So, this is going to be a 5-chapter fic, and each chapter will describe one of the five hours of conversation Remus and Tonks have one day, in the dead of the night (oh, yes, love makes you do this, be warned!) before duty.
h 2.00 a.m. - The Meeting
Yawning for the millionth time in an hour, Remus poured himself some scotch and gulped it all in a go. Insomnia was one of the things he disliked most in life, along with idiots, traitors and white chocolate.
He shot a glance through the darkness at the cuckoo clock standing between the door and the counter. It read two o'clock in the morning. He had just started pondering the possibility of making some relaxing tea, when he heard a noise coming from the hall, followed by a series of thumps and a low cursing he happened to know quite well.
He poured another glass of scotch while listening carefully. It was only mere seconds later that a messy tangle of pink hair entered the kitchen, yawning broadly, arms stretched above her head,
"Good morning, Nymphadora." He greeted, raising the glass like in a toast.
"'Mmmorning, Remus." She murmured, absentmindedly running a hand through her hair. It took her a second to register his presence; she stopped dead in her tracks and looked up at him as her jaw dropped in the middle of another yawn.
"Remus!" Her eyes widened, although sleepily, as she gaped at him inquiringly. "Shouldn't you be sleeping by now? We're on for patrol in a few hours."
"Correct. This said, shouldn't you be sleeping as well?"
"Can't." she mumbled, taking a glass from the cupboard and going to the sink to fill it. "Mad-Eye offered me a drop of his Firewhisky Special Brew, after dinner, and Merlin knows how I regret drinking it."
"Ah, I understand."
"Alastor offered me some, once," he said, after emptying the remnants of the scotch into his mouth. "Ten years ago or so, that is. Sirius and I got tremendously drunk after the first three sips. After a massive hangover in the morning, we swore to ourselves that never again we would accept anything from Alastor. Not even sweets."
"Couldn't you have warned me or something?" she cried, draining her second glass of water.
Remus grinned sheepishly, or so he hoped it would look.
"Direct experience is the best way to learn."
"Bollocks!" Tonks snapped, swaying lightly as she groped toward the closest chair, where she sank exhaustedly, then rested her head on the table, arms hanging loosely on her sides. "Now I'll have to hate you for not having saved me, and you know how bloody tiring it is."
Tonks groaned in what Remus supposed was meant to be dignified disdain and brought her hands over her head.
"I want to sleep."
"Well, same here, as a matter of fact."
Suddenly resuming a light dose of lucidity, Tonks sat up straight and addressed him a drowsy gaze.
"Why are you up, by the way?" she asked.
Remus shrugged and pulled out the chair from the side adjacent to hers.
"I just can't seem to get any sleep. I've rolled in bed for an hour before I decided I was only wasting my time." He sat down and joined his hands over the table. "Perhaps it's because it's almost full moon."
"I didn't know it had an exciting influence." She said, interested.
"It doesn't." he said. "Not over sleep, at least."
He caught a glimpse of Tonks' ice grey eyes shimmering in the dark.
"What else could it-?" He gave her a half, cheeky grin, and he was sure she blushed. "Oh."
"Obviously, the subject becomes more sensitive towards this kind of side effects if there's something potentially arousing round him." He let his glance fall on her tank top and shorts. "Sometimes it's hard – even a bit embarrassing, you see – to pretend not to feel a certain instinctive feral disquiet."
It took Tonks a moment or two to process what he'd said. She looked down at herself and covered her décolleté with both her hands.
"I'm so sorry!" she squeaked, desolated. "I hadn't realised, otherwise I would have never-" The words faded on her lips as she noticed his eyes were laughing. "You naughty, evil, bloody git!"
"I feel a bit uncomfortable with being addressed so nicely and not having the pleasure to see your face in the meantime. If you don't mind…" He took out his wand and lit up a couple of candles on the counter, which floated to the table and settled right in the centre. "Why, I think it's better, now."
Through the softly enlightened darkness, Tonks was observing him with an impish smile.
"Lovely." She said, folding her arms over the table, and contemplated him for a while. "Very…"
"Romantic?" he offered, interpreting her hesitation as an invitation to be teased. Tonks, however, chuckled smugly.
"I was rather going to say something like kind, or generous, or anything that would sound thankful for not blinding me with an explosion of light."
"Is it that bad?"
She rubbed her forehead between her hands.
"You wouldn't believe."
"How much of Alastor's Special Brew did you have, exactly?" he asked, a bit worried of the precocious hangover symptoms she seemed to suffer.
"Dunno," she moaned. "Would it be humanly possible if it was three?"
"Good gracious!" he removed her hands from her face and scrutinised her closely, seriously concerned. "Don't you feel sick?"
Tonks, paler than ususal, hid again her face beneath her hands and shook her head no.
"Is it that serious?"
Remus raised a brow very eloquently.
"I am actually surprised you can sit straight or even have a normal conversation."
A low laugh came from Tonks' lips through her fingers.
"As if we ever had any conversation that could be classified as normal."
Tonks let her hand down and sneered.
"Remus, the first time we met we ended up speaking about boobs, because I'd tripped into the carpet on the stairs and fallen upon you with all my glorious equipment pressed onto your face." She said sarcastically, counting on her fingers. "Not very long after, we spent a whole patrol shift discussing questionably decorous subjects such as Snape's tastes in women, then, about a month ago, we had that interesting debate on how to prepare a good cheesecake without cheese." She jiggled her head, biting at her smirking lips, as if the mere memory amused her. "Then again, last week we argued about who of us was the best at dealing with a Boggart, and I so won that one…"
Remus could vividly remember her concentrated face as she had turned the poor Dark-Mark-like Boggart into a chamber-pot.
"No doubt on that." he agreed with a sly grin.
"And only yesterday," Tonks went on. "When I stumbled and literally fell at your feet," She met his eyes, and he returned her defiant look, anticipating the point she was going to touch on. "You said I was quite easy to get laid."
Remus gave a hearty laugh, arms crossed over his chest.
"I largely apologised, after that one." He precised, well aware his tone didn't sound apologetic as it theorically should have.
"Yeah," Tonks watched him through the candlelight. "But still, since then I can't lie down without thinking of you."
A heavy silence fell upon them, and this time Remus could see she was blushing.
"I didn't mean… I mean, I was referring to… Y' know…"
Not even remotely squabbled as she seemed to be, however, Remus couldn't just help the thought there was no such adorable thing as Tonks looking so genuinely embarrassed.
"I shall spare you finding out what I think about whenever somebody falls from the stairs straight into my arms." He said. Tonks looked up, blinking.
"Does it happen very often?" she asked hopefully, and - to Remus' wicked pleasure - with a certain amount of ingenuity. He shrugged casually and shot her a snigger.
"Only when you and your equipment are round."
According the brightness of Tonks's grin (halfway between shy and flattered), Remus became of the opinion the candles had become trivial, since she could have lit up the whole room just by keeping grinning on. Necessary condition for it was to keep on the teasing, as well, and, at least for now, Remus was all willing to help.