Getting to the Mustard: Part 1a? 5?
Rating: Eh, PG again
Disclaimer: All things Harry Potter are the sole property of J.K. Rowling
A/N: Ok, two years later I can't let a sleeping dog lie (or go to bed at a decent hour…I mean, I teach in the morning) but I've had a sudden interest in writing this from Remus' POV. So this is the same story as part 1, just from the other side. I hope to redo all the chapters in this style, eventually
He didn't even really care for mustard, in hindsight. It had just been the most convenient vehicle to achieve his poorly thought-through, wild-hair, and probably disastrous idea. In fact, he thought, as he placed his small sandwich back on his plate, he didn't care for mustard at all. It had a tangy taste he felt took away from the flavor of the meat, and the smooth creaminess of the cheese. Really, a nice horseradish would…
Bloody hell, what is Arthur saying? Remus mentally shook himself out of the errant train of thought.
"Matches, Remus. They are little sticks that Muggles use to make fire…"
Remus made a small sound of agreement, hoping his friend wouldn't notice his distraction. Not that distraction was even close to describing what Remus was feeling; it was more like a complete, border-line rude, disregard for anything except the young witch that was trying, and failing, to act calm and collected by the table across the room.
This state had become more and more familiar to him over the past few months. Suddenly, he was missing half of what Mad-Eye was saying at meetings while watching her absent-mindedly worry a hole in the arm of her jumper, putting sugar on his peas at dinner instead of salt because he was too busy laughing at her outbursts, and, apparently, eating condiments he despised just so he had an excuse to be near her.
He knew this was a bad idea. The chorus that had played in his head as long as he could remember, reminded him that nothing good would come of dragging that poor woman into his life.
But he was only a man, damn it.
The fact that Sirius hadn't put him in a chokehold and demanded to know Remus' intentions with Tonks, led Remus to believe he had managed to hide his feelings pretty well. Of course, in his mind, he might as well been screaming his love for her from the rooftops; but he supposed his quiet staring at her might come off more odd than romantic. Which had been fine. He would live pleased to simply be her friend and colleague; and to enjoy just spending time around her.
Up until about ten minutes ago he really, really believed that line. Had completely convinced himself. Then she had walked in to the Burrow; her hair in the long, red style she had worn to the party for Ron and Hermione a little while back. A style he really rather favored. Not that he didn't like the pink, or the purple, or, for that matter, any color and style she chose. He loved all of them. It was just tonight... with the long red hair, he had an overwhelming urge to run his fingers through it. And to feel the softness of her green jumper, that made her look like a beautiful embodiment of the holiday season, and to stroke the smooth skin along her jaw before…
Matches, Remus Lupin!
Arthur's voice seemed very hard to drag himself back to, but he re-doubled his attempts.
"Molly thinks they are terribly useless, but I admire their ingenuity. What do you think, Remus?"
"They do invent some rather interesting things." Remus smiled genially at his friend, glad to have tuned back in before he missed that question.
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Tonks deliberately place her Butterbeer on the table. She looked…flustered. A brief rush of nerves shot through him. Maybe she was as….distracted as he was.
He hadn't been sure what he had intended when he had brushed past her to get to the mustard on the table. She had been chatting with the twins about some spell or other, since Molly had turned down her offer to help set up the food. Remus, picking at a small sandwich, standing nearby, went through, and dismissed, several topics with which to engage her in conversation. After a few moments, as usual, he was about to give up and settle into a seat near Arthur Weasley; when he noticed the twins had wandered off, no doubt to cause mischief somewhere else, and Tonks had been left, miraculously, alone.
He steeled himself and walked over to her turned back, planning to just tap her on the shoulder and comment on something about the food or the weather. However, at the last minute some long-forgotten, deep-seated bravado snuck up on him.
Noticing a bottle on the table, he gave into his impulses and ran his hand along the material of her jumper right along her hip. It was softer than he had imagined. His fingers buzzed as he gently pushed her hip to the side and reached for the mustard that was right past her, letting his arm brush her side as he retracted. As he had leaned into her, she had frozen like a deer, and a sensation from his youth made him brave enough to throw her a cheeky smile as he walked away, clutching the bottle of mustard.
Settling into the seat across from the older Weasley, he ordered his breathing to slow, and his fingers not to shake as he added the condiment to his sandwich; trying for all his might to appear non-plussed as he could feel her eyes glued to him.
Now, after a few minutes of listening to Arthur on the magic of Muggle inventions, he noticed out of the corner of his eye that she hadn't moved.
"Tonks, dear, are you alright? You look rather flushed." Molly Weasley, carrying in yet another dish of food, sidled up to table by Tonks.
"Yes, I'm…fine. Just a little…I'm fine." Her voice didn't seem entirely stable as she grabbed at a fork, "Thank you though."
"Of course, dear." Molly placed the large bowl on the table, "You just looked a little shell shocked. I was a bit afraid you were about to fall over."
Remus grinned as Molly moved off to chastise her youngest son for not using a coaster on her good furniture. As he swung his eyes back to the table he found Tonks staring directly at him. A resurgence of that youthful mischievousness overtook him and he sent her a sly smile.
He was met with a narrowing of eyes, a determined set of stance, and a long drink of her Butterbeer. A shudder ran through him. He wasn't sure what he had just set in motion, but he knew he looked forward to it.