A/N: Orriginally Written for the Metamorfic Moon Haloween Jumble on Live journal
On the thirtieth of September 1905, two muggle children living on the border of Dublin and the woodlands belonging to Westlow County reported a strange incident. According to the boy, age nine, and the girl, age 11, while they were playing along the edge of the forest that sunny afternoon, as was their habit, they spied a man crawling towards them out of the brush. The man was thin, ragged, and appeared to be in his mid-thirties. According to the children, the man wore torn, dirty robes and appeared to have walked a long distance.
Once the stranger reached them he crawled straight to the boy, grasped him firmly about the shoulders and uttered a strange warning: "Beware the cabin."(Sources have taken 'The Cabin' to mean the old Cabin Inn which sits in the northern Westlow woodlands five miles from Dublin).
The stranger then collapsed against a nearby rock. By the time the Children returned with help, it was too late. The stranger was dead.
This man was later confirmed by Wizarding authorities to be Daniel Lynch, a Magical Law enforcement officer who had mysteriously disappeared eleven months previous to this strange encounter
Samuel Jennings, Daily Prophet Correspondent, September 31st 1905
The Daily Prophet had run the same story every Halloween since the incident occurred. In the one hundred years since this article The Cabin had become the stuff of legend; a favorite ghost story told around the fire place when songs and family tales became redundant.
More stories about The Cabin had, of course, emerged over time. There were tales of many men, all of great importance to the British Ministry of Magic who left for the Forest of Westlow County never to return. It is said that many men who became lost in the woodland were lured to a Cabin by either a sudden shower when none was predicted, or the sound of a woman's voice singing a soft beautiful melody.
Many theories about the Cabin's mysterious reputation persisted. Some said that the inn was run by Celtic Sirens who were cursed with Human form and know of no other occupation than that of luring young men to their death. Others believed that the inn is haunted by particularly violent ghosts.
Still others claimed that the stories about the cabin were just that: stories. To these, the tale of Daniel Lynch could be attributed to strange, nonsensical firings of the brain connected with dehydration.
Albus Dumbledore, however, took an even darker view of the Cabin. He suspected, and had suspected for some time that the dark arts had a particular strong hold in Ireland, specifically in the Dublin area. The Cabin seemed the perfect location for such a stronghold
Now, if his suspicions were correct, (and he was quite certain that they were), the Cabin presented a new danger in light of Voldemort's return.
In order to confirm his suspicions on the matter, and to, perhaps prevent any further dark activity, The Order needed a member there under cover, a spy.
And so it was that Nymphadora Tonks and Remus Lupin found themselves trapped in a sudden down pour just out side the dark stone façade of The Cabin Inn.
"So, this is it?"
Tonks, her hair short and blonde as per their disguise, asked above the din of rain drops with apparent excitement.
"Yes. This is it."
Remus Lupin answered her, with anything but excitement. The rain continued to pound on them, but a deep trepidation, kept Remus from entering. He looked once more to Tonks, who was examining the sides of the building with her wand out, performing silent detection spells.
Remus had to admire her professionalism, thought he still felt wary.
He had volunteered to come on the mission alone. The stories of the Cabin had fed the nightmares of his childhood both before and after he received his bite. The tales of Men who had been found mutilated and abandoned by nearby riverbanks, or else not at all, haunted him more than any other fireside ghost stories.
He believed that these stories had prepared him for the mission ahead. That the tales had put him on his guard. Tonks however… Tonks was not acquainted with the old tales. Her Muggle born Father had never heard of the Cabin, and her mother had thought the stories nonsense.
She was innocent and oblivious to the inns dark reputation. She had not prepared herself as he had.
She did not know that the stories about murder and disappearance dealt only with men. Only single men, it seemed were lured by the Cabin's charms. Remus did not know what would happen to a Woman who ventured there. Particularly one as young and beautiful (because she was very beautiful. No matter what she did to her hair or nose), as Nymphadora Tonks.
He had been very insistent on the idea of going to the Cabin alone, but she had also been very insistent upon accompanying him.
She argued that he risked disappearance or worse by venturing to the place without a companion, and in the end Dumbledore had agreed with her.
So here they were, standing directly in front of the Cabin inn; she wore an expression of puzzled wonder as she finished the outer revelation spells.
"Did you find anything?"
He asked finally.
She shook her head.
"Not on the outside anyway. It's safe to go in."
"All right then."
His fingers shook as he pulled the rusted door knob open and ushered Tonks inside.
The Cabin was certainly not the brightest or cleanest of spots. The door creaked on its hinges and seemed ready to give way. The walls inside were as dank and dark as their outer counter parts. There was one small fire place stuck and seemingly forgotten in the right hand corner. The chill that filled the room strongly suggested that it had never been used.
Tables and chairs were thrown haphazardly about the living area and the small ray of candle light in the right hand window seemed more ominous than comforting.
"Cheery little spot isn't it?" She said, wrapping her cloak further against the cold wind which the cabin walls did little to combat.
"Indeed," he answered warily.
His eyes searched the room until they landed on one long bar in the middle which seemed to serve as both the Inns' check in and the tavern center. The only evidence of this was the strategic placement of a bell along the countertop bearing a sign which read: Please Ring for Service.
With only the slightest hesitation, Remus reached out his hand and touched the tip of the bell which emitted a long clear tone.
For a moment there was nothing. Perhaps the cabin truly was deserted after all these years. But that did not explain the candles…
There was a creak along the hallway which led to the stair well. Soon the sound of foot steps could be heard slowly making their way down the rickety stair case.
Remus moved a fragment closer to Tonks. He wondered, once again, the fate that might befall a young woman who wandered into the inn alone.
It was not long before a tall man with long grey hair, pulld elegantly back into a braid, emerged from the stairwell. This man appeared to be a good deal older than Remus, wearing crisp black robes and an aloof manner, which contrasted greatly with his environment.
The inn Keeper stopped at the foot of the stairwell to survey them. His eyes wandered past Remus disinterestedly, but lingered on Tonks. Remus moved closer to her discovering a sudden urge to shield her from the old man's gaze.
Apparently satisfied in his analysis of them, the man moved behind the counter without hurry.
"May I help you?" The Irish lilt with which he spoke was softer, lighter than those Remus was used to. It was another matter which disconcerted him.
"Yes," Remus said, as forcefully as he could. "We would like a room."
"A room?" The man repeated, as though he had not understood the request.
"Yes, a room. Please."
The man made no move towards the set of room keys behind the bar, nor toward the book Remus could see peeking out from behind the counter.
He simply stared at them for a moment surveying their wet clothing and remarked:
"The rain outside must be very cold."
"It is rather." Remus said with an edge of impatience.
"You walked here."
It was a statement not a question. Tonks answered this time.
"Yeah, well, it was supposed to be a camping trip. But it looks like the weather didn't want to cooperate."
They had, of course, worked out this story before hand. A couple on a backpacking trip through the Eastern Irish Counties. Still, Remus was very impressed at how quickly the lie came to her.
The inn keeper stared at Tonks for a moment as though he was trying to see through her. Slowly a jeering sort of smile spread across his face. Remus did not like the look one bit.
He shuffled closer to Tonks and placed a protective arm around her shoulders. She relaxed into him easily.
"We're on holiday from London."
"Truly?" The man asked passively. "We don't get many holiday makers around here. Especially not at this time of the year."
"Well, we always like to go off the beaten path a bit. Don't we darling?" Tonks said, smiling up at him, and Remus' stomach inadvertently performed a series of cart wheels reminiscent of those he had felt in the days of his youth.
"That does tend to be our trend," he smiled at her, much more genuinely than he had anticipated.
The inn keeper's jeering smile only widened at the display.
"Will you require one bed or two?"
Remus hesitated. He had not anticipated this question. The idea of a couple requesting two beds would arouse suspicion. However, the idea of sharing a bed with Tonks was...well…it was…
He barely recognized his own voice as he made the request. Tonks smiled coyly at him; the way a new bride might smile at her husband.
"It's our honeymoon, you see."
He attempted to ignore the odd feeling that twisted his stomach as he heard these words fall from her lips. He forced a smile as he realized that it was the closest thing to a honeymoon he would ever experience. The fact that he was experiencing it with Tonks only served to twist the knife in deeper.
"Ah," The man said simply. The strange smile remained plastered to his face; the expression prompted Remus to tighten his arm around Tonks.
"Romulus Drane. Mr. and Mrs."
"Very well," at this he slowly marked the notebook and took one of the top keys from the wall.
"You will be removed from the others. We receive mostly male guests here only one room on the top floor has a bed large enough to accommodate a…lady companion."
He leered once more at Tonks.
"I'm sure you will find the room most satisfactory."
The room as it turned out was as dark and cold as the down stairs cabin. There was no furniture to speak of except for one lone bed which stood in the right hand corner of the room.
The inn keeper, with another sly smile, bid them goodnight and creaked the door closed.
"Creepy place isn't it?"
This was an understatement in Remus' opinion.
"I can't say it came as a great shock. I grew up with the stories about this place remember?"
"You know, I never quite understood what all the fuss was. But now that I've actually been here…"
There was something odd in her voice which he did not recognize. She pulled her cloak more tightly around her shoulders.
"I wonder…why's it always men? In the stories I mean?"
She asked, her voice still trembling.
"I don't know," he answered truthfully "Some have suggested that Men are more valuable collections for the spirits contained here. Others have said that Men are more susceptible to the dark enchantments of the cabin, still others say that it's because Men get lost more than Women and find themselves in need of shelter. Any or none of them could be right."
She nodded but pursed her lips with a closed expression.
"That inn keeper…the way he looked at me…" Tonks trailed off with a shudder.
Remus swallowed. He had a sudden urge, desire, to tell her that no man would ever harm her as long as he lived; he wanted to say that he would always be there to guard her; to protect her. But he knew that this line of thinking was dangerous both to her and to him. He knew that he could not always be there to protect her, that once a month he would be in no position to protect any one.
He was not in the habit of making promises he could not keep.
Still, watching her as she stared out the small, dingy window, made him feel as though he should reassure her. He would try as best he could:
"We need to be on alert tonight. We'll sleep in shifts."
"Good," She said quietly. "That way, if there's a problem…"
"One of us can wake the other. And if there's an emergency we'll send word to Dumbledore, he'll alert the Order."
She nodded once more. There was a moment of silence in which the wind of Late January that filled the cabin seemed quite tangible.
"You unpack, I'll do the detection spell."
She was, once again the Auror, as she dropped her knapsack unceremoniously on to the ground and took her wand from inside her coat.
He set his own back pack down on the bed and, with a flick of his wand, his clothes, folded neatly, flew to the window sill and the books he had brought readily organized themselves by the side of the bed.
Before he could attend to Tonks' back, she returned to the center of the room wearing a confused frown.
"Well, that's weird."
"Nothing?" he asked.
"No. Not a trace. I was expecting…"
"The darkest of Magic is often the most well hidden."
She turned to him, suddenly sporting a teasing smile.
"And which one of your books did you get that line from, Professor?"
Another thing he both admired and disliked about her, she was very perceptive. There was no sense in lying. Still…
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you."
"Try me," she challenged.
Her teasing smile proved infectious and Remus found himself giving her one of his own as he summoned the book in question from the large stack by the bed.
He took the book in hand and held it out for her to read.
"Mad Cap Magic for Wacky Warlocks?"
She wrinkled her nose disbelievingly.
"A birthday gift from Sirius and James my last year at Hogwarts. It is surprisingly useful."
"And why exactly is there a line about the Dark Arts in a book about Mad Cap Magic?"
"There happens to be a very informative chapter about defense against dark pranks, as well as the detection of dark spells."
She still wore a bewildered, disbelieving expression.
"Here," he handed her the book.
"Read for yourself. Chapter four."
With one more cynical look, she flipped through the book until she found the right page. He felt a deep swell of satisfaction as her eyes widened.
"Blimey," she scanning and flipping the pages. "It looks like their using the wrong text books in Auror training. We could really use some of this stuff."
"Always glad to be of service. Shall I make a copy for you?"
He suddenly felt very smug and he knew that his voice reflected this. He was surprised to find that he did not particularly care.
Neither, apparently, did Tonks. For she smiled lightly at him before saying:
"Now, now. Don't get too cocky. I doubt the Aurors would have much use for spells that: Turn your opponents into the balloon animal of your choosing."
Now it was Tonks' turn to appear smug.
"Alas, I fear I shall have to keep my dark arts secrets as well as my clever balloon animal making skills to myself."
"I really never thought I would hear dark arts and balloon animals used in the same sentence."
"Apparently you haven't been around me long enough."
Tonks set about unpacking, and Remus watched her covertly when he could. It had been quite a long time since some one had inspired such a playful, teasing energy in him. He was amazed by how much he had truly missed feeling so light and free.
For a moment, they might not have been in a dark, enchanted Cabin at all.
"Now that that's taken care of," Tonks said as she surveyed her clothes and toiletries, which had all been placed in a rather messy heap beside the bed. "Who should stand guard first?"
"I will." Remus said immediately. Tonks surveyed him skeptically for a moment.
"All right then. But promise to wake me up in two hours. I don't want you pulling any of this Chivalry rot."
"I promise," he said, he said, fighting back the thought that any other woman would have gladly accepted such chivalry. The fact that Tonks would not have it was…interesting. As he pondered this however, another issue came to mind.
"I suppose…" he began uncertainly "…I suppose I'll take the side of the bed nearest the door and-"
"Not so fast Remus Lupin," she said primly as she walked quickly over to her back pack, waved her wand and pulled out a large, rather comfortable looking arm chair.
"Whoever's standing guard'll sit in this," she placed it beside the door with a loud plunk.
"Honestly, did you think it'd be that easy to get me into your bed?" The flirtatious tone with which she asked this question caught Remus off guard.
"Of-of course not….I only….I mean…this will do nicely," he certainly felt as though he had been transported to the days of his youth as he felt heat creep up the side of his face.
She laughed fully as he averted his eyes.
"I'll use the loo first, if you don't mind," she said still smiling as she made her way to the small door on the right side of the room.
"Don't worry there'll still be plenty of hot water left when I'm done."
He was about to tell her that he doubted it somehow, but the next noise made the retort die on his tongue.
A woman's voice. Singing. A beautiful melody. Soft, slow, deeply sad yet soothing. He closed his eyes as he listened and felt himself drop heavily into the arm chair.
He thought he heard his name being called, somewhere in the distance. Yes, over the sound of this beautiful, sad, fulfilling song, someone was calling for him, screaming for him. The voice became louder as the song began to fade.
When he opened his eyes, it was to find Tonks, brown haired and shaken, kneeling beside him, stroking his hand.
He looked around him, the room was lighter, warmer. There was a fireplace that he had not remembered, a soft looking white comforter lay on the bed where there had once only been a small tattered blanket, and Tonks was wearing a pink silk night gown which seemed to invite his touch.
"Remus, are you all right?" She asked him hesitantly
"That song, it looks like it put you to sleep. You were out cold for almost an hour, for a few minutes I thought…" she lowered her eyes as her face turned fairly pale.
"Tonks, did anything…happen while I was asleep?" He looked around the cozy room once more. Something was certainly out of place.
"To me? No," she answered. Remus knew that he should feel relief at this, but the uneasy feeling in the pit of his stomach refused to leave.
"But…when the song started, the room…it sort of changed. Between that and…and you falling asleep and all the stories you told me I was…I was so scared Remus."
She moved her hand to stroke his arm. Her skin was just as soft as he had imagined it might be, it felt soothing.
"It's all right. I'm here now," he told her, placing his arms on her shoulders and pulling her into him. It was an action he would never have performed under normal circumstances. But tonight... he was not quite sure why or how, but he had a feeling that tonight, he would be permitted to do and say anything he desired without fear of cencorship.
"I was wondering…" Tonks said nuzzling her head against his shoulder, "Would you…would you mind sharing the bed with me?"
Both of her hands were placed on his arms now. Remus did not understand it. It felt as though he had fallen into one of his dreams.
"But…the arm chair…we still need to stand guard."
"Please Remus," she moved one hand to caress his cheek, his eyes closed involuntarily.
"Just for tonight," she whispered this as she leaned closer to him, his eyes remained closed.
"Couldn't you keep me safe?"
Remus' eyes flew open. His Tonks would never openly ask to be kept safe. Her Auror pride was much too strong.
"Who are you?"
He asked, fumbling for his wand.
"Nymphadora Tonks," she answered. "Who did you think I was silly?"
This sealed it. Tonks did not speak her Christian name when she could help it, and would never identify herself with it. He did not know who sat before him now, but it was certainly not his partner.
He sat up, pushing the stranger aside as he continued to search his cloak where he stored his wand. It was not there.
"Where is my wand?"
"Well, how should I know where you put-?"
"Tell me where she is!"
"Where who is? Remus what're you-"
Remus sprinted as quickly as he could for the door and flung it open. Instead of the dreary hallway hea had expected to find upon opening the door, he was back outside the cabin in a heavy, freezing rain storm.
"Go back Remus Lupin."
He turned toward the voice of the inn keeper who, though he appeared to be caught in the same rain remained calm and did not appear to be wet.
"The woman you love is waiting."
"What have you done with her?"
The inn keeper laughed softly as he took a step toward Remus.
"She is in your bedroom waiting for you. This is what you have dreamed of, what you have waited for. Go back."
"That is not Nymphadora, now tell me where she is!"
The inn keeper's laugh softened. Though his taunting smile remained.
"I knew from the start you were no fool Remus Lupin. No, that is not Nymphadora Tonks. That is something far better, it is an illusion."
The inn keeper waved his hand and the rain ceased.
"Illusions are something of a specialty of mine. You will find that I can read people well… their desires…their needs. I seek only to fulfill them."
The smile became darkly sinister as it remained apparently frozen on the man's face. He waved his hand once more and Remus' clothes dried instantly.
"You have her, I know you do. Release her."
"Now, why on earth would I do that, Mr. Lupin, when she is so valuable to me?"
"How is she valuable to you?"
Remus asked desperate to stall the man, to think of a plan, to regain control.
"The men who find The Cabin, Mr. Lupin. Find it, only because I wish them to. Here, I am able to keep Wizards who would otherwise prove troublesome to my associates in London, trapped within their own minds, their own illusions…"
Remus searched his surroundings. They were, very suddenly standing warm and dry in the lobby of the inn, beside a roaring fire. The old inn keeper spoke on.
"The illusions are powerful enough, as most men's deepest desire is the love, or the presence of a single woman, it was a fairly simple task. However, after several years many of the men grew immune to my female illusion, apparently an image can not fully replicate the…warmth of a feminine form, the sweet scent of a true woman."
The man's eyes glazed slightly and his smile widened to become a smirk. He knew that Remus' thoughts were placed only on Tonks and was feasting upon his frantic state as though it were a delicacy.
"What has any of this to do with Tonks?"
Remus tried desperately to keep his voice steady as possible. He needed to see Tonks, but the more frantic he became in his quest, the longer this man would keep him waiting.
"Well, you see your…little friend was a very fortunate find. Imagine, a pretty little metamorphmagus at my beck and call. A true woman with the ability to become any man's desire. She will give my illusions the life they need, she will make them real. With her help, the prison will become fool proof. The first of it's kind."
"There will of course, be many more like it when the Dark Lord gains control of your Ministry."
Remus' mind was in a daze. Dumbledore had been both right and wrong, The Cabin was not a stronghold but a political prison.
"How many are there?"
"Prisoners? The last of them died one week ago. Mr. Hages. He was here for three, maybe four months."
Yes. That was the latest disappearance. Charlie Hages. An editorial writer for the Daily Prophet and staunch muggleborn supporter. The stories were true.
"Let me see her," Perhaps if he could see Tonks, his Tonks they would be able to work out a plan together.
"You may see her whenever you like."
The man waved his hand and the brown haired Tonks in her pink silk night gown stood before him.
The smile slid from the Inn Keepers face.
"Let me see my Tonks. Please."
"Mr. Lupin. I offer you perfection. All your fantasies realized, your lust quenched in this one ideal form. I know that you fear your real woman. You are afraid of hurting her."
The man must have been a legimens. There was no other explanation. No one else would be able to read his thoughts so accurately.
"An illusion can not be harmed. There is no fear with my creation. There is only pleasure, life, love in it's purest form. Would you still choose the uncertainty of reality over that?"
"Yes," Remus said firmly. "Let me see her."
"As you wish."
With a wave of his hand, Remus was transported to a room much larger than the one he and Tonks had obtained, yet otherwise very much the same. There was only one bed and on it, lay Tonks. Pink haired and struggling against the ropes which tied her to the bed pole; cursing a blue streak as she writhed.
"She is a feisty little thing isn't she?"
The inn keeper stood at Remus' shoulder smiling at the sight. Remus started toward the bed, but instantly collided with what appeared to be a clear glass wall. The inn keeper laughed.
"I said that you could see her. I never said that you could have her."
"Tonks!" Remus called across the room in vain. Tonks continued to struggle against her bonds, oblivious to his frantic calls.
The inn keeper laughed louder.
"I will see to her for you."
In an instant, on the other side of the glass, Remus saw the inn keeper standing beside Tonks' bed.
"Now, now," Remus heard him telling her. "There's no need to fret. Here,"
The ropes tying her loosened and fell to the ground.
Tonks snapped to her feet, grabbing her wand from the bedside table.
"Where's Remus?" She asked, pointing the wand at the inn keeper threateningly.
"You wish to see him?" The old man asked calmly.
"Yes, I fucking wish to see him. Who in the bloody hell d'you think I've been screaming for the past hour?"
Remus felt his pulse jump in his wrist. She had been worried about him, she had called for him, screamed for him. It was all too much…
He was going to see her, to speak with her. In a moment the glass would disappear and…Remus watched in horror as the inn keeper stepped aside to reveal an exact replica of his form, his face, right down to his clothing:
"Remus!" Tonks said smiling at the illusion relieved.
"Tonks!" Remus and the illusion spoke at the same time, but Tonks' eyes fell only on his replica.
"Tonks are you all right?" The illusion spoke with his voice as it gathered Tonks in its arms.
"I'm fine Remus. Just scared is all." She snuggled deeply into his chest. Remus' heart seemed to tear in half. Both confused and horrified. He himself had never held Tonks the way the illusion was now. He had never dreamed that he would be allowed to. Yet, there he was, holding Tonks fiercely to his chest, stroking her hair, and she was permitting it. She seemed comfortable in his arms, happy…
There had to be a way to end this. There had to be a way to fight.
"Did he hurt you?"
These illusions could not last forever, he could not allow Tonks to be caught up in them.
"No. I mean the ropes burned a bit. But…"
As the illusion bent his lips to kiss Tonks' wrists were the ropes had burned her flesh, Remus was suddenly struck with an idea.
Something he had read in that copy of: 'Mad Cap Magic for Wacky Warlocks'. In chapter four under the heading dark illusions:
"It is not real." The text read "That is what you must keep in mind. It.Is.Not. Real. Repeat the mantra again and again in your mind and keep your eyes on the illusion you wish to disengage."
"It is not real," he whispered locking on the glass in front of him "It is not real. It is not real…"
He repeated the words over and over until, finally the glass wall disintegrated before his eyes.
"Tonks!" he called rushing immediately towards her bed.
"Remus?" Tonks looked to him confused before turning towards the illusion that had her cradled in its arms.
"Tonks listen to me. It's not real. It's an illusion," No sooner had the words left his mouth than the illusion before them disappeared without pretense.
"How?" the inn keepers voice was soft, and quiet…small"No one has ever…no one has dared…" the old mans astonishment, however, vanished as qickly as his illusions.
"You should not have done that, Remus Lupin."
Remus braced himself. 'It is not real,' he thought frantically. 'It is not real, it is not real, it is not real,'
Tonks screamed. A knife was suddenly poised at her throat.
'It is not real.' He thought fiercly forcing himself to watch closely as Tonks' face turned white.
'It is not real' within moments the knife disintegrated.
"Tonks," he pleaded. "It's the only way to stop it. Don't believe this, any of this. It's not real. Force yourself to think it over and over. It is not real."
She looked to him silently and nodded.
"It's not real." She said quietly at first.
"Look at something. Maintain eye contact," her eyes landed on the bedside table.
"It's not real," she said forcefully. In an instant the table disintegrated.
She looked to the inn keeper and seemed to focus on his polished clothes and sleek white hair and narrowed her eyes in concentration.
In an instant the thick hair had disappeared leaving molding grey whisps in their wake. His clothes became small white rags which barely covered the confines of his body. His eyes were blood shot red and his face increadibly decrepit and old.
"Why you little bitch!" he screamed running towards Tonks' bed, his hands out stretched.
Thinking quickly, Remus focused on the inn keepers entire bodily form.
It is not real.
He watched in amazement as, piece by piece, the man flew apart into the dust.
Remus stood stunned for a moment before he realizing that the cabin around him had disappeared. He and Tonks were now standing alone in a dry, plain woodland, their bags fully packed, their wands safely in tow, five miles from the nearest inn.
"Are you all right?"
Remus asked Tonks who stood beside him.
"fanbloodytastic," Tonks said breathing heavily and offering him a smile. "You?"
"I'm all right now," he answered her. Smiling in return.
"What a night huh?" She said, still attempting to control her rapid breaths.
"Quite," he answered. Though he smiled at her with a new sense of caution. He remembered very well that the form her desire had taken…the illusion the inn keeper had given her was his.
He was afraid to ask what this meant, and even more afraid of the answer she might give.
"We had better get back. Dumbledore will want a full report."
He began to walk toward the apparition point and he heard her follow in his wake.
"How'd you figure it out?"
"How did I figure what out Tonks?"
They had nearly reached the cave where they would apparate back to London.
"How to…you know. Get rid of the illusion?"
He knew that this was a genuine question asked in the true spirit of curiosity. However, he found that he simply could not resist.
"Chapter four," he answered. "I suppose you'll be wanting that copy now?"
"Cocky git," she mumbled. He smiled as they made ready to apparate.
He knew that he would have to ask her about the illusion. And he would…one day. But now it was time to return to reality.