godricgal: (Pink Christmas - Godricgal)
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Title: Past Presents and Present Moments
Author: [livejournal.com profile] godricgal
Rating: R, but only just.
Word Count: 1,724 words.
Summary: It's Boxing Day and Remus and Tonks are spending the evening with Tonks' grandpa, who has a question for Remus.
Author's Notes: Written as a rather belated birthday present for [livejournal.com profile] shimotsuki. I had intended to post this later in the week, but I thought it might be nice to post it tonight, to coincide with other birthdays. ;) This fic (Duckingverse) partners Christmas Quackers. Pre-reading isn't vital, but they're so close in the timeline that you might like to know what had gone before. Many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] mrstater for the beta.

Past Presents and Present Moments

It had been a long time since Remus Lupin had sat around a fire with family over the Christmas period, enjoying the chance to relax in the warm light after a the hectic celebrations of the day, though this was a decidedly different sort of family and he seemed to have traded the fire for a television showing a film about an ill-fated airplane flight rather than flames that flickered and flew.

Jack, Tonks' beloved grandpa, whom Remus was very quickly coming to think of as a Grandpa figure of his own, sat in his thick-cushioned, high-backed chair, chuckled at the television as a life-size plastic doll inflated in the pilot's seat. Tonks herself was tucked up against Remus' side in the armchair they'd charmed a little wider to make it more comfortable for sharing, her head on his chest and her knees curled up in his lap. Her breathing was deep and even; her eyes were closed.

They'd spent most of the day prior to now being lazy at Tonks' flat, eating leftover Christmas dinner that Tonks' mother had sent home with her yesterday, playing a few rounds of exploding snap. They'd used the time to generally catch up on the events of each others' lives that had eclipsed the other during the busy time in the run-up to Christmas, and in the middle of the afternoon they'd taken to their bed and enjoyed each other thoroughly before falling into the most glorious of afternoon dozes.

"She asleep?" Jack asked, when a loud sequence of the film had passed.

"Think so."

"I understand you are to meet my son and his wife this week," Jack said, turning briefly from the screen to address Remus. It was the first time Jack had spoken of Ted and Andromeda Tonks in Remus' presence, and he wondered if the question was leading anywhere. He felt that it might have gone unasked, had Tonks piped up to let them know that she was, in fact, awake. There was something very appealing at the idea of a heart-to-heart with this man -- someone so very dear to Tonks, and someone he had come to esteem, for a greater reason than the attachment of the woman he loved.

"Yes, we've been invited for lunch on New Year's Day."


Remus chuckled though a long exhale of breath. "A little."

Jack turned more fully towards Remus, shifting laboriously in his chair. "They've been asking me about you, you know."

"A little nugget of information that does nothing for my nerves," Remus replied, clearly to Jack's amusement, which gave Remus the impression of camaraderie, and the feeling that Jack knew exactly where his nerves were coming from, and why.

"They want to know if it's serious -- if you're going to marry her."

"We've only been together for five months!" Remus tried, unsuccessfully, he thought, to keep indignation out of his voice.

"I know."

Remus wasn't sure if he ought to say something more -- it wasn't as if the idea of marriage hadn't crossed his mind: it had, frequently. But it wasn't something he and Tonks had discussed, and every time Remus thought he might broach the subject -- from a purely speculative point of view -- a doubting voice in his mind told him that it was too soon, their relationship was too untested, in spite of the fact that he harboured negligible doubt that if any woman had been made for him, it was Tonks and was fairly secure of the idea that she felt the same about him.

"So, are you?" Jack's question shook Remus out of his thoughts.

Some kind of answer demanded of him, the words slipped off Remus' tongue as though it was the most natural thing in the world. "I couldn't imagine marrying anyone else."

It wasn't a straight answer, exactly, but it was the truth. It seemed to satisfy Jack, who turned back to the film just in time to catch a scene Remus thought would make any member of a senior generation blush and tut with disapproval; Jack only laughed heartily.

"That's answer enough for me," Jack said without taking his eyes from the screen.

Later that night, when Remus was back in bed with Tonks tucked, once again, against his side, his thoughts returned to the issue of marriage and the conversation he'd had with Jack. Somehow, the talk seemed to have made what had previously belonged in an as yet intangible future more real. So real, in fact, that Remus might have been tempted to broach the subject there and then -- in a purely hypothetical and speculative manner, of course. But Tonks' breaths, deep and relaxed against his bare chest, reminded him that Tonks was asleep.

Or at least, he'd thought she was asleep, until she mumbled his name sleepily.

"Hm?" He bent his head down towards her and placed a kiss against the soft skin of her temple.

"Got a confession to make."

Remus rolled her carefully until her head was cushioned in a deep furrow of her pillow and pulled himself over her. "What's that?" he asked.

"Earlier, at Grandpa's, I wasn't asleep, or..." Her brow crinkled in thought. "...at least I don't think I was. Was a bit like a dream, though. I heard what you said about marrying." Her eyes flickered downwards, as though embarrassed, for just a moment before her gaze returned to him.

"Ah." Remus took a moment to consider, to see if he could discern anything in her voice that might betray how she felt about what she'd heard. He took too long, though, and he was dismayed to see Tonks' expression clouding over.

"I know," she said guiltily, "I should have said something, but I was so comfy and when Grandpa asked you about it, I was interested in your answer and I should have had the courage to ask you myself, I know, but..."

Remus cut her off with a kiss. "Enough," he said, when he pulled away. "There's not a thought in my head that I would want to keep from you."

As he said it, he realised the truth of his words. They weren't something he'd thought to think before, but now that he'd said it, it seemed the most obvious thing in the world. Every day he told Tonks how much he loved her; several times a week, at least, he showed her. They shared every intimate thought or worry about work and life and war. Why should he keep from her the single most joyful thought he could think to muster: that he loved her enough to spend the rest of his life with her? And why on earth should he deny himself the opportunity to hear her express the same sentiments in return?

It was natural progression, Remus thought, as they began to talk about some of the impulsive things he'd said to Tonks' grandfather while he thought she was sleeping at his side.

"You've really thought about how long you need to leave it before you can ask?" Tonks said, her expression hopeful, which, in turn, made Remus hope that she'd wondered, too, about if and when they might marry.

"How could I not?" Remus replied. "It's hard to imagine not marrying you, but in addition to all the sensible and responsible considerations, I'm rather enjoying the normality of all of this, and a bit part of me just wants to savour every moment for what it is, which is nothing to do with wanting to wait and, I don't know..."

"I do," Tonks said quietly. "Perfectly. It's like you said to Grandpa -- isn't this -- being together -- so often the only thing that really makes sense in our lives? I wouldn't want to give up any part of this experience for the world."

In spite of the obvious sincerity behind Tonks' words, which touched him greatly, of course, Remus couldn't help but chuckle a little. "Most men would think me the luckiest man in the world, I think."

"Because you have me?" Tonks asked, abandoning her serious expression for a teasing one, demonstrating for the millionth time how well their characters were suited -- that they could switch so easily in conversation and know that neither would be affronted.

"Because most men wouldn't dare to even mention the M-word, for fear their significant others would have them in morning suits and standing before an altar before you could say wedding breakfast."

Tonks' eyes shone with amusement for a moment before her expression turned more serious once again. "Well," she said, "I reckon that's because those girls aren't as sure of their men as I am of you."

Remus' heart swelled as he bent his head to kiss her, gently at first and then with a more loaded purpose. Her body was always so warm and inviting, and it wasn't long before he had moved over her completely, settling in the natural cradle of her legs around his waist.

"I will ask you, one day," he whispered as his lips passed her ear on their way to the sensitive spot on her neck below. He pushed her t-shirt up, over her breasts and closed his eyes at the sensation of her skin meeting his completely.

"And I look forward to that day as much as every other with you." Her breath hitched around the words, and her hands smoothed over his back, pulling his body more securely against hers.

He was the luckiest man alive. Against all the odds, he and Tonks had managed to enjoy the most memorable of first Christmases together, and though it might be said that they'd sacrificed things along the way, that wasn't how it felt: Remus thought it would have been magical without any consideration to their current circumstance, and that any Wizarding -- or Muggle -- couple, living in blissful ignorance of the threat that grew stronger every day, would consider themselves lucky to take away such memories from the times.

Remus thought it was unlikely that he would last the coming year without falling on bended knee. But that, and the journey forward from that moment, were things to look forward to, as Tonks has said. The here and now, particularly this here and now, this moment, had more than enough to offer.

The End

Date: 2009-01-21 02:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shimotsuki.livejournal.com
Thank you so, so much for this beautiful birthday gift! The theme of comfort running through this story is so tangible. I love the thought of Tonks drowsing curled up against Remus, whether in Jack's armchair or in bed.

The warm and tender images of their lovemaking are a perfect backdrop to the critically important things they are talking about, and it makes me grin a great wide grin to see them trusting each other so much. (While trying not to think of what's coming up for them in HBP year, of course, heh.) I particularly love the little dialogue about morning suits and being sure. :)

And I'm so happy to see more of Jack. I really like the idea that he and Remus are developing a connection -- especially if things don't go all that well with Ted and Andromeda, of course, but even without that it's lovely to think that someone Tonks cares so much about also understands this man she loves. Both Jack and Remus could probably use a few more people who understand and appreciate them!

I thought it might be nice to post it tonight, to coincide with other birthdays. ;)

Awww. :) Thank you again!

Edited because I really shouldn't blame even HBP events on DH, tempting as it may be.
Edited Date: 2009-01-21 02:56 am (UTC)

Date: 2009-03-01 12:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] godricgal.livejournal.com
I'm so sorry it's taken me so long to reply to this. I completely forgot about the fic until [livejournal.com profile] gilpin25 found it yesterday.

I'm so pleased you enjoyed it. It's not quite what you asked for but Grandpa wanted to be in this story and so I hoped it would suit. I had been looking for an opportunity to address the marriage issue fairly early on in the timeline because I think it had to be done when they had moved so quickly initially, but also needed a reason for them to put it off without it being for any particularly angsty reason.

It was also really nice to have the chance to further Jack and Remus' relationship and it seemed a natural sort of conversation for them to have, and I hope it plays a part in giving a background to Jack's decision in Legacy.

Thanks again!

Date: 2009-02-27 08:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gilpin25.livejournal.com
I've been puzzling over how I missed this when you posted it, and even worse, it doesn't exactly show that the new glasses are working that well!

However, I'm very glad it and I met up eventually as it's another delightful addition to the Ducking verse. When I was reading it, it occurred to me how few R/T fics there are where Remus and Tonks get quietly reflective and just being together moments like they do here, and like couples normally do in a relationship. Especially when you get to about five months in, and are certain how you feel, and that the big question isn't that far off.

As [livejournal.com profile] shimotsuki said, the theme of comfort and ease with each other is palpable throughout. It's great to see Jack again and when he mentioned the meet-up with Ted and Andromeda, I half thought he was going to give Remus a mini pep talk. Instead, it seemed very true to how much he cares about Tonks that he was the one to put Remus on the spot first. And how perfect that Remus came up with the right - and honest - answer for them all. Of course, I was hoping Tonks hadn't missed out on it!

Thanks for a lovely evening read, and I hope you'll be persuaded to write the meet-up with Ted and Andromeda. :)
Edited Date: 2009-02-27 08:19 pm (UTC)

Date: 2009-03-01 12:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] godricgal.livejournal.com
I'm very glad you found it, too, since it gave me such a nice surprise when I came up to bed last night!

I'm really chuffed that you said that it was nice to see Remus and Tonks just talking about their relationships, as I seem to remember fretting to Lisa about how nothing happened in the fic and was it actually interesting enough to be a fic in its own right? I did want to address the whole marriage thing at a fairly early point in the timeline as they did move so quickly in the beginning and it would seem only natural.

Jack's a bit like Tonks-family practice for Remus, really - a friendly whose support Remus can be fairly sure of, while knowing the concern is always going to be first and foremost for Tonks, which I think would give him a lot of confidence.

Thanks again for a lovely review!

Was going to mention this over Lexulous, but then decided that I'd have more space here. I've got another Ducking fic about half done - an HPB fic, which I think will be finished by the time you get back from the Lakes.


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