Chapter 12 : Ministry Lies and Ties
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A few days before his transformation, we were at my flat. We thought Sirius could do with some time without the two of us. I was watching Remus over the top of the book I was reading. He looked preoccupied and his face had traces of self-loathing.
“Remus, you have that look again,” I said tersely. Remus broke out his reverie. “Are you planning on giving your ‘too old, too poor, too dangerous’ speech again?” I asked my eyebrows raised. Remus tried to change his facial expression to one of mild indignation, but the end result was something closer to a pained expression.
“You make me happy,” Remus said not answering my question. I leaned back in my seat; I wasn’t going to help him call things off again. “I don’t feel I deserve a good woman like you.” I tried hard not to scoff; for all his sweetness the man wouldn’t let himself stay content. Then he said in a quieter voice, “And I am too old, poor, and dangerous for you.”
“I don’t care about that. I love you for who you and what you are.” Remus had a doubtful look on his face. “Remus, I love the man and the wolf in you.” Remus took my hand and pulled me out of my seat only to envelop me in a tight embrace.
“I’m sorry for my constant doubt.” He nuzzled my neck, speaking into it instead of looking at me. “I’ve never doubted our love or your motives for being with me…” Remus looked me straight in the eyes as he said, “I live in constant fear that I’ll wake up tomorrow and this will just be a dream. Or worse, you’ll wake up tomorrow and realize you’re with a wolf and leave.” A tear trickled down Remus’ lined face. I wiped away the solitary tear and kissed Remus gently.
“I know that women have often rejected you because you’re a werewolf…” I took in a ragged breath; thinking about that often made me angry. He must have seen my next thought flash across my eyes; Remus was always able to read me.
“I realize you’re not them,” he said kissing my forehead softly. “It is hard to undo a lifetime of… well, rejection.” Remus’ face drooped slightly. I wanted to take his mind off his worries, but I didn’t see us making any progress in our conversation, so I ran my fingers through Remus’ hair and down his back. He let out a hungry moan. I knew the full moon wasn’t far off; he was the most adventurous in bed at those times. I rubbed my hand on his cheek, then gently down his torso. He let out another moan of desire. We dropped our discussion altogether and stole away to the floor.
I loved the looks of ecstasy that played on his face while we made love that day. My sounds of passion made him hungrier and he devoured me. Remus was the gentlest man I had ever been with even when possessed by wolfish passion. I was often the aggressor in our relationship. Remus would get a surprised ‘oh’ look on his face when I came at him out of nowhere.
Sometime later, my chest was heaving up and down; Remus was resting his head on my shoulder, absentmindedly running his fingers over my stomach. “Do you always intend to wind me up like that? You know how I get,” he said looking at me with his hungry expression still flashed in his eyes.
“I wind you up like that because I know how you get,” I said planting a kiss on his forehead. “And if you didn’t want me get you riled up, you’d stop being so sexy.” I laughed lightly and continued, “Who wouldn’t want a man that wears sweaters; they’re irresistible. That’s why I made one for you.” Remus laughed and said I was a conspirator. Remus held me in his arms for some time. I thought I might take my next holiday there; I made a note to ask him for reservations.
I was pleased that his next transformation went better than his previous. I hardly slept that night out of nerves. If something went wrong, it would be my fault. Sirius helped me brew the wolfsbane, but it was new to him. He was in jail when it was invented. When I gave Remus his potion, he drank it without hesitation. He said it tasted just as gross as usual, which was a sign that I made it right.
The sky was bright and full of stars the night he transformed. He and I went out and cuddled on the transfigured loveseat-recliner. Remus was unusually upbeat that evening. He jumped up and hugged me while on his haunches. We rocked back and forth under the moonlight until we toppled back on the couch. I told him he was a better dancer as a wolf than as a man. He licked my face playfully. For a brief while, we forgot the war, the fugitive death eaters and everything else that existed outside of our small cosmos.
I had work the next morning so I wasn’t able to lounge around with Remus. He chortled about me going off to my other boyfriend. I heart skipped a beat that he referred to himself as my boyfriend, even if it was indirectly. I leaned into him saying, “How can I resist, Sasquatch is so well hung.” I spoke in barely above a whisper. My lips brushed against his neck as I spoke to him. He pulled me on top of him, kissing my neck. I shuddered with delight. I gave in to his advances; I mean, I’ll only live once, and with Remus it was always worth it.
I strolled into work 20 minutes late, hoping to be discrete about it. Any other week, under any other circumstances, I could have snuck in and said I was doing some other duties. Not this week, not with the whole department in a tizzy. Dawlish came up to my cubicle in a nonchalant manner. I looked up over the papers I was going through, “What do you want, I’m busy.” I glared at him; grumpiness was the hallmark of a busy Auror.
Dawlish smirked and tutted softly. “Busy?” he scoffed. “I see you’ve been busy with that werewolf halfbreed of yours.” He was eyeing my neck. Remus had given me a love bite there and I didn’t check the mirror before I left. I told Dawlish to sod-off. “No can do, Tonksy. Scrimgeour wants to see you in his office.”
I arranged my face into a remorseful expression while Dawlish marched me to Scrimgeour’s office. At first, I thought this visit was only about showing up late. It seemed reasonable to get a lecture for my tardiness. Unfortunately, my punctuality wasn’t the reason for my reprimand. Scrimgeour sat behind his desk, a grave expression on his face. Kingsley stood a bit to the side of Scrimgeour; he looked stern. Dawlish pushed me into the chair in front of the grandiose desk.
“Well, Nymphadora, I never expected to say this to you, but I fear you’re becoming a security risk.” Scrimgeour had a file in front of him. I craned my neck slight; there was a picture of Remus and me outside of Florean’s Parlor. “Dating a werewolf.” His voice was full of disgust. Kingsley’s eyes betrayed a flicker of surprise. He too must have thought this was about my tardiness. “I thought your parents raised you better.”
I didn’t say anything. My ears were pounding and my hands were balled into fists. I was trying hard not to shout at him, call him a bigot, tell him that my personal life wasn’t the business of the Ministry. When I spoke, my voice was as even as I could make it. “I was not aware that the Ministry kept tabs on its employees’ personal life. Remus is no more a security risk than any other man.” I stopped myself from going into a passionate description of Remus’ greatness.
“Given your assignment… and Lupin’s close, personal relationship with your assignment, we feel he is a risk,” Scrimgeour said with a malicious look. I knew that the Ministry had long since decided that Remus was free of any continued connection with Sirius. Ironically, they came to their decision around the time that Remus reinstated his friendship with Sirius.
“You’re the one that interviewed him about his ties to Sirius,” I said hotly. “Don’t you think I would have noticed if Sirius Black was crouching in the closet or hiding under his bed?” I couldn’t believe this; it was against Ministry policies to chide us on our dating choices. No one said anything when Kingsley dated the pretty witch from the Department of International Cooperation, no one bats and eyelash at the fraternizing that happens all over the building. “May I see my file?” I asked, my voice ringing with indignation.
“I don’t think that would be prudent, Nymphadora.” Kingsley made the slightest of nods, and I dropped it. I waited as Scrimgeour rustled with is papers. “I can’t fire you for your… relationship, but I will be watching your work carefully. I suggest you rethink where you’re going with your personal and career life. You have potential; don’t let other things interfere with that.” Scrimgeour sat back. “You may go.” I stood up and headed to the door. Kingsley came up behind me and said in a stern voice that he’d like to see me.
While he scolded me on the advisability of dating people who have undetermined criminal pasts, he let me thumb through my file. There were several pictures of Remus and me. Most of them from our date in Diagon Alley. Then I saw one from Christmas Day. It was us kissing outside of my apartment building. I made copies of the pictures and tucked them into my robes. I whispered a quick thanks and went to my cubicle.
When I got to my flat that night, Remus was there waiting. I was debating on how to tell him about my meeting that day. I was spared the need to tell him anything. Kingsley had sent him a message about it during the day. Remus stood up when I entered the room; he the look of someone who had been rethinking their actions. “Kingsley told you then?” I asked timidly. He nodded. “I don’t think their threats will come to anything,” I said truthfully. “They’d have to change the law and—”
Remus was shaking his head. “They won’t have to change the law; they’ll just find another reason to let you go.” Remus had that look again. He took in a deep breath. “I don’t want to be a hindrance—” I put a finger to Remus’ lips.
“You’re more important to me than a career for a government that is bigoted and so one-sided. If you want to leave me, don’t use these peripheral problems as your excuse.” My eyes welled up with tears. “Circumstances shouldn’t cause people to break up,” I said resolutely. “If there’s something wrong with me, with us, that’s too much to work through… fine, but don’t use something like my career as a reason to break it off with me, Remus.”
Remus blinked at me; there was a hurt look on his face. He opened his mouth slightly then said, “There’s never been anything wrong with you, or us; I just can’t to think that I’ll ruin everything for you.” Remus pulled me into a hug. “I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself.” Remus was rubbing the back of my head, which I found to be very soothing.
We didn’t talk about work or the Ministry for the rest of the night. We almost returned to the subject when I showed Remus the pictures. They were nice pictures, even if they were taken by someone spying on us. My favorite was of us eating ice cream. I was using my spoon to gesticulate; Remus looked slightly bewildered but amused. I kept that one by my bed. For me, the picture was an accurate representation of our relationship; there’s me, the eccentric one, and Remus, the sexy, amused, debonair man. Remus kept the one of us in the Hall of Knowledge. We were both buried in books and my foot was rested against his leg under the table. Remus then announced, in a Sirius-like manner, that he had been quite randy for me that day. I rolled my eyes. Men.
I made a point to be more efficient at work. I didn’t want them to haul Remus in for questioning, and my work for the Order was too important to risk getting fired. Remus was constantly worried for my safety. He thought that another assault on the Department of Mysteries was imminent. Sirius told how Remus went to Grimmauld Place when I had duty. He’d stay there and pace the room until exhaustion took over. Sirius remarked that Remus hadn’t been that nervous since they took their N.E.W.T.s. I told Remus that if anything happened to me, he could keep Elton John. He didn’t think it was funny.
I probably would have forgotten about it completely, but Sirius pointed out that Valentine’s Day fast approached. Well, he said the “International Day of Shagging.” But I knew what he meant. I felt a panic stir in my stomach. Valentines was always so difficult. I knew I’d have to try my hand at romance, and that terrified me.
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