His eyes were painfully blue.
Blue, not like the sky, or the deepest ocean or of glittering sapphire, but blue of…
The blue of mould on cheese.
Tonks winced at the visual, but she couldn't help it. It was a dreadfully pale, almost milky blue, and it suited his face so well, his light brown hair in desperate need for a trim (but to be perfectly honest she didn't mind it at all), the aging scars and the strong curve of his jaw, even his incredibly straight and perfect nose.
She blinked as she stared curiously at his profile.
He had a really good nose. As in, really quite wonderful.
"Honestly Tonks, he's not that attractive," came Sirius' usual bored drawl, interrupting her musings sharply, almost making her fall off her chair. Her cheeks flushed in embarrassment, and the colour shot right up to her shoulder length violet hair, she felt it shudder and fall back into place, a strand falling before her boringly colour-less eyes confirming her fear – bright red.
"I don't know, I've always found myself quite dashing," Remus retorted, turning the page of the Evening Prophet with a smirk on his face. Sirius scoffed.
"Narcissist," he said pointedly. Tonks couldn't help but laugh.
"I should turn you in for that," she chuckled. "Honestly, there should be a law against someone being so hypocritical," she teased. Sirius rolled his eyes, and set his black-denim clad legs up on the kitchen table, folding his hands in his lap. He regarded her momentarily with a cheeky, pensive expression.
"Turn me in then," he suggested. "Azkaban wasn't that difficult to break out of, a bit of a swim to shore, but I could use the exercise," he said thoughtfully, twirling his wand in his slender fingers.
"I know. You're about twice as heavy as you were when we were in Hogwarts," Remus commented, his horribly, harshly blue eyes still scanning the print.
"Well I told you Moony, maybe you should be on top for once," Sirius said airily, before Remus' unbearably blue eyes widened. Sirius didn't look; he knew perfectly well that he was going to get a rise out of him.
Remus relaxed back into the chair, his body un-tensing. He decided to play. Tonks grinned. She loved it when he was like this, relaxed, content to humour his obviously senile old friend.
"I know, but it's too chilly up there," he said, hiding his smirk as Sirius toppled off his chair.
"He's joking," he assured Tonks, popping his head up to meet her eyes. She only nodded, and gave a very Mona Lisa smirk.
"Of course, Sirius," she said patronisingly. She leant back in the sturdy wooden chair, it didn't match the dining table, and it hadn't been varnished in a particularly flattering shade, but it was the only chair in the assortment of mismatched dining furniture that would survive her constant collisions with the ground. She gripped her mug of lukewarm cocoa in her palm, and sipped the last dregs of its contents.
"Women!" he huffed pointedly, rising back to his chair.
"I never really thought you had that problem, Padfoot," Remus commented. "As you've just revealed to Tonks," he added, with another quiet smirk of his perfect lips.
"This is payback for the 'on-top' joke, you know," he commented to Tonks, as if Remus had left the room. "It isn't true, of course," he added, glancing back to her as if to ascertain her understanding.
"Of course," echoed Remus, his eyes still not moving from the paper. His focus astounded her.
"He's always on top."
Tonks let a chorus of laughter ripple through her as Remus sent a tickling hex to his oldest friend. She only laughed harder as Sirius fell off the chair again, Remus' deep, breathy chuckle joining hers, and the decidedly tortured giggles of Sirius as he rolled on the floor.
"Stop – stop – it!" he cried between chuckles, his voice calling out from somewhere beneath the table. "Wanker! You – you're a – you're a wanker!" he threw in, only causing Tonks and Remus to continue laughing.
Remus muttered the counter-hex quietly, still chuckling softly. His exceptionally blue eyes twinkled with laughter and good humour, an expression that Tonks thought suited his face quite well.
She had to fight to stop herself from blushing again, as he glanced over at her with those frighteningly blue eyes, warm and yet so…
She didn't want to be cliché, but over the past few months of their acquaintance, and then their friendship, she had grown to feel things for him that she had never felt for anyone before. Feeling that were almost as terrifying as the striking shade of his eyes.
She wasn't the kind of girl that put to much stock into fate, or destiny, she wasn't naïve or adolescent, her heart didn't flutter whenever he walked into the room (well, it did, but not in the manner that she recognised from her mother's old muggle romance novels), she didn't burn with desire when he touched her, but it was more like…
She always felt empty when he wasn't around. When she was with him, talking to him, laughing with him, she felt like she was complete. That life was complete. That she could spend an eternity with this man, and never get bored, that their love would never die.
She saw all of that reflected in those blue eyes of his.
"Was it cruel of me?" he asked, his eyes still twinkling as Tonks stifled the last of her laughter.
"He had it coming," she replied. Remus chuckled again as Sirius plonked himself back on the chair with as much dignity as he could muster.
"Horrid girl," Sirius snapped, glaring at his young cousin, or niece, or second great Aunt twice removed on his mother's side.
"That's down to my genetics, cuz," she replied cheerfully. Remus gave another chuckle, and rose to his feet.
"Did you want a refill?" he asked, gesturing to her cup.
"Sure, of Butterbeer, if there is any," she smiled.
"Make it two," Sirius threw in.
"Three Butterbeers, coming right up," Remus said, taking her empty mug and heading to the kitchen.
"You fancy him," Sirius said the moment he was out of earshot. Tonks frowned, and adjusted her seating. She slid her highlighter-orange wool clad feet out of her heavy combat boots, and sat them on the table, leaning back and balancing the chair on its back two legs.
"Bullshit," she replied, but her lilting tone gave it away. She winced as Sirius smirked confidently.
"You could probably do better," he commented indifferently, inspecting his nails. Tonks scoffed.
"I doubt it," she retorted. Sirius glanced back at her through his mangled black fringe, and smiled.
"You're right," he said. Tonks wanted to smile at the friendly loyalty between them. "With that hair? You'd be lucky to get laid by Diggle," he commented.
Tonks scowled, and threw her abandoned spoon at him. He stopped it in the air with a quick charm. He chuckled, and plucked it from right in front of his face. He put it on the table delicately.
"My, you've gotten violent," he chuckled. Tonks rolled her eyes, and brushed her hair from her face. Realising it was still red, she screwed her eyes together momentarily and morphed it.
She inspected a cropped strand thoughtfully. It was the same, piercing blue, but it lost all of its magic when it wasn't hidden behind his dark brown lashes and staring at her intensely.
She morphed it to a peachy-pink and let it fall past her shoulders in soft waves, Her natural hair, only a different shade.
She looked up as Remus walked back into the room, three bottles held in his hands. His eyes lingered momentarily on her hair, and a soft smile rose up on his face, not necessarily in his lips, but in those unfairly blue eyes. He tossed a bottle to Sirius, and set one in front of her, before opening his own and taking a seat.
Tonks sipped it thoughtfully, welcoming the warmth that filled her. She tapped her grasshopper green nails against the cold glass bottle, condensation dripping icy droplets over her fingers.
His nose was the most perfect nose she had ever seen in her entire life. So were his eyes, and so was his jaw, and his hands and even his hair, everything about him really was quite perfect.
She realised all of a sudden, that without the scars (even though they didn't bother her at all), or the shabby clothing (but that only made him look scruffy, and endearing), or the premature aging that he had sustained (although those few grey hairs were distinguishing, and those fine lines around his eyes reminded her of the way he looked when his face was stretched into a grin), he would be ridiculously, unfairly attractive.
To her, at least, he was, even with age and poverty and wear.
"You really should see a professional about that Lazy Eye and drooling thing," Sirius drawled.
"You really should see a professional about that fleas and ringworm thing," she countered, with a pointed glare. Remus chuckled breathily into his Butterbeer.
"What have you been teaching her, you horrid little – little –" Sirius began, glaring at Remus as he struggled to find a word insulting enough.
"Marauder?" Remus offered with a teasing smirk. Sirius rolled his eyes.
"Bastard," he chuckled, shaking his head softly. He glanced over suddenly at Tonks, and then again at Remus. "I think I'm off to bed then!" he declared brightly.
Tonks felt so many objections and cries of protest tickle her tongue, but she was left speechless when Remus replied first.
"Have fun," he said. "And try to be quiet. I won't be able to hear Nymphadora if you're groaning too loudly," he commented, turning another page of the Prophet. Tonks stifled laughter as Sirius sent his friend a rather rude hand gesture, took his Butterbeer, and headed upstairs.
"He isn't really going too…" she trailed off, glancing awkwardly at Remus, who smirked knowingly, but also in sympathy.
"Obviously you've never lived with Sirius," he commented. "Or a man," he added, turning back to his paper. Tonks frowned, and felt her cheeks burn.
"I have too!" she argued, trying not to sound too immature, because that was the first and foremost thing she was, and the last and least thing she wanted to be for him. "I lived with my Dad up until I was accepted into the Auror programme," she threw in.
"Allow me to correct myself," he began. "You've obviously never lived with a single, teenager to thirty-something man," he said, as Tonks rolled her eyes.
"But… you don't – do you?" she asked, instantly regretting the words that slipped from her mouth.
"I don't fall into the category that I just named," he replied, as if she had simply enquired about the weather or the rising price of zucchini.
"The one about being thirty-something or single?" she questioned, desperately hoping that he didn't consider himself off the market.
"I'm not a man, I'm a werewolf," he declared. Tonks released a small sigh of relief and poked his shoulder with her ridiculously bright feet. He laughed, and gripped her foot teasingly, tickling the sole. She laughed and pulled it away from him, because she was dreadfully ticklish and falling off a stool was a hardly elegant thing to do in front of the man that she had maybe-dreadfully-serious feelings about.
He surprised her, by stopping his teasing tickles and placing her foot in his lap, and running his thumb over the tiny bones beneath her skin. She was silent, and he read his newspaper. He seemed to regard the display of affection (or was it friendliness?) as a norm, and whilst it felt insanely comfortable, pleasant and decidedly right, it wasn't a norm, even though she wished desperately that it was.
"In answer to your question, no, I don't," he said, after a little while of him semi-rubbing her feet as she sipped Butterbeer and stared into the fire.
"But he does?" she asked, as he shrugged.
"I don't know. I hope not, but it's probably to be expected," he replied. She was surprised at how much at ease he seemed when talking to her.
"Expected?" she questioned, her mind reeling. She didn't think it was expected at all. He only shrugged again.
"Most men do," he replied. "It's a generalisation, I know, but most men do, and so do many women," he explained simply, as if it were a fact of life. The way he said it, it was like it was a fact of life.
"Then…" she said, trailing off, not sure why she wanted to know, or even if she did.
"I don't think it's right," he replied suddenly. "Sirius doesn't care. Lot's of people don't. But I do," he informed her. She felt very uncomfortable.
"I'm never sleeping in this house again," she said suddenly, as Remus laughed, and continued to rub his thumb over her ankle.
"I don't know why you chose to stay here anyway, it's a horrid place," he replied, glancing around the dreary room.
"It's easier," she shrugged. "Most nights I'm at home, but this is just… well, it's easier," she explained. "That and I enjoy the company," she added, hoping that he got her meaning, but not to the extent that he understood it in its entirety. Why, she didn't know.
"Well, I'm grateful that you break up the monotony," he declared. She smiled, and looked up from her nails to his awfully, horribly, chaotically, beautifully blue eyes.
"You – you have nice eyes," she said suddenly, the red rushing over her cheeks and up into her hair once more as she hid back a wince. He smiled softly, and lowered his head slightly, the slightest of pink tinges rising to his face.
"I've always been fond of yours, actually," he replied.
She stared blankly.
"Why?" she asked incredulously. "I mean, if I could morph them I would, just for some colour," she continued.
"No, they're… beautiful the way they are," he managed to get out. "You certainly take after your mother's side of the family in your appearance," he added.
She didn't want to scowl. It was once again childish and unnecessary.
But even though he said she had beautiful eyes, she certainly didn't want to smile.
"Nymphadora? Have I upset you?" he asked delicately, leaning forwards slightly to catch eye contact.
"No – it's just –" she began, forgetting that he had called her Nymphadora, because when it came out of his lips it was like a name, not a title, " – I'm a Tonks, not a Black," she explained.
"I don't want to say it… but…" he began slowly. She looked up, and he met her eyes. He seemed to find the words he was looking for. "As much as you try to fight it, you are a Black," he said.
She pulled her feet away from him, and sat them on the floor. She stood up, and made to move out of the dining room.
"No! Wait, don't –" he began, reaching for her arm. He gripped it in his, and she turned slowly, with a pained expression. "It's there. Not the evil and the inbreeding and the generations of horrible witches and wizards," he tried to explain, but Tonks only pulled away. He tightened his hold on her. "Pride. Pride in who you are, what you're doing, where you're going, everything," he managed to get out.
"What?" she asked, confusion flittering over her face.
"You're proud to be an Auror, to be fighting Death Eaters and making a difference," he said slowly. "You have pride in being good, whereas the Black's had pride in being bad," he continued. "It's different, but the same," he added sheepishly, slowly rising his head to meet her eyes.
He saw pain.
"How the hell can you justify me being a Black, tell me to accept it, because it's who I am, when you don't even think you're good enough to be classified as human because of a curse that you had no choice in?" she asked.
She sounded raw, desperate and almost pleading for an answer. The words left her mouth and hung in the air, vulnerable, uncovered, unprotected, waiting to be beaten away with any remark.
Her words were almost as painful, open and questioning as the set of cataclysmically blue eyes before her.
She didn't know how it happened, or even what happened. She woke up in his bed, wearing nothing but highlighter orange socks and grasshopper green nail polish. Her peachy-pink haired head was resting on his scar-covered chest, and his regretfully blue eyes were searching her face.
So she smiled softly.
The smile was on his lips, but not in his eyes.
A/N: Sequel to this is 'Pink', you can find this on my author's page.
Much love, please read and review,