Title: Symbiosis (or the 4 mysteries about Nymphadora Tonks that need solving, the 4 mysteries about Charlie Weasley that need solving, and the two about each that don't.)
Summary: Bum tans, bedroom expertise, snacks, socks, enthusiasm, Quidditch, tattoos, tag, dragons, marriage.
Author's Note: Written for the Hp Five Things community over at livejournal.
A Mystery #1: Charlie
How exactly Charlie managed to get a perfect, even, girl-envying tan on his bum ghosted her thoughts on more than one occasion on a long night of cram studying for tests in history of magic on the topic of the second and third goblin wars, writing four foot parchments on the practical uses of Spiddal Stick for potions, and drawing up smudged star charts for astronomy.
She had long held suspicions on what exactly went on in the Weasley household but now she had one more musing to add to the list she kept stuck to the inside of her "The Cauldron Calls" tome.
Section 7: Behavior and Activity
#1: Degnoming? Underground activity and colony suspected, conclusion drawn = facility where Mrs. Weasley forces small creatures of an unknown genus to darn and wash clothing OR knit all the ugly jumpers she gives for festive purposes. Gnomes are either A. eating these small creatures, B. trying to rescue them, or C. they want said ugly festive jumpers. Whatever situation maybe the gnomes must be eliminated in Mrs. Weasley's mind for the safety of her operation.
#2: The dinner? Food is abundant which is entirely contradictory to Mrs. Weasley's spoken attitudes of being a bloody stickler to economic extravagant-ses. One answer appeals, they are eating the gnomes to accommodate the need for large amounts of food. Explains why the meat served is always tough and tastes like stale dirty gnome.
#3: The Tan? All evidence supports that the Weasley's are secret nudists or naturalists either case means they spend much time starkers and the ability to tan on unlikely body parts in accented by this behavior.
It fascinated her.
It also fascinated Charlie when he nicked her potions book to cite back to the person who said a rather drab thing about Dryad Polypore Caps for an especially and almost equally drab potions assignment that Tonks had taken the time to come up with such conclusions as seen.
Later, under little more pretense than that, a squawking for her to have her book back and a reading of Tonks' hypothesizes on his mother's cooking and his arse and gnomes out loud in a marginally busy library went on.
All actions were followed by smacking elbows and busted gums and bruised kneecaps.
When breathless from the effort of fisticuffs and directed out of the library by a few choice words and wand movements from Madame Pince he looked to her with a deliciously naughty grin.
She resisted the urge to stout him in the wallies.
"Want me to drop my drawers as I walk back?"
Her hair turned the deep russet of anger and her cheeks the flushed pink of embarrassment.
"Oh sod off!"
She stomped off, her skirt bouncing a bit too high from the force of her feet against the floor.
"Oi! Wait fer meh!" He huffed and jogged to catch up.
Turning she poked him in the clavicle, her finger hard and bony.
"Bloody 'ell you've even got freckles on yer arse. We've all seen. Ain't no mystery what yer ruddy bum looks like after you got your seat ripped out last week by that thing in Creath's class. Ain't no bloody reason for you to be a bloody git! Honestly! Now they all think I'm loooooony! Glory be and Merlin knows, Charlie!"
"It's a nice arse innit?"
She smiled at his cheekiness and in the same moment clouted his ear.
"Yeah, nicer to look at than the one on your face."
He kicked her in the shin and trotted off telling her she could walk behind him to stare as long as she controlled her salivating.
A Mystery #1: Tonks
It was nice.
But it was bloody odd.
Odd by means of what was going on.
Nice by means of the nakedness.
Nice had something to do with her tits.
And her belly.
And her thighs.
Her tits were beestings, really, but as his auntie had once told him in an awkward impromptu speech after catching him in the loo with his hands down his pants when it came to girls and their assets all he had to remember was that all they really need is a mouthful.
A mouthful of tit was great, in his opinion.
He thought her mouthfuls were fantastic.
Tonks' not his aunt's.
His face pugged up at the thought of his aunt's tits.
Tonks' belly was smooth, lickable, and hard.
She considered it one of her most prized possessions; sometimes even after a shag or a rather long and dull session of book work she would take to the floor and do a copious amount of exercise.
Her thighs were shapely, wider than she liked but perfect for him and he thought she expected too much out of them, she was short. She'd never have legs that went on for miles but there was more than enough of them to wrap perfectly around his hips.
Those things weren't the 'odd' in his current situation.
It was her hands, her mouth, her teeth.
They knew him.
They, as in her and him, had never done this before.
They'd done enough, but not what was currently happening.
But she knew.
And it bothered him almost enough to tell her to stop and demand for an answer.
Charlie wasn't an idiot, some of the things she was doing she must have practiced.
She was, after all, an metamorphmagus. She'd already mentioned once under great duress, duress that had involved Charlie's tongue and a clever little trick Bill had told him about, that she'd done things late at night with his body, well her body but with it as his.
It was disturbing, and flattering, and all together too arousing.
But now with her astride his hips doing things to him his mind folded in on itself and played over and over the question of 'where had she learnt that?!'
He believed her when she told him she'd never done a thing with any boy but him.
He didn't doubt her.
But he couldn't honestly believe she'd learned all this about him, and he thought 'him' meaning himself because he was sure blokes were just like birds and how they all liked different things.
She was getting everything right!
And bloody hell and Merlin's itchy bumhole if he didn't want to know how.
How she knew the spot between his shoulders that made him tingle and twitch like a lazy, brain-battered cat.
Or how she knew he really enjoyed her tongue tracing the miniscule indents of his stomach.
Or the bit of his left thigh that hurt like a right miser and how to work it out with her fingertips.
It was odd.
But he stopped thinking about that once she gave him one savage little twist with her teeth to the sliver a skin covering his right hip.
He stopped thinking about that oddity when a new one popped up next term after winter holidays.
Like how he seemed to be getting much more attention from both the 6th and 7th year female population of House Hufflepuff.
Eyes followed him.
Lips were licked.
Eyebrows raised in appreciation.
He was being appraised and he liked it enough to not be bothered with thoughts of why said 6th and 7th year female Hufflepuffs gave Tonks covert glances and shared with her furtive sniggers after he had walked well enough away.
A Mystery #2: Charlie
It surprised her.
Most blokes kept pulpy, trashy tart, wanking material in their bedside drawers but as Tonks had learned on more than one occasion Charlie was not most blokes.
Sometimes she'd sneak up to the boys dorms in Gryffindor tower just to study with him and other times to do other things behind silenced bed hangings.
On one of the more innocent occasions she'd found what exactly made him different in the one aspect she hadn't thought boys could differ in.
Charlie Weasley had no scantly clad and buxom images hidden under his pants, she knew that much because she made it a habit to pick through his drawers when he left the room or when he was looking in the other direction or when he'd fallen asleep after she'd shagged him rotten.
What he did have was a rather large collection of pumpkin tea biscuits, scones, and chocolate frogs.
Why he hid them she didn't know, that didn't really matter.
What did matter was what he did with them.
She thought it better not to ask in case the reason was more mundane than the one concocted by herself.
Tonks had merely raised a wary eyebrow at the snack items and promptly rolled her eyes when she let the drawer roll shut with a muted thud.
Charlie Weasley was a barmcake.
A Mystery #2: Tonks
Not one pair.
Sure, she did have every color.
Fine, she had every pattern.
But whenever he found her rumpled inside out socks between his sheets never once had they matched.
Yellow with maroon dots.
Blue with a smiling gum licking green frog on the front.
Violet and slinky with cream lace.
Fallow and cashmere with stripes.
Persimmon and stocking-like.
Viridian with a forked tongue curling around the heel.
Alizarin with separate toes, each with a claw over them.
Prussian blue with fake feathers down the sides.
Saffron with a sprinkle of tawny fur encasing it.
Zinnwaldite and netted.
He found himself wondering if she'd ever own a matching set, or whether the elves had always lost half of every pair when they'd done the darning, or even if Tonks was a thief of the strangest caliber.
'They must be rather lonely without their match,' he had thought one day and then gracelessly smacked himself for thinking something so womanly.
'Socks, lonely, honestly!' He frowned severely at himself.
'They're socks!' He huffed in his head.
Still he thought it was rather fetching of her.
Even if it was completely mental.
A Mystery #3: Charlie
He was not only cheeky; he was positively lewd in ways that made her head reel almost off her shoulders.
It had something to do with his enthusiasm.
That was strange.
How he was more than willing to play with parts of his own anatomy, even when they were on her.
She couldn't blame him it was a lovely piece of male anatomy.
Blokes were meant to play with their own bits but Charlie went above and beyond that call of duty.
It was a pleasant albeit unexpected surprise.
How he got so good at what he was doing and why he was doing it ceased to matter much when he involved both his mouth and the mirror across the room so she could watch.
A Mystery #3: Tonks
She couldn't walk a straight line if her food intake depended on it.
But give her a broom and she was brill.
Charlie would meet her on the Quidditch pitch after team practices and they'd go up and around and she'd drill him and on one occasion he'd tried to drill her in a different kind of way but soon found that flying on brooms was muchly different than trying to fuck on them.
Those things weren't what niggled on his brain, chewing it into little bits and bobs, what did however was just how exactly she'd learnt them and who from.
Her moves on a broom he meant, not her inability to fuck on them.
Even more than those things he wondered how while on the ground she couldn't elude or outrace him in anyplace other than her fantasies but while in the sky cloud banks and overcast skies and the goal posts became her allies keeping her out of his sights and out of his reach.
Why her own house team never pocketed her skills was an enigma and a shame rolled into one.
He called it something else though.
A Mystery #4: Charlie
He wouldn't show it to her…
And he never really did show it to her as much as she discovered it.
It was while lying across his, now more than sufficiently ridged, stomach in the tingles of sweat and sex and the scents of English violets and the heady something he wore called 'Obsession' that she picked at the bandage obscuring her goal while he dozed and played with the mint-of-satisfaction and contentedness that was strands of her hair.
When one side of tape was unstuck to his thigh she flipped the dressing like a door and peered at the blob-like thing that fluttered awake at her ministration that rested there.
The lights were dim but not dim enough to notice the name under his first tattoo, a birthday present from Bill.
The lights were dim, but not dim enough to realize the name scrawled in ink wasn't hers.
Not that she wanted her name inked into him but still it wasn't the thing she'd expected out of Charlie, especially since for all she knew she was the only bed-warmer he had, the only notch on his bedpost, the only entry in his little black book, and all the other clichés for one's bedmates.
She punched his tat and he squealed like a stuck pig.
He asked her what was the violence for.
She asked him exactly who 'Gracie' was and why her name was gracing the space under the blue chicken with a tail and wings.
He just laughed.
She just got up to throw her denims on.
He called her back to bed with apologies and little explanation.
In time it didn't really matter because he was naked and she was still randy.
A Mystery #4: Tonks
It was always the same with her once classes were done for the day.
"Meet me on the lawn."
And he'd be left to trail after her before he even managed to throw on his 'play' clothes and throw his books on top of the already staggering pile of dirty jumpers and crumpled parchment and dusty tomes and sweet wrappers.
When he did show up in her line of sight it was like all the things you'd see on the telly where the bird runs towards the bloke and swings her legs around him and plants a wet slobbering bit of lip on him.
It was like that, except for the bit about legs and lips because in their place he got Tonks' foot bashed into his knee, or her fist in his face, or her shoulder against his chest.
And he'd run after her.
It was something they'd done, or rather, something she'd done since their first meeting.
Their friendship wasn't forged on the Hogwarts' Express or in class or on the Quidditch pitch.
Where it really started was on the moving stairs.
She'd been chasing someone else and gotten him by mistake. Then she said that word and ran off leaving him baffled.
At first when he encountered her in the halls he'd give her a lighthearted fist to the ribs but later it became nothing but wrestling across the lawn by the lake and beating each other bloody.
His mum told him never to hit girls but Tonks hit harder than he did so he rationed that it was all right.
His bunkmates wondered why she wore her bruises which such pride and Charlie wondered why she always came back for more of them.
She called them battle wounds.
Charlie never could quite work his mind around why she was like that; it was just Tonks being her normal ruddy self.
He wouldn't say she liked it because she was a terrible sport about having to bandage herself up and winced when he tried to do it for her.
Also he wondered why she never learned, even after their first encounter when running into him caused her to fall pell-mell the height of three staircases and ended up in the hospital wing for exactly twelve days while her bones re-grew themselves.
But, then, Tonks was always a bit of a daftie.
Not So Mysterious: Charlie
It wasn't a surprise when he left to play with dragons in Romania.
He was, after all, a terrible friend and a right git.
But also, she remembered, he'd once mentioned, in a way he had probably thought was offhanded, that he wanted to go someplace that was hot versus brisk, calm versus windy enough to 'blow your knickers off', dry versus in a state of constant drizzle, and dangerous with an element of risk that wasn't caused by the bagger ladies.
He didn't use quite so many words but Charlie Weasley was a romantic whose idea of romance was charming the untamable and leather, both of which he got by the union of big beasties and chaps.
They wrote of course, for awhile. He visited of course, for awhile. And she missed him, for more than awhile.
But the days turned on and in a sick, sad way she felt bitter joy as they exchanged letters less and less.
It wasn't that their friendship had changed, except it had, it was a friendship with the feeling of obligation accompanying it now, as if one day if they stopped talking it would mean a falling out, but that wasn't how it was.
The act of having to keep a friendship was breaking their's, that was how it was.
A person couldn't keep and hold onto something that was slowly disappearing like a worn out friendship that lasted as long as school days and summer terms.
That wasn't how they were though.
She knew if she'd found him leaning against the red booth she entered every day to get into the ministry and into the Auror's office she'd throw herself at him, and probably trip, but that was besides the point, and they'd laugh and she'd bunk off work and they'd wander for a day and smoke and laugh some more and talk about all the silly things about Mad Eye with his 'CONSTANT VIGILANCE!' and Bill with his ridiculous earring and then she'd remember that Charlie was the one that'd given it to him and she'd go stark silent with embarrassment and her hair would turn as deep a red as his and he'd laugh and tell her it wasn't his fault Bill made the most manly of trophies into an accessory.
They'd get pissed at some back alley dive joint and trip over each other as they'd fell into bed and either fell quick asleep or shagged like randy rabbits until sweaty and sated and no less drunk and then they'd wake up hours or half a day later with equally bleaky and blaring hangovers with the metallic color of twin migraines painting the ceiling of her or his room as they fell back onto drool-stained pillows laughing and she'd steal two of his fags and light them up at the same time in her mouth and she'd hand one to him with the filter covered in early morning bed breathe and slobber and then they'd laugh and his laugh would send a jolt into her brain and she'd cringe and hit him with a closed fist that would hit or miss and smack the bed-post with her luck and he'd either yelp for himself or cringe on her behalf.
They'd gag on giggles all the way to the breakfast table where he'd slump into a wobbly, unmatched to his kitchen table, chair in a pair of holey bed pants and she'd perch like a bird on the counter with loose and saggy socks and a Chudley Cannons; glaring orange, in the vibrant light of early morning, or late afternoon; shirt that wasn't hers.
She'd have forgotten her wand upstairs in the bedroom and be forced to light the stove by way of match and singe hair and fingernails and he'd chortle and choke on the last mouthful of old and warm orange juice he'd be drinking from the carton he'd have left on the counter.
She'd burn the eggs and he'd eat them anyway, she'd set fire to the waffles and he'd have to dig them out of the metal box muggles called a 'toasty', or something of the sort, with a fork or a knife or whatever he'd found in the sink after pouring a box of baking soda on the waffles to squelch the roaring flames and his fingers would get shocked from him not unplugging the thing from the circuit and his arm would twitch and he'd throw the thing across the kitchen into wooden floor of his or her 'living area' and it would take a chunk out of the rotting and damp and splintery old floor.
He'd look at her and say 'ah…, guess that means no breakfast' and he'd rub the back of his head and she'd look through his or her fridge and find that either one was empty except for a jar of mayonnaise and the dregs of cola at the bottom of a old bottle mixed with some sort of strong spirits and she'd shut the door to either fridge with a socked toe and say 'Hotdogs?'
They'd find a vender down the street in their clashing pajamas and jumpers and eventually she'd have to go to work and, no she couldn't use the same excuse twice in a row even though she hadn't even given an excuse because she hadn't heard the phone ring when they were shagging because Charlie had knocked it off the bedside table and well she just had to go to work and he'd have to go home before his mum had a coronary but they'd meet up again for dinner at Charlie's said mum's house and all would be well.
Of course that was what she'd thought she would do.
If all that happened.
If he came back.
It was a silly and girlish thought that she rarely had, it was a strong hankering for her friend to come and visit and for all of those things she'd imagine to happen that made her think things like that.
But it didn't happen and wouldn't, not because it couldn't have, but because there were dragons to tame of and Auror drills to surmount and then there was talk of war and romance kind of fizzled in a way that can only happen when the aforementioned romance never really existed in the first place anyway and when 'war' is the topic getting talked about by everyone.
Not So Mysterious: Tonks
It wasn't a surprise when he'd come back and found her married.
Not that he'd thought she'd be married or anything of the sort but he knew her and her nature was to do what she wanted without feeling the need to tell anyone.
She was the type of bird to know what she wanted and know that what she wanted came in more shapes and ways and men than one situation or experience offered.
She was patient but she didn't wait.
Patient in the sense that someone could be content and unrushed and wonderfully steadfast in knowing that there was always going to be something for them if they just let it find them.
She was like that.
She couldn't wait in the sense that a person would stop and stay one way or in one place for something or someone else.
Tonks wasn't a bird like that.
Her nature screamed change as loud as it could from every towering tier of her world.
She took things into herself, collecting phrases and looks and habits that she liked and she would change year to year, month to month, day to day.
Charlie wasn't like that.
The girl, the woman, Charlie found when he came back was not the one he'd known when he'd left.
It wasn't that she'd grown up, it was that she was herself with new additions added on, additions that he liked all the same as the old ones but additions that had no place for him at a kitchen table made sticky with morning marmalade and dirt or in a bed that smelled of old school days and that had mismatched socks stuck between the sheets or on an old porch swing hanging lopsided on rust-worn chains or in the shade behind an old shed smoking fags in blissful, sketchy secrecy.
She was different, and he didn't much mind because while he'd found himself she found something else, something that was older than her, poorer than dirt, scraggly as an unbathed tootie scone vender, something that made her happier than Charlie ever remembered making her because of a well timed joke about flatulence or greedy, fumbling teenage fingers.
He was glad to have seen her like that, it softened him and burned, like a red, noxious cigar end through packaging tape through the weight of regret piled on for every year he'd hadn't been there.
He was happy she never waited because Remus was a much better man than he.
Remus was solemn and quiet and smart.
Remus stuck around.
Tonks needed someone who could do that for her even if Charlie wasn't that man.
Even if he never would be.
It made him happy.
It made it easy to decide to go back and handle the war on his on front, to play a part that needed him even if he didn't want it.
It made it easier to leave again.
It made it easier to cry.
It made it easier to look at her and Remus' son and smile and laugh about every little thing he did that was once a staple of his mother's.
It made it easier at her funeral knowing she died with someone at her side, with her at someone's side.
Side by side.
Tonks was that type of bird.
It didn't make it easier to try not to wonder how things might have been, or how they could have been, or why they hadn't been.
It didn't make it easier to forget all the times he'd been a git.
It didn't make it easier not to go out and drink copious amounts of fire-whiskey and stumble over to Bill's late one night, surprising himself, his brother, and the lovely French angel that laid him on the couch in she and Bill's flat at 2-ish in the morning with blankets and a cuppa and let him weep and dry heave and stain the shoulder of what must have been one very expensive silk or something dressing gown with sloppy tears and streaky snot.
It didn't make it easy to have all the letters of hers he'd never gotten around to answering in a hat box once belonging to his aunt tucked away under work boots and old flannels in the closet of his cabin at the reservation.
Forgotten and unopened and buried.
Tonks had deserved more, so much more.
He missed her.
Later after the twisting in his guts went away and the fog over his brain cleared and the weight of mourning both family and friends that weren't Tonks, he healed.
He changed in some way that he couldn't see but that he felt, profoundly and exquisitely.
He went back to his dragons and put all his history with Tonks in a shallow grave sprinkled with old letters and old mismatched socks he'd nicked from her underwear drawer when he was fourteen and old bits of notes with silly moving doodles and bad sexual puns passed during charms when they were in 6th year.
He let her go and somehow he thought that would've made her laugh.
Tonks was like that.
A/N: Thanks for reading.