Author: Auditory Eden

Rating: T

Warnings: Angst. God, I'm glad I'm back to writing depressing stuff!

Notes: I don't know why, but my inner monologue, and I mean my inner monologue, like my thoughts, now have a British accent and speak UK English. It's hard to speak like a normal American. Ah well…

I loved coming up with the summary, it just makes me glow-y inside. "The first time Tonks met Lupin, she was two and he was fifteen. She did not remember this encounter, and he tried not to either." All to Jo! All to Jo!

Not a Bad Looker

The first time Nymphadora Tonks met Remus Lupin, she was two and he was fifteen. Her cousin Sirius had brought the other three Marauders to his cousin Andromeda's house so they could have tea. Remus, as the only one who seemed at all level headed to Sirius' older cousin, got to hold the little girl, and she refused to release him when it was time for each of the friends to go home.

She did not remember this encounter, and he tried not to either.

The next time they met, she was nineteen and he was thirty-two. A new member of the Order of the Phoenix, Nymphadora was now calling herself Tonks and was studying to be an auror. It never quite occurred to Remus that this bright, vivacious girl with whom he found himself quite taken was the same two-year-old who had once enjoyed drooling on the knee of his robes. Only when Sirius recalled their first meeting ("Remember? Tonks, you wouldn't, but you, Remus? Andromeda wouldn't trust the rest of us to hold her, and I thought she took quite a fancy to you!"), loudly and in front of other Order members, did it occur to him that being taken with her lovely, amusing, cheerful self was quite the same as cradle robbing.

He quickly discovered that thinking of her as Nymphadora didn't help, but by then was too set in it too even think of calling her Tonks.

A year or so passed and he realized with increasing frustration that nothing he did was quite managing to get him over her. He couldn't fancy anyone closer to his own age, he simply wouldn't think about fancying anyone younger than Tonks. His own romantic skills were so rusted that he had no idea how to go about catching a woman's attention, let alone chatting her up.

xXx

Nymphadora Tonks was nineteen when she truly met Remus Lupin. Alistor "Mad-Eye" Moody's protégée and favorite student, she was bright, happy, and she found Remus Lupin to be both a bit boring and a lot stifling at first. The fact that he insisted in calling her Nymphadora, seemingly in an effort to piss her off, only added to her dislike of him. After a month or two, she discovered that he was a werewolf. Soon afterward, she began to see that he was merely quiet, and that his mind and his wit were both very sharp.

She had still been utterly mortified when Sirius had loudly recalled a time when Remus, only fifteen, had been relegated to watch after her two-year-old self. The idea of having drooled on this man, a man who was now quite liked and respected by her, was even worse than Sirius' guffaws.

Tonks was twenty-one when she realized that she was totally buggered in love for Remus Lupin. The realization was prompted by something he said, something she was not supposed to hear, and by an event that had taken place earlier that week.

By sheer virtue of her own clumsiness, she had broken three plates in the kitchen, and was banished to go wake people up for breakfast. Remus normally stayed at his own flat, but for some reason was staying in one of the many guest rooms. When she'd gone in to wake him, she found him sitting up in bed, reading…and shirtless.

She had never so much as given a passing thought to his physique before. Now she became acutely aware of it. Face red, she had a distant sensation of her hair going vermillion and shooting down her back, a childhood gut reaction to embarrassment that she thought she had curbed. Lupin had looked up, and been quite confused as to her reaction, going so far as to lean in concernedly and ask her what was wrong. She had mumbled something about "breakfast", and ran.

Obviously, she reasoned with herself later, the man had no idea that he looked like a god. In robes, he was skinny and shabby-looking, but under them, it made him just the right kind of hot, and she hadn't been able to take her eyes off his chest. Worse, there were scars lacing his skin, giving him this horribly unfair long-suffering look. It hadn't even occurred to him that her speechless humiliation might be due to the fact that he was unbearably gorgeous. He hadn't even seemed to notice that he was sans shirt, let alone move to put one on.

One thought troubled Tonks in particular. Remus was thirty-four. He had known her as a very young child. Surely this was the oddest infatuation she had ever had, lusting after a man a full thirteen years her senior.

Whenever she saw him for the next few days, she couldn't help but think of how he looked under all those shabby robes, and was barely able to hold reasonable conversation in his presence, let alone with him.

Soon she regained the ability to speak coherently around him, and her unplanned metamorphosing ended, but she still found herself growing red around him. Remus had attempted to discover, with increasing concern, what exactly was the matter with her. She evaded him successfully again and again until he finally turned to Sirius.

"What's up, Remus?" Sirius had asked his longtime friend.

In a hushed voice, Lupin had asked, "Do you know…Have you noticed that Nymphadora has been acting very oddly lately? I was wondering…if anything was wrong…"

Sirius laughed. "Mate, as much as I know you've had little or no experience with women, when a girl stammers and blushes around you, it usually means she fancies you," he explained. Lupin's face had then grown very grave, and his reply had angered Tonks immeasurably as she stood just beyond Sirius' bedroom door.

"But, Sirius, that's ridiculous. I am a werewolf, thirteen years older than her…"

"Mooney, old friend, I don't see why exactly you're complaining. Admittedly, I don't like the idea of my baby cousin with any bloke, but you're not so bad," Sirius had put in.

This statement caused Remus to pale visibly and his eyes to widen. "What on earth—Surely you don't think that I…" he seemed to have trouble with the next words.

"Fancy her?" his friend supplied. Lupin had remained silent and then said, "I don't…Well, I can't help it if I think she's perhaps…" Tonks bit her lip and blushed as he broke off.

"In other words you fancy her," Sirius finished for him. Remus grimaced, and replied, "Perhaps, but I don't think…I mean, I am thirteen years older…"

"So she goes for older men," Sirius had jokingly concluded. Tonks felt her face turn scarlet and her scalp prickle.

"I meant, this all began after an…incident last week." Lupin looked confused.

"Well, what happened?"

"I was up early—you know I can't sleep much before the full moon—and reading. Tonks came in to tell me breakfast was ready or some such, but she froze, went very red, and metamorphosed. When I asked what was wrong, she said, 'Breakfast', then ran," Remus concluded.

"When you say she metamorphosed….?" Tonks grimaced. Sirius knew all about her tendency to sprout long, red, curly hair in stressful circumstances.

"Her hair turned red, and got very long very quickly. I think it was curly."

"Ah, that's her 'extreme embarrassment' morph. What are you not telling me, Remus?"

"What do you mean?"

"Why would she suddenly just—wait, do you still sleep the way you used to?" Sirius' face broke into a grin, wiping years off his appearance.

"What?" Remus exclaimed.

"You know, pants, but no shirt?"

"Yes, why?" Tonks was horrified by her cousin's breakthrough.

"Well, you're not a bad looker, even if I do say so myself," Sirius reasoned. Lupin looked on, uncomprehending. "Remus, you had your shirt off. Maybe you've forgotten, but your blushing beauty out there is only twenty-one. Adult she might be, but she's also an adolescent." Sirius got a very sage look on his face, and said, "Hormones."

And this, combined with the thought that Remus fancied her, was enough to drive her away.

She soon put two and two together, and realized that the warm feeling brought on by Remus' concern, and his confession, was not all embarrassment.

And to her horror, she found that a smile was breaking over her face.

Then it all fell together, and she cursed in the name of Merlin's most saggy Y-fronts. She was in love with Remus bloody Lupin.

Soon after, Sirius had died. In the horrible emotional aftermath, she had barely thought as she blurted out her feelings.

"Remus, you don't understand! He was my cousin! And I couldn't stand…I couldn't stand to lose you either!" Her voice fell. "Remus, I love you…"

She had not been expecting his kiss, or his firm rebuttal. He was too old, too poor, too dangerous, the same things again and again. Things returned almost to normal for a while, but she felt herself sinking under the combined weight of Remus' rejection and Sirius' death. A month after she had confessed, she woke up with mousy brown hair and found herself unable to change it, or anything else about herself. Soon afterwards, she discovered that her patronus had changed. A wolf.

It didn't take long for the others to realize something was wrong, and even less time for it get out that Tonks was in love with Lupin, and vice versa, but that he was holding out. Of course, Molly was kind, thought Remus was being silly, Dumbledore was understanding, Kingsley was sage, and Moody was mostly derisive of the whole affair. Most others in the Order had their own opinions. It became a constant argument, always brewing a little. Remus contended that he was too old, too poor, too dangerous, and Tonks protested that she didn't care. Then the Death Eater invasion of Hogwarts, Dumbledore's death, Bill's mauling…

"I don't care either! I don't care!" she had yelled at him. He had avoided her gaze, pointed out all his usual defenses, and found himself overrun by the protests of their friends.

That summer, only weeks after the battle, he had broken, pulling her close one day, and murmuring into her ear that he loved her too, that he wanted to marry her. A week later, they walked into the Burrow, hand in hand, and Nymphadora ran her hand through her favorite magenta spikes in embarrassment as the females of the household converged on her, to look at her ring.

In the back of his head, Remus thought Sirius and James had never been prouder.

xXx

Parting Comments: Well, I didn't mean to have almost no dialogue. It just kind of happened. This story did that thing where I'm writing and I have half a page and I'm struggling, then suddenly I have four pages and it's done. I had a lot of trouble with Remus. I don't know why, I think it's because I recently re-watched Prisoner of Azkaban, and the guy they cast as Lupin makes me want to shoot myself. He's all wrong. He needs to look older, be younger, and not have such a stupid mustache. Actually, he needs to just not have a mustache. Oh, and the werewolf thing. Did I mention that everything about him in the movie is all wrong? His wolf form looks like a crossbreed of a human, a parrot, and a greyhound. Plus, upon perusal of the books, he's also supposed to be blonde. No, really. He is.

Anyway, I also hate that Tonks has no cockney accent in the movies. It's wrong! But I guess they did the best they could….Best Tonks voice ever is done by Stephen Fry, so check it out.

Hugs and Kisses

Eden