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sam_storyteller ([personal profile] sam_storyteller) wrote2005-07-15 01:15 pm


Rating: PG (Remus/Tonks Implied)
Summary: It gets lonely, saving the world.
Warnings: None.

Also available at AO3.


Remus was too exhausted to even go to bed, and Tonks knew the feeling.

They were all tired. The Order had stepped up its activity -- they'd had to, since the Death Eaters were certainly stepping up theirs. There had been a rescue mission to get Moody out of a tight spot that not even constant vigilance could have forseen; then there was Narcissa, who had attempted to lay claim to Sirius' bank account and the house at Grimmauld Place, challenging Sirius' will which settled it all on Harry when he came of age. It hadn't worked, but it had wasted all their time fighting it.

Remus, in addition, was looking for work, which was sometimes worse than actually working. And they'd had to give testimony at Lucius Malfoy's appeal hearing...

That had been difficult.

She hadn't liked the look of triumph on the faces of some of the Order, when they saw Malfoy; thin and worn, now, slightly crazed about the eyes, his deep face with its new lines and high, gaunt cheekbones looking remarkably like Sirius, even under now close-cropped white-blond hair. And Draco was there, a ploy of Narcissa's to gain court mercy, no doubt; Remus had been forced to testify, in front of his former student, against Draco's father. She didn't know the boy, but giving her own testimony against Lucius hadn't been easy either.

She hadn't liked the victorious glances when Malfoy was sent back to Azkaban. Surely anyone in Azkaban, no matter how depraved, deserved some measure of sympathy, or at least pity; surely the situation ought to at least be treated with sad respect, that such measures were necessary.

She liked even less, however, the tired, uncaring look on Remus' face. As if it simply didn't matter. She saw it too often these days. Inch by inch he was giving up.

After the trial most of them had gone back to 12 Grimmauld Place, and Molly had puttered about fixing tea and scones; everyone stayed in the kitchen, clustering together against the thought of Azkaban and, always linked to it in their mind, the thought of Sirius.

Everyone but Remus, Tonks noticed.

She slipped away from the hushed conversation, and moved slowly into the living-room, noting the patched robe folded and laid neatly over the back of a chair, the scuffed but well-polished brown shoes next to one of the odd, mismatched pieces of furniture -- Sirius had made them move the stiff, brocade-covered furniture into the attic and replace it with things you could actually sit on.

Remus was lying on his side, back turned to the room, legs curled slightly so that he would fit on the red divan near the corner, his favourite. His shoulders moved slightly in a deep, slow rhythm that indicated sleep.

Just enough energy to fold his robe and roll up his sleeves, she thought. Not quite enough to get upstairs. And not quite enough pride to worry about being seen napping in the living-room.

She settled into the chair he'd hung his robe over, slowly and achingly. She was tired too; the Ministry was in a panic and she was doing double-shifts, plus Order work, which left hardly enough time to eat and sleep, let alone go out with friends, or read books, or even just sit quietly, like now.

It was lonely, saving the world, and sometimes she wished she had even enough time to go out and get drunk and find someone to take home, because you couldn't live without touch and yet...she did. She was desperate to touch someone and mean it.

Remus snorted, and she smiled, watching him as he rolled over, ending up facedown, head slightly cocked, resting on his arm -- which dangled over the edge of the divan, deft fingers hanging loosely, looking almost disjointed without the tension of consciousness in them. His face still looked slightly worried, even in sleep, as though he were dreaming his way through a complex problem.

The trouble with Remus was that he never got mad, never got upset, and never took anything the wrong way. He accepted everything that came, with a calm equanimity. There was the odd moment of surprise or confusion, but never anything akin to anger. When Sirius had died even Molly -- who didn't like him -- had wept, but Remus had instead scrounged up food, gone in search of those who hadn't heard, spoken to Dumbledore about what was to be done, informed all the proper people. She had seen him holding Harry back from the arch, face set, but only in the effort to restrain the younger man.

She leaned back, sinking into the plush of the chair.

There was nothing that you could tell him that would offend him. You could say you'd once gone werewolf hunting and he'd probably say "How interesting," and assume that you'd seen the error of your ways, or that there was some desperate psychological trouble in your soul, and it wasn't your fault. He never took anything amiss because he always assumed the best, with a sort of desperate hope that it would be true. He moved through life, allowing things to happen, cheerful but not foolish...

If she were to stand up and cross the room and curl up in his arms he wouldn't even wake, she was sure. And when he did he'd just move along and not think anything of it.

She would, she decided, just make sure his collar wasn't cutting into his neck, sleeping like that.

She crouched, her face level with his, and tucked her fingers in it gently. She could feel his pulse with her knuckles. Not too tight.

She stood. Perhaps she ought to make sure his shirt wasn't constricting his shoulder on the other side. That would require leaning over him.

He smelled like the courtroom, still, musty and overwarm, a tang of sweat, but underneath she could detect the cologne that Harry and Hermione and Ron had sent him for his birthday. She buried her face in the soft threadbare patch between his shoulders, and inhaled.

He shifted, a little, but didn't wake; drew one arm up almost underneath him, his cheek rubbing against the fabric of his makeshift bed. His body tilted, almost an invitation to join him.

She leaned one hand on the divan and tried to be graceful, but one of her feet stubbed against his trouser-leg as she joined him on the divan, and he inhaled sharply.

"Mm?" he muttered sleepily. "Tonks?"

She fit her cheek into the curve of his neck, flushing red with embarrassment. "Yes," she said simply. He let out a small sigh.

"Good," he said, trailing off into sleep once more, his body moving again, hips shifting to fit against hers, shoulders moving so that she could wrap one arm around, covering his hand with her fingers.

Comfort, she told herself. That was all it was. She would rest here for a few minutes before waking him up and making him go upstairs to his bedroom. But in the meantime he needed to feel someone else's presence just as much as she did -- and it wasn't as if this was entirely comfortable for her. He was a firm presence, but also rather bony, shoulderblades pressing into her breasts just slightly.

He was warm, though, warmer than he ought to be, and she felt her muscles relax. She traced the line of his fingers, closing her eyes. Just another minute, then she would wake him. Molly was saving him a scone...he should...they should eat...they should go upstairs...

They should...

It was her last conscious thought before Mad-Eye Moody woke her, hours later, to send her on her way to the Ministry for her evening shift. Remus didn't stir until late that night, and the next morning he wondered why his shirt smelled like citrus soap, the sort Tonks sometimes used.


[identity profile] 2005-08-29 09:01 am (UTC)(link)
I read this story before!!!! It was one of the few my friend e-mailed me. :) I remember that when I finished reading it the first time, I had this silly grin on my face. And now, I have it again. :)

I really like how you mix a little humor into the story, like the reference to Mad-Eye's constant vigilance or Narcissa fighting to get Sirius' money. (maybe that one is not too funny, but it amuses me a lot for some reason).
Your details are great. You really get the sense that this people are very tired and badly in need of a break from everything.

And I love Tonks' thoughts on Remus. It's nice to see how well she sees through him.
ext_93592: from astronomy pic of the day (red/white)

[identity profile] 2008-04-06 01:00 am (UTC)(link)
Oh this is really nice. For some reason I hadn't read it before. So evocative!