Tonks turned her teacup back and forth in her hands and inhaled the steam, drawing herself straighter, like a lecturer preparing to speak. The mannerism was Andromeda to the bone, despite the shock of orange hair, and Remus could not help smiling.
She smiled back, hesitant and a little relieved.
"Thank you for coming," she said softly.
The last time he'd seen her had been the morning after Dumbledore's funeral, when he'd folded his hands around a supremely awkward cup of coffee, wincing from his hangover and his self-disgust, and told her gently, in her kitchen, that she was a kind and generous woman and did not deserve to be used.
"We are friends," he said. "I do appreciate that."
But her smile dimmed at that. "Friends. Right, about that."
"Nymphadora," he began, shifting awkwardly in his chair. They weren't going to be able to smooth it over after all. "I shouldn't have -- I am so very sorry, I took advantage -- I was, we were both, terribly upset and you were so kind...."
He was not saying the right things. Her face was getting steadily more closed.
"Remus," she said. "I'm pregnant."
He choked on his tea.
"How?" he managed. Tea slopped into his lap, scalding, and he dropped the cup. He scrabbled for napkins to soak up the spill, glad of the excuse to avoid her eyes. "We did use..." He waved his hand in a vague and helpless gesture. He had been very drunk, but he remembered that part clearly, remembered the unaccustomed sensation of her fingers rolling it down his shaft, remembered finding it hysterically funny for no reason at all.
She glared at him. "Yes, well, it turns out someone forgot to inform me that werewolf semen has an extra little ingredient. That dissolves latex."
He sunk his head into his hands. "I don't believe this."
"Why didn't you tell me? I know neither of us were thinking very clearly at the time, but you could've mentioned it in the morning, or, oh, any time at all. I had to find out from Bibble in the werewolf office, and you had better believe you owe me for those hours of my life, not to mention he now has the strangest ideas about my Mum. Were you hoping we'd just get lucky? That we wouldn't have to worry about it?"
"Nymphadora," he said, strangled. "I didn't know. I couldn't have told you. I didn't know."
"How could you not know?" she demanded. "You're so careful about your condition. How could you not have known?"
He cringed, remembering sneaking out of the Shack to run free, placing complete and unthinking confidence in the vigilance of two and a half teenage boys. Careful. He tightened his fingers in his hair until it smarted.
He stared at the heap of tea-stained napkins half-covering his saucer and could not meet her eyes. "You're the first woman I've ever slept with."
She made a little jerky motion and her own tea went flying. He handed her the napkins, without a word.
"The first?" she said quietly. She mopped up the tea and did not look at him. "I mean, I knew -- about you and --" She made her own vague and helpless gesture. "It's not like I don't know how it is to play both sides of the fence. But you're --"
Old, he supplied.
"-- you're experienced, and surely he can't have been the only one...."
"But I was. Damn." She exhaled sharply, and her hair flickered green. Then, because she was sharp and an Auror despite being the little kid he'd babysat, once, with Sirius, and read picture books to by the lake, she said, "No, wait, this makes no sense. I know men use condoms with each other. What the hell, Remus, how could you not know?"
He really didn't want to talk about this, but he supposed she did deserve to know. "Sirius and I, we never did. As for the rest, they were...spontaneous. I never looked into it."
He did not need her to tell him that he was an idiot.
He took a deep breath. "What are you going to do?"
She stared at him; her eyes were ice-grey, Sirius at his most unforgiving. "I'm not going to get rid of it. I didn't choose this, I didn't want it, and the timing is terrible, but now that we're here, it's my baby and I'm going to keep it."
"You do remember what I am," he said, horrified.
"I'm not likely to forget, am I? I cannot believe I know more about your spunk than you do."
"But you know it can be transmitted -- the, the baby will be like me -- I don't think you understand, Nymphadora, what it's like, what we go through, how people treat us...to condemn a child to that is unthinkable. Look, there's a very good chance it won't even be able to go to school; have you thought about that?"
"I looked up the statistics," she said. Her chin was set. "While I was doing my research. The chance of infection is only 20%, and you can lower that with potions. I think I'll take the chance."
Why did he keep sleeping with Blacks?
He reached out and righted his teacup, deliberately. "It's a hell of a thing to take a chance with, Nymphadora. So am I."
"How many times do I have to keep telling you? I don't care." Her voice was rough with frustration, or tears, and she bit her lip; she was suddenly, ridiculously young.
She was young and painfully optimistic and he still saw Sirius in her eyes. This was a travesty, had always been, and it just kept compounding itself. He shook his head helplessly. "You shouldn't throw yourself away like this. You deserve someone whole."
"I -- Remus. You did enjoy it, right?"
"Evidently," he said sourly.
"Look," she said, hesitantly, "I was thinking. We could get married. I'd want you to be part of the baby's life anyway, and you're good with children, I know you like them. I know I like you. I thought, I really thought you liked me, enough to go forward with. I don't have a cock, but that's -- apparently not such a big problem, and you don't have breasts anyway, so it all evens out."
He stared at her, aghast. She bit her lip and went on, leaning forward and knocking her saucer to the floor. "I've really thought about this. It would be a good arrangement. You'd be a good father, and my salary is generous; I really think it can work."
"I could kill the baby," he said. "I could kill you." His mouth was very dry.
"You won't," she said, with such simple faith that he wanted to curl up and die. "Remus. Would it really be so terrible?"
Yes. Merlin on a stick with frogs, yes.
"I don't know," he heard himself say, and she ordered more tea.