Fic: Meeting the Challenge (of Dark Eyes & Dancing Hippopotami), Bill/Tonks, NC-17 Title: Meeting the Challenge (Of Dark Eyes and Dancing Hippopotami) Author/Artist:misfit_ragdoll Rating: NC-17 Prompt: #62 "Tried to give you consolation when your old man had let you down." Pairing(s): Bill Weasley/Nymphadora Tonks Word Count: 10,100 Warnings: none Author/Artist's notes: Thanks to r_grayjoy, green_amber and katesque for their help and support, and luvscharlie for betaing. twilightsorcery gave me the joke about Tonks's knickers (and the original source is a Questionable Content webcomic). The kitchen!sex scene was inspired by this piece of art which was a commission done for me by lizardspots nearly 3 years ago as well as the film, The Baker, starring Damian Lewis. My original plan was to do something a lot closer to the original story of the song "Layla" (where the prompt comes from) but somehow Tonks, Remus and Bill refused to play Patti Boyd, George Harrison and Eric Clapton for me. So this is what happened instead. Disclaimer: It's not my sandbox, I only play here.
Bill Weasley was not very happy with his life. He wasn't certain when it had started, only that one day he was perfectly content, and then the next, discontent had started to creep in. He had a good life with a wonderful family, a steady job and a beautiful fiancée. At least he'd had all of those, until things started to change, and then it had all gone to hell. When he thought about it hard enough, he supposed it was a combination of factors. His family was wonderful, he loved them all dearly, but there had been a good reason he'd been away in Egypt for seven years. He'd grown up the eldest of seven with a domineering mother, and there had been nothing like the taste of freedom as soon as he'd been able to escape them all.
Of course he'd returned for the best of all possible reasons: to help Albus Dumbledore fight against the Dark Lord. Bill was clever enough to know that there were more important things in life than personal needs, but there were times when he felt claustrophobic and uncomfortable around his family. His mother was still treating him like a boy of ten, not a man of twenty-five, and he chafed at it. Plus there was family discord, what with his brother Percy the Prick not talking to anyone over the whole matter of Lord Voldemort's return, and his younger brothers, Fred and George, choosing to quit school early and open up a joke shop in the midst of the chaos. Sometimes he envied his brother Charlie's mission to stay on the continent and recruit foreign wizards to their cause. At least he hadn't been forced to move home.
He had a steady job, but he didn't like it one bit. He'd been working for Gringotts from the moment he'd left school, sent to Egypt as one of their fledgling Curse-breakers. He'd worked himself up the ranks to a pretty prime spot, only to be asked by Dumbledore to remain behind in England and take a desk job instead. Bill was proficient at what he did but he was not a desk-bound parchment pusher like his father was. He lived for the excitement of searching through dim and dangerous tombs, rifling through crypts and catacombs, living on the very edge. Not something he could continue to do while his arse was stuck in a leather swivel chair in a stuffy office in the middle of Diagon Alley. Still, he had a duty to the Order and Bill had never been one to shirk his responsibilities. It wasn't in his nature. However, he didn't have to like it.
As for the beautiful fiancée, that was another story entirely. At first the job had at least had the added bonus of one Mademoiselle Fleur Delacour. He'd first seen her as Beauxbatons' champion at the Tri-Wizard tournament, formally introduced before poor Diggory had been killed and everything had gone pear-shaped. Fleur had gotten a part-time job at Gringotts to improve her English, interpreting for the Paris branch of the bank, and it had been hard to miss the part-Veela girl as she sashayed around the office as if she owned the place. Fleur had been straightforward in her interest in him. Bill was used to pretty girls chatting him up and flirting, but never one quite so beautiful or alluring. The relationship had started off well enough — the sex had been mind blowing, her company scintillating— but then he'd brought her home to meet his family and that had been the end of that.
At first, Bill had blamed his mother solely for the animosity and the problems. Until Ginny seemed to have the same harsh opinion of his girlfriend, and his sister hardly ever agreed with their mum. It was easy to fob off the cause on Fleur's Veela roots — women automatically had a hard time around them, just as men automatically got hard — but there was more to it than that. Bill started seeing a pattern emerging, one he couldn't blame on his headstrong mother or strong-willed little sister. When he was around Fleur, it was hard to see any flaws in her, but when he wasn't, he could suddenly see both sides of the situation with amazing clarity. He knew what his mother and Ginny were like, but Fleur compounded the problems by complaining non-stop about his family and their lifestyle: their house, their clothes, their taste in decor, food and even music. There were days when Bill didn't know how she could ever love him seeing how he came from such a shabby and tasteless background.
They had gotten engaged briefly. When Bill was alone with Fleur, he wanted to give her the moon, the stars and the sun, so proposing had been easy, the rosy picture of a cosy little cottage with a happy, loving family all too alluring. However, cracks began to show in their relationship almost immediately. He couldn't take the constant tension between his fiancée and his mother, or his little sister, and was not afraid to tell Fleur about it. They'd begun to fight regularly, Fleur's Veela glamour no match for Bill's loyalty to his kith and kin. One last row had led to Fleur throwing his ring back in his face and storming out, leaving Bill feeling gutted, but also strangely relieved.
She'd come back to their flat only to pack up her things. Bill suspected she was hoping for a reconciliation, but he refused to take the bait. It was over and he was far more stubborn than Fleur ever bargained for. It took him a few weeks to actually break the news to his family, his mother being the last to know. He really had not wanted to hear 'I told you so' from anyone, least of all Molly. Of course, she had started in on him within a day or so, coming up a litany of names of what seemed like 1000 eligible witches far more deserving of his favours, in order to ease his broken heart. Bill didn't bother to tell her that he was more than capable of pulling his own birds if he really wanted them.
One of the names Molly seemed to bandy about more than others was 'Nymphadora Tonks'. His mother had a soft spot in her heart for the pink-haired Auror, and seemed to have an endless supply of reasons Bill should go out with her, and an endless supply of ways to make it happen. He and Tonks had been friends for years, and he enjoyed her company, but that's as far as it had ever got and was as far as it would ever go in his estimation. Tonks was someone he could get pissed with, argue about Quidditch with, or moan about terrible dates to. She'd been the shirty little Hufflepuff who'd driven him to distraction while they'd been at school, forever testing his patience and being sent to Professor Sprout for detention. He was convinced she was not girlfriend material, no matter what his mother thought.
"What about Nymphadora?" Molly suggested once again before an Order meeting at Number 12, Grimmauld Place. Bill was glad they had been able to get their old headquarters back after Sirius's death. He wasn't so glad that his mother hadn't let up on the same line of interrogation as before. His mother was clearly as relentless as a Crup when it came to not letting go, and as predictable as the sun coming up in the morning.
"What about her?" Bill asked with a shrug, not really wanting to go through this same discussion again.
"Why don't you ask her to go out?" his mother continued, watching as the young Auror went to remove her cloak, somehow managing to knock over the cloak rack in the process. "She's a very nice girl. Pretty, down to earth, clever, good sense of humour..."
"And thoroughly besotted with Remus Lupin last time I checked." Bill snorted. It was hardly a secret that Tonks fancied Lupin, although whether the feelings were mutual was a point of gossip amongst most of the Order members. Remus Lupin kept everything close to the vest, so for all Bill knew, he and Tonks could've been secretly married and no one would have been the wiser. Well, at least Lupin would've kept that secret. Godric knew that Nymphadora Tonks couldn't have kept her gob shut about something like that if her life had depended on it, and given the current attitudes towards werewolves, he supposed it most certainly might.
"That as may be, but I hardly think it's a consideration anymore," Molly said cryptically, then went over to help Tonks extricate herself from the pile of cloaks, coats and scarves she was tangled up in. Bill frowned as his mother gave him a pointed look, indicating he ought to come over and be chivalrous. He chose to ignore her for the moment, turning his back to set up chairs for the meeting, intent on blocking out any such consideration from his mind. Tonks? It was simply absurd.
Still, he was curious as to what his mother had meant about Lupin. Had he and Tonks split up? Remus wasn't at the meeting today, but that meant nothing. Dumbledore had said something about sending him off on a mission. Bill began to grow annoyed with his mother for bringing up the idea of going out with Tonks yet again. For some reason, he couldn't stop thinking about her, or convincing himself that there was absolutely no merit to his mother's suggestion. He found himself sneaking glances at her, watching her as she sat at the table, looking forlorn. Her hair was no longer its customary bubble-gum pink, but a mousy shade of brown, her normally bright eyes swollen and red-rimmed as though she'd been crying recently. She looked paler than normal, and thinner too, and she leaned on her arms wearily, as if the weight of the world was on her shoulders. Every once in a while, she'd shift in her seat or chew at her short, ragged nails, looking for all the world as if she was holding back more tears.
When Tonks rose to her feet to fetch herself some tea, nearly taking the tablecloth with her as it caught on her sleeve, Bill watched her carefully. Without thinking, he started checking out her figure; she was slim and far less curvaceous than Fleur, although hardly boyish looking. Bill liked the way her long-sleeved t-shirt clung to her chest, showing off her tits, and she had a lovely pert arse which even her worn jeans couldn't hide. Why hadn't he ever noticed these things before?
He didn't like seeing her so miserable. Usually Tonks was one of the most positive, upbeat people Bill knew. Her upset must have had something to do with Remus or the lack thereof. Poor Tonks. Bill convinced himself to talk to her after the meeting, just to make certain she was okay. Perhaps take her out for a drink. But, just as a friend, nothing more.
* * *
"Tonks?" Bill asked, grabbing the young witch by the wrist before she could go bolting out of her late cousin's house. He supposed it made sense she'd be uncomfortable here. Other than her parents, Sirius was the only other family member Tonks had ever known or liked. It had to be dead depressing to be reminded of that loss each and every time she crossed the threshold of the drafty old house.
"Wotcher," Tonks said quietly, smoothing back her unruly, dishwater hair from her face. Bill suddenly found himself noticing something he'd never realised before: just how extraordinary her eyes were. They were large and round and so dark brown, they were nearly black, fringed by long, dark lashes. He wondered if she'd been born with eyes that colour or if they'd been enhanced by her Metamorphmagus ability. "You alright, mate?"
"What? Erm, yeah. Fine." Bill flushed slightly as he realised he'd been staring at her. "I was more worried about you. You seem...off."
"Oh." She shrugged diffidently. "I'm as right as rain." She shook off his arm lightly, rubbing her wrist with her hand. "But, I really ought to get going."
"Why? What's the hurry?" He flashed her a cheeky grin. "Big date or something?"
That was apparently the wrong thing to ask. To his dismay, those amazing eyes of hers grew bright with tears as she bit her lower lip to keep from crying. "N-no. Just...need to bugger off is all."
"If you haven't got any plans, why don't we go do something like knock back a round or two or, erm, see if any bands are playing in town...?" Bill asked. "You look like you're in need of some distraction tonight."
"No, really, I'm f-fine, Bill. Right as rain," she insisted, fiddling with the buttons on her cloak nervously. "Just a bit knackered from all the work I've had to—"
"Tonks," Bill cut her off sternly, his voice now infused with the same steely tone he'd used as Head Boy when she'd gotten out of hand. "You're clearly not fine. Something's bothering you, and I'm not going to let you go off and be miserable about it on your own. C'mon, perhaps talking about it to a mate might make you feel better."
Slowly, she shook her head, a stray tear spilling down her pale cheek. "Doubt it."
"Oh, come on. At least give me a chance?" He put a hand under her chin, tilting her face up towards him, once again locking his gaze on hers. "Please?"
"Charming bastard," Tonks snorted. "You're going to regret this, I'm warning you now. It isn't pretty."
"Ah, I'm a brave Gryffindor, remember? Whatever it is, I bet I can face it."
That elicited the barest hint of a smile from her. Somehow, that made Bill feel much better. He hated seeing anyone look so unhappy, particularly if that someone was a pretty girl.
"So, what's the plan then?" she asked.
"Dunno," Bill replied. "What would you like to do? The offer for drinks stands. Unless you'd rather go somewhere else."
Tonks sighed. "Not certain I'm up to anything social really. Especially if you're really up to playing agony aunt, mate. Is there somewhere quiet we can go instead?"
"There's always my place. It's clean and I'm pretty certain I have a decent stash of booze at my disposal." Bill flashed her a grin. "I'll even offer you up a spot on m'sofa if you feel like getting rat-arsed and need a place to kip for the night."
"Sounds like a brilliant plan." Tonks leaned down and picked up her rucksack, hoisting it onto her shoulder. "Lead on, Weasley."
Bill Apparated into the empty alleyway near his flat alone, momentarily worrying that Tonks might've gone astray or worse, gone home. There was a loud "pop" as she appeared next to him, allowing him to breathe once more. It wasn't safe these days; Death Eaters and Dementors were everywhere, and several of the Order members and their colleagues had been killed in recent weeks. Tonks gave him a wary smile, drawing her wand out from beneath her robes. He could see her hand trembling as she held it aloft. He led her out of the alley and onto the street, towards his flat, wishing he could show her more of the neighbourhood. Perhaps another time, when it was safer, he would. He loved the area, especially the proximity to the British Museum. Bill adored going in there to study the Muggle antiquities and artefacts, especially the Egyptian wing. It had been his first glimpse of the Rosetta Stone as a small boy, which had led him to his chosen career as a Curse-breaker, although he'd never shared that fact with anyone. Somehow, he thought Tonks might understand.
They headed up to his flat, Bill proceeding to give her an impromptu tour of the place. It didn't take long; the apartment was cozy, just the right size for a bachelor, consisting of one bedroom, a sitting room, a kitchen and a small bathroom. Tonks admired his large collection of books, his much smaller collection of Egyptian objets d'art he'd kept from assorted digs (worthless by Goblin standards but priceless to Bill) and the photos of his family. She especially liked the most recent picture Charlie had sent from Romania: a snapshot of himself posing with a Ukrainian Ironbelly dragonet, allowing herself to smile as the little dragon spat out a gout of flame, nearly singeing Charlie's jumper. Bill suddenly noticed she possessed the most alluring of dimples.
He showed her his well-stocked bar, offering her a drink.
"Firewhisky, if you don't mind," Tonks replied, settling herself on the sofa.
"Firewhisky it is, then." Bill saluted her with the sealed bottle of Ogden's Old, then Summoned two large tumblers, which he promptly filled to the brim. "Here you go."
"Cheers." Tonks accepted the glass gratefully, taking a long quaff before she spoke again. "Don't know why you're being so nice to me, Weasley."
Bill rolled his eyes, then took a seat opposite her in one of his easy chairs. "Don't be daft, Tonks. We're friends, aren't we? And friends do nice things for each other from time to time."
"I suppose." She shifted in her seat uncomfortably, then helped herself to more of her drink.
"Now, tell me all about it. And don't you dare say there's nothing to tell. It's hard to miss that you're upset about something. Or," Bill gave her a pointed look, "someone."
"I s'pose it's that obvious," Tonks said with a sigh. She stared into her glass, idly swirling the amber liquid around and around. "It's—well, it's Remus. I can't—he won't—" She took another sip. "He's gone."
"On assignment, you mean?"
"Yeah." Tonks nodded slowly. "You probably know that Dumbledore's sent him off to infiltrate the werewolves, to see if he might be able to recruit a few of 'em to our side."
"Well, before he left, we..." Bill saw her hand tighten around the glass, her knuckles growing white. "We had a talk. I...I told 'im a few things I suppose I oughtn't have." At that point, Tonks tossed back the remainder of the firewhisky, then held the tumbler out, indicating she wanted a refill. Bill complied. "I-I love 'im, Bill, but he's just not...he doesn't want me." She blinked back tears, sniffling as she drank some more. "Not at all."
"Did he give you any reason? He's undertaking a very dangerous mission, love. Perhaps he was worried that—"
"No. He just doesn't want me. I'm not sure he wants anyone, to be perfectly honest. He cares for me, he's my friend. He just doesn't want the complications of a relationship with me. Well, he said with anybody but..." She heaved her shoulders, letting out a 'whuff' of frustration. Bill could see the drink was starting to have an effect on her; her eyes a little unfocused, her words starting to slur ever so slightly. "Well, y'know I've never had a great track record wi' blokes over the years. I jes' thought he needed to know b'fore he went away in case anything h-happened."
Tonks pulled a face, taking another angry swallow from her glass. Tears spilled down her cheeks, and she wiped them away with the edge of her sleeve in annoyance. "He told me he was too old, too poor, and too dangerous for me, that I ought to forget about him. Same bloody shite he's been saying for over a year now. Thinks that jes' cos he's a bloody lycanthrope, that he's unlovable."
Bill leaned over, putting his hand on top of her much smaller one. "I'm sorry, love. I really am. I know it's not what you want to hear, but if he's kept up the same arguments for that long, perhaps you ought to believe him. If only because he believes it, and there's no convincing him otherwise."
Tonks slammed down the remainder of her drink before setting her glass down, nodding tearfully. She buried her face in her hands, starting to cry in earnest. Bill felt a twist in his gut; she looked so lost, so vulnerable and so much younger than her twenty-three years. "I-I'm sorry," she sobbed. "I'm such a pathetic git. I should jes' go—"
"Tonks, no. Don't—don't do this to yourself. Just because Remus doesn't see you the way you want doesn't mean he's right. He's not the only bloke on the planet, you know." He didn't know if he was saying the right thing or not. It suddenly struck him that he had absolutely no idea what she was going through. In all his years, Bill had never really had a problem chatting up girls, let alone pulling them. Most of the women he'd met wound up throwing themselves at him before he even needed to make a move, and he certainly had never been rejected in the way it seemed Tonks had. She was so very different from Fleur; his former fiancée had always had her pick of men. She'd never known what it was like to be alone for more than a day or two. He couldn't even conceive of how Tonks must be feeling right now.
"It's not jes' him..." Tonks fumbled in the pocket of her jeans for a tissue, pulling out a rumpled one. She blew her nose loudly, still crying. "Never had any real luck when it came to boyfriends, always fancyin' the wrong chaps...let's face it, m'jes gonna be a dried up old sp-spinster. I-if I even make it to be old." That thought set off a fresh flood of tears and wracking sobs.
Bill moved onto the sofa next to her, putting his arms around her, letting her cry it out. "Shh...shh..." he murmured, rubbing her back gently, trying his best to soothe her. "Of course you're going to make it to a ripe old age, Tonks. With a brilliant bloke at your side and a couple of kids."
"No m'not. S-stop tryin' to be so bloody nice, Weasley." Tonks cuffed him on the shoulder, trying to push him away. "We both know I'm h-hopeless."
"Bollocks," he said gruffly, keeping his arms firmly around her, refusing to let her go.
She lowered her head forlornly, then blew her nose again. "Easy fer you to say, matey."
Tonks looked utterly wretched, her eyes were puffy, her nose swollen and red, her face blotchy and tear-stained. However, Bill thought she'd never looked more adorable, more kissable. Without even considering what he was doing and without another word, he leaned in and kissed her, his lips brushing over hers with the lightest of touches.
She blinked in confusion. "Why're you...?"
"Because you looked like you needed it," he replied, his fingers tangling in her spiky hair. "And because I wanted to."
"I don't want your pity, mate," she hissed, shoving him away.
Bill caught her by the wrists before she swung at him again. "It's not pity, Tonks."
"Never thought you'd be the sorta bloke t'take advantage," she continued hotly. "Sorry I can't make m'self more beautiful right now jes to make it easier for you to be n-noble." She squeezed her eyes shut, her face screwed up in intense concentration. Bill thought he saw the faintest trace of gold in her hair before it faded back to the dull mousy brown she'd been sporting all night. A grunt of frustration escaped her lips as she relaxed, fully aware that there had been no change. Defeated, she sagged against the sofa.
"Tonks, I'm not taking advantage of anyone and I certainly don't want you to change...I care about you because of who you are, not because of what you look like," he blurted. "Why is it so difficult to accept? I'm not Remus and I can think for myself, thank you very much."
Tonks opened her mouth to speak, then shut it, beginning to weep again instead. This time she didn't fight Bill as he gathered her up in his arms, just wanting to comfort her, even if he didn't know what to say to make it all right again. He leaned his cheek against the top of her head, pressing his lips against her hair. The front of his shirt grew damp with her hot tears as she cried, her sobs slowly subsiding into hiccups and sniffles.
Finally, she raised her head, wiping tears from her reddened eyes. "I should go home b'fore I make things any worse..." Tonks tried to stand, but wound up tripping on her own feet, landing back on the sofa with a thud.
"I don't think you're in any condition to go, love," Bill insisted. "You're pissed and I don't want to find out you've Splinched yourself across several counties trying to get home."
"M'not pissed," Tonks argued.
"You're completely off your head," he said. "You had two very large drinks in the span of about half an hour — when did you last eat?"
Tonks screwed up her face in thought. "Had half a sandwich at the meetin'." She shrugged. "Haven't had much of n'appetite lately."
Bill shook his head and sighed, "That would explain a lot. So, no, you're not going anywhere, Nymphadora Tonks. You'll be spending the night here."
She let out a dubious snort. "Betchoo'd like that."
"On my sofa," Bill replied pointedly. "Or you can have my bed and I'll sleep out here. I'm not fussed. Either works for me."
To his surprise, Tonks looked disappointed. "I thought...I thought y'might at least try fer a pull. Speshully since you think m'a bit soused at th'moment."
"Which is precisely why I wouldn't." Bill was completely uncertain of what to make of her reactions. "I told you I'm not the sort to take advantage."
Her lower lip jutted out into a pout. "No one's ever takin' advannage of me," she sniffled.
"When you've gotten some sleep and sobered up, then I might consider it," Bill replied. "Seriously consider it." Until the words came pouring out of his mouth, he hadn't even known how he felt about the situation. It surprised him as much as it seemed to surprise Tonks. He felt his cheeks heating up in embarrassment. "Assuming you'd even be interested, that is."
"I-I might be," Tonks said, Bill detecting a hint of shyness in her voice.
"Well, let's see if I can give you a bit more motivation then, yeah?" Bill drew her closer to him, kissing her again. He was happy to feel her respond this time; her lips were warm and soft against his, tasting like her tears mingled with a hint of firewhisky: salt and smoke and booze. Emboldened by her response, he tightened his arms around her, kissing her more forcefully. He could feel her breath ghosting against his cheek as he sucked on her lower lip, letting his tongue flit against hers. She moaned against his lips, her fingers tangling in his hair, before returning his kisses with growing fervour.
Bill pulled back slightly, smiling at her. "Wow."
"Mmm..." Tonks started. Her eyelids fluttered several times as she tried to retain focus, and then she slumped forward in his arms, out cold.
Bill stared at the unconscious girl for a moment, unsure of exactly what he was seeing. He shook her gently, trying to rouse her. "Tonks. Tonks?" The only response he got was the soft sound of her breathing. "Blimey," he muttered, putting a hand to his lips, unable to get the thought of her kisses out of his mind. "Guess I'm losing my touch."
He slid out from underneath her, carefully setting her slumbering form down on the sofa, then went to grab a pillow and a blanket for her from the linen closet. She'd barely moved by the time he'd returned, but he couldn't imagine she could be that comfortable sleeping in her clothes. Bill struggled with whether or not to undress her, finally deciding that it was better if he did. He wasn't some callow boy doing it for a cheap thrill, and it wasn't as if he hadn't seen girls in various stages of undress before. He untied her knee-high boots, working them off her feet and setting them down on the floor. Getting her jeans off was a bit more difficult, especially when she was curled on the sofa with her knees tucked up. He did his best not to gawk at her, but it was hard to miss how shapely her legs were, or the way her knickers hugged the curve of her arse. Bill had to stop for a moment to clear his thoughts, feeling ashamedly pervy for even noticing—and for the way his cock had twitched at the sight.
There was no way in seven hells he was going to attempt removing her bra by hand, Bill decided. With a little deft manoeuvring, he managed to manipulate it off with a series of Locomotor spells, leaving her in just her tee-shirt, socks and panties. He folded her other clothing neatly, placing them within reach on the coffee table, and then tucked her in. Tonks shifted and clutched at the blanket, rolling on to her back and murmuring something unintelligible in her sleep. Leaning over, Bill kissed her one last time before leaving her to sleep it off.
After that, he went into his bedroom, intent on catching up on some reading before bed. Dumbledore had recommended several books on defensive spells to him; they sat in a neat pile on top of his desk. Bill grabbed the topmost one, then settled onto his bed. Advanced Deconstruction on Defensive Magic by Alexander Agrippa was not the most compelling reading in the world. Bill had to force his attention back to the page more than once. It didn't help that his thoughts kept straying back to Tonks lying on the sofa, her shirt skimming her hips, the slight hint of her pale arse peeking out from the bottom of her knickers. Her bright green knickers. Covered in dancing blue hippopotami.
Bill shifted in bed, his jeans starting to grow uncomfortably tight as the vision of swaying hippos morphed into a scantily-clad Tonks shimmying in a similar fashion. He palmed his crotch, absently, then pulled his hand away guiltily, forcing his eyes back onto the page. "The strength of the defensive spell lies in the conviction of the caster himself. The more fortitude a wizard shows in protecting himself, the more potent his shields and counter-curses will be..." He was certain he'd re-read that passage at least ten times already, but it obviously hadn't sunk in. "The strength of the defensive spell lies in the conviction of the caster himself..."
...Tonks swayed back and forth in front of his eyes, deftly pulling her worn shirt over her head, revealing a pair of pale but pert pointed breasts. Her nipples were taut and deep pink, surrounded by darker areoles, contrasting against the alabaster hue of her skin. She twirled around, hips undulating, peeling down those ridiculous knickers and kicking them off. Tossing her head back and winking, she proceeded to bend over with the agility of a Knockturn Alley dancer, wriggling her bare arse at him. She spread her legs just wide enough to give Bill a glimpse of glistening pink folds surrounded by coarse magenta curls...
"The strength of the defensive spell lies in the conviction of the caster himself..." Bill said aloud, but somehow Alexander Agrippa was no match for a thoroughly and delectably naked Tonks in vying for his attention. Snatching his wand off the nightstand, Bill threw a hasty spell at the door, closing it and locking it in short order. He threw the book aside, unfastened his constricting jeans and gave in to his body's demands. He shoved his jeans down to his thighs, freeing his erection from the confines of his briefs before grabbing a jar of lotion off the nightstand. Coating his fingers with the thick unguent, he wrapped his fingers tightly around the base of his cock, starting to move in slow, even strokes.
His head lolled back, eyes squeezed tight as he pumped up into his slick hand, recalling the feel of her sweet mouth against his, her lithe body pressed against him. It wasn't hard to envision those same warm, soft lips ranging over his skin and down his chest and stomach until she reached his crotch, her tongue lashing and swirling against his engorged cock. Bill groaned, tightening his fist and squeezing hard against his turgid flesh. He imagined Tonks's mouth, hot and wet, engulfing him, taking him all the way down to the root, the pressure almost unbearable. His thrusts increased in acceleration, the friction of skin against skin spurring him to move even faster. He gripped his aching balls with his free hand, tugging and twisting, desperate for release.
"Tonks...Tonks...Tonks," Bill moaned, flailing his fist in a frenzy. "Nnnngh...." He choked back a loud moan as he tensed, then let go. His body jerked violently as he came hard, the hot gouts of spunk splattering his fingers, his jeans, his sheets, narrowly missing Dumbledore's precious book by less than an inch. Collapsing back on the bed, Bill panted for breath, his brow damp with exertion. He stole a remorseful glance towards the closed door, now acutely aware that Tonks was on the other side of it. Even if she was fast asleep, it felt a bit unsettling to have made her the object of his fantasies. Especially when just a few short hours ago, he had been convinced he only wanted to be her friend.
Reaching for his wand, Bill cast a few cursory cleansing charms, then tossed both the wand and the book back onto the nightstand; Agrippa's theories would have to wait for another day when he was more alert. Bill's limbs grew heavy as the post-orgasmic haze began to envelope him, making it impossible to think, let alone move. There was no point in dwelling on the situation with Tonks at the moment. He'd worry about it tomorrow...then he drifted off into dreamless sleep.
* * *
Bill was awoken the next morning by a loud crash followed by muffled cursing. He jerked into a sitting position, rubbing his eyes and trying to remember what had happened the night before. Tonks. Asleep. On his sofa. "Bugger," he swore, then jumped out of bed, hastily yanking up his pants and jeans before barrelling out of his room into the sitting room. Tonks was sprawled out on the floor on her hands and knees, struggling to her feet, her clothing in hand. She looked worse than she had the night before, with dark circles under her eyes and a waxy, greenish cast to her skin. Bill immediately felt a pang of guilt for having let her drink so much in so short a span of time, especially on an empty stomach, even though he'd had no way of knowing about the latter. Perhaps if he'd been a skilled Legilimens...
"W-wotcher," Tonks said meekly, her voice raspy as she pushed her spiky hair out of her eyes. Bill leaned over and extended a hand, helping her up to her feet. He could feel her trembling.
"Planning on doing a runner, were you?" Bill asked. When she blushed beet red, he knew he'd hit close to the mark. "Guess this means I don't need to ask if you still respected me in the morning..."
"I—erm," Tonks stammered, then drew in a sharp breath. "Is there a reason I ought to respect you?" She flushed deeper, then averted her eyes, shuffling nervously in place. "I don't remember much of what happened last night. And then..."
"And then you woke up wearing just your knickers and your shirt," Bill finished for her. "Nothing happened. I promise. Not that—," he stopped himself for a moment, feeling his own cheeks starting to flush. "Well, your dancing hippo knickers are very cute."
"You looked at my..."! Tonks gasped. "Blimey, Weasley, what kind of pervy git are you?"
"Oi! You're the one who was begging me to take advantage of you last night. You're damned lucky you were with me and not some other bloke who might've taken you up on the offer," Bill countered, slightly wounded by her words. "All I did was get you out of your kit to make you more comfortable. I was a total gentleman. You'll notice I slept in my own bed last night. With the door closed."
Tonks rubbed at her temples, looking pained and queasy. "A-all right. I s'pose I'll have to believe you."
"Tonks," Bill said softly, the memories of last night's fantasy springing unbidden to his mind, "if anything had happened between us, I can promise you, you'd have woken up in bed next to me, starkers. Hopefully with a very big smile on your face."
"I should have guessed you'd be an arrogant berk when it came down to it," Tonks muttered.
"I'm not arrogant," Bill replied, trying not to smirk. "Just confident in my abilities to please women. I'd be more than happy to prove it to you if you gave me the chance."
She licked her lips, then snorted. "Who says I'd even be interested?"
Bill shrugged. "I dunno. I thought the way you were kissing me last night might've been some indication. Am I wrong?"
"K-kissing you?" she stammered. "When was I—? I thought you said nothing happened!"
"Well, nothing that involved me undressing you," Bill explained. "I suppose 'kissing' is the wrong word...more like 'intense snogging'." He flashed her a roguish smile, hoping that she wouldn't be too upset by the revelation. "With tongues."
"You...I...we...," she spluttered, turning as red as a pomegranate now. "How..?"
"The way most people do it. Like this." Bill tugged her towards him and kissed her full on the mouth. She gasped, first tensing, then relaxing enough to respond. Suddenly, he felt her sway in his arms, clinging to him, struggling to remain upright as her knees buckled beneath her. "Now I'm making you swoon, am I?"
"N-no. Just feel a bit dizzy's all," she replied. "M'a bit hung-over, remember?"
Bill helped her back over to the sofa, making certain she was sitting down securely before letting her go. "You okay?"
"I could probably use a cuppa. And something for m'head."
"I can do that," he said, uncertain as to what to make of her reactions. "Want me to...?"
"Please," she replied gratefully. "I feel like there's a herd of hippogriffs stampeding in my skull. And they're all wearing stiletto heeled boots."
"Stiletto boots?" He couldn't help but grin at the thought. "That's rather kinky, innit?"
"Pervy git." Tonks smacked him on the shoulder, although her lips had curved up into a slight smile. "One track mind, you have."
Bill waggled his eyebrows at her. "I thought you knew that about me ages ago, Tonks. But if you're feeling that horrid," he kissed her lightly on the brow, leaving her with a thoroughly confused expression, "I am going to have to make certain you never have that much to drink again."
"Make certain? Since when am I your responsibility, Weasley? And who says I want to be at any rate?"
"Ever thought that I might want a chance to take care of you, Tonks?" Bill asked, taking her hand in his. He was pleased to see she didn't pull away, although she was still shaking. "That not every bloke you know is going to up and leave you at the first opportunity?"
"I don't think—" There were tears in her eyes again.
"Oi, none of that," Bill said, brushing his knuckles against her cheek. "Just...give me a chance to do something nice for you. Try and cheer you up a bit. No strings attached, yeah?"
"Hmmm," Bill mused, "We could start with a nice home cooked meal. I could come round to your place and make you dinner, with some wine, some candles, something low-keyed, no pressure."
Her dark eyes widened in surprise. "No one's ever offered to do that for me before."
He grinned. "Well, there you go then. Let me be the first."
"I might need some time to think about this," she replied, softly. "I'm too muddled up, and I don't want you to use you on the rebound—"
Cutting her off with another swift kiss, Bill shook his head. "You'll find I'm quite stubborn when it comes to these things — and you'll have to come up with a better excuse than that to stop me."
"That's not fair, Bill! I'm ill and hung-over and can barely think right now," Tonks protested.
"If I fetch you a cup of tea and something for your head, will you at least consider it?" Bill asked, tracing her lower lip with the tip of his index finger.
It had been a long time since Bill had had to work to win a woman over; he felt an odd satisfaction in being challenged like this, the same way he felt when trying to break a particularly difficult curse or translate a seemingly impossible set of hieroglyphs. That feeling was most definitely outweighing the knowledge that, for once, his mother might have been right about a girl. He supposed Charlie would've called him a pathetic, romantic sod for making such an effort when there were less difficult paths he could have followed, but then again, Charlie's taste in women ran towards easy tarts who he couldn't be bothered with more than once or twice. That wasn't Bill's way at all.
"Yes. I will," she replied, sounding dazed. "If nothing else, I'll get a decent meal out of it, won't I?"
"And a lot more if I get my way."
* * *
Bill was nervous. Or at least as close to nervous as he could be given the circumstances. He wasn't quite sure why he felt this way - it wasn't as if he and Tonks hadn't known each other for most of their lives or hadn't spent hours around one another on Order business but somehow, now, the stakes had changed. Tonks had recovered nicely after he'd given her a cup of tea — well, several cups — and liberal doses of assorted potions to clear her head. There had even been some snogging before she'd gone home to get cleaned up and then to work. Flirty Patronus messages had been sent back and forth over the last two days, proving she was still interested. So, why did he suddenly feel like a green third year student on his way to his very first date?
Perhaps it was the unpredictability of it all. Bill had grown used to going out with cool, calm and confident women like Fleur, women who knew what they wanted and exactly how to get it. Tonks was the polar opposite: charmingly skittish and uncertain of things. He had no idea what she was going to say or how she was going to react at any given moment. It kept him on his toes, forcing him to think and adapt rather than be complacent. It was a new experience for him and not at all an unpleasant one.
He'd dressed in his favourite green button-down shirt, the one he knew brought out the colour of his eyes, the top buttons open to reveal his throat and collar bone, along with a pair of well-fitting dark brown trousers and matching boots. Nothing too formal, but hardly scruffy either. He'd fussed over the menu for tonight's dinner as well, deliberating long and hard over what would be an appropriate menu to serve her. Something like kofta, kebabs or falafel seemed too ordinary— she could pick those up at dozens of takeaway restaurants in London, and something like ful medames seemed too odd. Besides, Bill didn't think serving beans on a first date was a particularly romantic notion. The same went for curries, even though he knew Tonks was quite fond of them.
In the end, he'd decided on lamb with eggplant and rice, a happy medium that he thought she might enjoy, along with some red wine and asabi gullash for afters. He knew Tonks had a sweet tooth, so the phyllo-covered honey and walnut pastries ought to go over well with her. If all went the way he planned, Bill was hoping he'd get the opportunity to lick the honey from her fingers and lips...
Bill arrived at Tonks's flat at 8 pm, bag of groceries and kitchen utensils in hand. He suspected that Tonks didn't have much in the way of cookware given her inability to do much of anything in the kitchen other than char pans and break things. She'd proven to his mother on more than one occasion that her skills in cookery (or lack thereof) were only rivalled by her domestic expertise. Bill had to wonder what his mother had been thinking by trying to push them together considering Molly's own proficiency at household spells. Fleur, of course, had been perfect when it came to cooking and cleaning; perhaps his mother hadn't wanted any rivals in those areas in his life?
Of course, Bill had no real need of a woman to take care of him in that manner. His mother had made certain that all her boys knew their way around a kitchen and how to clean up their messes at an early age. When there were seven children to look after, the more who could fend for themselves or help her around the house, the better. Bill enjoyed cooking; it was yet another enjoyable pursuit, and it didn't hurt that most women found that fact incredibly sexy.
Climbing up two flights of stairs to Tonks's place, he rapped lightly on the door, unsure of what to expect. The door swung open as he was greeted by a nervous looking Tonks.
"W-wotcher," she said, her voice quavering as she ushered him into the flat.
"Hallo." Bill stepped into the main room, allowing her to close the door behind him. Tonks seemed to be taking their date seriously judging by the way she was dressed. The tomboy he knew so well was gone, replaced by an adorable young woman in trendy, yet unconventional clothing. Well, at least unconventional by Wizarding standards. She reminded Bill of the hip, punk Muggle girls that he often saw walking around London. Her hair was still the same drab shade of brown, but he thought he detected a bit more lustre to it.
She appeared much healthier and happier than the last time he'd seen her. Her pale face had some colour to it now, not completely due to her makeup. Her large, expressive eyes were dusted with metallic plums and golds, and rimmed in smudged, glittery black, her lips pink and glossy. She wore a peach-coloured t-shirt over a black mesh top, both of which had slipped down saucily to expose an enticing portion of her neck, throat and shoulder. Brightly coloured bracelets were clustered on her slender wrists, jingling softly, while her nails were coated in shiny lacquer the colour of aubergines. Her skirt was short and black, just skimming the tops of her pale thighs, accentuating the alluring curve of her hips. Black suede boots were scrunched down on her calves, just reaching her knees, her legs bare the rest of the way up. "Wow. You look fantastic," he breathed, unable to take his eyes off her.
"You don't look half bad yourself, Weasley," Tonks responded, giving him an appreciative looking over.
He grinned roguishly. "I think I was hoping for something a little bit more enthusiastic from you than that, Tonks."
"Oh?" She quirked an eyebrow at him, one side of her mouth curving up into a smirk. "Well, what did you have in mind then?"
"If you can show me where to put these," Bill held up the bags of groceries, "I might be able to show you."
Tonks led him into her kitchen which was clean and painted brightly, the counters and canisters gleaming. She rolled her eyes as she noticed him looking around in surprise at the condition of the room. "Mum comes round once a week to tidy up for me. She knows I'm pants at household spells so she just does it. Don't look so shocked, mate. My parents would never let me live in total squalor, especially Mum. She may hate 'em but she's still part of the Most Noble House of Black and they've got standards!"
Bill laughed, finding a spot on the counter to place the food. "I can't imagine what she'd make of the Burrow then."
"Wrinkle her nose and say something like 'how very eccentric' most likely," Tonks replied, coming over to nose through the bags, eyeing the makings of their meal warily. "What's all this then?"
"Dinner. Or it will be once it's cooked. You know, that's when you put ingredients in pots and pans and heat them..." Bill said, putting an arm around her. "Probably an alien concept to you, isn't it?"
"Too right," Tonks agreed. She turned to face him, smiling up at him as she leaned against the counter coquettishly, her dark eyes twinkling. "You'll have to give me a demonstration on just how it's done, won't you?" She ran a finger lightly along the line of his shirt buttons. "Nice colour. It suits you."
"I'd hoped you'd like it." Bill moved in closer, rubbing his nose against hers. "You look smashing tonight."
He could see her blushing. "I look all right then?" Tonks reached up, letting her fingers play in his hair.
"Quite a bit of all right if you ask me," he murmured, tracing the shell of her ear with a fingertip.
"Oh." She blushed further. "Now, I believe you were going to show me how to be more enthusiastic...?"
"Mmm. Yes. That." Bill trapped her against the edge of the counter, putting his arms around her and drawing her against him. He kissed her, gently at first, his kisses growing in intensity as she returned them with equal fervour. He had intended for it to be a small taste of what he'd hoped for after dinner, but somehow now that he had her in his embrace, his mouth claiming hers, it was nigh on impossible to stop. Tonks moaned against his lips, moulding her body against his; he could feel her nipples, taut and hard, pressing through the fabric of her shirt. She toyed with his collar, nimbly unbuttoning the top buttons to caress his chest, his cock stirring in response.
Bill ran his hand down the length of her spine, then over her arse, cupping her through the soft folds of her cotton skirt. She moaned again, writhing against him wantonly, drawing one leg up to wrap around the back of his own. Bill stifled a groan, continuing to kiss her greedily as he worked his fingers under the hem, coming into contact with the warm, smooth skin of her thighs and then the silky material of her knickers. Boldly, he delved under the elastic band of her panties, caressing her bare arse, letting his fingers trail between her cheeks, causing her to squirm.
It also elicited a throaty moan from her, and she slid her hand down between their bodies, fumbling at the buckle of his dragon hide belt. Bill faltered for a moment, unsure if it was prudent to continue, not wanting to push her to do anything she wasn't ready for. But her hands were already unfastening his trousers, touching him through his pants with the flat of her hand, squeezing him lightly, rapidly convincing him she was more than up for the task. Bill arched at her touch, wanting more as Tonks rubbed against his leg like a cat in heat, her tongue flickering against his earlobe, toying with his dangling earring.
"Tonks..." he groaned, his voice hoarse with need, "are you sure you...?"
"Yes," she hissed. "Oh, sweet Helga, yes."
Bill wasted no time in grabbing her by the hips and hoisting her up on the counter in front of him. He tugged her soaking knickers down her legs, throwing them somewhere on the floor as Tonks shoved down his pants, her small fingers wrapping around the hilt of his cock, beginning to stroke him with confidence. The sensation only made him grow harder, causing him to pump furiously into her hand. He kissed her again, forcing her damp thighs apart to he could stand between them. He could feel the heat rising against his skin as Tonks drew him in closer, letting him slide his cock against the hot, slick lips of her cunt, coating him with her juices. Her mouth was on his neck, her teeth grazing against his shoulder, and he ground against her until he could take it no more.
"Want you...want you so much. Please.." Bill pleaded, looking up, his eyes locking on hers.
Tonks nodded slowly, licking her lips, then spread her legs further, one booted foot propped on the adjacent counter to brace herself. "I-I want you too."
"Uh huh," was all he could manage. He pushed forward, using one arm to steady himself against the cabinets. The head of his cock teased against her entrance, making her squirm and moan, and then he thrust forward, penetrating her, burying himself as deeply as he could.
Tonks let out a low cry of pleasure, gripping at the countertop with one hand, the other snaking around his waist to grab his arse, her lacquered nails digging into his firm flesh. She constricted around him, tightening her thighs against his hips at the same time, causing Bill to groan again.
"Oh, sweetheart...oooooh, fucking hell..." He rocked his hips forward, then back in shallow thrusts, pinning her against the countertop. His balls ached, his cock throbbing painfully as he began to take her, seeking release in her warm, wet heat. Tonks bucked her hips in time with his, her nails digging in so hard that he suspected she had drawn blood. She whimpered with each move, her cries growing louder as he drove himself in harder and deeper each time, building up into a frantic rhythm.
He heard Tonks's breathing growing erratic, her body beginning to tense and then tremble. Clamping his mouth on hers, Bill caught her up in a searing kiss, swallowing down her moans as he felt her shudder and convulse against him. Her leg jerked so violently that she managed to knock a tea cup and several books off the counter, sending them flying to the floor with a crash. She broke off the kiss, throwing her head back and crying out his name. Just hearing her saying his name like that was enough to make him lose any ounce of control he might still have possessed. With one last thrust, he came, burying his face in the crook of her neck to muffle his own cries. Tonks stroked his hair, nuzzled at his ear, murmuring words of endearment as he struggled to come down.
Dazed, Bill relaxed in her arms, taking in deep breaths, trying to clear his head. He became aware of something trickling down his neck, his rumpled shirt getting wet and looked up in surprise to see tears rolling down Tonks's flushed cheeks, the dark liner around her eyes starting to run. "What...? Hey, hey." He pressed his lips against her forehead. "I didn't mean to make you cry, love. This was supposed to be something nice."
"N-no...," Tonks protested, sniffling. "It was nice. It was more than nice!"
"Tell me what's wrong then."
Tonks shook her head, Bill noticing that there was a faint pink cast to her hair now. He thought that had to be a good sign. "N-nothing's wrong. It was lovely. It's just been so long since anyone's...that I've..."
"Ah." Bill gave her a quick squeeze. "You didn't have to, you know. It's not the reason I wanted to come round tonight."
Her eyes grew wide, her expression now one of abject confusion. "You mean you didn't want to..." She sagged dejectedly against the counter, lower lip starting to tremble. "I-I'm sorry. We shouldn't have—"
"That's not what I meant!" Bill exclaimed. "Blimey, Tonks, stop making assumptions about things. I just meant that I didn't come here tonight specifically to shag you. Yes, I was hoping something might happen, but if it didn't, well," he shrugged, "I'd just have to work all the harder next time. I wanted to see you. If you hadn't wanted to rush into things that quickly, it would've been okay. It...it will be okay." He didn't really want her to withdraw from him now, but in spite of his recent behaviour, Bill still knew how to respect a woman. "I just meant you weren't obliged to do anything you didn't want to do."
"But, I did want it. I do want it!" Tonks swiped at her cheek with the back of her hand, smearing her makeup further. "I was just afraid you think I'm...well, I'm not a tart," she blurted. "And I'm not...I'm not desperate. I don't let blokes get a leg over that easily. I just—"
"I know." Bill flashed her a reassuring grin, then kissed her for good measure. He couldn't bear to see her looking so sad, not after making her feel so good. "I don't want to go out with you because I think you're desperate, Tonks. I want to go out with you because I like you. Of course now," he couldn't help but chuckle, "I also know how dead sexy you are, so if anyone's gagging for a shag, it's me."
That got a slight smile out of her. "You're a geezer which automatically makes you a randy git, doesn't it?"
"I'm afraid it does, though it helps when there's a beautiful bird involved. I don't get this way about just anyone, you know." He cupped her face in his hands tenderly, kissing her again. "Trust me? Please?"
"I—" Tonks sighed. "I'm trying. It just felt really good, I don't want it to be a one-off, but we...we're mates and I don't want to bollix that up either."
"We won't. I promise." He twisted a lock of her hair around his finger. "We'll take it slow, yeah?"
"Reckon we can?" Tonks asked softly. "I'd hardly call what we did tonight 'taking it slow'."
"Well, there is that," Bill conceded. "But just think, if it was this good in the middle of your kitchen, imagine what it'll be like in your bedroom..."
She blushed furiously. "I think my head might explode if I do."
"Mine too," he said with a laugh, then waggled his eyebrows at her. "Both of them."
Tonks cuffed him on the shoulder, but her grin was genuine now. "Pillock."
"Guilty as charged. And freezing my arse off, too." Reluctantly, Bill took a few steps back, pulling on his pants and trousers. He bent down and picked Tonks's knickers up off the floor, offering them to her gallantly. This time they were tiny, diaphanous and cherry red, not a dancing hippo in sight. "I believe these belong to you, Madam?"
Giggling, she accepted them from him, struggling to put them on over her booted feet, nearly tumbling off the counter as she did. Bill helped her down from her perch, politely averting his eyes as she tugged her knickers up under her skirt, then did her best to smooth the rumpled garment down again. She wrapped one arm around his waist, leaning against him, her head resting against his shoulder. "I don't know about you, mate, but I'm suddenly famished. Any chance of getting that meal you promised me?"
"A very good one, I think." Bill kissed the crown of her head, then tousled her already unruly hair, marvelling again at her imperfections, her unpredictability. No matter what, a relationship with Tonks would certainly never be dull or boring. He decided he couldn't wait to meet that challenge.