Oof.. Well, I'm surfing in totally uncharted waters here. This was originally supposed to be a 'what would happen if' companion chapter to a future chapter of "Wake Up & Dance with Me". But I couldn't get it out of my head, so here it is now. I've never done a Snape/Tonks fic.. It felt kinda weird first, to be honest..

I ain't Rowling, so don't be hatin'..

Lavender, Lemon, & Firewhiskey


I sensed her before I even heard her. I just, as always, felt when she was near. Then I heard the light footsteps going down the stairs into the kitchen. She was so tiny, she hardly made a sound; not like Mad-Eye, with his infernal clunking leg. Suddenly a crash, then a muttered curse, confirmed my suspicions. I smiled to myself and continued playing; I knew from experience that she preferred to clean up her own messes. Those dainty footsteps came up the kitchen stairs and stopped outside the door. I knew she knew that I knew she was there, but true to my nature I waited a few minutes before acknowledging her presence. Taking a deep breath, I finally lifted my eyes to her. Oh, she was a vision, leaning against the door frame, in her true un-morphed form.. Large grey eyes watched me; her natural chocolate brown hair was so long now that it fell to her mid-back, even when pulled into a loose ponytail; the ends of which she plays with over one shoulder. She must have been trying to sleep, as her petite frame was still clothed in her pajamas: a tight black long-sleeved shirt, lounge pants in a Snitch print in her Hufflepuff house colors, and fluffy black slippers. In her other hand was a squat crystal glass filled with an odd, pale tan-colored liquid. "That's nice" she said quietly, gesturing towards me and the piano "I didn't know you played. What is that called?" "It's Bach, 'Well-Tempered Clavier'" I answer, before turning my attention back to the music sheet in front of me. I still can't get over the change in her in the last few months. The old Nymphadora would have lumbered clumsily into the room and loudly asked me 'what that bloody terrible racket' was. She now inches a little further into the room, as if unsure how welcome her presence is. "Do you mind if I stay, Severus?" Merlin, I love how she says my name.. "I couldn't sleep" The 'again' went unsaid. "Please" I nod to the loveseat nearest to the piano. "And what is that nauseating concoction you're drinking?" That earned me a ghost of a smile. "Watered-down firewhiskey" she murmurs sheepishly "Sometimes it helps me sleep, without the hangover" I can't help but slip into a full-on Snape-sneer: "Ah, the big badass Auror can't hold her liquor?" This time I'm rewarded with a small but real laugh. She never was one to be intimidated by me, even when she was my student.. And I still respect her for that. "No, I'm afraid to say I can't!" She chuckles softly, then falls silent, just listening to me play.

After a while, I sneak a glance at her out of the corner of my eye. She's curled up on the loveseat, her head against the back, watching the fireplace; her knees are tucked into her chest as if she's holding herself together, and she's still drinking that putrid firewhiskey mix. "How long has it been?" I ask, switching seamlessly into 'Canon in D'. "Six months" she answers, without looking away from the fireplace. "He managed to send me a Patronus about two months ago. He's surviving; he still doesn't know when he'll be back" She doesn't elaborate and I don't ask: I have no interest in knowing what other excuses the damn werewolf has given her for staying away so long, leaving her broken and alone. I hear her sniffling back tears, and regret bringing the subject up, no matter how scarcely. She's silent again, and after a while I hear the 'thunk' of her setting the empty glass on the floor. I hear her get up, and then again sense her coming closer. She sits on the piano bench next to me. After a few moments she puts her head on my shoulder, and I have to clench my jaw to keep concentrating. She doesn't know what she does to me; she has no idea that I've been helplessly in love with her for the last three years. She has no bloody clue how much it killed me to watch her and Lupin do their flirtation dance for two years before finally colliding. And hopefully she has no idea that I hope the werewolf never comes back.. But oh, how I do love her.. What I feel for Nymphadora makes what I thought I felt for Lily Evans look like a passing fondness. Somehow this lovely young metamorph wrapped herself around my cold heart, warming it again with her humor, kindness, and the almost child-like way she views the world: even in the middle of a war, she still manages to find the beauty and goodness in the most mundane everyday things. Who else do I know that gets so excited about seeing the first snowfall of the winter, so much so that she managed to drag the entire Order, myself included, out to Hogsmead one night for a massive snowball fight? I smirked at the memory; I know I won't soon forget the sight of the snowball I'd slyly lobbed at Kingsley, slowly sliding off the regal Auror's bald head. Nymphadora's laughter and life had been as infectious as always that night, and even as I watched her and Lupin share a stolen kiss, I knew it was that moment that I realized I loved her.

The feel of her moving even closer breaks me out of my thoughts, and I almost stumble over the next notes of the song. I turn my head slightly and brush the lightest kiss on top of her head, pausing to just breathe her in. She smells of lavender, lemons, and firewhiskey, making her even more intoxicating to me than usual. I hope she can't hear my breath hitch, but then she leans over and removes my hands from the keys. I turn to face her fully; she's so close I can see the flecks of blue in her grey eyes, how long her eyelashes are, every curve and contour of her fine, small features. She laces her fingers through mine and shifts even closer. I let go of her hands and slip one arm around her, brushing a wisp of hair out of her eyes with the other hand. I let my fingers trail softly down her cheek, over her lips, and finally cup my hand around the back of her neck and bring her mouth to mine. All of my fears and insecurities, as well as the rest of the world, simply falls away as our mouths move together. She responds more than I thought she would, wrapping her arms tightly around my neck and pressing herself to me. I know deep down that she's only doing this out of loneliness, and that I should not be taking advantage of her vulnerability; but she just feels so damn good that I can't pull away. I have been waiting far too long for this.. I shift her around so that she's sitting on my lap, and reach up to pull her hair free of its ponytail. I run my fingers through the curls till they are falling over both of our shoulders. They smell of lavender.. I deepen the kiss and run my tongue lightly against hers as she opens her mouth. She tastes of firewhiskey.. She sighs and tangles her fingers in my hair, and I do the same to her. Merlin, I love her so much.. I pull back slightly and kiss my way down her jaw to her neck. She shivers, especially as I slip my hand under her shirt, stroking the soft skin at the small of her back. Her hands move from my hair to grip my shoulders; her head falls back and she whimpers my name as I brush my lips down her fragrant throat. "Nymphadora" I breathe, pulling her mouth back down to mine. Through my haze of bliss I slowly become aware of her small fingers starting to unbutton my shirt. I pull back quickly; looks like my conscience is finally starting to catch up with the rest of me. I rest my forehead against hers as we both catch our breaths. Lifting her hair off her shoulders, I look her square in the eye "Are you sure this is what you really want?" "Yes" she whispers. Her trembling hands run up my chest to grip at my shoulders again. "I'm so cold, Severus. Sometimes I feel like I'll never be warm again" Her voice cracks and she moves close to me, laying her head once again on my shoulder. She makes me feel strong, like I really can protect her against this damn war as well as all the other evils of the world. I stroke her hair and press soft kisses to her temple, her cheek, her jaw. "I just want to take care of you. Will you let me?" I whisper silkily against her ear. "Please" she breathes, without hesitation. I give her a lingering kiss then slowly stand up, keeping her securely in my arms. Turning, I Apparate us both to her room.

She reaches behind me to close and lock the door, then takes her wand from the nightstand and lights a single candle. I carry her to the bed, nuzzling her neck, and lay her gently among the tangled sheets and blankets. Taking my own wand out of my pocket, I cast a Silencing and Imperturbable around the room. Mad-Eye and his vigilance can kiss my ass; I'd never let any harm come to this precious creature. Smiling gently at Nymphadora, I cross the room and stretch out on the bed next to her. The soft pink sheets smell of lemon.. I reach out and pulled her into my arms; she lays her head on my chest and goes back to unbuttoning my shirt, slipping her hand inside and nestling even closer. I stroke her hair with one hand, resting the other on the bare strip of skin at her waist. I can't breathe.. Even if this is as far as things go, I will wake up a happy man as long as I wake up with her still in my arms.

But then those pale elegant hands start untucking my shirt. Rolling on to my side, I let her take it off of me completely. She runs her hands lightly up my chest, and the feel of her touch on my bare skin scrambles me so much that I have to force myself not to pounce on her then and there. That is until she breathed the three words that were my undoing: "Kiss me, Severus.." I was only too happy to comply to her every demand, and the next few minutes passed in a blur of lips and hands and arms and legs that leave us breathless and tangled together in just our underwear. Taking a ragged breath, I try to gain some semblance of control. I'm not a naïve man; I know this is a one-time deal, and I'm going to savor every second. I want to touch all of her, taste all of her, know all of her.. I look into her steel-grey eyes; they're full of a desire that surprises me. Tracing the lines of her face, I breathe kisses to her forehead, her eyes, her cheeks, before kissing her with everything I have. "You're so beautiful" I whisper against her mouth, not because I feel I need to, but because she is. To me, she is the most beautiful woman in the world.. She arches her head back, giving me full access to her neck, which I take complete advantage of. Her fingers are raking through my hair and I feel the light pinch of her nails on my back as my mouth closes on her perfect breast. Nuzzling her gently, I slide my free hand over her other breast, then trail a teasing line down her stomach before coming to rest just under the waistband of her low-slung underwear. I pause, suddenly uncertain. She takes my hand and urges it down, murmuring something incoherent as I slide them off of her. I nip my way up her shapely legs, pausing once again at her upper thigh. She answers my silent question with a loud, needy whimper, her legs falling open. "Sweetheart" I whisper reverently, before going to where we both need and want for me to be.

Nearly too soon for me, I feel her shudder strongly and then she's pulling me towards her, burrowing her face in my chest. I hold her tightly, breathing words I can't even remember against her soft hair. This is all uncharted territory for me. On the rare occasion that I am with a woman, I'm used to taking what I want, with little or no regard to anyone's needs but my own. With Nymphadora, I find myself hanging by, waiting for her next command. Very unusual, but I am not saying I don't like it.. And her next command becomes quite clear as she slides her hand slowly down my side, tugging my boxers off my hips. I shift around the help the process, and she finishes the job with her toes. I have to stifle a very un-manly chuckle as her foot passes over a particularly sensitive spot behind me knee. She giggles into my neck, her warm breath only upping the goosebumps factor. "Ticklish?" she breathes, kissing her way up my neck and across my jaw. I'm dangerously close to being complete putty in her hands; then those hands are slipping down my chest and between my legs, her touch managing to be at the same time light and teasing as well as seductive and wanting. "Not quite there" I laugh breathlessly, before rolling her onto her back and kissing her deeply. She shifts her legs so that I'm laying in the cradle of her body. Looking into her eyes, I hold her tightly, pushing slowly into her. Whispering my name, she closes her eyes and we hold each other close as we start to move together. Her hands are everywhere: in my hair, gripping my shoulders, sliding down my back as she wraps her legs around my waist and pulls me even deeper into her. I kiss her slowly and gently, our tongues swirling together, as my own hands drift from her hair to her face to her breast, before settling in the tiny space left between our bodies. She cries out and her entire body seems to tighten around mine as she matches my every movement. But I have to slow down, I have to make this last as long as possible, to hold and cherish her for as long as I can. But the momentum can't be stopped, especially as our kisses become almost desperate. With a final squeeze I feel her shuddering under me once again, and I'm right there with her, as we hold onto each other for dear life. Falling still, I looked into her eyes; her own widen after a second, and I know everything that I feel for her, everything that I want to say but am too scared to, is written all over my face. But I don't care. At that moment, I give myself to her; the man I used to be, the man I am now, and the man that I want to be for her, I give her everything that I am. She looks at me in what can only be described as wonder, then kisses me lovingly and lowers my head to her chest. I go willingly, burying my face in her neck and holding her tightly. Her hand strokes my hair and she wraps her other arm around my shoulders, holding me much the same way that I held her when we first lay down.

After a few minutes I fear that I'm getting too heavy for her, so I roll on to my back, tucking her head under my chin. Is it my imagination, a trick of the lighting, or are there really a few pale pink hairs mixed in with the rick brown? Shaking my head at my own romantic nonsense, I close my eyes as she settles herself across my chest, pulling a blanket over us. I feel like I should say something, but I can't think of anything but the obvious: that I love her more now than I ever did before, that she's a part of me and I don't think I can ever bear to let her go. I finally just decide to let her take the lead. I know her; if she wants to say something, she will. Fortunately she seems contented with silence, and burrows herself deeper into my arms, and my heart. We lay like this for a long while, just breathing each other in, taking and giving comfort. At least, I know she is. I cannot let myself believe that this is anything more than comfort sex to her; she'll never know that it means so much more to me.

She's so still that I think she's fallen asleep, then her fingers start dancing lightly across my chest and sides. "What are you doing?" I rumble against her hair. She grins up at me playfully and whatever's left of my heart just stops. She kisses a soft line up from my chest to my shoulder to my neck, following the path on my other side with her light little fingers. She's getting warmer.. Those soft lips and fingers finally hit the right spot at the same time, where my collarbone meets my neck. I don't bother stopping the laugh that's bubbling over, and make a very half-hearted attempt to wriggle away. If she wants to explore my body looking for tickle spots, I'm all too willing to let her. That is until she takes my hand and places it lightly but decisively on her breast. I must say I do like this idea much better.. I once again roll her onto her back, kissing her fiercely. What was before slow and gentle quickly becomes passionate and frantic, and is over far, far too soon. But who am I to complain, I think, as I collapse in a breathless heap on top of her. We're both breathing heavily and seem to have lost the power of coherent speech and thought, as we mumble sexy nonsense to each other. Laughing erratically, I kiss her with all the love and feeling in my heart, as those three words once again make a futile bid for freedom. She wraps herself around me, kissing me back with equal passion, and I can't help but wonder.. But no, this is just comfort sex. Really passionate, amazing, mind-blowing comfort sex, maybe, but I will not let myself be fooled into thinking it means to her what it does to me. Squeezing my eyes closed, I lose myself quickly in the feeling of her lips on mine; I can't seem to stop kissing her or touching her, nor do I ever want to. And amazingly enough I feel my need for her rising once again. Well isn't this a night for surprises..

Her giggle this time is the sexiest sound I've ever heard, as is her breathy moan when I slide easily into her again. Something feels different this time, though. The passionate playfulness of before is giving away to something deeper and more meaningful. And even more intense than the first time. Our eyes lock and I feel like I can see into her heart and soul. As she reaches up and brushes my hair back then caresses my face, I try to silently convey to her that she holds both of mine in her beautiful hands. I am 100% hers till the end of..whatever this is. She arches up and shifts her legs, pulling me as deeply into her as possible. "I can't get close enough to you" she whimpers against my neck. "I know, Sweetheart" I moan back softly "Neither can I" I hold her as close and tightly as I can, kissing her slowly as we move together. I'm so lost in her; she's all I can feel, taste, and see. And I know, with a sudden confidence that comes from who-knows-where, that she feels the same. Especially as nearly screams my name and shudders violently under me. I smooth her damp hair back, whispering that sweet nonsense to her again as I kiss her eyes, her nose, her delicious mouth. I love her for a few more sadly short minutes before melting into her, kissing her neck and collarbone, marveling at how the moonlight and our shared sweat turns her pale skin luminous. She is perfect. I feel both of our bodies slowly start to relax, and raise my head to kiss her. Her lovely eyes are full of emotions, too many for me to read. She opens her mouth, as if to say something, then stops and pulls me down to her. I kiss her deeply as I roll us over. I don't know how long we stayed like that, her laying across my chest, her hands on my face and in my hair; mine on the back of her head and fanned across her shoulder blades, keeping her pressed tightly to me. I didn't think it was possible to love her any more, but I was so very wrong. In these few precious hours, she's become my entire world; I will fight for her if that's what it comes to. We finally part, and she gives me this sleepy, satisfied smile that is just so charming, so utterly Nymphadora. "Sleep, Darling" I whisper as she snuggles against my chest, rearranging the tangled blankets over us and extinguishing the single candle. I feel her relax completely against me as I trail a finger lightly up and down her spine. As her breathing becomes slow and even, I feel like it's safe to say the words that I just can't keep inside anymore. "I love you, Nymphadora", I breathe into her silky hair. As I start to drift off to sleep, I could swear I feel her arms tightening around me..