I wrote this back in December and promptly forgot about it, so here's a very belated little Christmas gift.
Remus only met his Dutch relatives once, but from the moment he set eyes on seventeen year-old Roos, he was instantly smitten. Of course, he was only nine at the time, but since when has a silly thing like age stood in the way of true love?
The first time he proposed to her, she laughed him off with a "Dank je, but I think you are too young for me, nay, Remus?" He was crushed, but the sunlight caught in her dark hair and the way she pronounced his name as Raymoos only strengthened his resolve. The next few proposals of marriage were met with a similar reception, until finally he decided that more drastic measures were called for.
His opportunity arose in one Piet Kyper. Piet was a muggle boy who had also decided himself in love with Roos, much to Remus' chagrin, as he had the slight advantage of being nineteen. As it was the middle of summer and he was home from the muggle university, Piet would bike each evening across Delft to ask Roos out to the pub, or even just on a walk. She responded to these advances with even less enthusiasm than the ones from her little British cousin, but her parents liked him, and often invited him inside, to neither Roos or said cousin's great pleasure.
It was on one of these visits that Remus decided he had had about as much as he could take of his parents, his mother's cousin, and her Dutch husband fawning over Piet, and might have possibly suggested to Roos' brother that the muggle boy had behaved inappropriately against her wishes.
The plan didn't work in the end, because although Julia and Ties were furious with Jan for setting Piet's trousers on fire, and Roos couldn't shower her brother with enough hugs and kisses, she still refused Remus' final proposal the day he left Delft. Remus only recovered at the age of thirteen, when he realized that they were related, anyway.
"And I suppose that you two plan to request an extension?"
McGonagall peered over her square spectacles at Sirius and Peter. Remus wondered if she practiced in the mirror. It seemed quite plausible.
"Of course not, professor," responded Sirius promptly.
"I've already completely my essay, ma'am," added Peter, the very picture of a respectful student. "As has Sirius, I'm sure. I'd just like to add a few more points to it that I missed, you see."
Sirius nodded in agreement. "We don't want to turn in anything but our very best."
She pursed her lips. Remus could see that she wasn't buying a word of it.
"Naturally. Well, I'm sorry to disappoint two star pupils, but the assignment was due today, so you'll just have to turn in your essays as they are. Your friend Mr. Lupin here was ill during the past few days, and even he managed to bring his in today."
Sirius and Peter shot each other panicked looks. An unpleasant feeling stirred somewhere below Remus' solar plexus. Neither of them had finished their essays (Known Side-Effects of Human Transfiguration, With Particular Emphasis on the Animagi Process), he knew, as they had been focusing their attentions instead on learning it first-hand. James, by some miracle, had managed to write it in the dead of the night before, but there was no chance he had scraped his usual brilliant grade. He could not think of anyone but his three brothers who would have done that for him. Remus looked down at the roll of parchment in his hand. He owed it to them.
"Actually, professor, this is just an explanation of why I couldn't hand in my assignment today. I know you said I could have an extra three days, but I don't really need all that. Maybe we could split it between us?"
Remus was quite certain McGonagall knew that he was lying, though she could not begin to guess why. She didn't know they had worked out his secret years ago. She didn't know they were risking arrest to help him. She didn't know they were his brothers. But she knew something. God, did nothing get past that woman?
"Very well, Mr. Lupin. That seems fair enough."
Prongs had always had a flair for drama, it was true, but even Remus felt that this was taking it a bit far; quite a feat, considering he was typically the one surrounded in chocolate.
"Stop being such a bloody woman."
"Touché. My accusation remains. This is not a big problem."
Remus noticed James eyeing the box of exploding bon-bons and swiped it out of his reach. Those had been an early Christmas gift from Andromeda's little girl last time he'd babysat, and were quite good; he'd rather they didn't become a contribution to the Prongs-Still-Hasn't-Gotten-A-Gift-For-His-Girl-And-It's-The-Night-Before-Christmas Depression Fund.
"Not a big problem?" James' eyes went wide in disbelief. "Moony, I've spent three years chasing her. Do you have any idea what Lily'll do to me if I don't have a present for her tomorrow? Potterus Castratus! Fino erecto! Lino finite!"
"You do know that's not Latin?" Remus pointed out calmly.
"Not the point!"
Tufts of black hair seemed to be standing on end. More than usual, that is. Remus rolled his eyes at his friend's apparent inability to see right to the obvious solution.
"What does Lily want for Christmas?"
James ran a hand through his hair, a habit neither Remus nor the lady love in question could quite break him of.
"Jewelry, I reckon. Birds like that, usually."
"Well, that's a nice shiny wand you've got in your hand, isn't it?"
Wait for it. Wait for it…
"I've just had the most spectacular idea."
Remus rolled his eyes and turned his attention to the exploding bon-bons.
"I'm going to fail."
"No, you won't."
"I'm going to fail."
"You're being daft."
"I'm going to fail."
"If you're going to fail, everyone else probably shouldn't have bothered studying."
"I'm going to fail."
"You're brilliant at Potions, would you please stop saying you're going to fail?"
"But what if the book's been tampered with and I've learned everything wrong?"
"Then I expect you would've had more than a few melted cauldrons over the last seven years. As it is, I don't remember a single one."
"How can you be so calm about this? This is my NEWT, Remus!"
"Duly noted. It is also two-thirty in the morning, and you're taking said NEWT in five and a half hours. You're stressed, tired, and should not be awake right now. For the last time, go to sleep."
As it was, Lily Evans did not fail her Potions NEWT exam. In all likelihood, this was not due to the Invigoration Draught slipped into her pumpkin juice the next morning at breakfast by one Remus Lupin, although it probably helped.
"You're a Banshees fan?"
He hadn't spoken to her yet, though Remus had known who she was the moment the meeting had commenced and he'd scanned the faces in the room. The young woman looked sideways at him and smiled brightly. Even through missed notes and several rather uncomfortable pitches, Remus had definitely been able to sift through her humming and make out the tune of 'Cities in Dust.'
Truth be told, she looked impressed.
"You know them?"
"I lived with Sirius through the seventies and a bit after. It was bound to happen."
She laughed. "Then I suppose we've gotten the same education. He nabbed me a bit younger, though. I seem to recall finding Machine Gun Etiquette among my birthday gifts one year."
Remus had no trouble picturing an eight year-old Nymphadora Tonks, complete with black spiked hair and perhaps one of her father's ties, belting at the top of her lungs, "I bust the speed to change your heart – your life was cruel, they called it art!" Remus snorted, knowing this was really just a reimagining of a scene involving a nineteen year-old version of Sirius and himself, one that had actually taken place.
"Andromeda must've gone spare over that one."
"You have no idea. She was still hooked on the classical wizard harpists at the time."
"Ouch," said Remus. Even he hadn't been that hopeless. Before Sirius had interfered, he'd rather fancied a bit of jazz. Which he still did, to a point.
"Don't worry, I've taught her well since then."
"I have no doubt of that. So, Nymphadora, tell me – "
Remus wasn't entirely sure if her left eye was really twitching or if he was merely imagining it, as it seemed like something that would fit the situation tremendously.
"I can't call you that," he said simply. "Your father's always been Tonks. That would just be bizarre."
"Well, you can't call me Nymphadora, either," she said firmly.
As yet another victim of the Wizarding World's eccentric naming traditions, Remus had simply gotten used to it. The finality of the young woman's statement rather amused him, however, and so he simply went with it.
"Have you got a nickname, then?"
"No," she replied primly.
Satisfied, he nodded. "Right, now you do. I'll be calling you Dora."
Dora thought about this for a moment, then said, "I think you're a very wise man, Remus Lupin."