Welcome to my Lupin/Tonks one-shot series. Chapters will be in no particular order and set in the canon universe. I hope you enjoy. First up, here's a moment set during Order of the Phoenix.
Intelligent eyes in a hunger-pang frame,
And when you said "Hi" I forgot my dang name,
Set my heart aflame,
Every part aflame,
This is not a game.
- Hamilton, Satisfied.
Lupin is kind. He is articulate. He is brave.
He is also unbelievably sexy.
Tonks isn't sure how she didn't notice it for the first few months they were acquainted, because now it's nearly all she thinks about. His curly hair is neatly cropped, begging to be pulled and rumpled and have hands run through it. His features are quietly pretty rather than Bill handsome or Sirius beautiful. Tonks likes that; understatedness suits him. His eyes are sad and hazel and achingly kind. His smile's often sad too. It's gentle and understanding. He understands a lot.
She could listen to Remus' accent all day. It's noticeable but not as distractingly strong as Mundungus' or McGonagall's, and he doesn't mind when the twins mimic him. His accent lilts and sways as he stretches vowels and rolls his Rs. He's got one of those voices which like he's got a permanent sore throat. Husky. Masculine. Inadvertently sensual. What would it sound like in her ear? She likes how Lupin's mouth twitches when he's amused. It makes her smile too but more than that it makes her want to press her lips against his grin and suck on his bottom lip. More often than not he doesn't wear a tie and keeps the top button or two of his shirt undone, and Tonks finds herself eyeing his throat where the hoarse noise comes from. She watches his Adam's apple bob when he swallows and how his neck moves when he cocks his head. Sometimes she can see the spot where his clavicles meet, and it makes her imagine it would feel like to run a finger down from those collar-bones, over his chest to his ribcage. She considers, endlessly, what Remus would look like with his shirt off. He's thin, no doubt about that, but Tonks has seen him carry armfuls of books upstairs and restrain an angry Sirius, so she likes to imagine that there's the gentle outline of muscle underneath those cardigans.
He rolls his sleeves up most of the time so Tonks sees a lot of his arms, at least up to the elbow. Lupin's not had much luck at holding down a job but they're workman's arms. Wand callouses, red elbows from leaning on the table, flecks of ink from writing. Slender and bony. Every few weeks there'll be scratches and plasters on his arms. She knows that Sirius buys him a potion to control the wolf transformations, but he still has to get ill and become the monster and spend the night in that body, and he can't help catching himself on his own claws. It makes Tonks feel sick. Remus doesn't talk about it much but she knows that it must hurt, physically and emotionally and in every way. It amazes her how quickly she stopped being startled by his condition and started feeling sympathy for him. It amazes her more how little she cares about it now. Whenever Remus notices somebody looking at the cuts on his arms he rolls his sleeves down, and she feels ashamed.
His hands are the most distracting. They're so elegant; the opposite of Tonks' own clumsy pair. He's neat with his cutlery. He scrabbles urgently in his pockets when he needs his wand. He plays piano sometimes, noodling away on the old grand in the Grimmauld Place drawing room, and Tonks watches his hands intently as he plays. Sirius had lessons in classical as a child and hated them, so now he likes improvise his own music, thwacking out thumping allegro rock riffs. That's much more Tonks' style of music than the Chopin and Beethoven that Lupin plays, but she could watch for hours the way his fingers press smoothly on the keys. Then there's the movement of Remus' feet on pedals and the flicker of excitement in his eye as he reaches up to turn the sheet-music's page. On occasion he and Sirius attempt duets but it usually ends in friendly bickering and bumped elbows. Tonks' favourite thing Lupin's hands do, though, is touch books. Of course he'd treat books with a careful tenderness. He slowly runs his index finger down spines and she wonders what that would feel like on her spine. He licks his finger to turn the page (his tongue, his tongue….). He rubs his thumb over front covers. He smooths dog-eared pages flat.
Remus' hands are one of the many things about him which seem extremely deliberate, like the way he moves around rooms as if he has mapped his exact route. He is a man of control and Tonks wonders what he would be like not in control. What it would be like the make him lose control. To be the one in control of him. Is he into that, or is he like most blokes and wants to be assertive in bed? But Remus isn't like most blokes. He isn't like anybody. He's so cool. Not in a deliberate or showboating way; he doesn't need to put on airs or affectations because he's got quiet confidence in himself and who he is. He can join in self-deprecatingly when the twins and Sirius rib him, and he can laugh at others while also keeping an eye to make sure that they're not too insulted by the teasing. He can be the dad of the group or he can tilt back on his chair sniggering with Sirius. Tonks is all extremes but Lupin is balanced; he's gentlemanly not mannered. His clothes are scruffy but never slobby. He doesn't thinks he's better than anybody because he's read books and knows about Shakespeare. He's got amazing patience. She watched him with the kids over the Summer and he's part-teacher part-friend; they trust his judgement without reckoning that he's talking down to them. They all think he's cool.
At night she shuts her eyes and fantasizes picturing his. She dreams of his husky voice and wakes up with his name on her lips. She can barely look him eye at Order meeting the next day or when they're sitting together on the back porch sharing idle chatter and a chocolate bar. They've done that a few times now it's becoming the highlight of her day.
"You're quiet today," he notes one morning as he crumples the empty chocolate wrapper into his pocket, "Everything alright?"
What is she supposed to say?
Sorry I'm quiet this morning but it's difficult to gossip about Percy Weasley when I'm so distracted by that patch of skin I can see where your shirt's untucked at the hip.
Do you want to drop everything and come upstairs with me? I won't tell if you won't.
Everything's fine apart from the fact that I am falling for you harder. And harder, Remus. Harder.
I get myself off thinking about you.
The only thing that could make me madder than not kissing you right now, is kissing you right now.
"I- err. I…"- that's another thing that happens; she gets tongue-tied around him. Which is ridiculous because they were friends first, not to mention excruciating because Lupin could probably deliver an improvised lecture on Red Caps or politics or the meaning of life while half-asleep. Asleep- yeah, that's a good angle, she should stick with that. Tonks yawns and tells him with a shrug, "I'm just tired,"
"Right," he nods thoughtfully (how the hell does he make nodding so attractive? Or maybe it's the thoughtfulness), "Being in the Order's exhausting, isn't it? I'd forgotten about that,"
"Did you miss it?" she asks, "I know you missed the people, but as a…lifestyle or whatever, did you miss that?" Lifestyle? What a stupid thing to say.
"I didn't miss the danger," Remus says quickly, "But I suppose I missed having a purpose. Maybe miss isn't the right word,"
Having a purpose….this, she realises, is the closest he'll get to a proper career.
"Hmm," she mumbles. They lapse into silence. Tonks often finds long silences awkward but with him it's comfortable, at least because she isn't about to stutter something else stupid. She steals a glance at him; he's looking out into the ugly dark thickets that surround the garden, hands in pockets and hair rumpled slightly by the wind. If she leaned over she could reach out and muss it up further. Run her fingers down from his hair to his ear and jaw and mouth...
"Remus, are you there?" calls a voice. Kingsley.
Tonks snaps her head away from Lupin and looks down at her boots.
"Yes, I'm outside," he answers, "Do you need me?"
"Please," comes Kingsley's reply.
Lupin gets to his feet and stretches. Tonks hears the bones in his knees click. She tries not to watch the at the way his fingers stretch skywards or how he screws his eyes closed, or that bigger patch of skin where his shirt's riding up.
"Bye, then," he says, "Will you be around later?". He wants her to be around later?
"Err, maybe," Tonks answers apologetically, "Hours are a bit unpredictable at the office,"
He nods (again with the sexy nod) and mutters, "Well, I'll see you when I see you, Tonks. Out here again?"
He does want her to be around later, and alone together. Merlin. She thought she'd seen flickers of this before but he's never said anything out loud until now. No, slow down, he hasn't said anything, she shouldn't get carried away.
"Yeah, of course," she answers, trying not to beam like an idiot.
He flashes his kind smile again (Remus would never beam like an idiot), nods, and disappears inside.
Thank you for reading. If you have a moment to review, I'd be very grateful. Thanks again, and have a fab day.