Chapter 7 : If This Is What It Feels Like, Falling In Love, Then I'm Falling For You
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A lantern burned dim in the kitchen of Number Twelve Grimmauld Place. A lone figure at the long table located within, reading the newspaper in front of him intently. His eyes were narrowed at the words, scrutinizing them. Although young, he appeared as if he was in the middle of inner turmoil, and he had an unbearably exhausted quality to him. Without lifting his eyes from the paper, he brought a mug of steaming liquid to his lips and sipped a mouthful. As he put the mug down once more, soft, echoing footsteps were heard coming down the hall into the kitchen, and the boy paid no mind to the newcomer, knowing from the previous four days of being early exactly who it was.
“You’re up early once again dear,” Molly regarded softly as she spotted the young boy sitting at the far end of the kitchen table.
Glancing up at her, he gave her a fleeting smile, “Good morning, Mrs. Weasley.”
A look of concern flashed on her face, “Are you having dreams, dear? You haven’t been able to sleep all week.”
With the polite smile still on his features, he shook his head and said, “No, ma’am. Just a lot on my mind.”
Though the look of concern didn’t leave her face, she asked, “Ma’am?” Molly laughed quietly, her voice echoing in the silent home, “Why Harry, you’ve become a perfect gentleman.”
Harry joined in her laughter and said as a forethought, “I suppose I have, haven’t I?” The smile on his lips faded as he turned back to the Daily Prophet in front of him, knowing that the undertones of Mrs. Weasley’s words hung heavy in his heart. He wasn’t the same person he was when he saw her last.
“Would you like some tea?”
“No, no thank you. I have my coffee here,” He lifted the mug in his left hand.
“It stunts your growth,” Molly chided as she had all the other days of the week. She moved to retrieve pans from the pantry with quiet thumps.
“Ah...” Harry murmured as he took another gulp of the now-cooler liquid. “I’ll take my chances, I suppose.”
They said no more for quite for some time.
“Good morning, all!” Nymphadora Tonks announced, practically skipping into the room. Her hair was a bright orange this particular morning, and Harry had noticed that in the morning it tended to match whatever mood she was in. He took the color orange as a good sign.
“Good morning Tonks,” Molly smiled at the youthful woman. “Tea?”
“That’d be wonderful, Molly,” she replied, taking a seat next to Harry. “How’s my favorite teenager in the whole-wide world doing this morning?” She ruffled his hair playfully as he gave her a look.
“Don’t get my hopes up, Tonks. It hurts to have wounded pride,” Harry placed a hand on his chest as he spoke, trying hard to keep his face straight.
Mrs. Weasley had handed Tonks a warm mug.
“Thanks you, Molly, and sorry Harry, you’re too young for me,” Tonks teased him, taking the now-folded Daily Prophet from in front of him. She drunk a mouthful of tea.
“Oh no, I’m not in love with you, miss. Don’t flatter yourself,” The playful glint in his eye was hard to miss, “I’m saying, don’t call me your favorite teenager when I have so much more competition.”
“Don’t worry about that now,” Tonks winked with a laugh.
Harry suddenly broke into a devilish grin and dropped his voice so that Molly couldn’t hear, “Now put those flirting skills to use with dear, dear Professor Lupin.”
Tonks blinked once, feigning confusion. She whispered, “I have no idea about what you’re talking about there, kid.”
“Oh come’on Tonks,” Harry rolled his eyes, “Like I haven’t seen the looks you two give each other. Like I haven’t seen the grin on his face when he sees you. Like I haven’t seen the grin on your face when you look at him! And, you guys are always up late talking...”
“Gee Harry, that’s not creepy,” she muttered with annoyance, knowing full-well that everything he pointed out was completely true. She added sharply, “We’re just friends.”
He gave her a look that was both smug and annoying and handsome at the same time. “For now, I suppose...” He suddenly grinned, looking at the dim hallway in front of him. “Hey Tonks, watch this.”
As the words left his mouth, Remus walked into the room, looking weary and more exhausted than ever. He rubbed his eyes tiredly as he murmured a tired hello to Molly. Upon spotting Harry and Tonks, he strolled over to them slowly, sitting across from Tonks and next to Harry, who was at the head of the table.
Despite the dark circles under his eyes and looking like he had just crawled out a cave, Remus managed a wide smile for Tonks as he said, “Good morning, you two.” While he regarded the both of them, he only offered Harry a flicker of his eyes.
Harry nudged Tonk’s leg with his foot, and when she turned to look at him, Tonks saw the satisfied smirk on his lips.
She kicked him hard in reply (and he stifled a yelp of surprise) as she asked him with a smile, “Why the glum face, Remus? You should turn that frown upside down!”
He chuckled softer than usual at her childishness. “Full moon on Monday.”
“And you’re feeling the effects on Friday morning?” Her eyebrow was quirked up in the cutest way which made Remus feel a wave of emotion that was nowhere near related to his werewolf pre-symptoms.
“Yeah. Always a couple days before and a couple days after. One day, if I’m lucky enough,” he explained this softly as Molly handed him a cup of tea, patting his shoulder sympathetically. “Thank you, Molly.”
“Not a problem,” she replied with a nod before leaving to continue her cooking.
“So... What you’re saying is that you feel the full moon coming?”
“Yes.” The sound of his tiny sip echoed in the otherwise quiet room.
Tonks begun to laugh quietly, and she pointed out, “It’s like a girl’s period! PWS!”
Remus smiled ruefully and mumbled, “James used to call it that...”
“Really?” Harry’s face lit up at the sound of his father’s name.
The look in Harry’s eyes made Remus’ weary smile grow wider significantly. “Yeah, he’d always tease me about it, saying that I was the girl in the group,” Remus recalled fondly.
Tonks had forgotten how much older Remus and Sirius were than her. Though they were lively, Sirius more so than Remus, but all the same, she often sound herself forgetting that they would be the same age as Harry’s father if he was still alive. They weren’t that old. Only ... Thirteen years.
Tonks groaned internally at the realization that they were thirteen years apart in age.
If anything were to happen between them, that gap in age would prove to be a problem, more for him than for her.
Tonks knew for a fact that Remus was a chivalrous man.
“Huh. So what are the symptoms of your PWS?” Tonks questioned, nudging his leg with her foot from across the table.
Remus merely raised an eyebrow before replying, “Grumpiness, irritation, pain, soreness, nausea, lack of appetite, sluggishness, slower reflexes...And that’s basically it. It’s like I add twenty years or so to my age.”
“Oh yeah, it’s exactly like PMSing,” Tonks winked friskily.
“You’re a perky one this morning,” he murmured softly, his grey eyes flickering up at her vibrant hair. “Nice color.”
“Why thank you.”
“Bright colors do seem to be your thing.”
“Bright colors match my personality, of course.”
“This is true. You’re a very vibrant person. Energetic. Way too energetic for this old man to keep up with.” The gleam in his cool grey eyes was unmistakable.
“Not true, my Dad’s uncle Albert is nearing ninety years old, and he’s a muggle, mind you, and he still asks me to dance with him. He always ends up catching me when I step on his foot or trip over the rug, but he’s so full of life!”
“Okay, okay, so I’m not that old. You win.”
“I’m glad we’ve established this Remus. Again.”
“No need to sound so bitter, my dear.”
“You won’t get it through your thick Gryffindor head that you’re not old!”
“You would get it through your thick Hufflepuff head that I am! Harry was born when I was a teenager and look at him now. He’s fifteen.”
“Oh, shut up.”
“Very mature, Tonks. Sticking your tongue out at an elder.”
“Yeah, yeah, whatever you say grandpa.”
“I thought you just said I wasn’t old.”
“I changed my mind!”
“Uh huh. Let’s see how long that’s going to last.”
Harry made a sound that sounded like an awful like a suppressed laugh.
Remus and Tonks both turned to look at him simultaneously, both giving him a look of question.
“Hm? Nothing, oh nothing, just thinking about how my day’s going to go,” Harry said through the hand over his mouth. He was hiding his wide smile with difficulty.
“That’s a load of bullshit,” Tonks rolled her eyes at the younger boy.
“I was simply minding my own business, and I heard your conversation. That’s all.”
“It’s rude to eavesdrop, Harry,” tsked Tonks.
“You two are the ones talking in front of me.”
“But still -”
“He has a point, Nymphadora,” Remus smiled his heart-swooning smile again, enjoying the look stunning of frustration of her face because he sided with Harry.
“You two have the most interesting banter. It’s a lot more entertaining than Ron and Hermione’s,” Harry hinted with innocence sparkling on his face.
“Those two tend to bicker, rather than banter,” Remus pointed out without picking up the hint.
“I’ve noticed that,” Tonks said with a nod. “Remus and I are all fun and games. Those two are just like, grr, hiss, claw!” She made swiping motions with her hands as she spoke.
Harry laughed heartily at the expression on her face, “Uh huh, that’s Ron and Hermione for you.”
“You watch, those two have a ticking clock on them.”
“What’dya mean, Tonks?” Harry questioned.
“They’re going to be together in no time! A year, maybe two?”
“What? Oh, oh yeah. Those two - Psh. They’ve been practically engaged since first year,” Harry shrugged at being told what he already knew.
“Ah, yes,” Remus agreed softly. He motioned to the Daily Prophet in front of Tonks, “May I see that?”
“Go for it.” She pushed the paper to him.
He took it slowly and begun to read intently. Tonks let her eyes rest on his face for a moment while he was distracted. It was obvious that he was exhausted beyond comprehension. His patched robes made him look all the more tired, she guessed. However, he still had managed to keep up their normal, playful conversations. The entire week had consisted of them, and Tonks knew that there would never be anything like it. The best part was that it was never really suggestive, and it could be covered as conversation between two good friends. Innocent, but intimate.
She looked at Harry and realized he was watching her with a raised eyebrow. His eyes glittered with impish accusation, making motions with his eyes toward Remus before making a kissing face.
Tonks replied with a glare, and Harry begun to laugh.
They both glanced at the older man. He paid them no mind.
“You’re evil,” Tonks hissed at Harry as she turned to him.
“Are not,” he declined. “I’m actually a gentleman. You know, holding open doors, doing the whole sir, ma’am thing, treating girls right... I’m simply pointing out the obvious.” Harry kept his voice a low whisper, leaning toward Tonks so that Remus wouldn’t hear his words.
“I haven’t done anything!”
“Aw, come’on. It’s not like I’ve dropped a Dungbomb on you or anything.”
“But Sirius and yourself have a joy of meddling in things that don’t need to be meddled with,” Tonks replied simply.
“Oh - Oh yeah. Because you’ve got it under control?” asked Harry with a skeptical expression.
“Exactly,” she replied as her arms folded in front of her.
“But it’s just so damn fun,” he complained quietly. “There’s nothing to do around here.”
“You know, if annoying me is your hobby, I think you need to get your priorities straight...”
“It’s not a hobby though,” Harry replied, “It’s helping the construction of our friendship.” He grinned.
They let themselves sit in silence for awhile, the only sound coming from Remus sipping his tea and Molly fixing breakfast. Harry and Tonks remembered their drinks and finished them slowly, enjoying the silence.
Bored, Tonks glanced up and suddenly broke out into a cheeky grin, “Why don’t you go bother Ginny, Harry?”
Harry flickered his eyes over to the hallway, and sure enough, there was Ginny Weasley. He watched her approach her mother, greeting the woman while touching her shoulder. “Good morning Mum. Need any help?”
“It’s fine, dear. I’m almost finished,” Molly replied kindly.
“Okay, just let me know if you need an extra hand,” Ginny nodded, now heading toward the three at the corner of the room. “Good morning, you three,” she flashed them a radiant smile.
Harry grinned in return, “Mornin’ to you too.”
Tonks let out a quiet snort before Ginny reached her side and took a seat.
“Nice hair color, Tonks,” Ginny studied her hair with amusement.
“Why thank you,” Tonks beamed. She had a fondness of both of the teens sitting on either side of her. They were both full of life, smart, and were tiptoeing around each other. Harry was easy to talk to but guarded, and Ginny was confident but humble. They were an interesting pair that seemed to enjoy her company also.
“Everyone’s up early this morning,” Remus observed softly, looking up from the paper in his hands.
“Anything interesting?” She leaned forward to glance at the paper.
“Wasn’t the paper in front of you?”
“I didn’t get a chance to read it,” Tonks jerked her thumb at Harry, “Potter here distracted me.”
“Whoa there,” Harry said defensively, showing his palms, “I didn’t do anything. Mr. Lupin came over, and he distracted you.”
Ginny grinned at Harry’s ploy. Neither Tonks nor Remus noticed.
Remus’ mouth turned downward into a frown, “Well, here you go then,” he passed her the paper, “Nothing of interest, though.”
“Let’s take a look-see, shall we? You can never go wrong with the Quidditch section,” Tonks smiled.
“No, no I suppose not,” Remus replied with an equally large smile.
Once again, neither noticed Harry and Ginny share a look of mischievous understanding.
Saturday and Sunday followed in same fashion as the rest of the week. It all seemed to roll past... Ron, Harry, Hermione, and Ginny spent most of their waking moments together, but Harry and Ginny spent time with each other the most in particular; Sirius drank and enjoyed the company of his cousin; Fred and George did their experimenting and irritating their mother to no end; the other Weasley men went to work and did some dirty work for the Order; various Order members stopped by the home; Tonks and Remus continued their late-night conversations, let their friendship flourish, went out and did a couple of things for Dumbledore, and quickly became, for lack of a better word, inseparable.
“Back to work tomorrow,” Tonks groaned loudly as she threw her things into her duffle bag. As her clothes flew through the air, they magically folded themselves and fell quite neatly into the bag.
Remus watched her with an amused expression. Since Friday, his condition had continued to deteriorate, and at the moment, Remus appeared to be about ready to collapse at any moment. Tonks, however, knew that, despite his appearance of looking like he was going to drop dead at any second, Remus Lupin was as tough as nails. Even still, the smile on his lips was obviously strained.
“I thought you enjoyed being an Auror,” he replied in a soft voice, softer than she was used to.
“I do, but I just realized how nice having downtime is!” Tonks sighed. She had forgotten how nice it was to be able to sit down and have conversation with old friends. “It was my first vacation since I entered the force three and a half years ago.”
“Workaholic, much?” Remus offered.
“Yeah, yeah,” Tonks rolled her eyes, “It’s just that I never had a reason to take a vacation until now - Heck, it wasn’t even my idea. However... I can say that it was enjoyable.”
“I’m going to miss this house filled with youngsters,” Tonks sighed as she sat on her bed, staring at the droopy-eyed Remus sitting in a chair across from her.
“You know you can always drop by before and after work,” Remus pointed out.
“Is that an invitation, Mr. Lupin?” The coy smile on her lips made Remus’ heightened emotions throw a fit.
He swallowed with difficulty, “Well, you know... Sirius and I will need the company after the kids go back to school. It gets lonely, getting cooped up in this house. I can’t imagine how Sirius is going to feel once all the company is gone...”
Tonks marveled at how much Remus cared for his friend. Despite feeling like a pile of shit, Remus still thought about Sirius’ well-being. “I suppose we’ll have to keep him from going mad, then? Besides, I bet we can sneak him out of this hellhole when he’s in pooch form.” She grinned widely.
Sometime during the week, Sirius had gone into great detail about how he had escaped from Azkaban. This included telling Tonks about his secret Animagus form. It then led to Tonks’ curiosity getting the better of her and asking how he had learned to do it since he was unregistered. They had spent the rest of night speaking in murmured tones about Sirius, James, and Peter becoming animals for Remus.
“Dumbledore won’t be happy about it...”
“Who says he has to know, Remus?”
“You know how risky it would be, Tonks. Think about it for a moment please. He’s a fugitive. You know that Kingsley’s ‘leading’ the investigation on him, and you know that if they find out he’s leading the Aurors in the wrong direction...” The irritation in his voice was hard to miss.
“Easy there,” Tonks leaned over to pat his arm comfortingly, “I’m just suggesting it... But how would they ever find out if we stay in muggle London, go out disguised, I’d be little old grey-haired granny, and you’d be little old hard-of-hearing grandpa. And then we’d make Sirius go as a dog? We’d have our wands; we could Apparate before anything could happen.”
Remus mused for a moment. She did have a point. “Well, we’ll see, I suppose.”
“Attaboy, now that’s what I’m talking about!” Tonks’ joy was unconfined and though it brought a smile to his lips, she looked very young, and he felt very old.
With the familiar sinking feeling in his chest, he stared out the window and out onto the darkened street of Grimmauld. The park across the street was almost invisible in the darkness, only the winding path visible because of the dimly lit lamps along it. A streetlamp flickered on and off and on again before flickering off permanently.
“I suppose you’re going to drop by tomorrow?” Remus asked, knowing full well that she would.
“I suppose I was thinking about it,” she replied nonchalantly.
“I thought so,” he told her, silently knowing that she would want to see him again.
It made a wave a guilt sweep through him; he wasn’t supposed to be playing her. He wasn’t supposed to be sitting in the room she had been occupying the entire week; he wasn’t supposed to be up late talking with her long after Sirius retired to bed; he wasn’t supposed to be going along with her flirting with him. He couldn’t stop himself.
Remus told himself over and over again that it was harmless, that she knew that they would only ever be friends, but deep down, he knew he was lying. She was into him. For whatever her reason was, she was into this old man with his tired eyes and lycanthropy. Maybe he only let her become close friends with him because he needed someone other than Sirius to lean on... Maybe it was because he could feel himself falling for her too...
Either way, it was wrong.
But he couldn’t stop himself. It was uncontrollable...
But what harm could it do? If they enjoy each other’s company, and they weren’t pushing any boundaries...
“Just know that tomorrow is a full moon.” His voice had dropped to a weak murmur.
“I haven’t forgotten,” she told him confidently. “I’ll try to stop by before sunset, but if not, I’ll drop by Tuesday morning?”
Her voice was so hopeful that Remus couldn’t possibly bring himself to tell her that he wouldn’t be up for company...
“That would be fine,” Remus agreed with a crinkled smile.
Tonks then caught his mistake and grinned wickedly, “I thought you end up practically crippled the morning after.”
She had been paying attention to all the conversations they had. Or, at least, she remembered them clearly.
“Well, it depends,” Remus shrugged. “I have a feeling that this full moon won’t be as bad. I barely noticed the PWS this month.”
“Oh, right, you told me about how the PWS determines how bad the transformation will be...”
It all seemed very odd to Remus. He never discussed his lycanthropy as openly with anyone besides his three friends form school. It made most people uneasy, and that was an understatement, to think about him becoming a werewolf, let alone talk about it. Tonks, however, spoke about it in a tone that made him feel like they were talking about tea or work. She was stretched back on her bed, hands behind her head, staring up at the ceiling.
Remus found himself staring at her again, and he sighed soundlessly.
“What time is it?”
He glanced at his battered watch and answered, “About nine.”
“I should be going then,” Tonks mumbled in return, sitting up and swinging her legs over the side of her bed. “I, of course, have the luck of getting the early shift my first day back...”
Remus chuckled, asking, “How early is early?”
“Six in the morning,” Tonks grumbled as she stood, making a motion to grab her bag.
Once again, Remus was faster, “Whoa, I’m still the gentleman here. I’m emotional and sore, not crippled. At least, not yet.”
“Lovely,” she snorted as she stepped out of the room that, somehow, she knew would become very familiar to her.
“Mornin’ Tonks,” Robert Proudfoot greeted her quietly. “How was the vacation?”
“Good,” Tonks replied sleepily, “Wish it was longer.”
Proudfoot chuckled, “It always ends up happening that way.”
The office was nearly dead; only herself, Proudfoot, and a couple others were bustling about. She had only graduated from training in November, making her still a junior to all her colleagues. However, she had gotten the top marks overall in her group and had been named highly gifted, so she was put with one of the teams of senior Aurors as they needed a fresh recruit to even it out.
In other words, she had do all the paperwork they didn’t want to do.
“Anything interesting happen while I was gone?” Tonks questioned Proudfoot as she checked her box for any paperwork. She gave a look of disgust when she realized a large amount had accumulated over the course of the week.
“Not particularly. The usual junk, but Shacklebolt caught a lead on Black,” he called in reply.
Since she was placed with the senior Aurors, Tonks didn’t work out of a cubicle. They had their own set of desks at the far end of the office, right across from the Head Auror’s office. Strolling to her desk, Tonks counted herself lucky that she didn’t drop the stack of paperwork she was carrying.
She groaned when she realized that there wasanother stack of work in addition to the one she was carrying on her desk also. It was smaller, but not by much.
Proudfoot was chuckling quietly again, “Don’t worry about it. You won’t be the junior forever.”
“Puh, easy for you to say! You don’t have the hell itself stacked up on your desk.”
“Been there, done that,” the forty-year old man shrugged.
“Now, what were you saying about Kingsley hitting a lead on Black?” Tonks questioned as she took a seat. She figured she might as well be amused while she started on the day’s worth of paperwork.
“Turns out he was spotted fleeing the country,” Proudfoot explained, “However, they know he’s going to come back, since Harry Potter claimed to have seen He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named return. This means that all they have to do is watch and wait for Black to seek out his master.”
The skepticism in his voice was hard to miss, and Tonks figured she might as well humor him.
“What do you mean, ‘Harry Potter claimed to have seen He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named?’ You don’t believe him?” Tonks didn’t bother looking up from her parchment.
Proudfoot’s desk was right across from hers, and she could hear his fingers drumming as he answered, “Well, I suppose his story makes sense, don’t you think? How in the world would have Diggory’s son have been murdered otherwise? The smell of the Avada Kedavra was all over him...”
He thought for a moment before continuing, “But then again, why haven’t the muggle-massacres begun yet? Why haven’t the Death Eaters begun parading? I think that it’s possible that Potter and Diggory were attacked by Death Eaters, and one of them was impersonating He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.”
Tonks liked Proudfoot the most out of her team. He was sensible, thoughtful, and didn’t think Tonks was an idiot like the other three. John Dawlish and Michael Savage proclaimed flat-out that they believed Harry was a nutter. Tonks and Proudfoot had rolled their eyes at them; they failed to see that Diggory was murdered. They figured Diggory had died in the challenge, but they failed to recognize that his body’s examination came back with no explanation for his death...
Gawin Robards, the Deputy Head Auror, simply turned the blind eye and claimed he had no idea what went down but claimed it was impossible for the Dark Lord to have returned.
“That’s a good theory,” Tonks murmured without an ounce of emotion.
“What do you think?”
She glanced up at her friend’s face with a shrug, “Well...” She had to make this as believable as possible, “I think that he might be telling the truth...”
“Well, I mean, how could he have made something like that up? Diggory was killed by the killing curse, for christ’s sake. If you think about your theory, you have to wonder how a Death Eater could impersonate Vo - He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named... No hair, no Polyjuice, and I don’t know how someone could get all the transfigurations right to match him exactly.”
“That’s true...” Proudfoot was rubbing his black beard thoughtfully.
“And... Potter seems like a good kid. Dumbledore sides with him... And you know Dumbledore... He could just be lying low, building up his power quietly to catch these Ministry idiots off guard...” Tonks glimpsed at him. “I mean, if you think about it, all the facts are there.”
Proudfoot blinked at her several times before saying slowly, “That’s one scary thought.”
“That He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named has returned and that the Boy-Who-Lived lived to tell the tale once again.”
“It’s going to tear the Ministry apart when they discover the truth.”
Proudfoot shared her and Kingsley’s opinion that the higher ups of the Ministry were power-hungry buffoons.
“I - I think you’re right...” She had never thought about what would happen to the Ministry once word got out about the truth. It suddenly dawned on her how bad the situation was going to get...
Tonks dropped her gaze back to her paperwork, and nothing more was said about the topic.
“Whoa there Tonks! Miss us already?” Fred and George Weasley grinned their matching grins at her, looking up momentarily from their latest invention.
Tonks grinned at the red-heads, “Yeah, I can’t keep away from you all now that I’ve gotten a taste.”
Molly strolled into the sitting room and upon seeing her, greeted, “Oh, hello Tonks. Did you just get off work, dear?”
She nodded, rocking back and forth on her heels, “You bet. I actually was looking for Sirius...” That was actually a flat-out lie, but she figured Remus would be with him.
“He should be upstairs with Remus, preparing for the full moon. You’d better hurry, it’s sundown in half an hour,” Molly smiled kindly but knowingly.
“Thanks a million,” Tonks said as she returned the gesture. Turning on her heels, she bounded toward Remus’ room, careful not to trip or stumble.
Reaching his door, she rapped on the door twice.
“Just a moment,” Remus’ voice called from within.
Tonks couldn’t keep the grin from rising at the sound of his voice.
God, she was pathetic.
The door pulled open slowly, and Remus was blinking in surprise at his visitor. His wet hair was swept back, water dripping onto his shoulders. After the initial shock, he smiled his sad smile, “Hello Tonks.”
“Hi, Remus,” she greeted happily. Looking up at him, she noticed that he appeared even worse than he had the day before, and she didn’t know that was possible. “You’re looking peachy this evening.”
“Uh huh,” he replied quietly. Remus stepped back into his room, and Tonks followed silently. Running a hand through his hair, it dried instantly.
Taking a seat in his chair, she asked, “Where is your werewolf thing going down?”
“Sirius and I are going back to the Shrieking Shack,” Remus told her before taking a vial of dark-colored liquid and gulping it down whole. He begun to cough afterward.
Tonks frowned, “Is that even safe?”
He managed to choke out, “What do you mean?”
“Just you and Sirius going out.”
“Hm? No, uh, once we’re in the shack we’re safe. No one goes in there, and Dumbledore set up a ward so that no one other than us two can Apparate in.”
“Just like old times, eh Remus?” Sirius grinned, strolling into the room. “Hey there Tonksie, back so soon?” The glimmer of mischievousness was ever-present.
“Mm, got off early, figured I shouldn’t drink alone,” Tonks grinned.
“Uh, you know that we’re,” he made a back and forth motion with his index finger between himself and Remus, “leaving, right?”
“Oh yeah, I know. I was talking about Harry.”
Remus gave her warning look, and she laughed.
“I was kidding, Remus.”
“I hope so. He’s still young,” he murmured this quietly. “Sirius, we should be going. We’re running short on time, and... Better early than late.”
“Alright Moony,” his friend nodded.
“Be safe, you two?” Tonks questioned.
“Of course,” Remus replied effortlessly. He touched her bare arm as he made his way out. Tonks bit her lip. “Sirius is keeping an eye on me.”
“Oh, very safe,” Tonks grinned at her cousin.
“I’m very skilled at handling werewolves, ‘cos,” Sirius smirked.
“See you, Tonks,” Remus nodded, sending her a look that she really couldn’t decipher. He then turned and left her sight.
“Catch you tomorrow morning,” Sirius winked knowingly.
She snorted while shaking her head at her cousin as he followed Remus out. Tonks was left sitting in the room the smelt entirely of Remus. It was obvious that he had been living with Sirius with quite sometime. She couldn’t blame him; Sirius needed the company, and Remus needed the place.
Werewolves weren’t exactly lucky in their job opportunities.
Sighing softly, Tonks stood from Remus’ desk chair and glanced around his room. She approached his bed and ran her fingers delicately against the sheets, unable to keep the image of him sleeping in the fairly-sized bed out of her head. It was unfortunate that someone as great as Remus was subjected to such a lonely life...
She had realized quickly that for the longest time, Remus was alone.
It surprised her to find out how much she understood him and how easily it happened. She noticed things, tiny habits that he would do when he was uncomfortable or calm. Tonks learned about his past, and he learned about hers. They became friends, real and true friends, and they both knew that it was going somewhere. Maybe not in the immediate future, but someday. Over the past week, to be honest with herself, she realized that Remus Lupin was so much more than what she had originally believed, and Tonks was okay with that.
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