sparsenicjade
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Harry said, "Hello," and he was tempted to smile, because there were things that he missed and Tonks certainly fell into that category, but he didn't. The things that he missed were far, far outnumbered by all the things he still woke up every single morning, glad to have escaped.

"Wotcher, Harry," she said, and it was just a touch too bright, like the orange of her hair.

He said, "Doesn't match your eyes."

She blinked and her eyes opened a bright yellow that matched, but scared the living crap out of Harry. Still, he'd asked for it, so that was only fair. She asked, "Better?"

Harry asked, "Would you like to come in?"

She stepped inside. There were pictures lining the entry hall, friends old and new. There were still scenes of sunsets and blue ribbons for things like "heirloom tomatoes." Tonks said, "This is a wasted errand."

Harry said, "Yes. But it is good to see you. Stay for a bit? You can tell them you were trying to convince me."

Tonks said, "Sounds about right. Have anything to eat?"

"Fresh from the fields," Harry said, and took her in to the house.

*


The pictures of the magnificently good-looking young man with his arm hanging over Harry's shoulders turned out not to be coincidences or posed one-offs, Tonks found out, when said young man--who was really obviously a bit older than Harry and not that young, but Tonks had reached that stage where everyone who wasn't her age was, by comparison, young--sauntered into the house and said, "The apple trees are coming along nicely."

He had what Tonks could only imagine was a North Carolingian accent. She'd never heard one before then, but she could see why Harry would move in with him and trade sexual favors, even discounting the ridiculous good looks thing. Also, he had crazy hair, which Tonks could respect in a man.

It was the first thing she'd ever liked about Harry, even before she'd known him. That whole Boy-Who-Lived-Thing, that had just been a plus next to the hair.

Harry smiled and said, "I'm not making you tarts until you clean the damn bathroom."

"It’s your turn."

"No, it's not," Harry said, and kissed his lover. He pulled away from the kiss and turned the man around.

Tonks could tell it was the first time he'd noticed her. He blinked. "Ah."

Harry said, "John, this is Tonks. Tonks, John."

John reached out a hand. "Nice hair."

Tonks took it. "Yours too."

John blinked again.

*


Harry found Tonks in the kitchen at three in the morning, when John was long since sleeping the sleep of those who have never known a home beyond pasture and field. It was one of his very favorite things about John. That, and the way he didn't ask questions, didn't need to know why Harry prowled the house or didn't trust ordinary locks or took pictures incessantly. Occasionally he asked about the people in the pictures Harry had hanging on the walls, the people he didn't know, but mostly he left it to Harry to explain.

Sometimes, Harry never got around to that part.

To Tonks, who didn't need explaining, he said, "Orange juice? I squeezed it this morning."

"You grow oranges?"

"No. Local farmers market."

"Pour me some of that."

Harry grinned, and did as she said. She asked, "What do you do?"

"Breed horses."

"The Muggle kind."

"That kind."

"You don't miss flying?"

"There are things I miss," Harry said. Flying was definitely on that list. He didn't need to say that.

"We miss you."

Harry said, "I know." But the people he wanted to miss him weren't around to do so anymore, and, "I have people who would miss me here too."

"John's sort of unrealistically good looking, don't you think?"

"Yes. It's hard to keep slipping him the love potion without him noticing after all these years, but-"

"Shut it." Tonks laughed. "Show me your horses."

"It's dark out."

"Yes, well, I'm a witch," she said.

Harry rolled his eyes.

*


Under a rather powerful Lumos, the horses looked nearly magical themselves. There was a Pinto with brown and black markings. Harry said, "Named her Dora."

Tonks said, "Blow me," but was actually a little pleased.

He said, "While I imagine you could stir up the right equipment, I think John'd have more than a few things to say about that."

He walked her further into the stable and showed her the White Arabian. He reached up to pat along the creature's nose. "Alba."

And that was so predictable that Tonks almost said something, but there were a few topics of conversation still painful even to her. "Show me the others."

Arabians and Pintos were the main breeds, but he had a Dappled Grey he had named Minerva. It looked at Tonks with wise eyes. Tonks felt tired. She knew she wouldn't sleep regardless.

Harry asked, "Wanna ride?"

"What's Dora's temperament like?" she asked.

"Surprisingly calm," Harry said, and went for the saddles.

*


Harry lead them back toward the stable at a light canter at around five in the morning. It was John's waking time and Harry knew he probably wouldn't make it for a "good morning" kiss, but he'd like to throw on a bit of breakfast. John never asked for that either, which made Harry rather enjoy the novelty of choosing to do so day after day. Also, John always thanked him very nicely.

John was waiting on the back porch, coffee cup in hand, bed-head apparent. It wasn't that different from his regular look, but Harry knew all the little differences.

Next to him, Tonks was bouncing more in the saddle than was wholly proper, cooing at Dora about being a good girl. Harry waved at John. John waved back.

Tonks yelled, "Wotcher John," following it more quietly with a, "I understand," only for Harry's ears.

He wrapped his hands just a bit more tightly around Molly's reigns and said, "John, the horses, they never come and ask me for things. Not like-"

"No," Tonks said. She repeated, "I understand."

Harry nodded. "I have missed you." He picked up the pace, anxious to chat with John about Dora's progress and nearly didn't catch Tonks', "thanks."

Nearly.


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