Disclaimer: I own nothing! Nothing, I say! Just bestowing my favorite 'ship with the gift of living once again, if only for a while...it all belongs to that one lady...you know...that Rowling lady.
Author's Note: This is my first fic...tell me what I need to work on! AND I am painfully aware of the fact that Remus tries to deny his feelings for Tonks for such a ridiculous amount of time, but I like to imagine that his attraction to her was immediate, he just didn't want to own up to it, because he's so noble and afraid of hurting everyone. Like a good hero should be! As always, constructive criticism is openly accepted, as well as money, chocolate, or a new shirt, should you be so generously inclined. If you like, there may be more to follow this.
Step Into The Night
The Auror Formerly Known As The-Pink-Haired-Girl
"Finally make it in, Lupin?" Moody snapped. A crowd of faces turn to look at him as he stepped through the kitchen door, damp and bedraggled.
"Erm, sorry." He felt his face burn a bit as he took a seat next to Sirius Black. "I was out on an errand and was caught in the rain...obviously." He slipped a paper-wrapped package out of his coat pocket and passed it to Sirius.
"So you found 'em?", he muttered. The black-haired man tucked the parcel into his cloak. "I owe you one, Moony."
And how many times have you sold me that line since we were twelve years old, Padfoot?
He'd missed the introductions, stumbling in out of the rain a good ten minutes late, now trying to catch up with Moody's planning session for retrieving Harry from the Dursleys.
More like rescuing...from what Harry lets slip, those Muggles are terrible to him...
There were a few new people he didn't know personally, scattered through what remained of the original Order, but only one that he didn't recognize at all, a young woman sitting between Snape and Molly Weasley. He watched her for quite some time, blaming it on the fact that his eyes were unconsciously drawn toward her colorful appearance in the midst of grey walls and black cloaks. She had shockingly pink hair and was wearing a distractingly yellow trenchcoat over a lime green t-shirt with an unrecognizable slogan splashed across the front. Her head was tilted to the side, occasionally she jotted down a note on a scrap of parchment, or leaned over to whisper to Mrs. Weasley. A small smile played on her lips, emphasizing how completely at odds she was with the man sitting on her left, who could easily be described as the dreariest-looking person on earth.
Snape should take some fashion lessons from her...brighten up his wardrobe...maybe a new hairstyle...
He studied the juxtaposed Order members, the young woman so colorful that she looked like an Andy Warhol painting... next to Snape, draped in black, with a morose and bored expression, like he was sitting Shiv'ah and but not really in mourning.
Mental Note: Do not to invite Snape to your funeral...
The-Pink-Haired-Girl looked up from her covert conversation with Mrs. Weasley, and grinned at Remus, tucking a lock of hair behind her ear. Her toothy grin was so familiar, he knew he'd seen it somewhere before but couldn't place it. Lupin stared down at his tea, stirring it purposefully. He'd never seen her before tonight, sure that he would remember someone with hair the color of cotton candy, but she did look awfully familiar.
A snort of laughter on his right brought him out of his considerations. Sirius Black had his face his hands, shaking his head.
"What are you giggling about?" he hissed at the cackling ex-convict.
Sirius gestured vaguely across the room. The-Pink-Haired-Girl snickered again, but she no longer had pink hair, it was shoulder length, black and artfully tangled, wearing the same knowing, roguish smirk that he'd been trying to place all evening.
Wait a second...what...?
And suddenly, he knew who she was.
"Your...cousin." He ventured a guess, remembering a talk about Sirius' family a few weeks ago.
"Pfft. Yeah, that's her." Sirius mumbled, grinning back at her.
Why would one of Sirius' cousins be in the Order? Aren't they all... in prison? Or married to Lucius Malfoy?
"Yep. Haven't seen Tonksy since her mum hexed my ass for taking her out on the motorcycle...Merlin, that's been years ago!"
"You didn't tell me your cousin was in the Order."
"She wanted to! We wore the stupid helmets and everything, it was perfectly safe. I told 'Dromeda that, but she wouldn't hear it..." He shook his mop of black hair in dismay.
"No, Sirius. You didn't tell me that your cousin is in the Order."
Sirius abandoned his nostalgic excuse-making.
"Hmm, nope I didn't. And I didn't tell you that my cousin Tonks is an auror...in fact, a lady auror." Sirius wiggled his eyebrows suggestively over his butterbeer. "But I did tell you about metamorphmagus part. Really, Moony. You should pay more attention."
Really, Padfoot. You should be less drunk when you try to tell me things.
They both fell silent for a moment, studying the Auror Tonks, formerly known as The-Pink-Haired-Girl, who was still pulling faces at Sirius with his own features, minus the stubbled jaw.
"I'm sorry to say, Padfoot, she looks better with your face better than you do."
Sirius choked on his butterbeer and hit himself in the teeth with the bottle. "Oww, damn."
" SOMETHING YOU'D LIKE TO ADD TO THE DISCUSSION, BLACK?" Moody roared at him.
"N-no, " he coughed between strangled laughs.
The general mood of the room grew exponentially cheerful following the conclusion of Moody's speech and somehow, Remus found himself trying to make his way through the parlor towards Auror Tonks, steadying a plate of cookies and two mugs of hot chocolate in his hands. He found her quickly, sitting on the arm of the sofa in the parlor watching the wildly-gesturing ruckus that was Sirius pantomiming scenes from anecdote about seemingly, the giant squid, in an attempt to make Minerva McGonagall laugh. He was failing miserably, as usual.
Remus sat down on the other end of the sofa, setting the plate of cookies on the table with a thud. She looked over at him mildly. He gestured towards her with a cup of cocoa.
"Would you like a-"
"-Oh, sure." She dropped onto the sofa next to him, taking the cocoa, "Thanks." She smoothed her trenchcoat over tattered jeans. Her eyes locked on his, and he felt it difficult to look down at his own mug.
Moony, you're an arse. You're a member of the Order of the bleeding Phoenix...a professor of Defense Against the Dark Arts... a Marauder, not to mention a Gryffindor...a sodding werewolf, too...can't even talk to a girl. Arse.
Ignoring the nagging voice in his head, he fixed her with his friendliest look.
"You're-" he started, but she cut in.
"-The Metamorphmagus. Yeah, and?" she finished, taking a swig from her mug. Her voice was breathy, but had a razor's edge. She settled back into the couch, crossing her legs.
Yes, this is truly a member of the most anciently aggravating and nobly nefarious house of Black...He smiled inspite of himself.
"I was going to say, 'Sirius' cousin', but which ever nom de guerre you prefer is fine," he said, giving her a look of mock admonishment. Her eyes widened in embarrassment.
"I'm sorry," she sighed, "that was rude of me, I didn't mean-" her eyes dropped to her combat boots, "That was unnecessary-".
"-But considerably humorous, nonetheless." He shrugged, she laughed, glancing at him askance.
"You're-" she began
"The werewolf," hearing himself say it before he had realized he had, infact said it.
It wasn't that people didn't know about his...problem. He had only ever told his four closest friends about it with his own voice, and now two of them were dead, another on the list of people he would rather have dead, and the last still flailing insanely by the fireplace. He felt his face shade with embarrassment; he had accidentally told a random stranger his darkest secret.
Her eyebrows shot up. "I was going to say, 'Not offended?'" She leaned closer to him, her dark eyes glittering with lamplight, "But you are...really?," her voice was almost a whisper.
Did she just lean towards me? This is an unexpected development...
The back of his neck felt hot, and he fidgeted in his seat. Her quizzical gaze never ventured from his face.
"Eh, no" He sighed, "not offended. And yes about that other bit..."
"Well, I would've never guessed," she sat back against the sofa cushion and sipped her cocoa with her odd, dark gaze still converging on him. She smiled with her lips on the mug, but it was kind, not scornful like he'd expected. He felt a weird tug in the pit of his stomach.
"Aren't you an auror?," he said, his voice heavy with unintentional derision, "You should be able to recognize a werewolf when you see one."
Just trying to scrape up what's left of my dignity, Remus thought, trying to justify his tone, even though he instantly regretted it.
Her eyes narrowed..in anger? He hoped not.
"Blue eyes and dimples are not on the criteria list defining archetypical werewolf traits." The remark spilled from her lips drolly... but she blushed when she heard her words. A few moments of anxious silence surged between them like electricity. His neck felt so scorched he had to force himself not to tug on his shirt collar.
Did she just say that?
He burst into mortified laughter.
And now, she's going to hex me...
"For the sake of the conversation, we should pretend like I didn't say that...aloud," she said, shaking her head, "And just assume that I'm a bumbling idiot."
Well, at least she didn't hex me...
"You would retract such a lovely compliment?" He struggled to recover from the bout of chuckles that had overtaken him, "It's been ages since I've had a decent ego boost," he smirked at her. "Especially after the realization that the, erm, blue eyes and dimples, is it?" She blushed furiously."-Are accompanied by a rather mundane personality and, on occasion- fur." He shrugged and stared at her, one eyebrow raised. She stared back with those strange, dark eyes.
"-And as for you being a bumbling idiot...Well, I suppose I could give you a chance to disprove that theory."
Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire...
The mingled laughter of Sirius and Arthur Weasley filtered through their silence as Sirius launched into another joke.
She smiled widely and stretched out a hand decked with heavy silver rings.
"I'm Tonks, by the way," She stated, as if their previous conversation had never taken place.
He shook her hand, unable to suppress a laugh. "Remus Lupin... providing conversations between utter strangers with the social faux pas necessary to cause the requisite amount of awkward silences."
" Oh...?" She laughed in appreciation. "Nice to meet you formally, finally, Remus... isn't that Latin?"
Is she talking to me? That sounded far too lovely to be my name...
"Is it?," he snapped out of his distraction. "What I meant was- you're not absolutely disgusted at the thought of drinking cocoa with a werewolf?" he queried, only half in jest and brandishing his mug at her.
Merlin, I hope she's not disgusted...
A weighty pause saturated the atmosphere as she nicked a cookie out of the stack on the plate.
"All men are dogs sometimes, Mr. Lupin," she quipped, the droll timbre soaked back into her voice, joining the sparkle in her eyes, "At least you're honest about it." She laughed rowdily and bit into the cookie with zeal, and suddenly his whole body felt unreasonably warm, as if he'd downed an entire mug of cocoa at once.