfortable with each other, thanks in large part to Sirius. They had all kinds of little inside jokes and memories, and it made me feel lucky to be a part of their new circle of friends. Eventually, Remus and I could talk and laugh together as easily as Sirius and I did. So when I overheard part of a conversation between them a few weeks ago, a conversation that featured my name, I was caught completely off guard.
I heard Sirius's voice coming from the drawing room as I stood on the landing at the top of the stairs. I'd been watching Remus flatten Sirius in a game of chess and left them to use the loo. I knew I shouldn't eavesdrop, but how could I not? It's so rare that I get to hear people talking about me. Usually my presence is announced well in advance by lots of crashing and banging.
"…tell her? She's not a kid anymore, Remus; she's a bloody Auror, for fuck's sake."
"All the more reason not to complicate things," I heard Remus say in his hush-up-and-be-sensible tone.
"Ah yes, that lovely old chestnut. It's too complicated." The derision was so thick in Sirius's voice that I could picture his sneer with perfect clarity.
"Leave it, Padfoot," Remus growled lowly.
"You know, I think I will this time. I'll let Tonks figure it out for herself. You underestimate her if you think she won't." This time? Figure what out?
"I would never underestimate Nymphadora Tonks." Something caught in my throat when Remus used my full name, and I had to hold my breath to keep silent.
"We'll see, then," said Sirius with an oddly triumphant inflection. "We'll see when she does notice you staring at her, and how you stand behind her at the ready to catch her when she trips, and how you sniff at the air when she passes—"
"Shut it," Remus hissed.
"What, you thought I hadn't noticed you doing that? Fuck, Remus, it's already obvious to most of the other Order members who've seen you two together. It's only a matter of time before Tonks catches on too. And then we'll all get to see just how much you esteem my baby cousin."
Remus didn't respond, or at least I don't think he did, although my heart was pounding so loudly in my chest that I just might not have heard him. Remus stares at me? He sniffs—what?! He likes me? Where the flipping hell have I been?
And suddenly, things were back to being awkward and strained between us. I just didn't know how to act around him anymore. I couldn't wrap my head around the idea of Remus—mature, soft-spoken, mannerly Remus—being attracted to someone like me. What on earth could he possibly like about me?
Of course I couldn't help but notice the change in his behaviour too. He was always a little formal and reserved, but this was just ridiculous. He would wait until I chose a spot to sit during meetings, and then sit as far away from me as he could get. From the moment I realized Remus's feelings, his proximity caused all five of my senses to go into overdrive. So I noticed this little game right away and found it inexplicably irritating. I had to give him credit for making it seem so coincidental, though. I bet he would've been a really great actor.
When he had to speak to me, like when we were paired for Order assignments, he resolutely avoided my eyes, choosing instead a spot somewhere around my head on which he could fix his gaze. I think his usual spot was the crest of my left eyebrow. I took this to mean that I have truly unsexy eyebrows. More than once, I was tempted to turn it bright orange or chartreuse just to rattle him. And then, of course, the excuses. Remus brought the art of making up excuses to a master's level. There was always some assignment or some meeting. Always some reason to stay away, at least whenever I was around. I started to feel really guilty about that, not just for his sake but for Sirius's as well.
I don't like feeling guilty. It makes me cross. And I get combative when I'm cross.
We've just finished another Order meeting. It's getting late, and the other Order members with lives and families have all dispersed, leaving me, Sirius and Remus alone in the kitchen. As usual, Sirius is celebrating by setting up camp in the middle of the kitchen table with a deck of cards and a bottle of Ogden's.
"Don't suppose you have enough money on you to make it worth trouncing you at poker?" he asks Remus by way of invitation. Remus casts his eyes at me for a split-second, presumably to gauge whether or not it looks like I plan to stay. This serves to thoroughly piss me off. And here it comes.
"Sorry, Padfoot, I should turn in early."
"Blimey, I must be frightfully pongy tonight," I mutter, glaring pointedly at Remus. "Some people can't get away from me fast enough."
Remus regards me properly now, looking taken aback and bewildered. Even Sirius is staring at me in surprise.
"I'm sorry, Tonks. I'd stay and visit, but—"
"Let me guess," I retort, cutting him off. "You need to wash your hair? Darn some stockings, maybe? Oh wait, I know. You need to polish your wand."
I realize that I am being a juvenile little twat, but I've reached my limit. If Remus is going to act like a prat because of his feelings for me, then I can act like an arse because of my feelings for him. Wait, my feelings for him? What would those be, again? Remus and Sirius are both watching me as though I've gone completely 'round the twist. Maybe I have.
"Tomorrow night is the full moon," Remus explains quietly.
Bloody. Fucking. Hell.
My body can't decide if I'm going to blush until I break out into hives or drain the blood from my head until I faint. Even through the foggy horror that has taken over my brain, I maintain a definite preference for the latter. How could I have been so stupid? I'd gotten so used to discounting his excuses as mostly fabricated nonsense that I forgot he has one hell of a real excuse. I open my mouth to release the steady stream of apologies that is crowding my tongue, but the muscles around my throat have frozen solid, rending me mute and gaping like a stranded fish.
Sirius shuffles his cards and the loud snap brings us all back to life. Remus starts for the door, and I can only stare helplessly as he passes me. Say something, dammit, my brain is screaming, but my tongue is still locked in place. When he reaches the door, I hear him pause.
"'Night, Padfoot," he says dutifully. I feel a gentle hand close over my shoulder, and it burns.
I want to die.
As the sound of Remus's footsteps disappear up the stairs, Sirius continues to shuffle his cards, glancing at me now and then. Neither of us speaks for what feels like an age. I watch him as he grabs the firewhisky and pours two shots, nudging one across the table in my direction.
"I—I didn't realize," I finally manage to force through my wretched mouth. Sirius peers up at me from the table, a sympathetic smirk tugging at his lips.
"Nah, leave it out," he says, downing his shot in one go. I watch him wince and plunk the glass back onto the table.
"How do I manage to always say the wrong thing?"
"Happens to the best of us," Sirius mutters, reaching for the bottle.
"What should I do?"
"On what?" Sirius pours another drink and looks up at me appraisingly.
"On how you feel."
"I feel like a great raving cow," I say in scathing self-revulsion. Sirius makes a noise that sounds like he's trying his best not to chuckle.
"Not what I meant." I meet his eyes and in that instant, we understand each other perfectly.
"I'm…not sure how I feel," I stammer. It's the truth. All this time I've been perplexed and dumbfounded and vexed over Remus's feelings for me, I've never stopped to consider exactly how I feel about him. I know that I care for him and that I've missed him. But is there something more? Sirius lifts his glass to his lips, gracing me with a devilish grin.
"Best go figure that out, then."
I'm standing outside the door to Remus's bedroom less than a minute later, knocking as loudly as I dare and hoping that the other people with rooms on this floor are out. It takes him a few minutes to answer the door, and when he does, I see that he's wearing a bathrobe and reading spectacles. Shite, but he's cute.
"Remus, I'm really sorry for what I said," I blurt out in a rush, hoping to cover the fact that I'd been staring at the strip of bare chest I can see through the gap in his bathrobe. He smiles at me obligingly, shaking his head a bit.
"Think nothing of it, Tonks, really. I deserved it, anyway. I haven't been around enough lately, and that's entirely my fault. I'll try to remedy that as best I can from now on."
"But the moon, I should've known—"
"No, you shouldn't have," he says sharply, interrupting me. He fixes me with an intense stare that sends a little shiver down my spine. "You should never have to worry about that. None of you should. Like I said, please think nothing of it."
"But—" I start in, and I just can't bring myself to finish the thought standing out in the middle of the hallway for Kreacher and Buckbeak and Merlin knows what else to hear. "May I come in?"
I watch as a brief flash of alarm blazes behind Remus's specs. For a moment, I'm afraid that he's going to refuse to let me in and I'll have to choose between starting this conversation in the hall or waiting for another chance to bring it up, a chance I already know might never come again. He must've gotten some sense of my anxiety and taken pity on me, because he pushes the door open and stands aside to let me in.
Remus's room here at Grimmauld Place is exactly the same shape and size as mine, the only notable differences being the color of the wallpaper and the amount of personal affects strewn about the place. My room has maybe one spare set of robes tossed on the top of the dresser, and a toothbrush sitting in a glass on the nightstand. Remus has his things arranged neatly just where you'd expect to find them; clothes in the closet, hairbrush on the dresser, books next to the bed. He closes the door behind me and when I turn to face him, his eyes zoom straight to my left eyebrow. That's all the provocation I need.
"Remus, I need to ask you a question." He lowers his chin in a sort of nod, but I notice his hands are clasped behind his back, something he does only when he's extremely nervous. He's still concentrating on my eyebrow.
"Are you in love with me?"
He starts, and his whole body tenses. He looks at me warily.
"Are you in love with me?"
"No," I say quickly. After a brief internal debate, I make a full confession. "I overheard you and Sirius talking in the drawing room a few weeks ago. I heard Sirius say that you stare at me, and—other—things."
Remus closes his eyes, whether in mollification or embarrassment, I can't tell. He takes in a long, slow breath and a feeling of dread blossoms in the pit of my stomach. For some reason, I suddenly decide that I'd rather do the talking myself.
"I didn't mean to eavesdrop on you," I say, rather more loudly than I'd intended. "I'm sorry about that."
"Tonks," he begins, and the dread in my stomach explodes into full-blown panic. Cue my blithering like an idiot.
"I was just about to go down the stairs when I heard you—you know how voices can carry in these old houses—and I know that I should've just made my presence known right away but I didn't, and I wasn't sure that you were even talking about me at first, but then I heard Sirius say, 'she's a bloody Auror,' and well, there aren't that many female Aurors around, are there, and so then I really should've stopped listening at that point but—"
"Tonks!" Remus has stepped right up to me and placed his fingers over my lips. A fervid heat begins to creep over my face when he allows them to linger there. He looks down into my eyes with a resigned expression.
"I'm sorry that you had to hear…something like that…in that way," he says softly, and I want to speak, but he stops me with a slight shake of his head. "The truth is, I don't know how I feel. I'm attracted to you. I love being around you and spending time with you. Your friendship has grown to mean the world to me. And just as I told Sirius, that's something that I am not willing to jeopardize by bringing romance into our relationship."
I know that Remus is being perfectly sincere, and rational too. But I'm finding it extremely difficult to be rational in return with his fingers still pressed against my lips. My heart threatens to leap out of my chest at his touch, and my skin begins to tingle all over, raising gooseflesh on my arms. I can already taste his skin, so salty and musky that it actually makes my mouth water in anticipation. I beat down the absurd urge to drive my hands into his sandy hair where it starts on the sides of his face and comb them all the way to the back of his head. My uncertainty from moments before down in the kitchen is evaporating like so much dew under the heat of the sun. It only takes the soft drag of his thumb across my jaw and the thinly-veiled glimmer of regret in his eyes to change my doubt into the strongest conviction I've ever felt in my entire life. I love him.
"Your friendship means the world to me too," I mumble as Remus finally lets his fingers fall away from my face, using them to grasp both of my hands inside his. "But I guess I am willing to jeopardize it."
Remus stares into my eyes, and the internal struggle is so plain on his face that I'm almost sorry for putting him in such a position. Almost.
"Tonks, it just isn't worth the risk," he whispers tightly. "On so many levels."
"The werewolf thing," I breathe to myself, but we're so close that he hears me clearly. His jaw clenches, and he drops my hands.
"Yes, 'the werewolf thing.' You shouldn't even be here now. The moon may not be until tomorrow night, but I could still be…dangerous."
I try so hard to suppress the incredulous snort that rises in my throat, but I'm not entirely successful. Bespectacled and wearing his bathrobe, Remus looks many things, but dangerous is not one of them. He glares at me fiercely.
"Do you know how hard it is for me with you standing here in my room right now?" he asks me, whisking off his specs and sending them skittering across the top of his dresser. The low snarl in his voice changes my mind. Okay, maybe a little dangerous. "As if seeing you tonight at the meeting wasn't hard enough. I could smell you before you even walked through the door. You smell like oranges." My shampoo. "And coffee." Had one before the meeting. "And woman."
Oh God. Remus is staring at me with a look so…predatory…that I almost wonder if he's purposefully trying to scare me. If I didn't trust him with my life, that look probably would scare me. But I do trust him, implicitly. And his hungry expression is doing something else to me entirely. My heart is pounding and my knees are threatening to give way. The flush spreading over my face matches the one that's climbing up my thighs, coiling in toward my center. Remus is breathing deeply, and when he draws a breath through his nose, his wolfish glare falters and he closes his eyes. His brow furrows as he inhales again, sucking almost greedily at the air. He holds the breath for a moment, and exhales with a shuddering, "Oh God," of his own. Tearing his eyes open, he looks down at me and whispers in an ominous tone.
"You have to leave now." Command though the phrase may be, there is a question in those piercing eyes that contradicts it. And there is only one answer I can give.
"I don't want to leave."
He flinches when I plunge my hands into the gap in his bathrobe to run them over his chest, the very thing I've wanted to do since I first glimpsed that stretch of bare skin. But he doesn't move away. His muscles are pulled taut beneath my fingers. A dozen thoughts compete for my brain's attention all at once; I shouldn't be pushing this, I should honor his wishes, this is too much too fast, I'm taking advantage of his time of weakness…but overriding them all is the one thought echoing through my head like a clarion call. I love him
My hands reach up from his chest to clasp behind his neck. Half-expecting him to shove me away, I rise up to kiss him. His lips are soft and warm, and even though he doesn't resist, he doesn't kiss me back. Leaning against him for support, I can feel why. His erection is straining against his bathrobe, and I get the definite impression that it's taking everything he has not to press against me in response. My hands are itching to touch him, but I worry that it will trigger him into insisting that I leave. So instead, I tug the hem of my shirt up and over my head, tossing it offhandedly to the floor. Remus tries to say something, but the words must've gotten caught in his throat, because all that comes out is a choking sort of whine. It's only when I reach down to unbutton my jeans that he finally reacts.
And Merlin, does he ever react. The zipper is barely down on my jeans when his hands grip the waistband and yank them down violently, dragging my pants along with them. I gasp in surprise, and then again when his lips meet my stomach, his tongue dancing heavenly little pirouettes across my skin. I clutch frantically behind my back to unhook my bra, cursing under my breath before I finally manage it. My bra has barely touched the floor before Remus's mouth is on my right breast. His hands are trailing firmly back and forth from my arse to my shoulders, and I'm suddenly desperate to feel some skin myself. I push the bathrobe away from his shoulders and marvel at how he manages to wriggle out of it without taking his mouth from my breast.
Remus drags his tongue roughly over the nipple, and I moan loudly, eyes closing and knees buckling. We stumble together a little and he moves up to nuzzle at my neck, guiding me back a few inches until my back is against the wall. I can feel his cock prodding the inside of my thigh, and it's all I can do not to thrust my hips up to meet him. My right leg slips over his left of its own accord, bringing my pelvis incrementally closer to his, and I'm gifted by the sensation of his cock nudging at my wetness. I can't contain another low moan, but it quickly turns into a strangled sort of whimper when he stiffens and inches his hips away from me.
"Oh please, oh please, oh please," I plead feverishly, my voice barely loud enough to qualify as a whisper. I don't care that I'm begging shamelessly like some randy slag, and I don't care what he might think about me because of it. The only thing I care about in this one moment is quelling the writhing, burning sensation that is eating a hole through my chest as it screams for him to be inside me. Now.
It takes a conscious effort to wrench my eyes open so I can look at him, because I am so afraid that I will see the rejection already on his face. But his eyes are shut as tightly as mine were. His expression nearly makes my heart burst; he looks as if he is about to cry out in pain. Am I causing that? What am I doing to this man? No, no, please…I love him.
"Remus." My voice is shaking, but not as badly as I feared it might. "I need you."
"I…Tonks—." His eyes open ever so slightly, but he can't bring himself to look at me. His voice is shaking too, and it breaks when he says my name. There is so much anguish in those two little syllables that I can feel tears prickling in the corners of my eyes. God, Remus! It shouldn't be like this!
I screw my eyes shut and kiss him. I bring my hands to the sides of his head and leave little kisses all over his face, pausing only to wet my lips when they dry on the salt of his skin. When I lift my head up to kiss him just in front of his left ear, his ragged breaths pass warm and moist over my neck. I can feel him struggling to regain control; the way his abdominal muscles are quivering with the effort to keep from gasping…or is it crying? Oh dear God, don't let him cry. He's forcing himself to exhale slowly and steadily, but his sharp, quick intakes of air tell a different story.
I won't let him run away.
"Remus," I whisper gently, my lips brushing against his ear. I command my body to relax, smoothing my hands down from his shoulders to his sides. When I look back into his face, his eyes are closed again. "Remus," I repeat, waiting for him to look at me. Slowly, as if it's against his better judgment, he turns his head and obliges. Reflected there in his eyes, I can see a heart-rending mosaic of desire, misery and fear.
"Whatever happens, whatever is coming in the future, I need this now. I need to feel you here, now. I'm not forgetting what you've said. I'm just choosing to worry about the consequences later. Because all that matters to me, in this moment," I murmur, my hands sliding back up to hold his face, "is you."
"Tonks, you don't…I don't want to hurt you," he says, softly, but so vehemently that a chill runs through me. My hands haven't left his face.
"The only way you could do that right now is to leave."
I lean up to kiss him again, and he lets me. He makes a sound—something between a sob and a moan—when my tongue dips into his mouth, and all his tension seems to escape in the same breath. Both of his arms close around my waist as he kisses me back so deeply that I'm almost afraid I will faint. He effectively drags me from the wall over to the bed, easing us both onto the mattress. And then his lips are everywhere; on my neck, my shoulders, making his way along my collarbone and dipping down to take my left nipple in his mouth. I cry out when he suddenly sucks hard, and lift up from the bed as my back arches up to him.
His arms tighten around my waist, and then I can feel him again; the head of his cock is grazing the folds around my entrance. I don't restrain myself this time. I wrap my legs around his hips and lift my pelvis up, searching for him. He finds me a moment later, and we both groan loudly as he slides into me. It's the most indescribable feeling of bliss and…belonging. I didn't just want this. I needed it.
He begins to rock his hips against me, and I am already lost. I'm nowhere near orgasm, but it feels so fucking good that I could not possibly care less. I open my mouth to tell him exactly how good he feels, but then I notice he's already speaking. A constant flow of mumbled words is pouring from his mouth as he thrusts into me, interrupted only by short pauses to draw breath. The words are so soft that I can't hear them at first, but soon I recognize my name intermixed with a long string of expletives. Remus Lupin swearing? And why does that turn me on even more, goddammit?!
Eagerly, I begin to experiment with my own movements, swiveling my hips on their way up to meet his and digging my fingers into his buttocks to find new angles and to help him drive into me even more deeply. Remus begins to groan loudly in response, and the sheer sensuality of the sound combined with the low vibrations from his chest makes me shudder in delight. When I look up at him, I get another thrill. He's staring down at me with that same hungry, feral gleam in his eyes. His skin is flushed and his lips are parted slightly. My hands contract reflexively on his bum, and I'm treated to another resonant groan. He's so beautiful.
His pace has quickened, and I can tell from the hitches in his breathing that he's struggling against himself. The strain is making the muscles of his back and arms quiver violently under my touch. He's trying so hard to rein himself in, to do the chivalrous thing and wait for me, and yet I discover that I'd rather have the gratification of seeing him let go than to find my own release. The burning ache in my chest that reduced me to begging mere minutes ago redoubles with every little gasping breath he takes. My longing for satisfaction focuses entirely on that ache, and I'm ready to beg again.
"Please, Remus," I whisper shakily, "I want to feel you come inside me."
That's all he needs to come completely undone. A few more glorious minutes of wild thrusting and I shudder again when I feel his member throbbing inside me, playing a delicious contrast to the tiny flexes of his hips as they mimic the driving motion they've just abandoned. He throws his head back with a loud, tremulous cry in which I can hear a bit of the wolf's howl. I know I shouldn't allow myself any sense of pride at this, but I can't stop the smug smile from sneaking over my face.
Chest heaving, he sinks down on top of me and I happily wrap my limbs around him, feeling contented and full of myself. It's such a pleasant sensation that I start to nod off a bit, lulled into a dreamy stupor by his warmth and the steady rise and fall of his chest. Remus pulls away enough to look down at me, and his harsh whisper shakes me out of my reverie.
"Hmm?" My ears register the sharp demand in his tone, but my brain is still too slow and distracted to comprehend his meaning.
"No," he repeats, emphatically. The low growl has returned, and it earns my full attention. He pulls my arms down from his neck and traps my wrists above my head with his left hand. His right hand slips down between our bodies, closing over my sex in a grip that's both tender and firm. "You're not done yet."
I whimper pitifully when he starts to stroke me, slowly and deliberately at first. He pauses every few moments to tease the folds around my clit, dragging the tips of his fingers over it with torturous delicacy. I make the mistake of looking down and find his eyes fixed on my face, his expression so dark with lust that it's almost frightening. But the slight hint of danger only heightens my arousal.
His hand begins to work on me with a steadily-increasing fervor, and my muscles start to clench under the building tension. I writhe under him, and when I fear the pressure has become too much or I just can't stand it anymore, I try to wriggle away from his hand. But he won't let me escape. He leans into me, pinning me down, and tightens his grip on my wrists. He starts his assault anew, and the fresh angle nearly sends me over the edge. My whimpering grows louder, and he whispers again.
"That's it, love. I want you to come for me too."
I can feel the beginning of my release slowly breaking over me at his words, but when he takes my left breast into his mouth again and rolls the nipple around his tongue, it surges forward with such intensity that the noises coming out of my mouth don't sound entirely human. Remus releases my breast and I feel the stubble on his chin graze the nipple when he looks up to watch me come. He stills his hand and lays it over my mound, allowing him to feel the folds and muscles beneath them jump and convulse as they settle back down from climax. I indulge in a few more luxurious moans of pleasure, and my heartbeat steadily slows down to a normal pace.
Sliding up next to me, Remus releases his hold on my wrists and bends to kiss me. I return the kiss, curling into him. Both spent, there's no question of what to do next. I use my toes to drag the wrinkled sheets up to my knees, and Remus helps me pull them up over our shoulders. He settles back into the pillow and I bury my face into his chest with a blissful sigh.
"You're mad," I mumble lazily into his chest.
"I don't doubt it, but what makes you say so?"
"'Isn't worth the risk.' I ask you. Completely barking."
I know that this little wisecrack is going to get me into trouble later. Tomorrow, all the problems and worries and arguments will return with a vengeance. But for now, he lets me get away with it. And for that, I'm very, very grateful.