godricgal: (Strictly Come R/T Dancing)
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Title: No Time for Ducking, Chapter Five
Author: [livejournal.com profile] 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: R for mildly explicit sexual content
Author's Notes: Many, many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] mrstater for listening to me ramble on about this fifth and final chapter and for a super beta job. :) Please take note of the new rating.

Chapter One|Chapter Two|Chapter Three|Chapter Four

No Time for Ducking, Chapter Five

Ridiculously, Remus felt his heart quicken as he turned the key in the lock; he might easily blame it on Tonks' position, hanging onto a belt loop on his trousers, her body pressed against him and her warm hand still grasped in his, but he knew that the root cause of his heart's increase in tempo lay in the knowledge of what awaited them on the other side of the door.

A day, a night alone together -- all at once it seemed like an eternity and not nearly long enough; but on this brink it was much more than he might have dared to hope for just a few days ago, before this fortuitous errand had lent the opportunity to get away (with all expenses paid, no less) and when the gravity of their responsibilities to the Order had seemed heavy enough to keep them permanently occupied without the chance for respite.

Tonight, though, they could -- would -- forget about the Order, about Sirius and his increasingly unmanageable behaviour, about rescue missions and gloomy houses necessarily protected by the Fidelis Charm; instead, their focus would be gloriously singular in pursuit of the hopes, the desires they'd whispered sleepily to each other late at night or early in the morning beneath slumber-warmed sheets.

It was, he concluded, enough to make any man's heart leap.

The lock turned with a satisfyingly heavy clunk, and Remus pushed the door open a crack. He removed the key from the lock and placed it in his pocket, then looked down at Tonks, quickly taking in the features of her face that had become so familiar, so dear to him; her lips were curled in a quiet smile, and he felt sure her thoughts matched his.

Squeezing her hand gently, Remus pushed the door open and stepped through, with Tonks close behind him. He had the advantage of a few seconds to see that the room lived up to all expectations: it was light and airy, with a magnolia carpet and a high ceiling; the bed was king size and low, a cream-coloured duvet beneath a luxurious burgundy bed spread that was folded to half way down the bed; the furniture was simple but elegant: a glass-topped dressing table ran the length of the wall to their right, and matching bedside tables bore reading lamps; at the window were two wing-backed chairs with an oval coffee table between them; the window itself was large -- floor to ceiling -- and opened out onto a narrow balcony, which Remus could just make out in the failing light.

Remus had expected Tonks to walk into the room in full exploration mode, perhaps eager to catch the shadowy last of the view from the window, before their vista was swallowed by darkness, but when the lock clicked shut behind them, he heard her exhale a long sigh and felt her pulling him back towards her. He turned, placing their bags on the floor as he did so, then her arms went about his neck and she buried her face in his chest as his own arms naturally threaded about her waist and pulled her close. She held him tightly, her cheek pressed firmly against him.

"What's this for?" Remus murmured into her hair, nuzzling down to press a kiss on her forehead. He half expected her to laugh and offer a jokey response about never needing an excuse for a cuddle.

"I'm just glad we're here. Alone," she said. "And I don't mean here here...Just..."

"Alone." Remus finished her sentence.

He felt her nod against his chest, and just caught her softly uttered 'at last' before she tightened her hold briefly, then leaned back slightly to look up at him.

"Since we are here here," Remus said, smoothing her fringe back from her face. "Do you want to look around, see what's to be seen from our room with a view?"

"I do," Tonks said, her serious tone gone, replaced by a more typical earnest enthusiasm. Remus released her from the circle of his arms and let her take his hand to pull him over to the window. As they walked across the room, Tonks' hand skimmed the satiny fabric of the bed spread, her head turned this way and that as she took in their surroundings; when she threw Remus a brief glance over her shoulder, he could see that her eyes were sparkling with delight. Weekends away, even meals out would always be frequently beyond Remus means, and while it was true that he was not footing the bill for this trip, he'd carefully chosen the location, put effort into planning it, and so Tonks' pleasure became his.

When they reached the window, Remus used his wand to turn the lights out; the scene outside was cast into murky relief against the backdrop of a darkened sky. Early stars twinkled high in the sky which still clung on to a hue of delicate yellow at the horizon and juncture with the sea which seemed to rock slightly in tones of grey and steely blue. The island opposite was a mere shadow that loomed menacingly over the water, cragged cliffs rising up into the encroaching night.

"Wow," Tonks said. "It's beautiful, and I can't even see half of it!"

Remus laughed and said, "You'll see it tomorrow." With both hands on her hips, he pulled her back towards him until her weight rested fully against him; he wrapped his arms around her waist, leaning his head gently against the side of hers. Tonks in turn, placed both of her hands on his where they clasped over her stomach, and there they stood, watching midnight blue filter down from high in the sky until it met the horizon, drawing a curtain on the day.

Remus had rarely felt so peaceful, so content.

"I feel like my shoulders have dropped about three inches," Tonks said, rolling them slightly as though to test her theory.

"So you won't be needing me to give them a rub for you, then?" Remus teased.
"I didn't say that," she replied, wiggling out of his arm to turn and look once more at the room. "Remus!" she squealed, "this place is amazing!" She took two steps towards the bed, turned and sat, flopping back to lay down, her feet still on the floor.

"Bed comfy?" he asked, moving to stand in front of her at the side of the bed.

"Very," Tonks replied with an affirmative nod, and then she scooted back further on the bed and held her hands out to him; he took them, and she pulled him down with her, moving her legs so he came to rest between them, their hips pressed together. He placed one elbow on the bed, just above her shoulder, let the other hand drift through her hair, watching the pink locks fall through his fingers until his gaze dropped to her face. She was watching him intently, her eyes on his; she smiled invitingly, and Remus dipped his head to touch his lips to hers.

He kissed her languidly, letting every part of her invade his senses: her soft lips, the scent of her skin, the feel of her body moving beneath him as she kissed him back, and then the taste of her as their lips parted and the kiss deepened, drawing sighs from both of them that mixed and hung in the air around them as the room seemed to increase in warmth by several degrees. Again and again he kissed her, unable to stop, without a care or thought to.

Against his plans to wait, to at least unpack and crack open a bottle of wine before they reached this point, Remus realised there was no longer a reason to wait, no need for planning or to involve any conscious thought that didn't stem from the beautiful, amazing woman beneath him and the way she made him feel, because this, now, was their time, and they were gloriously unrestrained by responsibility or anyone's wishes but their own.

His hands grew bolder, abandoning the paths they'd traced on her neck, through her hair, and instead, worked their way underneath her t-shirt, seeking out the warm and soft skin that lay beneath, as his lips replaced his fingers on her neck.

It felt to Remus that every step in their relationship had come so very naturally to them: from the easy flirtation that marked their first meeting, to the night, one week later, during which confidences were exchanged without hesitation, and which ended with a kiss that was effortless and mutual in initiation, and to the evening earlier this week, when the words I love you had come as naturally as breath. With the perspective of this moment, her body beneath him and time in front of him, in his grasp, Remus knew that making love with her for the first time was going to be no different.

This time, though, he needed to be sure of her mind. "Is this okay?" he whispered into the crook of her neck.

She coaxed his head up with her hand, drawing him to look at her: her face was flushed, eyes impossibly bright; though lips moist and reddened, she replied, "I want you. More than anything."

It was all Remus could do not to groan with heavy longing at her words, so once again he kissed her, kissed her as he never had before with all the emotion she stirred in him: love, hope, need, want.

Before long, nothing lay between them, barriers broken down. It was almost beyond Remus' comprehension that he was finally lying like this with her, his hands free to touch any part of her he wanted. But more than that, he now knew how her breasts felt beneath his palms, that she had a tiny mole just beneath her rib cage that seemed to him like a beauty spot; he knew the kind of sounds she made when he touched her, the way she moved in response, and it was that, more than anything, which he savoured.

He gathered her in his arms; felt her skin hot beneath his, her chest rising and falling rapidly. He kissed every inch of her he could reach: her face, her neck, collarbone and shoulder and then, as he looked straight into her eyes, his hips pushed down and her body opened to him.

For a moment, he was overwhelmed, both by the sheer intensity of pleasure that pulsed through him, even as they lay still within each other's arms and the less tangible but equally strong sense of completion in the ultimate intimacy in physical togetherness.

His hand shook as he brought it up to Tonks' cheek, his fingers unsteady as he pushed a lock of hair back from her forehead, taking in everything she was in that moment, reading in her face, and the way she held him to her so very tightly, that she was every bit as moved as he.

There was only one thing he could say to her in such a moment.

"I love you too," she whispered back, her fingers threading into his hair and pulling his head down to hers. They kissed tenderly, and then more deeply, tongues sliding together as they began to move.

It truly felt like the culmination of everything that had led up to this moment, this demonstrative act of love, where words had begun to fail. With her, he felt, he'd laid himself more open than with any other person, and now, new, stronger trust was forged in the honesty of the expression; Remus didn't trouble to hide anything from her: his pleasure in her, his feelings for her -- they were hers to know and share, and she gave him so much in return.

Moments after Tonks' body seized and shook in climax, her arms tightly about him and her quiet gasps in his ear, Remus felt himself go -- he'd never had such a profound and acute sense of sharing a space and an experience so completely with another person that it almost eclipsed the shudders that ran in pulses through his body. Half-unintelligible whispers fluttered between them, her breath came rushed and hot on the side of his face as they rode it out together.

Stillness gripped them afterwards -- relative stillness, anyway, in contrast to their frantic movements and breathless cries of moments before.

"Oh," Tonks said. Her voice was quiet, reverent almost, but it rang clear through the sound of his heart thundering in his chest and his breath, rushed and heavy against the moist skin of her neck. He didn't have the wherewithal to formulate his thoughts into words, but Remus did know that he agreed wholeheartedly with her assessment and could put it no better himself.

He lifted his head and looked at her for a moment: her face was flushed, almost radiant, her brow was covered with a fine mist of perspiration. He pressed his lips to her forehead, the side of her nose and then her lips.

As well as all that had gone before, it was now, this moment that Remus had looked forward to so much over the last few weeks; kissing her lazily without thought or direction, his body completely relaxed and touching every part of her, a sense of satisfaction and a feeling of completion in his every pore. Even though he'd made plans for the evening, he couldn't help but feel that the way things had turned out had been perfect: un-choreographed and without artifice, just the two of them letting events drift along their natural course.

When he finally did speak, he managed only one more word than she had -- and he'd borrowed one from her: "Oh, Nymphadora," he sighed, as he buried his face once again in her neck.

He heard her giggle. "For a minute there," she said, "I thought you'd dropped that and were going for something somewhat shorter. I definitely heard you call me 'Dora.'"

"Didn't mean to," Remus replied. He kissed her neck. "Just it's a bit hard to get four syllables out at such a moment. I'll try to do better next time."

"Actually, I think I rather like you calling me 'Dora'." He looked up sharply to see Tonks biting her lip with a half shy, half coy smile. "Bit more intimate than 'Tonks' isn't it? And a lot less likely to get you in my bad books than 'Nymphadora'."

"You want me to call you Dora?" he asked.

"I do."

"Then I shall...my Dora." Their lips were separated by less than an inch, Tonks -- Dora's fingers slipped into his hair and eased his head down so their lips met. He sank into the kiss, drowning himself in everything that she was.

In all his life he'd never found all that he had in just seven short weeks with her, never had so much hope for the future; and he did allow himself to hope -- hope as he never had done before; it was more than his mind had the power to stop, intoxicating -- he only ever wanted more of her.

It was only when Tonks ran her nails lightly up his back, causing goose bumps to erupt and a shiver to run down his spine that Remus noticed the slight chill in the room, and became sensible of the fact that they were both naked and lying on top of the covers.

"I realise you're probably all warm, tucked down there, anyway," Remus said, running his hand over her forehead and though her hair, "but it's getting a little chilly up here -- what do you say to getting into bed properly?"

"Mmm," Tonks said and kissed the underside of his chin. "Bit lazy of us not to bother getting under the covers in the first place." Every few words, she placed another kiss to his face.

Remus lifted himself up on his elbow and looked down at her, his eyes taking in their positions; her breasts, nipples hardening once again as they were exposed to the cooler air in the room; the point their skin met and pressed together down to where their bodies remained joined and their legs tangled together; her smile, beaming up at him, eyes alive. Despite all the evidence that pointed towards her satisfaction, Remus heard himself saying:

"I'm sorry if we rushed that a bit. I wanted it to be perfect -- I had plans, but..." He shrugged slightly. "It's so easy to get lost in you."

"It was perfect, Remus. I can't quite believe how good it felt, how much I wanted it."

"Good," Remus murmured against her lips, "because I couldn't bring myself to regret what just happened."

"You know," Tonks said when she was able to. "Not having much notice of this little trip, I didn't have much time for planning myself, but did think I might woo you with a few select choices from my lingerie drawer -- I won't bother with the underwear, but I could go and put the nightie on -- I'll let you take it off again whenever you want."

Remus swallowed. "Then who am I to spoil your plans?" He kissed her once. "How about you go and change, and I'll see to my plans and I'll meet you back here?"

"Sounds like a grand plan to me," Tonks said.

Remus started to lift himself from her body, with the intention of rolling onto his back, but her hand at the base of his neck stopped him; she pulled his head down and kissed him deeply, so he threaded his arms underneath her and rolled them both, letting his hands wander up and down her back, over her bottom and the back of her thighs.

It was a good minute before Tonks broke the kiss to murmur against his lips: "You're right, it is cold up here."

A few minutes later, Remus was padding about the room wearing his boxer shorts; he placed a bottle of magically chilled wine on the table by his side of the bed and added two glasses beside it. He'd turned on the lights while he unpacked his bag, but now he flicked the switch back off, leaving the room flickering with warm light from the glow of half a dozen candles he'd charmed to float above the dressing table and by the window.

When Tonks came out the bathroom it was to leave Remus spellbound at the sight of her in a simple cotton nightdress that left a good deal of her bare for him to see and the rest an easy task for his imagination to fill in. Her face lit up her eyes glanced over the candles and alit on the wine, but he waved her exclamations of delight aside and said, "Sit down and let me look at you." He gestured towards the bed.

Tonks laughed but followed his directions and Remus moved to stand in front of her. His eyes barely left her as he took a glass from the bedside table, filled it and handed it to her and then filled the other glass for himself and sat down beside her.

His glass poised to make a toast, Remus paused; there were a million things he could have said to her, a thousand emotions that coursed though him at the sight of her, at the memory of what they'd shared, the ever clearer picture of the future. Her expression, though, as his eyes found and settled upon hers, told him that she knew, that this was very much a shared experience and so he touched his glass to hers and simply said, "To us."

Tonks echoed him and they both took a sip. Elaboration on those laden words would happen later.

And it did.

In the eager manner in which they both moved to crawl under the sheets, laughing as they held their glasses high to keep them from spilling; in the way they sat against each other, tumbling though conversation that bounced between the ridiculous and the grave; in each and every kiss one bestowed on the other at odd intervals; in the way kisses pushed chatter out the way and wine glasses onto tables as they once again set about exploring each other's body, learning the pleasure of the other, as thoughts gave way to glorious sensation, feeling.

With Tonks in his arms and hers firmly about him, Remus felt whole and strong in a way he'd never felt before. He knew very well that duty and responsibility would again, and many times, thunder down on them and neither would be able to shirk the pledge that they'd given to the Order, and unbeknownst to them, the wider Wizarding community, but he also knew while they might dip beneath the surface of duty, it would always be to resurface, to seek solace and be restored by the strength that was gifted in this powerful thing they called 'love'. And in this uncertain world there was no time for ducking that.

The End

Author's Notes: And that's the end of Ducking. Thank you so very much to everyone who's stuck with my erratic posting schedule and has offered encouraging words along the way. I do intend to write other stories in 'Ducking Verse', the first of which will cover their first meeting and the following week.

To all putting finger to keyboard and leaving a review I will dispatch Remus with a bottle of wine; unfortunately, he'll have to rush back to Tonks, but he will want to stop by to say hi and thanks. ;)
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