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For mizufae Remus/Tonks

This was writted in response to mizufae from the prompt of

Blackberry-picking

Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
Like thickened wine: summer's blood was in it
Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for
Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger
Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots
Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.
Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills
We trekked and picked until the cans were full,
Until the tinkling bottom had been covered
With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned
Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered
With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard's.

We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre.
But when the bath was filled we found a fur,
A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.
The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush
The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.
I always felt like crying. It wasn't fair
That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.
Each year I hoped they'd keep, knew they would not.

Seamus Heaney

So I bring you:

Title: Deciding Moments
Pairing: Remus/Tonks
Rating: Hard R
Warnings: sexually suggestive content
Genre: Romance, Angst
A/N: Thanks bunches to almond_joyz for her insightful beta job, as well as ladytonks for assuring me that the level of smuttiness was in character as "Remus isn't the type to kiss and tell". Much love to the both of you for your help!

Deciding Moments


It was in that moment.

Tonks’ fingers fiercely curled into the front of his robes.

Her lips poised only fraction of a second and a million misgivings away from his.

It was in that moment that Remus denied her for the last time.

…young and whole men do not necessarily remain so.

The words echoed in his mind, swirling through clouds of grief and darker more sinister thought. A thought he would have never imagined himself capable of, a thought that frightened him beyond measure. It twisted itself around Arthur’s words and wrapped around Tonks’ anguished face in the darkest recesses of his mind. It turned hatred and shame over and inward; and he cursed himself for even allowing it to spring into being.

If Tonks had been in that bed, if she had been the one who was tainted with the blood of the same curse that he had borne all these years alone; he would have gone to her immediately. All their barriers would have been broken. Because he would not have been the one to destroy her purity, to steal her youth and beauty. That evil task would have fallen to someone else. And Remus could have allowed his love for her to boil over into a righteous injustice on her behalf.

That would have been much easier than this.

But she wants you…

No woman had ever wanted him, not the way that Tonks wanted him. Remus had never allowed anyone to get that close. Lily had loved him as a friend, but her passion had been all for James. That was the closest that Remus had ever got to feeling the love of a woman. He had been with women, nameless faceless women who sated his lust and made him feel even less human than he already did. But that was never love. That was not what Tonks had offered.

They had kissed the night of Emmeline’s funeral. The only one not drunk on firewhisky, and the last of the mourners to leave, Remus had offered to help Tonks straighten up her flat. She had tripped, on a glass left by one of the others, and he caught her. She had been so warm and beautiful in his arms. And he had kissed her, as if they were merely in the midst of a dramatic ballroom dip instead of a fall. Remus surprised himself with his forwardness, but not as much as Tonks had surprised him with her response.

~*~

It had been a year and a half since he had met her, trailing in expectantly behind Arthur Weasley and practically tackled by Sirius when she stepped in the door. She had been introduced as “the only decent thing to come from the house of Black,” excepting her mother and Sirius himself of course. Her face had not wavered with fear or shock the first time Remus’ condition was spoken of in an Order meeting. At the time, he just supposed that she had read of it in the papers. But she had always gone out of her way to speak to him the first meeting after a full moon. Care and concern were always evident on her face, but never pity.

It was this that lead her to staying late, reminiscing with he and Sirius. She told them both stories of her mother and Remus was certain that she thought of him as she did Sirius: as a brother that she never had. Remus never dared let himself believe that there was more behind her lingering glances than the familiarity of a new but dear friend. He refused to allow himself to take pleasure from her hand resting too long on his shoulder when she rose from her chair. Remus had relegated to his dreams and fantasies the jolt of power that threaded through his body when her thigh would touch his at the over crowded table.

Remus convinced himself that when he called her “Nymphadora” it was just friendly teasing and not to see the delicious flush of color on her cheeks. It was not so that he could more vividly imagine how she would look beneath him if he took her. No, he could not do that. She was too young, too spirited, her life held too much promise to be joined in any manner with his.

His dreams became more vivid. And his face would be the one that would color when Remus next saw her. He would do his best to focus on the meeting and push back the wanton images that would rise unbidden to his mind at the deep, spicy-warm scent of Tonks’ perfume.

And when she fell in the Department of Mysteries, it was Remus who sat at her bedside in St. Mungo’s. Refusing to allow himself to hold her hand, even after she finally woke and he told her of Sirius’ fate. In those days following, Remus convinced himself that she sought his company simply to find comfort in the dear friend of her dead cousin. But, her embraces lasted longer and she would grasp his hand before she bid him good night. The whole wizarding world was at war, and Remus was at war with himself.

Tonks’ had become both his comfort in grief and his passion in solitude. Remus seemed only to be able to breath easy if she was in the same room. And as soon as she was gone, his mind filled with only her and Remus’ desires overcame him. Her comfort was something that he could not allow himself to partake of fully. This was wrong, his thoughts and dreams, the way he felt when she smiled. She deserved a young and dashing man, someone who had a future to share with her, not a battered old werewolf whose life was now relegated to the past.

But then all of his carefully controlled limits had been broken. Emmeline had been murdered. The funeral was attended by all members of the Order who were able, and half of those ended up in Tonks’ flat with twice as many bottles of mead and firewhisky. Remus had been there watching his friends and comrades in arms mourn. Mourn and drink copious amounts of alcohol. Everyone but Tonks, Kingsley and himself. And Kingsley had gotten the rest of the members home, before leaving Remus alone with Tonks. She had accepted his offer to tidy up the place before he left, after she made him promise not to leave it any cleaner than it had been when he arrived.

Remus had chuckled at her ground rules and gone about retrieving empty bottles and half-finished drinks. He was attempting to not straighten a pile of week old Daily Prophets on the table when it happened. Tonks had tripped and Remus stuck out an arm to catch her. It was an instinctive move and one that he would grow to regret.

She was suddenly so close, the heat of her body seeping through his clothing and into his very skin. Her perfume filled him as he looked down to see her beautiful face looking up at him with very evident desire, just as he had seen it so many times in his solitary fantasies and fevered dreams. And then she smiled and Remus kissed her.

Her hands were in his hair and her mouth was meeting his with something more than Remus had ever known. It was not drunken lust that Remus tasted on her lips. There was a slow passion and a burning desire filled with an ache of longing that met him on her tongue. Her body pressed into him with in a willing promise-filled offer. Remus gathered Tonks in his arms wanting nothing more than to accept against his better judgment. But, when he moved to kiss her neck, it was not jumbled praises and curses or even incoherent sounds of pleasure that filled his ears.

It was his name.

His name uttered with an intense reverence that matched the wholeness of what he felt when Tonks first landed in his arms. His name breathed out with an almost practiced ease that made him wonder if she had said it before in such a manner, if only to herself or in her dreams. It was his name on her lips that broke him, that erased all thoughts of keeping this young woman at arms length, at a safe distance.

They had fumbled down the hall to her bedroom, tearing at clothing, their hands seeking heated flesh. Her body spread out before him, her supple flesh in his hands was more than even his wildest dreams. Remus worshipped every inch of her skin. Soon his mouth was on her breast and then his head was between her legs. She screamed out his name as if it was the highest praise and then he was inside her. He was gasping for air while she whimpered against his shoulder, begging him for more and more and more.

And in those moments, Remus felt more human than he ever had since he had known what it meant to not be completely so. Under the loving caress of Tonks’ hands, his scar-crossed skin was for once comfortable to live in. And when the words reached his ear, heavy on her breath, Remus realized that he was irrevocably engulfed in the love of and for a woman.

And in those moments, Remus had given Tonks everything she had asked for and accepted what he had refused to allow himself for the past year. He made love to her and it was more and better than he had ever known. Finally, calling out her name as he had so many times alone, Remus collapsed. Spent in Tonks arms, Remus clung to her, murmuring endearments and meaning every word.

But in the morning, he had taken it all away with inadequate and false excuses and apologies. He had tried to push her back to the realm of friend, to the distance that meant safety. He told himself that she deserved much more than he could ever offer her. He told her that she deserved better and more. He told Tonks these things because he believed them to be true. Because all Remus had was his love for her, and that would never be enough.

And then he had gone underground, and been reminded constantly that he was ‘other’ and ‘not’ and everything that she should never have to know. He was reminded of just what a grievous sin it would have been to give in to the pleading in her eyes, how heinous a crime to admit that she was right and that he loved her. And again at Christmas, Harry unknowingly driving a dagger into Remus’ heart told him just how much he had already wounded her. And still Tonks would refuse to let him go, to move on and seek something better, something more.

Fighting Death Eaters at Hogwarts, Remus knew that she could stand her own. He pushed back the thought that if she could not produce a spell or shield herself from a hex that it would have been his fault for sapping her of her power. But she had stood, she had not fallen. No, it was Bill Weasley who had fallen. And it was over Bill’s mangled body that Remus had allowed that insidious thought to enter his mind.

~*~

It was that thought that had brought Remus to the fireside at Grimmauld Place, to the place where he would feel the pain of his losses most keenly. Remus believed that he deserved to be truly alone. It was somehow a way to atone for his multitude of sins.

He heard the locks shifting on the front door, and he knew. A rueful smile graced his lips, because she would not allow him to be alone now. Even after everything that he had done, after all the times that he had pushed her away, tried to convince her that she did not want him, that she could have done better and had more than he could give her. Still she came.

He looked up to see her leaning in the door and opened his mouth to speak. He needed to stop her to tell her that she should go and leave him to his pain, but she cut him off before he could even speak.

“Don’t. Don’t Remus.” She crossed the room and stood over him commanding his attention. “Don’t push me away. You need me tonight.” She placed a hand on his cheek and sank to her knees in front of him. “And I need you.”

There were tears in her eyes and Remus crushed her to him sliding to the floor to join her. And on her shoulder, Remus wept. He wept for Dumbledore, he wept for Sirius, he wept for James and Lily and Remus wept for himself. And before he even realized the words were spilling from his mouth into the soft skin of Tonks’ neck.

“I’m so sorry. So sorry. Tonks, I’m so sorry.” She stroked his hair holding him tightly as he fell apart in her arms.

“It’s okay Remus. I’m here now. I’m with you now. That’s what matters.” Her words drove into him and her capacity for forgiveness left him in awe. But she needed to know exactly what he was apologizing for.

“No, it’s not okay.” Remus pulled back and held her face in his hands forcing her to look him in the eye. “It’s not okay, Tonks! I wished… I wished… that it was you.” Her brow wrinkled in confusion and pain. “In that bed instead of Bill, for a moment I wished that it had been you.” Remus released her face and placed his own in his hands. “I wished that it had been you, because… because then I could have been with you… without blaming myself… blaming myself for ruining your life.”

Remus felt Tonks pry his hands from his own face, and she pulled him back up to look at her. When he met her eyes he saw a heated fury that nearly made him pull away, but she held him fast.

“Remus Lupin, listen to me!” Her nails dug into his scalp as if she could force her point into his brain. “The only way that you can ruin my life is by not spending it with me! I love you damn it! I love you!” There were tears in her eyes, and the power of her love for him radiated from her face. For Remus, it was almost frightening in its raw intensity.

Remus opened his mouth to break her tirade, but Tonks shut it for him. Literally. With the heels of her hands she pushed and snapped his jaw closed and went on as if she had read his mind.

“I don’t give a fuck that you are an unemployed werewolf! You are a kind, intelligent, gentle, amazing man. And I am in love with you! And you know goddamn well that you are in love with me! So stop spouting all this self-deprecating shite and just kiss me already!”

It was in that moment, Tonks screaming at him, that she broke him for good. As she was yelling at him, it seemed that she already knew she had won. Just when she demanded that he kiss her, Remus watched Tonks’ mousey brown hair return to vivid pink.

In that moment, there were no arguments left for him to voice and there were no million misgivings fighting to keep Remus’ lips from hers, so Remus gave in to her demands, and gave in to his own desires. He kissed her.

Remus knew this time that there was no going back. His logical arguments had left him and the passion in his heart had replaced them. The emptiness that he had so selfishly held onto was now filled with the amazing woman in his arms. His sins had been forgiven and in an instant he accepted her gift. He accepted her love and her promise of a life that would allow Remus to look forward instead of back.

There would be no apologies and false excuses in the morning.

There would just be her love for him and his love for her.

That was all Remus had to give.

And he had finally realized that his love was all Tonks had ever wanted.

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Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
mizufae
Jul. 15th, 2006 02:59 am (UTC)
oh. oh my.
i'm just honored that something i threw out on a whim ended up causing something so beautiful.
if anybody doubts Tonks/Remus, I'll just be directing them to this right here.
thank you!
ladytory
Jul. 15th, 2006 03:09 am (UTC)
I am so glad that it meets with your approval.
Yay!
mizufae
Jul. 15th, 2006 03:28 am (UTC)
oh, i forgot to tell you, thanks for avoiding the obvious from the prompt! the obvious being remus preferring to "pick" tonks when she's turned the proper "ripe" color. ^_^;;
...maybe you should do that one too...or me... You and fanfic will be the death of me!
ladytory
Jul. 15th, 2006 04:07 am (UTC)
Yes well it occured to me but it passed quickly as I thought of it from Remus' POV of himself being spoiled.

I am glad that you see the connection, I was worried that you would be like WTF??? :D
almond_joyz
Jul. 15th, 2006 03:23 am (UTC)
whoopee!!! and mine is coming...pun intended
ladytory
Jul. 15th, 2006 04:07 am (UTC)
Next Up I promise!! :D

*pun intended*
cyclonejuliet
Jul. 15th, 2006 04:02 am (UTC)
You know how distraced I was as I read this - LOL. Great insight into Remus' mind. And hot smut too.
ladytory
Jul. 15th, 2006 04:08 am (UTC)
Thanks dear! Glad you could get something out of it with all the cackling in the background.
annamel
Jul. 15th, 2006 04:09 am (UTC)
This was beautiful. I loved the way you described how Remus feelings for Tonks were born.

Well done!
ladytory
Jul. 15th, 2006 04:11 am (UTC)
Thank you.

I feel we were a bit cheated on their back story.

So I had to fill in :D
maple_mahogany
Jul. 15th, 2006 03:09 pm (UTC)
Remus Lupin was my first HP crush. I have such a soft spot for him.
(or is it a wet spot? heh)

You captured him really well. Very careful consideration for canon -him telling Tonks about Sirius and all. Loved it!

The whole wizarding world was at war, and Remus was at war with himself.
Perfect! exactly.

ladytory
Jul. 15th, 2006 03:11 pm (UTC)
Thanks poppet it was just a deliciously angsty piece to write and a wonderful exercise to delve into the background of the relationship.
lauragene
Jul. 21st, 2006 02:54 am (UTC)
I absolutely LOVE your Remus and Tonks stories.... And your George and Luna and Harry and Ginny......

OK, I admit it! I'm a fan...... Thanks for the lovely reads!

Laura
ladytory
Jul. 21st, 2006 03:17 am (UTC)
Thanks dear! I am glad that you enjoy them :D

cute pups btw!
phoenix62
Jul. 29th, 2006 07:42 am (UTC)
I feel like a very proud parent who has watched their child blossom into something quite extraordinary. I've watched you take your first not so tentative steps back into the world of writing. I'm proud of you. Quite wonderful Tory.

Oh and you know my penchant for Remus/Tonks! (ahh so wonderful to be canon before canon)
snarkhunter
Sep. 23rd, 2006 04:39 pm (UTC)
Oh, this is lovely. I am rather skittish about R/T HBP fic, b/c it's bound to be so incredibly painful, but you balance the pain and beauty and pleasure nicely. And Remus's brief fantasy of it being Tonks in Bill's place--brilliant.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )