Happy Birthday, [livejournal.com profile] mrstater!

Sep. 16th, 2008 03:35 pm
godricgal: (Default)
[personal profile] godricgal
Happy Birthday, my lovely. I hope you have a wonderful day and this fic fits the birthday bill. Love you lots. xx

Title: Step By Step
Author: [livejournal.com profile] godricgal
Rating: R
Word Count 5,315 words
Summary: She sounds like a petulant school girl and winces slightly because that's not how she wants to come across to the older man she wants to think well of her in terms of being a lot more than just the good friends they aren't quite yet but could be.
Warnings: There's a smidgeon of smut.
Author's Notes: Dedicated to [livejournal.com profile] mrstater for the occasion of her birthday. With thanks to [livejournal.com profile] patriot_jackie for reading an early draft of this, and with bucket loads of thanks to [livejournal.com profile] bratanimus for doing a fantastic beta job on this and putting up with my tendency to flirt with the last minute. :)

Step By Step


Tonks knows they'd tried their best.

Well, most of them -- Molly arriving with a homemade cake with chocolate icing and lavishly decorated with whipped cream, topped with chocolate sprinkles and cherries, which Sirius had picked off one by one before anyone else had the chance for a look in. Sirius' own contribution had been to pull out some wizarding records from the sixties and seventies, which he played at full volume until Mad Eye complained that Death Eaters could be holding their own party in the hallway and they'd be none the wiser and wouldn't that be embarrassing? Dung had brought some suspicious-looking objects he claimed were miniature fireworks, but Tonks had confiscated those herself when one began to emit a noxious green smoke that made those closest slightly woozy, so the whole lot vamoosed in one convenient Evanesco. Bill, Arthur, Dedalus, Hestia -- even haughty Emmeline had all made a great effort to provide cheery and light-hearted conversation, but the evening had never quite sparkled.

Even now, sitting amid empty plates smothered in chocolaty goo, empty cups that contain the dregs of mead, and steeped in a post-party depression, Tonks knows she ought to have had fun. But that's just the thing, isn't it? Molly, Sirius, Arthur, Bill, Dedalus, Hestia and Emmeline -- as full a house as they were likely to get when the kids were not around, but the room might as well have been empty in the conspicuous absence of one Remus Lupin, who has apparently spent the whole of the day in his top floor bedroom, recuperating from last night's moon.

If she's frank with herself, it hurts, his absence. They're not good friends, perhaps, and certainly haven't ever made a habit of socialising, but that's something she'd like to change and they do get on so very well when it comes to passing the hours of quiet and uneventful Order assignments...And she'd thought...

Well, clearly she's been wrong, there.

It probably uncharitable, she thinks, to blame him for ruining her birthday when last night he faced a trauma she knows nothing of -- in anything other than a clinical sense, but he might have popped down for five minutes or, at the very least, sent a note, and it is her birthday, so she's content, for now, to allow herself the indulgence of blaming him, which is probably why it comes as such a shock when a voice, more hoarse than usual, says from behind her, "Oh, Tonks, I thought you'd be gone by now."

Which does nothing at all to appease her ill feeling towards him, even when she turns and sees that he really does look dreadful.

"Which is why you decided to finally sneak out from your room?" she says, her tongue even sharper than she'd meant for it to be.

"Excuse me?" he says. He does look truly confused, brows knit and a faint expression of shock in his eyes. And she doesn't blame him because she's always been the jolly type around him: happy-go-lucky Tonks who's always got a cheerful remark with a sunny-side-up approach to life.

Well, tough; she can't be like that all the time and as awful as he really does look, she's moped her way into a foul mood and it's her birthday -- she's entitled to be in whatever mood she likes. Especially when the object of her doubtless affections has only made an accidental appearance at the eleventh hour. Or the eleventh hour and fifty-ninth minute.

"You missed my party." She sounds like a petulant school girl and winces slightly because that's not how she wants to come across to the older man she wants to think well of her in terms of being a lot more than just the good friends they aren't quite yet but could be.

"I'm sorry. You had everyone else here, though, didn't you?" He smiles as he says it, as if a full attendee list minus one makes everything all right, but it's so far from the point that he clearly can't see that it makes a dangerous well of emotion rise in her chest till it stings behind her eyes and if she's not careful, she'll be making a fool of herself in a far more serious way than simply a childish tone.

Blindly, she rises from her seat. "I know you're recovering, but I thought you might have stopped by," she says as she stumbles to the door. "Goodnight, Remus."

She takes the stairs quickly and hears Remus say her name as a question when she's about half way up; she ignores him because the first tear has escaped and she's just realised that he was wearing striped pyjamas which makes her heart gutter.




The tears are dried on her cheeks; they hadn't lasted for long -- she's not much of a crier, normally, but a combination of birthday blues and dashed hope that feels like rejection seem just cause. She'd had every intention of returning to her own flat tonight, but outside is awash with September rain that even earlier in the day had created a leafy soup in every gutter; and her bed here, if not particularly cosy, is warm and soft; but the deciding factor had been proximity.

So upon it she is curled, a heavy blanket pulled up around her as she hugs a pillow close. It was foolish to think that he might care. Foolish to think he finds her interesting. Interest is clearly relative -- as in your company is diverting when the only other entertainment on offer is counting the number of times Petunia Dursley’s curtains twitch when the neighbour is out polishing the new car, thank you very much -- and Remus is too polite to do anything other than listen to her prattling on about Fudge's most recent directive or how funny it was when Dawlish made a tit of himself in front of Umbridge.

It's these thoughts that calm her from tears to bitterness, but when she closes her eyes and rests her head against the pillow, it's Remus' kind and laughing eyes upon her than she can see, it's his hand protectively at her back as he guides her ahead of him through a door that she imagines is the warmth behind her. It's that feeling of spending time with someone who gleans so much more from her conversation than simply the words she speaks. She's never been able to put a term to it or define it exactly, but she's always felt an unacknowledged understanding or partnership from him. That for everything she says there is twice as much that she doesn't need to.

Until tonight she's not really been in any rush to discover if something more lay beneath the surface of these exchanges, but now she's confused, hurt, unsure of whether the impression he'd given her -- that they are on their way to a solid friendship, at the very least -- which been so very empowering to her confidence, is a false illusion.

On mornings that follow those late night conversations, in Privet Drive or some other stakeout location, she walks into work with her chest full with pride that a man like Remus -- articulate, funny, clever, fourteen years her senior and with a wealth of experience she doesn't have under his belt -- could find so much to talk about with her, listens to her stories and comments as though they really are interesting.

Which is what makes her recent bitter thoughts such complete tosh. It makes her stomach squirm for the confusion and the doubt, the unsettling state of really not knowing where she stands with him; and there is a sickening feeling that's rising steadily at the memory of how she's spoken to him earlier.

There's a soft knock on her door and it opens before she's had a chance to say anything. The room is as dark as the night outside; but Tonks, of course, doesn't need to see to know who it is. Relief floods her as surely as anxiety because she really has no idea how he might have reacted her to behaviour from earlier.

"Is it all right if I come in?" Already she is finding that familiar hoarse voice a comfort. There is no trace of anger or pique in his tone; rather, it is soft with care.

"'Course," Tonks replies, and a bluish flame flickers to life and Remus' features are cast into shadowy relief. The slight discomfort of knowing she's in raggedy old winter pyjamas is extinguished when she sees Remus is still in a similar state of dress.

He shuffles over to the bed in worn slippers, tips the flame into a glass hurricane vase that sits on her nightstand and perches gingerly on the bed.

"Tonks, I'm sorry I didn't come tonight, but I had no idea that you'd want me there."

He's not pussy-footing around the subject, then, but not really making matters any clearer in her head. "You were invited, weren't you?"

"Yes--" He draws the word out. "But I--"

"What, Remus? This doesn't really seem to be about you not feeling up to it." If she'd thought it was, she'd never have been upset with him. Remus is not the sort of bloke who lets a friend down to ease his own suffering. "I thought we were friends, or getting to be."

For a moment, it's almost as though their argument has stopped in time as Remus tilts his head and smiles; his eyes soften and the lines on his face seem to melt away. "I think we're pretty good friends," he says, which breaks the spell because it puts a whole lot more 'then what the hell's this all about?' in her upset.

"Then why didn't you come? I don't understand."

"You're either going to laugh or hit me when I tell you. Or maybe both. If I'd had any idea that I'd have to sit here in my pyjamas on your bed and explain it to you, I'm sure I'd have cast all my doubts aside and come to your party post-haste."

Tonks almost laughs, but she's too impatient to know the truth, too curious about what he might mean by doubts. "Call it just punishment," she says. "Spill."

"It's true that I'm not really at my best the day after a full moon. Tired and achy, mostly, but it doesn't make me the best company. Nor do I normally feel up to being in company myself, especially when Molly's around to try and stuff several roast dinners worth of food down my throat and the likes of Emmeline Vance are there to keep their pointed distance, not to mention Dung who keeps trying to convince me of the medicinal value of toad's intestines for the relief of aches and pains."

He looks up, meeting her slightly disgusted expression with an exaggerated wince, which makes Tonks suspect that he's trying to keep things light, here, even though she thinks he's probably giving away a fair bit more than he might normally on the point of his condition.

"Anyway, I figured that in the process of doing all that avoidance, I'd end up clinging to you all night long, taking refuge in your sanity, and that probably wouldn't have been a good idea."

Not a good idea? Frankly Remus clinging to her sounds like a remarkably good idea, but the more important point is that he wanted to -- so why, then...?

"Oh, Remus," she says, "if you'd been there I'd have been taking refuge in your sanity, too. If it had been up to me, I'd have had a birthday night with you, Sirius and couple of bottles of wine." Which isn't quite true -- if it had been up to her, Sirius wouldn't have figured in the equation, either, and bottles of wine wouldn't have been in plural because she would have wanted to remember every moment with crystal clarity.

He smiles at her again in such a way that their misunderstanding could easily be over, all her worries could be swept under the carpet; but it might only be so long before she tripped over it again and found herself on her knees in a swamp of hurt and uncertainty. "I still don't understand what the problem would have been."

The light is gone from his eyes and he looks down, fiddling with a loose thread that curls out from his pyjama top. "People will judge you, Tonks, for being friends with me. We are good friends, but it's not a good idea, for you, if people know that."

"That's ridiculous!" Mad, barmy, completely insane, she could continue, but she knows that it's not, not really. She also knows that she couldn't care less about what other people think of her and the company she keeps. She'll know that Remus is a friend she can trust beyond all others, who can keep her entertained one minute and cut to the heart of everything she is the next. Besides, they're not all that different for both being different. The same, even.

"It's the truth, Tonks," Remus says, cutting in on her thoughts; he lays a hand over hers drawing her attention outward.

"I know," she says. "But I don't care."




"It's Sirius' birthday next week," Remus says.

He is lying with his head at the foot of her bed, arms folded beneath his head and facing her where she lies on top of the covers, propped up by the headboard. It's the night after the November full moon and for the third month running, he's spending it in her bedroom. The first month had been out of circumstance, the second impromptu; this third month is by prior arrangement and Tonks thinks it's progress.

"Any ideas?" she says.

"Something loudly quiet?"

"How does that work?"

"Well, you, me, Sirius and a couple of bottles of wine," is his reply and it sounds rather familiar.

"While that sounds like my ideal birthday celebration. Are you sure it's something Sirius would go for? Don't you think he'd rather have something a bit more lively?" In truth, the idea is tantalising in its simplicity, but she knows it's not for the right reasons, and certainly not because she thinks it's what Sirius would choose in an ideal world.

"In an ideal world," he says, picking up her thought in the uncanny way she's beginning to grow to expect, but never fails to thrill her any less. "No, probably not. But I think it likely that if we ask him, we'd both end up feeling like unfeeling killjoys for refusing to entertain the idea of taking him to a Muggle strip club for an evening of fun, frolics and full-frontal nudity."

"Plenty of dark corners for a werewolf and a Ministry-employed Metamorphmagus to cavort in such a place, I'm sure," she says before she can stop herself. This is one issue they've not really managed to get past: he is still unwilling to be her friend in public, though he has demonstrated comfort, on more occasions than just the night after a full moon, lounging around on her bed, or on the floor of her own small and cramped living room.

"Dora." His tone is one of warning, though she can't take it seriously because it's only been a few weeks that he's been calling her that name and she does completely revel in it when he does. Or she doesn't take it seriously until she realises that they're back to this subject again and while they've come so far in others, they've made precious little headway in this, which is why they've spent so much time in the private confines of bedrooms and living rooms.

She isn't, however, in the mood for an argument tonight, not when she's feeling so relaxed, when the curtains are closed and a candles burns low dancing a shadow just above their heads so that the room feels smaller, somehow.

"Only joking," she says, nudging his thigh with her foot in what she hoped was an apologetic manner, not, when she came to think about it, that there was anything particularly remorseful to be found in feet.

"So, what do you think?"

"About what?" She's beginning to feel drowsy because her foot is still resting against Remus' thigh and it's such a warm and comforting feeling that she wonders if she can get away with moving her other foot to rest against him, too.

Apparently not without comment. "Cold feet?" he asks, looking down at them with amusement.

She nods, which is not exactly a lie, as in comparison to his body, her feet are positively chilled -- but it's the warmth of his hands as he pulls her feet into his lap that appeases the small amount of guilt she still feels. Yes, her feet are frozen, indeed.

"What do I think about what?" she asks, thinking that if she can demonstrate she's not completely lost her train of thought in his touch then she might just get away with enjoying this as much as she wants to.

"You, me, Sirius and a couple of bottles of wine?"

"I think we'll be lucky to get away with anything that doesn't involve Molly, a lavish cake and as large a gathering of people as the Order can manage."




A week later and the evidence of Molly's inability to leave entertaining to others -- or to entertain on a small scale -- is in full swing, though Tonks honestly can't say she's complaining. With Remus involved in the planning, the elaborate buffet found an equally extravagant setting in a magically constructed hot house, installed in the scrap of a dirty courtyard that normally remains resolutely ignored -- or perhaps feared --by all wizarding residents of, and visitors to, the house.

Under a glass ceiling, the air is hot and humid, though not uncomfortably so -- more like a summer evening simmering lazily before a thunderstorm. Remus hasn't remained steadfastly at her side, as Tonks had hoped he might, but nor has he avoided her at all costs -- they've shared several lengthy conversations and he's even let his hand rest on her arm for a moment, once or twice.

It's quite late in the evening when he appears at her side, a mischievous smile tugging at the corners of his mouth and one hand behind his back, to say, "Come on." He takes her hand and leads her between two waxy-leaved bushes, one smothered in white flowers with a uniform pattern of yellow at their centre -- too perfect to have been left to the chance of nature that Tonks thinks they must have been made by magic; their fragrance hangs sweet in the still air.

They duck down to pass under low hanging branches and flat planes of leaves that have listed under their own weight. The earth becomes soft beneath their feet; warm and moist, its rich aroma enfolds them both into this little forest world that seems so far from the excitement and rowdy bustle from which they have recently come, and though steadily dripping water and the rustle of leaves seems much louder, the sounds of the party play in the background.

By the time Remus pulls them to a halt, Tonks is giddy with exhilaration and giggling into her hand because Remus has just snuck her away from a party. They are co-conspirators. Well, they would be if Tonks knew what they were conspiring to do, but she's content to wait till Remus lets her in on the story and then do her fair share of conspiring to make her half of the 'co'; though she's already employed what amounts to a fairly impressive show of Stealth by getting this far without creating knee-shaped pockets in the dirt, which ought to count for something.

They crouch beneath a plant with long, wide leaves that shoot up from thick long stems straight from the earth; it's like an umbrella above them, one that shelters from non-existent rain.

"What are we doing here, Remus?" Tonks whispers.

"I have something for you," he whispers back, then the hand that has been concealed from her throughout their journey sweeps round with a flourish and presents her with a paper plate upon which sits a slice of Sirius' birthday cake.

Puzzled, she says, "I've already had a slice."

"Ah, but this is a special slice." He reaches into his pocket and produces a single candle which he stabs into the cake. His thumb and forefinger graze the wick and a small flame springs to life. "I didn't get to watch you blow out your candles on your birthday, so I thought this might go a small way to making up for that."

She is just a little speechless, touched by his care and thought; and as the flame flickers between them, the one that burns inside her for him glows hotter. Remus produces a single fork from that same pocket from whence the candle came, which they will share along with the cake, once he's apologised for not feeling brave enough to sing a solo chorus of Happy Birthday and now she's blown out the candle -- with regret, because his face really does look lovely with that warm glow dancing upon it.

They've eaten their way around the cherry that sits in a nest of whipped cream; Remus pierces it with the fork and holds it out to her. "Birthday girl gets the cherry on top," he says.

If only, Tonks thinks, because, though this must be the icing to the night, with Remus, she is always left wanting more. When they have private moments to talk, she wants him to touch her, when he's touching her she longs to kiss him. She knows not what she'd want if he was ever to kiss her, but, as his thumb brushes the corner of her mouth, wiping away, he says, a smidgeon of cream, she wonders if she's about to find out. His eyes are upon her, that hand touches her again, this time to tuck a lock of hair behind her ear, and his thumb runs down her cheek until it touches the corner of her mouth again. Her heart is pounding and he's leaning into her...

She tilts her chin up, ready to meet him -- waiting for him as she's waited for so long.

"Remus, dear! Are you here? Arthur and I are off and we wanted to say goodbye and make sure you'll look after Sirius."

Remus sits back suddenly and there's panic in his eyes. "Go that way," he hisses. "Back to the others. I'll be there in a sec."

Feeling slightly bewildered, and a little hurt, Tonks follows his directions, pushing blindly through the foliage that seems much less friendly than it had on the journey in.

"Here, Molly," she hears Remus say as her forehead collides with a woody vine branch that's curled across her path.




She cannot help but shut her bedroom door with a deep sigh of disappointment; he had been about to kiss her, hadn't he? Then again, perhaps she'd misread his intentions, it wasn't as though he'd made any second attempt to get her on her own, or perhaps he'd thought better of it. It made her ache, inside, though, because that feeling of anticipation she'd felt -- the tingle in her lips, the dance that had taken place in her tummy, the yearning she'd never before known to lean forward and close the gap between them -- had left a lingering impression on her soul.

There's a knock at her door and she knows it's Remus just as surely as she had the night of her birthday, and as he had done that night, he opens it without waiting for a response. For the briefest moment, he pauses on the threshold of her bedroom. Tonks looks into his eyes and she knows what's going to happen and doesn't care how it does. She steps forward into his welcoming arms and he kisses her, hard. There is nothing tentative or exploratory about it, no testing the waters -- her need for him is too far gone for that.

He tastes of the mead he'd drunk earlier, smells faintly of the blooms they'd brushed against in the hot house; and in his arms she feels strong, frantic with desire and at dizzying liberty to express the longing that's been building up all these months.

He's kissing her with the same intensity, seems to be drinking her in and she feels certain that this is something he's dreamed about as surely as she has. He touches her boldly; first clutching at the silky fabric of her robes, then warm hands on her skin as he unwraps her body. She has removed his shirt as though is it something that comes naturally to her, and her fingers dance across his back, his chest, as she seeks to map the contours that define him.

They are both naked and trembling when he lowers her to the bed, sweeping aside the sheets so they can lie between them. They make love frantically, transported by desire born of love to a plane where existence is measured in the heat between them. Her body is alight with sensation; her heart is full of loving and being loved in return.

In the stillness that follows they kiss deeply, exchange whispered promises of love, steadfast and true, and then relive it all again in languorous slow motion.




For the night of Remus' birthday, she had planned a night in at her flat, with a bottle of wine.

Of course, Molly Weasley isn't a woman anyone in their right mind would want to pick a quarrel with, and in any case, since Remus had yet to lift the embargo on discussing their friendship in public, let alone the fact that they know what the other looks like in the altogether, Tonks is quite without the capital to stamp her feet and declare Remus' birthday celebrations her jurisdiction and ask would Molly mind hopping off her feet?

She's looking forward to the evening with no small amount of dread, facing her open wardrobe and wondering if there is much point in dressing to impress when she'll not be doing any of the impressing hanging off Remus' arm. In the end she decides that killer dress her mum bought her for a dinner party last spring, the one which economises on fabric in the back and in the top half of the front, might be just the ticket for torturing Remus while he's aloof and occupying whichever space in the room is furthest from her.

She and Remus are currently at an impasse, when it comes to the issue of whether or not to reveal their relationship to the world, or even simply the Order. Disagreement between them has been met with a strikingly similar stubbornness, and Tonks finally realises why her mother is so frequently exasperated beyond words by her. She's considered taking matters into her own hands -- perhaps by taking Remus' into hers in a very public place, but ultimately her hands are tied by her respect for Remus and the very real fears he has, which, misguided or not, have always stemmed from a true concern for her welfare.

She's turning this way and that in front of a full-length mirror that trills, "Stunning dear, simply stunning! The way that dress hugs your hips. Mmm Mmm! That man of yours is a lucky fellow!"

"He certainly is."

Tonks jumps, and turns in time to see Remus shutting her bedroom door behind him. He makes a show of looking her up and down, and she is pleased with his reaction: his Adam's apple bobs the way it does when he's newly inside her and they're both lying still as they take each other in; his eyes darken and he moistens his lips as though a man patched. She goes to him and they kiss; his hands explore the velvet fabric of her dress, smoothing over her hips before travelling to the bare skin of her back. How very much she wishes to be by his side this evening --with his hand resting protectively where it currently caresses her so very gently, to have him look at her in that way that makes her feel like she's at the centre of his world.

"Are you ready?" he says, when they finally part and he's stepped back half a pace. His quickened breath flutters on her face.

"Yep. I'll see you down there in a few." Tonks turns to step into her shoes, which are a three-inch heel and quite possibly an aid to suicide.

"Actually, I was hoping you'd allow me to escort you down, and not let go."

The world, apparently, has a different perspective when you're three inches higher. "You mean...You want...," she stammers, heart pounding in her throat.

"I thought it was about time the world -- or at least the Order -- knew how much I love you."

She is practically dumbstruck, but her mind manages to focus on a most important point: "And how much I love you."

Three-inch heels or not, she practically floats down the stairs and into the library, feeling very much the princess on the arm of her One True Love, the prince she has climbed the castle for. Sirius beams at them, for he has been her ally throughout all of Remus' insecurities. Molly looks surprised at first, but she takes the first opportunity to usher Tonks to one side, offer her congratulations and a strong motherly hug as she says, voice wavering slightly, "I'm so happy for you, dear." Which is something Tonks reports back to Remus with a tone that says I told you so.

Later on in the evening, when they've joined an odd assortment of couples on a makeshift dance floor most of the furniture in the room has been pushed aside to accommodate, Remus draws Tonks' attention to Hestia and Emmeline, who are whispering between themselves and looking on with eyes that do not leave them as they sway on the spot to the music.

"There are two who do not approve," Remus says to her.

"I overheard them talking earlier," she whispers back. "Their curiosity is more in the region of what you seen in me, rather than the other way around."

"What?" Remus' tone is sharp, which makes Tonks laugh out loud from the fullness of her heart -- for the first time she realises that his thoughts and actions, first and foremost, are truly for her; that despite the difficulties he has made for them, she cannot fault him and nor would she love him so much if his concern for her wasn't so great.

She'd be tempted to push the extent to which Remus was prepared to take their relationship in public by pressing her lips to his were it not for the niggling feeling that there was an important point to be made in all of this.

"It seems you've made quite the mark on Emmeline these last six months -- she admires you, Remus, now that she knows you better. As others will, when they get the opportunity. My parents, for one."

Remus laughs -- a big throaty laugh. "One step at a time, eh, Dora?"

"One step at a time," she agrees, though she's just noticed that as the music has tumbled down a catchy series of notes, they've performed their first real dance step of the night -- and it was definitely constructed of more than just the one, so she thinks she'll push her luck for that public kiss, after all.

Date: 2008-09-16 03:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mrstater.livejournal.com
Oh, what a lovely fic this is! It's so wonderful that I'm not even sure where to start telling you how wonderful it is. But I guess I'll start out by saying a big THANK YOU, because this has really just made an already great birthday totally awesome. :D

How I felt for Tonks in the first two scenes! I think all too often I've been in her shoes, where there was someone I liked very much who wasn't there when I wished they would be, or even if they were, wasn't aware of my existence. You really captured the heartache of that moment, which is somehow worse when everyone else is there showing how much they care, because none of that matters when you want that one person. Especially if you see them later, wearing striped pajamas. ;)

I really love how you've used the three birthday celebrations and Molly's insistence on the Order having big social gatherings, to progress Remus' and Tonks' relationship from something that he's almost ashamed to even acknowledge, to something he's okay with admitting to her but still wants to keep secret, to the very public revelation. I think that works really well with the Remus we see in the books, and I really loved how you tied all of it together into for the first time she realises that his thoughts and actions, first and foremost, are truly for her; that despite the difficulties he has made for them, she cannot fault him and nor would she love him so much if his concern for her wasn't so great. That's just R/T to a...well, T, and it's the sense I had through reading this, that while Remus' aloofness hurt, his reasons for it are very real -- and that was something Tonks accepted in their relationship from that first bedroom meeting, when she admitted, "I know." And that you turned that on its head with Emmeline having a thing for Remus and not knowing what someone like him saw in Tonks, was really perfect..

Of course it goes without saying that this is incredibly sexy. Spending post-full moons in bed together, just being friends, and touching, is wonderful; but it was that almost-kiss in the garden that really got me. Guh. (And of course, the sex, which as always, you write so poetically and with so much more meaning than just smut. Smut with soul, definitely.)

I just can't do this fic justice, except to say that I'll be reading it again. Thank you SO much for it.

And I really can't wait till it's your birthday so I can give you your fic!!

xx

Date: 2008-09-16 06:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] godricgal.livejournal.com
Yay! I'm so glad you liked it!

It seemed a shame to ruin Tonks' birthday, but as you often say, we have to do our worst to them and it seemed a good opportunity to set things up between them! It is heartbreaking when you spend an entire evening in a large group of people just waiting for that one special person to make an appearance. I'm really glad you thought that worked here!

It's also great to know, of course, that you thought it was sexy, and I'm especially chuffed to know you liked the almost-kiss -- that was the last scene I wrote at gone midnight last night!

Thank you so much for lovely comments and again, I'm so pleased you enjoyed it. Happy Birthday again!

And I'm so excited to read my fic tomorrow! :)

I was really tempted, at points, to bring forward the progression of things, but I'm glad I stuck with the original plan of the three birthdays, but I did fret ever so much about whether it was reasonably unreasonable of Remus to act in that way! I'm really pleased to know you think it works and progresses naturally.

Date: 2008-09-16 11:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sasher-copy.livejournal.com
Oh, I loved that.

Very grand characterization of Tonks, I'm jealous. I'm rather good at portraying Remus but not so much Tonks.

Thanks for posting! Tater is a very lucky woman!

Date: 2008-09-19 01:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] godricgal.livejournal.com
Thanks very much! I'm glad you enjoyed it! :)

Date: 2008-09-17 01:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jessickuh.livejournal.com
I'll bet somewhere down the road, Tonks is gonna thank Molly for interrupting their almost first kiss...because it lead to impatient sex. Haha

Date: 2008-09-19 01:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] godricgal.livejournal.com
LOL I suspect you may be right. Thanks for commenting!

Date: 2008-09-17 04:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shimotsuki.livejournal.com
I'm up past my bedtime reading this, so I'm afraid this comment won't be very coherent, but I just couldn't wait until tomorrow to read it!

What a great idea to use birthdays as a frame for the development of their relationship. And what a relationship it is: this story has all the elements that I really love about R/T, especially their deep friendship and caring for each other, and that sense that they both long for one another but Remus feels he has to hold back. I also liked the way Tonks is realistic about the difficulties Remus faces and the worries he has about being even close friends with her; this also nicely foreshadows some of the difficulties they're going to face in the future.

Another thing that really struck me in this story is the lovely detailed imagery -- especially the scene in the hothouse, which you brought completely to life. (Not to mention the "knee-shaped pockets in the dirt" line, which made me laugh out loud.)

And I just wanted to cheer for Remus, in the end, that he chose to celebrate his own birthday by going public about his love for Tonks.

Date: 2008-09-19 01:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] godricgal.livejournal.com
Thank you very much!

Tater actually gave me a prompt for this: cake, and from that, I it wasn't much of a stretch to go to birthdays, considering the occasion, and after doing Tonks' not so happy birthday -- and I wanted to draw things out a bit -- it seemed like a good idea to use birthdays as a marker in time.

I'm so chuffed that you thought it had all the elements you love about R/T -- that's such a lovely comment to get, and also I'm so pleased you liked the imagery from the hot house scene. I'm really not sure why I chose that as a setting, but I'm sure there was one originally, and once the idea took hold, it wouldn't let go, but it is an odd location for a party, lol.

Thank you for your comments -- you always leave such lovely ones and do appreciate it. :)

Date: 2008-09-24 09:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] patriot-jackie.livejournal.com
Well, it took me so long to get back here and review that I had to read it again! - Not that I'm complaining or anything. ;)

I knew I'd love the rest of this! This is a really wonderful fic, and I love that you had all the progressions between them occur on birthdays. I think what especially stands out is the definition you gave to each character. What I mean is... the way you captured Tonks' voice and character through the narration in her thoughts and how ingrained Remus' doubts are from the very beginning. Bringing that out about him, as it just being a part of who he is, even when they were "just friends," does make a lot of sense in comparison to him just starting to doubt after he and Tonks become more together.

The UST was excellent, with such an increasingly intimate routine of them relaxing on Tonks' bed after his transformations. - I love the cold feet part, and it's super spiffy to see in part how that evovled; both times I got to that scene here, I was struck with a giddy grin!

The part with her own slice of cake was adorably sweet, and I don't think the squee factor can be set any higher for Remus to choose his b-day to reveal his and Tonks' relationship. Really brilliant job, as usual. :)

Oh, and because I'm always a fan of your descriptive abilities, this was my favorite for this one:

...but outside is awash with September rain that even earlier in the day had created a leafy soup in every gutter...

Mmm. Yummy. lol A very vivid image - it stuck with me long after reading the fic. :)

Date: 2008-10-07 09:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] godricgal.livejournal.com
Thank you very much for coming back to read and leave such a lovely review!

The idea of the birthdays came from a prompt Tater gave me: cake, and it seemed like a good way to use the different birthdays to chart the progression of the relationship, and I wanted, for some reason, to do something a little angsty at the beginning. It's really great to hear that you thought that all fitted in with their characters and found it a believable scenario.

And also that there was UST! As that's what I was trying to do, but it's quite difficult, I think, to read your own work and know if you've pulled it off, since you know how things are going to turn out.

It always makes me smile like crazy when you pick lines out, so thanks for that. It's nice to know you enjoy that in my fics.

Thanks again! :D

Date: 2008-09-25 07:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gilpin25.livejournal.com
I've been looking forward to reading this... Well, ever since last Wednesday, actually! (Must do some forward thinking when it cmes to holidays next year;)) But I promised myself a treat for packing one quarter of the bedroom away today, and a treat this most certainly was.

I think [livejournal.com profile] shimotsuki's already used the phrase I was thinking of as I read this - that it's very much got the required R/T elements that always fascinate, exasperate and yet still, if done as well as this, make you root like mad for them to get together. You'll be glad to hear that I was mentally shaking Remus at the first laying down on the bed routine! He's so wonderfully oblivious at the start, with his You had everyone else here, though, didn't you?, and yet so irresistibly Remus as he comes after her in his pyjamas to put it right because the last thing he wants to do is to hurt her.

As always, I enjoy how you write such a mature Tonks; that his reasons - and the world that's made him have those reasons - madden her, and she would love to throw caution to the wind, but she settles for his pace and his hesitation because she understands why. And in doing so, gets her man. Like everyone else, I thought using the birthdays was a great way of showing their developing intimacy, as well as that, even in the confines of the Order world where they're really amongst friends, there's still people who'd look at them with disapproval or question their relationship. I always like fics where you see that Remus does have a valid point, and a reason to fear, as you then know how much he cares for her.

The love scene is gorgeous - I loved the line about her knowing he's dreamt about this - and so is the part where she's in her killer dress and high heels. Best of all when she gets her prince.

Such a lovely, heart-warming read. It does make you want to cheer very loudly for them both. Perfect R/T!:D

Date: 2008-10-07 09:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] godricgal.livejournal.com
Thank you very much! I'm glad it served as a good treat for getting your work done.

...it's very much got the required R/T elements that always fascinate, exasperate and yet still, if done as well as this, make you root like mad for them to get together.

That's really love to hear. I've never really written anything where the getting together was drawn out with barriers to it happening, but I've always wanted to. Reading it myself, I had wondered if I'd missed the mark, but as I said to [livejournal.com profile] patriot_jackie, I think it's very difficult to see it in your own work, so it takes a kindly reviewer to say that it was goal achieved!

I think for Remus and Tonks to be equals in a successful relationship, Tonks has to realise that it won't be all roses and the easiest life she might choose, and Remus has to realise that if she understands that and is willing to go for it all the same, then it's really not so bad, lol. So when Remus was being a stubborn git, I think it needed Tonks to come out an acknowledge the issues so that they could start to move forward, even just in friendship.

Anyway, I'm so pleased you though it all worked, and enjoyed the love scene, which didn't quite come out as I'd intended, which is always a little unsettling. Thank you so much, again, for such a lovely review! :D

Date: 2008-10-17 10:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] panpipe.livejournal.com
Hello! I am a bit late but just wanted to say that I loved this ♥

He smiles at her again in such a way that their misunderstanding could easily be over, all her worries could be swept under the carpet; but it might only be so long before she tripped over it again and found herself on her knees in a swamp of hurt and uncertainty.

I love the way that Tonks's clumsiness is simply something that is there in all of the writing of this, and not a gimmick and not overdone. This whole story flowed so well ♥

Date: 2008-11-14 02:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] godricgal.livejournal.com
Thank you very much! And especially for the comment about Tonks' clumsiness. It's always a bit of a worry when you're writing her, that you don't use it as a tool for characterisation, but to ignore it is to gloss over something about her.

Sorry to be so late in replying, but please know that I relly do appreciate you taking the time to comment. :)

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