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The Wolfsbane Effect

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Chapter One
A New Awakening


July, 1996
In a field, Countryside

He wasn't meant to be here, in the middle of a field watching a house in the distance, with a witch who made his heart do double takes. He was supposed to be at home, drinking cocoa by the fire as he wrestled with pre-moon jitters and feelings that made no sense.

Remus was supposed to be thinking of the words to say to his conscience; the words that could fix all of this and make it more bearable to live with - but he was here.

Tonks pulled at the grass once more, letting the long strands flow from her fingers into the soft breeze that took each piece up to the stars above. They danced in the wind, and her eyes couldn't stop but watch them, dark in shade with the light of purity shimmering in them.

The first thing he had noticed was the hue of her hair; it was less 'Tonks' this evening. She had settled for dusty brown instead of aqua blue, but knowing her, it could all change in seconds. Remus didn't like how 'normal' she looked, but that sparkle in her eyes was still there - the heart-stopping look that made his knees weak even though he was sat beside her.

Remus took a deep breath, his ribs and chest aching from the exhaustion of avoiding her. His entire body ached from running in every direction to put distance between them; his mind focused entirely on avoiding her and ignoring the feeling she often sparked. His brain was positively fried from thinking of excuse after excuse to not be around her and resist falling for the witch before him, until his conscience kicked in and the self-loathing cranked up to high. His soul physically pulled to her, but his heels remained planted into the ground.

Remus had argued with himself too often about it all. He had bored his own thoughts with if's and but's; he had drowned his mind and liver in questions and liquor. He had wrestled with fighting or giving up and giving in. He would move closer to surrender, and then he would see a flicker of innocence, a pure truthfulness in her eyes and he would unravel again.

Then, like the wind changing course, he would remember him — freezing him to the bone. He would remember the man that had been there when no one else ever had. He had loved Sirius. He loved him even now, and Remus had loved him with all he had, but a part of him knew that he felt like he could love her too.

It was impossible, it wasn't right, surely? No soul got two chances at love... It was impossible? Otherwise, why would there be widows and divorcees that merrily chose other things to busy themselves with? Why would he, a monster, be rewarded with two people who could and would love him? He was no one special; he was... broken.

No one would ever choose broken when they had a chance of being whole. So he wasn't sure why he should even entertain the idea of her. She was more than whole; she was... perfection.

He hadn't seen it before when she had first walked into the kitchen of Grimmauld Place, but he had felt her, of course. Her presence had the ability to shake the ground and made his world quake without speaking. He hadn't seen her though, not like this. Not like she was right now.

His eyes had been trained on the intoxicating wizard with his silver eyes and tattooed flesh; he had been drunk on daydreams of hot kisses and bruising fingers on his hips. Remus had been entirely focused on not allowing Sirius to lose himself, to not cloud himself in failure and misery. He tried to hold on so tightly that he shouldn't have been able to let go - but yet, here he was — alone. Remus was without him once more and left to drift aimlessly in a world that should have been theirs.

It was on nights like these, when he would be paired with the younger Auror. That his lover - as pathetic as that was to say - would be at headquarters and he would be out here laughing, smiling at the witty witch with the ever changing hair. At some twisted part, his soul clung onto her, and he saw that look, the one he had seen so often mixed with grey; love, staring so deeply into him that it awoke a part in his soul he had never known.

"What happens if you find them? Your mate?"

Sirius had asked him that one evening, too much whisky in his stomach and a cigarette limply on his lip. He leant against one of his large windows, a bed sheet blocking out the world outside he hadn't seen in so long. Remus admired how his boxers hung feebly from his hips, how the candlelight was hitting the lines of his muscles, highlighting the tattoos that told his story.

"Will we be done? My use fulfilled?"

Remus watched, paralysed by the question, as Sirius slung back the golden brown liquid, and he could only imagine it twisting down his throat into his stomach.

"Done?" He asked curiously. "Even now; after I waited... you still –"

"She's your mate, Moony," Sirius spoke with such certainty that he practically ripped the curtain back on what his head had been unwilling to think. "You don't think I'd pick up on it? I may have been falsely imprisoned because of a fucking rat, but I'm not actually stupid."

Remus shifted on the bed, the cotton sheet over his lap falling and leaving him free. "Done? We can never be done. I choose you, my heart," Remus clutched at his chest, "My heart chooses you."

Then he saw that look, the sad look that adults gave children. "Moony, your heart may want me... but the truth is that your soul chooses her."

Remus watched Tonks as she pressed her palms into the grass, her smile getting larger as she removed her feet from her boots. She was blissfully unaware of memory lane he was falling down. She wasn't conscious of the fact that his heart was breaking inside the very chest that was inches away from her.

After all, he had learnt to hide it so well with the natural reactions his face had to her. Even now when he was finding the whole evening to be unbearable, with the moon wanting to take him. He could feel it, his own smile mirroring hers and the beat of his heart like a drum. He felt that fullness that came with being close to her, the brightness and magic.

Ever since that conversation no one, not even Sirius, could silence her in a room. His senses fixed on her; his heart would sound louder in his ears until he realised that it was hers, pumping in her chest on the other side of the room. Remus would find his eyes on her when they should have been somewhere else, or on someone else. He would find her quirks comforting; he would find her resilience empowering to be around.

It was as though he loved her, yet he didn't know her. He felt like he had always been in love with her, but never awake to know it.

None of this was helped with how often they were partnered; they sat together on night shifts, observing homes that were suspicious or lingering in villages that had sparked interest. The backdrops often romance-worthy, with night skies and setting suns. They would sit close enough to touch but neither wishing to and he'd listen carefully to the beating of her heart.

"You're doing that thing again," Tonks whispered into the night, her words twisting in the wind. "Where you hold your breath and then let out an enormous breath." Her eyes snapped to him, joy and adventure swirling in them. "You practising your technique or something? I promise I can hold my breath for longer."

Remus bit back a devilish smirk as he observed her nose twitch, her eyes surveying him as she watched each one of his movements. He could hardly say she smelt like everything he loved and more, mainly because it sounded deranged — even after everything he had seen. She smelt like leather - like Sirius, but softer, not so refined. She smelt like sugar and sweetness - like confectionary. But most of all she smelt like a place he wanted to get lost in forever. It all made him feel guilty. Every thought he had about her - it just flooded him with guilt, weighing him down and forcing him to drown in a pit of self-loathing that he had created himself.

"I've never known you so silent, Mr Professor."

"Oh this game again," he chuckled.

Tonks clapped her hands. "He speaks! Bravo." He had watched her wink before he blended his own laugh with hers, the darkness seeming less dark.

The clouds above parted, and Remus caught a glimpse of the moon - not quite full, but not entirely safe either. A chill erupted over his skin, his heart pounding against his ribs as his mood diminished and before he could swallow his fears, her hand grazed over his.

"If you have to... If you don't feel up to tonight," Tonks offered, her eyebrows slightly raised with a cuteness to them that he recognised as concern. "I'm a big girl."

"I can see that." His eyes traced over her before his cheeks blushed. "What I meant. No. You aren't big, you're quite slender actually - athletic, yes! You're athletic and –"

"– Calm down." Tonks smirked, her hand patting his and the current running through him was hard to ignore. The wolf within screaming louder than usual, the upcoming full moon and an impending transformation making it hard to silence him. It wasn't that what made this hard, it was the man. The man inside that wanted to wrap his fingers into her hair and pull her plump lips to his.

Tonks held her palm against his chest, her lips parting, smiling before her voice filled the air. "I think I know what you meant."

It was the man who was struggling to remain in control.

"You alright?"

"Yes - Yeah," he said with a smile. Her hand was retreating, and a blue feeling filled the point they were touching, spreading throughout his body like a current, washing him with the feeling and leaving him cold. "You're nice to me. For reasons unknown to me."

Tonks laughed, sweetly and loudly. "This your furry problem speaking or? I have ears everywhere at HQ. Well did." Her laughter rising in volume at his pout.

Silence filled the air between them; he wasn't sure whether to push forward or ignore and hope for the best it wasn't what he suspected she was referring to. A cloud of insecurity appeared between them, rising and creating questions that wanted to be spoken, but neither dared take that step. He wanted to ask if she felt it - if she felt the beat of his heart in her chest as he did with hers. He wanted her to ask if he liked her, just to see that fear in her eyes - it made her so human, so... normal, but he wasn't sure he'd know how to answer.

It was peaceful until it wasn't. Within the blink of an eye, a spell flew past them, slashing through whatever moment had been building. With the quickness of a cat, Tonks had her wand out, and the knitting of protection spells formed in the air as he pulled himself up off the ground. Black smoke flew over them, and Remus hurried to her side as his hands darted for both wand and Portkey.

Spells flew from his hand before his mind had concocted them, the need to protect powering him forward as his eyes trained on the figure before him. The wolf screamed at him to protect the woman fighting alongside him, to push her to the ground and cover her body. Instead, she had adopted her zero-fucks expression as she stood beside him, her brows knitted. The two of them danced around one another, their backs together and the current of an electrifying fire powered off them both; bouncing from the souls that wished to entwine as they read each other's moves as easily as if they had practised. Spell after spell flew from their wands aiming at the Death Eaters who had wished to harm them. Light after light filling the night sky that hadn't wished for this sight.

Remus caught sight of the stars above twinkling off the masks of those who wished to kill him, her, them, the brightest star directly over their forehead and he struggled to swallow his mourning back. His mind screamed to grab her and retreat - but Tonks had other ideas. A spell powering through her body flew at the person before her before he watched in awe as she threw her Portkey around their neck, sending the unsuspecting person away. With a crack and a pop, her assailant had gone and her eyes trained like a predator on the one in front of Remus. He watched like a statue as the Auror within her took over, dazzling the Death Eater with spells and fluidity Remus didn't know. Before he could comprehend anything, a loud crack sounded and they were once more alone, a cloaking spell thrown over them.

He was amazed, to say the least. Wrestling with where his mind had gone to when he had stood beside Tonks because it hadn't been on battling. It had been focused on her, it had been in awe of her and quaking for her safety.

His eyes widened in surprise as she let out a breath and her hands met her hips. "And I expected tonight to be boring –"

Remus took three strides towards her before cutting her off as he pressed his lips against hers with a confidence he had found at the last moment. One hand had slid into her hair that changed like a rainbow at the contact, and the other caressed her very alive hip as though he had done this a thousand times. His lips moved against hers as if they had done this dance before, as though their lips were familiar with the other, when the opposite was in fact true.

Fear had pushed him to do it, but need forced him to continue. As soon as their lips brushed against one another, innocence and carefulness had flown from their grasp. Remus found his fingers knotted into her hair as he bit down on her lip, a groan emitting from deep within her that vibrated right down to his core and the wolf within him growled in utter bliss.

He felt with each movement, with each new taste of her and every new feel of her against him, a part of him that had died a long time ago was suddenly reawakened. With the touch of Tonk's fingers against his side, pulling at his shirt until she felt skin, his body sang for her - urging her forward until the two of them tumbled down into the long grass.

If the fall had hurt her, she didn't complain. Her leg hooked over his as he felt her mouth move to catch the side of his. Her fingers ran up his stomach, and he gasped, breaking their lips as her touch traced the scars his pain had left behind.

"Your eyes," Tonks whispered with a smile, as her hand brushed against his cheek, "They're… burning."

Remus smiled as old words came back to him, ones he didn't need at the moment, but he was glad for it, because it made sense.

You burn for me; your eyes burn.

He stared down at the witch, finally listening to his soul rather than his fears and he heard it - as clear as day as it sang for her and the words he hadn't been listening to filled him.

She's your mate; I don't expect you to run forever.

It all clicked into place like a puzzle that he had been looking at wrong. The forgiveness, the permission that he had been given without asking had been with him all along. Remus smiled, a genuinely satisfied smile that they were alive and he had been given this chance. He allowed the words to tumble straight from his mouth without thought.

"I burn for those I'd catch fire for." His lips connected with the skin below her neck as a groan replaced words she was going to speak.

Remus didn't deserve her innocence, or her beauty - he knew that with every pulse of his blood. He saw in her eyes that she hadn't seen the things he had, nor had she known a hardship as he had. Age, to her, may never be a factor, but for him it was everything. It was the reason, the be all and end all of hope. He had little on the clock if the losses he had felt were anything to go by. He didn't want another to be at the hands of his curse; his friends had fallen first, his lover second - all that remained was a rat who was neither friend or foe. She was innocence, an innocence that deserved better and she didn't need to be wrapped up in this.

Yet, he couldn't break from her lips. Lips that tasted like heaven and hell mixed in a cocktail that he never wanted to be without. He wanted to wrap her around him many times over, bringing moans to the air and touching her in places the wolf implored him to.

He had a map of scars that showed the roads of his illness. He had lines caused by his own hands when his alter-ego, the beast, wanted to feel the tear of flesh; he had silver lines that dated back to infancy when he should have felt the glee instead of pain. Memories tainted as was the beauty of full moons, but they were alive; they were both alive.

"You are... crazy!" Remus whispered, nuzzling his nose against hers as he closed his eyes, taking in her scent. "You... were so –"

"– Badass?" Tonks smirked as she tried to meet his lips.

"You could have died," he said with warmth, except that thought opened a door he hadn't wished to. It began to suck every happy thought from him, all the acceptance he had struggled to find just zoomed past his grasp and out of his heart.

Remus opened his eyes, meeting a lust in her eyes that reminded him of the man he had let die. "You could have died."

Tonks frowned, her smile falling at the corners of her mouth. He tried to dip his head, not wanting to see her realise what he was feeling, but he knew she already did. "Remus..."

He scurried off her and he sat on his knees at her feet; his fingers running through his hair as he tried to capture breath that was being stolen by sheer panic. "You... You can't die. You could... I'm here to protect you!"

"I'm an Auror! If anyone here needs protection, it's a bloody Professor!"

Remus slowly moved to stand, turning his back on her as he tried to steady the wolf that was growling at him for pulling away; attempting to calm the man who felt so panicked that he wasn't sure he could breathe normally around her - or without her.

"Tonks," he let out with a sigh, "You can't risk your life like that, you can't."

He hadn't realised she had stood up until he turned back, seeing her hair like bright flames as it blew in the wind around her shoulders. Her cheeks flushed with anger rather. "Why? Why can't I do my job, because that's what my job is, y'know, to protect people? I do this every damn day –"

"– Because..." Remus said, trailing off as his words stuck in his throat. The same words he had said to another who had left; the words that had been spoken and changed everything. "Nothing." He sighed and the twinkle in her eye vanished, driven away by his fearful thoughts that had caused him to push her away.

I can't lose you! Remus instead said with his eyes, his body, his heart. Not that he was sure it could be heard; not that it had been heard the first time, but he said it all the same.

The passion in her cheeks faded in a breath, that resilience and need to pull him back diminished. There was only disappointment in her eyes now, and he wasn't sure if it was at him or his choice.

"We should go back," Tonks muttered, her hands brushing down her leggings as she avoided his gaze. "We sent them back, and we didn't... we didn't follow."

He nodded, not sure any other words could be said because if she hadn't read the desperation in his eyes, she wouldn't have heard the panic in his heart and the acceptance of his love.


November 1975
Gryffindor Boys' Dormitory, Hogwarts

"Moony."

Yes, Sirius. The pair of lips before him, he was so in reach, so touchable.

"Moony! Wake up!" Sirius called again, and this time it pulled him from his reverie.

Remus snapped his eyes open and saw the same man from his dreams, legs either side of his own as he stared deeply at him.

"You're awake!"

Remus raised his hand to rub his face. "So I am." He groaned into his hand, half stretching his sore muscles. "There a reason for the human alarm clock?"

"Breakfast."

Remus dropped his hand in annoyance. "Breakfast?"

Sirius grinned, the smile that Remus found he couldn't resist — as difficult as that was. "Most important meal of the day."