sam_storyteller: (Blue Moon Coffee)
sam_storyteller ([personal profile] sam_storyteller) wrote2005-07-15 12:58 pm

The Last Dance

Rating: PG; Remus/Tonks.
Warnings: None.
Notes: Oh, I feel nostalgic about this. Once upon a time in the X-Files fandom, when I was but a wee fanling, there was an entire genre devoted to the "annual dance" at which our hero and heroine finally realised they were perfect for each other. Hopefully this isn't quite as trite as so many of those were (and don't think I never wrote any, 'cause I did) but it still brings back memories.

Originally Posted 12.13.05

Also available at AO3.


"Thanks for coming tonight," Tonks said, as Remus wrapped warm fingers around her elbow, following up the stairs a step behind. "I hate these things, but..."

"Must make a good impression -- " he answered with a small smile, catching her as she tripped and giving her a gentle push up to the top of the steps, " -- if you're going to be head of the Aurors by the time you're thirty."

"It's not that so much..." she said, stopping in front of the hotel's doors. The doorman obediently held one open for her, but she ignored him and straightened the black bow tie Remus wore. "It's a good chance to meet important people and I don't want to be doing field work my whole life. It's fun for now, but it won't be when I'm a hundred and ten. How do I look?"

Remus swept her from head to toe with an objective gaze. She wondered for the millionth time if she shouldn't have worn the silver dress and blonde hair, but the deep red dress went better with black hair and if she had to be traditional, she would bloody well go full bore and take after her mama and the aristocratic Blacks. He seemed to approve, anyway; he nodded and said, "You look wonderful, Nymphadora."

"Tonks!" she insisted.

"Tonks," he agreed with a small sigh. "Am I acceptable?"

Of course he was; his hair was neatly cut and brushed, more silver than brown now, but it looked distinguished that way. The hired formal robes had been tailored in a few strategic places, with Molly's help, and he wore them well enough. Her mum had approved without laying eyes on him; Any man, she'd said, that can wear patches with pride will carry a suit properly.

He bowed a little and tipped his cane in the direction of the patient doorman; she curtseyed back, stumbled, and recovered enough to walk regally into the hotel as if she owned it, just as mum had taught her.

Truth be told, Remus needed this as much as she did; for him it was like Hallowe'en, a chance to dress up and be someone else, the opportunity to masquerade at the Aurors' annual fancy-dress charity ball. Besides, he'd get to see Moody try to pull off formal dress, a sight not to be missed by anyone. She was happy to give him the night; he'd accept money for the hire of the suit and new shoes and the haircut, if it was in service of her career. She hated making it into some kind of business proposition, but he'd been very gracious and polite about the whole thing, with the soft touch of long practice.

She wanted to give him the night; Merlin knew, with the Ministry denying Voldemort's return and Sirius chafing at his enforced imprisonment at Grimmauld Place, Remus could use the diversion. She wanted to give him a lot of nights he'd missed, in fact, and she wanted to divert him as long as he'd let her. She strongly suspected that she was falling in love with him.

And, if she was going to be honest, she wanted him to see her out of her Auroring uniform. She knew there were at least three men and two women at this dance who would like to be seen on her arm, and maybe if he saw how they looked at her, he might, too. She wasn't betting on it -- she'd played enough catch-me-if-you-can at Hogwarts that she'd grown tired of it -- but it was worth a try.

"Tonks!" Kingsley called across the hotel lobby. "This way!"

"Evening, Kingsley!" she called.

"You look nice," he said as they approached.

"Thank you! So do you. Is that full Muggle dress?" she asked, taking in the tuxedo he wore.

"Yes. It took me forever to figure this bit out," he said, pointing to the cummerbund. "Hallo Lupin. Squiring Tonks?"

"I'm just here for the open bar," Remus said with a smile at her.

"Aren't we all," Kingsley replied, leading them down a brightly-lit corridor and through a pair of wide doors. The ballroom inside was bedecked with slightly more glittering gold than was tasteful -- so like the Wizarding World to be excessively gaudy -- and little pixies holding candles flitted this way and that, illuminating the rest of the attendees. Just inside the threshold, Remus stopped suddenly.

"All right?" Tonks asked, glancing at him.

"Oh -- yes -- sorry, it's just, are you sure? I mean -- " he ducked his head. "Being seen with a Dark Creature..."

"Remus, we went over that. Twice. Three times if you count the time you asked Molly to talk to me about it," she said.

"Right. Right. All right then," he said, forcing a smile onto his face. "Unto the breach."

They walked around the edge of the dance floor, stopping to talk to people as they went. Remus seemed faintly amused by the number of people she knew, and she was pleased that they all behaved themselves -- not a single stray look for the werewolf on her arm, no snide remarks. She hadn't expected any, but then you never knew. He was gravely courteous and amiable without being familiar, as if he'd done this all his life.

"Nymphadoraaaaaa!" someone called, and she bit her lip.

"There's a....person coming this way," Remus said softly.

"It's too late, he's spotted me," she whispered back. "My boss' boss."

"He's glittering."

"Try not to look directly at him."

Alexi Petronius planted himself in front of them and beamed at her. She had a hard time not giggling. He was a great man, a brave man, a veteran of battle and a good manager. He squeezed money from the Ministry for them, held them all to a ridiculously high standard, and loved his work.

He also loved shiny things, the way magpies do. Gold bangles glittered on his wrist, a gold chain dangled from his ear; he was six feet tall and rail-thin but every inch was draped in metallic bronze fabric. He looked like an explosion in a bank vault, or possibly the most tasteless flagpole ever.

"Nymphadora, how lovely you look," he said, beaming at her. "Quite a change from our usual duty-bound young public servant."

"Thank you, sir," she said. "I'd like you to meet my date for the evening -- this is Remus Lupin. Remus, this is my regional supervisor, Mr. Petronius."

"Ah!" Petronius said, offering his hand. Remus shook it without hesitation. "You're the werewolf!"

Tonks fought the urge to cover her eyes.

"Not definitively," Remus replied solemnly.


"Merely a, not the," Remus continued. "Though I have been known as that werewolf, from time to time."

Petronius looked from him to her and back, then laughed.

"You're taking the piss, Mr. Lupin," he said. "Good on yer. Stupid of me; my apologies."

"None required."

"Splendid. I'm sure I'll run into you again -- ha ha, run into Nymphadora, of course I will -- at the moment I see Fudge and I've got to go have a word with the little bastard. Excuse me -- save me a dance, Nymphadora," he called over his shoulder as he hurried away. Remus contemplated him for a few seconds.

"He's not as stupid as he acts, is he?" he asked.

"Definitely not. You passed, though, so no worries," she said.


"Yep," she replied, without elaborating, steering him towards the bar. "He's a nice guy, when he's not working. He never minds when I step on his shoes."

"Oh Merlin, you don't dance, do you?" he asked, looking at her in mock horror. "You'll kill someone!"

"That is unkind," she said, laughing. "I've never unintentionally killed anyone on the dance floor yet."

"She's killed a few with malicious intent, though," said a new voice, and Tonks turned slightly.

"Jack! You came!" she said, though she hadn't really doubted he would. Jack spread his arms.

"Like the monkey suit? I haven't worn anything this silly-looking since Hogwarts," he said. "Too many ruffles, I said, but the woman in the shop insisted. How'd you escape without ruffles?" he asked Remus, who was accepting two glasses of wine from the bartender.

"Hired," Remus answered, smiling. "Unless I miss my guess, you're Jack Higgs."

"You don't, but I'm afraid I've no clue who you are," Jack replied. "How do you know me?"

"Tonks mentions you from time to time."

"Jack, this is Remus Lupi -- "

" -- Lupin! You're the -- "

"Don't say werewolf," Tonks interjected, before she could stop herself. Jack looked injured.

"I wasn't going to, Tonksy. Trial by fire gets old, don't it?" he asked Remus. "I saw the boss' performance. I was going to say, you're the big secret. She talks about you all the time."

"Do you now," Remus said, gazing inquiringly at her. She blushed a little.

"Yeah, and she wouldn't tell us who she was taking to the dance. I thought she was just telling me she had a date so she wouldn't have to say yes to me and keep me from going stag. She tells me you're wicked with a good countercurse," Jack confided. "You won't hex me if I steal her for a bit, will you? I want to dance with her. It's like riding a Muggle colleroaster -- you never quite know what's going to happen next, but it's fun all the same."

"Go on, Tonks -- have fun," Remus said in her ear, sipping his glass of wine. "I'll be fine, and you should enjoy yourself."

She let Jack lead her away, glancing back to make sure he was being truthful, but he'd found a place to sit and was stretching his leg -- the last Change hadn't been kind to his left leg, and he was still feeling it a little. Kingsley was moving his way purposefully, so that was all right; he'd have company.

She didn't do too badly with Jack, actually. He was a splendid dancer and just a little bit of a control freak, so he showed her where to go rather better than another man might have. She only kicked one person, anyway, which was well below average.

"You should have let me bring you," Jack said as they danced. "I wanted to."

"I know, Jack, but I can't be encouraging you pointlessly," she replied, smiling at him.

"I'm all for pointless encouragement! If you'd give me half a chance I'd make it more than worth your while. You can't be serious about him, can you?" he asked, tipping his head in Remus' direction.

"Why does a woman have to be serious about someone? I like you, Jack, but we'd never get on. It's not a competition; nobody's beating you out. You're just not in the running."

"Ah! Losing on my own merits. There's something to be said for that. If you take up with Annie Longbottom, however -- "

"My virtue is safe from Annie, that I do promise you," she said, rolling her eyes. The music ended and he bowed.

"Want another?"

"No, thanks anyway, Jack," she said. He gave her a half-smile and let her walk away, ambling over to a knot of younger Aurors who greeted him enthusiastically enough.

She found Remus easily enough; he hadn't gone very far, though apparently he'd found some people to talk to while she was dancing.

"Have a good time?" he asked.

"Yeah -- Jack's a nice guy," she said. "Annie, Jane..."

"Hi, Tonks," Annie Longbottom said, winking at her. Jane rolled her eyes behind Annie's back.

"Kingsley introduced me to your friends," Remus said. "I think I've learned more about you in the last five minutes than the last five months."

"Not telling any secrets, are you?" Tonks asked lightly.

"Nothing so far," Jane said. "Tonks, can I steal him? My date's gone off to talk politics."

"He's not a coat!" Tonks said.

"Nor a dancer, I'm afraid," Remus said regretfully. He held up the cane, its brass lion's-head catching the light of a stray candle.

"Let's steal Tonks, then," Jane suggested, and Annie grinned at her. Before Tonks could object they'd grabbed her arms and were pulling her back into the dancers. Remus watched her go, looking rather more paternal than she liked.

Whenever she came to find him, he seemed to have discovered someone new to talk to or some old friend -- he spent quite a while ribbing Moody about his idea of formalwear -- and she never managed more than ten minutes with him before someone else asked her to dance. He didn't seem to mind; he looked as if he was enjoying himself, and she was glad of that...

But she wanted to dance with him. Just once. A slow dance, for preference. Just because she didn't like playing games didn't mean she was above slow-dancing.

After escaping a second dance with Jack by just a hair (she shoved Jane at him and ran) she found Remus standing with Petronius, deep in conversation. Their backs were turned to the dance floor and Petronius was studying the brass head of the cane, but talking about something else entirely.

" -- promise. There are certain things that can't be learned."

"I agree," Remus said, "but politics come into it, don't they, and it's difficult to equivocate."

"Ha! You don't lie!"

"Of course he doesn't," she said, threading her arm around his and taking his hand. "You're not getting me in trouble, are you?"

"Endeavouring not to," Remus replied. "You're very popular this evening."

"And why shouldn't she be!" Petronius said, offering him his cane again. "Look at her!"

"I've done nothing else," Remus said. His voice was low enough that she studied his face, but it was the pleasant, amiable blank it had been all evening.

"Like half the men in the room. Me included! Aren't you going to dance with me?" he asked. "Come now, Nymphadora; I'll pull rank if I have to and then you could have me fired for harassment."

"Oh -- "

"Go on, if you want to," Remus said, giving her a gentle push, hand spread across the small of her back. "I'll bring you a drink when you're done."

"Splendid party, don't you think?" Petronius asked, when they were waltzing. "Especially good music this year."

"I thought so, but then I don't have much of an ear," she said.

"Nymphadora, do stop worrying you'll step on my feet. Steel toes," he said, looking down. She followed his glance and saw that he was wearing thick, gold-painted boots. "I have to dance with a lot of people I don't want to, most of whom are much worse at it than you are, if you'd credit it."

"Sorry, sir."

"Ah well; it's all in the line of duty. And as a reward I get to dance with pretty, clever women young enough to be my daughter. Life has its little benefits. Are you enjoying yourself?"

"Oh yes. I don't think I've stopped dancing since we got here," she replied.

"Good! I like to hear that. What about your werewolf there?"

She smiled. "He saw right through you, sir."

"I know. Refreshing to have it so bluntly presented. Reminds me of you back in training."

"Oh Merlin!"

"Mr. Petronius," he said, mimicking her higher voice, "If you were that much of an idiot you wouldn't be an oversupervisor."

"Never underestimate the idiocy of oversupervisors," she answered back. "I'll never forget the look on the instructor's face -- I thought she was going to cry out of confusion."

"You weren't the only one," he said, looking over her shoulder. He stopped suddenly and swept her out of the way of the other dancers. "But I think you'd better see to your young man."

Tonks followed his gaze to where Remus was standing in a dim corner near an open window, forehead pressed against the metal window-frame, eyes closed.

"Thank you, sir," she said. He smiled and waved her on.

"See you on Monday, Nymphadora."

She crossed the floor quickly, trying not to trip over anything, and touched his shoulder. He opened his eyes, startled.

"Sorry," she said. "You looked like you weren't feeling well."

"No -- just a little headache. I'm all right," he said, though he didn't look it.

"Do you want to go?"

"Oh, Tonks, no. This is your party!" he said. "It's just the wine and the music together. Really, I'm all right. I might step outside for a minute or two."

"I'll come along, I could use the break," she said, and they walked together down the now-dim corridor to the front steps. A few other people from the party were there, smoking cigarettes or waiting for cabs. Remus looked better in the fresh air, away from the noisy ballroom. The moon was a thin, waning crescent in the sky, but the streetlights illuminated their faces well enough.

"I'm not used to talking to so many people," he said. "They're all very nice, Tonks."

"Aurors are a select breed," she said proudly.

"Yes. They are," he agreed. "It was just the noise. All the talking and the music on top of it. And I sound like I'm about ninety years old, don't I?"

"No," she laughed. "I was getting tired too. Do you want to go home?"

"If you want to stay, I'll be all right in another few minutes," he said. "The last thing I want to do is make you leave early."

"Early? It's almost midnight, Remus. No, I'm getting tired too..." she paused, regretful. "But I wanted to dance with you, just once."

He looked sidelong at her, then smiled.

"Let's get a cab," he said.


He looked better by the time they arrived back at Twelve Grimmauld Place, and she felt better too; she'd taken her shoes off and let her hair go pink again, both of which felt so good that she thought she could probably fall asleep in the cab. Remus, tie dangling loosely around his neck, unlocked the front door and let them both inside. She set her shoes by the door and walked into the living room, where the embers of a fire were still burning and the remains of a chess game told her that Dumbledore had been there that evening to keep Sirius occupied.

"It's not a bad idea to stay here tonight," she said. "It's closer than my flat, anyway."

"I always hate coming home to an empty flat," he said. "Even if it's just people sleeping somewhere in the house, it feels a little less depressing after a nice night out."

"Was it nice? You didn't get to dance at all."

"It was. I got to see you dance."

She sighed. "You weren't jealous or anything? Even a little?"

He was quiet for so long that she glanced at his face, wondering if she'd crossed a line. But he was smiling, almost distantly.

"Oh, Nymphadora," he said, when she met his eyes. "Ten years doesn't seem like so much time, even for me, but there's such a...I don't mean to condescend, but you're so young."

"What does that mean?" she asked, annoyed.

"I told you I didn't mean to condescend. I'm sorry," he said, leaning the cane up against the arm of a chair and walking forward to take one of her hands. "You're pretty, and you're quite brilliant, but there are some things only having your heart broken a few more times can teach you."

"Oh? Like what?"

He raised her hand up, twining his fingers across her knuckles as his other arm wrapped around her waist, pulling her close.

"Jealousy is an emotion for the insecure," he said, gazing down at her. He took a step forward and automatically she followed, stepping back; before he'd moved she was already preparing to step to the side with him.


"We all feel it," he continued, "but those of us who have learned to measure our worth with our own scales tend to ignore it. It's unimportant."

"Oh, thank you," she said sarcastically, pulling back a little, but his arm didn't move and his hand held hers tight.

"I didn't say you were unimportant," he said in her ear. "You, Nymphadora, are very important..."

He began to hum softly as they danced, a tune she recognised from one of her father's old vinyl albums. For a man with one bad leg he certainly moved well enough, though he took small steps. Bewildered, she let him pull her closer, resting her temple against his cheek.

"You are well mannered enough to leave with the man who brought you," he said, as they danced in the soundless living room. "And to save the last dance. I don't ask for anything more; I like to watch you dance. Petronius said you have promise and passion. I'm inclined to agree."

"Do you always talk this much when you dance?" she asked, closing her eyes.

"Only when I'm nervous," he replied, stopping just before she did, so that she fell a little into the crook of his arm and ended up leaning against his arm, looking up into his face expectantly.

"You deserve more, you know," he said, brushing a lock of pink hair behind her ear.

"That's not up to you," she retorted, and she kissed him.

"It'll end badly," he said, when the kiss ended, but he pulled her close and kissed her again anyway. "I generally make a mess of these things."

"So do I," she replied, against his mouth. "We could make a pretty great mess together."

"Just warning you ahead of time," he said, nuzzling her cheek.

"Very polite of you."

"I try."

On Monday, Jane cornered her and demanded to know where she'd run off to, since she missed Jack getting a full glass of wine thrown in his face by Brighid Hallam.

"I was dancing," Tonks said with a smile, and went back to her work.



[identity profile] 2005-12-13 06:37 pm (UTC)(link)
They are so my OTP, and you write them the best.

Thank you.

[identity profile] 2005-12-13 06:42 pm (UTC)(link)
About to read but Save The Last Dance For Me has been in my head ALL WEEK. My aim profile even attests to the fact!

[identity profile] 2005-12-13 06:46 pm (UTC)(link)
That was a lovely thing to wake up in the morning with! =D Very lovely, I'm quite envious of Tonks to have such a nice date to these things, something I never managed to find XD I so love your short stories.

"We all feel it," he continued, "but those of us who have learned to measure our worth with our own scales tend to ignore it. It's unimportant."

This line made me a little sad though.

[identity profile] 2005-12-13 07:03 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh my. So cute. Jsut what I need (and yet shouldn't read...) during my dreay final exams time!

[identity profile] 2005-12-13 08:18 pm (UTC)(link)
Wow.. Ihad a lot of typos. Um. Sorry.

[identity profile] 2005-12-13 07:10 pm (UTC)(link)
so much cuteness! i am finally getting into an excited-about-holidays mood, and this fits perfectly.

[identity profile] 2005-12-13 07:21 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, how sweet and luffley!

not a single stray look for the werewolf on her arm,

and the treatment of the werewolf conversation in general, was hilarious.

and the remains of a chess game told her that Dumbledore had been there that evening to keep Sirius occupied.

This, in just one sentence, makes me go all sad. Poor buggers.

"I generally make a mess of these things."
"So do I," she replied, against his mouth. "We could make a pretty great mess together."

And that one, is it a quote? It sounds familiar. And like one of the very few of those vows that might be honest, of course.

Sorry, not much of a review, but let me tell you that ominous megaupload site speaks German to me and pops up dodgy photos. :-D

[identity profile] 2005-12-14 06:19 pm (UTC)(link)
I don't think the mess line is a quote, but it might be. Sometimes my brain does that :D

Megaupload is chock full of dodgy photos for the offering, but they work better than Yousendit, who only lets you download twenty-five times before they cut you orf....

(no subject)

[identity profile] - 2005-12-15 17:30 (UTC) - Expand
ext_7500: (HP // Reading is magic)

[identity profile] 2005-12-13 07:45 pm (UTC)(link)
Ah yes, the annual dance. A fine fanfic tradition.

That said, while I don't really like Remus/Tonks as a pairing on its own, I do like the way you write them.

[identity profile] 2005-12-13 08:00 pm (UTC)(link)
Aw, lovely little fic. Though I'm starting to see a trend in your Remus/Nymphie fics. *laugh* Not that dancing isn't very nice when done well.

[identity profile] 2005-12-14 06:18 pm (UTC)(link)
*laughs* they do dance a bit, don't they? It's just so much fun to make a clumsy person dance...:D

[identity profile] 2005-12-13 08:14 pm (UTC)(link)
Lovely! I really like those dancing fics you write :)

[identity profile] 2005-12-13 09:07 pm (UTC)(link)

[identity profile] 2005-12-13 09:47 pm (UTC)(link)
Very nice indeed. You've made me feel quiet and warm and a little bit dazzled, as if I'd been there dancing, too. Your secondary characters are quite tantalizing. Jack seems to have a bit of Viscount St. George in him. And Annie Longbottom . . . hmmm . . .

[identity profile] 2005-12-13 09:56 pm (UTC)(link)
Oops: I'm sure I'll run into you again -- ha ha, run into Nympadora, of course I will...

Loved the rest, though, into itty-bitty pieces.

[identity profile] 2005-12-14 07:18 pm (UTC)(link)
*shakes fist at self*

If I manage to write ONE FIC where I don't do that at least once, I will be happy...

[identity profile] 2005-12-13 10:52 pm (UTC)(link)
*le sigh* Remus with a cane (I don't care if it's for a bad leg, canes are sexy!) AND a pathed up tux, Michael Buble music in my head, as well as total girl-ish fantasy fodder that I can distract myself with. Wait, that doesn't sound right... it's much, much better than that sentance implies. Like it's an expertly made tiramisu with only the finest ingredients that transcends the label of 'dessert'
I love how even your throwaway OC have spark and personality to them, it just brings it all to life and I love all those little awkward moments and I could just go on.

[identity profile] 2005-12-13 10:58 pm (UTC)(link)
Of course it isn't as trite as most of them are; it's lovely. Very romantic and down-to-earth, just like the pairing itself. A fine job, as always!

[identity profile] 2005-12-14 05:59 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you! I'm glad it comes off well. :)

[identity profile] 2005-12-13 11:11 pm (UTC)(link)

And I am once again reduced to babbling joy. Thanks, Sam!

[identity profile] 2005-12-13 11:23 pm (UTC)(link)

[identity profile] 2005-12-13 11:45 pm (UTC)(link)
Is "Save the Last Dance" not the best song ever? I mean, seriously... It's impossible to sit still through it.

Gothic Author

[identity profile] 2005-12-13 11:49 pm (UTC)(link)
Aww this absolutely beautiful!!

[identity profile] 2005-12-14 12:10 am (UTC)(link)
"Jealousy is an emotion for the insecure. [...] We all feel it [...] but those of us who have learned to measure our worth with our own scales tend to ignore it. It's unimportant.

Oh, Sam. I love you so.

[identity profile] 2005-12-14 12:59 am (UTC)(link)

*happy sigh*

...I wonder why Kingsley was in a tuxedo...

Loved the uberboss draped in bronze and purposely acting stupid but wearing steel-toed boots. :D

[identity profile] 2005-12-14 05:47 pm (UTC)(link)
Kingsley likes to shake things up! And I figure by that time he might have been working for the PM....

[identity profile] 2005-12-14 01:46 am (UTC)(link)
'He was gravely courteous and amiable without being familiar, as if he'd done this all his life.'

I read this line and immediately thought of Remus from 'Ownership'.

[identity profile] 2005-12-14 06:35 am (UTC)(link)
Bwahahaha! Remus Lupin, escort for hire....

[identity profile] 2005-12-14 04:10 am (UTC)(link)
One of the more romantic versions (perhaps the most romantic?) I've read on how they would end up even considering each other.

I like!

[identity profile] 2005-12-14 05:19 am (UTC)(link)
I love this, and not just because it's well-written Tonks/Remus. The original characters were brilliant, and they fit into the world.


(Anonymous) 2005-12-14 06:30 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, Sam. How I love when you write R/T fic like this.

Re: *Sigh*

(Anonymous) 2005-12-14 06:33 am (UTC)(link)
oops! Forgot to sign it.
~madame en, who has a headache but is much better for having read this fic.

[identity profile] 2005-12-14 07:21 am (UTC)(link)
Aw. I almost cried, it was so sweet. Why is your Remus such a better man than any in canon, other fanon, or real life?

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