Tonks leaned back against a brick building in the alley near Headquarters. She took a deep breath before morphing her features back to her own and shortening the shoulder-length black hair to her chin. She felt the sting of skinned flesh and straightened her arm to peer at the elbow she’d landed on outside of the pub. Pulling her wand, Tonks cast a well-practiced Healing Spell and a spell to repair the rip in her jumper. Even though there were no new recruits that came in that night, Tonks couldn’t help but feel that her first night as Piper Smyth had gone well, pathetic duels with knob-head want-to-be Death Eaters included. It had been satisfying to knock Murphy on his arse. As she was taking another steadying breath, a soft crack of Apparition sounded next to her. Even though she was pretty sure it was going to be Severus, she raised her head and drew her wand.

“They were all highly amused at your delivery of their unfortunate comrade,” he said.

“Glad I could amuse,” Tonks said with a chuckle. She scrubbed her hands over her face, suddenly feeling quite tired. Her leisurely day of dropping the kids at King’s Cross and taking Remus to lunch had quickly turned into complete chaos with the news that Sturgis had been taken into custody. She opened her eyes to see Severus leaning one shoulder against the brick and watching her intently. Thinking he looked as though he had something he wanted to say, she raised her eyebrows at him in question.

“You’d do well to avoid Avery as much as possible.”

“It’s not like I asked him if I could sit on his lap,” Tonks replied irritably.

Severus arched a brow. “I don’t recall saying you did. He…implied that he is anxious to see Piper again.”  

“Implied?”

“I refuse to repeat his exact words,” Severus said with a look of disgust. “I believe I told you before that he is a brute when it comes to woman.”         

Tonks gave a little growl of frustration. “Why does he keep popping up everywhere I go?”

“Your missions center around Death Eater activity, and he happens to be a Death Eater. One would think that, as an Auror, you would be able to see the connection.”

With a roll of her eyes, Tonks crossed her arms over her chest. She was getting ready to give him an angry retort, but stopped when she saw that there was nothing malicious in his expression. Surprisingly, there was a glint of amusement in his eyes. She shook her head with a wry grin and saw Severus’ lips pull up in his fleeting near-smile.

“Come,” he said as he pushed away from the wall. “The werewolf is awaiting your return.”

“Must you call him that?” Tonks asked with another roll of her eyes, thrilled just then that she was no longer his student and could perform such an action without the threat of detention.

Severus cocked his head to the side in question. “Is he not a werewolf?”

“You know he is,” she replied with a huff.

In typical Severus fashion, he simply turned and began walking toward Headquarters. They entered the front door—quietly, as to not disturb the mad portrait—to find Remus sitting on the stairs. He quickly got to his feet and walked toward them.

“All right?” Remus asked, looking like he was fighting the urge to rush forward and embrace her.

“Yep. Took longer than we thought,” Tonks replied quietly. She turned to Severus, who was standing with his arms crossed and a dark look on his face directed at Remus. “Reckon we should adjust the check-in time by at least an hour.”

Severus bowed his head slightly at her assessment. “Dumbledore wants to see you first thing in the morning.”

“What? Why?” Tonks had high hopes of a lie-in followed by a nice long run rather than an early morning meeting.

“He wants to discuss adjustments of this mission prior to next week,” Severus replied, breaking his angry scrutiny of Remus to look at Tonks. “It is unlikely there will be time for him to meet with the two of us once the first week of classes gets underway. No doubt he will be managing angry staff members and fielding complaints of our newest colleague.” He paused and gave Remus a sidelong glance before he said, “He’ll want to hear of any…acquaintances you made this evening.”

Tonks’ gaze darted to Remus before she looked to Severus again and gave him the slightest shake of her head. With Remus becoming so protective of her after Malfoy was snooping around, the last thing she needed was for him to remember how Severus had referred to Avery as her “acquaintance” the last time she’d come across the man during a mission. Remus was eyeing Tonks as Severus watched Remus with a smirk.

Hoping to ease the tension that was suddenly building in the entrance hall, Tonks grumbled, “Dumbledore had better serve breakfast if he expects me to meet him at the crack of dawn.”

“I’ll pass along your demand to Aberforth,” Severus replied before swiftly exiting through the front door.

Tonks watched the door close thinking that Aberforth’s breakfast better be as good as his soup if she was expected to be up with the sun. She reached out her hand and took Remus’. “Thanks for looking out for me tonight.”

Not taking his eyes off hers, Remus pulled Tonks to him and lowered his head, pressing his nose against her neck. He inhaled deeply as he pushed back her robes and nudged his nose along her bare skin where her jumper dipped down, revealing her shoulder.

“Tell me, Nymphadora,” he said, his hoarse voice sending a shiver down Tonks’ spine. “What kind of mission ends in the middle of the night and has you smelling like a man and his whisky bottle?”

Tonks reached up and threaded her fingers through his shaggy hair, guiding his head up to pull his attention away from her bare skin and onto her face. “The secret kind,” she said levelly.

His jaw tensed. “I don’t like it,” he said roughly as he rested his forehead against hers.

“I can tell. But that’s the way of it.” Tonks sighed as she slid her hand from his hair down to rest on his deliciously stubbled cheek, tilting his head to give him a light kiss. “Now, apparently I have a breakfast meeting in a few hours, so are you going to properly kiss me goodnight before I go home to shower the smell of Firewhisky off my body?”

“I’d rather join you.”

Though she knew he probably meant he would rather join her by means of making sure she got home safely, she gave him a coy grin and asked, “In the shower?” The thought of standing in the shower with warm water trickling down over them as they slowly washed each other did amazing things to her insides.

Remus’ chuckle was followed by a little groan. “Don’t tempt me,” he said, giving her a lingering kiss. “It’s late. And I think it would be best if I returned you home safely and tucked you in for the night.” 

With an exaggerated sigh, Tonks pulled him to the front door. “Come along, then, Professor.”

Once Tonks had unwarded her flat and directed Remus to relax on her bed while she showered, she grabbed an oversized t-shirt and a clean pair of knickers to sleep in and gratefully stepped under the warm spray of her shower. She scrubbed the arm that had been covered in drink—and her torso that apparently smelled like Avery—with a flannel containing an inordinate amount of soap, wanting to wash away all scents of her evening at the Quill. Finished with her scrubbing, Tonks stepped out of the shower and toweled off, using a Drying Charm to dry her hair a bit so she didn’t soak her pillow. She grabbed the old t-shirt and pink knickers from the counter and quickly slipped them on, anxious to get back to Remus.

With a wide smile of anticipation, she entered her bedroom to find Remus sitting on her bed dozing. He had propped one of her many pillows between him and the wall, and his head was leaning off to one side with his arms crossed at his chest. She crawled across the bed and gently sat astride his legs. Running her hands softly along the light beard he’d been sporting, Tonks brushed her lips against his, smiling as his eyes fluttered open and he returned her smile with a sleepy one of his own.

“I thought for a second I was dreaming,” he said as he brought his hands down to her bare thighs, sliding across her skin to rest on her bottom and pulling her closer to him.

“Didn’t I say earlier that we could pick up where we left off?” Tonks asked before she pressed her lips to his once more, thrilled to have a few moments of uninterrupted snogging, regardless of the lateness of the hour and the trying events of the long day. Leisurely kisses—that quickly turned heated— along with wandering hands soon had them both panting for breath as Remus pulled away to place open mouthed kisses down Tonks’ neck, swirling his tongue enticingly against the hollow of her throat. She smiled at the hitch in his breathing as he slid his hands under her t-shirt and found no undergarment to impede his progress as he moved his hands slowly up her bare back.

As Tonks pushed his robes aside and snaked her hand under his jumper to untuck his undershirt from his trousers, Remus leaned his head back against the wall with a groan.  “You are grossly overestimating my self-control,” he said huskily.

Having accomplished her task of freeing Remus’ shirt, she slid her hands greedily across the firm planes of his abdomen, acutely aware of the rising tension in his body. She reveled in the fact that he seemed to enjoy her touch as much as she enjoyed his. “Maybe I’m hoping you’ll throw your self-control out the window,” she said with a breathless giggle.

Remus leaned forward and kissed her with abandon, wrapping his arms more tightly around her and turning their position to allow his lean body to press Tonks into the mattress. Their lips moved desperately, Tonks opening to allow Remus’ tongue to stroke against hers, leaving her dizzy and aching as she responded to his kiss. When the need for breath overtook them both, they pulled apart and simply stared at one another, the look on Remus’ face one of raw emotion, the intensity in his eyes searing right into Tonks’ soul. She could have cried at the rush of feelings she had for the man that was holding her so passionately. Thoughts of her feelings for Remus she’d had earlier that day were supposed to be pushed to the back of her mind, but she couldn’t help that they came crashing back. Not feeling like she could completely comprehend what her heart was telling her and not wanting to shock him, she simply gave a wobbly smile and swallowed the lump in her throat.

After a few long moments, Tonks yawned widely, reminding her just how knackered she was. Overwhelmed at the emotions flowing through her, she was almost relieved that her yawn broke the spell of the moment. She reluctantly pulled a hand from beneath Remus’ shirts and stroked one of his cheeks. “Self-control wins out, then?”

Remus huffed and drew a shaking breath. “For tonight.” He leaned in for a chaste kiss before he rolled them so Tonks’ body was draped over his, taking a few more deep breaths. “It’s late.”

“Can you stay?” Tonks asked around another wide yawn, the events of the day finally appearing to have caught up with her.

“I’m afraid that would result in a complete loss of control,” Remus said with a chuckle. “Not to mention the endless taunts I’d hear from your cousin if he saw me turning up tomorrow morning in yesterday’s clothes.”

“Such a bad pooch,” she murmured into Remus’ chest. Tonks maneuvered to the bed, resting on her side with her head propped in her hand. “You know, I ought to hex you for leaving me in a state again.”

Remus turned his head toward her and raised his eyebrows. “Do you honestly think you’re the only one left in a state?” he asked with a wry smile.

Tonks giggled and glanced down the length of his body. “All the more reason for me to be angry with you at the…waste of resources.”

“What was it you read to me from that book?” Remus asked as he rolled to face her. “Something about a wave of passion and hungering for release?”

Tonks laughed as she tried to recall what she’d read to Remus from the romance novel in the bookstore. “All I remember is you interrupting her passion before it broke. And now you’ve done it to me.”

“I shall endeavor to make it up to you.” Remus slid an arm over her waist, pulling her close and nuzzling the base of her neck as he had earlier. He took a deep breath. “That’s more like it,” he whispered in her ear. “Your scent earlier was tainted and not totally you.”

Tonks shivered at his words and threaded her fingers through his hair to keep his lips in the spot on her neck they’d descended upon once more. She wanted him to stay so he could curl around her in his sleep, his lips pressed against her all night so she could feel his breath ghosting across her skin.

Remus kissed his way across her jaw, ending with a brief kiss to her lips. “You should sleep.”

“You should stop being a tease,” Tonks said with a smile.

“Maybe I simply want to ensure that you think of me as you’re falling asleep.”

Tonks quirked an eyebrow at him. “Maybe I’ll think of the character from the book instead.”

There was a gleam of mischief in his eye as Remus leaned forward kissed her again. A slow, deep, toe-curling kiss that had her hand sliding around to his bum, pulling him even closer to her body. When he finally pulled away and kissed her once lightly on the nose, they were both breathless once again.

“I certainly hope that earns me a spot in your bedtime musings,” Remus said.

Unable to form a coherent thought, Tonks simply nodded with a smile of contentment, noting the smugness in Remus’ face as she steadied her breathing. After sitting up and swinging his legs to the side of the bed, Remus stood and adjusted his clothes and robes.

“Don’t get up,” he said as Tonks sat up to walk him to the door. “I said I would see you home safely and tuck you in.”

Tonks giggled as she pulled back the duvet and arranged her pillows for sleep, letting Remus pull the covers up to her shoulders with one final kiss goodnight. After closing her eyes, Tonks briefly, but fervently, thought of Remus before she fell into an exhausted sleep.

.

The next morning, Tonks Apparated to the Hog’s Head just as the sun was peeking over the horizon. She pushed through the door and scanned the room, huffing in irritation that the pub was still dark and empty after she’d drug her tired body from her warm bed well before noon. She was startled when the door to the kitchen opened and Aberforth appeared with a tray in his hands.

“Where the buggeration is everyone else?” she asked indignantly.

“Happy to be here, are you?” Aberforth asked, jerking his head for her to follow him to a table.

“B-b-bloody,” Tonks yawned widely as she sat. “Bloody thrilled.”

“They’ll be along.”

Aberforth set the tray on the table and began to unload its contents. Tonks smiled as she surveyed the breakfast he was placing in front of her. There were two bowls of porridge, each with a small heap of brown sugar melting enticingly on the steaming surface. There was also a plate filled with pieces of toast stacked next to a few rashers of bacon. On a second plate, he had a little pitcher of milk and a jar of marmalade. As he sat across from her, Tonks noticed that there was already a carafe of coffee, two mugs, and a sugar bowl sitting on the table.

She poured herself and Aberforth coffee and asked, “The others not joining us for breakfast?”

“Bugger those two,” he said with a wave of his hand. “They’ll both eat in the Great Hall.”

Tonks laughed around another yawn.

“According to Albus, I can’t make tea for shit,” he said as he doctored his coffee with milk and sugar. “But he wouldn’t know about my coffee because he’s too good to drink it.”

Tonks peered up and watched Aberforth’s face as he took a sip from his mug. Something about the look on his face had her wondering about the brothers. Dumbledore had mentioned not being sure if Aberforth liked him during one of the other times they’d met at the Hog’s Head; at the time, Tonks had thought it was simply an off-handed comment between siblings. The comment Aberforth had just made had seemed to be in jest, but there was something in his eyes that spoke of something deeper. She smiled wryly, thinking that as old as both men were, there was plenty of time for there to have been many rifts and patches to their relationship.

Before she could muse further, the enticing smell of bacon and brown sugar made her tuck in to her breakfast with gusto. Swallowing her second piece of bacon, she started on the toast she’d smothered with marmalade while stirring some milk into her porridge. She looked up to find Aberforth watching her with an amused expression.

“You afraid that food’s going to escape before you have a chance to eat it?” he asked.

“Didn’t your brother already mention to you how hungry I get?” Tonks asked around her mouthful of toast.

Aberforth nodded. “Among other things.”

“What other things?” Tonks asked, curious as to what the Headmaster would say to his brother about her. She took a long sip of her coffee, noting that it was quite good.

He finished his piece of toast before answering. “That you’re a typical Hufflepuff.” Tonks opened her mouth to speak, but was cut off by Aberforth holding up a hand. “Warned me about your temper too, so before you get shirty, I’ll tell you that’s a compliment. Your Head of House is a good woman.”

Tonks took a large bite of her porridge and waved a hand for him to continue, knocking over her thankfully empty mug in the process.

“Said you have a clumsy streak as wide as Hagrid’s backside,” he replied as he refilled her coffee. “Also that you’re good with a wand and you fancy Lupin.”

Not that she needed her feelings for Remus to remain hidden, but she was surprised to hear that Dumbledore had shared his observations with his brother. She was even more surprised that they cared, which is exactly what she told Aberforth, who snorted in amusement.

“You’ll find that old men are just as bad as old women when it comes to gossip. Anyway.” He drained his coffee and refilled from the carafe. “You might want to know that Lupin’s to meet me for some coordinates later today for a meeting.”

Tonks paused with her spoon halfway to her mouth. “Meeting with who?” she asked disappointedly. She’d hoped to be able to take Remus out to the chips shop she’d wanted to take him to the day before.

Aberforth shrugged. “Some bloke that was a contact of Mad-Eye’s.”

Tonks sighed, and they both went about eating their breakfast quietly until green flames in the fireplace indicated someone’s arrival. Dumbledore and Severus stepped through, both striding over to the table and taking a seat. As Dumbledore said his usual pleasant greetings, he conjured tea, ignoring the carafe of coffee. Aberforth gave her a wry look before standing to get the tray he’d left on the next table.

Severus looked as equally thrilled as Tonks to be meeting after just a few hours’ sleep. He Summoned a mug from behind the bar and poured himself coffee with a scowl. He eyed her as she stacked her dishes and handed them to Aberforth, plucking one last piece of bacon from the plate.

“Are we keeping you from consuming the entire contents of Aberforth’s kitchen?” Severus asked impatiently, his voice still rough from sleep.

Tonks swallowed the mouth full of bacon and took a large gulp of her coffee. “Don’t be nasty just because it’s early. I was up just as late as you were, you know.”

Probably later…The traitorous thoughts of her late-night activities caused her cheeks to heat, and she tried to hide it as she took another drink from her mug. Severus didn’t seem to have it in him to taunt her further. He simply glared at his coffee and listened as Tonks filled Dumbledore in on the activities from her mission the night before. They agreed that the check-in time needed to be adjusted since Severus couldn’t be expected to show up at the Quill very often. Once she’d finished telling Dumbledore about her disposal of William Murphy, Tonks looked to Severus.

“If I ask you a question, are you going to bite my head off?” she asked him.

Severus gave a casual wave of his hand that Tonks interpreted as a go-ahead for asking her question.

“Do you know why it was the old crowd there last night and not anyone new?”

“The purpose of last night’s meeting, other than to drink copious amounts of whisky, was for Murphy to attempt to redeem himself for his recent failures by bringing in multiple new recruits. The old crowd, as you say, was along to watch.” Severus stopped to look at her seriously. “It seems Murphy has once again failed on all accounts. Lucius will not be pleased.”

Tonks fell a chill creep up her spine at his words. If her encounter from the previous night was anything to go by, she didn’t think a parchment pusher like William Murphy would last long in a confrontation with a man like Lucius Malfoy. Her mouth was suddenly dry as she asked the next question. “Will they kill him?”

Severus stared at her for a few moments, an unreadable expression on his face as he contemplated her words. “Not yet,” he finally answered. “But Lucius will not long tolerate his ineptitudes.”  

Putting thoughts of William Murphy’s possible demise aside for another time, Tonks promised a written report of her findings in more detail by the end of the day before asking Dumbledore if he would mind her taking advantage of the grounds for her run once again. She said a quick thank you to Aberforth for breakfast and stepped out into the September sunshine to stretch and start her run down the path toward the main street that would lead her to the front gates of the school.

Since it was Saturday and there were no classes, Tonks finished her circuit of the lake and cooled down by walking around the castle, ending up at the greenhouses.  She opened the door to the greenhouse Professor Sprout also used as an office and saw her old Head of House with her hands in a sack of fertilizer, pink cheeked and muttering under her breath.

“Am I interrupting an argument between you and that dirt?” Tonks asked.

 Sprout looked up, startled at first. Her scowl quickly turned into a wide smile. “Hello there, Tonks,” Sprout said heartily. “Aren’t you a sight for sore eyes.”

“Thanks, Professor,” Tonks replied, closing the door behind her and crossing to the bench and giving the stout witch a tight hug. “Rough start to the term?”

Sprout huffed loudly and used her wand to clean away the dirt from Tonks’ long-sleeved t-shirt she’d donned for running.

“You’re looking well,” Sprout said, eyeing Tonks with a mischievous look in her eye. “Got a good man between your thighs, do you?”

Tonks laughed. “If only wishing made it so, Professor.”

“Sweet Merlin, girl, I just asked you about your sex life.” Sprout gave a merry chortle. “And I haven’t been your professor in a fair few years. Do call me Pomona.”

“Of course, Pomona.”

Sprout picked up the bag of fertilizer and plopped it under the work bench, turning to Tonks and putting her hands on her hips with her head cocked to the side. “Haven’t gotten Lupin between the sheets yet, then?”

Tonks froze and looked at her with wide-eyed shock. “How’d you—”

“Poppy,” Sprout said as she waved a hand airily at Tonks and walked past to the sink next to her office door. “You can’t begrudge us old ladies our gossip, now,” she said matter-of-factly. “Good choice, that one. A bit thin for my taste, but a handsome devil all the same.”

Tonks shook her head with a small grin, thinking that Aberforth was right in his statement about old men and women and their gossip.

“Come on in, and I’ll make us tea. I’m sure you’re hungry too after finishing your exhausting habit,” she said gesturing to Tonks’ sweaty running clothes.

Tonks spent the remainder of her morning “catching up properly” as her professor had said a few weeks prior. Sprout filled her in on the feast the day before and gave her opinion as to which professor was likely to either poison or hex Umbridge first. Sprout had no doubt that it would be McGonogall.

Walking past the gates to the Apparition point, Tonks decided that despite the lack of sleep the previous night and the early morning meeting, she was in a delightful mood. She decided to see if Remus wanted to go to lunch since he would be occupied later that day and entered Headquarters to find a sulking Sirius sitting at the kitchen table, brooding into a cup of coffee. Remus had already left to meet with Aberforth to retrieve details of his meeting that night, but would be back. Her sullen cousin transformed into Snuffles and whined until Tonks agreed to fetch them all fish and chips for a late lunch—she made it clear that she would be stopping at home to shower before she returned. A while later, she re-entered Headquarters with lunch in tow to happily find Remus had returned and was gathering cutlery for their lunch.

“Moony found the Prophet absolutely inspiring this morning,” Sirius commented once they had taken their seats around the table.

Tonks raised her eyebrows at her cousin, leery of where he was going with his comment considering the supposed innocent look on his face. “More articles about Stubby Boardman?”

“That was the Quibbler, not the Prophet,” Sirius said with a smirk.

Remus was suspiciously quiet as he popped a chip in his mouth, but made a grab for the paper as Sirius folded it so a section near the back was showing and handed it to Tonks. She scanned the page, her eyes settling on the heading that read “Classifieds”. There were a few entries circled.

“Adverts for flats?” Tonks said, perplexed. As far as she knew, Remus was staying with Sirius not only to make sure her cousin had company, but also to lighten his financial burden. She looked up at Remus. “You looking to move away from this lovely house?”

Sirius sniggered and took a large bite of his fish, sitting back in his seat with a look of unsuppressed glee. Tonks thought he looked as though he was waiting for a show to start at the cinema.

Remus cleared his throat and wiped his mouth with a napkin. “I was actually looking for you.”

“For me?”

“Personally, I’d love the chance to hex Lucius Malfoy if he turned up in my flat,” Sirius said before popping a few chips in his mouth. 

Tonks shook her head with a small smile. “That’s why you’re reading the adverts for flats?” she asked Remus. “Because you think I should move?”

“I don’t think it’s a bad idea to at least think about it,” he said seriously.

For some reason, Tonks didn’t find herself perturbed by Remus’ suggestion. Perhaps she was getting used to his protective nature. She likely wouldn’t take his advice since she happened to like her flat. She also liked the low monthly rate that came along with it since it was rented to her by the Ministry.

“There’s one in Clapham I think you should at least entertain as an option,” Remus continued.

Tonks scanned down the page and read the entry listed in the borough of Clapham. “It’s on Kingsley street,” she said looking up at the men. “I wonder if Kingsley knows they’ve named a street for him.”

“Are you actually going to go look at the flat?” Sirius asked her incredulously.

“Nope,” Tonks said, folding the paper and setting it aside. “I’m not moving to bloody Clapham.” She raised out of her seat slightly to lean forward and kiss Remus on the cheek.

“That’s it?” Sirius asked, looking between her and Remus. “You’re not going to lose your temper and hex him?”

Tonks laughed at Sirius’ look of indignation. “Were you hoping I would?”

“What happened to that Tonks temper? I was counting on it as entertainment this afternoon,” Sirius replied. “Seriously, you’re not mad?”

“I’m not thrilled that he thinks I should run scared just because a ponce like Malfoy thinks he can push me around, but it’s nice to know he cares.” Tonks reached over and brushed the hair back from Remus’ face and smiled at his look of caution even as she ran her hand across his cheek.

Sirius sighed theatrically. “Well, since you’ve robbed me of entertainment this afternoon, I demand that you come over tonight while Moony’s gone.”

Tonks decided that spending a quiet evening with Sirius trumped spending the evening doing laundry as she’d planned. Once she’d kissed Remus goodbye and made a quick trip to her flat to bring her CD player to Grimmauld Place to entertain Sirius with a lesson in Muggle music, she entered the drawing room to find her cousin with a full bottle of Firewhisky and two glasses. She pulled the CD player and discs from her robes and enlarged them back to size thinking that her evening promised to be less quiet than she’d originally thought.




A/N: Did anyone else love the fluffy bits!? I told you there would be more Remus in this chap:).

Aberforth and Professor Sprout are two fun characters that I have loved to play with. We don't know a lot about them, so their characterizations are left up for a little interpretation, which I love. I hope you enjoy them:)

NaNo is going well! My word count isn't as high as I'd like, but when you cart 5 kids to Disney World for the a week of magical fun, not much else gets done. Here's hoping for a magical week of words ahead--wish me luck!

Not mine, just Jo's.

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