Chapter 1 : Cupboard Clichés
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‘In here! Quick!’
Charlie Weasley stuck his hand into his mouth as Professor McGonagall pushed him into the nearby broom cupboard. It was all he could do to prevent himself from laughing and when old Flich’s frantic footsteps died down, he finally dared to move.
‘How,’ he panted, ‘how did he realise?’
Mirth crossed the old Professor’s face and she winked at the red headed boy, who recoiled. She placed her hand on his arm and squeezed it as she spoke.
‘He must have seen her before he saw us,’ she giggled. ‘Even that old dud knows Professor M. couldn’t move around the school so fast.’
But Charlie wasn’t listening. He jerked his arm away as fast as he could and shuddered audibly.
‘You touched me!’ he gasped.
She looked at him confusedly, before grinning cheekily and making to grab his arm again.
‘Tonks! Seriously, stop it! You-you know I don’t like it, it’s-’ Charlie looked anywhere but at the Professor standing in front of him as if his eyes were searching for a suitable word. ‘It’s weird!’
If he had been looking at the girl in front of him he would immediately have felt bad. Her features physically fell and any resemblances of her transfiguration teacher vanished to be replaced by mousy brown curls. She leant forward for the door handle, but upon rattling it realised it was stuck fast.
‘What’s wrong with it?’ asked Charlie, looking up at last.
‘Stuck,’ she mumbled as she pulled out her wand extravagantly, accidentally knocking over a large net of what seemed to be spare broom heads in front of her exit. She groaned loudly and slumped to the floor. Her wand was under there somewhere!
‘Nice one!’ hissed Charlie. ‘My bag’s underneath that nice mess you’ve created! What were you thinking?’
‘I didn’t-’ Tonks caught herself from apologising and glared at him in return. ‘Well I don’t see you helping!’
He ignored her and tried to manoeuvre himself in the tight space so that he could lift the net without having to touch her.
‘It’s no use,’ he moaned, slumping on the floor beside her. ‘There’s nowhere for it to go but outside!’
He looked at her finally, feeling angry confusion at the change in her appearance. Was she trying to get to him on purpose? ‘What are you doing now?’ he jeered, trying to sound unimpressed. In reality, he had always been jealous of her ability to change how she looked – he would long have lost his Weasley hair if he could do the same. But she’d never looked like this before. Her disguises were usually loud and extravagantly attractive, there was something different, something much softer and more beautiful about the dark curls and sparkly eyes she had opted for today.
‘I’m sitting on the floor just like you are,’ she said in a sarcastically slow manner, miming actions to mirror her words.
‘I mean with your face.’
‘My face? What’s wrong with it?’ she asked in shock, her hands rushing up to her cheeks. ‘It’s normal!’
‘You look-’ Charlie stumbled over his words, what was he trying to say? Her face lit up in anticipation and she looked at him intensely, nodding as if to will his words. ‘You look different.’ Charlie watched her smile vanish and realised at once that he’d said the wrong thing. He hadn’t meant ‘different’ to be an insult – she did look different! ‘I mean-’
‘It’s okay, Charlie,’ she sighed. ‘I suppose you’ve never seen me normal before. Shocking, no?’
He nodded in agreement and smiled, despite her genuinely offended expression.
‘It’s shocking that you think you need to change yourself all the time when you’re so beautiful just like that.’ He spoke straight into her eyes, locking them with her own. ‘Why’d you decide to go for your regular look here of all places?’
Even as the words left his mouth, Charlie saw her face change. Her skin was glowing and he was sure that amongst her brown hair, glossier than usual, there were one or two streaks of pink. Her eyes lit up as she laughed nervously.
‘I can’t help changing sometimes,’ she murmured. ‘If I’m happy, my hair usually goes pink against my will and I lose control and go back to normal when I’m - when I’m sad.’
‘You were sad?’ he asked leaning over and squeezing her hand. ‘Why? I mean I know we’re stuck, but I don’t smell that bad.’
‘It doesn’t matter, Charlie,’ she sighed, leaning closer to him. ‘And if it’s any conciliation, if I had to be stuck in a broom closet with anyone, it would be my best friend.’
‘Best friend,’ he murmured in repetition, before something suddenly clicked and he looked at her, his eyes twinkling. ‘Ah, but best friends tell each other everything, so really, Tonks, if I’m your best friend you should tell me why you’re sad!’
‘Charlie!’ she groaned.
‘Are you saying you don’t love me?’ quipped Charlie, batting his eyelids.
‘Fine,’ Tonks glared at him quickly, before turning to concentrate on the floor. ‘I was sad because you told me it was weird when I touched you. I don’t have the lurgies you know! And you’re touching me now!’
At this Charlie burst out laughing. He put his arms around her and squeezed tightly.
‘I have no problem touching you, Tonksie,’ he laughed. ‘I just have an issue with Professor McGonagall. I mean as clichéd as the whole teacher/student thing is, it’s really…you know…not for me!’
Tonks laughed, her hair growing pinker by the second.
‘You don’t like clichés?’ she asked, pouting. ‘Darn it! I was going to kiss you in a broom cupboard.’
She winked cheekily as Charlie’s cheeks grew pinker at a faster rate than her hair. He squeezed her again before leaning in and whispering.
‘I think that’s once cliché I can handle.’
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