With a bright white flash and a faint 'pop', Tonks apparated just outside the boundary of the burrow. Unable to penetrate the defenses set up around the dwelling she whispered "expecto patronum" and a large wolf erupted from the end of her wand and ran into the building. Moments later Mrs. Weasley hurried out of the back door, nervously looking around in the misty evening and smoothing her cooking apron across her front.
"Thanks for coming." She said with a strained smile as she let Tonks through the protective boundary and into the yard.
"Where is he?" Tonks asked looking worried.
"In the sitting room with Arthur," Molly whispered back. "He's in a bad way."
They hurried across the yard, avoiding the many chickens and the pairs of wellington boots that had been stranded in the children's absence and into the cozy house. Molly ushered Tonks into the sitting room and quietly called for Arthur to come with her. As Tonks entered the warm, fire lit room; Arthur passed her giving her a grim nod and followed his wife out of earshot. Registering a man huddled on the faded sofa Tonks inhaled a sharp breath.
"Remus!" she exclaimed, running towards him. She fell at his feet and tried to look at his face but it was hung so low and covered by so much thick, matted hair that it was impossible.
"Remus," she whispered again, softer this time.
Remus let out a soft groan as she pushed back his hair to reveal a bloody, and battle scarred face. Tonks gasped. "What happened to you?" She asked.
"Nothing, why are you here?" he asked.
"Don't be ridiculous, you've been attacked. And I came because Molly said you might want to see me." Tonks retorted, stung.
"Well I'm fine. I think you should go. We agreed"
"I didn't agree anything. You said you couldn't be around me because of what I do to you but I refuse to see my best friend hurt so you will have to accept that I'm here to help you."
Remus sighed and seemed to slump into the sofa further, resigned to the fact that Tonks would be staying.
"So who attacked you?"
"Greyback" Remus grunted.
"That monster" She spat, picking up the sponge that sat in a bucket of warm, greenish water by his side and attempted to dab Remus' wounds.
Remus slapped the sponge out of her hands and it hit the far wall with a splash. "It won't work, these wounds are cursed!" He snarled.
Tonks looked down at her knees, hiding from him the tears that began to roll down her cheeks. Her hair, which had been a shocking orange as she had arrived at the burrow, had turned into a mousy brown colour.
"I'm sorry," said Remus.
Tonks shook her head but didn't look up. "Why did he do it?" She murmured at last.
Remus sighed. "You know what Greyback is like. He's no normal werewolf. While we were all lying low, dreading the full moon and keeping ourselves to ourselves, he was planning on where he would be best stationed to bite as many people as he could when he changed. He infected fourteen children last night. I couldn't stand it. So I stood up to him."
"That was so brave," Said Tonks, finally looking up at him.
"It was stupid!" Remus snarled back. "Reckless and vain. He's trying to recruit the werewolves to you-know-who and succeeding too! Now I've blown my cover, I'm useless to the Order."
"You're not useless!" exclaimed Tonks, her cheeks flushed, "You're an incredible wizard and a noble man. No one would expect you to stand back and watch while he bites innocent children!"
"But I've failed my mission. I've failed Dumbledore. I've failed the Order." He said, his voice cracking, determinedly not looking into Tonks' eyes.
Tonks shook her head furiously. "Don't."
She got up and fetched the sponge from where it lay and brought it back to the bucket. "They may be cursed wounds but this will ease the pain." She said, and nervously bringing the sponge to his face.
He let her dab silently at his face, the bite marks stinging as the green liquid did its magic. Slowly, his eyes found hers.
"I'm sorry I haven't been able to contact you for so long. I haven't been in contact with anyone."
Tonks nodded, watching his face. "I understand. I didn't expect you to, you've been underground."
"I missed you," he said so quietly that it was barely audible.
She had stopped dabbing his face, the sponge hovering by his cheek. Their faces were inches apart. Leaning in slowly, neither of them breathing, she kissed his bruised lips softly. As they pulled apart, Remus looked away once more
"We can't," he whispered.
"You know why! We've been through this so many times. I'm a werewolf for Merlin's sake! I'm old. I can't offer you anything. Protection, safety, a family, a normal life."
"And I've told you I don't want any of that! I'm an auror, I don't need protection. I don't need a family, all I need is you. And if you think I'm destined for a normal life then you don't know me very well."
Remus let out a soft laugh despite himself.
"I love you Remus," she breathed for the first time.
Remus burned with desire. It was all he could do to stop himself kissing her again. His lip still tingled from where hers had lets his moments before. He has rebuffed her so many times and wasn't sure there was the strength for another one inside him.
"Doesn't this war tell you anything?" She asked. "Our time is short."
She knelt upward again so that her face was level with his once more. She turned his head to face her, a small smile playing around her mouth. She kissed him again, harder this time.
Remus let out a soft groan into her mouth and uttered, "I'll understand when you change your mind."
Tonks shook her head lightly, still kissing him. She pushed him back onto the sofa, pulling off his travelling cloak. He pulled her small frame up onto his lap and she straddled his legs, her hair now a flush pink.
The morning sun blazed through the curtain less windows of the sitting room, waking Tonks up from a beautiful sleep. She smiled as she remembered that the arm wrapped firmly around her naked shoulders was that of Remus Lupin's. Shutting her eyes to savor the moment, she snuggled back down under the throw they were under, her head resting on his scarred and hairy chest. Without opening his eyes, Remus stroked her soft skin with his thumb to let her know he was awake.
Suddenly and unexpectedly Molly weasley burst into the room carrying a fresh bucket of potion for Remus and gasped at the image of he and Tonks lying naked under her great grandmothers throw on her sofa. She quickly backed out of the room as Tonks and Remus grinned guiltily at each other.
After a short silence they heard her screech "Arthur, Arthur it's happened. I knew it, I just knew it! Oh this is the best news I've had all month."