Had he been more entertained, he wouldn’t have cared that much. But there was little to do in a lonely, dark house, and if he had to choose between being angry and being amused, it was better to choose amusement, wasn’t it?
But he needed co-conspirators, which proved hard to find. Kingsley liked the idea as he was very fond of both of them, but his hands were tied. Bill was busy with Fleur Delacour when he wasn’t on Order duty. Arthur, Ted and Emmeline were only casually interested. Andromeda thought finding a boyfriend for her daughter sounded “too Jane Austen.” Molly and Hestia, on the other hand…
“Oh, Remus is so lonely, too!” Molly burst out. “He could use some love in his life.”
“He’s not like some of Tonks’s exes,” Hestia added. “There was this one bloke, John Dawlish’s son, actually… I hated him. We both cried when they broke up, except mine were tears of joy.”
“And they say you’re sweet,” Sirius muttered. Hestia smiled innocently.
Sirius wasn’t sure what it was about them that had made him think they’d be a good match; perhaps it was their similar personalities — it wasn’t obvious to everyone, but Sirius saw a bit of each of them in each other. Besides, while all of the Order members were friendly, Remus seemed closest to Tonks. She made happy — no, not happy. Joyful. The way Sirius had felt when he’d had his first real conversation with Harry. Remus deserved a bit more of that.
“So it’s settled,” Molly agreed. “Only one thing — do you think they’ll mind the age difference?”
“Deep down, Remus is still a very young man,” Sirius assured her. “And Tonks, believe it or not, is beyond her years. No, it won’t make any difference.”
“Just don’t do anything rash,” Molly told Sirius.
Hestia shook her head at Molly, but Sirius was too distracted to care about her mollycoddling, for once.
Sirius first tried by talking to Remus about Tonks. As it turned out, he didn’t quite know how to approach the subject.
“So, Tonks,” Sirius began one afternoon, when they were sitting at the kitchen table.
Remus almost dropped the coffee cup he was holding. “What about her?”
“What do you think of her?”
“She’s nice. You’re not — you don’t fancy her, do you?”
“No,” Sirius said.
Remus was peering closely. “If you’re sure…”
“We’re family, remember? She probably thinks of me as her uncle.”
Remus pulled a face. “Don’t say that.”
It occurred to Sirius that for his purposes, that was the wrong analogy. “You’re right, more like a much older brother. Do you think I’m a brother to her?”
“She’s certainly fond of you. Anyway, Dumbledore wanted me to ask you…”
Hestia and Molly reported that their probing hadn’t gone anywhere either; in the end, they decided it would be best to set up an old-fashioned blind date. So the next time Sirius got Remus alone — in the family room, this time, sitting at the chess table — he said, “By the way, Molly and I were talking—”
“I like her some of the time, you know. Anyway, don’t be cross, but we’ve set you up on a date.”
“What? For the Order?”
“No, stupid. For fun.”
“Oh.” Remus didn’t look angry, as Sirius had expected; rather, he looked nervous. “Sirius, you should have asked me first.”
“You would have said no.”
“Exactly.” Remus sighed. “I can’t go on this date, Padfoot.”
“It’s complicated. How did you do it anyway? Sirius, swear to me you didn’t leave the—”
“Of course not. Molly did the actual arranging, I voiced approval,” Sirius said.
Remus shook his head. “So you both know her? How?”
“If I told you, I’d give it away. Just trust me, mate. You’re to meet her at a place called Shell Cottage — Molly’s family owns the place.”
“So I wouldn’t be under pressure to pay.”
That had, in fact, been their reasoning; Sirius should have realized Remus would take no time to figure it out. “Well, yeah.”
“Look,” Remus began, “I appreciate your efforts, if not the pity” — Sirius cringed— “but… I’m afraid I’m going to have to decline.”
“Decline? Moony — if it’s about the money, fine, we’ll rearrange it.”
“No, it’s not just that.”
Before Sirius could ask exactly what it was, Tonks came through the front with Molly and Hestia, who looked as disappointed as Sirius felt.
“Wotcher, Remus, Sirius,” Tonks said.
“Tonks—” Hestia began.
“It’s okay,” Tonks told her. “Remus, can I have a word with you?”
Remus nodded. “We’ll talk about the — thing later, Sirius.”
The two of them strode off, and Sirius looked at Molly and Hestia.
“Did Tonks refuse too?” Sirius asked quietly.
“Yeah,” Hestia said. “Her reaction was so strange. I thought she’d be excited, but it was like we were trying to coerce her into some horrible… betrayal…”
“So did Remus,” Sirius said.
Something occurred to him, and he could see Hestia was thinking the same thing. Molly, however, still had the same look of disappointment and perplexity on her face.
“Come with me,” Sirius whispered, and he ushered them to the closed kitchen door.
“Oh, we mustn’t eavesdrop!” Molly moaned.
Sirius grabbed the Extendable Ears the Weasley twins had given him. “Here you go. Fred and George — left them by accident,” Sirius lied as Molly raised her eyebrows.
“They better have,” Molly said. She put on an ear grudgingly. “I don’t like this.”
But she pressed her head to the door a little too eagerly.
“We have to tell them,” Tonks was saying.
“—we don’t have to tell everyone we know. But we can’t keep lying to our friends. Just today, Molly and Hestia tried to set me up on a blind date!”
“Wait — they what now?”
“I said no, of course. I’m sure he’s a nice bloke, but he’s not you.”
Sirius’s eyes widened, and Hestia’s hand was covering her mouth. Molly let out a quiet “Goodness!”
Remus didn’t say anything for a minute.
“Remus? Why aren’t you saying—”
“He is me.”
“Don’t go on about how—”
“Dora. Sirius just told me he and Molly set me up on a blind date.”
“But — oh.”
Tonks laughed. “Well, that’s a sign, isn’t it?”
“I daresay it is, yes.”
Sirius, Hestia and Molly, speechless, took off their Extendable Ears.
“Well,” Molly said, “I suppose we learned a lesson about meddling.”