Araminta Browning hates unresolved questions. Nymphadora Tonks has known this since they were first-years. What she also knows is that Araminta has a remarkable talent for pulling her friends into these questions, as well.
“Wot do you mean, you haven't?” Tamesis demands.
“Just what I said!” Tonks hisses. “Must we discuss this now?” They’re at the end of the Hufflepuff table, late enough in the meal that most people have made their way to their respective common rooms, but there are still some lingerers in the dining hall.
“I too demand a resolution to this mystery,” says Eugenie. “You’re the girlfriend of the boy half the school—no, more than half, considerably—would like to shag, and you’re not shagging him?”
“You know I’m not!”
“We know you say you’re not,” says Pippa. “But if that boy were mine, I’d have begun putting the Astronomy Tower to good use long ago.”
Pippa shrugs. “Merely my own opinion, of course.”
“Tonks, we won’t think badly of you if it’s true,” Araminta says. Not one to judge, is Araminta, and not one to lie, either. She just likes to know what’s going on about her.
“Shagging Dean Winchester doesn't make you a slag,” Prudence agrees. “It just means you have good judgment.”
“I haven't!” Tonks says through her teeth. “And not because I think it would make me a slag or something ridiculous like that.”
Eugenie’s eyebrows are perfect arches of disbelief. “Never on any of those walks in the Forbidden Forest?”
“For the last time, no!” It’s true. They snog sometimes—alright, a lot of times—until they’re dizzy and out of breath with it, but mostly they walk, and visit with the centaurs (whom Dean has somehow managed to befriend), and pet the unicorns (who prefer Tonks), and avoid the Acromantulas (maybe they've pledged not to eat humans out of respect for Hagrid, but who wants to risk it?).
And if Tonks goes back to her room and places Silencing Charms on her bed curtains and imagines that her fingers are Dean’s, that’s her business and no one else’s.
It’s only later, sitting with Eugenie and fighting their way through Potions homework, that Tonks says, “I don’t think he wants to.”
Eugenie looks up and stares. “Tonks,” she says, “are you off your nut?”
“He hasn’t asked me to, and...aren’t boys supposed to ask that? I mean, if they want to?”
“It’s not as though I have extensive firsthand experience,” Eugenie says, which is true, at least as far as boys go. However, Eugenie’s been with Sylvia, her girlfriend, now Head Girl in Gryffindor, since they were all fifth-years, and matters have progressed much as you might expect of two healthy young people who have been in a committed relationship for two years.
Tonks points out the obvious.
“Well, yes, of course, you know that. But Sylvia and I have been together for ages, and we were friends long before that. And—” Eugenie pauses. “With two girls—and I imagine with two boys too, though of course I don’t know for certain—there aren’t the same...expectations as for a boy and a girl. Like, if a girl lets a boy kiss her before some arbitrary point, she’s clearly a slag—though there's nothing wrong with him. And if a girl and a boy have sex before a certain time, she’s giving in too soon—but he’s just lucky, is all. But if they wait too long, well, what’s wrong? Is she a prude? Once again, it’s all her, not him. With two girls, it’s not mapped out like that in advance. No one ever said, ‘Lesbians can’t kiss on the first date’—not that Sylvia and I were on a date anyway, unless you count Arithmancy homework by the pond as a date. There aren’t a great many advantages to being gay,” Eugenie concludes, “but once everyone recovered from the shocking news that Sylvia and I were together, no one really cared about the rest of it.”
“But don’t you think, if he wanted to, he’d have said something by now?” Tonks says.
“That’s precisely what I mean about the expectations. It’s as though there’s some sort of schedule for heterosexuals, and if they don’t fit into it, then the relationship is—I don’t know, not straight enough or something. Besides,” Eugenie adds, and her voice is gentler now, without her trademark archness, “you haven't been together all that long. A few months, and you’ve never done it before. Ever, in your case, and in his...?” Eugenie trails off delicately.
Tonks shakes her head. “No. He and his father were preoccupied with finding his mother's...killer. And, well, Sam showed me some pictures, and, um, I think it was only very shortly before starting Hogwarts that Dean began to look—well, like the Dean we know.”
“So you’re saying that the tall, fit American swagger was a recent development this autumn?”
Eugenie sighs. “Really, I don’t know how the human race has managed to propagate itself over the millennia. You won’t do anything because you’re afraid someone—read, Dean—will think you’re a sket. He won’t do anything because he has no idea how it’s done—and also, probably, because he was raised to be a halfway decent bloke. And I have no idea how I came to be a relationship counselor to clueless heterosexuals, being as I have been happily lesbian since the age of fourteen. And now I have Potions homework to do. Have we concluded our business for the day?”
Tonks throws a Chocolate Frog at her, and they return to their homework.
They’re on one of their walks through the forest. They’ve called on Firenze, then walked about some, then hid from the Acromantulas behind an enormous oak, as large as the redwoods Tonks’s father showed her in picture-books about America.
The Acromantulas are long gone, but Tonks and Dean remain in the shelter of the tree.
His arm is around her shoulders, encircling and warm. The weather is mild today—though cooler under the canopy of the ancient woods than out in the sunlight of the Hogwarts grounds—and they’re both in T-shirts and jeans rather than robes. Dean’s skin is fair and freckled, the light dusting of hair golden, and Tonks wants nothing more than to turn and run his fingers up his arm, underneath the short black sleeve, outline the sinews of muscle throughout his body. She’s done it a little bit, but only over his clothing, and now she wants more than that.
Has wanted more than that for quite some time, but only now has words for it.
“We have to be back for dinner soon?” Dean asks. He can usually tell time based on the sun, but the overhanging branches are so thick as to make that impossible.
Tonks uses the more conventional method of checking her watch. “No. It’s not even gone four o’clock yet.”
“Good,” says Dean. It’s quiet among the trees, peaceful, with pools of light on the forest floor at the occasional spots where the canopy lets light through; a gentle wind rustles the leaves every now and then. It is chillier here, though, and Tonks nestles closer to Dean. She’s built like the Blacks—tall and, in her case, lanky rather than appealingly slender—and in her natural body (as she is now) she’s nearly as tall as Dean. So she can’t tuck her head under his chin or anything delicate or feminine like that—at least, not without inducing an unnatural curvature in her spine—but she can put her head on his shoulder and let him wind her hair around his fingers. She’s got it long today, and a bright crimson; Dean claims to like her natural color, a plain brown that’s sort of an average of her father’s blond and her mother's ebony-black, but Tonks can’t believe anyone could really prefer something so dreadfully boring.
They talk, but it’s desultory: NEWTs, Tonks’s Auror application, how in the world Sam can stand to play Quidditch (that’s mostly Dean, who passed basic flying and hasn’t been on a broom since), whether Pippa will ever get the stones to say something about the mad crush she’s had on Charlie Weasley since their second year. Dean’s leaving school with the rest of the seventh-years, with the goal of becoming an Auror; Alastor Moody has, to the shock of nearly all, agreed to tutor him privately.
The world of the trees is a late-afternoon hush as they kiss.
It get awkward, sitting next to each other as they are, and Tonks shifts, pushes Dean back against the broad trunk. She tries to settle herself in his lap—“Ow!”
She’s kneed him in the thigh.
She sighs, drops her head back on his shoulder. They know each other well enough that her constant clumsiness is no longer the horrible embarrassment that it might be—and that it certainly was at first—but she still wishes she could be one of those girls who insinuates herself in her boyfriend’s lap and takes his breath away.
“It’s OK, T, it didn’t really hurt.” His voice is affectionate, and his hand draws a reassuring line down her back.
More slowly this time—taking care with her ever-present elbows and knees—she arranges her legs around his hips and drapes her arms around his shoulders. She’s tall enough to do that and look him almost straight in the eye.
He’s smiling, and this time when they kiss, no one’s elbows make unfortunate intrusions on anyone else’s anatomy. She cups her hand around the back of his neck, runs a thumb up his nape, traces her fingers lightly over where his hair is cut short and soft; he shivers, and she smiles, too. With her other hand, she does what she’s been wanting to: outlines the contours of muscle on his arm, slides her palm underneath the sleeve of his shirt to rest on the warm skin of his shoulder. It’s not an especially scandalous part of his body, but it feels thrilling, forbidden, because it’s a part she’s never seen.
Gently, he moves her head to the side and lays kisses to her throat; he straightens and runs his tongue around the rim of her ear. She melts when he does that, and he knows it, because when she makes the embarrassing noise that she always makes and tightens her legs around his hips, he just laughs a little. “Blighter,” she mutters, but it derails into a moan when he does that thing with her ear again. He pushes her hair aside and kisses the declivity beneath it, and her entire body shudders; it’s beyond her control.
That must have felt good to him, too, because he gasps and presses up against her, and—oh. He’s hard. And if she arches just a little bit the right way, pushes them just a bit closer together, that part of him is exquisitely close to a responding part of herself, and she flushes hot all over, imagines what that might feel like, bigger and broader than her fingers. They would be pressed together, naked skin against skin, nothing in the way, and she would cry out and maybe he would, too.
Before she can think about it too much, talk herself out of it, she reaches for his hands and guides them to her breasts. She got Black family genetics here, too, unfortunately, and Dean’s big hands cover them comfortably as Tonks knew they would—she could make them bigger, of course, but with Dean that has always felt like lying, and she never wants to lie to him.
He stares at her in shock and a wonderment of disbelief. “T—are you— I mean—”
She puts her hands over his and nods.
His hands are tentative, learning shape and size by touch; it’s pleasant but unremarkable until one of his thumbs brushes over her nipple, and the shock is intense and pleasurable even through the cotton of her shirt. She doesn't mean to make a noise, but one comes out anyway, and it’s decidedly a whimper. This isn’t anything she hasn’t done to herself many a time, but it’s different when the touch is Dean’s.
“That feels good?” he says nearly inaudibly. She doesn't know why he’s whispering; there's no one about. That’s rather the point of being where they are.
She nods, and leans up to kiss him as he does it again. She’s tense and warm from her belly down through her thighs. She shivers—not with cold, but with something else entirely—and gasps, and she’s obviously not thinking clearly when she takes his hands and moves them again, under her shirt, against her skin.
She’s pretty sure that Dean’s eyes cross.
“T, are you sure— We don’t have to—”
“I’m sure,” she says. “I mean, unless you don’t want to.”
His look of disbelief is nearly comical; then he wraps his arms around her, laughing, his hands moving to her bare back. “I want to,” he says. “Oh my God, you have no idea how much I want to.”
She hugs him for a moment, then pulls back again. She can hug him nearly anytime. Time for this, however, comes at a premium.
He explores her belly, her back, touching her her underneath her T-shirt as though her skin is something fascinating and intricate, to be mapped with attention and precision. She moves contentedly under his hands, but she wants him to get back to what they were doing before, because this is nice, but it isn’t the same as having his fingers passing over those nerves that seem to respond only to him.
Oh, there they are. Oh. She realizes she’s moaned it out loud, and then she realizes her own hands have found their way under his shirt, onto his back, and his spine is a sinuous curve and his skin is warm and smooth—and he pinches, just a little bit, not hard, not enough to hurt, but just enough to send sparks igniting from the place where his fingertips meet her skin. She’s sunk her nails into his back, and when he pushes her onto hers, it’s her body, not her brain, that wraps her leg around his thigh. He feels incredible stretched out on top of her, solid and warm, and now she can most definitely feel where he’s hard—for me, she thinks with a mixture of triumph and wonder—and when she presses up against him, she can feel her slickness eager to welcome him inside.
He’s got her T-shirt rucked up nearly to the top of her ribcage, and his face is deliciously close to her breasts—made closer by the fact that she isn’t in the habit of wearing a bra. But, with an act of will that’s almost a visible force, he stops and looks up at her. “Can I—with my mouth, I mean—”
She drops her arms, wriggles, and takes off her shirt.
His eyes are so wide, they might be serving platters.
“But you have to take yours off, too,” she tells him. “It isn’t equitable otherwise.”
His shirt immediately joins hers. “And we can’t have that,” he says, and she laughs.
His lips are impossibly soft, and she sighs as they brush over her skin, her areolae, tentative and exploratory. But his tongue is even better, wet and warm and curious, and she shudders when he sucks at her, cries out with back arching when his teeth—deliberately or serendipitously, she doesn't know—scrape over her nipple, hard and rounded with arousal. He looks up at her, eyes enormous and very, very green, and whispers, “That’s OK? It...feels good?”
“Oh my God yes,” she says, and her hand finds the back of his head and pushes it back down.
He laughs, this time, and she’d swat him and call him a blighter, except that he returns his mouth to what it was doing before, and she’s too busy gasping his name to say anything else.
His fingers and lips are busy on her, and she realizes that their lower bodies are moving together, too, her hips cradling his as they rub against each other. She wonders whether she could come just from this, just from his mouth on her breasts and from the outline of his cock pressing against her; if nothing else, her knickers are going to be a mess later. And she’ll definitely need some time alone in her room or in the bath.
Except. His hand is moving down, stroking her sternum, her belly, her navel—and then it lands on the button of her jeans and stops.
It should be a perfectly reasonable thing to ask his trajectory, except that when she tries, it comes out as, “Do you want— I mean, are you—trying—there?”
He flushes bright red, but he’s smiling, too. “I want to,” he says, and flushes redder.
Wandless magic is good for all sorts of things. Her jeans cleanly unfasten themselves, and she pushes them down, just a little, for good measure, just enough to give him proper access.
“I didn’t know you could do that,” he says, sounding awed.
“Well,” she replies starchily, “it isn’t as though you’ve ever asked.”
He runs his hand between her thighs, over the denim, and she gasps again when the heel of his hand presses at just the right spot. “You’re so hot there,” he tells her, back to a whisper. “And, God, I can smell you....”
She looks up at him, perturbed. “Is that bad?”
“Jesus, T, no, are you nuts?” His fingers pause at the waistband of her knickers.
She reaches down and pushes them inside.
He clearly hasn’t done this before—but he also, very clearly, has been looking at some books that probably aren’t allowed at Hogwarts. He finds her clit unerringly, but his fingers are clumsy at first, the touch too rough, and she jumps. He stops immediately, is about to move his hand back to daylight, but she stops him with her own hand around his wrist. “I want you to,” she says. “Just...here. Let me show you.” She settles her hand over his larger, squarer one, and wriggles her jeans down just a little more.
“Is this— Is this, um, how you do it?” He’s blushing again.
She nods. She’s blushing, too.
“I didn’t think girls did that,” he says, and she must be looking at him as though he’s barmy, because clearly he is.
“They do,” she tells him.
She closes her eyes and says in a rush, “Nearly every time after...after I see you.”
“Oh my God,” he says, and buries his face between her breasts.
“Dean? Is that... Are you...”
“I’m going to be thinking about that for the rest of my life,” he says fervently.
His hand moves incrementally downward, and she moves with it and shows him how to touch her.
He learns quickly, but that’s not a surprise. He learns everything quickly, and it appears that he has...special motivation (not to mention special talent) in this particular area. “You do it like that?” he says softly as they stroke her clit with his middle finger.
“Usually,” she manages, but she doesn't have a great deal of breath to spare for talking.
She rearranges their hands so that he’s using three fingers now. She moans low as they touch her wide and slick, the first time anyone but herself has ever done that. It’s just hard enough, hard enough to pull her ever closer to the edge; slow enough to tease but fast enough that she can feel it curling in her belly and in the balls of her feet and the tips of her toes.
She leans up and they kiss, and her cries muffle themselves in his mouth. He pulls back, kisses her face, and he’s smiling, watching her, watching their hands on top of each other, and that’s when she comes, fierce and sweet, making wordless pleading noises and shuddering until the aftershocks have finished rolling through her.
He doesn't wipe his hand on his clothes or hers. He licks his fingers instead.
“Really?” she says, but it’s lazy rather than shocked or incredulous. Her body is warm and liquid and golden, and she can’t manage to call up anything except languorous contentment.
“Oh, yeah,” he says. “God, yeah. One day, we’re gonna do this, except we’ll be inside—in an actual bed—and we’ll both be naked, and I’ll lick you there instead of just using my fingers.”
She wouldn't have thought she could turn red again after what just happened, but it appears that she can. “Really? That’s...I mean, is that something you want to do?”
“Jesus, are you kidding?” Dean says. “I think about it all the time. What you’d taste like. What you’d sound like.” He kisses her, hard, and they end up tangled together again, her hands in his hair and his cupping her face. “And now,” he adds, “now I know.”
He’s still very hard.
Tonks rolls them over, manages not to elbow him. She does what he did, runs her palm between his legs, tracing over the unmistakable shape of his cock. He makes a little “oh” noise, and this time she’s smiling. “Can I?” she says, fingers paused at the buckle to his belt.
“Like you have to even ask,” he says, and she laughs.
He’s wearing boxer shorts, she sees; they’re plain and blue and unfussy, precisely what she’d expect from him. His stomach is flat, the muscles well defined, and he sighs as she explores it, makes a pleased humming sound when she puts her mouth to his tiny male nipples.
The sound turns to a breathy gasp when she puts her hand inside his jeans and touches him through the cotton of the pants. There's a wet spot on them already.
There are thick crinkles of hair around his cock, which logically she knew to expect, but it’s still a surprise—of course she’s got that, but she never gave much thought to the fact that men would, too. She wraps her hand around his penis, and he jerks up with another helpless noise; she’s relatively sure he didn’t intend either the movement or the sound. Her hands in this, her natural body, are just the right size for him, and she marvels at the silken smoothness of the skin, the softness of the head (and the sensitivity—he whimpers when she runs her thumb over it, and it’s indisputably a whimper of pleasure), the slickness of the fluid that comes from it. She’d like to see it better, but being completely naked in the middle of the Forbidden Forest probably isn’t such a good idea.
“Let me,” Dean starts, and then his breath gives way and he has to begin again. “Let me show you—” As she did with him, he puts his hand over hers and guides her, directing her index finger underneath the head of his cock. “Rub there—oh God, T, yeah, like that—feels really good.”
She traces the slit, collecting some of that thick liquid to use as lubrication, and that makes him shudder; her thumb there and her index underneath the glans make him moan so loudly she’s afraid the centaurs will become curious. She shifts position, kisses him, still stroking; his legs sprawl wider, and she wishes they were naked, that she could do this with two hands (or maybe even her mouth), that they didn’t have to worry about various woodland creatures overhearing them.
“T,” he says, “please, harder, right where I showed you.”
“Like this?” she says, complying, and grins when the response is a choked-off “God!” She stretches up to lick at his nipples again, takes one in her teeth, and Dean comes with a shuddering cry, coating her hand and his boxers with urgent wet white heat.
He lies there for a moment, eyes closed, chest rising and falling quickly and unevenly; then he opens his eyes, looks at her, and says, “Oh my God.” Then he sees her hand and makes a face. “Uh, sorry. I got you all...” He trails off and makes a vague but obvious gesture. “Oh, crap, and my jeans, too.”
Tonks laughs—thank Merlin for wandless magic again—and performs a Tergeo on both of them, then carefully restores Dean’s clothing to its proper order, and then, finally, rearranges her own. Then she settles herself against him, listening to his quickened heartbeat as it steadies and slows.
“Carys Puckle,” Tonks says, naming one of the Ravenclaw seventh-year girls, “has been seeing Rycroft Ellis”—a Hufflepuff boy, also of their cohort—“since they were first-years, and I happen to know she’s been to see him more than once in his room. Eugenie knows her better than I do, but you may be certain that I am going to find out from her precisely how it’s done.”
Dean looks at her, and his face is nothing but serious. “T, what are you saying?”
“I’m saying that I plan to find out how Rycroft’s girlfriend sneaks into his bed from another house, and then I’m going to tell you how to do it.”
“I got that. But...what are you saying?”
“I’m issuing you an engraved invitation, you great pillock.”
“OK,” Dean says, and tucks her head into his shoulder. “I accept. I just wanted to be sure. That I wasn’t—I don’t know—assuming anything.”
“You may assume that your presence is requested in my room in Hufflepuff House during the Easter holiday.”
“We’re not going to your family’s?”
“We changed our minds. I have NEWTs to study for, or some such.” She shifts, and they turn onto their sides, facing each other. Dean tucks her hair behind her ear, and they kiss again, slow and quiet.
“You sure about this?” Dean asks.
“If you are,” Tonks says.
“Like you have to even ask.”
“Everyone thinks we’re doing it already,” she says, and grins again. “I’d hate to disappoint them, wouldn't you?”