Tell me your troubles and doubts
Giving me everything inside and out
. . .
It’s my feeling we’ll win in the end
Don’t you forget about me
- The Simple Minds
“We need a Psychological healer in room 404, stat!” An urgent voice sounded throughout the Hospital. I took my chance; it wasn’t often that a Psych Healer was needed so urgently. Usually it was more of a, ‘We could use one of you lot whenever you get around to it,’ sort of thing.
But today, they needed one stat. Perhaps it was that we had all started out our adult lives in such a turbulent time, but sometimes, my job just seemed a little boring – not that I didn’t enjoy it. Sirius and Anna often expressed similar thoughts. Sure, Anna was a Healer who saved lives sometimes, but more often than not, she was righting someone who had accidentally jinxed their arse onto their face.
“It’s not that I want people to be bleeding and dying,” Anna had explained, “it’s just that I feel like I’m doing something more worthwhile when they are.”
“It’s not that I want to be leading an army into war,” Sirius echoed, “but at least I know I’m doing something more important than answering to false alarms about cannibalistic Pygmy Puffs.”
I guess what it boiled down to was this: We weren’t necessarily wishing for war, so much as wishing to be needed.
So you can imagine the burst of energy I got, when that old sense of urgency rang through my head and coursed through my veins. I dropped the medical journal that I had been reading and sprinted up the four flights of stairs with far too much energy to wait on the lift.
I felt heroic as I burst through the door. The feeling was gone moments later, though, when a quick survey of the room showed me nothing other than Anna sitting and chatting with a completely normal, docile patient.
“Did you need something?” I asked, confused.
Anna shook her head, negative. “Nah. I just figured you could use a boost, since we were all talking about how bummed and bored we were the other day.”
And although it had been a let down in the end, Anna’s heart was in the right place, and it had been nice for a few seconds. “Thanks, I think.”
I stood for a few moments, getting ready to head back to what I had been doing before (essentially, nothing) when I decided to just chat with the patient for fun. “So, what brings you here, anyway?” I asked her.
She looked sheepishly away. “My brother and I were practicing defensive spells on each other. You know, since You-Know-Who came back out into the open my whole family’s been a little nervous. We’re worriers. But, er, this was a stupefy gone wrong.”
Anna nodded and added in her own bit of information. “Yup, Lisa’s brother brought her in earlier today. He couldn’t wake her up, and it took quite a bit of complicated magic to get her to come to. She’s going to stay overnight and perhaps the day tomorrow so we can monitor her; a simple stunning spell shouldn’t have done that, so I suspect he mispronounced the incantation, or messed up the wand movement. That so, we have to watch for any other wonky signs.”
I was about to inquire a bit further when there was another page over the loudspeaker. “I need Psychological healer consult in room 219, please. It’s not urgent, but it is real . . . Unlike Healer Xanthis’ request, so don’t disregard this.”
We were such a little family at the hospital. Always taking the mickey out of each other and having a good time. Well, mostly. Everyone had their sworn enemies.
“Duty calls!” I big good-bye to Anna and her patient and headed off towards the second floor. My bright blue robes (contrasting from the lime green robes of the medical healers) billowed out behind me as I hurried down the hall. Even though it wasn’t an urgent call, I always liked to pretend that I was on my way to somewhere important.
“Oh! Remus!” I looked back to see Anna poking her head out of the room. “You and Holly still coming over for dinner tonight?”
“Of course!” I called back.
Anna gave a big smile and disappeared around the doorway once again. I was lucky enough to still be best friends with the people I was in Hogwarts. Not everyone was so lucky. When you get older and have kids, and move on to different places and different career paths, it could be hard to keep in touch with even your best friends.
I liked to think that our friendship was so great that it wasn’t a problem. Although, I can admit that it is helped along with the fact that Anna and I worked the same shift at least a few times a week, and were constantly coercing each other into dinner and other fun outings.
But mostly the best friends in the world thing.
My shift ended a few hours before Anna’s, so I headed home and relaxed for an hour or so before checking in with Holly to make sure she was still on for dinner, as well. She was.
It was great to have a girlfriend that considered my friends her friends, and got on with them so well, especially considering that one of my friends was legally insane, and the other was waiting for certification from the board.
After a lot of sighing and convincing myself to move from the very comfortable spot on my sofa, I dragged my feet to the loo and threw myself into the shower, allowing the soapy water to clean me . . . I may or may not have charmed my shower head to propel pre-soaped water at me. Showering took almost no effort after that little modification . . .
I dressed smartly, in a blue button-up shirt and a pair of dark trousers. After a glance at the clock I hurried out the door and Apparated to Holly’s place. I knocked on the door and she opened it just a few seconds later. As usual, she looked stunning.
She was fairly tall, but not too-much so. Her strawberry blonde hair was wavy and came down just past her shoulders, and she had the most beautiful brown eyes that I’d ever seen. The casual black she was wearing looked fantastic, but she would have looked just as good in pajamas. Or naked. That too.
“Holly,” I said, smiling.
“Remus!” She stepped forward and kissed me lightly on the lips.
“Ready to go?” I asked.
Holly nodded, grabbed my hand and I Disapparted, arriving at Anna and Sirius’ place just a few seconds later.
Anna burst through the front door before I was even on the property. “Remus!” she cried, excited. Then, when she got a good look at Holly and myself, the smile slid from her face. “Remus! You got it wrong! It’s dress-down week.”
I sighed. I should have been better at remembering which day was which, by that point. Part of the almost weekly dinners was an alternating dress code. One week we would dress down, in pajamas or sweats, and the next we would wear crisp, clean and casual clothes. This was mostly for Anna, so that she could indulge the part of her that liked to look like a bum, and also the more recent part of her that liked to dress up and look like a member of the female gender.
“Not a problem,” Holly insisted, as she opened up her bag. “I’ve got us a change of clothes right here.” She smiled and headed me my clothes. “I started bringing extra clothes after the first three times Remus got it wrong.” Holly looked and me and giggled in the way that I found so cute.
A few minutes later we were all comfortable, seated around the kitchen table and chatting away happily. Sirius put a giant tray of lasagna on the table, while Anna contributed a salad. Now, we all teased Anna all the time about how she couldn’t make anything taste good, but that was a lie. Anna could make the best salad I had ever tasted. It was something about the way she chopped up the vegetables in all the right shapes that allowed for maximum reception of flavor.
This revelation of Anna’s salad-building powers led us all to believe that if she could focus her attention on the food that she was cooking, she could actually make a half-decent meal.
Once we’d tucked into dinner, the conversation died out to almost nothing, but it always picked up again during dessert. And sure enough, when Sirius brought out a block of chocolate ice cream, Anna piped up with what she seemed to have been bursting to say.
“I think we should all join the Order, again.”
There was silence all around the table.
It was broken nearly a minute later, and only by a curious Holly. “I’m sorry, but what is ‘the order?’”
I’d never told Holly about our pasts as vigilante opponents of the most evil wizard to ever walk to earth, though she did know just a slight bit. I had told her about Lily and James and all of that.
Anna jumped to explain. “It’s kind of like the Justice League! Dumbledore is like Superman, McGonagall is like Wonder Woman-”
“I think what Anna is trying to say,” I interjected before she confused Holly, “is that it’s a non-Ministry affiliated organization that opposes Voldemort.”
Holly gave a little gasp when I said his name. I suppose I should have been more sensitive, but I always forgot that not every was able to say his name aloud. Members of the original Order were among the few who dared to say his name. And Harry, who was quite the gutsy little chap, though a first glance wouldn’t necessarily lead you to believe so.
Silence consumed the room again, Holly processed the information and Anna awaited a response to her question.
“No.” And that’s all Sirius said. Not a word of explanation. Just ‘no.’
I was inclined to agree with him, though I didn’t voice my opinion.
To say Anna looked put out was an understatement. Actually, it didn’t seem to be accurate at all. In fact, as the seconds drew on, they seemed to grow longer as Anna’s disappointment changed to anger.
“And why not? You lot were just saying that you were bored with your lives!” she asked, standing up in what I am sure was an attempt to emphasize her point and seem intimidating.
“Oh, don’t get all high and mighty on me, Anastasia.” Sirius pushed back his chair and stood up as well. “Just because I don’t want to throw myself and my friends into what will surely end in death and despair. Again!”
I decided to sort of put Sirius’ angry rant into actual reasons. “In case you’re forgetting, we lost three best friends to that bastard, Voldemort. And . . . And you know what?! I never said it; but I’m going to say it now. I always thought Dora’s disappearance had something to do with him!”
Anna rolled her eyes at me. “Duh! Why else does anyone disappear? Real good detective work there, Sherlock.”
Sirius jumped to my defense at that unnecessarily harsh attack. “Anna, chill. You can’t just be a complete bitch because we don’t want to put our lives on the line again. We have a family to think about now.”
“We did then too,” Anna pointed out.
“And then we were to stupid to realize the risk we were taking.” Sirius had a fair point as well.
“Look,” I interjected, looking to break up the party and take Holly (who was understandably looking a bit daunted) home. “Let’s just think on it. We can talk about it another day. It’s not just the sort of thing you do at the drop of a hat.”
Anna and Sirius agreed to the terms and we all said our goodbyes. I took Holly back to her flat but she asked to come home with me that night. “Why didn’t you ever tell me?” she asked later, as we lay in bed. I’d thought Holly had fallen asleep, but my mind was still racing with thoughts.
I thought of just saying that it had never come up. Or, it was just something in my past that didn’t even matter anymore. But I liked Holly. A lot. I could see myself having a future with her, which was more than I could say for any of my girlfriends in a long while. So I decided to go with the truth. “Because I hate to think about it, let alone talk about it,” I admitted.
“Losing our friends nearly broke us all. After it happened, I thought Sirius and Anna would break up. It was months before I could leave them and not worry that the next time I saw them, they wouldn’t be together anymore.
“It was hard enough losing Lily and James in the way that we did . . . What Peter did really, truly broke our hearts, though.”
And that’s when I realized that I’d never even told Holly about Peter. Just like that, the stories began flowing out into the open. I told Holly about our great times at Hogwarts, and then our not-so-great times after Hogwarts. I told her about Lily and James, and how hard James had worked to get her. I told her about Anna and Sirius, and how damn long it took them to realize that they were perfect for each other. The Christmas ball at the Potter’s. The month we spent at Damon’s. I even said a few words about Dora.
It was really quite nice to share stories with someone – the good and the bad.
Holly laughed with me when I laughed, and hugged me when I started to tear up. She was amazing, and it was all I could do to keep from marrying her right there, on the spot.
“So,” she asked, when I was all done with my stories and she’d shared a few of her own.” Do you think you’re going to rejoin the Order?”
I sat for a moment and thought, but knew I’d need some more time to think it over. “I don’t know. I just don’t know.”
“Remus, is that you?”
I had just stepped into Sirius and Anna’s house and shut the door a bit loudly behind me.
“Yes!” I responded.
Anna came rushing down the stairs and glanced irritably at her watch. “We’re late. Sirius is making us late, the bloody girl.”
I shrugged. “You can’t help it; some things just never change.”
A few moments later Sirius arrived on the scene, sliding down the banister and running a comb through his hair one last time.
“Alright, you look fabulous. Now can we go?”
It was hard to believe that it was just a year ago that Dumbledore had restarted the Order of the Phoenix. As Anna, Sirius and I walked out their front door to a safe Apparation zone, I thought a bit about the situation at hand.
Sirius, Anna and myself had all quit our jobs to fully devote ourselves to the cause. We were all far more mature than the last time we’d gone into it. We had barely been out of Hogwarts and were certainly not ready to stop an evil wizard from conquering the world.
But now, Sirius was an accomplished Auror. I had overcome the physical effects of my lycanthropy; and thanks to the help of my friends, I was able to combat most of its psychological effects as well. I'd done what no one of my kind had done before – lead a steady life and job, holding the respect of my peers.
Though, I had to say. . . most of all, Anna was the success story. She had gone from a class-A nut case (though of course, we loved her) to a responsible adult. Sure, she wasn’t the most conventional mum, or the most punctual Healer, but she was good at both in her own way and was completely selfless no matter who it came to.
After all, it was Anna who’d been so instrumental in our rejoining of the Order. First, she suggested it. Then, it was Anna who took our spirit when we told her we didn’t want to. And finally, it was Anna who threatened us until we realized that the Order wasn’t just something that she wanted us to do, it was something that we wanted us to do, as well.
We Apparated to Grimauld Place (the house that had been bequeathed to Sirius all those years ago was now the Headquarters for the Order) and walked into a meeting almost about to start. We took our places around the table and waited for Dumbledore to begin. Sitting directly across from me was a new face that I didn’t quite recognize, though I thought she might have been at Hogwarts at us, perhaps in a different year.
“Excuse me.” Dumbledore’s voice was light but always commanded everyone’s attention whenever he uttered the quietest of words. “Before we begin today I would like to introduce a new member of our resistance. This is Nymphadora Tonks.”
At first, it was normal. This was just another introducee of Dumbledore’s – there had been a few of those in the past year. But then the thought started buzzing around my head, sort of like a bee far off in the distance. But the buzzing grew louder and louder as the idea settled down for a nice afternoon in my brain, until the metaphorical bee was right on top and me, and just wouldn’t die no matter how many times it stung me.
. The name bounced around my brain like a boomerang. For one long second I dared to let myself believe that it might just be the Dora I had once known.
But it couldn’t be. I couldn’t get my hopes up.
Besides, I reassured myself. This Nymphadora Tonks is closer in age to my friends’ children than my own self. She looks nothing like Dora! It can’t be her.
Dumbledore briefly gave the floor to the Nymphadora. She said nothing other than, “It’s very nice to meet you all. Oh, and I go by Tonks.”
Tonks. Not Dora.
Common sense pushed the idea from my mind before I could even really consider it. After all, all I had was a name.
I looked regretfully at the new member of the Order. How I had wished it had been the unexpected return of Dora. A first love has an unimaginable impact on one’s soul and Dora had been my first love; and even all these years later, I thought of her often.
Thinking about Dora caused me to think about Holly, which was a painful topic as well. Even more so; that cut hadn’t healed into a scar yet.
When we had all gone to Dumbledore and told him that we wanted to be in the Order again, Holly stood by me supportively, even though she couldn’t bring herself to join. At first, it was fine. But the more time I was away from home, and the more bruises and lacerations I had when I came home slowly drove Holly crazy.
One night I’d come home from a meeting to find Holly lying in the middle of the kitchen floor, crying for so long that she stopped producing tears. I sat down with her and we talked for hours. In the end, we decided it would be best for both of us if we broke up.
Often times I didn’t think it as good for me; coming home to Holly’s beautiful, loving face kept me going. But it was selfish of me to think like that. All I had to do was look back on the memory of Holly in tears and I knew that what we had done was right.
Still, it didn’t make it any less painful.
Once I emerged from my reverie of memories, I became more aware of my surroundings, most importantly, Dumbledore’s shriveled, blackened hand. It was gruesome. It was grotesque. There was no other way to describe it than dead, yet Dumbledore seemed as spry as ever.
Dumbledore caught me gaping. “Ah, yes,” he said. “It is obvious to many of you that I have sustained quite a nasty looking injury. I can assure you it was a hand well spent and that I am none worse the wear for it.”
He paused and looked around. “Now that I have you all gathered in this room, I must ask you to uproot yourselves and follow me to the kitchen.”
It may have been silly, but Dumbledore always started meetings that he headed by us all sitting around a table and sharing one small piece of news before moving the entire group into the kitchen. We were all used to it by now. Usually, Dumbledore was absent and the meetings were more informal.
There was a loud, squealing sound as everyone pushed back their chairs and then an eruption of chatter.
“Guys! Anna! Sirius! Did that new girl look familiar to you?” I grabbed the shoulders of my friends as we adjourned to a different room.
Sirius stopped, turned, and looked sadly at me. “Look, Remus, I know the name makes you think... but don’t go down that road again.”
Anna did the same and put her arm around my shoulder. “Mate. You need to get laid.
“Look at us! We get layed all the time and we’re as happy as can be.”
“What about the kids? How can you guys do that with them there?”
“Well, usually they’re at school. But when they’re not . . . Soundproof walls,” Sirius said matter-of-factly and winked suggestively.
I should have known. Although my mind was still reeling about my past love, Sirius and Anna considered the matter put to rest. We all continued into the kitchen, where Dumbledore had laid out of a spread of snacks. He seemed to think that offering us something to eat while we discussed new battle tactics and how many more people died that week made everything better.
Well... he was right. It surely didn’t make the situation disappear, but it softened the blow; as good food and good friends always do.
As we sat and ate, Dumbledore informed us of some more recent news – just Voldemort ‘playing’ with Muggles and causing general havoc as what appeared to Muggles as inexplicable events continued to happen.
I was usually one of the best at paying rapt attention to what Dumbledore had to say, and was genuinely concerned about the goings on of the world at the moment. But on my mind that evening was much, much more.
I covertly looked towards Nymphadora. Our eyes met for a brief moment before I averted them quickly; I didn’t want her to think I was weird. But I couldn’t help to look back again and I’ll admit I was a bit shocked to find that she was looking at me still.
And this continued through the rest of the Dumbledore’s informative speech. I zoned in and out.
“It has been only a few short months since Voldemort’s come out in the open and the amount of damage he has caused already is catastrophic, and I believe it will only increase exponentially.”
I sometimes wish we’d all just moved far away after Voldemort had disappeared. Far away and taken Harry and what was left of our lives with us.
“As always, our most important concern is the safety of the students of Hogwarts. Sirius, Nymphadora – as skilled Aurors I would like you to head the operation. Mostly, you’ll be stationed in Hogsmeade, though occasional visits to the school are also part of what you’ll be doing. Anna and Remus will supplement the supervision provided by you.”
Finally, I thought. I’d been out of work for a year and done nothing but pop in and out of Grimauld Place, go off on pointless excursions and anxiously await news. Now I’m doing something important. And with the people that I love, to top it off.
Dumbledore addressed Kingsley next. “You will continue your protection of the Muggle Prime Minister.” Kingsley nodded.
“Sirius, Remus, Nyphadora, Anna. Perhaps you lot would like to separate and discuss your plans. Your assignment officially starts next week.”
We all nodded and moved back to the room we had been in an hour previous.
Tonks started chatting away as soon as the door had closed behind us. “So, it’s safe to say that we all attended Hogwarts, yeah? So we’re all aware of how it works, and the layout of the castle and Hogsmeade?”
She hardly paused long enough to see us all nod. “I think the best thing to do is take up residence in Hogsmeade. Whether it’s in one of the Inns or in one of the houses on the outskirts of the village.” Tonks paused finally, then corrected herself. “Unless, of course, any of you lot have kids that you need to take care of.”
“Ours are in school.” Anna gestured to herself and Sirius.
Tonks then looked at me. “I haven’t got any.”
“Good. Alright, so do we all agree that’s a good plan of action?”
Anna agreed wholeheartedly. Sirius shrugged. I think he was a bit put out that a younger Auror had usurped his status and started planning everything.
“I’ll look into seeing if there are any houses we can stay in. Perhaps staying in the Inns would be a bit to conspicuous,” Tonks suggested.
Sirius found his chance to but it. “Don’t we want to be conspicuous? We’re there to keep anyone from getting in the castle, but who would try if they knew that four members of the Order of the Phoenix would be on their tails in no time?”
“That’s true,” Tonks conceded. She didn’t look the least put out that Sirius had shot down her idea. “But I still think it may be a good idea to not be discussing these sorts of things where anyone could really be listening. I’d feel a lot better if we had our own place where we could put all the proper enchantments, yeah?”
Sirius grumbled and nodded. I smirked. It was always a riot when Sirius got disgruntled.
“Sirius and I can look for a place later; we were heading into Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade anyway,” Anna offered, smiling. She seemed to have taken a liking to Tonks already, which didn’t happen often with Anna.
There was a scraping of chairs and more noise off in the kitchen, signifying that the formal meeting had ended. Some people would stick around, and others would return to their homes or jobs.
Sirius and Anna left immediately the room to catch up with Molly and Arthur Weasley before they left. Nymphadora and I were left alone in the room.
I stood up and offered her my hand and a formal introduction. “Remus. Remus Lupin. Tonks, is it?” I feigned a lapse of memory.
She shook her head. “My name’s Dora.”
I blanched. “A-oh, I’m s-sorry. I could have sworn you said-”
The girl stepped closer to me. “I know what I said . . . I just thought you might know me better as Dora.”
My eyes widened and my breathing quickened. I backed away from Tonks . . . Dora . . . what-ever-her-name-was until I hit the wall. “What kind of sick joke is this? Who told you about my connection to Dora? She’s been missing for more than fifteen years now.”
She came closer to me and tried to grasp my hand and I pulled it away like her were the temperature of boiling water. For all the time I’d fanaticized about Dora returning one day, I’d never realized how utterly improbable it was, and how much I didn’t believe the words I’d been longing to hear for what seemed like forever.
Nymphadora sighed. “Just – just hold on a moment. Shall I prove it to you?” She closed her eyes and took a deep breath and before I could figure out what was going on, her brown hair was lengthening and turning blonde, her figure was growing taller and leaning out and her face became very finely lined, as she aged ten years or so.
There’s nothing like proof standing right into front of your eyes to make you believe. “Dora,” I breathed.
“It took you long enough to recognize me,” Dora whispered and then reached for my hand again.
“No!” I cried. “Absolutely not. You do not disappear for years and years and years and then get to come back like nothing ever happened. Because lots of things happened.”
Dora nodded and sat back down on the couch, inviting me to do the same. “I suppose that’s true. If you’ll just give me a few moments I can explain it as best as I can. I can only hope that you’ll understand.”
I wasn’t able to walk out of the situation like my anger prompted me to; my want – my need – to find out why the love of my life had disappeared in the prime of her life, only to inexplicably reappear some sixteen or so years later overpowered anything else I could have possibly felt at that moment.
“Okay. So, after you lot left school and joined the Order of the Phoenix, I felt so helpless.” Dora sighed and looked at the floor, but I wasn’t looking anywhere other than her beautiful face. “I was only a Sixth year, and I knew it was a matter of time before Anna joined you guys, even if she didn’t know.”
Dora seemed to be unable to meet my eyes. At each pause in the story she would stop, sigh, and look around the room. First she glanced at the grungy, navy blue sofas. Then her eyes would flit to the dusty tables and portraits around the poor, before hitting the floor once again.
“I just couldn’t stand it, so I started an organization with a bunch of the older students. I suppose we didn’t really do much other than talk, but we just wanted to stand up to the guys like Avery, Mulciber, and Snape. They were bound to be Death Eaters and we were bound to be crusaders for the Order of the Phoenix.
“Then one day in May a seventh year came up with a chance – a call to action.” Dora’s voice cracked at the end and she had to take a break when a few tears rolled out of the corner of her eyes. It was painful to see; it was clear that whatever had caused Dora to go into hiding was a good reason, but what was her excuse for not telling me for sixteen years?
It took Dora a few moments to rein in her tears and emotions in again. Right when she was about to begin, the waterworks began again, and there was nothing I could do but jump to her side and embrace her tightly.
“There was supposedly going to be a Muggle torturing nearby. Just a few miles outside the boundaries of Hogsmeade lay a Muggle town and this boy had heard one of the Death Eaters talking about how his Dad and some others were going to kill off an entire neighborhood.”
Dora had stopped crying but I hadn’t released my hold on her . . . How I missed holding her . . .
“We knew the risks, but we began to plan. In the end, about fifteen of us snuck out that night. School had already let out for the summer so we had to make it to Hogsmeade all the way for our respective, homes, and we pulled it off without a hitch. We’d been so excited about the well-done escape that we were caught off-guard,” she explained. Her voice cracked once again as she tried to contain her tears. “We thought we were strong, but we should have realized we were no match for half-a-dozen fully grown, fully trained Death Eaters. Every single one of my friends was killed. Every. Single. One.
“I was in the back. When I realized what was happening I almost ran. But I couldn’t. I just couldn’t leave them. So I tried to fight off the bastards, but one by one, I saw my everyone fall to Avada Kedavra, or something much worse.”
Dora was no longer sitting, but up and pacing. I was assuming that I was the first person that she’d ever told. Something like that sitting on your chest for sixteen years as you hide your identity and jump at every shadow was something I would have wished on only Voldemort himself. And maybe not even him.
“I don’t know how or why I was the only one who had the fortune to dodge and escape every curse, but soon I found myself facing six Death Eaters, alone. I couldn’t think of anything to do but run. Run like Forest Gump.
“I would have ran till I dropped off the edge of the earth, but I noticed that crowd inside the Three Broomsticks. I shot through the door with the Death Eaters hot on my tail, but by the time they followed me in, I’d morphed into whom you saw earlier today. After that, I was so afraid that I couldn’t bear to change back. They’d seen me. What if they remembered me? I’d known the risks when I’d agreed to go after them, but I never had imagined that the worst would actually happen.”
Dora seemed calmer, and had returned to her seat beside me. She wasn’t quite done with her story. “When I heard that You-Know-Who was killed – by none other than James and Lily’s year-old-son – and that all of his followers had fled, I thought I would finally be able to become Dora again. But at that point, I’d been gone for years. Who would want to see me after I’d led them all to believe I was dead. Who would even remember me? . . . When I came here today, I thought you wouldn’t remember me,” Dora admitted, looking up to me with her big, sad blue eyes.
“I could never forget you,” I whispered.
After a brief pause and an adoring look, Dora finished her monologue. “When I heard that You-Know-Who was back, I knew that I had a chance at redemption. That I had survived that horrific massacre for a reason . . . And I knew that you were the one I had to tell first, if you’d hear me.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It was less than a half hour ago that I had learned Dora was alive. I flashed back to the pain I felt when hearing that Dora was missing. I remember the moment so vividly . . .
“Whatever you do, don’t let Remus see the paper,” I heard Sirius’ voice whisper. The next moment he rounded the corner with James, who tucked the offending paper into his back pocket.
I pretended not to have heard and nonchalantly asked, “Good morning, you lot! Can I see the paper?”
James blanched and began to stutter. “Paper? What paper? What is paper? A type of food? It doesn’t sound very appetizing.”
Next to him, Sirius smacked his palm onto his forehead.
“A paper is the thing sticking out of your back pocket,” I clarified, playing along.
The Wimbourne Wasps probably lost, I reasoned. Everyone knows how moody I get when they loose; I suppose they’re just tired of dealing with my crying like a little baby. Understandable.
“Oh. Haha, silly me!” James said. He pulled it out like he was going to give it to me, but suddenly tossed into the fireplace, which was inexplicably lit and heating the house in the middle of the summer.
Damn his Chaser reflexes! I cursed.
“Look, guys, if the Wasps lost, I can handle it,” I assured them.
Sirius and James looked at each other, and I had a sinking feeling whatever they were hiding from me was a little worse than my favorite Quidditch team losing.
They nodded to each other and Sirius turned to me and put his hand reassuringly on my shoulder. Not a good sign. “Mate, Dora’s gone missing.”
“I heard you,” I whispered, almost breaking into tears myself, but holding them in because I was a man. “And all I want to hear is you for the rest of my life.”
Dora’s let out a half-squeal, half-sigh and smacked her face into mine in excitement.
She pulled back quickly and profusely apologized. “I’m so sorry. That should have been a kiss, not a head butt. Let me try again!”
This time, she leaned in slower. I cupped her face and brought her lips to mine slowly. I felt a spark of life I hadn’t felt in years. In my euphoria, I pulled back and cried. “You have to let me tell Sirius and Anna! You have to!”
Dora was hesitant at first, fearful that they’d react badly. It wasn’t an ungrounded concern. At first I had wanted nothing more than to scream and throw things at the selfishness and insensitivity of her hiding herself, but in the end, nothing beats the feeling of a friend returning from the dead.
When she finally agreed, I peeled out of the room like a Nascar. I practically knocked Molly and Arthur Weasley over in my excitement to drag Sirius and Anna away.
When I finally got my protesting friends in the room, Dora was gone and Tonks was back. For a moment, I thought my brain had become so muddled that I’d imagined the whole catharsis, but soon, Tonks began to transform in front of our eyes and became Dora once again.
I don’t think the old married couple realised what was happening at first. But as the transformation became complete, Sirius’ eye widened to the size of rubbish bin lids, Anna swayed on the spot and stumbled into Sirius’ arms.
“Holy. Fuck,” said Sirius.
“Holy. Fuck,” said Anna.
So eloquent, I thought smiling. It was strange for a moment. The four of us, standing in an old, musty room. Anna and Sirius letting their sailors’ mouth get the best of them, even though they’d reined them in slightly since becoming adults. Dora smiling brightly and myself just surveying the whole scene. It really felt like Hogwarts again.
Needless to say, Dora and I heated up very quickly. Not to make light of Dora’s life-ruining experience, but it did work out nicely for me. Almost dying had changed her view on pre-marital sex.
At first Dora was a bit shy and tentative, but there’s nothing to take care of that like six romps in a row.
After a particularly exhausting time around I got up to get us both some water. I came back, ready to rehydrate and go for round seven, when my eyes met something very . . . blue. Dora’s usually tanned skinned was a sky blue color and the her formerly nude body was clothed in a very lacy, see-through white dress. Her long blonde hair had grown out even longer and she was wearing a big white flower on her head.
“What are you supposed to be?” I asked, setting the waters down on the table next to the bed.
“A smurfette,” Dora replied.
“A smurf,” I marveled. Of course.
“Smurfette,” she correct, winking at me.
How unsexy. How horrifying. What a monster . . . sexy . . . sexy monster.
“I can’t believe you just sexualized a smurf. That is so wrong on so many levels. The worst is that I’m actually attracted to you right now. Although I would appreciate it if you would turn back to your normal color; the blue skin is detracting from your looks only slightly.”
Dora shrugged. “It’s blue, or nothing, buddy!” she cried, laughing.
Smiling coyly at Dora, I jumped on top of her and began to kiss her neck. But before we could get very far there was a loud, thunderous knock on the wooden door.
“Oi! Stop shagging in our son’s bed!” Anna cried from outside. I could hear the laughter behind her demand.
I smirked at Dora who could only giggle. I’d been staying at Anna and Sirius’ house for a week; I was done living in a flat and was looking for a house closer to them. I had been sleeping in Al’s room and couldn’t think of any better options when Dora told me what she had in mind.
“We could come outside!” I suggested.
There was silence, and then, “No. That’s alright . . . Go ahead and finish up. But when you’ve worked up an appetite, Anna’s making dinner,” Sirius shouted. “No, actually I’m lying. I’m making dinner. Anna wanted me to say it was her, but I didn’t want to frighten you into leaving so soon.”
Then I heard Sirius cry out, and I assumed Anna had thwacked him, pretending to be upset.
Footsteps informed us that our friends had walked away, but the mention of food had made Dora and I realize that we were actually quite ravenous. Dora returned to her normal appearance as I began to fully dress myself. I look up after buttoning my jeans to see Dora staring intently into the mirror.
I came up and embraced her from behind. “I haven’t been able to look at myself like this for sixteen years, Remus. It feels so wonderful to finally be me again.”
“It feels so wonderful to know you’re alive, and to know that nothing can tear us apart now. It’s you and me (and Anna and Sirius) against the world.”
A/N: Once again I need to express my undying gratitude to BellaCamille who continues to inspire me to better my writing and gives up her own time to help me get my chapters just right. THANK YOU!
A/N2: Forest Gump is a character from the 1994 film ‘Forest Gump’ by Paramount Pictures.
A/N3: And, just to clarify, there is a time jump of a little over a year, from the first portion of the chapter to the second.