A/N: This was orriginally posted on Livejournal's R/T challenge as a four part series. I didn't get a chance to add the fourth installment before the challenge ended however, so, I posted all of them here. Enjoy and do let me know what you think.
Into the Sunset
It was ten minutes to Sunset in Hogsmead village and the lamps lining the cobble stoned streets had just begun to glow a brilliant orange and yellow. The street along this area of the village was silent and nearly deserted except for one robed figure making its way quickly and cautiously to the dimly lit window of the pub.
She stopped underneath the large boars head which held the sign for the inn took one final glance at the empty street and stepped through the door.
Inside, the pub was quite as deserted as the street outside; dark and dank, it had the feel of a space that had been abandoned for some years though the lamp lit on the bar told another story.
The figure lifted the cloak to reveal a young woman with a pale, heart shaped face and bright pink hair cut into a bob. The girl's gaze took the entire pub in. Finally, her eyes landed on a small table hidden in the back corner where a man with graying hair and patched robes sat perusing a book.
The girl's face broke into a grin as she moved through the tables to reach him.
"Wotcher, Remus" she whispered into his ear.
Remus set down his book, looked over his shoulder and gave Tonks a gentle smile but issued no greeting.
"You weren't followed were you?" A cautious, almost suspicious tone lit his voice.
She shook her head.
"No one from work?" he pressed.
"Most of them had gone home by the time I left. Made sure of it."
At this, he relaxed back into his chair, the caution in his expression nearly gone.
She sat down in the seat across from him at the table and he handed her a large dusty looking bottle.
"Cheers," she said taking it from him whipping dust off the top. "Nice to know they're still keeping this space spick and span eh?"
"Aberforth always was one for cleanliness," he said dryly. Tonks took a long drink from the bottle. Remus considered her in silence for a moment.
"They're keeping you too late at the ministry," he said, taking a swig from his own bottle.
"It's my new boss. Runcorn."
"I thought Robbards was still head of the Auror department."
"He is," she said setting her bottle down. "But now that all the Hogwarts students have gone for the summer, Robbards is siphoning us off in different directions. He put me on paper work with Runcorn in the law enforcement office."
"Paper work?" asked Remus indignantly. "After everything you've done?"
Tonks gave a humorless chuckle
"I know. Mad-eye said the same thing. But apparently Runcorn asked for me specifically."
Remus looked at her as the caution in his features returned full force.
"What do you know about him?"
She heaved a sigh and took another drink from her bottle before saying:
"You're not going to like it."
"Why?" He asked urgently leaning across the table.
"Well," she said setting the bottle down once more and leaning over the table herself, "he's very close to Umbridge for starters."
"We always knew Umbridge would have close connections in the law office," he said waving his hand in an almost impatient manner, "What else?"
"That's the thing you might not like," she said biting her lip and lowering her voice. "You see, he's got quite a…reputation with the girls in law enforcement."
At this he sat up straighter in his chair.
"What sort of reputation?" Though the protective growl in his voice told anyone within ear shot that he all ready knew the answer to this.
"Well," Tonks began to fidget with a frayed sleeve on her robe. "He's got trouble keeping his hands to himself, (touched my bum once too often to be accidental). And, he's offered to do favors for girls; getting them promotions, pay raises and such if they…do a few favors for him."
"And if they refuse?"
"He threatens to have them sacked," Remus let out an indistinguishable sound and sank back into his chair.
"They're only rumors," Tonks said in a would be assuring manner.
"But you obviously think that they have some merit."
"Well," she said hesitantly, " I…I haven't got proof or anything, it's just a feeling. I mean he's always looming over me while I work, seems like every time I turn 'round he's there and…the way he looks at me…" she gave an involuntary shudder and wrapped her arms around her as though a sudden chill had crept into the room.
"Ask Robbards to transfer you," Remus said without hesitation.
"I can't just go and ask-"
"Tell him then."
"I can't do that Remus! Robbards is having enough trouble with-"
"I don't care! I won't have my…" He trailed off as though uncertain of what he should say next.
"You know you can call me your Fiancé now. Saying the word is not going to jinx us," Tonks said irritably indicating that this was a point which was brought up rather frequently.
"I won't have you," Remus continued as though he had not heard her, "taken advantage of."
"No one is going to take advantage of me. I know how to handle myself," She took up her bottle and gulped down a long swig of butter beer as though to emphasize the point.
"I didn't doubt that," Remus said as calmly as he could. "I just don't want you to be put in that situation if you don't have to be."
She considered him for a moment, frustration lining her face which once glowed with happiness at the sight of him.
"All right, say I do ask Robbards to reassign me and he can't? Or worse, what if Runcorn has me sacked? What are you going to do Remus? Storm the ministry?"
He emitted another barely disguised huff of frustration. She pressed on:
"No one at the Ministry knows we have any connection. Hell, you won't even let me wear my ring in public!"
At this she pulled a small, antique looking diamond ring from the pocket of her robe and shoved it on the ring finger of he left hand as though in defiance.
"You know why no one can know about us," Remus said quietly. "If they found out…your job…"
"Exactly," Tonks bent down and spoke to him in hushed tones "Runcorn may be a lecherous arse, but he isn't stupid. He's already asking me nosey questions about where I go every night. What do you think he'd do if I asked for a transfer all of a sudden?"
A muscle seemed to twitch in Remus' jaw but he sat back in his chair.
"I hate this," He told her, defeat echoing in his voice.
"I know," she said reaching across the table and taking his hand in hers, "But one more week and then, we'll be married,"
"Yes," Remus looked at her with a smile that looked more like a grimace.
"Remus? What's wrong?"
She pulled her chair to the side of the table and edged closer to him.
"Nothing. Nothing. It's just…Dora, are you absolutely certain that this is what you want?"
"Oh don't start that again Remus, please! I've already told you, I don't-"
"-I know, I know you don't care. I can't help but feel…you deserve a husband who can protect you from those types of men."
"Haven't I said that I know how to-"
He held up his had in order to stop her from continuing.
"Believe me Nymphadora; I am well aware that you can take care of yourself. But surely you can't blame me for worrying about you?"
At this, she smiled at him.
"No, I don't blame you. In fact, I rather like it."
"Do you?" He asked a smirk beginning on his own lips.
"Yes. It's nice to watch you being all protective and chivalrous."
"You make it sound as though I would slap him with a dainty white glove and challenge him to a duel if he were here now."
"Wouldn't you?" Tonks asked smiling at him and batting her eyes with mock femininity.
"Oh I don't think I'd bother with formality," Remus said with a mischievous grin. "I'd simply bind and hex him on sight."
"And what would happen if the Ministry came looking for him?"
"They would find the two of us here, calmly sipping our butterbeer, with Runcorn writhing on the floor between us," Remus said off handedly.
"And what, exactly, do you think they would do about that?"
Remus leaned over conspiratorially.
"What could they do? I have it on good authority that defending a potential victim of sexual assault is not against the law," he whispered to her as though uttering a cherished secret. "I would simply tell them that I happened to be in the pub for a pint when I caught the scoundrel accosting this beautiful young woman," at this he took Tonk's hand in his and kissed it chastely. She laughed
"What, I wonder would Runcorn have to say about this?"
"Oh, after I got through with him, I doubt he would be up for speaking. In fact, I doubt that he would be up for much of anything."
He wore a nonchalant, closed expression but the twinkle in his eye and small quirk of his lips gave him away completely.
"Oh you are horrible," Tonks told him without really meaning it. "So, after all that, we would ride off into the sunset on your noble white steed?" She asked caressing the hand that still held hers firmly with the top of her thumb.
"Of course. What would a fairy tale ending be without a sunset and a noble white steed?"
"One for two at least," she sighed turning her head out the window where the sinking sun had painted the sky in differing shades of orange and pink.
"It's pretty tonight isn't it?"
He did not answer but moved his hand from beneath hers and gently caressed her cheek.
She leaned into the touch, turned back to him and smiled.
"Are you finished with your drink?" he asked her softly.
A playful spark entered her eye as she turned back to her bottle and, with the back of her hand knocked it to the floor, spilling what little liquid remained.
"Now I am," she said grinning like a cat that had swallowed a rather large canary.
"Anxious are we?"
"It's been a very long day," she said taking his hand and leading him toward a rickety looking stairwell.
"Well then, we can't have you walking all those stairs can we? Wouldn't sit right with my chivalrous nature."
"Remus, I can-" before she could finish her thought, he had wrapped one arm around the back of her legs and picked her up as though she were a new bride on her way to a honeymoon suite.
Her gasp was quickly replaced by a giggle as they both disappeared up the darkened stairway, wood creaking and groaning in their wake.
The sun had set and a dark blanket covered the street. If either Remus or Tonks had spared a glance out the window now, they would have met the sight of a darkly cloaked man stepping into the light of a street lamp, grinning triumphantly.