Chapter 17 : Nice and Angular
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Thanks to Diandra for inspiring a part of this chapter.
During my last few days in London, I wanted to see as many people as I could. It turned out to be a nearly fruitless endeavor. I went to Diagon Alley. The changed there seemed to parallel the shifts in my life. The once busy, lively street was emptier than a library after exams. I felt that the disasters and tragedy in the wizarding world was significantly aligned with Remus and me breaking up. I knew it was a selfish, sycophantic thought, but the two ideas were linked in my mind. I came upon Fred and George’s joke shop. It popped out like red lipstick on a man’s collar.
I went inside, feeling pleasantly curious. “Hey, Tonks.” George said with a smile. I attempted a smiled. I
“Wotcher, George, Fred.” My voice barely carried over the bustle of people in the store. Fred was occupied with customers. He smiled and nodded in acknowledgement. George came up to me, a worried look on his face. He had the same look in his eyes that Molly wore when she was concerned for me.
“How are you holding up?” he asked in a quiet voice, pulling me out of the crowd and walking with me towards the back of the store. I absentmindedly grabbed a box of skiving snacks and started fiddling with it. I said I was doing great. George was giving me a penetrating stare. “No, you’re not.” I scowled at his contradiction; people automatically linked my hair with not being well. They were right, but having such an obvious marker of my state bothered me. “I can see it in your eyes,” George said quietly. His hand rested on my shoulder; it was awfully close to my neck. “I want to help.” He was speaking to me in a low, comforting voice.
I recoiled slightly, backing away from him. It wasn’t that George didn’t suit my fancy; he was as handsome as Charlie. I couldn’t bear the thought of being involved with another man, especially someone who was giving indications of liking me. I didn’t want my feelings for Remus to be displaced onto another man. I wouldn’t mind intimacy but my past experiences said that it would be unfair. “I… there’s no need, George. I’ll— things will be alright.” After a few moments, I shot around for a change of topic. “Did you hear I’m moving to Hogsmeade for a bit?” I asked, hoping that I hadn’t created a ball of awkwardness between us.
George smiled. “Of course, Mum’s been in a state about it. Then again, she gets in a state about everything.” Fred had caught the last few sentences and said, “We’re thinking about taking over Zonko’s there.” Fred had a knowing grin on his face.
I acted as if his grin was an ordinary grin, not one that was trying to coax his brother to spend more time with me. “I can’t hang around for too long. I have a lot of packing to do,” I said feeling relieved that neither of them could contradict me. I was tempted to stay, flirt with George, but my days of idle flirting were long gone. “How much for the skiving snacks?” I asked deciding I should at least buy something. I could use them to get Dawlish sick once and a while. I left after I paid for the snack box I had been carrying around.
I was in Hogsmeade three days before the students arrived. I had two trunks with me when I stumbled off the Knight Bus. Stan had been obnoxious and tried to chat me up during the ride. I usually made myself look like an older woman when I rode the Knight Bus. Stan was one of those guys that didn’t understand the concept a one-time snog.
Dawlish was already at the flat when I got there. He took the largest room. I took the room furthest away from his. I was glad to see we had our own fireplace and bathroom. Dawlish kept his creepiness to a minimum when I first arrived. Proudfoot and Savage seemed to be enough of a crowd for Dawlish to keep his tongue and hands at bay. I was grateful. It didn’t take me long to get settled in. Most of the furniture and things we’d need were there already. I put up a picture of Remus and me. I accepted that we weren’t going to get back together anytime soon, but I wanted to keep him close and his picture was the closest I could get.
I didn’t sleep my first night in Hogsmeade. I had Elton John and Freckles there with me, but I was terrified that Dawlish would try to sneak in. I did a lot of introspection while I stared at the ceiling. When I thought about Remus, there was always a surge of warm love, but it was mingled with anger and a drop of hatred. I didn’t want to feel that towards him. I had to think of an outlet for it. The only outlet I had ever used was displacing emotions with physical relationships.
I decided to visit Hogwarts the next day. I knew I wouldn’t be able to visit very often once school started. I went up to the Dumbledore’s office and found it opening for me. Snape came out from behind the statue. “What are you doing here?” Snape asked with a bite to his voice.
“Nothing that concerns you,” I said sneering. I stepped behind the statue before it closed. I didn’t know the password. I knocked at Dumbledore’s door. He called for me to enter. He seemed glad to see me. When he asked what brought me there, I didn’t know what to say. “I thought I should come see if you wanted me to focus my attention on anything or anyone particular while I’m stationed up here,” I said, hoping that it sounded like a legitimate reason so barge in without an appointment.
“Ah, well, I don’t have any particular assignment other than the one the Ministry gave you. I am glad they’re pretending to watch for death eaters. I imagine that part of your assignment is to keep an eye on me?” Dumbledore smiled slightly.
“Not my assignment but I think Dawlish is to follow you around.” I said hoping that he’d get hexed again. “I was— ” I wanted to ask if he knew where Remus was, but I didn’t know if it was prudent to ask. “I wondered if you could tell me where Remus is,” I finally said.
Dumbledore raised his hands and rested them on his desk. I gasped. I hadn’t noticed before, perhaps I was too preoccupied, but one of his hands looked dead. Worse than dead, actually. “No need to worry about my hand, these things happen from time to time.” Dumbledore sighed, “I could tell you where he is, but a visit might compromise his safety. What I’m worried about is how a broken heart can affect an otherwise gifted witch.” Dumbledore’s eyes twinkled. “I hope this is not too personal for me to say, but I do hope he comes around to listen to his heart and not his head. Hopefully the two will reconcile themselves before he loses you for good.”
I nodded, not really sure why I was doing so. “I should head back to the village; I think we’re having a meeting tonight,” I said quietly. I wasn’t meeting Dumbledore’s eyes. He stood politely and said I was welcome back at any time. I left and headed out. I ran into Snape, quite literally. I tripped and fell backwards.
“Watch where you’re going. I’d think an Auror would be better coordinated,” he said not bothering to help me up. Snape had been sharp with me as a student, at least now I could argue back without cleaning out the dungeon without magic.
“I would think that a teacher could walk through the halls without flying into people. Or is that just from your bat-like behavior?” I asked coolly. I was on my feet now. Snape was only half a head taller than me. We were inches apart, glaring at one another.
“Bat-like I may be, but at least I haven’t been pushed away by a werewolf.” His eyes glinted. Without really thinking, I made to push him against the wall. Snape stepped aside and I fell against the wall. Snape pinned me there, one arm against my collar bone. He was breathing as though he ran a long distance. “You need to learn proper behavior. Breaking into my chambers in the middle of the night, making snide remarks to get people roused.”
I struggled to throw Snape off. I could tell it was making him wild. “I’m not the one who’s getting their jollies from wrestling someone in the hallways.” I felt my insides squirm. I didn’t like Snape, I didn’t think he was particularly attractive either. We both loathed one another and our mutual loathing had spilled over into a new type of tension over the years. I wasn’t sure if I should flee or kiss him. I slipped out of his arms and left the castle.
I spent a good deal of the next day waiting for the Hogwart’s Express to arrive. Dawlish had us patrolling the platform starting at noon. The train didn’t arrive till well after seven. When it arrived the students began to pour out of the train. I spotted Ron towering over the crowd. Then there was Hermione, her bushy hair caught my eye. Harry wasn’t with them. I slipped onto the train. I shot a backwards glance at Savage, Proudfoot, and Dawlish; they were less adept at slipping through crowds of young people.
I wasn’t sure where to start searching for Harry. He could have slipped off without me spotting him, but he was rarely apart from Ron and Hermione. I started down the train, peering into the compartments as I passed. Then I saw a compartment to investigate, its shades were drawn, definitely a suspicious sign. I opened the door and I could hear breathing. I looked around and I saw part of a shoelace in the middle of the air. I grabbed for the air near it and I felt something silky, an invisibility cloak. I pulled it off revealing Harry.
“Wotcher, Harry.” I said without smiling. His nose was bleeding, it looked broken. I could tell he had been petrified. I released him and watched as got off his back. I felt the train start to move. We made our way to the end of the train where I had Harry jump off the train first, I followed right after him. Once we were on our feet I realized his nose was still bleeding.
I inquired who hurt his nose. He said it was Malfoy then mumbled an awkward thanks. I offered to fix Harry’s nose. The idea didn’t seem very appealing to Harry but he agreed to let me help. “Episkey.” I said with my wand to his nose. After a moment Harry felt is nose as if he doubted it would still be there. He let out an exuberant thanks. I reminded Harry to wear his invisibility cloak while we walked to the gates.
I took out my wand to send a patronus to Hagrid. I had a hard time thinking of a happy thought. I had a vague image of Remus and me together, in love, and happy. I shot off a patronus and received a slight surprise at its shape. What had been a Chimp was large and wolf-like. We walked to the caste gates in silence.
When we got there, Harry tried to open the gate. Then, looking like a bit of a prat I thought, he tried to use alohamora on the gate. I told him it wouldn’t work. He next tried to climb. I told him that wouldn’t work either. There was a note of impatience in his voice when he said he’d have to sleep out there all night. Looking into the darkness, I could see someone coming.
I could tell it was Snape from a distance. He started in on his Harry-banter. Snape’s eyes shot to me as he told me Harry was safe with him. I wanted to retort but bit my lip. Snape’s next words slashed at me like a cold knife. “Your new patronus is weak,”* he had the gall to tell me. My mouth twisted in anger at the words I wanted to say.
I saw Harry watching the two of us with an interested expression. I wanted to strangle Snape, but they were off towards the castle. I stood there for a few moments. I was surging with anger. I walked back towards Hogsmease deciding to go toThree Broomsticks for a drink. Dawlish was there with Savage and Proudfoot.
“Where’d you disappear to?” Savage asked pulling out a chair for me. I sat down and explained how Harry was detained on the train. I told them about it as if his trainers had been caught on something. I didn’t want to tell them the whole story. I had a few drinks with the guys. Proudfoot and Savage were nice enough. I found Savage’s chin attractive, it was nice and angular. Then I snapped out of it, it’s not normal to lust over a chin.
I spent the next few days deep in thought. I wondered if there was wisdom in moving on. I didn’t want to find another bloke to love; I wasn’t ready for that. I thought I could go for something more carnal and lustful. I regretted not allowing Remus to explain himself to me. I didn’t know if I was hanging on for something that wasn’t there. I didn’t know what the deal was with him and that Farah woman. It could have been one night; they could get married next June. I realized that deep down, I’d rather live an anguished but ignorant existence than know that Remus had moved on. While I knew there was the chance he still loved me, I didn’t want to risk knowing he didn’t. I needed something, someone to take up a bit of the Remus-shaped hole in my heart.
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