Author’s Notes: I
owe a great deal of thanks to my wonderful beta reader Shimotsuki for all her help and advice. This story
picks up right where my story "Marauders Redux"
left off, but I worked hard to make sure that no prior reading in this fic-universe is necessary to enjoy and understand
"Transformations." But anyone interested in going back to the earlier
stories can find them on my author page.
Chapter 1: Girl Talk
Tonks was flying. Soaring over the brilliant green of an
unknown Quidditch pitch, her bat held at the ready in
her right hand. Which made no sense, of course, because she
hadn’t played Quidditch in more than a year.
And her Quidditch robes were purple, but she had
never played for a team that wore purple.
Sirius soared by on his broom—only it wasn’t the Sirius that
she was used to. This Sirius was blond and blue-eyed. Since when was he blond? Since Bill and I brewed him that Polyjuice Potion for his birthday. But we weren’t taking
him to play Quidditch—we were taking him to a Weird
A yellow-robed Chaser surged past her and passed the Quaffle to one of his team mates. With a start she realized
that her opponents were both members of the Weird Sisters. Oh—I must be dreaming. That explains things.
She looked around for her teammates. There was Bill, and
just beyond him was Fleur defending the goals. And Sirius was still zipping
around, trying to intercept the Quaffle. But someone
was missing. Where was Remus?
For her at least, Remus had been just as much the point of
their illicit trip to the concert as Sirius had been. She had been determined
to find out once and for all whether or not all of his flirting really meant he
was as interested in her as she was in him.
And she still wasn’t sure. Yes, he had continued to flirt
with her. But he also temporarily abandoned her with a group of her old school
chums, and allowed her to be pursued by a vulgar Quidditch
player without coming to her rescue.
But then he danced with her. And held her
close. And ran his fingers through her hair. And said the most beautiful things. And for a while, she
thought he might even kiss her. But Sirius had interrupted right at the crucial
moment and ruined everything. Damn him!
And now she was dreaming about Quidditch
and Remus was nowhere to be seen.
She urged her broom forward to chase a stray Bludger, and swung hard at it with her bat. The hit was
good, and the Bludger barreled toward another
yellow-clad Weird Sister. Suddenly two other players shot past her head. She
looked up at them. It was Remus! He and Myron Wagtail were chasing the Golden
A glance to her side showed her that the two Weird Sisters’
Beaters were batting the Bludger back and forth, and
seemed to be setting up a shot to send the thing flying right at Remus.
“Watch out for the damn Bludger!”
she cried after him.
He looked over his shoulder and swerved just in the nick of
time as the Bludger went soaring past him in a narrow
Tonks breathed deeply in relief. That would have been a very
hard hit—it could have knocked him from his broom!
Remus made a u-turn and pulled his broom up alongside hers.
“Thank you!” he said with a brilliant smile. “I appreciate your help.”
“You can have my help anytime you want it,” she replied.
“Oh good. I’ve been meaning to ask
you for some help with a little problem I’ve been having.”
“What sort of problem?”
“This,” he said, pushing up the sleeve of his robes and
holding out his arm. The small freckles dotting his arm were all a brilliant
shade of green.
She blinked in surprise as they suddenly changed to pink,
and then to orange, and then back to green.
“I can’t seem to make them stop,” he said. “Do you think
it’s some kind of spontaneous morphing? Is there such a thing as adult-onset metamorphmagus talents?”
Tonks shook her head. “I don’t know. But is this really the
best time to be talking about this? We’re in the middle of a match.”
Remus shrugged. “You said you would help me.”
“I didn’t mean right now.” A tiny golden glint caught her
eye. “The Snitch!” She pointed.
Remus held out his arm in front of her again and waved it. “My freckles!”
“Get the Snitch, you idiot!”
“Not until you help me with my freckles!”
“Ugh!” she grunted in disgust. She turned and urged her
broom after the Snitch. She would just have to catch it herself.
“Nymphadora!” Remus called after
her. She ignored him, and continued to zoom after the Snitch.
Then his voice sounded again, this time right in her ear.
She jerked, opened her eyes, and took a sharp breath. As the
room came into focus, she realized that she was lying on a sofa, with her head
in someone’s lap.
“What? What?” she said, shaking the sleep from her head. She stared upward, and saw Remus looking right down at
her with a smile on his face. Oh, Merlin!
Why the hell was I sleeping with my head in Remus’s lap?
What are you…? Where are we?” she asked.
“We fell asleep in the parlor, remember?” he prompted, still
smiling at her.
“Oh… yeah. Sirius
and his damned bottle of wine.” He had insisted on pulling a bottle of
the good wine out of his cellar after they got back from the concert, and for
some reason she let him talk her into a glass even though she was already more
than a little drunk. Lord, my mouth
She struggled to sit up. A sharp pain shot through her
forehead, right between her eyes. “Oh God, my head!” she said, covering her
eyes with one hand, and bracing herself up with the other. “I am never going
drinking with Sirius again!” And I still
have no idea how I ended up asleep in Remus’s lap. Just how drunk did I get?
“How about I go down to the kitchen and make us a pot of
strong black coffee?” suggested Remus.
“Yes, please.” She rubbed her head again. The pain was
receding slightly. Coffee? Is it morning already?
As he stood, she asked, “What time is it, anyway?”
“It’s about half-past eleven.”
She gasped in alarm. He couldn’t be right. “No! You’re
“The clock’s right there.” He pointed.
She looked over at the clock. It confirmed her worst fears.
“Oh no, no, no, no, noooo!” she moaned, putting her
face in her hands.
“What is it? Have you missed something important?”
“Not yet,” she said. “But I almost wish I had. I’ve got a
twelve-thirty lunch appointment with my mum. She wants to take me shopping in Diagon Alley. If I’d slept through it I’d just have to
apologize, but since I’m already awake, I feel obliged to rush and actually get
there on time. Uhhg!” The last thing she wanted right now was to see her mum.
What she did want was a few more hours of sleep, a hangover remedy, and a
toothbrush. Not to mention a chance to figure out just how she ended up passing
out on Remus’s lap.
“Can’t you just skip
it, and tell her later that you slept through it?”
She shook her head violently. “Oh no.
I can’t lie to my mum—ever. She can always tell. It’s this awful sixth sense
she has.” She couldn’t even count the number of times her mum had seen right
through whatever elaborate and well-constructed lie she had thought of. It was
“But you must lie to her all the time about the Order.”
“No,” she said honestly. “I’ve told her enough of the truth
to keep her satisfied. But I think she’s beginning to have her suspicions about
Sirius being involved—she just hasn’t confronted me about it yet. Sometimes
she’ll let me get away with holding back part of the truth—but I can never get
away with an outright lie. Never. Ooof!” She hauled herself to
her feet. “I really have to get going.”
“Are you sure you don’t want to stay long enough for me to
make some coffee?” Remus asked as she stumbled to the table where she had left
her jacket and pulled it on.
“Can’t spare the time.” She picked
up her bag. “My mum’s always been very strict about punctuality, and the last
thing I need today is one of her lectures. Which means I have
about…” She glanced at the clock again. “…fifty minutes to shower and
primp and get to Diagon Alley for our lunch
together.” She nearly tripped on Sirius, who was curled up on a rug, snoring. At least I wasn’t as drunk as him!
“It’ll only take five minutes—I promise. You really look
like you need some caffeine.” Why was Remus being so insistent this morning?
What was going on?
“Do I really look that
hungover?” she asked, glancing in the nearby mirror.
She gasped in surprise and raised a hand to touch the limp tendrils of
mousey-brown hair flopping shapelessly against her neck.
“My God!” she uttered. “I really must have been drunk to let it go back to this!” She’d taken great pains to make
sure Remus never saw her like this, and now it was all ruined. No wonder he was
so worried. She looked like the living dead.
“Nymphadora?” asked Remus. “Is this … how should I put this?
Is this your… original hair? The hair you were born with?”
She closed her eyes, and took a deep breath. “Unfortunately,
yes.” She turned away from the mirror. “Is it any wonder that I avoid going
brunette, when this,” she pointed at the brown hair, “is what I have to look at
every time I’m exhausted, or sick, or drunk? It’s hideous.”
“It’s not hideous.” He was very good at looking sincere,
even when she knew he couldn’t possibly mean it.
“Yes, it is!” She strode out of the room and down the hall
toward the front entrance. “If Mum sees me like this she’ll know for sure that
I was up to no good last night. I really, really need that shower.”
She bit her bottom lip, and fumbled with the buttons of
jacket. She must have been horribly pissed last night, and did who knew what in
front of Remus before passing out on him. And now she woke up looking and
smelling like an inferius. What must he think of her
after this? All she wanted was to escape. She reached the front door, and
noticed that she’d missed a button and fastened her jacket all wrong. Damn! But it would be too obvious to fix it
now. She took a deep breath, and started the lengthy process of unlatching
the door. As she opened it to step outside, she said over her shoulder, “See ya later, Remus.”
“Wait,” he said urgently, grabbing one of her wrists.
“Hey!” She was shocked by his sudden movement. “What is
wrong with you this morning?”
Remus’s expression was unfathomable. “It’s just … I just…”
Then, with another swift movement, he reached forward, took
her face in his free hand, and kissed her.
Her eyes widened, and an involuntary squeak emerged from her
lips before she could stop it. He seemed surprised, and she was afraid he was
about to pull away. No! He can’t stop
now! We’ve only just started! She
reached up to grab his neck with her free hand, and leaned into him, throwing herself enthusiastically into the kiss.
She’d wondered so many times over the past few months what
it would be like to kiss Remus, and now it was actually happening. She felt
dizzy and weak, like she was about to fall over.
Remus wrapped his arm around her waist, steadying her and
pulling her tight against his body. She felt a heady rush of excitement surge
through her as his lips moved eagerly against hers.
Far too soon, he broke off the kiss and pulled back to look
down at her. He looked flushed, and a boyish smile danced on his lips. Tonks
took a few deep breaths to clear her head. She still felt weak, and unstable.
She was glad to have his arms around her.
“Are you all right?” he asked.
She smiled, and giggled nervously. “Yeah.”
“Are you sure you’re well enough to Apparate?”
“Apparate?” Where would she want to
go, when she could stay here in his arms? “Why would I want to App… Oh shit! Lunch with Mum! I can’t believe I still have to
go to lunch with Mum. And now I’m going to be late for certain!” The last thing
she wanted right now was to have to face her mother.
“It’s all right, Nymphadora. Just take your time. A little
lecture on punctuality never killed anyone. Just go and try to relax, and have
a good afternoon with your mother.”
She nodded slowly, releasing her grip on his shoulder. So he
wanted her to go. Or did he? “When can I … when should I… can I come back
tonight?” she asked.
The eager brightness in his eyes encouraged her, but his
response wasn’t quite what she had hoped. “Tonight,” he said, “we should probably
both get to sleep early. I think we both need it.”
She began to slump with disappointment until he added, “But,
I am very much looking forward to seeing you tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow!” She smiled again,
standing up straighter. “Yes. Tomorrow. Tomorrow
night! I can’t make it over until tomorrow night. If that’s
okay with you?”
“Tomorrow night sounds excellent. I’ll be waiting for you.”
“Waiting.” She giggled again. “Waiting for me. Lovely.” Merlin, I sound like a silly little girl. I really need some sleep. Ohhh…and I a can just imagine the wonderful dreams I’ll
“I’ll see you then,” he said, slowly stepping back and
carefully releasing her as if he was afraid that she would fall and hurt
“See you—whoa!” As she stepped back from him she missed the
step down from the door. He leapt forward and caught her shoulders before she
hit the pavement.
“Clumsy oaf!” she exclaimed. “Me… not
you!” Why do I always have to do
this in front of him? But at least I got to touch him again.
“Do you need me to
walk you to the Apparition point?”
She shook her head in embarrassment. “No! No—really. I’m
fine. Just wasn’t watching, that’s all. I’m fine. I’ll see you tomorrow night.
Bye!” She flicked him a short wave, and turned, taking a deep breath and
straightening her back, to stride purposefully toward the nearby alley used by
the Order for discreet Apparition. She
was determined to quit the scene before she made even more of a fool of
But fate and a stretch of uneven pavement was against her.
She caught her foot on a rough patch, stumbled, and landed against the wall of
the nearest house.
She closed her eyes and shook her head in amazement at the
seeming boundlessness of her wretched clumsiness. She took a deep breath, and
turned back with another wave. “I’m fine! Really. I’m
fine. I’m just… going. Now.” She scooted into the Alley, concentrated on
the sitting room of her flat, and Apparated.
Her head was spinning when she reappeared in her flat, and
she quickly looked over herself to make sure she hadn’t splinched.
Everything appeared to be intact, and she breathed a sigh of relief. She closed
her eyes and gave herself a moment to think back over the events of the past
Apparently the answer to her burning question “Is Remus
really interested in me?” was a resounding “Yes!”
She still didn’t know quite what she did last night, but
whatever it was, it must have worked. With a little smile on her face she began
to hum a happy tune, and started shedding her clothes. It was time for that
Tonks sat at a table for two inside a small café on Diagon Alley, tapping her
finger impatiently on the table and staring intently at the entry-door. As it opened,
she caught her breath in anticipation, only to let it out in a frustrated huff
as two older gentlemen entered. Where was that confounded daughter of hers? She
had, as usual arrived five minutes early for her lunch appointment with
Nymphadora. And, as usual, her daughter was running late—more than ten minutes
late this time. That was five minutes later than usual.
knew that Nymphadora considered her strict ideas of promptness to be silly, but
this was pushing things a little too far. She took a sip of her tea, and
perused the menu for what felt like the fiftieth time. Finally, only fourteen
minutes after their agreed meeting time, Nymphadora walked into the café. She hastily made her way to Andromeda's
table, and sat down with a graceless plop.
"Wotcher, Mum," she said. "Sorry I'm so late. I
was tidying up the flat, and I completely lost track of time."
winced at the ugly word that her daughter seemed to think passed for “hello,”
and took a hard look at the tousled carrot-orange hair, rumpled Holyhead Harpies t-shirt, and oversized green cardigan. She
could hear Ted’s voice in her head, telling her to let it go—just this once.
But she couldn’t quite do it. "We both know that's not true,
rolled her eyes. "Fine. So I slept late. So what?"
clenched her jaw, and listened to her inner-Ted tell her that after the row the
two of them had two weeks ago when Nymphadora showed up at the charity auction
with neon green hair, she wouldn’t take kindly to another lecture right now.
Andromeda took a few deep breaths through her nose, and slowly unclenched her
jaw. The past few months had been a difficult but rewarding time because, for
the first time in nearly eight years, she and her daughter were talking and
visiting on a regular basis. She was determined not to ruin this new rapport
over something insignificant. "It's all right, dear," she forced
herself to say. "You work very hard, and I know that you need extra rest
when you have time off."
"Yeah. Thanks," said Nymphadora, looking slightly
surprised. Andromeda smiled. She always
enjoyed catching her daughter off her guard.
waiter approached, and took their orders. After he collected their menus and
left, Andromeda looked expectantly at her daughter. "So, how has your week
gone well. It's gone well," said Nymphadora, toying with her spoon. Could
the girl never sit still? "Nothing much exciting at
work. Just the usual batch of dark wizard accusations
to look into. I did catch one craggy old bloke trying to breed Acromantulas, but I had to turn the case over to the Regulation
and Control of Magical Creatures." She shrugged. "Other than that,
it's just been the usual."
couldn't help but smile at her daughter's casual description of her
workday. Nymphadora was always casual
about these things. "Your usual is everyone else’s terrifying and
smiled back at her mother. "You really have the wrong idea about my job,
Mum. You seem to think I get in desperate battles every single day, when really
it's only once or twice a month."
chuckled. Her daughter’s sense of humor was so much like Ted’s that sometimes
Andromeda felt like she could have the same conversation with either of them,
and they would each give exactly the same responses. "So was it a
desperate battle that kept you out late last night?" she asked.
lowered her eyes to the table, and bit her lip lightly, the way she always did
when she was about to say something she knew Andromeda wouldn't like.
"Last night wasn't business," she said. "Last night was
you have a date?" asked Andromeda eagerly. Although she knew that there
were still plenty of witches and wizards her daughter's age who hadn't yet
settled down, she couldn't help but remind herself daily that Nymphadora was
already five years older than she had been when she was married, and was still
very definitely single. She wanted her daughter to find someone she could be
happy with, and she also very much wanted at least one grandchild.
shrugged. "I just went out with a few friends."
some of those friends male?" asked Andromeda.
swirled her water around in her class. "They all were."
hopes sunk a little. Nymphadora had always been something of a tomboy, and her
circle of friends still reflected that tendency. "Oh."
fidgeted a little more. In fact she was fidgeting quite a bit more than usual,
which was saying a lot. Andromeda had
always been very good at reading her daughter's body language. "Is one of
those male friends someone that you might like to be more than just a
shrugged again. "Yeah. I'm pretty interested in
is he interested in you?" Unfortunately, at just that moment their waiter
returned with their meals. Nymphadora was easily able to use the food as an
excuse to deflect conversation in another direction. As they ate, they casually
chatted about work and old family friends, and Granny Tonks’s health.
don't know how you can stand to eat that," said Andromeda, pointing with
her fork at Nymphadora’s plate. They had both ordered curries; however
Andromeda had ordered hers mild, and Nymphadora had
ordered hers extra hot. "It’s like pouring fire right down your throat. It’ll
burn up the lining of your stomach, you know."
shrugged again. That was a very annoying habit of hers. Andromeda would have to
point it out to her sometime—but not today. Today she still wanted to find out
more about this new man in her daughter's life. "I'll just have the blokes
at St. Mungo's re-grow it for me," said
shook her head. "You and your father. I never
cook anything spicy enough for him."
minds think alike," said Nymphadora. "Or should it be, great tongues
taste alike?" She popped another forkful of the curry into her mouth.
smiled. "So where did you and your friends go last night?"
much as Andromeda wished that her daughter meant a symphony, or perhaps a
string quartet, she was certain that guitars, drums, and alcohol were far more
likely. A sudden thought crossed her mind. "Was it that Weird Sisters
concert?" she asked.
actually, it was. I didn't know you kept up to date on their concert
don't," said Andromeda. "The Prophet ran a piece about it this
morning. It seems the concert was interrupted by a false alarm that nearly
started a riot. Someone claims to have seen Sirius Black in the crowd. You
wouldn't know anything about that, would you?"
be a fool to show his face at a crowded concert." Nymphadora looked down
at her plate, and took another bite. She was being evasive again.
always was a bit of a fool when it came to good parties," said Andromeda.
They sat in silence for a moment. "When are you going to tell me the whole
truth about Sirius, Nymphadora? I know you've seen him. You've probably even
talked to him. I just want to know if he's all right. Please?"
sat in silence for a long moment as Nymphadora finished chewing her bite,
swallowed, and took a sip of water. Andromeda didn’t really expect an answer,
so she was shocked when Nymphadora looked back up and quietly said, "He's
fine, Mum. You don't need to worry about him." Andromeda took a deep
breath. This was the best confirmation she'd ever been able to get out of her
daughter. She'd suspected for months that Nymphadora knew something about
Sirius's whereabouts, and that, miraculously, she had come around to sharing
Andromeda's long-standing conviction that Sirius was innocent. But prior to
today all she'd gotten out of her were evasive non-answers.
you," she whispered. They sat in silence for a few moments longer.
"Do you think...that I can see him?"
looked at her plate again. "Maybe. I'm not sure.
I'll have to look into it."
mean you'll have to ask Dumbledore's permission."
daughter didn't answer, but she knew it was the truth. Eighteen years ago, Albus Dumbledore had asked Ted and herself to join a secret
vigilante society that he had formed to fight He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named without
the bureaucratic hindrances of the Ministry getting in the way. They had
declined. The safety of their daughter, and of Ted's Muggle relatives, had been
far too important to risk themselves like that. But
she was certain that now, after Harry Potter's unexpected declaration that the
Dark Lord had returned, Dumbledore had re-formed his society. And she was equally
certain that her daughter and her fugitive cousin were a part of it.
well then," she said. "You look into it. The sooner
finished their food, in near-silence, and left the restaurant. "So,"
said Andromeda, trying to break the ice, "I thought we could stop by Gladrags and pick out something nice for your Aunt Cissy's Christmas party. You are coming, this year, aren't
you?" Nymphadora had long ago refused to attend any event, or visit, or
meal, or errand that brought her inside Malfoy Manor.
But after getting her promotion to Junior Auror more than a year ago, her
father had finally convinced her to start coming to the annual Malfoy Christmas party. She conceded that it would be good
for her reputation. Last year she hadn’t stayed for long—she just made a token
appearance, had a drink or two, and then slipped out a side door. But at least
she came. Andromeda was hoping for more this year.
I'm coming." Nymphadora sounded unenthusiastic but willing, which was as
much as Andromeda could hope for. She was looking into the various shop windows
as they passed. She had seemed distracted all during lunch, and her mind still
didn't seem on the task at hand. Andromeda wondered just how late she was out
Andromeda said. "Cissy is always glad when the
whole family can make it."
nodded disinterestedly. A few minutes later they had arrived at Gladrags. They went
inside the shop, and started browsing through the racks of fancy dress
robes. "This one’s lovely,"
said Andromeda, holding up a deep purple robe embellished with lighter purple
nice," replied Nymphadora, barely glancing at the robe. Andromeda noticed
that her daughter was fingering a glittery silver robe. She certainly hoped
that was not what she wanted to buy for the Malfoys’s
party. Something like that would never
a few more minutes of browsing, Andromeda pulled another robe off the rack. It
was a tightly fitted deep green, with flowing skirts, a low neck line, and long
loose sleeves of a translucent material. "What about this one? It’s a
beautiful color," she said.
looked at the robe, her eyes lighting up with excitement. It seemed that they
had found something to agree on. Nymphadora walked over, and took the robe in
her hands, fingering the soft material. "This fabric is wonderful. I
really like this one."
don't you try it on?" Andromeda led her to the changing room. A few
minutes later, Nymphadora was decked out in the new robe.
turned and swirled before the large mirror. "This is perfect," she
said, smiling at herself. "And I
have the perfect hair to go with it." With a small scrunch of her face,
she morphed her short pink hair into a sleek auburn that hung around her jaw.
"What you think?" she asked.
look stunning," said Andromeda. "It's just right for the occasion."
And it was. She had rarely seen her daughter looking so lovely. "So shall
I get it, then?"
quickly shook her head. "You don't have to pay for it, Mum," she
said. "Junior Aurors make pretty
good money. I can buy it myself."
still like to treat you once in a while," said Andromeda. "Please,
indulge your old Mum for once?"
cracked her first genuine smile of the day. "Okay. Thank you."
Andromeda felt a warm rush in her chest. This must be what it wass like for all her girlfriends who were always talking
about fun outings with their daughters. It was nice to finally experience it.
the sales assistance was boxing up the robe for them, Andromeda asked, "Do
you think you would like to bring that friend of yours to the party this
no," was her instant reply. "No offense, but I just don't think he
would fit in there."
knew better than to ask, but she had her own ways of figuring things out. "Well, maybe you could bring him to our
New Year's party instead."
nodded thoughtfully. "Maybe. You tend to have a
more open-minded crowd there."
was beginning to suspect who this mysterious male friend might be. Last month Nymphadora had mentioned a Muggle-born
healer with whom she had become friends—a charming and talented young man whom
Andromeda had met on several occasions during her charity work at the hospital.
Muggle-borns had never been popular at Malfoy Manor, but they were more than welcome in the Tonks
household. It was very likely that he was the one she had been talking
about. He seemed like a wonderful young
man. The patients and other Healers were always saying good things about him.
He was just the kind of man she had always wanted for her daughter. If
Nymphadora didn't take the initiative, she might have to invite him to the New
Year's party herself.
they left the shop, Nymphadora turned to her mother. "Thank you for the
new robe, and for lunch, Mum."
was my pleasure," replied Andromeda. "You know I've been so glad to
do things like this with you again."
too," said Nymphadora.
felt that warm rush again. The lunch may not have started well, but all in all
this was one of the nicest times she had had with her daughter in years.
"Well then. I'll be seeing you in a week or two. And please…Don’t forget to
speak to Dumbledore for me, about… you know."
won’t forget. I'll see you soon." And with that Nymphadora headed off
toward the nearest Apparition point.
smiled. Things still weren't wonderful between the two of them, but they were
improving. Hopefully it would last.
collapsed onto her sofa when she returned to her flat. She tossed the robe box
onto the sofa beside her and stared at it, wondering what Remus would think when
he saw her in this robe.
mind had been spinning with thoughts of Remus during the whole outing with her
mum. She was amazed that she had managed
to make it through the whole thing without giving any of the details away. She wondered if she should go over to Grimmauld Place
right now. No, that would seem too eager. It had taken her nearly six months to
make this much progress. She wasn't
going to mess it up by getting obsessive and pushy now, right when things were
finally getting started.
she knew she ought to go to sleep. She
had work in the morning, and a very important appointment tomorrow night. But she knew her overactive imagination would
never let her fall asleep. There was only one thing to do. It was time to go
minutes later, she was standing on the doorstep of Cory's home. Cory answered her
knock with a bright smile. "Tonks! What a
wonderful surprise. Come in!" As
always, Cory’s home was a safe haven of normality to Tonks. She could smell a
cake baking in the oven, and heard the racket of little Geoffrey banging on
pots and pans in the kitchen. The two old friends sat down for a cup of tea. "I
can tell by that look in your eyes that you've got some news for me," said
Cory. "Can I assume that last night went well?"
was better than I ever could have expected," replied Tonks.
give me the details." Cory looked eagerly at her friend. Tonks took
several minutes to recount all of the wild adventure of last night. Of course,
she had to leave out the bits about Sirius, but that wasn’t hard when she had
plenty to tell Cory about Remus. She told her all about Remus's deliciously
flirty attentions to her all evening long, and how every time it seemed like he
might not be interested in her after all, he would suddenly do or say something
wonderful that would send her heart pounding. She described the wonderful slow
dances they shared, and the feeling of being in his arms. And finally, she
repeated in detail all the heart melting things that he had said to her after
the concert had ended.
did he kiss you?" asked Cory eagerly, plucking a sharp fork out of
Geoffrey’s hand before he could start scratching the furniture.
said Tonks, pouting. "We just drank too much wine, and passed out on the
said Cory. "After all that, you just fell asleep?"
shrugged. "I'm afraid so." She
tried to stay nonchalant, but she couldn't quite manage it. A silly smile
cracked her face.
"Ohhh! I know that look!
There's more to this story than you've told me, isn't there?" Cory quickly
leaned over to take a fragile porcelain sugar-bowl away from Geoffrey.
said Tonks, still grinning like a fool. "I'm getting to the best part—the
part that still has my head spinning!"
hear it then!"
morning, when I woke up I was lying in his lap, all wrapped up in his arms. I
looked like hell, and I was in a hurry to leave, but he didn’t want me to
leave. And on my way out, he grabbed my arm, and pulled me into his arms, and
kissed me. Oh, Merlin, it was wonderful."
Cory squeed in delight. "Oh Tonks! That's wonderful! He does like you! He more
than likes you. He’d have to be positively smitten to kiss you first thing in
the morning after a night of drinking. I've seen you like that, and you are not
a very kissable sight."
Tonks exclaimed in indignation.
only speak the truth, love."
rolled her eyes, and pulled Cory's wand out of the clutches of the passing
Geoffrey. "Maybe you're right," she said, with a dreamy smile. "Maybe
he is smitten. I can hardly believe it’s actually happening. I mean, I knew
from the start it was a long-shot to try to win him over. After all, he's been
living like a monk for the past decade—by his own choice. It really was
ridiculous of me to even think that he would consider being more than friends. But
I was just so completely infatuated with him. And now somehow, I've actually done
it." Tonks could feel her heart speeding up again with the memory of his
lips moving against hers, and his strong arms holding her close.
sighed, and had a dreamy look in her eyes. "That's the most romantic thing
I've ever heard."
think it's pretty damn great, but the most romantic thing you've ever
"Of course! Just think about it—more than a decade ago,
in heartbreak and dejection, he gave up on romance to live a life of solitude.
But now, re-energized with hope, he is emerging from that prison of self-denial
just to be with you.” She sighed. “And if he's really as dreamy as you say he
is, I'm sure he's had other opportunities. He just passed them up. He waited
for you. It's so beautiful, I almost want to cry. It makes marrying my school
sweetheart sound downright hum drum."
laughed. "You read far too many romance novels."
but that doesn't make me wrong."
stared out the window, her thoughts dancing. "You know—you might be right.
The way you said it, it really is one of the most romantic stories I've ever
heard. And I'm the star! Who would've thought it?"
would," said Cory. "I always knew you were destined for a life of
drama and adventure."
rolled her eyes again. "You’re not just reading too many novels, you’re spending too much time looking into that
crystal ball of yours."
haven't looked at that old thing in months. It's just so obvious, Tonks. It's
practically written on your face."
smiled indulgently. Cory came from a family riddled with seers, and nearly all
of them fancied they could tell something of other people's destinies. Her
otherwise common sense friend was no exception. "Right now," said
Tonks, "I don't care one thing about drama and adventure. I just want
another good snog with the bloke I've fancied for the
that," said Cory, "is something we agree on. You’ve needed a good snog for ages. It's
about time you got one."
of the friends laughed, but Tonks wasn’t entirely confident about getting another
one. Remus was so damned self-conscious
and insecure that a day and a half in between seeing each other might be enough
to make him re-think the whole thing. But she had to believe that this couldn't
just be a passing fancy for him—not with his history. It had to be something more serious—didn't it?
tried to banish these thoughts from her head as Cory pulled the cake out of the
oven. She spent the rest of the evening with her friend, playing with Geoffrey
and catching up. When Cory's husband Danny got home for his dinner break from
the family restaurant, she excused herself to let them have their private time.
tried to get to sleep early, but thoughts of Remus kept her awake for hours
after she went to bed. If only tomorrow night could come sooner.
Author’s Note: Thanks
for reading! And if you take the time to review, Remus might catch you off
guard with a kiss.