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Epitaph of a Good Man by toomanycurls
Chapter 1 : Clumsy Meeting
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 33

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Faithful friend, tender lover, patient teacher- the epitaph of our hero, Remus John Lupin. I was one of the fortunate people to know him in all three ways. I am sorry to say that I am also the reason he died. Maybe once I leave you my version of events, you’ll spare me some pity or even forgive me for my heinous crime.

My relationship with Remus started in an unlikely place, in the middle of a revolution against Voldemort. I was brought into the Order of the Phoenix by Arthur Weasley and Kingsley Shacklebolt. I overheard Arthur telling a time for a meeting and asked them what they were plotting. They hesitated bringing me in, but Dumbledore trusted me and remembered me from my school years. He was confident that I would be a great addition to the Order but didn’t really explain what the Order was. I had a few theories: with Dumbledore being in the news stating that Voldemort returned, it made sense that, if he was recruiting, it was for an anti-Voldemort cause. Despite my theories and guesses, the first meeting was quite a surprise.

Kingsley brought me to my first meeting at number 12 Grimmauld Place. On our way there Kingsley explained that everyone at the meeting supported Dumbledore and by extension Harry Potter who had been ridiculed in the news lately. Before he opened the door, Kingsley said, “Sirius Black will be inside this house. He is no more a criminal than you or me.” I only had a few moment to digest this bit of news before I was ushered inside a very gothic looking entryway and down to a basement level kitchen where people were gathering for the meeting. Kingsley started to introduce me to the crowd as everyone was getting seated.

I had never met such a strange group of people. There was Mundungus; a crook, the Weasleys; a large and generally happy family, Severus Snape and Minerva McGonagall; both professors at Hogwarts, the former Auror Mad-Eye Moody, Sirius Black; whose innocence I was still trying to wrap my mind around, an  assortment of witches and wizards; most of whom I hadn’t met before and at Sirius’ left sat Remus.

Most women writing about a lover they recently lost would say something about “having that feeling” about him at their first meeting. I won’t say that - it wasn’t true. My first observations of Remus were that he looked nervous and somewhat awkward: not the usual winning characteristics I go for.

As the meeting started, I was eager to hear what was going on and it showed. Where most of the Order members were at their ease, leaning back in their chairs or sitting so they could take notes, I was on the edge of my seat and leaning in to see around the entire table.  I caught a bemused look on Remus’ face,  almost as if he hadn’t seen a young woman in quite a while and with the crowd he ran around with I could see how that would happen.

That night they were planning a trip to Little Whinging to extract Harry Potter. Evidently he had performed illegal magic and was in danger of being expelled. Moody was standing at the end of the table and used a bare wall as an easel for his diagrams and figures. The meeting reminded me of an Auror task force deployment. I caught myself wondering if Moody was still following standard Auror practices out of habit or if he established the standard.

“If he was attacked by dementors, they can’t expel him, can they?” I chipped in.

Several members shot me impatient looks but it was Molly who answered, “We, well Dumbledore, feel that the Ministry will try to say that there were not any dementors there that night. We have of course discussed all of the possibilities for the hearing.”

Sirius cut over Molly to add, “Our main concern is getting Harry away from the Dursleys before he does something rash. Again.”

I smiled quickly and gave a nod to show that I understood. The group didn’t seem too keen on giving people catch-up notes. I was intent on finding a remedy to my bungled first statement. From what Minerva said about the Dursley family, they were horrible. They sounded greedy and arrogant which inspired a ploy to get them out of the house when we needed to get to Harry. “I’ll lure them out with a letter saying they’ve won a citywide contest for best-kept lawns,” I shot off, inadvertently cutting off Remus. The rest of the Order seemed mildly impressed with the lie I invented; there was a slight murmur around the circle. Remus coughed quietly.

“Now that we have bait, we need a group to go to the house and guard Harry in his trip back to Grimmauld Place.” Most of the group raised their hands, including me. I was eager to meet Harry and get my feet wet with the Order.

When the meeting adjourned for the evening, Sirius invited me to stay for some drinks which I eagerly accepted in order to probe him for some knowledge about the Order. Mad-Eye and Remus also hung back giving me the chance to chat with Mad-Eye for a while. I knew him by reputation and he wanted to hear how the Auror training was nowadays. After a short while Moody looked at his watch and got up to leave. “I have guard duty,” he grunted and turned to go.

“Guard duty?” I asked. “What are you guarding?” Moody paused a moment, his back to me, probably glaring at me with his magical eye. ‘Potter’ was all the answer I received before he left.

A few moments after Moody left the kitchen two boys, identical twins, meandered into the large room. They noticed me right away mainly because I was an unknown Order member and I changed my hair from pink to purple. I had been contemplating it for quite some time.

“Woah,”one said.

“Wicked,” said the other. Then they both asked, “Who are you?”

Remus answered for me, “This is Nymphadora Tonks, a new member of the Order.” I gave Remus a contemptuous look.

“Call me Tonks,” I said firmly. “I’m a metamorphmagus.” I relished my ability to change shape and physical appearance. More than a great party trick, it helped tons with my Auror training.

“We’re Fred and George Weasley,” said the one I took to be Fred. I saw him tucking something flesh-like into his pocket. “I see we missed the meeting,” he noted looking around the room.

Sirius answered this time; “Yes and your parents went upstairs. Apparated down, did you?”

The twins, who looked a bit like their older brother Charlie,  grinned. “We thought we’d pick up some information.” George pulled another flesh-like string out of his pocket. “Extendable Ears. Fred and I invented them.” I took it and put it up to my ear, the opposite end crept towards Remus and Sirius who were chuckling. “They will move towards the loudest sound in the vicinity.” George lowered his voice and said, “We’ve been learning about the Order all summer.”

Remus and Sirius exchanged looks that indicated this wasn’t entirely new information. A shrill voice rang across the room. “You've been doing what all summer?” Molly Weasley had her hands on her hips and look of utmost rage etched on her face. She stormed over to her twins. “Accio!” she yelled reaching out her hand, easily catching the Extendable Ears. Without another word, she stormed out of the kitchen. The twins had a look of terror on their faces. With two looks of painful concentration, they disapparated.

I gave Sirius a wry smile. “Things stay interesting around here I see. Her shouting makes your mum sound like a soft whisperer,” I said smirking. I managed to set off the hideous painting of Aunt Walburga on my way in that evening. It screamed and cursed at me for my mum’s marriage to a muggle-born wizard. I felt slightly bitter that my parent’s actions weighed so heavily on how my ‘family’ treated me. Sirius seemed to be an exception, he and my mum apparently got along well when they were kids.

“How’s your hand, Sirius?” Remus asked, breaking me out of my reverie. I glanced over and saw Sirius dipping a cloth in a bowl of dark yellow liquid.

“Better than it was. I can’t say I blame Harry; I knew something like this would happen,” Sirius said flexing his hand and cringing. I could see where Sirius and Mum had similar features, both had dark hair, similar scowls, and a slight air of superiority.

“What happened to your hand?” I asked my nose crinkling a little. “And what is that you’re using for it?”

“It’s essence of murtlap, it helps for cuts and bruises,” Remus answered. I gave him a slightly puzzled look. He answered for Sirius and vice versa as if they were a couple married some 30 years. “Harry sent his owl after the dementor attack and he wanted answers. She attacked Sirius, Ron, and Hermione,” Remus continued, interpreting my look of confusion to be about the cuts, not his behavior.

I leaned back in my chair and looked around the room. It had the feeling of a place recently stripped of extra furnishings. There were rectangular light spots on the walls where there had likely been portraits of the family and though the hearth by the fireplace was covered in a thick dust, there were clean areas. It looked as if Sirius had gone through and removed anything that reminded him of his family.

Three more kids came into the room then, two of them wearing bandages on their hands. “So, you’re Ron and Hermione?” I asked smiling.

“Who the ruddy hell are you?” Ron asked pulling out a chair and plopping down.

Hermione shot him an impatient look. “It’s a little obvious, Ron. Fred said there was a new member down here,” Hermione said huffily. I wondered if she was always so imperious with him.

“I’m Tonks. As you’ve heard, I’m new.” I smiled and thinking it’d be fun, changed my nose to be the same as Ron’s nose, long and heavily freckled.

The other girl giggled. “I’m Ginny,” she said grinning still. “How did you do that?”

“She’s a metamorphmagus!” Hermione blurted out excitedly. “Professor McGonagall has mentioned them in class before.”

Ron, who was still scowling about being reprimanded earlier ventured aloud, “…so you can change your appearance?” Nodding, I glanced over to Remus and Sirius; they were both smirking a little. “Do another nose,” Ron asked with a slightly demanding tone.

I thought about it and made my nose wide and ugly, then I did Dumbledore. Sirius interrupted my show with a question to Ron and Ginny. “What’s your mum doing upstairs?” He glanced up to the ceiling, which was lightly showering everyone with dust from the movement and commotion.

“I think she’s gathering up Fred and George’s snack boxes and, uh other things.” Ginny grinned at Ron. Soon we heard Mrs. Weasley heading down the stairs followed closely by her two shouting sons, all three of them looking irritated.  

“It's our stuff. We invented it!” One of them said angrily looking as if he’d like to jinx his mother.

Molly, ignoring the arguments from her twins,  threw the box into the fire and the extendable ears wriggled and writhed like worms trying to avoid a certain death.

“Bed. All of you,” she said in a voice of forced calm. Fred and George looked as if they had something to say, it sounded like ‘of age’ but I couldn’t quite tell. “I don’t care if you are of age, get yourself up to your room!” They left with a crack leaving  Hermione, Ginny, and Ron who quietly exited the kitchen. Molly sat down tiredly rubbing a spot on her temple. I tried to imagine what it was like taking care of so many children when I at times struggled to take care of myself.

“Cup of tea, Molly?” I asked looking around to found the stove. There was a kettle which looked relatively clean compared to the rest of the kitchen.  I bit my lip and tried to remember the incantation for hot water. I was horrible at domestic spells. I muttered what sounded like the right spell and the kettle shot off the stove. Remus got up, grabbing the tea kettle on his way, and stood next to me at the stove.

“Don’t do much cooking?” He asked quietly, a slight smile playing on his face. Before I could answer, he tapped the kettle with his wand causing it to whistle. Apparently, he had mastered household spells. I took the kettle and said a quiet ‘thanks’ while pouring Molly a hot cup of tea. Molly took it with a weary look but said thanks nonetheless.

“Where’s Arthur?” I asked just noticing his absence. Molly sipped her tea for a moment debating on what to say.

“He’s on guard duty,” she said quietly. Then she got up as if an idea had just occurred to her, pointed her wand to the door and muttered an incantation. “Now they won’t be able to listen.” She saw my look of slight confusion and said, “I put an imperturbable charm on the door. I don’t think those ears could make it through.” I was surprised by her cunning; she was made of tougher stuff than she appeared. “Yes, Arthur is on guard duty, at the Ministry.”

“Is Harry at the Ministry?” I asked raising an eyebrow. It seemed a bit daft to have two accomplished wizards guarding the same boy.

“There are two guards,” Sirius said shifting in his seat. “They are not guarding the same thing.” I looked towards the other two for more explanation.

Remus leaned forward slightly and said “It’s in the Department of Mysteries. We’re not quite sure what it is, but Dumbledore said that if Voldemort,” I flinched slightly, “obtains it we’ll be lost.”

Molly went to bed soon after that and I stayed around for a bit longer talking with Remus and Sirius. Sirius was lively in a way that told me he had been lonely for quite a long time. Remus was rather quiet throughout the evening. He seemed very introspective rather than outgoing. It was after midnight when I decided to go home, I did have to work in the morning and needed to write a letter to the Dursleys.

Remus offered to walk me to the door. He said he didn’t want me to run into Kreacher, the basket-case of a house elf that lived there. I managed to trip over an umbrella stand, for the second of many times, but Remus caught me before I fell. I looked up into his face giving him a dopey smile. He helped me up and stunned the portrait. If it hadn’t been for the recent screaming issuing from the portrait, it would have been a nice moment to kiss. Sirius came bolting out of the kitchen, looked around, and shot Remus a quizzical look. Remus let go of me as if he were embarrassed to be holding a woman.

I smiled at the both of them and left before I could cause more mayhem. I spent a good deal of the night awake in bed thinking of that night’s events. It was a lot of information to take in and there were a lot of new people to get to know. I have to admit that Remus didn’t strike me as a very intriguing person, though our moment by the portrait did make its way into my thoughts that night before I dozed off.

A/N: I had a ton of help from my beta  DumbledoresArmyOfOne in fixing this chapter. ^_^



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