A/N: This was
originally written for the June 2006 Remus/Tonks ficathon at the Live Journal community rt_challenge. It was
composed in response to the prompt “Things left unsaid.” Much thanks to the moderators of that
delightful community for the inspiration.
Sirius tipped his glass higher, and let the last few drops
of lager roll down the smooth incline and into his mouth. He sighed. That was
the last of it, then, until he could convince Remus to
go and buy some more—Molly certainly wouldn’t be bringing home any bottles when
she did the grocery shopping.
It had been a hard night at the end of a hard week. But he
felt he could finally rest easy now that Harry was safely settled into his room
upstairs. Sirius yawned, and put his feet up on the kitchen table, leaning his
chair back on two legs. He looked over at Remus, the
only other occupant of the kitchen. “Are you going to finish that, Moony?” He
pointed at his friend’s half-empty glass of lager.
Remus raised one eyebrow. “Still
thirsty?” he asked.
Sirius smiled at his friend’s mocking tone. “Nothing like a good argument to work up a man’s thirst. And
no one argues quite as well as a red-haired woman.”
Remus smiled thinly, and pushed
the glass toward Sirius. “Then by all means, help yourself.” The humor in his
voice seemed forced. In fact, he’d seemed out of sorts
ever since the Order meeting ended. Oh, he had put on a good front, playing the
part of the kindly professor while they had been explaining the political
situation to Harry, and telling him about the Order. But Sirius knew him well
enough to see that something was bothering him—something more than Molly’s
After taking a few sips of the proffered beverage, Sirius
looked intently at his friend, and said, “So, for a bloke who should be
toasting his own success in leading the mission that rescued Harry Potter, you
look mighty glum. And don’t tell me you’re just sleepy—I can always tell when
The corners of Remus mouth turned
up. “Am I really that easy to read?”
“You are to me. I knew you back when you were still
perfecting all those carefully guarded expressions of yours, remember? I can
still see right through them.”
Remus looked down at the table,
and nodded. “You’re right. I should be delighted that the retrieval mission
went so well. I certainly am happy that Harry is finally here, with the people
that really care about him. But …”
“But…?” Sirius echoed him.
Remus sighed. “It’s about Tonks.”
“What about her?”
Remus sighed again. “I was
beginning to think that she and I were friends—good
friends, even. But I’m afraid that I was mistaken.”
“What?” Sirius blinked in astonishment. Tonks’
preference of Remus over any other Order member had
been rather blatant. In fact, she appeared to have adopted Remus
as her personal Order of the Phoenix
mentor, and Remus had seemed to enjoy the
arrangement. What middle-aged bachelor wouldn’t like having a pretty young
thing like Tonks hanging on his every word? Sirius
wouldn’t mind having one or two witches like that for himself.
Remus shook his head sadly. “She’s
been acting very…uncomfortable around me since the full moon last week.” Remus paused, and looked down at his hands fidgeting on the
table-top. “I think that the full implications of my condition have finally
sunk in with her,” he said quietly.
Sirius choked on a sip of his lager. “You think she doesn’t
like you because you’re a werewolf?”
Remus nodded morosely. “I
shouldn’t be surprised, really, considering the administration she works for.
But I had hoped for better from her.”
“This is absurd!” said Sirius. “Tonks
is no bigot, and implying that she is, is as ridiculous as calling Snape handsome and popular.”
“I just can’t think of any other explanation for her
behavior lately,” replied Remus.
Sirius snorted. “How about a second
opinion? You tell me what she’s been doing that has
you so worked up, and I’ll tell you the real
reason she’s acting that way.”
“And you really think that a second-hand description of her
behavior will give you a better assessment of her motives than my own
first-hand experience with her?”
“Yes,” said Sirius bluntly. “You’re not always the best
judge of character, you know.”
“Oh, and you’re the paragon of empathy and emotional
insight, are you?”
“I didn’t claim to be. I just might offer you a fresh
perspective. And I know that Tonks is not a bigot.”
Remus glared at him. “Then what do
you make of this, with your fresh perspective? Ever since I got back from my
transformation, she’s been jumpy around me. When I try to get her alone for
private conversations like we used to have, she comes up with some errand she
needs to run, or a task she needs to complete, or she manages to bring someone
else along. It’s like she’s afraid to be alone with me. And every time I touch
her, she jumps away like I’m contaminated, and she starts tripping and knocking
things over. So if my condition isn’t behind this—what, pray tell, is?”
“Well,” Sirius began, mulling things over, “she has been
rather busy lately—lots of legitimate errands and such. And she does have a bit
of a clumsy streak.”
“This has been above and beyond a clumsy streak, Sirius.
Just tonight, in the middle of our top secret and supposedly stealthy mission I
bumped into her while we were securing the Dursleys’
kitchen. She leapt away from me faster than you can say Gryffindor, and managed
to break a plate in the process. Then, after the meeting, we were locking the
front door together. I put my hand on her shoulder to get her attention so that
I could congratulate her on her role in planning tonight’s mission. She got a
horribly uncomfortable look on her face, and promptly tripped over the umbrella
stand. Then, when I tried to pull her aside in the kitchen to ask her what was
wrong, she knocked over a candlestick and nearly upset a chair in her attempts
to avoid me. She clearly wants nothing more to do with me.” Remus
folded his arms, and sat back with a hardened look on his face.
Sirius pulled his feet down from the table one by one and
let the front legs of his chair fall to the floor with a loud thunk. An alternative explanation for Tonks’
behavior had already sprung to mind, but it might not make Remus
any more comfortable with his cousin—in fact, it might make things worse. He
tapped his finger restlessly on the table, wondering if he should mention his
new theory. Finally, he looked up into Remus’ eyes
and asked, “Have you considered confronting her with your suspicions?”
Remus shook his head forcefully.
“What would be the point? To make her feel guilty enough to
treat me more civilly? I don’t think so.”
“I’m still not convinced that your explanation is correct,”
“What else could it be?”
“I’m not sure,” lied Sirius.
“So much for your fresh perspective.
You’ve been extremely helpful,” replied Remus.
“Well, if you don’t want to talk to her about it, would you
mind if I do?” said Sirius, wanting an excuse to investigate his new theory.
“Yes, I would mind! I don’t want you to say anything about
this to her.”
“Because this is really none of your business, and I don’t
want you getting involved,” said Remus.
“I’m already involved, now that you’ve told me all about
it,” replied Sirius.
Remus frowned. “And I’m already
beginning to regret that decision. Please—just don’t bring this up with her. If
the problem is the lycanthropy, then
nothing you say will make a real difference. And if that’s not the problem,
then things will probably go back to normal on their own,
and telling her about my suspicions will only make me look like I’m paranoid.”
“That’s a valid point,” said Sirius, nodding in agreement.
Then he grinned. “Maybe you are paranoid.”
Remus grinned back. “Thank you so
much for all your helpful advice, old friend,” he intoned sarcastically. He
rose to his feet, stretching. “Now, since this conversation is going absolutely
nowhere, I think I’ll give it up and turn in for the night.”
“See you in the morning,” said Sirius, still grinning. Remus gave him a little half-hearted wave as he headed out
the kitchen door.
Sirius picked up Remus’ abandoned
glass, and finished off what was truly the last of the lager in the house. He
shook his head with a little smile on his face. Poor Remus
still hadn’t figured out that merely asking a Marauder not to do something was
no guarantee that the Marauder would obey.
Sirius was so preoccupied with Harry and the other children
that he didn’t find a chance to talk to Tonks alone
until several days later.
He had spent the first few hours of the day hiding out in Buckbeak’s room in an attempt to avoid being recruited into
Molly’s latest cleaning brigade. Assuming that the coast would now be clear, he
headed down to the kitchen for a late breakfast.
He was startled to see Tonks
already seated at the long kitchen table, eating her way through what he feared
were the last of the left-over breakfast sausages. “Wotcher,
Sirius,” she said tiredly. Her short pink hair was limp, and she had dark
circles under her eyes.
“Merlin’s beard, you look horrible!” said Sirius.
“Thanks—you really know how to cheer a girl up,” she said
with a cross look on her face.
“Oh, sorry, Tonks,” said Sirius.
“I’m just surprised to see you.”
Tonks sighed, poking listlessly at
her sausages with her fork. “It’s okay. I probably do look horrid. I’ve been
working an all-night stakeout for the last three nights, and this morning it
ran overtime when my relief was late—that prat
Williamson with his damned inability to tell time. I’m scheduled for two more
nights on the stakeout, and the night after that I’m supposed to be on night
duty for the Order. If you think I look bad now, just wait until you see me in
three days. I’ll look like a bloody Inferius.” She
stabbed one of her sausages fiercely, raised it to her mouth, and took a large
bite. “At least you say what’s on your mind, unlike some people around here,”
she muttered around her mouthful of meat.
Sirius sat down beside her, and raised an eyebrow. “What do
you mean by that?”
Tonks finished chewing her bite,
and slowly swallowed. “It’s just … well… have you noticed Remus
acting strangely around me lately?”
Her question brought his recent conversation with Remus flooding back into his mind. Now was the perfect
chance to find out what was really going on between these two.
“Strangely how?” asked Sirius.
“I think he’s avoiding me,” she said. “Just this morning, I
come here exhausted, looking for warm food and a sympathetic friend, and I
thought I’d get that when I found Remus alone in the
kitchen. But he immediately made up an excuse about needing to find a book in
the library, even though I could tell he had only just started reading his
Daily Prophet. It was like he couldn’t stand to be in the same room with me. I
wish he would just tell me what’s wrong.”
“I’m afraid that my old friend is the king of leaving things
unsaid when they ought to be talked about at length. It’s one of his worst
failings,” said Sirius. “So, you wanted him to stay?”
“Of course I did!” she said. “He’s my friend. Or at least I
thought he was.”
Sirius nodded. He was now almost certain that his theory
about Tonks was correct. “You know,” he said, “I
think he has been uncomfortable around you lately. He mentioned something about
the way you’ve been acting around him.”
Her face fell. “I’ve done it again, haven’t I? Why do I
always have to be so bloody obvious about these things?”
“You mean so bloody obvious about the fact that you fancy
“Yes!” she exclaimed. Sirius felt like giving a victory
shout—his theory had been confirmed with surprisingly little effort.
“I always do this!” she continued. “It’s like some sort of
mental disorder. Every time I start fancying a bloke, it’s as if I can’t help
myself. I start following him around like a lovesick puppy, and come down with
a serious case of the clumsies. Unfortunately, Remus isn’t the first man I’ve scared off this way. I
really am hopeless.”
Sirius let out a short bark of laughter. Tonks
glared at him. “My pain is funny to you, is it?” she said.
“Not at all—I just find it amusing that the two of you have
been capable of so thoroughly misunderstanding each other.”
“What do you mean?” she asked.
“I mean, he has absolutely no idea that you fancy him. Quite
the opposite in fact,” Sirius said with a smug grin.
“The opposite? What’s that?” she
said, looking utterly befuddled.
“Remus,” said Sirius slowly,
“thinks that you’ve been acting uncomfortable around him because you are
prejudiced against him.” He let his words hang in the air, waiting for her
Her eyes were wide, and her mouth hung open. “Prejudiced?
Prejudiced?” The pitch of her voice was rising. “Why the hell would I be prejudiced against him? For being
This question seemed ridiculous to him. Surely his cousin
couldn’t be serious. “No,” he said with a laugh. “For being a
Tonks face froze, and her skin
tone slowly fluctuated from red to white to red. “He’s … a werewolf?” she asked
“You’re joking,” he said. She continued to stare at him with
her somber red face. “You’re not joking,” he concluded. She shook her head.
“You mean he didn’t …?” Sirius stumbled over his words in
disbelief. “Dumbledore … Kingsley… No one …? You mean no one at all told you?”
“No,” she said in a flat voice.
“They must have all just assumed that you knew—that someone
else had told you,” said Sirius in amazement.
“They assumed wrong,” she said.
“Bloody hell. I don’t know what to
say,” said Sirius, truthfully.
“I thought his name seemed familiar when you introduced us,”
she said flatly, almost to herself. “I decided I must have heard Mum mention
him when she was talking about you. But that wasn’t it. I was consulting the
Werewolf Registry for a case a week before I met him. I must have seen his name
on the list of registered werewolves. I should have remembered—its part of my
job to remember these things. But I didn’t.”
Sirius nodded slowly. “That … makes sense.” This
conversation was growing more and more uncomfortable by the second.
“So Remus,” said Tonks slowly, “thinks that I am prejudiced against
werewolves; therefore, I am prejudiced against him.” Her face was hard, and her
eyes glinted with a fiery light. Sirius had never seen her look like this before.
He nodded quietly in response.
She stood, her fists clenched at her sides. “I’m going to go
have a little talk with our friend,” she said, and stalked out the door. Sirius
blinked in bewilderment a few times, and then hastily followed her.
She strode purposefully up the stairs,
and down the hall to the library, her back straight, her arms swinging, and her
fists still clenched. She stormed into the open library, with Sirius close on
Remus sat in one of the armchairs,
reading. A half-empty cup of tea sat on the side table beside him. He looked up
at their entrance. “Tonks, is something wrong?” he asked mildly.
“Wrong? You ask me if something is wrong?” she said. “You
think I’m a bloody bigot! That’s what’s wrong!”
Remus stiffened, and grew pale. He
glanced over Tonks’ shoulder to look Sirius in the
eye, with an unspoken question hanging between them. Sirius just shrugged, and
shot his friend a sheepish smile. This discussion was going to be very
Remus looked thoroughly unsettled.
“I just thought…” he began, then changed course. “Ever since my last
transformation you just seemed …”
“I didn’t even know you were a bloody werewolf!” she
“You didn’t… know?” Remus asked in
a hoarse voice.
“No one bothered to tell me!” she replied.
“And when I was gone for my transformation, you didn’t think
“I thought you had the flu!”
“I can’t believe I didn’t even notice that you were gone
over the full moon!” she said. “I’m supposed to notice these things! I’m a
bloody Auror, for Merlin’s sake.”
Sirius prudently refrained from comment, though he was
“So you really didn’t know?” asked Remus,
a hopeful gleam growing in his eyes.
“No. I really didn’t know,” she replied.
“So you’re not afraid of me?” Remus
said in a soft, hesitant voice.
“Afraid!? Of you?” she cried. “If I
was afraid of you, would I do this?” She strode up to him and ripped the book
out of his hand, tossing it to the floor.
“Or this?” she said as she abruptly seated herself in his
“Or this?” she continued, as she ruffed his hair with her
hands, and pinched his steadily reddening cheeks.
“Or this?” she cried, picking up his tea cup and taking a lusty
gulp. “Oh no!” she said, “Now I’ve drunk werewolf saliva! And I’m covered with
werewolf cooties! I’m doomed—doomed! Whatever will I do!”
Sirius could no longer help himself; he started to laugh. Remus looked at him for a moment, and then smiled. He began
to laugh as well. Then, Tonks joined in.
“So, are you sufficiently convinced,” she said to Remus, “or do you need another demonstration?” She leaned
into him with a mischievous gleam in her eyes.
Remus chuckled. “I’m convinced.
You’re not afraid of me. And you’re not a bigot.”
“No. I’m not,” she said, looking deep into Remus’ eyes.
“And you really didn’t know?” he asked.
She shook her head. “I really didn’t know.”
“I’m sorry,” he said, not adding what he was sorry for.
“Friends?” he asked, holding his hand up for her.
“Friends,” she replied, gripping his offered hand in her
Sirius watched as they sat that way for a few moments—Tonks snuggled on Remus’ lap,
their hands clasped together, staring into one another’s eyes. They looked
perfect together. Sirius wondered if he was catching a glimpse of what the
future held in store, or if it was just wishful thinking on behalf of his
cousin and his friend. He also couldn’t help wondering what sort of effect
having Tonks in his lap was having on Remus, and whether or not it would be visible when he stood
“I do have one more question to ask you,” Remus said to Tonks.
“It doesn’t have anything to do with your periodic bouts of sharp
teeth and rapid hair growth, does it?” she replied.
“No, not at all.”
“Then ask away.”
Remus smiled—he hardly looked
nervous at all any more. In fact, he looked very much like he did all those
years ago when he discovered that his three best friends knew about his
condition, and that it didn’t bother them one bit. “Might I,” Remus began, “possibly, have my lap back?”
Tonks’ smile grew wide and bright.
Her cheeks were rosy with a blush, and she no longer looked the least bit
tired. “Certainly you may,” she replied. “Thank you very much for lending it to
me.” She stood up, still looking down into Remus’
“Anytime,” he responded.
“Is that a promise?”
“I’ll think about it.”
Tonks hovered over him for a
moment more with a pensive look on her face. Finally she said, “I think I’m
going to go get a coffee on my way home. And maybe a piece of
cake. At this little Muggle
café that I know. Do you like cake?”
Remus nodded, and stood up slowly.
“Yes. Yes, I like cake very much.”
“Would you like to join me?” she asked, looking at her
Sirius marveled at how she could be so brazen a few minutes
ago, plunking herself down in Remus’ lap, and how now
she could seem so genuinely nervous and shy. His cousin really was a
fascinating little woman.
Remus nodded again. “I would be
delighted to join you.”
“Brilliant!” she exclaimed, looking ready to start jumping
up and down. “Let’s go, then.” She headed for the library door, with Remus following close behind.
As they exited the room, Sirius asked, “So I’ll see you
later, then, shall I?” When neither of them responded, he frowned. “You’re not
the only ones who like cafés and cake, you know!”
Remus paused, and looked back with
a startled look on his face. “I’m sorry, Sirius. I’ll bring you back a piece of
cake, if you like.”
Sirius sighed, and nodded. He shouldn’t let his own
restlessness ruin their fun. “Yeah. That would be
great. Thanks, mate.”
“Bye-bye, Sirius,” said Tonks
brightly over her shoulder, and she and Remus
continued on their way.
Sirius smiled broadly, shaking his head. “They didn’t even
notice I was still in the room,” he muttered to himself, then
laughed lightly. He didn’t know exactly where this thing between Remus and Tonks was headed, but
he was fairly certain that he was going to have fun watching it get there. In
the meantime, there was a plate of abandoned sausages awaiting him down in the
kitchen. He strode down the hall with a bounce in his step,
and a smile on his face, humming a little tune. Not even housecleaning with
Molly could ruin his mood today. No—today, he was going to be happy.