Disclaimer: It's not mine. None of it. Except Remus Lupin whom I have kidnapped and refuse to return.
A/N: Quite short and not my best, but I needed to write and this was the result.
"This is my cousin," said Sirius, almost throwing Nymphadora Tonks at his best friend.
The first meeting of the re-formed Order of the Phoenix had been an event that Remus Lupin was not anticipating. Though the location had changed, many of the faces had not and it served as an all too painful reminder of the life he had led the last time he had been coaxed into the ostentatious jumper, emblazoned with a phoenix, James had thrown at him.
Tonks grinned at him. "Nice jumper."
Lupin's smile was strained. She was a new person in his life, she was completely unsuspecting of his disease and she was also a very attractive woman and he did not trust himself around very attractive women.
"I wish I could say the same," he said, eyeing her band t-shirt.
"Do you not like The Weird Sisters? You've no taste, you know."
Lupin raised his eyebrows. "You call that music? They're just screaming at each other." His expression contorted into one of dismay. "Sweet Jesus, I've turned into my father."
Tonks laughed. "I dread the day that happens to me. Can you imagine me turning into my mother? Good God!"
"Andromeda? Your mother's a lovely woman."
Tonks snorted. "Clearly you've never broken one of her plates." She gave him a charming half-smile. "What's your name?"
Lupin extended his hand and shook hers. "Remus. I'm Remus Lupin. You probably won't remember me. I used to be the responsible adult when James and Sirius would babysit you in the summers - and I use the term loosely."
"I was about to give you a false name, but that strategy's gone out the window. I'm Nymphadora, but for the love of God, call me Tonks."
Lupin nodded. "Duly noted." He frowned slightly. "But for what it's worth, I think it's a very pretty name."
"Exactly," said Tonks. "Doesn't suit me at all. I think my mother thought I was going to actually be a pixie."
"I'm not especially fond of mine either. It's awfully pretentious."
Tonks laughed. "I bet the werewolf's thinking rather you than him."
Lupin only smiled wryly.
"Who do you think it is?" she whispered, leaning closer to him but peering at the Order, now assembling in the kitchen of Grimmauld Place, her gaze catching each man and scrutinising.
"I beg your pardon?"
"The werewolf," she hissed. "Who do you think he is?"
Lupin, whose poker face was renowned among the majority of the assembled company, merely shrugged. "What makes you suppose the werewolf is a man?"
"I was told. Mad-Eye referred to him as 'he'."
Lupin raised his eyebrows, betraying his intrigue. "And what did Mad-Eye say?"
"'He's a professional spy, but you wouldn't think it to look at him and he's got the most bloody ridiculous nickname ever bestowed on a man'. He said he blamed Sirius for that one." She frowned slightly, suddenly the spitting image of her mother despite her purple hair. "What about him? Who's he?"
Lupin followed her gaze. "That's Doge." He laughed. "He looks a bit peaky, but that's not the result of monthly transformations. That's what Dragon Pox does to you."
"So what are we looking for then? What signs?"
Lupin wasn't sure whether to be afraid. Surely she would soon guess, but he was relieved that 'Werewolf' did not appear to be a sign printed on his forehead.
"Well, he'll be missing at full moons for starters. Or at least, I hope he will be." He hummed, impersonating confusion. "I don't really know what else to look for. I don't worry about him really. What's the worst he can do?"
Tonks gawped. "He could kill you. Mad-Eye said he was a professional spy and a damn good duelist He's probably more than capable. He could take your humanity."
Lupin quirked an eyebrow. "If there's one thing I've learned it's that humanity is largely a state of mind, Miss Tonks. Besides, I can take care of myself. I'm a grown man. I tie my own shoelaces and everything."
She elbowed him playfully. "Will he have yellow eyes and whiskers?"
Lupin frowned. "Why should he?"
She clicked her tongue, more in disappointment at herself than impatience with him. "I can't remember much about werewolves. Do they look much like wolves?"
He shook his head. "The wolf looks like him, if you understand me? I mean, it adopts his colourings. You, for instance, would be..."
"Apparently so, yes."
She morphed into an elderly wizard with pale eyes and white hair that stood out in all directions. "The wolf chooses the wizard, Mr. Lupin. Is that it?"
"Well, quite. I've heard about a ginger one."
Tonks laughed, adopting her previous form. "That's it! He's a Weasley. I'll bet it's Bill. He's covered in fangs. Or Charlie. He's got enough scars."
Lupin gave her another wry smile. "Ah, so you remembered the scars? Well done. Both good guesses, but there's no logic applied. How would Moody know whether they made for decent spies?"
Tonks sighed and slumped. "I just can't imagine anyone - other than Mad-Eye himself, actually - as a werewolf. Can you?"
Lupin shrugged. "I think that once you know, it becomes a lot easier."
She appraised him, her gaze rather suddenly shrewd. "You know him, don't you?"
Lupin nodded. "Very well."
"What's he like?" Her silver eyes were bright, shining with anticipation.
"I fear I may be biased."
She peered at him, noting the thin and faded scar running across the bridge of his nose and down his cheek. "Did he give you that? It looks pretty old and…"
"And you remember that the scars don't heal?"
She nodded, her morbid curiosity peaked. "Sweet Merlin, how close did you get?"
"Too close," replied Lupin. "Or rather, a werewolf got too close to me. It's a mistake you only need to make once."
"So will I see a mark? A bite?"
Lupin shook his head. "Not unless he starts to undress and if he does that, take the whiskey and run for the hills."
Tonks laughed. Her laugh was as loud and vivacious as she was and Lupin found it contagious.
"So whoever he is, he won't be heading for the Firewhiskey."
Lupin shook his head. "That's the worst thing about it. He never learns. Getting so drunk you can't remember your own name is something everyone should do. Once. Preferably when they're closer to fourteen than forty."
Tonks grinned. "Other than my own dear cousin, I can't picture anyone like that."
Lupin laughed. "Oh no. Sirius is more familiar with liquor than some irregular verbs."
She smiled. "Did you ever play 'Who Am I?'?"
Lupin nodded. "But-"
"Does he have red hair?"
Tonks faked trauma. "Just when I thought Arthur might dance naked on the table. Does he wear glasses?"
"No. He has superb eyesight. It comes with the territory."
"Does he have facial hair?"
"How old is he?"
Lupin raised his eyebrows. "That's cheating."
Tonks smirked. "That's life." She relented with a sigh. "Is he over fifty?"
"Only mentally." Lupin's arm snaked slowly around his neck. "Look, it's not really relevant, is it? I mean, so what if he's a werewolf? Don't you agree? Other people obviously think he's good at what he does and..."
"If I didn't know better," said Tonks, a smile playing on her lips. "I'd say it was-"
"Moony, get your arse in gear! Against my better judgement, I've poured you a whiskey."
"Please excuse me." Lupin blushed furiously, leaving Tonks gawping in his wake.