A/N: Much thanks
to my new SQ Beta Chary for helping me to smooth out all the rough edges. And thanks to FernWithy for writing the
beautiful stories that inspired me to write Remus/Tonks
in the first place.
"Ours be your patience then,
and yours our parts; Your gentle hands lend us, and take our hearts," Remus finished softly, with a small smile on his face,
closing the large volume of Shakespeare in his lap. Nymphadora
smiled up at him from her cozy seat, snuggled at his side on the cushy sofa in
the parlor of number 12 Grimmauld Place. Their
eyes locked for a brief moment, before he turned away to look back down at the
"I didn't like it as much as the last one we
read," she said. "It was funny, but I just can't forgive Helena for loving a man
so deeply undeserving as Bertram."
"I don't think we were supposed to forgive her,"
replied Remus. "I think we were supposed to
laugh at her."
"Well, we did that, I suppose," she said. Nymphadora looked down from his face, and gradually scooted
out of the close proximity that had been necessary for them to share the book.
The vanilla-spice scent of her perfume still filled his nose, and he found
himself oddly wishing that the feeling of her body leaning against his could
have continued for just a little longer.
Nymphadora cleared her throat, and looked up at him to say, "We
need to talk, Remus."
That didn't sound good. "All right," he said,
trying to sound chipper. "What is it?"
She looked at him seriously for a moment more, before
answering, "What would you say if I told you that I knew someone who was
interested in you?"
"Interested in me?" he answered blankly.
"Romantically," she said, rolling her eyes.
"You really are hopeless, you know."
Remus, in the meantime, had started staring off into space
before him, tapping his foot restively. This was not what he had expected at
all. "This isn't a hypothetical question, is it?"
She shook her head. "No, I really do know someone
who's interested in you." Her wide, silly grin made him extremely nervous.
Remus shifted uncomfortably, glancing frantically around the
room. He wasn't sure quite what he was looking for, but for some reason he
couldn't bring himself to look at Nymphadora.
"Well," he said, "I think maybe you should talk to
your—acquaintance—for me. You should tell her that I can't get involved with anyone
right now. I just … don't have room in my life for that."
"So you can fit in wizard chess tournaments with Bill
and Sirius, and long evenings reading Shakespeare with me, but not
romance?" Nymphadora asked, folding her arms
He hated this topic, but Nymphadora
seemed determined to talk it through. And he knew better by now than to try to
stop her when she was determined to do something. He could feel a headache coming
on. "Because…" he fumbled for an adequate response, "Just
because! It's just not something that fits in my life right now."
"So when was the last time you made room in your life
for romance, Remus?" she asked.
"Why are you so interested?"
"Just answer the question."
He sat still, thinking. "More than ten years,
now," he answered sheepishly.
"Would you care to explain why?" she asked,
arching an eyebrow at him.
Remus slumped back in resignation. She was going to ferret it
out of him, one way or another, so he might as well just tell her the truth.
"I tried having romantic relationships when I was younger. But I found
that—that those sorts of things just don't work out for people with my
Nymphadora scowled at him. Tonight's short curly blonde hair and full
cheeks made her look like a child pouting when her parents wouldn't buy her the
toy she wanted. Remus couldn't help but smile a
little at the image.
"You're blaming the lycanthropy, are you?" she
"Yes—yes I am."
"So werewolves aren't allowed to have romantic
relationships?" she asked.
"Of course we're allowed to try," he began,
"they just don't usually work out."
"I thought you were an intelligent woman, Nymphadora. Why do you think they don't work out?" He
was growing a bit irritated with this line of questioning.
She rolled her eyes at him, and shook her head. "I
know what you would say, but I'm not sure I'd agree with you."
"Let's find out, shall we?" he said. "Do you
agree that werewolves are more likely than other wizards to suffer unemployment
"And do you agree that werewolves are more likely than
average wizards to suffer frequent injuries, requiring the copious use of
healing potions and salves which further drain their already meager financial
"Well then, do you agree that werewolves pose a
significant danger to their loved ones, like spouses and children?"
"No, I don't."
"Finally, we find our source of disagreement," he
said. "So, what makes you think the loved ones of a werewolf would be safe
from the threat of attack?"
"Wolfsbane Potion, for
one," she said.
"Another significant drain on already strained
finances. Do you have any idea how much properly brewed Wolfsbane
Potion costs?" he asked.
"I've never looked into it," she admitted.
"More than I can afford," he stated flatly.
"Didn't you ever wonder why I don't use it?"
"I have wondered. I suppose I thought there must be
some side effect you didn't like, or something," she said.
"The only side effect I don't like is the way it
drains my bank vault every month. Once Umbridge
pushed through her anti-werewolf legislation, I discovered that I could no
longer find any work that would pay enough to justify the expense of the
potion, so I gave it up." He rubbed his head. His headache was getting
worse. How had a pleasant evening with a friend turned into this depressing
"Do you really transform in a cage every month?"
she asked in a small, sad voice.
"Yes," he said. "My parents had it installed
in the basement of our house when I was a boy. It was the only way to keep them
safe. Which is exactly the point I was trying to make—what woman would want to
be with a man she has to lock in a cage once a month, in order to keep him from
A sly smile spread across her face. "I don't know—it
sounds like fun to me."
He glared at her.
She started to laugh.
He shook his head in exasperation. "Really, Nymphadora. You should tell your friend I'm not
"So what were your reasons again?" she asked,
"Shall I summarize them for you?" he asked,
smiling back. The sound of her laughter always cheered him up.
He started ticking them off on his fingers. "One,
poverty—never an attractive quality in a mate. Two, danger to the lives and
limbs of the people I care about. Three, I'm too damn old and tired to keep
fighting a losing battle."
"I still think, if you really cared about someone and
she really cared about you back, that you could find a way to make it
work," she said seriously.
"Thank you for the vote of confidence, but I'm afraid I
will have to respectfully disagree," he said.
Nymphadora rolled her eyes at him. "Don't you even want to know
who it is?" she asked.
He shook his head. "I think I have a pretty good
idea—and that's the fourth reason I can't get involved right now. I'm not
interested in her."
"Is that so?" answered Nymphadora,
"Yes, it is," said Remus.
"Ginny was trying to set me up with Hestia all
summer, and I just couldn't convince her that I wasn't interested."
"You think I'm talking about Hestia?"
asked Nymphadora incredulously.
Remus looked at her, baffled. "Well, yes," he said.
"No, as a matter of fact, I'm not," she said,
smugly lifting her chin in the air.
"Then who are you talking about?" he asked.
She smirked at him. "So you want to know after all, do
"Yes…maybe. Not that it would change my opinion on the
matter. But now you've gone and piqued my curiosity."
She grinned wickedly at him. "Well, too bad," she
said. "I don't feel like telling you anymore."
"Nymphadora! Really …"
"No," she said, standing up. "Not going to
tell you. You'll have to figure it out on your own." She stalked toward
"You won't even give me a hint?" he called after
She turned back to glare at him. "Hopeless," she
said mournfully, shaking her head. "Absolutely hopeless." And then
she was gone—only the lingering scent of vanilla and spice remained.
Remus sank back into the couch with a sigh. He shouldn't waste
his time thinking about it. It wasn't worth the effort. She was probably just
teasing him. And even if she wasn't, it was probably someone he didn't even
like. But maybe …
Just in case, he began mentally reviewing the list of all
unattached women whom both he and Nymphadora knew
well. The list wasn't very long. And he couldn't fathom which of the possible
candidates might be harboring a secret passion for him. He sat there for a long
time, staring into the fire, pondering the possibilities.