Chapter 21 : Batting for the Other Team
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My bliss with Remus was indeed short-lived. The people with whom he associated himself were looking for him. I could hear their voices calling out for him. In a moment of panic he said, “Get against the wall there.” I obeyed feeling slightly perplexed. A few moments later, I felt his warm skin against mine. “Moan,” He said in my ear. I complied, feeling rather out of sorts. Remus grabbed my wand and disabled the silencing charm I had on the door. Remus was pressed against me, my skirt was hiked up showing bare thighs. It was a bit awkward to moan without provocation.
The voices from outside got closer to the door. “It sounds like he’s in there,” one of them said jiggling the handle. “Lupin, you in there?” Came the man’s voice. Remus opened the door a crack. The men could see me against the wall, panting slightly.
“Can’t you tell I’m busy?” he said in an angry voice. I glanced over to them, trying not to look as terrified as I felt. The two of them were gawking at me with lust written across their faces. “Is there anything you needed?” Remus asked again, his voice sounding quite impatient.
“Yeah, Fenrir’s having a get together tomorrow night,” one of them said licking his lips. “Say, Lupin… could we just—”
“No,” he said sharply. “She’s mine. She came here to settle a score with me.” Lupin made to shut the door but the other man stuck his foot in the way.
“Fenrir suspects there’s a traitor among us,” he said with a leer. “Wouldn’t some sharing help to convince…”
Remus’ voice was brimming with genuine anger. “Fenrir knows my loyalties. He might question those of two scavengers who don’t know how to respect another person’s winnings.” Remus made it sound like I was property. The other two backed off and allowed Remus to shut and lock the door. I was trembling from head to foot feeling unnerved and scared.
Remus put another silencing charm on the door sighing heavily. He came up to me and held me once more. “I’m sorry you had to—”He couldn’t finish the sentence. “It wasn’t a good idea for you to visit,” he said quietly. “I couldn’t bear it if something happened to you.”
I straightened out my outfit pausing at his words. “Things happen to me every day, Remus. The only difference is now you’re not around to help me through them.” I tried to take a step towards him and tripped. “Sorry,” I said in a frustrated voice. “You know, we could spend the night here,” I said looking around. “It’ll be your birthday in a few hours.” I managed a wicked smile.
Remus ran his fingers through my brown hair as he thought about it. “Sure, but on one condition.” I raised an eyebrow in anticipation. “You have to tell me how your life has been since last June. I miss hearing your voice.” I smiled at him. He did have a lot to catch up on. I did some nifty wand work and managed to make the small utility room into a moderately comfortable bedroom.
I cuddle into bed next to him and handed him a bar of chocolate. “Happy Birthday, Remus.” He smiled as I started recounting my summer, fall, and winter. Granted, I left out some of the finer points, such as shagging Snape in Hogsmeade, but I left about 98 percent of my life in there. Talking to him was just as easy as it had been the previous year. I enjoyed telling him some of the more amusing stories, my heart skipped a beat every time he got angry about Dawlish, and I monitored his reaction my New Year’s Eve with Savage. He didn’t seem quite as jealous as I though (and hoped) he would be, but it did make him smile. We tried our best to stay up the entire night. I didn’t want to sleep through this rare treat. Sleep won over just before dawn.
It was hard to leave when we woke up a mere three hours later. Remus was absolutely firm with me. “You can’t stay here... if Fenrir finds you…” he sounded nervous, slightly scared. I stood up and so did Remus. I hugged him tightly one more time kissing him gently on the lips.
“I love you, Remus,” I said into his ear. He had a sorrowful look in his eyes; I wondered if he was thinking his usual litany against love. I smiled weakly, feeling forlorn grip me.
I turned to go but Remus pulled me back into his arms and whispered, “I love you too, but I am too old, too dangerous and too poor for you.”
I kissed him fiercely hoping to infuse him with the love we had. When our lips broke apart, I whispered back, “no, you’re not.” I left before he could argue with me. I walked a short way and ran into the bloke I promised the pay the day before. I slipped him the money grinning. I disapparated a few blocks away.
When I got back to the flat in Hogsmeade I was trying to sneak into my room. Dawlish and Proudfoot were up eating breakfast. All thoughts of sneaking in were abandoned. I felt quite underdressed in my slinky red dress. I should have had the foresight to bring a change of clothes.
“G’morning, Tonks,” Proudfoot said through a mouthful of food. He didn’t seem bothered about my attire or the hour of my return. I said hello hoping that I could go straight into my room. Dawlish was leering at me in a way that reminded me of the werewolves from the night before. I went into my room and was sure to lock the door.
I had a new sense of hope after that. I knew that Remus didn’t want a relationship, but knowing that he loved me was enough to allow an occasional smile to flutter across my face. I still couldn’t get my hair to the right color; that bothered me to no end. Dawlish pestered me about my trip; he knew I went somewhere, but I was tight-lipped about where. I confided in Savage about meeting with Remus. I didn’t say where he was, or that he was living in a werewolf enclave, but I liked confiding in someone.
“Are you guys back together then?” he asked looking down at me. We were cuddling in my bed. He was my cuddle-buddy, more like a giant, tattooed teddy bear.
I let out a mournful sigh. “No, we’re not. He keeps insisting he’s…” I was going to say his speech, but the too dangerous bit would lead to some awkward questions, “that he’s inadequate.”
Savage let out a disapproving tut, but didn’t verbalize his disappointment. “I have to ask you something,” Savage said suddenly. “Is your friend, the red-headed bloke who was here a few weeks ago… is he seeing anyone?” It took me a minute to process exactly what he was asking.
“You mean Charlie?” I clarified. Savage nodded, his ears were turning pink. I had to think about it for a few moments. I didn’t know if Charlie liked guys, but that wasn’t the question. “I don’t think he’s dating anyone.” Now that I thought of it, he hadn’t dated anyone since we stopped seeing one another.
“Do you think he… likes guys?” I didn’t know Savage liked guys, well, I hadn’t until that conversation. I knew Charlie had snogged a few guys in his day, but I didn’t know if it was a passing fancy or something he was really into. The thought crossed my mind that maybe the men I slept with were destined to start batting for the other team, so to speak. I promised to look into the matter for Savage.
The events of those few days gave me quite a lot of obsess over during the week. I analyzed every moment of my evening with Remus. I wondered how much of what he said in front of the other men was him and how much of it was the wolf. I couldn’t shake the aroused feeling I got when I thought of his unusually rough behavior with me then. He was a gentle man after all. I wondered if Charlie liked guys and I wrestled with how to best ask him. Somehow a letter saying “Dear Charlie, Would you shag me if I had a wank? Love, Tonks” didn’t seem appropriate. I was still quite surprised that Savage had a soft spot for guys. I was hoping that Savage and Charlie got together; they were great friends of mine.
My musings turned towards more serious issues as the weekend approached. I remembered the meeting the two men had mentioned to Remus. They seemed to think that Remus was a threat or a traitor. I worried that my presence there had put him in even more danger than he was in. Then, as if he could read my worries on my face, Dawlish made a remark about Fenrir that made my skin crawl.
“ ‘ello, Tonksy,” he said as I was getting myself some water. I half smiled in acknowledgment. “Hear the news today? Fenrir Greyback was reported to have killed some of his followers. Attacked them earlier in the week.” I closed my eyes and held my breath for a few moments. Dawlish was watching my face intently. I tried my best to look indifferent to the news.
“Hmm, that’s interesting,” I said taking refuge in my room. I closed the door behind me and crumpled to the floor. I held in my tears, the sobs, my desire to scream at the top of my lungs. I didn’t want to tell Dawish, who I expected was listening eagerly outside my door, a chance to eavesdrop. My mind was racing; I was trying to think of a way to get another opinion. There had to be someone who would be more informed than Dawlish. I paused only a moment to wonder how in the blazes he knew about werewolf communities.
Standing up and regaining some composure, I left the flat to get some fresh air. It was a Monday morning, so I didn’t expect to see people out and about. Then I saw them, a gaggle of students. I had an idea, Dumbledore would know; he always knew. I apparated to the Hogwarts gates. Hagrid was within yelling distance. I was glad he was within hailing range; I didn’t think I had enough happy energy to muster a patronus. He let me in with a good-natured smile on his face. He started to say hello but I cut him off with a quick, “Thanks for letting me in, Hagrid, I’ve got to see Dumbledore.”
My heart fell to somewhere below my knees when I saw a note pinned to Dumbledore’s door that read: For assistance, please see Deputy Headmistress Minerva McGonagall. I let out a heavy sign and turned around to trudge out of the Castle, my eyes downcast.
My feet led me to a corridor I remembered finding a closet to hide in with Charlie in our fifth year. I paused as I entered the corridor, I could hear footsteps that were not mine. I started walking again, I wanted to find the source of the phantom footsteps. Before I reached the source of the noise, I heard a loud thud against a vase that was near a painting there. Then I heard a voice, Harry’s voice. Parts of his body reveled themselves as I hopped around on one foot apparently nursing a sore toe.
“Harry?” I said to the odd assortment of body parts. He spun around hastily falling over in a heap. I wondered if he wandered around the castle in his invisibility cloak all the time. It seemed like a strange thing to do a bit voyeuristic.
“What are you doing here?” Harry asked as he got up his feet with an embarrassed look on his face. He took in my appearance; he seemed a bit taken aback. I knew I looked ill. Dawlish made a point of saying that I looked like a widow every chance he got. I told Harry that I was there to see Dumbledore. He must have thought I was lost because he started telling me how to get to the Head’s office.
I cut him off saying that I was just there. Harry asked if I knew where Dumbledore left to when he wasn’t at the school. I had an idea; Dumbledore hinted about going on fact-finding trips. I had no idea, where he went though. I said that I didn’t know. I didn’t think it was prudent to tell him my suspicions.
Harry, trying to keep an upbeat demeanor asked what I was seeing Dumbledore for. I didn’t have a reason to lie – I needed to ask about some people getting hurt. I didn’t want to tell him more about Remus’ assignment than he needed to know.
Remus always seemed to put himself at risk for Harry. Perhaps Harry had gotten word from Remus in the past month. Unfortunately, Harry had not been in contact with anyone from the Order since Sirius died. As the hopeless feeling of not knowing if Remus was well overwhelmed me, my eyes brimmed with tears. Sensing my emotional distress, Harry said he missed him as well. It took me a minute to realize he meant Sirius. I decided to go. I said my goodbye and headed down a staircase.
I was a statue of a humpbacked witch when I was caught unawares by Snape. His hand seemed to come out of nowhere. He had me by my wrist and pulled me close. “Why, Nymphadora, I was thinking of you the other night.” Snape said in a low hiss. “I haven’t seen you in months.”
I tore out of Snape’s grip. “Surely you weren’t expecting a second go after such an abysmal performance?” I said cruelly. I knew it was twisted of me, but I enjoyed taunting Snape. It made me feel a shade better.
His eyes glinted with anger and perhaps passion; the two were usually intertwined for that man. “You’re nothing more than a neighborhood broomstick. Everyone’s had a ride but no one will keep you in their shed; not even your Lupin.” I could have punched him, instead I stalked away wishing I could legally Crucio him for hours.
I spent a lot of time alone over the next few days. Savage tried to coax me into a better mood without success. Some days I felt so overwhelmed with uncertainty that I had trouble willing myself out of bed. The only shred of hope I had was that the day might bring me good news. Even that small shred of hope was tainted with the thought of ‘What if it’s bad news…’
Charlie showed up in Hogsmeade late April. I wasn’t expecting a visit from him, so I was tickled when I saw him roaming down the street. It looked like he had hurt his wrist; it was bandaged rather poorly. Charlie called out to me and caught up to me by jogging the distance between us. He was grinning while he came closer. His smile faded into a slight scowl as he got closer. “Merlin, you look a shade paler than a corpse,” he said bluntly. Tact was not strong among the Weasley men. “How did things go with Remus?” he asked without giving me a chance to chide him for his candidness.
“Let’s go somewhere we can talk in private,” I said glancing around. I led him to the flat I shared with the other Aurors. They were all out. I led him by the hand into my bedroom. I locked the door and put a silencing charm on the room.
Charlie raised an eyebrow and said suggestively, “oooh, I haven’t seen you do that in quite a while.” He was smiling lazily in an attempt to lighten my mood. I told him to get over himself and get into bed. What can I say? I had a soft spot for curling up next to people. Charlie knew that and got into bed with me sparing me another lewd remark.
I was able to tell Charlie everything about my visit with Remus. He was intrigued by the poem and agreed that the ending was quite ambiguous. Instead of finding our run in with the other two werewolves terrifying, he found it quite amusing. Though, he did add it would have been more convincing if he had actually been shagging me. “I’m sure John Thomas came in handy then,” he joked. I smiled wryly and said that I didn’t think John Thomas liked me anymore.
Charlie was worried by Dawlish’s remarks about Fenrir. Nothing had been in the papers, but that wasn’t a reliable source for information. No one in the Order seemed to know anything about Remus being hurt… but no one was in contact with him either. I was in tears before I finished expressing my worry for Remus.
Always the gentleman, Charlie held me in his arms and casually cupped my chest. I moved his hand to a different spot. Then I remembered something. “Hey Charlie?” I lifted my head from his chest. “Do you…” I paused, I couldn’t think of a tactful way to ask so I just went on with it. “Do you like guys?”
I felt my face grow warm. I wished I was more elegant at times like that. I reminded myself of Sirius when I was so clumsy with another person’s feelings. Charlie raised an eyebrow. He didn’t look upset or offended; I didn’t think he would be. He was eyeing me as if trying to determine if my question was going to lead anywhere. He wasn’t looking at me when he answered. “I guess you could say that I’ve fancied more than one bloke…” He wasn’t blushing, but he did seem agitated. “I’ve dated a few actually,” he said quietly. “How did you know?”
I wanted to say that I was a brilliant judge of character and had known from day one with him, but that would be a lie ill-suited for the situation. “I have a friend that wanted me to ask. I think he fancies you,” I said truthfully. After saying that I felt a slight sting that he hadn’t confided in me before then. We were friends after all. “How long have you known?” I asked giving him what I hoped was an understanding and caring look.
Charlie laughed uncertainly. “I guess you’re the one that made it obvious.” He said catching my eye for a moment. My ego deflated a great deal. I did make straight men gay. Charlie smiled with a bit more confidence. “I’m not saying you’re bad in bed or anything. It’s just the opposite. You were amazing in bed and as a friend but I kept picturing myself with that Slytherin chaser. And I knew—”
I held my hand up, “That black haired bloke?” I searched my memory for his name. “Andrés Zloothburg?” I suddenly understood why Charlie liked it when I made my hair black and coarse.
Charlie gave me a look that told me to shut it. “As I was saying, I knew that I should be quite satisfied with a woman like you and I started questioning things after that.” His hand found mine. “That’s why I broke things off with you,” he said meeting my eyes again. “I knew we weren’t headed down a long-term path… well, at least you weren’t, but I didn’t want to go on with something I thought could end with me running off with some bloke.” Charlie smiled insecurely.
I felt a bit surprised by his explanation. When he broke things off, his explanation of wanting more time with quidditch and Care of Magical Creatures made sense. The fact that he and I stopped shagging didn’t stop us being friends. “In that case,” I said smiling in a reassuring way, “do you want to meet up with my friend and I for drinks tonight?”
Charlie agreed with a grin. Charlie and I were playing cards when Savage got in from his duty shift. I invited him to go out with us making it seem like a nice three person outing. I didn’t want to be a complete idiot and tell Savage he had the green light in front of Charlie. I waited till we were in the bar drinking it up before leaning over to Savage saying, “I think you should try your luck with Charlie.” Savage grinned at me and said a quick thanks. From what I could tell, they hit things off rather well. I noticed that Charlie was awfully touchy-feely towards Savage near the end of the night. I felt like quite the matchmaker after that. I just wished I had news of Remus. I was dying to hear something…and I was almost desperate enough to want any information. I hugged Freckles tightly every night noticing that Remus’ scent was slowly being replaced by my own.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed! Sorry it's quite long, I didn't want to split it up into two shorter chapters. I'm lazy like that. :/ If you have the time, please review. I love reviews.
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