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04 May 2006 @ 04:21 pm
No Time for Ducking, Chapter Two  
Title: No Time for Ducking, Chapter Two
Author: godricgal
Summary: It's early days in Remus' and Tonks' budding relationship. Just how serious is it? With their respective responsibilities to the Order, will they find the time for their relationship to move forward?
Rating and warnings: PG-13 - mild sexual content in this chapter (the last chapter will be rated R)
Author's Notes: Many thanks to mrstater for using her stellar beta skills on this chapter.

No Time for Ducking, Chapter Two

Sitting on the sofa, snuggled against Remus and sipping a glass of wine, Tonks felt comfortable, content. Her legs were draped over his, and his arm was wrapped around her shoulder. His fingers, with a feather-light touc trailed up and down her arm, occasionally venturing further up across her shoulder, leaving tingles in their wake as they swept slowly up her neck and twisted into her hair. It felt so right to be with him like this, to have him in her home, in her life, to have him talking to her about his life.

The sound of Remus' voice had always stirred something in Tonks. To arrive at Grimmauld Place and hear his distinctive hoarse tones rising from the basement kitchen would inevitably invoke a thrill of excitement that started in the tummy and spread, warming the rest of her body. When he spoke at Order meetings, she felt helplessly reduced to the state of a love-struck teenager, as she hung on to his every word. She had to admit that she found his calm, quiet authority deeply attractive, but more than that, it made her proud to be able to call herself his girlfriend, a feeling that swelled in her chest until she thought she might burst from it. She sometimes wondered if the others spotted the way her eyes never left his face during meetings, as she took in the way his lips moved, and was held captivated by the focused, yet open, expression in his eyes. But she liked it best when he spoke to her in a slightly lower, slightly softer voice that was accompanied by a candour that mirrored in his eyes -- and which he seemed to reveal only to her. It was private, intimate, and only for them, and she loved it.

And all that was before tonight, before she’d known what it was like to hear that voice say he loved her. The thrill that she’d got from that unexpected revelation lingered still; she wasn’t sure it would ever leave -- she hoped it wouldn’t.

With two hands, she clutched her wine glass, resting it in her lap, her thumb idly brushing across the cool surface of the glass.

She smiled slightly, not only because of what he was saying and how he was saying it, but because she'd achieved a personal victory tonight. While Remus had never been reticent with her, he’d always had a tendency to steer the topic of conversation toward her. Tonight, she'd kept him talking by asking questions, and now he'd reached a point where he was offering information freely. In fact, he'd seemed quite happy during the past hour as he recounted tales of his travels. Of course, Tonks would have found him interesting had he been describing the ins and outs of Flobberworm farming.

But he wasn’t talking about Flobberworm farming; he was talking about how he’d spent the years between wars. Tonks might be an Auror – excitement was not an alien concept to her – but Remus’ adventures abroad seemed to make her life to date rather dull. Not that he made her feel unworldly, or inferior.

There was no air of superiority in the way he talked, he’d seen more of the world than your average witch or wizard and picked up a staggering amount of information along the way. Tonks, having a competitive streak, often found that she didn’t like to admit when she was being told something she didn’t already know, but with Remus, it was all so different. She wanted to learn from him and would have felt no discomfort in asking him about anything.

He held her attention as he spoke softly of following the Silk Road in China, visiting the famous and ancient markets in Kashgar that led to the first western embassies in China being constructed there; ending up at Lake Karakul and catching a glimpse of a Chinese Fireball in the surrounding mountains at the border with Kirgizstan.

His story telling was compelling, delivered in a matter of fact, unassuming, yet easily descriptive manner. He dropped odd snippets into the conversation that embellished his tales without flaunting his not inconsiderable knowledge.

She sometimes felt like she’d met her match in this man; he could satisfy her need for intelligent and interesting conversation and yet, when in the mood, they could resort to silliness -- as they had earlier, just before he’d let slip that he loved her. And at other times, she was so very much in awe of him that she sometimes had to work to believe that he wanted her. She knew he sometimes worried about their age difference, and she’d explained more that once that his experience only made him more attractive to her. No boy her age could possibly be enough for her.

As she listened to him, letting his familiar, hoarse, voice wash over her, she couldn’t decide whether she wished the night would never end, or whether she couldn’t wait for the next morning when she would wake up beside him for the very first time. Or perhaps she couldn’t wait for the rest of their lives. Because that’s what I love you meant, wasn’t it? A hope, a desire, for a future together.

She marvelled at how much had changed in her life in the short weeks since she met him. Her days were no longer dominated by work and evening solitude, but filled with fun, and love, and now, the promise of future happiness. Listening to him now, she hoped fervently that he could one day show her the things and places he spoke of.

Still holding the glass in both hands, she raised it to her lips and took a sip, nearly spilling it as she laughed at a detail Remus had just tossed in about the Chinese markets.

"A donkey park?" Tonks asked.

"Yes, many of the traders arrive with their goods on donkeys; there are even signs that warn against parking cars in the area."

Tonks giggled. "That gives me all sorts of images of rows of donkeys with the little Pay and Display stickers on their noses."

The adorable expression of confusion of Remus’ face made Tonks want to ruffle his hair. "Pay and Display stickers?" he asked.

"You know, in Muggle car parks, they have those little machines you put the coins in, then they give you a sticker to put in the window of the car to show that you’ve paid."

An expression of comprehension dawned on Remus’ face and he chuckled lightly. "Perhaps one day I can take you there and you can make the suggestion to the people who run the markets."

Wildly happy that Remus would think about taking her to China, she answered, "I’m not sure the donkeys would appreciate getting sticky noses."

"I suspect you may be right there." He leaned forward slightly to pluck his glass from the table and took a sip.

"You’re lucky to have had the opportunity to travel so much," Tonks commented.

"The one great advantage of minimal employment prospects and the gift of Apparition," Remus replied with a smile, placing his glass back on the table.

He said it without a trace of resentment. It was one of the many, many reasons she fallen so hard for him so quickly: after everything he’d faced -- the trauma of each full moon, the social stigma of his condition, and the ruthless prejudice that prevented a normal life – he never once had given up, or spent time wallowing in self pity; he made the best of everything.

"You always look on the bright side, don’t you?" Tonks said, reaching up to brush her fingers down his cheek.

Remus caught her hand as her fingers reached his chin. "I try to," he said, and then bought her hand to his mouth to place a kiss on her knuckles, just barely tasting her skin. Her heart thudded in her chest as she wondered how the simplest of kisses could set her insides on fire with such intensity. "It seems like there are only bright sides now," he continued. His gaze contained an energy which, combined with his words, forced an overwhelming rush of love for him to rise in her chest.

She couldn’t think of anything to say, but desperately needed to express how he made her feel, or she would surely burst. So she leaned forward and kissed him, softly, slowly. But it wasn’t enough, she wanted to touch him, explore his face with her fingers, press her body into his and feel his warmth. She pulled back and offered him what she knew must be a slightly dazed smile.

She reached over and set her wine glass on the coffee table next to Remus’. Placing a hand on his thigh for support, she lifted her legs over his to stretch them along the sofa. Remus swung his legs up beside hers and, wrapping both his arms around her, slid them further down the sofa, pulling her slightly on top of him and settling his hands at her waist.

Propping herself up on his chest with a forearm, her body hummed with anticipation as she looked down at him, her eyes roving over his face, absorbing the slight curve of his lips as he looked back up at her, the sparkle in his eyes that hinted of desire. His eyes flickered to her lips and back up again, making her heart flutter wildly. He held her tightly against him, both their bodies gently rose and fell in time with his breathing. They’d lain like this before, but there was something different. Maybe he was holding her closer. Was there perhaps something more open in his gaze? Or did she just feel closer to him, and was reading his expressions more keenly?

Slowly, he ran both his hands firmly up her back, pressing her body down to his as one of her hands curled around his neck and the other reached out to cup his cheek. When he reached her shoulders, he turned his hands over and brushed the tops of his fingers up each side of her neck, eliciting the most delicious tingles the length of her body and a sharp intake of breath.

Hands twisting in her hair, Remus pulled her head down towards him, until their lips were a hairs breadth apart. Tonks’ head was spinning, her breathing shallow as yearning to close the gap between them pulsed though her, but she waited for him.

She could feel Remus’ heart beating beneath her own. His warm breath tickled her lips. It was all so tantalising -- and all so very deliberate. She wanted nothing more but to lean forward and close the ever so slight distance between them, but his hands held her head in place, thumbs scuffing her cheeks softly.

"Tease," she breathed.

"Maybe," he answered, moving even closer -- how was it possible that his lips were still not touching hers? His voice was less flirtatious, and lowered to a more earnest tone when he continued, "But I love you."

Her heart swelled; hearing those words uttered against her lips sent another lightning bolt of emotion straight through her, just as she was thinking she couldn’t possibly wait any longer, he was tilting his chin up slightly and pressing his lips to hers.

And it was heaven.

His lips -- always so warm and soft -- moved slowly over hers. However either of them moved, accommodating, adjusting, they seemed to just fit. Hands touched faces, entwined in hair, and low murmurs of appreciation rumbled between them.

Coherent thinking became almost impossible, she was left with the vague notion that no other man had ever even come close to making her feel the way Remus did. Not that she’d ever said I love you before; she supposed that must be a factor in the difference. Complete trust, total openness...they were powerful feelings, and as their bodies fitted together, their minds seemed to align, their earlier declaration of love repeated again and again in kisses and wondering hands.

Remus rolled them so that his body now covered hers, pressing her into the sofa. Tonks shifted slightly so that he came to rest between her thighs. Her body arched and she let out a soft moan as his lips left hers to trail a path of wet kisses to the hollow of her throat and then down to the low cut of her camisole top. Light, teasing kisses left her shivering with pleasure, and wondering vaguely how far they were going to take this, and whether she could possibly stop even if she wanted to -- which she wasn’t sure she did.

Wanting to kiss him again, she moved her hand to cup his cheek and guided his face back to hers. Driven by desire, they exchanged intensely fiery kisses. One of his hands played in her hair and the other was occupied with tracing indiscernible patterns on her side that made her stomach clench and her breathing hitch.

When his fingers rose and traced the side of her breast, dragging a thumb over the slight rise of her nipple beneath the thin cotton top, she grasped his hips with both hands and a sharp breath escaped her as instinctively she pressed her hips up into his, wrapping both of her legs tightly around his, hooking her feet under his thighs, and melting slightly at the appreciate moan that rumbled deep in Remus’ throat.

Her hands sort out the hem of his tee-shirt, working their way underneath with the intention of lifting it off--

Tap tap

Breaking their kiss, Tonks, chest heaving, lifted her head to look over Remus' shoulder at the window, and then flopped back to the sofa with a groan.

"There’s an owl," she said, scrunching her face up in annoyance as she worked to catch her breath.

Remus lifted his head and turned, stretching awkwardly to look in the same direction. "So there is," he replied, turning back and letting his head rest on her shoulder for a moment.

"Maybe it’s just a note from Mum about that infernal tea party she’s having this weekend." Tonks said hopefully, thinking that however irritating her mother’s constant stream of reminders had been over the last month, since she’d first arranged it, that it would be infinitely more preferable to an Order summons, or worse, the Ministry.

Remus raised her eyebrow at her.

"Yeah, I know, not likely," she said with a sigh.

Tap tap

Letting out an exasperated sigh, Remus made to sit up, but Tonks had to say something first and halted his movement by tightening her legs around him and pressing her hands into his lower back.

He looked down at her with an expression that was a mixture of amusement and question, and which did nothing to arrest the spread of warmth that came from the renewed closeness of their lower bodies.

Resisting the urge to fumble for her wand and hex the owl into next Sunday so that they could resume their previous activities, Tonks lifted her head and placed a single kiss on his cheek, whispering, "I love you, too" in his ear before pulling back and loosening the grip of her legs on him, letting her arms flop to her sides.

In spite of his apparent chagrin at having been interrupted -- for the second time that day, she reminded herself -- Remus grinned at her. Sitting up, coming to rest on his knees between her legs, he ran his hands down her thighs to her knees where he took her hands and pulled her into a sitting position.

Tonks watched from the sofa as Remus walked over to the window, threw up the sash and handed the owl in. It hooted at him with an air of annoyance, and offered its leg impatiently.

"Believe me," Remus told it, "you are not the only one put out, and not the only one who wants this over quickly."

"There are some owl treats on the windowsill there," Tonks offered, oddly pleased, and unable to resist a little chuckle at Remus’ obvious irritation at having been interrupted.

He untied the parchment from the bird’s leg, offered it a treat and shooed it out the window, watching for a moment as it soared into the dusty sky. Turning his attention to the rolled up parchment, Tonks watched as Remus’ expression collapsed into a scowl.

"Sirius," he muttered scathingly. "And I thought he was of the opinion that our alone time was very much needed."

Despite sharing Remus' impatience to resume their previous occupation, Tonks couldn’t help but giggle. He was adorable. She kept her eyes trained on his face as he unravelled the missive. But her amusement faded into increasing discomfort as his expression changed from annoyance, to concern, to a distinct look of anger. When he raised his head, and met her eyes, his face was pale and his hand clenched the note.

"Remus," she said, fear encroaching, "what is it?"

"Here." He crossed the room and offered the parchment to her. "Read for yourself, then, I’m afraid we have some work to do."

Continued in Chapter Three...

Author’s Notes: I apologise for the delay in getting this up, but I hope you enjoyed it all the same. Very many thanks to those of you who left lovely comments for the last chapter. This time reviewers get to choose between a Remus who will furnish you with all sorts of anecdotes from his travels, or one who prefers the non-verbal form of communication and simply wants to kiss the night away. ;)