"Here. Get closer to me, that way you won't get wet."
Tonks huddled next to Remus under the umbrella. The rain had started seconds after they had exited the theater. She pulled the collar of her cloak around her face trying to protect herself from the damp and cold of the evening.
"We should try to find some where safe to floo back to Grimmauld Place," Remus said as he looked about the street. "I don't want to draw attention to ourselves among these good Muggle folks. They had a big enough scare with this movie, don't need to make it worse with us disappearing into thin air."
"Oh, no Remus," Tonks pleaded. "Let's stop somewhere first and get a cup of tea or something warm. I don't want to go back right away."
Remus glanced down at her and smiled. "Suppose we could. I could stand a cup of hot chocolate myself."
The two moved as one through, trying to avoid both the cold autumn rain and the others who were on the busy downtown street. Tonks clung to Remus' arm, relishing the closeness they were sharing for the first time. As she held on, she could not only feel the texture of his jacket but also the tension of his muscles underneath. She was close enough to smell the scent of his after shave. It was a delicious combination of sensations all belonging to the male animal of which Tonks seldom experienced in this way. She was enthralled.
As they rounded a corner a well lit cafe appeared. Its huge plate glass windows allowed a peek inside for both of them. A long counter ran the length of the building behind it was a wonderful combination of coffee makers, display shelves with a delicious array of pastries and stacks of white china dishes. Lamps with shades that looked like lady's garden party hats hung from the ceiling over the counter. Although they never spoke a word, the pair agreed that this little place would do.
They made a mad dash for the door of which Remus opened for her in a elegant, chivalrous motion. Tonks did a small curtsy and strolled in before him. Remus offered his arm and escorted her to the counter. He pulled one of the chairs out and seated her.
"And now mum," he mumbled in a false nasal voice, "will it be the Earl Gray or the orange pekoe you'll be wanting?"
Tonks raised a finger to cheek, placed it on one of her dimples and rocked her head back and forth. "The Earl and I are not that close, so it will have to be the pekoe."
They laughed at each other's silliness and were barely able to tell their order the waiter in a sensible manner. When the tea and hot chocolate did arrive they had calmed down, sensing their joking about was putting the waiter in an uneasy mood. Or, as Remus would say later, it was the fact that Tonks' hair had just ran through the color spectrum. He made a note to himself to remember a little forgetfulness hex on the way out for their service industry companion.
"I want to thank you," Tonks said as she stirred her tea, "for a lovely evening. I feel sorry for you losing in the lottery."
Remus stopped sipping his hot chocolate and looked at her puzzled. "What lottery are you speaking of?"
"The Take-Tonks-Out-and-Cheer-Her-Up one, " she answered never looking up from her tea.
Remus put his cup down. "I have no idea what you are talking about."
"Oh don't think I don't all ready know," she retorted abruptly. "Molly is the worst of the lot. 'We don't know what's wrong with old Tonks. Go by and give her a bit of fun there, Remus. Help her out of that nasty mood she has been in.'"
Tonks made a face and tossed her spoon down. She put her elbows on the table and leaned close to Remus. "I don't care for all the pity."
Remus fidgeted uncomfortably in his seat. "There has been no lottery, Tonks. I swear."
"So this was all your idea?" she asked, perking up slightly. "No pushing from old Molly to aid a poor little sad thing like myself?"
"Well," Remus stuttered and tried to think of what to say next.
"I knew it," Tonks shouted and hit her fist on the counter. The waiter looked over from his glass polishing duties and gave Tonks a stern look. Recognizing she had been a bit too boisterous, she collected herself and lowered her voice.
"She did get you to take me out for the night, didn't she?" Tonks demanded.
"I am not going to lie," Remus said firmly, "she is concerned about you. But I was the one who decided to ask you to join me tonight. She had nothing to do with it."
Tonks was pouting a little still not convinced. Remus took her hand in his and kissed it gently.
"I have been worried about you," he said softly. "You haven't been quite yourself. I thought it might have been that, well, skirmish we had months ago. I thought perhaps you may have been thinking about Sirius."
"Have been, a bit," she answered quietly. "Actually the whole thing scares me a little. Life. I never realized how very fragile it is until that night Sirius died. How in the flick of a second it can be over with. I'm not afraid for myself, you know. I just worry about the others and you, of course." Her voice trailed off.
Tonks looked away from Remus and gently ran her fingers over his hand that was holding hers. "You must miss him too."
Remus shifted his weight in chair before he answered her, as if he were considering the question.
"I do," he replied. "I feel guilty too. I don't think I was as good of a friend as I should have been. A lot of regrets about things in the past that I can't change."
Tonks smiled at him. "Shouldn't sell yourself so short there, Remus."
Tonks could sense the discomfort in Remus. The night had been so perfectly wonderful and she did not want the magic to end. She decided to change the subject.
"My parents' flat is not far from here," she said. "The one they kept for weekends in the city. I think I will stay there tonight. I don't want to go back right now and have to deal with all of them. Molly always said I should take a few days off for myself. I think a change of scenery would do me good. Don't mind walking me there, do you? It's only a few blocks."
Remus nodded his head. "I will be honored to escort you home, my dear Tonks."
Remus reached into his pocket and left a few bills on the counter. He helped Tonks put her cloak back on and walked her to the door. As he opened the door for her, he raised his wand at the waiter. A little less that the waiter remembered about them would be a prudent thing, Remus thought. When they were both outside, Remus gallantly offered his
arm to Tonks which she accepted with a shy smile.
Their walk was in silence. The rain had lessened and now it was only a drizzle that Remus' umbrella had to protect them from. The streets had emptied out of people and they shared the walk with no one. Remus pulled Tonks closer to him as they crossed the street, as he were ready to shield her from the misery a night sky could yield. She grasped his arm, comforted by his protective demeanor.
They reached the stairs to the flat and climbed them together to the door. Remus closed his umbrella as Tonks fumbled in her pocket for the keys. Frustrated at not finding them, she pulled her wand from her cloak and mumbled a spell. With the click of the lock, the door opened slightly and several lights popped on. She turned to Remus.
"I did enjoy this evening," she said quietly as she looked up at him. "I had a grand time. Your are complete sweetheart for asking me out. I don't know what I ever did to have such a good friend."
Remus brushed a shock of her hair from her face. "I enjoyed it very much myself. We should do this more often."
"Yes, " she answered and a shiver went through her. "Thank you, again."
She raised herself up on the tips of her toes and gently kissed Remus on the cheek. She lingered for a second and Remus, without hesitation, kissed her back on her cheek. She did not move away, but returned his kiss, this time slightly closer to his mouth. They stood frozen, their faces so close that they could feel each others anticipation. Remus
slowly wrapped his arm about her waist and kissed her. He could feel her hands cautiously move up his back and settle on his shoulders, pressing him closer to her.
They ended the kiss but not the embrace. Tonks slowly ran her lips along his jaw, causing a lovely sensation with her breath that made his body tingle. Remus continued to hold her and ran his fingers through her hair tenderly.
"This is going to be complicated," he sighed as she kissed his neck.
"Very," she answered back, her tongue grazing his skin.
"We should really consider how foolish this is," he whispered as he closed his eyes.
"Quite." He could feel her hands slipping under his jacket and across his shirt.
"Dangerous in a lot of ways." She smelled like almonds and honey, he thought.
"I think we should..." his voice trailed off as he kissed once again this time with no holding back any reserve.
Tonks broke the kiss off and whispered, "Do you want to come in?"
Remus looked down at her and saw how very pretty she was and how very young she was. Tonight, she wasn't the girl who had tripped over her own feet so many times at Grimmauld Place. She wasn't the cocky thing who acted like an Aurors job was too easy for her. She looked like someone who was infatuated with the wrong man and did not know it. Remus knew he should be the adult in this whole situation and do what was the sensible thing no matter how lovely she smelled or how soft her skin was.
But then he remembered something he had heard long ago. That sense had nothing to do with matters of the heart.
"Yes, I do," Remus answered her as her held her tightly. "Ever so."