Yes, but...: Two
The doorbell rang at precisely 12:01. Well, it’s after noon... Tonks sighed to herself as she crossed the carefully constructed disaster that was her flat to answer the door. She was immediately confronted by a bouquet of garishly clashing flowers. At that point Tonks became slightly confused. While she admitted that Snape’s vicious sense of humor could extend so far as a bouquet of flowers, from what she knew of the Potions master, the flowers would be innocuous-looking and quite deadly. Not, however, blinding in their tastelessness.
The redhead awkwardly stuck the flowers out. “These are for you.”
Tonks blinked and took the flowers. “Erm... thanks. How did you know where I live?”
“It was in the Ministry databases; of course I have highest-level security...”
“Of course,” Tonks repeated, at a loss for words. “So... what’s going on?”
A bright red blush was spreading up from the collar of the young wizard’s robe. Tonks didn’t miss the fact that he was dressed to the nines. “Could I p-perhaps come in?”
The Metamorphmagus thought for a moment. Curiosity won out. “Okay.”
She watched with amazement as Percy walked into the flat and actually appeared to make himself uncomfortable on Moody’s overstuffed sofa. “What’s on your mind, Percy?”
Percy shifted again, and started picking lint from his robes. Tonks wondered idly if she should offer him the lint brush Grandma Tonks had sent her for her birthday. “It’s not my mind so much as my heart. M-may I call you Nymphadora?”
“Would you like some tea?”
It was Percy’s turn to blink. “Of course. Tea would be just wonderful. Would you like some help?”
“No, no. You just sit there and make yourself er... comfortable.”
Tonks exhaled noisily when she reached the relative safety of the kitchen. Luckily, that didn’t leave her much breath left to scream when a black-robed form loomed into her vision.
“If I were a Death Eater I would have killed you already.”
Her wand was out and a hex was on her lips before she realized that it wasn’t some random Death Eater standing in her kitchen. Well, it was a Death Eater, but one she’d invited over. Well, one who’d invited himself over...
She heard a shuffling from the living room. “Is anything wrong--Nymphadora?”
Tonks looked up at Snape. “I’m fine. Thought I saw a bat.”
She heard the sound of Percy clearing his throat. “Are you certain you don’t want any help?”
It might help if you shut up...
“It’s no problem, Percy.” Tonks pocketed her wand and turned away from Snape to fill the kettle with water. She decided to forgo any of her impressive range of oriental teas for the bitter, generic tea that Moody liked to call “Thames special blend.” It seemed about right for Percy Weasley.
“Well, if you need anything...”
“I’ll let you know.”
Snape’s eyes were glittering coldly, like flecks of obsidian. Tonks took this for his own venomous version of amusement. As the kettle warmed up, she got the teapot and two cups ready.
“Cream or sugar?” The whisper sent a shiver up her spine. Tonks spun around before she realized that Snape had to be uncomfortably close to whisper like that. The proximity became even more uncomfortable as their heads collided. Both attempted to swear as silently as possible as they stumbled apart. Tonks suppressed an urge to beat the Potions master with a wooden spoon, and instead settled for glaring at him questioningly.
He smirked and waved a vial in front of her eyes.
“Either,” Tonks mouthed, rolling her eyes. She turned back to the cupboard and fished out the unused cream and sugar set. She had them filled in a minute and Snape smirked as he topped off the milk with a few drops of potion. Another minute, and Tonks levitated the tea tray into the living room.
She smiled thinly at Percy as she settled the tray onto her coffee table. “Well, here we are,” she said, doing her best impression of Molly Weasley while she poured two cups of tea. “So you wanted to talk to me about something? Milk and sugar?”
“It is generally better to pour the milk prior to the tea,” Percy corrected.
Tonks was seriously considering cursing the pretentious git. As she was counting back from ten, she wondered which was more overstuffed, Percy or the sofa. “Well, I’ll just go dump this in the sink and pour you another cup, then.”
Percy smiled condescendingly at her. “It’s no matter. I’ll take two lumps of sugar, and three fingers of milk, if you please, Nymphadora.”
Tonks grimaced slightly. Where was Moody’s spare flask when she needed it? “There you go.”
“Ah, brewed to perfection.”
Perfection? Honestly, there isn’t enough tea in there to tell...
After taking that small sip, Percy set his teacup down and looked at her meaningfully. It took all Tonks’ self control to resist drawing her wand on the wizard when he reached a hand across the coffee table to clasp hers.
“Nymphadora, there is something I need to tell you.”
“Yes?” If you don’t stop calling me that I’m going to hex you into oblivion, you sweaty-palmed little prat.
Percy took a deep breath before launching into what was obviously a well-rehearsed speech. “No doubt you are unaware of it, but big things--great things--are happening in the Ministry. Our actions today will reorder the entire wizarding world. And to effect this change, we have had to make some very difficult decisions. A portion of the population will undoubtedly suffer more for the greater good. You must believe that it will be for the greater good, Nymphadora...”
Swallowing her rising bile, Tonks batted her eyelashes at him. She was desperately trying to channel her inner ingenue--but was coming up empty. Good thing Percy's so bloody thick... “Oh I do believe you, Percy. What’s happening?”
“Unfortunately, I cannot disclose the details at this time. But I want you--I need you--to know this: I admire you, Nymphadora, and I think you will not be unpleasantly surprised to learn that I care about you deeply. When the time comes, remember that.”
Tonks took this revelation in with more decorum than many would have expected from her, especially given the use of her first name. She stared at Percy uncomprehendingly, her mouth agape. “Oookay.”
Percy let go of her hand and promptly resumed his restless fidgeting, “This has undoubtedly all been a bit much for you...”
“Oh, no, no,” Tonks forced her face into something vaguely resembling a shy smile. “I think I understand... and I want you to know I have feelings for you, too.” Like repulsion, for instance...
Percy’s face shone. “Y-you do?”
Tonks couldn’t bring herself to speak, so she nodded. She raised her teacup. “So, how about a toast?”
Percy’s teacup clinked hers. “To our understanding...”
Bottoms up, Tonks thought to herself, all the while wishing there was something a little stronger in her cup. A heartbeat later, Percy Weasley collapsed back onto the couch, snoring loudly.
A black shadow glided into her peripheral vision. “Don’t you dare say a word.”
“I hadn’t intended to, Nymphadora.”
Tonks swallowed, trying to fight down the urge to pummel the man. “I’ve never seen a potion work like that.”
He didn’t try to conceal the disdain in his voice. “You wouldn't have.”
“So what’s your take on his cryptic little hints?”
Snape looked at her for a long moment, and then shrugged before turning back to the unconscious wizard on her sofa. “We shall see soon enough. Oculis aperite.”
As Snape leaned down to stare into Percy’s now-open eyes, Tonks abruptly got up and started rummaging through the living room. Snape’s head snapped up to look at her. “What are you looking for, Miss Tonks?”
“Moody’s spare flask. Found it.” She spotted the flask behind the small statue of Lord Nelson that her grandfather Tonks had foisted off on her. The pose reminded her more than a little of Percy’s posturing. Thankfully, when uncapped, the flask revealed enough firewhisky for her to at least take the edge off having to deal with both Percy and Snape.
“Are you quite through, then? This does require some measure of concentration.”
Tonks waved the flask at him absently as she fell into her favorite armchair. “Carry on.”
She received a glower promising retribution before Snape returned his attention to Percy. “Legilimens.”
Percy blinked owlishly. “What was I saying?”
“We had just toasted to our new understanding,” Tonks reminded him.
“Oh, of course.” He looked at the wall clock. “Merlin, I hadn’t realized how late it was. I do apologize, but I should head off to the Ministry. I have a great deal of work to do on this project.”
“Well, thank you for stopping over.” She rose to escort him to the door. “I really enjoyed it.”
Once he reached her front stoop, Percy leaned in as if he was going to kiss her, only to be confronted with Tonks’ extended hand. He took the hand and brought it to his lips. “I enjoyed it as well--and I can promise that if all goes according to plan, you will be seeing a great deal more of me. Don’t forget to put the flowers in water.”
The false smile oozed off her face as Tonks slowly but firmly shut her door.
“Well, as much as I enjoyed watching you play the fatuous romantic heroine to Weasley’s mooning lover, I also must go and inform Albus of my discoveries.”
Tonks turned on him. “Not until you tell me, Snape.”
The dark eyes glittered. “Not just yet, Miss Tonks. Believe me, in this situation, ignorance is bliss.”
“I don’t feel all that blissful.”
Snape smirked at her. “You mistake my meaning. Your ignorance is my bliss.”
Tonks was rapidly losing control of her temper. “Get out!”
“I am only too happy to oblige.”
The statue of Lord Nelson made a satisfying sound as it hit the door Snape had just closed behind him. She regretted the childish display almost immediately, but as she gathered up the statue--now missing an arm and a leg--she began to laugh sheepishly. “At least it’s more realistic, now.”
This story archived at: Occlumency