Dedicated to Belladonna1986 for her graduation and fantastic new job! Congrats!
The well lit coffee shop was a welcome change from the dreariness of Grimmauld Place, and Tonks still couldn't believe her good luck. Not many girls could realise they had a crush on a man and end up on a date with him in one afternoon. She lifted up her tea to blow on it to cool it off and looked across the table at Remus, who looks just as pleased to be sitting with her as she was to sit with him. Neither of them had spoken since they had left the library, other than Tonks telling Sirius they were leaving, and although she was enjoying their easiness in the silence, she knew that for this to be a proper date one of them would eventually have to say something. Mulling over mundane conversation topics like the weather, she finally decided to start with their earlier conversation. It had worked out well for them so far.
"So, have you always been so… thorough? Those Post-Its looked intense."
Remus looked into his tea and smiled, "Hmm. I would like to deny it, but I've always be overly meticulous in my methods."
"But your room looks like a tornado ran through it!" To be truthful, Tonks thought tornado may be a bit of an understatement when describing the state of Remus' room. Books were in piles, clothes scattered across the floor, and boxes stacked in every available space. If she were to be honest with herself, she had been a little bit concerned that Crookshanks would have gotten lost in there when Hermione was visiting over the Christmas holidays. It didn't look very safe for man or beast.
"As organized as I may be, tidiness has never been an ongoing success of mine. I do, however, know where everything is even if it looks chaotic to the untrained eye. I will say that there has been dramatic improvement over the years, though. Sirius could tell you horror stories of our Hogwarts dormitory." He inquiringly raised one eyebrow. "Been peeking into my bedroom, have you?"
Tonks could feel her cheeks redden at once. Before today, if someone had asked her if she had been looking into Remus' bedroom at Grimmauld Place, her response would have been that she was curious person and had snooped through all of the rooms in the house, and she had the Doxy bites to prove it. But now, being actually aware of her actions, she knew that his was the only one she had been into more than once unless she actually needed to be in there.
Across the table, Remus was chuckling at her. "Don't look so alarmed. An auror like you needs to be alert of her surroundings. I do warn you to be constantly vigilant of Sirius, however, if he ever notices the newly pinked walls in your room. I daresay that he might think that anything other than Gryffindor red paint alterations is sacrilegious."
"I see I haven't been the only one snooping."
"Not intentionally, I assure you. I needed a Ministry report that you had but hadn't left out for us. A quick in and out was all I needed."
Tonks grinned at Remus, "Isn't it a bit soon for that?"
Groaning, Remus set his cup back on the table between them and ran his hand through his graying hair, "I really walked right into that one, didn't I? I must be rusty. It has been far too long since I've had consistent banter to keep up with."
Tonks couldn't help be feel a twinge of sadness at his words. Although she and Remus hadn't talked about it, she knew from Sirius and the rest of the Order that at the end of the First War Remus had lost almost everyone he had cared about and was mourning in everyone else's time of happiness. Sirius had said that he had found out that Remus dropped out of the wizarding community for a long time and had kept mostly to himself for years, living as a muggle and it had been Sirius' escape from Azkaban that had brought Remus back into their world. She knew that those missing twelve years weren't first date conversation appropriate, so she quickly reverted back to their original topic.
"You said something about horror stories? What harm could a mess do?"
Whether or not Remus had noticed the circle in conversation, he didn't let on, and chuckled in response, "How much have you heard about Harry's father, James?"
"Not much beyond the usual stuff you read in history books or back copies of the Prophet during the First War. I know that you, Sirius, James and Peter Pettigrew were good friends at Hogwarts, but nothing specific."
"James Potter was a smart, witty and sometimes arrogant boy who was joined to Sirius at the hip. But the thing that stands out most in my mind is something that regularly gets left out in stories about him. James was the owner of two left feet. He could barely walk in a straight line without assistance or bumping into something. If you put him on a broom he was magnificent, but something didn't process down to his feet and was literally a walking disaster. It was especially bad when you throw my mess into the mix."
Tonks was immediately sympathetic to James, being equilibrium challenged herself, "Let me guess, he tripped over your piles and hit his head off something?" More than a couple times, Tonks had the passing thought that if she were to morph away her hair, she would discover that her head was terribly misshapen due to the numerous knocks on the head that she had received. She had never tested out this theory, as some things were better off not knowing.
"On more than one occasion, I'm afraid. I remember the most spectacular spill where he tripped over one pile, hit his head off my four poster and then landed in another pile, which happened to be the nesting place of my current Herbology assignment. He claimed that he smelled of dragon dung for weeks. Which was pure exaggeration as it couldn't have been more than a few days."
Tonks couldn't hold in her laughter, "I can see it perfectly, although most people wouldn't probably see it from the perspective of the faller. I can see myself doing the exact same thing. You should keep your piles tidy for those of us who frequent being on the floor. It's just safer that way."
"You may have noticed that I keep my mess contained to my own room and the wall of the library. Grimmauld Place is a relatively Nymphadora Tonks safe environment, with the possible exception of a stray umbrella stand or crockery. It's completely in your best interest."
"That's very considerate of you, looking out for me like that. Here I was thinking that you were just avoiding the wrath of Molly Weasley chasing after you with a broom to clean up after yourself."
"That is also true." Remus looked out the window into the setting sun and sighed miserably. "As much as I'd like to sit here all night, I really must be getting back. I have a rather pressing engagement I need to attend to." Tonks immediately thought of the moon and it must have reflected on her face. "Nothing like that, Nymphadora. Actually, I'd almost prefer transforming compared to what my evening has in store for me. I have to meet with Severus this evening to compare information that I gathered this past week on assignment and his intel on the next Death Eater plans. Which is fine and necessary of course, but whenever we are alone together, Severus and I revert back to being 16 year olds. No matter how civil we appear to be to each other in public, it generally ends in name calling, immature hexing and finger pointing when we are left unsupervised." Shaking his head at himself, he continued, "I have to admit, an evening at Spinner's End isn't something that I look forward to, especially when I know that I could be sitting in the Most Ancient House of Black playing cards with a lovely witch."
"Oh, Emmeline is coming over tonight, is she?"
"She is, but she seems to think that I'm too easy to beat at cribbage to be worth playing with." With that, Remus stood up and held his hand out to help out of the chair. Once they were both standing, Tonks was delighted to find that he didn't drop her hand and they were standing very close together. "Would it be too bold of me to ask if you'd like to have another caffeinated beverage with me again sometime?" Remus had a hopeful glint in his eye and Tonks found herself unable to stop smiling. As short as this date had been, she wouldn't have changed a thing. It had been the first time that she and Remus had been able to be alone outside of Grimmauld Place and not discuss the brewing war around them.
Speaking softly, trying not to give away the excitement that was churning away at her stomach, she said, "That's not too bold at all. I'd quite like it" With her hand in his, she led him out of the shop into the darkening evening and back across the road to 12 Grimmauld Place, where he stopped outside the door.
"Well, this is where I must leave you for tonight. Perhaps I'll see you when I get back if you are still here." Remus then raised his hand that was still holding hers to his face and gently kissed the back of it before walking a few feet away, smiling back at her, and apparating into the night.
Tonks looked down at her now empty hand and touched the spot where Remus' lips had been just moments before and once again found herself unable to contain the grin spreading across her face.
Thanks for reading - I'm not planning on turning this into a big long epic fic, but things may get added from time to time :) Reviewers get cookies!