All Tonks Wants for Christmas
"Oh I won't ask for much this Christmas
I won't even wish for snow
And I'm just gonna keep on waiting
Underneath the mistletoe"
"A little higher, and more to the left, Tonksky"
Sirius Black lazily directed his cousin from his comfortable perch in his favorite chair by the fireplace. The ice in his glass of firewhiskey clinked as he gestured towards the angel Tonks was levitating to the top of the Christmas tree.
"Little more, almost got it now love. No, wait, now to the right.."
The corners of his mouth twitched in a wide grin as Nymphadora Tonks lowered the angel perfectly on top of the tree and turned to face him, one hand on her hip, the other levitating a rather heavy glass ornament right above his head.
"You were saying?" she tilted her head to the side, her holly-green curls brushing against her shoulder.
"It's perfect" he chuckled, setting his glass down and casually sending the ornament back to the tree.
"So does this mean you're actually going to help now?" Tonks asked as she turned back to the tree, sticking her wand in her pocket and grabbing a handful of tinsel.
"I was helping, Tonksky.. It's called directing" he answered smoothly, ambling over to join her nonetheless. "What are we doing here?"
Tonks eyed him over her shoulder.
"Well, this is called tinsel.." she spoke with exaggerated slowness while shaking the her handful in his face.
Sirius rolled his eyes and batted at the bundle like a cat.
"Yes, thank you Professor Tonks. What I meant was why aren't you using your wand? This stuff is a mess.."
Tonks giggled as he grabbed his own handful, his nose wrinkling as he tried to separate the clumps. She collapsed onto the couch and howled with laughter as the tinsel stuck stubbornly to his hands. He waved them around, trying to shake it off, but only succeeded in getting tinsel stuck in his moustache and wavy, shoulder-length hair.
"A little help here, Nymphadora?" he growled, finally giving up.
"Well, since you asked so nicely.." she stood up and slowly strolled over to Sirius, taking out her wand and cleaning him off with a simple wave and muttered word.
"Thanks" he deadpanned, brushing his hands off on his pants.
He looked up, just missing the sly twinkle in his baby cousin's eyes. Next thing he knew he was buried in a mound of tinsel..
"Oh, it is so on.." he muttered from the depths of his plastic prison.
The next twenty minutes were spent in probably the most spectacular tinsel fight that London had ever seen. Every immobile surface (as well as a few mobile ones, as Kreacher skulked away, covered and muttering about the results of too much in-breeding) was completely incased in pounds of the shiny silvery stuff. Sirius and Tonks themselves were spitting it out of their mouths, gasping and laughing, yet still managing to shout insults at each other.
"Ok, ok you flea-bag!" Tonks screeched, struggling to throw her hands up in defeat "I give! Truce?"
"Alright, Freak-Show, truce! On the count of three?"
"One, two, three..Scourgify!"
Tonks took a deep breath then promptly dissolved into giggles again. The static from all the tinsel had caused Sirius' hair to stand on end.
"What?" he ask warily, looking around.
"Nothing.." Tonks scooted over and smoothed his hair down, then planted a noisy kiss on top of his head. "Now make yourself useful and help me finish. Molly will have our hide if we're not done by tomorrow like we promised!"
"Ooh, excellent point cousin dear.." he replied with a mock shudder, then heaved himself to his feet and leaned over, grabbing Tonks' hands and yanking her up.
They decorated in companionable silence for a while, broken only by Sirius' toneless warbling along to the carols coming from the WWN. He snuck a few glances at his pretty cousin here and there. For all of her holiday spirit and careful attention to her appearance, he knew her well enough already to know that something was off. And he was fairly certain as to what, or rather who, the problem was.
"So Tonksky" he started "Where's Moony this evening? I'm sure he would have been more than happy to get tangled up in the tinsel with you" He flicked a stray piece of the offending string at her, wagging his eyebrows suggestively.
"On patrol, I guess.. Why would I know?"
Her too-quick and casual response only confirmed his suspicions. He sighed and took the antique ornament she held carefully out of her hands and hung it up, then Summoned them both a Butterbeer and led her to the couch.
"Talk" he demanded, pushing her onto the couch and shoving a Butterbeer in her hands "I thought things were going well"
"I thought so too" Tonks sighed, drawing her legs under her as she turned to face him and took a long swallow of her drink "We work so well together on patrols and such.. He actually makes them fun! And he even asked me to get a drink at the Leaky the other night. I thought we were finally turning a corner, you know?"
Sirius nodded silently, patting her hand and urging her to continue.
"But then.. It seems like the closer we get, the more he pushes me away. He doesn't even want to see me around the full moon anymore. He says it's 'too dangerous', which is a load of crap! I've been around him before, why's it so different now? Why is he pushing me away, Sirius?"
Sirius took her hand, running his fingers lightly along her jagged, chewed-off fingernails, silently contemplating the best response. Moony was his best mate, but Tonks was his blood..
"It's because he's in love with you Tonksky, so much that it terrifies him. He's never let himself get this close to a woman before, and now here's this beautiful, kind witch that knows what he is and wants to be with him anyway. He's petrified that he'll lose you, or hurt you...do something that will make you change your mind"
Tonks took a moment to absorb this news. She had figured, knew really, that he was attracted to her. But that he was as much in love with her as she was with him? This was news..
"The only thing he could do to change my mind is to keep pushing me away, Sirius. I love him, but I have too much pride to beg or cling if I'm not wanted. If he really does love me, he needs to trust me enough to open himself up"
Sirius surprised her then by grabbing her in a fierce hug "Give him a chance, Tonksky, please. He needs someone like you" he whispered, kissing her forehead.
"I'll try" Tonks promised, hugging him back.
"And please don't tell him I told you all of this.. Can't have him switching my shampoo for hair-removal tonic, can we?"
Tonks burst out laughing (the very response Sirius had hoped for), as he struck a pose and ran his fingers through his black waves.
"Now Padfoot, who would even think of doing such a thing?" Remus' amused, slightly hoarse voice broke through their laughter.
"Ah Moony! Well, that's for me and my beautiful cousin to know, and for you to never find out.."
Remus chuckled as he shrugged out of his cloak and scarf, shaking the snow out of them and hanging them on the coat rack in the corner.
"Snowing, is it mate?" Sirius went to look out the window as Tonks flicked her wand at the fireplace, adding more logs and upping the warmth.
"Yes, just started though, thank Merlin. Ah, thank you Tonks" Remus smiled gently at her as he sat down on the hearth, warming his hands.
Tonks smiled back as her heart gave its usual Remus-induced flutter, then jumped as Sirius' arm came around her neck in a playful headlock. She'd actually already forgotten he was still there..
"Well" Sirius said a little too loudly "Now that you're home safe and sound, I'm heading up to bed"
He gave Tonks a meaningful look, coupled with a sound kiss the cheek. She and Remus both echoed subdued 'goodnights' to him, their eyes not leaving each other's. Smirking, Sirius paused at the door, narrowing his eyes. Unnoticed by the otherwise absorbed couple, he Conjured a ball of mistletoe, cast a Hovering charm on it, and sent it on its way. He nodded, quite pleased with himself, and headed up to bed.
Tonks blushed and shuffled her feet, suddenly shy and uneasy. Remus just continued to smile up at her, all calmness and ease.
"So.." she started, struggling for something to fill the increasing silence "Anything interesting happen tonight?"
"Thankfully, no. Very boring, very routine patrol"
Tonks wavered on her feet as Remus slid on to the thick, fireside rug, leaning back against the hearth. His relaxed position, the firelight playing across his handsome face and grey-streaked sandy hair.. It all became too much for Tonks. She had to get a hold of herself before she tore his clothes off and attacked him.
"Um.. Are..are you hungry or..anything?" she stammered.
"I'm not hungry, but I could do with a hot drink, if it's not too much trouble"
Tonks grinned in relief as he provided her with the perfect excuse to get her hormones under control.
"I've got just the thing! Don't move!" she replied pertly, bounding out of the room and nearly ping-ponging off the door in her haste.
Remus blew out a breath and let his head hang back as Tonks left, glad to have a few minutes to collect himself. He had tried like mad to forget her, to convince himself that he didn't love her and that she felt nothing but friendship for him. But he knew deep down that it was all just a hopeless load of bollocks. He was head-over-heels, crazystupidmad in love with the beautiful Metamorph, no denying it. And it was becoming more and more difficult to hide it. Like tonight.. Coming in and seeing her laughing so easily with Sirius, the firelight illuminating her pale skin and bringing out gold highlights in her Christmas-green hair.. She was so beautiful, it had taken everything he had to not shove Sirius out the door, take her in his arms, and show her once and for all how he really felt about her.
"Here we are"
Tonks' musical voice broke him out of his thoughts. He looked up to see her carefully approaching, two steaming mugs in her hands. He quickly rose and relieved her of one of them before certain disaster struck, then sat back down. She smiled gratefully at him before setting her own mug on the hearth and joining him on the rug. She buried her face in the fragrant steam coming from her mug; she almost wished Sirius had never told her about Remus' true feelings, she didn't know how to act around him now..
"So" Remus said lightly, gazing into his own mug "What is this? It smells wonderful"
Tonks took a long, slow sip before answering.
"It's called Hot Buttered Rum. My dad makes it all the time around the holidays; it really just warms you down to your toes. It's one of the few things I can make without burning the house down"
Remus laughed softly, blowing the steam off his mug before taking a cautious first sip. His soft moan of approval nearly caused Tonks to drop her mug.
"This is delicious! I hope it wasn't too much trouble.. Thank you, Tonks"
He smiled so warmly at her, and then reached out to take her free hand and give it a gentle squeeze.
"N..no trouble at all!" she mumbled, then flushed and tried to hide her face by taking a too-quick gulp of her drink.
Of course, the Hot Buttered Rum lived up to its name, searing a blazing trail of fire down her throat. She coughed and sputtered, clutching at her throat and gasping for air.
"Oh Merlin Tonks!" Remus cried.
He cast a lightning-fast cooling charm on her throat, then Summoned a clean glass from the kitchen. He pointed his wand at it, muttering "Aguamenti" and quickly filling it with cool water.
"Here, drink this..slowly"
He slipped a steadying arm around her and handed her the water. Tonks took a tentative sip, and then another. She had never been so humiliated in her entire life. Nothing she had tripped over, fallen on, or crashed into and broken could ever compare to this. She took a few deep ragged breaths and continued to sip her water, trying to get enough of a grip on herself to croak out an apology and make a hasty exit. Then, she noticed Remus' arm was still around her, his large, warm hand rubbing in soothing circles on her back. Stealing herself, she finally looked up. His face was inches from hers, his soft blue eyes filled with nothing but worry and concern.
"Are you ok?" he whispered, lifting his other hand and brushing her hair out of her face.
"Yeah" she managed to rasp out "Nothing hurts more than my pride.."
He smiled tenderly, his hand trailing down her face to cup her cheek. Suddenly she was filled with a warmth that had nothing to do with the fire or the rum. Her breath quickened as he closed the small remaining distance between them and brushed his lips softly against hers. He took advantage of her surprised gasp to deepen the kiss and slip his tongue shyly into her mouth, his arms crushing her close. He was warm, so very warm, and tasted like rum and smelt like crisp, wintery air. She raked her fingers through his soft hair, meeting his tongue with her own. They parted a few hazy minutes later, both breathing heavily, and just stared at each other.
"Why.." Tonks whispered, but got no further.
Remus claimed her mouth again, wrapping one arm around her and cupping the other hand behind her head, lowering her slowly onto the rug and carefully settling his weight on top of her. She whimpered and tugged lightly at his hair, kissing him even harder. She wanted to ask him why now, what made him change his mind? But as the embers popped and crackled, surrounding them with warmth, and Remus nudged her legs apart to press himself closer to her, she decided it could wait for another time. As she tilted her head back, allowing his lips to trail down her throat, she opened her eyes briefly and spied a ball of mistletoe, hovering in mid-air above them. She chuckled inwardly, reminding herself to thank Sirius in the morning. As Remus' mouth closed on hers again, she sighed happily and held him tighter, never guessing that her Christmas angel would come in the form of an annoying, shaggy-hair cousin..