Disclaimer: Not mine.
Unidentified Man Friend
The bar was dirty, cheap, and smelled like a whole lot of things that I didn't even want to try and identify. It was quite disgusting, but it had a close proximity to 12 Grimmauld Place. And it suited our purposes very well. We – Bill and I – had come to an arrangement after the first time Molly roped us into going out together.
Every Friday night we would meet at headquarters and walk to the cheap little bar. I would listen to Bill talk about work and Fleur. And Bill would patiently listen while I would moan about the never-ending pressures of work, the stress from the Order, and my "unidentified man friend" as Bill liked to call him. I refuse to tell him the actual identity because as much as I trust Bill and think he's an amazing friend, I don't particularly want him to find out that my "unidentified man friend" is, in fact, Remus Lupin. Mostly because Bill is total crap when it comes to keeping secrets, and I'm honestly amazed that everyone in the Order doesn't already know that I even have an "unidentified man friend."
So, every Friday night passed in a relatively similar way. Talk, drink, complain. It was a nice comfortable pattern we had fallen into. And it kept Molly from pressing Bill about Fleur. Or from trying to set me up with anyone.
"I invited a friend to join us later."
I nodded my head in response. He does that sometimes. Occasionally Fleur will join us or someone else that Bill knows. I don't mind really. Sometimes I think about inviting someone, casually mentioning to Remus what Bill and I are doing, and see if he's interested in joining. But the idea always seems to be a bit too much when I'm faced with it. And Sirius lurking around doesn't help matters either; I think he already suspects something. Oh, I can stand up to Death Eaters and all sorts of evil wizards and witches but I can't even invite the man I fancy for a drink.
"Are you meeting Fleur later?" I asked, taking a sip of the drink in front of me.
"As always," he replied with a grin. He meets her every week after we go out for drinks. And, pathetically enough, I go home and watch old Muggle werewolf movies. It's strangely comforting and slightly depressing.
"I saw an old friend yesterday," he commented casually as I rolled my eyes.
He's a lot like his mother really. He thinks I spend too much time "mooning over the unidentified man friend". His words, not mine. He doesn't understand the reason I smile every time he says it. He thinks he's just being clever. Sweet, naïve Bill. He doesn't realize just how close he's hit the mark.
"Not interested, Bill."
He means well, I know. But I'm really not interested. I can only be set up by so many different Weasleys. Molly has currently tried to set me up with four other men, Bill being the most recent. And Ginny seems to have somehow developed the idea that every other male member of the Order and I would make a good couple. The two of them are quite enough at the moment. I really don't need Bill trying to set me up either.
"Tonks, you can't spend the rest of your life mooning over this unidentified man friend of yours," he protested.
"I think I can break him if I keep pressing," I said lightly.
One of these days, he'll give in and say yes. You see, I know he fancies me too because Sirius told me he caught Remus staring at my bum a few weeks ago. I blushed, left, and, now, whenever I am around Remus I drop something (it works well considering how clumsy I am – quite believable) and then I bend over right in front of Remus giving him a nice view of it. But stupid gentleman that he is, he always looks in the opposite direction. I'm starting to think that Sirius might have been lying because Remus has not shown an interest in my bum since. Although I think Kingsley is considering asking me out now.
"Seriously, Tonks, things aren't going anywhere between the two of you."
"Hey!" I protested.
"Are they?" he asked, raising an eyebrow.
He knows things haven't gone anywhere; he's just rubbing it in my face now. Nothing stays secret in the Order of the Phoenix for long. I mostly blame Bill for that. As I mentioned earlier, he's generally crap with keeping secrets. He only knows about my unidentified man friend because he weaseled it out of me after several shots of tequila two months ago. And I think it's quite amazing that Bill didn't tell everyone within an hour after he first found out.
"No," I admitted meekly.
"I think it might be time for you to move on. And I know the perfect guy for you. Things aren't going anywhere with your unidentified man friend."
"Don't say that!" I interjected as I sent a glare towards him.
"You say it all the time," he pointed out.
He was right about that. But still…
"It's okay when I say it. You're supposed to be my friend. You're supposed to give me a hug and say he'll come around whenever I complain about it. You're not supposed to tell me to move on. You're supposed to let me wallow in self-pity and buy me comfort food. Then you tell me how good things are between you and Fleur so I can live vicariously through the two of you."
I think the alcohol might be starting to affect me now. Tonight's the night where I'll probably drunkenly confess my feelings towards Remus and the fact that I stole one of his shirts four weeks ago. Every so often, he stays at Grimmauld Place sometimes, and once he may have left a shirt behind. And it smelled so damn good. And somehow, it may have inadvertently ended up in my flat. A complete accident. Almost.
"Right," Bill said slowly, dragging me out of my thoughts. I don't think he followed any of what I just said. He was looking rather confused at the moment.
"Things are good with you and Fleur?" I asked as he nodded. Things are always good with Bill and Fleur. I'm a tiny bit jealous. I don't think of Bill in that way at all, but I still wish that I had someone to go out with afterwards. But, no. At this point, I'm thinking it's not for me.
I'm fairly convinced that I am going to end up old and alone. One of those crazy old cat ladies, like Arabella Figg. Although, she is Mrs. Figg, so clearly there once was a Mr. Figg. So, no, not even like Mrs. Figg. A crazy, old cat lady. And the worst part is I won't even be able to be a cat lady because I'm allergic. Old and alone without any cats to keep me company. The future was looking very grim and lonely at the moment. Except for Bill who will take me out for drinks while he shows me pictures of his charming little part-Veela children. And then I'll go home and cry because I won't have any pictures of part-werewolf children to show Bill.
"And things with Remus?" Bill asked as he smirked at me.
Idiot. He already asked me that. I opened my mouth ready to respond. Then it hit me.
He said Remus.
I didn't say anything. I stared at him. He knew? How did he know? Who told him? No one knows. No one!
"Sorry?" I asked.
"It is Remus, isn't it? The unidentified man friend?" he asked as he gave me a knowingly smile.
"How did you find out?" I asked as I frantically looked around the room to make sure no one else had heard. Not that anyone else in this room would know who Remus is, but it never hurt to make sure.
"I knew it," he responded triumphantly with a knowing smile. He was guessing? Guessing! Oh, I am going to kill Bill Weasley!
"Bill! But you were trying to set me up earlier…" I trailed off, feeling slightly confused. As well as shocked and irritated. Bill shrugged nonchalantly.
"You were messing around with me!" I accused him.
"A little bit, maybe. But it is a good thing that it is actually Remus or the next part of the night would be very awkward for you," he said casually.
"Awkward? Awkward how?" I asked. He definitely had something up his sleeve. But I didn't need much time to figure out what as I saw a familiar figure walk through the door. I sunk as low as I could into my seat. Oh, either way, this night was going to be awkward.
"Bill, you didn't!" I hissed at him.
"Come on, Tonks! Where's your Gryffindor courage?" he asked me.
"I was in Hufflepuff!" I protested quietly as Remus approached our table.
"Bill. Tonks," he greeted each of us with a nod.
"Hello, Remus," I said pleasantly as I could while still being able to send an angry glare at Bill.
"Glad you could join us," Bill said affably as he smirked at me. Prat. Jerk. Wanker. Prick. Stupid, meddling Bill Weasley. What's he playing at?! He's worse than Molly, I swear.
"You said you had something to discuss with me, Bill?" Remus asked looking directly at Bill.
No. No, no, no, no, no, no, no! To discuss? Discuss? It's about me. Bill is going to tell Remus all about mooning over my unidentified man friend. And then Remus would know. And he'll demand his shirt back. Although that's probably the least of my worries right now. It does smell nice though.
"Yes, I did, Remus," he responded with a large grin on his face. "But unfortunately, I forgot that tonight I have somewhere to be right now."
That was so over-the-top. Remus has to know that Bill's lying. Bill is quite possibly the worst actor I have ever seen. Absolutely terrible. And what's worse is that now Remus probably thinks that I had to ask Bill to get Remus to go out with me. He probably thinks I'm terribly pathetic now. Although, I have been sticking my arse in his face and stealing articles of his clothing, so maybe pathetic isn't that far off the mark.
"Where do you have to be, Bill?" I asked pointedly as I gave him a look that clearly said "please-don't-do-this-to-me!"
"I made a promise to Fleur. Said I'd help her with her English," he replied casually. Helping her with her English. Sure. Pathetically bad liar. He stood up from the table and I followed his lead. I quickly leaned into to give him a hug goodbye, something I don't normally do. But…
"Please, don't do this, Bill!" I pleaded softly as he returned the hug.
"Just pretend to drop something and stick your arse in his face. He should be used to it by now," he responded with a slight laugh.
My mouth opened wide in horror as he broke the hug. He just smiled and walked away as I sat back down. I smiled weakly at him as I took another sip of my drink.
"Sorry I interrupted your date with Bill," he apologized quietly.
My date? With Bill? I spit my drink out from shock and began laughing until I realized the seriousness of the situation. I was, more or less, on a date with Remus. And I had just sprayed him cheap Muggle beer on him. Lovely first date. I'll be lucky if he doesn't take out one of those Muggle restraining order things on me.
"I'm so sorry, Remus!" I apologized.
"Don't worry about it," he said looking confused as he cleaned himself off. "I thought you a Bill were dating."
"Me and Bill? No! Merlin, no! Never!" I exclaimed.
Bill! No, no, no. I love Bill like a brother. A big, annoying, meddling, idiot of a brother.
"So, there's nothing going on between the two of you?" he asked. There was something strange about the tone of his voice. It sounded almost… hopeful. My heart skipped a beat. He looked almost hopeful too! A large grin broke out on my face.
"Oh, definitely. There's nothing going on between me and Bill," I said firmly.
"So, your 'unidentified man friend' – I believe that's what everyone's calling him – isn't Bill?" he asked sounding curious.
I blinked. I didn't have any other response for him. All I could do was stare at him and blink.
"Are you alright, Tonks?" he asked sounding concerned while I sat there blinking like a bloody idiot.
"Peachy," I responded before the words fully sunk in. Then it hit me. "Everyone? Everyone knows?"
"Everyone knows that you have one. No one knows who it is. I believe Mundungus is running a pool as to who it is and how soon we'll find out," Remus commented rather casually. I am going to kill Mundungus! And Bill!
"A pool?" I asked. "How did I not know about this?"
"I assumed you did. Everyone seems to be talking about it," he commented.
Doesn't anyone in the Order of the Phoenix have their own life? Don't they have better things to do than speculate as to who I fancy? And I thought my life was pathetic…
"Who's the leading choice?" I asked curiously. Mostly, I wanted to know if it was Remus or if anybody had picked Remus.
"What about Fleur?" I questioned him. It happened to be common knowledge in the Order that Bill was dating Fleur. Again, the Bill is crap with keeping secrets thing.
"They all seem to think that he's cheating on you," he responded sounding very amused. "I believe Sirius dragged him off earlier this week to curse him and yell at him about cheating on his little cousin."
"Lovely," I muttered. "Who else?"
"I believe Kingsley, Sirius, Mad-Eye, Dedalus, and Arthur are popular choices. Although Minerva put six sickles on Severus."
"McGonagall's in on this too?" I asked sounding surprised. She always seemed so straight-laced. I can't believe that she actually bet on who I fancy. I can't believe she bet on Snape!
Remus merely nodded.
"I'm personally fond of Hestia's guess. She's convinced that it's Dumbledore. She put quite a bit of money on it," Remus remarked pleasantly as if the whole thing was rather amusing. And admittedly, it might have been amusing if it were happening to someone other than me.
"Oh, I really need to have a talk with… everyone. Nutters. The whole lot of them," I muttered disbelievingly as I thought about the guesses everyone had made.
First of all, they weren't anywhere near being correct. And second of all… Sirius? Mad-Eye? Snape? Dumbledore? Arthur? Are all these people completely mental or what? I mean, Sirius is my cousin, Mad-Eye's more or less insane, Snape is a greasy git, Dumbledore is old enough to be my great-great-grandfather (not that I am opposed to large age gaps in a relationship, obviously, but 100 years seems a bit extreme), and Arthur is married! And third, I'm also a little bit offended because clearly they all think I have no taste in men whatsoever.
"I suppose none of those guesses are correct?" Remus asked. He had that almost hopeful look on his face again.
"None," I affirmed. "Are there any other guesses? Anyone else?"
He seemed hesitant for a moment before he answered.
"Well, Bill has this idea that it's… me," he answered softly, avoiding my eyes. "But I think he was just trying to convince everyone that he wasn't cheating on Fleur."
That Gryffindor bravery thing – or was it courage? – that Bill was talking about suddenly reared its head as an idea came to me.
"And who do you think it is?" I asked lacing my voice with the smallest trace of flirtation. Not that it helped much; I think Remus was oblivious to it. The question seemed to have caught him off guard. He looked rather taken aback.
"Well, I… I…"
"Yes?" I prodded. Remus was usually so calm and collected. It was rather amusing watching him stutter incoherently.
"I was going to guess Bill," he responded sheepishly as the words spilled out of him.
Of course he was.
"Yes, but now that you know you're wrong?" I prodded.
"Dumbledore?" he guessed tentatively.
What is it that makes people think of me and Dumbledore together? Are they completely mental? I suddenly caught the look on his face. He was smirking at me. He was messing with me too! Men are just plain evil tonight.
"Oh, yes, I'll be confessing my love for Professor Dumbledore any day now," I responded sarcastically.
"If you do it tonight, I could still win the pool for when," he replied with a smile.
"How about I confess my love tonight? Just not to Professor Dumbledore?" I asked before my brain had even registered what my mouth had said. I watched in horror as Remus suddenly seemed to become very attentive to what I was saying. His eyes were watching me curiously. Damn Bill and his Gryffindor courage. I've been spending far too much time with him lately. He's rubbing off on me!
"Do I need to go get someone? Severus, perhaps?" he asked smirking at me. There's a lot of that going on tonight. The smirking at me thing. I think it's a new favorite pastime of Order members: smirk at Tonks while trying to figure out who she fancies.
I wonder if he already knows that it's him.
I wouldn't be surprised if he did know it was him. He can be quite clever. And he's clearly not as dense as I am because, unlike me, he was clearly aware of Mundungus running the stupid pool.
"Git," I muttered as I inhaled deeply. Now or never. Never was looking pretty good. I stood up from the table. I think that the alcohol was going to my head. He was watching me intently as I leaned towards him. Oh, the alcohol had most definitely gone to my head. His eyes widened slightly as he realized what I was about to do. My lips covered his briefly. My heart soared. He wasn't pulling away. He was kissing me back now.
"So does this mean that I'm the unidentified man friend?" he asked as we slowly pulled apart. Idiot was smirking again. I officially hate it when people smirk at me.
"You knew?" I asked, feeling incredulous. It shouldn't have been too surprising though. I mean, Bill already knew so why not Remus too?
"I suspected it might be after you confirmed that it definitely wasn't Bill," he responded. I smiled before leaning in to kiss him again.
Not that I actually got the chance to kiss him again.
"Oy! See! I told you all it was Remus! And I got the date right! Pay up!"
Bugger. I knew that voice.
"Really, Tonks! It couldn't have been Dumbledore?" another voice groaned.
I quickly turned my head to see Bill and a group of members from the Order sitting at a table over in the corner. The alcohol must have gone to my head much quicker than I thought because, really, how could I not have noticed them? Bill was triumphantly pointing at Remus and me while successfully drawing the attention of several other patrons in the bar.
I really hate Bill at the moment. I have no doubt that he's clearly the one behind all of this. Although, I suppose it ended rather well until he interrupted… everything.
"You set me up! That's why you invited Remus here tonight!" I yelled at Bill who was now accepting a variety of coins from different members of the Order.
"You got your unidentified man friend, didn't you? You should thank me really," he replied.
Not bloody likely… Well, it is true that I did get Remus. I still think I should get half of his winnings or something. Or the opportunity to maim him or publicly humiliate him. Preferably both. I was fully prepared to hex him if this wasn't a Muggle bar. But seeing as how it is, I settled for an extremely harsh glare and a very rude gesture. Not that it seemed to bother him at all.
"Tonks," Remus began slowly as I shifted my attention towards him. "This may seem like an odd question, but you don't happen to know what happened to a shirt of mine that I left behind at Grimmauld Place, do you?"
"No," I answered innocently. Unidentified man friend or not, he was not getting his shirt back.