The orange liquid in the tarnished silver goblet bubbled and fizzed quietly. So quiet that he didn’t even notice it because he was completely engrossed in the retelling of a tale about himself, Sirius and James. Everyone sitting around the table also listened intently to the story. It was the Christmas holiday and they were all spending it together at 12 Grimmauld Place as one big happy, awkward, and strange family of misfits known as the Order of the Phoenix.
But Remus Lupin was happy to be a part of it. Everyone one of them knew him for what he was but still respected him despite his life altering handicap. Sirius finished the telling of his story, and as the laughs bounced off the kitchen walls he looked around the table at what he considered to be his family, since he was the only remaining member of his family that was living.
Across the table was Harry Potter, the son of the late James and Lily Potter. James had been best friends with Remus and Sirius since high school until that fateful Halloween night when lord Voldemort had stolen away their lives from their 1 year old son, Harry.
Harry was the spitting image of his father, same build, both height and weight, same jet black wild hair that flopped down over 1 eye, although his eyes were those of his mother’s, right down to the exact same shade of emerald green. The only thing that was Harry’s alone was the lightening bolt shape scar on his forehead above his eye, that had been given to him the night his parents died and it dubbed him “The boy that lived.” Harry smiled at him, making him look even more like James.
Next to him sat Arthur Weasley. He worked at the Ministry of Magic and helped to keep them up to date about the things going on there. Behind him stood his wife Molly, she was shuffling about the kitchen bringing more food to the table and fussing over everyone in her usual motherly way. Two identical red headed teenage boys, Fred and George, the Weasley twins sat at the far end of the table teasing their younger sister Ginny about her boyfriend, Michael Corner. Beside her sat a tall and slender young woman with bright bubble gum pink hair, Nymphadora Tonks. She was carrying on a conversation with a bushy brown haired girl named Hermione Granger. Remus thought she was the brightest witch for her age. She was a muggle born and so intelligent and way beyond her years. She was able to figure out his secret when he was a professor at Hogwarts teaching Defense against the Dark Arts. He had grown a great fondness for her.
Suddenly something drew his attention back to Tonks, that’s what everyone called her and she preferred it that way. She seemed nervous and as his gaze met hers her cheeks flushed a bright pink and she quickly looked away. How peculiar, Remus thought to himself.
Then out of nowhere there was a gasp from the person sitting right next to him. Ron Weasley had smoke coming from his ears and nose and had flames coming from his mouth. The twins at the end of the table were laughing so hysterically that they had tears streaming down their faces. They had been at it again; more of their usual pranks that so often Ron seemed to be the butt of.
Coughing and breathing heavily trying to catch his breath and begging for water he reached for the goblet in front of him and gulped it down. The fire quenched, but smoke still poured from his ears. He reached for the next nearest cup of liquid. The goblet of bubbling, fizzing pumpkin juice in front of Remus.
“No……” screamed Tonks as she lunged forward trying to knock the cup from Ron’s hand, but only succeeded in landing directly in his lap, who had just drained the last of the cup’s contents. He closed his eyes, the smoke was gone, and he took a deep breath then opened his eyes only to be looking directly into Tonk’s baby blues.
“Nymphadora darling,” he cooed and pulled her up into a tight embrace. The entire room went dead silent and sat completely motionless. Everyone except Tonks who was swearing under her breath and squirming trying to get out of Ron’s vice like grip. Without warning the twins burst back into another fit of hysterical laughter. “Nymphadora my love where are you going?” he asked dreamily with a dazed look on his face as she finally managed to pull herself free and was now trying to duck and dodge Ron’s grasp at her.
“My love? What on Earth has gotten into you Ronald?” asked Hermione angrily.
“Nymphadora has. She is the most beautiful creature I’ve ever seen and I love her.” He whispered in a breathy tone.
“You what?” Hermione exclaimed as she jumped up. “You…You… Whackspurt!” and with that she stomped on his foot, turned on her heels and ran from the room just before she burst into tears. This sent Fred and George into another uncontrollable fit of laughter.
“Fred! George! How could you? That’s not the slightest bit funny, now fix it right away.” Molly scolded her sons.
“We didn’t.” They both said in unison.
“Don’t give me that. I know what I saw and I know what you two are capable of.” She said standing with her hands on her hips waiting for an explanation.
“Honest mum, it wasn’t us. We aren’t responsible for this one, at least not the whole Tonks thing. But it is a complete crack up.” Chuckled George.
“You really didn’t slip Ron a love potion?” asked their father.
“No, honestly we had nothing to do with this one.” Snickered Fred.
“Well boys, I am glad to hear that, but you can go to your room anyways because of the smoke from the ears gag, and for laughing at such a delicate situation which isn’t helping matters what so ever.”
The twins stood up, looked at Ron who was staring adoringly at a very agitated Tonks and burst into laughter again as they pushed and shoved one another out of the room.
Remus still trying to absorb everything that has just happened looked around the room. Harry and Sirius looked as dumbfounded as he felt. Someone had obviously slipped a love potion into the twin’s joke, but they swore that it wasn’t them and obviously by Hermione’s reaction it wasn’t here either.
The shocked looks on everyone’s face also confirmed to him that no one there could be guilty of it. So how did it get into Ron’s food?
“Nymphadora, sweetness please come back and sit next to me.” Ron patted the chair next to him that had been vacated just a moment earlier by Hermione. He grinned at her like a Cheshire cat.
She looked at him then at his mother pleadingly, and quickly ran from the room trying to hold back the tears.
“Wait honey, Wait for me….” Said Ron as he stood up to go after her, but his molly stepped in front of him blocking his way through the door.
“Uh, Ron dear, I need your help with something in the sitting room.” She took him by the hand firmly so that he wouldn’t try to pull free from her and go after Tonks. “Oh Arthur, I need you help as well.” She called over her shoulder.
“Very well then.” Arthur Weasley stood up, nodded his head at everyone left sitting at the table, then hurried after his wife and son.
“Well that was rather odd.” Said Harry after several minutes of silence.
Remus picked up the cup and looked at the remaining residue inside it, and sniffed at it. “It’s a love potion all right.” He said matter of factly.
“How do you suppose it got in the goblet?” asked Harry.
“I’m not sure.” He said as he walked to the kitchen sink and rinsed the residue down the drain.
“But mum, I’m in love with her and I know that she loves me.” They could hear Ron saying faintly from the sitting room.
Sirius burst into laughter, “Oh Merlin’s beard that was quite a laugh, those twins what pranksters.”
Harry snickered, “But Sirius they said they had nothing to do with it.”
“Well yes they did say that but they arrived the day before you lot from Hogwarts and they had several large boxes of new products for their business and I overheard them talking about who could they get to try them out for them.”
“Ron, I understand that you think that you are in love with her but she is quite a bit older than you and well, I think you are having a school boy crush.” Mr. Weasley tried to reason with him.
“No dad, I am in love with her, deeply in love, I tell you.” He insisted getting irritated.
“Alright, alright Ron take it easy. We understand dear.” Molly said to him quietly trying to smooth things over and calm him down.
Ron bolted upright, “Where is she? Where is my sweet love, Nymphadora ?” He asked anxiously.
“Oh um, er, she is upstairs taking a nap, she isn’t feeling well.” His mother thought quickly of an excuse of why Tonks had left so suddenly, other than out of sheer embarrassment.
“Then I must go to her to comfort her.” He stood and turned toward the stairs.
“No!” Both his parents cried in unison, and each grabbed a hold of one of his arms to pull him back down on the couch.
“But why not?” He was somewhat confused.
“Well, because….”Arthur trailed off hoping that Molly would come up with a viable and believable reason that he could not go see the object of his obsession.
His wife just looked at him and shrugged her shoulders showing him she couldn’t come up with anything either.
“Well, why not?” Ron questioned.
Just then Lupin stepped through the doorway. “Ron I just spoke with Tonks and she asked me to tell you that she is alright, that she just needs some rest and she doesn’t want you to see her when she is not at her best. She said she will see you in the morning.” Remus walked forward and patted Ron reassuringly on the back.
“Oh Thank the Heavens that she is alright.” Ron said breathing a sigh of relief seeming to relax a little.
Molly looked at Lupin and gratefully mouthed thank you to him.
“Arthur may I have a word with you?” Remus asked and motioned toward the door.
“Why yes of course.” The red-headed man glanced back at his son as he walked toward the doorway.
Ron was sitting on the couch his eyes all glossed over, his cheeks flushed with a glowing pink color, and a very dopey looking grin on his face. He looked totally oblivious to anything going on around him as if he was caught up in a daydream of some sort.
The two men wait until they were safely in the kitchen out of Ron’s ear shot before they began speaking again. Sirius still sat at the kitchen table looking rather amused by the entire situation. Harry was sitting next to him looking a little more concerned by what had happened to his best friend.
“What has happen to him Remus?” Arthur’s voice was laden with anxiety and concern over the new condition of his son.
“Well he was definitely slipped a love potion of some sort.”
“A love potion? But why would anyone? How on Earth? And by who?” He asked ever more anxiously than before.
“Well that’s the only reasonable explanation.”
“Or he just suddenly happened to fall hopelessly in love with Tonks.” Sirius said with a laugh.
Harry stifled his own laugh trying to disguise it as a cough.
“Sirius, this is hardly the time or the place for that.” Lupin said matter of factly to his friend, who was well known for his smart alek remarks.
Sirius put his hands up in the air in mock surrender, and then ran his pinched fingers across his mouth as if zipping his lips, which sent Harry into more coughing disguised laughter.
Lupin turned his back on the two as he turned back to Arthur, “Well I’m not sure why, but as to how it was in his pumpkin juice. As to who, I suspect the twins are to blame despite their objections and claims to innocence.
“It certainly is something they would do considering their past of insistent pranks and tortures on their younger brother. Rest assured I will be speaking to them first thing in the morning. But in the meantime what do we do about Ron’s obsession with Tonks?”
“I have been giving this some serious consideration and first off we must keep Tonks completely out of his sight. Then my best guess is that this is a mild love potion and therefore it should wear off in 24 hours or so unless Sirius has the necessary ingredients to brew up an antidote. Both men turned to the man at the table.
“Oh well since I have spent the last decade or so of my life in Azkaban and the house has been pretty much deserted I’m thinking that would be a no.” He said sarcastically.
“Oh alright then we wait it out.” Remus said with resolution.
“You had better make sure someone sits with him at all times just o be sure he doesn’t sneak off to find Tonks and watch her while she sleeps or whatever else he may think of doing.” Sirius lost it and burst into laughter as he finished his sentence.
“Would you please…..” was all Remus said.
“I will sit with him. I will do whatever is necessary to get him through this ridiculous mess.” replied Arthur.
“Um, sir, you can’t stay up all that time, why don’t we just lock the door to our room and take his wand away so that he can’t out, plus I will be with him as we are bunking in the same room together.” suggested Harry as he took his friend’s situation a little more seriously than he had been.
“That’s a fine idea Harry “said Lupin.
Mr. Weasley looked a little skeptical but said to Harry reluctantly “alright, but you keep your wand in case of an emergency and you need to get out of the room. Also I want you to wake me in the event that you need anything, absolutely anything, you hear me?”
“Yes, sir I will.” And with that he and Arthur headed to the sitting room to get Ron off to bed.
Sirius piped up, “Remus, you had better go explain to Tonks the reason for Ron professing his undying love for her.” He was now the one trying to conceal his chuckle with a cough.
“Sirius this is no laughing matter. In fact it is a cruel joke to play on anyone. Messing with people’s emotions and feelings like that is just wrong. Why it’s ridiculous, ludicrous even that Ron could be in love with her.”
“Now why would that be?”
“Well for instance, the age difference. She is far too old for him. The there is the fact that he is still in school, he has nothing to offer her.”
“Well now he won’t be in school forever, and age really is just a number after all. The older you get the less it matters. Look at Dumbledore, he’s what 150 give or take a few years, and he’s as spry and sharp as he ever was, and probably a whole lot wiser and more experienced to boot.”
“Oh Sirius, will you please be realistic. In these drastic and uncertain times no one can be optimistic about anything and especially not employment or love for Merlin’s sake.”
“Remus?” Sirius paused then continued cautiously. “Are we talking about Ron or you?” He raised his eyebrows knowingly.
Damn him! Thought Lupin, he still knows me all too well. “Honestly, I don’t know what on Earth you are talking about. Now I must see to Tonks before she turns in for the night.” He turned on his heels and left the room before Sirius could say another word.