Sirius Black stopped in the entrance of the kitchen of twelve Grimmauld Place -- hand on the door jamb, he observed the chaos in front of him. Ah, yes...another fun-filled night at an Order meeting. Got to love the organisation. A small grin crossed his face;Mad-Eye stood at the head of the table, talking with Dumbledore and Arthur, surely discussing some sort of plan for the group. Molly was bustling around the kitchen, levitating trays of food on the table with Bill and Charlie helping her with drinks. Tonks and Kingsley were sitting at the table, chatting jovially, stealing biscuits off one of the trays, Tonks' hair a shocking, spiky pink. Emmeline, Minerva, and Hestia were off talking in the corner, and Snivellus was nowhere to be found, thank Merlin. The greasy git could just stay away.
Shaking his head and chuckling, he looked around the room again and realized that Remus Lupin was nowhere to be found. Where is Moony? He didn't tell me he was missing the meeting, the prat. I'll get him for leaving me with this lot. At least Snivellus isn't here to put up with.
"Ah, Black, always in the way. Do you mind getting out of mine?"
Sirius turned his head and saw Snape standing there, lip curled, greasy strands of hair hanging in his face.
"Snivellus! Such a pleasant surprise. Decided not to go hang out with the bats tonight?"
"Out of my way, Black," Snape snapped, pushing his way past Sirius. "Why don't you go and lie down like a good doggy?"
Sirius reached out and grabbed his arm, "Watch it, Snivellus; I can still kick your arse from here to Hogsmeade."
Snape jerked his arm from Sirius' grasp. "It's you that better watch out, Black; I can still let a few Dementors know where they can find their favourite prisoner." Snape walked off to join the conversation with Dumbledore and Arthur, robes billowing out behind him.
"Greasy git," Sirius mumbled under his breath.
"Padfoot, you need to learn to control your urge to cause trouble," Remus said, skirting around Sirius and entering the kitchen. "Severus is on our side, and although we've had a history with him, we need to band together and be able to trust one another. And that includes you and Severus."
"Easy for you to say, Moony; you never held a grudge with anyone -- not even Snivellus."
Remus clapped his friend on the back, leading him to the table. "You'd be wise to take that advice yourself, Padfoot. We need all the friends we can get in this day and age."
"If everyone would please take a place at the table," Dumbledore said, clapping his hands together, "we'll get started."
Sirius took a seat, Remus sitting down next to him. Mad-Eye Moody hobbled around to face the group; glass eye swivelling around checking each and every person out. Sirius glanced around the room -- Mad-Eye and his "Constant Vigilance". He doesn't trust any of this lot. Hell, he probably doesn't trust anyone. But after what he went through the previous year, having Crouch Jr. use Polyjuice to impersonate him, it's no wonder the old nutter is a bit on the paranoid side, Sirius thought as he watched the eye focus on one person in the room, then the next.
As Mad-Eye began talking, Sirius continued to observe the various members. Kingsley, large and impressive, was really a gentle soul for the most part. But he really could kick ass in a fight. Minerva, despite her age, was definitely a force to be reckoned with. Not to mention Dumbledore. Then there was Tonks. She might be a clumsy, and a bit flashy in her dress and looks, but she had proven herself time and time again that she really was a good Auror. Sirius watched his cousin closely. She was playing with a tube of lipstick, rolling it up and down. Occasionally, she'd look up and across the table, glancing at...Remus? As quickly as she glanced up, her eyes were back on the table and her lipstick, rolling it up and down. There! She did it again! What's going on there? Sirius glanced over at Remus, who was looking at the table in front of him, apparently deep in thought. He glanced up and looked at the woman across the table from him, and quickly, he looked away. Well, now, that's curious. I'll have to get Moony alone and find out what's going on between him and that cousin of mine.
The meeting droned on. The only amusement Sirius found during it was when Mad-Eye Moody questioned Remus about his assignment with the werewolves, and Moony didn't answer right away -- he was too busy making eyes with Tonks. Oh, yeah; there is definitely something going on between those two. I just need to figure out exactly what.
The meeting ended, and Sirius saw Tonks brush by Remus, slipping something into his hand before she Apparated home. Remus stood rooted in the spot for a moment; his eyes were locked on the place the small woman had been only moments before. The man jumped when Sirius approached and asked, "What's that in your hand, Moony?"
"Nothing, Padfoot," Remus mumbled, sticking his hand into his trouser pocket, sounding somewhat like someone who's trying to sound casual, but was really uptight instead.
"Oh, do come now, my dear Moony," Sirius started, a large, roguish grin crossing his face. "I saw my lovely cousin hand you something; care to share what's going on between you two?"
"What are you going on about, Sirius? There's nothing going on between us. We're friends. Just friends." Remus was now looking down at his feet.
Got him right where I want him. "Riiiiiight...okay, whatever you say, Moony. But just for the record, you're a right poor liar," Sirius said before turning and heading toward the staircase; out of the corner of his eye, he caught the look of sheer terror on Remus's face. Sirius was certain that the fear in Remus's eyes had nothing to do with the fact that he fancied someone, but rather for the fact that Sirius had found out he fancied someone. Sirius let out a barking laugh. He would be certain not to let either Remus or Tonks live this down.
"Oy, Molly? Anyone home?" Tonks called into the kitchen of Headquarters.
"My dear, dear cousin! So nice of you to drop by! Fancy a cup of tea with me? A biscuit? A chat, perhaps?" Sirius said, jumping up, offering the girl a chair.
"Wotcher, Sirius. A chat? Sure, I've got time; I'm off-shift right now. Tea sounds good, too," Tonks said as she sat down. "And that biscuit," she added, grinning and snatching a treat off the tray on the table. "Are you the only one home?"
"Yep, just me; well, and that filthy little house-elf, Kreacher, if you count him. What I'd love to do to that piece of - "
"Yeah, well, you don't want to give the Ministry another reason to come after you, do you now, you git?"
"No," grumbled Sirius, "but I certainly would love to get rid of that little piece of Black history."
Tonks laughed. "Oy, that's for sure, cous. That elf certainly did love your mother."
"Speaking of love, my dear, sweet, adorable cousin." Sirius watched Tonks roll her eyes at the term of affection he chose to call her. "Is there anyone you might by chance...fancy?" Sirius asked, batting his eyes, trying his best to look innocent and failing miserably.
"Who? Me?" Tonks chuckled (or perhaps it was a nervous laugh -- Sirius couldn't tell). "I don't have time for fancying anyone, Sirius. You know...being an Auror and all."
"Oh, yes, I'm certain you're Miss Busy Auror. But are you certain you don't fancy anyone? Not even, say...my best mate, Remus?"
"Re-Remus? Why would you of all people th-think I fancy Remus?" Tonks sounded uncomfortable.
Aha! thought Sirius, I've struck gold! I knew it! Got her where I want her. "Oh, come now, Nymphadora darling. I saw you and Remus making googly eyes at each other at the meeting the other night. You know you can't pull anything past me."
"Don't call me 'Nymphadora', you prat," Tonks ground out as she swatted at him. "Googly eyes? What do you mean 'googly eyes'?"
"Oh, you know...this," Sirius said, doing his best to imitate Tonks making eyes at Remus. He failed miserably, looking more like a giant fish with something in its eyes.
Tonks sat there, stunned for a moment before busting out in a fit of laughter. "Sirius, that was about the funniest thing I've seen all week!" she choked out in between laughing. "But I can quite assure you that Remus and I are just friends, and we aren't making 'googly eyes' at each other."
"Oh, really, my dear cousin? Just friends? Remus said the same thing when I questioned him about his intentions towards you. Well, I guess all I can do is believe you, then. But beware...I will be watching you. Both of you." Sirius winked. "And trust me; I will catch you both off guard."
"I'm an Auror, Sirius," Tonks said, smirking. "You'll never catch me off-guard."
Sirius looked in the library at twelve Grimmauld Place and smiled broadly. Ah, yes, my next attack. Remus while he's reading. This should be good.
Clearing his throat, Sirius strolled in and plopped down on the sofa next to Remus. "Hello, Moony, my old friend. What are you reading?"
"Some old classic book I picked up at the thrift store. Looks to be Muggle origin." Remus marked his place with his finger and flipped the book closed so Sirius could see the title. "Oliver Twist" was embossed in gold leaf print across the black cover.
"Never heard of it; of course, I'm no Muggle literary genius like you, my friend. Any good?"
"Yes, it's pretty good, actually. It's about an orphan who must deal with a very cruel life. What are you up to, today, Sirius?"
"Oh, you know, same old, same old. Helping Molly keep the place picked up, feeding Buckbeak, just the usual joys of maintaining Black Manor," Sirius said rolling his eyes. "And wreaking havoc on some poor, unsuspecting witch. Oh wait. That's from our Hogwarts days," the man finished dryly.
Remus grinned. "Haven't changed, have you?"
"Well, considering I can't get out of this god-forsaken house to chase any women, yes, I'd say I've changed. But," Sirius paused for dramatic effect. "What's more important is how you've changed, Moony."
"What are you going on about?"
"I remember quite well in school that James and I would literally have to brow-beat you into asking any girl out -- you wanted nothing to do with dating due to your furry little problem." Sirius winked. "But I'd say you've got over that quite well with my cousin, haven't you?"
"Wha-? What are you talking about, Padfoot?"
"Oh, Moony, you know. I know, the entire world knows. You fancy my cousin. And she fancies you. It's so darn obvious; it's like the nose on your face or the wand in your pocket." Sirius paused and winked suggestively. "No use hiding it any longer. You've got yourself a 'loooooove interest'." Sirius waggled his eyebrows, grey eyes gleaming and grinning like the cat that ate the canary.
Remus looked shocked at first, his mouth slightly opened as if he wanted to say something, but couldn't find the words.
Score! thought Sirius. He'll now admit his undying love for her.
Recovering, Remus laughed. "Where did you ever get that cockamamie idea, Padfoot? Tonks and I do not like each other that way. We're friends; that's all. And I'd appreciate it if you'd just stay out of my love life, okay?
"Do you really think I haven't picked up on you two, Moony? "Come on, give me some sodding credit. I've seen you two around each other. I've seen the eyes you've made back and forth across the table." Sirius paused briefly, reigning in his bitterness, deciding instead to wiggle his brows at his best mate. "And I've seen her slip things to you after the meeting. I know you two have a thing for each other."
"You are a nutter, Black. There's nothing going on. Understand? Nothing." Remus opened his book again to start reading.
"Oh, of course, Moony. Nothing going on. Don't worry; I'll keep your secret." And with that, Sirius got up and strutted out of the room, turning only to see Remus shake his head.
"Oh, hello, Sirus," Tonks said, as she came in the entryway of twelve Grimmauld Place. "Seen Remus anywhere?"
"Why cousin dear, why would you be looking for Remus?" Sirius asked. "Especially since there's nothing what so ever going on between you two, right?"
"Quit being a git, Black," Tonks said, elbowing him and chuckling. Sirius noticed she gave him a sideways glance, as if she was checking to see if he was okay with what was going on with her and his best mate.
"What are you looking at, Cous? Seeing if I'm surviving my exile in the House of Hell and not minding that you and Remus have a life?"
She shook her head, "I'm not looking at anything, Sirius. And neither Remus and I have much of a life outside our work. Matter of fact, we are meeting here to work on an assignment together. Is he here yet?"
Sirius shrugged. "Right, Tonks, whatever you say. I've not seen Remus around today, but you might check up in the library."
Tonks headed towards the old house's library, never looking back at Sirius. She never saw him change into Padfoot and sit there until she had rounded the corner into the library where Remus was. Stealthily, Padfoot made his way down the hall to sit silently outside the room.
"Wotcher, Remus," Tonks said, greeting the man pouring over a table full of books. "What are you looking at?"
"Just some old Black family books, hoping to find a clue to Voldemort's whereabouts," Remus said. In a quiet voice, he added, "And how are you, Dora?"
Padfoot's ears perked up. His dog hearing was always much better than his human hearing. And he knew he was going to need it with the way these two were talking. Dora? Did Moony just call her 'Dora'? Padfoot thought to himself. Oh, he's smittened something fierce!
Tonks whispered, "Fine. Are we still on for tonight?" A bit louder, she added, "So have you found any clues?"
"No, no clues so far," Remus answered loudly. He softly added, "Yes, we're still on. Are we leaving from here?"
"Have you looked in this book?" Tonks asked him. Whispering, she answered, "Yes, if we can get past that prat of a cousin of mine. He's figured us out, you know."
Padfoot grinned to himself. Well, at least they realize I'm on to them. They're not as thick as I thought. But it's just not fair that I get left behind with little to do but chase the Doxies out of the parlor while the two of them can go out cavorting together!
"No, I've not looked in that one," Remus answered. He quietly pointed out, "Yes, he thinks he's on to us, but he doesn't know for certain. I think we've covered our tracks quite well."
If a dog could laugh, Padfoot would have laughed right there and then. He would have been rolling all over the floor laughing. It took all he had not to bark in response. Covered their tracks well? Yeah, right. They have no clue how wrong they are on that!
"I'll take a stab at this one, then," Tonks said loudly. "How about I Apparate out around half-six and you follow thirty minutes later?" Tonks added in a whisper.
They can't even do a decent job covering their conversation in there. How do they think they'll slip past me?
"Let me know if you need me to help there, Tonks," Remus answered. Whispering he added, "That sounds good. I'll meet you at the Leaky Cauldron, and we'll go from there."
"Okay," Tonks said almost silently, smiling.
Sirius moved back a bit in the hall and changed into his human form. He strolled into the library, smug look on his face. "Hi, you two lovebirds," he said, watching Remus roll his eyes in response. "So what are your plans for tonight? Since the two of you don't have plans together, shall we have a quiet evening in, playing some poker? Just the three of us? Perhaps we can get Charlie to join us as a fourth. I'd really like some company tonight."
"Sorry, Sirius," Tonks said as she stretched and yawned. "I'm calling it an early night."
"Yeah, me too, Padfoot," Remus said. "Long day tomorrow."
"Oh, really. Neither of you have any plans?"
"Nope, just heading to my flat. I have a date with my bed," Tonks stated.
"Ah, but are you headed to your flat, alone?" Sirius asked. "Or is a certain friend of mine with a furry little problem joining you...say about thirty minutes later?" Sirius grinned and waggled his eyebrows, grey eyes dancing in delight.. Remus and Tonks looked positively ill, which made Sirius bark with laughter.
"No..." answered Remus slowly.
"Are you certain about that, Moony? And what about you, Dora?" Sirius asked in a wickedly sweet voice.
"Don't call me--how...what.... Sirius, have you been listening in on our conversation?" Tonks quizzed him.
"How could I have listened in, dear, sweet cousin? I wasn't in the room, was I?" Sirius watched as realization dawned in Remus's eyes.
"Black, you arse! You were Padfoot and heard our conversation, didn't you? Where were you? Outside the door or the window?" Remus asked him, looking rather put out and like he wanted to throttle Sirius.
Sirius barked with laughter. "A good detective never tells his secrets, Moony," Sirius answered in glee. "So, you are going back to Dora's flat, eh?"
"Don't call me Dora, you git!" Tonks told the man.
"You didn't seem to mind when Remus called you that," Sirius said, chuckling. "I sort of like it. It fits you in some ways. Do you have a nickname for Remus, too?"
"I can't believe you'd stoop so low as to listen in on our conversation, Padfoot," Remus said, shaking his head.
"Well, I already knew you two fancied each other. I just had to get concrete evidence," Sirius said, smiling charmingly at them. "And now, I have it. But don't worry -- I won't tell a soul about you two lovebirds. And just think; now you don't have to leave separately. You can Apparate together!" he finished, wishing it was him that had this opportunity. He knew he should be happy for them, but he couldn't help feeling a bit jealous that these two were able to leave and go out and spend time together. Even in the light of the war.
"Sirius, it's really important you keep this to yourself," Remus said, seriously. "Tonks's parents don't know about us as of yet, and we really don't want it to get out to the Order members, either. And I certainly don't want it getting back to Greyback. He'd come after her in a heartbeat just to get at me."
"So is that why you're opting to go to Tonks's flat instead of a proper date?"
"Yes, you git, that's why."
"Well, your secret's safe with me" Sirius said, spinning on his heels. "My work here is done. I shall be off and leave you two lovebirds at it." He added lightly as he looked at them over his shoulder, roguish smile plastered on his face, and strutting as he left the room.
"Okay, I'll meet you at the Leaky Cauldron," Sirius overheard Remus saying. Sirius was just heading through the entryway at twelve Grimmauld Place on his way to feed Buckbeak, when he saw Remus and Tonks quietly chatting in the corner by the door.
"Is it half-six already? Are you lovebirds getting ready to go?" Sirius asked sarcastically. He stopped from making a total git of himself and grinned at his friend and cousin. While he'd give his eye teeth to be the one going out with a bird, hell any bird, he was really glad for Moony. If any one deserved to be happy in this lifetime, it was certainly Moony.
."Well, you lot have a wonderful time, and Remus, don't do anything I wouldn't do." Sirius winked at the man as Remus and Tonks both blushed.
"Oh, don't you worry, Sirius; I'll be the perfect gentleman and not the animal you tend to be." Remus retorted back.
"Ah, sounds like you're spoiling all the fun if you're going to be a gentleman, Remus," Sirius said, putting an arm around each of them. "Tonks, please be certain to show my friend here what a good time is,"
"Ha, ha, very funny, Padfoot," Remus said. "I'm certain Tonks and I can figure something out."
"Well, you two run along. I expect a full report in the morning, Moony," Sirius said, laughing. "You, too, Nymphadora. I expect you to fill me in on how my friend here was on a date. Make sure he treated you like a lady and all. I want to make sure I don't need to give him any pointers."
"Yeah, right, Black. And don't call me Nymphadora. Remus, I'll meet you at our rendezvous point in a few minutes, 'kay?" And with that, Tonks Apparated away.
"Ooooh, a rendezvous place. Can I come, too?" Sirius asked.
"Uh...no go, Padfoot; stay like a good doggy. Oh, and Sirius? Don't wait up," Remus said with a wink and a grin as he Apparated away.
A/N: Big hugs and smooches to aggiebell and harry_ginnyphile, who both gave their seal of approval and their expert advice on this little piece. It would not be what it is without them. *hugs and smooches them both some more*
This was written originally for the LJ community, ashes_ficafest. When England lost the ashes this year, I was to write a story for a member of the winning team. Each winning member provided a challenge for the losing members to pick from. I was blessed to volunteer to write a story for scarlett71177 based on the following challenge:
Remus and Tonks are both trying to sneak out of number twelve Grimmauld Place to go out on a date without Sirius finding out. Naturally, he already knows, and is trying to give them some hell about it.
One other thing, then I promise to quit the A/N. *grin* This loosely refers to my stories, Lipstick and Lipstick II, which were both written for a challenge at the LJ community, kaleidoscopefur. I hope to one day get them posted here.