She'd always watch him. She couldn't help it for the life of her. Tonks did not know why exactly, but something about Remus
Lupin had caught her attention.
He never ceased to amaze her, and she'd always taken to the challenge of trying to read those utterly hazel eyes of his.
He was so well-guarded.
Perhaps it was compassion?
Those circles around his eyes were darkening day by day, but yet he still had taken care of all of them. He'd taken Tonks
to St. Mungo's when she was badly hurt. He had to relay to her the terrible news, held her when she cried, stayed with her;
he simply comforted her.
He also had to give the terrible news to all those that hadn't known yet. And the whole time he'd kept that calm exterior.
Sirius had been his best friend for some twenty years - since their days at Hogwarts. Tonks thought that out of all of them
he would be feeling the worst - that was a given. He would be hiding again.
But he wasn't - or he wasn't showing it.
He'd calmly taken all the responsibility on his shoulders. He was now taking care of young Harry.
Toward Bellatrix. . . Toward Albus Dumbledore for keeping so much from Harry. . . For trapping him in Number Four with
those awful Muggles.
Tonks knew that Remus and Sirius had had a row the night before the incident at the Department of Mysteries. What the argument
was about, she didn't know. Maybe it was eating him up inside.
Maybe this was his way to deal with things - maybe he was pushing everything
away. . .
But in any way - no, in every way Remus Lupin was strong. He'd been through more than the ordinary person could imagine
- so much that a different person would have given up. But yet he went on. . .
This was why she loved him.
Remus was everything she wasn't. He was braver than she ever was, or ever would be. He was stronger. He was calm, and compassionate
. . . genuinely easy-going. Would have made one hell of an Auror . . .
Tonks wasn't surprised that she'd fallen in love with Remus sometime in the past year. No, what surprised her was how
long it took for her to realize it.
Yes, she'd had a crush on him when she met him at the age of eight, he, twenty-four, but she never would have imagined
things would blossom into this.
If her mother found out, she would be astounded that her twenty-three year-old daughter had fallen in love with a man fourteen
years older than she, not to mention lycan. But Tonks had known him for ages now. In a way, he'd become a brother,
just like Sirius had . . . like Sirius was.
"Tonks, dear, are you all right?"
Tonks jolted out of her musings, looking tiredly at the clearly worried Molly Weasley, slightly embarrassed.
The young witch had stayed behind to have tea after the usual Order meeting, set once a week. This week, it had been set
on Friday. They had to change the days to keep the other side off track.
"I'm fine," she answered, carefully raising her cup to her lips to finish off the rest of the luke-warm Earl Grey.
"Perhaps you should get some sleep," Molly said gently.
"Yeah," agreed Tonks, rising to her feet. "Thanks for the tea, Molly."
"Of course. Goodnight, dear."
Tonks bid goodnight and trudged out of the dining room, only stopping to say goodnight to the few people that were still
milling around the house, which included Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione.
Seeing all of them together like this brought a small smile to her lips. They were adorable, really.
Lounging in the sitting room, Ginny was asleep on Harry, her head nuzzled into his neck, his head resting on top of her
fiery red hair, bright green eyes staring blankly at the wall opposite the room. Hermione and Ron, however, were sitting near
the fireplace, in their more "flirty" spirits. Hermione's legs were thrown over Ron's lap, her nose buried in a book, while
Ron himself had a book resting on top of her legs, a small smile on his lips as he head rested on his hand.
Not wanting to disturb them, Tonks quietly slipped away and up the staircase.
Really, they should stay that way forever.
She stopped at a familiar door.
Maybe she would stop in and say goodnight.
Schoolgirl crush, said a wry voice, sounding much like her mother.
Tonks gently and silently opened the door, thankful that he had cast a spell to stop it from squeaking.
But he was already asleep, and her heart sank a little. Then again, he never look so rested or peaceful. Adorable, really.
In nothing but wool socks, old khaki trousers and a blue dress shirt, he slept on with no blanket. A arm was rested above
his head, the other resting on his midriff.
Tonks knew she should leave, let him be, but she couldn't help herself. And her feet seemed to be thinking different. If
feet could think, they wanted to get her in trouble right now.
Tonks quickly corrected the small table she'd knocked over near the door, clenching her teeth at the loud thud it had made,
praying Remus wouldn't wake.
Thank Merlin he simply snorted and turned his head.
Carefully and quietly, Tonks reached his bed and silently pulled herself onto the mattress. She placed her head on his
shoulder, a hand to his chest.
She breathed in the sent that was Remus Lupin. . . Wool, tea, peppermint . . . rain.
"Tonks - what are you doing?"
She gave a start at the sound of his slightly hoarse voice, a little dry from sleep.
"How'd you know?" she asked, lifting her head to look at him.
"You aren't exactly discreet," said Remus, his eyes still closed as a small smile tugged at his lips.
"Never the graceful one, are you, Tonks?"
She swatted at him playfully. "I've been told that already."
"But you never answered my question before, Tonks," he said after a moment of silence.
"Because I could," said Tonks. "'Cause I wanted to. Because you're a comfortable pillow. Pick one."
He snorted, rubbing his eyes.
Tonks snuggled into him. "Thanks, Remy."
She gasped as her hand shot to her mouth, a giggle escaping her. She hadn't called him "Remy" since she was a little girl.
"Sure, Dora," Remus teased back.
She laughed into his chest, nostalgia settling into her again. She remembered all those times she had spent trying to trick
the Marauder's when they'd visit her home. When Remus would tell her their stories, or how Sirius would bring her something
from Honeydukes, like Fizzing Whizbee's. She even remembered James and Lily coming once, Lily very pregnant with Harry. Her
belly was huge, that Tonks remembered clearly.
Remus looked down at her, a slight grin easing his lips.
"Do you think about him a lot, Tonks?"
Tonks frowned slightly, recognizing immediately who he was talking about.
"Yes," she answered truthfully. "Every day."
He automatically drew an arm around her, squeezing her tight.
"Remus, what was that row about between you and Sirius before . . . the Department of Mysteries?"
He frowned for a moment. He was silent for the longest time, and impulsively Tonks took one of his hands in her own. His
hands were large, callused and strong. She loved them.
She absently ran her thumb across his knuckles, watching the movement.
"I . . . . I don't really remember . . ." he said quietly as she laced his fingers with hers. "Something stupid . . . foolish.
It-it doesn't matter anymore."
For the first time in weeks she could see an internal conflict in his eyes.
"Sirius forgives you," Tonks whispered, watching their joined hands.
"You really think so?" his voice sounded pained.
"I know so," Tonks said automatically.
She wrapped her arms around him, allowing him to bury his face in her hair. She squeezed him tight as he sighed. "Thank
"It's no problem," Tonks' voice shook a little as he drew away, laying back against his pillows.
And then it was the way he looked at her. It was like seeing her old Remus again. He was just beautiful, that twinkle in
"I . . ." she couldn't think of anything to say.
So she acted - acted on instinct.
She simply closed her eyes and pressed her lips to his. . . He made a soft noise in the back of his throat, but he did
not pull away.
It was . . . everything she expected it to be. Soft . . . warm . . . peppermint and tea.
She parted her lips, tasting his warm breath before closing her lips over his full bottom one. She reached up and cupped
her hands around his neck, but immediately he tensed.
Tonks flushed as he abruptly pulled away.
"Tonks," he said, looking very confused. "What're you doing?"
"Kissing . . . you . . ." Tonks mumbled lowly, drawing her hands away from him. "Sorry . . ."
She made to get off the bed, but his grip around her waist tightened, holding her in place.
Tonks bit her lip, looking anywhere but him as an unpleasant heat creeped up her neck.
"B-because . . ." a shiver ran through her as she met his eyes. "Because I like you . . . I like you a lot - I-I mean I've
liked you for a long time."
"How long?" he nearly cut across her.
This was a day to embarrass her, wasn't it?
"Er - I'd say - erm - a year and a half now. . ."
She took a deep breath. "Well . . ." There were a million different reasons, really. "You're . . . well . . . complicated."
He was silent, waiting for her to go on. But she could think of nothing else to say.
For a moment he just lay there, looking at her.
The silence was deafening to her. She felt as if he was looking right through her with those mysterious hazel eyes of his.
"Tonks you wouldn't want me," he finally said.
She blinked. "Why?" It was her turn to ask questions.
"I'm a werewolf for one," said Remus. "I'm dirt poor - and I don't have a job."
"And what exactly does your not having a job have anything to do with me liking you?"
"I can't support anybody - I can barely support myself. I can't hold a job -"
"That isn't your fault," said Tonks sharply. "It's the fault of people like Dolores Umbridge -"
"Tonks, please," said Remus, running a hand through her hair, bringing it to a rest on her cheek. "Shouldn't you be going
for someone . . . younger. . . Someone like . . . Bill Weasley. I mean, at least he's not twelve years
older than you."
"Remus," said Tonks, "shut up. I don't want Bill Weasley - he has a girlfriend. I want to be with you - and I have
for a long time."
"He doesn't even live here -"
"I can make a decision for myself," she said stubbornly.
"I know you'd never hurt me."
"I wouldn't - ever - but the wolf -"
"We'll think about that later," Tonks said, pressing her fingers to his lips.
"Bvutt ei -" her fingers were still pressed to his lips.
"Shh. . ." Tonks smiled at him. "Can't you leave me to take a chance of my own for once?"
Once he went silent, she slid her fingers up into his hair, gently easing his head down to press her lips to his once more.
This time she got a response, him running his tongue along her bottom lip. She moaned as their tongues met in a deepened
kiss, pulling him closer to her.
"Mmm - we'd better stop," said Remus, pulling away. "There are kids in the house."
Tonks, however, was grinning.
"So you do like me . . ."
"Good - I had a feeling," she said, snuggling into him once more.