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The Thrill of the Chase by TheHeirOfSlytherin
Format: Short story
Chapter 1: Taking the Case
If there was one thing Nymphadora Tonks did not like, it was giving up. She didn't stop when her father told her not to climb the trees deep in the woods surrounding her house, because she refused to be beaten. Even if she did fracture her arm falling off and it did get her in some trouble. She never backed down when the boys in the years above mocked her ability or laughed when she tripped over her own feet, though she was sure they tripped her on purpose, refusing to let them get to her. And she certainly did not let Charlie Weasley tell her what to do.
So when her friend told her not to listen to Parker, or find his grandfather's antique watch, and to let him deal with his own problems, of course Tonks said yes. He just didn't like Parker after 'The Incident' in third year. Admittedly, Parker was in the wrong for having Charlie dangled upside down by his ankles in the Great Hall, but he also shouldn't have been able to catch him. Charlie was usually so much faster than that. But that was a long time ago, well last year, and because of a Quidditch game they'd played the day before. It was nothing and Charlie had no right to tell her what to do.
Besides, it wasn't like Parker was the first person to come asking her to find something for them. There had been numerous people over the four years since they'd started Hogwarts, all knowing of her hunt for a good mystery, her want to be a part of something exciting. That she wanted to be an Auror after she finished Hogwarts was common knowledge. She knew that most had just been humoring her, creating their own mysteries for her to solve, sometimes for their amusement, but lately it had started to get serious, people genuinely needing her services, they said. In fact, Parker was the third person this week.
"You'll definitely look?" he asked, sceptically. "You're not messing me around about this, Tonks? You're not going to listen to him?"
Tonks once again turned to her right, to her red-haired friend sulking in the corner because she'd already said yes. She'd explain to him later; it wasn't about Parker. It had nothing to do with getting to Charlie or ignoring him or their sports rivalry; she would play no part in any of that. It was because three people had come to her, genuinely upset that their treasures had been taken from them. She'd be devastated if anyone stole something so precious to her. "Yes," she said softly. "I'll find your watch."
Parker seemed to visibly relax hearing her confirmation and pulled out a small bag, sliding it across the table. Tonks picked it up, almost cautiously, and opened it, tipping ten galleons into her hand. "I don't want your money, Parker," she said hurriedly, handing it back to him.
But he just picked it up and put the bag in her hand. "It's worth it, if you find my watch. It's very important to me and I want it back undamaged. You'll get another ten when I get my watch." Parker shrugged. "Do what you want with the money, I don't care. The first is something in return, the second will just be a thank you."
Parker turned to walk away from the desk, leaving the Charms classroom they'd chosen to meet up in. "If I get my watch back undamaged, of course," he called from over his shoulder.
Tonks stared at the money in awe. She'd never been paid before. Her allowance at home was only five galleons and she would always spend it soon after receiving it. Suddenly this felt like more money than she'd ever had in one moment. Grinning, she turned to Charlie. "Want to help?"
"No," he muttered, refusing to look at her.
"We're gonna help three people, do some good," she reasoned. Charlie shook his head, his shaggy hair falling in his eyes. Tonks shook the money bag. "It's five each. Ten when we find it." This time Charlie's eyes narrowed when he shook his head, but a small smile began to form. A step forward. "I'll let you rub it in his face that he needed our help."
Eyes wide with sudden enthusiasm for getting back at Parker for something, even if Tonks didn't necessarily approve, Charlie jumped up. "Okay."
Result. "It doesn't take much, does it, Charlie?"
"Shush you," he scolded, taking the money bag from her and shaking it by his ear before putting it in his pocket. Tonks would only lose it. They left the classroom and made their way to the Great Hall. "People only need to say 'mystery' and you're on your feet."
"Mysteries are fun."
"So is getting to Parker," he countered. "You know, you should solve the mystery of what his first name is. Have you ever noticed that no one ever calls him by his first name, only 'Parker'?"
Tonks nodded, "I have and not only am I working on finding out what his name is, I will find out why he doesn't want people knowing what it is."
"It's probably something really embarrassing," Charlie laughed. "Like Barnabas or Septimus."
"Isn't Septimus your middle name?" Tonks asked, faking genuine curiosity.
Charlie's face went an unattractive shade of pink and he scanned the corridor for any kind of movement. When he saw there was none, he turned back to Tonks, who was holding her sides and shaking with laughter. "Be quiet."
"I'm sorry," she managed to get out. "It's just... You should have seen your face." She wrapped her arm around Charlie's shoulders and squeezed lightly. "What would I do without you?"
Tonks moved away before she got an answer, turned to smirk at him. "Tonks, watch out for the -" But it was too late; Tonks walked into one of the knights, fell to the floor as it crashed besides her. "Armour," Charlie finished. He stopped in front of her and looked down. "Does that answer your question?"
A/N: It's fun to write a story that's not for a challenge. I hope you enjoy this fun little mystery. I've never written Tonks or Charlie before, but I love their characters so much it was only a matter of time. :P
Reviews are much appreciated. :)