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Alastor ‘Mad Eye’ Moody woke up with a yell. He knew exactly why he had woken but grabbed his wand and leapt out of bed to perform a search of his home anyway. He found little to arouse his suspicion so resigned himself to striding over to his favourite armchair and perching warily on it.

He had had those dreams again, and they were worse than the usual ones of Dark wizards.

There was no one around for Mad Eye to confess his dreams to. Had there been, Alastor would still have been loath to share the details that had jolted him from his restless slumber.

Alastor slid his hand down one side of his chair and found the anticipated hipflask. He used his wand to examine it for evidence of tampering and took a sip only when he was convinced that it was safe to do so.

Safety was a relative thing. Mad Eye probably should not be ‘steadying’ his nerves with firewhiskey stashed down the side of his chair. However, he would be even less alert if he continued to lose sleep to the dreams. Mad Eye tilted back the flask for a more generous gulp.

Then again, if Moody sat in his chair and got steadily drunker all night he would compromise his mantra of constant vigilance. Death or torture did not unnerve him quite as much as the effects of their presence.

People exposed to such unsociable elements became broken, twisted, cold or sadistic. Sometimes the setting made people talk. Sometimes they never talked again.

Mad Eye hoped this was the last time he had the accursed dream. He was never going to discuss it with the person who played its starring role every night.

Mad Eye trudged up to bed. He gripped his wand and his firewhiskey as though each were a lifeline.

Moody found sleep eventually, although the dreams remained. He was woken by an apparition crack and the ghastly sound of alarms early the next afternoon.

Mad Eye dragged himself out of bed and followed the raucous sound of the alarms. Someone was standing on his doorstep.

Moody recognised the visitor immediately although he routinely followed steps to confirm her identity. He would recognise her magical signature anywhere. The alarms died. He opened the door and was greeted with a wand in his face.

“What are the diameters of my areolas?” the young woman demanded.

Mad Eye gestured at his magical eye. “That is a ridiculous question.”

Tonks narrowed her eyes at him. “But it’s hardly redundant. Answer me, buster.”

Mad Eye rolled both his eyes. No imposter could mimic Tonks’ unique personality. Moody made a pinched gesture with his free hand and pointed. “Your left one is this size. Your right one has been a heart shape for as long as I can remember,” he replied gruffly.

Tonks lowered her wand marginally. “Learn to answer quicker. What have you been doing all morning? I thought something had happened to you.”

“I was sleeping,” Mad Eye said. He stepped aside to allow her entry and strode through to the living space.

“I’m sorry I woke you,” Tonks scoffed as she closed the door and followed him inside. Wards flew up behind her.

“I’m used to it,” Mad Eye replied.

“Have you been drinking again?” Tonks asked with mild suspicion.

“I’m a bad old man,” Mad Eye replied dryly.

“You’re not that old,” Tonks said. She pursed her lips. “Are you sick? You’re usually a lot more... vigilant.”

“I’m just a tired dog with old bones,” Mad Eye answered, “I’m fine.”

“Should I call us both in sick?” Tonks asked. “I think you need a day off.”

“I won’t get sacked for one late day,” Moody said.

“Crazy Mad Eye might if he’s drunk in front of civilians,” Tonks said sweetly.

Mad Eye rolled both of his eyes again. “I’m not drunk. I was drunk last night. I’ll seem fine after a shower.”

“Then by all means go shower,” Tonks said. “I will sit here and sulk about being partnered with a crazy, paranoid drunkard.”

“Who else would have you?” Mad Eye growled carefully. He stood and headed upstairs.

“Who else would have you?” Tonks retorted lightly. “The Ministry partnered us because I’m a clumsy halfblood that they were hoping you’d hex into smithereens by accident.”

“What makes you think I’d make it look like an accident?” Moody called from the stairs.

Tonks turned and made a face at the doorway. She knew at least one of Mad Eye’s eyes would see her protruding tongue.

A casual expletive was thrown her way shortly before Tonks heard Moody switch on the shower. Tonks gave a small grin to mask the sting her own words carried. She had lost a lot of sleep over her bloodline but she had turned things around by becoming an Auror. She was hardly a poster girl (she had dirty blood, was sorted into Hufflepuff and was downright clumsy) but she was actually pretty good at her job. She was steadily working through the ranks and was even gaining Moody’s affections. The infamous old Auror had thought Tonks was an idiot when she had first been placed under his command.

It seemed she had grown on him like a nonsense tattoo made indecipherable by stretchmarks. Although Moody had not liked Tonks at first he had spoken up for her at more than one disciplinary hearing and had even recommended her for promotion.

“Hey Mad Eye, do you ever sneak a peek at the rest of me?” Tonks called.

“The only time I’ve ever seen any of you was when you wore that trampy outfit to stomp around Knockturn Alley,” Moody yelled back.

“Did it ever occur to you that I knocked that drink over myself on purpose?” Tonks asked cheerfully.

“I think I figured that out by the way you said, ‘Whoops, I’m not used to them being so big’,” Moody retorted. “You were extremely in character.”

“Are you regretting it yet?” Tonks asked.

“Brat, will you let a man have a cold shower in peace?” Moody called.

“I’m waiting on my invitation,” Tonks replied mischievously.

“Woman, you clearly need the cold water more than I do,” Moody retorted.

“Wotcher likely to do about that?” Tonks inquired.

“My usual. Nada,” Moody stated.

“You’re turning me down again? How can I bear it?” Tonks asked playfully.

“As if I ever say no to you,” Moody replied. “And that better not have been a bad pun.”

“You’re too tactful to say ‘no’ to me,” Tonks lamented chirpily.

“If there’s one thing I’m known for it’s my tact,” Moody said wryly.

Tonks chuckled and remembered his early comments on her grades. She had lost sleep over those. She bit her lip. “Your ‘tact’ has made me make some pretty awful decisions,” she yelled.

She heard the shower switch off. “I believe you are mistaking my ‘tact’ for your ‘hormones’,” Mad Eye announced.

“I have always been clumsy, what made you think my mating rituals were any different?” Tonks asked wryly.

“Well, I’ve always been considered unbalanced but not even my rituals involve inflating my breasts until I topple over,” Mad Eye retorted playfully.

Tonks swore at him fondly. “I was young and stupid,” she said.

“Whereas now you’re... less young and... nope, your logic is flawed,” Moody called.

“I was trying to find myself!” Tonk said.

“The best way to do that is rarely to make yourself exactly what other people seem to want,” Mad Eye said.

Tonks relaxed into her seat thoughtfully. “What else would you suggest?”

“Do you really want a serious talk about your love life whilst I’m trying to dry myself? Let’s just say dating every idiot on the force was never going to make you a legitimate grown-up.”

“What part of your body is that code for that you’re touching? And I’m a half-blood, I’m practically illegitimate.”

“You’re too late; I’m putting my socks on. You should accept that you can’t be everyone’s favourite.”

Tonks sighed and stared at the ceiling. “Did it never occur to you that I was trying to be all those ideals to find what flicked your switch?”

“Just because I’m a Light wizard doesn’t mean I’ll tolerate that Muggle slang under my roof, kiddo,” Mad Eye called.

“Do you want to reconsider referring to me as a child when you’re only wearing your pants?”

“You’re pulling me up for that but not for using the plural for ‘sock’?”

“I thought you were being incognito, Long John Silver.”

“Stop making muggle references, brat.”

“Stop recognising them, mister.”

“Dear diary: today the whelp finally used a term of respect, but used it as an insult. Is that progress?” Moody teased. He finished dressing and descended the stairs.

Tonks stuck her tongue out again, then retracted it quickly as she looked at Moody. He had clearly decided to ditch work as he was wearing denims and a casual shirt. His skin was flushed from the shower. Most intriguingly of all was his hair. Ordinarily it was swirled in soft tufts of greyish toffee, rather like butterscotch in a poor light. Currently it was wet from the shower and curled around Moody’s ears like drizzles of dark caramel sauce. Water dripped from Mad Eye’s wet hair onto his face. Tonks regretted reminding this man that he considered her a child.

“What?” Mad Eye asked.

“Nothing,” Tonks said. “Since we’re having a sick day do you want to go to the pub?”

“How are you going to explain going AWOL from duty?” Moody asked.

“I’ll say you lured me to your house last night with the promise of good music and plentiful firewhiskey, but you just tied me up and used me as your sex object. You didn’t even give me a glass to drink the whiskey from, I had to drink from the bottle. I only escaped because I sucked you so hard you had a heart attack and I only came to work tomorrow because the mediwizards said you’d need a year to recuperate and I didn’t want to get bored or wear my fingers to the bone.”

Moody rolled his natural eye. His skin was still flushed, and Tonks wondered if it was still from the shower. “You’ll give this old man a heart attack for sure,” he said.

“Was that an acceptance?” Tonks grinned. Before he could retort, she said, “Nothing could ever kill a tough guy like you, Mad Eye.”

“I’m sure you’ll be the death of me,” Mad Eye said dryly.

“Again and again,” Tonks muttered.

Mad Eye quirked a brow.

Tonks did not expand on her statement. Instead she stared at Mad Eye’s leg. “Do you think I will be a good Auror, Mad Eye?”

“I think you’re already a good Auror,” the man said gruffly. “I think you’ll be a great one.”

Tonks glanced up at him and smiled. She stepped towards him and stumbled.

Moody laughed and caught her. He stiffened when he realised he was holding Tonks; then quickly set her on her feet and released her. “But you’re going to need to master standing upright first,” he teased.

“If I wasn’t falling over how would you find excuses to touch me?” Tonks replied.

“I’m sure I could trip you up even when you’re a great Auror,” Mad Eye said.

Tonks smiled again. “Go put a shoe on,” she ordered. “I want a drink.”

Alastor complied as docilely as was his fashion. He growled away at Tonks as he fetched his footwear and walked with her to an apparition point.

The pair proceeded to get uncharacteristically drunk together at a nearby tavern. At closing time Moody put Tonks on the Knight Bus and made his way home, feeling pleased that he had managed not to slobber over his flirtatious young colleague.

Mad Eye woke to his usual routine of nightmares and exploring the house. His dreams tonight had been especially fuelled by the alcohol and a drunken Tonks’ increasingly, endearingly, clumsy drunken propositions.

Moody felt frustration building inside of himself and went outside, hoping the early morning air would calm him. He was startled by a cat near his bins and set off a string of hexes before he realised his mistake. The cat had scarpered but the bins looked rather worse for wear and the commotion had set off the wards. Moody sighed and cast another string of hexes at the unfortunate dustbins in irritation. Mad Eye struggled to control his temper. He knew an Auror or five would be sent out to investigate the disturbance. He threw another hex at a bin.

Two Aurors appeared shortly later. Alastor was still hexing the bins but had calmed enough to ignore or merely curse at his colleagues. They looked at Alastor then each other in alarm. One apparated away to fetch Mad Eye’s partner.

Tonks had recuperated significantly since Moody had sent her home. One of the advantages of her metamorphmagus abilities was the control she had over her organs and their ability to be drowned in alcohol. On her colleague’s prompting she swiftly apparated to her mentor’s home, where Moody was grumbling at what may once have been some bins.

“Wotcher,” she said calmly.

Mad Eye raised both eyes to her and smiled sheepishly.

“Are you hungry?” Tonks asked.

“Yes. But you can’t cook in my kitchen,” Moody said. “Everything would look like those bins.”

Tonks grinned. That was true. “I’ll get Williamson to do it as a service to the community,” she said. “Since I’ve calmed the crazy Auror.”

“An old man is entitled to throw a fit now and again,” Moody said.

Tonks prodded him. “And this one only gets away with it because of his infamy and because he has a lovely partner to clean up his mess.”

“I do the same for you,” Moody said.

“Yeah, but I’m not infamous yet,” Tonks said over her shoulder as she approached a long-haired Auror.

“You’re notoriously clumsy though,” Mad Eye said.

Tonks laughed and returned to Moody as the nervous Williamson entered Moody’s house. Mad Eye, Tonks and the other Auror followed. “You know I’m not going to eat anything he cooks, right?” Moody muttered to Tonks with a smirk.

“I have a hangover,” Tonks said. “I want food made for me even if you won’t have any.”

“Pig,” Alastor said fondly. “You can have mine.”

“No way, I want to see Williamson’s face when you don’t touch anything.”

“Aren’t you dating Williamson?” Moody murmured, watching the younger man fight with his belligerent kitchen equipment.

Tonks snorted as the long-haired Auror was attacked by one of Mad Eye’s forks. “Yeah, sort of. We’re not dating, just...”

“Becoming unbalanced in his direction,” Moody growled in good humour.

Tonks met Moody’s gaze and grinned. “That sounds about right.”

The other Auror glanced at Tonks and Moody whilst they joked together at the kitchen table. They hardly acknowledged that Williamson was retreating carefully from the enraged fork. Williamson’s partner sighed and drew her wand at the offending utensil. It was probably best that accident-prone Tonks was not attempting to help.

“Thanks, Robards,” Williamson said.

“That was an impressive piece of magic there,” Mad Eye growled. “It’s good to see Gawain actually taught you something.”

Robards glowered. “My father was an excellent mentor,” she said. She picked up the now stationary fork and handed it stiffly to her partner.

Williamson took it mutely and glanced at his colleagues assessingly before busying himself with making a quick meal.

Tonks gave Robards a bland smile and glanced at her own mentor. Moody growled, “He certainly is. I’m sure he was so proud of how brave you were to lose an eye the first time he let you out of his sight.”

Robards gave him a dark expression.

Williams quickly said, “But it’s also impressive how well you manage with just one eye, Robs.”

Robards gave her partner a suspicious look.

Mad Eye met Tonks’ gaze and smirked. A moment later a number of utensils began attacking Williams and Robards. “Sorry about this,” Mad Eye growled cheerfully. “Darn Dark wizard curse.”

Tonks could not suppress her resulting snort. The unfortunate Aurors glared in response. However, Moody ranked higher than his colleagues and everyone knew that not pandering to his eccentricities rarely boded well. Eventually a meal was prepared and the Aurors sat together to eat.

Mad Eye took a swig from his hip flask. It was clear he had no intention of eating. Williamson gave the older Auror a subdued look of disgust.

“Mad Eye, put that down and eat something,” Tonks scolded, not sounding at all cross. She lifted something from her plate and held it out to him. “Here, Wills wouldn’t poison me.”

Made Eye rolled his eyes but gave her a smirk and accepted the food.

Williamson shifted in his seat with annoyance.

“See? Wills makes lovely food. No poison,” Tonks teased.

Williamson felt insulted although he was unsure why. He stared at the puncture wounds left on his hands from a number of forks and a particularly persistent spoon. Robards’ brushed arms with him as they ate. Williamson watched Tonks smile again at her mentor. She was definitely flirting with her partner, even Robards could see it. “Babe, can I have a word,” Williamson said coolly. He stood and walked from the room.

“Sure, babe,” Tonks replied casually.

Mad Eye noted the younger wizard’s frosty tone. As Tonks stood Moody said, “If he bothers you I can have the pepper pot chase him out the house.”

“Be cool,” Tonks replied, slipping out of the kitchen to speak with the other Auror.

Mad Eye wondered if he had been chastised. He noticed Robards was staring at him. He stared back coldly until she grew unnerved.

Moody found his magical eye swivelling around to watch Tonks and Williamson. He did not believe either of them actually liked the other, but they were both attractive young people. He wondered how Tonks would cope with...

Tonks punched Williamson in the face. Apparantly this bed warmer was tactless when ending relationships.

Tonks returned to the kitchen calmly and sat back down. She caught the direction of her partner’s magical eye and reached out to punch his arm. “Shut up.”

“What made you think I was likely to say a word?” Mad Eye retorted.

“Just shut up,” Tonks muttered. She gazed at her pink knuckles.

Williamson entered holding his face. “Robs, can you side-along me to St Mungos? I think I might splinch myself.”

Robards looked at her partner in surprise, then directed an angry look at her other colleagues. “Of course,” she told Williamson. “You realise you’ll also have to report that assault, right?”

“Forget it, we liked it rough,” he said coolly, smiling as his partner crossed the room to fuss over him.

Tonks scowled into her plate as the one-eyed witch put her hands on Williamson. “Let’s get you to an apparition point,” Robards cooed.

The expression on Tonks’ face made Alastor’s chest tighten. “Are you alright?” he asked.

“Yeah, he was boring anyway,” Tonks shrugged. She bit her lower lip pensively.

Moody bit his own lip as he watched her. She was a bright, beautiful young woman. “You’ve got one heck of a swing,” he said teasingly.

Tonks broke into a smile. Her dark eyes sparkled playfully. “I thought you preferred my swish?”

Mad Eye wondered if the girl was starting a debate on hexing versus punching. All he could really focus on when Tonks said ‘swish’ was picturing the way her hips moved when she walked. She had a very seductive walk for such a clumsy person.

Tonks noticed that Moody was taken longer than usual to reply. “What are you thinking?” she asked.

“I think... I don’t know,” Mad Eye growled. He took a swig from his flask.

“The infamous Mad Eye is uncertain?” Tonks whispered. She had meant to sound teasing... but she sounded strange instead.

Mad Eye noticed. “What’s wrong?”

“It doesn’t matter what I show... you notice the whole thing,” Tonks said mildly.

Moody laughed awkwardly. “I don’t pretend to ever understand what goes on in that head of yours,” he said.

“You do though, don’t you?” Tonks said.

Mad Eye stared at her. “I think you’re still a little worse for wear from last night,” he said carefully.

“I’m not drunk. I’m not even hungover, I only said that because... well...“

“Spit it out if you’re going to,” Moody said to his clumsy colleague.

“Do you want me to?” Tonks asked.

Moody stared at her for a beat.

Tonks swallowed. She leaned forwards and pressed her lips against Alastor’s.

He opened his lips welcomingly for a moment then threw himself backwards, knocking himself out of the chair.

Tonks was torn between laughing at the klutz or acknowledging the passion with which he had rejected her.

Mad Eye sighed from his position on the floor. “You’re wonderful, Tonks, but I am far too old for you.”

“Shouldn’t that be my choice?” Tonks retorted.

“With your tendency to rush headfirst into ridiculous situations?” Mad Eye asked dryly.

Tonks stood and walked over to her mentor. “I have a lot of fun though,” she said. “Just go with it.”

“What’s in this for you?” Moody asked.

Tonks knelt beside him. “I get to do this,” she grinned, and tapped his crotch. “Constant vigilance!” she demanded.

Mad Eye laughed despite himself. He wondered whether to acknowledge the blush rising up his face or that he was already somewhat ‘vigilant’. Wasn’t he too old for this?

Tonks grinned in pleasure at the presence beneath her hand. “I knew you liked me,” she said with satisfaction.

“It’s hard not to,” Alastor deadpanned.

Tonks snorted in delight. She crawled on top of him. “So what are you going to do?”

“Tonks, you’re too young,” Moody protested, nudging her off of him gently.

“But-”

“Too young,” Mad Eye insisted again with difficulty.

Tonks flinched slightly before pouting sultrily. “Give me time.”

“Sure. When you have wrinkles you’re free to make your move,” Moody said.

Tonks concentrated for a moment then aged her face up. “Trousers off tiger.”

“Nice try kid,” Alastor replied with a fond shake of his head.

“I know I’m not your favourite option,” Tonks said, “but I’ll grow on you. You never used to like me at all, remember?”

Moody considered.

A pale violet paper aeroplane soared into the room. “Interdepartmental memo?” Tonks suggested.

Moody took out his wand and examined the note for tampering or malignant spells. The Ministry stamp on its edges was legitimate and the handwriting was familiar.

*Tonks, this is urgent. Ignore the colour of paper and drag Moody to Knockturn Alley. Fletcher and Griphook are feuding. It’s not pretty and Fletcher’s in trouble.*

“Think it’s legit?” Tonks asked.

“It seems to be,” Moody said. He sighed and stood, pulling Tonks to her feet.

The aeroplane was legitimate. Moody and Tonks put aside their feelings as they spent the remainder of the day sorting out an irate goblin and a thief.

Afterwards Tonks slumped into a chair at her desk. “Urgh. What a horrible day.”

Mad Eye cast cleaning and freshening charms on them both. “Better?”

Tonks pouted. “Slightly. But I need ice cream.”

Moody gave a wry smile. “Of course you do. Let’s go to Fortescue’s.” He glanced at her hair. “Strawberry for you?”

Tonks caught the direction of his gaze and grinned, turning her hair an electric blue. “I want to try the new blue stuff!”

Alastor fell into acquiesce easily. It occurred to him that the young woman’s hair was the exact hue of his magical eye. When they ordered it became clear that the ice cream was equally blue.

Tonks devoured the treat with glee. Moody laughed despite himself. “You are a pig, girl,” he said cheerfully.

Tonks giggled and wriggled a pig snout for a moment. She then took a generous scoop of ice cream and directed it towards his face. “I need you to eat something too instead of just looking at me so I don’t genuinely feel like a pig.”

Alastor stared at the food in front of his face then at the girl smiling at him. He bent his head forwards and accepted the laden spoonful into his mouth.

Tonks held his gaze. “How do you –it- how does it taste?” she asked.

“Good,” Alastor admitted. He grinned. “I’m sure it tastes better than I do.”

Bravely, Tonks reached forwards and pushed her tongue between his surprised lips. He did not move away. Tonks moved closer. Moody remained outwardly still. His tongue fought against her’s for dominance inside both of their mouths.

Tonks slid from her chair onto Moody’s lap. His tongue was cold and sweet whilst his breath was warm and smelt like firewhiskey. Tonks wrapped her fingers in the older man’s hair. “You taste amazing,” she murmured.

Moody held her close, his natural eye filled with desire. He pulled back. “This isn’t appropriate. I’ve been thinking...”

Tonks stood nervously. She wiped her mouth. “Thinking what?”

Alastor coloured. He couldn’t possibly tell her that he wanted to drag her back to Headquarters, hand in his notice and fuck the nymphet right on the nearest desk. “I need to go to the office for a moment. To talk to Robards. I’ll be back shortly,” he said.

“Oh, um... right,” Tonks said. Her hair possibly looked duller than a moment ago, but there wasn’t enough ice cream left to compare it to.

Moody apparated to the Ministry building and found Gawain Robards. “I need a word. I... think it would be good for me to retire.”

The Head Auror blanched. He was not particularly keen on Moody but the man was skilled. “You’re not worried about this morning are you? I can’t lose a talented Auror like you. Can’t you think about it? Perhaps we could work out a sabbatical?”

Moody sighed. “My head is a mess at the moment,” he admitted in a growl. “I need some time away.”

“Come back in tomorrow and we’ll talk about it. Sleep on it, okay?” Robards insisted, herding the man out of his office.

Sleep on it? With any luck Moody would be sleeping on Nymphadora Tonks tonight.

The Auror returned to the ice cream parlour to find Tonks crying quietly into Remus Lupin’s shoulder.

“Have I missed something?” Mad Eye asked.

 

Dead On Arrival- Fall Out Boy (Take This To Your Grave, 2006)

Hope this is the last time
‘Cause I’d never say no to you
This conversation’s been
Dead on arrival.
And there’s no way to talk to you
This conversation’s been
Dead on-
A rivalry goes so deep
Between me and this loss of sleep
Over you.
This is side one
Flip me over
I know, I’m not your favourite record.
But the songs you grow to like
Never stick at first
So, I’m writing you a chorus
And here is your verse.
No, it’s not the last time
‘Cause I’d never say no to you
This conversation’s still
Dead on arrival.
And there’s no way to talk to you
When you’re dead on-
A rivalry goes so deep
Between me and this loss of sleep over you.
This is side one
Flip me over
I know I’m not your favourite record.
But the songs you grow to like
Never stick at first
So I’m writing you a chorus
And here is your-
(Whoo!)
This is side one
Flip me over
I know I’m not your favourite record,
Oh no, so-
This is side one
Flip me over.
This is side one
Flip me over
I know I’m not your favourite record.
The songs you grow to like
Never stick at first
So I’m writing you a chorus
And here is your verse
Here is your-