A/N There are a lot of direct quotes from Order of the Phoenix in this chapter and subsequent Chapters. No copyright infringment is intended. I'll go through and indicate which lines are derived from the books. Any parts marked with an asterick is taken from HP and the HBP American Hardback version from pgs613-626
My preoccupation with Remus’ safety settled into my stomach in the form of a dull ache. I was grateful that I had enough work to keep myself busy. Dawlish doubled our duty shifts. He attempted to follow Dumbledore on one of his outings and, much to my delight, got hexed. Unfortunately, Dumbledore was always gracious and didn’t do any lasting damage. I had to work hard to hide my disappointment.
Savage confided in me that he really liked Charlie. He wanted to see him again sometime. I didn’t think they’d get too much of a chance; I suggested they write to one another. They corresponded on a weekly basis. Dumbledore summoned me to his office one evening mid-May. I wasn’t sure what it was about, but I hoped he had news of Remus. He cleverly sent me a note that was disguised as a knitting book I ordered. I hadn’t ordered a book of any sort, but I kept an even face when Dawlish said I had an order arrive. I took it in my room and opened it.
The book appeared normal but for the copyright. It was copywrited by Phoenix-Feather Inc. That seemed like an odd name for a publishing company. I tapped it with my wand muttering “SpecialusRevelio” and saw a note from Dumbledore requesting my presence that evening in his office. He said to use Floo to get to his office. I wondered if I’d be the only one meeting with him.
I told the others that I had a headache and needed to go to bed early that night. I locked the door and put Elton John in my place in the bed. He was a body pillow and came in hand for sneaking out… though I hadn’t used it like that in a great while.
When I stumbled out of Dumbledore’s fire, I saw that we were alone in his office. He looked up from the parchment he was reading with a pleasant expression. “So good to see you, Nymphadora.” He said smiling. “I’m pleased that you worked out my message. Please, have a seat.” I caught a glimpse of Dumbledore’s hand. It was as charred as it had been the previous fall. Sitting down in front of Dumbledore in his office brought back memories of my school days. I ended up in his office more than once. I was one that snuck out only too often and got caught in compromising situations more than once. This time, however, I didn’t have to worry about expulsion. I was worried about his sudden desire to see me; I feared there was more bad news.
“I was informed that you visited the Castle a while back. I surmised that it had to do with Remus, as you had just visited him.” I wondered how he knew that. I hadn’t exactly advertised that I went anywhere. I gave Dawlish and Proudfoot the impression that I was going out for a night of drinking in London. Then again, Dumbledore had a knack for knowing things that most people wouldn’t know. “You needn’t worry about Remus. I received information from him and he’s quite alright. He was worried about your safety and wellbeing.”
I frowned at the thought. Remus was the one living in a dangerous situation. My only danger was if I dropped the soap. “He’s been worried about me? I just live with a couple Aurors. He’s living in a group that would kill him in a heartbeat! He can’t even use his wand to protect himself!” My eyes were brimming with tears. I was relieved that he was safe for the time being, but I felt a stab of indignation that he would run to Dumbledore with his worries about me.
Dumbledore was smiling a bit more broadly. “Caring is a two-way street, Nymphadora.” I didn’t respond. I was curious if Dumbledore knew I had said that to Sirius the previous year or if I had finally reached a level of wisdom close to Dumbledore’s. I went with my first idea, as it was more probable. “I will require your assistance in a few weeks. I will have to leave the school and I will need you to keep watch from within the school walls. There will be other people keeping guard that night. During my previous outings I have relied on the Professors to keep watch, but I am asking a few extra Order members to be on watch when I leave this time.”
“Do you know the exact date?” I asked a bit insipidly. It didn’t quite matter, it’s not like I had social engagements.
“No, not yet. I won’t know till the day before or the day of. Do you have other pressing matters?” Dumbledore asked with a slight smile playing on his face.
I smiled sheepishly. “Of course not… Do you know who else in the Order will be there?” I tried to keep my voice even, tried not to sound hopeful that Remus might show up.
“I think you’ll be pleased by your companions that night.” Dumbledore always relished enigmatic answers. “It is quite late and I’m sure you’ll need a good night sleep after such a long time of uncertainty.”
“Thanks, Professor Dumbledore.” I said standing up. “I’ll be here when you give the word.” I paused for a moment. “How will you give the word?” I asked stepping up to the fire.
“Fawkes will alert you,” Dumbledore smiled. “Goodnight, Nymphadora.” I said goodbye and Floo’d back to my room.
True to Dumbledore’s word, I did get a good night’s sleep that night. The dull ache in my stomach dissipated. I guessed that Hogwarts might be in danger when Dumbledore left, but I was excited to see other Order members. I desperately hoped that Remus would be there. Savage noticed my occasional listless sighs and frequent daydreams.
“What’s on your mind, Tonks?” He asked sitting next to me on the couch. I shot him a sideways glace. I had been mentally undressing Remus. “You seem a bit preoccupied. Do you have a certain man on your mind?” He was smirking a bit.
“He’s always on my mind.” I said sighing. I smirked perversely saying “Not that I mind.”
Savage gave me a sharp look. I could tell he held Remus in low esteem. “Why do you still hold out for him? I’m sure he’s a great bloke and everything, but… he’s not exactly committed to you.”
I tried to not be offended. I knew Savage was just trying to be my friend, but it’s rather upsetting when people say negative things about a lover. “If we were apart because he couldn’t stand me or some other relational problem… then I’d try to move on. But, we’re not together because of outside circumstances.” I sighed then added, “And he has self-esteem problems… he doesn’t think that he’s good enough.”
Savage had a confused look on his face. “Why does he think he’s not good enough? I mean, it’s not like you’d chase after a troll or anything. Shouldn’t it be enough that you love him?”
I was about to explain things to Savage when Dawlish’s voice came from the door. “It’s because he has the sense that any werewolf should have; the sense to not bother with women. He knows she’ll wake up one day and realize what kind of life she’s created for herself and leave him.” I stood up and walked towards Dawlish, my face twisted up in anger.
I stopped a couple of feet from him. “You know what, Dawlish?” I said balling up my fist and hitting him square on the nose. He let out a yelp of pain and quite a few swear words “You need to learn to shut your mouth.” I turned and walked away.
Dawlish started to yell that I’d get hauled in for that and he’d have my career. As if on cue Savage said, “Dawlish, you need to stop blaming Tonks for your clumsiness. You tripped, I saw it.” Savage smiled and made to follow me out the back door. “Did you think I’d think less of him?” He asked as he caught up with me. I raised an eyebrow. “For being a werewolf?”
I stopped walking; I head tears in my eyes. “I didn’t think it mattered.” I said in a quiet voice. “I mean, it’s had an affect on our relationship… but… I don’t know. I guess I did think it’d make a difference in how you thought of him.” I said in a small voice.
Looking at Savage I could tell I hurt his feelings. “My only concern would be your safety.” He said quietly. I smiled at him and kissed him on the cheek. “Well, at least I know why he’s always torn about being with you. I thought he was just really thick.” I laughed airily and told him that being thick was half the problem.
I got a message from Dumbledore in the early part of June. I didn’t have duty for the Ministry, so I didn’t have to think of a reason to skive off. Though, I did have my box of skiving snacks if I had to get out of working to guard the school. I went to the school at 7 in the evening. Per Dumbledore’s message, I went to McGonagall’s office. Flitwick was there already.
“Good evening.” I said smiling. Both of them eyed me wearily. Apparently they heard about my hair but merely knowing about it didn’t take away from the shock of it being so dull and lank. They both said hi and returned to their conversation. “Who else is coming?” I asked taking a seat.
Flitwick opened his mouth to say when the door opened. “Am I late?” Came Remus’ voice. My heart skipped a beat, or well several beats. I twisted around in my chair to get a glimpse of him. It felt like it had been several years since I last saw him. “Hey, Nymphadora.” He said smiling. I thought I detected the same feeling of extreme relief in his eyes.
“It’s Tonks.” I said holding in a grin. “And you are late.” I turned around to face McGonagall; she was giving me a stern look. She knew my flirting style after lecturing me for seven years of being too coquettish in class.
“Glad you could make it, Remus.” She said briskly. “Dumbledore wants us to patrol the corridors. He didn’t give specific direction; he just wants us to be out and alert. I think it’s best if we pair up.” She paused for a moment; I thought I saw her almost smile. “The two of you,” She looked at Remus and me, “would be best suited as partners. Filius and I will walk around together.”
I tried to look indifferent to her decision; I think my eager glances at Remus ruined my attempts at being nonchalant. “Tonks and I can work up to the 7th floor.” Remus offered. Bill came in right as Remus spoke. I was happy to see Bill. He looked content; he looked in love.
McGonagall looked pleased that we’d have another person for the patrol. “Evening Bill.” He smiled and said hi to everyone. “You should accompany Remus and Tonks; they might need a chaperone.” Bill broke into a smile and agreed.
“I haven’t been caught snogging at Hogwarts in quite some time.” I said with a false rueful tone.
“That’s probably not for lack of trying.” Bill said with a laugh. Remus laughed softly too. “Come on,” Bill said still smiling, “we should get going.”
The three of us left the office in the direction of the 7th floor. “Have you heard from Charlie lately?” I asked Bill. I wondered if he knew about the Charlie and Savage development. “Oh yeah, turns out he’s got himself a man.”
I laughed quietly. I didn’t want my voices to carry too far. “Let’s go up this way.” Remus said pulling back a tapestry with a staircase behind it. It was a passage way I hadn’t used before. Bill went first and I followed. Remus was a gentleman and held the tapestry out so we could file by. I managed to brush against Remus. I considered pacing by him just to feel his body a few more times, but maturity won over.
When we got up to the top of the staircase Bill suggested that he go off and roam the other side of the floor for a bit. Remus and I walked slowly through the corridors. We were alone for a couple of minutes before either of us talked. “I’m relieved to see you’re well.” He said glancing at me.
I hugged in a way that made it look like we were two large magnets. “I was sick from worrying about you. Dawlish said there’d been an attack.” I looked up at him feeling an urge to put a freezing charm on the moment so I could keep hugging him.
“How did Dawlish know about that?” Remus mused while patting me gingerly on the back. “I wonder if the Ministry has a spy with the werewolves. I know I didn’t recognize anyone…” Remus let go of me and smiled. “The thing is we’re alright. And now you know why we shouldn’t—”
“Don’t start with me about that.” I said tersely. We ran into Bill as we walked around a corner. “Up to the next floor?” I suggested. They followed me up the stairs. When we made it up to the seventh floor, we stopped by the Fat Lady. She was snoozing until we said hello.
We chatted with her for a few minutes. She flirted with Bill saying that she missed their late night interludes. We went on after a few minutes, Remus pointed out that we were there to patrol, which meant moving. We were approaching the place where I ran into Harry with his Invisibility Cloak when we heard some shouting.
Instinctively, we pulled out our wands and proceeded at a jog. Ron, Ginny, and a boy I recognized from the Department of Mysteries were all working their way out of a black area in the hall, it looked like someone turned the air to the blackest black.
“Ron, Ginny, Neville, What’s going on?” Remus asked calmly. I did detect some panic in his voice, but I could tell he thought it could be an incident of nighttime mischief. Ron burst into an explanation about following Malfoy down here to the Room of Requirement and there was a group of Death Eaters that just got into the caste. He said they were headed down towards the Astronomy Tower.
“Come on!” Bill said turning to go down stairs. I was held up for a moment, I had to send a message to McGonagall and Flitwick. My patronus shot out of my wand with some gusto as I watched Remus telling the kids to be safe. It was the first time I thought that being good with kids was sexy.
If I were to die that night, I had to let him know I still loved him. Usually I’d go into a long discourse on my feelings, but a subtle gesture was all we had time for. I came to my senses and followed the others at a jog. I caught up with Remus and gave his hand a squeeze. He returned my squeeze then let go, hurrying after the others.
We met the Death Eaters in the Entrance Hall, near the base of the Astronomy Tower. Remus’ face went white when he saw that Greyback was there. We had a slight advantage on the Death Eaters; well, we got the first few hexes off at least. We were more or less one on one. Bill was fighting one Death Eater and shooting jinxes at Greyback. Ron was dueling with a lumpy looking witch. Ginny dueled with a man that could have been her brother; they were beat with the same ugly stick at least. Neville was fighting that Malfoy boy. It took me quite a while to remember that he was my cousin. Oddly enough, that didn’t chance my desire to jinx him. My heart almost stopped when the giant blonde Death Eater Remus was dueling shot off the Avada Kedarva. It missed Remus and hit another bloke.
Then it happened. Bill had been smiling a rather rogue smile for the situation. He was causing the Death Eater he was with to panic when Fenrir shot at him with a yell of “Can’t resist such a pretty face.” Greyback went right for Bill’s face. All of us, including the Death Eaters, paused for a moment in horror. I finally had the sense to help. With an Impediment jinx Greyback flew off him. He seemed to be temporarily out of sorts. Malfoy and another Death Eater ran up the stairs to the Astronomy Tower. Neville made to run after him but was thrown back. McGonagall and Flitwick showed up soon after that. They both shot off several jinxes towards the Death Eaters. McGonagall yelled for Flitwick to wake Snape.
Even with all the animosity I felt for him, I thought he’d be a great help. Although, the though of him parading around as if he won the battle would be insufferable. Flitwick ran down a flight of stairs, repelling jinxes from the Blonde Death Eater.
Snape and Flitwick didn’t return. I wondered if there were more Death Eaters in the castle. The Death Eaters work their way up the stairs. Suddenly Snape tore around a corner and flew up the stairs. Taking this as a sign he had disabled the barrier, we attempted to follow him. “I’ts blocked!” Remus yelled trying to disable the invisible wall. We were unsuccessful. As suddenly as they disappeared up the stairs, they were back dueling with us.
I caught a glimpse of Snape running out on the grounds. He was chasing the Malfoy boy and a few other Death Eaters. He shouted something as he left. A few minutes later Harry came down the stairs. Fenrir, who had gotten up to follow the other Death Eaters upstairs, made a leap at Harry. He was momentarily stupefied. Ginny finished her duel with the blonde bloke. He helped Greyback to his feet and they left.
After the Death Eaters fled, we helped the injured up to the Hospital Wing. Remus levitated Bill’s limp body with a pained expression on his face. Although Remus didn’t attack Bill I could tell he felt a sense of responsibility for the harm done by another werewolf. I helped Neville up the staircase. He was out cold so I did my best to levitate him up the stairs. I tripped a few times causing Neville to run into the wall. Ron was walking with us; he bore stony look on his face. He was grim, even stoic. We ran into Hermione and another girl on our way to the Hospital Wing.
“Hermione, Luna- are you both alright?” He asked with a worried expression. Hermione explained that they had been with Flitwick, he passed out in Snape’s office. “Come on, both of you. Professor McGonagall said to go to the Hospital Wing.”
“What’s happened to Bill?” Hermione asked wide-eyed. Ron answered her in a hollow voice. Both girls looked astounded. “Will he be a… a werewolf?” Hermione asked quietly.
Remus shook his head in an unconvinced manner. “I don’t think we’ll know until the next full moon.” Remus pushed the door to the Hospital Wing open. Madame Pomfreycame out of her office upon hearing the door open. She let out a slight shriek.
“Oh my… What’s happened?” She asked looking from me to Remus then to the kids. Remus and I explained that there was an attack, and that Bill was attacked by Greyback. “But… it’s not the full moon.” She looked as if merely stating that would make his wounds disappear. Madame Pomfrey snapped out of her shocked reverie and grabbed a book. “Lay him down here.” She said indicating a bed close to her. “And let’s have Mr. Longbottom over there.” I moved Neville over to the bed a few away from Bill.
The rest of us sat down on the spare beds while Madame Pomfrey tried spell after spell to heal Bill. Remus and I were on the bed closest to Bill. It was a while before any of us spoke. “Where’s Harry?” Remus asked suddenly. Ron said he saw him chasing after some Death Eaters. “Should we go find him?” Remus looked around. “Did Ginny go with him?”
Ron shrugged, his eyes fixed on his brother. Remus stood up, but the door opened before he could go anywhere. It was Harry closely followed by Ginny. Hermione ran up to him and gave him a hug. “How’s Bill?” Harry asked after a moment. We didn’t know how to answer… none of us knew for sure. He looked at Madame Pomfrey. “Can’t you fix tehm with a charm or something?” Madame Pomfrey explained that she couldn’t fix them. She tried but there isn’t a cure for werewolf bites.
Ron was in denial about the whole thing. “But he wasn’t bitten at the full moon… Greyback hadn’t transformed so he…he won’t be…”
Ron and Remus exchanged looks, each was uncertain. “No, I don’t think that Bill will be a true werewolf, but that does not mean there will not be contamination.” It sounded like Remus had been thinking this through since Bill was attacked.
“Dumbledore might know something…” Ron sounded hopeful. “Where is he? Bill fought those maniacs on Dumbledore’s orders, Dumbledore owes him, he can’t leave him in that state—”
Ginny had a pained expression on her face when she spoke. “Ron—Dumbledore’s dead.”
Remus’ reaction was immediate and raw. He shouted “No!” As if shouting might make her words false. Remus collapsed into a chair near the bed.
I had to work to tear my eyes off Remus. He was always so purposeful…not usually that exposed. “How did he die?” I asked feeling my stomach lurch at the thought.
Harry explained Dumbledore’s death to us. It didn’t look like he had taken in the idea of Dumbledore gone; none of us had. When he was near the death part of his retelling a chilling melody filled the room. It sounded like a lament. We all listened to it, as if it was communicating the loss we all felt.
We no one stirred until McGonagall entered the room. She asked Harry about Dumbledore’s death. When Harry told her that Snape did it; she expressed disbelief and shock. There was quite a change in how Remus talked about Snape during that conversation. He had always been gracious and lenient with Snape’s behavior. He was vicious and harsh when he talked about him that night.
Harry asked us what happened. We all worked to piece together that night’s events. There were a lot of gaps in my memory as to what happened when. It was a bit like making bread from the ingredients in ten different pantries. Everyone had something to add and it all helped us form a picture of what happened that night.
As we finished Molly and Arthur came in. Molly’s eyes grew with shock as her gaze fell on her eldest son. Remus and I got up and moved away so they’d have the closest seats. She was sobbing as Arthur conferred with Remus and McGonagall about the night’s events. Fleur walked in and froze at the sight of Bill. I could tell she was trying to figure things out…marriage, their relationship, it was all at risk now. Molly made a comment about how Bill was to be married.
Fleur took great offense at this. She had a row with Molly saying that Bill will still love her, even if he is part werewolf. Seeing Fleur fight for her right to be Bill’s endeared her to me more than anything else. Her insistence that she and Bill would remain together broke through the cold defense Molly had been putting up the past year. She offered to lend her their Auntie’s tiara for their wedding. They hugged sobbing.
Something in my snapped. Why couldn’t that be me? “You see!” I said in a pained voice. “She still wants to marry him even though he’s been bitten! She doesn’t care!” I was glaring at Remus. I had been suffering for well over a year and a half waiting for him to come around; I didn’t want to wait anymore. I wanted him to propose like Bill told me had would. I wanted a wedding and little Remus-babies.
Remus on the other hand looked as if I had posted up pictures of him being petrified while wanking off. “It’s different.” He said shortly. “Bill will not be a full werewolf. The cases are completely—”
I was close to stomping my foot again. “But I don’t care either, I don’t care!” I grabbed the front of his robes shaking them slightly. I wanted him to be less detached; I wanted the rawness back. “I’ve told you a million times…” I was close to tears.
Remus wasn’t meeting my eyes, which was always a bad sign. “And I’ve told you a million times that I am too old, too poor…” He paused looking at Bill for a brief moment. “…too dangerous.”
“I’ve said all along you’re taking a ridiculous line on this, Remus.” Molly said tearing her eyes off Bill’s face.
Remus started to speak as if he was reciting a speech. There was little to no emotion in his voice. “I am not being ridiculous. Tonks deserves somebody young and whole.” I couldn’t believe that he didn’t think of himself as a whole person.
“But she wants you.” Arthur said quietly his face formed a faint smile. “And after all, Remus, young and whole men do not necessarily remain so…” Remus kept countering their gentle persuasion until it was brought to an end by Hagrid’s entrance. McGonagall asked Harry and Hagrid to go with her to her office for a quick meeting. I sat in a chair near the wall. I had lost the argument again…even with reinforcements.
After Harry left with McGonagall I remained seated for a few moments. My head was buried into my hands. I felt so embarrassed. It wasn’t like me to burst out like that. I felt ashamed for embarrassing Remus; he was such a private man after all. Fleur was sitting next to Bill on his bed. I could see her eyes well up with tears every few moments. I imagined Remus and I in that situation. Him being injured beyond recognition and me sitting devotedly by his side… Arthur’s words still rang in my ears.
I didn’t look up until I felt a hand on my shoulder. “Let’s give them some privacy.” Remus said in a low voice. I looked around and saw that Remus and I were the only non-family members left with the Weasleys. I stood up and followed Remus out of the Hospital Wing.
“Where are you staying tonight?” I asked realizing that Remus didn’t have lodgings. He looked grief stricken and lost, much like he did when Sirius died, but the look of hope he usually had in his eyes had dissipated.
He said he wasn’t sure; then he asked, “May I stay with you, Nymphadora?” I nodded and took his hand in mine. “No…” He said softly but didn’t make an effort to take his hand out of mine. “We can’t.” It didn’t seem like his heart was in the argument this time.
We walked mostly in silence. When we got to the flat it was empty. I noticed that my bedroom door was opened and Elton John was lying haphazardly on the floor. “Guess they got summoned to the school.” I said shrugging. “Bit late for help.” I said coldly. I walked towards my room. “This one is mine.” I let Remus in before me.
He sat down on the side of my bed looking at the picture on my bedside table. “You still have this.” He said picking the picture up. “That seems like a long time ago.” He had a bittersweet tone in his voice.
I sat down next to him. “It’s something I’d like to have again.” I said earnestly. “I know that you’re older and a bit dangerous; I’d be thicker than a Beater’s bat if I didn’t… the thing is, I love you and that won’t go away. I love you with all your faults, all your mistakes, everything.”
Remus didn’t look at me; his eyes were boring into the photo. When he set the picture down he said, “Let’s talk about this tomorrow. We’re both too exhausted to really discuss anything. I agreed and started changing for bed.
“I have a pair of pajamas that you could wear.” Remus gave me a puzzled look. “I took them from Grimmauld Place last winter.” I said unblushingly. Remus put them on and crawled into bed with me. I cuddled against him. He looked like a sailor in unfamiliar waters. “Oh!” I said reaching under the pillow. “I saved Freckles for you.” Remus chuckled.
We slowly drifted off to sleep feeling unsure of a Dumbledore free world. As my eyes closed with sleep I didn’t know that we’d be woken up at wand point in the morning or that I’d have to explain myself to Scrimgeour himself. All my mind was working on was the fact that I had Remus, even if it was only temporarily, in my arms.