By: Amy Elizabeth
Disclaimer: All things Harry Potter are the sole property of J.K. Rowling. No infringement or financial gain intended.
A/N: While this story was completely meant as a one-shot, I enjoyed the idea of getting to see a little from Remus' point of view. (And thank you to Jessiquie for the idea about Mad-Eye!) And thank you for the reviews! Please enjoy.
Not completely sure of what he was expecting to happen, Remus had long since decided that any reaction, from blatant disgust to outright interest, out of Tonks would satisfy the disquiet that had been sitting in his stomach from the moment she had Disapparated outside Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place two nights ago.
It had been an impulsive, irrational decision.
I prefer pink.
He had spent days hoping and, if he were to be honest, fearing, that she had understood what he meant by that closing salvo; that he preferred her, that he wouldn't want her to change, that he found her more than attractive on her own. However, the hell of it was, he didn't even know that she had heard him at all.
In the days since her departure Remus had been able to honestly admit to himself that it had been a hilarious prank she had managed. However, despite Sirius' opinion and enthusiasm, he neither wished for photographic proof nor cared to imagine what leaning into kiss Tonks and pulling back to see Mad-Eye would be like.
Not that kissing Nymphadora had never crossed his mind.
In fact, it was crossing it right now.
"Its just that I…flirted with…kissed, someone…"
That. That had been her response to the irrational anger that he had been so conspicuously unable to hide. She had somehow known that the jealous reaction to her kissing someone else had made him nearly shake with…but was that why he had gotten so angry? Or was it that some man, some idiotic Neanderthal, had been placing bets on his…
His? Remus shook his head. He'd file that new reaction away and worry over it later.
…That some man had been placing bets on Nymphadora? Or was it a mix between the two? Either way it was this emotional conundrum that had led to his doorway confession. Well, Remus inwardly sighed, it hadn't been so much as a confession as a vague and elusive statement might or might not have been heard.
He had hoped that this timid statement might have been considered coy and meaningful; that she could see through it and realize his interest in her and then provide a reaction for him to base further plans on. That is, he sighed out loud this time, he hoped this, if she had heard him. And this emotional conundrum was what had led to him pacing the kitchen waiting for dinner, her arrival, and her decision.
But, so far, nothing had happened.
She, Mad-Eye, and Kingsley had arrived together from the Ministry and dinner, already placed on the table by Molly, had begun almost immediately. There had been no secretive glances, no 'accidental' brushes of contact, and certainly no outright declarations of love—not that he had been expecting that; though he hadn't completely ruled it out either. It was Nymphadora after all.
There had been nothing but a friendly 'Wotcher, everyone' and a…
"Remus?" He jumped a little in his seat at the unexpected sound of her voice, "Would you pass me the carrots, please?" He nodded as he decided to just pick up the bowl beside his elbow and hand to her.
And there it was; the brush of her hand against his. Yes, he had been passing her a bowl, but surely she didn't need to grab it that close. Was she blushing?
As she would put it, Bugger it.
"I saw Augustine Higden today." Mad-Eye's voice cut through the dinner conversation, his magical eye whizzing towards Tonks.
She's right. That blue eye is pretty mesmerizing, Remus shuttered, though not in a particularly pleasant way.
"Oh?" The false casualness in both Tonks' voice and Kingsley's expression were admirable. The smirk on Sirius' face, however, didn't seem to be at all restrained.
"Outside the MLE office."
"I hear he's a pretty good wizard." Kingsley speared another carrot with his fork with practiced indifference, "Talk to him about anything interesting?"
"No, I snuck up behind him." Mad-Eye grunted, "Boy was startled speechless."
Kingsley and Tonks exchanged a look, "And?" she asked.
He looked directly at Tonks, his voice betraying nothing, "I reminded him that he needs to be Constantly Vigilant."
There was a brief moment where no one moved before Tonks' snorts and laughter filled the room. She turned to Kingsley, "I told you he'd find it funny!"
How on earth she could decipher that the older man knew about her prank, much less that he found it funny, was beyond Remus. There wasn't a single sign of amusement that he could find in the man's craggy face. Though he supposed she did know him better.
Tonks wiped at her eyes, "Where did you hear about it?"
"Scrimgeour." Mad-Eye voice was deadpan enough to suddenly silence Tonks' laughter. It was widely acknowledged that her boss wasn't particularly known for his sense of humor when it related to on-the-job frivolity.
Her eyes widened, "You didn't." When she was met by silence, her face suddenly became much less jovial, "You did?" It was more of a squeak than a question, "But you found it funny, so did," she swallowed, "did he?"
"You have a lot to learn, girl. You're going to get yourself sacked one day." He glowered at his beef.
Her face flushed, her voice sounded suddenly more than a little put-out, "Learn? About what exactly, Mad-Eye? Was I supposed to just let Higden make a fool of me? I know I shouldn't have done it in the office but honestly I didn't want to see that prat outside…" she stopped as the corner of Moody's mouth began to twitch up involuntarily, "You were kidding!" Her mouth dropped, "You made that up, you infuriating…" She paused and glared at her mentor, "So, where did you hear it from then?"
"You didn't think I'd let such an opportunity go to waste?" Sirius grinned from behind his hand.
Mad-Eye? In on a prank with Sirius? Dear Merlin, the whole world is going to hell. Remus didn't think her head could have whipped towards her cousin faster.
"You?" He had only heard that tone of voice after someone had slipped and called her Nymphadora, "You?"
"I'm clearing the table." Molly Weasley was suddenly on her feet, "Arthur, some help, please." Remus was pretty sure he hadn't seen Arthur so keen to help his wife clean up before. Then, after the plates began to float away, there was a second of silence before a flurry of voices and activity erupted.
"Early morning at the office tomorrow for me, actually." Kingsley quickly donned his cloak, "Good night, all."
"I'll join you, Kingsley." Mad-Eye abruptly stood from his recently cleared place, "I have some…business to discuss with you."
"Ah, to Buckbeak then." Sirius stood with his guests, his eyes twinkling at his cousin, "Goodnight Remus, Nymphadora."
"Don't call me Nympha…" the end of her shout was cut off by the shutting of the kitchen door behind the three men. For a second Remus was sure she was going to run after her cousin and extract her revenge.
In fact, he was just beginning to contemplate how long Sirius could avoid her when he couldn't leave the house when it hit him.
He was alone with a very angry Nymphadora Tonks, who may or may have heard a half-confession of romantic interest from him two nights previous.
Just when he thought he couldn't have been more uncomfortable.
"Tonks…" He wanted to say something comforting but, unfortunately, he couldn't help but notice she was still beautiful with that horrible scowl across her face. Almost as beautiful as when she was smiling…
She was smiling. It had happened so fast Remus wasn't quite completely able to tell if he had watched it happen or if he had missed it when he blinked. But sure enough a huge grin threatened to turn back into the laughter he had found so appealing earlier.
"That son of a…" she looked right at Remus, the force of her smile directed straight at him, causing his heart to miss a beat. Or two.
"He never misses the smallest chance does he?"
At that Remus couldn't help but smile back, "No, he never does."
Suddenly, she was laughing again, "You know, I deserved that."
He gave her a puzzled look. "You mean from some cosmic karma getting you back for pulling pranks? I daresay Sirius deserves payback more."
Her grin softened, "No, it's just that I've been a bit of a hypocrite about the whole thing." She chuckled as his look, "About bet making, that is. You see, I made a little bet with myself." She paused and began to slip on her traveling cloak that had been hung over the bench, "Not anything nearly as disgustingly base and vile as Higden; but I did promise myself I'd try and get somebody particular to notice me before Christmas. Though not for any but the purest reasons, I assure you."
Remus' heart sank a little. Even if she had heard him in the doorway, this did not bode well for the positive reaction he had hoped for, "And how is that going?" He cursed himself a little for the dejected note that had crept into his voice.
She got up and walked towards the door before turning to answer, "It's going well, I think. But don't worry, you still have five weeks till Christmas, Remus."
And she was gone.