This wasn't a bad life.
Harry flexed his fingers experimentally. So, Tonks had filled out a little in the years since they'd first met. In all the right places, of course. Sometimes he found it particularly rewarding to explore the curves that fit perfectly into his palms. For her part, she always stretched beneath his touch, purring in his ear until some parts of him were far more aware than his still awakening brain.
This morning, she pressed herself along his side and slipped her arms around his waist as she nuzzled the underside of his neck. Two things registered immediately. The first, that his dear friend was wearing nothing but the smile she reserved for occasions like this and the second, he couldn't hear Teddy making his usual morning racket. Odd for the ten-year-old to pick Christmas morning to be quiet. When Tonks leaned up, pulled his earlobe into her mouth, and began sucking for all she was worth, Harry's eyes shot open and all other thoughts were forgotten. Her hair slowly changed from a brilliant maroon to a vivid pink and she released his ear. Her leg slid to cover his lap.
"Good morning," she whispered.
"It will be if you keep going this way."
Tonks giggled; her hand traced a path down the center of his chest to rest just below his stomach. "I was going to wait until later to give you your Christmas present, but I suppose you've earned a preview. After all, you've been a good boy this year." Her lips met the sensitive skin just below his ear. "A very good boy."
Suddenly the dual sensations of her wet tongue and soft fingers brought Harry back to the heady rush of being an inexperienced sixteen-year-old with out of control hormones and a hair-trigger release. And if she kept nibbling on his skin and rubbing against him that way, the morning fun was going to be over before he could even thinking about returning the favor.
"Tonks, I think you should...oh."
She giggled. "Like that, do you?"
"Yeah, I..." Harry began panting. He grabbed her wrist. "Slow down."
"Isn't that my line?" She giggled again and her hair went from fluorescent pink to a soft carnation. Every inch of her skin felt hot against his as she wiggled against him. "I seem to remember you said something last night about how if I needed you to slow down, I had better learn to catch up." She moved to nibble on his shoulder. "I wonder if you'll still feel that fast and furious is the way tonight."
"And what's happening tonight?" His breath caught on the last word as she wrapped her fingers and squeezed. Her fingers began a series of sweet pulsing motions that made Harry's leg begin to shake.
"Your retirement party, love." She stopped then and sat up in the bed, the sheet falling away from her. "But you know me, I've nothing against starting a party early." She lowered her head. Just as her breath began to heat his thighs, there was a loud banging at the door.
"Mum! Are you up yet?"
"Well, I'm not anymore." Harry scrubbed the heels of his hands across his eyes. "You want me to hide again?" he asked softly.
"Just a minute," she called to her son. Tonks turned to Harry and whispered, "Yes, please."
"Really, Tonks? He's not stupid. I think he probably knows by now."
She frowned then, her look clearly saying that her ten-year-old son was the most innocent child to ever be born, knew nothing of the relations between men and women (all magazines under his mattress being ignored) and would be traumatized if he found out his mother and the Savior of the Wizarding World were shagging without being properly prepared for the news. Rolling his eyes, Harry decided rehashing the two month old argument would do nothing but put a damper on whatever plans she had for the night and got out of bed, reaching for his Invisibility Cloak. Sighing, he crouched next to the bed to wait.
Tonks conjured a nightgown for herself and turned her hair a tame shade of dark blue. "Come in."
Teddy opened the bedroom door and bounded onto the bed. Harry was struck by how much his godson looked like Remus. He wondered, not for the first time, if the boy deliberately made himself look like the pictures of his father around the house or if it was a natural reminder to Tonks what she'd lost that day at Hogwarts. Teddy glanced around the room quickly before returning his gaze to his mother. Tonks may have ignored the gesture, but far too many years of looking for suspicious behavior brought the motion to Harry's attention. Teddy knew someone was there, or had been. But he didn't ask his mother about it. He just went on about the presents waiting for both of them downstairs and how much he was looking forward to spending the night with his grandmother.
Harry tuned out of the conversation and focused on the issue at hand. He needed his wand. A Warming Charm. Pants. And a reason why they should continue like this. Not that he didn't like warming her bed every once in a while—more often the past two weeks than he had when this thing started—but Harry had reached a point where he felt like everything he did needed to have a purpose. When his relationship with Ginny had become little more than a friendship in the months after the war, he gave up hoping they could rekindle what they'd had. When his new job as Head of the Auror Department became more about living up to everyone's expectations of his hero status than making a real difference, he took the earliest retirement in recorded history, opting to do little more than while away his days signing copies of the book he'd co-written with Ron and Hermione and wonder if this more than occasional diversion with Tonks could be something bigger. But as the hot nights turned into days and weeks of Silencing Charms and sneaking around, Harry couldn't help wondering if he was ever going to be more to her than someone to break her self-imposed celibacy.
After promising her son she'd be down to open gifts with him as soon as she'd had time to get herself together, Tonks excused Teddy and locked the door behind him, casting a charm to block out sound as she turned to Harry. "Ready to finish what we started?"
Harry straightened and let the cloak fall to the floor. "I think the moment passed when you had me sit on the cold floor with my dangly bits hanging out while you discussed getting your son a wand."
She smiled but the gesture failed to reach her eyes. "I know how you feel about this, but I haven't changed my mind. He isn't ready to know about us."
"When is he going to be ready?" Harry asked. He reached under the bed and pulled out the bundle of clothes they'd kicked under the night before. "When he's going to his first Hogwarts Quidditch match or after he finishes his Auror training?"
Tonks's smile widened and she came around the bed to place her hands on either side of his face. "I'm going to pretend you didn't say that. This is what's going to happen," she said. "I'm going to join my son for breakfast and opening presents. Then we're going to meet you at the Weasleys for dinner. Then my son is going to stay with his grandmother and I'm going to give you a hell of a Christmas gift. Anything beyond that is out of the question."
Harry closed his eyes as she kissed him, acknowledging the truth as she helped him get dressed. There would never be more for them than secret meetings and a clandestine affair. He just had to decide if that was enough for him.
By the time Harry sat down to dinner at Molly and Arthur's table, his mood had lightened considerably. Having his godson know what was going on wasn't a big deal, in the grand scheme of things. There would be less pressure to make their relationship into more, and clearly Tonks didn't want that for them. And he wouldn't have to deal with any possible feelings of guilt towards his godson if their relations ended as abruptly as it began. Leaving his job at the Ministry was supposed to give him a chance to enjoy himself. Making his relationship with Tonks about nothing more than that was a good first step.
"Harry, if you're going to sit at my table and pout, I'll be forced to fix whatever's wrong," Molly began. She smiled and reached to place a hand over one of his. "What's the problem? You've only been retired for a few days, so you can't be too bored. Girlfriend problems? Or lack thereof?" She glanced around the table, her eyes settling briefly on Ginny and Hermione near the other end.
"Don't look at me, Mum," Ginny said. "You know that was over a long time ago." She lifted her hand. A diamond glittered from her ring finger. Wisely, Neville decided not to join in the conversation.
"I know, dear," Molly stated. "I was just thinking you have some friends on that Quidditch team who could do with a good husband."
"Husband?" Harry asked. "I'm not sure I'm close to being ready for marriage yet."
"Yes, well, I've gotten most of the others married off—" she leveled a glare at Ron and George "—it would be nice to help you find happiness as well."
"I'm happy enough," Harry said. Hermione lifted her eyebrows at his tone. Harry shook his head quickly and gave his attention to the plate in front of him. Molly had outdone herself in the kitchen, cooking enough food for three times as many guests. Though if Ron and George had their way, there would be little in the way of leftovers.
"All right, Harry. I'll leave you alone. For now." Molly smiled and leaned forward, resting her chin on one hand. "You know, I miss having children in this house. Babies. I want it to be filled with love again."
Ginny rolled her eyes. "Mum, not this again. Neville and I have barely been married a month and you're already—"
"Precisely," Molly said. "The two of you have had ample time to make some progress. And it's not as if I don't know you were going at it long before the wedding."
All motion at the table stopped as Ron, Neville and Arthur all seemed to choke on their food at the same time. As if sensing what was coming, George had stopped eating at the start of the conversation. At the beginning of his mother's last statement, he pushed his plate to the center of the table.
"Besides, I wasn't talking about you. I suppose you'll get around to that whenever you're ready. But, your father and I have been thinking." At this, Ginny pushed her plate away; a look of alarm crossed her features. "How would you feel about another brother or sister?" Molly asked.
"My goodness!" Hermione let her fork clatter onto her plate. "I didn't think it was even possible that you could still...that is to say..." She swallowed hard. "I just—"
"It's all right, Hermione," Molly said. "Arthur and I have more experience making babies than anyone we know and, as I'm sure you'll find out one day, witches can keep their families going well into their nineties if they wish."
"That's...um...a blessing, I suppose," she whispered. One glance at Ron's face made Hermione reach for her glass of juice; she held it before her mouth to hide the laughter she was sure would infuriate her friend. For his part, Ron looked as if coherent speech was beyond him.
"So what you're saying is, if Neville and I don't give you a grandchild soon, you're going to start trying for another one?" Ginny asked. "You realize that's the worst sort of blackmail."
"I'm saying that we've already started trying." Molly grinned at her husband at the other end of the table. Arthur gulped from his water glass. "Three times today, in fact."
"Mm." Teddy smiled and reached for another chicken leg.
"Tonks, you know, now might be a good time to excuse your son from the table," Harry stated.
She smiled. "Oh, he hasn't heard a word since we sat down." Tonks reached over and ruffled her son's hair. "I've had enough meals with this family to know better than to let him hear any part of the conversations."
Molly smiled at her husband down the table. "What do you say, love? Instead of pudding after the meal, have a little Mollytart?"
"Oh, ew." It was Harry's turn to put his fork down and push his plate. "You really don't need to share everything with us."
"Oh, stop it, Harry. Just eat your food and we'll all go on pretending you haven't been making plans to shag Tonks in the shed behind the house the minute both of you can sneak away. Don't think I missed that last month. I meant what I said about fixing things if you two don't get serious soon." Molly stared pointedly at him until he picked up his fork again and forced in a few bites, his face flushed as he realized everyone at the table was staring at the pair of them.
"And while we're on the subject of eating tarts, Hermione dear, you really should tell your friends who you're seeing," Molly stated. "They're going to find out who she is eventually."
Half a dozen heads swiveled in her direction, each face displaying a varied degree of surprise.
"You're dating...a girl?" Ron asked slowly.
"Yes, Ron, I believe your mother covered that," Harry said. "The question is who."
"No one," Hermione whispered.
"Well, she's not no one," Molly stated.
Hermione finally gave up pretense of eating and pushed her plate away. "Mrs. Weasley, I don't know how you found out, but we don't want anyone knowing yet. We've just begun seeing each other and don't know where it will lead. I'd hate to get my friends interested in something that may not last."
"Hm, never pictured you as one who would just be up for a few good shags, but that's something to keep in mind," George said. Smiling at Ron's resulting frown, he returned to his dinner, refilling his plate from the half-empty bowls at the center of the table. Within moments, the rest of the table returned to their version of normal, finishing the meal with only two food fights and a minimum of pointed questions from their mother.
Afterwards, Molly and Arthur ran upstairs to "get started on their plans" (this declaration caused Ron to turn a peculiar shade of purple) while everyone else went to stroll in the garden. Harry declined the walk and sat in front of the fireplace, content to wait there until Tonks was ready to leave. A throat clearing behind him drew his attention from the fire. Teddy smiled and sat in the overstuffed armchair across from his godfather.
"Enjoying your Christmas so far?" Harry asked. "Did you like the gift I got you?" A Nimbus 10,000 Series Gold, a prototype that hadn't been released yet. The company had been sending him brooms for years, and Harry had more than he could ever use. Tonks had balked at giving her son a broom fast enough that it needed special training outside of the usual flying lessons, but had given in when Harry's enthusiasm persisted.
Teddy's grin widened. "Yes, it's great! Thank you. Mum's not going to let me fly on it until I've been trained properly. She says it could be months."
"Then we'll have to see that you get someone to give you daily lessons," Harry responded. "Would you like that? Flying with me every day?"
"I would," Teddy responded. His easy smile wavered and he fidgeted in his seat. "But first Harry, I have to ask you something. What are your intentions for my mother?"
The oddly formal question sounded so adult coming from the boy, it took Harry several moments to register what he'd been asked.
"Wait," Harry began. "How long have you known?"
"I've suspected for a while." Teddy smiled. Again, Harry was reminded of Remus. Between the carefree smile and the way the skin crinkled around his eyes, Harry could almost feel his friend's presence in the room with them. "There's almost as many pictures of you as there are of Dad around the house. And her room smells like your cologne sometimes. But I knew for sure after what Mrs. Weasley said."
Harry's eyes widened. "You heard her."
Teddy shook his head, laughing softly. "Mum uses that spell on me all the time. It's inconvenient, but I've learned to read lips. Learned quite a bit that way."
The blood drained from Harry's face as he thought over the things that had been said in the boy's presence over the past several gatherings. So much for his supposed innocence. The expectant expression on Teddy's face brought Harry back to the present.
"So, what's going on? Is this just for fun?"
No. It may have started out that way, but Harry couldn't think of Tonks as merely a wicked diversion than he could think of his friends as anything less than his chosen family. He didn't feel it was his place to explain that to Teddy, however much he felt the child deserved an explanation. Instead, he went with the simple truth.
"I love your mother," Harry said. "I have for a while. I have no idea if she feels the same way or if she wants more than what we already have. I hope that she does one day. If it's all right with you."
"Of course it is," Teddy responded. He leapt up and wrapped his arms around his godfather, squeezing his neck until Harry had trouble breathing. For his part, Harry felt as if a weight had been lifted off his chest. "I don't know why she wouldn't want to tell me," he said as he pulled away. "You're family and I love you."
"That makes both of us," Tonks said from the doorway. "And I don't tell you everything because some things don't need to be discussed until you're ready to hear about them."
"Is that why you moved that box of toys from under your bed?"
Harry laughed as the former Auror turned a becoming shade of pink. "All right. I think it's time for you to be off to your grandmother's. Have you gotten all of your things?"
Chuckling, Teddy nodded to the packed bag next to the fireplace and the bag of gifts he'd collected that night.
"Do you want me to take you over?"
Shaking his head, he walked over to the fireplace and reached into the box of Floo Powder on the mantle. "Honestly, Mum, I'm not a little kid anymore." Before his mother could put up an argument, Teddy gathered his things and left, winking at his godfather just before he left.
Tonks turned on Harry a few moments later, her eyebrows raised in question. Harry put up his hands in self-defense, though he needn't have bothered. If she was going to hex him, he'd learned a long time ago there was little he could do about it.
"I swear I never said a word to him. You're not as good at keeping a secret as you thought and Mrs. Weasley's not exactly subtle with her matchmaking."
Tonks smiled as she crossed the room to him and slipped her arms around her waist. "I'm not mad at you or Molly. I wanted to tell him myself. Lately he's been asking so many questions about whether I'm lonely or if there's anything I've felt missing all these years—I didn't want him to feel like I was trying to replace his father."
"He knows you'd never try that," Harry said. "And we all know it isn't possible. I'll always love him as his godfather, no matter what happens between us."
"Right." Tonks smiled. In the gesture, Harry saw the woman who'd woken him that morning with the best of intentions. He gave her an answering smile. "And when were going to tell me you love me?"
"Right after you started treating me like I'm good for more than groping like kids hiding from their parents." Harry pulled her into a tight hug. "I get that I'm not going to replace him. I don't want to. But I do want you to take me seriously."
"I'll do that if you agree to do the opposite." She pulled back from his hug and looked up at him, her eyes twinkling. "Starting tonight. If you don't start having more fun and stop overthinking things, I may just have to trade you in for someone a little less uptight."
"I'm not up—" Well, there was no point in lying. He had been lately. Yet another reason for him to quit the job that forced him to confront the darker side of human nature every day. "Anyway, who would you replace me with?"
"Never mind that. Just tell me you're ready to come back to my place and have dessert with me tonight," Tonks whispered. She leaned close and began kissing his neck, her hand slipping down the front of his robes.
"Wouldn't miss it for the world," Harry said. "What are we having?"
Tonks grinned and pulled him towards the fireplace. "Your friend Luna."