A/N: Starts Novemberish OOTP, through DH(?). AU (Sirius…and certain other characters do not die; Tonks and Remus never break up once they're together). The timeline may be somewhat inaccurate; I do not have OOTP with me for reference.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
CRASH! "Bloody hell!!" Remus had become so accustomed to such sounds coming from the entranceway to No. 12 Grimmauld Place that he didn't even flinch at the loud cursing. A flustered, but otherwise unharmed, Nymphadora Tonks shortly stalked into the basement kitchen, muttering about the many ways to cause the troll leg umbrella stand a slow and painful death. However, she brightened perceptibly when she saw him. "Wotcher, Remus!"
A slow smile spread across his face. "Why, Nymphadora, how would we know when you've arrived if that admirable umbrella stand no longer stood in your way?" His eyes twinkled with amusement as he placed slight emphasis on the use of her dreaded first name.
She grimaced in response. "How many times do I have tell you, Remus? It's Tonks- TONKS."
"I'm so forgetful! I'm terribly sorry, Nymphadora." The laughter in his eyes belied his seeming contriteness. Upon this utterance, he was whacked soundly on the arm by a rolled-up Daily Prophet (the only good use for it), but was saved from the onslaught by the entrance of Sirius Black.
"Oy, Tonks, why are you beating up poor dear Moony?"
"He asked for it. He used the N-word twice within a minute, without a hint of remorse!!!" Her tone was quite forceful, but she couldn't help the edges of her curling into a small smile.
"Oh, well, by all means continue, then," although Sirius did take the paper from her. "What benevolent deity has smiled upon us for you to grace us with your mellifluous presence?"
"Cuz, have you been at the Word-A-Day calendars again?" Tonks asked roguishly. Sirius only stuck out his tongue in reply. "Very mature."
Remus piped up, "Do you really expect maturity from him?"
Tonks shrugged. "Good point." Sirius looked at the two of them with mock disdain.
"As if it really matters what I do around here," Sirius said rather cryptically as he left the room with the trace of a sardonic smile on his face.
Remus and Tonks looked at each other, slightly confused. Then, Remus shrugged. "Poor Padfoot. He's still bitter about being unable to leave the house."
Tonks nodded. "Although he did have a rather odd smile that I've never seen him wear when he's thinking about his confinement." A slightly awkward pause followed this observation until she continued, "I really just came here for something to eat and a break from the Hag, who somehow still manages to traipse around the Ministry berating me for not following the 'dress code' (as she indicated her spiky pink hair)."
"Dare I inquire who has earned the moniker of 'the Hag'?" Remus asked with an amused lift to his eyebrows, pretty sure he already knew the answer.
She rolled her eyes at him. "None other than Dolores Umbridge. I would think whe was too busy as the first Hogwarts 'High Inquisitor,' but, no, she still lurks around 'politely coughing' after everyone."
"I think your name gives her far too much credit." He said with not quite the same levity in his voice.
Tonks shrugged. "Maybe." With that their conversation closed, and Tonks went in search of some of Molly Weasley's leftovers. They spent the rest of the time in companionable silence. Tonks eventually had to return to the Ministry, but she would return for the Order meeting that night.
Later that night, after a not very interesting meeting, in which Snape drawled about his great sacrifices and risks as a spy and Moody continually growled about constant vigilance, Remus sat in the library with a large book on his lap and mug of hot chocolate in his hand.
The door opened quietly and Tonks padded in softly, focusing carefully on the mug in her hand. Remus was, very slightly, surprised because she was not preceded by the usual crashes. He smiled gently at her as she sat on the sofa next to his armchair. Ever since he had met in the summer, Remus had increasingly anticipated their ever more frequent late night encounters. Normally, they didn't really talk much; they simply sat reading in comfortable silence, although they occasionally conversed about Order business or simply trivial matters about their days. Sirius used to join them, but he accompanied them less often and for shorter periods as the weeks progressed; he usually made some excuse about feeding Buckbeak or bothering Kreacher. However, he did wear a somewhat worrisome smirk and there was a strange glint in his eyes.
Tonks placed her mug on a coffee table and perused the bookshelves. "Sirius really does a nice collection of light reading," she noted with evident sarcasm as she looked at the thick ancient volumes with titles such as Magick Most Evile. "Do you have any suggestions for what I should read, Remus?"
He pondered for a minute, and he would never be able to tell later if he chose the book he did for some subconscious purpose, or simply because he had always enjoyed. He handed her the worn paperback that he was currently thumbing through. "Jane Eyre. It's a Muggle book from the nineteenth century." Tonks made a slightly doubtful face. "It may not seem it, but it's very dark and romantic. It's got some really beautiful prose."
As Tonks examined the book more closely and read the blurb on the back, she thought it showed more promise than she originally thought. "I can't imagine that this would be in the Black family library."
Remus blushed and looked a little embarrassed. "Well, it's not. It's mine, one of my favorites." She smiled and set to reading. A part of her couldn't help but hope that he had some subconscious purpose in recommending this particular novel. Remus chose another book from the small pile on his table, and they read for about another hour. Then, they both decided that it was time for bed. Tonks chose to stay over in her room that already had quite a few of her clothes and belongings, even though she had her own flat, because it was nearly two in the morning. They muttered sleepy good nights, and both fell asleep with half-formed pictures of English moors on their minds.