Ah, here it is, my first multi-chapter fanfic! This is called "Wake Up & Dance with Me", after The Remus Lupins song of the same name. It takes place right after the Battle of the Ministry, & follows Remus & Tonks' relationship from there till the end. Each chapter will be named after a song that inspired it, & the youtube link will be provided. watch?v=eZGWQauQOAQ Most chapters will also have an illustration from one of the lovely people from . Chapter One features "Loss" by philotic-net favourites/?offset=120#/d1jm903 Enjoy & please comment!
Wake Up & Dance with Me
Chapter 1, Sound of Silence
Remus Lupin paused outside the closed door to the private room, steeling himself with a good shake before knocking softly. "Hmmf" a rough voice answered. Remus sighed; he should have figured Moody would be there. Bracing himself once more, he turned the knob and entered.
The room was small but airy, and eerily silent. But he supposed that made sense: of the two other people in the room, one was unconscious and the other not a real Chatty Cathy. As his eyes adjusted to the dim, Remus finally saw the person that he'd been waiting, and dreading, to see for the last two days: Nymphadora Tonks. The breath that he had been holding didn't seem to want to be freed. His Nymphadora..always so full of light and color, lay there, still and paler than the sheets that covered her, her slight form seemingly dwarfed by the hospital bed. Remus squeezed his eyes shut, the apprehension he'd felt in waiting to see her threatened to overwhelm him.
Another grunt from Moody broke him out of his head trip. Grateful for the distraction, he turned his attentions toward the man sitting on the bed. Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody.. The ex-Auror looked as surly as always, but Remus noticed a subtle change in his usual kick-your-ass-with-a-single-look manner: He held one of Tonks' small hands gently in his two knarled ones, and the only eye that regarded Remus was his magical one; the other stayed fixed on Tonks' colorless face. Remus inched his way slowly into the room, leaning against the wall nearest to the bed. "How's Potter?" Moody muttered. "As well as can be expected" he answered quietly. "Dumbledore has allowed him to stay the summer at Grimmauld Place; it is his now after all. None of us had the heart to send him back to the Dursley's. We've enchanted and protected the house to the best of our abilities, and we're all staying there. I just today felt comfortable enough to leave him; Kingsley is on patrol now. Harry's well-protected."
"Aye, good" Moody answered. The two men stood in a tense silence for what seemed like an eternity, just watching the still figure before them. Remus took very little comfort in the gentle, but consistent, rise and fall of Tonks' chest. She was alive; however badly she had been hurt, she was mercifully alive. No longer able to stand it, he asked the million-Galleon question. "How is she, really? What happened Alastor?" Moody was quiet for a few moments. "There's been very little change in her condition" he muttered at long last. "Her body is healing, but she can't seem to break out of the coma. And the bloody fool Healers" he thundered suddenly "refuse to give her any more potions for it. They claim she has to come out of it on her own. Damn Bloody fools.." he repeated in a low growl.
Moody took a deep breath and continued. "I have gotten her the best private room, the best Healers, that money can buy. But I can do no more." His voice shook so slightly that at first Remus thought he only imagined it. "She fell from the top-most pier in the Death Chamber; broke her neck, her back, and nearly everything below. Massive concussion as well" He barked out a humorless laugh. "Bloody fool Healers said it was probably for the best that she was in a coma; the pain of the Skele-Gro would have been nearly too much for her to bear. I got to her as soon as I saw her fall, but it was too late.. I can do no more for her.." his voice trailed off. Remus took a hard look at Moody and realized that for the first time since he met him, the older man looked helpless, really and truly helpless.
In the silence that once again fell, Remus heard an odd flapping noise. He looked down, realizing the noise was coming from him: he was shaking so hard that his robes beat against the wall that he was now relying on for balance. Moody must have noticed as well, for he looked up and regarded Remus properly for the first time. Remus looked up and met his eyes squarely. An understanding seemed to pass between the two. With a frown and a resigned-sounding sigh, Moody lowered his head over Tonks' hand, whispering something that sounded very much to Remus like "Sweet girl..", then rose from the bed with a resounding grunt. He clunked over to Remus, who suddenly found himself pinned against the wall by Moody's cane. "You see that girl over there?" he rasped, pointing a crooked finger at Tonks. "You see that little girl? Eh?" "Y..yes" Remus stammered, following the pointed, knarled finger to Tonks' face. "You look at me when I'm talking to you boy!" Moody roared, poking his chest sharply. "If you hurt that girl" he continued in a dangerously low voice "If you hurt one tiny hair on that head, if you break that pure heart, you put a single toenail out of line.. I swear on Merlin's grave that I will hex you so hard, you'll be prayin' for a full moon. You got that? Moony? Eh?" Struck stupid by Mad-Eye's sudden display of protectiveness, Remus could only gape and nod. "Hmmf" Moody nodded, releasing him at last. With one last look at the both of them, he stumped out of the room without another word.
Remus took a few moments to collect himself, and to make sure that Moody wasn't coming back, then walked slowly to Tonks' bed. He fell gratefully into the closest chair, shifting it flush up to the bed, and took her hand in his. Cold, it was so very cold. He rubbed it gently, trying to warm her, and brushed his lips across her knuckles. He had lost Sirius, the closest thing to family he had left in the world, and now he may still lose her. The dam within him finally burst, and the silence of the room was broken by his racking, exhausted sobs.
Remus stood under the spray of the shower, willing the hot droplets to ease some of the tension in his shoulders. Three days of sleeping in a chair, no matter how comfortable he attempted to morph it, did his old back no favors. Of course, it didn't help that the three days felt more like eons. He rarely left Tonks' side, and aside from the Healers, only let in three others: Moody, Kingsley Shacklebolt, and Molly Weasley. The first two he didn't have the strength to fight off; the last, the heart. And Molly's penchant for always showing up with a home cooked meal and freshly laundered clothes didn't hurt her case in the slightest. He may have been a proud man, but he was wise enough to accept comfort in any form that it was offered. Unable to stay away any longer, Remus finally heaved a deep sigh, and giving up on the water massage, quickly showered, dried off, and got dressed.
Exiting the bathroom, he had to stop and watch the pretty tableau before him: Molly sat on Tonks's bed, her back to him, reading aloud from 'The Tales of Beetle the Bard'. Even in the direness of the situation, his favorite girls made a beautiful picture. Molly had been truly wonderful in her caring of Tonks: talking to her, reading aloud, brushing her lank brown hair. She even on one occasion announced that they were having a 'girly day' and painted Tonks' finger and toe nails. Remus knew this was the motherly witch's way of dealing with her own feelings of helplessness, so he did nothing to discourage her.
Clearing his throat softly, Remus moved to the bed. Molly looked up as he approached. "Feeling better dear?" she asked warmly. "A bit.." he murmured, untruthfully. He sat in what he had become to think of as 'his' chair and rubbed his hands up and down Tonks' cool arms. She looked the same as always; pale and still as water, but achingly beautiful in his eyes. He found himself fighting back tears, again. Molly's comforting hand on his should didn't help. "Remus?" He shook his head, unable to answer. "Oh, my dear.." Molly whispered. She stood and faced Remus, forcing him to look at her. "You must have faith, Remus! She will come out of this. She has so many people who love her, so much to come back to, how could she not?" Remus turned his tear-filled eyes back to Tonks' face. "I love her" he breathed. Molly squeezed his shoulder. "I know you do, dear. And I know she loves you too, very much. Tell her Remus. She needs to hear it, and I believe she is absorbing more than we realize." Then with a comforting kiss on his forehead, she gathered her things and left.
Remus sat for a while, watching the rhythmic rise and fall of Tonks' chest and pondering what Molly had said. Could she be right? Could he somehow reach Tonks through this dense darkness? He supposed at this point he had nothing left to lose. The more he asked the Healers for answers, the less he was given. He leaned forward slightly, brushing her lifeless hair off her forehead. He bent again till he could whisper in her ear. "I love you, Nymphadora. I have since we met. I was a bloody fool and a coward for not telling you so much sooner. But I'm telling you now: I love you so much. Please come back to me Tonks, please.. I need you" Out of steam, he buried his face in her neck and sobbed himself to sleep once again.
Crying.. Someone was crying like their heart were breaking, crying because they needed her. She had to reach them, to tell them she was here and that everything would be ok. But she couldn't..
Nymphadora Tonks became aware of the sound of crying and the feeling of a warm, shaking body across hers. She struggled to reach out, to break free of the dark tunnel of her mind and body. But the pull back into oblivion was almost too strong. Trying to take a deep breath,she slowly became more aware of her surroundings. She was in a quiet room, on a bed that she was fairly positive was not her own; and God, that helpless crying.. She tried to swallow, but for some reason someone thought it was a right funny idea to stuff a handful of cotton in her mouth. So talking was out; got it. That only left one option. It seemed to take ages, but finally the signal from her brain seemed to reach her finger, which the same cotton-mouth prankster apparently had replaced with a bloody anvil. She lifted it slightly, then lowered it again. So far, so good. What's next? Should she try to open her eyes? Bring it.. Ok, bad idea! The room swam before her like a top, forcing her eyes shut again. She waited a few moments, then tried again slowly. This time she wasn't greeted with a merry-go-room, and was finally able to tentatively look around. She was in what certainly seemed to be a hospital room, a crying man lying across her chest. She looked down at the grey-streaked sandy head that she knew as well as her own, and her heart seemed to stop: Remus Lupin.
Through his haze of tears and sleep, Remus thought he felt a slight movement in the body below his. Could she finally be waking.. "A reflex" he thought. It was so small, it must have been a reflex; the Healers said that could happen. But then the movement happened again, only a bit stronger. It seemed to be a small lift of a finger, but he knew he felt it this time. Holding his breath, not daring to believe, he lifted his head and was greeted with the most beautiful, miraculous sight: his Nymphadora's steel-grey eyes staring right back at him. "Nymphadora?" he croaked, still not sure if he was dreaming. She opened her mouth, but seemed to be unable to speak, and her eyes darted around the room in panic. "Shh, it's ok. Oh Tonks.." Remus whispered, stroking her hair and face, trying to calm her. She tried to lift her hand but couldn't, and her eyes went wild again. "What is it, darling? What do you need? Are you hurting?" She shook her head no, and managed to lift her hand long enough to point a shaking finger at him. "You want me?" She nodded franticly, tears splashing down her cheeks. "Darling.." he breathed, slipping an arm around her shoulders and lifting her as carefully as possible on to his lap. He cradled her against his chest, gently rubbing her back as they both cried. After a few minutes, he reluctantly pulled back. "Are you in pain?" he whispered, smoothing her hair back. She nodded, looking around then nodding again, this time toward a pitcher of water. "Of course, I'm so sorry." Remus slowly, carefully lowered her back down on to the pillows and poured a goblet-full of water. Supporting her head, he placed the goblet to her dry cracked lips. She drank greedily at first, sputtering and coughing. He chuckled softly. "Careful" he murmured, gently wiping her mouth and chin with a soft cloth. "Once more with feeling?" he asked, lifting the goblet once more. She smiled and nodded, going slower this time. "OK?" "Y..y..yes" she finally managed to croak out. Her voice was the most beautiful music to his ears. "Good". Before he could stop himself, he leaned over and pressed a firm but gentle kiss to her forehead. Her answering smile was weak, but held promises of the spirit and light he'd grown to love. "I'm going to fetch the Healers, alight?" he said, squeezing her hand. "OK" she managed, a little clearer and stronger this time. With an answering smile, he brushed a kiss across her knuckles and hurried out of the room.
Tonks sighed and settled back against the pillows. Almost immediately the door swung open and Remus retuned with a small handful of Healers. The one in front seemed to be the leader, so red-haired and freckled that he could be a Weasley, and Tonks instantly felt comfortable with him. "Ah, our lovely lass is awake at last!" he boomed in a thick Scottish accent. "I'm Healer MacLarren, love. How are you feeling? Any pain?" "My..my head" Tonks answered shakily "And my back." Healer MacLarren smiled sympathetically and pressed light hands to her head and neck. "What happened to me?" Healer MacLarren's continued to press his hands down her arms and legs as he answered. "You were hit by a very powerful curse, and fell from quite a high point. You broke your neck and back, and then some, and suffered a significant concussion. You've been in a coma for about a week." Tonks felt the color drain from her face as she struggled to remember. Feeling the panic rise, she looked for the one thing that could keep her anchored to the moment. Remus was slowly backing toward the door. "No!" she cried, reaching a hand toward him. "Please stay.." He rushed instantly to her side, as Healer MacLarren started giving the others orders to fetch him various creams and potions, some of which sounded downright repulsive. She made a face and saw Remus' mouth twitch in a grin. She smiled back and he gave her a comforting wink. The Healers returned and got to work. She winced and tried not to cry out as they tended to the more painful cuts and bruises that still lingered; Remus was right there, holding her hand when he could and lifting her head to help her drink her potions. Finally they were done, and Healer MacLarren turned to leave. He paused and looked back at Remus. "Sir?" he asked pointedly. "I must ask that you leave now. It is not safe, surely you understand.." Remus lowered his head but nodded, and started to let go if her hand. "No! What do you mean, not safe? Why does he need to leave?" she exclaimed, clutching Remus' hand as tightly as she could. Healer MacLarren turned as red as his hair and seemed very uncomfortable. "Now lass.." he stammered "Surely you understand? It's too close.. the full moon! The hospital has rules!" he said firmly, as if that settled it. 'To bloody hell with their rules..' Tonks thought. "He's not leaving, he won't hurt anyone!" "Miss Tonks, I must insist.." "NO!" she hollered, and with all the strength she had, sat up and started to pull the covers off. The effort cost her dearly, and she broke out in a cold sweat and lamented the return of that bloody fiend, merry-go-room. But she didn't care. "If he leaves, I leave!" Remus pushed her back down gently but firmly. Her strength leaving her, she complied but continued to glare at the red-haired Healer. Flustered and clearly irritated, he started to glare back, then gave a small sigh. "Very well. I can see this is a battle I shall not win. Get some rest, lass. I'll be back in a few hours with more potions." With a genial smile, he quietly left. "Nymphadora" Remus began. Spent, Tonks could only spare him a half-hearted glare for the use of her hated first name. "You really didn't need to do that. I would have been perfectly fine to owl for Molly.." "I don't want Molly, Remus. At least not now. I just want you. Please?" she whispered. Remus sat down and gently smoothed her hair. "Of course. There's nowhere else I'd rather be right now. I just didn't want to cause any trouble." "Then don't leave." "Yes, ma'am" he answered with a smile that made her heart melt. She tried to smile back but only managed a yawn so huge that she nearly felt her jaw crack. Remus chuckled and arranged her blankets and pillows. "Get some rest. I promise I'll be here when you wake." Tonks nodded and snuggled into the pillows, as Remus extinguished the lights and settled in his chair. She laid there and stared at his silhouetted profile for a moment. "Remus?" she finally whispered, wondering how he was going to react to her request. "Hmm?" he murmured, turning toward her. "Will you..I mean, would you mind..Hold me?" she managed to stammer out, blushing furiously. She sneaked a glance at him; he was smiling down at her with such tenderness that she wondered what she was so embarrassed about. "Of course" he whispered. "Hold on." She gripped the side of the bed as he pointed his wand to it, expanding it till it was just large enough to hold the two of them comfortably. He then pushed his chair aside, slipped off his shoes and jacket, and slowly laid down next to her, obviously trying not to jostle her. He held out his arms to her with his trademark gentle Remus smile; and she went to him, feeling like it was the most natural thing in the world to lay her head on his chest and feel his arms close around her protectively. She angled her head till her ear was right over his heart, and felt him softly stroke and kiss her hair. With a final drowsy smile, she settled into the most peaceful sleep she could ever remember.
Tonks woke slowly the next morning, feeling stiff and sore but for the most part better. She felt around for Remus, finding his space empty. Turning, she found him sound asleep in his chair. She started to get upset, then saw the tray full of potions and a positively repulsive looking breakfast on the nightstand. Of course.. It was so 100% Remus of him to not want the Healers to see them in bed together. She chuckled softly and shook her head, then gently nudged his knee. He woke instantly. "Nymphadora? Are you ok?" he asked thickly, rubbing his eyes. Tonks rolled her eyes. "I'm ok enough to start insisting that you stop calling me by 'that name'" she grumbled. Remus chuckled "Very well, Tonks" "Much better" She rolled over carefully, eyeing the tray with a dubious glare. "So..what's on the menu this morning?" "Ah" Remus stretched and leaned towards the try. "Hmm.. Overcooked eggs, rubber bacon, and pancakes. Or are those what the Muggles call a 'Frisbee'? Care to chance it?" Tonks wrinkled her nose. "Maybe later.. Suppose I need to take those delish potions though?" "Yes, I'm afraid those are non-negotiable. Bottoms up!" he grinned, handing her the first of ten different vials. "To your health!" she answered, pinching her nose and tipping back the vial. Resisting the urge to vomit, she shuddered and reached for the next one. Fifteen minutes later, she weakly lay back against the pillows, shaking and sweating. Frowning sympathetically, Remus conjured a washcloth and dipped it into the pitcher of water, then gently wiped her face and neck. "Can I have some water?" she moaned. "I'm sorry darling, but you have to wait an hour before you eat or drink anything" Remus set down the washcloth and stroked her damp hair off her face. "Just try and breathe through it." She nodded and closed her eyes, letting Remus' gentle touch soothe her. She must have fallen back to sleep, because the next thing she knew he was squeezing her hand and calling her name. She opened her eyes and gave him a groggy smile. "Whatsa matter?" she muttered. Remus smiled and kissed her hand. "Just thought you might want that water now." Tonks yawned widely and stretched. "Yes, please! Do you think if you asked nicely the Healers could find me some toast?" "I can certainly try. Here, let's sit you up. Healer MacLarren wanted to see you anyway." She nodded and tried to hold herself in a sitting position as Remus fixed the pillows. "There you go. Comfortable?" "Yes, thank you." Remus suddenly leaned forward and laid his hand on her cheek, giving it a gentle stroke. She smiled and leaned into his touch. Blushing, he just as quickly dropped his hand and stood up, pouring her a goblet of water. "I..I'll be right back" he stammered, hurrying to the door. Tonks smiled, lightly touching where his hand had laid and carefully sipping her water. A few minutes later Healer MacLarren strode into the room, followed by Remus, who was thankfully carrying a plate full of toast. "So!" Healer MacLarren boomed "How's my favorite girl today, eh?" "I'm alright" Tonks smiled at the friendly Healer. "Still pretty sore and groggy." "That's to be expected, lass" he answered, starting to examine her arms and legs. "You're healing up nicely there Miss Tonks. There may be a little scarring, but nothing too extreme." Tonks laughed. "They're battle scars, I'll wear them with pride!" Healer MacLarren threw back his head and laughed. "That's the spirit, darlin'! Well, you get some rest now. I'll come check on you later." He gave her hand a squeeze, and shooting Remus a wary glance, bounded out, thankfully taking the tray of hateful potions and the wilted breakfast with him. Tonks smiled up at Remus. "So, is that for the both of us or are you just going to watch me eat?" she asked, nodding at the plate of toast. "Well, far be it from me to make you uncomfortable.." He sat down and placed the plate on the bed between them. They ate in companionable silence till Tonks laid back, her energy spent. Remus smiled tenderly at her. "Do you need to sleep?" She nodded. "I never thought eating could be so tiring!" she laughed. Remus rolled his eyes and chuckled back. "Your body has been though a trauma, Tonks. It's not a sign of weakness." Tonks stuck her tongue out at him, struggling into a sitting position so he could fix her pillows back. She lay back down and looked at Remus with a sleepy smile. "Stay?" she asked, holding out her hand. "Oh, I suppose so.." he answered teasingly, taking her hand and gently tracing patterns on it with his long fingers. She sighed and closed her eyes, once again letting his touch soothe her to sleep.
Tonks tossed around and whimpered in her sleep. Memories were spilling over, memories that her subconscious must have kept buried till now. Sirius and Harry battling Lucius Malfoy.. Kingsley, Mad-Eye, and herself, battling Death Eaters seamlessly like the team that they were.. Remus, by himself but holding his own.. And Bellatix. Her aunt Bellatrix, advancing towards her with a sadistic gleam in her grey eyes; the Black eyes, so much like her own and her mother's and Sirius'. Aunt Bellatrix, lifting her wand with a mad cackle and striking her with the near-fatal curse, but not before Tonks saw her look towards Sirius with a wicked grin. Sirius.. SIRIUS! "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Tonks screamed, jerking awake. Remus leapt up, leaning over her. "Tonks? Tonks, what's wrong?" But all she could do was scream Sirius' name. "Oh, Merlin.." Remus groaned, sitting on the bed and pulling her into his arms. Through her screams Tonks dimly heard the door being thrown open and Remus shooing the Healers away. He held her as tightly as he could without hurting her, rocking her as his own body shook with his sobs. Eventually her hysterical screams stopped and she was able to pull back slightly. Remus met her eyes, his as red and puffy as she was sure her own looked. "Oh Remus" she gasped. "I'm so sorry..I'm so sorry!" She buried her face in his neck, trying to get control of herself. 'Selfish' she berated herself. 'He's lost him too' Remus must have noticed her failing attempts at self-control, for he pulled back and looked into her eyes, his hands on either side of her face. "Breathe Tonks" he whispered "You're going to hyperventilate. Come on, darling.." Putting her hands over his, she looked back into his gentle blue eyes and felt her breathing start to slow. "There we go" he murmured, breathing with her. "OK?" She nodded, and he wrapped her in his arms once again. She gripped him tightly, absorbing his gentle strength. "I'm so sorry Remus" "For what?" he pulled back, brushing her hair off her face. "Tonks, you've been through a terrible trauma! You've been in a coma, you almost died.." His voice cracked, and he had to close his eyes for a moment before continuing. "And you lost your cousin. You have nothing to apologize for darling." "But you've lost him too" she whispered. "It's not just about me." She gave a shuddering sigh and laid her head once again on his shoulder. They sat like that for a long while, Remus gently rubbing her back and stroking her hair, as she lightly trailed her fingers up and down his arm.
"Do you want to talk about it?" Remus eventually asked. She nodded and pulled back; he thankfully kept his arms around her. She pushed her hair back and sighed. "It's just..I feel like I was just starting to really get to know him. I don't have a lot of memories of him before he went to Azkaban. I just remember him as this handsome, funny, larger-than-life man; teasing me and running around with these three lads all the time. If I remember, one of them was quite handsome as well.." She poked him lightly in the ribs and tried a teasing grin. He blushed adorably and looked down. "Surely you must mean Pettigrew" he muttered. "No, I believe they referred to him as Moony" This time he returned her grin. "Anyway" she continued "I heard all the stories of course. Never believed a word of it, though. I knew he was innocent, knew that he never could have helped killed his friends that he loved so much." Remus nodded sadly. "Then he was back, and it was like he'd never left. He was right back to teasing me till I wanted to lob Kreacher at him, and back to loving his friends. We were a family again." Remus' eyes filled with tears again, and he pulled her back to him. "It's ok Remus" she whispered "You don't have to hold back for me." This time she held him as he cried..
Tonks woke up again a few hours later. She looked out the window; dusk was just starting to fall. She shifted slightly, happy to wake up in Remus' arms this time. Sometime during their crying jag, they'd lay down and fallen asleep in each other's arms. She looked up at him, studying his face as he slept. His sandy hair fell across his smart forehead, his long eyelashes fluttering against his cheekbones. She reached up and traced the scars that stood out in the dim light. Suddenly his eyes opened, and he looked right at her. Her fingers trailed down his face, and the very air in the room seemed to shift. He lifted his hand to her face, tracing her lips with gentle fingers. She closed her eyes as they leaned toward each other at the same time, sighing as his lips brushed lightly against hers. He pulled back, looking at her as if asking for permission to continue. She smiled and wound her arms around his neck. He tangled his fingers in her hair, drawing her lips to his again. He kissed her gently at first, then with more insistence. She moaned and ran her fingers through his hair, shifting herself even closer to him. He gave an answering whimper and gently urged her mouth open, lightly brushing his tongue against hers. She deepened the kiss even more, pressing herself flush against him. He gasped against her mouth, rolling her onto her back and starting to settle his weight on top of her. She started to melt against him, till he shifted right against a healing broken rib. She couldn't hold back a cry of pain, and he jumped off of her as if he'd been burned. "Oh Tonks!" he cried "I'm so sorry darling! Are you alright? Do I need to call Healer MacLarren?" If she could have, she would have laughed at the desperate way his words tumbled out; and at his adorably disheveled appearance. "No" she managed to gasp out "I'm alright, just give me a minute" He sat gingerly back down on the bed as they both tried to catch their breath. The pain finally subsided, and she reached for his hand, trying to pull him down to lay back next to her. "Are you sure?" She nodded, and he slowly lay back down, stroking her cheek. "I'm so sorry.. Are you ok?" "I'm fine, really. I just didn't know you had it in you, Lupin" That blush was going to be the death of her.. She giggled, turning her face into his hand and kissing his palm. They just lay there and stared into each other's eye for a while. Finally Tonks had to speak. "So, what took you so long?" she teased "I've been waiting for two years for you to do that! I was started to think I was losing my subtle flirtation touch.." She looked up at him from under her lashes, with what she hoped was seductive gesture. He grinned and kissed the tip of her nose. "Oh, nothing was lost, trust me. You stormed into my life at that first Order meeting in this whirlwind of color and light, and I haven't been the same since." Now it was her turn to blush.. "Then" he continued, twirling her hair around his fingers "You didn't run screaming when Sirius let it slip about my 'furry little problem.' I knew what he was trying to do, the git.. But you never treated me any differently" He gazed at her in amazement. "I'd never had that before. Must people give me a wide berth, but you didn't. You put me at ease, and I just didn't know how to deal with that. And then you turned on your wily feminine charms.." She giggled as he lightly tugged her hair "And I thought I was the one that was going to run screaming. No woman's ever treated me the way that you did Tonks. At least not since Harry's mother.. You accepted me without question. Why?" "Well, it wasn't entirely without question" Tonks admitted "I talked to Sirius, and Mad-Eye and Kingsley. I saw how much everyone trusted you and always talked about you with the highest esteem. And then I got to know you better.. Remus, you're the best, bravest man I've ever met!" she suddenly blurted out. "No really, you are!" she insisted, seeing that he was starting to argue "Look at all that you've been through. Not only are you still standing, but you have this amazing ability to see the good in people, and to bring it out. You're..you're just amazing.." she finished lamely. Remus laughed softly "Well, how can I argue with that kind of logic?" She laughed back, and reached up to stroke the hair off his forehead. "And then" she continued haltingly "The more time I spent with you, the more I liked you. And the more I trusted you, and then.." She trailed off and Remus held his breath. "Then what?" he whispered, lifting her chin. She raised her eyes to his. "Then I fell in love with you" she finished softly. He leaned forward and kissed her gently. "I love you too, Tonks" me murmured against her lips, kissing her till they were both breathless.. Time seemed to stand still, encasing them both in an infinite bubble of love. That is, until a tale-tell knock sounded on the door. They broke apart just as Healer MacLarren sauntered in, carrying that despised try of potions, as well as some poor excuse for dinner. "How's my darlin' this fine evening?" he cried, thankfully oblivious to her and Remus' red lips and rumpled hair. Remus gave her a flirtatious wink and moved out of the way. Healer Maclarren set down his tray and started looking her over. "Good, good" he muttered, examining her arms and legs, then having her sit up so he could check her back and neck. "Have you tried to walk yet?" She shook her head. "Feel like giving it a go?" "I guess so" she said uncertainly. "Let me put it this way, lass. If you can bring yourself to take a little stroll and continue to heal up, I may be persuaded to let you go home tomorrow night" "Well, when you put it that way!" Tonks chirped, slowly sitting up and swinging her legs over the side of the bed. "Easy does it, little one" he cautioned, putting a restraining hand on her shoulder. "Mr. Lupin, if you would?" he motioned to Remus. Healer MacLarren took one of her arms and Remus the other, and together they pulled her gently into a standing position. Predictably she listed to one side, and Remus caught her, slipping a steadying arm around her waist and keeping a firm grip on her hand. She gave a shaky laugh. "I feel like Bambi." Both men turned and looked at her like she had lost her mind. "Muggle story..Nevermind" "Ok then! Ready?" Healer MacLarren asked. Tonks took a deep breath. "Ready as I'll ever be!" Remus gave her hand a reassuring squeeze, and she took her first wobbly step. She soon found out that deadly curse + free fall and broken bones + clumsy Tonks= disaster. She went all to one side, nearly slamming Remus into the wall. Slowly but surely they reached the hallway, and Healer MacLarren wisely suggested a little break. She sank gratefully into a chair, her whole body shaking. Remus knelt in front of her, rubbing her back till she finally stilled. "OK?" he whispered after a few minutes. "I think so. Let's go" she answered grimly. Remus and Healer MacLarren resumed their positions at her side, and off they went again. After what seemed like the longest hour of her life, she was finally able to walk like she wasn't about to fail a field sobriety test. By the time they headed back to her room, she was able to balance herself on just Remus' arm. As he settled her back into bed, she looked up expectantly at Healer MacLarren. "Well?" He chortled happily, patting her shoulder. "I must say, I'm impressed!" Tonks laughed back "All you had to do was provide me with the right motivation!" "So" he continued "Take your potions, try and eat something, and get some sleep. And I see no reason why you shouldn't be able to leave our fine establishment tomorrow evening!" With a smile and a final pat, Healer MacLarren left her and Remus alone. Sinking back weakly against the pillows, she blew out a deep breath. "Are you ok?" Remus asked with a sympathetic smile. "Yeah, I think so" Tonks answered wearily "That just took a lot out of me." "Just give it time, darling. You'll be back to tripping over your own feet in no time" He squeezed her hand with a wicked grin. "Git.." They both laughed, then Remus moved the blankets aside and gently started massaging her foot. Tonks sighed and positively melted into the mattress. "That feels wonderful" she murmured. "Good" Remus whispered back "Just relax, and let me know if I'm hurting you." Tonks nodded and closed her eyes, letting Remus' strong hands work their magic. He slowly worked his way up her legs, then her arms, being careful to avoid the bruises that still lingered. He lightly massaged her neck, then his hands were cupping her face and his wonderfully soft lips were brushing against hers. She grabbed at his shirt and pulled him down for more. He stretched out carefully beside her, kissing her till she could do nothing but fall into an exhausted sleep, her face buried against his neck. As she drifted off, she had a feeling the Healers would find them in bed together in the morning..
Remus woke up to the early morning light filling the hospital room. He looked down at the rumpled head on his chest. Tonks was still sound asleep, her warm breath drifting across his skin. She was so beautiful, and it felt so natural and right to wake up with her in his arms. He still couldn't quite believe that this was real, that she was real.. A light tap broke him out of his thoughts. Gently detangling himself from Tonks' arms, he pulled back the curtain of the small window. A large tawny owl stood there, looking rather impatient, a letter clutched in his beak. Curious, Remus opened the window and took the parchment. "Thanks" he murmured. With an answering hoot, the owl flew off. Remus closed the window and sat back down on the bed to read:
I hope that you and Tonks are doing well. We were so glad to hear that she finally woke up and is expected to make a full recovery. Kingsley, Alastor, and myself were hoping to come and visit today, if that's alright. Please send word, and let me know what time would be best.
All our love,
"Remus? What's going on?" Tonks mumbled sleepily. "Sorry, sweetheart. Did I wake you?" He brushed her hair back and softly kissed her forehead. "How are you feeling?" "Better" she answered, snuggling up to his chest. "What's that?" she nodded toward the letter. "Oh, Molly, Alastor, and Kingsley would like to come see you today. Is that alright?" "Yes! That would be lovely, I miss everyone" Tonks answered, stretching and hugging Remus around the waist. He gave her an answering squeeze and kissed the top of her head. "You tell them they can come anytime. I'm going to..use the loo" she blushed slightly. Remus chuckled, standing and helping her off the bed. She wobbled for a moment, then let go of his arm and took a step. She felt surprisingly strong. Taking a few slow steps, she laughed and looked back at Remus. His answering smile made her weak in the knees, and she turned back around and promptly ran into a chair. Remus couldn't hold back his laughter. "Yep, back to normal, Tonks" "Shut it.." she muttered, grabbing her wand and making her way more carefully into the loo. She closed the door, and looked in the mirror for the first time since the accident. She barely recognized the witch staring back at her. Her hair was its natural mousey brown, and hung limply to her shoulders. She seemed thinner, and her face was paler than pale, with dark circles under her gray eyes. She leaned closer, putting a hand to her cheek. Her eyes were actually what captivated her the most. The rest of her face may have been lifeless, but her eyes sparkled and glowed. They were, she realized, they eyes of someone in love. She smiled dreamily and hugged herself, feeling like a giddy schoolgirl and loving it. She used the facilities and tried to perform a cleansing spell on herself. It wasn't the best, but she supposed it would have to do. She tried to finger-comb her hair, then stuck her tongue out at her reflection, and made her way back to the bed. Remus was standing over her breakfast tray, trying to weed out the edible from the revolting. He looked up as she settled back on the bed. "Feeling more human by the moment!" she said in response to his questioning smile. "So I see. Good news, sweetheart! These scones actually look quite good, and you're down to only five potions!" Tonks laughed "It must be my lucky day!" She leaned over and gave him a quick kiss, then reached for a scone. He was right, it wasn't half bad.. She offered one to Remus. "So when is everyone coming by?" "An hour or so. Wanted to make sure you had enough time to eat and all" Tonks nodded, and figured she should take her potions like a good little girl. She noted happily that she was done with the worst ones. She and Remus spent the rest of the morning talking and eating, till a firm knock sounded on the door. "Come in!" she called, shifting herself into a better sitting position and adjusting the blankets. Remus stood to greet the newcomers: Kingsley Shacklebolt came through the door, holding it open for Molly Weasely. "Oh Tonks, dear!" Molly cried, hurrying forward. Remus moved just in time; Molly all but threw down the parcel she was carrying, and engulfed Tonks in a suffocating embrace. "Darling girl" she murmured, rocking Tonks and stroking her hair. Tonks sank into the older witch's arms; as she had been injured on Order business, no one had been able to inform her parents, and Molly's motherly care was just what she needed. She pulled back and wiped her eyes, embarrassed. Molly smiled and patted her cheeks. "So thin and peaky" she tutted "But I'll have that taken care of in no time" She taped her wand on the parcel, revealing a basket of blueberry muffins that smelt simply mouthwatering. "Eat, eat!" she exclaimed, thrusting a muffin under Tonks' nose. She took the muffin, never loving Molly more. As the red-hair witch stood to force a muffin on Remus, Tonks finally spotted Kingsley. "Kingsley" she smiled. The tall, bald Auror walked forward, drawing a vase of Gerber daisies from behind his back. Tonks burst out laughing: he'd charmed them to the exact pink that she normally wore her hair. "Thought you might need the inspiration when you're ready to morph again" he chuckled in his deep, soothing voice; it was music to Tonks' ears. She reached out eagerly for the flowers, burying her nose in the bright blooms. "They're beautiful, thank you" She smiled up at her dear friend, setting the flowers carefully on the nightstand. He looked down at her fondly for a moment, then sat and pulled her into a sudden hug. Surprised, Tonks could only hug back, clinging to him. "Merlin Tonks" he rumbled into her hair "You scared us" She pulled back, grasping his arms. "It's ok Kingsley. I'm gonna be fine!" "I know" he grinned down at her affectionately "But if you ever do anything like this again, I'll hex you into the next millennium" Tonks laughed "Duly noted, sir!" He chuckled back, pinching the tip of her nose. His espresso-colored eyes roamed her face, as if making sure she really was ok. "I love you, kiddo" he murmured, hugging her again. "I love you too" she whispered, squeezing the breath out of him. They pulled apart as Molly and Remus approached the bed. Tonks looked around. "Where's Mad-Eye?" "He got called in by Dumbledore, he'll be along later" Kingsley answered "Don't worry, everything is fine" he said quickly, noting their worried glances "Just a routine update" "OK" Tonks nodded, relieved. They spent the next few hours in easy conversation, updating Tonks on how Harry was, and all that had happened while she was in the coma. She yawned suddenly, feeling worn out. "Sorry" she muttered sheepishly. "Oh dear, we're so sorry! Of course you need to rest!" Molly went instantly into fuss mode, adjusting Tonks' blankets and fluffing up her pillows. "Yeah, I guess I do huh" Tonks shrugged apologetically. "Don't you worry, dear, we'll have plenty more time to catch up later. Are they still releasing you tonight?" "As far as I know, yes" she answered, stifling another yawn. "Well, then, I'll be sure to have a nice big dinner ready!" "Oh Molly, you really don't have to.." Molly swallowed her protest with another tight hug. "Nonsense Tonks" she said firmly. "Everyone is very anxious to see you. Oh, dear me I almost forgot! Ginny grabbed you something to come home in" Molly opened another bundle into Tonks' lap: it was her favorite Weird Sisters shirt and patched jeans, as well as a pair of trainers and some undergarments. Tonks grinned. "Brilliant! I'll be sure to thank her later" "Of course, dear, not a problem! Now you rest up!" She kissed Tonks' forehead and herded Kingsley out of the room. Tonks looked up at Remus helplessly. "There's no point in stopping her, is there?" Remus chuckled, dropping a light kiss on her lips. "No, I'm afraid not, darling. Molly is a force of nature!" Tonks smiled back, her eyes suddenly feeling too heavy to keep open. Remus sat next to her and stroked her hair back. "Get some sleep; you're going to need it!"
Tonks woke up some time later to the dim light or early evening. And to a very familiar grumble. Rubbing her eyes, she sat up. "Mad-Eye!" Moody and Remus looked up from their quiet conversation. "How long have you been here?" she asked accusingly. "Not so long, lass. We didn't want to wake you" Moody answered, clunking to her bedside. He started down at her, looking almost uncomfortable. Tonks gazed around Moody, meeting Remus' eyes. He nodded and inched towards the door, muttering something about getting tea. As Remus softly closed the door, Tonks looked back up at her dearest friend, raising her eyebrows expectantly. "Hmmf" he grunted, setting himself in the chair by her bed. "How are you? Are they treating you well? You have everything you need?" Tonks knew this was Moody's way of saying 'I was worried, I'm glad you're alright.' She smirked and rolled her eyes. "Yes, Mad-Eye. I'm fine, should be able to leave within the hour, I assume." Moody grunted again. "Good. You come straight to Headquaters, you understand? No other stops. Constant.." "Vigilance, right?" Tonks finished with a laugh. Moody grunted again and glared at her with his good eye. Impulsively Tonks threw her arms around the older man. After a stunned second, Moody slowly patted her back with his weathered, knarled hands. After a surprised whisper of "sweet girl", Moody pulled back and resumed clunking around the room. Tonks grinned 'Big softie..', she thought to herself. A light knock at the door ruined their 'moment'. "Come in, Remus" she called out. Remus cautiously poked his head in the room. "Healer MacLarren is here too, is that ok?" "Of course" Tonks waved the two men inside. "Must be going, Tonks, Lupin", Moody barked. "Bye Mad-Eye!" Tonks called after him. "You have some very interesting friends, lass" Healer MacLarren said with an amused smile. "'Interesting' doesn't begin to cover it.." Tonks smirked. "So, let's see where we are then Miss Tonks" Healer MacLarren checked her vitals, her arms, back, and legs, and made her walk a bit around the room. She finished with a small bow. Healer MacLarren chortled and clapped his hand. "Brilliant little one!" he crowed. "Well then, I believe I owe you a promise!" he flicked his wand toward the door and Summoned her release papers, a quill, and ink. Tonks signed her name with a flourish and grinned up at Healer MacLarren. She was actually going to miss the jovial Scotsman.. He clasped her hand in both of his large ones and gave it a hearty shake. "You take care of yourself, Miss Tonks. I don't want to see your lovely face in this room again, you understand?" He shook a finger at her playfully. Tonks laughed "Not if I can help it!" Healer MacLarren turned to Remus. Tonks saw his shoulders straighten. "Mr. Lupin" he said, extending his hand. Remus smiled and shook the Healers hand without hesitation. "You take care of her, and yourself" MacLarren said gruffly. "You can count on it" Remus replied, winking at her. With a final smile at the pair of them, Healer MacLarren gathered up the paperwork and strode out. Tonks looked up at Remus and sighed. "I'm gonna miss that man!" Remus laughed softy and pulled her to her feet and into his arms. She smiled and laid her head on his chest, reveling in the quiet comfort of his heartbeat under her ear. "Ready to get out of here?" he whispered against her hair. "Almost" she lifted her head for a kiss, humming happily when he complied. "Now I am!" With a final squeeze, she grabbed her clothing bundle and headed into the loo. After changing into her favorite outfit, she felt much more like herself. There was just one more thing she wanted to try.. She looked in the mirror and scrunched up her nose. Suddenly her head felt like it was going to split open, and she couldn't hold back a cry of pain. "Tonks? What happened?" Remus hollered, banging into the bathroom. Tonks was leaning over the sink, clutching her hand in her hands and trying to catch her breath. "Tonks? Sweetheart, did you try to morph?" "Yes.." she moaned, moving her hands. She'd managed small pink streak before it became too painful to continue. She peered at him through the mirror, looking so pitiful that Remus couldn't help but laugh. "I'm sorry" he managed, turning her around and wrapping his arms around her tightly. She leaned against him till the pain dulled, then pulled back and looked over her shoulder at the mirror. "I know I shouldn't, I just wanted to try" she muttered guiltily. Remus turned her head back towards him gently, smoothing her hair and pressing a kiss to her forehead. "You need to give it time, Tonks. If you force it, it'll just make it all the more difficult. Try and be patient, love" Tonks rested her forehead against his. "I know, you're right" "Aren't I always?" he teased. "We'll see.." She pulled him down for a slow, sweet kiss. "Let's get out of here, please" "After you, m'lady" Remus gestured to the door. Tonks grabbed her flowers from Kingsley and looked around to make sure there wasn't anything else. She turned to Remus "I think this is it" "Alright then" he answered, then surprised her by bending and sweeping her into his arms. "Remus!" she squealed "I can walk!" "I know" he grinned, then spun them both out of the room.