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Another HP fic for your enjoyment

I haven't been working as hard as I should lately on writing, but I think moving to my first apartment is a decent excuse for not writing. Anyways, here's a Remus/Tonks fic that I've been working on for a while. I think it's almost ready to be released to the public, I'm rather happy with it. Just one question though, are the song lyrics too much? You'll see what I mean inside the cut. Enjoy!



Put Your Mind at Ease
By Lola Ravenhill


‘And Johnny is my main man
He’s the keeper of the keys
He’ll put your mind at ease
He’s guaranteed to please
Back by popular demand’



Tonks was cold. It wasn’t a sort of ‘I’ve caught a bit of a chill and I should go put a sweater on’ cold, but a bone-snapping, soul-freezing, emotionally cracking cold that permeated her body, and she couldn’t stop the shivers. Grimmauld Place didn’t help either. It had improved slightly since the Order had moved in there, but beneath the cleanliness and light that the Weasleys brought, the spirit of the Black family attitudes still lurked.

She pushed a handful of acid purple hair out of her face, and pulled the blankets on her bed tighter around her. Because of the Order work, she’d been staying at Grimmauld Place more and more over the past few months. Sometimes, after a hard and tiring day, it was nice to go home to a place that had other warm bodies in it, not just to a television and a greater than average amount of pillows on her bed.

In the dark of her bedroom she could feel her hands shaking. Tonks rubbed them together, to try and remove the chill, but the only thing that happened was that she got the feeling of rubbing frozen fish sticks together. Not altogether a pleasant feeling. Februarys that are clutched in the grip of winter were never pleasant, but part of her, the instinct buried beneath the auror, knew that the cold was coming from inside her.

‘Time to let instinct out,’ she thought, tossing the blankets off with a sudden move and scrambling off the bed. A warm body was always a good way to warm a chilled body up, and she knew that a particularly warm body was just a few bedrooms down. It wouldn’t be the first time she had popped in there in the middle of the night when she couldn’t sleep either. Remus never seemed to complain though.

She padded down the hallway, taking tiny steps in order to prevent her from tripping over the carpet and waking up more people than she wanted to. Remus’s bedroom was two doors down, and she carefully turned the handle and peeked in. It was a cloudy night with barely any light to see by, but she could still make out the lump that was Remus buried under the covers of the large bed (Blacks traditionally were believers in comfort, and that included big beds for everyone). His face was away from her, and his bare shoulders peeked out from under a brocade coverlet.

Remus wasn’t her boyfriend (to be perfectly honest, they hadn’t even kissed. ‘And how juvenile does calling him my boyfriend sound?’), but there was something there between them. They both knew it as well; if they hadn’t, it would almost be like ignoring the Hungarian Horntail in the room. But it would take some time, what with hectic Order schedules and age old neuroses. One of these days though they’d break. She wasn’t sure who would act first and grab the other and snog them senseless. It’d happen when it was time though, and Tonks was surprisingly content with that.

Tonks crept into the room, and quietly closed the door behind her. Neither one of them would want to explain anything if they got caught in the morning. She pulled the covers on the bed back and hopped beneath, tucking them back around her snugly.

“Tonks?” Remus murmured, turning over to look at her with sleep-bleary eyes. “What are you doing here?”

Any sort of long and eloquent explanation that she had planned out vanished into the night. Through chattering teeth she stuttered, “Cold.”

“Come here,” he said, with what she hoped was an understanding look in his eyes. He reached out, wrapped his arms around her, and pulled her flush against his chest. ‘Mmm, warm,’ she thought, rubbing her cheek against his shoulder. Remus was always like a human hot water bottle. “Better?”

She nodded. “Thanks.”

“What’s wrong?” Remus asked, his voice low and raspy and just utterly delicious to her ears.

Tonks lifted her head from his chest, and placed it on the pillow next to his. She wanted to see his face. There was just a little bit of stubble on his cheeks, and his eyes were still at half-mast, not quite awake yet. His arms remained around her though, and they stayed pressed together. “Did you ever get the feeling that something really bad was coming?” she whispered. “I mean, really and truly horrendous, the kind of thing that sends shivers down your spine and the hairs on the back of your neck all prickly?”

“Unfortunately, yes,” he sighed. “It’s a wretched thing to feel. But in times like these…”

“You start feeling it more and more,” she finished. “It scares me,” Tonks admitted in a very small voice, closing her eyes. “And that makes me feel cold.”

He didn’t say anything, but there was a wet and warm pressure on her forehead—his lips. “I’m sorry.”

She shrugged, opening her eyes. “It’s okay. S’not your fault. I think I’m just overreacting, I don’t know why.”

One of Remus’s hands came up, and brushed a bit of hair out of her eyes. The hand moved down to stroke her cheek briefly, and then wrapped back around her waist. These weren’t daytime talks. In the daylight, such feelings had to be hidden under a blanket of bravado, under the façade of noble Auror and Order soldier. But at night, when it was just the two of them, tucked under warm blankets and tangled with each other, the fears and nightmares emerged. That was the time when they went running for the only other one who could understand, who could allay the fears and try and make a smile appear on their faces for the daytime. She nestled her head in the pillow. “Do you want to stay here tonight?” Remus asked.

‘So polite of him to ask, even though he knows exactly what I’ll say. I’ve said it before; it’s all just part of the routine,’ Tonks thought, hiding a smile. “Would you mind it? I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep otherwise. I’ll just spend the night huddling on my bed jumping at the slightest noise.”

Remus shook his head. “It’s fine.” His eyes closed, and while he tightened his arms around her, he was already beginning to fall back asleep.

However, it was a little harder for Tonks. Her brain was still buzzing in an unpleasant way, that prickling at the base of her skull hadn’t faded, and the feel of Remus’s chest was just a little bit distracting. “Remus?” she whispered after a few minutes.

He made some sort of noise in his sleep, but didn’t wake up. “Remus?” she asked again, this time nudging his shoulder with her cold nose.

“What is it, Nymphadora?” he grumbled, knowing that would irk her just a little. He could get away with it more than the average person though.

“Tell me a story.”

That made him open his eyes and stare at her incredulously. “Tell you a story?”

“Yeah. My dad used to do that when I couldn’t sleep.”

“I’m not your father.”

“Thank God.” Otherwise things would just be weird. Remus might have been thirteen years older than she was, which was a bit of an issue (but one they could handle), but he was most definitely and certainly not her father. “Come on, tell me a story.”

“Fine. Once upon a time there was a little Metamorphmagus named Nymphadora who wouldn’t let her poor, tired, old werewolf get some sleep—“

“Remus!” she whined, playfully smacking her hand against his chest. “Please, a real story. One that says maybe things will be brighter someday,” she sighed.

He looked at her solemnly, a dingy streetlamp outside illuminating his eyes. “I’ll try my best.” Tonks smiled and nodded, settling in against Remus’s chest, wrapping one arm around his waist. “Once upon a time…”

‘I love that beginning, ‘once upon a time’,’ Tonks mused, closing her eyes. ‘It’s such a classic fairy tale beginning, and you know some grand adventure is ahead, or some massive twist that such an innocuous beginning doesn’t reveal anything. Oh yeah, the story.’ She tuned back into Remus’s deep, warm voice.

“…there was a young woman called Psyche. She was the youngest of three daughters who lived a long time ago, even by wizarding standards. Psyche was the special one though, having a beauty that rivaled even the Goddesses. One Goddess in particular though, Aphrodite, Goddess of sexual love and lust, didn’t especially like all of the attention that was being paid to a mere mortal. She felt there were people far more deserving of their worship—namely, her. So while Psyche was wandering about with her head in the clouds, not realizing her beauty and ignoring all of the attention heaped upon her, Aphrodite plotted.

“Aphrodite’s brilliant plan was to have her son Eros shoot Psyche with one of his magic arrows and make her fall in love with the most hideous creature on earth. If they had someone who bore a strong resemblance to Snape, that was probably who they meant.”

Tonks snorted and giggled, burying her face in the center of his chest. She felt him tense up briefly in what she highly suspected was a good way, and rubbed her cheek against him again. Remus just sighed, and ran a hand up under the sweatshirt she was wearing, rubbing against the tank top that was under there. ‘Mmmm, that’s nice,’ Tonks thought. Remus continued.

“What Aphrodite didn’t count on was her son being ruled by something other than his mother’s whims. As soon as Eros saw Psyche, he was enthralled by her. Yes, it was defying his mother, but it was his turn to plot. I’m not really sure how he did it, but somehow he got another God to take Psyche away from civilization under the guise that she was about to become the bride to some foul being. He led her to this massive magical castle, hidden back in a valley somewhere.

“That first night, when the world and the castle was dark, Eros came to Psyche while she was mostly asleep, so she wouldn’t recognize who he really was. He said that he was her husband, but the one thing she could not do was look on his face. Needless to say, if he got recognized for who he truly was, Eros rather than the mystery man, it would not be good. There were some tradeoffs though, as I’m sure your overactive mind can imagine.

“So while Psyche had a good life, luxurious castle by day, skillful husband by night, she was a bit lonely. She missed her sisters, and through quite a bit of begging finally persuaded Eros to let them visit. Eros, still besotted by his wife, sighed and agreed, even though he wisely felt it could not lead to good things. The sisters came, gossiped, were slightly jealous of Psyche’s good fortune, and convinced her that her husband was dangerous and she should be rid of him immediately—although a glimpse of him before she left would be good as well. Psyche was young, and a little too trusting, and so she believed her sisters. She smuggled a small, little oil lamp into the bedroom, and waited for that night.

“When she was sure that her husband was asleep, she took out the lamp and lit it. Instead of seeing some hideous beast she saw a young man, a God, really, and gasped in utter surprise. Unfortunately, this led to her spilling a little bit of the oil on her husband, who awoke. As soon as he saw what had happened, he disappeared, running away.”

Remus rubbed his face against the top of Tonks’ head, his stubble snagging some of the purple strands. The hand stroking up and down her back slowed as well, settling somewhere in the curve of it. “If this were the end of the story, it would be a wholly depressing story of human idiocy and lack of trust.”

“But it’s not the end,” Tonks said, and felt him smile.

“Not by far. Psyche was utterly miserable, but not defeated. Even if her husband didn’t love her anymore, she still loved him, with all of her heart. She set out searching for her husband, but didn’t have any luck. She approached other Goddesses for help, but they didn’t want to risk the wrath of Aphrodite, although my personal thought is that Hera probably could have given Aphrodite a run for her money, but that’s a different story. Finally, out of total desperation, Psyche went to talk to the woman herself, Aphrodite, and begged for help.

“Aphrodite wasn’t exactly the most gracious Goddess, especially to those she didn’t like, and basically made Psyche into her slave girl. The tasks that she gave Psyche as well were somewhere in the realm of impossible. Sorting a room full of grains by hand in the space of one day certainly applies. But with the help of a few friendly and hardworking ants, she was able to accomplish the task, much to Aphrodite’s dismay.

“There were quite a few tasks after that, but the worst was yet to come. Aphrodite wanted Psyche to go down to the depths of the Underworld and get a box that held beauty in it from Queen Persephone. With a little more help from those forces that help people when they really need it, she learned how to descend to the Underworld while alive. She got the box, Persephone being more than willing to help Aphrodite with what she wanted.

“Going to the Underworld for your man,” Tonks murmured sleepily. “Can’t get more romantic than that.”

“Well, the idea of going to some sort of place where souls go after death is a rather common one in stories. Throughout the world you can find stories where someone goes to the afterlife in order to retrieve something, usually their lost love—“

“Remus!”

“Too professor-like?” Even though she couldn’t see his face, she imagined that he was blushing. But just a little, a slight tinge of pink across his cheeks and the edge of his ears. Nothing more than that though.

“Just a little. Get back to the story.”

He laughed lightly. “Yes, ma’am. Now Psyche, being fully mortal and eager to see her husband, opened up the box looking for the beauty and knowing that all of her trials were not good for looks. Unfortunately, the box was empty, or it at least appeared that way. Very shortly she fell into a deep sleep, one that could have been deadly.

“At the same time, Eros was not idle. He had gone to his mother after the betrayal, and she had soon locked him in a room while she went to take care of Psyche. But it is impossible to keep love caged up. Eros escaped, and went right to the head of the Gods, Zeus, to ask for help. Zeus agreed to marry the two and to make Psyche God-like so they could live together for all time.

“Eros rushed off to find Psyche. She had made it out of the Underworld, but was unconscious on the ground. It was an easy job for him to wake her, and the smiles on their faces were unlike any others. Together, they took the box to Aphrodite and then went to their wedding.” Remus’ voice grew even softer. “And they lived happily ever after.”

A minute passed, quiet and still, just barely breathing. Finally, Tonks opened her eyes, and she stroked Remus’ cheek to get him to open his. When he did, she smiled. “Remus Lupin, you old softie,” she murmured.

“What?”

“That was a rather romantic-type story. Really, the last thing I would ever expect to hear from you,” she said with a wink.

“It’s classical mythology.” Remus leaned in close, their noses almost brushing. “You said you wanted a happy story, and that’s what I gave you.”

“It’s cute.”

Remus rolled his eyes, but Tonks saw that the corner of his lip was quirked up just the slightest. “Did the story do what you wanted it to?”

“Quite well.”

He grinned toothily, almost wolfishly. “Good.”

Tonks wasn’t finished, however. “But really, Remus, I never expected to see this romantic side pop out of you—“

At this point Remus kissed her, quite possibly to stop the words babbling out of her mouth, but also probably because he just wanted to.

It was warm and soft, and his hands started to move around her back under the sweatshirt again, and her own hands grabbed at his back, scraping nails down it lightly. ‘What a mouth,’ Tonks thought, leaning in closer. Just the right amount of pressure and movement, and ohhhh, was that his tongue? Mmmmm.

They pulled apart slowly, panting a little from lack of air. It wasn’t a moment for words, a look said everything that was needed—that this was right, and it was time, and yes, they should still take things slow, but a few kisses wouldn’t hurt at all, and if you wanted to sleep in your own room tonight that was okay, but it would be even more okay if you were to stay and just sleep.

“Will you be able to get to sleep now?” Remus asked, smoothing some disheveled hair out of her eyes.

“Yes, I think so,” Tonks said, closing her eyes and leaning her head on his chest once more. She was getting truly sleepy now, and moving wasn’t a priority.

“Good.”

“G’night, Remus.” His arms pulled her close to him, and their legs tangled together. She didn’t feel at all cold anymore.

* * *

Sirius cracked the door to Remus’ room open just a smidge. He had a suspicion of what he was going to see in there, really, he just wanted to confirm it. Inside the room, lit by only a little bit of sunlight creeping through the layers of grime on the windows, were Remus and Tonks curled around each other on the big bed, and sound asleep. Sirius smiled.

He knew that Tonks had been having trouble sleeping of late (when one is up at night, one hears all that goes on in such an echo filled old house) and creeping over to Remus’ room when things got unbearable. That was probably the reason she was staying at Grimmauld Place so often rather than at her own flat. He thought it was cute. It wasn’t a word used often to describe the serene werewolf, but looking at him all mussed up from sleep, with a purple colored head tucked under his chin, cute was really only the word that worked.

Come to think of it, if anyone needed a good shag, it was him. No clothes were flung about the room, however, and it appeared that Tonks’ sweatshirt was still on. Oh well. Soon.

Sirius quietly shut the door. They should sleep as long as possible. In times like these sleep was a valuable commodity. He wandered off down the hall, singing under his breath. “Dry your eyes, my little friend. Let me take you by the hand…”


A/N—all song lyrics mentioned in the fic are from ‘Johnny Strikes Up The Band’, by Warren Zevon. I've been on a bit of a Warren Zevon kick lately. Go to song number four on the 'Excitable Boy' album and you'll see why.

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