A/N: I know this has been done before, but I just love these two characters and was absolutely shocked when they suddenly turned up dead in the Great Hall. So this is my take on their love story. I will stick to the books (even if it breaks my heart) and try to work in all the information Rowling gave us. Hope you enjoy!
Chapter 1: Dead house elves, self-peeling potatoes and bubble-gum pink hair
Remus Lupin took off his travelling cloak and paused to have a look around. He was standing in a dark and gloomy hall and the heads of dead house elves on the walls did not exactly lighten the mood either. He had experienced far too many things in his life to feel intimidated, but even he had to admit that this house did not feel like a home.
Then again, it wasn't supposed to. It had been chosen as the new headquarters of the restarted Order of the Phoenix and it would serve that purpose well. Since it was the old family home of the Blacks, it was already protected by powerful ancient spells, and now with Dumbledore's new enchantments (including the Fidelius charm) it was as safe as it could possibly get.
The first big meeting of the new Order had been scheduled for tonight, which was why Remus had travelled to London and was now descending an old staircase that led him into a huge kitchen.
"Remus!" At least two people called his name and jumped to their feet at his entrance.
First to reach him was a shorter and slightly plump woman with red hair and a very kind face. "Hello, Molly," Remus greeted her and smiled when she gave him a fierce hug.
"Oh, it's so nice to see you again, Remus. We were so worried about you! You really should come and visit us more often!"
"Indeed," agreed a tall, bespectacled man with matching red hair. "Feels like we haven't seen you in ages."
"I know. I'm sorry. It hasn't been easy since I left Hogwarts," Remus explained as they shook hands.
"And you must be Bill," Remus hazarded a guess when the next young man with red hair came into view. They, too, shook hands.
When the Weasleys had moved aside, the broadest grinning face of them all was waiting for him.
"Welcome to my charming new home, my friend! You have been greatly missed!" Sirius' dark eyes twinkled with joy and – as always – a little mischief.
"Sirius!" Remus' smile grew and the two friends shared a handshake and a hug. Sirius had been hiding out at Remus' place for a while, but it wasn't safe for him to stay in the same place for too long. So they hadn't seen each other since he had moved on. The old house of the Blacks certainly wasn't very inviting, but Remus hoped that it would be enough of a safe haven for Sirius to finally stay for longer than a few weeks.
"So, how are you, Moony?" Sirius asked once they had all sat down.
"Why? Do I look miserable?" Remus smirked. He knew that after every full moon and every new transformation, there was more grey hair on his head and more lines in his face.
"I'd rather not answer that question," Sirius replied with a smirk of his own.
"Oh, don't be so rude, Sirius!" Molly chided him, disapproval clearly audible in her voice. "But you do look a bit thin, dear. I'm going to cook you a nice dinner."
"The meeting will start in about half an hour, Molly, dear," Arthur reminded his wife.
"Doesn't mean I can't get started on those potatoes." Molly decided. "And you could help me."
Sirius grinned. "Did you hear that, Moony? You need to eat more."
"And you need to redecorate," Remus told him, thinking of those dead house elves.
To his surprise, Sirius' smile faded. "Yes, well, that's pretty much the only thing I can do."
Remus suddenly realised that because this house was really the only place where Sirius was safe at the moment, it essentially made him a prisoner. Again. It wasn't as terrible as Azkaban of course, but it was probably still a horrible reminder. Also, Sirius had never been good at doing nothing.
"At least you've got company now. Members will come and go all the time," Remus tried to cheer him up.
"Oh yes, like Snape, who keeps asking me how the 'cleaning' is going. He's more annoying than ever now that he fancies himself to be the most important member of the Order, right next to Dumbledore. Just because he's risking his ruddy life spying on You-know-who. As if I weren't ready to…"
"No one doubts your bravery, Padfoot. And since when do you care what old Snivellus is saying?" Remus asked and thankfully, the old nickname brought a smile to Sirius' face.
"Hey, why don't you move in here for the time being? I've got lots of room and you wouldn't need to travel so much. No offence, Moony, but you do look a little exhausted. And I could pay you back for when you took me in."
Sirius looked really excited at the prospect of having his best friend move in with him. Still, Remus hesitated to accept his offer, but found that he could hardly turn his friend down and nodded.
"Great. It'll be just like in the good old days." Sirius patted him on the back and smiled.
"By the way, do we have any new members or is it still the old gang?" Remus asked.
"Well, it's not easy to find new members while the Ministry is trying to hush everything up and breathing down our necks. But we made some good catches already," Sirius replied.
Arthur nodded, having been freed of kitchen duty because Molly had made the potatoes peel themselves with a casual flick of her wand. "Kingsley Shaklebolt. He works at the Ministry. He's a damn good Auror and he's in charge of the hunt for Sirius."
"Yup, so currently they are looking for me in Tibet."
"And Mad-Eye's bringing another Auror with him today, I heard," Arthur told them.
"Really? That's good news," Molly interjected. "Who is it?"
"Oh, I don't know her that well. Her name's Tonks," Arthur replied.
Sirius opened his mouth to say something, but someone rang the doorbell upstairs and a terrible female voice started shrieking.
"Oh, maybe that's them," Arthur said calmly.
Remus had jumped to his feet. "What in the name of Merlin is that?"
"Just my mother," Sirius said casually and hurried upstairs.
Molly smiled at the bewildered look on Remus' face. "There's a painting of Mrs. Black in the hall. Whenever there's too much noise, she wakes up and starts rambling about her house being disgraced by blood traitors and…"
"Well, as soon as she finds out, probably, yes," Molly nodded.
The shrieking upstairs had stopped and they heard footsteps and hushed voices. But then there was a loud clatter as if someone had tripped over something and Sirius' mother started all over again.
Molly sighed. "Oh dear."
When silence fell once more, the footsteps finally descended into the kitchen and Remus could hear a familiar clonk, clonk.
"I'm really sorry. I didn't see that umbrella stand…," said a woman's voice.
"It's all right. This house is full of junk," Sirius assured her.
Four people entered the kitchen. The first one was a tall, black wizard, who Remus immediately guessed to be Kingsley Shaklebolt. He was followed by the well-known, scarred and one-legged Mad-Eye Moody. The rear was brought up by Sirius and the woman who had apologised for tripping over the umbrella stand.
She looked rather young for an Auror, but her appearance was striking. She was certainly quite attractive, but mostly it was her hair that was impossible to miss since it was bubble-gum pink. It framed a very kind looking, heart-shaped face and dark, twinkling eyes. Remus had never met a woman like that before.
"Remus, that's Kingsley. Kingsley, that's Remus Lupin. I don't know whether you…" Sirius trailed off.
Kingsley nodded. "I've heard your name before." He had a very calm and reassuring voice.
"Occupational hazard of being a werewolf – the entire community knows who you are," Remus said with a forced smile while he shook hands with the tall wizard.
"Doesn't stop you from being a hell of a good man," Mad-Eye growled and moved into the kitchen to greet him.
"Thanks, Mad-Eye," Remus replied because compliments were a rare occurrence with Moody.
"Yeah, and all the rest of you," Sirius said, addressing not only Remus but the Weasleys, too. "This is my second cousin Nymphadora…"
"Don't call me Nymphadora!" she interrupted him fiercely.
"… Tonks," Sirius finished, looking amused.
"Your second cousin?" Everyone present looked surprised.
"Yup, we just realised," Sirius confirmed. "Now, let's see. As you've just heard, that's still Remus Lupin…"
"Hi," Tonks smiled broadly.
"Nice to meet you," Remus said, still trying not to stare at her pink hair.
"And that's about a third of the Weasley family, easily identifiable by the red hair," Sirius continued.
"Yes, Arthur and I have met occasionally at work. Then you are Molly and you must be Bill," Tonks guessed and hurried towards them to shake hands, knocking a chair over on her way.
"How do you know that?" Molly asked, slightly caught off guard by the enthusiasm.
"Oh, well," Tonks looked sheepish. "I was looking forward to meeting you. Your family's quite famous."
"Not necessarily in a good way, depending on who you're talking to," Arthur said.
"Oh, no, no!" Tonks shook her head. "I never listen to any of that talk. I'm an only child, so naturally, I love big families!"
Molly's frown disappeared immediately, but their introductions were interrupted by the arrival of more order members and finally Dumbledore himself.
During the meeting, Remus watched Sirius closely. Whenever Snape opened his mouth to say something, his friend looked so angry that Remus was afraid he might do something stupid. But once it became clear that Sirius would keep his thoughts to himself, Remus' attention lessened and he found himself glancing at Nymphadora Tonks and her pink hair instead. It was the only bright spot in the entire room.
After the meeting Molly walked over to him. "You're staying for dinner, right?"
It was quite clear that she wouldn't take 'no' for an answer. "Yes, I'll probably be staying here for a while."
When dinner was ready, it turned out that Remus and Sirius were not the only ones currently living in the house. The whole Weasley family (except for Charlie and Percy) plus Hermione Granger turned up, and Mad-Eye, Kingsley and Tonks were staying, too. As Tonks had proclaimed earlier, she was thrilled to meet the kids, and it was quite impossible for Remus not to stare at her again when she started changing her nose to entertain the children. Apparently, this woman had a lot of surprises up her sleeve.
Finally, Remus found himself sitting next to her and since everyone else was otherwise occupied, it seemed natural to start a conversation.
"So… you are an Auror?" Remus asked.
Tonks turned to look at him. "And you are a werewolf?"
"Er… yes, I am."
"Same here." When Remus looked at her in shock, she explained, "No, I didn't mean I'm a werewolf. I meant, yes, I'm an Auror. Sorry, I confuse people sometimes. Actually, that happens a lot. But that's okay. I confuse myself sometimes, too."
Tonks smiled at him, and once Remus had gotten over his initial surprise, he felt a curious sense of relief that she didn't seem to mind that he was a werewolf.
"But I haven't been for long," Tonks continued, probably because he hadn't said anything. "I only qualified a year ago – for being an Auror, I mean."
Remus nodded. He had guessed as much since she really looked way too young. "I imagine being able to change your own appearance comes in handy. Are you a…"
"… Metamorphmagus, yup. Born one. I got top marks in Concealment and Disguise. But I nearly failed Stealth and Tracking. I'm a bit clumsy, you know. Always…"
"… tripping over umbrella stands?" Remus asked, smiling slightly.
Tonks looked surprised, but smiled as well. "Yeah, something like that. What about you? What are you doing?"
Remus' smile faded. He hated that question. "I taught Defence Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts about a year ago. But since then I haven't been able to find a new job."
"Why?" Tonks asked and looked honestly puzzled.
Remus had to smile at her innocence. "Well, I'm a werewolf. That doesn't exactly make me employee of the month."
"That's rubbish!" Tonks' hair suddenly turned red. "Just as stupid as this pure-, half-blood or Muggle-born thing. I highly doubt that my clumsiness has anything to do with my blood."
"Then you're not pure-blood?" Remus asked, his curiosity getting the better of him.
"Because I'm related to Sirius? Nope. My Mum, that's his cousin, married a Muggle-born. Goes without saying that she hasn't had a lot of contact with the 'toujours pur' family of the Blacks since then."
"Neither has Sirius," Remus said.
"Yes, now that I've seen the house, I know why he ran away at sixteen. And I thought my place was a mess." Tonks smiled and for a moment, Remus was completely mesmerized by the way it lit up her whole face. "Change of topic… You were in the Order last time, right?"
"Uh… right," Remus nodded, trying to focus.
"What was that like? What are you lot up to? I want to know everything." Tonks looked at him, her eyes wide with curiosity, and since it made her look even prettier than she already was, Remus was happy to oblige and he told her about the old days.
He lost track of time because once you started a conversation with this woman, she demanded all of your attention. Eventually, Remus noticed that the kids were ushered upstairs to bed and that those who weren't staying here got up to leave.
"You coming?" Moody asked Tonks.
"What? Yeah, right," she answered and jumped to her feet, knocking over her chair. She smiled apologetically.
Remus got up as well. "It was nice meeting you, Nympha-"
"Don't you – ever – call me Nymphadora!" Tonks interrupted him at once.
"Er, right, sorry… Tonks."
She nodded approvingly. "See you all soon, I guess!" And she left with Kingsley, Mad-Eye and Bill.
"You just had to screw it up, didn't you?" Sirius patted him on the shoulder, a huge grin plastered on his face.
"What exactly did I screw up?" Remus asked.
"Your chances with my dear second cousin of course," Sirius explained. "Don't give me that look! You two talked all evening."
"Should we have looked at each other in silence instead?"
Sirius shook his head. "Keep on pretending if you like. But don't forget who you're talking to. And don't forget to use her last name next time."
"I don't know what you're talking about." That might not have been the whole truth, but Remus really just wanted out of this conversation.
As his best friend, Sirius knew what he was up to, but he decided not to push it. "We'll see. And now, shall we find you a room with a most spectacular view of the starlit sky with no full moon in sight?"
"That would be nice," Remus nodded, and later, when he was lying in his new bed, he fell asleep almost instantly. But he had a strange dream about the heads of dead house elves, self-peeling potatoes and bubble-gum pink hair.
A/N: I know not much happened yet. But I promise more is to come. ;) Hope you liked it (and feel free to leave a review).