I had a little visit with Professor Flitwick today. Other than Remus's, I don't visit the other teacher's offices that often and it seems to me that not much has changed in there since I was a student. Almost all of the furniture is tiny, built to Professor Flitwick scale. The walls are decorated with degrees, awards, and pictures of grandchildren. One shelf is laden with trophies for dueling contests that he won back in his glory days. The rest of the shelves are full of books -- of course. All of our offices are probably full of books. Books, and piles of student essays and exams. The students complain about the work we give them, overlooking the fact that we're giving it to ourselves too. Or maybe they just think that teachers think working is fun.
Professor Flitwick, surrounded by files of essays taller than himself, was characteristically unruffled as he looked up at me from behind his desk. Approaching end of the year deadlines don't worry him much. In a way he reminds me of Remus. He doesn't let things bother him.
"Sit down if you can find a spot." he invited.
I cleared more files from off the one normal sized chair in the room, setting them on the floor.
"We're out of the running for the Quidditch Cup." he lamented. "And I don't think we're going to get the House Cup either. Between Granger's academics and Potter's athletics..." he trailed off with a sigh. "Maybe next year. So your first year as a teacher is almost over. Was it what you expected?"
"In some ways." I said thoughtfully. "In others, not so much. I think I've learned more than my students have."
"I still do. Every single year. It's been very gratifying working alongside one of my best former students. And Remus as well, even if he is a Gryffindor. I always thought he was wasted on that house, but then look at Hermione Granger."
"You have Luna Lovegood."
Professor Flitwick chuckled, "Ah, Luna. I appreciate the attention you've been giving her."
"I like her...but actually, she's the reason I'm here."
"Really?" he sounded surprised.
"It's not that she's done anything bad. I'm just anxious." Despite the fact that the door was closed, I leaned forward and lowered my voice, "She's figured out Remus's problem."
"She noticed that he gets sick on full moons, she figured out the significance of boggarts becoming full moons in his presence...a lot of stray details that she managed to string together. I made her promise not to tell but I'm worried. It could ruin Remus's career here if it got out."
"Don't worry." said Professor Flitwick. "If she promised not to tell, she won't. She's always been above reproach, very eager to please. If it had to be anyone, Luna is the safest person to have learned the truth."
"I really don't think she'd go against my wishes...it just makes me nervous. I guess I wanted reassurance from someone."
"It's a serious thing, you're right. But Luna won't tell if you asked her not to."
"You're sure she won't accidentally slip?" I asked.
"Would anyone believe her if she did?" he countered.
"Poor kid." I laughed.
"What does Remus think about Luna's guesswork?"
"Actually, I haven't told him." I admitted. "I don't want to worry him."
"Oh." Professor Flitwick sounded surprised. "I'm sure he's capable of coping."
I thought about how stressed he'd been about the Sirius Black escape. There are just certain things that Remus doesn't handle well; Black--Grayback--being a werewolf. So despite what Flitwick says, I'm not going to tell him that one of the students knows his secret. It would embarrass him and worry him half to death. Why stress him out? Personally, I feel much better about it now that I've talked to Flitwick so I'm not going to worry about it anymore.
Whoa. Lots of drama going on.
When I came home from tutoring last night, I found Tonks waiting for me outside my office door. Remus had met me at the gates to escort me "home" as he always does, but Tonks, looking pale and miserable didn't spare him a glance. "I need to talk to you." she said intently, speaking only to me.
"Okay." I answered, concerned. Her hair was brown, always a sure sign of something serious going on.
I gave Remus a quick goodnight kiss and unlocked my office door. Tonks wrenched it open herself and hurried inside without another word.
"Are you sick?" I asked, following her into my office and quickly unlocking the door to my living quarters. If she was going to barf, I'd prefer she did it in the bathroom. She certainly looked like she was about to hurl.
Tonks shook her head, going to lean against the edge of my table, eyes on the floor, her arms wrapped around herself as if she was cold. "I'm sorry about this. I know you have to work tomorrow. I just..." she shook her head hopelessly, really starting to alarm me now. "there's just no one else I can tell. My mother will kill me... and I might kill August."
"What's going on?" I asked.
"You were right about him. I admit it. Stupid, useless.....well, no he's not. He just has his priorities and I'm not one of them at the moment. His stupid animals are more important." Tonks glared at Isis, who was mewing for attention, as though she'd personally insulted her.
"What's wrong?" I asked, watching Tonks as I moved to feed the kneazle, hoping to shut her up.
Tonks was still standing as she'd been before, eyes on the carpet, arms wrapped around herself in a defensive sort of way.
"I've just screwed up my whole life, that's what. How could I have done this to myself? I know better...I'm not some...dumb teenager or something." Tonks's voice became higher and her words came faster as she became more agitated. "Kerri, what did I tell you would be the absolute worst possible thing to happen at this stage of my life?"
It was late and I was tired. I kicked the bag of kneazle food out of the way and asked, "When?" hoping for a hint.
Tonks looked up at me with pained eyes, "I think I might be pregnant."
I felt like all the air had been knocked out of me. The room was silent except for the crunching of kneazle kibbles. Finally I asked, "Why?"
"I'm late. I was throwing up this morning. What am I going to do?"
"Does August know?"
"Oh, that was so helpful." said Tonks sarcastically.
"Sit down." I suggested, pulling out a chair.
"I can't." said Tonks, starting to pace.
"I have to go tomorrow to find out for sure. I can't believe what a coward I am. I'm an Auror --- shouldn't I be stronger than this? I'm completely falling apart. Here goes everything I've been working for, just because I was stupid and careless. And I'm terrified to go alone. August, who is half responsible for this mess, is of saving porlocks so he's too busy to go with me. I wish I could lay my hands on every remaining porlock, lock them all in a building together, and set it on fire. I did the home pregnancy test -- the one where you take the amulet and hold it over your stomach. It swung, but then my hands were shaking so maybe that doesn't mean anything. I need to go and have it done by a midwife so I know for sure."
"I'll go with you." I offered.
"You have to teach."
"I'll tell Dumbledore that a friend has a medical emergency. He'll give me an hour or two off. Or -- we could go to Madam Pomfrey right now. "
For a moment, Tonks looked hopeful. Then the expression faded. "No. I don't want to go to someone I know and have them know how stupid I've been. Other than you. My mother will be ready to kill me if she hears about this. I can't believe what a coward I'm being."
"Will you please just sit down?" I asked again. Tonks's anxiety was making me nervous too.
"I can't." she answered, pacing faster. "I don't think I've sat down all day. I'm too nervous. You would be too."
"Well of course." I agreed, not even wanting to think about myself being in the same situation. Nevertheless I still thought aloud, "I wonder what Remus would do?"
"Probably tell you to get an abortion." said Tonks coldly.
"Is that what August did?"
"No. He didn't even do that much. He's at some stupid sit-in. He just said we'd have to talk about it later."
"What an insensitive, worthless ---" I floundered for a word bad enough to describe him.
"Weasel?" Tonks suggested.
"That doesn't even cover it at this point."
"I knew I could count on you for support at least. You tried to warn me." Tonks stopped pacing abruptly and turned to look at me. "You always have everything so together. What would you do if you were in my place?"
"Go right to Madam Pomfrey to find out for sure."
"Of course. You're always practical. And knowing this place, everyone would know about it by morning."
"Probably. But if I was pregnant, they'd all find out about it anyway." I pointed out.
"And then what would you do?"
"I don't know. It's hard to just say right off the top of my head. It's not easy to make a decision when you're just blindsided."
"Tell me about it." said Tonks sarcastically.
I would have laughed if the situation hadn't been so serious. "Well, the first thing I'd do would be to tell Remus." I began trying to answer her question.
"What if he reacted like August -- and don't say that he wouldn't."
"I'd curse him into next week." I answered, deadly serious.
"Again, the obvious thing to do." Tonks snorted. "That's what I should have done. Or maybe I could have slaughtered a few porlocks. That would have gotten his attention."
"I don't really care at the moment."
I continued answering her question. "Then I'd have to inform Dumbledore because obviously it would influence my job. I wouldn't be able to go out and wrestle animals like I do now. At some point I'd need a maternity leave."
"Do you have any idea how competitive my job is?" Tonks demanded. "They could replace me or just push me off into some other department. I haven't been there long enough to be asking for extended time off. This could completely ruin everything I've worked for. It could all go right down the drain."
"How exactly did this happen?" I couldn't help asking.
Tonks shot me a look that was both incredulous and irritated.
"I mean besides the obvious."
"It just did."
"Maybe you're wrong." I suggested. "You hear sometimes about these things happening. Maybe it's some weird hormone thing."
"Maybe. I hope so. What would you do?"
"I wish you'd quit asking that."
"It seems to me that there are just three options. You'd think it would be easy to make a decision with just three available choices. I could have the baby and keep it, have the baby and put it up for adoption, or have an abortion."
The last of Tonks's options made me wince.
"What would you do?" she asked again.
"Well, I think that if I had the baby, I wouldn't be able to give it away. Not after having carried it and gone through all of that. Adopting it would probably be the best option for all concerned though. I don't think I could ever have an abortion but you never really know what you'd do in a situation until you're actually in it. And then there's Remus. Obviously he'd have the right to have some say in the matter. His wishes would certainly influence my decision. "
"Kerri --- where is your father?" Tonks asked suddenly. "Your mother was a single mother, right?"
I groaned internally at the questions. "Yes. It's complicated." I hesitated, not sure how much of the truth to give her, then made my decision. "My father assaulted my mother."
Tonks stopped pacing again. "I never knew that."
"So at some point she must have considered the same options I'm considering now."
"Sometimes I've wondered why she decided to have and keep me." I admitted. "I'm not sure if I want to know or not. Sometimes I wonder if she ever regretted it."
"But she still wants you around. She hates it that you live so far away. Her situation is much worse than mine is --- do you even know who your father was?"
"Yes." I answered, after another slight hesitation.
"Did he get away with it? Do you know where he is?"
"Yes, and no. I don't like talking about him much."
Tonks nodded and started to pace again. Suddenly a silvery patronus materialized in the middle of the room. It was unfamiliar to me, a cow, of all things. "Kerri, do you know where Tonks is?" August's voice asked before the thing vanished.
"His patronus is a cow?" I asked, amused.
Tonks shrugged. "Don't tell him where I am."
I nodded and sent the message.
"I'm going to stay in an inn tonight." said Tonks. "If he comes home, I don't want to see him."
"No, stay here." I offered.
"Just like old times. You, me, and ...." Tonks frowned down at her stomach.
"We don't know for sure." I reminded her. "All this panic could be completely wasted."
"Are you sure you want to put up with me all night?"
"I'm not letting you go stay at an inn somewhere."
I left Tonks alone for a while so I could go ask Dumbledore for a couple of hours off the next day. Thankfully, I don't think he'd been in bed yet. I explained that a friend needed to have some medical tests done and wanted me to be there for moral support. Being Dumbledore, he agreed.
When I got back to my living quarters, Tonks was sitting by the window, staring at the blackened window pane with a thoughtful expression. She surprised me when she asked, "Your mother has family here?"
"Yes." I sighed. It was easier for me to talk about Tonks's problems than my own.
"Do they know about you?"
"No. But I've met them."
Tonks looked at me, eyebrows raised.
"I was curious so I tracked them down. I have a grandfather, an aunt and uncle, and two cousins. Maybe someday I'll introduce you."
"And they have no idea who you really are?"
Tonks turned back to the window. "I suppose I should take into account that if I put it up for adoption, it might come looking for me one day."
We spent most of the night going over and over those same three options. Really, I think Tonks was mostly talking to herself and just wanted me for company. In the end, the only thing that we established for certain is that August Day is a weasel.
In the morning he sent another message, explaining that he was stuck at a protest but was concerned about Tonks because of something she'd wanted to discuss with him the day before. I responded that I hadn't heard from her and took malicious pleasure in lying. "Let the jerk worry."
"He'd worry more if I was a porlock." said Tonks sarcastically.
But she was probably right.
Around breakfast time, Remus showed up at my door to walk with me to the Great Hall. I slipped outside to talk to him. "I'm eating in this morning. Tonks is still here and she needs me to go somewhere with her today. Dumbledore gave me a couple hours off."
"Oh. Is something wrong?" Remus asked, concerned.
"It's a female thing. You don't want to know."
"No, I don't." he emphatically agreed, no doubt terrified at the mere thought. "But I hope Tonks is well."
"It's not life threatening." I promised. "I'll see you later. And --- if August contacts you looking for Tonks, do us a favor and lie. You haven't seen her and don't know where she is."
Remus raised an eyebrow but didn't argue.
"St. Mungos?" I asked Tonks once I'd gotten rid of Remus and we'd had breakfast. Actually, I had breakfast. Tonks just sat there looking green.
"No. Juno Women's Clinic."
"Where's that? I've never heard of it."
"Of course not. You'd never have a need to go there." said Tonks sourly. "They specialize in 'female stuff' as you call it. It's small and private and I'd rather go there."
We left as soon as it was late enough in the morning for the business day to begin. Tonks was calmer now than she'd been the night before, quietly purposeful on getting a definite answer once and for all. The Hogwarts corridors were mostly clear since classes had begun. I guessed that the hospital wing would have been empty too and sighed as we walked right past it on our way out.
We apparated to a pretty, out of the way place in the countryside. We stood on a road that was little more than a dead end dirt path that stopped at the edge of a wood. To one side, silver gray fog dissipated over a desolate meadow. On the other side were more woods which were dense and dark because the rising sun hadn't penetrated them yet. They were bordered by a manicured hedge that looked out of place out here in the middle of nowhere. Standing in front of it was a statue of the goddess Juno. I had the feeling that any Muggle who found this place would be unable to see either hedge or statue.
Tonks approached the statue and silently touched its shoulder. Behind it, a section of the hedge retracted to allow entrance to the area beyond.
From the outside of the hedge it looked as though you were just going to walk into the woods, but once you were inside you found yourself in a beautiful garden complete with flowers and fountain. In the middle of the garden was a building. It was sort of like something out of a Muggle fairy tale, being the homey stone with thatched roof kind of structure. Only it's large size hinted at it's function as a medical facility.
We entered the rounded wooden door to find ourselves in a room that looked more like a cozy cottage living room rather than a lobby. It was furnished with plush chairs, thick carpet, and bowls of lavender and roses that scented the air in a pleasant way that no Muggle hospital had ever been. I decided that if I ever did get pregnant, this would be the place to go.
I went to sit down to give Tonks her space while she spoke with a woman sitting behind a table in the corner. When she joined me, she was quiet, sitting back in her chair with her arms crossed over her chest and one of her feet jiggling nervously.
There were a few other patients in the room, women in varying stages of pregnancy. At one point a couple emerged from a door off to the side, escorted by a healer, a newborn baby in the woman's arms. I have to admit that it was a cute little thing. Tonks didn't spare it a glance, keeping her gaze fixed on a spot on the carpet.
After about twenty minutes Tonks was called back. The examination didn't take very long, but it was hard for me to judge the result by her facial expression. She looked more angry than anything.
"Well?" I asked as I followed her across the garden.
"No." she said curtly.
"Well that's good news. Why the symptoms?"
"I don't really care right now. I'm going home."
As soon as we had cleared the garden, she apparated. I hesitated for a moment and then followed. I arrived at her house just in time to see her throw open the front door with violent force, allowing it to just hang open behind her.
"Tonks?" I asked, stepping into the house.
She almost collided with me as she approached with an armful of August's clothes. I shifted out of the way as she stormed outside and hurled them into the yard with all the force she could muster. Wordlessly, and with a furious expression that was quite alarming, she tore back through the house to the bedroom, this time emerging with a pillowcase stuffed full of August's shoes which swiftly joined the pile of clothing on the lawn.
"You could do that magically." I timidly suggested as she stalked past me in search of more items to pitch out.
I watched as she yanked an exotic looking piece of art off the wall by hand. It was so big that she had to turn sideways to get through the door with it. She flung it forcefully across the yard with a soft grunt of effort. "I could use magic, but this is more satisfying."
"Do you want help? Do you want me to stay?"
"No. Go back to work."
"Are you sure you don't want someone here when he gets home?" I asked.
"Absolutely not. That's the part I'm looking forward to the most. I have a few things to say to him and he's going to keep his mouth shut and listen. And then he's going to be moving out."
"Okay..." I said, ambivalent. "Let me know what happens."
"Sure." answered Tonks as she hurled a stack of 'Save the Porlock' flyers into the yard. They scattered in all directions like confetti.
I shrugged and returned home. I had classes to teach, after all.
"August is still looking for Tonks." Remus informed me when I met him at lunch. "Is she all right?"
"Yes. She didn't have what she thought she had." I told him.
"That's good." Remus paused for a moment and then asked, "Is there a reason that we're not telling August the truth and causing him worry?"
He waited for further illumination.
I sighed. "It's private -- female stuff."
Those two final words worked their magic for a second time. Remus didn't look happy about it, but his chivalry won out. "All right." he agreed.
"Was August here?" I asked.
"No. But he's sent two messages."
"Hmm." was all I could think of to say. I hoped for August's sake that he got home from his protest before it rained on all his things. On second thought, I hoped he didn't.
The rest of the day was pretty average except every so often August would send me a message, asking if I'd heard from Tonks since he was having difficulty getting hold of her himself. It was petty, but I enjoyed ignoring him and lying to him by turns. Around four pm the messages stopped coming.
When Remus walked me back to my quarters after tutoring tonight Tonks was again waiting outside my door. This time however, her hair was a vivid pink, she had a Honeyduke's box under her arm, and she looked much more cheerful than before. "Wotcher. Sorry about last night, Remus. I really was having a very bad day."
"I'm glad to see that you're well."
"Thanks. And thanks for covering for me. I just needed some space while I was figuring things out. I'll do the same for Kerri if the same situation ever happens to her." Tonks shot me a slightly evil look as she said this.
"Not likely." I assured her.
"Well, you never know. Have a good night Remus." Tonks dismissed him. She lifted my key from my pocket and let herself in.
"You too." Remus answered, shooting me a quizzical look.
I shrugged and followed after Tonks. "Well, what happened?" I asked once we were alone together. "Does he still have all his limbs?"
"We didn't fight. I just told him off and kicked him out. He took his things and left."
"So that's that?"
"That is most definitely that." said Tonks with finality. "I'm finished with him. He's not even worth crying over. Hey -- have some candy."
I helped myself to a strawberry creme and said, "I'm glad you're not upset about it like you were over Gideon."
"You were right about him. Why cry over someone like that? It's just time to move on."
"Do you have another victim in mind?"
"No. I'm done with men."
I waited for the punch line.
"I'm serious." Tonks insisted.
"Oh right. I can't wait to see now long this lasts."
"This was a wake-up call. I have to be more serious about my career in such a competitive field. I'm going to focus on that for a while. There's no rush to get involved in a relationship any time soon."
I'm sure my expression was skeptical.
"I'm thinking of taking a flat in London." Tonks continued, unruffled. "Getting a fresh start as a single professional. Maybe I'll sell the house or rent it out. I haven't decided yet. And by the way -- thanks for not saying 'I told you so.'"
"I wouldn't do that."
"I know. That's why I came to you. So...about your mother's family. Have I met them?"
I sighed, not liking the direction the conversation was taking. "No. Remus has. The guys have. Remus is the only one who knows the truth though."
"When are you going to tell them who you really are?"
"That's a good question. I have no idea. When I feel secure in the friendship I guess."
"Heavy stuff." Tonks remarked. "It's been a heavy couple of days."
"So lets just focus on the chocolate, all right?" I suggested.
"Okay." she agreed.
But Tonks's questions have brought the Howards to the forefront of my mind again. I feel like I ought to go see them, before I go home for the summer at the very least.
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