Disclaimer: I own nothing. J.K. does.
Author's Note: My first Harry Potter fanfic. Hope everybody likes!
It was a fairly normal summer day at 12 Grimmauld Place, all things considered. The Order meeting had broken up about two hours ago, and now all of its members had left, save for its resident fugitive, werewolf, and a certain pink-haired Metamorphmagus, who were all sitting around the kitchen table, sipping tea and feeling quite…bored.
"There's nothing to do in this house, Moony. Let's go out and have some fun!" Sirius pleaded, trying his best to look like a wounded puppy. This wasn't such a stretch, as he'd transformed into Snuffles for the full effect, even going so far as to nudge Remus' hand with his wet nose a few times; it didn't take long, however, before Remus became annoyed and motioned for the dog to leave him alone with a quick flick of his hand.
Nymphadora Tonks, witnessing this in amusement, cupped a hand over her mouth to stifle her laughter as Snuffles nipped playfully at the hand Remus had used to shoo him away.
The more Tonks spent time around Remus and her cousin, the more she wished she could have seen them back in their Marauder days; every so often she could still see the boyish, carefree natures of the two men, and then it almost seemed as if everything with the war and Voldemort had never happened. She knew, of course, that it wouldn't last, but all of the fighting and the missions and business for the Order, all were worth it, for those brief moments of unadulterated joy.
"Sirius, kindly release my pant leg from your mouth, I already told you, you aren't supposed to set foot outside of this house." Ah, yes, thought Tonks, these moments were worth it.
"Oh, Remus," Tonks said, feeling a little sorry about Sirius having to be cooped up all the time, "Why not let him out for a little bit? At least as Snuffles? And we could sure use the fresh air for once; it is getting rather boring being inside all day."
Lupin carefully placed his teacup back down on the table after taking a quick sip. "Tonks, you do have your own apartment, so it isn't necessary to stay here all of the time." He meant it harmlessly, he really did, and had no intention of letting Tonks think she wasn't wanted, but Lupin still cringed inwardly immediately after the words had left his lips, hoping Tonks wouldn't take offense.
Tonks, however, knew Remus too well by now to know that he wouldn't have meant anything bad by the comment. It was only a statement of fact, after all; still, Tonks enjoyed teasing him far too much. Putting on her best pout and turning on the fake sniffles, Tonks stared at Lupin with big, sad eyes.
"Why, Remus, I'm hurt. Here I am, offering my company to you and Sirius, since I know how dreary and lonely this place can get sometimes, and all you can say is that I have my own place to go? That I'm not needed? Well, Remus John Lupin, maybe I will go back to my own house, since it's obvious you don't want me here!"
Tonks stood up and turned away from Lupin, turning the giggles that were escaping her lips into less-than-convincing fake sobs. Sirius, still in his Snuffles form, saw her wink at him between 'sobs' and wagged his tail in approval, knowing full well where this was heading.
Lupin got up and stood behind her, unsure of what to say that would appease her. Although he had a feeling she was only acting incredibly hurt, he still felt guilty about his comment and wondered if maybe she wasn't completely putting on a show for him.
"I only meant—I'm sorry, Nymph--Tonks." Lupin caught himself quickly, not wanting to make her angrier at him for calling her by her first name. "I didn't mean anything by that comment, and I know I was wrong to imply that we do not enjoy your company." Here he stepped closer to her and put a hand gently on her shoulder; she had stopped fake-sobbing to better listen to what he had to say, and there was a pregnant pause before he continued, in which Snuffles seemed to drift inconspicuously under the table. "And I believe I speak for Sirius, as well as myself, when I say--" Lupin squeezed Tonk's shoulder gently, his breath catching slightly in his throat. Tonks, however, seemed to cease breathing altogether as Lupin spoke again in a low, husky tone.
"You are always wanted here, Tonks." Tonks could not completely tell if it was from the way his hand clung warmly to her shoulder still, or if it was the way he said 'here,' as if what he really meant to say was, 'with me,' but regardless, she spun around and smiled widely at Remus, her neon-pink hair practically glowing, illuminating the dim kitchen of Grimmauld Place. Without another word, she flung her arms around Remus' neck and buried her head in his shoulder. Underneath the kitchen table, Snuffles looked on with interest.
"Apology accepted," Tonks murmured into his ear, and Remus, relieved that Tonks had forgiven him, slowly wrapped his arms around her back in a warm embrace.
"On one condition." Lupin stared, somewhat disappointed, as Tonks broke away from the—in his opinion—quite comfortable embrace, and stood with her arms crossed in front of her.
"What--what kind of condition?" Lupin blushed, wondering what kind of thing he'd need to do to truly win back Tonks' forgiveness, as a smirk made its way onto the little nymph's face.
"You know, I can understand why you'd want to get out of that house, I really can. I also understand that you and Snuffles here were most likely plotting behind my back into letting him out of the house."
"I wouldn't say 'plotting,' Remus. It was really more spur-of-the-moment brilliance."
"But I cannot understand why, out of all of the places you could choose to go, you would pick here."
"Well, you did promise anywhere we wanted to go, and Sirius has never seen inside a real one, so I just thought--"
"But, really, Tonks, there's no point to it. None of us even have any Muggle money on hand."
"Oh, I've got change, Remus. I always keep some with me just in case."
"Yes, well, what about clothes? There's really no point coming here without clothes."
"We've all got clothes, Remus."
"I meant clothes to wash, not the ones we're already wearing. We cannot just take off the clothes we're wearing and—don't give me that look Tonks."
"What look? All I was thinking about was where we could get some spare clothes. What were you thinking about, I wonder?"
"I—never mind. Let's just take Snuffles somewhere else, why don't we? I'm sure we can find someplace much more enjoyable than a Laundromat."
"Oh, alright. But anywhere else, right, Remus?"
"Yes, I suppose that was part of the agreement. Why don't you get Snuffles so we can get going, then."
Tonks smiled at Remus and rushed to the window of the Laundromat to grab Sirius, who had been busy staring at the clothes spinning around inside one of the strange, metal machines. The bubbles swirling inside had made him especially happy, as well as a little curious. He'd have to find out more about these Muggle contraptions later and wondered absently how one would look sitting next to the kitchen table.
Remus watched as Tonks started talking to Sirius, his attention now on her and his tail thumping against the sidewalk excitedly, and then, the two suddenly started heading down the street, Tonks motioning for Remus to follow.
Remus shook his head and followed the pair, pausing only briefly to stare at the Laundromat window, pondering the probability of bright pink knickers to match bright pink hair.