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Against All Odds by patronus_charm
Chapter 1: The First Meeting
I was rather unsure about what I was doing here. I mean, I didn’t even really know what the Order was about. I hadn’t even heard about it until last week, when Kingsley came and cornered me in my office, sorry I mean cubicle, and started banging on about it.
Well, he didn’t really bang on about it given what it was based on. If you exaggerated things they tended to sound a lot more interesting than they really were. Don’t get me wrong, the Order did sound interesting with the whole defeating Voldemort thing going on, but all Kingsley said we would be doing now was basic surveillance work. Nothing which would use my Auror skills.
That was what I was, an Auror. Who would ever have thought that clumsy and loud Nymphadora Tonks would make it as one? When I first told my mum and dad that I had been accepted onto the training programme they thought it was some kind of joke given my lack of stealth skills.
Even Charlie Weasley, who was supposed to be one of my best mates, laughed when I told him that I had been accepted onto it. You should have seen it when I told him I had passed the final exam with flying colours, he looked as if he was going to faint.
Given that my weak attempts at pranking at Hogwarts usually resulted in me getting detentions for the whole week and a telling off from Professor Sprout, I could kind of see why he would react like that. This was with me usually performing the pranks while using my metamorphmagus skills. I would be worried too if the person who was meant to be fighting dark wizards couldn't even get away with trying to enchant all of the Christmas trees to throw pine needles at passers-by.
As well as having appalling balance I also had a terrible sense of direction. I wasn't even sure if I was going the right way now. I would have used a locator spell, but given how crowded Muggle London was with all the kids on school holidays, I would be breaking the Statute of Secrecy by doing so. Getting called to report to the Ministry for that would be pretty embarrassing to say the least.
I pulled the crumbled piece of parchment out of my pocket and looked at the address which was written on it. Number twelve Grimmauld Place, London. My mum knew that place well considering her aunt and uncle used to live there before they kicked the bucket. Of course she didn't really want to talk about them. She never did talk about her family much. I didn’t blame her, as they all sounded like a bunch of nutters.
Sirius Black lived there now. I still had to stop myself from running around screaming at the mention of his name, now that I knew he was innocent. Plus, I did try and at least limit the amount of times I looked like an idiot. He was my cousin of some sorts. Then again, anyone could be my cousin given how big my mum's family was.
I carried on walking along the stereotypical London street in the hope I was going the right way. Gum covered the pavement so you could barely see the original colour. A Muggle mum pushed her child along in a pram with a cigarette dangling in her hand. Some wannabe Muggle gangstas strolled around with their hoods up, despite the fact that it was a warm day in June, and a man who was muttering to himself walked behind them.
England was such a charming place. The fact that we housed the most notorious wizard ever to have existed only added to it all.
I entered a sunlit square which was considerably nicer than the part I had just walked through. Sure, there were still vandalized benches lining a patch of dried out grass, but the streets were litter and gum free unlike the last one. Eyeing the square, I noticed a sign on the edge of the edge of it which had ‘Grimmauld Place’ emblazed upon it.
Wow, Tonks, you managed to get a new place in one piece and on time too. My life was definitely on the up. This was one of the most incident free journeys I had had in a long time, and it was easy to see where number twelve Grimmauld Place was. First of all, it had just miraculously appeared out of nowhere, and I doubted any other wizards or witches lived around here. Secondly, I could see a man wearing a black cloak walking up the stairs to it, and I didn't think cloaks were in vogue in the Muggle world.
I knew I would have a high risk of falling over by doing so, but as I generally didn’t heed to caution, I began to run towards the man entering the townhouse. Of course the running was entirely down to the excitement of being here and not out of fear of the house disappearing in case I didn't reach it in time. The Hufflepuff side of me was shown by skirting round the cat strolling the street instead of leaping over it. I then proceeded to stampede over the curb and clambered up the stairs, ignoring the tight sensation in my chest.
The door to the house had opened to let the man in. I was so close to it now I could see the interior of the entrance hall, and to my surprise I could see something like a troll’s leg standing in it.
Evidently, it was so distracting that my brain had failed to realise that there was a step approaching. Before I knew it, I could see the ground below me coming closer and closer to my face, and then a sudden soft feeling as I impacted with something. Though the something was currently unknown. Looking down to find out what it was, I wanted to let out a small scream when I saw what the soft thing was. It was the man who had been walking into the house.
I could almost hear my mum’s voice scolding me in my head, “Nymphadora Tonks, how many times have I told you, to look where you are going. If I had it my way, I would cast a super-sensory charm on you, so you could never bump into things again.” Thinking about it now, it would be a pretty cool to have one cast on me. It may prevent future events like this one from happening again.
“I’m so sorry. I have inborn clumsiness, so I can’t do anything about it really,” I apologised to the man who was still unknown to me, while pulling myself back up.
“It’s fine, no harm done,” the man replied, patting down his cloak so to remove any dust.
While he did this, it gave me a chance to take in his appearance while not looking too much like a stalker. He had rather worn and shabby robes, and his sandy coloured hair had the odd speck of grey in it. His face didn’t have any lines in it though, so it was rather hard to guess his age. I looked at his eyes to see if that would give me any clue about it, but the honey coloured eyes didn’t appear to reveal anything and appeared to be reflecting on the world. When I said reflecting, I meant deep reflecting. My sort of reflection was usually noticing my laces were undone or something similar.
“Eying up poor old Remus then, Nymphadora?” called out an unfamiliar voice. I spun round to see who it was, and I could immediately tell. The black hair, strong jaw line and good looks were all common traits of the Black family, so this must be the infamous Sirius Black who strolled into the entrance hall. Merlin, I really did wish that I had that effortless elegance rather than this effortless clumsiness.
“How did you know I was Nymphadora? Could you also refrain from calling me that in the future. I shall not be punished for my mum’s bad baby name choice. Tonks will do.” I detested the name Nymphadora; I mean, did I seem like a Nymphadora to you?
“Who else would go around with ridiculous bubble-gum pink hair?" Sirius teased. "Besides, the last time I saw you was when you were a toddler. You had a habit of being clumsy even back then.”
“For the record, my hair’s not ridiculous, it’s cool. Secondly, I’ve never met Remus before, so I was just curious about him.” I didn’t want this Remus guy to think I was a stalker or something. It was just in Auror training we were taught to observe everything, so it kind of became a habit.
Remus had finally finished getting all of the dust off of his cloak and stuck out his hand. “Don’t worry about it. I’m Remus Lupin, as Sirius has just said. I take it that you're Ted and Andromeda’s daughter?”
“Yep, that’s me, the one and only,” I replied. “So where’s this meeting thing, then?”
“In the kitchen," Sirius answered. "We probably should go through. Mad-Eye was just moaning about you being late as usual.”
“Mad-Eye’s always such a sticker to the schedule though. He really should go with the flow more, he would be a lot happier. I guess we should go in, being on his bad side is never particularly nice,” I grimaced, remembering the numerous times I had been on it.
As we headed to the kitchen, I took the chance to learn more about my ancestral home. I could see why Mum didn’t really want to talk about them. If you still couldn’t believe they were nutters, wait until you saw their décor. They had house elf heads on their walls. Who on earth did that?
As soon as I walked into the kitchen, I wanted to let out a gasp of shock. I honestly didn't think I would recognise so many people. Then again, I honestly didn't know what to expect.
Of course there were the people you would expect to find here, Dumbledore, Mad-Eye, Kingsley and McGonagall. They sat clustered together and spoke in hushed voices. When we walked in, Kingsley gave me a brief wink then returned to speaking to Dumbledore. They must be talking about something serious, I noted, as there seemed as if they had a three metre protection zone round them. Anyhow hanging out with my old head and deputy head teacher would be a little strange.
Then there were the people I was surprised to see there, Molly and Arthur Weasley, who I sort of knew due to being friends with Charlie. Bill Weasley, who of course I knew from Hogwarts; Mundungus Fletcher, who I had met from my brief forays into The Hogs Head, and Hagrid, Hogwarts’ Gamekeeper. That group of people proved to be a livelier bunch and had just broken into raucous laughter to Molly Weasley's annoyance. She began tapping what looked like a pair of knitting needles together and the lines on her forehead had fused together.
Then probably the most unexpected of all, my old Potions teacher, Snape. I always thought he looked dodgy and had a bit of an evil streak about him, so I was surprised to see him. I think the others thought the same about him, as he sat in an isolated corner and looked as if he was being tortured.
“Ah, Remus and Nymphadora, what a pleasure it is to see you both again. Of course you know some of these people, so I will simply introduce you to the ones you do not,” Dumbledore said, while beaming us a smile. What was up with that guy? I swear he never seemed unhappy; if only I could have some of his optimism.
“This is Dedalus Diggle, Emmeline Vance, Arabella Figg, Elphias Doge and Hestia Jones.” There were some odd ones there, one man wore a purple top hat and I swore that Figg woman was wearing carpet slippers.
I decided to take the safe choice and slipped into a free seat next to Bill. At least I knew him, so there would be no awkward small talk. Though he looked a little weird with his fang earring, but he was probably a lot saner than the top hat guy.
“As I was just saying before you arrived, this meeting is simply one informing you about what the Order actually does. Voldemort is back, and though the Ministry likes to deny that fact, we cannot do the same. The longer we ignore him, the stronger his power will become. He may become undefeatable if we stand back and let this continue,” Dumbledore said gravely. “At this moment in time, we will mainly be trying to gather more information about former Death Eaters, and see if they show any signs of going back to their former leader. It’s essential that we always know how strong Voldemort is and are able to find out what he’s up to. Other than that, we will be trying to recruit new members.”
“Constant vigilance will be an absolute key to our success. Many of you know what happened to me when I let my guard down for just a second,” Mad-Eye added on. I had wondered why he never replied to any of the owls I sent him. I mean, I knew that Scotland was far away, but I thought he could have at least replied to one of them. Of course, when the truth came out I thought that was a lot cooler than being a teacher for a year.
“Yes it will be," Kinglsey agreed. "As Tonks and I are both Aurors. We have access to all the latest news and rumours circulating around, so that should be a big help too."
That seemed to have aroused that Remus bloke’s attention. His eyes snapped over to me, and his mouth hung open. Why did this always happen when people found out I was an Auror? I got that I was clumsy, but still, there was no need to look so surprised.
“I work at the Ministry too, so I could help find out things,” Arthur Weasley added in. Oh yeah, I remembered Charlie mentioned he worked with Muggles. Apparently he was obsessed with them and collected any Muggle thing he could lay his hands on. He sounded a bit like Dad but the reverse as our house was filled with old magical relics.
“Thank you Kingsley and Arthur. Any extra information will be greatly appreciated. As there’s nothing else to discuss, I suggest that we meet in two weeks' time for an update. You’re free to leave.” As soon as those words had come out of Dumbledore's mouth, Professor Slimy Snape swept out of the room. It seemed as if he felt that every second he had to be here was torture in his mind. He just needed to socialise more, and then he might even make some friends. Plus, I really needed to get out of the habit of calling him that. Imagine if I actually said that to him.
“Alright there, Tonks?" Bill Weasley asked me. "I haven’t seen you for some time.”
“Of course I haven’t seen you! You’ve been in Egypt for the past few years! Have you seen the price for Portkeys to there? They’re bloody expensive, I'll tell you! How’s Charlie though; I haven’t seen him in a while either?”
“He’s fine. Still out in Romania, but he should hopefully be back for Christmas. I’m off to the Leaky Cauldron for some lunch; do you want to come too, so we can have a proper catch-up?”
“Yeah of course, that would be great-” I attempted to reply, but I was cut off mid-sentence by someone crying out.
“Tonks, you’re not going anywhere other than back to work!" Kingsley yelled from across the room. "You’re meant to hand me that report on Dmitri Vablatsky at two, and last time I checked you hadn’t even started it. I need to give it to Scrimgeour by the end of the day, so you’d better get cracking.”
“Oops, I forgot about that! I guess it will have to be another time Bill. I’ve missed too many deadlines already, so I’d better not miss this one too.”
“No problem. From what I recall from Hogwarts, you spent most of your life in detention, rather than out of it," Bill chuckled. "This doesn’t surprise me in the least.”
“See you at the next meeting then,” I cried over my shoulder before making my way to the door. I saw Sirius standing in the doorway, looking at if he had just smoked something dodgy. He managed to come out of his reverie when seeing me.
“Where are you off to then?” he asked.
“I’ve got to go and finish a report for Kingsley. I somehow managed to forget that I had to do it." I felt heat rush to my cheeks and immediately knew I was probably standing here bright red in the face.
“Don’t worry; I was exactly like that when I was at school. Of course your mum was a star pupil and the teachers adored her. How is Andromeda? It would be lovely to see her again.”
I tried to avoid looking at his face, as I was hoping that this wouldn’t come up. I hadn’t exactly broached the subject of me joining the Order to Mum and Dad yet, let alone anything about Sirius being innocent and here.
“Erm well, you see the thing is, Mum and Dad don’t exactly know the full story about you yet," I said hesitantly. "They’re still convinced that you’re a mass murderer, so I don’t think they would be too pleased about seeing you any time soon.” As soon as I uttered those words I could see Sirius’ face slowly fall.
“That’s fine; I can understand it would be hard to explain my situation to other people. It was nice to meet you though, Tonks. Feel free to stop by anytime, as it would be great to get to know you.” I could tell that he was just trying to be happy for my sake with his fake smile plastered onto his face, but I could hear a hint of sadness in his voice. I should tell Mum about him, it would be nice for both of them.
“That would be great. I’d better go though; otherwise Kingsley will probably kill me. See you soon Sirius,” I replied, while heading towards the front door.
Damn Kingsley, always trying to ruin my fun. This report was going to take hours. At least the Order meeting was interesting, though it did have some odd people there such as that Remus bloke.
Author Note: Hello everyone! I’ve been resisting Remus/Tonks plot bunnies for weeks now, as I would have 4 WIPs then, but I eventually gave into them! I hope you liked Tonks’s characterisation, as I had a lot of fun writing her. It would be great to hear what you think of the first chapter, so if you left a review, I would love you forever!