Pairing: R/T (you did see that coming, didn't you?)

Rating: T (just to be safe)

Warning: Minor coarse language once or twice, but other than that none whatsoever (excluding usual grammar mistakes, of course... and possibly you might get soaked with a lot of sugar and fluff as well... ;D)

Length: a touch shy of 6,160 words (and finally, something longer!)

Disclaimer: I think it's nice that JKR lets ambitioned fanfiction writers have fun with her property. HP is all hers, as we know, but we also know that she kindly opened up a fanfiction writer kindergarten for us little children to play with her wonderful characters - and can you possibly want anything else? ('cept for... chocolate maybe?)

Summary: "How about I keep you?" she asked him, the question sounding more serious than she had wanted it to (...)" - Tonks can't sleep and so she joins Remus in his bed instead. As expected, cute fluffiness and some innocent flirting ensues...

Beta: Hmm... none? Yeah, definitely...

Author's Notes: I'm... actually quite happy with this, which is rarely the case with my fics, but this one's cute and fluffy and that's really all I can ever ask for. Honestly speaking, I wrote it some time ago, probably four or three months. I just liked the general idea of Tonks and Remus in bed together without any sexual content and a lot of fluff and flirting instead. (Well, with sexual content is just as good, of course.) I hope it turned out well, I'm not sure, my self-consciousness strikes again here... Anyway, if there are any mistakes in there, please don't bother (because I'm just bound to make mistakes in a fic that long) - or better yet, tell me! As always, have fun reading...

OoOoOoOoO

The Sixth Time

She couldn't sleep. Again. She hated these days, because if there was anyone who'd need a good sleep, it was her, especially with the few hours of leisure time that her job as an Auror and her secret membership in the Order of the Phoenix would grant her each day. But now she was lying there, in the coldest of rooms of Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place (cold now that it was winter; very, very hot however in summer) and she was just not able to sleep. Not even a tiny little bit. And it was only six more hours before she had to get up and get ready for work again.

Why was life so bloody unfair on her?

Not that she didn't love her work, neither as an Auror nor as an Order-member, but she had to admit that it drained her and tired her a lot, maybe even more of late. She didn't even have her own place to go to anymore (well, she had had a place, but it had been pointless since she never really had stayed there, let alone lived there and the price had just been too high for an unused apartment, so she'd decided to give it up), and therefore she would drag herself up the stairs of Grimmauld's every evening, occasionally to attend a late Order meeting, but mostly just to get into her room (unfortunately on top of the stairs as she had noticed several times with increasing annoyance) and fall asleep in her cosy bed.

When she could.

But right now, this seemed to be her very problem, because as much as she tried, her mind wasn't tuning off. She blamed the situation. If it wouldn't be for Voldemort having come back and brought along his bloody pack of ragged Death Eaters, she'd be sleeping comfortably in her own bed, in her own apartment, probably with a happy dream and, what was more important, with more than only six hours time. Or five and three quarters, she thought after a quick glance at the clock standing on the little bedside table. But no, instead she was lying awake half of the night, musing about missions and new stealth tactics and just how to get back to Mad-Eye after he had almost startled her to death three days ago, when she'd been fervently discussing black magic with Remus. Remus…

With an abrupt movement, Tonks sat up. A sudden thought had jumped into her mind, and she wondered if this might just be one of those nights again. She grinned to herself. Why not? It was cold and she couldn't sleep, thus she wouldn't even have to lie. Definitely one of those nights, she thought to herself, still grinning when she got up and silently moved out into the corridor.

His room was only two doors further, and with careful steps she went downstairs, eager not to trip over the carpet as she had done many times, so as not to wake anyone of the other current residents of Grimmauld's (which was actually only Sirius). When she reached the door, she pushed it open as quietly as she could, and walked in, closing behind her. It was dark in the room, only a single ray of moonlight shone through the curtained window on the bed Remus lay in. She couldn't see his face since he was turned to the wall, but couldn't help but picture him in sleep nevertheless, his features smooth and content, just the way she had seen them on several nights, and she loved the image. She sat down quietly beside his bed and hugged her knees to her chest, thinking for a moment.

Remus was… well, he was… She couldn't quite define it. He was friendly and kind and a gentleman, that much she knew. He was tactful, always knew what to say and in which situations, and he was the only one who could make her laugh about her clumsiness with these nicely ironic comments of his (which she would consider to be really annoying and in no way funny if it wasn't for him). He called her "Nymphadora" even though she had told him not to – many, many times. (But then again, it was a game, at least for her, and she loved it when he said her name and she got the chance to tell him not to use it that way.) He liked homemade tea and biscuits, she'd noticed, and books, of course. Lots and lots of books about everything and everyone – even about Muggles or from Muggles. She'd become used to him sitting in the unusually large library of Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place, and reading by the fireside. Occasionally, she would even accompany him, but only actually to be with him, not really because she was interested in reading. She liked him, and could never quite completely fight the urge to look out for him or shove away the feeling of needing to be close to him.

School-girl crush, her mind would always reprimand her. Just like now.

What Tonks knew best, however, was that Remus definitely was not her boyfriend. She wasn't even sure if he considered her a woman; maybe he considered her more something in the line of a little sister, much like Sirius did. She would've liked to be Sirius' sister; they had fun together, she was fond of him and he was very fond of her, his "little clumsy, yet adorable cousin" as he had put it once. But with Remus this didn't work out. She couldn't imagine being his sister, and didn't want to, if truth be told (although as a sister she'd have his love for sure, just not the way she wanted it), and she truly hated the idea that he might think of her this way. No, she wanted Remus to like her as a woman, because that was what she felt towards him – for him. Womanly feelings, definitely not sisterly feelings.

But how to make him understand?

Tonks was suddenly jolted out of her musings when Remus stirred and turned in his bed. She jerked and fell backwards, causing some great amount of noise in the process. Crawling to her feet, she gasped and immediately felt heat rise to her cheeks, her heart thudding loudly in her chest as her eyes set on Remus' sleeping form. Had he caught her staring? Was he even awake? She was more than relieved when she found him still sleeping and unmoving. A silent sigh escaped her mouth.

Time to make my move. Hope he's not going to kick me out.

She took a deep breath - and sneaked into his bed as quietly as she could. Fortunately, Remus was sleeping in one of the larger-sized beds of Grimmauld's, though thankfully not large enough for two people to sleep completely separately at opposite ends. She reached for the blanket and pulled it over her, curling herself with her back against Remus and taking his hand to wrap it around her stomach. So wonderfully warm. He stirred again, and she held her breath for a moment, knowing that he'd woken up at this, must have. Was he going to tell her to go?

Actually, she had done this only a few times, starting three months ago. The first time he had objected, of course, but she had expected it and had had her arguments ready, and yet it had been quite an embarrassing process to make him understand why she would sneak up at him this late at night (she'd kindly left out the part where it said: "I love you, Remus, that's why!"). But since then, she'd always used the same lame excuses, for example that there was a ghoul right above her room making too much noise, or that she didn't want to be alone and his room was the closest to hers, so naturally she would come to him. Or the one where she couldn't sleep and/or felt cold (which happened to be true this time only by accident). The second time, she remembered, he had been thankfully too sleepy to object, because full moon had only been the day before (well, she had actually timed it hoping that he would let her comfort him). The third time, he had even allowed her to snuggle close to him, if only a bit, and she had been able to feel the warmth of his body, and smiled to herself all night. The fourth time, he had turned away from her; why, she still didn't know, but she had curled up against his back nevertheless in a desperate attempt to make him understand. The fifth time, (she couldn't help but grin at the thought of it) he had placed a hand around her waist and pulled her closer to him. With her body slightly pressed to his, she'd practically felt everything and everyone in the world around her melt into a pool of happiness and bliss. However this time, the sixth time, she wasn't quite sure how he would react since her last visit had been about a month ago, due to work and Order missions and their shifts never working out together.

Was he going to tell her to go?

"Tonks?" came Remus' drowsy voice from just behind her. She rolled onto her back and looked at him, biting her lip. "What're you doing here…?"

"Sleeping, or rather trying to get some sleep."

He was silent for a moment, and she thought that, maybe, they were through with the matter, a bit too fast possibly, but who would want to complain?

"How late?" he asked her, and she could barely see him open his sleepy eyes in the darkness. He took the hand that she had placed around her waist away and ran it through his light brown hair that was slightly streaked with grey here and there. Smooth hair, that is, really adorable, sexy hair that she would like to run through with her own hand. (Whoops, she was getting ahead of herself again.)

"Last time I checked it was half past twelve. Sorry, didn't mean to wake you up."

Another moment of silence - then he snorted.

"You know, Dora," (Oh, she loved it when he called her that! It was not the hateful "Nymphadora", but still her first name, and she imagined it to express trust and familiarity.) "When you sneak up into my bed at night and steal my blanket-"

"I did not steal your blanket!" she protested immediately in a pouting voice.

"-then you can't expect me to believe that you're sorry to wake me up," he continued and added after a little pause, "And you did steal my blanket."

"Did not," she told him eagerly, even though she had noticed the amused, ironic undertone in his voice that was so typical for him. She thought she could see him smile in the dark, and turned around to fully face him. "And even if I did steal your blanket, which I did not, you wouldn't be so cruel to send me away again, right?"

Her voice had become innocently sweet, although she couldn't help the smug expression on her face.

"Wouldn't I?" he asked her, and she could just imagine him raise one eyebrow as he sometimes did in his Remus-fashion. So lovely, really.

"No, you wouldn't..." She snuggled closer to him, laughing quietly. "But you'd very much want me to stay."

He chuckled ever so softly at her words and put his hand back where she'd placed it before, around her waist, and eased her even closer to him. She was both surprised and pleased at the same time, and smiled contently to herself.

"Fine," he said, very simply, and kissed her forehead (Hmm… soft lips, just like I imagined), before he rested his chin on top of her head, inhaling deeply and making her shiver just slightly when she felt his breath tickle her skin. With an inward laugh, she wondered if maybe he was taking in her scent and that it might be a werewolf-trait, and she made a mental note to wash her hair before she would sneak up on him in the middle of the night again. Oh, of course there will be a next time, she thought, grinning.

Minutes passed in silence, and the rhythm of his breathing seemed to steady very slowly. He was falling asleep again. Tonks, however, couldn't really sleep, not when he had drawn her this close to him, closer than she had ever been before in her life (except maybe for the one occasion where she had, after tripping over a branch, stumbled headlong into him and pulled him with her onto the ground). Her mind seemed rather busy not tuning off (again), though this time she wasn't musing about stealth tactics and revenge pranks on semi-paranoid Aurors rather than wondering about Remus' behaviour and what it meant. He hadn't objected when she had come to him, hadn't resented her waking him up, had actually joked with her and even pulled her close to him. And he had kissed her. Well, her forehead, true, but still her.

So what is it now? Brother or lover?

She couldn't help but blush at the last word. And yet it wasn't that absurd, was it? She'd always imagined him to be a great lover...

"Remus," she whispered quietly. He didn't answer and she tried again. "Remus, you still awake?"

She poked him lightly in the chest, trying to get him to wake up again. The shirt he was wearing was rather thin, she noted, and felt another blush rise to her cheeks, but he didn't answer still, and so she looked up and rubbed her nose against the faint, scratchy stubble on his chin which she so loved.

"Remus" she repeated once again, her voice growing a bit impatient by now. At that, she heard him draw in a sharp breath and knew that she had achieved her aim.

"What, Nymphadora?" he asked her; she wondered vaguely if the annoyance in his voice was meant or not.

"It's Tonks, Remus."

She swatted him playfully on his side and he tweaked and laughed, at the same time somehow managing to tighten his grip on her waist. Her breath hitched up at the sudden increased contact.

"I can't sleep…" she told him truthfully, "and I was just wondering if you could do something about that."

"And what exactly do you want me to do?"

He was smiling that smile of his. She could tell, just knew it, and wondered if it meant that he was thinking the same as she did. Kiss me senseless?, she mused silently, Might be a good idea. (Well, probably he wasn't exactly thinking that. Or wasn't he?)

"I don't know. You're the expert," she said instead, and couldn't stop a little snigger from escaping her mouth. A moment of silence followed before he spoke again.

"Why did you come tonight?" he asked her. Suddenly, his voice sounded rather serious, so she stopped sniggering and bit her lip instead. She'd been wondering...

"I've been wondering when you were going to ask me."

He drew in a long sigh and pulled back just a bit (yet didn't take his hand from her waist which she was all too grateful for). She almost started to protest at the loss of contact, but then he was looking at her, and because her eyes had become used to the darkness, she could see him smile so heart-warmingly, his eyes two twinkling dark stars right in front of her, and he was looking so lovely again, that she lost all train of thought for a second. The dishevelled hair, that had fallen into his eyes and made him look really endearing at that moment, did absolutely nothing to stop a strange yet pleasant fluttering sensation rise in her stomach and increase within the minute, and the way he seemed to drink her in with every second passing - she felt as if she was on the brink of passing out. Merlin, you're much too adorable, did you know that? It was a rather difficult endeavour, but she tried strongly to compose herself in spite of herself, still feeling the blood pound rapidly and ever so loudly in her ears.

"What was it this time, Dora?" came his question finally, and he chuckled softly, making her heart do a flip-flop or even two.

"Oh…" she said and was confused for a moment, still so distracted by the way he looked at her, her fingers twitching with the desire to run through his hair. "It's cold up there… and I couldn't sleep."

It was all too much a pathetic excuse once again, and she knew of course, but couldn't care less at the moment. Remus, however, sighed as if in relief.

"And I thought it was your imaginary ghoul again."

Damn.

She bit her lip when she realised that he had caught her. Her first impulse was to ask: "How did you know?" but that would be admitting and she couldn't give in that easily, could she? So instead, she simply said: "What?"

"Don't you remember your crashing ghoul above your room?"

"Of course I remember him," she said, making a "tuh"-sound, "but he wasn't just in my imagination. He really was there!"

He chuckled again, and she was tempted to as well because she knew it sounded much too pathetic, and she knew just as good that, of course, he didn't believe her, but surprisingly she didn't really bother. She figured that he must've known all along since her excuses had been lame from the start. He probably even knows about my feelings, she wondered momentarily, blushing. But even if, he still let her come to him, which seemed more important than anything else right now. It meant that he must like her; the only question remained, in which way that was...

"He was there, banging and crashing, and really, really annoying," she continued despite all the ridiculousness of her excuses, unable to keep the amusement out of the serious tone that she'd settled for. He laughed and - Oh Merlin - she just loved the sound of it.

"You're mean," she told him then, earnestly, feigning sulkiness. He raised an eyebrow at her, still laughing - it was just like she had imagined before. So lovely, she'd like to kiss it immediately.

"I don't quite understand what you mean. When did this become my fault?"

"You knew all along, didn't you? Really, I could've spared me from all these explanations."

"Lame excuses, you mean…" he corrected her, laughing at his own joke. She gaped for a moment at him, then mock-scowled.

"Oh yeah, very funny Mister Lupin," she said, narrowing her eyes dangerously, "if you're going to laugh at me all night, I think I'll go back to my own room, and you can sleep all alone in this lonely bed with your oh-so-funny jokes to accompany you."

She made a move to get up, but was slightly, if very pleasantly, surprised when he held her back quite firmly, his hand tightening its grip around her waist once more. He pulled her closer to him, even more than before, making her heart skip a beat or two when he nestled his chin once again on top of her head.

"Stay," he whispered into her hair, his voice quite hoarse again. She blushed so furiously that she was truly grateful for the fact that he couldn't see her face, which must've resembled a tomato by then. Calming down the fluttering sensation in her stomach that had erupted into a frenzy of surprise and pleasure was definitely not an option anymore, and since she didn't quite know how to react at the sudden affection of his actions, she simply uttered the first words that came to her mind at that.

"That's how I like it."

She couldn't help but giggle at how ridiculously content her voice sounded, while at the same time she really wanted to smack herself for basically confessing her feelings for him. But oh well, she supposed he had known this all along as well - why still hide them? If he didn't approve of her feelings he would've told her so already, wouldn't he? She could hear him chuckle.

"Weren't you the one who said that I'd very much like you to stay?"

"And you do," she told him matter-of-factly, rubbing her cheek against his chest and taking a deep breath just like he had done before. This is rather nice, taking in his scent, she thought to herself, and smelled tea and soap and peppermint, and some of the old dust that lingered on all the books in the library of Grimmauld's. Sexy.

"Yes, I think I'll keep you," he murmured, running his hand up just slightly under her pyjama top which caused her to catch her breath violently in her chest. She closed her eyes, her heart at the brink of stopping all actions, and practically moaned in pleasure (though she tried to keep it as quiet as possible) when his fingertips reached the bare skin on her stomach. Merlin, he's killing me

"That sounds pretty much as if I was your dog."

She was utterly surprised that she still managed to muster a relatively calm, amused voice while his fingers played ever so lightly on her belly, let alone speak at all. If this was what a slight contact between them could do to her, how was she ever to survive kissing then? And of course, she'd kiss him one day... The single thought made her head spin. Remus quiet laugh brought her out of her reverie.

"Well, if you put if that way, it should be the other way around then, shouldn't it?"

She struggled for a moment to follow the meaning of his words, still lost in the overwhelming thought of possibly kissing him, possibly tonight as well if she could just muster up the courage. A silent "Oh" formed on her lips as she realised what he'd meant, and she hoped he wasn't mad at her for forgetting about his condition. But he laughed, didn't he, and there'd been amusement in his voice, so she thought that it was all right and therefore decided on joining in on his musings.

"How about I keep you?" she asked him, the question sounding more serious than she had wanted it to, and she couldn't prevent her fingers (that apparently had lives on their own) from reaching up and lightly tangling in his hair. It was everything she'd imagined it to be; smooth and soft, and just plain perfect. He didn't reply to her offer, but simply sighed in what she supposed was a very comfortable way.

Silence fell and neither of them said anything. However, she didn't quite stop lacing her fingers through his soft hair, and he didn't quite stop lightly caressing her stomach, and somehow the tension seemed to rise with every second passing, the heat that she had felt within herself now set free, almost flooding the room.

"Remus…" she started after a while, feeling her breath come out hotly against his chest. She didn't really know what she wanted to say, just that something should be said, but no words came from her busy mind that was so focused on the sensation his fingers caused on her skin, and eventually she went back to fighting the increasing urge to kiss him. And she wanted it so badly, just somewhere, anywhere…

"This is probably a bad idea."

His whisper, that barely deserved the name, was as hot as hers had been, and it jolted her out of her own private world which she had created in the back of her mind. He stopped his caressing on her belly and instead settled his hand back around her waist whilst his other found her jaw and cupped it gently, tilting her head a bit upwards. He shifted slightly downwards, so she could see his face, and there was something overly odd in the look he gave her. It was just a moment before Tonks realised that it was passion, and her eyes widened in true shock.

"What's a bad-" she started, but didn't get to finish her sentence for he had touched his lips against hers. She'd seen it come. She had known, somehow, yet still she felt so utterly surprised about the immediate intensity of his kiss. It was deep and desperate, and it spoke of unsatisfied desire that had been held back for too long. She wondered momentarily if everything she'd felt for him for months had been mirrored in his heart all this time... Had they been in love without noticing? A second later, however, she couldn't help it anymore and gave in to the sensation of his lips on hers which were causing a great amount of feelings including pleasant shivers running down her spine, and a violent tingling taking place in her stomach. As her eyelids fluttered closed, she found herself kissing him back almost as fiercely, wanting him to feel that this was right, that she wanted it – Merlin, had wanted it for months! Her fingers in his hair tightened, and she reached up her other arm to put it around his neck, play with the little hair she found there. He gave, she noticed with pleasure, a little moan, and in return his hand on her waist reached upwards and began stroking her back in slow, teasing movements. Another pleasant shiver ran down her spine as her heart gave an evident loud thud - it was the moment she got entirely lost in his arms, tasting, loving, almost bursting with happiness. The world around her seemed to melt away without her noticing, and the only people left behind were an adorable werewolf and a clumsy metamorphmagus, kissing each other as if they'd never ever have the chance to do so again.

When they finally parted, she felt the need to gasp for breath. She visibly panted from lack of air (since she had somewhere in between the kiss forgotten to actually breathe) and needed a moment to focus, return to reality. She opened her eyes only gradually, somehow afraid of what she might find in front of her, because a sudden worry had sneaked its way into her mind. After all, it could have been a dream, couldn't it? What if she had only imagined him to be the one to initiate the kiss? She might as well have been the one to press her lips on his when he didn't even want her to. But then again, he had kissed her back, hadn't he?

Oh.

She was quite thankful that her inward exclaim didn't reach her mouth, as she needed a moment to comprehend what she truly hadn't expected to see.

He was smiling.

Yes, he was actually (amazingly!) smiling at her, and she realised that it was all she had ever wanted to see after sharing a kiss with the man she loved. And just the way he smiled, so kindly and heart-warmingly, with a hint of satisfaction tucking at the corner of his lips... The breath she'd tried to catch got stuck in her throat, seemingly as well as her crazily flip-flopping heart. Oh, and his eyes, his beautiful brown eyes were twinkling again. She just loved that look on his face. Had she brought it there or...?

Slowly, almost unconsciously, she untangled her fingers from his hair and brushed them over his cheek, while she felt a smile form on her own face. Happiness filled her heart again, replacing the brief worry she hadn't been able to prevent from invading her thoughts for a moment there. This just seemed perfect, almost too good to be true…

"That wasn't a bad idea at all."

And yes, it had been perfect and too good to be true. Why did she have to spoil the moment? Couldn't she, for once in her life, just be quiet and enjoy the silence? Oh, stupid Tonks, she chastised herself inwardly, wishing for somebody to smack her head. However, Remus simply chuckled at this.

"I wouldn't have hoped so," he said with a sigh, something very much resembling uncertainty in his voice which confused her for a second. She felt a sudden rush of bravery well up inside her that came out of nowhere. She mock-glared at him.

"Couldn't you've done this earlier? Might've spared me from a lot of worrying."

She couldn't help a laugh escaping her lips as he raised a quizzical eyebrow at her but smiled nevertheless.

"Are we back to this is all Remus' fault?"

The uncertainty was gone, replaced by a low, flirty tone that she thought she rather liked, especially when it was directed at her. She flashed him a cheeky grin.

"Probably…" she mused, inching closer again until her lips were only a mere breath away from his. She tangled her hand, that still lingered on his cheek, once more in his hair, and took a deep breath to muster her courage just a little more.

"I'd like…" she started, but couldn't quite finish the sentence for her bravery as well as her mind had seemed to have deserted her this very moment, due to the closeness of Remus' lips in front of hers and how desperately she wanted to get closer again. Just another kiss, she thought, that's really all I want. All I need. Basically just another kiss to make sure that this was really happening, that he had let her invade his privacy to a critical point where there was no turning back. But who would want to turn back, really? She didn't.

"I'd like…?" he mirrored her in question, rubbing his nose against hers and squeezing her waist as she sighed deeply and lost all train of thought again. And it was enough, because now she couldn't bear it any longer, the need was overwhelming, so she simply brought her lips to his once more. He responded immediately, and this time the kiss was gentler, softer, yet passionate enough to evoke light-headedness and giddiness within her. Everything slowly dissolved into nothingness again, and for the first time she became aware of the fact that this, her kissing Remus, was really happening. And oh – it felt fan-bloody-tastic!

"You never finished telling me," he mumbled against her lips after some seconds, and then, for the first time, went trailing down her jaw line, placing soft kisses on her neck and collar bone, his hand on her back gently stroking up and downwards again, making her want to melt into a puddle of complete bliss. Mouth to mouth was one thing, she admitted, but his mouth on her skin, above all the sensitive skin where he kissed her just now – it provided a whole new world to her senses. She closed her eyes in pleasure, barely aware that he had spoken anything at all, and needing some time to answer.

"What?" she managed to bring herself to utter, although she supposed that her voice already sounded a bit hasty and constricted. It seemed surprisingly difficult to focus on words and both senses at the same time (especially since senses were so much more tempting to focus on). He chuckled again and drew away from her, his hand leaving her back, and instead reaching up to gently brush her cheek. Her eyes snapped open almost at once, and when she had composed herself enough, she was on the verge of protesting. His eyes, however, silenced her. She held his gaze for a moment.

"Tonks…" he said quietly, his voice a soft whisper in the dark, and this time, oddly, it seemed to her that he was at a loss for words himself (which she had thought impossible when it came to Remus and his impressive speaking skills).

"Dora," she said, grinning broadly at him, wanting to reassure him. "Please call me Dora, Remus."

He smiled again, though the uncertainty had returned, this time in his eyes. It was so unmistakable that a sudden fear rose inside her; she wondered if...

"What's wrong?" she wanted to know, and the feeling of "too good to be true" settled back on her, heavier than ever before. Was he having doubts? She started unconsciously fiddling with his shirt, looking at him, worried.

"You're not…" She took a sharp inhale, and tried again. "You're not thinking…"

Her voice trailed off, nevertheless, and she couldn't bring herself to actually utter the thought that had involuntarily formed in her mind. She could almost hear him say things she didn't want to hear, shatter her dreams and wishes into thousands and thousands of pieces right before her eyes. Yet, he threw her a kind and reassuring smile, and then gave her another kiss, short but sweet. She closed her eyes just briefly, savouring the feeling.

"Dora," he whispered against her lips, his fingers inching upwards into her curly hair as he kissed her yet again, a little longer and more passionate before he drew back once more, still smiling. "I love you."

Silence.

Except that she could hear her heart pound in her ears, rapidly, hastily, almost stumbling - and very much out of pace.

She blinked. Once. Twice. Three times.

What?

Had he…? Did he actually…? Did he mean that…? Had he actually said Dora, I love you?

She felt the immediate urge to pinch herself, because there was no chance, no possible chance that she could've heard him say this. She had expected everything; most prominently that he would tell her that he wasn't really interested, or that a relationship between them could never work out. She had expected him to tell her that she was far too young for him, or that he didn't want to destroy their friendship – anything. But she would've never thought, ever, to hear those three words from him and, even more unbelievably, in connection with herself. Those three words that she had dreamed of, wished for in the deepest of full moon nights, even muttered to him at times when he'd turned away from her and she'd been sure he wouldn't be able to hear. Those three words that meant everything in the world if only he'd say them to her or she'd get the chance to say them to him. Those beautiful three little words…

And there it was. The chance. But with the seconds passing, she felt the air grow thicker around her, and breathing became harder and harder until it was almost painful. Why was it so difficult now to simply return the gesture? She truly wanted to, but, still, the shock mingled with the lump in her throat and her mind racing with so much confusion and happiness and panic – she couldn't utter any word at all. And to her great terror, she could see his eyes grow worried, dark. A frown formed on his face. Was he beginning to think…?

"Dora, I…"

"Don't you dare apologise!"

An inward cheer erupted in her stomach. She'd found her voice again, strong, eager, and felt relief fill her and release her from all the tension. Tell him. It was now or never.

"Merlin, Remus, I love you, too!"

Her voice had grown soft, calm, and he was looking at her just as intently as she was looking at him. She smiled reassuringly.

"Of course I do! Always have, always will. And you have no idea for how long I've wanted to tell you."

Strange, but she could feel a stinging pain in the back of her eyes, and yet didn't care, didn't want to, not now. She gripped his shirt firmly between her fingers then, looking at him with intensity, and wanting to make her statement clear, once and for all.

"I really, really, truly love you, Remus."

She felt a silent tear running down her face before he gently brushed it away with his thumb. He smiled. Silence fell, as they looked at each other for what seemed like a lifetime, and her mind was racing again, thoughts swimming in and out of focus in uncontrolled speed. In the end, however, only one particular thought remained: She had confessed. She had told him. And there was no going back…

And then, he pulled her once more into a magnificent kiss, more passionate and loving than ever before. His hand played in her hair, and she snuggled even closer to him, wanting to feel him and him to feel her, and the kiss to last forever, even if she might have to put a Permanent Sticking Charm on them. It was then that she realised that it didn't matter that there was no going back – all that mattered lay in the future. And as for the future, she had already made plans for tomorrow night, the seventh night - and definitely not the last…

OoOoOoOoO

So there you go. Finally a fic that's a bit longer than the other ones. I always have problems writing longer fics, cuz they take so much time and I often tend to get bored with them. Nevertheless, I've decided on writing more of them, and I'll try very hard to stick to that promise.

Hmm... Not sure if you're interested, but I was thinking that there was space left for more chapters (although this was supposed to be a One-Shot). I don't know why I started with the sixth time when there could've been five times ahead of it. And even more times after... So what do you think? Should I write some kind of prequel or sequel series (or both)? I just wondered...

Review's bribe: This time you have the possibility to go to a dog pound and take the cutest of all dogs home with you. You have the choice between either Remus (the little wolfish dog with brown fur flecked in grey that gets a bit twitchy around full moon) or Tonks (the cute metamorph-dog that changes its fur every ten minutes and happily wags its tail all day). You might even get to take the adorable Sirius-parrot with you that says sentences like: "It's marauding time!" (and probably uses mild coarse language every now and then). Choice is up to you, of course... It's worth a review, isn't it? ;D

Oh, and just so you won't wonder, but this was my last fic. Er... for the next two weeks, that is. I'm off to egypt on Saturday (February 2nd 2008) and I'll be gone for ten days. There'll be updates, of course, when I come back and Vignettes #2 can start then, too (finally!). So wish me fun, I certainly wish you a lot of it!

Wag your tails to the beat; see ya (in two weeks) und tschüß ("Ich bin dann mal weg" by Hape Kerkeling)