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28 December 2011 @ 05:23 pm
Fic: Moon By Moon  
Title: Moon By Moon
Author: shimotsuki
Rating & Warnings: PG, no warnings
Format & Word Count: Fic, 2205 words
Summary: Last month, Sirius carefully explained to Tonks that Remus needs privacy after the full moon. But now somehow, something has started to change. (October through December of OotP.)
Author’s Notes: Hmm, I seem to have a post-moon theme going here this time. That's actually a coincidence -- this story was a WIP I'd had languishing since at least 2007, so I decided to use this event as motivation to finish it and post! This story is part of the Kaleidoscope series, set one month after Stripes, but it can be read as a stand-alone story.




Moon by Moon

October

Sirius had set three separate knives to chopping vegetables. He was presiding somewhat smugly over the chopping block—feeling rather like an orchestra conductor, with his wand for a baton—when the Floo turned green.

“Sirius? You there?”

His cheery little cousin’s spiky head appeared in the flames.

Sirius waved his wand to pause the chopping and swung around with a grin. “Hullo, peanut.”

“Is it all right if I come through for a minute?” Tonks peered up at him, oddly intent. “Just for a minute.”

Sirius raised his eyebrows. “Of course. You know you’re welcome here anytime you can stand a little bachelor company.”

Tonks pulled her head out of the fire and came spinning through the Floo out onto the hearth. She was holding a heavy-looking crockery bowl with both hands, and Sirius winced when she stumbled. But she slapped a Hover Charm on the dish even before she’d grabbed at the back of a chair to steady herself, and the bowl waited patiently in midair for her to catch her balance. Once she had found her feet, she floated it deftly over to the table, trying to look nonchalant.

Sirius had a sneaking suspicion that Tonks had had a lot of practice casting Hover Charms.

“What’ve you got there?” The bowl was covered with a tea towel, but when he sniffed he caught a whiff of cinnamon and something sweet. “Smells nice.”

“Erm.” Tonks tugged at a tangerine-coloured spike of hair and gave him a sideways grin. “I made some pumpkin trifle, so I thought I’d bring it by.”

“You cook?”

“Yes, I cook.” She crossed her arms over her T-shirt, which had a charmed tie-dye pattern that was swirling in a slow spiral (making Sirius feel slightly dizzy, and he hadn’t even been at the firewhisky yet). “Just because I’m no good at householdy spells doesn’t mean I’m no good with food. It’s completely different. Cooking is like—it’s like Potions. I have a N.E.W.T. in Potions, you know. Had to, to be an Auror.”

Sirius held up his hands in surrender. “Right, sorry—I’m sure you’re a brilliant cook.” Still, he couldn’t help smirking at the smears of flour that she had all over her T-shirt and jeans, and even in her hair.

Tonks rolled her eyes. “Yeah. Well, I’ll see you at the meeting on Wednesday, then.” She turned back to the fire and took a pinch of Floo powder from the urn on the mantlepiece.

Sirius blinked. “Leaving already?” He’d expected she would at least stay long enough to have a drink with him. It was lonely here, today. “You must be a marvellous cook. Really.”

She sniggered a little, but she shook her head. “I only came to leave the trifle, so now I’ve done that, I’ll go on home.” Her expression sobered. “I remember what you told me last month, that Remus doesn’t really like to have people see him before he’s had a chance to recover from the moon. I just thought a pudding might cheer him up a bit. I saw how much he liked Molly’s pumpkin trifle after a meeting, once.”

Sirius could only approve; Moony needed more people looking after him. “I’m sure he’ll enjoy it.” He leered theatrically at the bowl of trifle. “I’ll even save him a bite.”

She laughed again, eyes dancing, and whacked him on the arm. “You’d better, you git.”

Tonks disappeared back into the Floo, and Sirius started up the vegetable-chopping ensemble again until he had the stew bubbling properly.

Slow, careful steps sounded on the stairs.

“You’re just in time,” Sirius called out. “Stew’s almost done.”

“I could tell.” Remus appeared around the doorframe, smiling, although his voice was awfully hoarse. “Smells good.”

“And look at this,” Sirius added, watching Remus lower himself shakily into a chair at the table. “Tonks made us a pumpkin trifle for afters. Seems to be edible, even.”

“Oh?” Remus brightened, but he didn’t look at the trifle at all. He looked around the kitchen, and then glanced toward the stairs. “Is she here for supper, then?”

“No, of course not.” Sirius stared. “She understands that you like a little privacy right after the moon.”

“Oh,” said Remus again. “Of course.” He smiled a little, and this time he did lift the tea towel to peek in at the trifle. “It was awfully kind of her to bring this over.”

But now he looked, Sirius thought, a little greyer and more exhausted than before.

~ * ~

November

Tonks popped out of the Floo to find Sirius busy cooking again.

He looked up from a half-dozen browning pork chops and grinned at her. “Hullo, peanut! Did you bring us a trifle?”

“Of course not.” She grinned back, setting a covered plate carefully on the table. “Chocolate cake this time.”

Grey eyes gleamed. “I’ll make short work of that.”

“You’ll do no such thing.” Tonks poked him in the arm. “It’s for Remus, and you know it.”

He snorted.

“How is he?” she asked, in a small voice.

“Stay for supper and see for yourself.” Sirius smirked at her and started a small mountain of apples peeling.

Tonks blinked. Her cousin must be joking.

“Tell him I’ve asked after him,” she said. “I’ll leave you to it, then.”

“Somewhere else to be?” Sirius floated the peeled apples into a bowl and aimed a powerful Roasting Charm at them.

“Hardly,” she laughed. Being an Auror didn’t leave much time for a social life. “But—”

“Hello, Tonks,” sounded hoarsely from behind.

She turned around quickly enough to lose her balance, but managed to grab the back of a chair and avert disaster. “Wotcher, Remus.”

She had seen him once before on the evening after a full moon. But she had forgotten just how grey and gaunt it left him, how deep were the lines etched into his face by exhaustion and pain.

How much nearer the surface were the emotions that he normally kept so deeply buried.

This time, though, what leaked through wasn’t loneliness or shame. He smiled at her, a bright blazing smile that lit him up from inside and stole her breath.

“You’ll stay for supper, won’t you?” he rasped.

“Told you so,” Sirius muttered from right behind her.

“Ta,” she said, feeling a bit like she’d been spinning too fast on her broom and hadn’t got her bearings after landing, but she met Remus’s smile with one of her own. “Those pork chops are awfully tempting.”

Remus was quiet at supper, but he ate two whole pork chops and two slices of chocolate cake. And he grinned often at the silly banter that Sirius kept launching and Tonks parried as well as she could.

But eventually, the table was cleared away and the dishes were done. Remus still seemed to be enjoying the company, but he had started to sag a little in his chair, and his face looked tired. Tonks raised an eyebrow at Sirius, wondering whether it was time for her to take her leave.

“Well, Moony,” said Sirius expansively, “I think it’s time we gave Tonks here some education in the ways of the world.”

“Really?” Tonks would have poked Sirius again for his patronising attitude, but the laughter that danced in Remus’s eyes was enough to stop her. “What sort of education did you have in mind?”

Sirius cleared his throat and pulled out his wand with a dramatic flourish. “Accio Exploding Snap cards!”

A charred and battered deck came flying down the stairs and into his waiting hand.

“We’re going to play Exploding Snap?” Tonks would never have expected Sirius to suggest something so tame.

But now her cousin was staring at the cards in his hand with an oddly pained look on his face, and Remus had reached over to rest a hand on his elbow.

“Not Exploding Snap,” he said quietly to Tonks. “Exploding Poker. Muggle poker with Exploding Snap cards.” His smile was sad now. “We always used to play it in the hospital wing or the dormitory, after moons—after the others had worked out my secret, that is.” He gave the bony elbow a squeeze. “It’s all right, Padfoot. Let’s play something else. Three-way chess?”

“No,” said Sirius stubbornly, his jaw set. “We’ll play Exploding Poker. Wormtail isn’t taking this away from me.” He cast a quick Shuffle charm, and the gleam of mischief returned to his eyes. “I’ll lay the first wager: Losers take over washing dishes for the winner for the rest of November.”

It wasn’t a late night. Even this laughing, joking post-moon Remus needed his sleep, so they wrapped things up after each of them had won a few times and collected juicy forfeits. Tonks was particularly pleased with the hand that had won her hot cocoa every evening for a week, not least because it would give her an excuse to spend more time in this kitchen that had come to feel more like home to her than her own small flat.

Sirius walked her up to the front door and watched her put on her pea coat and wrap up in a long lumpy purple muffler.

“Thanks for staying,” he said, his voice unexpectedly earnest. “It was good for him.”

“I was—” honoured, she almost said, because the deep trust Remus had shown her in actually wanting to spend this difficult evening in her company had somehow shaken her a little—“glad to. It was fun.”

“Come by after moons,” said Sirius. “When you can. I’ll be here, obviously—” he rolled his eyes—“but if there’s someone else he’s willing to have around, all the better. I don’t like to think how many years went by where he was left alone to recover on his own.”

“Yeah,” said Tonks. She didn’t like to think about that, either. “No worries. I’ll make sure to come and help cheer him up.”

In fact, starting tomorrow, she would pull as many strings as she could in the Auror Office to avoid ever being scheduled for a night shift on post-moon evenings.

~ * ~

December

Remus woke with a jerk and winced at the sharp pains and tight stiffness in his back and limbs. He’d been dozing most of the day; now the last purple streaks of sunset were fading from the winter sky. The aroma of Sirius’s signature prop-Moony-up stew recipe came drifting up from the kitchen, and his mouth began to water.

He pushed himself creakily out of bed, pulled clean clothes out of the wardrobe, and limped down the hall to the bathroom. As he savoured a shower, letting the steamy heat soak into his bones and ease some of the aches and chills, he tried very hard not to wonder if Tonks would stop in tonight. Just because she had come by on the night after the moon last month—and brought trifle the month before that—it most certainly did not mean that she would waste another perfectly fine evening on a cranky fugitive and a broken-down werewolf.

The old house at Grimmauld Place was drafty. Remus shivered, despite the strong Warming Charm he had cast, as he picked his way carefully down the stairs. At least the kitchen would be warm, in the basement as it was and with a roaring fire in the huge old-fashioned fireplace.

He was lucky—so very lucky. He had no Wolfsbane Potion, of course, not since his abrupt departure from Hogwarts. Aside from that magical, terrible year, though, he was in better health now than he’d been in ages, with a safe place to transform, and a solid (if drafty) roof over his head. And he even had Sirius, restored to him, to cook for him after moons. To spend the evening making him laugh and silently reminding him that he was more than just the wolf.

He was lucky, already. He couldn’t believe he had the cheek even to think of wishing for—

“Wotcher, Remus!”

But there was Tonks, after all, sprawled in a chair at the long kitchen table, with a “Martin Miggs, the Mad Muggle” T-shirt and her hair in neon-green dreadlocks.

“Hello, Tonks.” He tried not to wince at the roughness of his voice, but he hoped the smile he could feel spreading across his face would compensate. “Ready for another round of Exploding Poker?”

“Not half!” She pretended to glower at Sirius, who waggled a finger in greeting as he minded his stew. “There’s no way I’m going to lose the dishwashing wager this time.”

Her smile made her dark eyes shine. It grew even brighter when he smiled back.

He didn't think he’d ever felt so warm after a moon in his life.

~ fin ~
 
 
 
sspring92: nymphadora&Lupinsspring92 on December 29th, 2011 04:33 am (UTC)
Can't believe you have had that sitting around all this time! You know I'm a sucker for pre and post transformation fics!
I have always wondered about Remus and Wolfsbane after Hogwarts. I always figured Dumbledore would have made Snape make it for Remus. Can't have an Order member being incapacitated for too long, or you know, possibly eating another member!
shimotsuki: rt_kissshimotsuki on December 29th, 2011 05:10 am (UTC)
Well, I didn't have the whole thing sitting around, just parts! ;) I needed a day to pull it together and finally finish it, especially the Tonks section in the middle.

About the Wolfsbane, I agree that it would have made a lot of sense from the Order's perspective to have Snape keep supplying it, but from what Remus says to Harry at the Burrow for Christmas in HBP, it really sounds to me like that year at Hogwarts was the only time Remus had access to the potion. :(

Thanks so much for reading and commenting!
eleanoreleanoreleanoreleanor on December 29th, 2011 04:53 am (UTC)
So sweet :) love it!
shimotsuki: rtshimotsuki on December 29th, 2011 05:12 am (UTC)
Aw, thanks! :)
gilpin25: Strictly Come Dancinggilpin25 on December 29th, 2011 02:18 pm (UTC)
Not only did I enjoy this very much but it's also made me quite hungry! LOL. Therefore perfect holiday reading.

What I liked most about this was how tuned in Sirius is to everything Remus isn't saying, and how he works matters to give Remus exactly what he needs and Tonks what she'd like most. It's lovely to see how even an exhausted Remus is literally heartened and restored by both company and fun, then heartbreaking how he doesn't quite let himself wish for Tonks to be there in December. I'm with Sirius and Tonks in not liking to think what all those years spent alone have cost him.

I really like your Tonks here as well. She's so vibrant with all the different coloured hair and outfits, standing out against the gloom of Grimmauld, and so caring that it's easy to see why both men would want her around. And it's lovely that a few ghosts are laid with the Exploding Poker, which sounds a lot of fun with its forfeits and wins.

He didn't think he’d ever felt so warm after a moon in his life.

♥ As always, your Remus makes me want to hug him. Very hard.
shimotsuki: maraudersshimotsuki on December 29th, 2011 04:29 pm (UTC)
LOL! I wonder if I spent too much time channeling Molly in "Order," and now I'll find I have to feed everyone in my fics. ;)

I'm glad you like this take on Sirius. I see him as being at his best when he's worried about his friends and forgetting his own unhappiness a little.

Remus does need a hug. But it's also fun to write him opening up to the idea of friendship and better things in his life, even if we know the tone will get darker later. I've been neglecting the OotP end of things in my series lately -- looking forward to writing that part a little more in the near future. Maybe I'll finish this project in 2012? Five years is the charm...

Glad you picked up on Tonks and her brightness, and what it means for our Marauders. The subtitle of Book 1 of Kaleidoscope is "Colours"!

Thanks so much for commenting.
jobey_in_error: awesomedogjobey_in_error on December 31st, 2011 05:57 pm (UTC)
Finishing a WIP from 2007? Kudos -- serious kudos. :D It turned out fabulous.

Your Tonks is SO adorable. I thought she would peak at her entrance, and I was grinning at her considerable proficiency and grace with Hover Charms even before Sirius's POV weighed in (and then I outright laughed). But it just kept on. The flour streaks were a great touch.

My favorite moment with our leading men had to be “No, of course not.” Sirius stared. “She understands that you like a little privacy right after the moon.” I wonder if Sirius put it that way on purpose. Certainly I really felt for Remus when he seemed to get the point that his pride had driven away the thing he most wanted -- to have Tonks around. The way you tie the romance into Remus's growth (and the roots run very deep in your universe) is always fascinating and well-done.

Thanks for the holiday present. (And Happy New Year's!) ♥
shimotsuki: booksshimotsuki on December 31st, 2011 09:17 pm (UTC)
Finishing a WIP from 2007?

LOL -- there's a sense in which all of Kaleidoscope is basically a WIP from 2006. ;) I have fragments of all sorts of chapters floating around, most of which I do actually plan to finish or use in the series somehow!

Glad you like Tonks here. I really like writing her with Sirius -- and I wanted to show some of why Remus might be taken with her.

I wonder if Sirius put it that way on purpose.

Ooh, that's an interesting interpretation, and it's definitely fair game! What I was actually thinking was that the October moon was early in Remus and Tonks's friendship, and it was a genuine surprise to Sirius that Remus actually wanted Tonks to stay that evening.

Thanks for your comments -- and Happy New Year to you, too! ♥
more_ruthless: wingfield1more_ruthless on January 12th, 2012 06:45 pm (UTC)
Like the exploding snap poker, and just about everything for that matter. And, very clever use of hover charms as a coping mechanism for clumsiness, a trait I share with Tonks. Wish *I* could cast one.


thanks!

shimotsuki: hufflepuffshimotsuki on January 15th, 2012 09:01 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for your comments! I'm glad you liked this.

I could sure use one of those Hover Charms myself. ;)
Mannahooves on January 29th, 2012 08:04 am (UTC)
Another late comment. I meant to say on that one story that I loved the nickname "peanut" for Tonks. It's just REALLY cute. However did you decide on it?

And gah, this is such a cute piece. I really loved it.
shimotsuki: rtshimotsuki on February 5th, 2012 06:22 pm (UTC)
Aw, thanks! I wanted to show the growing friendship and, most importantly, trust between Remus and Tonks here, because I think Remus would need that before he would be able to fall in love.

As for "peanut," that's a childhood nickname Sirius had for Tonks in this ficverse, and it's going to be explained in the chapter I'm working on at the moment (the beginning piece of the series). ;)
katyhasclogs: Cakekatyhasclogs on April 1st, 2013 04:37 pm (UTC)
This appears to be one of the fics that got lost in the omgnewjobnewflatnewcity whirlwind of late 2011/early 2012. Really glad to have re-found it now. :)

I love the structure of this - it's such a great way of showing things moving forward over time, and the shifting POVs really contribute to it too. All comes together to create a lovely sense of their relationship developing and deepening over time.

It's great to see a Tonks who can cook too - a rare sighting in fic!

Also love this entire image:

Sirius had set three separate knives to chopping vegetables. He was presiding somewhat smugly over the chopping block—feeling rather like an orchestra conductor, with his wand for a baton